Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: FINO + BLEED

ARTIST: Die Mannequin -
DATE: 09-29-09
REVIEW BY: Bill Adams
LABEL: How To Kill/WEA/Universal International
Have you ever started following a band, not because you were their biggest fan right away, but, because the group seemed to bear enormous potential that you hoped they would eventually realize? You found yourself following them, hoping they'd get the change to get it right eventually? There's no denying that such a pleasure is very private, (sort of) misplaced and self-absorbed (claiming victory when the band makes it from a comfy, third-person seat?), but it's no less gratifying when everything falls into place and the band in question hits its stride and perfects its sound.

Such is the feeling those in the know will get when they first hear FINO + BLEED by Die Mannequin.

Last year's full-length from the band, Unicorn Steak, held a hell of a lot of promise as songs like “Do It Or Die” and “Saved By Strangers” broke the band to radio and presented a rough and ready, but not (yet) remarkable singles-oriented band trying to produce an album. It was pretty easy to tell that too because the singles on the record were stellar but the album cuts were just filler. Not so on FINO + BLEED; this time the band comes loaded for bear with great songs and a tighter, stronger sound guaranteed to blow listeners (all of them – previously initiated or not) away.

The secret, this time, lies in the mixture of elements on FINO + BLEED. Now joined by a producer blessed with a better idea of what to do with the band (previous producers included MSTRKRFT and Ian D'Sa of Billy Talent that did the best they could with the knowledge they had,), Matt Hyde's mixes here push a far more confident Care Failure up to the front of the show and, not shy, she rises to the occasion; panting, howling, crooning, sighing and cavorting her way into every heart within earshot and not leaving a dry seat in the house through pristine takes of “Start It Up,” “Suffer,” “Bad Medicine” and “Caroline Mescaline.” Of course, such a gloriously over-the-top performance would fall flat and come across as silly and overdone were the music behind such histrionics not at least on par but, happily, the music compliments Failure's lines. The worry is never that Failure's own guitar, Anthony Bleed's bass or (ex-RHCP) Jack Irons' drums will overshadow Failure's vocal parts, nor is it likely that the singer would overshadow her band's onslaught – rather (and this is very much unlike most other new bands in rock right now), both singer and band work in tandem and feed off of each other to coax and cajole still better performances from each other. On “Locking Elizabeth,” for example, Failure and the band continually try to one-up each other – throwing ever-harder, thicker and more inspired performances back and forth until all parties involved are literally frothing by the climax. Elsewhere (most notably on “Bad Medicine” and “Caroline Mescaline”), the band invokes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the height of their powers (read: three albums ago) by turning in performances that are equal parts lusty gasp and swaggering stomp, thus guaranteeing to make anyone within earshot a little weak in the knees. Such a progression is a genuine revelation; while it always seemed possible that Die Mannequin might be capable of this kind of rapturous hypnosis, on FINO + BLEED it is omni-present and wildly infectious.

As “Open Season” (the only carry-over from Unicorn Steak on FINO + BLEED) begins to recede into the last orgasmic gasp of “Whipper Snapper,” both band and audience – sorely shagged out by each other now – collapse into a post-coital heap. There are no secret or hidden tracks in the end and there don't need to be – there's only a short, dark build in the final seconds of FINO + BLEED's run-time which can build perfectly back into “Intruder” and “Miss Americvnt” should listeners feel nimble and verile enough to set the album on repeat. That may indeed happen, or listeners may want to wait until later for another ravishing but, either way, Die Mannequin has made its point hard enough to leave a mark with FINO + BLEED. The band has arrived.

Bill Adams
Ground Control Magazine

Die Mannequin Singer Breaks Foot, Guitarist Gets Punched

Die Mannequin have the worst luck. Or at least they tend to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Singer/guitarist Care Failure broke her foot during the band's final show opening for Marilyn Manson in Halifax on Friday night.

Failure is used to jumping around on stage, but she rolled her foot in such a way on Friday that she broke two of its bones, according to a MySpace blog post by bassist Anthony "Useless" Bleed.

Bleed said Failure continued playing the song, despite being in pain, and even finished playing the set.

"tune's done, and all she asks is 'wrap it in duct tape and gimme a valium!'" Bleed wrote.

"well she got the tape, and played that show like any other, and yes, including 2 jumps to the floor/crowd! she's no idiot, she's a rock n roll fuckin trooper....

"AFTER the show is when i took her to the hospital and with the help of a dazzer's local cousin/dr steve feelgood, and got her a nice xray and big honkin cast as a souvenier from halifax! "

Failure's injury unfortunately meant the band could not play the last date of the tour in Moncton, N.B.

Failure updated Die Mannequin fans about her condition on Monday.

"i jusT broke my fooT in two differenT Places in The inTro in The firsT sonG," she wrote in a MySpace blog entry.

"Played The wHole sHow wiTH iT broken in Two differenT Places.. HidinG beHind my Guitar bawlinG beTween sonGs.

"now i Have a full on casT for a monTh on my fuckinG leG.


That sucks enough already, but that wasn't the only bad luck to befall Die Mannequin this month.

Touring rhythm guitarist Stacy Stace got his clock cleaned by a "fat fuck redneck" (bassist Anthony "Useless" Bleed's own words) in Calgary following the band's show with Manson on Sept. 10.

According to Bleed's MySpace blog entry, Stace tried to play pool with a man at a bar after the gig, and was repeatedly brushed off before Stace called him a dick. Bleed says the guy then punched "his face into the elephant man! two left hooks, and suddenly we've got the kid from 'mask' in our band! whaaaaa?!?

"awww, welcome to the rough road stace!" Bleed continued. "our fault, we forgot to tell you bout that black cloud that loves to follow us, hahaha.... swelling's gone, and a descent (sic) story for the books.....and a warning to all: don't try to play pool in calgary with fat fuck redneck babies that don't like to share...."

Die Mannequin released their Fino + Bleed debut album on Sept. 1.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

'Sleaze rock' group from Toronto is promoting their newest record, Fino + Bleed

Toronto "sleaze rock" band Die Mannequin are making a much anticipated return to the Maritimes next week when the group finds themselves with the opening slot on Marilyn Manson's shows in Moncton and Halifax.

The group is promoting their newest record Fino + Bleed, a record that is being marketed as the group's proper debut album as the band's previously issued Unicorn Steak CD was a compilation of two previously released EP's.

To make their new record, the group decamped to Los Angeles to work with producer Matt Hyde. Hyde has worked with other renowned bands such as Monster Magnet, Slayer and Canada's own Pride Tiger.

Die Mannequin vocalist-guitarist Care Failure said the experience of working with Hyde surpassed her greatest expectations of what the results would end up producing.

"Matt and I really clicked more than I thought we would," she admits from her Toronto home. "He goes above and beyond the call of duty in everything he does. He has a genuine penchant for talent and wants to nurture it as well. In fact, after the album had wrapped up, he called me to see if we could work together again in the future which is amazing. It really was an honour to work with him."

One major change in the Die Mannequin operation leading up to their new record was having Failure try her hand at writing with others, an experience she also speaks highly of.

"I think all record labels like to call up the big guys hoping for to score a hit. I ended up writing with Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk and ended up staying to write with them longer than anyone else I collaborated with on this record. I really like them" they are genuinely cool people.

"Making a record is somewhat of a compromise though. You have balance what you want with what the record company is thinking will help sell your product. There are songs that didn't make the record that I love a lot but I found out that you can learn a lot from other writers. Ultimately though, I learned to trust myself and my instincts."

But while some aspects of their new record might have been smooth, an unexpected road block popped up. Just two weeks prior to entering the studio to make the new record, Failure's laptop computer which contained song ideas for Fino + Bleed was unceremoniously stolen from her.

"The whole thing just ended up being so chaotic," Failure admits. "We had been touring so much that I really hadn't had the time to write the new record. And this record was important to us as well as our label so we really wanted to get things right.

"After my laptop disappeared, I had those two weeks to write the entire record which really helped me learn to refine the song writing craft in a big way."

With shows in Europe on their schedule in the near future, Failure is looking forward to the group's dates with the Antichrist Superstar and specifically returning to Moncton.

"We have always had such great shows in that city. Everybody that comes out to the show has such a great time. We really love Moncton and can't wait to get back."

Catch Die Mannequin on the opening slot on Marilyn Manson's show at the Moncton Coliseum on Saturday September 26. Tickets for the show are available online at tickets.moncton.ca and by phone at (506) 857-4100.

Ken Kelley

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Claim to fame

Failure: "I was a big cutter and was bleeding
from the arms down."
Die Mannequin's crazy and charismatic frontwoman, Care Failure, has the wit of Courtney Love and the talent of Kurt Cobain. She speaks with a tongue sharp as David Lee Roth's and is as sultry and sadistic as Bif Naked.

At only 22, Failure has the rock scars to back a claim to fame. Plucked off the streets and out of the depths of drug addiction five years ago by Michael McCarty, former president of EMI Publishing Canada, Failure is a self-admitted "mess."

When McCarty and EMI vice-president Barb Sedun first went to see the then-16-year-old play, Failure says she was too fucked up to realize anyone of importance was even in the rehearsal studio, let alone there to scout her.

"I remember the first time Barb and Mike came to a practice of mine," she reflects. "I was a big cutter and was bleeding from the arms down. I don't think I really understood the magnitude of what was going on, I just knew these two characters were coming to watch, and I think I scared them shitless."

Two months later, however, McCarty and Sedun signed Failure. Recognizing the talent that lay under the veil of blood and drugs, the two pulled her from the streets, started paying her rent and, in a move all too rare nowadays, awarded her years to properly age as an artist.

Failure likens the industry infrastructure provided by the team at EMI to that afforded musicians like Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M., thanking her label and the aforementioned players in particular for understanding the value of natural growth.

"It's about finding time to become more bullet-proof and dangerous, as a prisoner, as an artist, as a songwriter. It's vital," she says. "There are few people who understand the importance of development, especially since you don't have that time and grace [to record] these days."

Only now, a half-decade into her career, is Failure promoting her debut LP, Fino+Bleed. The debut attests to the fact that artist development breeds successful albums. A mean mash of grunge, punk and metal, it is primeval in nature, and leaves no question as to why Die Mannequin is touring with Marilyn Manson.

Remi L. Roy
Ottawa XPress

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Die Mannequin Love The Antichrist Superstar

Victoria, B.C. must have a secret obsession with the dark side underneath all the flowery tourist mumbo jumbo.

Marilyn Manson kicked off his Canadian tour in the B.C. capital on Tuesday night. Coincidentally, I once saw a dude in a Darth Vader suit furiously playing the violin on the street there. No joke.

Toronto's Die Mannequin fit right in to this evil equation. Their Fino + Bleed album hit shelves on Tuesday and the first single "Bad Medicine" is all over rock radio right now. Not to mention they've scored the coveted spot opening for Manson on his trek across Canada.

"When it comes to a huge act like Marilyn Manson, he does whatever the fuck he wants," explains singer Care Failure while waiting to do Die Mannequin's Victoria soundcheck. "The fact that he wants Die Mannequin — the Antichrist wants us on his tour — warms my heart."

Although Manson fans certainly have brutal (and possibly unrealistic) expectations of what they'll see onstage, Failure knows the band are up for the task of entertaining those weirdoes, saying they'll be giving Manson fans a show that's "slutty," "chaotic" and "abrasive," among other things.

"For a band that's been around for six years, it's really exciting to be on this tour," Failure says. "We've toured a lot. That's where we're most comfortable. It's like an job you'd go to in an office. I'm not weirded out by it because that's what we do."

Die Mannequin didn't do any chilling out at Butchart Gardens, though. It's a relatively short tour and the band had get moving to make it on time for Thursday's show in Calgary.

"We never really get to look around," says Failure. "That's what sucks about touring. Especially as a singer, you owe it to your fans not to stay up late and drink like a mad woman. It's a lot of hurry up and wait. For the most part, it's hard to check out the scene of the city you're in."

Die Mannequin's upcoming dates with Marilyn Manson:
Sept. 10 Calgary, AB @ Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 11 Edmonton, AB @ Shaw Conference Centre w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 13 Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 14 St. Paul, MN @ Myth Theater
Sept. 15 Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
Sept. 17 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 19 London, ON @ John Labbatt Centre w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 20 Ottawa, ON @ Scotiabank Place w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 22 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 23 Quebec City, QC @ Pavillion De La Jeunesse w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 25 Halifax, NS @ Metro Centre w/ Die Mannequin
Sept. 26 Moncton, NB @ Moncton Coliseum w/ Die Mannequin
Trevor Morelli

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Die Mannequin's Care Failure Is Ready for Her Close-Up

Homeless and troubled, 16-year-old Care Failure, mastermind behind sleaze band Die Mannequin, floated between "seven bands at once" while maintaining a serious drug problem and sleeping in a tent. She appeared to be out of options, but after a standout audition with EMI and a trip to rehab, the process of nurturing her considerable talents began. What followed is a slice of Toronto indie lore, with acts from MSTRKRFT to Billy Talent getting involved, and grooming Care to be the rock star she seems destined to be. Care, now 22, is ready for her coming-out party with the release of her band's first studio album, 'Fino+Bleed,' today. In the calm before the storm, she chatted with Spinner about picking producers, stolen laptops and how rock shows are like games of follow the leader.

How do you feel about the release of 'Fino+Bleed'?

I'm feeling good about it. We did a show at a radio station and the box of CDs showed up, so it was cool to be able to actually hold one. I do all the art and everything, but it's cool so see it all together.

How long have you been working on the album?

Well, they could have given me a lot more time. We started recording in November, but there were a lot of breaks in between for our wonderful producer Matt Hyde. First there was Christmas break, and then he's working with this Finnish band, so we split it up into different sessions. All together, it probably took a month and a bit. To actually write the record they gave me a month. It was crazy, especially because with an artist's first record, you don't get a second chance.

In the past you've written all your own songs, and you even played all the instruments on your 2006's 'How to Kill.' How collaborative was the process this time around?

Well, Anthony [Bleed, bass/vocals] is a great writer and we wanted to collaborate on so much for this record and just didn't have the time. Then my laptop got stolen with all these ideas. We had two weeks left to write the record and I went on a trip to New York. It was just more of an organic thing. I hate the word "jam," but I guess I jammed with some writers that are good people and that I respect.

But you still wrote all the songs?

Yeah. It's weird, actually. I shouldn't do that anymore. Any time I show up to writing sessions with anyone, they're like, "You actually write all the songs? Why are we here? We're just stealing your percentages." But it's a good way to learn my craft, working with other people. I learn a lot of things that make me a better songwriter.

You mentioned Matt Hyde (Slayer, Hatebreed, Porno for Pyros), who did the production on this record. How did that happen?

We started with a big old list of producers. I'm sure Bing Crosby was on that list, and Butch Vig, and all different sorts. It got down to three producers. You get on the phone and you get a vibe off of them. Me and Matt are crazy similar in the way we record, and just as people, so I just kind of went by instinct. I'm so happy I picked him. He's just one of those guys who cares so much. And especially being a producer these days, when years ago producers were getting paid triple what they are now because of the industry, and for him to still go the miles and do all the extra s--- he does, not a lot of people do that. Usually producers have to gain the artist's trust, and in his case he's like, "I have to learn how to trust you and let you just run." It was really cool that he understood that.

You've lived a lot of life in the past six years. Where do you see yourself in another six?

Whether the whole sing-song thing works out for me or not, it's in my bones, so it's what I do. I'm just learning how to write better songs. It's a lot easier to go and work with other people's songs and material because it's not your own. You can step back and have a better eye of it. I love doing that, and I run a label, but generally I just hope there's a lot more happy times than tragedy.

I would think with the record coming out, things could be about to change for you considerably.

Hopefully. We'll see.

I understand that you're not a big fan of a lot of your contemporaries in the rock 'n roll universe. Is that fair to say?

I guess, yeah.

Who do you like out of the bands that are out there right now?

Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, the Dead Weather. It's funny, the past couple years leading up to now have been a lot of s---, but in the last year or so, rock is getting a bit more real. And I think the kids are getting hip to it, too. I think they're looking for something a bit more real.

Care to comment on some of your least favourite artists out there?

I think we all are just trying to do what we love to do, so I'm not hating on anything, but it's mostly anything that's really bland. What really irks me is that I lost a lot of friends that I grew up introducing to Blonde Redhead and Sonic Youth. They start bands and then I have choruses in my songs, and they don't want to be friends with me anymore because I have choruses or something that's catchy in my songs. It's that whole indie-elitist attitude. It bores me. It's like music for boring people who are bored listening to it. You can't dance, you have to just stand there with your arms crossed and wait to see if other people are dancing. Then if it's cool, you'll dance too. It's like follow the f---ing leader, bah-bah black sheep s---. It's that attitude of pretending you have a scene when really it's a bunch of back-stabbers that are all jealous. That irks me more than the same songs you've heard way too many times on the radio.

Marty Flanagan

Fino + Bleed lyrics

Doesn't matter
Wherever we come from
Doesn't matter
Wherever we come from

We shoot 'em
We shoot 'em
We shoot 'em
We shoot 'em
Let's go
Miss Americvnt
I'll be there when the light goes off
As long as it's all about me
So proudly we fail forever
It just trips and fades away

You're no good
If it's not me

Then it's you
And you thank no one
Miss Americunt
Violence had no son
Miss Americunt
And it's you, yeah, it's you

I'll be there like the rest of them
In your fire, your highs, and your stripes
New wave Miss Americunt
In a new wave spangled fight

(You're no good)

If it's not me, than it's you
And you blame no one
Miss Americunt
Violoence had no son
Miss Americunt
And it's you, yeah it's you

It's always about the hate exhange
To call my name
And it's always about
The proud mistakes
And the back lit blame

I'll kill them if they kill us
When everything hurts
And everyone else
Says give it to me
But nothing helps
I can't live with all this hate

And it's you
And you thank no one
Miss Americunt
Violence had no son
Miss Americunt

And it's you, and it's you
And you blame no one
Miss Americunt
Violence had no son
Miss Americunt
And it's you, yeah, it's you

It's you, hey
It's you, hey

One kill for every pill
One kill for every pill
One kill for every pill

Fino + Bleed [Studio album]

Released    September 8, 2009
Genre    Alternative rock, Punk rock, Sleaze rock, Glam punk
Label    How To Kill
Producer    Matt Hyde
Track listing
  1. "Intruder" Interlude" (Care Failure) - 1:34
  2. "Miss Americvnt" (Care F./Harry Hess/Peter Lesperance) - 3:02
  3. "Dead Honey" (Care F./Raine Maida/Chantal Kreviazuk) - 3:11
  4. "Start It Up" (Care F./Jason "Space" Smith) - 3:06
  5. "Suffer" (Care F.) - 2:42
  6. "Bad Medicine" (Care F.) - 3:30
  7. "Locking Elizabeth / "Fino + Bleed" Interlude" (Care F./Scott Cutler/Anne Preven) - 4:12
  8. "Candide" (Anna Wayland/Care F.) - 4:18
  9. "Where Poppies Grow" (Care F.) - 3:09
  10. "Caroline Mescaline / "Nobody's Graveyard, But Everyone's Skeleton" Interlude" (Care F./Hess) - 5:12
  11. "Guns Not Bombs" (Care F./Space) - 3:37
  12. "Open Season / "Whipper Snapper" Interlude" (Care F./Johnny Andrews) - 5:54

Die Mannequin
  • Care Failure – guitar, lead vocals
  • Anthony "Useless" Bleed – bass, vocals
  • Jack Irons – drums
Technical staff and artwork
  • Produced by Matt Hyde
  • Recording engineer: Chris Rakestraw
  • Mixed by Mike Fraser (Except "Intruder", "Fino + Bleed", "Nobody's Graveyard, But Everyone's Skeleton" and "Whipper Snapper" Interludes mixed by Matt Hyde)
  • Assistant mix engineer: Eric Mosh
  • Mastered by Tom Baker
  • Art by Care Failure
  • Cover photography by Alishia Fox
  • Photography by David Waldman, Pete Nema, Willem Wernsen, Florian Kehbel and A.I.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Die Mannequin's Failure dishes on staying optimistic

Die Mannequin
With Marilyn Manson
Friday, September 11 at 8 p.m.
Shaw Conference Centre (9797 Jasper Ave. N.W)
$55.50 at ticketmaster.ca
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then Caroline Kawa’s parents may be at least partially responsible for her band Die Mannequin’s success. Kawa, who now prefers the punk rock moniker “Care Failure” found out exactly how strong her love for music was when she was 12 and it was almost entirely taken away.

“One of my close friends, she had attempted suicide,” Failure reveals. “She had wrote a note to me, so the police pulled me in, and then they proceeded to ban me from music — taking away my CDs, poetry, posters, band shirts, anything that had to do with it.”

Failure says that her only relief from her music-less world was the radio, which she listened to constantly, meeting her future musical idols — Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and Nirvana — one by one. She eventually left home at 16 years old to, in her own words, “protect her family from herself.”

“I couldn’t live with that for too long. It was a ticking time bomb,” she says.

True to punk-rock form, Failure punctuates many of her sentences with the occasional “y’know?” or string of curse words. But for a young musician who has already endured several deeply painful family hardships, bouts of homelessness, and stints in rehab, her disposition is eerily upbeat when I catch up with her from Toronto via a crackly cellphone.

“I knew inside that [leaving home] needed to happen for many reasons. I have a younger brother and an older sister and it was really hard and I probably put them through a lot of pain,” Failure says, before adding, “[but] me and my family are as close as ever now.”

The swift and severe reaction from the police and Failure’s family after her friend’s suicide attempt was exacerbated by the fact that the Columbine massacre had just occurred in Littleton, Colorado, and anxious parents everywhere were all looking for a scapegoat. In addition to the massacres creating a moral panic about violent content in video games, music — most prominently Marilyn Manson’s music — was also implicated in the tragedy.

“Parents, and police, and people were blaming youth behavior on music, and not on bad parenting and neglect,” says Failure, echoing many of the same sentiments Manson himself expressed after the shooting.

A decade later, the irony that Die Mannequin is opening for the shock-rocker who was indirectly responsible for her music ban is not lost on Failure, who says that Manson “warms her heart.”

“We just added another guitarist and a new drummer [to the band], so we’re banging out songs all day and we’re excited about the tour for sure. The Anti-Christ tour will be amazing and I can’t believe that Marilyn was behind picking the bands. It’s really cool to know that he could tour with whoever the fuck he wants and that he wants to tour with Die Mannequin.”

The tour comes at a great time for the band, who are preparing to release their new album on September 8, entitled Fino + Bleed, along with a Gemini Award-nominated documentary of the band made by Canadian film legend Bruce McDonald. But as Failure explains, producing the album was a bit of a nightmare after her laptop, full of ideas for the new record, went missing after a show right before she was due to begin working on the new album.

“All of the songs I sang, I would write lyrics in the morning and sing them at night, because you can only sing for like six or seven hours straight when you’re screaming and belting out things. [...] It’s a concept record, like “Fino plus Bleed,” real life mixed with some exaggerations and things I was thinking at the time, [...]like just wanting and wishing and hoping that all of the tortured lobotomy patients and electric shock treatment patients could all turn on their doctors and try to hold them hostage and so we tried to do that [with the music], but from the holding them hostage point, it’s kind of like realizing a fantasy,” Failure elaborates.

“I really do watch too much History Channel [...] I’m one of those people who gets off on that shit,” she laughs.

Her voice is weathered for a woman of only 22 years, partially from the cigarettes she always seems to have her lips around, and perhaps partly due to the years of hard knocks she’s already survived. But Failure’s candour coupled with her bluntness suggests that despite everything, she’s not only getting by, but thriving.

“I am an eternal optimist, which is so funny,” says Failure, commenting on some of the dark themes on Fino + Bleed. “I am forever an optimist to a fault.”

Sarah Stead
The Gateway