Man-Cat Explains Why Musical Identity Doesn't Matter

Categories: Interview

Cease-and-decist orders do not bother Man-Cat.

Superheroes wear masks to protect their identity from the world. With local band Man-Cat, the group wears masks to represent its music under one identity.

It's not every day that you hear about artists wearing masks for the sake of removing identity. Sure, artists like Slipknot, Mushroomhead and GWAR all hide their faces on stage, but their identities are known and occasionally they're seen unmasked.

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Screaming Fans and Tour Frustations Now the Norm for Post-Disco Band De Lux

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Innovative Leisure
Issac Franco (left) and Sean Guerin of De Lux

Snowstorm, flipped cars littering the highway, middle of tour, canceled show, apathetic promoter, frustrated band.

This is a common scenario for any touring act, but here we are talking about De Lux, the critically acclaimed post-disco duo from the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, comprising guitarist/vocalist Sean Guerin and bassist Issac Franco. It's their first national cycle behind their debut record, Voyage, as well as their landmark release for the lauded indie label Innovative Leisure, where De Lux can claim acts like Hanni El Khatib, Tijuana Panthers, and Allah-Lahs as labelmates. It's heavy company to keep, but De Lux have been on nothing short of a roll lately in terms of national press and attention, and rightfully so. When Guerin jumps on the phone, he sounds as focused as ever, exuberant and ready to talk about what he has learned thus far on tour.

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After Bassist's Death, Suicidal Tendencies Singer Talks Life

Categories: Interview, Metal!

Photo taken from artist's Facebook
Suicidal Tendencies singer Mike Muir (center) was reflective when Up on the Sun reached him.

There are three bands about to come through Phoenix that have, collectively, been writing, recording, playing and influencing heavy metal for around 100 years. One. Hundred. Years.

You might think, yeah, okay; that's impressive. What if I also said that, collectively, these bands have released more than 30 studio albums, sold more than 10 million copies, have five Grammys nominations, helped pioneer thrash metal as one of the Big 4 Acts, and have been dubbed the "fathers of crossover thrash."

Well, any true metalhead has probably correctly guessed; I'm talking about Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus.

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How Frank Zappa Saved Adrian Belew From Being a Weekend Warrior

Categories: Interview

Prog master Adrian Belew almost didn't have a career.

Adrian Belew, a man widely considered one of the most innovative guitar players of the 21st century, once toiled in a Beatles cover band, an Elvis impersonator band, a Holiday Inn circuit band, and many other aborted failures. Before he was even 30, Belew was on the verge of throwing in the towel on his musical career.

"I was in every kind of band you could have, and none of it had made any difference success-wise," he recalls. "There I was, 27 years old [and] feeling that maybe the world had passed me by."

Frank Zappa became Belew's savior when the mustachioed maestro chanced to see Belew playing in one of those bands and spotted a wasted talent. In short order, Belew was trying out for, and then being offered a position in, Zappa's band.

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Run the Jewels Talks Police Brutality and Cat Meow Remixes

Categories: Interview

Courtesy of Mass Appeal Records
Run the Jewels' album will soon be available for cats as well.

Some matches are made in heaven -- others, like Run The Jewels, are made in the murky, underwater trenches of underground hip-hop. Named after a verse in LL Cool's J "Cheesy Rat Blues," RTJ swerves like a great white shark -- sleek as hell, just don't get caught in those teeth.

This isn't the first time El-P and Killer Mike have crushed it together -- El-P was behind Killer Mike's 2012 critically acclaimed album R.A.P. Music, and later that year, Mr. Killer appeared on the track "Tougher Colder Killer" from El-P's Cancer 4 Cure. Forming Run The Jewels was just the natural progression of things.

Their self-titled debut topped a number of 2013 year-end fav lists, but their just released sequel -- featuring Travis Barker, Diane Coffee (of Foxygen fame), and even Zack de la Rocha -- is already proving that Nick Gazin's cover art isn't the only thing about this duo that's iconic. We called the couple up to ask them about some of these partnerships, but they made it clear it was pretty spontaneous, yet calculated.

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Mary Lambert's Anguish and Insecurities Turn Beautiful on New Album

Categories: Interview

Autumn De Wilde
Mary Lambert found writing her new album "uplifting" and "subversive."

Mary Lambert has never held anything back in her music.

She burst onto the pop scene in a huge way as the out-and-proud hook lady on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' smash "Same Love." Lambert performed the hit at the Grammy Awards earlier this year before Madonna joined her onstage, just a taste of the stardom she's starting to cultivate as a solo artist with her major-label debut full-length album, Heart on My Sleeve.

Though she could have gone the independent route, à la Macklemore and Lewis, Lambert says signing to a major (Capitol Records) has its perks.

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Iceage Offers One Way to Keep Interviews Interesting -- Make Stuff Up

Photo courtesy of Iceage

It's mid-afternoon on Friday, October 24 when an unidentified member of the Danish underground post-punk/hardcore buzz-band Iceage finally answers the group's mobile phone.

"Oh! You want to talk to my friend Elias, don't you?," he cheerfully says, referring to Elias Bender Ronnenfelt, Iceage's 22-year old singer, who bears a striking resemblance to River Phoenix around the time of the actor's death. When asked how he's doing, Ronnenfelt morosely replies, "I am absolutely mediocre today. We are driving through Omaha."

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French Singer Yelle Doesn't Want to Always Sing Pop Music

Categories: Interview


Who knows why Americans have such abhorrence to foreign languages. Someone says '¿Cómo estás?' you'll hear 'English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?' Movie spoken in some other mother tongue? Let's just have David Fincher remake it. But France's Yelle defies that, saying her native vocabulary is all she feels comfortable expressing herself. It's that kind of dedication and honesty in poppy, dance music that you don't often find.

"I really like to speak English, I do love it, but I'm so bad at it," Yelle, known by her mother as Julie Budet, tells us over Skype. "It's so hard for me to express myself clearly and find the good words to be precise and everything."

And yet, Yelle's sensibilities are truly universal. Her sound isn't cookie-cutter and her production (courtesy of producers GrandMarnier and Tepr) is wrapped in sticky, colorful plastic, stimulating in a way that doesn't feel prepackaged. On "Moteur Action" Yelle is delicate and effervescent, but she shows her dark side on the Deadmau5 vs Mellefresh-inspired "A Cause Des Garçons," while songs like "Safari Disco Club" prove Yelle has enough of a weird streak to stay ahead of the curve. And no one needs Rosetta Stone to hear that.

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Why Judge Judy Is Paul Leary's (Butthole Surfers) Happy Place


The Melvins

Maybe the most misunderstood band still out slogging it out on tour today. Maybe (definitely) brilliant, maybe mad, always noisily rocking out some of the best heavy sludge you'll ever hear, Buzz Osborne (guitar and vocals) and Dale Crover (drums) have been the core of the band which has had many member over the years, both pre- and post-grunge. In fact, the Melvins are one of the only bands who is still intact after both helping to create a genre (and maybe a couple of lesser known genres as well), watching said genre die, and then completely transcending any expectation of what a survivor might be like.

Hopefully that wasn't a spoiler. Grunge is dead, kids, but the Melvins continue to create fantastic new and mega-heavy (and often noisy) riffage despite being non-genre specific and unafraid to take whatever chances may come their way. On their newest record, Osborne and Crover teamed up with some Butthole Surfers, bass player Jeff (JD) Pinkus and guitar player Paul Leary. The result, as you may imagine if you are familiar with either of these bands catalogues, is noisy and weird and heavy. The most beautiful thing of all, though, is this record, while drenched with the Surfers requisite uber-weirdness, this is still a Melvins record, through and through.

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Melvins' Frontman Sounds Off About Music, the Media, Drugs

Categories: Interview

Mackie Osborne
The Melvins

It took Melvins frontman Buzz "King Buzzo" Osborne five minutes and 12 seconds to begin his usual tirade against the media that cover music. The last time we spoke, almost 10 years ago, he waited nearly seven minutes. Clearly, Osborne has even less time for the media -- his mile-a-minute banter notwithstanding.

"Most people who write reviews for records or talk to our band don't know what they're talking about, by and large," he says from his Los Angeles home. "They think our records are a pointless endeavor, which doesn't surprise me. If you look at what they're reviewing, it quickly becomes clear that they don't like what we're doing. Generally speaking, they don't like anything that's good.

"You've got to remember: People who write reviews are lazy," he says. "They don't know anything about music, by and large, but I can't lead them down the dark path. There's a vast array of wild, weird music. I don't really like stoner rock. I don't like bands that sound like other bands. We take our influences from bands people might not have thought of and turn them into something else.

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