THE SWORD

Psyko Steve, Stateside, & Select Present: HIGH COUNTRY TOUR

THE SWORD

KADAVAR, ALL THEM WITCHES

Tue, October 20, 2015

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Club Red

Mesa, AZ

$20.00 - $22.00

Tickets no longer available

This event is all ages

THE SWORD
THE SWORD
There’s an unspoken edict handed down through the ages when it comes to rock bands: there are no rules.

Nobody picks up a guitar to be constricted or oppressed. It’s all about feeling free artistically. Now, The Sword—John Cronise [vocals, guitar], Kyle Shutt [guitar], Bryan Richie [bass], and Santiago Vela III [drums]—cut out boundaries since day one. Their style never stood predicated on a trend or a template. They always create what feels right and let the results speak for themselves.

When it came time to record the group’s fifth full-length album, High Country [Razor & Tie], Cronise landed at something of a spiritual crossroads. Following the final tour for their critically acclaimed Apocryphon, he holed up in his North Carolina home and eventually began writing new songs. The material began to veer into a different space that at the time Cronise felt was somewhat outside of The Sword’s sphere.

“I didn’t even intend for the demos to be Sword songs,” he explains. “But then I realized that I had taken on a sort of limiting view of what The Sword was, and that wasn’t actually what I wanted it to be. I think the new album is more reflective of the music I listen to and where our heads are at collectively. With each of our albums, it’s become less about fury and bombast and more about trying to write good songs. We realized that our music can go wherever we want it to go. There’s no pre-determined course here now, and there never was.”

High Country became new territory for The Sword, and they began doing things differently. That approach included more attention to backing vocals and harmonies, implementing more synthesizers and percussion elements, and tuning to E-flat instead of all the way down to C. As a result, the guitars stand out as more vital and vibrant than ever.

“I felt like the low tuning had become more of a crutch than a tool,” he says. “It was all a matter of trying to keep things fresh, and not fall prey to habits or expectations. We wanted to break out of any classifications and just put out a good rock record.”

Inspired, the boys headed to Church House Recording Studio in Austin, TX to cut High Country with Adrian Quesada of Brownout and Grupo Fantasma producing, Stuart Sykes [The White Stripes] engineering, and J. Robbins mixing. Over the course of four weeks, they hammered out the album’s 15 tracks in the old converted church. Thematically though, Cronise’s head was still in North Carolina.

“There are a lot of lyrical themes that run throughout the album,” he explains. “I live out in the mountains, so nature really inspired the whole record. That’s a large part of the lyrics.”

The title track and first single “High Country” springs from a transfixing guitar melody into a sweeping refrain, illuminating the group’s inherent dynamics. Over those rolling riffs, the singer paints a thought-provoking topography.

“That was actually the first song I wrote that ended up going on the record,” he says. “The title can have quite a few meanings. Physically, it might mean mountains and literal high country, but it can also refer to a plane of being; a place of wisdom and enlightenment.”

“Empty Temples” opens with a psychedelic buzz that quickly ramps up into towering guitars and another robust vocal display evocative of rock’s golden age.

“It’s loose and swinging, but it has these epic moments,” says Cronise. “Lyrically, it’s about letting go of the past and moving on. You just have faith if you embrace change and be unafraid, and you’ll find where you need to go.”

The gathering storm of “Early Snow” eventually gives way to a rapturous horn section, another first for the band, while “Mist and Shadow” stirs up a haze of blues that’s instantly thunderous. “That song is based around riffs written by Bryan, which is a new thing for us. He contributed quite a bit of music to this album, and in many ways it’s our most collaborative work to date.”

Both “The Dreamthieves” and “Tears Like Diamonds” have titles inspired by the work of science fiction author Michael Moorcock, though Cronise insists the lyrics have lives of their own. “I’d prefer to let people interpret the songs how they want,” he says, “which is one reason the lyrics aren’t printed in the album sleeve this time. I think they’re pretty intelligible and accessible, and I didn’t want them to distract from the music.”

The Sword’s impact continues to expand. 2012’s Apocryphon debuted at #17 on the Billboard Top 200, marking their highest entry on the chart. Since first emerging with 2006’s Age of Winters, the group has been extolled by everyone from Rolling Stone and The Washington Post to Revolver and Decibel. Metallica personally chose them as support for a global tour, and they’ve earned high-profile syncs in movies including Jennifer's Body and Jonas Åkerlund’s Horsemen. However, High Country is the band’s biggest, boldest, and brightest frontier.

“I want to make positive, uplifting music,” Cronise leaves off. “High Country has moments of darkness and thoughtfulness, as anything I write probably will. But at the end of the day I want to put smiles on people’s faces.”
KADAVAR
The world's leading scientists recently declared in unison: time travel can no longer be considered fiction but reality! Neither did their certainty originate from hypothetical thought experiments, nor from years of testing in isolated laboratories. It was the record of a rock trio from Berlin, Germany, that had dropped into the professors' laps out of the blue and led them to proclaim joyfully: "Warm, intense, authentic – doubtlessly a gift from bygone times!"

It was already with 2012's eponymous debut album that KADAVAR casted a spell on all fans of solid riff-driven yet doom-like 70's hard rock à la BLACK SABBATH or PENTAGRAM. Marrying this with the spacy psychedelic approach of early HAWKWIND and mixing in a distinct own touch while preserving their icon's warm vintage charm can doubtlessly be considered the trio's key to success – astoundingly high vinyl sales and support shows for bands such as SLEEP, SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM and ELECTRIC WIZARD as well as stunning festival gigs at "Stoned From The Underground", "Yellowstock" and "Fusion Festival", among others, underline KADAVAR's status as one of the scene's most exciting acts.

Carrying the experiences of dozens of played live shows as a source of inspiration inside them, KADAVAR entered the timeless space of their studio end of last year to procure supplies for their ever growing fan base that was starving for more – in the form of their second full-length album and debut on Nuclear Blast. "After last year's final show had been played in mid-December, we started writing new songs", drummer and studio owner Tiger recalls. "We've already had a couple of finished tracks in May 2012, but those were eventually released on a split-LP with AQUA NEBULA OSCILLATOR in November 2012, which is why we started at square one again. As we knew that there was no procrastination and no going back for us, we sat down for two weeks straight to finish composing with total commitment. We're perfectly happy with the outcome – I'd even say that "Abra Kadavar" comprises the best compositions we've created to date. The songs are more diversified, the ideas feel more spontaneous. Moreover, we've tried to capture much more of our live energy, which is why we've recorded almost everything all together in one room, with the amps turned up to the max – solely the vocals and a handful of guitar solos were added afterwards."
ALL THEM WITCHES
ALL THEM WITCHES
Unexplained phenomena of all kinds can be attributed to magic. Music is among those marvels. When a group of unrelated individuals of different backgrounds gets together and locks into a sonic unity, there must be some sort of mysticism at work. That’s the only way to properly explain it. The members of Nashville’s All Them Witches would agree too. That energy even courses through their moniker, which unsurprisingly comes from Roman Polanski’s 1968 masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby.

“The name can be interpreted in many different ways,” explains singer and bassist Michael Parks, Jr. “It could be a person’s view on what the forces of good and evil are or even how we interact with each other as human beings. There’s a little bit of witchcraft in everybody’s life. Just waking up is pretty magical—you’re alive another day. In terms of the music, we’re so loose, and that’s where the magic comes from. There’s no controlling factor. We do exactly what comes naturally. We go in a room without any idea about what will happen, get in the groove, and it works. That’s supernatural.”

All Them Witches began conjuring up music together in 2012. Foregoing theater school to focus on songwriting, Parks traded New Mexico for Nashville at 19-years-old. The Shreveport, Louisiana native met drummer Robby Staebler while the two shared a shift at a “corporate hippie store”. Robby showed Parks some music he and guitarist Ben McLeod had written, and it inspired the singer to jam—which he adds, “I usually never do. It made sense though”.

Adding Robby’s longtime friend Allan Van Cleave to the fold on Fender Rhodes, All Them Witches cut their debut Our Mother Electricity. Almost immediately after, they began working on its follow-up 2013’s Lightning At The Door. Recorded live in a matter of days with producer and engineer Andy Putnam, the boys tapped into a distinct energy, mustering bluesy soul, Southern swagger, and thunderous hard rock all at once.

“We tracked everything live in the same room,” says Parks. “We got a lot of bleed from the mics and the amps being together. Everything felt organic. You get us untainted on the record.”

The first single “When God Comes Back” swings from a Delta-dipped groove into a striking riff juxtaposed with Parks’ transfixing delivery. It’s as hypnotic as it is heavy.

“Sometimes, I get visions, for lack of a better word, that lead to songs,” the frontman admits. “I’ll be doing a mundane task at work, walking somewhere in the woods, or driving, and I’ll get these narrative flashes in my head. Personal experiences play into those narratives. This song is about our egos coming to break us down and destroy everything. We try to govern each other and turn the only landscape we have to live in into a parking lot. There’s no room for anybody. So, when God comes back, he’s going to be really mad.”

Elsewhere on the album, one story connects the expansive and entrancing “The Marriage of Coyote Woman” and “The Death of Coyote Woman”. The tracks twirl through rustic instrumentation and muscular distortion before building into a wild climax.

“It’s a two-part song that follows one character in my brain that has its own trials and tribulations to go through,” Parks goes on. “It also discusses how and where I grew up. It’s a hodgepodge, and the lyrics and music just came to me while I was driving.”

Given their powerful and potent psychedelic sound, All Them Witches has shared the stage with everybody from punk luminaries Broncho to the buzzing Windhand. They’ve also rocked at WRLT's weekly live series "Nashville Sunset", played the station's Live On The Green and appeared at the Scion Rock Fest.

“We can take so many different paths,” he adds. “The music is ever-shifting. None of us grew up listening to the same music. In Louisiana, I heard a lot of ZZ Top and Blues band. Allan was raised on classical, almost exclusively. Robby and Ben listened to a ton of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. When we came together, it simply works.”

Ultimately, everything comes back to that certain magic for All Them Witches. “Not to sound too much like hippie, but I hope everybody can ride our vibe,” Parks leaves off. “We’re very simple people doing something we really love. We have such a short amount of time on this earth. Everybody should be doing what they love. If there’s a message here, it’s that.”
Venue Information:
Club Red
1306 W. University Dr
Mesa, AZ, 85201
http://www.clubredrocks.com/