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Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.





Gayun Cannon "Asad"

R&B artist Gayun Cannon has released a new single called "Asad". This is the first new music from Cannon since the release of their 2021 debut EP "Brown Sugar Baby".

Back in December she released a video for the closing track, "I Don't Need You", from "Brown Sugar Baby" that can be viewed below.





Bow before MOTHERMARY's debut LP "I Am Your God"

Repping NYC at SXSW this coming Wednesday...

I’m not sure which benign deity brought the twin-sister dark electronica duo known as MOTHERMARY into our plane of existence (Lilith? Kali? Ishtar? Cher? Dolly?) but we owe them a debt of gratitude because not since the heyday of Prince and Madonna have there been two such solid proponents for eroticizing religious dogma which is great for Christianity in particular with its central conceit of “original sin” where being tempted to enjoy a piece of deciduous by a sexy wifey made from your own rib is grounds for the eternal damnation of humankind not to mention eternal shame at our own nakedness. 

And then it doesn’t help matters when a few millennia later these same humans somehow managed to murder God’s only son in a particularly gruesome fashion and all this is without doubt deeply guilt-inducing and deeply unsexy. Or is it?

MOTHERMARY offer strong evidence to the contrary on their debut full-length I Am Your God released in late January and they know what they’re talking about because Elyse Winn and Larena Winn were raised in a devout Mormon household in Missoula, Montana (where a deep love for music was self-reportedly instilled alongside the Mormonism) and both attended BYU before moving to Salt Lake City and eventually NYC (first Elyse and later Larena) and recording their debut single “Catch Fire” which caught the attention of their friend Alex Frankel who’s also one-half of synthpop duo Holy Ghost! (how appropriate!) who passed it along to Megan Louise at Italians Do It Better which is basically the go-to label for cooly restrained yet highly and sublimely dramatic electro music—kind of like Italo-disco on steroids and tranquilizers at the same time—a perfect fit for the duo and their own melding of kewl and hawt, sinful and angelic.

And speaking of hotness “Catch Fire” is smoking hot—all swelling organs and throbbing bass and pulsating rhythms accompanied by Johnny Jewel-style synth-tom fills (RIP Chromatics and the fabled Dear Tommy LP) with lyrics from the POV of the sneaky snake in the Garden of Eden (see the truth when / it’s in the nude / taste the fruit / put the blame on me) and geez if Tipper Gore ever heard this song she’d likely have an aneurysm on the spot nevermind if she saw the music video we’re talking heart attack (brief synopsis: Bible study group/faith healing ceremony transforms into a polymorphously perverse strip club complete with crucifix tossing and leather-studded-slow-motion gyrating by Elyse and Larena).

But it’s not all “hotness for hotness’s sake” as MOTHERMARY point out I Am Your God “isn’t about a god complex, it is an invitation to ponder what you worship. It’s about women reclaiming their holiness and inviting you to acknowledge your own…it is a mirror to religion both reflecting the bad and salvaging the good” with the very name MOTHERMARY being “the ultimate symbol of religi[ous] hypocrisy & the insane expectations placed on women…These two extremes. Have children to procreate, but don’t be sexual beings.” The Madonna/Whore complex is an impossible needle to thread for sure but on the album’s most recent single and music video (title track “I Am Your God”) the Winn twins come pretty darn close with a song that floats by on ethereal clouds of airy heavenly electronic oscillations, but it's equally voluptuous and lusty (and a bit creepy with that pitch-shifted vocal) with the repeated line “I can come again” straddling the same line between holy and horny.

I guess guilt is complicated that way when you think about it—it’s an age-old tool for subjugation (especially used against women natch) but keeping people form what they want and need only builds desire upon desire and before long they’re developing some pretty elaborate fantasies and fetishes to redirect some of that energy not to mention making cool art and beautiful music to express their frustrations and longing not to mention how it makes being bad feel so good so guilt is a volatile thing to say the least. 

But enough of this music blogger’s theological thoughts! In closing it should be mentioned that some of I Am Your God was created together with compatriot/co-producer Chris McLaughlin with whom Elyse Winn likewise collaborates on the Cigar Cigarette project fronted by Chris where she takes on the role of co-composer, art director and music video director, and by the way MOTHERMARY direct or at least co-direct all their own music videos which makes sense given their backgrounds in art and theater alongside music plus “sacrilegious spectacle” of course and if the “Pray” video below doesn’t deliberately riff on Garbage’s glorious video for “Queer” I’ll eat my hat!



And so let’s pray all these beneficent forces keep working together and spawning more (un)holy ravishing music because the world really needs it and I’d even be willing to try and guilt them into it. (Jason Lee)





Savak’s elaborate single-releasing strategy revealed

ultranyc.com/legacy-artists-tiktok/

Between October 1982 and September 1983 Michael Jackson released seven count em seven singles off his paradigm-shifting sixth solo album Thriller with each of the singles in question charting in the Top Ten which set a record that wouldn’t be broken until Drake put out Certified Lover Boy (also his sixth studio album) late last year. This is a turn of events that obviously sticks in the craw of Savak, nearly as much as in mine, because the band have released five advance singles to date off their upcoming LP Human Error / Human Delight to be released on everyone’s favorite day of the year April 15 (via Savak's own Peculiar Works label in partnership with Ernest Jenning Record Co. and btw note how the album’s title is a clever nod to Thriller’s “Human Nature”) no doubt in an obvious bid to knock the Digrassi High School grad off his high horse and while none of their singles has cracked the top 10 as of yet I’m sure this blog entry will turn the tide because I mean could it be mere coincidence that this will likewise be Savak’s sixth full-length release having put out four LPs and one EP between 2016 and 2020.

What makes this singles-going-steadily-along strategy all the more impressive is that the three gentlemen who make up Savak are what’s known in the music biz as “veterans” or as “legacy artists” in the latest parlance, but they sure as heck don’t act like it because they keep popping off one razor sharp single after another like clockwork at the start of each month—at least they we they’re not pregnant!—songs that are overstuffed with garage rock grit and power pop glint and with hooks a’ plenty at the ready to the point where honestly I’m concerned the trio may be taking a few too many gas station pep pills but hey whatever works. 

In core you were wondering the core of Savak is made up of Michael “Jaws” Jaworski (Fifth of May, The Cops, Virgin Islands), Sohrab Habibion (Kid$ For Ca$h, Edsel, Obits) and Matt Schulz (Holy Fuck, Enon, Lake Ruth) accompanied on their soon-to-come album by six count em six individual bass guitarists and at least two saxophonists and overall this is a band that’s got more punk rock cred than a warehouse full of Subaru Imprezas (if you thought you’re punk as f*ck you’d better think again my friend) I mean heck Sohrab even has a Youtube page full of digitized Betamax tapes of DC hardcore punk shows that he filmed back in the day during the scene’s salad days.

So anyway on the heels of their last LP Rotting Teeth in the Horse’s Mouth by almost exactly two years which was a lyrically downcast politically-minded record about “fallacies, narcissism, and slime” (the perfect slogan for 2020!) Human Error / Human Delight takes a more varied light-and-shade approach as indicated by the record’s title, kind of like a melding of Rotting Teeth and the overall brighter Mirror Maker EP, it makes sense that the album-opening “No Blues No Jazz” explicitly makes reference to no arbitrary boundaries / no districts…no lines to redraw” in its pro-overturning-of-geopolitical-and-musical-boundaries-and-pledges-of-allegiance-of-all-kinds stance.

In a sense this makes the Savak album-opener the equivalent to the MJ/Paul McCartney duet “The Girl Is Mine” off from Thriller which is also a song rooted in dialectical materialism and the struggle between contradictory forces. And then I’d have to say “Cold Ocean” is the “Billie Jean” of Savak’s Human Error / Human Delight because it opens with a propulsive/plodding repetitive riff which later goes into a killer-hook refrain (can you feel the sand / slipping through your fingers / do you feel the tide / pulling you in) and similarity as you can tell by those lyrics it’s also a song about the pull of paranoia and dark romantic intrigue (the music video captures this as well in both instances). 

And hey I don’t wanna give away which Savak song is the “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” of the album but my vote goes for the highly danceable and highly philosophical “My Book on Siblings” because obviously Mike, Matt and Sohrab totally gets the Foucauldian subtext of that MJ classic (seriously, read the lyrics again and tell me it’s not about the Panopticon) and I’d better end it here before the theories get totally out of hand but in the meantime listen to those five Savak singles (ten songs in all) and try to make your own correspondences. (Jason Lee)

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