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Rhyme Report

Published on July 8th, 2015 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


Viet Cong Announce World Tour, Debut Album Out Now

Click here to watch “Silhouettes (Live At The Commonwealth)”

Recently long listed for the 2015 Polaris Award, Viet Cong haven’t stayed still since their critically acclaimed debut self-titled album was released earlier this year. A broken hand couldn’t even stop a commanding and powerful run of SXSW shows and since then Viet Cong have toured extensively, selling out venues around the world and proving time and time again why they are one of the most exciting bands to emerge in 2015.

Click Here To Watch Video For “Silhouettes”

Today Viet Cong are announcing more dates as part of their endless world tour including stops at Pitchfork Festival, Basilica in upstate New York, WayHome Fest, Green Man, ATP, and many more. They are now adding shows including Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco (at Treasure Island Festival), Le Guess Who in NL and Pop Montreal to that list. All tour dates can be found below.

Additionally, they are announcing a new role – as curators of Sonic City Festival 2015 in De Kreun, Belgium. Taking over the reins after previous curators Liars, Deerhoof, Dälek, SUUNS, Beak> and James Holden, Viet Cong are selecting this year’s lineup – the first wave of which includes Chelsea Wolfe, Metz, Lightning Bolt, Suuns + Jerusalem In My Heart, Protomartyr and Shabazz Palaces.

Click Here To Watch Video “Continental Shelf”

Since Viet Cong‘s release back in January music fans and critics have been hailing the album as one of the most important records in recent years. It’s also been making its way onto various mid year Best Of 2015 lists, Stereogum write “This is a tense record, but all of its unease is pulled taught by Viet Cong’s meticulously-ordered, audacious arrangements. They envelop you.” Spin included the album in their coverage telling us, “Viet Cong, a krautrock/garage/psych/noise/post-punk amalgam that basically operates under its own ecosystem…. Considering the record’s ambitious, desolate scope, maybe Viet Cong tried to write the last post-punk album – and it would be okay if that turned out to be the case?” Gorilla vs Bear also featured the album at number 19 on favorite albums of 2015 so far and Paste named the track “March Of Progress” as one of the 25 Best Songs of 2015 (So Far) saying “…the track captures everything that makes the band so captivating.”

World Tour Dates

7.17.15 – Festival D’Ete De Quebec – Quebec, QC

7.19.15 – Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL

7.21.15 – The Woodward Theatre – Cincinnati, OH *

7.22.15 – The Basement – Columbus, OH *

7.23.15 – Studio @ Waiting Room – Buffalo, NY *

7.24.15 – WayHome Music & Arts Festival – Oro-Medonte, ON

7.26.15 – Mo Pop – Detroit, MI

7.31.15 – Osheaga Festival – Montreal QC

8.1.15 – Pickathon – Happy Valley, OR

8.12.15 – John Dee – Oslo, NO

8.13.15 – Way Out West Festival 2015 – Gotenborg, SE

8.14.15 – Haldern Pop – Haldern, DE

8.15.15 – MS Artville Manifest – Hamburg, DE

8.16.15 – La Route Du Rock – St. Malo, FR

8.19.15 – Scala – London, UK

8.20.15 – Krakow Live – Krakow, PL

8.21.15 – Green Man Festival – Brecon Beacons, Wales

8.22.15 – Pukkelpop Festival – Hasselt, BE

8.23.15 – Lowlands Festival – Biddinghuizen, NL

8.25.15 – Exit 07 – Luxemburg, LU

8.27.15 – NoD – Prague, CZ

8.28.15 – A38 – Budapest, HU

8.29.15 – Mocvara Club – Zagreb, CR

8.30.15 – Gala Hala – Ljublijana, SL

8.31.15 – Chelsea – Vienna, AT

9.02.15 – Six D.O.G.S – Athens, GR

9.04.15 – La Batie – Geneva, CH

9.06.15 – Electric Picnic – Dublin, IRL

9.11.15 – Basilica Soundscape – Hudson, NY

9.12.15 – Supercrawl – Hamilton, ON

9.14.15 – Le Cercle – Quebec, QC **

9.15.15 – Capital Bar – Fredericton, NB **

9.16.15 – Gus’ Pub – Halifax, NS **

9.17.15 – SPACE Gallery – Portland, ME **

9.18.15 – Theatre Fairmount – Montreal, QC **

9.20.15 – Mansion – Kingston, ON **

9.23.15 – Cactus Club – Milwaukee, IL **

9.24.15 – 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN **

9.27.15 – The Aquarium – Fargo, ND

10.14.15 – Cobalt – Vancouver, BC

10.15.15 – Cobalt – Vancouver, BC

10.16.15 – Neumos – Seattle, WA

10.18.15 – Treasure Island Festival – San Francisco, CA

10.20.15 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR

11.06.15 – Fun Fun Fun Fest – Austin, TX

11.19.15 – Vera – Gronignen, NE

11.20.15 – Le Guess Who – Utrecht, NE

11.21.15 – Sonic City Festival – Kortrijk, Belgium

11.23.15 – Le Cargo – Caen, FR

11.24.15 – 106 – Rouen, FR

11.25.15 – Ramsgate Music Hall – Ramsgate, UK

11.27.15 – All Tomorrow’s Parties – Pontins, Wales

*w/ Metz + Crosss

** w/ Greys

Viet Cong Tracklisting
1. Newspaper Spoons
2. Pointless Experience
3. March of Progress
4. Bunker Buster
5. Continental Shelf
6. Silhouettes
7. Death
It takes less than sixty seconds of album opener “Newspaper Spoons” for you to decide that Viet Cong is a winter record.  The album has barely begun, and the guitar doesn’t snarl until the end of that opening minute, but it still presents a palpable iciness in just a few short moments. It’s bitter. It stings.  But once you’re in it, and you’re bracing yourself and charging ahead, “Newspaper Spoons” moves from a punishing, almost militarized drumbeat to a melody that’s still menacing but also delicate, almost celestial.

That instinct for humanizing a stone-cold song is Viet Cong‘s greatest gift and sharpest weapon. It’s harsh, but exhilarating. Themes of deconstruction and disintegration, of hardening and crumbling seem to come from every direction. But time and again, they are rescued by something — a little bit of humor, a cathartic moment, even a basic human goof. In fact, as the members of Viet Cong worked through the songs that make up this record, they erred on the side of keeping those moments that save Viet Cong from being overly mechanized. “There have to be strange little goofups and stuff that’s sometimes intentional, sometimes not,” bassist and lead singer Matt Flegel explains. “I have a bleak sense of humor, too, so some lyrics might seem funny to me even though anyone else might think they’re desperately hopeless.”

Recorded in a barn-turned-studio in rural Ontario, the seven songs that make up Viet Cong were born largely on the road, when Flegel and band mates Mike Wallace, Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen embarked on a 50-date tour that stretched virtually every limit imaginable. Close quarters hastened their exhaustion but also honed them as a group. With all four members traveling in one car, the mood conflated with the soundtrack, the soundtrack with the cities around them, and so forth.  There was repetition, but it was all different.  This combined with the grey, chilly emptiness of Calgary rendered a record with a viscerally rugged vibe, one that Flegel even describes as “shit earth.”

As Viet Cong pushes forward, the six-minute “March of Progress” is when it begins to really take flight. A lengthy, almost industrial march chugs along for a full three minutes before the floor gives out underneath it and gives way to a spare little riff and the album’s first real melody. “That’s the one where I thought ‘that’s what I want us to be doing. Finally,'” explains Flegel. “That was the sound that I had heard in my mind before we even got started.” Later still, that negative space gives way to a richer melody, and it’s here that Flegel sings “we build the buildings and they’re built to break,” a declaration that is in many ways this album’s thesis.

The repetition throughout Viet Cong hypnotizes but it also softens, leaving a space that is deceptively personal. “Continental Shelf” orbits a thousand-watt hook with a thick crackle and a battering-ram drum line. It’s so arresting that you barely notice it doesn’t have a chorus, and then in comes a line like “if we’re lucky we’ll get old and die” and you can’t believe Leonard Cohen (or Trent Reznor, or Nick Cave, or Sinatra) didn’t get to it first. “Silhouettes” is a tripwire of a song, opening with an almost Joy Division-esque exposition and moving at breakneck speed — frantic and pitch-black at a thousand miles an hour  — until before you know it they are howling.  Actually howling, and maybe you are too.

You can designate records as seasonal, and you can feel Viet Cong‘s bleakness and declare it wintry.  But the only way you get a frost is when there’s something warmer to freeze up. So yes,Viet Cong is a winter album, but only until it is a spring record, then a summer scorcher, then an autumn burner, then it ices over again. They build these buildings, and they’re built to break.

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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