Epica’s “Storm The Sorrow” is soaring from my speakers as I write this, the mezzo-soprano hypnosis of gorgeous Dutch vocalist Simone Simons inviting me into a mysterious world of symphonic metal, crows, wolves, desires and fog. Winter’s icy talons don’t yet want to let go. I’m trying to respect the somber lessons of the season even as I want the cold and wet to loosen their grip. It’s been a very cool week. As a hard rock/metal and indie journalist I get lots of neat promos from across the spectrum. This week I was especially pleased by Century Media Records sending me an old-school death-metal sounding promo from some band called Vampire who have songs like “At Midnight I’ll Possess Your Corpse” and (my personal favorite) “Ungodly Warlock.” You just can’t go wrong with a title like that. So yeah, I’ve been headbanging. What else is new? Got to try some amazing Pure Nacional from Peru via my friends at local Fruition Chocolate — the cacao in a pre-chocolate state was incredibly potent, flavorful and stunning. Talk about something that makes you feel alive! Nothing like a bean once thought extinct that is way out in the middle of the jungle somewhere to remind me to marvel at nature’s panoply of gifts.
Speaking of a panoply of gifts, we are gifted this week with some great musicians dropping by Kingston After Dark. What does an industrial/punk/breakcore social satirist named Urine, known for wearing lots of pink, have in common with a thought-provoking Sacred Bones artist/Boston girl who creates artsy indie music? Nothing! Regardless, we’ve got both Mindless Self Indulgence and Marissa Nadler in the house. I love mixing it up for you kooky kids!
Mindless Self Indulgence are well known national instigators who are the ultimate cult band. Frontman Jimmy Urine is one of the most hysterical, confrontational and quick-witted performers in the history of the crazy world of rock ’n’ roll. His glitchy production style has been ripped off countless times by much bigger rock bands and hip hop artists, though never with the same spazzy flavor that makes MSI so unique. The group has so many fun songs, most of which have names I cannot repeat here. Their new album How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence is probably the best collection of unabashedly nutty MSI tracks since their 1999 classic Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy. Songs like “You’re No Fun Anymore, Mark Trezona” and “Kill You All In a Hip Hop Rage” prove Jimmy Urine can still push buttons.
This March MSI embarks on a tour with several New York stops (including CliftonPark), before going on indefinite hiatus. My old drinking buddy LynZ Way (bass) has a kid with Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance. Heck, the whole band are busy with other stuff. Urine is planning to do more videogame soundtracks like his recent work on the fun game Lollipop Chainsaw.
“You better see us now because we have no [expletive] clue what’s gonna happen,” Urine tells me.” We don’t know when we’re coming back. I could be hit by a car. Who the [expletive] knows? I am amazed people are so inept in this age of social media. You could go to their town and I could be twittering the whole time and take a picture of [my band] on Instagram about to go on stage in London. Literally the next day I get asked, ‘Hey, when are you coming to London?’ You people are [expletive] idiots! If you do want to see us you might want to come out to these shows before we disappear for five years or get hit by cars.”
Marissa Nadler did a fantastic show at BSP on Thursday, March 6. It was great to see the critically acclaimed singer in a lovely venue for her intimate sound.
“I’ve never been there before so it’s nice to hear you say nice things about the venue! It will be something to look forward to,” says Nadler. “I’ve actually very rarely played in this area so it’s nice to break out of the city a bit!”
I love what I’ve heard of Marissa’s latest release July and wondered what is it about slower, dreamy but kind of melancholy music that appeals to her.
“That’s a bit of a tough question to answer. I honestly just trust my guts and instincts when it comes to the kind of music that I make,” she confesses. “I try not to break it down any further into thinking of myself as a certain genre. When I come up for air after a long writing process, and the songs have a vein running through them of down-tempo dreaminess, I attribute it to where I am in my life right now. My main goal is to just write the best possible songs I am capable of. There is plenty of fast, happy pop music on the radio.”
Nadler went on to talk more about her creative process and how it’s like other creative processes. “I think my life as a fine artist affects that way that I see the world, and therefore the way that I write lyrics. I guess I don’t think of myself as a performer, per se. I’m definitely not an exhibitionist. I just get up there and sing and play the songs, and hope that they can stand on their own. In that way, it’s similar to painting. A painting needs to stand on its own without needing to be introduced. I’m very happy with the positive response of the new record. I’ve been releasing records for over 10 years now, so it does feel extra special to have this kind of build right now.”