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Bullet Height Release ‘No Atonement’ LP Today

Bullet Height NABerlin based UK electronic-rock duo Bullet Height release their debut album No Atonement today via Superball Music on petrol green vinyl, CD and download formats, and to mark the occasion they have revealed a special track by track video run down of the themes and inspirations behind the songs on the record.

No Atonement can be streamed via Spotify here and purchased here

You can view the track by track rundown of No Atonement below Read More…

Bullet Height To Release ‘No Atonement’ Album This Friday

Bullet Height Promo May 17UK duo Bullet Height will release their explosive debut album No Atonement on 19th May 2017 via Superball Music. The album features the band’s previous two singles, Bastion and Hold Together, and is comprised of ten tracks of dark, primal conviction, pulped with the avant-garde, fusing industrialised electronica, heavy guitars and heartbreakingly sweet melodies.

No Atonement is now available for pre-order on CD and Petrol Green vinyl.

No Atonement can be pre-ordered here

Bullet Height To Release ‘No Atonement’ Album

Bullet Height Promo May 17UK duo Bullet Height will release their forthcoming explosive debut album No Atonement on 19th May 2017 via Superball Music and fans can now get to know a little more about the pair behind the music in an exclusive new interview with front woman Sammi Doll and her band mate Jon Courtney. No Atonement is now available for pre-order on CD and Petrol Green vinyl.

No Atonement can be pre-ordered here

You can view the interview with Bullet Height below Read More…

Bullet Height Release Lyric Video For ‘Wild Words’

Bullet Height Wild WordsWorking from their HQ in Berlin, UK electronic-rock duo Bullet Height have released a lyric video for their anthemic new single, Wild Words, which is out now on all good digital platforms. The track is the latest to be taken from their explosive debut album, No Atonement, which is set for release on 19th May 2017 via Superball Music.

You can pre-order No Atonement on CD and heavy green vinyl here

You can view the video for Wild Words below Read More…

Video: Matt Skiba & The Sekrets – She Wolf

Matt SkibaMatt Skiba and the Sekrets has premiered a brand new lyric video.  The video features the song “She Wolf” and is set to appear on his upcoming new album,  KUTS, which drops today via Superball Music.  The disc was produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck and The Vines).  The album follows Skiba’s debut album, Babylon, released in 2013.

Follow along with the video below.  Be sure to check out our full review.

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Matt Skiba

Matt Skiba & The Sekrets

KUTS

Superball Music
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

You have to wonder what life would be like viewed through the eyes of the Matt Skiba.  Chances are, you’d see red as crimson, the dark of night would be your daylight and your days would be spent employing morbid vocabulary to describe everyday mundanities – you’d be a living, breathing creature of the underworld walking amongst the world of men.  Or you could pretty much just listen to any Alkaline Trio record.  While tempting to think the image is all just an act, Skiba’s penchant for dark imagery extends into all aspects of his career, including numerous side projects, the most stable of which has become Matt Skiba & The Sekrets.

Also the least dreary of his output, Matt Skiba & The Sekrets play a hybrid style of altrock that can only be described as “uplifting” in the dark world of Alkaline Trio.  With marginally increased electronic elements and generally more conventional song structures, Matt Skiba & The Sekrets is Skiba’s playground for songwriting that may be viewed by fans as too tame for the Alkaline Trio brand, but just right for a secondary project.  Without being under the creative microscope, it’s a project that has evolved to early fanfare and resulted in the timely arrival of their sophomore full length, KUTS.

A certain contrast sneaks its way into the album from the early stages.  Musically, opener “Lonely And Kold” exudes a certain “warmth” in its guitars, juxtaposing the imagery of an impending relapse that finds the protagonist “at the bottom of the bottle, lonely and cold.”  Playful may be the best word to capture the refreshingly varied and optimistic guitar tone (the tone feels closest to Damnesia’s full-band acoustic vision).  Even the riff lurching “She Wolf,” which sounds as if it were written for a shared performance with Alkaline Trio co-vocalist Dan Andriano, overcomes the dark imagery inherent in the early passage, “now I’m restless here in pieces, and I’m waiting for relief that just won’t come for this vampire, twisting in the fire.”

With varying production tricks and resonating guitar tweaks from distortion to lingering pedalwork, tracks like the dirty mouthed “She Said” almost bring to light a more fully realized 80’s retro vibe in the same vein that Alkaline Trio drummer Derek Grant attempted on his recent underwhelming solo attempt.  The track settles comfortably after laying down a rumbling chorus and subsequent bass groove.  Light synthy spikes and drum machine effects as per “I Just Killed To Say I Love You” and “Way Bakk When” only serve to further the comparisons.  Producer Rob Schnapf certainly leaves his mark in ensuring that while the subject matter remains within Skiba’s comfort zone (nobody quite writes a breakup song like Skiba), his music doesn’t.  

KUTS once again presents Matt Skia & the Sekrets as a worthy, albeit lighter, supplement to Alkaline Trio’s body of work.  Not only appreciable by established fans, Skiba’s side project possibly targets an older audience beyond the traditionally goth-punk crowd.  But regardless of the source of his fanfare, KUTS continues to prove the longevity and relevance of one of punk rock’s most well rooted and lasting front men.

Matt Skiba and the Sekrets – Krazy

Matt SkibaMatt Skiba and the Sekrets has premiered a brand new song.  The track is titled “Krazy” and is set to appear on his upcoming new album,  KUTS, which is due out June 2, 2015 via Superball Music.  The disc was produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck and The Vines).  The album follows Skiba’s debut album, Babylon, released in 2013.

Listen to the new track below.

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Matt Skiba and the Sekrets Announces New Album

Matt SkibaMatt Skiba and the Sekrets has unveiled details for their sophomore full length.  The album will be titled KUTS and is due out June 2, 2015 via Superball Music.  The disc was produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck and The Vines).  Skiba comments:

“I went in with really open and stark ideas, knowing that Rob would breathe life into the very vague ideas I had. I had written progressions and lyrics as well as some leads and key parts, but knew that what I was going to come out of that studio with would be completely different than what I walked in with.”

Skiba elaborates on what can be expected with the new disc:

“The writing style and entire approach to this new one was a stronger desire to do something fairly different from my other band. We used sounds hugely influenced by early David Bowie stuff and took more chances. I knew that the playing of Hunter and Jarrod would bring entirely new elements to the songs that would help shape them in a huge way and influence ideas that I would never have thought of on my own. They did great stuff for the last record but had even more freedom on this one. It really shaped the way this record sounds.”

The album follows Skiba’s debut album, Babylon, released in 2013.

Matt Skiba and the Sekrets - Babylon

Matt Skiba and the Sekrets

Babylon

Superball Music
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Alkaline Trio co-vocalist Matt Skiba has led quite the prolific career in his over fifteen plus years as a musician.  In addition to a hefty discography amassed with partner in crime Dan Andriano, he’s released music separately under HeavenstheHELL, and now the subject of this review, Babylon by Matt Skiba and the Sekrets.  While most of Skiba’s side projects have taken nods to electronic experimentalism, this recent incarnation of Skiba’s melancholy brand of emo-rock is curiously close to the Alkaline Trio we’ve all come to know and love.

Even with AFI bassist Hunter Burgan, and current touring drummer for My Chemical Romance Jarrod Alexander serving as backing band, Babylon plays mostly like Trio minus Andriano’s presence.  And you know what?  He does a pretty good job of carrying the whole project on his own shoulders.  I’d liken his independent success akin to the surprising strength that came from The Lawrence Arms frontmen Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan taking a break with Sundowner and The Falcon (or more recently Brendan Kelly & The Wandering Birds).  All ten tracks sound tight as ever, and channel somewhat of a Crimson-era vibe heavy on squeaky production and synthy extras (see “Falling Like Rain”) – something many were wary of back in 2005 but comes across almost tame in today’s heavily auto tuned climate.

Tracks like “Luciferian Blues” or opener “Voices” could have passed as tunes on Alkaline Trio’s next album thanks to Skiba’s trademark dark imagery.  Emotions are explored with morbid reference and juxtapositions in passage like “I’ll burn eternally, home sweet home,” “your love came like an airplane that crashed into the ground,” or “you’ve made a mess, this party dress is torn and stained with blood.”  By this point it might be easy to dismiss Skiba as on lyrical autopilot, but it’s more likely that he simply makes it look easy than a true lack of cleverness.

It should also be mentioned that a couple of tracks started as demos on Skiba’s eerie solo project, Demos, released but a short year prior.  Side by side comparisons of “Haven’t You?” transform from deeply personal to full band affairs, translating surprisingly well onto their new stage.  While I tend to favour the solo versions (these two songs, not the full album, on the whole I found it somewhat overly self-indulgent), the new translations fit in their new context, and play to their own strengths.  “Angel Of Deaf” however serves an exception, in which the full band backing significantly dilutes the original’s personal anguish.  “I can’t hear a god damn thing, above all the screaming… the anger’s deafening” Skiba speaks meekly, trimming down on punctuation, losing much of what made the original somewhat of a present day “Radio.”  Without a reference point the song holds ground, so if you aren’t privy to Demos, I doubt you’ll find issue.

If Babylon proves anything, it’s that if Skiba and Andriano ever pulled a “mid-90’s-BadReligion” and went their separate ways, Alkaline Trio could survive the split with Skiba at the helm.  Of all the Trio side projects over the years, Matt Skiba and the Sekrets comes the closest to the main feature.  It doesn’t stray too far from the beaten path, and would fit snuggly alongside any Alkaline Trio fan’s library.  No surprises, but no disappointments either.

Blaqk Audio - Bright Black Heaven

Blaqk Audio

Bright Black Heaven

Superball Music
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Five years after Davey Havok and Jade Puget gave in to their inner goth and embarked on a slick journey to the beat throbbing world of dark wave and electropop, they return for a much anticipated follow-up.  More than ever the duo holds fast to what they’re known for, venturing further down the rabbit hole of club thumping electornica.  To be sure, Blaqk Audio has always been a self indulgent Depeche Mode-leaning self-serving outlet for Havok and Puget – a way to separate business and pleasure from their high profile and long running punk act AFI.  Bright Black Heaven is that indulgence in its purest form to date.

Now it’s worth mentioming that Blaqk Audio hasn’t changed all that much since their inception, so provided that five years is enough time for fans to be satisfied with more of the same, then Bright Black Heaven will please from the get go.  Songs like opener “Cold War” thump along with all the ridiculously catchy snaps of electronic hand claps, synth waves, and soundboard pulses sure to incite your inner rhythm.  It’s the type of guilty pleasure that will have you tapping your toes and swinging your arms while you close your eyes and bob your head in time (even you prideful “too cool” types).

The whole affair exists across a variety of energy enhancing tempos stemming any obvious potential for early burn out – especially considering the ten tracks’ forty-eight minute run time.  Rhythm heavy mid-tempo numbers like “Say Red” or “The Wittness” plant themselves in a heavy groove, serving as somewhat of a new offering for the band, while tracks like “Fade To White” rattle along like something from a sweaty nightclub.  When at their catchiest, songs like lead single “Faith Healer” mix the two with classically catchy chorus links, spreading like a sonic virus, infecting listeners with a near sensory overload.  The slick combination of Havok’s siren falsetto and Puget’s mathematically-perfect overlays create one of the best 80’s inspired soundscapes since the decade faded almost thirty years ago.  If the band is hunting for a second single, “With Your Arms Around You” is an easy and obvious pick for all of the above reasons coupled with the silence shattering clarity of Puget’s keyboard piano notes.

As per their first album, Bright Black Heaven furthers their scandalous exploration of sexual promiscuity and forbidden love.  From the discrete call to “live in fiction” in “Everybody’s Friends,” to the love-to-hate call to revisit failed love in “Let’s Be Honest,” it would be hard to imagine Blaqk Audio straying from what they know.  The industrial overtones generate a connection between music and meaning that go hand in hand.  Nothing lands too far below the surface, but it lands well nonetheless.

Some people have expressed disappointment with Blaqk Audio for returning to their safe place with their sophomore effort.  And while it’s true that Bright Black Heaven is instantly recognizable, it’s also instantly enjoyable and wildly rewarding in repay.  If they stay on a half-decade release schedule, I can see no issue with Blaqk Audio’s commitment to the dark arts and hope to hear more in the years ahead.

Matt Skiba & the Sekrets Acoustic EP Stream

Matt Skiba and The Sekrets,Matt Skiba & The Sekrets has launched a full album stream of their brand new EP, Haven’t You.  The EP features acoustic versions of the songs “Voices” and “Haven’t You” from their debut record Babylon, out now on Superball Music.

Give all three songs a listen here.

Matt Skiba & The Sekrets Announce Acoustic EP

Matt Skiba and The Sekrets,Matt Skiba & The Sekrets has announced that the band will be releasing a brand new EP, Haven’t You.  The EP features acoustic versions of the songs “Voices” and “Haven’t You” from their debut record Babylon, out now on Superball Music.

Listen to the first song here.

 The group features the Alkaline Trio frontman alongside AFI‘s Hunter Burgan and My Chemical Romance‘s Jarrod Alexander.

... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead - Tao of the Dead

... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead

Tao of the Dead

Richter Scale/Superball Music
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

To say that listening to …And They Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead is a substantial investment is an understatement.  The band has made a career of ambitious undertakings; their first big breakthrough coming with 2002’s Source Tags & Codes – an album revered by many as the band’s crown jewel.  Since then though, critics haven’t held back when criticizing the quartet’s struggle living up to past achievements – many accusing the band of losing themselves under the growing layers of instrumentation of would-be epics.

Several albums later though and the band seems to be fighting back with their latest two-part full length, Tao Of The Dead.  Whereas tracks once averaged over five minutes apiece – in large part due to meandering intros and drawn out conclusions – they now compliment each other, weaving a rich, complimentary sonic tapestry.  An easy comparison would be to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, and how the entire album plays out as a single work – each song representative of an individual chapter.  The result overcomes the detriment of lofty aspirations, bestowing Tao Of The Dead a remarkable ease of listening.

Success through impeccable pacing helps the album stand tall above the competition.  Opener “Introduction: Let’s Experiment” takes an entirely instrumental approach, starting small and snowballing into a gusty tornado of swirling synth and a Minus The Bear-esque tonal flow.  At just the right moment the track segues into the scraggly guitar driven slow rocker “Pure Radio Cosplay,” which thanks to the static driven chorus overcomes its own tight little exit tangent, eventually picking up with the percussive rollout of lead single “Summer Of All Dead Souls.”  Blown out vocals and classic rock choruses undulate over the three-minute track, escalating to and unraveling in a keen display of psych-rock.

The band rounds out their creation with a handful of spoken word treks.  For instance, “Cover The Days Like A Tidal Wave” serves the album well, crafting a mind-bending array of cryptic noise that constructs a bleak apocalyptic force.  Dark moments call upon the appropriately saddened mystic that builds up – or should I say tears down – “Fall Of An Empire.”

While the bulk of the album plays through a filmy haze, at about the half way mark “Spiral Jetty” marks a vocal departure.  Aided by his suddenly crisp, upbeat backing band, vocalist Conrad Keely now speaks with a once foreign clarity.  It’s a wonderful mid-album high that is just one example of how the band remains fresh even in its final stretch.  For that matter, the return of “Pure Radio Cosplay” in its “Reprise” form confirms each song’s potential for repeat visits.

Just as the disc seems to wrap up with the wistful gust of “Ebb Away,” “The Fairlight Pendant” emerges with hectic disorder and ephemeral concentration.  While it might seem a fitting conclusion, listeners are treated to the succinctly ambitious fifteen-minute spiritual “Tao Of The Dead Part Two: Strange News From Another Planet.”  This selection offers a second wind where other albums wear thin, and could very-well warrant a review in itself.  Think of it as Tao Of The Dead-lite, or a continuous repackaging of only Tao’s most immediate successes.  The band knows that by this point they’re asking a favour of their audience, so they skip transitional filler and pack all five pieces with only the best cuts.

Lyrically, not having a background with Trail Of The Dead, I’ve had a challenging time deciphering some of the themes and meanings.  Even the accompanying fold out booklet picks up like a serial in a graphic novel series, and comes filled with all sorts of connotations and history far above my head.  From what I’ve been able to piece together, the album furthers the band’s mythos and lore without going overboard.  Most importantly, nothing feels too overwhelming for a relative newcomer like myself, but I imagine that those with a history will decode many of the more obvious meanings I’ve overlooked.

Overall, Tao Of The Dead achieves a wonderful balance between complexity and approachability.  After a flip-flop of past releases, Trail Of The Dead are back, and in a big (but never overpowering) way.  Consider this a spiritual reawakening.

Blaqk Audio Full Album Stream

Blaqk AudioBlaqk Audio have teamed up with Buzznet to release a full album stream of their upcoming new full length, Inside Bright Black Heavan, which is scheduled for a Tuesday release this September 11, 2012 via Superball Music.

Give the full album a listen here.

Blaqk Audio Discuss New Album

Blaqk AudioBlaqk Audio, the electronic side project of Davey Havok and Jade Pudget of AFI, have teamed up with Altpress to discuss four songs from their anticipated new sophomore album, Bright Black Heaven, due out September 11, 2012 via Superball Music. The songs in question are “Cold War,” “Fade To White,” “Faith Healer” and “Deconstructing Gods,” and are each discussed in a video track-by-track analysis.

The album follows their 2007 debut album Cexcells which previously debuted at #18 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.

Video: Matt Skiba & The Sekrets – Voices

Matt Skiba and The Sekrets,Matt Skiba & The Sekrets has debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Voices” from the debut record Babylon, out now on Superball Music.

Watch the full video below.

 The group features the Alkaline Trio frontman alongside AFI‘s Hunter Burgan and My Chemical Romance‘s Jarrod Alexander.

 

Read More…

Matt Skiba And The Sekrets Stream Babylon In Full

Matt Skiba and The Sekrets,Matt Skiba and The Sekrets, the new project from Alkaline Trio‘s Matt Skiba, has debuted their entire new full length over on Artist Direct.

The album can be streamed here.

The Alkaline Trio co-vocalist’s debut album is titled Babylon, which dropped today via Superball Music