THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES ROAD TEST NEW TUNES

Seattle’s favorite sons THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES are about to set out on a quick run through the West Coast and Northwest where they will give fans a glimpse of some new songs along the way. After being holed up in their practice space writing the follow up to their debut , the Snakes will begin recording in April with new drummer Chris Common manning the boards. Take this opportunity to get out there and whet your appetite for the upcoming masterpiece.

Tour Dates

03/28/2006 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
03/29/2006 Redding, CA @ The Dip
03/31/2006 Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s Crystal Ball Reading Room
04/02/2006 Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
04/04/2006 Orangevale, CA @ Boardwalk

Please see the THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES for all show details.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES JAUNT TO EUROPE

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES after finishing their crusade around the nation with the boyz in Underoath are making their first trip across the pond. Headed to Europe to play a full month worth of dates, beginning May 19th in Mulheim Germany and hitting their final note June 17th in Juz. Bring you lederhosen and beer steins this tour will be way killer.

Please consult the These Arms Are Snakes for current dates.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES AND THE LOVED ONES GET BAMBOOZLED

The weather is getting warmer so it means that it’s prime time to head out for some hot festivals. This year is off to a bang with .

The three-day music festival will take place April 29th through the 30th in New Jersey at the Convention Hall Complex, the Stone Pony, Bradley Park, and more. Seattle-based thrashers THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES and Philly punkers THE LOVED ONES will be playing SUNDAY, MAY 1ST, 2005

Bands announced include the Blood Brothers, Hopesfall, Brand New, Thrice, Finch, A Wilhelm Scream, Gatsbys American Dream, the New Amsterdams, Lucero, Hot Rod Circuit, the Kinison, A Static Lullaby, Big D And The Kids Table, Fall Out Boy, Midtown, Rufio, Moneen, The Academy Is, Crime In Stereo, Saosin, the Bled, the Explosion, All-American Rejects, Northstar, My Chemical Romance, the Alkaline Trio, Catch 22, Scatter The Ashes, Say Anything, Days Away, Kane Hodder and tons more.

Jade Tree will be representing so please come out and say hello.


Please consult the Loved Ones for current dates.
Please consult the These Arms Are Snakes for current dates.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES PLEAD THE FIFTH

That’s right! Everyone’s favorite punk party boys, THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES, are now under oath. Another bad pun, but the band, whose Oxeneers (JT1097) has been electrifying and pummeling anyone brave enough to take a listen, are headed out beginning April 19th in Chicago with Underoath, Hopesfall, The Chariot, and Fear Before the March of Flames.

Please consult the These Arms Are Snakes for current dates.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES SHAKE THEIR GROOVE THING

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES, after giving the nation a firm sonic slap to the behind with Isis at the tail end of 2004, are off again to shake things up 2005 style. Still touring in support of their critically lauded Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home CD (JT1097), this time the band will be supported by both Hydra Head’s and the wireless guitar playing, crate-standing, Bjork looking .

MP3:

Please consult the These Arms Are Snakes for current dates.

These Arms Are Snakes

People normally equate the pipe organ to one of three things: The noise heard between drunken innings at a baseball game, the soundtrack to an old Vincent Price horror film, or the ominous echo from a church steeple. With the release of their new album off Jade Tree Records, These Arms are Snakes have now given us a forth; alternative rock.

Exploiting the full potential of keyboard harmonics is only part of what this Seattle based group does to draw attention from its loyal onslaught of fans. Touring endlessly from coast-to-coast, lead singer Steve Snere pushes vocals through electric guitars and electronica soundscapes, influencing a new generation of beat lovers.

With the help of band members Ryan Frederiksen and Brian Cook, these west coast vagabonds jam out songs of economic hardship and pure sexuality mixed with Phish and Mars Volta-type breakdowns. And not to forget drummer Erin Tate whose concentrated rhythms shake you to the bone. He keeps time through the album; his fast moving sticks intensify the reality of each chorus.

They are the counterparts who, along with their chemical compounds of musical sounds, make up the formula for the 2004 release, "Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home."

The title is a perfect metaphor for the themes of white-collar vs. blue-collar ideals featured in these lyrics. The first track "The Shit Sisters," is a nightmarish lullaby to the children of the upper class: "Ride on your $100,000 horse?°¦401k plans, NASDAQ, assurance and insurance. Please let your children sleep tonight, spoon fed quarters till they backed up his throat."

Striking, artistic photography adorns the booklet pages, giving visuals to match the meaning of the albums lyrics.

For "Angela’s Secret," the picture is reminiscent of classic paintings that feature The Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus; we see a woman embracing her child as she stands starring out the window of her messy, middle class kitchen. The struggle and self-sacrifice of a modern American single mom is told in, "Angela’s Secret."

Her story is preached as a sermon with screams and that unmistakable organ coming up from behind: "She said to me?°¦’when I eat it’s with my kids, and if I dance, it’s when they’re asleep. When I shop, it’s not for me and neither is when I breathe.’"

These Arms are Snakes reverberate hardcore through their music. Powerful manipulation of their instruments accompany Snere’s singing, setting him apart from the usual screaming of the genre’s fellow groups. This allows you to actually understand his lyrics first time around.

Each song transfers into another, several tracks meld together connecting topics and resurrecting rhythms from the previous songs. However, there is enough change to tell every piece apart.

Aside from lamenting on economic themes, the boys add what could only be referred to as a hardcore ballot with the track "Gadget Arms."

Electric guitars and a slow, fading-in drumbeat to start off an eight-minute instrumental containing the single chorus: "Breathe on me. Never spit your last tooth and never shy away from my light. I finally believe I’ve got a home."

The photo for "Gadget Arms" features a man with a grocery bag riding the elevator; presumably back to his apartment—perhaps he is returning to the literal interpretation of "home" spoken of in the song.

The final track, "Idaho" comes creeping in with that horror movie church pipe organ. It transforms into demonic carnival music with vocalist Snere singing the anthem of the workingman’s hell: "Give me my pay, so I pay my bills?°¦you stole all my love, and I want it back. We are animals swinging too far towards distant vines. May your lips never touch your timecard again."

This record is the perfect combination of sight, sound and speech, brought together by a group who could easily break into the mainstream, but will hopefully remain on its outskirts.

Currently kicking off a west coast tour, it won’t be long before more is heard of These Arms are Snakes. They’ve already garnered press on both ends of the spectrum from The Seattle Weekly to Blender magazine and the BBC. Not bad for the sophomore release of a band who have only been jamming since 2003.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES UP FOR A PLUG

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES have just stepped off the road after a month plus jaunt around the country with the noisy bastards in Isis. Still hot on the heels of their painfully potent, Oxeneers… CD (JT1097) the band was only home for a few days before getting nominated for a prestigious PLUG Independent Music Award in the Punk Rock Album Of The Year category.

Link is here to see the ballot and this year’s nominees:
Link is here to see who nominates and who votes:

Phase 1 is complete and fans are now eligible to vote. Voting ends January 25.

MP3:

Please consult the These Arms Are Snakes for current dates.

Make the Season Gay With Gifts of Music by Queer Talents

Having a hard time figuring out what to get that special lesbian, gay man, bisexual, transgender, or questioning person on your holiday list? Why not give music by a member of the queer community?

Openly queer Michael Stipe is one-third of the groundbreaking modern rock band R.E.M. , whose album Around the Sun (Warner Brothers) was recently released. Stipe and company have struggled to capitalize on the artistic achievements and merits of the back-to-back masterworks Automatic for the People (1992) and Monster (1994), and Around the Sun doesn’t do much for the cause. A seriously low-key effort, there are a few minor bursts of energy, such as on the synth-beats of "Electron Blue" and the tasteful funk of "The Outsider," although it took three listens for Q-Tip’s rap on that track not to sound like an afterthought. "Make It All Okay" feels like a musical response to religious fundamentalists, with the line "Well Jesus loves me fine/And your words fall flat this time," and "Final Straw" is one of R.E.M.’s most political statements, a restrained rage against the Bush/Cheney administration. Stipe sounds the most invested on "Wanderlust," and when he sings, "I want it to be brilliant/I want it to be sweet," it is momentarily brilliant and sweet. Sadly, too much sameness threatens to sink the whole affair, not making it "The Worst Joke Ever," as the song says, but far from the best that R.E.M. has to offer.

Reyna Larson made a name for herself as the front person for the band Mabel Mabel, and there were many people who were disappointed when the band called it quits a couple of years ago. As leader of the band, Larson was the most visible and recognizable component, which ought to make her transition into being a solo artist a smooth one. The bucking bronco on the cover of Some Folks Need a Name (Clayhead) and the inside photo of Larson in a cowboy hat are an indication of what is inside, a collection of insurgent country-colored tunes, complete with a lap steel guitar, mandolin, dobro, and banjo, among other instruments. Larson fills these songs (most of which are originals) with her powerful alto growl, making them as comfortable a fit as a pair of snug but well-worn Wranglers. Standouts include the tearjerkers "Say My Name" and "Squeezebox," the bluesy stomp of "54321," the sexy strut of "Me Slowly," the infectious swing of "Streets of New Orleans," and the gospel plea of "Good Lord Above."

While I certainly respected what Garrin Benfield did on his first two full-length discs, I wasn’t completely sold. That has all changed with his amazing third album Where Joy Kills Sorrow (Zack Songs). Not that Benfield’s previous albums were inaccessible, but his new release has a freshness and originality that makes it a whole different listening experience. A Beatles influence can be felt strongly throughout–on "Answers" and "What You Wanted To Hear," for instance–which works in Benfield’s favor. "Unwind" is a jazz-tinged number that shows the influence that Boz Scaggs has had on Benfield, while the beautiful "Ugly" should be required listening for bickering couples.

As a member of Roy, openly gay musician Brian Cook sang about wanting to marry his boyfriend, but not being able to, on the song "Never Getting Married." Cook and his boyfriend have since married, and Cook has moved on to another band. That band, scream-o-noise purveyors These Arms Are Snakes , have released the complex Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home (Jade Tree), which is sure to be as off-putting to some as it is appealing to others. (These Arms Are Snakes perform in Houston on December 13 at Mary Jane’s Fat Cat.)

Continuing in the jazzy vein of their last few albums, Irish lesbian duo Zrazy (Maria Walsh and Carole Nelson), who accompany themselves on flute, sax, and other instruments, have returned with the verdant Dream On (Alfi). Also backed by a quintet, Zrazy’s songs have a dreamy and seductive quality, embodied in songs such as "I Know When You Are Near," "Rain," and "Keep It Real," and the nine-minute "Drive."

Spanning a 12-year period, the songs on Purpose of Love: A Tim DiPasqua Songbook–Volume 1 (timdipasqua.com) qualify this disc as the perfect purchase for the cabaret/show-tune lover in your midst. Familiar names and voices from the cabaret realm, including Brian Lane Green, Scott Coulter, Baby Jane Dexter, and Tom Andersen wrap themselves in Tim DiPasqua ‘s songs, written between 1987 and 1999, that are at turns humorous ("My Favorite Note," "You Make Me Nuts"), dramatic ("Beach in the Blinding Sun," "Somewhere Between," "As It’s Meant to Be," "It Shouldn’t Have Happened") and just plain queer ("Big Hairy Man").

The words lesbian and singer/songwriter just sound right together. Steff Mahan, the lesbian singer/songwriter, embodies that pairing on her new album, 42.50 (steffmahan.com). More Nashville (where she is based) than insurgent, Mahan’s songs sound as if they were intended for sing-alongs on cross-country trips. From stories of traveling on a budget (the title track) to tales of escape ("Leavin’ Money") to songs about the things we get used to ("Rock in My Shoe") to having a good chuckle in spite of everything ("Laughin’"), Mahan’s songs have a universal appeal.

A definite shift has occurred in the music and style of The Atari Star. The band’s first two full-length albums were practically dazzling in their beauty, made even more so considering the band members’ punk rock roots. On Prayer + Pretend (Johann’s Face), the trio, which includes gay front man Marc Ruvolo and drummer Davey Houle, re-embraces its hard-rocking origins and burns through a series of blistering tunes, including "Always If Only," "Night Striped Assassins," "The Assimilationist," and "Mosquito Heart Serenade." If you need further proof, The Atari Star even does a cover of Shellac’s "Copper." Still, traces of The Atari Star of old can be heard on the album’s six-and-a-quarter-minute centerpiece, "Asphalt Everest," which includes a lovely trumpet part by Jamal Ayoub.

As with The Atari Star, an audible stylistic shift has also occurred with June Panic. The born-again queer that we first came in contact with on 2002′s Baby’s Breadth is still rocking his unique brand of experimental music on Hope You Fail Better (Secretly Canadian).

Experimentation is also the forte of gay poet and songwriter Jim e Sparkle Pants on his new self-titled CD (www.sparklepants.org). Love, sexuality, and celebration of the body abound in songs such as “F**k Me Lovingly,” “I Love My Armpits,” “Circumcision,” “Sweet Warm Lover,” and “Easy Through the Years.”

Gay Bay Area singer/songwriter John Ashfield won me over with his tasty Harmony Bunny disc a few years ago. In his latest incarnation, as a member of The Bobbleheads, he has even included some of his previously released tunes on Automatic Fun, such as “Crush,” “I Don’t Know,” and “Why Not Smile” (a song about Joni Mitchell). The remaining songs are bright and sunny power pop tunes that have the ability to light up a room or even an entire day.

“Hyperdelic acid house innovators” Psychic TV, led by transgender artist and performer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (a founding member of industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle) have created a trippy musical tribute to the late Brian Jones (of the Rolling Stones) on the double disc set Godstar: Thee Director’s Cut by Psychic TV (Voiceprint). Separated into “Reel One” and “Reel Two” discs, sure to leave the listener reeling, the set includes numerous Psychic TV originals (emphasis on originality), as well as covers of songs by the Stones, the Beach Boys, and Serge Gainsbourg.

These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes are fusing everything from old school punk to suggestive drum ?°»n’ bass sensibility on this album that sounds like a less dissonant bastard child of Slint and Mars Volta. Commendable, in that they could have probably spit out an album filled with repetitive chord progressions and overly energetic intros, TAAS instead oscillates between aggressive vocals, elegant lyrics and almost danceable rhythms to create an intelligently solid effort. They’ve created a sound that’s old school punk with an earnest vocal approach, reminding you of the good old days of indie rock, back before some idiots started throwing around words like “emo” and “electroclash” and turned the whole scene into the sad, new “alternative.”

Grade: B+

These Arms are Snakes are a really good band and this interview really gives you a good idea of how much it hurts when your appendix needs to be removed.

PL: Introduce yourselves.

B: I’m Brian and I play bass and keyboards.

R: I’m Ryan and I play guitar and sometimes keyboards.

PL: Do you think bands need to have a message in order to be successful?

B: I don’t think they need one in order to be successful. If you listen to most commercial radio, they don’t say a lot.

R: I don’t know. I think most successful bands don’t have a message. If you listen to Top 40 radio, there’s not much being said.

PL: Do you guys consider yourself "screamo"?

B: I guess there’s a whole lot worse things to be called.

R: I don’t know. They can call us whatever they want, I guess. It doesn’t really affect us all that much. We just keep doing what we’re doing.

PL: Almost every review or article I’ve read about you has mentioned past bands. Is that something that bothers you or do you not care?

B: Its another thing that we discussed when our EP came out. We considered not putting the "featuring X members of" thing on there, just to try and get away from that. But, if it helps get our name out there, then its a nice little jumping point.

R: Yeah, its been over two years now since we’ve been a band.

B: Me and Steve, our singer, were talking, and its funny because no one ever wrote about Botch and Kill Sadie while they were around. Its weird that people think its worth talking about. People didn’t care four years ago, so why do they care now?

PL: Reading through your press kit, it says that you guys don’t take yourselves seriously. How does a band not take itself seriously?

R: We take what we do seriously, but not ourselves. When you start taking yourself too seriously, it starts losing all fun involved in it. It takes all the fun out of it.

B: A band being serious enough that they love what they do and want to share it with people and want them to respect it, then thats one thing. Then there’s other people that are like: "I’m in a band. This band is fucking awesome. We’re gonna do this and this and this. Anything that fucks with my vision of what this band is supposed to be, they’re an asshole and fuck them." Thats what being too serious is. Hopefully we’re not that way.

PL: Do you think that taking yourself too seriously could mean trying too hard?

B: Yeah.

R: Definitely.

PL: Has mainstream music taken a step in the right direction lately?

R: I don’t know if it ever takes a step in the right direction. I think it gets close, but then a million bands follow that same direction, so they’re doing all that same stuff. There are 30 or 40 bands that sound similar. There’s one band that leads the pack and then a bunch of clones that sound just like them. I don’t think it ever goes in the right direction. There’s always one band that is doing its own thing and is given a chance and they either get lucky or they don’t.

B: I mean, I guess we both got kind of stoked when Nirvana got big. We thought that they were a good band and we thought that other good bands would get signed, but instead its Candlebox and Silverchair and stuff. The same thing happened when Green Day got big and we thought that all of these Lookout bands were gonna get huge now, but instead, its Unwritten Law and New Found Glory. At the Drive In getting big didn’t help anything because now there’s a million mediocre bands trying to be At the Drive In. At the Drive In was cool because they were At the Drive In. Thats why Nirvana was good; thats why James Brown was good.

PL: How many people are in the band and did you guys go through a member shuffle?

B: There’s four people in the band. We used to be a five piece. We had a keyboard player, drummer, guitar player, bass player and a singer. Keyboard player left and that was kind of fine. He didn’t really add too much musically anyway.

R: He didn’t want to play keyboards in the first place. He wanted to be in the band and then move on to play guitar. And I think he just kind of lost interest in it and decided to go his own way. Then Joe, our drummer, had some personal stuff that he was taking care of and Aaron came in and helped us write the full length. Its been Brian, Steve and I pretty much the whole time.

PL: Ryan, did you mean to signify anything with the nudity in the album artwork?

R: It follows the storyline of the lyrics. Each song reflects whats going on in the artwork. It was Steve’s idea thinking about everyday life and just reflecting off of that. It was meant to be a look at a person’s life and how they view that life on a daily basis.

B: Its sort of voyeuristic, like you’re looking in on these things that you shouldn’t be looking in on.

R: Its like your looking in on this uncomfortable side of someone’s life and the lyrics are sort of doing the same thing from a different perspective. We wanted to get a cohesive thought on our record from the music to the layout and artwork. Its meant to be one big thought, but not a concept record.

PL: Ryan, you got your appendix taken out and you were playing the next day?

R: Not the next day, the following day.

PL: Did it burst?

R: No, it didn’t burst. Thank God.

PL: Oh, mine burst and I couldn’t do anything for a month.

R: It didn’t burst, but it hurt like hell. I got lucky, I guess. I felt it hurting at the top of my stomach and it felt like I had indigestion or some shit. It never hurt there before and I couldn’t figure out why it was hurting there. Then my doc thought that I had to go to the hospital, so I called my dad and he came and got me to take me there. We were gonna go see his doctor, but on the way to his doctor, it started getting worse so we went straight to the hospital. The doctor came in and took a look at it and looked at me and said "Whats the problem? Whats the symptoms?" I told him and he said "Oh, I’ve got to take your appendix out. I’ll do a call to set up the appendectomy and we’ll take that out."

PL: Did he touch your stomach?

R: Yeah, hurt like a motherfucker. He asked if it hurt right here and if it was moving down and I said yes. He said, what happens is it starts at the top of your stomach, moves down and then over. Your appendix doesn’t have nerve endings and your body doesn’t know what to do, so it forces you to have a stomach ache.

PL: Mine just hurt at the bottom.

R: Yeah, yeah. He said that I got lucky because it started hurting because it burst.

PL: When I went to the emergency room, they told me to drink Peptol Bismol, and that night, I was just laying on the living room floor and my parents walked out and my dad took me to the hospital. (NOTE:I had back surgery two weeks after this interview. Surgery sucks.)

PL: Are there any bands, known or unknown, from Washington that we should know about?

B: There’s a lot going on in Seattle. Its all over the place. I think everyone is Seattle is in a band.

R: Its more uncommon to find people who aren’t in bands. All of our friends and people we don’t even know are all in bands, and its actually a really good time for Seattle, as far as I’m concerned.

B: Minus the Bear is good, but I think everybody’s heard of them. Then there’s Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves.

R: Playing Enemy.

B: Playing Enemy is good. Big Business. There’s a lot of good stuff.

PL: Are you gonna vote in this upcoming election? (Sorry this is after the fact)

R: Yes.

B: Yeah. Why wouldn’t you vote?

PL: Do you guys have any final comments?

R: You should vote. And you shouldn’t vote for Bush.

B: There you go.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

It’s no case that the label releasing this record is Jade Tree. These guys from Delaware do have talent when it comes the time to recrute a band that plays something fresh and different from what most punk/hc/indie rock labels release these days.
With such an appealing line up (Featuring members of Nine Iron Spitfire and a band like Botch that paved the way for what is today called Mathcore) I knew I was going to listen to something worth my time. I just didn’t know what to expect with “The Lion sleeps when its antelope go home”, due to the fact that I hadn’t listened to the band’s previous ep ("This is meant to hurt you, always on Jade Three"). It’s kind of hard for me, even after various listens, fully describe you TAAS sounds, due to the fact that these guys build up and blend a sound all of their own which can’t be easily synthetized. It’s a like a mixture of elements belonging to different genres all thrown together in the same big pot: Post hc, prog rock (that’s what the reoccurring use of organs reminded me of) indie rock, stoner; TAAS fluently blend all these sonorities and deliver us 11 songs one profoundly different from the other, both in structure than atmosphere.
It’s too easy comparing this bands to act like The Blood Brothers. That’s just limitative, doesn’t make justice to these 4 guys. TAAS sound is much more various and experimental. Only band I feel like quoting here are The Mars Volta for the analogies in the “experimentation process”.

Needless to say, this album requires repeated listens before being fully appreciated. It’s not something that you will find yourself out singing along once you’ve put the disc in your player, but it definitely is an high class talented work that deserves your attention.

Human connection of disconnection’ These Arms Are Snakes Grab you, Hard.

"Angela’s Secret" by Seattle band These Arms Are Snakes is exactly what Barbara Ehrenreich’s book ‘Nickel and Dimed’ would sound like if it were a hardcore punk rock song. Both highlight the struggle of a single mother barely getting by: "When I eat it’s with my kids and if I dance it’s when they’re asleep. When I shop it’s not for me and neither is when I breathe," vocalist Steve Snere snarls before launching into the screaming chorus of "some ain’t got no luck."

The other ten songs aren’t much brighter. And no wonder. Snere began writing the lyrics for the songs that would become the band’s first full-length release as part of a short story while he was working at a check cashing service in Seattle.

The result is "Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home" (Jade Tree Records), a collection of songs culled from the underbelly of life that reflect a disillusioned view of our greed-based culture. Songs about working too much, getting screwed over, and getting drunk or lost in the city to try to forget it all, at least until Monday at 9 a.m.

"So use your body as the engine for your weekend because this is no time to sleep," Snere demands on "Big News," "I’m sick of working all the time for someone else’s needs."

With a band name like These Arms Are Snakes you better be tough, lest you come across like a group of B-grade horror movie geeks. Not only are they hardcore, they’ve got an openly gay member, bassist Brian Cook, proving once again that being gay doesn’t mean being fey, and gay musical tastes aren’t limited to show tunes and Streisand.

TAAS makes music that is challenging, confrontational, and difficult. Loud guitars, screaming vocals, and a palpable sense of anger and hurt are TAAS hallmarks. They’ve been called everything from emo to punk to screamo to hardcore. But it doesn’t matter what we call them, because they’re calling us and the social trappings of our lives to the floor and taking us to task. May we live better for it.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

"The Shit Sisters" is the first song on the album and I can’t get over how much it sounds like Perry Farrell singing with Rage Against The Machine. The randomness of their songs’ navigation is reminiscent of Fugazi and At The Drive In. All of these specs of influence are obviously a good thing unless you hate all the bands mentioned a forehand. My favorite song on Oxeneers is "Tracing" which is preceded by a slow organ track. The band is undeniably skilled and their lyrics are poetic without being sappy or lame. Steve Snere sings "You could have licked the lips of God, but you chose the pavement" and he doesn’t sound like he gives a shit if I know what he’s talking about, but that he definitely means it. The instrumentation and vocals are incredibly sincere, but it’s just one of those things that are unexplainable until you hear it for yourself. There are moments on the album where time is filled with spacious, heartfelt instrumentals that add an eeriness to the songs while making me wonder how long I had been listening to them which is unnerving, but nice to know that jam sessions in the middle of songs are still accepted amongst the musicians of this fine country we live in. These Arms Are Snakes is a definite listen to for those of you who appreciate sporadic instrumentation underlying the voice of a poet gone insane.

These Arms Are Snakes Brings Menacingly Brutal Hardcore South from Seattle.

Seattle’s These Arms Are Snakes is the sound of 2004′s last gasp. As the year swings to a close, folks are still shaking from the shock and awe of televised war and election year blues. These Arms’ brand new record, "Oxeneers Or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home" (Jade Tree), sounds like the agony a lot of people are feeling — the frustration of screaming at a wall.

These Arms rages against that, among other things. When singer Steve Snere falls to the stage, bruising his elbows, skinning his knee, gasping and sweating after three hot minutes of hardcore trash, you see a man who feels beaten and drained and disillusioned. But he keeps it moving and the band leaves the clamor and segues into a chirping, crackling Pink Floyd simmer down. And the transition is natural: Wail and crash to groove and drone; Dinosauric guitar growls to oceanic pump organ and MicroKorg synth noise.

Since "Oxeneers" dropped, the band has been written up everywhere from Spin and Rolling Stone to countless photocopied ‘zines. The hype is molasses thick, but the payoff is there — both live and recorded. Like their pals and city-mates the Blood Brothers, the boys from These Arms are gambling big on creative avant-hardcore. Feeding the masses a sound like this can either yield revolution or revulsion. Blood Brothers’ new record, "Crimes," is out on Virgin Records’ V2 label, so it’s sink or swim for them. These Arms is in a safer spot with indie label Jade Tree.

But regardless of how the record-buying public responds, These Arms has made an ambitious, thundering debut. Like the gothic prog-rock operas of the ’70s, this has the feel of something epic, theatrical and era-specific. It is a sound that both gives you hope and serves as a death march for your darkest days.

To call a band "the soundtrack to Armageddon" is played out and hyperbolic, but "Oxeneers" is definitely the pre-show entertainment.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home, in all of its nonsensically titled glory, escaped my interest until it gently fell into my hands (which sadly happens a lot). These Arms Are Snakes, while housing former members of widely-recognized, pioneering acts like Botch, isn’t a particularly heavy or metallic band. In fact, the material on Oxeneers or the Lion… is surprisingly accessible and inviting, but the band doesn’t let that detract from their quirky and experimental tendencies. It’s carefully balanced.

What came as unexpected on Oxeneers or the Lion… was the contrast between progressive, lengthy songs and accessible numbers. These Arms Are Snakes doesn’t deviate from their solidified style too often, but specific songs are certainly more atypical than others. The band wisely opened the effort with three immediately gratifying songs in the three-minute range. "The Shit Sisters" introduces the band with stop-start guitar riffing, vocalist Steve Snere’s characteristic mix of clean singing and yells, and an array of electronics. "Big News" and "Angela’s Secret" follow in similar suit, and the latter’s simplistic rhythms make it dangerously catchy.

From there, though, the band begins to defy more rules, especially on "Gadget Arms." The song clocks in at over eight minutes and has only a sparse vocal presence. For a good portion of the song the band is producing a strange mix of minimal percussion, bass and dissonant, electronic noises. And while it seems self indulgent, it ebbs and flows through various motions and eventually comes back to earth near the end, which makes it time well spent.

These Arms Are Snakes will likely be labeled as experimental indie rock, post-hardcore or something equally meaningless. But overall, the band isn’t restrained by genres and, in turn, doesn’t sound similar to many other groups. Brian Cook’s use of electronics helps the band achieve a unique identity and, even though they’re a four-piece, gives them a full, varied sound. Cook also plays the bass guitar, which has a notably forceful presence. Guitarist Ryan Frederiksen contributes an interesting blend of jagged, stop-start riffs and meandering, spacey picking patterns. "Angela’s Secret," "La Stanza Bianca" and "Darling of New Midnight" all use this formula and have some far-reaching, atmospheric passages.

More simply, the music is inspired and detailed. There aren’t any contrived tendencies or clichés and none of the songs are worthy of the demoralizing skip button.

The lyrics, while worded in an ambiguous manner so as to fit the music, address issues more important than failed romances. The closer, "Idaho," is skin-tingling, especially at the end, when Snere yells "My life has become dry because of you. Insomnia, paranoia, anxiety, dependence, relentless, worthlessness. You stole all my love, you stole all my love, and I want it back. We are animals swinging too far towards distant vines. May your lips never touch your timecard again." Through a number of songs runs a theme of living life for things other than monetary possessions and related struggles, which I appreciate.

While jagged and unpredictable, Oxeneers or the Lion… is seriously addictive and catchy. With some exposure, These Arms Are Snakes should catch on with a diverse group of listeners. I don’t think I’ll ever remember this album’s title in its entirety, but I sure as hell catch myself recalling these songs on a regular basis.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

These Arms Are Snakes kick ass! I am really all about their live performance and the first EP. They did a split with Harkonen and I tried like hell to get it to review but it never showed up from Hydra Head. It
was called Like A Virgin which rocks. I like Oxeneers because it has some really great songs but I think they took the experimentation a little bit too far on a few of the songs. I like where These Arms are going but songs like track six "Gadget Arms" just go on forever and never really pick up. I don’t need to listen to about 6 minutes of ambient noise before some singing
that I can’t really make out kicks in. I love most of this record and these guys are doing great things. There is this awesome part on "Greetings from
the Great North Woods" where the music cuts out and they are all singing in a cool layering of vocals. It is great. These guys have lost two founding members due to hitting it too hard. I hear that Erin from Minus The Bear is now drumming for them and he is great. He and the singer used to play in Killsadie. Oxeneers is great so go to the shows and pick up some merch and
give these boys some props for hitting it hard!

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES VS. ASHLEE SIMPSON

While the rest of us are still somehow shocked by jaw dropping performance on SNL this past weekend, These Arms Are Snakes are actually headed out to do something about it. Beginning November 10th the band will be slaying in clubs across the nation with the noise cowboys in , teaching by example without any of the annoying leprechaun dancing Ms. Simpson is prone to. So turn off your TV and get out, these gigs will single-handedly restore your faith in live music, we promise!

MP3:

Please consult the These Arms Are Snakes for current dates.

These Arms Are Snakes – Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home

A friend recommended that I listen to the hard-rocking outfit McClusky recently because, in his valued opinion, they "really rock." Whenever I sit down at a drum-kit, I have that same urge many of us do to just make loud fast rock music, and I usually act on it. Rocking is fun, let there be no denial. And I don’t mean that arty hard rock, or the ironic hard rock, I mean the sweaty lowbrow 4/4 pulverizing rush that is hard-rock. McClusky and Andrew W.K. do it, so why not These Arms Are Snakes?

A website used the term "post-grunge" to qualify their sound, a hyphenization that scares me. How does a band attain such a label (or avoid it)? Because they’re based out of Seattle, because more than a few of their crunchy riffs triggered a subconscious longing for flannel button-downs, because the tech-metal opening track "Shit Sisters"’s 5/4 time signature is powerfully reminiscent of Soundgarden’s early work? Maybe, but this is POST-grunge, which means…What? I dunno, "after" grunge?

Their new album’s title, Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home, is a risk. Whereas …or The Children’s Crusade or or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb fit their author’s sense of black humor, the alternate titles for Radiohead’s last album seemed like overkill. "The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home" by itself would be more apt for this album; it suggests the primal instinct of aggressive music, the predator-prey relationship rock has with its muses and its fans. "Oxeneers" conjures images of Oregon Trail, and serves not the cause of suggesting the rocking attitude of the content within. (The track titled "Oxeneers", however, interestingly sounds like Animal Collective covering Metallica’s "One").

Most interesting are the album’s two sprawling dirges: "Gadget Arms" is a spaced-out Jane’s Addiction-eque instrumental with a wicked stomp-ready riff, bubbling distortion, and one soaring lyric; "Idaho" is a neurotic, rhythm-shifting epic with chattered lyrics and a "For the Benifit of Mr. Kite" feel of carnival fun.

Smart, ragged, and occasionally worthy of a playlist.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

For most people, heavy music loses its appeal as they grow older. Though hardcore and metal may have gotten many a person through those tough times in high school, after college, nobody in his right mind would want to hang out in front of an all ages club with his buds, blasting All Out War from his van. Chalk it up to maturity or a mellower pace of life, but hardcore just isn’t the same when you’re over legal drinking age.

But there’s always an exception. Drive Like Jehu, though they were louder than the Almighty, will be forever cool. And right now, I might even say the same for Seattle’s These Arms Are Snakes. Much like Jehu, These Arms adapt the conventions of hardcore into a peculiar, yet totally badass type of heavy rock. That said, TAAS are not a hardcore band. They are however, really goddamn loud.

"The Shit Sisters," which opens their new full-length, Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home (breathe?°¦), immediately recalls Jehu’s "Here Come the Rome Plows," with its odd, 5/4 time signature and chunky guitar assault. However, the song moves into space rock breakdowns, twisting and turning into different directions over the course of three minutes. The next track, "Angela’s Secret" is even more interesting, fusing atmospheric guitar feedback with electronic effects and deafening metal riffs. In fact, let’s just get this out of the way right now. There aren’t any songs on this album that don’t have loud guitars, save for the two one-minute segues on each side.

But who doesn’t appreciate some loud ass guitars? I know I do. And certainly These Arms Are Snakes do as well. "Big News" and "Greetings from the Great North Woods" are more straightforward, in the vein of Fugazi, and as could be expected, are big on mega distorted riffs. But "La Stanza Bianca" shows a weirder side of the band, as they experiment with baroque sounding keyboards and a near-goth sound. But "Darlings of New Midnight" returns to a more straightforward structure. In what may be the heaviest song on the album, the band delivers one of its most accessible tracks. While the verse is edgy and agitated, the chorus bursts into super low-end mayhem, like Queens of the Stone Age on steroids. Lots of `em. Just when you think the band is ready to slow it down on final track, "Idaho," the band rages into a sinister waltz that’s one part At the Drive-In, one part carnival sideshow and one part "Rock Lobster."

I may not be a teenager anymore, and I certainly haven’t listened to Snapcase or Will Haven in some time. But These Arms Are Snakes are enjoying frequent spins in my cd player and probably will until my hearing goes.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

In its ’80s heyday, American hardcore promised to develop into something much more interesting than today’s whiny emo, filled as it is with lyrics lifted from a depressed teenager’s diary. A number of acts like Unwound, Drive Like Jehu and the Blood Brothers have fulfilled that promise, adding their own technical prowess, metal chops and white noise to the hardcore template. On their ridiculously titled debut album, Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home, Seattle’s These Arms Are Snakes offers a handful of cathartic, fractured anthems that almost make the cut. Featuring ex-members of Minneapolis’s Kill Sadie and the seminal Botch, blistering aggression was expected. "Your Pearly Whites" builds into a series of maniacal drum fills, cresting with a fist-pumping game of start/stop, and the epic "Idaho" is a punk tent revival as propulsive as Jawbreaker’s "Bivouac." Even more satisfying, though, are the unexpected shots of restive pump organ, spindly noise arias and ethereal drone. Some tracks lag under the weight of the quartet’s ambition, but even when they fail, These Arms Are Snakes have produced an engaging collection that goes a long way to prove contemporary hardcore needn’t be for dummies and crybabies.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

Composed of former members from Botch and Kill Sadie, how could this record disappoint (although only 3 original members from the EP remain). Yet, the trend for many “ex-members” new projects is to be completely different from their notoriety sound. Although the music is still aggressive, it isn’t hardcore, it isn’t tech ?°¦ it’s more punk (at least in my mind). If you were to tag this effort anything, I’d give it the “post-punk” label. They play a brand of interesting melodic, yet 80’s-esque punk/hardcore that surely is lacking from the mainstream. Compared to their EP, this release definitely is a study in maturity. From start to finish they really don’t leave much to be desired since it isn’t necessarily a common sound. You aren’t left asking where are the “blah blah” or the “blah blah”, it’s more of like “what the fuck was that sound?” Surely These Arms Are Snakes won’t suit many listeners, but for many they might be some form of musical savior. I’ll admit, it’s hard to deny dirty, melodic punk; it’s a delicacy in the musical world.

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

Just when These Arms Are Snakes hit their peak of perfection with “This Is Meant To Hurt You” the band has come out with the new Jade Tree record “The Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home” to outdo their previous effort. Not only delivering a heavier keyboard driven record and more stylistically incorporative backing, These Arms Are Snakes have also shown that as a band they have found their true sound.

As soon as the album’s second track, “Angela’s Secret,” hits, the dance-groovy keyboard incorporations begin to mix nicely with the strong vocal presence of Steve Snere and quick guitar lines from Ryan Frederiksen. The album is full of surprises around every corner. Just when you begin to think These Arms Are Snakes couldn’t do anything more to impress you, the band pulls something else out of their magic hat and dazzles. What’s so awesome about it, it that These Arms Are Snakes bring something continually brilliant to the equation with each song they transition into.

“The Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home” could go on endlessly and continually be amazing. Each time the disc plays, with the repeat button on of course, I have become more and more impressed with These Arms Are Snakes. Their indie partycore, alternative keyboard driven rock is fun and inventive. For anyone looking for something new and creative, These Arms Are Snakes will surely do the trick.

Many would closely relate These Arms Are Snakes’ sound to The Blood Brothers. This comparison is not so far off that it can’t be made, but the description is better suited by describing them as The Blood Brothers minus the excessive amount of screaming, cheesy lyrical content, and frequent whiney screams. In a sense, The Blood Brothers should be called These Arms Are Snakes with additions of cheesy lyrics, excessive amounts of screaming, and frequent whiney screams. Their keyboards are strategically thrown in to enhance their music instead of simply being incorporated into the sound just for the fun of it as one would find with Seattle’s The Blood Brothers. These Arms Are Snakes does everything with good intentions and a clear thought process, and “The Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home” certainly shows this. Partycore at it’s best.
5/5

These Arms Are Snakes [I]Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go[/I] Review

Being an "ex-member band" is a hard thing to shake off at times. Luckily for Seattle, WA’s These Arms Are Snakes, they are good enough to make you forget that they have members of Kill Sadie and Botch, two of the most innovative hardcore bands of all time, amongst their roster, and have created a name for themselves through hard work, a rigorous tour schedule…oh, and
making good music. Who would have thought?

These Arms Are Snakes released an EP 2 summers ago, entitled "This Is
Meant To Hurt You", which was a very good effort, but the demos were better
(besides the last song on the EP), and it wasn’t enough material for a band that sparked such a great fanbase in such a short time. Enter almost a year later, the band releases their long delayed split with Harkonen, loses a keyboard player, loses a drummer, gains a new drummer with a rock n roll resume that states "drummer of Minus The Bear", and prepares to write a full length! The world is stunned! Enter NOW, the album is finally out, the band is touring non-stop, the guitar player grows a ton of hair, and the bass player plays as much keyboard as he does bass. Now is a good time forThese Arms Are Snakes."Oxeneers" opens with a raunchy techno beat on the song "The Shit Sisters", which soon bombards into some avant-garde hardcore courtesy of your boys in the Snakes. They waste no time going into somewhat of a build up that leads into triumphant riffing, vocalist Steve Snere’s signature holler, and wait…keyboards!?! If you read the above paragraph, you will
understand why that is there. The next song, "Angela’s Secret" begins with an
incredibly catchy bassy keyboard interlude, most likely coming from a
Micro-Korg, but not soon after TAAS breaks into a nice dance build up, into somewhat of a breakdown, then into more riffing, then into my favorite part of the song…led by drummer Erin Tate’s silky smooth signature drumming style and bassist Brian Cook playing a racing bassline that guides the angular
guitars and Steve’s chants. It’s beautiful. Up next is the teaser from the
album,"Big News". Most that I know that heard this song complained "omg I
like their old stuff so much more this sucks omg!" But I am actually a big
fan of this track. "Big News" includes the best bass line of the year, as
well as an awesome bridge (which includes Snere’s chant of "What is the
sense/ Of giving/ All of your time/ Away?", one of the best moments of the album).The next two tracks are relatively boring, one is an interlude and the other is a somewhat boring, kind of depressing ballad. "Greetings From The Great North Woods" saves the listener from dying of boredom however, this song is incredibly catchy, and pretty exciting actually. To keep us even more excited, the next 2 tracks are also just as catchy and good! Holy cow! What a comeback! The album closes with the eerie "Idaho", Idaho isn’t much of an eerie place to begin with, I live only an hour away from it, but the continuous organ in the first 3 minutes of this song creep me out, but the breakdown in this song rules, with two guitars at once (Line 6 pedals,everybody, there is still one guitar playing all of this) harmonizing an incredibly catchy part that is very similar to (I hate to be so generic) later At The Drive-In era Omar Rodriguez riffs. The song then slowly crumbles away, ending the album.

These Arms Are Snakes have (finally) delivered a stunning debut. It
sounds like nothing out there right now (note the vague descriptions I gave)
except These Arms Are Snakes, and simply put, they are something you need to experience for yourself, for starters you can pick up this album.
Perfect for listening to while standing next to skyscrapers, arguing on the
phone, and playing video games.
4.4/5

Armed and Dangerous

Some things – “kids’ stuff” as self-righteous adults like to call it – nearly everyone eventually outgrows: skateboarding, weekly binge drinking, celebrity obsessions, emoticons. Maybe we just get bored of them (really, how long can you spend perfecting your beer-bong design?). Some are, to be honest, just darn juvenile (we’re looking your way, Mr. Sideways-Hat Wearer). Others, well, they just get too confining and full of baggage the longer you cling to them – by-the-book punk rock is surely of that stripe.

There’s a big difference between by-the-book punk (read: the ridiculous world of studded underwear, a safety-pin addiction or sophomoric skate-punk pranks) and real punk, as many a twentysomething’s had to figure out on his or her own. (Editor’s Note: Before you dash off a nasty email telling me Duane Peters rides a skateboard, sports enough black leather to outfit a couple herds of angus, and is so damn punk, he could cave my head in faster than you could say “stuck in the past,” I know. Yeah, but he’s got really bad teeth and hasn’t made an original noise since before we were born, so stick it.). No matter what sociologists, musicologists and that marketing whiz say, punk isn’t a youth culture. It is, in its truest form, something larger.

Nobody has the time to waste splitting hairs about whether it’s a feeling, a grassroots movement, a way of life or any of that other crap. Either you fundamentally get it – and know that it touches you so deeply you never really leave it behind – or you’d rather spend your life pretending it’s the mid-’80s. Jade Tree’s These Arms Are Snakes certainly fit with the notion of punk as something larger than a uniform and a catalog of out-of-print vinyl. The Seattle band’s full-length debut, this year’s The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home launches into a densely packed sonic assault that takes punk’s ethos of individualism and hardcore’s blistering fury to create a sound that reluctantly drags punk and hardcore’s full-frontal power into places usually touched by indie bands.

Calling These Arms Are Snakes (singer/bassist/keyboardist Brian Cook, guitarist Ryan Frederiksen, and drummer Erin Tate) a post-hardcore act would certainly be a misnomer. Although the band takes post-hardcore’s notions of updating punk for a new millennium, it doesn’t use the same Fugazi and Refused inspired tools. Instead of cranky tempo shifts and wiry guitars, The Lion Sleeps alternately blazes with slinky keyboards to which, were it not for the upheaval of guitar and thundering drums, you could almost dance or roars with the apocalyptic roar of hardcore – filtered through an avant-garde lens that distorts its clichés into something fresh. It’s neither a sonic assault nor an indie-rock cop out. It’s both melodic and abrasive. It knows the difference between pretense and sophistication. It’s the Playboy Man of the post-hardcore world: Erudite enough to know about fine wines, moog sounds, cigars, art-rock aims and cripplingly expensive hi-fi systems, yet naughty enough to indulge in centerfold-gazing and stiflingly hot hardcore riffs.

“We had a meeting with Jade Tree today about how that works in our favor, but is also to our detriment,” Frederiksen says from a phone in his label’s office. “We’re not 100 percent marketable to kids, but we’re not 100 percent marketable to the older crowd, either. We’ve got that weird gray area. It makes it hard to sell yourself 100 percent to one particular thing. To me, I think that’s awesome.”

A little indecision in the marketing department shouldn’t come as a shock for the band. Formed by former members of hardcore heroes Botch and Kill Sadie, the act released a debut EP last year from Jade Tree, This Was Meant to Hurt You, hopped in the van and did some old-style touring. Along the way, it had some old-school differences in opinion with its keyboardist, who later left the band.

”It just wasn’t for him,” Frederiksen says. “It wasn’t really something that we felt we wanted that much anyway, was a keyboard player. It just kind of worked out for the best in the end. We went our separate ways and it helped us out quite a bit.

“There’s definitely a hell of a lot more room,” he continues. “We enjoy ourselves while we play live. Having that keyboard player up there with the other three or four of us was a little bit ridiculous as far as room’s concerned. Now we’re able to run free across the whole stage.”

The lineup change, which culminated earlier this year with Tate taking over the stool, did a lot more than give the band – which is now playing as a trio, but, according to Frederiksen, could expand at a moment’s notice – enough elbow room to prance around on stage. It shifted the dynamics of the band, changing its keyboards, now manned off and on by Cook, from a necessary part of songwriting (if you’ve got to crowd the stage with a keyboard player’s body, he might as well be playing, right?) to an as-needed accent to its songs. Now, with the same sort of metaphoric room to jump around in a trio’s stripped-down, spacious arrangements, TAAS stretches its legs on its latest.

In “Angela’s Secret,” a danceable Korg melody tangos with abrasive riffery, while “Gadget Arms” tilts at the highbrow world of modern prog rock, space rock and, of course, the band’s beloved punk/hardcore roots. The wonderfully named “The Shit Sisters” builds up from the half-broken synths of dance-punks, though blossoms into a corrosive guitar melody that juggles post-hardcore and post-punk overtones without catering to either fashion. Through it all, one thing’s clear: Between the melodies, the grooves and the wreck-your-hearing guitars, TAAS pushes punk into new avenues.

“I think we kind of keep playing and how it comes out is how it comes out,” Frederiksen says. “It’s not anything that we’re necessarily trying to prove to anybody. It’s just the way that it comes out and that’s what you hear. It’s not something that we think about much. I’d like to think that we are pushing some kind of ground in some direction. It means we’re doing something right. We’re definitely trying to keep on our toes and push ourselves as much as humanly possible. If that comes across as that way, that’s great. I love that. It makes me feel that we’re doing our job.

“I think my guitar playing is more melodic, but we still have these moments where we’ll just play something fucked-up and heavy that will fit well here. It’s never anything intentional, really, but I could see how it comes out that way.”

You can partially chalk up TAAS’ ability to bust out of punk cliché to its members’ long tenure in the punk world – they already got every formula out of their system a long, long time ago – and their forward-leaning artistic sensibilities, but there’d be little room for the band if audiences were still stuck sucking up to traditionalist copycats. The Lion Sleeps is as much a product of the punk world’s expanding palate as anything else.

For anyone like Frederiksen, who grew up amid the stringent, lock-step conformity of days of hardcore past, the sudden 180-degree flop from close-minded to eager isn’t just surprising, it’s a godsend for bands like his.

“Maybe people just don’t want to miss the next big thing,” Frederiksen speculates. “There’s so much out there, you hear on MTV or on the radio that are on a smaller label, not a small label, but they’re not on Geffen, or Columbia or Interscope or Sony. They’re on Victory Records or Vagrant and they get MTV play and they get so much radio play it’s making the market flooded with a bunch of bands. It’s not who’s huge and who isn’t anymore. It’s a lot easier for bands to make a living off what they do and support themselves.

“We toured with Blood Brothers last year. Blood Brothers are so abrasive and kids just eat it up. I think that’s awesome. As far as marketability, how the hell do you market The Blood Brothers? Do you hear the same thing I hear? It’s insane, but kids eat it up. I think it’s cool that there’s so much out there that’s just so absolutely insane and kids just totally seem to get into it.”

Yes, these times are a-changin’. Thankfully, with bands like TASS to lead us, the punk world might never stagnate again.