Scene legends I See Stars have returned with their latest album Treehouse which was released on June 17th via Sumerian Records. The album is the first since the second departure of vocalist Zach Johnson, as well as guitarist Jimmy Gregerson so the band has become a bit bare in recent months. Read more
Electronicore titans I See Stars have been keeping a low profile recently; since the release of New Demons back in 2013 the band have lost two long-running members in guitarist Jimmy Gregerson and vocalist Zach Johnson and have battled the odds (their Facebook even got hacked to post Islamist militant propaganda) to get to this release.
The record also sees drummer Andrew Oliver take a huge swap to co-vocals, keyboards and programming while The Word Alive drummer and YouTube star Luke Holland filled in on drums.
“When going into an album I always find myself overwhelmed with every emotion I possess. Everything we’ve been grateful to do and achieve over the last few years, all the tragedy that has overwhelmed this world, and the heartbreak I have endured as a musician and person is written all across this album,” says vocalist Devin Oliver. “I’ve lost some of my closest friends the last couple years. My heart was ripped out of my chest for the first time in my entire life. In those moments I was sure I was staring fear and pain straight in the eyes for the first time. This album lyrically is the most powerful album this band has released. I feel the dynamic between Andrew and I has never been stronger and more in sync. We’ve been lucky enough to have so many great people involved with the Treehouse movement. I’ve never been more proud of the band I am apart of and the evolution we have been able to embrace. To all our fans that have stood by us through everything and to all my friends and family whom i love – this one’s for you.”
Keyboardist/ex-drummer Andrew Oliver says, “Treehouse was a spiritual journey for me. It started immediately after our last tour as a 6 piece in 2014. It hit me like a freight train that things needed to change within the band. I had thought it and even expressed the idea of change before. The day we got home we finally found the courage to be honest with ourselves about our dreams. I didn’t even realise it at the time. I was an ever-changing, self enlightening, evolving person. It did not bother me for a while that certain people around me were taking a different path in their life completely unaware of it’s effect on the band. Before the change up, I had been pushing myself in the direction of music production with my ambient dance music project Dream Beach. Finding salvation in a different scene of creatives. A scene driven by a love for music and not money or fame. It was like I renewed my faith in music and the power it has. I felt like I was hearing the audible version of my soul for the first time. It became very apparent to me that this was what I wanted to do with my life. Using my love for drumming and melody I decided that it was time for me to align everything in my life. Playing the drums was not all I wanted out of my life. I had been producing a lot of the electronics for the band for a long time as well as writing lyrics side by side with Devin. Taking the position as live electronics/keys/vocals feels like a new set of dreams and experiences to me. I feel like I did when I first started touring. The sky was no longer the limit. Further exploring/experimenting with the divide between electronics and heavy rock music in a live performance context. This is my dream. This album is us taking everything that we love from hip-hop, drum and bass, pop, dubstep, trap , R&B, footwork, metal, post-rock and throwing it in a melting pot with zero expectation. I’ve never felt more connection to my roots from where this started; to the music lover I am now. I’ve listened to this album so many times and it still makes me feel so alive. From start to finish. Some songs speak on issues that need attention, some were just an absolute blast to make. At the end of the day we make music to either have fun or to express ourselves, or BOTH! We just want to push boundaries and open minds and make memories with people who’ve been with us for nearly a decade.”
Treehouse is now available in stores, iTunes, Google Play and Spotify along with all other usual sites.
Have a taste with latest music video for Break here:
The second record from genre-fusers ISSUES is here, with Headspace as its title. The record is first since the departure of Scout Acord from the permanent lineup of the band though is still produced and played on by him.
During the writing/recording process, vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn spoke a lot about it being a risky album with a lot of genre-breaking and irregular tactics employed but the product has come out far differently; it sounds like a progression of the style and musicianship of the members and a further exploration of their individual styles and talents rather than a change entirely. The most remarkable exploration is that of bassist Sky Acord, who until now has been used predominantly to play djent/metalcore-style riffs on his 5-string but you just have to listen to first single The Realest to hear that his funky, rhythmic style is coming out in full swing on this record.
Following the release of the Diamond Dreams EP, the band have incorporated some of the acoustic-sounding electronics in the start of some tracks (most notably to kick off Yung & Dum) and this brings a new feel to the tracks that the mainly industrial and garage electronics of the first full-length never brought; an emotion to a sound that is generated by a machine. In addition, the clean(ish) vocals from Michael mark a move in his role in the band from “screamer/unclean” to just an all round “vocalist”, and his slightly more gruff voice contrasts nicely with Tyler’s pop/hiphop-mastery in his vocals and when combined with the electronics makes for some beautiful moments within the fibre of the tracks.
The album is littered with the metalcore influences especially in the guitar and drum parts with downtuned guitars often as low as drop A# and sometimes even A, with a lot of open chording and dystopian bends, coupled with double-kick beats and cymbal crashes over the top which leave the record being pretty heavy, especially in tenth track Blue Wall.
Looking just from a vocal perspective, the harmonies of Tyler’s cleans, Michael’s semi-cleans and uncleans and backing/gang vocals bring a huge sound that can be matched by very few bands in the modern market and when this is coupled with Sky’s funk basslines and the super heavy rhythm of drummer Josh and djent-style leads from AJ it makes an (in parts) unbelievably heavy yet inherently listenable 13 songs and frankly this is one of the best releases of the last 12 months.
Standout songs from the 13 are first single The Realest for its fantastic opening to the record and setting the tone for the new ISSUES era, second single COMA for its funky opening riff and soaring chorus while having crushing moments, and Hero for being the most soulful and demonstrative song of the lot for showing what this band is and what it can be, proving they can do what they like with aplomb.
Headspace will be released Friday May 20th in stores
The third (and presumably final) track to be released before ISSUES‘ Headspace is released next Friday is here, by the name of Blue Wall, and you can listen to it below!
The track follows the mood set by the first two songs, though is easily the heaviest of the three while it takes on the rap-metal style raps and heavy instrumentals with Michael’s screams over the top.
This record will be huge. Check it out next Friday (May 20th).