Album Review: Ian James – In Flames

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The last release Ian James put out was in response to an RPM Challenge.  2015 EP Cheap Real Estate is an instrumental effort, but upcoming album In Flames, out December 2nd via his own Blue FX Records, is more properly a follow-up to last year’s Fever Dreams EP.  On it the Lowell, Massachusetts alt-rocker serves up nine tracks with lots of groovy and guitar-driven action.

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Interview: Lese Majesty

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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:

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Weekendcore: 90s alternative

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Starter packin’.

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada, so of course excellent food is eaten and thanks is given.  While heading out of town for dinner I listened to Sirius XM’s Town Hall with Green Day, which was followed by a broadcast of the band’s recent show at House of Blues Boston.  It all got me thinking about how Green Day are such titans, and how they and The Offspring co-held the title of my first-ever favourite band.  Thinking back and being thankful (Thanksgiving!) that I had a great base on which to become a music fan led to this genretastic edition of “Weekendcore”.

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Weekendcore: The Presidents of the United States of America – “Supersonics”

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We did football.  We did hockey.  Now, because apparently we gotta complete the returning-sports trifecta, it’s time for a “Weekendcore” about basketball!

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Weekendcore: The Living End – “Roll On”

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Tomorrow is Labour Day in Canada and the US.  The long weekend obviously gives us a day off in honour of our hard work, but its origins are in those who fought for the right to have today’s typical eight-hour workday.  In honour of the holiday, this edition of “Weekendcore” has a song for employees who fight for their right to party to be treated fairly.

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Weekendcore: Weezer – The Blue Album

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Earlier today I booked myself some time to go surfing next weekend.  That got me thinking about how I totally gotta listen to “Surf Wax America” on the way, and then how that could be next weekend’s “Weekendcore”.  Then I was like “wait, it’s Labour Day weekend next weekend and I already have one picked out”, and THEN (!) remembered how great and seminal the entire Blue Album is so…hey, here’s the full-meal deal THIS weekend!

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Scenematography: Coheed and Cambria – “Bridge and Tunnel”

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Coheed and Cambria released The Color Before the Sun last year, their eighth album and first that isn’t part of The Amory Wars.  This past Friday the band released The Color Before the Sun: Deconstructed, a digital deluxe edition that features two bonus demos.  One of them had a video released for it yesterday.

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Weekendcore: Over It – “Waiting”

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So much California on this album cover.  Kinda makes ya feel good no?

200 years ago – give or take, I guess – I went to college.  Loyalist was my school, and its radio station has a Modern Rock format that lent itself nicely to my tastes.  While I was doing shifts, one song we played was by a band I hadn’t heard of prior.  Said song was a kickass introduction to them.

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Weekendcore: Thirty Seconds to Mars – “Kings and Queens”

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Thirty Seconds to Mars are, in a word, epic.  Their songs are epic, their videos are epic, and the general creativity and ambition they put forth is always solid.  Acting be damned (sorry Suicide Squad)this is Jared Leto.  He, brother Shannon and Tomo Miličević do the alt-rock like whoa.

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A guy is Kickstarting to make a 90s Can-rock documentary, and that’s the best

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Even Kickstarter loves this, hello!

This morning I was on Twitter when I saw a tweet from Chart Attack about someone crowdfunding to make a documentary about Can-rock’s 90s heyday.  I then reacted accordingly, because that’s in large part the stuff I grew up on.  If you’re not in the know when it comes to this scene, you need to get caught up right now – hence, you know, this here post!

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