Not exactly Prince’s favorite band, however…
By Blurt Staff
These Arms Are
Snakes — who describe themselves as “four men with a chronic black cloud
overhead; bitter, bummed out, and bored” — are set to release their third
album, Tail Swallower & Dove, on Suicide
Squeeze. It’s due in early October.
band, comprising Chris Common (drums,
percussion), Brian Cook (bass,
guitar, keyboards), Ryan Frederiksen (guitar, keyboards), Steve Snere (vocals, effects), have been around since 2003, forming from the Ashes of Botch
and Kill Sadie. Since then, they’ve toured virtually nonstop and become
reknowned for the intensity of their performances.
Here’s the scoop from the label:
TAAS play with their history, with
their personalities built deep into the music. You hear it in every innovation,
behind each note. A beautiful collision of what has always been with what is
completely unexpected. It’s evident in the weight of the words, structure of
the songs, the linkage of current and construction: concrete writing, coupled
with a natural approach to recording, that brought the band – helmed by Chris Common, to produce and engineer
– back into the semi-secret Red Room,
in Seattle, Washington, to track and mix.
The result is more an album – a coherent whole – than a cycle of individual
songs. The music circles around, from beginning to end, looping seamlessly and
devouring any sense of arrested motion. The first single, “Red Line Season,” is all
guitar-hook-squirm, leading to an anthem of a chorus. “Seven Curtains” explodes into being after thirty- seconds of
gorgeous, low volume riffing. It’s here that the band’s strength in the studio
really shows. From the textural depth of the keyboards and guitar tones, to the
vocal delivery, the attention to detail is incredible. Each sound sets up huge
spatial relationships, creating a dynamic tug-o-war, and building up a groove
that continues throughout – marked by impossibly nimble drumming – blowing up
the room with resonant vibration.
Relentless, and restless – nothing in nature says no. And from this direction
comes These Arms Are Snakes, a
dark cloud of sound thundering, waiting to burst and drown everything in their
1 Woolen Heirs
2 Prince Squid
3 Red Line Season
5 Ethric Double
6 Seven Curtains
7 Long and Lonely Step
8 Lead Beater
9 Cavity Carousel
FUN FACT: The band blipped the mainstream radar earlier this
year thanks to a bizarre intersection with Prince, as this news item from
may have succeeded in convincing YouTube administrators to remove fan videos of
his rendition of These Arms Are Snakes’ “Crazy Woman Dirty Train”
from their servers, but footage of the performance has already been reposted by
users of the popular site who dispute the “Purple Rain” singer’s
right to do so.
The controversy stems from Prince’s appearance at the Coachella
Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.
in April. There, he performed the well known These Arms Are Snakes hit for the
audience, but had his label, NPG Records, file copyright complaints with
YouTube when video began showing up online.
When asked for comment by AP, These Arms Are Snakes lead singer Steve Snere
stated his discontent with Prince’s efforts to censor the performance,
suggesting the musical icon should be told to unblock the material posted on
YouTube because the song did not belong to him.
In contrast to These Arms Are Snakes’ generally permissive attitude toward the
online distribution of the band’s material, Prince has staunchly fought against
copyright violations of his own work, including unauthorized use on unofficial
fan sites and bootleg material for sale on popular online auctioneer eBay.