Posts Tagged ‘KEN mode’

KEN mode has released harrowing new single, ‘Unresponsive,’ from its upcoming eighth album, NULL, out on 23rd September.

A relentless dirge, ‘Unresponsive’ features frontman Jesse Matthewson unleashing a tormented soliloquy that hits like Henry Rollins at his most confessional. "Forgotten, erased, unresponsive, replaced, abandoned," he chants.

Matthewson recalls the origins of the song: "At this phase of the pandemic I had begun having dreams about my partner leaving me and my family dying, probably five nights a week, for several months. I sat there, writing the lyrics to this one while listening to a rolling storm come in, that never seemed to actually reach a crescendo. It all felt too apt for the way everything had been feeling for the last year at that point."

The track’s sparse, machine-like pulse, peppered by hints of cello and clanking percussion, points to early industrial and No Wave influences, beyond the metallic hardcore and noise-rock for which KEN mode is known. Matthewson credits the COVID-19 pandemic with pushing the band to take new chances and explore new ground: "We felt like there was really no reason to do anything at all unless we were trying to push this into something new," he states. Recorded and mixed by Andrew Schneider (Cave In, Unsane), NULL is the first KEN mode release to feature collaborator Kathryn Kerr (saxophone, synth, piano, percussion, backing vocals) as a full-fledged member of the band.

Check the video here:

Founded by Matthewson and his brother Shane, KEN mode has come to define intensity and dedication, via tours with Russian Circles, Torche, and Full of Hell, and releases produced by the likes of Steve Albini, Kurt Ballou, and Matt Bayles. Upcoming new album NULL sees this warhorse of a band emerge from the darkest of times with new energy, evolved and ready to carry on into its next chapter.

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The band embarks on a US tour in October, with support from Frail Body (Deathwish Inc).

Oct 20 – St Paul, MN @ Turf Club

Oct 21 – Davenport, IA @ Raccoon Motel

Oct 22 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen

Oct 23 – Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing Co.

Oct 24 – Columbus, OH @ Big Room Bar

Oct 25 – Nashville, TN @ DRKMTTR

Oct 26 – Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s

Oct 27 – Oklahoma City, OK @ 89th Street

Oct 28 – Austin, TX @ The Lost Well

Oct 29 – Houston, TX @ Black Magic

Oct 30 – Denton, TX @ No Coast Fest

Oct 31 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa

Nov 2 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl

Nov 3 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor

Nov 4 – Philadelphia, PA @ Silk City

Nov 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus

Nov 6 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East

Nov 7 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus

Nov 8 – Toronto, ON @ The Baby G

Nov 9 – Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary

Nov 10 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club

Nov 12 – Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium

Art of Fact Records – 15th July 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

The second single lifted from the forthcoming album Null, due for release in September, is basalt slabs of rock-solid riffery of the kind KEN Mode are worshipped for by their fanbase – and deservedly so.

It crashes in hard, grinding low-end dominating, before the guitar splinters treble over the grumbling bass that drives the verse. Jesse Matthewson’s hard, shouted vocal style is savage, and the vocals sit fairly low in the mix; the splinters that do cut through are cutting ‘I’ve got / nothing more to say / You’ve got no reason to listen’. As the band put it, it’s ‘an existential crisis, set to music’, and ‘in Matthewson’s words, the song illustrates a turning point where one’s disappointment transforms into resignation.’ It all adds to the overall nihilistic force of this beast of a tune.

If both the production and the accompanying promo video serve to convey a sense of the band’s energy and sheer power live, then the UNSANE T-shirt Jesse’s wearing provides a fair reference point for this slice of sonic savagery. That said, it does signify a shift from predecessor, Loved (which still has one of the most memorable album covers of recent years). It’s a little less frenetic, less manic than, say, ‘He Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Ought To’, and the sound is geared towards being denser, heavier rather than harsher. And it packs a mean punch alright.

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KEN mode will hit the road in September for a string of Canadian shows, followed by a headlining slot at No Coast Fest in Denton, TX, alongside Metz, Young Widows, and more. Stand by for news of more touring.

Sept 23 – Winnipeg, MB, CA @ The Good Will Social Club – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Sept 24 – Saskatoon, SK, CA @ Amigos Cantina – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Sept 25 – Calgary, AB, CA @ Palomino Smokehouse – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Sept 26 – Edmonton, AB, CA @ Starlite Room Temple – w/ Vile Creature, Mares of Thrace

Oct 30 – Denton, TX @ No Coast Fest – w/ Metz, Young Widows

KEN mode share a new video for ‘Learning to be too cold’ from their new album Loved which is out now via Season Of Mist. Plus, European tour dates are incoming, full dates below.

About the song Jesse comments ‘Learning To Be Too Cold’ was the last song written in the session for this record. We salvaged a few riffs from a track that we demoed in May of 2017 with the working title of ‘the moody idiot’, and added three new parts that we wrote just after Skot found out that his father died. The riffs are like scraping bones and metal together, and the lyrics are some of the most demeaning and harsh of the entire album. Skot claims the song does not make him feel good by association, and is consequently his favourite song on the record. Watch the video here:

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EUROPEAN LIVE DATES:

w/Birds In Row & Coilguns

Nov 15 – Joué, FR @ Temps Machine

Nov 16 – Orléans, FR @ Astrolabe

Nov 17 – Bordeaux, FR @ Void

Nov 18 – Toulouse, FR @ Rex

Nov 19 – Montpellier, FR @ Blacksheep

Nov 20 – Clermont, FR @ Raymond

Nov 21 – Lausanne, CH @ Romandie

Nov 22 – Besancon, FR @ L’Antonnoir

Nov 23 – Kalsruhe, DE @ Die Stadtmitte

Nov 24 – Gigors, FR @ CBGC’s

Nov 25 – Milano, IT @ Magnolia

Nov 27 – Nantes, FR @ Le Ferrailleur

Nov 28 – Le Havre, FR @ Fort de Tourneville

Nov 29 – Paris, FR @ Le Petit Bain

Dec 1 – London, UK @ Macbeth

Dec 2 – Brussels, BE @ Magasin4

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Season Of Mist – 31st August 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

I don’t know what’s more exciting about the proposition of Loved – whether it’s the introduction of ‘decidedly more extreme tone and presence of death and black metal’ into KEN Mode’s palate, or the fact it’s been produced by Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Cave In, Daughters), who has, we’re told, a ‘vision of noise and girth’.

It’s got to be the girth.

And add all this to their existing sources – ‘the desperate noise and industrial sonics of the 80’s and 90’s’ and you’ve got a truly lethal cocktail.

Lead single ‘Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should’ sets the tone, a squall of feedback prefacing a deluge of thunderous bass and drums and shouted vocals. The Unsane parallels are immediately apparent. This isn’t just intense, but claustrophobic: less black than steely grey, hard, and with a matt sheen.

A heavy bass trudge and guitar that’s more geared toward texture than tune evoke the spirit of Godflesh and early Swans on ‘The Illusion of Dignity’. However, the braying sax owes more to another Justin Broadrick-related project, the industrial avant-jazz brutality of GOD. It hits hard, both sonically and sentimentally.

And that sentiment is the motivation to produce an album that responds to the fucked-up ties in which we find ourselves, while also revelling in the absurdity of it all. Because the only sane response to such madness as Trump and Brexit and social media and the dominance of global corporations is insanity – to adopt an antic disposition, to appropriate from Shakespeare. In the postmodern climate, an appropriation is appropriate, although Loved lifts more in terms of spirit than anything concrete.

Jesse Mathewson (guitar / vocals) sets out the purpose: “We wanted tones that bash and cut, and for you to feel that desperate part of yourself clawing for a way out. And then, just when things are at their most bleak, you start to focus on what’s actually being said, and you’ll see the humour in absolutely everything that is transpiring before you.”

In surveying the scene that is the socio-political landscape, the humour is pretty bleak – more grim irony and a gallows grimace than a belly laugh. But it is funny in the sense that you couldn’t make any of this shit up. Loved is also pretty bleak and also full-on and brutal. It grinds and points relentlessly, churning guitars carving angularity and discord. And the bass… it hits the guts. Hard.

The tempo and tone don’t alter all that much over the course of the album’s nine tracks (‘This is a Love Test’ notwithstanding, that is – its spacious intro with strolling bass and wandering sax create an eerie calm): like any album by Unsane, it’s a work to simply let pummel you furiously, channelling the fury of US hardcore and beefing it up to industrial strength. And yes, fury is the key: this is the sound of the fury. And while the majority of the songs are fairly short, sharp shots of adrenaline injected with a large dose of acidic bile, the album closes with the eight-and-a-half-minute ‘No Gentle Art’. It goes for the slow build, scratching away, quiet but chugging away on the low end. In that sense, it’s a bit Shellac… and when it breaks out into an explosive cacophony of distortion and braying brass… it’s a bit crazy. And by the end, I’m more than ready to kill everyone. Now.

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KEN mode share a new track ‘Not Soulmates’ from their incoming album Loved (Season Of Mist/New Damage Records in Canada, August 31st), alongside European tour dates in November through to December – full listings below.

About the track Jesse Matthewson comments “The main ‘chorus’ line,  I suppose you could call it, “You’re going to continue enjoying this mistake with me”, was conceived by Scott’s wife. This song is about the many complexities of love and the humour that surrounds its entirety – whether people choose to process it or not. It’s got riffs you can throw round-house kicks to and is an ode to the Melvins and Zeni Geva.”

Listen here:

EUROPEAN LIVE DATES:

w/Birds In Row & Coilguns

Nov 15 – Joué, FR @ Temps Machine

Nov 16 – Orléans, FR @ Astrolabe

Nov 17 – Bordeaux, FR @ Void

Nov 18 – Toulouse, FR @ Rex

Nov 19 – Montpellier, FR @ Blacksheep

Nov 20 – Clermont, FR @ Raymond

Nov 21 – Lausanne, CH @ Romandie

Nov 22 – Besancon, FR @ L’Antonnoir

Nov 23 – Kalsruhe, DE @ Die Stadtmitte

Nov 24 – Gigors, FR @ CBGC’s

Nov 25 – Milano, IT @ Magnolia

Nov 27 – Nantes, FR @ Le Ferrailleur

Nov 28 – Le Havre, FR @ Fort de Tourneville

Nov 29 – Paris, FR @ Le Petit Bain

Dec 1 – London, UK @ MacBeth

Dec 2 – Brussels, BE @ Magasin4

Prior to that the band shall be playing the following dates:

w/Shallow North Dakota

Sept 28 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Good Will Social Club

Sept 29 – Saskatoon, SK @ The Black Cat Tavern

Sept 30 – Calgary, AB @ Palamino Smokehouse

w/Birds In Row

Oct 13 – Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club

Oct 14 – Chicago, IL @ Live Wire

Oct 15 – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar

Oct 16 – Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone

Oct 18 – Atlanta, GA @ Basement

Oct 19 – Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern

Oct 20 – Falls Church, VA @ VFW 9278

Oct 21 – Boston, MA @ Middle East

Oct 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

Oct 23 – Portland, ME @ Geno’s

Oct 24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus

Oct 25 – Rochester, NY @ Photo City

Oct 26 – Toronto, ON @ Bovine Sex Club

Oct 27 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus

Oct 28 – Quebec City, QC @ La Source De La Martiniere

Oct 29 – Ottawa, ON @ House of Targ

You can also watch the video for the opening track, ‘Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should’:

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