Kill Everyone Now mode. KEN mode: an ethos legendary Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins would use to describe the band’s state of mind while taking the stage for the endless touring cycle of their genre defying classic album My War. This proved to be the psychological foundation/attitude for the project brothers Jesse and Shane Matthewson would form in 1999 in their home of Winnipeg, MB, Canada that would see them spread a manic form of metal + hardcore infused with noise rock for their entire adult lives.
Loved, the band’s brand new vicious full length may be the group’s quintessential statement of violence and despair made sonic. Drawing from not only the desperate noise and industrial sonics of the 80’s and 90’s, the band has mixed in the decidedly more extreme tone and presence of death and black metal, expertly captured by Andrew Schneider’s (Unsane, Cave In, Daughters) sick vision of noise and girth. “We entered writing for this album with one goal in mind – to please the smile”, states frontman Jesse Matthewson, referring to the cover piece by the band’s long-time collaborator Randy Ortiz.
Cutting their teeth in the early aughts with a pair of records – 2003’s Mongrel and 2006’s Reprisal – on Philadelphia’s Escape Artist Records (Isis, Keelhaul, Time In Malta), the group would find breakout underground notoriety with their JUNO award winning album, 2011’s Kurt Ballou (Converge, High on Fire, Code Orange) produced Venerable.
This marked a decided shift for the band, embarking on an unrelenting touring schedule for the following 5 years with such acts as Russian Circles, Torche, Deafheaven, Norma Jean, Kylesa, Pelican, Daughters, Revocation, and Today is the Day; releasing two additional full lengths – 2013’s Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis) produced Entrench and 2015’s Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard) produced Success (both JUNO nominated and highly critically acclaimed); seeing them hit a multitude of major festivals like SXSW, Hellfest Open Air, CMJ Festival, Pitchfork Festival Chicago, Hopscotch Festival, and Roadburn Festival; and doing live sessions for renowned institutions such as BBC Radio 1 and Daytrotter.
But burnout was inevitable, and in 2016 the band took a step back to regroup: core members, Shane and Jesse, formed their own music business management services company, MKM Management Services – who now maintains a who’s who of Canadian metal, punk, and hardcore bands as its clientele; Jesse went to Thailand to study Muay Thai full time; while bassist Scott Hamilton released records with his other bands Adolyne and Greylight District and managed film programming at the Broadway Theatre at his home in Saskatoon. In 2017 the band began writing with a newfound focus and desire, in the most collaborative effort they have ever put together.
Loved – the band’s 7th full length record, and third for Season of Mist Records (New Damage Records in Canada) – represents yet another pivot point in the group’s sound, a departure from the indie/noise punk focused Success album, the group delved deeper, and darker than ever before.
“We wanted to make an album that represented a thinking person’s reaction to the political/technological climate we are existing in today. We wanted to make the perfect album to put on repeat while pushing your physical limits to their maximum, if only to silence the noise that is constantly whirring around inside of your own head, even for a brief moment. We wanted tones that bash and cut, and for you to feel that desperate part of yourself clawing for a way out. And then, just when things are at their most bleak, you start to focus on what’s actually being said, and you’ll see the humor in absolutely everything that is transpiring before you. THAT is Loved.”
BIRDS IN ROW
BIRDS IN ROW are a melodic and abrasive band from Laval, France. Blurring the lines between hardcore, punk, and related sub-genres, Birds In Row offer something of substantial weight to their listeners. Collectively carrying somber hearts and poignant souls, they navigate through melancholic seas to shape beautifully hook-laden songs unlike anything else out there today.
Gross amalgam of sludge and noise rock with environmentally-tinged lyrics. Minneapolis, MN. Christian Moser (bass/vocals), Josh Dingel (drums/vocals), Brent Ericson (guitar/vocals).