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Liars

LIARS PROFILE

Liars were conceived in November 2000 after two friends and ex-Los Angeles art students, Aaron Hemphill and Angus Andrew, reunited in New York City. They responded to a “musicians wanted” ad posted in a local record store by two Nebraskans, Pat Noecker and Ron Albertson. The lurching Aussie Andrew took on the vocal/frontman duties while Hemphill became their guitarist and drum machine programmer.

Bassist Noecker and drummer Albertson make up the Liars rhythm section. Combined, they write music — surprisingly formulated after the beats are laid down on the drum machine — exhibiting fundamental elements of punk rock. Synthetic keypads, vocal modulation, and interspersed, prearranged compositions, mixed with their guitar-bass-drums equation, create angular yet melodic songs. Liars are reminiscent of U.K. groups that embraced dance music during the late ’70s/early ’80s (A Certain Ratio, Gang of Four, the Slits) — bands that are all known for insidiously adding danceable rhythms to punk.

Only months after forming, the group played its first show. Liars’ debut album, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, was released on independent Gern Blandsten Records in October 2001 and was later reissued by Blast First/Mute. The album was recorded in just two days by producer/engineer Steve Revitte, who’s best known for this work with the Beastie Boys and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Late the following year, Noecker and Albertson left the band and percussionist Julian Gross was recruited as a replacement. The trio began recording the second Liars album at Andrew’s house in the forests of New Jersey with friend and co-producer Dave Sitek.

The results, They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, which was inspired by experimental electronic music and German legends about witchcraft, arrived in early 2004. After moving to Berlin, Liars got even more ambitious on Drum’s Not Dead, a concept album revolving around creativity and doubt accompanied by short films by the band and other filmmakers. The band took a much more stripped-down approach for 2007’s self-titled album, which featured more structured songwriting and a harder-edged sound. For 2010’s Sisterworld, Liars returned to Los Angeles and mixed their high-concept atmospherics with blistering outbursts. The trio went in another very different direction for 2012’s WIXIW [ pronounced "wish you" ], opting for relatively soft, textural electronics that drew comparisons to their previous tourmates [ Radiohead ].

[ WIXIW ]

Anyone familiar with Liars knows that each album feels like a reintroduction to the band, and WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”) is no exception. On their sixth album, the trio bring the electronic undercurrents that have been lurking in their sound since They Were Wrong, So We Drowned to the fore, but in a softly hypnotic fashion that’s all the more surprising and striking given the sheer volume of the band’s previous two albums, the gnarly rock of Liars, and the dense sprawl of their confrontational L.A. opus Sisterworld.

Even WIXIW’s lone rocker, “Brats,” has a touch of disco shimmy to its beats while synths buzz and zap like a laser show. At the time of its release, WIXIW’s electronic leanings drew comparisons to In Rainbows-era Radiohead, and in some ways Liars sometimes felt like the American-Australian equivalent to Thom Yorke and company in their willingness to defy boundaries and expectations. While there are certainly similarities to Radiohead’s approach here, most obviously on the eerie, floating “His and Mine Sensations” and the bleary, blurry menace of “Octagon,” this is distinctively and definitively a Liars album. “Flood to Flood”‘s taunting refrain “teach me how to be a person/I refuse to be a person” is another prime example of the defiant streak that’s always present in their music, while “A Ring on Every Finger” digs deeper into the percolating grooves they’ve explored since Drum’s Not Dead’s “It Fit When I Was a Kid” and Liars’ “Houseclouds.”

Indeed, WIXIW’s insularity often recalls the whispery parts of Drum’s Not Dead, another album where the band proved that they do quiet just as thrillingly as they do loud, perhaps even more so. Nowhere is this clearer than on the single “No. 1 Against the Rush,” which is drawn taut with rippling keyboards and bass, creates dread with negative space instead of distortion, and still manages to be one of Liars’ most accessible songs. A few carefully chosen motifs, such as the acoustic guitar and found sounds on “Ill Valley Prodigies” and the synth flutes on “Who Is the Hunter,” draw listeners further inward in a seductive, almost feminine manner.

Perhaps WIXIW’s biggest surprise is just how pretty it is, particularly on the luring opener “The Exact Colour of Doubt,” where Angus Andrew’s singing is nearly as lovely as the sea of strings and electronics engulfing him, and on the album’s title track, where shoegazey drones mirror and deepen the song’s confusing blur of emotions. While WIXIW might be a shade less ambitious than some of their previous albums, it’s still fascinating to hear Liars wield beauty and delicacy just as formidably as they’ve used force and noise in the past.

[ I Saw You From The Lifeboat / Perfume Tear ]. In anticipation of their upcoming European tour, avant rock trio Liars have dropped a pair of new tracks. As The Quietus points out, both “I Saw You From The Lifeboat” and “Perfume Tear” stick to the same aggressive, electro-focused sound of the band’s recent output on WIXIW, only, as lead singer Angus Andrew puts it, have a more immediate feel to them:

After releasing WIXIW and returning home from touring there was a palpable sense of creative relief and release. We relished in the opportunity to make stuff under no real directive and began almost immediately to produce all kinds of unrelated works. It’s a great position to be in creatively so we decided to share a small portion of the results with you today. Both of these songs happened almost instantly, and, in sharp contrast to the music we produced for WIXIW, were not labored over or scrutinized. It’s been great for us to recall the immediacy and excitement of creating music on the fly – unrestricted by subject matter and void of preoccupations about how it should ‘work’ in the greater context of things.

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< < < < < [ EDIT: 2014 Title [ Mess ]. > > > > >

History is littered with artists who vacate comfort to embrace the unknown. Whether it’s the barren sugar factories of Williamsburg, the swallowing catharsis of Berlin in the mid-2000s, or the sharp mystique of Los Angeles’ open roads, Liars are a group who, in the past, have lived by the law of finding inspiration in different habitats. However, this new record sees a change in thesis for the three-piece. This collection has been written on the road, and is part of an effort to “get back in to the effort of writing music for the sake of it, and not really having to designate it.” Liars, inspired by the lack of ground beneath their feet, have tried to capture the Mess of the nomadic spirit.

Angus Andrew’s falsetto croons aren’t waiting beyond ‘Mask Maker’s’ front door, but instead an automated message sounds: “Take my pants off, use my socks, smell my socks, eat my face off,” shortly followed by the handshake of a stuttered synthesiser motif and a shuddering four to the floor electronic beat. It is somewhat reminiscent of WIXIW’s mantra, ‘Brats’, but not wholly indicative of what’s to come.

People may well compare Mess to WIXIW as aesthetically it is, for the most part, also an electronic record. However, they are extremely different: whilst WIXIW possessed great entangling structures and overarching themes in texture that unified the whole album, Mess is constructed by linear development and an amalgamation of repetitive motifs. This feels like the closest the group have come to their post-punk basis since their 2006 album, Drum’s Not Dead. Songs like ‘Pro Anti Anti’ and ‘Vox Tuned D.E.D.’ are based on beastlike performance, yet uncharacteristically possess no desire to be anthemic. In a modernist post-punk fashion, they’re practically experimental pieces, but each interaction and movement is so diverse that the pieces lack a stylistic unity.

2007’s Liars was obsessed with animalistic aggression and bludgeoning meltdowns of noise, They were wrong so we drowned exists as a form of rebellion against punk, shaking the tightrope between chaos and order, but it is the essence of migratory randomness that is embraced throughout Mess. It is a genuine ambition of the piece: “Here, I won the war chasing/You, half of the way back through time.” This is the most eclectic record that the trio has made – not the most diverse – but the least focused. There are fewer moments of reflective space or silence, which creates rather a peculiar proximity for Andrew, Hemphill and Gross to manoeuvre within. Whilst you’d expect the ‘Darkslide’ instrumental to offer solace, it represents an archetype of intensity. Similarly, the hollow polyphonic timbres, warbling of Hammond organ and transfixing choruses of ‘I’m No Gold’ flutter significantly between suffocating and triumphant. This makes the album difficult to contextualise or date in terms of their former work.

Ravaged by dissonance and absurd, grandiose power, leading single ‘Mess On A Mission’ is insistent in character. Whether it’s the battering waves of Andrew’s multi-layered chant “Facts are facts and fiction’s fiction” or the background clattering of wooden furniture being strewn about, this stressful and stunning piece is defined by a slew of distinctive nuances, with the most infectious and immediate being the cynical reprieve “Trash the book the film’s half based on.”

Mess’s unifying element lies within a perpetual conflict between conformity and escapism in the lyrical rhetoric. The musical content is a microcosm representative of the abstract and impossibly random nature of society, whilst the lyrics narrate bleakly from the surreal perspective of a majority who are utterly disgusted by the cyclical, unnatural traits of modern civilisation: “I’ve heard the wild world is wicked and the modern one is out for blood.” Mess is trying not to accept your helplessness in society, even when you’re aware that your situation is completely out of your hands: ‘Perpetual Village’ embodies this sentiment perfectly. Take these two stanzas from the composition: “If I could see what couldn’t be I know I wouldn’t run / No I won’t, I won’t / Time it speeds into itself, I’ve known it all along / I’m so old, I am old / Endlessly monotony dulls all alternatives/ Life is long, way too long” and “I will clear a path / I will leave a path / This kind disease won’t kill me yet / The chimes will ring with or without wind / Make light of me, a laugh or speech / A longer line, to feed my pride,” and therein lies the struggle throughout the album, captured in what is, frankly, a masterpiece.

On the subject of the influence that setting has on art, Charles Bukowski once snarled “air and light and time and space have nothing to do with it, and don’t create anything,” however, Liars have illustrated in 2014 that they can’t escape the burden of their surroundings. And uniquely with Mess, they’ve instead dealt with the most colossal environment, making a grander statement about the aphotic bleakness of society in the process. Toward the end of the record, Andrew asks the question “is there no better place to die?” and doesn’t receive a response but rather a command: “say the word die.”

< < < < < [ [ FACEBOOK ] | [ GET ALL ] | [ .COM ] ]. > > > > >
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Liars - Mess

Artist – Liars
Album – Mess [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Ambient, Electro-core [ GET THEM ALL ]

Tracklist

01 – Mask Maker
02 – Vox Tuned D.E.D.
03 – I’m No Gold
04 – Pro Anti Anti
05 – Can’t Hear Well
06 – Mess On a Mission
07 – Darkslide
08 – Boyzone
09 – Dress Walker
10 – Perpetual Village
11 – Left Speaker Blown
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Liars – Mess
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Liars - I Saw You From The Lifeboat-Perfume Tear (2013)

Artist – Liars
Album – I Saw You From The Lifeboat / Perfume Tear [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2013
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Ambient, Electro-core [ GET THEM ALL ]

Tracklist

01 – Perfume Tear
02 – I Saw You From The Lifeboat
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EXCL DOWNLOAD Liars – I Saw You From The Lifeboat / Perfume Tear
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Artist – Liars
Album – wixiw
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Ambient, Electro-core [ GET THEM ALL ]

Tracklist

01. The Exact Colour Of Doubt
02. Octagon
03. No. 1 Against The Rush
04. A Ring On Every Finger
05. Ill Valley Prodigies
06. WIXIW
07. His And Mine Sensations
08. Flood To Flood
09. Who Is The Hunter
10. Brats
11. Annual Moon Words
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Liars – wixiw
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Artist – Liars
Album – They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top
Release Date – 2001
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Ambient, Electro-core [ GET THEM ALL ]

Tracklist

1 Grown Men Don’t Fall in the River, Just Like That 3:03
2 Mr. Your on Fire Mr. 2:27
3 Loose Nuts on the Velandrome 2:19
4 The Garden Was Crowded and Outside 2:44
5 Tumbling Walls Buried Me in the Debris With ESG 4:05
6 Nothing Is Ever Lost or Can Be Lost My Science Friend 3:03
7 We Live NE of Compton 3:01
8 Why Midnight Walked but Didn’t Ring Her Bell 0:51
9 This Dust Makes That Mud 30:07
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Liars – They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top Password – SirensSound.blogspot.com
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Artist – Liars
Album – They Were Wrong, So We Drowned
Release Date – 2004
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Ambient, Electro-core [ GET THEM ALL ]

Tracklist

1 Broken Witch 6:09
2 Steam Rose From the Lifeless Cloak 2:49
3 There’s Always Room on the Broom 3:04
4 If You’re a Wizard Then Why Do You Wear Glasses? 2:11
5 We Fenced Other Gardens With the Bones of Our Own 5:27
6 They Don’t Want Your Corn – They Want Your Kids 2:38
7 Read the Book That Wrote Itself 3:09
8 Hold Hands and It Will Happen Anyway 4:50
9 They Took 14 for the Rest of Our Lives 4:08
10 Flow My Tears the Spider Said 6:10
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Liars – They Were Wrong, So We Drowned Password – SirensSound.blogspot.com
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Artist – Liars
Album – Drum’s Not Dead
Release Date – 2006
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Ambient, Electro-core [ GET THEM ALL ]

Tracklist

1 Be Quiet Mt. Heart Attack! 3:28
2 Let’s Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack 4:31
3 A Visit From Drum 4:19
4 Drum Gets a Glimpse 4:14
5 It Fit When I Was a Kid 4:02
6 The Wrong Coat for You Mt. Heart Attack 3:59
7 Hold You, Drum 4:42
8 It’s All Blooming Now Mt. Heart Attack 3:09
9 Drum and the Uncomfortable Can 4:45
10 You, Drum 1:15
11 To Hold You, Drum 4:04
12 The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack 4:43
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Liars – Drum’s Not Dead Password – SirensSound.blogspot.com
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Artist – Liars
Album – Liars
Release Date – 2007
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Ambient, Electro-core [ GET THEM ALL ]

Tracklist

1 Plaster Casts of Everything 3:56
2 Houseclouds 3:21
3 Leather Prowler 4:25
4 Sailing to Byzantium 4:02
5 What Would They Know 3:12
6 Cycle Time 2:17
7 Freak Out 2:31
8 Pure Unevil 3:53
9 Clear Island 2:39
10 The Dumb in the Rain 4:24
11 Protection 4:30
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Liars – Liars Password – SirensSound.blogspot.com
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Liars
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