On this album, the newly streamlined band (following the departure of two members) shifted their sound away from the gothic metal emphasis of their previous work. Their new sound combines hard electro beats and aggressive synthesizers with rock guitar and a touch of eighties synthpop, with sinister vocals (in German as always). The band recorded in their own studio and sent the tracks to The Eye Socket, where I did some additional production and mixed the album.
My old pals Face to Face have been busy. Their excellent new album Laugh Now, Laugh Later comes out May 17, with a big North American tour in support. Their Kickstarter project for a limited edition 180-gram colored vinyl edition (with artwork by renowned tattoo artist Corey Miller!) was a quick success, meeting its funding goal in short order. Copies are still available as of this writing. (To be clear: I was not involved in the recording of Laugh Now, Laugh Later — the first record they’ve made without me since the 1998 Live album!)
Meanwhile, the band have a split 7-inch single with Rise Against out May 10. Face to Face’s cover of “The Good Left Undone” (which I did record and mix) is backed with Rise Against’s cover of “Blind.” The limited edition colored vinyl single is available for pre-order right now (five bucks!) from Folsom Records.
Atlantic Records released the remix EP Awake and Remixed digitally on March 22. The EP comprises four remixes from the album Awake by ridiculously huge Christian rock band Skillet, including one by The Legion of Doom. (The other three remixes have fancy names, but the remixers aren’t credited, so we have no idea who did them.)
The solo album Melancholics Anonymous by Trever Keith (best known for his band Face to Face) was first unveiled back in 2008 when we did a brief North American tour to support it, but the release was limited to a short run of hand-numbered CDs sold at the shows.
Earlier this year Trever re-released the album on CD and digital download, with a slightly different track listing (including the originally unreleased track “Another Diversion”), available directly through his Bandcamp site.
Trever and I put a lot of love and care into this record, and I think it’s pretty great. But I’ve never written about it on my site before, so this seemed like a good time. I’m especially proud of the tracks Incommunicado, Polish, Absolution, and Bleeding Out. Listen here:
Recording notes: This album was several years in the making, and comprises recordings made at Cello Studios in Hollywood, CA (drums, bass, guitars, recorded to Studer A-800 at 15ips) and Audio International in Ojai, CA (more drums), along with many other instruments performed and programmed at The Eye Socket and at Trever’s personal studio. Rustic keyboards feature prominently throughout the album, including Trever’s Wurlitzer 200A and Clavioline, Mellotron, and Hammond Extravoice. Vocals were recorded at The Eye Socket (mostly) on a modified Neumann CMV-563 with a BLUE omni capsule. There are copious amounts of tape-based echo and doubling effects all over the record (Klemt Echolette S, Tesla Echolana 2, Maestro Echoplex, Fulltone TubeTapeEcho, Rheem Califone), along with the trusty Sherman Filterbank and plenty of other weird noisemakers and processors. We mixed at The Eye Socket to 1/2″ analog tape (on an Ampex ATR-102 running at 30ips). Joe Gastwirt mastered.
Our recommended download provider is bandcamp which offers digital files in your choice of high resolution formats, and includes the digital booklet with artwork and lyrics when you purchase the full album.
A compact disc version is also available from Amazon.
Viva Death also has a completely revamped website, with streaming audio from all three albums (including unreleased tracks from the first two) and an official Facebook page.
Recording notes: I co-produced (along with Scott), recorded and mixed, serving my usual Viva Death role of noises and effects. This album deviates from Viva Death precedent in two important ways. First, we set aside the “baritone guitars only” rule of the first two albums. Bass and standard guitars feature prominently (along with some baritones). Second, Scott (Shiflett) played everything — the usual Viva Death lineup was unavailable, so apart a few special guest appearances, all the drums, bass, guitars and vocals were rendered by Scott. Despite these significant differences, the sound is unmistakably Viva Death: dark, strange, angular, sometimes ferociously aggressive, sometimes spacey and psychedelic.
We tracked drums to tape (analog 24 track, 15 ips, no noise reduction) in Studio A at Kingsize Soundlabs. We moved to Studio B to overdub bass and guitars, with the invaluable aid of Trever Keith in providing gear and setting up guitar sounds (see pics on the photos page). From there, the project went to The Eye Socket where we recorded vocals, more guitars, the occasional keyboard, samples and other weirdness with copious amounts of tape echo. Satnam Singh Ramgotra lent his formidable tabla skills to one track (Love Lust Trust), and our dear friend Monica Richards (of Faith and the Muse) added backing vocals to another (Talking Backwards). We mixed the tracks at The Eye Socket, recording the masters to 1/2″ analog (an Ampex ATR-102 machine) at 15 ips. Joe Gastwirt mastered the album at his studio.