Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré’s Favorite Guest Vocalist Appearances
After Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull appeared on the band’s single “Limelight,” Bolm shares some tracks that inspired the collaboration.
When Touché Amoré announced their new album Lament earlier this year, they did so with a bold choice for the record’s first single (well, second, technically): a song that featured the unmistakable vocals of Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull. After four years of anticipating the band’s next step, “Limelight” delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, besides the opportunity to see it jammed live—which we certainly don’t fault the band for.
While vocalist Jeremy Bolm has spent the time between Lament and Stage Four letting out his aggression via his other hardcore project Hesitation Wounds (as well as getting into jazz, as the new record’s finale reveals), it wouldn’t be surprising to hear he’d also been penning an investigative book on the history of guest verses in hardcore punk and metal music. As the playlist he made for us proves, it’s something he’s been curious about for a while.
“I wanted to make a playlist that featured songs with guest vocalists that elevated the songs to a higher level,” he shares of the project. “These are some of my favorite songs where I felt that happened.”
Listen along below, and read on for some in-depth notes/field report from Bolm. Lament drops tomorrow—order it here.
Cave In, “Moral Eclipse” (feat. Jake Bannon of Converge)
Cave In’s album Until Your Heart Stops in a lot of ways is the archetype of metalcore. There’s plenty of reasons it deserves the accolades it has—including them being teenagers when writing it, as well as it still outshining all the bands trying to emulate this sound today. I remember getting this album on CD and hearing this opening track and having several moments of “I can’t believe this,” and one of those elements was hearing Jake Bannon of my favorite hardcore band Converge shrieking after one of the better breakdowns ever recorded (about 1:10 into the song).
The Dillinger Escape Plan, “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things” (feat. Mike Patton)
When the Irony Is a Dead Scene EP was announced with vocalist Mike Patton attached, I didn’t know how to feel about it. It was the first release since original DEP vocalist Dimitri Minakakis had left the band, and I admittedly wasn’t a fan of Patton at the time (I took some record store guy level snobbery to him ’cause his diehard following rubbed me the wrong way). This EP completely won me over. It showed such a dynamic range and astonishing creativity that this became my favorite DEP release to date.
Deftones, “Passenger” (feat. Maynard James Keenan)
Similar to the Mike Patton issue I had with Dillinger, I was never a Tool guy. This is another instance of how a guest vocal can win someone over. “Passenger” is a gorgeous song, but that chorus makes it what it is. Arguably the best guest vocal performance in “alternative music.”
mewithoutYou, “O, Porcupine” (feat. Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate)
An awesome aspect of a guest vocal part is the flex of it. Scoring Jeremy Enigk is a huge get for a band like mewithoutYou, especially at this era in their career. Learning the inside baseball that producer Brad Wood could pull this for them because his relationship with Jeremy via being the producer of Diary, LP2, and the Fire Theft album makes total sense. Hearing the full story behind it was incredible, as Brad produced the Touché Amoré albums Is Survived By and Stage Four. I’ll never forget hearing “O, Porcupine” for the first time. I was driving in my piece of shit, mid-’90s era Jeep Cherokee late at night, and when Enigk comes in I nearly crashed my car because it took my breath away. I’m aware that he has a guest part earlier in the record, but this one hit me different. After one guest part, you don’t expect the singer to appear twice. Blew my mind then, and still does today.
The Casket Lottery, “Dead Dear” (feat. Sean Ingram of Coalesce)
I love The Casket Lottery. They’ve influenced a lot of the music I’ve been a part of. Touché Amoré chose to record our sophomore album Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me in Eudora, Kansas with producer Ed Rose because he produced their albums in particular. This is the first track off their album Moving Mountains, and it’s no secret that The Casket Lottery is members of the hardcore band Coalesce. But even with that knowledge, having Sean Ingram’s intense, guttural growls come in over the outro of the song is still jarring in a perfect way. His chants of “Dead!” get me stoked every time.
At the Drive-In, “Rolodex Propaganda” (feat. Iggy Pop)
Here’s another example of a flex with the help of a producer. Touché Amoré just recorded our new album Lament with Ross Robinson, who produced Relationship of Command, so I got to hear some inside baseball on this album. It’s a long story, but the short of it is that Ross had a direct line to Iggy at the time and the idea came up to have him on the song, and he came in. Apparently, Cedric and Iggy tracked the song simultaneously with handheld mics and were dancing around and wigging out in the vocal booth together, which, since hearing that story, has been an image painted in my head. What an incredible collaboration of a band about to hit their peak with a one-of-a-kind top of his class artist.
Every Time I Die, “Fear and Trembling” (feat. Tim Singer of Deadguy)
There’s a million things we all appreciate about Every Time I Die, but I’ll focus on this one: They really know how to pick guest vocalists. If you comb their discography, they’ve had some major wins, including Gerard Way, Daryl Palumbo, Brian Fallon, and Greg Putiaco, just to name a few. That said, getting legendary vocalist Tim Singer of Deadguy—one of the most underrated yet influential bands in aggressive music—to sing on your track is more amazing to me than those other wins. On the same record they have Brendan Urie of Panic! At the Disco, which shows the wide range of people they have the power and respect to pull. I spoke to ETID’s vocalist, Keith Buckley, about this via text earlier this year and he commented, “Well, instead of just ripping them off maybe Tim will do it, and we can pay tribute to one of our earliest influences.” I love that way of thinking so much.
P.S. if you haven’t heard Fixation on a Co-Worker, just go listen to that instead of this playlist.
Vision of Disorder, “By the River” (feat. Phil Anselmo of Pantera)
This, I think, is a guest vocal track that many people these days aren’t fully aware of. Long Island’s hardcore legends Vision of Disorder were able to pull Phil Anselmo of Pantera to sing on their sophomore album Imprint, and this song from start to finish is material for beating the dogshit out of your mortal enemy. V.O.D. was the first hardcore band I ever saw live, and potentially the first hardcore band I was ever really exposed to, so this has a special place in my heart. Imprint is a grimy and gritty album always worth revisiting.
Carry On, “A Life Less Plagued” (feat. Wes Eisold of American Nightmare)
I only saw Carry On once and it was the night they called it quits (before having an official last show several years later). They opened for Converge and American Nightmare at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. I fell in love with this band because of how similar the album A Life Less Plagued was to American Nightmare, so when I got this record and heard AN’s vocalist Wes Eisold on it, I couldn’t help but love it. This is just straight up good hardcore.
Glassjaw, “Modern Love Story” (feat. Ray Cappo of Youth of Today)
There’s something truly cool about a band doing a cover and getting the singer and drummer of the band you’re covering to do it with you. This was a B-side for Glassjaw’s first album, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence, which ended up having Youth of Today’s drummer Sammy Siegler take over drum duties on the whole record. Ross told me that similar to Iggy Pop with ATDI, Daryl and Ray Cappo both had handheld mics and jumped around the room screaming this song together. Ray Cappo’s voice cracking in the third verse is my favorite part.
These Arms Are Snakes & Harkonen, “Touched for the Very First Time”
These two bands put out a split together and ended up doing one song as a collaborative effort. The EP was called Like a Virgin, and this song is a clear reference to the Madonna song as well. The EP featured my favorite material from both of these bands, and this track just straight up rocks. I always encourage more of this type of work from bands. I’m waiting for the revival sound of bands like TAAS. I’m here for that.
Thursday, “Autobiography of a Nation” (feat. Tom Schlatter of You and I)
Thursday came from the world of screamo and hardcore in New Jersey in the late ’90s. Geoff Rickly would throw shows in his basement in New Brunswick, NJ for bands like You And I regularly before Thursday saw success with the album this song is featured on, Full Collapse. Tom Schlatter would end up singing twice on this album. His intense screams can be heard on this track, as well as the band’s hit “Cross Out the Eyes.” If you’re a Thursday fan and you never checked out You and I, a label called Repeater Records are releasing their discography this year.
The Replacements, “If Only You Were Lonely” (feat. Tom Waits)
The Replacements released an expanded edition of their album Don’t Tell a Soul a bit ago, which had several versions of the material recorded around that era with a lot of live tracks as well. It’s an incredible set called Dead Man’s Pop. On this, you’ll find a few tracks with Tom Waits where it’s very audible how drunk Tom and company are. There’s a level of charm in this drunken recording that is intoxicating for the listener as well. I find myself listening to this pretty often to take in performers at the top of their game with so much undeniable talent, being complete messes in the best way.