Ahead of Bradley Riot’s upcoming full-length titled Dark Side of the Road, Dying Scene is pleased to bring you the second single titled “Port to Port”, an introspective tale of a great journey, not across seas to new lands, but of finding one’s self through first giving in to, then later abandoning, self-destructive behavior. “‘Port […]
Ahead of Bradley Riot’s upcoming full-length titled Dark Side of the Road, Dying Scene is pleased to bring you the second single titled “Port to Port”, an introspective tale of a great journey, not across seas to new lands, but of finding one’s self through first giving in to, then later abandoning, self-destructive behavior.
“‘Port to Port” is a song about being stuck in a loop of repeating the same negative habits, specifically when it comes to love. It’s about seeking external solutions for internal problems,” wrote Bradley. “I’d say one of my favorite lyrics in the song is: ‘I’m setting course for blacking out.’ It equates to me completely giving up and leaning into defeat, setting the intention of ignoring the issue instead of trying to solve it.”
One thing that’s become much more apparent since the Covid shutdown, at least in my own musical bubble, is the introspective nature of music both written and recorded during that time. Although as a concept this is nothing new, especially in the realm of punk-rock, when the world is forced into solitude, music lacking outward-looking themes is almost inevitable. I’ve found myself paying far closer attention to this idea, and usually try to question any artist I’m lucky enough to interview (Adrienne Rae of Plasma Canvas, Matt Goud of Northcote). Bradley was no different, and offered some unique insights that most likely resonate with much of what the punk-rock world was struggling with at that same point.
“Covid was definitely a major hurdle,” wrote Bradley. “I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had to postpone recording sessions in order for someone to get well or test negative. It was a massive time killer.”
He then explains some of the other hurdles that were faced in writing and recording Dark Side of the Road, while also dealing with the overarching headache that was and still is Covid. Writing while simultaneously recording was highlighted, something that since talking with Sam King of Get Dead and Codefendants has become a trait I greatly admire. But the third struggle Bradley listed, that of sobriety, was what really amped me up and got me excited to hear the portrayed journey throughout this new record.
“Many of the vocals were sang between swigs of Jameson or after a night of heavy cocaine usage. Sometimes, that made for a fun vocal texture, but, more often than not, it was just problematic. After I decided to get clean, we revisited the album as a whole, took it back to square one, and I re-sang almost every line. Approaching the songs with a different mindset really opened them up and I’m grateful for (co-producer) Kevin Besignano’s compassion towards the process.”
In the short back-and-forth I’ve had with Bradley, “Port to Port” seems like a much more focused, direct version of what the full-length hopes to portray: “the idea of being a victim to oneself”.
Check out the brand new single below, and keep your eyes peeled October 13 for the full-length release of Dark Side of the Road.
Dark subject matter is no new theme to Fort Collins punk rock band Plasma Canvas, and it’s one of several components that drew me their way following KILLERMAJESTIC‘s 2020 release, their debut on SideOneDummy. The duo-turned-quartet captured this essence even more so with their upcoming full-length Dusk, which hits the streets today also via SideOneDummy. […]
Dark subject matter is no new theme to Fort Collins punk rock band Plasma Canvas, and it’s one of several components that drew me their way following KILLERMAJESTIC‘s 2020 release, their debut on SideOneDummy. The duo-turned-quartet captured this essence even more so with their upcoming full-length Dusk, which hits the streets today also via SideOneDummy. The opening track titled “Hymn” serves as a soft, yet triumphant prelude to a kick-ass, emotionally gripping record that already holds a firm spot towards the top of my end-of-the-year Top 10 Records of the Year list.
What immediately stood out to me about this release was how well-crafted it was. It has a fluidity that I have trouble finding comparisons to and each track compels you to check out the next. As we discuss more in-depth during our chat, vocalist/guitarist and band founder Adrienne Rae Ash describes a cyclical record as almost being the end goal, something that, in my opinion, was very much achieved with this release. Although some tracks do slow down in tempo, this record has no soft spots and I’m confident this will rank well on other Best Records of the Year as well.
What also caught my attention was the tendency away from what I became familiar with as the ‘Plasma Canvas sound’. Although this release still encompasses everything an early PC fan could want, songs such as the opener “Hymn” and eighth track “Dusk” (clocking in at close to 9 minutes) are unlike anything previously released by the group, but in all the best ways. In what can be at least partially attributed to the band’s shift from a two-piece to a four-piece, they hit the nail on the head with every fuckin’ track on this thing.
I had the great pleasure of sitting down (over zoom) with Adrienne Rae Ash, the mastermind behind Plasma Canvas. We covered all kinds of great stuff including the impact COVID had on the writing of Dusk, how things have been taking the DIY route to booking shows, and what it’s like playing with Miles Stevenson, son of Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson, plus a whole lot more. Keep scrolling for their upcoming dates and where to pick up the new release. As always, thanks for checking out the site. Cheers!
2/17/23 – 7th Circle – Denver, CO – w/ Cheap Perfume, SPELLS, Wiff 2/18/23 – Vultures – CO Springs, CO – w/ Cheap Perfume, SPELLS, Bad Year 3/4/23 – Aggie Theatre – Fort Collins, CO – w/ Attack On Venus, Caustic Soda, Spliff Tank
(Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity’s sakebecause a good chunk of this interview was just us shooting the shit.)
Dying Scene (Nathan Kernell NastyNate): Hey Adrienne, how are you doing?
Adrienne Rae Ash: I’m great man! This is really cool, I wanted to say thanks for wanting to do this. I’m trying to let everybody know about the record and it’s cool that you were interested to talk about it.
Yeah absolutely. Congrats, by the way, this is such a good record. I’m just gonna go ahead and say, I know it’s early in the year, but when we do like our top ten records of the year for Dying Scene, this is going to be on mine. This thing flows so well from beginning to end, you start out with kind of a soft hymn, I mean that’s the name of the song, but you start off soft and then end that song and you get right into it. And you don’t slow down until track nine I think, then you get back into it again. I mean this is just such an unbelievable record, I’m very excited for it to be released. So did you plan that out at all with how it flowed, starting out soft and then kind of hitting hard and then ending soft; was that something you sought out to do?
Yeah, kind of. I sought to make it kind of cyclical, but also you know in general, it’s always been something I do, that sequence is always there whenever I’m writing the songs. Whenever I have new ideas, even when they’re still in like their infancy, I can kind of tell where they would fit next to each other or if they would at all. I’m always conscious of that and you know some of my favorite records are those records that kind of just guide you, they feel like you’re in a specific place that you go to when you listen to this record. Just the way that it ties together and the way the songs work together is just something that I’ve always found to be another opportunity to create something really cool. Specifically with this record and with our EP KILLERMAJESTIC I did the same thing, I was conscious of you know I wanted to start really heavy and then get tender toward the end. I wanted to just leave a mark and make something that I could be proud of whenever I’m older, I wanted to make something timeless and that’s sort of what I set out to do by just like choosing what I felt was the most important thing to leave. I’m not one of those artists that writes like 20 or 30 songs and then just chops out the ones I don’t like, I don’t really like to continue writing a song if I’m not 100% in love with it. The sequencing is definitely a big part of that.
Yeah that’s something that really stuck out to me, it fits so well together and flows so smoothly. So what are some of your favorite tracks off of this that you’re excited for people to hear?
Well first, as you were mentioning the flow of it, I think a lot of credit has to go to the Blasting Room, just the way that they drew all the sound together. Andrew Berlin and Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore, they just drew the best out of it and they made it all work together in sequence and it was awesome. So to add to that, the songs that I can’t wait for people to hear, it’s hard to choose because there’s a lot of entry points and it’s the entry point that you have to a record that almost kind of colors how you see. With our previous EP, if you got introduced with the very first track it’s like ‘Okay, this is like the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard, why does everything else sound like a little wimpy in comparison’. But if you maybe heard “Saturn” first you’d be like dang the band that made this song that kind of sounds like “Basket Case” also did this like super sludgy weird thing that’s kind of different. So right now there are three singles that I’m really stoked on. The first one we put out was “Blistered World” and then we put out “Need” and then “Election Year Relapse.” Of those three, it’s hard to choose a favorite because they’re all about different things, but they’re all kind of very strong emotions. I guess my favorite one that we’ve had come out and I’m glad that it’s starting to do really well, you know 105.5 the Colorado Sound has been playing it on the radio, “Need.” I really like “Need” a lot and it’s like a 6-minute song, I think there’s a lot of really cool, accessible stuff that’s going on there. But also like I wrote it in May of 2020 and so it’s good to see this song do well that I wrote about how much I’ve missed the feeling of being at a show, the community you end up creating, playing those shows and the friends that you have. Like having the absence of all of that and really just feeling how much that hurt you, that’s what went into that song and to see that song being released and people hearing it and it resonating with people and playing it live is awesome. I’m just really excited to play that one to as many people as possible because it was about like that exact feeling, like I cannot believe that I’m lucky enough to be here and do this.
Yeah that leads pretty well into what I wanted to talk about next. So KILLERMAJESTIC was released during COVID, what are some of the main differences you see from releasing this in a time when everything with COVID has kind of settled down versus releasing right in the heat of the shutdown?
Releasing KILLERMAJESTIC, it was one of the worst times of our lives and I hate to say that. Evelyn and I, we were the only people in the band at the time and if you look at the back cover of that record, she and I had gone and done these photo booth pictures, just being goofy and you know we decided to use it for the back of the record. It really just made me sad that we took those photos in what I think like January and when the record came out in June the circumstances had just changed so dramatically. At that point we were working with a booking agent who helped get us on with Lagwagon and Less Than Jake. It was supposed to be like the thing that did it for us. This record is a different experience in a positive way because I couldn’t have made it before COVID. I think that kind of thing in general is hard to quantify but I couldn’t have made this record when I was younger, there’s a weight to it that I’ve put into it that I don’t think I was ready to do. There’s a certain amount of contextualized spiritual weight that lives in a record where you’ve had a little bit more time to experience. Specifically with releasing KILLERMAJESTIC in the middle of the pandemic with this skate punk song called “Firecracker” that like belongs on a Tony Hawk soundtrack, trying to get people stoked on this in the middle of everyone’s loved ones passing away, not what we wanted or what we needed. So that was a really rough time and then just having everything at first get pushed back, so you retained hope and then everything was clear that it was not being pushed back, but it was just gone and wasn’t coming back for a very long time, years. Being so close to doing everything that you thought you were going to be doing and having all your plans go out the window, that was rough. This time around, this record was written in like in one room, I just did it on my laptop, that was the way I wrote most of it just to get me through living a life without shows and without music. There was hardly any interpersonal interaction so it’s a very lonely record, it’s a very introspective record and it kind of sucked to make but I’m excited to go do something with it because it’s what we have. I’m happy with what we’ve made because it’s honest and it might not be the most happy thing to listen to, but it’s definitely an honest time capsule for where I was at 30 and 31.
I think introspective, that’s a really good word to use. I’ve done a few of these interviews where these bands had their last release right during COVID like yours. I think that’s a great word to summarize it up with these releases that they maybe wrote during COVID that are getting released now, they’re very honest and very introspective.
Another topic I wanted to hit on was going from a two-pieceto a four-piece. I’ve always known Plasma Canvas as a two-piece, but talking to Henry beforehand, he said it was kind of a long story for going from a two-piece to a four-piece, but also that the four-piece that’s recorded is different from who’s touring, could you walk me through kind of how that happened a little bit?
Well it’s been a ride. Originally, it wasn’t anything, it was a collection of songs and to tell the story about going from a two-piece to a four-piece is to also tell the story about going from whatever it was to a two-piece. So when I moved here from St. Louis I had a bunch of songs that I had written and I wanted to just document them. I was inspired by like Laura Jane Grace, she was a big one. There were really no other trans rock stars that I resonated with at the time of this, other than like G.L.O.S.S. I had these songs that I wanted to document somehow and so I made a record with this guy that I found on Craigslist named Dave Sites and we tracked everything. We were not ready to record, it’s very loose, it’s not a very good record *laughs*. But it wasn’t supposed to be a two-piece band, it was just like I wrote these songs and I’m fine with just playing whatever and know I just need someone to play the drums. We ended up like enjoying playing as a two-piece and I was really into this sound of plugging like a Chinese counterfeit Gibson Les Paul into like some fuzz pedals and a bass amp. It just turned into being a two-piece thing and it was never really intended to be one, but you know I like ‘68 and The White Stripes and Royal Blood and all those bands. I was like ‘sure, this could be fun, let’s see where this goes.’ After a while, it became a practicality because it was easier just to hang out with one person and only have one other schedule to work with one other opinion to run things through, so we kept operations small to keep it true and honest; like not have a bunch of people poisoning the well. But also in doing that over time, I kind of realized that that was stifling the process, like a self-imposed creative limitation. Whenever Evelyn started playing with me in 2017 it solidified as a two-piece thing and it was very much a part of our identity. Every time somebody would tell us to get a bass player, we’d tell them to fuck off *laughs*. But I think the idea was there the whole time, I wrote baselines that are on the first record and on our first EP No Faces. I played bass parts and sang. KILLERMAJESTIC was the only one that I had just the guitar and bass amp and a bunch of guitar amps, there was no bass. But you know it kind of just needed to happen eventually because I felt the same like two-piece cliches coming of just putting various spins on what other people are already doing and you know. I felt that it was just what needed to be done to be true to the songs.
Right, that makes a ton of sense coming from the idea of limiting yourself by only having two members.
From the beginning of the project, Plasma Canvas, that name comes from just wanting to be vulnerable and share like blood on a canvas. Now I’m working with people who understand the idea is to keep it emotionally honest and to retain a tight rhythm section because that’s what we built our sound on. But it doesn’t have to be a certain thing, it’s all about serving the songs and what the songs need it to be, not that we can only have like a guitar and a drum set. It was just a matter of getting away from like some self-imposed box that we had put ourselves.
I think that idea lines up exactly with this new record because you have some songs on this that are unlike anything you’ve done prior. Could you talk me through maybe some of your influences that you think show through on this new record?
You know there are a lot of like subtle ones and some that are just not very subtle at all. I have a few favorite bands and I don’t like to be like ‘this is where this comes from’, but you know my favorite couple of bands are Jimmy Eat World and My Chemical Romance, a couple of bands that are really into albums that do great storytelling. That’s kind of the vein that I like to fall into but also keeping a conscious eye on esthetics, like how it feels to live in this record. I think all of that is a result of going through a traumatic event like the pandemic. The whole record in general has a sense, to me personally, as you’re brought it to the world of ‘I survived the pandemic motherfucker’. I think with KILLERMAJESTIC, we were trying to bring out like the five most diverse things that we could offer up to people, please like us or whatever. What this is is just kind of an honest look at where I am and not really giving a fuck, having fun with it and not worrying about the rules that people like punks and metalheads have. We’re a punk band more in ethos than sound because we really just want to do what we want.
I can really hear some good rock’n’roll come through on this new one. I mean a lot of bands are like fuck that, they’ve got something against playing solid rock’n’roll, but you guys aren’t afraid to do that. I was listening to Matt Caughthran from the Bronx on his podcast and he was describing their second Bronx record in the same way, as just putting out rock’n’roll, punk, whatever they wanted. And I think that kind of resonates with your new record, it’s really cool that you guys aren’t afraid to do rock’n’roll, punk, piano, whatever.
So what’s to come, do you guys have an album release show set up, do you have tours set up, what’s that look like?
Right now, just trying to get the word out and let people know that the album’s coming out. We’re playing these two album release shows, the day the album comes out we’re doing a super intimate hardcore show at 7th Circle Music Collective in Denver with our friends Cheap Perfume and Spells, and then we’re doing another show with them the next day in Colorado Springs at Vultures, same two bands with different openers. Then we’re doing a show at the Aggie in Fort Collins on March 4th, that would be a really, really good time for everyone to come out too because that’s like the album release party. And we’re gonna do the whole damn record that night so I’m excited to do that for the first time. We’re also gonna have like a bigger expanded lineup that night with some the played on the record too. And then we’re looking at a tour right now looping through California and then we’ll come back on March 16th in Denver at the High Dive. We have some other stuff in the works after that but it’s not really ready to like be published *laughs*.
How’s the experience been with Miles [Stevenson] playing because that’s kind of a cool little fact that Henry clued me in on when I was talking to him?
He’s great, he’s a really serious, professional musician, but he doesn’t really like to be defined by anything anybody else has done. He’s just a really good musician, like father, like son. He really cares about it, every time I come to work with him or he comes to rehearsal, he’s got his shit together, he just really cares. It’s really exciting, he played bass with us once before last year and it was like ‘damn, that was the most fun that we’ve had in a while’. So it’s nice to have him come back and really be a part of it.
Well I greatly appreciate you sitting down with me. Once again, congrats on the new release, really excited to see where this one takes you. Good luck with everything coming up, I hope to catch you soon!
Greetings, and welcome to the Dying Scene Record Radar. If it’s your first time here, thank you for joining us! This is the weekly* column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl; new releases, reissues… you name it, we’ve probably got it. Kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, crack open a cold […]
Greetings, and welcome to the Dying Scene Record Radar. If it’s your first time here, thank you for joining us! This is the weekly* column where we cover all things punk rock vinyl; new releases, reissues… you name it, we’ve probably got it. Kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, crack open a cold one, and break out those wallets, because it’s go time. Let’s get into it!
Check out the video edition of this week’s Record Radar, presented by our friends at Punk Rock Radar:
New MxPx record!Find A Way Home is due out August 25th. There are a bunch of color variants, including one with a die cut cover, and a picture disc. Pre-orders are live now on mxpx.com and they seem to be shipping immediately (mine did, at least). Check out the new single “Stay Up All Night”:
Reel Big Fish‘s Candy Coated Fury is getting a Deluxe Edition reissue, with five bonus tracks and a gatefold jacket with glow in the dark cover art. Enjoy the Ride Records pressed a bunch of sweet color variants, but the only one still in stock is the Alternative Press exclusive variant, limited to 200 copies. Get it here before it’s gone, too.
On an unrelated note: word on the street is Turn the Radio Off will be getting a repress of its own in the near future. Stay tuned for more on that!
Austrian punk veterans 7 Years Bad Luck are back with a new album. No Shame is due out August 4th on Monster Zero Records. Their last album Great, Big, Nothing is a hard act to follow, but the first single “I’ll Forget You” makes me think they’re up to the task. Check that out below and get the record on aquatic blue colored vinyl here.
The Gaslight Anthem announced their new album History Books will be released on October 27th. This is the band’s first new record in almost a decade. There are like a trillion color variants of this thing and I’m not gonna bother trying to name them all. Here‘s where you can get some of them.
Five Iron Frenzy is releasing a full-discography box set called Put Your Waste In Its Place. You get 10 records for $250 in a box that looks like a flaming dumpster. That’s a value that can’t be beat, folks! Get it here (you can also grab the individual records here).
SACK‘s Get Wrecked is getting a new pressing from Clearview Records, limited to 300 copies on canary yellow colored vinyl. This goes up on the label’s webstore Wednesday, July 26th at 6pm Eastern Time.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes‘ latest album Are We Not Men? We Are Diva! is getting its first new pressing in nearly a decade. There are an undisclosed number of copies on red w/ black splatter colored vinyl (as seen in this very poorly cropped image). Get yours here.
Asian Man Records is reissuing the Taxpayers‘ God, Forgive These Bastards: Songs From The Forgotten Life Of Henry Turner. The 2xLP on red and black swirl colored vinyl features b-sides, demos, and interviews with band members. Get it here.
Well, that’s all, folks. Another Record Radar in the books. As always, thank you for tuning in. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, leave us a comment below, or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t blow too much money on spinny discs (or do, I’m not your father). See ya next week!
Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Click here and you’ll be taken to a page with all the past entries in the column. Magic!