Mike Sullivan Talks to Music Radar about 11 life-changing albums 

 

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“My tastes have become broader, I’m more open-minded,” admits Mike Sullivan as we prepare to grill him about the albums that shaped his life as a musician, as well as his own band’s latest recording.

“What I like I’m in love with and can’t get enough of. I walk around with headphones and listen every day to certain bands and I’m humbled by them. I’ll think, ‘Maybe I should go into gardening or become a cook because I’m so knocked down by these guys who write great riffs.'”

Mike’s a humble man. Because he doesn’t just deliver inventive riffs of his own with instrumental trio Russian Circles, but a wide palette of expression and tone that has helped the band build an immersive discography. Post-rock, post-metal… whatever you want to claim this Chicago band as, they are masters of their own versatile craft.

Sixth album Guidance affirms that, a powerful seven-song journey through the emotive lengths Mike travels with bassist Brian Cook and drummer Dave Turncrantz to move deftly between crushing metal war marches (Vorel), delicate hymns (Overboard) and anthemic major-key positivity (Africa).

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Pitchfork Review of New Track “Mota” 

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The build-up is a well-worn staple of post-rock: transporting the listener from a place of quiet and calm to somewhere crashing and ecstatic. Because the trick is nowhere near new—especially for a long-running act like Russian Circles—it must be executed with mastery and creativity in order to be anywhere near effective. “Mota,” the second single from Russian Circles’ upcoming album Guidance, shows the trio is more than up for the challenge, as each member attacks their instrument with an aggression that sounds both virtuosic and demonically possessed.

Dave Turncrantz’s swift, melodic drumming and Brian Cook’s distorted bass merge into a rhythm section with the dynamics and power of a band twice their size. Mike Sullivan’s layers of guitars, meanwhile, are dazzling, recalling both the staccato plucking of a string orchestra and the droning buzz of heavy machinery. When its inevitably massive climax arrives, after a tense midsection that sounds like a drill stripping away the head of a screw, it is with the subtle revelation of your plane taking off just as the drugs are kicking in. It’s less a question of “How did we get here?” and more, “How can I stay forever?”

New Track Premiere “Mota” via Stereogum 

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Back in May, the Chicago post-metal trio Russian Circles released “Vorel,” the lead single off their upcoming sixth studio LP Guidance. That song was a colossal rampage of terraforming guitars and pillaging drums that seethed steam through gritted teeth, liable to burn down the landscape even as it was willing it into shape. “Vorel” was music for smashing boulders or brandishing cigarette burns into glaciers, but the most exciting part about it wasn’t its battle march sweep or the throttling toms; it was when the song receded into itself and leaked these beams of transcendent guitar harmonics that suspiciously halted right when they seemed to signal light at the end of the tunnel.
A month and a half later, we finally get to hear that ray of illumination. “Mota” doesn’t crunch or crash like its predecessor; instead it’s a glowing orchard blooming fireballs. The song swells like a rising hot air balloon for the first two minutes, and then burrows all the sunshine into a pressurized hole during the next three, before it reaches a breaking point and supernovas into an earth-shattering frenzy of golden flames and propulsive shockwaves. And when the final residual screeching gives way to that hospitable bath of heavenly whispers that stops short before it can truly offer you salvation, its a cruel cliffhanger. This album can’t come soon enough. Listen to “Mota” below.

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Tracklist:
01 “Asa”
02 “Vorel”
03 “Mota”
04 “Afrika”
05 “Overboard”
06 “Calla”
07 “Lisboa”

Tour dates:

08/26 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon *
08/27 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center *
08/29 Missoula, MT @ Palace Lounge *
08/30 Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
08/31 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge *
09/02 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall *
09/03 Los Angeles, CA @ The Teragram Ballroom *
09/05 Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom *
09/06 Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad *
09/07 Englewood, CO @ The Gothic Theatre *
09/08 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room *
09/09 Chicago, IL @ Metro *
09/25 Detroit, MI @ El Club ^
09/26 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace ^
09/28 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair ^
09/29 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer ^
09/30 Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw ^
10/01 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel ^
10/02 Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall ^
10/04 Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 ^
10/05 Birmingham, AL @ Saturn ^
10/06 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon ^
10/07 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio ^
10/08 Austin, TX @ Barracuda ^
10/09 Dallas, TX @ RBC ^

* with Cloakroom
^ with Helms Alee

Guidance is out 8/5 via Sargent House. Pre-order it in digital or physical formats.

Pitchfork Reviews Russian Circles’ New Track, ‘Vorel’ 

There are bands that conjure very specific personal images for me. Even when listening to them becomes habitual—for instance, Explosions in the Sky’s The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place for each and every jog—the music never loses its power. Instead, the sounds gather energy, ingrained and enmeshed in the everyday, like breathing.

Russian CirclesMemorial, their fifth album, released in 2013, is one of those records. As its title suggests, it reflects on death, loss, and remembrance (there is a song called “Burial”). The best songs are melancholic, but also angry—as you often are when you lose a loved one. My friend Kenny died a little less than a year before Memorial was released; he was young and his wife gave birth to their first child a couple weeks after he passed. For me, Memorial became Kenny’s record, one that reminds me of our time together, a friendship that ended way too soon with me trying to hold it together while reading the eulogy at his funeral. It’s not easy listening, but I play it all the time—religion, I guess, for someone who doesn’t have it otherwise.

So it’s been interesting standing back and taking a listen to “Vorel,” a song from Russian Circle’s forthcoming Kurt Ballou-produced sixth album, Guidance. On it, guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz, and bassist Brian Cook move through their now familiar dynamics—gentle, pensive, clean guitars that eventually bloom into cathartic full-band metal crescendo. But they manage to keep it engaging and even enthralling. The trio’s been together for more than a decade and you can imagine them finishing each other’s sentences. On Guidance, they play with what feels like telepathy.

The cover of the collection features a photo of a man, his face unbroken, being led to an execution with stoic dignity. But there’s nothing stoic about “Vorel”: it kicks and punches and screams without words. It’s hard to know what the song means, and the album is too new to feel connected to anything outside of my headphones. That said, Guidance, in general, features a more bad-ass Russian Circles, a group that seems less elegiac, and more ready to plant their feet solidly on the ground, fighting back bloodied and bruised against each body blow.

Russian Circles New Track Premiere on Rolling Stone 

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Hear Russian Circles’ new song “Vorel,” off the band’s forthcoming sixth album ‘Guidance.“

Over their decade-plus career, Chicago instrumental trio Russian Circles have toured with Tool, collaborated with Chelsea Wolfe and won comparisons to Mogwai, associations that all make sense when you listen to the band’s new album, Guidance, which is due out August 5th. (The record is available for pre-order here now.) Like the music of the aforementioned artists, the album – the group’s sixth – is moody, dense and dynamic, the gripping soundtrack to an un-filmed drama. Above, you can listen to the second track from the LP, and the first to be released, "Vorel.”

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RUSSIAN CIRCLES ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, GUIDANCE & NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 

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Celebrated Chicago post-metal/rock trio Russian Circles are thrilled to announce their highly-anticipated sixth studio album, Guidance, due out August 5th from Sargent House.  This 7-song, 40-minute LP was recorded by Kurt Ballou at God City Studios and showcases Russian Circles at their best and most realized yet in their decade-long career.  Additionally, Russian Circles have announced an extensive North American tour in support of Guidance that spans from August through October and features Cloakroom and label mates Helms Alee on select dates. This tour follows Russian Circles’ June appearances at Levitation Fest Vancouver and Crucial Fest in Salt Lake City, and all shows can be found below with more to be announced soon.

Guidance will be released on CD, LP and digital formats on August 5th from Sargent House.  More news and song premieres coming soon.

FOR SHOW/TICKET DETAILS CLICK HERE.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES - ON TOUR

Jun 16 Vancouver, BC - Levitation Vancouver
Jun 18 Salt Lake City, UT - Crucial Fest ^
Aug 26 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon *
Aug 27 Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center *
Aug 29 Missoula, MT - Palace Lounge *
Aug 30 Seattle, WA - Neumos *
Aug 31 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge *
Sep 2 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall *
Sep 3 Los Angeles, CA - The Teragram Ballroom *
Sep 5 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom *
Sep 6 Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad *
Sep 7 Englewood, CO - The Gothic Theatre *
Sep 8 Kansas City, MO - The Riot Room *
Sep 9 Chicago, IL - Metro *
Sep 25 Detroit, MI - El Club ^
Sep 26 Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace ^
Sep 28 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair ^
Sep 29 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer ^
Sep 30 Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw ^
Oct 1 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel ^
Oct 2 Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall ^
Oct 4 Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5 ^
Oct 5 Birmingham, AL - Saturn ^
Oct 6 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon ^
Oct 7 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live Studio ^
Oct 8 Austin, TX - Barracuda ^
Oct 9 Dallas, TX - RBC ^

* w/ Cloakroom
^ w/ Helms Alee

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*top photo by Nicholas Sayers

Russian Circles 2016 European Tour Kicks Off This Week 

photo by Andrey Kalinovsky

Russian Circles’ upcoming 2016 European Spring Tour starts this week 4/28 with DesertFest Dunk!Fest and more festivals along the way. For all show/ticket details click HERE. All dates are listed below:

RUSSIAN CIRCLES EU//UK TOUR 2016
Apr 28 Glasgow,UK @ Saint Luke’s
Apr 29 Liverpool,UK @ Constellations
Apr 30 London, UK @ TheDesertFest @ Electric Ballroom
May 01 Utrecht,NL @ Pandora TivoliVredenburg
May 03 Orleans,FR @ L'Astrolabe *
May 04 Yverdon Les Bains,CH @ Amalgame
May 05 Lyon, FR @ Nuits Sonores / L'epicerie Moderne
May 06 Metz, FR @ We Are A Young Team @ Les Trinitaires
May 07 Zottegem, BE @ Dunk!festival
May 09 Wiesbaden,DE @ Schlachthof
May 10 Dresden,DE @ Beatpol*
May 11 Duisburg, DE @ Grammatikoff *
May 13 Copenhagen,DK @ A Colossal Weekend - Få billetter/few tickets!
May 14 Hannover, DE @ Cafe Glocksee
———————————-
*support by: This Will Destroy You

Just Announced: Russian Circles 2016 European Tour 

Russian Circles have just announced their headlining European tour this April with This Will Destroy You supporting some of the shows. Russian Circles are also set to headline Desertfest, Dunk! Festival, and A Colossal Weekend. Click HERE for show and ticket details.
All dates below:

RUSSIAN CIRCLES EUROPEAN TOUR 2016

Apr 28 Glasgow,UK @ Saint Luke’s          
Apr 29 Liverpool,UK @ Constellations    
Apr 30 London, UK @ Desertfest @ Electric Ballroom      
May 01 Utrecht,NL @ Pandora TivoliVredenburg              
May 03 Orleans,FR @ L'Astrolabe *
May 04 Yverdon Les Bains,CH @ Amalgame w/ Oregon Trail
May 05 Lyon, FR @ Nuits Sonores / L'epicerie Moderne
May 06 Metz, FR @ Young Team festival @ Les Trinitaires
May 07 Zottegem, BE @ Dunk! Festival *              
May 09 Wiesbaden,DE @ Schlachthof    
May 10 Dresden,DE @ Beatpol *              
May 11 Duisburg, DE @ Grammatikoff *
May 13 Copenhagen,DK @ A Colossal Weekend
May 14 Hannover, DE @ Cafe Glocksee

*Supported by: This Will Destroy You

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