While you were faining excitement at all those gifts you were receiving from your family on Christmas day, The Veer Union delivered you a “real” gift in the form a whole collection of new songs. On December 20th, the band released Covers Collection Vol. 1 and as the title suggests, it’s The Veer Union’s take on some well-known songs you are bound to know and love. Not restricting themselves to their own take on hard rock, the group has chosen to take from an assortment of separate musical territories, from familiar names within their own genre like Tool, Bring Me The Horizon, and Soundgarden, to modern pop acts such as Halsey, Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake. And as the title suggests, this is sure to just be the first of more with plans for more Covers Collection releases to come in the future.
The thinking and song crafting that it required to conjure up the eight found on Covers Collection Vol. 1 (purchase now via Apple Music or Spotify) had its challenges, but it was a welcome change-up from the usual write, record, tour grind that bands are constantly on. It was also enjoyable for the fact that it’s not just hard rock that the band members love. They are admirers of several different genres of music which is ultimately what motivated this album to be recorded in the first place. Some of the pop songs, in particular, permitted the group to stretch themselves beyond their musical comfort zone and branch out to try new sounds.
Well, like several other rock artists, the members have interests completely outside of music, such as fitness and exercise. The Veer Union lead singer Crispin Earl is a musician who sees the value in hitting the gym, to not only stay healthy but maintain his high proficiency as a live performer. Earl recently spoke to us for another edition of our Pumping Metal series to enlighten us more on why he sees it valuable to stay fit, what artists he enjoys listening to while getting active, and what type of exercise he typically does.
Watch the band’s latest music video for their cover of Halsey’s “Nightmare”:
What about exercise, health and fitness makes you take it seriously?
Crispin Earl: “I would love to say that I am getting younger but… (laughs)! There is no question that if you want to stay in the music game especially as a live performer that being healthy is the only way to have longevity. The new model for the music business is all about the long game, not the overnight success, so staying fit and healthy is truly a big part of reaching and maintaining any level of success.”
Weights, cardio, calisthenics, CrossFit, MMA… what’s your jam?
Earl: “Everyone has their opinion on what is the best way to work out. I am a firm believer that it’s more about just ‘showing up,’ so generally I like to do about 20 to 30 minutes of cardio three to four times a week and light weights.”
What music gets you extra pumped when you’re exercising?
Earl: “I definitely listen to heavier music to get me pumped up in gym. I have never understood why 90 percent of gyms play the happy, cheesy pop songs as a way to motivate. I have been listening to bands like Erra, Bad Omens, Bring Me The Horizon, Love & Death, and I Prevail.”
Check out our gallery of pics with Crispin Earl getting his sweat on:
Do you ever listen to your own band’s music when working out?
Earl: “The only time I ever listen to my own music at the gym is when we are making a new album. I’ll listen to it constantly at the gym before it’s released to make sure it’s the way we want it. After it’s been released, I don’t listen to it again until rehearsal starts for the next tour. You can definitely get into some heavy listening with our new single ’Nightmare!’”
Supplements, yay or nay, and why/why not?
Earl: “I am not huge on supplements, but I do usually have a protein bar right after a workout, mostly so that I don’t binge eat after arriving home and making my workout 100 percent useless!”
How do you find your healthy lifestyle impacts your music and/or live performance?
Earl: “There is no question that cardio is so important when it comes to playing live, especially when you are giving it your all every night. I usually step up my cardio right before a tour starts.”
Have you ever tried steroids?
Earl: “No, and never would.”
Listen to The Veer Union’s recently released cover version of Flyleaf’s “I’m So Sick”:
Covers Collection Vol. 1 was released on December 20th via Rockshop Records:
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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