The Blind Shake
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The Blind Shake

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | INDIE

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | INDIE
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t’s Seriousness indeed for The Blind Shake. The Minneapolis three-piece plays concise, to the point garage rock. From their matching trek suits to drummer Dave Roper’s emphatic beats, the band has an air of professional dedication when they take the stage that’s distinct in a genre that seems to pride itself on sloppiness. The band has been alternating records between their solo group and with noisemaster Michael Yonkers on guest vocals. Seriousness is the band’s first “solo” full-length since 2007’s Carmel and the progression in that time is clear.

The Blind Shake define themselves with a tight-knit sound of syncopated, buzzsaw guitars and powerful drumming over bullet-paced songs that rarely top three minutes. It only took a few songs on their debut to introduce their signature sound, and it’s been a steady growth since. While there is a definite sameness in their approach, the nuance and energy override the formula—and the brevity helps overcome any similarities. It only takes fifteen seconds on Seriousness , when the well-timed chords really kick up the juice in “Hurrican,” to be clear that this release isn’t a departure. The song delivers a familiar, urgently rocker with such precision that the Blaha brothers’ vocals are nearly tribal. Still, while there are several familiar sounding tracks here, such as “Out of Work” and “I’m Not an Animal,” the band has been building on that base sound, adding levels of distortion and noise, and hints of more classic styles like psychedelia and surf. These influences seep underneath the primary core, complementing the song rather than pulling it in different directions.

For all the exploration that the band is doing underneath the surface, they never stray from their primary formula. “No Rags,” the longest song on the record—and one that ties in a detuned surf line—still only clocks in at 2:47. Combined with 2009’s album with Yonkers, Cold Town/Soft Zodiac, this marks some of their best, and most varied, work. They branch out even further with acoustic guitars and a touch of blues in “Hand Me Downs,” and the squealing distortion in “O’Rider” provides a contrasting energy to the haunting tone without losing their signature crunch.

The band continues to grow their sound, adding nuance, depth, and a subtle heaviness that never offsets the melodic touches of their defined chords and easy to memorize song structures. Rather than re-invent themselves with each record, The Blind Shake continue to grow and improve. In its thirteen songs, Seriousness packs a fast punch. It’s the kind of record that you play all day on repeat, instead of just once and then file back on the shelf.
8.1 / 10
by Loren on Monday 17th October 2011
See also:

theblindshake.com/ - scenepointblank.com


The Blind Shake, Police Teeth, Mutiny Mutiny

(Sunset) Sometime Line Out freelancer James Burns, who's seen Minneapolis's the Blind Shake a number of times, once described their sound as "a whole new scorched-earth Billy-Childish-meets-Hammerhead" and "the A Frames on PCP." Internet footage corroborates, and if those aren't convincing endorsements, you may want to consider staying in with a cup of chamomile tea tonight. Speaking of Burns *CONFLICT OF INTEREST*, tonight is the triumphant return of his band Police Teeth, who are back from a national tour in support of the excellently parched and brash punk of their latest release, Awesomer Than the Devil, out now on Latest Flame. GRANT BRISSEY - The Strangler - Seattle Weekly


The Blind Shake, Police Teeth, Mutiny Mutiny

(Sunset) Sometime Line Out freelancer James Burns, who's seen Minneapolis's the Blind Shake a number of times, once described their sound as "a whole new scorched-earth Billy-Childish-meets-Hammerhead" and "the A Frames on PCP." Internet footage corroborates, and if those aren't convincing endorsements, you may want to consider staying in with a cup of chamomile tea tonight. Speaking of Burns *CONFLICT OF INTEREST*, tonight is the triumphant return of his band Police Teeth, who are back from a national tour in support of the excellently parched and brash punk of their latest release, Awesomer Than the Devil, out now on Latest Flame. GRANT BRISSEY - The Strangler - Seattle Weekly




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* Jul 26, 2011
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MP3 Premiere : The Blind Shake : Hurracan
The Blind ShakeThe Blind Shake - Hurracan
0:00 / 0:00DownloadRight-click and save as to download.

Something about The Blind Shake makes me misty-eyed for those heady days of yore in the Twin Cities’ music scene. Maybe it’s the split 7-inch with noise-pop savant Michael Yonkers. Or the Am Rep 7-inch scheduled for late 2011. And it certainly has something to do with the fact that their newest, Seriousness, was recorded at historic Blackberry Way Studio (The Replacements, Husker Du).

Seriousness drops today on Learning Curve Records and incorporates a little surf, a little punk and a whole lotta unbridled aggression that the band has honed on the Midwest garage and basement circuit. Lead single Hurracan is a 2-minute how-do-you-do? of guaranteed to get you a time out, regardless of your genre, and you can bet yer sweet bippy that MOKB is happy to premiere it, baritone guitar and all. - My Old Kentucky Blog




* Categories
o ArtistUpdated
o Concert
o Contest
o FestivalUpdated
o Film
o Interview
o Laundromatinee
o Mixtape
o MOKB Presents
o Movies
o NewsUpdated
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o PlaylistUpdated
o reissue
o Remix
o Review
o Roaring Colonel
o Show
o SongUpdated
o SXSW
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o TourUpdated
o Tribute
o VideoUpdated
* Recent
o 10.4OUT TODAY : Dreamers Of The Ghetto : “Enemy/Lover” LP + “Tether”/”Heavy Love” 7?
o 10.4Today’s MOKB on SIRIUS XMU Blog Radio Playlist : 100411
o 10.3New Video : Lord Huron : Mighty
o 10.3Recap : NBN presents SOUNDLAND
o 9.29Yuck on Room 205 + MOKB Presents Yuck at Radio Radio on 10/1/11
o 9.29New Video : The Wombats : 1996
o 9.28New Band Smell : Alabama Shakes
o 9.28Fresh Session : Deer Tick covers ZZ Top on Laundromatinee.com / MOKB SIRIUS XM Blog Radio
o 9.27Today’s MOKB Blog Radio on SIRIUS XMU Playlist : 092611
o 9.26EP Review : Memoryhouse : The Years
o 9.26Video : Wise Blood : Nosferatu
o 9.23Album Review : The Bloody Hollies : Yours Until the Bitter End
o 9.23New 7? : Mood Rings : Promise Me Eternity
o 9.23Diarrhea Planet : Warm Ridin’
o 9.23Steve Adamyk Band : Landslide
o 9.22New Cover : James Vincent McMorrow : Wicked Game (Chris Issak)
* Connect
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+ Join the MOKB Facebook group
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* Jul 26, 2011
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MP3 Premiere : The Blind Shake : Hurracan
The Blind ShakeThe Blind Shake - Hurracan
0:00 / 0:00DownloadRight-click and save as to download.

Something about The Blind Shake makes me misty-eyed for those heady days of yore in the Twin Cities’ music scene. Maybe it’s the split 7-inch with noise-pop savant Michael Yonkers. Or the Am Rep 7-inch scheduled for late 2011. And it certainly has something to do with the fact that their newest, Seriousness, was recorded at historic Blackberry Way Studio (The Replacements, Husker Du).

Seriousness drops today on Learning Curve Records and incorporates a little surf, a little punk and a whole lotta unbridled aggression that the band has honed on the Midwest garage and basement circuit. Lead single Hurracan is a 2-minute how-do-you-do? of guaranteed to get you a time out, regardless of your genre, and you can bet yer sweet bippy that MOKB is happy to premiere it, baritone guitar and all. - My Old Kentucky Blog


Dennis’ Runner-Up of the Week:
The Blind Shake: Seriousness (Learning Curve Records)

Self-described as a “trio of detuned, garage-stomp, noisy punk rock music makers from Minneapois, MN,” The Blind Shake are truly the unruly children of The Ramones and Wire, The Ventures and fellow Minnesotans Hüsker Dü, and their latest salvo, Seriousness (released July 26), is the best damn thing they’ve laid down yet. The force of this album is cumulative, only felt in the marrow as one takes the turn onto Side B and aurally luges down the spiky trio of Suicide Myself, I’m Not An Animal and the title cut. Then it starts to hit you that these guys are lethal, men who’ve gnawed things down to the bone, leaving teeth marks and dangling bits of flesh behind. It’s dangerous to call anything “pure” but this is what rock is pretty much about at its backseat rumbling roots. It’s not to say The Blind Shake adhere to any formula or orthodoxy, they just get down to it in a way that makes one’s blood pump more vigorously than before they arrived. At a lean 28 minutes, Seriousness is no bullshit directness incarnate that’s likely to loosen any pogo-ing tendencies right to the surface. Gabba gabba hey indeed. (DC) - The Dirty Impound


The key phrase here is AmRep. Coming out of Minneapolis (surprise, surprise), this three piece (two guitars—one normal and one baritone—and drums) is reminiscent of much of the material that came from the late, great noise rock label. The Jesus Lizard and Cows are two frequent names mentioned when it comes to the "sounds like" category with this band. The music is frantic and upbeat, exciting and fast-paced; even the infrequent thirty-second slowdown (does that count as a song?) is quickly forgotten, trashed by the forward-marching sounds of a bull-headed blitz of rock and roll. With twelve songs in about twenty minutes, that probably gives you a good idea of what you’re getting into with this release. Yeah, you guessed it: rock’n’roll fun.
–Kurt Morris (Learning Curve)
- Razorcake


When Sonic Youth signed to a major label in 1991, digestible noise was suddenly available to the masses. It’s been interesting hearing the bands emerging in its wake for the past 15 years. Who will make the sound even more digestible? Who will make it even noisier?

I don’t know if the Blind Shake actually consider Sonic Youth an influence, but I hear its footprints, from the emotionally detached vocals to the riotous distortion. What the Blind Shake contribute to Sonic Youth’s legacy is more crunch and succinctness, and their fervent, short songs (the longest track is a mere 2:39; the shortest clocks in at only 33 seconds) are simultaneously catchy and infectious.

The speed is actually a little dizzying; at a total running time of 20 minutes, there are 12 songs crammed into Rizzograph. By the time you have your arms around a track, you’re halfway through the next one. That the Blind Shake can do this without completely losing you; however, is an achievement. This is fast, loud noise punk for those who like noise, and it’s done efficiently and emotionally. DB
- Rift Magazine Issue 9


The Blind Shake
Rizzograph
Learning Curve
One of the hardest things about compiling this list was finding discs that are great from start to finish. The Blind Shake increased their odds by recording a 12-song album that lasts less than 20 minutes. Sneaky. The result is a barrage of unrelenting rock piloted by jagged-edged guitar. Even the lurching "Running from the Mail" has an urgency that breaks down the door, jumps on the couch, and shouts louder than anyone else at the party. Simply put, these dudes command attention, and Rizzograph is a compact record that never sacrifices quality in its quest for brevity.
- City Pages Volume 26 Issue 1306


BLIND SHAKE
RIZZOGRAPH
LEARNING CURVE RECORDS
The Blind Shake is from Minnesota's Twin Cities, but this listener immediately picked up on a distinct X vibe (you know, that great band that helped make Los Angeles punk famous). This trio plays almost everything fast and loud. There are elements of garage rock, which are then mixed with a punk spirit...or is that garage spirit mixed with punk? Whatever the case, it works. RIZZOGRAPH buzzes along like a 64-oz. jug of coffee taken in one gulp and keeps you up and at 'em long after the last drop. Its sound is comprised of nervous guitar, bass and drums. Many of these songs (such as "Running from the Mail") sound closer to Native American war chants than songs—but this whole tribal vibe is what makes it so cool. -Dan MacIntosh
- Skratch Magazine


Minnesota's the blind Shake make muscular, somewhat noisy rock music. On Rizzograph, the brothers Blaha Jim on guitar and Mike on Baritone guitar wield their axes with the artful exprimentation that sets apart Sonic Youth's guitarists and Misson of Burma's Roger Miller. But the Blaha's deny themselves the opportunity for wankery. Like a cab driver on meth, the band makes 12 quick tirps from point A directly to point B. Te conciseness handcuffs drummer Dave Roper and the guitarists, though. the Spartan punk ethic focuses the trio; hearing the group remove the blinders andimprovise would be more thrilling.(JM) - Punk Planet Issue 72


Local noise rockers the Blind Shake resurrect a classic Minneapolis sound


by Chuck Terhark


The Blind Shake
Rizzograph
Learning Curve Records

 

Thelonious Monk was said to play the notes between the keys, sticking his fingers into those unreachable spaces where microtones and otherworldy scales live. True as that may have been, it's also impossible (a paradox which, considering Monk's paranormal mystique, was exactly the point). For those non-magical musicians closer to Earth, then, a more practical way to scratch those hard-to-reach notes is required.

Jim Blaha, guitarist and singer for local noise-rock trio the Blind Shake, works his own brand of off-key mystique into his songs, but through a more direct approach; he just tunes his guitar strings to whichever bizarro half-notes he thinks the song needs. If the next song is in a different tuning, he has another guitar prepped and waiting nearby. That this strategy requires him to tote no fewer than four guitars onstage every time he plays a show is a necessary, if showy, consequence.

"People probably see me walk in with all these guitars and go, 'Who the fuck is this guy?'" he says.

"They don't realize they're the shittiest $100 guitars you can buy," laughs his brother Mike, the Blind Shake's other singer/guitarist.

The siblings are eating dinner with their drummer, Dave Roper, at Grumpy's in downtown Minneapolis. They look like slightly skewed mirror images of each other: Both have shaved heads, short noses, and square jaws. Jim, a former track athlete, is svelte and inward; Mike, a former football star, is thicker, more talkative. Jim plays a standard guitar, while Mike plays the less-common baritone version. "He's 15 months older," says Mike, citing the number like it's a distance he's been running his whole life. "And I'm 15 pounds heavier."

Grumpy's is a tailor-made setting for a band like the Blind Shake. When it opened in the late '90s, owner Tom Hazelmeyer secured funding through his other venture, Amphetamine Reptile Records. Now, sipping sodas beside the bar's front windows, sit three guys who picked up the torch dropped by that noise-rock label's old standard-bearers--Hammerhead, Calvin Krime, the Cows, the Freedom Fighters--and are running hard with it. And if the band didn't already feel at home in this den of hard-drinking Melvins fans, the hulking dude behind the bar is none other than Rainer Fronz, founder of Learning Curve Records, the label that signed them. ("He can dunk," says Mike of the former basketball player-turned-post-punk impresario. Jim laughs. "Yeah, that's why we signed with him. Because he dunks.")

It's Thursday, and the band is skipping their usual rehearsal to recuperate from a three-week tour promoting their debut, Rizzograph, a hard-and-fast little album released on Learning Curve in October. Rizzograph is a quick study of the sonic formula that turned AmRep into one of the most successful indie labels in Minneapolis history. Each short song turns on a single, dissonant riff, with verse, chorus, and (the occasional) bridge all within a minor step. Even the vocal lines are delivered as riffs, hanging loosely on the rhythmic foundation, adjusting its shade and texture but never its shape. This high-energy blueprint runs through the entire record, making up in consistency what it lacks in dimension. Packaged as 12 90-second songs, Rizzograph could just as easily be one incredible 19-minute song. But then, when would Jim switch guitars?

The crowds on this most recent tour were especially rapt by the band's fuzzy noise blanket. "It was definitely our most successful tour yet," says Jim, who can't agree with Mike about whether it was the group's third or fourth tour. One thing they can agree on: Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is their favorite place to play. "They have a great scene up there," says Jim. "Kids were shouting our name and even singing along with our songs."

"It's so fun to play those small towns," adds Mike. "And the bands there are getting so good. It's funny, because you play there, and you kind of watch the kids grow up. They're getting taller. Their bands are getting better. Their girlfriends are getting hotter."

"If you print that last one they'll probably kick my ass," he adds with a chuckle.

The Blind Shake know something about the small-town experience, having been born and raised in Lake City, an ironically riverside little town 80 miles southeast of the Twin Cities ("The birthplace of water-skiing," Mike brags). After a short stint in Bovey, Minnesota (Mike: "Home of the picture Grace!"), the stir-crazy brothers migrated to the Twin Cities. When Roper, a high school chum, ditched law school and followed them to Minneapolis, they formed the band, taking their name from Omar Abdel-Rahman (a.k.a. the Blind Sheik), who was jailed for masterminding the first World Trade Center bombing ("It was funnier before September 11," Mike admits).

After four ye - Twin Cities Reader Winter Books Issue · Vol 26 · Issue 1302 · PUBLISHED 11/16/2005


Two great new local albums with nothing in common but their mention in this review!
By Sarah Askari
Published on November 07, 2007
The Blind Shake are a trio, two-thirds composed of Blaha DNA. Siblings Jim and Mike Blaha, the band's two axmen, have done away with the conventional use of a bass guitar, since neither of them wanted to play it (how this elegant solution might have applied to childhood bunk-bed apportionment, we'll never know). Instead, Mike, the younger, plays baritone guitar—although "plays" doesn't quite capture the mechanism correctly. It might be better to say, if you habla Blaha, that he deploys the noise that comes from his instrument. The low end of Blind Shake songs seems a little like it comes from a pursuer, one who, once sent after you, can't easily be called off. (The internets allege that folk babe Ani DiFranco also often uses a baritone guitar, which causes me to wonder about the fraction of households in 1998 that welcomed both Little Plastic Castle and the Jesus Lizard's Blue into their stereos.)

*
Greg Schaal
The band outside their headquarters, the Blind Shake Noise and Teardrop Factory
The band outside their headquarters, the Blind Shake Noise and Teardrop Factory

With Jim Blaha on guitar and Dave Roper on drums, the band unleashes an aggressive style of rock commonly traced to the noise acts who once made their home at Amphetamine Reptile Records. Most recently, they collaborated with Minneapolis underground legend Michael Yonkers for the Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons album. Now comes their own second release, Carmel, which times in at (a carbon-efficient?) 25 minutes for its 12 tracks.

The product of their economy is a disc of junkyard-dog-mean riffs; terse, echoing vocals; and rust-punching percussion. If I were to host an impromptu tire fire at my house, Carmel would be the first thing out of my stereo speakers.

Both of the band's brothers sing, delivering challenges—"Hey policeman/Watchya doing way out here?" (from "Peach Lines")—with a sneer and a drawl. They're not much interested in an answer, and the response would be lost in the industrial grind of the rhythm section anyway.

If the drums and baritone guitar are relentless and pounding, the higher end is marked by a nervous, piercing squall. Say the military created a swarm of hummingbird robots to watch over neighborhoods and thwart the joyous congregation of tire-fire lovers—their nervous little wings might make a sound like Jim Blaha's guitar.

But in the distorted surf phrases and wipeout percussion of "Fiberglass," a cinematic playfulness peeks through all the fierceness. There are handclaps, after all—though the sound of flesh hitting flesh here recalls getting smacked around by an older sibling's friends more than it references the glee of childhood.

Miles away from the cool outcasts' playground of the Blind Shake lies the verdant pop hills and disco-breezed terrain of the Wild Things. (You know you've really reached the border when you hear the soft, merry tones of a xylophone chiming.) The local quartet's first EP, Everytime I See Your Face, will be greeted with happy familiarity by all ears that tingle to the sounds of Walker Kong, where drummer Emily Cahill also keeps the beat.

With enough reflected light and healthy bounce to outfit a Pantene ad, the four tracks skip along with a carefree blitheness, casually promising love and delivering, at the very least, a groove that would make even a Breck girl tangle her tresses. Patrick Eversweet's mellow tenor and Karl Raschke's thin reverberating warble layer the lyrics on "Last Time" as Kim Ha's melodic lines on keyboard move in Middle Eastern undulations. On "The Beast" the band suggests gently (rather than boasts), "And you feel all these wild things inside you/Your skin feels hot/You can't concentrate." These Wild Things are never menacing, but that doesn't mean they can't make you break a sweat. - City Pages


The best thing about having a full menu of vices before you is that, once you get over your puritanical squeamishness and decide to become a libertine, you can open up a world of mix'n'match distractions that can keep you busy for years to come. Tired of getting drunk? Try throwing in a bowl and hooking up with your latest fling. Straight sex can get a little dull, and when it does, any combination of drugs, violence and perversion can spice it up. Heck, even when your beloved music collection isn't doing it for you like it used to, a trip to the pharmacy can change that up in a hurry.

Music's a lot like that, too. With so many styles, sub-genres and movements floating around in its history, it shouldn't take more than a little ingenuity to keep things fresh for us. And, we'll admit, that genre-blurring thing can lead to some abominations (see: rap-metal and jazz fusion), but it's still got some surprises in store for us. The Blind Shake make good on the potential of mix'n'match rock'n'roll vices, as its sophomore effort, Carmel, forces a little bit of psychedelia onto its punk. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, it doesn't matter: Carmel is a double-dose of amphetamine jitters and lysergic freakouts. Better yet, it's a good combination of its various vices.

The Blind Shake makes Carmel - Aversion.com


Ah, when it comes to stripped down, snotty but smart rock, Minneapolis just keeps on giving. Lead by the brothers Blaha, The Blind Shake is a power trio that plays gritty barroom punk with post-punk undertones that drive the rhythm into odd places and bend a few genres along the way. “Carmel” is a fun slab of sweaty, greasy rock that shows off a whole wardrobe of other influences.

For a sophomore release, the band sound confident with their eclectic mix, whether it be slipping in some psychedelia on “Peach Lines,” some Fugazi/Gang of four jitters on “Been Young” or noisy shredding, as on “Jolly Joe’s” or “St. Paul Creamery.”

Guitarist Jim Blaha takes center stage throughout, channeling Hendrix by way of Kaukonen by way of Stinson. The rhythm section of Mike Blaha on bass and Dave Roper’s drums is where the highwire act of mixing and mashing genres and tempos happens. They are relentless.
“Carmel” is one of those yes-there-is-hope-for-rock records that come along too infrequently these days. Original but nods to past influences, and DIY sloppy and defiant, The Blind Shake are, to mix metaphors, a glorious site for sore ears. 8/10 - Foxy Digital


Discography

The Blind Shake "Old Lines, Sore Bones" 7" Fort Geztapo Records

The Blind Shake " Rizzograph" CD Learning Curve Records

The Blind Shake "CARMEL" CD/LP Learning Curve Records

Blind Shake/Birthday Suits Split 7" Learning Curve Records

Micheal Yonkders with the Blind Shake - "Carbohydrates, Hydrocarbons" GoJohnny Go Records

Micheal Yonker with the Blind Shake CD/LP "Cold Town, Soft Zodiac"

The Blind Shake "Labor Day" Amphetamine Reptile Records Scale 122

The Blind Shake " Seriousness"LP LCR033-1

Photos

Bio

he Blind Shake are trio of detuned, garage-stomp, noisy punk rock music makers from Minneapolis, MN. Known for their ferocious live shows and home recorded albums, the band released Rizzograph (2005), Carmel (2007), and a split 7” with Birthday Suits (2008) all on local label Learning Curve Records. Their first 7", Old Lines, Sore Bones, was released by Fort Gezzepi in 2004. In 2007, they recorded the critically acclaimed collaboration Carbohydrates, Hydrocarbons with noise legend Michael Yonkers as "Michael Yonkers with the Blind Shake" (Nero’s Neptune 2007) as well as Cold Town/Soft Zodiac split EP featuring "Michael Yonkers with The Blind Shake" on one side and The Blind Shake on the other (Learning Curve 2009). Two brothers, Mike and Jim Blaha, front the band and play baritone and regular guitar respectively. Longtime chum Dave Roper plays drums. The Blind Shake have toured North America's basements and bars for several years and are ready to release their latest opus, "Seriousness," this Summer on Learning Curve.

"Seriousness" was recorded by Neil Weir at "The Old Blackberry Way" studio in Minneapolis, as well as by Mike Blaha in various locations (his basement, our practice space, and a hallway). "The Old Blackberry Way" studio is the new version of "Blackberry Way," the same studio that has hosted many great Minneapolis recordings by The Replacements and Husker Du amongst others, and was also where the band recorded their collaborative release with 60's noise legend Michael Yonkers in 2007 (the band has also just finished a new collaboration with Yonkers that due out later this year... more details coming soon!). The band's goal on "Seriousness" was to keep things raw and simple, and track everything live to capture the energy of the band's crushing performances.