Search Results for:

PROTOMARTYR

Protomartyr

Ultimate Success

    Following the release of Relatives In Descent, the band’s critically acclaimed headlong dive into the morass of American life in 2017 (featured on myriad “best of” lists, including The New York Times, Esquire, Newsweek, Loud & Quiet and more), Ultimate Success Today continues to further expand the possibilities of what a Protomartyr album can sound like. 

    “There is darkness in the poetry of Ultimate Success Today,” says punk legend, founding member of The Raincoats, and friend of the band Ana da Silva. “The theme of things ending, above all human existence, is present and reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Our world has reached a point that makes us afraid: fires, floods, earthquakes, hunger, war, intolerance…There are cries of despair. Is there hope? Greed is the sickness that puts life in danger.”

    "The re-release of our first album had me thinking about the passage of time and its ultimate conclusion,” says singer Joe Casey of Ultimate Success Today. “Listening to No Passion All Technique again, I could hear myself hoping for an introduction and a long future, but also being cognizant that it could be ‘one and done’ for us. So, when it came time to write Ultimate Success Today, I was reminded of that first urgency and how it was an inverse of my current grapple with how terribly ill I’ve been feeling lately. Was that sick feeling colouring how I felt about the state of the world or was it the other way around?”

    “This panic was freeing in a way. It allowed me to see our fifth album as a possible valediction of some confusingly loud five-act play. In the same light I see it as an interesting mile marker of our first decade of being a band - a crest of the hill along a long highway. Although just to cover my bases, I made sure to get my last words in while I still had the breath to say them.”

    “There are exquisite, subtle gifts from other instruments that always heighten the guitar, instead of fighting with it,” explains da Silva. “They help to create a harmonious wall of sound all of its own. This was intentional. Greg Ahee wanted to use different textures other than pedals, and the drone quality of some of those instruments colours the guitar and the whole sound with a warm, rich in reverb, yet all-consuming landscape for Joe Casey’s voice.”

    Protomartyr is Joe Casey (vocals), Greg Ahee (guitars), Alex Leonard (drums), and Scott Davidson (bass guitar). Ultimate Success Today was recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios, a late 19th century church, in upstate New York and co-produced by the band and David Tolomei (Dirty Projectors, Beach House) with mixing by Tolomei. Featured guest musicians on the album include Nandi Rose (vocals) a.k.a. Half Waif, jazz legend Jemeel Moondoc (alto sax), Izaak Mills (bass clarinet, sax, flute), and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello).


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: 140g transparent blue vinyl with 24"x24" poster, 'zine' booklet and download card.

    Protomartyr can finally answer what is probably their most frequently asked question: “When are you going to reissue your first album?” ‘No Passion All Technique’ has long been something of a mystery. Not available on streaming services; long out of print (and going for ridiculous prices on auction sites), why was this album so elusive?

    When Protomartyr - vocalist Joe Casey, guitarist Greg Ahee, bassist Scott Davidson, drummer Alex Leonard - stepped into a studio together for the first time, in November of 2011, they didn’t know they were about to record an album. With only four hours of studio time booked and one case of beer between them, their plan was to walk out with enough songs for a seven-inch single. Instead, at the suggestion of engineer Chris Koltay, the newly formed Detroit outfit recorded as much as they possibly could, in what little time they had.

    Sold out and out of print shortly after its original release on Urinal Cake Records in October 2012, ‘No Passion All Technique’ is a sometimes-messy look at one of rock’s most magnetic bands - and lyricists - just as they were coming to life. Primal, cerebral, heartbreaking, funny - it’s an accidental tour de force that’s also become an unlikely collector’s item. “My memory is shot,” Casey says, “but I appreciate now, looking back, how raw and off-the-cuff it was. There’s tons of mistakes in it and that wasn’t because we planned on it. We still can’t really admit that it’s as good as it is. You never want to say that your first is the best, but I’m happy that the first ended up not being terrible. It gave us doorway to what we’d want to do later.”

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Available to independent retailers on heavyweight blue vinyl with ‘zine’ magazine and digital download card.

    Protomartyr's ‘Consolation EP’, was recorded in part with friend Kelley Deal of The Breeders.

    The release features four brand new tracks, delivered in their usual brusque uncompromising style, and follows last year’s superb ‘Relatives In Descent’ album.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Protomartyr are one of those bands that elicit a chorus of head-nods and a flurry of 'Who is this?' from anyone near enough to hear, and this EP will surely be no different. A Galloping and driven EP, led by Joe Casey's unmistakeable snarl, and buoyed by the perfectly precise and ferocious instrumental backing. A great vision for the future.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive on yellow
    vinyl with 4 page booklet and digital download code.

    Anxiety about the precarious nature of reality is a recurring thread on Protomartyr's 4th full-length and Domino debut, Relatives In Descent. Though not a concept album, it presents twelve variations on a theme: the unknowable nature of truth, and the existential dread that often accompanies that unknowing. It's no coincidence this missive comes to us at a moment when disinformation and garbled newspeak have become a daily reality. “I used to think that truth was something that existed, that there were certain shared truths, like beauty,” says Protomartyr singer Joe Casey. “Now that’s being eroded. People have never been more skeptical, and there’s no shared reality. Maybe there never was.”

    Relatives In Descent offers new layers and new insights, without sanding any of the edges born from their days as a Detroit bar band. Greg Ahee’s guitar still crackles and spits electricity. Casey's voice continues to shift naturally between dead-eyed croon and fevered bark. Drummer Alex Leonard and bassist Scott Davidson remain sharp and propulsive, a rhythm section that’s as agile as it is adventurous. But this is also Protomartyr at their most impressive. After months of rehearsal, the band decamped to Los Angeles for two weeks in March of 2017, to record with Sonny DiPerri (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors), who co-produced the record and helped capture the band’s long-simmering vision for something more complex, but no less visceral.

    It all begins with ‘A Private Understanding,’ pegged as the album's opening statement the second it was finished, and a wellspring from which the following eleven songs flow. At once beautiful and brutal, it mutates from drum-led oddity to unlikely anthem, with some of Casey’s most potent lyrical work at its centre: “Sorrow's the wind blowing through/Truth is hiding in the wire.”


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: Standard vinyl LP (includes fold-out poster, zine insert featuring lyrics & original illustrations, and download code).

    'The Agent Intellect' is Protomartyr's third and finest work to date. Named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, it’s an elegant and often devastating display of all that makes Protomartyr so vital and singularly visceral an outfit. Over the course of several months, Greg Ahee waded through more than a hundred song fragments until he reached the bottomless melodies of “I Forgive You” and “Clandestine Time”, the inky depths of “Pontiac ’87” and titanic churn of “Why Does It Shake?” Lyrically, Casey is at his most confident and haunting. He humanizes evil on “The Devil in His Youth,” and, amid the charred pop of “Dope Cloud,” he reassures us that nothing - not God, not money - can or will prevent our minds from unraveling until we finally fade away. We are no one and nothing, he claims, without our thoughts. It’s a theme that echoes through the entirety of the record, but never as beautifully as it does on “Ellen.” Named after his mother and written from the perspective of his late father, it’s as romantic a song as you’re likely to hear this or any year, Casey promising to wait for her on the other side, with the memories she’s lost safely in hand.


    Latest Pre-Sales

    72 NEW ITEMS

    And if you also fancy some Piccadilly Records merch, expertly modelled here by Duncan. Head this way >… https://t.co/4ZTr5qXw8g
    Fri 5th - 6:38
    Thank you for the kind comments Duncan. We can only agree 😉 If you haven’t already and would like to receive the… https://t.co/V88UaKTijC
    Fri 5th - 6:34
    Some fresh new lockdown offers have hit our website - check them out here. https://t.co/hiUbQy0HSI We have very… https://t.co/8nFM3U6qqM
    Fri 5th - 3:40
    Always great choices Mike 🙌 If you’re looking for some New Music Friday inspiration head to the website, have a br… https://t.co/40FCyz8ZYZ
    Fri 5th - 2:52
    Thanks for the feature Tim 🙌 https://t.co/SfOJPR1R1V
    Fri 5th - 12:21
    E-newsletter —
    Sign up
    Back to top