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Tool Webmaster Offers Update, The Bronx Return With New Track + More News

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Tool‘s webmaster posted an encouraging note about possible new music from the band, which isn’t exactly what we’d call prolific or forthcoming when it pertains to new music. He shared a first-hand account of the material he heard -it’s just instrumental, without Maynard James Keenan’s vocals. He also estimated that the band is about half-way done with an album.

The webmaster shared the following update:

“Something that might be encouraging to some Tool enthusiasts is that while riding with Danny to Chili John’s yesterday, I heard a lot of new Tool music (sans Maynard). This was the most new material that I’ve heard so far, although a few of the riffs and arrangements were familiar. So, what did I think? Dare I say that it sounded like… Tool (some of it reminiscent to earlier Tool stuff, with other parts pushing the envelope), and I assume that it will sound even more like Tool once the vocal melodies, etc. have been added. To answer your next question, I cannot say how far along in the writing process the band is. If I had to GUESS, I would say more than half way (and keep in mind that in the past, at least, the writing went faster once the first few [more complex] songs were finished). [Tool Website]

Baroness‘ John Baizley and Pete Adams shared an amazing acoustic video performance of “Stretchmarker,” which you can watch below. It was a tough second half of the year for the band, as they survived a major van wreck.

This clip, recorded in Baizley’s Philadelphia art studio (www.aperfectmonster.com), marks the first performance the band members have shared since that horrific bus accident in August.

The video was accompanied by this note:

“Simply put: it’s time to get back to it. Since my belated and thankful return to the USA (after our painful test in motor coach-aeronautics) I can definitively say I’ve exhausted my reserve of potential leisure activities (there’s not that many of them, after all).” explained Baizley. “I’ve come dreadfully close to boredom, and in those moments I can’t help but focus on my glaring physical infirmities. Television offers little respite from this relative stasis; I’m sure by now I have sampled every biker-meth-dealer-zombie-low-talking-cop-crime-scene-serial-killer-real-housewife soap opera that is currently being broadcast (and there’s no small number of them). I’ve tried to fill my weekly routine with as much physical therapy as possible but the truth is, PT is not fun, and its benefits come with a great deal of mental/physical/spiritual pain and struggle. Furthermore, I believe I am getting a touch of Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to my doctors and therapists (the highlight of my week should NOT involve a clinic). Music might be the best therapy I have right now. Perhaps it’s both the cause and the cure (the thought has crossed my mind); but I feel lost without it. Pete and I have just spent a long week surveying our musical wreckage and, surprisingly, we are quite well and intact. Sure, there are some substantial obstacles to overcome before we write, record or perform any time soon; but we still have everything we need to get ‘back in’ that particular ‘saddle again.’ Most of my peers are familiar with such high-school-gym-teacher poeticisms as ‘risk equals reward’ and ‘no pain, no gain;’ but did any of us every really believe there was any real wisdom in those adolescent platitudes? I didn’t. I am, however, starting to understand the essence of these and many of our other favorite clichés.

“As odd as it might be for me to write these ‘updates’ after 10 years of personal silence on the internet, I feel that I owe everyone who’s voiced or given their support to Baroness a brief synopsis of our situation and more importantly a heartfelt thanks. Honestly, it has made this ordeal much easier on me. What little publicity that surrounds our crash has given voice to so many people who have shared their own stories of injury, trauma and struggle with us, and has furthered my own faith in the communicative and universal strength of music. As every singer on every stage has nightly said, ‘we wouldn’t be where we are without you.’ Thanks everyone. We look forward to seeing you soon. Here’s a short clip of a song we wrote.”

Watch ‘Stretchmarker (Acoustic)’ Video

Norma Jean are working on their sixth album, and singer Cory Brandan offered a lengthy update on the platter.

“We have been in the studio for 13 days now tracking our 6th full length record at Covenant Recording Studio in Kansas City. We love Kansas City! What a great place to live. Good people and definitely a LOT of good food.

“At this point we have 7 songs tracked on drums and 7 more to go. We are looking at a 11 or 12 song track listing with a few left over for other special releases. We have been working very closely with producer/engineers Joshua Barber and Aaron Crawford. Awesome dudes with a lot of great ideas. They’ve definitely helped us push ourselves to do more with the record.

Our days have pretty much consisted of going from the apartment to the studio and back. We’ve been fairly isolated in the sounds of the studio. Because of that, we have found a new enthusiasm in and old past time… sitting in the back of our van late at night and having a few drinks. We spend most of the time talking about the record but it’s also a good way to get away and hang. We call it ‘Van Hanglin.’

“We really like the idea of talking about the songs and all getting connected to them emotionally/psychologically. It’s something we learned while working with Ross Robinson. It’s a great way to get all of us on the same page and fused in a common vision, even though we may have different interpretations. We believe that if we all know what every song is about then we WILL play the songs differently and with more passion. Van Hangs has been our way of achieving all that on this record and it’s been a lot of fun too. Yeah, we’re kind of hippies when it comes to writing and recording a record.

“We aren’t ready to release the record title just yet. I think we just want to make sure it’s the best fit. It’s coming soon.

“We spent almost 2 years writing this. We have definitely found so many ways to expand on what we’ve done before and progress into making something new. This is definitely something new, but don’t misunderstand. It’s heavy! We’re metal heads! Born and raised. See you all soon enough. CB” [The PRP]

The Bronx will release their long awaited fourth album, The Bronx (IV), on Feb. 5 via White Drugs/ATO Records. In anticipation the band has released a new song, “Ribcage,” which you can stream below and available for download on iTunes and Amazon as well as on limited edition 7″ vinyl, along with a previously unreleased b-side “Into the Black,” at this link.

“This represents the highest evolution of the band, which is exactly how it should be be,” vocalist Matt Caughthran said in a statement. “We’re the same guys, but we would never make the same record twice. And because of everything that’s happened with El Bronx, we’ve grown as musicians. And that’s why on this record you’ll hear that the songs are driving everything.”

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