Australian experimental rock act SEIMS shared the third single “Showdown Without A Victim” from forthcoming album Four, out October 22rd. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Simeon Bartholomew, SEIMS has evolved into an explorational and formidable band over the course of several records. The new record showcases the band’s delicately crafted arrangements on tracks including the beguiling 65daysofstatic ‘Wild Light’ era tinged post-math-rock of Elegance Over Confidence, the soaring modern post-rock of The Mountain’s Scream and the dark ‘Stranger Things’ evoking electro-prog of new single Showdown Without A Victim. Today, we’re giving it a special spotlight feature of Simeon Bartholomew’s five guilty pleasure albums.
Speaking about the new track, SEIMS mastermind Simeon Bartholomew comments: “I feel like this song summises the album perfectly. It’s all about the journey of two voices arguing over who is right. The argument intensifies with a 5/8 riff that moves up half a step with every rotation – it never lets you release. Literally, never. Even through the “choruses” of Theme B, the punctuation of the downbeat on the 11th bar is there to end the sentence – but it never feels naturally resolved. Eventually, both parties end up saying the same thing in their own words; and they both realise they’re wrong. The closing 11/4 passage takes you through their unified, unending moment of questioning. There’s no more fighting; and there’s no resolve. Just eternal limbo.”
New album Four was written & produced by Simeon Bartholomew himself, engineered by Tim Carr (We Lost The Sea), mixed by Alex Wilson (sleepmakeswaves) & mastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice. As well as Simeon performing bass, guitars, synths, piano & vocals himself, it also features blistering performances from Plini drummer Chris Allison, Kat Hunter & Susie Bishop on violins & Tangents/ FourPlay member Peter Hollo on cellos.
Simeon says: “I’ve always loved writing concept albums and after exploring the colour spectrum and its contributions and interactions with itself, it made me think about a similar idea in the verbal medium. Four was initially inspired by the Myer Briggs indicator of personalities. I always found it fascinating how words on paper can change inference, intent, or perspective purely by someone’s speaking tone and demeanour, and also how it can be received or perceived based on your personality, context, and cognisance. This album is all about unintentionally misconstrued conversations – multiple voices / themes saying one thing, and being received or misinterpreted a very different way, for better or worse.”
Initially conceived as a one-man studio project in 2012, the band has expanded into a ferocious live act with some of Sydney’s most talented musicians. SEIMS has shared stages with a diverse array of acts including Tortoise, Regurgitator, We Lost The Sea & Jean Jean. They performed at back to back Progfest events in 2018 & 2019 and have toured Japan twice, featuring at Tokyo’s iconic math-rock festival Bahamasfest.
Asked about his top guilty pleasure albums, Simeon admits that he’s qite embarrassed by this list. “I think it’s hilarious to expose the skeletons in the closet, especially when it comes to the stuff of poor taste.” -he says.
“A lot of people seem to be quite interested about the music that influences SEIMS. That makes sense, I guess. It’s so multi-faceted with the instrumentation, the constant genre-hopping, and the composition tropes. It takes influences from math-rock, hardcore, bebop jazz, post-punk, 90s electro, film soundtracks, and even chamber music. Classy stuff, right?”
These are albums that he listen to behind closed doors. “Incognito mode on.” – jokes Simeon. “Remove immediately from my Spotify “Last Played” section. These may or may not have influenced anything in SEIMS, but considering SEIMS is my project and I write based on my world knowledge of music which would encompass the below five albums to some degree… you could say that these, in some way, are regrettably a part of the SEIMS influence…”
So here’s a list of Simeon’s 5 guilty pleasure albums. He apologises in advance.
Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water
I said I was sorry.
But seriously – this album is full of bangers. I was living in Calcutta, India when this album came out. I rushed to the CD store and bought it immediately.
Hot Dog. My Generation. My Way. Rollin. Livin’ It Up. Boiler. Hold On. And then the greatest thing to come out of Mission Impossible 2 – Take A Look Around. The production is phenomenal. Wes’ tones are gorgeous. The bass melodies are sick. The hiphop beats push it so hard.
Also, because I bought this in India, their release was censored. It was about 2 years before I found out that Durst actually swore a lot in it. It was a shame too, because I actually really thought the sfx used to replace the curse words were pretty creative and cool.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
This album rips, but there’s no reason I should be listening to it still so much in 2021. One of Rick Rubin’s finest works – the overall palette and production on this is so specific. There’s a lot of air and space in the sound. My parents bought this album for me when I turned 10 because I was obsessed with Give It Away. This was the album that made me want to explore the bass guitar that early on, and I used this album to learn how to play.
I can still remember every song note for note, and when I’m looking for a mindless Friday arvo shred, this is the album I put on and play along to. There’s some great tracks on there that are great to practice your endurance like The Greeting Song and Naked in The Rain. For the record, One Hot Minute is hands down their best record.
Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine
This is Australian pop rock at it’s finest. These guys were such an “alternative” band for a long time, and then they hit it mainstream with this album. The production is fantastic and there’s such a vibe throughout this whole album that there’s even a great writeup from the engineers on how they captured this sound. This was actually used as one of the mix references for FOUR.
Coldplay – Parachutes
Do you hate me yet? Besides Yellow (which I’m pretty sure I hate because it was played to death everywhere…) – this album seems to really nail the melancholy vibe. I’d almost call it a Blur successor. An interesting choice to start the album with Don’t Panic – that song is pretty dire and hopelessly hopeful. Trouble is gorgeous. Spies is haunting. And Shiver is a downright banger – there’s a reason why it made it to Guitar Hero.
Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
Everybody was obsessed with Take Me Out in 2004. And then the hype train died off in the early 2010s when the Britpop train departed. I still listen to this album regularly, because it’s actually good. A great upbeat energy with a mix that reminds me of old Clash records. The Dark of the Matinée has this cute electric piano thing going on and Auf Achse sounds like a sad dancefloor tune that’d be playing at your high school dance.