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Photos by Michael R. Batchelder
PSALM ZERO (New York)
New York art-metal unit Psalm Zero is led by songwriter/vocalist/producer Charlie Looker, formerly of Extra Life and Zs, and a prolific collaborator of Dirty Projectors, Tyondai Braxton, Mick Barr, Glenn Branca, and many other titans of experimental music.
Their sophomore LP Stranger to Violence, due out on Profound Lore in July, takes the aesthetics, poetics, and spirit established with their 2014 debut, The Drain, and blows those elements up into an epic work of wide-screen drama, a wholly unique vision of heavy music. Pummeling drum machine, lush swirling synths, razor-sharp guitar, and grinding bass provide the dramatic backdrop for Looker’s crooning baritone voice. While “Stranger to Violence” retains, and in some ways even strengthens, PSALM ZERO’s roots in extreme metal, these seven new songs feature massive pop hooks, soaring choruses catchier and more emotionally direct than any of the band’s prior work. With harsh vocals now less frequent and only reserved for the highest ecstatic peaks, these melody-driven songs embody an accessible song-craft seldom heard in today’s metal landscape.
Stranger To Violence is a monolithic, cinematic, start-to-finish musical experience which blurs genre boundaries at every turn. As demented as it is socially relevant, this album promises to bring together fans from across multiple different scenes and orientations, and further prove that there is truly nothing out there like Psalm Zero.
“Portland new wave indie-metal trio Purse just birthed their second full-length album. It’s called Put It in the Pool and it’s all chapped lips and skinned knees. It’s raw meat vs. nursery rhyme: the album’s opening track, “Hot Swap,” barfs up a partially digested version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” midway. It’s campy! And creepy. Lead singer/guitarist Ginette Labonville alternately shouts/croons her best disaffected Debbie Harry chic through a restrained brand of psychedelic ’80s-infused twang metal, a weird throwback to the B-52’s by way of Thurston Moore. Best track? “Heart of Stone.” Deep. Blast it in your garage.” – Victoria Karol, Dispatch Magazine
AN ANDERSON (Maine)
An Anderson is a four-piece band out of Portland. Guitarist Dan Smith and drummer Elijah True also play in the noise-rock band CUSS, but the two projects couldn’t be more different. While the songs are percussive and still a bit noisy at times, there’s an oh-so-subtle pop sensibility at work here that is miles away from CUSS’s wall of aggression. An Anderson’s recent opus, “Very Machine,” demonstrates how this band has done nothing but sharpen their skills over the last few years.
CLAN OF DYAD (Maine)
Clan of Dyad is a duo comprised of Sylvia/Ocean singer/guitarist Ken “Candy” Carlson and ex-Eastern Spell drummer Eric Rancourt. For fans of Neurosis, Ocean, The Body and Primitive Man. This is the project’s third live performance – prepare for an assault on your senses!