Cushing is a noise rock three piece from Portland, ME. Founded in 2014 by long time friends guitarist Serge Vladimiroff and drummer Ric Loyd, the band quickly recruited local bass stalwart Sean Hadley (Conifer). They name the new project Cushing, partly after the late actor Peter Cushing and partly after the island of the same name off the Portland coast. The trio shared a mutual love of indie rock, post-punk, slowcore and krautrock and managed to hash everything together into a unique and cohesive sound. In 2015 Cushing recorded a six song EP Sounds of Cushing with indie alchemist Noah DeFillipis (Purse).
In 2016 Hadley was replaced by Evan Coffey, a recent transplant from North Carolina by way of Alaska. The new line up went into the studio with Todd Hutchisen at Acadia Recording Company and released a new CD EP Curse of Cushing.
Liner Notes Band: Cushing Album: Blood of Cushing Release Date: November, 2018 Track Listing: 1. Snow Angel 2. Super 16 3. Little Devil 4. Mothlight 5. b/w 6. Fear 7. Industry Cushing is: Ric Loyd: drums Evan Coffey: bass Serge Vladimiroff: guitar, vocals All songs by Cushing © & ℗ 2018 Recorded and mixed by Todd Hutchisen at Acadia Recording Company Mastered by Pat Keane Mastering Cover art by Cushing
Liner Notes Band: Cushing Album: Curse of Cushing Release Date: November, 2016 Track Listing: 1. Glacier Girl 04:44 2. Genesis 02:52 3. Sun Poison 07:47 4. Assholes 04:52 5. Missile Command 03:26 Cushing is: Ric Loyd: drums Evan Coffey: bass Serge Vladimiroff: guitar, vocals All songs by Cushing © & ℗ 2016 Recorded and mixed by Todd Hutchisen at Acadia Recording Company Mastered by Pat Keane Mastering Cover art by Serge Vladimiroff
Liner Notes Band: Cushing Album: Sounds of Cushing Release Date: September, 2015 Track Listing: 1. Bronze Age 04:41 2. Two Way Mirror 03:22 3. Ararat 05:32 4. Itch 04:36 5. Kathy 01:37 6. Evil 07:01 Cushing is: Ric Loyd: drums Sean Hadley: bass Serge Vladimiroff: guitar, vocals All songs by Cushing © & ℗ 2015 Recorded by Noah DeFilippis Cover art by Serge Vladimiroff
"a cracking good, noisy rock band"
The Big Takeover, July 2018 (Brooklyn, NY)
Cushing impressed us with last year's Curse of Cushing; amazingly, the Portland, ME trio does so doubly now. Pulling equally from the rhythmic pulse of '70s post-punk and the brooding noise rock of the '90s, Cushing has no problem juxtaposing sweet and sour, buttressing calm vocal melodies with rumbling bass thrums and shards of dissonant guitar chords that somehow morph into catchy riffs. As tunes such as the grinding "Mothlight," crunching "Industry," and driving "Black and White" show, the resulting storm reaches new levels of outsider accessibility, avoiding being unlistenable for contrariness' sake. Making music that could appeal as much to avant-gardists as adventurous rock fans, Cushing is happy to be loved, as long as you do it for who they are: a cracking good, noisy rock band.
"Their sound absolutely huge and the level of musicianship is off the charts."
Custom Made Music : CMM's Twenty Favoriite Songs of 2018 (So Far), June 2018 (Virginia Beach, VA)
Cushing "Little Devil" An amazing new track from this raging noise rock trio from Portland Maine. Their sound absolutely huge and the level of musicianship is off the charts.
"This style of rock music is complicated to pull off and rarely attempted these days, but the authenticity meter is pretty high here. Cushing may be the Maine band playing it best."
Portland Phoenix, June 2018 (Portland, ME)
Been Up to Cushing? — On new full-length album, Portland noise-rock trio make the experience worthwhile Armed with legit credibility and one of the best band names in the state, Cushing's new album Blood of Cushing is a satisfying stretch of music, the kind that most rock fans have forgotten how to play. Led by guitarist and songwriter Serge Vladimiroff, the trio play a dark, sulky noise-rock that sprouts from a complex root system of post-punk influences. They're as fun to spot as they are to hear transformed. You don't have to be in the lab with these guys to know they construct songs differently than most rock groups. Opener "Snow Angel" starts with a strut led by Vladimiroff's stinging guitar riff, reminding me of the spastic postpunk freakouts by Brainiac in the '90s. "Super 16" is a wonderful mess of angular guitar peals held together by Evan Coffey's shapely bass routes. Many of the songs slot into the cross section of D.C. post-punk and AmRep noise — styles seldom stumbled upon accidentally in 2018. Stuff that comes to mind include Bluetip, Arab on Radar, Chrome, Edsel, Rye Coalition, Girls Against Boys, Six Finger Satellite, and Shellac (specifically Bob Weston's tracks) — it's definitely a niche profile, but the band hardly play it as obscure music. These guys know what they're doing and why, and to the uninitiated listener, it's done well enough to sound fresh. When playing music this coarse and muscly, some bands have a tendency to toss off vocal responsibilities, preferring instead to issue a series of grunts and monosyllabic trills. Not so with Cushing. The group pay a surprising and welcome amount of attention to melody on this album. Vocals never seem like the centerpiece, but they're smartly arranged as a complementary instrument — part rhythmic element, part melodic. There are uglier (and also good) versions of these songs in an alternate universe not far away, but the way they play them here, much of Blood of Cushing sounds strangely agreeable, engaging, almost lovely. (That could be testament to the recording and mix, smartly handled by Todd Hutchisen of Acadia Recording Company.) Cushing also deliver odd and unexpected passages. After hearing the album's first 10 minutes, I wasn't prepared for anything emotional, yet such reveals are buried here. The dynamic tensions of "Mothlight," where Coffey's excellent basslines press up against a spacious and reflective moment of Vladimiroff's otherwise vicious guitar, elicit some great feels, as do the closer, "Industry," a roiling spasm stretched out over eight minutes that earns the album's tensions some catharsis without spoiling the formula. If I had a critique, it's that I'd like to hear some more burners. A good chunk of the album feels mid-tempo, and that risks fatigue. At track two, scorcher "Super 16" fills its palette out with some huge guitar work, but a lot of the other tracks feel like train cars churning at the same speed. As a fan of this genre from way back, one of its only drawbacks is that its repetitive intensity and compositional mathy-ness can sometimes feel a little self-involved and inward-looking. Cushing mostly avoid that, but a little 4/4 can go a long way. But they don't need advice from me or anyone. Vladimiroff, Coffey, and drummer Ric Lloyd have been students of this type of thing forever, and they get tighter and more complex with every release. This style of rock music is complicated to pull off and rarely attempted these days, but the authenticity meter is pretty high here. Cushing may be the Maine band playing it best.
"Cushing plays a brittle form of noisy rock that exhibits a wide dynamic range, from quiet meditation to noisy explosion, that indicates it likely has a few Rodan, June of 44 and Shipping News LPs in its crates."
The Big Takeover, May 2017 (Brooklyn, NY)
Clearly the spirit of Touch & Go circa 1997 exerts a strong hold on some musical imaginations. Hailing from Portland, Maine, Cushing plays a brittle form of noisy rock that exhibits a wide dynamic range, from quiet meditation to noisy explosion, that indicates it likely has a few Rodan, June of 44 and Shipping News LPs in its crates. Nothing wrong with that, of course, especially as the trio uses those sounds as inspiration, not raison d'etre. The seething shreen of "Genesis" and the quietly venomous "Assholes" contrasts nicely with the more meditative distortion excursion of "Sun Poison" and the sardonically conceptual grunge of "Missile Command." Cushing's inspiration is clear, but in its hands inspiration doesn'''t equal playing copycat.
"Wow, color me impressed! This CD comes across like some unholy union between Mogwai, early-period Failure, and classic Jesus Lizard."
Razorcake Magazine, March 2017 (Los Angeles, CA)
Wow, color me impressed! This CD comes across like some unholy union between Mogwai, early-period Failure, and classic Jesus Lizard. Production is top notch and the sound is dense, with shards of noise and feedback tucked into every corner. This disc really reminds me of East Coast practice spaces in the winter where you never stop seeing your breath and the only source of heat is coming from the amps. –Garrett Barnwell (Self-released)
"They are one of the best and most exciting live bands in New England...to anyone, anywhere that likes anything, I strongly suggest you check out Cushing."
The Noise, January 2017 (Boston, MA)
CUSHING By Eric Baylies Cushing is a three piece post punk band from Portland, Maine. They are one of the best and most exciting live bands in New England, and they are pretty great in the studio, too! I had the good fortune to speak to Serge about Portland, rock, and everything else. Noise: Please tell me who does what in the band, and what they do. Serge: Evan Coffey plays bass, Ric Loyd plays drums and I (Serge Vladmiroff) play guitar and sing. In the studio we all do some extra stuff: synths, percussion, sound effects etc. Evan plays some extra guitar and he also builds custom pedals, drum triggers and other gadgets that we use live and in the studio. Noise: How are the songs are written? Are they jams or are they written in advance? Is there a main songwriter or do you all take part? Serge: It's a combination of songs written in advance and songs that come out of jamming. I guess I'm the primary songwriter but we're starting to get a little more collaborative. A lot of times we'll improvise together and then I'll take some of the tastier bits and arrange them into songs and add vocals. When I do bring in complete songs there are still a lot of things that will morph and evolve as it goes from my rough bedroom recordings to being performed by the full band. Noise: How about the lyrics? Serge: The lyrics are one of the tougher pieces for me. Sometimes I'll scribble down the first thing that comes to mind for a certain part with the intention of coming back later to improve it but I rarely do. I usually end up keeping the original lines even if they don't always make sense. I do try to write stuff that's evocative but abstract and nonspecific enough that the listener can bring their own interpretation to it. I don't think I'm always successful in doing that but that's the goal. Noise: Tell me about the individual members influences and how they shape the bands sound directly or indirectly. Serge: We're all music nerds and we share a lot of common musical influences. Ric and I are around the same age so that's not too surprising but Evan is younger so it's funny that he knows a lot of the same obscure bands that we grew up with, sometimes even better than we do. We all love Sonic Youth, the Birthday Party, the Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Slint and Can… Ric would also include Circus Lupus and Monorchid; bands with solid drummers that lock it down, albeit in different ways. Unwound and Karp are also some of Evan's favorites. I tend to try and keep things simple and repetitive, maybe taking a cue from Krautrock, No-Wave and stuff like Low. Evan leans a little more in favor of odd rhythms, interesting textures and chaos. Noise: Do you have any upcoming recording or releases planned? Serge: There are no recordings planned, but we'd like to get back in the studio soon. We scrapped one track from the last session because we couldn't get a decent take and we've written a handful more since then. Custom Made Music out of Virginia is also going to do a limited cassette release of Curse Of Cushing. Noise: How did the Custom Made Music release come about? Did you play down there? Serge: No,it came about through the magic of the internet! Dave Allison from Custom Made Music heard our stuff on Bandcamp and wrote a review on his blog. We continued talking and decided to do the cassette release together. Noise: Have you guys done any touring? Any plans to? Serge: No and we have no real plans to at this point. We all have work and families, so a big tour is not very high on the list. Noise: Fair enough! Do you have any videos on the way? Serge: Hopefully. We we've got a few ideas brewing. I've done some experimental films in the past and we all have some background in the visual arts. Evan recently built this crazy video disrupter box. It messes with a video signal in unpredictable and sometimes quite beautiful ways. So we're working on doing something with that. Noise: That sounds pretty cool. Can't wait to see them! What other places have you played in New England? Serge: Nothing outside of Portland, Maine so far. At least not with Cushing. We really want to get of town and play some nearby places: Boston, Providence, Western Mass, maybe NYC. Keep an eye out for us in 2017. Noise: Do you have any funny and or horror stories of any New England shows? Serge: I suppose we've had our fair share of blown amps, busted pedals, bad sound systems, belligerent drunks, and empty rooms but nothing really terrible. Stuff I'm sure most bands can relate to. We had one sound guy that was tweaking really hard or something. Just oblivious and happily running around not getting anything done. Forgetting to plug stuff in and turn things on. We were heckling him a bit but I think it went over his head. What else can you do? You just have to make the best of it and not let it ruin your show. Noise: How did Cushing get started? How long ago and have there been any membership changes? Serge: Ric and I have known each other since high school and we played in bands together in the early 90's. I moved back to Maine years ago and asked Ric if he wanted to put something together. We started jamming and tried to find our sound while we looked for a bass player and singer. Ric brought in his friend Sean Hadley (Conifer) on bass and things started to really gel. At first I had no intention of singing but we couldn't find any good fits so I finally decided to give it a shot. In 2016 Sean got super busy with his work and it was clear that he wouldn't be able to continue playing with us. I'd seen Evan play in his band Triode a couple times and knew that we had similar musical tastes. I asked him if he knew any good bassists and he said the he might be up for it. Luckily he was and it worked out great. Noise: Where did the name come from? Serge: We were looking through a list of islands in Maine thinking that there was probably a good name in there somewhere. There are 100's of islands in Maine and so many odd names. A lot were just funny: the Cuckolds, Junk of Pork, Old Soaker, Tern Rock... and then we saw Cushing and said "hmmm, that could work!" And of course, it could also refer to Peter Cushing. We're all big fans of Hammer Horror and B-movies so the more we thought about it the more we liked Cushing. Noise: How many releases do you have? Who put them out and who recorded them? Serge: We have two CD EPs which we put out ourselves. Sounds of Cushing came out last year with Sean on bass. We recorded that with our friend, Noah Defilippis (Purse, Haru Bangs), in his basement studio. After Evan joined we went into Acadia Recording Company and recorded with Todd Hutchisen (Crystal Canyon). We released those tracks as Curse of Cushing last month. Noise: Thanks so much for your time. To anyone, anywhere that likes anything, I strongly suggest you check out Cushing.
"Curse of Cushing is peak Portland noise, a reflexive exploration of accomplished technique applied to the existential dread of Trump America."
Dispatch Magazine, December 2016 (Portland, ME)
I am concerned for Portland's noise-rock scene, of which the trio Cushing is a central member. The long, John Varvatos-clad arm of gentrification is coming for the DIY and rehearsal spaces of our formerly affordable city, scattering bands like Cushing, An Anderson, and Purse to the wind and sanitizing the once fertile breeding grounds for up and comers into tastefully earth-toned amenities for the wealthy. "Kids, where this artisan milkshakery now stands, there once was a shithole that bred some great bands," the elders will say. Cushing, of course, knows this better than anyone and has written a terrific FUCK YOU of an EP, Curse of Cushing, whose apex, the fourth track, "Assholes," is pretty plain about how we feel about all these changes. "When we finally hit the bottom, no one will be forgiven, we'll put those assholes in their place," warbles singer Serge Vladimiroff over all the artfully arranged feedback and dissonance. Curse of Cushing is peak Portland noise, a reflexive exploration of accomplished technique applied to the existential dread of Trump America. I hope we will put those assholes in their places, Cushing. I hope we will.
"This album is like a maze with twists and turns and winding paths and when you reach the end you will be emotionally exhausted but dying to start all over."
The Noise, December 2016 (Boston, MA)
CUSHING Curse of Cushing 6 tracks Cushing is a heavy experimental post punk trio from Portland, ME. Some of the songs move slow but steady and heavy as hell. They have a less metal Helmet sound that would fit in nicely with Jesus Lizard and the whole Chicago noise rock panic of 1992. The singer can sing more than most of those growlers, and the music can be very pleasant like Hum before exploding out of the speakers with a deafening howl. I was lucky enough to see these guys live and they are just as great as their studio work. Last week I had never heard of Cushing and this week they are my favorite band. This album is like a maze with twists and turns and winding paths and when you reach the end you will be emotionally exhausted but dying to start all over. (Eric Baylies)
"A spectacular release meant to be played LOUD."
Custom Made Music, November 2016 (Virginia Beach, VA)
Really impressed by this new E.P. from Cushing out of Maine. These songs make great use of intense guitars and menacing structures that form a cauldron of rock n roll angst that brings to mind The Jesus Lizard, The Melvins and old Virginia favorites Sliang Laos. These guys can flat out play and they pull no punches while doing so. At times they bring in some more drawn out parts that only make things more dynamic and mysterious before going back to the blasting noise driven chaos. A spectacular release meant to be played LOUD.
"Cushing deliver heavy chords, unexpected rhythms and natural swagger."
Post Mortem, September 2014 (Portland, ME)
Feel free to email us to book shows, to use our music in films and videos or to send us love or money.