Band of Skulls: "You're Not Selling Out ... It's a Way to Survive"

Band of Skulls
Cool enough for hipsters, heavy enough for metal heads, smart enough for muso snobs, Band of Skulls succeed in striking that oft-elusive aural sweet spot for fans of all stripes....including the folks at the mayonnaise-alternative Miracle Whip, who use a crunchy riff from the band's 2012 song "The Devil Takes Care Of His Own" to push their creamy concoction.

Bassist/singer Emma Richardson laughs. "Soundtracks, commercials... it helps fund the band to do what we need to do, and sometimes it's the best way to get your music heard by loads of people," she observes. "Times have changed. Adverts aren't sneered at anymore. You're not selling out--it's a way to survive, as people aren't buying records anymore."

See also: The 10 Best Metal Albums of 2013

In a perfect world--and hopefully in this one--Band of Skulls, a trio formed in Southampton, England and rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Russell Marsden and drummer Matt Hayward, will be bigger than Miracle Whip. Sonically like-minded bands including the Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age, the Dead Weather and Muse have shepherded Band of Skulls on tour, and 2014 finds the threesome on a headlining European jaunt before returning to the States later in the year in support of their stunning new album Himalayan.

Produced by Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) Himalayan, Band of Skulls' third album, features a dozen songs with the potential to comprise a career-making record. From the moody, sonorous strains of the timeless "Cold Sweat," with Richardson's vocals redolent of a dusky chanteuse, to the onomatopoeic T. Rex-influenced glam-swing of "Hoochie Coochie" to the U2-but-cooler "Nightmares," every song has earworm potential.

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