Guitarist/vocalist Tim Jones of the Dallas based hard rock outfit Feel, Never Real, spoke with me recently about the bands newest release, VS. The Sea Of Disease. The band successfully melds tons of melody with a hard rock edge resulting in what I feel is a very solid disc. Here is what Jones had to say about the band, the new disc and the unusual band name.
The name of the band, Feel, Never Real, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Tim: It came from when Shea and I lived in Orlando Florida, we were looking for a band name so I saw this “F N R” on a piece of machinery I was working on at my job at the time, I thought cool, so just messing around I came up with “feel never real” out of it. I brought the name home to Shea that night and he thought it wasn’t bad, more and more as we thought about what the name meant to us which is that reality doesn’t seem real it never seems real to us or I dare say to most folks for that matter. So overtime we just really grew fond of the name, as it seemed to depict as well.
Now that your new CD, VS. The Sea of Disease, is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Tim: We are very satisfied with it we are very very proud of it, definitely the most proud I’ve been of songs that we’ve written thus far.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Tim: It took us about a year to create the album and we have been touring on our first record for two years previously, we’ve been ready. Perfecting this record took a year but the actual writing process no more than two months. The writing process was definitely different this go around as we co-wrote three songs with Johnny Andrews, the co-writing thing was a first for us, we were really pleased with the outcome.
Give us some insight into the record and the meaning behind its title?
Tim: The title reads like a fight poster, Feel, Never Real Versus The Sea Of Disease, its meaning applies to so many different aspects of life in general for us and most people, such as anything from industry folks for us, or bosses for everyday people, because so many of the songs on this record deal with the tribulation and struggle of everyday life.
What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of VS. The Sea of Disease?
Tim: An eclectic multi-genre record.
Are there any tracks on the disc that are personal favourites or that have good stories behind them?
Tim: Truly, I love every one of the tracks and they all have a specific story behind them, but probably my two favorite to play would be “Come Too Far” and “Drunkstar Anthem ” for a couple of different reasons; number one they’re fun to play live, number two because “Come Too Far” is one of those songs that is specifically dealing with our struggles as musicians in our personal lives with our personal goals. And “Drunkstar” really says it all; we like to get wild and party.
What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the disc?
Tim: We’re taking that one day at a time as of right now, as we are continuing to accept possibilities of a record label home for the album.
When playing together and ultimately recording this CD did you find that you could express yourself creatively enough?
Tim Yes we know each other quite well at this point; we pretty well know what each other are going to do musically at any given moment, which should be expected after seven years together.
What artists would fans be surprised to find on your iPod?
Tim: Probably the two most out of place would be Huey Lewis and the News and Hank Williams Sr.
If you had not become a musician what other career path would you have liked to attempt?
Tim: Probably high school janitors. No, personally myself I like to build things from motorcycles to airplanes (if I had the money) that could be cool.
What three words best describe your band?
Tim: Eclectic, party, Santa Claus fan oriented! I think that’s too many.
If you were a superhero, who would it be and why?
Tim: Superman, is there anything that guy can’t do?
Any closing words?
Tim: I appreciate you taking the time to interview us, thanks again.
Glixen – “foreversoon” [Song Review]
On “foreversoon,” Glixen created a song where youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear,
It’s been less than a year since Glixen released their debut EP, She Only Said, on Julia’s War Records. Still, the Phoenix shoegazers have already dug their heels into the DIY music scene and are heading out on an extensive US tour this year alongside the likes of Interpol, Softcult, Glitterer, and fish narc. Appearances at SXSW and Treefort will only further cement their reputation as a new band worthy of note.
To herald the busy year ahead, the band has released a new single, “foreversoon,” via the AWAL label, and it’s well worth a listen.
Says lead vocalist Aislinn Ritchie:
“‘foreversoon’ represents blissful moments of new love and intimacy. The song harnesses melancholy chords, layered with fuzzy red melodies and gliding guitars that pull you in deeper. I wanted my lyrics to feel like a conversation that expresses my infatuation and sensuality. Time is relentless and memories are fleeting, this song encapsulates those emotions forever.”
It’s a fair summation. Its youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear, think Ride, Curve and Slowdive, but with the fuzz cranked up possibly higher. Ritchie’s vocals certainly share that dreamlike quality of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and with many of those bands back on the road this year, perhaps the time is ripe to inject fresh blood into the genre.
Run Time: 3:43
Release Date: February 9, 2024
Record Label: AWAL Recordings
Slightest Clue Release Their Rocking, Five-Track EP ‘Carousel’
Vancouver indie rockers Slightest Clue recently released their ‘Carousel’ EP, inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship.
Vancouver’s Slightest Clue is like the secret after-school project of four kids who would have passed each other without a glance in the hallway at school, but once they’re plugged in and ready to play their distinct blend of post-punk, alternative rock, and dark pop, all bets are off.
Produced by Matt Di Pomponio, their new EP, Carousel, is inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a formative romantic relationship, spanning the trajectory from love to this loss of connection. The closing track, “Carousel,” marks the ultimate bittersweet reflection with unique harmonic layers to portray those contrasting emotions, shifting between grand and quiet tones.
Commenting on the album, the band states:
“The main theme is love, loss of relationship, and connection. The arc of the story is our foreshadowing of the end in our first song ‘These Days’ speaking on the day to day fights and how neither person can seem to get back to a happy place in the relationship. ‘Why Can’t I Call You?’ is the initial spark of infatuation and obsession with someone before you know them. ‘When You Wake Up’ talks of the blissed out honeymoon stage where everything is working and nothing could go wrong. ‘Suit Uptight!’ represents the mounting frustrations and resentments building tension from unmet needs. And finally our closing track ‘Carousel’ is the end and the bittersweet reflection of a cherished relationship that can no longer return.”
Each member, Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, and Nick Sciarretta, brings distinct influences and experiences: a stage actor whose playlists go from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth to Björk, a hook-obsessed recovering choir girl, an electrical engineer whose personal idol is John Bonham, and a guitarist who played for (and left) 10 other bands before deciding this was the one for him.
Track-by-Track: The Pineapple Thief’s Bruce Soord Cuts Through ‘It Leads To This’
The Pineapple Thief frontman Bruce Soord breaks down each track on the progressive rock band’s new record ‘It Leads To This.’
It’s been a bit of a renaissance period for The Pineapple Thief over the last few years. This revitalization has resulted in the brand-new album It Leads To This. Released on February 9th via Kscope Records, the eight new songs comprise more of frontman Bruce Soord’s observations and deductions about life and the world around him. The initial concept for the record came together rather quickly, but the actual lyrical and musical components took time. Finalizing these songs required much work and collaboration between Soord and his three bandmates. Each member had a conception of what was satisfactory regarding the songs. Coming to that common ground took time, but in the end, each member was extremely pleased with the final product.
The release of It Leads To This coincides with the 25th anniversary since The Pineapple Thief formed. In that time, they have released over 20 full-length albums and EPs. It Leads To This proved to be one of the most intense writing periods ever for the band. They worked on these new tracks for almost three years. Each band member pushed each other to go above and beyond what they felt capable of. It was extremely fruitful from an artistic perspective, but personally, it did pose challenges for the band members.
Joining us today for an exclusive track-by-track rundown of It Leads To This is Bruce Soord himself. He takes us through each song on the record, their inspirations, motivations, and how they came together.
1. “Put It Right”
Bruce Soord: “This was the first song we wrote for the album, right in the depths of the pandemic. I remember standing outside my studio, which is in the garden of my home, when we were in full lockdown. I looked at the blue sky, not a vapour trail to be seen. Even the hum of my small town was gone. As a songwriter, you’re obviously going to take that in and use it. I started to ponder the fragile state of the world. I mean, how can the world be brought to its knees overnight? Which then led to thoughts about the past, essentially a re-evaluation. Are we all to blame? Was I to blame?”
“As soon as the lockdown was lifted, I remember talking to (drummer) Gavin (Harrison), and he had the idea to write some songs in the same room. I know, radical, right? So I got in the car and drove to his house. Honestly, in the history of The Pineapple Thief, I had never written in this way. Songs were built up in our various studios over weeks and months.. But we were up for trying something new. It could have been a very long disaster – a 6 day jam in E. But to my surprise, we wrote four songs in this way. The first one being Rubicon.
“The verses are in a ‘5/4 shuffle’ which is quite unique (see Gavin’s drum playthrough on the Vic Firth YouTube channel). The song is actually about Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, destroying the Roman republic for his own selfish ambitions. History repeating itself indeed…”
3. “It Leads To This”
“Following on from the theme of ‘Put It Right,’ this is essentially a positive song about focusing on the right things in life. What are going to be your biggest regrets on your deathbed? It’s obvious but also easy to miss. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard, I wish I had spent more time with my family and friends. It’s a love song really. ‘For all this time, I didn’t notice you…’”
4. “The Frost”
“I came up with the riff on my 6-string baritone guitar, so it has a low, edgy feel which I really love. This was a song that came together really quickly between the four of us (plus some great contributions from our touring guitarist Beren Matthews on guitars and backing vocals who played throughout the record). It’s about spending your life with a soulmate, through thick and thin, no matter how bad things get.”
5. “All That’s Left”
“Thematically, this continues the theme from ‘It Leads to This’ and, for me, is dominated by the riff and the middle section, which I love playing live. Again, it’s low in register, written using my baritone, massive drums.”
6. “Now It’s Yours”
“Written during the sessions with Gavin, this song goes on a bit of a journey. Soft, atmospheric, big riffs, a guitar solo… Lyrically, looking at the world as an older guy with a family about to be let loose into the world. What the hell are they going to inherit? Well, now it’s yours…”
7. “Every Trace Of Us”
“Again written during the Gavin sessions, I remember Gavin had the intro riff written on his Wurli keyboard he has in his studio. I took it, added some more chords in the progression and the song snowballed from there. Lyrically this is about the pressure of modern life, expectation, pressure, and the mental repercussions of it all. Modern life can tear every trace of us apart.”
8. “To Forget”
“I had this finger-picked acoustic guitar part, which the band liked, so I developed the first part of the song and came up with the words pretty quickly. Us humans, especially as we grow older, have to come to terms with loss and, in a lot of cases, tragedy. Touching on the debate as to whether life is a gift or a curse (I am firmly in the ‘gift’ camp). However, living with tragedy isn’t easy. Remembering isn’t easy, to forget is impossible.”
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