“Cold, Desolate, Neglected” : An Interview With Vi Res’ Michael Figucio

Australian-based musician and composer Michael Figucio works under the name Vi Res(short for Video Resolution.) Vi Res’ world is a mixture of cold synths, robotic rhythms, and slow-churning ambient soundscapes that feel like the score to some early 80s sci fi flick. There seems to be equal amounts of dread and tempered beauty with albums like Lost Score, Static Interference, Silent Collective, and his newest albums Cold Century and Vi Res. In a relatively short period of time Figucio has released a prolific amount of music. Since 2015 he’s released 6 full-lengths, as well as singles and at least one EP. Each release seems to build from the previous, giving his work a real arc. One of his most recent releases , Cold Century, is a future classic in the heavy synth genre.

I got the opportunity to ask Michael Figucio a few questions about Vi Res, the music-making process, and his influences. He was kind enough to answer those questions.


J. Hubner: So where did you grow up?

Michael Figucio: In two places. In Sydney until the age of thirteen then my family moved to Gosford on the NSW central Coast which is around 70 kilometres north of Sydney.

J. Hubner: What sort of kid were you? Outside playing sports and getting into trouble, or were you inside reading books and comics and creating worlds with your imagination to play in?

Michael Figucio: I was mainly inside listening to music, playing with toys, watching movies, playing an Atari 2600, although was and still am quite bad at playing video games. My character always dies before I learn to use the controls. I don’t even try to play video games anymore.

J. Hubner: When did music become important in your life?

Michael Figucio: For as long as I can remember I have always been fascinated by music. The ages of two to three years old (possibly even earlier) is how far back my memory extends to. I remember dancing to records as a toddler. I remember destroying the first copy of Mickey Mouse Disco that my father had bought for me, by manually trying to play the record by hand with a car charging adapter. I was obsessed with the record player and records and used to watch them spin around on the platter. If we had splatter and coloured vinyl editions back then it might have been quite a psychedelic experience at that age, but it just was anyway. It seemed like there was music everywhere at the time and that the world was a magical place for enjoying entertainment. I had family members that played on local and international chart topping records, they were magical and the magic of music radiated from every direction. Music was important to me back then and it still is somewhat important to me now.

J. Hubner: Can you remember the first album to truly make an impact on you? What was it about that album that affected you so much?

Michael Figucio: Although there are albums that hallmark the journey to this discovery, the first record that spoke to my mind was ‘Red Sails In The Sunset’ by Midnight Oil. This was the first time that I ever took notice of lyrics, instrumentation and production. I learned that music is a story and an important form of communication and a source of information. I received the album as a christmas present after experiencing Midnight Oil live when they performed on an island that I was living on in Sydney Harbour. The cover art is an photograph of Sydney Harbour which had been turned into a post-apocalyptic image of Sydney-where my house was located. So that made me look deeply into the record and its lyrics.

The lyrics contained relevance to an underlying,sinister history of Australia that was in stark contrast to the image of Australia in a time when the country was inflating its own ego along the way to the bicentenary in 1988. It was a gross time. Everything was like “G’day mate! I’m a proud Aussie” and it was getting very nauseating. The public was just so pumped up about living in Australia, by the media,and it was just all frigging kangaroos and Vegemite and crap beer. RSITS raised the flag on some of the issues that weren’t being taught at school or represented in the media (still aren’t). The band did not start or stop with that record and they didn’t just make records about issues , they were seriously actively involved and made significant efforts leading to saving some of Tasmanian forestry etc. And just before the bicentenary they were a huge help in exposing the poor conditions of Aboriginal communities. There is no way that a record like those  would get released by Sony records today. Some records were quite deep back then, particularly the ones that had social relevance. Nowadays we have the internet and social media that more directly deals with our social and political awareness (for better or worse). Now I suppose that records can relax and be hedonistic. Fun is important.

And musically it was the most mind expanding sonic experience to date for me. It had incredible guitar work that wasn’t like metal or Hendrix etc It had studio experimentation, there was an instrumental that represents the story and a hit single that intelligently told us all that we were all actively voting the country down the toilet while it raucously, artfully and skilfully rocked on… It has vocals, guitars, basses, drums of all kinds, synths, effects, tape manipulation etc There is a lot going on in it. It was recorded at Sony headquarters in Tokyo and apparently it was an uphill battle with the business suits of Sony. There would be long meetings and threats of torn up contracts over things such as recording the drums in the toilet. Apparently that wasn’t how you were supposed to make a record in the worlds utmost state of the art studios. It is the most interesting sounding work from that studio and the most disappointing record for the bands members.

25 years later I had the opportunity to attend a songwriting workshop MO songwriter and drummer, Rob Hirst. In those few hours I learnt what no other music training has ever taught me and it was simple. I started composing not long after that and started the Vi Res project.

J. Hubner: When did you first start playing music? What was the first instrument you learned to play?

Vi Res: I learned my first chords on guitar at age twelve then I started taking guitar lessons a year later.

J. Hubner: Before you began recording as Vi Res, what other bands did you play in? 

Michael Figucio: A number of insignificant, musical abominations. I hated playing in bands and avoided doing so for most of the time. The music was always terrible so I never stuck around for too long and eventually,I just resorted to only playing shows if they paid well. Australia’s taste in music is abysmal and I don’t partake in it anymore. I spent nearly twenty five years working in live production and had to hold onto my stomach the entire time.

There was only ever one musically satisfying and rewarding experience that I had playing in a band. That time is when I played drums for Ernest Baidoo (aka Afro Moses) who was a Ghanaian pop star who moved to Australia. He rather forcefully fixed my drumming and helped steer my mind away from relying on western music theory. I learned that technical music can be simple. The music was African Highlife and it was fast, funky and had a lot of changes.  I wasn’t ready for it either and found the African approach abrupt but then I started to improve and now I actually prefer to make music that way.

 

J. Hubner: When did your interest in electronic music and synthesizers begin? 

Michael Figucio: Through the films of the 70’s and 80’s. Also from sharing a room with my big brother Daniel who was into tech and collected CD’s. He would regularly play Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield and all of this stuff that no-one was listening to. Those records made a huge impact on me even though I didn’t revisit them until around ten years ago,I never forgot them. In the late 90’s there was Radiohead, Doves, Portishead et al that were using electronica in an appealing way to me. After that I would notice electronic music incorporated into other styles of records. I would listen to those parts of the records and ignore the rest.

J. Hubner: Let’s talk Vi Res. When did you first start making music under the name Vi Res? What was the concept behind the project? 

Michael Figucio: I did try to play in a band in 2014 that I didn’t mind the music of. we had one rehearsal which was excellent but it fell over after that. I had finished up in a job that was taking my time away and wanted to spend time making music. A friend had given me a licence for Logic 9 so I started to record with that. I noticed that it had a drum machine so I started to program drums for my demos. I didn’t have a bass guitar but noticed that Logic had synths so I started to play bass lines. Then i just put the guitar down and made The First People.

J. Hubner: Do you have a collection of hardware you like to use?

Michael Figucio: I have been learning about synthesisers whilst using them. I have bought and sold a few synths but software sounds good so I just use that. I don’t play live shows so I don’t need to sync multiple synths together. I don’t use sequencers so my music isn’t quantised which suits me- means that I can play around with timing which has a massive effect on how my music sounds. There is a lot of behind the beat or ‘lateness’ if you will in my weird little pieces of music.

J. Hubner: ‘Vi Res’. Is that short for video resolution?

Michael Figucio: Yeah it is Video Resolution. I was considering ‘Virus” as a name as in computer virus but when I was patching my Blu Ray player into the television, video resolution appeared on the screen so that sealed it.

J. Hubner:  With the Vi Res releases there’s a heavy horror/sci fi soundtrack vibe. How influential are horror/science fiction films to your work? Who are some cinematic influences on Vi Res’ sound/style?

Michael Figucio: It’s actually unintentional to a degree. Using synthesisers automatically makes it sound that way. To be honest, I’m just trying to make a piece of music with an all synth production. The end result is that it sounds cinematic. I don’t mean to be…(drum roll)…Carpenteresque. I love Carpenter’s films and music but there has only ever been one time that I have thought of him when producing and all that I did was put an 808 cowbell on quavers.

Seriously, I am just desperately trying to get any finished result that I possibly can. I’m not trying to be 80’s. Apart from the films, I hated the 80’s. I do listen to a fair amount of film score records, so from there must be influence.

J. Hubner: Can you tell me a little about one of your most recent releases ‘Cold Century’? How did the writing process come about? Is there a concept behind the record? 

Michael Figucio: I wanted to revive Vi Res this year so…Cold Century just came about from me entertaining thought about the 80’s revival. The concept is: In the Twenty First Century. Humankind has grown to be so frustrated by the lack of analogue sound and the disappearance of feel good films, that they have invented time machines to go back to the 1980’s and party like it’s 1999 and pretend that its fatal yet fixable future doesn’t exist. Leaving 2018 cold, desolate and neglected.

The title came first. I wanted the music to be just short of a complete mess. I wanted to get a vintage sound. I wanted first takes in any condition. Mistakes had to stay in and they have. The tracks on Cold Century are the demo versions that I decided should be the final versions. It sounded the way that I wanted it to so I used the demos.

J. Hubner: How does your songwriting process work? What do you start out with generally; a chord progression, melody, or a narrative you want to write around?

Michael Figucio: Usually starts with the main melody line then I constantly struggle to find other sections to fit it.

J. Hubner: Besides Vi Res, you also started Disco Cinematic(home of the first SNDTRK compilation.) What was the idea behind Disco Cinematic?

Michael Figucio: Disco Cinematic was the working title for The First People so I used that. DCR is not a label it’s a production. People think that it’s a label but it isn’t. I published Bryce Miller’s Operator on cassette because I liked it.

The real idea was to just publish my own projects and people want things to be on a label. It hasn’t really made any difference so I don’t really bother with it anymore. This is all just a hobby at the end of the day.

J. Hubner: Can we talk a little about the SNDTRK compilation. How did the idea come about to get these artists together? 

Michael Figucio: I just wanted to do my bit to look after the genre that I thought that Vi Res existed in. I just wanted to bring people together.

J. Hubner: I’d heard there was a second SNDTRK compilation happening. What’s going on with that?

Michael Figucio: I have handed the recorded to another label to take care of so I’m not entirely sure what will happen. I may be mastering it but it’s too early to say. It’s a communal project and it is someone else’s turn to produce it. I’ve had my turn.

J. Hubner: You’ve had a very productive 2018 so far. What’s in store for the rest of 2018? Any more releases lined up for Vi Res?

Michael Figucio: I hope to make another full length or two. If I can raise the money to buy the synth that I’m looking at then I can take the current Vi Res sound further. I’d like to find more people that might enjoy this music. I think that it could service more people, it’s just matter of finding them.

I’m also collecting pocket synthesisers so there could be a project that develops from that.


Check out all things Vi Res at the Bandcamp page and dig into some seriously heady vibes. And also check out all the releases over at Disco Cinematic. Lots of stuff to get lost in over there, too.

Xander Harris’ “Mall Walk” Video

I think for anybody that was a teenager in the 80s and 90s, the mall is a place that holds a certain kind of magic. The indoor malls started in the late 60s to mid 70s, but really bloomed in the 80s. Malls were like planets unto themselves. They were these fortresses built of Musiclands, JC Penneys, Waldenbooks, and arcades. Sustenance was found in the form of Hot Sams, Dairy Queens, and Orange Julius stands; not to mention what you’d find in the food court. Malls were self-contained islands filled with everything you needed to survive a Russian invasion(or zombie invasion.)

My mall was the Glenbrook Mall. It was where I went school clothes shopping with my mom, and tape and CD shopping with pals. There was the Apple Orchard for lunch, and Blondie’s Cookies for dessert. Musicland and National Record Mart was where I stopped for the latest cassette from my latest music obsession. You could sit in the food court and watch people ice skate for years, until they closed the rink and put up a giant carousel. There was the Glenbrook Cinemas as well, where I saw Silence of the Lambs three times.

I would also often imagine being in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead while at the Glenbrook Mall. Strolling on the second floor as my wife was shopping for bras at Victoria’s Secret, I’d look down to the first floor and imagine myself pushing a buddy in a wheelbarrow as we went from shop to shop finding supplies to take back to our secret hideout in the mall office. Hiding from the walking dead that lurked just outside the mall doors, we’d plot our escape in the chopper parked on the mall roof.

Watching Hauntlove’s excellent video for Xander Harris’ “Mall Walk” brought all those old feelings back. The cheesy shops, the mall pharmacy, the dead-eyed shoppers roaming the mall aisles like zombies looking for the best sales. Hauntlove captures beautifully the strange allure and intoxicating melancholy of those lonely mall walks. Harris’ excellent track traps inside of it the feeling of early 80s electronic pop, but with a hint of dread. Much like waiting for your wife to step out of Lane Bryant, only to say she needs 20 more minutes. Or maybe the zombie hordes have overtaken the Sears doors and are on their way to you.

Either way, finish that pretzel and enjoy Xander Harris’ “Mall Walk”, courtesy of the wonderful Hauntlove.

You should check out Hauntlove, aka Justin Miller’s work. It’s absolutely amazing. Go here and have a look.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/275620330″>Xander Harris – Villains of Romance</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/hauntlove”>Justin Miller</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

Protomartyr : Consolation E.P.

Joe Casey sounds like a man on a mission. He’s like your college professor that finally said the hell with the system and one day during class had his Network moment of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!” He’s a prophet in a rumpled suit and sunglasses who spits barbs and damnations against society, an in turn you and I(we deserve it.)

Casey, along with the rest of Protomartyr(which includes Greg Ahee, Alex Leonard, and Scott Davidson) are the premier Motor City prophets of doom. They’ve continued the work their post-punk fathers started back in the mid-to-late 70s. The Fall, Joy Division, Wire, The Birthday Party, Gang of Four and Mission of Burma all are present in Protomartyr’s angular and jagged diatribes. Over the course of four albums, the Detroit noise makers have upped their game each time out, coming to a head with last year’s excellent Relatives In Descent. 

Thinking 2018 might be a quiet year for the band, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Protomartyr was releasing an EP. Consolation EP is a mere 14 minutes long, but what they accomplish in those 14 minutes takes some bands years to get to. It may be short, but they make every second count.

“Ironic t-shirts wet with blood/An argument over aesthetics/That would be my guess” Casey sings over a wall of angst and shards of guitar noise. He ends with “Keep me above this filth”, and you feel the desperation. It’s one hell of a way to get things going. Protomartyr keeps that feeling going with “Same Face In A Different Mirror”, but with a lighter touch in the guitars. It’s a blast of musical persecution where society is being lambasted for their bloated excess and complacency to what is going on around it.

Consolation EP has a guest in the form of Kelley Deal. “Wheel of Fortune” stews and burns at the hypocrisy of America’s elite and how they wield their money as power. Deal adds backing vocals which make this bitter pill a bit easier to swallow(but not by much.) “Emergency manager/An angry ex-husband/Late with his payments and needs to cut costs/Inept gov hacks pump poison through pipes/A rising tide/I decide who lives and who dies” Casey seethes as the song rolls along like a freight train set ablaze. “You Always Win” closes the EP with more of Deal in the mix. Less fang, but still plenty of bite.

We’re lucky to have a band like Protomartyr. We need this kind of vitriol in our art. Casey and company are not comfortable with complacency and with the current state of the world. They’re holding up the mirror to it, and Consolation is them bashing it over our head.

7.9 out of 10

Graham Reznick : Robophasia

The music of Graham Reznick is hard to pin down. As you listen to his electro-funk grooves you feel as if you’re hearing something strangely familiar one second, then the next it’s as if you’re getting transmissions from some alternate universe where 1980s electro pop is being translated by artificial intelligence. Reznick isn’t settling for some sort of retro trip. He seems to be digging deep into his own 80s musical childhood trauma and searching for sounds and feels that scored a neon youth where the lights flickered and waned more than they were brightly lit.

Mourning in America.

Graham Reznick released his excellent debut Glass Angles with Death Waltz Originals earlier this year. That album, a sort of “through the looking glass” noir-ish musical tale of nighttime Los Angeles was a brooding, psychedelic electronic record filled with kaleidoscopic soundscapes that were like musical Rorschach paintings. The more you listened to the songs the stranger and darker they seemed, morphing into some other state of mind. At the time of its release there were rumors that Reznick had yet another album ready to go, but this time with Burning Witches Records. Graham had a track on the BWR Record Store Day compilation called “Faking Point” which echoed the sonic delights found on Glass Angles, but there was something darker and more synthetic about it.

Well we’re nearly to July and Reznick and Burning Witches are making good on those album promises. Robophasia shows another side to Reznick’s musical proclivities. This album seems simpler at first, yet with each listen it gets more complicated and dense. Reznick’s engineering and mixing prowess come into full effect here, giving the ears and brains a workout of sorts. It’s alien and intoxicating in the best way possible.

The first thing that makes itself known on this record is rhythm. Even with Angles, Graham Reznick showed a tendency to create these heady rhythmic, groove-inflected tracks. Robotic beats that sound as if they’re being transmitted from 1983. At first listen you may not hear it, but there’s a precision in those beats. There’s a purpose with every snare hit and bass kick. Take opening track “Robophasia”, it sounds as if Harold Faltmeyer had his way with a Rockwell track. Wonky synths sound as if they’re humming the melody as robotic voices belch and groan along. It’s alien, but intoxicating. “Unsoled” is an electric piano-driven track. It almost has a pop feel to it; very much on the cusp of opening credit scene material here. Reznick knows how to create mood and he does that to great effect here. It’s no surprise sound design is Reznick’s day job. “Atomatics” is where we step into some other dimension. Full-on A.I. electro freakout. Do yourself a favor and listen to this with headphones on. You will feel like you’re tripping, no psychedelics needed.

I can remember staying up late at night when I was a little kid and watching MTV in the summer. Late at night was when you’d see the good stuff, and that’s when I first saw Herbie Hancock’s “Rock It” video. That song and video kind of freaked me out, but in a good way. I don’t know whether Reznick was affected by that record as well(consciously or subconsciously), but I get that Future Shock vibe with this album. Odd electronic records that towed the line between arty, experimental, and pop like Future Shock, Tom Tom Club, Somebody’s Watching Me and even early hip hop all permeate this album. Wonky beats and vocodered, robotic vocals give this album a feeling of some strange cyberpunk tale put to music.

“The Score” echoes darker electro funk, while “Quotient” moves along with a heavy groove and is reminiscent of some of those Tandy Deskmate experiments on Ben Zimmerman’s The Baltika Years.  “YKWYA” is lighter fare, almost coming off as breezy in comparison to what came before it. I can imagine some dark and glowing arcade perched in the middle of a mall as I hear this song. “Rope” is groovy and mysterious, while “Mysterious Fire” is a delicacy of precise sonics and sound construction. “Mr. Sidewalk” closes Robophasia with a bit of that neon noir vibe we heard from Reznick earlier this year, but with a touch of robotic vocalizing for good measure.

Robophasia feels like the stranger, smarter brother to Glass Angles. It sounds deceptively simple on first listen, but each time you hit play on it there’s something new revealed. Something just around the corner you weren’t expecting but are delighted to see. Graham Reznick is proving to be one of the musical highlights of 2018. He showed his talent for constructing intricately-woven music with Glass Angles, and weaving them together for an exhilarating musical narrative. Robophasia continues that trend, even moving to another level.

8.6 out of 10

 

Lemon Pies and Lemon Skies : Ohio’s Lemon Sky Hits The Brass Rail June 16th

by J. Hubner

Another weekend is upon us, as is the age-old question, “What to do this weekend?” Well, I’ve got an answer for you. You should head to the Brass Rail tomorrow night, June 16th, and go check out the Ohio psych rockers Lemon Sky. They’ll be joined on stage by the always incredible Streetlamps For Spotlights and Lightlow.

So why Lemon Sky? Why now? Why so serious? Well, these guys know what they’re doing for one thing. They’ve got two impressive self-produced albums out now that you can grab over at their website or check out their Bandcamp page. As far as psych, well that’s a relative term. Lemon Sky’s idea of psych isn’t limited to wild colors, lava lamps, and rock bands with sitar players. Psych is more of a state of mind with Lemon Sky, and it shows in their music.

You wanna hear more about these guys before you see them live(tomorrow night at the Brass Rail), then continue reading. I threw some questions at the band, and the band threw answers right back.

Check it out below.


 

J. Hubner: So tell me about Lemon Sky? How long have you guys been around?

Lemon Sky: We’ve been around as a performing band since 2012, with Ed joining the band as the fifth member in August of that year.

J. Hubner: How did you all get together?

Lemon Sky: Eric Cronstein and Eric Keyes played music together in high school, Steve and Ed played music together in high school, and Aaron trained himself on guitar by learning John Mayer songs while in college and thought that he could probably play rock music.  He couldn’t.  All the pieces came together at different times but 2012 was the year it all coalesced , the same year the world ended, so that was a good sign.

J. Hubner: The band is described as a heavy psychedelic rock band. Are you guys more influenced by older classic stuff like 13th Floor Elevators and Nuggets compilations, or more modern bands like Wooden Shjips and Harsh Toke? Or both? Who or what did you guys bond over? 

Lemon Sky: When we say psych rock it’s because we took a bunch of psychedelic drugs together and figured that’s how most bands that call themselves psych were formed.  To us, the element of psychedelia is derived from the lyrics and the imagery created by the song rather than certain elements within the song, like the guitar tones, droning structure, or ruffled shirts.  We are influenced by old and new alike and don’t necessarily find those influences only in psych or even in rock…. Michael Jackson, Mozart, Music Machine, Pink Floyd, etc… they all have ingredients that we like to steal and bake into our Lemon pie.

J. Hubner: What’s the psych scene like in Cincinnati? Is the Cincy Psych Fest still going on? 

Lemon Sky: Our scene here is definitely rooted in grimy rock but is pretty all over the place.  Cincy Psych Fest happened for a couple years but didn’t attain annual status.  When I think of Cincy psych music I think of The Harlequins first and foremost.

J. Hubner: Let’s talk about your most recent record ‘Dos’. Where was the album recorded?

Lemon Sky: We started recording Dos in February of 2014 at Oranjudio studio in Columbus, Ohio, by our very own Eric Cronstein.

J. Hubner: Can you talk a little about the writing and recording process with the band?

Lemon Sky: We had a bunch of the songs put together but there was a lot up in the air so we recorded sporadically over the next year.  The lyrics and most of Dos’ structure was written by Aaron then brought into the band for arrangement and finished in the studio.

J. Hubner: Did you record live in the studio?

Lemon Sky: This album was not recorded live but we hope to on our next album as Eric most likely won’t be engineering it… that makes it a lot easier for him to be part of the band when only wearing one hat.

J. Hubner: Does Lemon Sky dig the recording process? Do you guys like to get lost in the sonic structuring of an album, or would rather just be on a stage playing live?

Lemon Sky:  Fuck yeah we do… the studio is way too much fun.  The sonic production journey usually becomes a rabbit hole that often turns into performance itself…someone plays an instrument and someone else manipulates some effects.   Live is a completely different thing that is also waaaay too much fun.  It’s the most fun.  Our live shows are a lot heavier and more aggressive than our recorded stuff so it is just another expression of the same beast.

J. Hubner: Lemon Sky will be playing in Fort Wayne at the Brass Rail with Streetlamps for Spotlights and Lightlow on June 16th. Is this your first time playing Fort Wayne? How did the gig come together?

Lemon Sky: This will be our first time in Ft. Wayne!!  Our friends, in the Athens, Ohio band, Water Witches, have told us about Streetlamps for Spotlights a number of times and suggested we get hold of them.  We already had a weekend planned to play in Muncie, Indiana on the 14th, and Horicon, Wisconsin on the 15th, for the Jersey Street Music Festival, and we wanted to round out the run with a show on Saturday… it all came together and we get to see all of you fine folks this week.

J. Hubner: What other gigs do you guys have lined up after the Brass Rail show?

Lemon Sky: This is a weekend run for us so we’re heading back to Cincinnati after the Brass Rail.

J. Hubner: Does Lemon Sky have a new album in the works? Anything you can tell us about the new music?

Lemon Sky: We currently have all the music recorded for a 4-track EP and will be laying down the vocals as soon as we can get back into the studio.  Out soon.  We also plan on demoing out album three this summer/fall and hope to get it recorded in early 2019.  It will certainly still sound like Lemon Sky but will not sound anything like either album one or two.

J. Hubner: What does the rest of 2018 look like for Lemon Sky?

Lemon Sky: In August, we’re returning to Wisconsin to play at the Mile of Music festival… so that’s pretty rad. Aside from that we have some pretty killer shows lined up this summer and fall, both festival slots and venue gigs, so we’ll be doing a good mix of working on new music and hitting the road…. maybe back to Ft. Wayne?  We hope so.


Get out tomorrow night, Saturday June 16th, to the Brass Rail and give Lemon Sky a warm welcome. Streetlamps For Spotlights and Lightlow will be there, too. Won’t you?

Vi Res : Vi Res

It seems as if Michael Figucio is on a roll. His musical project known as Vi Res released the excellent Cold Century onto the world less than a month ago, and now he’s dropped yet another full-length LP. After the darkly lit Century(with moments of light throughout), the self-titled Vi Res takes a turn into deep space. It’s yet another impressive release from the prolific Figucio and Vi Res.

As the album cover would imply, it seems there’s a battle raging somewhere at the end of the galaxy, with explosions and glowing horizons. If this was a long lost Hollywood production, Vi Res would be the perfect score for that film. Hard-driving synths, electronic rhythms, and just the right amount of 80s optimism(especially in “Fallout”) to push you to root for the underdog. It feels like a score for the ultimate dystopian tale, like if Year Zero had been heavily influenced by 80s Tangerine Dream.

Besides “Fallout”, the tracks are titled as numbers, each one a door into some undisclosed mysterious musical realm. “One” pulsates like Zombi and Froese’s Le Parc. It definitely feels like a proper entry point into the world of Vi Res. “Two” continues that late 70s/early 80s sci fi vibe, with a little more emphasis on dread. A hard-driving rhythm steps in to move the track along nicely. The aforementioned “Fallout” rings with an 80s hopeful optimism. Those familiar with Le Matos’ Chronicles of the Wasteland will find much to love here.

It’s not all 80s-inspired synth. “Three” has an almost industrial lean to it, with early NIN echoing throughout, while “Seven” steps in with an electro/disco beat. “Ten” starts out as pure pop and turns into an almost laser gun drone that dissipates into the ether. “Four” is the epic piece here. At over 14 minutes it’s a slow drip of crackling synth and anticipation that feels like a menacing walk into some great unknown. A theme for desolation.

Vi Res is yet another stellar release from Michael Figucio. He captures moods and vibes with precision. Where Cold Century lived within a cold, dark musical space, Vi Res sounds like a score to some long lost Carpenter-inspired post-apocalyptic film. Escape From New York, but on some forgotten planet. Desolation and exploration blend well here to give us a real sci fi musical journey.

Lock in with Vi Res.

7.7 out of 10

Deafheaven Shares “Canary Yellow”

I’m perfectly happy with a new Deafheaven album coming out. I’m thrilled with a name like Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. I’m also pretty good with Deafheaven’s sound becoming more and more melodic; melancholy even. George Clarke continues to shred his vocals with conviction, which only adds to the storm of guitars, cymbals, and breakneck speed that swirls in the melodrama that unfolds within Deafheaven’s epic tracks.

Today is a good day, for there is yet another new track released from Deafheaven’s upcoming Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. It’s called “Canary Yellow” and you can listen to it below.

The song is another scorched earth exercise in heaviness as meditation. “Canary Yellow” seems to push more away from the speed and thrash metal of New Bermuda and work itself closer to more of a “post-rock on Adderall” euphoria. It’s becoming their own thing and it’s quite beautiful. Quiet opening breaks into pummeling with minor key melodic runs. 3/4 the way thru the song almost goes into a Janes Addiction Ritual De Lo Habitual vibe; bluesier guitar runs, groove-inflected drums, and even gang vocals.

It’s nearly goddamn inspiring.

Ordinary Corrupt Human Love drops July 13th via Anti-. Preorder it here.