Aaron Harris is a name I’m sure many of you are familiar with, provided you are a fan of the bands Isis and Palms. As the drummer for these two bands, Aaron laid down some of the most haunting and heavy beats in the last twenty years. In addition to his work in Isis and Palms, Aaron has had a successful career as a producer and engineer. He’s worked with bands like Pelican, Deftones, Team Sleep, Spotlights, Jakob, Puscifer and With Our Arms To The Sun. So it comes as no surprise that Aaron, as talented as he is, began composing music for TV, film, video games, and commercials. Working under the name Methodic Doubt, Aaron has created a world that has been described as “downright breathtaking” by Spin magazine. And they are pretty spot on with that. The sounds created by Aaron have a very dark and moody tinge combined with pulsating rhythms, delicate strings, and electronic elements that add the right amount of atmosphere.
On his debut solo album, Dark Energy, you can really get swept away in the sounds. The collection of tracks on the album are the type that are ideal for horror, thriller, and suspense projects. The use of percussion, whether it’s the sounds, pulsating rhythms, eerie textures combined with the abrasive synth work creates this very vivid and spooky soundtrack. Aaron is super talented and it’s not a surprise to see him move in this direction. Now with Dark Energy, more people will get to hear how integral he is to the bands he’s been in as well as why he is sought after in terms of producing.
This is not a review, rather this is a recap of this magical show. Back in March of this year, Cave In bassist Caleb Scofield was tragically killed in a car accident. Since his passing, his peers have come together to raise funds for his family as well as celebrate Caleb’s legacy. This past evening at The Wiltern, the second tribute show to celebrate Caleb happened and it was something special.
We continue the alphabet with the letter I. This letter is another one that is pretty diffcult to think of bands/artists that deserve to be on a Top Ten list. Again these are in no particular order. And I’m always looking to add to the list so feel free to leave suggestions!
04) Iron Maiden
05) Iron Butterfly
07) Iron & Wine
08) Ice Cube
09) Ice- T
On paper supergroups sound like a good idea. Mix parts of one band with another. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Thankfully when Isis members Aaron Harris, Jeff Caxide, and Bryant Clifford Meyer joined up with Deftones singer Chino Moreno, musical bliss was created. Last night at the Troubadour was definitely something inspiring. The bands 75 minute set was full of intrigue. Their set started off with an untitled new song, then quickly jumped into “Tropics.” The main highlight of the night was when Adam Jones from Tool got on stage to join the band in playing “Shortwave Radio.” The crowd erupted when Adam appeared, almost to the same level as when Chino took the stage. You would think that with all the projects Chino is involved with he would run out of things to sing about. That is not the case. In Palms he gets to expand his thoughts into something more etherial that at the same time fits within the music and his voice is subtle as it caresses against the musical backdrop. Closing out the night was the fantastic song “Patagonia.” Palms is the type of band that can transcend heavy music and get those listening to just relax and settle into the music.
Opening band The Beta Machine, was nothing special. Actually to be perfectly honest they were rather drab and boring. I’d almost rather it have been an evening with Palms, than have to sit through their set. Though their drummer is quite fantastic.
What a great night for music. I love shows that leave me wanting more and that make me want to go home and write songs. In the past 4 days seeing Abloom and Palms really did that for me. And despite the venues sound guy not being on top of their game when it came to the live mix of Chino’s vocals, it was a great show.
1. New Song
3. Mission Sunset
4. Future Warrior
5. Shortwave Radio (with Adam Jones)
6. Antarctic Handshake
The desert has a very interesting way of bringing out creativity from those that inhabit the area. There must be something in the air. With that in mind, I bring your attention to With Our Arms to the Sun, a rock band formed in the desert of Arizona. The music is full of epic moments mixed with modern electronics to create music that has substance and plays off the old “concept album” structure. You can hear influences of Tool, Isis and little bit of shoe gaze and space rock. On their most recent release “A Far Away Wonder,” the drums were engineered by Aaron Harris of the bands ISIS and Palms, and some songs feature a collaboration with film composer Jonathan Levi Shanes. The band describes their live shows as unique and emotional, bringing back the energy of the punk rock and grunge bands of the past who used to play to basements and art galleries. With Our Arms To The Sun are real in their approach to create music that creates an ebb and flow that play off your auditory senses and imagination. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys live and they do not disappoint. They are a transcendent bright spot in a world that is lacking honesty and realism.
There is a saying that it’s best to go out on top, and in 2010, Isis did just that. Having released a great album Wavering Radiant, the guys in Isis decided to go their separate ways. Over the course of their career they released quite a few albums, EP’s, and splits. Two of their albums 2002’s Oceanic and 2004’s Panopticon are genre defining albums and regarded as classics in heavy music circles. Isis was a band that helped to expand the genre in which Neurosis and Godflesh made. Their use of conceptual themes in their lyrics made the albums stand out even more especially Panopticon. During their live shows the use of lights mixed with the rhythmic nature of the songs and the use of ambient sounds made their live show a truly intriguing experience. I was lucky enough to have seen Isis on their final tour. All the members have since gone on to other projects. One of the most prominent of those project is Palms which features 3 of the members of Isis and Chino Moreno of Deftones. All in all Isis was truly a great band that still had so much left to share with the world musically. Only time will tell if there will ever come a time when they will reconvene and form again.
Creating something epic is no easy task. The dedication it takes to create music with so many moving parts and to be able to connect the lyrics to match is over whelming at times. Luckily there are a few bands that have been able to do that and make it look easy, Neurosis and Isis for example. Destroy Judas is one of those bands. Combining their influences of doom metal, ambient noise, and crust punk, they have created a very deep and thought evoking band. Their debut Wake is full of just what I described. At times it might be construed as depressing but in the most positive of ways. There is a connection between the music and lyrics that really sits well beneath your skin. The drums and bass create a rhythmic foundation that sways and can be earth shattering. The guitars can go from the most subtle sounds to pummeling. The ambient touches really add a dark element that is mixed in perfectly. Vocally the prowess of the growls and soft cleans help guide along the epic nature. The four tracks on the album are all in that vein and unrelenting. The journey that Destroy Judas takes you on is powerful and epic.