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Alternative/Rock

LA Alt-Rockers The Lickerish Quartet on the ‘Threesome Vol #2’ EP, Future Plans and Working Together Again

Formerly in Jellyfish, LA alt-rockers The Lickerish Quartet are back with a new EP so we spoke to them about the EP and their future plans.

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All formerly members of Jellyfish, and band members of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Slash’s Snake Pit, Finn Brothers, Alice Cooper, Air, and Beck, Roger Manning, Tim Smith, and Eric Dover reunited in 2017 to form alt-rock outfit The Lickerish Quartet.

The longtime friends recently put out their infectious new single, “Snollygoster Goon,” the first offering from their recent EP, Threesome Vol #2, which is out now via Lojinx. Following the release of the single, we caught up with all three members of the band to chat about the collection of EPs, the recent American presidential election, and whether they plan to work together again past the release of the third EP in this series.

Thanks for your time. How has 2021 been treating you so far?

Roger Manning: “We’ve been treating 2021 exactly how we want. We’re feeling empowered to go about our business and offering our art up to whoever wants to come to the sonic party. Whatever’s happening on the world stage at any given moment has no real effect on our primary goal of connecting with and expanding our audience.”

You’ve just put out the second of three EPs, I believe the original plan was to have all three out by September 2021? Is that still the case?

Manning: “No idea. Can’t control the climate, can’t control the politicians, can’t control the financial institutions, can’t control viruses. What we can control is the quality and scope of our artistic offerings. They happen when they happen and at exactly the right time.”

How has the ongoing pandemic affected your plans for the year ahead and what are those plans now?

Manning: “We are invited to work apart, long-distance, via file sharing and lots of email communication versus in person. This slows down the process but often invites new challenges that ultimately encourage us to be even more self-reliant and resourceful. Almost like a new hurdle added at the last-minute in an already fun-filled obstacle course that we enjoy playing.”

The first EP was released in March last year. Was the material already written for the three EPs pre-lockdown?

Manning: “The foundations (musical beds) of all twelve songs were recorded from 2017 to 2019 in person. However, all final decorations and finishing touches, including mixing and mastering, have been put on both immediately prior to and during lockdown. And there is still plenty to do in order to complete EP number three.”

Could you tell us a little about the EPs? Is there a theme or concept linking them all together?

Manning: “There is not. We have assembled these batches of four songs at a time for no other reason than we thought they varied from each other stylistically, thematically, musically. We were intentionally opposed to themes or grouping based on any premeditative concept. We simply strived to take the listener on as varied a journey as possible over the course of 20 to 25 minutes.”

Artwork for ‘Threesome Vol #2’ by The Lickerish Quartet

What was the thought process behind the three EPs and not one album? Any plans, when live shows return, to play all three EPs together?

Eric Dover: “We felt that with this being a new music endeavour that we should dip our toes into the water slowly to gauge what interest there was in the music. This was our reasoning in releasing three EPs rather than just come out of the gate with a full-length release. So far we are very pleased with the response. As for the future and playing any of the songs live, we shall have to wait and see.”

Let’s talk about your new single then which Eric described as “themes involved greed, graft, and corruption as applied to any political sphere.” Could you expand on the inspiration by song, and are they themes that inspire your other material?

Dover: “I find that writing about human nature is more interesting than being so dogmatic and structured unless the music is screaming for it. ‘Snollygoster Goon’ could very well apply to any point in human history. ‘The Dream’ that took me over addresses the grey area between sublime ecstasy and uneasy premonition in relationships. We write about many different subjects. I don’t know how one theme influences another. I’m sure they are conjoined somehow but as for me it’s not been something I consciously am doing.”

What are your thoughts on the future of America given the political circus that has been going on and will be going on for the immediate future at least?

Dover: “As long as I’ve been alive it’s always been a circus. Thankfully I have a more than adequate supply of popcorn.”

Okay, going back to 2017 when The Lickerish Quartet got together, how did those conversations come about to work together again?

Dover: “Roger called Tim first and they called me in a bit later. We have written music off and on together for quite a few years at this point. Getting back into it was pretty much second nature for us.”

You’d obviously worked in other high-profile bands between Jellyfish and TLQ, as well as having your own bands. What did you learn from those experiences?

Tim Smith: “That every artist at every level has its own positives and negatives, and that you have to be able to adapt to a different set of variables, in terms of your musicality and skill set, as well as different social interactions and dynamics.”

What were those initial sessions like when the three of you worked together again?

Smith: “A bit cliché to say, but it really was like jumping on the horse again. We all have sort of kept in touch socially but have had little musical interaction. It was quickly evident that all three of us were able to communicate our musical ideas clearly enough so that references or themes we wanted to convey were understood and expanded upon. It was certainly refreshing and exciting to work together again, after all those years, mostly because we’d really never done anything like this together, ever!”

So, now that the EPs are in the bag, have you talked about the future of the band and what plans do you have in terms of new material?

Smith: “(laughs) No, we have not discussed anything past this third EP. Personally, it seems like we have the ability to do more, and if everyone feels the same desire, we hope to continue creating music!”

Thanks for your time. Just to finish off, looking ahead to 2021, are you apprehensive, excited, scared for the year ahead?

Smith: “Personally, I don’t think things could get much worse than 2020, so nowhere to go but up! Let’s hope the music industry can find a way to get back on its feet.”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.

Alternative/Rock

Glixen – “foreversoon” [Song Review]

On “foreversoon,” Glixen created a song where youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear,

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Glixen “foreversoon” single artwork
Glixen “foreversoon” single artwork

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.

Glixen, photo by Jesse Beecher

Glixen, photo by Jesse Beecher

Run Time: 3:43
Release Date: February 9, 2024
Record Label: AWAL Recordings

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Album News

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.

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Slightest Clue
Slightest Clue

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.

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

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Alternative/Rock

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.’

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The Pineapple Thief in 2023, photo by Tina Korhonen
The Pineapple Thief in 2023, photo by Tina Korhonen

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?”

2. “Rubicon”

“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.”

The Pineapple Thief ‘It Leads To This’ album artwork

The Pineapple Thief ‘It Leads To This’ album artwork

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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