Interview: Inertia

You expected the members, you get the album cover!  Psych!

First off, Happy Independence Day to TPS’ American readers!  Why not celebrate with some good ol’ California rock?

It can be hard to be heavy AND accessible.  Some artists fail out of the gate, while some evolve into it and get ridiculed.  To truly balance the process (!) is to nail it, and Costa Mesa’s Inertia – Dillon Forst (vocals/piano), Zack Harris (guitar), Andrew Chavez (bass) and Joshua Alves (drums) – have done that.  Debut album The Process (!!), out now, has elements of post-hardcore, metal, prog and beyond that are polished enough to pull in people that don’t usually listen to that sound.  Let’s chat with the dudes shall we?

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Interview: Alexx Calise talks the return of SOC

Alexx Calise is an accomplished pop/rock singer, having released latest single “Breathe” back in November.  It was co-written with Dennis Morehouse, who happens to be the other half of SOC with Calise.  The duo are more artsy alternative, and are back after a long break (debut album No Vampires in Gilroy came out in 2011) with a cover of Sneaker Pimps’ “6 Underground”.  Calise told TPS about all about the return of her non-solo/heavier side.

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Interview: Western Daughter

The Pacific Northwest has one of North America’s greatest scenes.  Obviously Seattle and Vancouver (British Columbia) are huge parts of that, with Portland growing as a relocation hotbed if not yet for music.  Boise, Idaho though?  A bit smaller and less top of mind, but still home to goodness like a blue college football field Western Daughter, who feature an alt-indie sound (why not?) with hints of emo, folk and beyond.  The band – Taylor Robert Hawkins (vocals – and NO NOT HIM), Cameron Brizzee (guitar/vocals), Taylor Jay (guitar), Jess Hope (bass), and Zach Sherwood (drums) – will release new album Driftwood Songs March 24th via Take This to Heart Records, with first single “Exhibition on Main St.” premiering via Gold Flake Paint.  Brizzee shot the brizzee (c’mon 6/10 at least!) with TPS about the new music and more.

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Interview: Generals of Monrovia

If Generals of Monrovia sound imposing and driven, it’s because they totally are.  The New Westminster, British Columbia pop-punkers – General Sokah (vocals/guitar), General 55 (bass/vocals) and General Motors (drums – also, HA) – have moved down to Austin, Texas and are releasing new EP Immigrant Punk February 17th.  Sokah took time to tell TPS about that and more GENERAL band stuff.  (Nothin’ but net!)

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Interview: VISTA talk new single “Henchmen”, new members

*Photo by Holly Turner.

Back in May, New Jersey rocker Hope Vista’s new Long Island, NY-based band VISTA released debut EP VERSUS.  Fast forward to this past Friday, when the self-described “anthem rock” trio – who, beyond Vista on vocals, now feature Greg Almeida (guitar) and Matthew Vlossak (drums) – released new single “Henchmen”.  That all happened, and they told TPS about all the newness!

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Interview: Jake McKelvie talks new folk EP The Rhinestone Busboy, the art of departure efforts

It can be tricky to go a different direction as an artist.  When you’re known for one thing people come to expect it, and don’t always react well to change.  But, change and evolution (not to mention, you know, enjoying different things anyway) are part of writing music.  Jake McKelvie is the man in front of Jake McKelvie and the Countertops, but also dabbles in solo stuff.  Latest solo EP The Rhinestone Busboy eschews the band’s indie rock for folk, and McKelvie spoke with TPS about how the whole process goes.

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Interview: Kelly Sirko

While doing it for the sake of doing it isn’t always so, change is good.  Kelly Sirko put out two EPs as Kelly Lynn Barberbut decided a full rebrand was in the cards to truly become who she wanted to become.  The New Jersey native was a Penn State student at the time, but now does her thing in Boston.  New single “If You Were Awake” dishes out vibes of pop-punk and alt-rock, and that’s among what she expanded on with TPS.

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Interview: Tyler Burdwood of Spark & Fizz Records talks benefit compilation Revere Rock City

Boston-based Spark & Fizz Records is lending a hand to Garfield Middle School in the suburb of Revere, Massachusetts.  The label just released a compilation called Revere Rock City, which has contributions from a bunch of local artists.  Proceeds support a student “rock ensemble” led by teacher Eric Bolton, and the album comes with a zine and other cool features.  TPS caught up with Spark & Fizz’s Tyler Burdwood (who also appears on the comp in Bellwire) to run down the whole deal.

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Interview: Lese Majesty

Many concept albums have been released, but not as many artists are essentially concepts themselves.  Sydney, Australia alt-rockers Lese Majesty most certainly eschew the latter, with a strong, empowering meaning behind their name and running themes in their music.  Vocalist Jodie Lee Gibson, bassist Joel Henderson, and guitarists Jake Tuffin and Ben Moore have last year’s self-titled EP behind them, and are readying sophomore EP Cold Reason for Change.  “Crown Land” is the first single off the Luke Palmer-produced effort, which is due out in February.

You used to live together in a 10-person share-house.  Was that whole dynamic just bonkers?  

It was.  But strangely enough there weren’t any fights.  We were too busy battling with spiders, snakes and a family of possums that refused to pay rent.  Possums are cute, furry mammals with a mean streak.  Kind of like my ex.  We also had an old guy next door we called ‘old man winter’ who was the villain of the neighborhood.  Picture the spooky leader of the ‘white-walkers’ from Game of Thrones also being a serial killer accountant.  Every party we threw, he would appear out of nowhere waving an icy finger, making cryptic threats.  With such a hefty barrage of common enemies surrounding us it put the old “who left a dirty plate in the sink” into perspective.

Everyone played in different bands before coming together in Lese Majesty.  Was the attraction to each other due to the old bands being a departure from this one?

We circled each other for years hoping that the timing would be right.  Kind of like that person who you never got to date because either you had a partner or they did, but you were never both single at the same time.  It was like that with our respective band commitments and awkward musical attractions.  Our friendships were solid, and we knew there were common interests, so we hoped we could produce something fresh and exciting as a result.

“Crown Land” has a fuller, more driving sound than heard on your self-titled EP.  How does Cold Reason for Change differ overall?

Our 2015 self-titled EP we produced ourselves with all of the guitars recorded at our share-house with our mediocre engineering skills.  The new EP Cold Reason for Change is sonically bigger with darker imagery and themes than our previous release.  We’re always looking to improve and progress, so having a producer at the helm this time around helped us achieve a more focused and mature sound.

“Self-sovereignty” is named as a theme of the band.  Expand on that.

We loved the idea that although the term ‘Lese Majesty’ is predominately used in a legal context to mean ‘a violation against the dignity of a sovereign power’ we could also flip this concept around if we were to entertain the idea that each human being is powerful and sovereign in their own right.  Perhaps we have all been brought up to not realise this, and therefore we have our own instances of ‘injured sovereignty’ that happen to us throughout our daily lives.  As a band we’re drawn back to this theme often.

A few local shows have been played, but what else is shaping up tour-wise in support of Cold Reason for Change?

We’re hoping to take this EP on the road and tour it to as many people as possible.  Although we’re currently on a great big dry island floating in the Pacific Ocean (Australia), most Aussie bands like us are reasonable swimmers, so we will eventually make our way through the sharks and across to the other side of the world where a lot of the action is.

There are a few themes (like the aforementioned self-sovereignty) that run through Lese Majesty.  When someone listens to you, what’s the main thing you want them to take away from the experience?

We realised that growing up we were more likely to listen to the ideas and concepts of our favourite singers or bands rather than the points of view given to us from traditional forms of authority.  Such charged, passionate and positive messages have resonated with us through artists such as Midnight Oil, Cog, Dead Letter Circus, Pink Floyd, Rage Against The Machine, U2, and Kendrick Lamar.  If we can get close to delivering stories with some heart, connecting with people and even spark a positive idea, then that will be success for us.

Lese Majesty online:


Interview: The Summer Rabbit

The Summer Rabbit have actually been around longer than The Summer Rabbit (!).  The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based roots rockers just changed their name a few months ago.  Now Blair Lucas (vocals/guitar), Dan Taylor (bass/vocals) and Brett Chivari (drums) are releasing their self-titled debut October 1st, and – wait for it – tellin’ TPS about that and more!

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