CCFX hail from Olympia, Washington, one of the real hubs for North American underground arts.

A rising trio who draw inspiration from skeletal punk, shoegaze, and more, the band's potent new single 'The One To Wait' is out now on DFA Records.

Recorded and mixed with Captain Tripps, it's part of the group's new EP, a four-track that races from The Cure's gothic splendour to My Bloody Valentine's transcendent noise.

'The One To Wait' opens with chiming guitars, sliding and intersecting before making way for a loose, Factory Records style percussive shuffle.

The brittle, glass-like feel of the guitars is augmented by a psychedelia use of space, the slow-motion keys adding daubs of colour.

A beautiful introduction, it comes backed with black and white visuals, a stark but vastly impressive opening gambit from the group.

Check out 'The One To Wait' below.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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I have no interest in persuading you of anything. As far as I am concerned the events that I am about to relate exist beyond the realm of the regular empirical parameters of scrutability and credulous assessment. This is not a shaggy dog and there's no weighing it up. This is a rabid Irish wolf-hound of a tale, baying at the moon, and I advise extreme caution. These are my caveats, these are the terms of the dealio, dear reader.

It's something that I wish had never happened to me, and to be directly, inflexibly honest, as I sit at my typewriter now, I have reservations about setting it down. Prior to this document I have only ever recounted these events to two of my closest friends, and it has upset them. It has perplexed them. It has led to difficult questions being raised, and then questions, gently, graciously, and then silently being dropped. Questions of lifestyle and sanity. Questions of morality. It remains as it is, and was, and always shall be – an unsettling red thread running through the spectral fabric of ‘Good Luck Everybody’ – and it begins exactly where most good stories do.

We had been in a bar on Sunset Boulevard for five hours and the little girl scientist was beginning to get fruity. She snapped an answer at the journalist sat in front of us and then gazed at her phone. (The little girl scientist is the name I use for the remarkable woman I was entangled with at the time, for brevity I may refer to her as the LGS). She was ready to leave. We were there for the LGS to do some press meetings about her forthcoming record release, I was there to drink tequila and orange juice and to lend some kind of moral support and perhaps a little pith to proceedings. Detecting a subtle shift in the microclimate of her psyche, I drained my glass, we signalled cursory goodbyes and in silent acquiescence stepped out into the vermillion dusk of an October LA evening.

We barely spoke as the towncar edged its way through an early evening tide of traffic. We had an arrangement, that we would both do the necessary thing to allow the other to exist in a state of near perpetual emotional non-engagement, a sort of hedonistic calculus that felt like free fall. I think of it now as a sort of symbiotic trance.

The car inclined upwards as we started the long lolling climb up Mulholland on our way to her house, a gaudy seventies megastructure nestled in a blind alley not accidentally situated about three hundred feet from the Hollywood sign. It was a palace of stately isolation, open plan, equipped with a spectacularly ostentatious view of Los Angeles, floor to ceiling windows, discrete mid century furniture, exposed concrete, rugs, and California ephemera. Fucking ridiculous. The crucible for a cricket-score of parties, she had chosen it to frame her existence precisely, the ancestral seat of a goddess of the silver screen. It had an atmosphere of unease and oozed paranoia like wet ink. In the air and on every surface vibrating resonances of new found fame and fear, it was as if the place had become a tuning fork for our relationship, it was where we had signed our treaty of chaos and dysfunction, that ever-widening gyre that I, in my naivety and self-imposed amnesia, found profoundly exhilarating. I loved that house. I had been living there with her since the night we met, prophetically introduced at a mutual friend’s dinner party where she immediately invited me to play a game of hide and seek.

The car rounded a sharp bend, the LGS slipped forward, and I reached for her hand. She looked at me unblinkingly, she had a disquieting habit of levelling a gaze at me that felt like it was the first time she had ever laid eyes upon me, a bat squeak of something passed between us. She smiled, leant forward and turned up the radio. ‘The Mercy Seat’ reverberated through the black interior of the car, I turned to look out the window at the vertiginous hills either side, the curiously cliched lights of LA now glistening below, and the red eye of the sun going down over the pacific. I had a resurgent pang of a feeling that had persisted for the last few weeks, of not knowing who I was, or who I was becoming, and how I ended up in this situation. It manifested as a sort of dissociative rush, a wave that would crest over my mind, time would stand still, I felt weightless for a moment, and then it would submerge back into my unconscious murmurings.

In my mind I was able to compose the sequence of events, order them, see the causality, and yet still not make any sense of my circumstance: I had moved there to make an album, and to get over the end of a relationship. I had been recording in a studio in Melrose for six months, I had made friends and constructed a purposeful life in this city, and then a simple twist of fate had led to me meeting the LGS. And everything had been very weird since that night. The German’s have an expression, ‘Widdershuns’ – for which there is no direct translation, it means, counter, or against and backwards, somehow out of whack, well everything had been widdershuns since then.

We had bonded the night we met over a debilitating sense of self-awareness, a shared fascination for magic and the applied imaginative use of the will. Tarot readings, seances, ritualised high magic, Carl Jung, Aleister Crowley and dear Bram Stoker. We had become a double act, practitioners of the esoteric arts. Some of which we would intuit and just make up the process for ourselves, other aspects we studied and investigated like monastic acolytes of the absolutely weird. Either way we had been getting results, of a sort. The fact that we stayed in the house pretty much all the time had advanced us rapidly down this arcane path. I would go to the studio between 3pm and midnight, god knows what she got up to during the day but once I returned we would immediately set about some line of investigation, usually until the sun came up.

The car pulled to a halt at the gates of the house, the driver switched off the radio …’And the mercy seat…’
– ‘Will you be needing me later Miss?'
– ‘No thank you – we are staying in tonight.’
The car door clicked.

We walked across the secluded drive, statuesque palms and high cicada branches curled around a 9 foot fence, meaning that the house was completely occluded from the road, not that anyone ever came down here, it was a blind dead end, that’s why she liked it. It was a house designed with privacy as paramount. I had never adjusted to how quiet and remote feeling it was, despite being in one of the most frenetic cities in the world, I remarked upon this once again. The gravel of the path glowed a reddish tinge, pebbles like embers in the last light of the sun. I gazed too at the diffuse glow emanating from the skin of her exposed shoulders as she rifled through her purse for the keys. She glanced back at me, but before I could speak she had found the keys and in a moment we were over the threshold into the gloom of the large open plan lounge. The blue light was dispelled by her immediate lighting of the legion of candles arranged in the centre of the low circular table. She lit her cigarette off one of these and reclined on the voluminous red satin couch. I walked over to the glass double doors that looked out over the most singularly arresting feature of the house, a 40 foot square balcony, built into the hillside itself, a stroke of tasteless grandiose seventies architectural genius. Standing out there you felt as if you were levitating over the city itself, we sardonically referred to it as the Mount Olympus of comedown locations. From its far right hand corner you could look across to the Hollywood sign, and down into the steep ravine below. The balcony was flanked on all three sides by sheer drops, all of which terminated in the trees and scree below. Staring down into the shifting lights i said, ‘I think it might be time for a latch-lifter darling.’

I walked to the round corner tiki bar, transplanted from perhaps the seediest cocktail lounge on the strip some thirty years previously. It was maintained by the her housekeeper and was pentagon of intoxicant. At that time our drink de jour was a couple of inches of Johnny Blue, with soda water, no ice and a glace cherry for LGS. We could usually rely upon it to get right to the heart of the matter, or near enough.

Laying back on the couch, we silently observed the gloaming, a meditative mood settling upon us, the room shuddered and jumped in the quivering candle light. Handing me the last gasp of her cigarette she moved to the record player that was positioned on the floor in the very middle of the room, surrounded by archipelagos of records. Records which she purchased obsessively, and treated, in much the same way as she treated most things in her life, with a degree of carelessness that was both infuriating and vaguely enviable.

I drew on the cigarette, tasting her lipstick, and watched as she methodically flipped through the discs. She paused momentarily selecting an LP, her hair had fallen forward and I couldn’t see what selection had caught her eye. Moments later Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique flooded the room. She turned and walked back to the sofa, flamingoing to remove her stilettos, I noticed that her wide green eyes now betrayed a shift in mood and emotion, ‘What’s it going to be tonight, Leonard?’

We had been studying the work of Dr John Dee, Ennochian Magic, Abramellin the Mage, and several other Goetic high magic practices, devising and scrying infinite invisible geometric pathways in time and space – communing with the angels every other day, working from tarot correspondences and the Kabbalah, the usual. I reached for the deck and began to search for a particular card.

– – –

At some point in the evening I must have lost consciousness. I awoke on my back beside the table. I sat up, the room was suspended in almost profound darkness, the candles having all burnt out, save one, flickering on the sideboard near the spiral staircase. I was alone. I stood and groped along the edge of the couch, reaching into my pockets for my lighter. It was then that I noticed my trousers appeared to be covered in honey. My mind flashed to a memory of our magical undertakings that night, and as I relit the candles on the table before me there was indeed the empty jar of California state honey, along with the athame, chalice and blurred markings of the path we had been working. Jesus Christ I lit a cigarette and stared at the xenon sky in the windows above. A few moments later I walked over to the tiki to fix myself a drink, it was then that I discovered I was not alone. Nestled in the space between the bar and bookshelf was the little girl scientist, naked, save for her jewellery. She was asleep.

I went to the record player and put on Jacques Brel. I didn’t feel like waking her up, her moods being unpredictable if she was roused at this hour. Jacques was singing about Amsterdam, and I found my mind wandering to the streets there, to the Paradiso Venue and to a show I had played a year earlier, and the events that had followed… it was then that I heard a sound.

The candles were guttering and I stumbled to the record player to turn it off.. As I lifted the stylus it came again… it wasn’t a sound I had ever heard before. Dear reader, here I will do my best against the inadequacy of language, it is too blunt a tool for accurately rendering any real experience… what I heard clearly for the second time in the silence that had settled on the room was a kind of mechanical laughter. A rushing mechanical sound, mingled with a cackle. A human sounding cackle, fleshy, reverberant and fiercely biological, but not in any way something you might mistake for an animal sound. It was then that I felt a sensation of terror descend upon me, a keen and almost intelligent terror, a terror that is belied by the knowledge that something truly terrible is very nearby. I froze, the room pitched briefly. Silence, nothing at all. I cocked my head cartoonishly. Nothing. The double doors were still wide open leading to the balcony beyond. A gentle breeze was nuzzling the remaining candles. Still nothing more. I stood up very softly, not taking my eyes from the balcony doors… I was certain now that was where the sound had originated from, and I felt myself attuning to an awareness of a presence just beyond the reflective planes of glass… out on the balcony… I stood staring at my silhouetted reflection in those glass doors.. I felt the breeze from the canyon beyond cooling the broken sweat on my brow. I am not sure how long I stood unmoving, staring at the darkness beyond the doors. I had almost begun to recover my composure and then it came again; longer more malign and more assured this time and there could be no mistake, it came from something stood just beyond those doors… someone was on the balcony… laughing mechanically and dreadfully at me.

The kind of fear I felt I can’t summon upon these pages, it was transcendent of common house or garden fear, you will have to rely upon your own personal experiences and sense memory to try and conjure anything approaching the sensations coursing through my psyche. It was nothing like the fear I had felt at incidents of terrible accidents, or being threatened by lethal force, it ran in some perverse way backwards and forwards through the time of that moment, and I innately knew that whatever was on the other side of those doors, whatever was in the inky depths of the concrete balcony, was something I had never encountered before. Looking back now it seems curious that I didn’t entertain for a second that the intruder might be a human being, a villain, opportune thief on the balcony of a big house… I knew that whatever was there, making that sound, was something that I was not going to encounter in a strictly anthropological, terrestrial way.

I flicked my eyes to the sleeping form of the LGS. The laughter came again. I felt like screaming, screaming to wake her up and screaming to warn her, and screaming at whoever was making that sound. It sounded, just a shade closer too. A footstep closer perhaps.

I reached for my cigarettes, and lit one, slowly. Inhaling deeply to let the nicotine sink it’s teeth into my sympathetic nervous system. My head cleared. Still my eyes fixed on the blackness beyond the doors. I decided very quickly to step towards the doors. Before I knew it I was at the threshold, my reflection loomed large in in the thick glass, a narrow opening before me, leading out into the black of night. No sound came. I exhaled smoke that rushed out through the aperture. There was a small sound. A grunt.

I stepped out into the night. I could see nothing at all. I could however now feel something, an irrefutable presence, I speculated about 8 foot away from where I was stood. Beyond the gloom I could see the shimmering of the now infinitely distant city lights. There were shadows cast on all sides by the surrounding scene. I heard nothing. I took a step forward, I actually cannot tell you why I did this. I heard a movement, and the rushing mechanical sound swam around me, it was significantly louder and now nauseating. It was then I knew that whatever was out there with me was truly demonic. It wasn’t human, as I had hitherto understood this notion.

It moved in the blackness, moved like a sea within a sea. A voice came, a voice of similar tone to the laughter, shrill and ticking, it spoke to me. I found myself speaking back, in a language I did not entirely understand.

It moved. A staggering of hard heeled feet on the concrete, I too stepped forward again, and now there was a close distance of communion, a place of direct communication. I cannot relate what was contained in those moments. I will relate that a precipice moment followed, I distinctly recall a sudden awareness that I either had to flee or fight, and to flee from what was before me would mean one of the three remaining directions I could move in, and that meant down to the rock scree several hundred feet below the balcony. The thing before had started to make broken wild sounds.

Editorial note: I at this point spoke a few words [which cannot be replicated here]. From where they came, I know not, and after I did so, I knew that I had a few moments, a few footsteps to get back into the house, before all hell broke loose.

As I type, I still feel the sensation of the door slamming closed. I can also recall the thirty seconds of shrieking as I stood staring back out through the glass, past my own reflection into the night. The LGS didn’t stir. I poured a drink and curled myself around her. I would tell her everything in the morning. I left the remaining candles burning, and before closing my eyes tossed a handful of Palo Santo into the flame.

– – –

Four months later – I am recording ‘Good Luck Everybody’ again, and this time at Stanley Kubrick’s estate just outside of London. We have finished the last take of the last song of that day’s session, it is 3.38am when the Horses and I retire to the control room. We want to hear the mixes of the songs we had worked on that day. As the tapes spool, I step outside into the freezing February evening to catch my breath. I return to a scene of disarray, the producer and engineer are fraught. The Red Book, the A5 red book in which we have been noting every stroke and moment of the recording, composed of every To Do list, essentially the schematic masterplan of the album, has gone missing, inexplicably. A search is commenced. We roam every aspect of the estate, no stone unturned and no maggot left lonely… We split up and roam the grounds, retracing steps from the dining room, across the estate to the studio…. A raging wind blowing, but no rain. It’s bitterly cold. I find myself alone in front of the house, I am stood between the arching pillars of the entrance and the overgrown garden halfway down the crazed paving, the gale is howling off the porticos of the building behind me – I know the Red Book is hopelessly lost, if it had been dropped it would have been carried aloft into the eternal… I pause on the path, arrested for a moment by a sound I hear soaring over the tempest. – I hear it, unmistakable and recurrent and exactly as it was that long strange night past in California… a demonic rising laughter, mechanical and clipped, however, on this occasion, I found myself laughing back.

– – –

– – –

An extract from Kieran Leonard's forthcoming novel A Muse.

Catch Saint Leonard's Horses at the following shows:

6 Dublin National Concert Hall (with full choir)
7 Dublin Ruby Sessions at Doyles
8 Limerick Dolans
9 Brey Harbour Bar
14 Manchester The Eagle
21 Leeds Library
23 London The Lexington

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

The room is so dark I can barely see. Only the bronze glow of a half-dozen flickering candles illuminate the shape of a solitary figure sitting by the wall in the corner. As I step cautiously through the shadows, the figure stands up to greet me, and when I am close, he extends his right arm in the direction of mine. It’s a firm grip he has, blackened nails crowning his large, unyielding hands, and as they pull me towards him, closer to the light, I find myself finally, dauntingly, face-to-ghoulishly-white-face with the self-proclaimed God of Fuck.

Since unleashing his nightmarish persona upon an unsuspecting mainstream in the early-’90s, Marilyn Manson has been the constant scourge of Middle America, terrorising their God-fearing lives with a provocative, hell-bent appetite for disorder, and subverting their children with gothic howls that called to the alienated and depraved alike.

In 1995, a year after the Trent Reznor-produced debut album ‘Portrait Of An American Family’ introduced the horrifying rock group to the charts, Manson – alongside bassist Twiggy Ramirez and keyboardist Madonna Wayne Gacy – appeared on The Phil Donahue Show to defend moshing, and the supposed dangerous effect their music was having on young people. Manson handled himself admirably, offering astute and considered answers to the onslaught of haranguers in the audience. “I think parents should raise their kids better,” he advises at one point, “or someone like Marilyn Manson is going to.” He had a valid point, but the victimisation was only beginning; in 1999, his albums were removed from Wal-Mart amid accusations that his music had influenced the shooters at the Columbine High School massacre. That ban remains, despite the fact the association was proved untrue.

– – –

I was never satisfied with anything…

– – –

Still, this is the man who’s a certified minister in the Church of Satan, who’s admitted smoking human bones after a bout of grave-digging in New Orleans, whose stage antics include slicing his chest open with a broken bottle, kicking his guitarist in the face, and setting his drummer on fire (albeit accidentally). His experiences with journalists have been tempestuous to say the least – his threats to the editor of Spin magazine led to an assault and battery charge – and reports from the previous day’s interviews (including one reporter receiving a whack to the crown jewels) have left me more than a little nervous.

So here we are, left alone in a dark basement lounge in Berlin, and as I sit angled enough to tactically prevent any unwanted groin injuries, I’m only too aware of my opponent’s formidable reputation. Before talk turns to his forthcoming new album, ‘Heaven Upside Down’, I want to find out about the path that led Ohio-born Brian Warner to become Public Enemy Number One, and the force that continues to propel him.

“I was never satisfied with anything,” he begins, with regards his earliest motivations. “Even when I had a job at a record store, I’d instantly become the manager – and I shoplifted all the records, of course. Then, when I was a writer [Manson was once a music journalist for South Florida lifestyle magazine, 25th Parallel], I had to become the editor, and then I wasn’t satisfied with that, so then I had to become the singer to go with the name of the band, because I created a band name but I had no songs! The first article written about Marilyn Manson was written by Brian Warner, saying how great the music was, but there was no music yet. People seemed interested, and I had to finish the problem that I started,” he laughs.

– – –

– – –

The drive has endured, he affirms, though his intentions are a little more refined these days, with a determination to achieve maximum results. “I found that somehow in my life now less is more, when you make it very powerful,” he says. “You don’t have to saturate with many things because the world is so over-saturated with the idea of things being shocking or even culturally interesting in any ways. It’s bordering on impossible, but then it’s starting to become even better, I think, because so many people think that they can say and do and be whatever they want to be. It gives you a chance for the better to rise to the top, so I wanted to make something that’s not here to change the world or to make rock ‘n’ roll better; if anything, just to embarrass the people that can’t make the record. Or to fuck shit up.”

“Those are my two purposes in life,” he grins, leaning back in his tall armchair. “Chaos would be the main one.”

When asked if he harbours any specific ambitions yet to be fulfilled, Manson’s thoughts turn immediately to acting – a recurring role in Salem and a recent guest appearance on Sons Of Anarchy add to his growing filmography – where a superhero villain would be the dream (“I’m very good at being a bad person,” he admits, “just ask any of my friends”), and he hopes to express more through his painting, but fitting all his private passions into his schedule is proving a challenge, though it’s a fight he’s willing to take on. “With all of the things that happened since the last record – my mother and my father both dying – it hasn’t made me have a different sense of mortality, it’s made me have a different sense of how important time is.”

– – –

I found that somehow in my life now less is more, when you make it very powerful…

– – –

His mother succumbed to Alzheimer’s in May 2014, during the making of the progressive return-to-form, ‘The Pale Emperor’, while his father passed just a couple of weeks before our meeting. I ask whether those losses and his subsequent appreciation for time had endowed him perhaps with a sense of freedom to be more adventurous with his music. “What I like about [‘Heaven Upside Down’],” he responds, “is that it really doesn’t hold back. But it’s not mature, it’s not eloquent, but it is very poetic in a sense. I managed to say some really harsh things that could be interpreted romantically, politically, sexually, religiously, so I have to say that I am a bit proud of myself on that part.”

Written in collaboration again with film and TV composer Tyler Bates, whose glam-yet-gritty rock influence shaped the relatively stripped-down sound of ‘The Pale Emperor’, this new record is tougher, less compromising, and boundless in its outlook. “It paints more of a landscape,” Manson confirms. “Tyler being someone who scores films, I would let him read my lyrics more in approaching this one, and he would make the tone or the feeling or the emotion of the sound and enhance it or help push it in a certain direction.” Together, the pair conspired to revisit the “brash and unruly” influences that were the foundations of their earliest listening habits – Killing Joke, Joy Division, Ministry, Iggy Pop – fusing it with Manson’s beloved Bowie to create something altogether more jarring; “like [Bowie’s] ‘Scary Monsters’ meets [Bauhaus’] ‘In The Flat Field’ or something,” he suggests.

– – –

It’s not mature, it’s not eloquent, but it is very poetic in a sense…

– – –

The fiery and foreboding ‘Revelation #12’ sets an aggressive tone, denouncing those who are “Too stupid to call themselves evil / So they call themselves heroes,” threatening to “paint the town red / With the blood of the tourists”. ‘SAY10’ seethes with contempt for “the empty shell on the stage” and the blind devotion of those who follow this false icon. The metallic new wave pulse of ‘Saturnalia’ is chilling, almost otherworldly; through portentous and apocalyptic imagery (“By the roadside / All the bones picked clean / No gas in our machine”) shines glimpses of darkly romantic intentions: “I will still be here to hold you / No matter how cold you are.”

The clipped beats and industrial jolts of ‘JE$U$ CRI$I$’ are as antagonistic as its inspired chorus: “I write songs to fight and to fuck to / If you want to fight then I’ll fight you / If you want to fuck, I will fuck you / Make up your mind or I’ll make it up for you.” Closer ‘Threats Of Romance’, meanwhile, brings to mind T-Rex’s ‘Children Of The Revolution’ in its cosmic strut, though one doubts Marc Bolan’s relationship regrets were quite so macabre: “My seed would have made a good fruit / And you could have been a tree,” he growls, “I could have cut you down / Or just let you be.”

– – –

– – –

Manson has teased the album’s release with the track ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’, which “sounds like what you probably would imagine,” he laughs, and he’s not wrong. “But everybody who hears it hears it differently,” he continues. “I don’t think any of them are going to be the interpretation of actually why I wrote it. Everybody hears something different on it. Someone hears it as this type of story, someone hears it as that type of story – the best part I like is that nobody has the same ending to it. That’s sort of like life: you gotta make your own.”

Despite the volume and intensity of the song’s chorus – the title, defiantly blasted repeatedly – Manson isn’t one to hammer something home. His messages run deep, and he relishes the attempts to decipher them. “I don’t think that you can misinterpret it; you can only interpret it differently,” he says of his work. “There’s no wrong way or right way; there’s just different ways. You know, in the past being blamed for things like Columbine, which really had nothing to do with my music, I can see this record being blamed for a lot of things – and I hope it is blamed for things; that means it did something important. I’m not looking for harm necessarily as much as I’m looking for chaos. I’m just trying to be a tornado – just going through a town wrecking things. You can either get caught up in it or you can hide in the basement.”

– – –

I’m not looking for harm necessarily as much as I’m looking for chaos.

– – –

An uncontrollable storm he may be, but even Manson is susceptible to his own destruction. The self-assured sound of ‘The Pale Emperor’ followed a string of less-than-amazing albums that faced a collective critical shrug when compared to the consummate career highs of ‘Antichrist Superstar’ (1995) and ‘Mechanical Animals’ (1998) – Rolling Stone said that parts of 2007’s ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’ were “ho-hum and bone-dry”; NME said that 2009’s ‘The High End Of Low’ was “full of self-pitying dirges; “it’s striking how static Manson’s career has been,” said the Independent in their 2012 review for ‘Born Villain’ – so, what happened?

“Sometimes I can get lost,” he confesses. “I lost [having fun] in the middle of the road somewhere… I tried to express my rawness of showing my emotions more, I guess, when I did something like ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’, and I think that my headset was not as certain and clear and confident in myself. That’s the most important thing: I forgot to listen to my own goddamn message from the beginning, ‘Believe in yourself.’ That’s what I’ve always said from the beginning. That’s all you can do, and I think that maybe I lost belief in myself just there for a little while and I got it back on ‘Pale Emperor’.”

Was there a specific wake-up call that made him rediscover himself, I ask?

“I think I just had to smack myself in the face and pull up my bootstraps and realise that, you know, no one is going to fix this for you, and if you blame everyone else for your problems then you’re not in control of your life. I went through the whole gamut of different things that could happen: divorce, loss, rehab – which was boring!” he cackles.

– – –

I think I was just being a little bit too careless with my life.

– – –

“I just needed a reset button,” he reasons. “Sometimes you have to just reset. It all comes together – people want to blame everything on one thing: alcohol is the same as drugs and that causes depression. And that does, but the reason sometimes you go there is not just out of excess, it’s out of desperation, so I think I was just being a little bit too careless with my life. Not in a good rock star way – in a bad rock star way, because I wasn’t doing anything at all to represent the artistic side of it. I was just wallowing and I guess I was lost. I needed to just find myself, and see how miserable those other people were to realise how happy I should be about my life,” he laughs again.

‘Heaven Upside Down’ certainly sounds like he’s having fun again. In Tyler Bates, Marilyn Manson has found a creative foil whose compositions are as textured, intricate and interesting as his lyrical counterparts, and together they enhance the focused resolution of ‘The Pale Emperor’ to create an album that’s fearlessly hostile yet wickedly welcoming. It’s an indomitable continuation of a new and fiendishly inspired era for Marilyn Manson, wherein he’s rightfully celebrated as a cultural icon by everyone from Justin Bieber (though perhaps don’t mention his name to Manson) to Lil Uzi Vert, who’s rumoured to be collaborating with the roguish rocker.

But then, I would say such nice things about the record – I’m rather afraid not to.

“My favourite thing often is to call up the front desk of a newspaper,” he informs me at the end of our interview, as I promise not to twist his words in my feature, reminding me “‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’” with a towering Manson glare. “If I wake up the next day and I’m still in the same city and there’s some review of the show where the writer clearly wasn’t at the show, because they mention the wrong songs, and they start out with, ‘Manson’s trying to be shocking again…’ I will call up the front desk at the newspaper where this person works, and I will call up every office and I will pretend to be a concerned father – and I really turn my acting skills on then – and say that this writer did something really inappropriate to my daughter at this concert last night, and I don’t want to start a lawsuit. And then I’ll cry and I’ll go into all these different details. Every single desk at the newspaper. So, when that guy goes to work the next day, he’s gonna have a real fucking good time.”

Well, that’s karma for you, I say, edging gingerly towards the door. “Nah,” he growls, with another savage cackle, “that’s called me being the wrong person to fuck with.”

– – –

– – –

'Heaven Upside Down' is out now.

Words: Simon Harper
Photo Credit: Perou

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Gorillaz have nabbed Little Simz for new track 'Garage Palace'.

The multimedia collective have had quite the year, releasing new album 'Humanz' and hosting their own festival in Margate.

Little Simz returns for new song 'Garage Palace', a precocious treat ahead of Gorillaz massive European tour.

As if that wasn't enough, Gorillaz are also prepping a Super Deluxe box set edition of 'Humanz', featuring 14 individual pieces of 12-inch different coloured vinyl, packaged in individually art-worked sleeves.

Also containing a 54-page, cloth-bound, foil-blocked, hardback book of Gorillaz artwork by Jamie Hewlett and a download card, it looks to be quite the treat.

Check out 'Garage Palace' below.

Catch Gorillaz at London's O2 Arena on December 4th and 5th.

For tickets to the latest Gorillaz shows click HERE.

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Björk has shared the incredible artwork for her upcoming album.

The Icelandic singer has intimated that she will release new full length at the end of November, with more information now being unveiled.

The record will be titled 'Utopia', with Björk sharing the striking artwork – co-created with Jesse Kanda, you can check it out up top.

Here's the full note from Björk below.

For tickets to the latest Bjork shows click HERE.

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Mauwe is a project driven by coincidence.

A boy-girl duo, the pair loosely knew one another while growing up, before re-connecting in Bristol.

Living mirror lives, the two connected immediately, with Mauwe's debut single 'That's All' cold-dropping six weeks ago.

Predictably, it was a smash. Atmospheric alt-pop with melodies that tore a space in the deep-rooted sections of your memory, it garnered huge online attention.

Follow up 'Smoked A Pack' has a superb late night feel, a piece of twilight pop that matches murky synths to that pointed, crystalline vocal.

"'Smoked A Pack' is about dealing with feelings you've developed for someone you don't want to have feelings for, and the turmoil that can create mentally and emotionally," share Mauwe. "In the past, we've both been more likely to smoke when stressed, and that's what the concept represents for us. However, smoking is bad for you kids, don't do it!!"

Underlining their blossoming potential, you can check out 'Smoked A Pack' below.

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Born Ruffians have shared the July Talk directed video for new cut 'Love Too Soon'.

What's better than a group of Canadian indie legends? Yep, two groups composed of Canadian indie legends!

Born Ruffians breeze back into our lives with new track 'Love Too Soon', with the trio fresh from an emotional homecoming show in Toronto.

An impish, infectious return, that slight bittersweet twist is brought out superbly in the visuals, directed by Leah Fay Goldstein and Peter Dreimanis of July Talk.

A glossy affair, you can check it out below.

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Over a year after the runaway, breakthrough success of ‘My Woman’ established Angel Olsen as one of music’s brightest young storytellers and proof that she could turn her hand to more than just heartfelt folk, the Missouri-born singer-songwriter returns with her latest collection of songs. A record filled with obscurities and rarities, as well as some previously heard material, delicately and lovingly put together to show off Olsen’s many facets; from the soft folk daydream of ‘All Right Now’ (a bonus track from the deluxe edition of ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’) to the ‘60s influenced indie rock of ‘Sweet Dreams’ (released as a single in 2013).

Effectively acting as a mixtape of all the bits that have floated around the edges of Olsen’s main studio albums, ‘Phases’ begins with the marching tempo of ‘Fly On Your Wall’, a song taken from the Bandcamp-only Anti-Trump fundraiser earlier this year before launching into the record’s best track, ‘Special’, a brand new song lifted from the recordings of ‘My Woman’. A towering, seven-minute slow burn that builds from a simple isolated four chord electric guitar backing whilst accentuating Olsen’s arresting croon and eye for lyricism. “I want to be special,” she exalts to a cascading garage rock backdrop that has more than a hint of late ‘60s Rolling Stones to it.

Her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Tougher Than The Rest’ is a standout on the record. Effortless yet dripping with emotion, as Olsen slows the pace right down to extract the song’s heartbreakingly earnest core. Never-before-released, home-recorded demos ‘Sans’ and ‘How Many Disasters’ also convey a certain claustrophobia, with ‘Sans’ in particular harnessing a piercing lo-fi recording that cuts Olsen as a lonesome and fragile voice grappling with her emotions.

There is a stringent melancholic vein that runs through the heart of Olsen’s songwriting, something seen near the records end in the form of ‘May As Well’ and ‘Endless Road’. Both intensely heartfelt, emotive ballads reminiscent of the early '60s folk scene and troubadours of the Joan Baez ilk. “In all of my dreams we are husband and wife, I’ll never forget you all of my life,” she sings on the former.

The already initiated will be sure to lap up ‘Phases’ as an immersive, exploratory journey through the back-catalogue of a unique song-writer, however for first-time listeners the distinctly compilation nature of the record could prove disorientating and less rewarding a listen than any of Olsen’s singular, more complete albums. But that’s generally the case in any rarities album.

For fans of Olsen's work this is a treasure trove of lesser known recordings that capture the artist in a period in which her sound was ever-evolving and progressing. From the recorded-in-a-cupboard-style folk balladry that littered her earlier work to the tighter electric sound she went on to develop, the aptly-titled ‘Phases’ charts the only just beginning career of an intelligent, blossoming young songwriter. To use a video game analogy: ‘Phases’ represents the downloadable content to come back to once you’ve already completed the main storyline.


Words: Rory Marcham

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A year after the release of his debut release under the Bayonne guise (‘Primitives’), minimalist electronic musician Roger Sellers returns with a glistening new track, ‘I Know’.

With sparkly production and gorgeous pop-flecked layering, on ‘I Know’ Bayonne creates an immersive soundscape of luxurious electronics that comfortably nestles itself amongst his current body of work.

Of the track Bayonne said:

“The basic themes of 'I Know' are regret and a struggle between two worlds, whether that be tour life versus home life, relationship struggles, or that other internal side of yourself that can be hard to reach. I spent a lot of time on the road last year and this was the first song that I wrote when I was back at home. It was a period of re-adaptation."

“The whole 'I Know' part is crying out after you know that you've messed up and you feel helpless to correct your wrong. It's that feeling of no turning back and feeling like you defeated yourself and someone else as well."

‘I Know’ is the first peak at any new material from Bayonne who is currently hard at work on his new album, due for release next year.

Check it out below.

Catch Bayonne at the following shows:

3 London Sebright Arms
6 Birmingham 02 Institute2*
7 Bristol SWX* (SOLD OUT)
8 London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire* (SOLD OUT)
10 Liverpool Arts Club*
11 Manchester Gorilla* (SOLD OUT)
12 Glasgow SWG3 TV Studio* (SOLD OUT)
13 Leeds Brudenell Social Club* (SOLD OUT)

* – Supporting Sylvan Esso

Words: Rory Marcham

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LOVE SICK is a project that unites two Scottish dreamers.

Both worked in call centres – albeit in different cities – and both yearned for something more, for a way to express themselves.

Bumping into one another almost by accident, the boy-girl duo found that their differences simply clicked together.

New single 'Bullet' is a brooding slice of alt-pop, matching a powerful, atmospheric arrangement to that cutting, point-blank vocal.

Clash is able to premiere an alternate acoustic take on the song, a raw, stripped back version of their lush new single.

LOVE SICK: "We wanted to capture the rawness and emotion in the track by recording it with just a piano – we did it in one take in our living room".

Tune in now.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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