2016/03/29

REVIEW : RNDM's Ghost Riding - Cultured Vultures


ByTom Costello
Posted on March 29, 2016


Lovers of alternative rock are in for a treat as RNDM (the side-project of Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and The Fastbacks/War Babies drummer Richard Stuverud) release their second studio album, Ghost Riding. The album was released on 4th March 2016 and is the follow-up album to their 2012 debut album, Acts. Ghost Ridingpossesses a variety of tone and mood in its eleven tracks, ranging from the uplifting groove of ‘NYC Freaks’ or the feel-good indie rock of ‘Got to Survive’ to more slower songs such as the chilled alt rock found in ‘Trouble’ to the almost blues-based soul-inspired sound of ‘Stronger Man’. I found the track, ‘Comfortable’, a dreamy indie rock ballad to be the album’s weakest song and found it to be even silly at times but I think this is mainly due to the band’s playful character being particularly evident in that song, as it is in the band’s music videos.

The thing that impressed me the most about RNDM and their latest album was their ability to experiment with other genres whilst retaining their own consistent sound, pioneered by the vocals of Joseph Arthur. RNDM infuse southern folk with alternative rock in their new album’s promotional lead track, ‘Stray’. Initially beginning with a country-beat reminiscent of a spaghetti western followed by Joseph Arthur’s vocals, the song picks up pace as it heads into a feel-good alt-rock inspired chorus. The colourful and almost-cartoony music video (featuring the band members) was released in January 2016 and whilst promoting their new album’s lead song, shows off the band’s playful persona.


Another track on the album that’s definitely worthy of attention is the opening track which, in my opinion, truly stands out from all the other tracks on this album. ‘Stumbling Down’ begins with an almost transient industrial-electro march that builds up into an impressive alt rock that personally reminds me of the Arctic Monkeys and their style of alternative rock. The song also features an impressive electric guitar solo and good drumming from Richard Stuverud. Overall, ‘Stumbling Down’ is an excellent choice for RNDM as the opening track to their new album but I personally feel that no other song on the album comes close to topping this one, except perhaps ‘Dream Your Life Away’.

A much more ambient and chilled ending to the album, ‘Dream Your Life Away’ contains elements of not just the band’s consistent alt rock styled sound but also elements of psychedelic pop and electronic music. Its chorus has lyrics that would be more commonly associated with an indie-sounding song than this track, but it works in combination with the strong instrumentals that back it. These instrumentals deliver a simultaneous sound of rock and psychedelic pop that give this track its character. ‘Kingdom in the Sky’ is another one of my favourite tracks on the album. Opening with a slow, simple but catchy ‘kick-back’ beat, followed by the mellow but prominent vocals of Joseph Arthur, the song becomes a dreamy indie ballad before taking a more rock-like direction with the introduction of a triumphant rock guitar soon backed by Arthur’s chorus. The track returns to its slow, dreamy tone before culminating in an uplifting chorus.


Summary

Not a bad album at all overall and definitely a recommendation for alternative rock fans everywhere. Although maintaining a consistent sound that places itself firmly in the alternative rock genre, RNDM use Ghost Riding to also touch upon other genres such as psychedelic pop, electronica, folk, indie, blues rock, and soul. This visible attempt by the band to experiment musically deserves RNDM praise, as creating a variety of sound whilst retaining a consistent musical trademark simultaneously is never an easy task for any band. This album is definitely worth a listen and shows that alternative is still an enduring genre of music, even in 2016.

7.5/10

  

2016/03/28

2015 Gigography


Here is the list of concerts by Joseph Arthur in 2015.

Concerts in green are concerts with an existing recording.

If you own an audio / video recording of an "unavailable" concert, thank you kindly send me an email to whenyoucryyoureyesarehollow@gmail.com



2015-01-01 City Winery NYC, New York, NY, USA
2015-01-22 Todos Santos Music Festival, Baja California Sur, Mexico
2015-03-20 Jen & Dave's House Concerts, Moorestown, NJ, USA
2015-03-21 Buzz Ware Village Center, Arden, DE
2015-03-21 Arden Gild Hall, Arden, DE, USA
2015-03-23 Carnegie Hall, NY, New York, USA (David Byrne/Talking Heads tribute)
2015-03-27 WMNF Radio Live Music Showcase, Tampa, FL
2015-03-28 Safety Harbor Song Fest, Safety Harbor, FL, USA
2015-03-29 The Social, Orlando, FL, USA
2015-04-03 Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA
2015-04-18 Fingerprints In-store, Long Beach, CA, USA
2015-04-20 Jack in the Box Music Minute, CBS, Los Angeles
2015-04-30 Saint Rocke, Hermosa Beach, CA, USA
2015-05-21 The Wayfarer, Costa Mesa, CA, USA
2015-06-02 KEXP In-Studio Radio session, Seattle, WA
2015-06-02 The Triple Door, Seattle, WA, USA
2015-06-05 Doug Fir, Portland, OR, USA
2015-06-06 The Chapel, San Francisco, CA, USA
2015-06-09 Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2015-06-20 Clearwater Festival, Croton-on-Hudson, NY, USA
2015-06-27 City Winery, New York, NY, USA
2015-07-24 Casbah, San Diego, CA, USA
2015-07-25 Pershing Square, Los Angeles, CA, USA w/ Rickie Lee Jones
2015-08-14 Long Beach, CA, USA
2015-08-26 City Winery, New York, NY, USA
2015-09-17 The Acoustic, Bridgeport, CT, USA
2015-09-18 Me&Thee Coffeehouse, Marblehead, MA, USA
2015-09-19 Outpost In The Burbs, Montclair, NJ, USA 
2015-09-26 Drew's House, Ringwood, NJ, USA
2015-10-15 The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ, USA
2015-10-19 KEXP Benefit, City Winery, New York, NY, USA
2015-11-05 Club Café, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
2015-11-06 Jammin Java, Vienna, VA, USA
2015-11-07 Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2015-11-13 Iron Horse, Northampton, MA, USA
2015-11-14 The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH, USA
2015-11-15 Club Helsinki, Hudson, NY, USA
2015-11-25 The Tangier, Akron, OH, USA
2015-11-27 City Winery, Chicago, IL, USA
2015-11-28 Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis, MN, USA
2015-11-29 Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI, USA
2015-12-01 Drake Hotel, Toronto, Canada
2015-12-02 Théatre Petit Champlain, Quebec City, Canada
2015-12-03 Club Soda, Montréal, QC
2015-12-04 John Lennon Tribute, NYC, USA
2015-12-05 Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ USA
2015-12-18 Orange Festival, Dambuk, India


2016/03/25

INTERVIEW : RNDM’s Joseph Arthur Talks Writing With Jeff Ament, David Bowie’s Influence (by Jeff Gorra)



“Life is laced with many disappointments, but they all lead you to more strength and growth. I want everything to be the most incredible thing it can fucking be. I want it to be art. If we are going to take the time to do this then let’s make it amazing. That’s the only thing that excites me in life. I want things to be special. I’m not afraid to try and make them that way.” (Joseph Arthur, Boston, MA March 11, 2016)


Joseph Arthur has a tireless work ethic. Even being completely in the moment of his new RNDM release, he’s already thinking about where to channel his inspiration next. He paused twice during our interview to take note of song ideas that had just spurred from our conversation. That capturing of inspiration concept has lead Arthur down some exhilarating and sometimes unexpected paths. He thinks in terms of complete art pieces having released a total of 28 full albums (between solo, Fistful of Mercy and RNDM) since 2000 and has number 29 on the way.

In addition to being a painter, Arthur has two very different music projects this year with RNDM’s Ghost Riding record having just come out on March 4th and a new solo record a few months away.

Before RNDM’s show at Brighton Music Hall, I had the chance to sit with Arthur in the lounge of his tour bus. “Lounge” was an appropriate setting as we casually spoke about the different emotions of music, the unforeseen paths life can lead you down (imagine Lou Reed showing up at your first solo gig) and the power of orange pants.
We may have even subconsciously written a song or two.



How has the RNDM tour been?

It’s like a whirlwind. I was in India then Mexico right before we started. When I got home I had just a couple of weeks to get ready for this tour. That was before flying to Seattle to practice with the band at the Pearl Jam rehearsal space. Our first show was during the afternoon, playing for KEXP in Seattle at the Triple Door. It was a secret show and I didn’t even know that. I had texted some friends and thought why aren’t they there?
I don’t think I ever worked so hard on something that was going to be this brief of a tour though. It will be interesting to be home afterwards for two days and think about what I just put my brain through? I’ve certainly learned a lot and my guitar playing has expanded. The songs are taking on a new life live right now. It’s a nice way to launch the album and get some of these shows recorded. Hopefully people pick up on it and it gets a grassroots kind of support.

How is touring with a band different for you as opposed to touring solo?

It’s always different, but it depends upon the atmosphere. Sometimes I’ll go tour with just one person helping me drive and tour manage. It will be just the two of us in a van and I’ll go do solo shows. Or you can be on a bus like this, with a crew, although this is a skeleton crew. You deal with so many different variables. This tour to some degree, is still minimalistic. Like last night for example, we had a day off and I only brought my touring bag into the hotel. I made plans with a friend to go out, but only had these fluorescent orange pants on me. So I’m walking around Boston in these bright orange pants and my nails painted orange. It’s one thing when you’re with your crew and brothers, but you go rock this look by yourself out at night, it’s a bit different (laughs).

Being a New York City guy, what’s the vibe like recording at Jeff Ament’s place in Montana?

The first record was done entirely there. It was just four days and a very different process. For Ghost Riding, we started there for about five days, but it was much more of a patchwork type of album. It was almost like this art school project. Our first record was more down the middle, modern rock then Jeff and I had initially intended. When we started talking about making the second one we wanted to get to a place where we can show our influences like Talk Talk or Peter Gabriel or David Bowie. Approaching it in a more childlike way. We discovered a lot of freedoms since we allowed ourselves to explore brand new ideas and drum machines. We deliberately all came in with nothing. I usually have at least a book full of poems that I wrote that I dip into. This time, none of that. We wrote it all new from scratch. The first four or five days in Missoula, we got down 26 song ideas. No real lyrics, I was just thinking about scenarios. Like with “Stronger Man” for example, I just started thinking about being a guy in jail calling his woman and he’s trying to plead to her. You can only sing “I’ll be a stronger man” from the point of being a weak man. So we had all these ideas and we let months past due to our individual schedules. We then got together finally in Seattle and worked two straight weeks to flesh it out to 16 songs, then cut that down to 12.

I then went to LA and really wasn’t entirely happy with all the mixes. I end up at this party and met this random dude who looked like Brian Jones. He was this super cool, laid back surfer named Rick Parker. I was staying in Beachwood Canyon and he happened to have a studio right there. It turns out Rick was a really good mixing engineer who had mixed artists like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Lord Huron. It was pure luck that I had bumped into him. I was staying walking distance from his studio. The very next day I was in his studio working with him. He started mixing “Stumbling” and it was pretty good. He then went on to mix “Ghost Riding” and it was way better. I sent them off to Jeff and Richard and told them we could work with Rick and I was already here in LA, let’s just proceed. Everyone green-lighted it and that record became what it is. If you’re getting yourself into a record that mixes drum beats and electronics and humans, you are signing yourself up for a long process. There’s just no way around it. But Rick Parker really toughened it up.

The idea of bands taking years to make records is becoming a thing of the past. You are putting that kind time of money and effort into something that ultimately becomes as disposable as an Instagram photo you put up. But you can’t do it for that reason, you have to do it because you love to do it. Ultimately, that’s what you make peace with. If you know you love to do it, that’s reason enough. If there are any rewards that come into your life from that pursuit then great, but if not don’t be bitter because most people are walking around not having something they’re passionate about.

You mentioned the song “Stronger Man” off the new record. That song really jumped out at me as a standout track. It’s very melodic and features Jeff on the piano.

It has that classic R&B feel to it. Jeff just started playing it on the piano. He had that progression. The vibe was there from the beginning. I didn’t have any words for it at first. It was a great exercise for me to not pressure myself to force out words. I just started singing this like Myles Davis-like, trumpet melody. Then the chorus came around and I kept hearing “I’ll be a Stronger Man.” The only way you can sing a line like that is with a lot of passion. I struggled with it at first, thinking it was corny. As soon as I completed the scenario in my head and sang from the perspective of a person in prison, I realized it was not corny. That vocal was actually sung through a phone receiver.

Can you tell me about the themes to RNDM? There seems to be a major art element to what RNDM is. What’s the meaning behind all the orange and the masks?

That part of us stems from Jeff. He has a very real talent for art and design. I’m a painter as well, but I think Jeff has a unique talent for branding. It wasn’t talked about in any diabolical way between us as far as – this how we’ll make an impression. It was more out of fun. Something also that would be somewhat alienating and provocative while maintaining that element of fun. What’s funny is, and Jeff and I were just talking about this yesterday, on our last tour we wore the masks on the first couple songs. We haven’t done it all on this tour, but on the last we had a bunch of masks for sale and hardly any sold. On this tour we are much less mask oriented and yet we are sold out. It makes me think that’s the symbol of it and there’s a lot more intelligence behind it than I even realized.
I always liked the color thing. When the White Stripes did that with the red and white I always thought that was cool.

It seems like RNDM has a lot of humor embedded in everything you do. Even looking at your website there’s a big picture of Kanye West wearing orange pants.

I just went to India and I saw the Hindu priests all wearing orange and somebody just wrote me about the symbolism of what orange actually means. It’s all this great stuff. It’s a powerful color. For Christmas, Jeff got me this Orange ’79 Stratocaster that’s my favorite guitar now. It’s my main guitar I play at each show. You don’t see many orange Strats, they only made a few of them.


You personally, being a New York resident, seem very inspired by New York City. There are three New York titled songs on the two RNDM records – “NYC Freaks,” “Williamsburg,” and “Walking Through New York.”

You’re right, I definitely am more than I realize sometimes. “Walking Through New York” and “Williamsburg” were poems I had written around the time of that first RNDM record. That was the only reason the songs were on that subject matter, because the poems were fresh at that time. But the poems happened because I live in New York and it’s an inspiring force. I don’t plan on spending the rest of my life there, but it’s a hard place to leave. As far as “NYC Freaks,” that was simply putting myself in a scenario. I make a movie scene in my head and then I describe it. With that song it was Scorsese era, NYC night out type of thing. A bit of a club life mixed with Times Square. I sent the record to Ben Harper a few months ago and he quoted the lyric in that song that says, “No one here won’t try to break you down for the crown to be king of Saturday night.” It’s that feeling of being on top of the world on a Saturday night. Maybe we could’ve called the album the King of Saturday Night.

You went to the same High School as the Black Keys correct?

Yes, I did and Chrissie Hynde.

Taking a step back in time for a minute, you were essentially discovered by Peter Gabriel. How did you end up getting your demo into the hands of one his A & R guys?

I was living in Atlanta at the time. I never went to college. I started becoming a full-time musician in high school as a bass player. I didn’t start singing until I was 21. I was more into the fusion stuff, Jaco Pastorius was my hero. It’s really kind of interesting how it’s come full circle, now I get to play in bands with guys like Jeff Ament and Mike Mills, really great bass players. Maybe secretly I want to be a bass player still. But at that time, I was in this mode of jazz and technical proficiency. Finally at one point, the part of me that just wrote poetry really wanted to sing. Mostly poems over songs. So I got an acoustic guitar and learned open chords. I ended up writing a set of ten songs. I didn’t let myself be attached to any identity I had before that. I threw out the idea that I had to be this fancy bass player and decided that I didn’t have to be anything. I gave myself a blank canvas to write melody and words over. It was very effortless in a way. There was so much space there without all these abstractions going on. I was having this folk-rock revelation, but it felt very important because it was discovering my voice in a way. Anyway, those ten songs I made cassettes of. I gave one to a friend with no music business connection at all. I only gave ten tapes out total. My friend gave it to a guy in Atlanta who worked at Capricorn records. That guy thought it was good and sent it to a coworker of his name Harvey Schwartz in New York City. Capricorn Records had Cake and some other southern rock bands. That’s why they had a guy in Atlanta. Harvey Schwartz had a lunch with Peter Gabriel in New York one day where he presented him a bunch of CD’s of jazz influenced music for Real World Records. Peter didn’t like any of them. Somewhat frustrated, Peter said he had to go and catch his flight. That’s when Harvey told him he also had this cassette and said, “Let me just play you this one song before you head out.” Peter thought it was pretty good and wanted to hear the next song which was a song called “History.” In that song there’s a line in the chorus that goes, “history acts as your gravity.” The song ended up on my second record, it was one of the first songs I ever wrote. That line caught Peter’s attention. He’s a big lyric guy. He took the cassette and called me when he got off the plane. So I got a random phone call on my answering machine in Atlanta when I got home from working at Clark Music.

Did you think someone was messing with you?

No. I knew it was legit right away. It was very obvious. That was my entrance into the music world. I then got signed to Real World and moved to England. I was being mentored at Real World Studios and learning record making there. It was exactly the philosophy we instilled in this past RNDM record. The other guys kept saying they never made a record where so much back and forth has happened. In my mind I was thinking we were still at demo stages of making a Peter Gabriel album. It’s a ton of work making that type of project, but that’s the way I learned to make records. That’s what Peter does and that’s who taught me. The people he introduced me to like Tchad Blake are the same way. Tchad mixed my new album “The Family” which is coming out in a few months and he also mixed my record Redemption’s Son, some stuff on Come to Where I’m From and he sequenced a lot of my EP’s. Oddly enough. He mixes all the Black Keys stuff. It’s a small world, Tchad lives in Wales.

Before you even move to England, you get flown up to New York for a showcase and one of your hero’s, Lou Reed is in the audience. Did you know he was going to be there?

Absolutely not. At that point I was still a fusion bass player. I was faking it as this new guy who played songs. I had no fans at all. I hadn’t put anything out. I do tend to make records though. Even then. I had made a full record on that demo tape. Lou Reed came because he and Peter were new friends. It was a casual invite from Peter to Lou Reed to check out this new guy he was thinking about signing. Peter is a very democratic type of guy, he didn’t want to come back and say, “We are signing this guy.” He wanted others opinion and wanted to record me live so he can play it back. It was all kinds of pressure on me. I was facing going back to minimum wage with no other prospects and not much of a popularity vibe in music at all. I prayed on my knees before that gig. I was so terrified.

I did the set, walked off stage and went right up to Lou and shook his hand. He said, “I like that song ‘King of Hide and Seek.’” I didn’t have a song called “King of Hide and Seek.” I had a song with that lyric in it, but that title was infinity better than whatever the fuck I was calling it. Right now, sitting here talking to you I’m thinking I need to go write a song called the “King of Hide and Seek,” about Lou Reed. That’s a concept right there.

Now we have two new songs and maybe even a concept record. That’s almost as fascinating as your stories.

Dude, it just went on and on from there. My first month in England I was getting ready to play at this thing called Recording Week and all of a sudden Joe Strummer came by as an uninvited guest with his whole crew. They stayed in a drum storage room with a four track cassette player. Every time I would walk by I would see Joe trying to hand people his black Telecaster and saying, “Let’s jam, let’s jam, let’s make something.” I’m just this American from Akron and all of a sudden I’m hanging with these amazing people. I got to eat dinner with Brian Eno and the next thing I know he and Peter Gabriel are singing on my first record. It’s super weird and crazy, but it’s such a fortunate place to come from.
I’m back on Real World Records, they are putting out my new solo record in Europe. Once again, it’s all full circle.

So your new solo record, The Family, is done?

Yes, it’s mastered and everything. I just have to finish approving the lyrics and liner notes and that’s it.

Two new records in a year.

Yes, it will be out in a few months and I will tour on it for sure. It’s interesting though, this new RNDM record is real serious, yet made in fun way. I was in a dark place. I was coming from a place of fighting out of personal darkness when I was writing. It was just weather that we all go through. My new solo records is from a more peaceful place. It’s exploratory.

What’s interesting about your work is that you cross so many genre’s in your music, whether it’s solo material or with bands. But even your solo records vary in terms of what genre the music fits into. Is that done on purpose?

I’m just interested in it all. It seems like the way forward when I’m doing it. There’s so many different versions of me out there. I don’t know if it all goes together, but I consider it all art and versions of me at that time. Even with the recent Kanye West thing, I posted a support message on my Facebook page, just because my dreams don’t cost a billion dollars doesn’t mean that someone shouldn’t have dreams that cost a billion dollars. Why judge that? He has a dream that costs a ton of money, so fucking what? Go for it man. The guy has clearly proven himself. Hate him all you want, but he’s made some great records.

What’s the vibe on your new record? Is it more acoustic based?

It’s totally different. I got a piano. I found a Steinway 1912 Vertegrand piano that was in insane shape. Just beautiful. It was from 1912 so it had its wear and tear, but it was in just one family. I ended up getting it for a crazy deal. I got it tuned and wrote a set of songs on it. I had never really written much on piano before. I made the record by myself mostly. It was all about family dynamics. Every single song. I sang from different perspectives; from my grandfather to my father to my sister to my wife who doesn’t exist to my kids who don’t exist. It’s based off my experience, yet fictionalized in a way. It’s a concept record. It’s very modern and my original intention was to just make this lush piano record with no guitars or beats. I ended up cutting everything to drum machine grooves. Tchad Blake then made it sound insane. It’s a very futuristic singer-songwriter record. To me, it shows how I’m inspired in all different ways. I find art everywhere. Interviews are art. We’re making art right now. I’m a podcaster too, it’s called Nothing to Talk About. I’ve had a bunch of people on including Jeff. I respect the art of interviewing. I think it’s fascinating. I love reading interview books.

Even our interview is following this full circle theme.

Really now I know the answer to the original question you asked. The answer is, it’s been fun. It’s been a lot of fucking work and there’s been a lot of challenges, but a lot of celebration with great music coming out.

 

2016/03/22

REVIEW : RNDM's Ghost Riding - ForBassPlayerOnly


Jeff Ament side project gets synthy with it

Ghost Riding takes RNDM into keyboard country

By David Sands, March 22, 2016

With their sophomore effort Ghost Riding, RNDM have decided to go in a completely different direction from the guitar-driven hard rock feel of their debutActs.

This time around, the alt-rock trio, composed of Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and drummer Richard Stuverud, weren’t afraid to get a little synthy with their sound. In fact, Ament actually taught himself how to use drum machines and keyboards for the endeavor.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he said the band made a point of stepping a little bit outside their power trio “comfort zones” with the new recording.


“That’s pretty exciting for a musician 30 years down the line,” says Ament, “to be in a place where everything feels fresh and new.”

The project got its start about a year ago at Ament’s Montana studio. It took shape rather serendipitously with Arthur and Ament initially relying on an iPad drum machine app, because their drummer Stuverud hadn’t yet woken up. That happy accident—along with a decision to use experimental albums by artists like Talk Talk, Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Bauhuas as their inspirations—helped steer them down a decidely electro-tinged path with Ghost Riding.

Recording at Ament’s studio and Stone Gossard’s Studio Litho in Seattle, RNDM ended up cutting 20 tracks, 11 of which appear on the new album. While the guitar, bass and drums are still their doing the work this time around, you can definitely hear the band stretching themselves on tracks like the keyboard-anchored “Stronger Man,” the funky disco jam “NYC Freaks” and the new wavey eponymous groove “Ghost Riding.”

RNDM wrapped up a brief tour in support of the new recording in Chicago on March 15.

2016/03/16

LYRICS : The Campaign Song (Let's Make America Great Again)



Let's make america great again
Is the slogan of the liar who is stoking up the fire of the racists and the bigots who are 
following him
So let's take america
Back away from them
The prisoners of fear
Who could never get it clear
That the hatred that they're spewing is just coming from them


Trump is a bitch
Trump is a con
Love to see him ripped up
Or shot dead in Saigon
should be cut like a pig
one ear to the next
And we should watch him bleed out
All the hatred he's vexed
Him and his people
Racists of clout
America should be choking
Cunts like this out.
America in trouble
From within and without
Our freedom is tested
In the days of the drought

Let's make america great again
Is the slogan of the liar who is stoking up the fire of the racists and fear mongers following him
So let's take america
Back away from them
The prisoners of fear
Who could never get it clear
That the hatred that they're spewing is just coming from them

The days of free weapons
And mass murder glare
It's hard to say Jesus
Or God could still care.
Trump is a rat
But we are his hole
America now rotting
From its absence of soul
Where lunatics thrive
And idiots rule
and prayers for the dying
Come from every fool
America now shattered
of stolen greed
Falling over survivors
Breathing heavy from need

Let's make america great again
Is the slogan of the liar who is stoking up the fire of the racists and the bigots who are
following him
So let's take america
Back away from them
The prisoners of fear
Who could never get it clear
That the hatred that they're spewing is just coming from them

The starved come with numbers
They won't knock on your door
They'll use battle axes
And the legs of their whores
America is shooting
Itself in the head
Flogging it's past
On the merciful dead
Slave ships of ghosts
from lands long since gone
Since before we had moons
Or a place to belong
soon we will go
Back to times like these
When nuclear clouds
Shake us all to our knees
as our faces glow
And melt in the dirt
We'll know fear has won
In the land of the hurt.
Unless we can oust
These mongers of hate
Who thrive on their greed
And beliefs with no weight

Let's make america great again
Is the slogan of the liar who is stoking up the fire of the racists and the bigots 
following them
So let's take america
Back away from them
The prisoners of fear
Who could never get it clear
That the hatred that they're spewing is just coming from them


2016/03/15

RNDM TOUR 2016 POSTERS by Brad Klausen






Brad Klausen did the 7 posters for the RNDM tour.

Brad really put a lot of work into this set and it shows with his level of detail.

Each poster measures 11.5 x 24 inches on black paper and it is silk screened. Only 40 posters will be for sale at the concert.

Brad will be selling all the posters on 2016-03-18 Friday at 9am PST on his website http://artillerydesign.com/ .

There will be 20 full sets of all 7 posters for sale and only 5 individual posters from each city on sale. If you buy the full set of 7 posters you will get a discount.


















2016/03/14

REVIEW : RNDM's Acts - Pop 'stache


written by: Shannon Shreibak December 4, 2012


RNDM (pronounced “Random”) truly lives up to its name as far as origin is concerned, but their music is an organized, well-packed punch to pop-rock today. Ament and Stuverud collaborated for late-90s super band pursuit Three Fish, and Arthur landed an opening spot for the band. After staying in touch for years, Arthur cemented the friendship with a slot at last year’s PJ20, which resulted in Ament’s invitation for a jam session, spawning a slew of songs to be slammed on RNDM’s album.

Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, prolific, indie-leaning singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and Seattle punk-rock fixture drummer Richard Stuverud combine their rich musical inclinations to create Acts, RNDM’s stellar debut album. Composed in a whirlwind four-day recording session, Acts is an undeniably eclectic—and still cohesive—body of work reflecting each member’s unique musical point-of-view. Palpable group chemistry discounts any suspect of the band’s recent formation, as if they’ve been churning out alt-rock gems together for years.

Arthur’s vocally focused compositions are rife throughout the album, and his position at lead vocals allows his aural landscapes to bloom throughout the album. Ament’s jam-packed bass lines and relentless approach lends an edge to the music and Stuverud’s almost-lyrical drumming complements Arthur’s silver-throated delivery.

The album opens with the melodic chopping of the intro to “Modern Times” and Arthur’s inimitable upbeat drone easily harkens back to his work with the Lonely Astronauts. Arthur’s singsong drone dances over the pedal-pounding riff while Stuverud‘s steady drumming and liberal fuzz-guitar wallops, the song gains traction where the folk lean would have fallen flat. Heavily layered vocals add dimension and are consistent with Arthur’s penchant for intricacy.

Charming acoustic hook of “The Disappearing Ones” and Arthur’s purposely fumbling verses lend a charmingly sloppy tilt to an otherwise unsettlingly polished folk-rock number. An echoing chorus and heavy cymbal thrash push the song to more assertive territory amidst a clichéd barrage of “yeah yeah yeah’s” clutter the bridge. Arthur flexes his artistic muscle as he coaxes Ament’s powerful bass lines into more pensive veins.

“Walking Through New York” could have easily wedged itself into Arthur’s darkly romantic 2004 masterpiece Our Shadows Will Remain, with macabre guitar trills and wrenching lyrical poetry. Arthur’s artistic input is most evident on the album’s middle-marker; the densely layered, macabre groove complements layers of Arthur’s hurt falsetto. One of the most introspective songs featured on Acts, RNDM shows that they can jab at raw nerves without aggravating open wounds or tripping through platitudes.

The emotional tenderness is quickly abandoned in favor of alt-rock thumpers like “Look Out!,” which bears considerable aural weight of heavy wah’s and pedal-pounced flourishes. Sparse lyrics give the seasoned trio ample time to flaunt their musical chops while exercising some appreciated restraint.

The album caps with “Cherries in the Snow,” a campfire hymn featuring harmonica and tight acoustic guitar working, and wraps Acts on a wistful note. The opening lyric, “did I thank you for coming here to visit me,” seems like an offhand thank you to listeners who stuck around for the 12-track quickie out of both intrigue and fandom; but there are no thanks needed when an album of this musical fortitude is at hand.

Alternating between quick and dirty punk inclinations, elastic funk grooves, romantic folk twang, and alt-rock forcefulness, RNDM has proven themselves as one of the year’s most unclassifiable bands. While this lack of would normally signal directionless, RNDM embraces their opposing musical backgrounds to form an inimitable brew of modern-age rock. Not an album that can be sliced and diced into neatly packed singles but more of a cohesive full-bodied work standalone, Acts signals the birth of one of rock’s saving graces in the form of three divergent musical personalities meeting in one place long enough to churn out a thoughtful musical chronicle.



INTERVIEW : 2013-11-15 Joseph Arthur Exclusive Interview (by Rob Bravery)


So last week BLY caught up with established American singer-songwriter/painter/decorator (illustrator) Joseph Arthur. Discovered by Peter Gabriel in the mid-nineties he has a Grammy nomination to his name and is now 10 albums deep in to his music career.. He even has his own art gallery in Brooklyn, ‘The Museum of Modern Arthur!’…


Venue: Privatclub – Skalitzer Straße, Berlin

‘The Ballad of Boogie Christ’ is your 10th studio album to date.
How involved would you say you are in the production process?

JA: A lot. Sometimes I’ll sit and play all the instruments and sometimes I’ll turn some of that stuff over. I’ve done both. On my first record I worked with Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Bjork). I was 25 so I kind of wanted to turn some of that stuff over to him. On records I made after that I started getting way more involved. I wanted to mix/produce things etc.

Do you find it hard to ‘let go’ of the recording process and say something is finished?

JA: Yeah it’s hard to let go. That’s where a producer can really help.
Ultimately – no matter who you’re working with, the artist sort of wrestles it away from the producer in the end. And usually in that dynamic there is some kind of ‘fall out’.. Hopefully it’s a friendly fall out. Inevitably (with creative projects) it becomes emotional, you know?. If the producer is an artist and the artist is an artist etc. Everyone has different aspects that they’d like to bring forward.

When you approach the writing of a new album do you devise a concept first or simply piece together accrued material and deduce a theme afterwards?

JA: With ‘Boogie Christ’ I had a the theme first. I had things/characters within that theme and concentrated on trying to flesh out the story whilst writing.

Your career began when social media (youtube, facebook etc) was less prominent/almost non existent.. Do you embrace the current situation?

JA: Well social media didn’t exist!.. I used to play shows in Europe when I started out and there was no twitter feed dialled in to your hotel room. You just walked around and felt lonely. I guess it’s way easier now but I do occasionally feel sorry for people who don’t get to have that lonely experience – not that loneliness goes away, but you have less moments of despair to write about when you can tap right in to facebook
as opposed to saying ‘Oh my god, I’m alone’.

Do you think that some of an artist’s mystique is lost?

JA: I’ve never really been big enough to ignore the current climate. When I was asked to use ‘Honey and the Moon’ on the O.C soundtrack – that was something that artists didn’t really do. You’re like ‘aahh I don’t know, we shouldn’t do this.. It’s like selling out or something’.. Nowadays that’s the new radio. It would be like asking the radio to NOT play your music. I mean of course you don’t want to give your music to something completely insane or evil or something..

What’s your cut off point?

JA: uhhh (laughs) I don’t know I’d have to think seriously about that..
Like tobacco or beer or something.. Something that was actively trying to destroy people. Somebody told me that ‘integrity is something you afford’.. A big artist told me that one time and there’s a lot of truth to that. Like some well established artist’s preach about not selling your songs to commercials but if you’re established you don’t need to. I think if selling a song enables you to continue living your dream then sell it.

Are you interested in writing entire soundtracks like Jonny Greenwood or Jon Brion?

JA: I would love to do that. I write all kinds of instrumental stuff.

Any particular director?

JA: Uhhh I mean the first one that came in to my mind, which is weird cos he would never hire me, was Woody Allen!. And the second one is Quentin Tarantino!

And finally, have you ever spent time/lived in Berlin, aside from performing?…

JA: I actually recorded Nuclear Daydream in Berlin.. it was right after I made ‘Our Shadows will Remain’… I’d like to mention a few of my favourite places here but it’s pretty hazy.. I was partying a lot around that time so I don’t really remember! But I love the city – I should probably come and visit some time. It’s a Mecca for artists..



2016/03/13

INTERVIEW : 2016-03-10 Interview with Joseph Arthur of RNDM (by Mike Bax)


By Mike Bax

RNDM, the joint project of Joseph Arthur, Richard Stuverud and Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) released their wonderful sophomore album Ghost Riding upon the masses just last week, courtesy of Dine Alone Records. A sublime mix of guitars, drums, Mellotron and Moog, the eleven songs on Ghost Riding feel less like a side project and more like a band making relevant music. No disrespect to the band’s first album Acts (2012) which was well received, but Ghost Riding takes all that was good about Acts and builds upon it significantly.

Currently on the road doing a seven date run of live shows – the lone Toronto show happening Sunday March 13th at The Mod Club – lead singer and guitarist Joseph Arthur took some time from his hotel room in Boston to candidly discuss the RNDM creative process, touring together, and the prospects of future touring for the band. Arthur himself finished up our call by expressing his enthusiasm for his bandmates, playing live, and the fact that their schedules all have to synchronize to be able to tour as RNDM. As short as this tour is, it was obvious Arthur was glad for the chance to present the material fromGhost Riding live on stage so close to the album’s physical release date.


Mike Bax: You’re in Boston tonight?

Joseph Arthur: That’s right – a day off. We’ve just done three shows in a row.

Mike: Nice. This is a short run for you, but from what I’ve clocked online, it sounds like the shows have been going good?

Joseph: Yeah, the shows are good. There has been a lot of preparation in a short amount of time. In terms of the record, it’s somewhat of a big production. We’re a three piece rock ‘n roll band essentially – that’s how we saw ourselves until we started making this new record, and we kind of expanded our horizons as to what we could become. And then you realize that you have to make this something that works live. It’s actually been good, I think we were all expecting it to be maybe a bit more difficult than it was, because I think once we started playing the songs we realized we could actually play them a lot of different ways and they would work.

It’s like a case of writing songs while producing a record to make the record. So when the production happens and the songs come alive, we didn’t have that moment of yourself in a room where you are hearing the songs really stripped down. The beat has always been there and been an essential part of the songs. We found ourselves working that all out, realizing that these songs are strong and that they would work live. There’s a reason why these songs made the cut for the album and went as far down the production line as they did. I think we had about thirty ideas or so at the start of this album, things that we could work on and complete, you know?

Mike: That’s a lot of material.

Joseph: Yeah. We approached it in a very different way. Our first record was made rather quickly, mostly all done in Montana at Jeff’s place – it was mainly a four day process. And then there was some mixing done for a couple of weeks after that for a week or so. It was a very quick record whereas this one we went to Missoula and, in the same time that we took to make the first record, we gave ourselves that much time to come up with our basic ideas for the 26 to 30 things were wanted to work on for the new album. Then we separated for a little while and we all got back together in the Stone (Gossard) studio in Seattle – the Pearl Jam studio – for another two weeks fleshing out and pursing the songs and deciding which ones were working better, eliminating the ones that weren’t.

That’s when we went deeper. I was coming up with words and lyrics at that point and then it pretty much went into a two month extended mixing process which I ended up working on quite a bit at home in my studio in Brooklyn. And then I wound up in Los Angeles and met with a mixer named Rick Parker who has done some great stuff like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Lord Huron. I got him to start mixing a couple of the tracks, sent those to Jeff and Richard and they both really liked the way they were coming out. So I wound up spending the better part of a month with Rick just working on mixing that record to finish it. Yeah, it was a long process. A lot of work went into it.

Mike: You come from a musical background of making, recording, and performing music by yourself using pedals. Do you find that is still an element of the RNDM live show?

Joseph: Well, it has been. It’s something I go back to because of the times, I guess. I think I would go back and forth regardless of financial considerations, but certainly in this day and age touring a band requires some thought – you need to get rooms, figure out travel, incidentals, and all of the rest of it. If you’re running a relatively small operation, you can’t always afford to tour the same way time after time so it becomes a thing of necessity. But it’s creatively rewarding for me as well, and it’s something I have been doing for so many years now that I don’t feel particularly trapped by it or that I need to do it. It’s fun to reinvent and re-conceptualize it every couple of years.

I definitely feel like one thing I’m doing this RNDM tour that is reawakening me at this moment is that I like to rock (laughs), and there is only so much that you can rock on stage by yourself. You can rock pretty hard on your own, but it’s good to be playing off of such great musicians like Richard and Jeff.

Mike: I really like the phrase “uncomfortable instrumentation” that you are using in the CV for Ghost Riding. How exactly does one achieve uncomfortable instrumentation?

Joseph: I really think it was just more of the approach of us coming to the table and looking at different things like a cool drum machine app on an iPad – dreaming up some crazy beat while drinking some morning coffee and experimenting with this app, then plugging it through my guitar rig and putting a distortion pedal and a delay on it and then bringing that forward. Jeff would sit at the Mellotron and start playing chords around it, putting some wild Mellotron string sounding chords over it and suddenly you have something. That’s how the song “Trouble” got started. I don’t know who came up with that uncomfortable instrumentation descriptor, but it was a bit of that and a bit of playful instrumentation as well. Like stuff that sort of wakes up that childlike creative spirit within yourself. You are literally giving yourself a toy to play with and write music.

For me, the guitar is a toy to play with, but it is also something I have spent countless hours of obsessive time with. We have a complicated relationship, me and the guitar (laughs) – sometimes it’s just a toy and sometimes it’s more like a relationship, whereas if you pick up some instrument or some music interface on an iPad, it’s different. We used the Pledis drum machine, a bunch of analog gear, a Moog Voyager… basically being open to trying anything that will awaken that sort of playful, experimental spirit and it leads to interesting avenues because when you don’t limit yourself to a certain style or identity, you don’t set those kinds of limitations for yourself, you know? Then styles start to present themselves and you sort of follow them along as you write.

I think when you listen to Ghost Riding, it’s eclectic but it works together because it was all made with the same spirit. Even a song like “NYC Freaks”, which has a kind of a four on the floor seventies disco feel to it, goes really well on the album with a song like “Dream Your Life Away” because it’s coming from that same space of childlike experimentation. But this isn’t to say it leads to childlike fodder musically. Quite the opposite, I find – it tends to take you deeper in.

Mike: I’ve been playing the album for the past couple of days now. I don’t know what I was expecting Joseph, I find it’s a very cohesive album. And a pleasant listening experience.

Joseph: What do you think you were expecting?

Mike: Hmm. This might sound bad… but I didn’t expect it to be what it is. I guess I expected it to be a throw-away jam session and it’s not. This recording reminds me of music by Manic Street Preachers and Modest Mouse. I’m a Jonathan Bates fan and Bates is a musician who has recorded and toured on his own using pedals. I’m seeing some similarities between your material and his, and I’m digging that.

Joseph: Wait, who’s this? Jonathan Bates?

Mike: Yeah. Were you ever into a band called Mellowdrone from about 8 to 10 years ago?

Joseph: No, but I think you’re telling me something I want to check out.

Mike: He’s recording as Big Black Delta now, it’s a variation on what he used to do. Kind of like RNDM is a variation on what you are known for. That’s the similarity for me – your approach to music feels similar. You might like his work.

Joseph: He does it all on his own?

Mike: I believe he does. And he does it well.

Joseph: Cool. I just don’t know how young upstarts make it work. I don’t know how young bands are going to do it – it’s wild out there right now. I am loving playing with Jeff and Richard, having that freedom to just let go and play off of each other. It’s fresh for me.

Mike: And I have to say this – Dine Alone are the kind of label that when they ship you something to check out, you raise an eyebrow to it and make some time to check it out. I get a lot of stuff sent to me as a “journalist” and it’s hard to even put an ear to most of the music you get sent. But anything with Dine Alone attached to it, I try and make time to play. More often than not, the music they are behind is pretty awesome, know what I mean?

Joseph: Yeah. They seem to have a really good reputation in that way, which is cool, but that is disconcerting to hear even though I can imagine it’s absolutely the truth – there’s not enough hours in the day, is there? Even now, my friends will ask if I’ve heard a band and, like you just did there, I’m sure I would love that band. But will I find the time? I’ve never even heard of it, you know? It’s like we are living in this time where there is no centralized information anywhere.

Mike: There’s no centralized place to vet music is there?

Joseph: I don’t even pay attention to the centralized media outlets either, to be honest. I don’t stubbornly ignore them, but at the same time I don’t seek it out either. It’s one of those things now, it’s interesting.

Launching RNDM, and just looking at the mechanics of “How does this work now? How do we make this happen?” Like, would it matter if we went out and toured relentlessly for two months? Could we afford that? Would we get returns from it? I think it could, and it would, but that’s obviously something that we can’t do right now. RNDM has a short touring schedule at the moment. We’ll see if more things open up in the future.

Mike: Do you think you will try and tour RNDM again in 2016?

Joseph: I think we will. But I think that a lot of things have to converge. That’s the dilemma when you are dealing with people with lots of stuff on their plates. (chuckles)

Mike: I’m a Walking Papers fan as well. I look at that band and I think how do they juggle the schedules of Duff McKagan, Barrett Martin, Benjamin Anderson, and Jeff Angell to make music? All these guys are doing different things musically, but there’s an example of a great Seattle band that might take five or six years to make another album, you know? Same story.

Joseph: Right.

Mike: Who was the mystery man in orange who ran out on stage and performed with you at the Gramercy show in New York a few nights ago?

Joseph: Oh, I don’t know if I’m allowed to reveal that. I don’t know if we should keep that mysterious or not, I dunno.

Mike: Will he be on stage in Toronto?

Joseph: Yeah. I dunno, we should give him a name. We should name our mascot. We’ll say that’s Captain Random. (laughs)

Mike: Alright. Fair enough.

Joseph: Captain Random, that’s his name.

Mike: In the past, you have done some mashups of songs while performing live. Is that something you will continue doing on this round of dates?

Joseph: No. What we’ve done so far is we have presented the album from beginning to end and it’s really worked quite well. And then for our encore we have been playing songs from our first album. No real covers this time except for a little homage to Bowie. Interestingly, last night I was wondering what would happen if we flipped it and came out with what we are doing in the encore then play a bunch of the new album, break, and then finish the new album in the encore. I dunno. The show is operating really well right now.

We knew we were going on tour before we got together in Seattle and had five days of rehearsal or whatever, so we were all working individually on it. But still, you have to get together in the room and start doing it as a group, galvanize it and get it to the way you are going to do it live. You want to know it’s going to work. I think we just somehow managed to take a limited amount of time and invented the show together in a way that really works. I don’t know how much we will change it considering I think we only have three more dates left to play. We could move a couple of things around. “Cherries in the Snow” got added in because that song kept getting requested. It’s from our first album.

Mike: How would you as a founding member and core writer describe the difference between Acts and Ghost Riding? Have you had to do that in any of your interviews yet?

Joseph: No, you know, it’s easier to just describe the process on how they came about rather than try and describe a difference. I mean for Acts, Jeff basically flew me and Richard to Montana and we stayed there for four or five days. You’re putting yourself in this position of trying to make something work when you really don’t have any idea it’s going to work at all. In a situation like that, what we did was look at what we had. We weren’t really starting from scratch. I had songs that I hadn’t yet used. “Modern Times” was a song I had going in, “The Disappearing Ones” and “Hollow Girl”. Jeff had a couple of things that were developed already in the studio musically that I would then just sing over, so we sort of put them all together.

And I think there is a cohesion in that record too – the integrated spirit of our time together. When we play those songs they definitely feel as strong and come alive in a way that is different from the new ones. I feel real proud of the new record that we’ve made in that it is definitely a progression and a step forward for us, but I don’t feel like it’s an apology for the first record, you know? I feel like it’s a maturing – like if you listen to a band like the Clash, their first album compared to something like Sandanista, right?

Mike: You hear the progression. I haven’t heard your first one but I can honestly tell you that I did like what I heard on this one, enough that I went and bought vinyl of it today.

Joseph: Oh, great, yeah.

Mike: Well, I ordered it. I know the vinyl is not ready yet. (laughs)

Joseph: Yeah, that’s been a bit of a controversy. But you know, there it is.

Mike: That’s not unusual though. If one orders vinyl now, you go into it knowing that 60 to 70 percent of the time said vinyl will be delayed.

Joseph: Yeah, that’s a current breakdown of the industry right now I think with vinyl. The manufacturing is a nightmare. I have a solo album coming out in a couple of months after this RNDM record on a Canadian label, True North, and also Real World Records in the UK is putting it out. It’s called The Family. Chad Blake, who is a great mixing engineer who’s done music with The Black Keys, Peter Gabriel and Tom Waits mixed and sequenced it. But they are already freaking out on me looking for the final lyrics and the liner notes and the credits, and this is all down to the vinyl thing – to get the vinyl in time, you know?

Mike: Yeah, it’s crazy. Do you recall how you wound up signing to Dine Alone Records?

Joseph: I don’t really know the story of how that happened all that well. My manager is a Canadian, Peter Wark. He’s Montreal based. I don’t know if he had something to do with that, or if it came through Kelly (Curtis) in the Pearl Jam world. Honestly, that’s a good question. With a project like RNDM being a group project, and a group of people with different management working together as well, I don’t actually know. It was just one of those things where “there’s this very cool Canadian label who would like to sign you and they have offered a pretty decent deal and this is probably the way we should go about doing it”. There were a couple of other options we could have done, but I think we just decided that that was the way to go. In the end it was pretty simple. It wasn’t something that was laboured over. At least from my perspective it wasn’t. And they have been great to work with.

 

2016/03/09

REVIEW : RNDM's Ghost Riding - MaximumVolumeMusic


March 9, 2016 by Damian Sullivan



Jeff Ament teams up with Joseph Arthur and Damian finds much to enjoy

RNDM is an alternative rock band consisting of Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, vocalist Joseph Arthur and drummer Richard Stuverud.

Ghost Riding is the trio’s second release following up 2012`s Acts.

Although most people would assume this is Jeff Ament`s side project it certainly isn’t. Joseph Arthur is a well known solo performer in his own right, who has associations with people like Peter Gabriel. His live performances incorporate looping and several distortion techniques. He is an acclaimed painter and designer and has had a sleeve design nominated for a Grammy. Richard Stuverud is also a versatile drummer and has been much sought after playing in acts as diverse as power metal to Blues.

So I was really interested in listening to this offering as unfortunately their previously released album had managed to escape my attention.

The opening track “Stumbling Down” has a nice steady drum beat with an underlying guitar riff and accompanying bass and a strange occasional whirring sound which actually reminded me of the Flaming Lips. I know you shouldn’t go looking for comparisons with other artists but “Comfortable” is really reminiscent of the late great David Bowie’s “This is Not America”.

Title track “Ghost Riding” is a mellow ambient almost trippy tune, this is followed by the more upbeat almost anthemic “Got to Survive “ and I defy you not to be humming the words “We’re gonna die so we got to survive” for hours after this gets into you subconscious.

“Stray” is the single release from the album and I can see why, it’s a great slice of melodic rock come pop and will totally hook you in. I truly loved the varying range of vocals on this piece.

A more intense ballad in the shape of “Stronger Man” follows, almost a soul tune with cracking backing vocals and a great guitar refrain.

“Trouble” is another slower track with heartfelt lyrics and a great hypnotic drum beat Words like “So long, hold on” kept on repeating in my head long after the end of this tune.

A wonderful almost dance beat is the base for “NYC Freaks” and Jeff’s bass comes to the forefront, with a nice trippy guitar refrain and Joseph’s mesmerising vocals layered on top. Just under four minutes of freaky heaven.

Another anthemic near sacred song is shared with “Kingdom in the Sky”, A real uplifting interlude.

“It’s Violence” is an strange, almost bizarre number. Steady drumming, some samples, a guitar break and Mr Arthur’s rhythmic vocals coated on top.

The final track “Dream Your Life Away” is a slow ambient piece which drifts along with some nice piano and guitar interludes thrown in alongside the constant affirmation of the statement “Dream Your Life Away” a nice way to close out this album.

If you come to this release expecting a version of Green River or Mother Love Bone, you’ll have to look elsewhere this certainly ain`t that. Nevertheless this is a superb piece of eleven very eclectic rock songs.

I was reminded of 10CC `s Godley and Crème, Peter Gabriel and INXS at times but maybe that’s just me.

This was a diverse, strange, eccentric album but at the same time uplifting, invigorating and truly exhilarating. These guys are top musicians in their field and this is a wonderful result of their talent.


Rating 9 /10

  

REVIEW : RNDM's Ghost Riding - Kerrang! Magazine





2016/03/08

INTERVIEW : 2016-03-08 The Rules of RNDM (by Sachyn Mital)



"The Rules of RNDM" An Interview with Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament




RNDM BASSIST JEFF AMENT DISCUSSES THEIR NEW ALBUM GHOST RIDING AND HE OFFERS INSIGHT INTO HIS CREATIVE PROCESSES AND EXPRESSES PRIDE IN TOURING WITH PEARL JAM.
RNDM PHOTOS: MYRIAM SANTOS

During a live chat on Twitter in December, Jeff Ament was asked why he doesn’t have his own handle. His kind response was a simple deflection, he was too busy working. Which is understandable. On the music front, Ament and his primary band Pearl Jam were planning a 2016 tour, having just completed a run of shows in South America in the latter half of 2015 as well as headlined the Global Citizen Festival, and are at work on reissuing older albums (presumably Yield and No Code), as well as (hopefully) crafting new material for a future album.

Over the course of 2015, Ament, with his pals Richard Stuverud (The Fastbacks) and Joseph Arthur (Fistful of Mercy), spent time recording, mixing and preparing RNDM‘s second album, Ghost Ridingwhich was released last Friday, three and a half years after their debut Acts.

RNDM Instrumentation

With 2012’s Acts, RNDM released a solid album built upon the musicians’ core instruments, guitar, bass and drums. When it came time to record Ghost Riding, RNDM stepped things up in the musical department. In the album’s press release, Ament explained that the band was “pushing [themselves] creatively with new songwriting approaches.” Listening to the album, the sonic evolution is clear. But it wasn’t a deliberate decision by the band to go in this direction.

Ament describes the process, “Well I think it was accidental. There was a little bit of talk before we got together. What albums or what artists are going to be our spirit animals. We talked about David Sylvian; we talked about Talk Talk. That put us in a certain mindset. We had keyboards set up and some electronic drums. Joe had a bunch of drum machines on his iPad.”

“The first day it happened that Joe and I woke up earlier than Richard. And I said, ‘do you have a beat?’ He pulled up a drum machine and started playing a beat. I went over to the keyboards and started playing something.”

“By the time Richard came over, we already had two parts. When he went out to play drums, I picked up the bass; Joe picked up the guitar. We created a method on how we were gonna make a record by that first sort of mistake (starting off with a drum machine and a real simple keyboard melody).”

“Consequently, probably six or seven of the songs on the record were done that way. It felt new to us—a way to put down like a super basic melody and chord progression that would be easy to put more melodies and more instrumentation over the top. Really different for me in terms of how I’ve worked with other bands.”

Arthur, prolific in his own right, having released more than five albums in the last five years, had the primary responsibility of writing all of the Ghost Riding lyrics, plus he guided some of the final mixing stages for the album. Ament explained the process, “We recorded the initial stuff in my studio in Montana then we went into Studio Litho, which is Stone [Gossard]‘s studio in Seattle, for two weeks. Joe wrote a good chunk of the lyrics during that time. We mixed it once, then Joe decided he wanted to have a go at mixing it. He actually added a lot of instrumentation and a lot of extra vocals and worked super hard on fleshing it out a little more.”

“It was as much of a process as any record as I’ve ever been involved in. It was a good solid year of us, a couple of recording sessions, three different mix sessions, trying to make it right. There was a lot of discussion on the instrumentation and the arrangements. It was a lot of work—a lot more work than the first record.”

RNDM Selection

Ghost Riding has a variety of instrumentation worth exploring in depth. So rather than inundate Ament, I asked him about two tracks that stood out to me. One, “NYC Freeks”, recently available for streaming, glistens with a disco / funk vibe unlike any others on the album.

“Richard and I have always jammed [and] been into the white funk of [David] Bowie. Robert Palmer, Power Station—that era of white funk. So we have a thing that we can go into rhythmically. [On] that first record, “Walking through New York” [has] a similar disco / funk vibe. We took “NYC Freeks” to the next level in terms of the drum machine; the way Joe is playing guitar is so Nile Rodgers. That dance, disco funk is in all of us. It’s probably something we might not do in our other bands. It’s under the rules of RNDM.”

Another track that wouldn’t fit within Pearl Jam’s musical structure is “Stronger Man”. The song begins with a sample from an outgoing prison phone call (which immediately reminded me of the calls Adnan Syed had made countless times for Serial) and contains two distinct, compelling voices.

“That happened in the studio. We’re asking questions about the lyrics and Joe explains this perspective of this guy who goes to prison and the conversation that he has with his wife or his partner (or whoever it is). That wasn’t how I was hearing it when I was listening to the song. It just sounded like a couple having a conversation. But then, when he created this visual element, it became, ‘how do you make that part poke through a little bit more?’ So we just Googled, “prison messages” and came up with one that fit. It sets a crazy tone for that song. It makes it really sad.”

RNDM Design

Even before their first public appearance, RNDM sought to break the rules. They developed a brash persona that immediately set them apart from Pearl Jam, A Fistful of Mercy and Fastbacks (or practically any other contemporary rock band) by donning aggressive ski masks and striking neon orange jumpsuits. It wasn’t clear why they possessed such a bold attitude but Ament distilled the process.

“When we were making the first record, we were like, ‘Wow, we have seven or eight songs’. Then we started joking, this is gonna be the record and we’re gonna do the world tour. That turned into us fantasizing about what we were gonna wear. Basically it was just us riffing back and forth, but not in a serious fashion. I said, ‘well this band has to be everything that my other band wouldn’t be’. Like, if I have these unwritten rules of things that I can’t do or shouldn’t do, being a 50 year old rock musician, this band is gonna be all of those things. I’m not afraid to do all the things that seem silly or uncool.”

“Wearing fluorescent orange and ski masks fit perfectly. That part has been really fun. As long as it’s not gonna break the bank or whatever—you can realize a lot of ideas pretty simply. The orange thing seemed simple. I mean it caught on. Maroon 5 wore all orange on SNL.” [Laughs]


RNDM appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show back in 2012, but there are no TV appearances planned yet to support Ghost Riding. They did create two music videos, for the title track and “Stray”, back to back in one day after they had finished mixing the album and when their schedules aligned.

“I was in New York for [the] Global Poverty Project show at Central Park. It all happened really quick. We’ve made a ton of videos with Joseph’s buddy Ehud [Lazin] who’s super-fast and super up for anything, even if it means borderline breaking the law. He’s helping [us] realize all that stuff. Christian, who works with us up here, was in town and helped us get the bikes. We spray painted the bikes. Over the course of that day we made the video[s].”

“I can’t think of too many times in my life when making videos was fun but almost all videos for this band have been a blast—putting ski masks on and painting BMX bikes orange and riding around Brooklyn. Being silly.”

RNDM was free to be silly in the music videos since the recorded music would be overlaid on the visuals. But the band does have to prepare for a short run of live shows. By incorporating that additional instrumentation for the record, but remaining a three piece band, the prospects of a live performance must have become more challenging.

Ament confesses, “This band is a little trickier. It’s gonna be tricky playing this record because there’s a lot of keyboards and overdubs. We’re trying to figure out how do you trigger all that stuff. Can we play something and loop it and then play over it? Or do we have things in loopers. I’m actually down at the warehouse working through all that initial stuff. Joe’s been working on all that stuff back in Brooklyn. We’ll have all next week to [prepare]. It will be more preparation in some ways than a Pearl Jam tour because it’s only three of us. And we’re only going out for seven or eight shows. It’s a lot of preparation for a short amount of time.


RNDM Brushstrokes

Ament is a man with many extracurricular activities including music, basketball, art, philanthropy and skateboarding. Those interests have informed his being and given him a definition of self. In the past several years, Ament has incorporated the latter two interests into his charitable endeavor, the Montana Pool Service, through which he supports the building of skateparks in his home state. He puts a lot of his own money into the efforts and has helped build over a dozen parks. So, I commended him for his charity and also asked what springs of inspiration he draws from on a day-to- day basis.

“If we have time off, a perfect day is wake up and take the dogs for a walk. Then come back and paint a little bit. Then make lunch. Then go into the studio and knock something out. And it’s all within like a hundred feet of each other. [Laughs]

“Then it’s time to go back outside. So maybe you go into town and you skateboard for an hour and then come back and make dinner and paint a little bit more. If you’re still inspired, then sometimes you’ll go back in the studio and work ‘til late. If there’s something worthy that you id earlier, sometimes it takes getting away from it for a few hours. In between that, I might be out painting the bottom of a skateboard or, like every tour, I usually get a couple of bass bodies and necks and I paint ‘em up. You go into the tour with some different colors and different things written on the back of the bass just to inspire you. Those are thrown into the mix.

“So it’s all being creative all the time or creating space to help you think through your ideas. When you’re walking the dogs, you might be humming the melody of the thing you put down in the studio earlier that day. And then you hum into your phone and then you go back and put a keyboard over that. And that’s that melody. That’s sort of the ultimate day. That’s my “work” day. I think it all sort of inspires each other.

“You get inspired by different mediums at different times. The last few years I’ve been painting a lot more. I went to art school for a couple of years like twenty-seven years ago and was painting a lot in those days. Then when I got in bands, the graphic part of it, making t-shirts and album covers and all that stuff, sort of took precedence. You get into this mode of creating something that is representing the band. Sometimes that is not always something that’s specifically coming from you. You think, ‘what does this record sound like?’ or ‘what does this band look like?’ and you create something in that regard. In the last few years, I’ve been painting and drawing just for me. There’s no end result. I’m not having a show. It’s doing art to do art. Sometimes that’s the most satisfying.

“I think everybody, in both bands, is always working on music. Before Pearl Jam goes into the studio, I don’t know what makes me go like, ‘well I’ll put these six songs on a tape and see.’ I think maybe Ed[die Vedder] will respond to this. Or I would love to hear what Stone [Gossard] or Mike [McCready] do with this. [Or] I can’t wait to see what Matt [Cameron] comes up with. I’m making music to make music. Music that entertains me and puts me in a position to do something new, do a different chord progression or a different riff. Experimenting. Doing things you haven’t done before.

“The difference with the RNDM record is we didn’t come in with anything. The idea was we are gonna write stuff on the spot. Create stuff from the ground up. There’s something pretty magical about making music that way too because it feels like the stuff comes out of thin air. It’s cool to be in the room, working on an overdub and you see Joe outside working on lyrics and then sing a killer melody with great words.”

Last year, I caught a set of Joseph Arthur’s during which he painted a barrel in between songs. He was (presumably) conveying what was coming to him at that moment. Could an audience anticipate any collaborative RNDM live painting?

“Probably not, that’s kind of [Joseph’s] thing. If he started painting a painting on a RNDM show, I would feel obliged to go paint because that would be the band’s stage at that point. As long as I brought my own paints I guess.”

Even if he doesn’t bring his own paints, if Ament finds time when on the road, he may hit up an art gallery or exhibition. On a recent visit to New York, he popped into a particularly moving exhibition.

“One of the great fringe benefits of touring is being able to go to art museums. The last time that we were in New York, Raymond Pettibon had a show in Chelsea. That was super inspiring because he was doing stuff that he had never done before—taking old, sort of failed paintings and making collages out of them. Some of them are just crazy. It made you wonder, ‘how many failed paintings does he have?’

But I’ve always loved his art and so just to be in town when he had a show going on and see something brand new from him. He’s the guy who did the all the Black Flag stuff. He actually created the Black Flag bars and came up with the name. He does great social, political commentary. A lot of times the paintings are inspired by quotes or things that he’s written down. He doesn’t seem like he has any boundaries. Some of the stuff is shocking. Some has really acerbic social commentary. It’s cool to see an artist have so much freedom. ‘Cause it feels like he’s kind of not afraid to write anything or to paint anything. That’s inspiring too.”



RNDM Citizen

Like his bandmates in Pearl Jam, Ament is not one to shy away from social or political commentary. In 2016, the U.S. political machine has been spinning wildly ahead of the presidential election. In that 2015 live chat, Ament suggested Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – Mass) would be the ideal president. As she’s not running, who does he personally feel more excited for, Bernie Sanders or Hilary Clinton?

“I’ll be totally honest, it’s really hard to listen to Bernie or Hilary’s voice. The tonality of their voices are really hard to listen to. There’s this selfish part of me where you’re like which voice do I want to listen to for the next four years.

“[But] when you look at the repercussions of the Democrats losing this election… Obamacare could fall and Roe versus Wade could fall… If we have a Republican president and a Republican Congress, that’s the stuff that gets you fired up. You’re like, ‘we have to fight this stuff’ and we have to get people out to vote. We have to get involved in the process.”

“I’m fired up again—especially [after] losing a not-great justice and wanting to be 100% sure that, whether it is Obama or the next president, they get somebody in [the Supreme Court] that is representing younger people and the way they think. Progressivism is good.”

So, what’s in store for Pearl Jam in 2016? This year marks the band’s 25th anniversary, but also, given Pearl Jam’s historical political involvement on the Vote for Change Tour or your own support for Jon Tester should we expect anything on either front?

“We don’t have any plans for PJ25. And I think largely because PJ20 really does almost feel like it was last year. That’s how fast time goes at this point. Going out and playing shows, having people show up, having our fans be so great and so engaged in the shows—all the shows that we play feel like celebrations. I’m enjoying acknowledging that on stage more than I ever have and really taking that in and being humbled by it. Being really proud of what we’ve created as a band and the decisions that we’ve made. That’s the PJ25 answer.

“The political answer – we don’t have any plans. Beyond the shows this summer is trying to get into the studio and mess around a little bit. That’s always exciting for me. Everybody’s ready for the challenge and everybody’s ready to do something different. Maybe the last couple of records have been trying a different formula. Everybody’s sort of on board with that. It feels like there’s inspiration, like people are inspired right now. That’s exciting.”

Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

RNDM TOUR DATES
March 4, 2016 - Seattle - The Crocodile
March 7, 2016 - New York - Gramercy Theatre
March 8, 2016 - Washington DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
March 9, 2016 - Philadelphia - The Foundry at The Fillmore
March 11, 2016 - Boston - Brighton Music Hall
March 13, 2016 - Toronto - Mod Club
March 15, 2016 - Chicago - Double Door


2016/03/07

REVIEW : RNDM's Ghost Riding - mxdwn.com



KALYN OYER MARCH 7TH, 2016 - 9:00 AM


Forgive Yourself, You’re a Human Being

Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam has a heavy influence over his alt-rock trio project, RNDM, though the heavy rock and roll has been replaced with an experimental electronic underlay and softer compilation and orchestral touches. There is even a strong shift from RNDM’s debut 2012 disc Acts. This time around, there is a gorgeous balance between happiness and sadness, mostly the former in the sonic composition and the latter in the lyrics.

Ament’s influence is easily noticed in first track “Stumbling Down” of new album Ghost Riding. Vocalist/guitarist Joseph Arthur may have a less distinctive tone, but the sentiment is still very much in the same vein as Eddie Vedder. The overall sound of this piece is astonishingly similar to Pearl Jam. “I know, you know, we’re still young” stands out as a line from third/title track “Ghost Riding,” which incorporates a more symphonic build and breaks away from the Pearl Jam vibes. The sound is fresh and light, while the lyrics provide a balance of the whimsy of youth and dark honesty of adulthood that comes with life experience. “So don’t take me far from home. I’m still afraid.”

“Got to Survive” is decidedly poppy, with higher vocals floating happily with lyrics, “We’re going to die.” The juxtaposition is lovely, and there are several harmonizing touches, as well as electronic background noises that accentuate the chorus. “Stray” has a groovy beat right off the bat, thanks to drummer Richard Stuverud and some airy layers that float up easily, led by a driving momentum that feels effortless.

“Stronger” starts off with an automated voicemail. “17 messages.” This leads immediately into something hauntingly dark, with strings and piano beautifully constructing the storyline. The drop into the meat of the song is backed with some powerful vocals, before sinking back into the despairing monologue. The sonic touches are impeccable, with uncomfortable instrumentation driving the ballad. A scene forms as lyrics are slowly revealed, and the music fully creates the story like an important piece of the soundtrack in a motion picture.

“Trouble” opens with unique clacking noises that sound before the orchestral build softly begins. The build is strange but intoxicating, and as vocals begin, the listener is hooked. The chorus hits and is simply the hookiest thing on the whole disc. “So long. I’m gone,” is repeated over a happy pop beat, echoed by “Hold on, hold on.” Again, the juxtaposition is incredibly profound.

The vocals in “NYC Freeks” return to Pearl Jam vibes, while a dance beat grooves underneath, taking it far away from the electric guitar realm and into something funky fresh. “Kingdom in the Sky” then starts in simplicity, with a soft, catchy beat and slowly builds layers that explode into a textured chorus full of soaring sopranos. “Forgive yourself, you’re a human being” is the line that sticks out. Whoa.

“It’s Violence” is dreamily dark, while “Dream Your Life Away” is violently soft. The sonic underlay drifts, while the guitar and electronic layers of the chorus create an emotional stimulant to the solemn lyrics. The final line is a foreshadowing: “I’m gonna wait to let you in.” RNDM has given us a taste, but the best is yet to come.


 

2016-03-04 - RNDM - Crocodile Café, Seattle


My infinite gratitude to Grumpella for having recorded the concert and share it with me .... and you!




Setlist :

01 Stumbling Down

02 Comfortable

03 Ghost Riding

04 Got to Survive

05 Stray

06 Stronger Man

07 Trouble

08 NYC Freaks

09 Kingdom in the Sky

10 It's Violence

11 Dream Your Life Away

12 -encore break-

13 Modern Times

14 The Disappearing Ones

15 What You Can't Control

16 Hollow Girl




If you want FLAC Recording, please let a comment or send me a mail !






REVIEW : RNDM's Ghost Riding - Gigslutz.co.uk


By James Van Praag

4 stars of 5 !!



After 13 years of mutual affection RNDM finally got in the studio and released their debut in 2012, and 4 years later comes an album that makes a mockery of the feared second album cliché.

With a founding member of Pearl Jam in their ranks and the record released by the brilliantly influential Dine Alone, this is a collective immersed in alt-rock history.

Like the entire album, title track ‘Ghost Riding’ contains a groove that is immediately infectious and singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur delivers an at-times intense vocal performance. These are three established artists who have enough credit to get creative, but not self serving, and the result is a set of tracks that sound effortless but still so complete.

For those getting Pearl Jam or Seattle alarm bells, settle down, this is more likely to get filed next to Everything Everything. ‘Got To Survive’ has the sound of a summer top down anthem, and ‘Stray’ has a very Brit-indie feel to it.

Throughout the album, which is wonderfully knitted together, the strength of pairing the harmonious rhythm section with beautifully written paired lyrics is consistent. As you may expect from so many years of experience and influence the range of styles is broad, but shrewdly this serves to make the album more inclusive rather than dividing.

It seems unlikely that we will get to hear the melodious ‘NYC Freaks’ or more anthemic ‘Trouble’, which is unfortunate as it would lend itself nicely to the live scene.

In 2016 there isn’t a lot that sounds like RNDM, but if you can live with a record that sounds vibrant, contemporary and ridiculously proficient then you might just love it.

Ghost Riding is out now via Dine Alone Records.