Music Radar Asks Emma Ruth Rundle 10 Questions

Emma Ruth Rundle’s atmosphere-heavy guitar work is a lynchpin of Sargent House favourites Marriages and post-rock behemoth Red Sparowes, but her solo material displays a raw, more personal side to the LA native.

On second album, Marked For Death, Emma’s love of atmosphere and alternate tunings is paired with an increased focus on her nuanced vocal delivery, resulting in an album that is more intimate and, as a result, emotionally heavy than past material.

Here, Emma lets us in on her unusual picking technique, the intimate relationship she holds with each of her instruments, and - of all things - time-travelling violins…

1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?

“It’s hard to recall whose instruments were whose during the time in my life when I started playing. I was spending a lot of time at McCabe’s in Santa Monica. It’s most likely that the first guitar I was playing was a really cheap (but playable) nylon-string. I do remember having that around and eventually destroying it years and years later. I must have been 12 years old.

"The first guitar that was mine was a 1973 Sunburst Fender Mustang. I was 13 then - someone at McCabe’s took kindly to me and sold the guitar to my father for almost nothing. I played it through my stepmother’s bass amp along to Hendrix, Nirvana and of course Smashing Pumpkins… badly…

"A Mustang is actually a good choice for a young person because of its small body and short scale. Once I started playing more seriously, I sold the guitar (for a good price, ha), as I couldn’t stand how twangy it was or the intensely radiused neck. I thought it might be bad luck to let go of one’s first ride, but I needed something with humbuckers.”

Wovenhand “Star Treatment” is Stereogum’s Album of the Week

On Friday, Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds will release their new album Skeleton Tree, and other than the soul-wrecking first single “Jesus Alone,” I haven’t heard it yet. Nobody has. Cave’s label has sent out no advances, which means music critics like me are tingling with anticipation just like everybody else. This is Cave’s first album since his son fell off a cliff and died last year. Cave is an artist with a long, storied history of staring deeply into the darkest parts of the human experience, of drinking that darkness in and spitting it back out all over us. The fact that he’s back to recording music so soon after such a life-reshaping personal catastrophe is a miraculous testament to his own strength. Even before hearing the album, I can feel the weight of its presence. It’s out there, waiting. And in a few days, it will be stomping all over my soul. But now, there is a chance, however slight, that Skeleton Tree will not be the best Nick Cave album that comes out on Friday.

I’m being glib here, of course. Star Treatment, the new Wovenhand album, is not a Nick Cave album. It’s not fair to Cave to imply that it is. It’s also not fair to David Eugene Edwards, the Denver musician who has been leading Wovenhand since 2001, since it was a side project of his mutant-country band 16 Horsepower. But Edwards has been treading some of the same territory as Cave for a long time now. His music deals in the same darkness, the same obsessiveness. His songs are steeped in the history of American music, of folk and country and blues, and yet they owe as much to some of the clanging, confrontational forms that followed: punk, metal, hardcore, noise-rock. His songs sound like incantations, like prayers bubbling up from below. He’s not Cave, but he’s cut from the same cloth.

Wovenhand ‘Star Treatment’ streaming now on Noisey

David Eugene Edwards has been an exceptionally enigmatic figure since he first began to infuse country, Americana, and dark folk with an unparalleled intensity. What started with 16 Horsepower during the rising “Denver Sound” of the mid-90’s, took on a wider palette and evolved into the more personal Wovenhand. The Denver native also filters this sound through his less-than-conventional world view. The son of a reckless biker and a fundamentalist family, Edwards is an unapologetic, old world Christian with an untamable edge. Working within a darker musical paradigm, this dynamic plays out in mysterious ways as nothing is held back. By laying it all out and letting the pieces fall where they may, the resulting music becomes a sincere blend of Biblical allegory, heavy riffs, ethereal folk, Native American aesthetics, and musical flavors from every corner of the globe.

With the new album Star Treatment on the horizon, Edwards and his band of heavy music veterans—guitarist Chuck French and bassist Neil Keener (both of Planes Mistaken For Stars), drummer Ordy Garrison, and piano/synth player Matthew Smith of Crime & The City Solution—have crafted the hardest-hitting Wovenhand offering to date. The progression towards a heavier and more powerful sound has established them as recognizable figures in the dark underground, reaching as far as rock and metal festivals across Europe and the USA. Onstage, a figure in possessed rapture leads a rock n roll procession somewhere between fire ‘n’ brimstone and a shamanic ritual.

Match that with the presence of American metal luminary Sanford Parker at the production helm in Steve Albini’s legendary Electrical Audio studio, and you have a sound that attracts plaid-shirted good old boys and church-burning misanthropes alike. Beyond the admirable sincerity and devotion, the record is full of emotive hooks, thundering percussion, psychedelic twang, ethnic rhythms, and formless meditations on what mysteries reside in the heavens above. Edwards’ musical palette has truly become limitless, and Star Treatment takes Wovenhand’s sound to its most realized and accomplished.

Our discussion below attempts to explore some of these forces working beneath the surface. With such a unique perspective as his, Edwards unflinchingly reveals a few of his spiritual inclinations, his distrust of modernity, and finding a home for a sound caught in the sonic middle of it all. Sparing the finer elements of production and arrangement, the details of Star Treatmentare revealed in symbol and intention. The album is streaming below, so listen to it sing as we ponder, how will the heavenly bodies bring us a step closer to truth? And where exactly does Edwards fall amongst the stars?  

LIVE REVIEW: Russian Circles Sells Out Great American Music Hall // Live Photos From The Teragram Ballroom

On Sept. 2, 2016, on a night when most of the city is either out at Burning Man, or recovering from the Kill Switch Engage show the night before, it was impressive to see that Russian Circles, easily one of the best post-metal groups touring, still had sold out the iconic Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA.

On tour with support from Cloakroom, Russian Circles put together a 2.5-hour package of mind-altering sonic fury.  With a show time of 9pm, and a packed house long before that, Cloakroom was able to lull the crowd into a false sense of stability with their impressive instrumentals and melancholic vocals. Even Russian Circles sat along the stage to watch their brothers in arms perform.

Once Cloakroom finished up and cleared the stage, it was almost time for Russian Circles, but even after completing their tuning and sound checks, the three-piece from Chicago took another 15-20 minutes before starting the show. Word around the soundboard crew was there were some electrical issues, but once the clock hit 10:30 none of that mattered.

Helms Alee “Stillicide” Album Reviews

Helms Alee’s new record, Stillicide, is out now! In support of the album, they have embarked on a massive US tour supporting The Melvins and, later, Russian Circles

Helms Alee Stillicide Tour

HELMS ALEE with MELVINS unless noted *
Sep 02 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter *
Sep 05 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
Sep 06 Charlotte, NC - Amos’ Southend
Sep 07 Charleston, SC - Music Farm
Sep 08 Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
Sep 10 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
Sep 11 Jackson, MS - Duling Hall
Sep 12 Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone
Sep 13 Little Rock, AR - Metroplex
Sep 14 Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom
Sep 15 Oklahoma City, OK - The ACM @ UCO Performance Lab
Sep 16 Norman, OK - Opolis
Sep 17 Austin, TX - The Sidewinder
Sep 18 San Antonio, TX - Paper Tiger
Sep 20 El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace
Sep 21 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
Sep 23-24 Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Fest
Sep 25 Detroit, MI - El Club
Sep 26 Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace
Sep 28 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
Sep 29 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
Sep 30 Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw
Oct 01 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
Oct 02 Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall
Oct 04 Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5
Oct 05 Birmingham, AL - Saturn
Oct 06 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
Oct 07 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live Studio
Oct 08 Austin, TX - Barracuda
Oct 09 Dallas, TX - RBC
HELMS ALEE with Guests
Oct 11 Phoenix, AX - Last Exit
Oct 12 Los Angeles, CA - Complex
Oct 13 San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern
Nov 22 Portland, OR - Lola’s
Nov 23 Seattle, WA - The Crocodile

See what people are saying about the album below:

“…one of the year’s more distinct metal albums, and one with a lot of crossover appeal.” - BrooklynVegan

“…the bulk of their frisson stems from its expansive feel, captured in haunting choral melodies, tightly churning tempos and expansive arrangements.” - CLRVYNT

“…Maybe that’s why it sounds so radically different when channeled through a different vibe and voice, like late Mastodon, Mutoid Man, or Helms Alee. Some vibes just don’t strike you the right way; some albums make you reconsider the reasons for that.” - Metalsucks

“The atmosphere created on Stillicide is one that is thunderous and gray. There’s a void in the record that sucks all the positivity. The rock opera sound the album at times generates feels like Swans when they reach their zenith.” - Popmatters

Russian Circles’ Mike Sullivan talks to Music Radar about his life-changing influences

“My tastes have become broader, I’m more open-minded,” admits Mike Sullivan as we prepare to grill him about the albums that shaped his life as a musician, as well as his own band’s latest recording.

“What I like I’m in love with and can’t get enough of. I walk around with headphones and listen every day to certain bands and I’m humbled by them. I’ll think, ‘Maybe I should go into gardening or become a cook because I’m so knocked down by these guys who write great riffs.'”

Mike’s a humble man. Because he doesn’t just deliver inventive riffs of his own with instrumental trio Russian Circles, but a wide palette of expression and tone that has helped the band build an immersive discography. Post-rock, post-metal… whatever you want to claim this Chicago band as, they are masters of their own versatile craft.

Sixth album Guidance affirms that, a powerful seven-song journey through the emotive lengths Mike travels with bassist Brian Cook and drummer Dave Turncrantz to move deftly between crushing metal war marches (Vorel), delicate hymns (Overboard) and anthemic major-key positivity (Africa).

Boris announces EU/UK Pink Tour

Boris will be touring EU & UK beginning November 18th. They will be playing Pink in its entirety at every show and performing at Festival BBmix and

Tickets will be available HERE

ARTISTdirect interviews Chelsea Wolfe

photo by Nick Fancher

Chelsea Wolfe has been winning high praise for her music since her label debut album The Grime And The Glow blended surreal goth imagery and shoe-gazing textures with angular, experimental guitar work. Her follow-up album, the stunning Apokalypsis showed that Wolfe was no one-trick pony, and since then each of her 3 further albums have developed in style and vision. Her most recent album, Abyss, is a staggering piece of art that cements the artist as a legend on the underground music scene.

Ahead of her performance at this week’s FYF festival in Los Angeles, CA, ARTISTdirect caught up with Chelsea to discuss the artists world view, her most recent project, and the half-written songs just waiting to be a next album.

Where in the world are you right now?

Prague. I fall in love with this city more and more each time. Just ended a short European tour, played a few festivals. Here’s a picture I took from my hotel window early this morning when I couldn’t sleep, and here’s a picture I took yesterday of a gravestone angel at the Vyšehrad cemetery, final resting place of Alphonse Mucha.

OVERBLOWN Interview with Russian Circles’ Brian Cook

There’s not really any need to introduce post metal stalwarts Russian Circles, is there? Suffice it to say, they are now over ten years into their career and have just released yet another excellent album in the form of Guidance. For me, it’s an album that sees the group push out the contrasts between the light and dark in their songs. Songs soar and swoop between pummeling drums and somewhat black metal guitar flourishes like on lead single ‘Vorel‘, and the slow build of more cathartic and euphoric tracks like ‘Mota’. An engrossing adventure as always.

Ahead of their upcoming US and European tour, Overblown had the pleasure of talking to Russian Circles’ bassist Brian Cook about Guidance, recording with Kurt Ballou of Converge, and how Mike (Sullivan, Russian Circles guitarist) is a liar apparently.