Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Escapetor - Fear

The email submissions continue to hold surprises.  Here is a band that has been slogging around Norway since 1999 with various lineups but are probably unknown outside of their native land.  I know I have never heard of them before.  Out of nowhere comes a pretty decent album.  I can't tell exactly what it is I like about the album but it is very listenable and really grows on you.

The name of the band is a curious thing.  They pronounce it “Escape-tor”.  I have no idea what that means or is, but if you follow bands that live in countries where English is not the first language you will see all kinds of interesting band names.  And I'm sure if I had to come up with a Norwegian band name it would not go well.  So we'll give them a pass on that.

They describe themselves as a thrash metal band, but honestly, outside of a few flourishes here and there I don't think that is accurate.  The album opening track, “The Queen”, is probably the closest they come to thrash, as the song is mostly a thrash style and tempo, but otherwise they are what I would call a classic metal band.  The band that they most resemble to me, at least on this recording, is Black Album era Metallica, who certainly were a thrash band at the beginning but weren't by the point of that album.  There is a lot of mid-tempo music, similar to the Black Album, and the guitars are recorded with the same crunch.  They actually move within genres, sometimes even in the same song.  Their self-titled track, “Escapetor”, is a pretty heavy piece of metal that breaks down in a folk/pirate metal style a couple of times during the song.  They almost get up to a NWOBHM sound at times as well.  They are just a good, heavy metal band, flashing back to a time when it was just heavy metal, not so subdivided as metal is now.

“Mr. Hyde” is another one that you could almost call a thrash song, and one of my favorites on the album.  Just kind of gallops and plows along crushing everything in its path.  And there is a tune called “Creatures Of The Night”.   Although it's not a KISS cover it's a really good song.  One critique I would make of the album is that it is just a bit too long.  These guys really hit their stride on the songs that clock in around four or four and a half minutes in length, yet half the album is made up of songs longer than that.  A little help from a producer who would tell them that last riff idea really doesn't need to be tacked on to the end of the song would help things be a little more accessible.

Albums don't have to break new ground or be the best of the year in order to be good and enjoyable.  This one is proof of that.  Good songs, good playing, and good times will be had when you push play on this one.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Ripple Field Trip - Vultures Of Volume Fest

The inaugural edition of the Vultures Of Volume fest was a very interesting proposition from the get-go, to say the least. Once the organizers, Kathy Reeves and Matt Dayton, announced the event as well as the line-up, preparations were made to head northeast. Though being originally slated to take place in Maryland, difficulties there meant a change of venue was enforced. The excellent JB McGinnes Pub & Grille in New Castle, DE, stepped in and agreed to host the fest and it couldn't have been a better choice. It's the perfect place for an occasion like this whichever way you look at it.

Philadelphia's Wizard Eye had the honor, yet the unthankful task, of opening up the procedures. At 3pm not many people had showed up, however, that didn't deter these beasts. They played like it was a full house and were simply crushing it with their bottom-heavy riff-based, sonic and psychedelic doom. I've had the opportunity to see them live several times and they were phenomenal as always.

Locals BlackHand followed and they had recently gotten back together after a hiatus. A nice acquaintance indeed. Mixing Black Sabbath with sludgy doom is their forte and they were pretty damned good.

Black Manta is a Maryland-based stoner/doom band that has been active on and off for quite some time. Heavily riff-infused and sleazy they weren't bad but didn't make it or break it with me.

Never a band to disappoint, Gorgantherron from Evansville, IN, were as good as ever. They simply laid JB McGinnes to waste as well as crushing the ever growing crowd. Amazing is all I can say!

Beelzefuzz are always a force to be reckoned with, being one of the best and most innovative bands out there. They upped the ante quite a bit recently by adding Greg Diener of Pale Divine on guitar. Holy shit folks! An already fantastic band is even more amazing now, expanding their musical palette to unrivaled levels. It's trippy, groovy, heavy, psychedelic and totally out of this world. I've said this elsewhere but Beelzefuzz are the past, the present and the future of music!

Another band in the same mold as Beelzefuzz, but leaning more towards Goblin were Blizaro from Rochester, NY. Fabulous guitarwork, jammy and experimental it was pure joy to watch them. Problems with the Moog didn't stop them, instead that glitch only spurred them on. Excellent!

I know I'm very biased when it comes to Pale Divine. They are, after all, one of my favorite bands ever. Regardless, this was one of the best performances I've ever seen them do. Even though their albums are far apart, Pale Divine always evolve. Each show brings something new and holy hell, tonight they were incredible. Few, very few bands mix heaviness, soothing tones, technique and melody and create music the way these gentlemen do it. Truly amazing!

Kingsnake are a good decent band from PA that I have managed to catch a few times. Good musicianship and a solid performance is what they gave us but still they didn't rattle my bones. The reason is they sound way too much like Clutch to have an identity of their own. Clutch are not a bad source for inspiration. Quite the contrary. Despite this, they put on a good show and had the crowd rocking but they need become themselves.

Up next a very welcome return for guitarist/singer Dale Flood and his band Unorthodox, having laid dormant quite a while now. Albeit a one-off thing - maybe? - it was a privilege to witness this rare happening. Backed by drummer Ron Kallimon and former The Obsessed bassist Mark Laue, Dale and the band created magic. There's no other way to put it. Maybe there was a nervous second or two at first, but greeted by a hero's welcome Unorthodox went from strength to strength, Fantastic, simply fantastic!

Anticipation was running as The Skull took to the stage. Featuring three prominent ex-members of Trouble, Eric Wagner, Jeff'Oly'Olson and Ron Holzner, they launched into the legendary album 'Psalm 9' and that was all she wrote! They couldn't do a thing wrong and the crowd was eating up everything they threw their way. It's been a long time coming for me and I am very pleased I finally got to see The Skull crushing some skulls.

It's unavoidable but all good things must come to an end. Regardless, when a day full of great music as the Vultures Of Volume fest was is over, you go home with a big smile on your face. True, on the one hand you never want it to stop, but on the other you're already remembering the great music you listened to and all the great people you met, hoping and wishing there will be a second edition next year. My wife and I had a fantastic time in Delaware, catching up with long-time friends as well as spraining our necks headbanging too much. But it was well worth it. A huge shout out to Kathy Reeves and Matt Dayton for a great job putting the fest together. It couldn't have been better!

- Swedebeast

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Ripple Conversation with Tyrel Choat from The Cosmic Trigger

Their debut album blew us away.  Their live show dominates.  Their latest 7" single brought tears to our eyes.  We expect big things from Cosmic Trigger, so let's talk with their main may Tyrel Choat.

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

First time I heard Metallica was in 1987, my brother brought home the garage days Re-revisited E.P. And I fell in love with the sound of the distortion guitar and vocal style. That was when I was 5. After that Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Pink Floyd, Led-Zeppelin and Iron Maiden had a huge influence on me as well. But, Metallica was the first “Heavy Metal” band I ever heard. Before that I listened to golden oldies with my parents.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

Lyrics always come last, but the whole start to finish process usually goes something like this: I come up with an idea or a riff, I take it to the guys and they write to that. Usually the riff gets changed and morphed into something new. There is no room for egos when it comes to writing. It has to be whats best for the song, not whats best for your spotlight. In the end these are “our” songs. Not “mine” or “his”.

Who has influenced you the most?

guitar: James Hetfield, Tony Iommi, David Gilmour, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen and Adam Jones are the most evident in my playing.
Vocals: James Hetfield, Mike Patton, David Gilmour and Roger Waters

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Everywhere, anything from world events, feelings, past relationships, world events, comic books, sci-fi films and novels and philosophy (views and teachings)

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

Fort Worth has very little impact on our music, Perhaps it has made us polite and hospitable. We all have a slight drawl in our voice. We have redneck sayings that we all use, haha.

Where'd the band name come from? 

It comes from a book by Robert Anton Wilson entitled “Cosmic Trigger: The final secret of the Illuminati”. The idea is “If there is a big bang shouldn’t we ask who pulled THE COSMIC TRIGGER?”

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

 If they ever made a movie based on the Miracleman comics by Alan Moore/Neil Gaiman, I feel like that would be the coolest. But, anything involving space and hallucinogenics would be cool.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

One of our songs: would be our unreleased 13 minute epic “Misanthropist: Megaton”. It has to do with the greatest threat to our planet and survival; ourselves and the hatred for humanity by those who may someday have access to thermonuclear weapons...god forbid.

Some one else's song: Pigs (three different ones) by Pink Floyd. It is so huge. It is the middle song of their animals album which is a concept album that tells the story of Orwell's Animal Farm but in the view of a late 1970's british resident. It separates people into Sheep, Dogs and Pigs. It points out Mary Whitehouse's involvement with the NVALA. Great song!!!!

What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

Well, I guess before I could say that, imagine that The Cosmic Trigger is a giant cyborg or robot, now it would have the appearance and moving parts of a metal band with the brain of a 70's prog rock band and the heart of a spacey atmospheric group. Damn, that sounds somewhat pretentious, but oh well. Any way with that in mind, We want to educate a new generation on how to appreciate the world we live in through song. To heed warnings but ultimately enjoy the life your given. Also to fascinate people with a large diverse pallet of music ideas, sounds and approaches.

Who today writes great songs? 

Tool-Total musical freedom while living in and out of their own unique sound.
Mastadon, Baroness, Redfang: same as above

Vinyl, cd,or digital?

A resounding VINYL, separation of instruments, clarity, low end response, dynamics “lack of squashy compression”, artwork, just vinyl all the way!!!

Whiskey or beer and defend your choice.

Although I love both, I choose beer, its cheaper and I van keep a buzz longer.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

Doc's Records

What's next for the band? 

Finish writing the rest of our new album and get with Kent Stump to record it. Also, we want to be pirates, we want to tour and push our music all over the globe but especially the states and Europe.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Write and play from your collective heart as a band. Listen to us all day everyday and tell people about us constantly!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

So I Wrote The President A Letter

A developer wants to tear down RCA Studios in Nashville.  The list of musicians who recorded there is beyond legendary.  From Johnny Cash to Elvis and Willie Nelson, RCA Studio's walls have seen it all.  It's worth spreading the word on saving this historic site.  I decided to write the President.  It goes like this...

Dear Mr. President,

There are a lot things in this country that we need to fix.  Shocker.  I feel like you do the best you can.  I don't have any suggestions for those problems.  They are a right mess way above my education level.

However, our country is full of valuable things.  One of those things is our musical heritage.  We, American musicians, have changed the world with our talents.  Even though we constantly innovate musical genres and create new music for the world to hear, we need to make sure that we protect it's heritage and history.

Maybe you know, or maybe you don't, but there are plans to tear down the legendary RCA studios in Nashville.  I don't see how this is right.  I understand that it is property and it can be bought and sold, but what was created inside of this building's walls is a priceless part of American history.  The list of people who recorded there, at least in my world, is just as heavy as the list of people who signed the Declaration.  I feel like it needs to stand as a landmark of American imagination and creativity.  I don't know what could be done, but we mourn the loss of great buildings all of the time.  Maybe it isn't the Library of Alexandria, but we would regret it.  They didn't tear down Edison's workshop, and this building shouldn't come down either.

The City of Nashville needs to keep this building from being torn down under developer's bulldozer.  You can build commercial and residential buildings just about anywhere, why don't we keep something that can't really be replaced?  RCA Studios are hallowed ground and should be treated in such a manner.

Here’s a link to some information about the situation:


Ian Gerber

Friday, September 19, 2014

THE PHUSS announce release of new video and album ON THE PROWL

“The trio of musicians affects a posture exactly commensurate with their ability to knife through the room. Their stage strut is a claim made veracious by their impressively tight sound. It is rock and roll in its most crystalline, adrenal seductiveness.”
D Magazine

There’s no hyperbole to be had here. Fort Worth, TX three piece The Phuss play it fast, they play it loud and they play it ‘cos they mean it.

Formed in 2008 by front man/guitarist Josh Fleming and drummer Trey Alfaro – and later joined in 2010 by bass player Forrest Barton – The Phuss’ second full-length album On The Prowl is as intense as it is impressive. A ferocious collision of youth and dirty rock 'n' roll fun you just can’t shake… although why would you even want to? Fierce guitars, rolling bass lines, abrasive vocals and pounding drums; produced by Jeff Saenz and mixed by Jordan Richardson, On The Prowl packs riff upon glorious riff of distorted loudness over razor sharp pop that brings to mind the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Blue Cheer and Nirvana.

On The Prowl will get an official release via Magnetic Eye Records on 14th October 2014. In the meantime, watch and share the new video for ‘I Don’t Feel Good’ via New Noise Magazine http://newnoisemagazine.com/video-premiere-the-phuss-i-dont-feel-good/ or click on the image below.

YouTube Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT44t6IjKhk

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bask - American Hollow

I read a lot of descriptions while scanning the web for music. Some from other like-minded fan’s recommendations, but mostly I go straight to the tags and descriptions to weed out stuff I don’t have time for. It’s about efficiency in today’s Internet music marketing. Well if I was in charge that’s what I’d focus on. Get a good slogan, have badass cover art to portray a visual of what the music might sound like and your odds are better off that folks will listen. If it sucks it sucks, and they’ll turn it off and not come back, but that first impression is a key element for me. My first impression upon getting the recommendation to check out Bask was textbook perfection in setting the hook deep into my soul. They snagged another fan instantaneously.

Describing themselves:

“With roots in americana, stoner metal and post-rock, Bask is turning out their own brand of doom. Psychedelic, heavy, and scenic songs weave through sections of driving riffs, thundering percussion, loose grooves and glimmering guitar. All topped with vocals that conjure spirits of old country crooners”

That had me intrigued on top of that wicked artwork on the cover of American Hollow. Love the shades and blends of yellows and reds, with a spooky scene containing deer antlers, owls, and some sort of witchy woman as the main focal point. I would classify this as top shelf album art and something I would want to see how it sounds by the art alone.

Now to the music. As much as I loved their description of themselves, I hate to say I only slightly agree. Or maybe I disagree with several other descriptions on the net I read. They all went for the western Americana, folk aspect that the band latently portrays. I’ll admit, that I too was mostly interested into how they would weave in an Americana vibe into post-metal/doom rock upon reading that and not having pushed play yet. To me it’s more in the lyrics than anything, and not much of an Americana vibe musically at all. The theme of the record fills the Americana description with the storyline involved, which suggests the band is into the old western landscape and spiritual folklore. I can dig that myself and is what I find so attractive about this album.

The album veers from acoustic passages on ‘A Man’s Worth’, to an ethereally atmospheric blend of post metal, stoner rock and an added psychedelic indie-rock flair in areas of vocal tones throughout. The guitars soar elegantly between harmonic chugs to progressively intricate passages. Vocals open up with a mystical vibe not unlike My Morning Jacket, but wearing a denim jacket sporting a beard and paired up with a metallic atmosphere veering from post-hardcore screams to laid back western tales of sorrow and alternative country musings.

I haven’t heard anything quite like this all year long, and I’ve listened to damn near a 1000 different albums at this point, mostly good, some great, and a few, like Bask, get the nod as being magnificent. I can’t quite pick a favorite song on the album as they are all equally special and have their own identity. At first I really fell in love with the closing track “Endless Summer” with its long drawn out build up into an absolutely gorgeous climax. Its like you’re listening to the angels of heaven riffing their blessings unto the true believers in rock and roll. I’ll go as far to say it reminded me of my AOTY from 2011, ‘Hands - Give Me Rest’ to an extent, which I recommend you check out if you haven’t listened. ‘Endless Summer’ is a stunning closing to an even more intriguing album. A must listen to band for open minded fans of rock, metal, indie, country, hardcore, etc…. Perhaps not for the average straight up metal head, or stereotypical stoner rock fan looking for the formulaic approach to their favorite sounds. Bask intelligently incorporate several styles together to produce a heavy as hell album that is soft and emotional around the edges, perhaps symbolized by those flower petals surrounding the cover art scene?

This could very well end up at the top of my favorite albums of the year at this point. You can stream/purchase the album on bandcamp, and also buy a vinyl copy of the record out on CrimsonEye Records here. I am anxiously awaiting my gold copy, which took no hesitation to purchase on my end.

-The Huntsman

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Ripple Conversation with Brendan Burns of Wasted Theory

Heavy.  Seriously heavy.  Wasted Theory blew us away with their latest release of seriously heavy stoner/doom/sludge.  So we scrambled to get into line to talk to Brendan Burns about what makes the band tick.

Q: When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?

A: I’d have to say the very first time I heard Pyromania by Def Leppard was a life altering moment for me. I grew up at a time where the cassette was king, and the cool thing about cassettes was you pretty much HAD to listen to the entire album, you couldn't skip around like you could with CD’s or MP3’s (I mean you could, but you’d run the risk of fucking up your tape). So it made me love the album as a whole piece of work. I’d have to say other monumental epiphany’s for me were the first time I heard bands like Fugazi, Faith No More, and more recently with Beelzefuzz.

Q: Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

A: Truthfully, I think our approach is very common to a lot of other bands, we just get together and start up the riff-machine. We’ll just bring a couple cool riffs in and we’ll literally just jam on those 2 or 3 riffs for a few hours until we think they’d fit something cool. I write the lyrics last. It’s a very boring process honestly. I’d love to say that we gather in a dark room with cloaks and red candles burning and summon the gods of rock and roll past all while sacrificing goats and playing records backwards, but really we just drink beer and try to not fuck up a whole lot.

Q: Who has influenced you the most? Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

A: When we first got together I wanted a band that sounded like Nazareth meets Pepper-era Corrosion of Conformity. We are all huge 70’s rock fans, but when we go out on the road we like to jam everything from Social Distortion to Blackfoot to Faith No More. We just really dig straight up rock n’ roll, the dirtier and grittier the better. We've been working on some new stuff that sounds like Viking Skull meets Artimus Pyledriver, so we've been really excited to hear where it’s taking us. It’s been pretty fun actually.

Q: We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music? Where'd the band name come from?

A: Delaware is a very strange place musically. There’s a handful of decent and talented bands doing their thing, but there’s no collective “scene” for any one particular genre here in my opinion. We are not really a band of our environment, because there are no “brother” or “sister” bands around here to feed off of creatively. I always told the guys, “Well, if the audience won’t come to us, then we’ll go to them”. So, 2 years ago we took the show on the road. As far as the band name, there’s really no interesting or clever story with the name. I joined the band when they already had the name so we just left it. Boring, I know.

Q: You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

A: I’d have to say either “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” or “Porky’s”. Two great classic’s in my mind, haha.

Q: You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

A: Damn, that’s a hard one, I’d have to say “Changin’ Times” by Nazareth or “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas. The first time I heard the “Hair of the Dog” record and looking at the cover art as a 10 year old kid it really left a lasting impression on me. It mixed the dark and eerie cover art concept with such a raw and groovin’ ass rock song, it has always been one of my all-time favorite songs. No matter what mood I’m in, good or bad, as soon as that vocal intro kicks in on “Wayward Son” I just rock out super hard. It’s just an awesome song.

Q: What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

A: Man, we just want people to leave our shows saying “fuck dude, those were some seriously righteous ass riffs”. We just wanna play straight up rock and roll that people can groove to. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re not interested in sparking a new genre of underground rock music. We just want our audience to come out, have a few beers with us and just enjoy heavy rock and roll music with no expectations. What has been some of the best shows we’ve ever played are the ones where we get to play with bands that we listen to everyday. We just like to play music that we’d listen to, plain and simple.

Q: Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

A: Well other than stuffing bananas in our leather pants and cranking our amps up to 11, there’s really not much to tell. We are pretty boring dudes. Although we are playing the idea of naming our next full length “Shark Sandwich”.

Q: Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

A: The biggest obstacle that we are constantly trying to overcome live is finding the ideal set length when we play. I am of the opinion that in the world we live in today, people’s attention spans are super short and the amount of time you have on that stage to really blow their minds or get your best material across is very limited. So, for us the live experience is just a quick 25-30min short blast of blood, sweat and tears poured into our best songs and when we get off that stage we hope that the audience has been blown away and still wants more. When we just recently went out and did a run of dates on our way to the “Days of the Doomed IV” festival, we played the same 25 minute set every night, and we got such great responses each night, so it leads me to believe that sometimes you just gotta hit ‘em with all your bangers, and hope they wait for you at your merch table when you’re done.

Q: What makes a great song?

A: The simplicity of a good catchy riff. Drums that sound as if they were coming through the speakers, and just something with soul that just happens to get stuck in your head. I like songs where even if I don’t completely relate to or comprehend the lyrical context, if I’m singing along to the chorus and rocking out to the riff I’m digging the song. I know for some people it’s the complexity and the layers of instrumentation and all that, but I’m old school man… Give me Back in Black, or Rock & Roll Fantasy anyday.

Q: Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

A: The first song we ever wrote together was called “Cracking Up”. It was basically just a straight up no-frills rock song that we recorded ourselves in a dirty dingy garage. It was an older piece that they had been jamming on before I joined up. We recorded it for shits and giggles and it’s on our first EP “Cinco Dechado De Cancion”.

Q: What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

A: I’d honestly have to say that “Absinthe Queen” is one our proudest moments. When we wrote that song we had just picked up our new guitarist Dave and several weeks prior had just fired our founding guitarist. We had a replacement lined up but due to scheduling conflicts couldn’t really make it work. So the future of the band was very much in question at the time. So, we brought in this new guy to try out and to see if we could still make shit happen and he busted out that riff… fuck I was so relieved. I thought to myself, I think we’re gonna be okay. That song is a proud moment for me because it symbolized a new direction for us and a more enjoyable direction actually. We keep it in the set when we play live and it’s definitely a shot in the ass when we play it.

Q: Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

A: Man, I’d really have to say our buds in Borracho absolutely kill it with each new record. A few newer bands that I’ve been really sweet on lately are King Bison from PA, King Buffalo from Rochester, NY and The Glorious Rebellion from Florida. They’re on constant rotation on my ipod. I love hearing bands that possess so much of what I grew up listening to, but taking it into another direction or evolving it into something fresh and interesting. I think all those bands I mentioned are doing just that.

Q: Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

A: I know I’ll probably get lynched for saying it, but since I am a man that is always on the go, I’d have to go with digital. I hit the ground running every day so I don’t have time to be flipping through CD booklets, I just throw my iPod on shuffle and hit it. When I’m at home I will jam on some cassettes here and there, but mainly I’m a digital junkie. Although I did just acquire a new component system with a turntable, so I’ll be jamming more vinyl at home. I’m also impatient as fuck, so instant downloading and mp3’s keep my earholes filled with fresh stuff.

Q: Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

A: We are some serious beer drinking sonsabitches, but for some reason when we play out people love buying us shots of whiskey, so it’s a hard choice, but I’d have to go with beer. Since most of the venues we play give us free cans of whatever, we have become quite the beer connoisseurs. I can’t wait for Pumpkin Beer season though, I fucking love that shit!

Q: We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

A: I’m from Bear, Delaware. Which is right outside of Newark, Delaware, where the University of Delaware is. There’s a record store there called Rainbow Records. It’s small, but hey so is Delaware. There’s also a couple cool newer spots called Jupiter Records and Grooves and Tubes, both in the dangerous city of Wilmington, haha.

Q: What's next for the band?

A: We’re gonna be hooking up with some friends and doing a handful more dates this year. We’re doing a weekender with Kingsnake and Borracho in September, then hooking up with Weed is Weed in October and then we’ll probably we closing out the year up in Long Island with our buds in John Wilkes Booth. I personally hate gigging in the winter, but we also want to start writing again, so we’re gonna call it a day in late October/early November. We’re already discussing tour plans for 2015 with a possible split 7” and also discussing the next full length.

Q: Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

A: The response to the new record has been absolutely killer, thank you to anyone who’s had the chance to check it out or pick it up. We invested literally every penny we had into that record so it’s awesome to hear so many people dig it. We’re looking forward to seeing you all again soon!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Death Penalty - S/T

Sometimes I just want to give Racer a big hug.  This gem of an album showed up in my email box and it has been bringing me happiness ever since.  I didn't know they made music like this any more.  Yeah, that means its a throwback to an earlier time when metal was just getting its feet under itself.  There have been many years and some pretty successful bands that have laid the foundation for this stuff, and then you get something like this that builds on that foundation.

If you're looking for the latest and greatest thing in metal, its not here.  But Death Penalty have brought us what I can only call a NWOBHM masterpiece.  Looking at the pedigree of this band, that's a bit of a surprise.  This is the new band of one Gaz Jennings, who spent two decades plus as the guitarist and songwriter for doom legends Cathedral.  The man can flat out write a riff.  This is some of the catchiest stuff I've heard in a long time.  He's joined by singer Michelle Nocon and drummer Fredrik “Cosy” Cosemans, both of doomsters Serpentcult.  Raf Meukens joins in on bass.  That's a lot of doom metal musicians but this is not doom.  Most of this takes place at a tempo that would drive doom bands insane. 

What we do have here is stuff that will put a smile on your face if you are in any way a fan of Iron Maiden, who are unarguably the most successful NWOBHM band.  Not to say in any way that this is just a Maiden copycat band.  Far from it.  But that is firmly where they fall to my ears.  And there ain't nothing wrong with that.  A careful listen also shows some death metal flourishes, and “Children Of The Night” is a perfectly plausible Black Sabbath track.  There are certainly some touches of doom, in which all these musicians are well versed.  But this is solid, satisfying music.  The guitars crunch and crush, the drums are just right where they should be and hit hard, and the bass lays it down, solid and heavy.

The two stars of this release for me are Michelle Nocon's vocals and the songwriting.  Her vocals are just fantastic and fit this music like a glove.  Which means that the songs were written for her and with her in mind.  This is just heavy music, nothing light or “girly” about it.  “The One That Dwells” is probably the best example on the whole album of what this band can do.  It's a slower tempo track, and at times it's just vocals and guitar, but when the whole band joins in it feels like a cannonball to the gut.

Standout tracks for me are “Howling At The Throne Of Decadence” and “Eyes Of The Heretic”, both of which are outstanding examples of what this band can do at a gallop, when they unleash what they are capable of at up tempo.  “She Is A Witch” is just gorgeously heavy as it slips back and forth between tempos, sometimes mid paced, sometimes crawling like a beast out of the primordial muck.  The lyrics are great and it moves so fluidly.  Probably my favorite on the album.

If you consider yourself at all a fan of what gets called “classic metal” these days, pick this one up right away.  This is one of the better albums I've heard all year and it just makes you feel good about this metal genre we love.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Yusuf/Cat Stevens Announces First New Music in 5 Years, Tour

Yusuf, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer formerly known as Cat Stevens, will release his first music in five years and perform six shows in North America in early winter.

Sony's Legacy Recordings will release "Tell ‘Em I’m Gone" on Oct. 27 as part of a deal that will see future releases of new recordings, existing catalog titles, previously unreleased live material and new videos.

The new album's 10 tracks are divided between new originals and covers of songs such as the blues classic "Big Boss Man," Edgar Winter's "Dying To Live" and Procol Harum's "The Devil Came From Kansas."

Recorded in Los Angeles, Dubai, Brussels and London with Rick Rubin co-producing, Yusuf enlisted Richard Thompson, blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, the group Tinariwen and guitarist Matt Sweeney.

Yusuf/ Cat Stevens will begin his first North American tour in 35 years on Dec. 1 at Massey Hall in Toronto. He has six dates schedule for November in Europe.

Dec. 1                     Toronto- Massey Hall

Dec. 4                     Boston- Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre

Dec. 7                     New York City- Beacon Theatre

Dec. 9                     Chicago- The Chicago Theatre

Dec. 12                   San Francisco- The Masonic

Dec.14                    Los Angeles - Nokia Theatre

Little Big Wolf - S/T

Australia has always been a mysterious place to me. Growing up relatively far away and removed from anything Aussie other than Crocodile Dundee I don’t know a whole lot about it. The country is huge geographically, and not unlike the USA seems to be diverse from its climate, landscape, populace and music scenery. The Aussies sure do have some cool music as evidenced by today's review.

Little Big Wolf is from Australia. Had to throw that in as if you didn't gather that from my introductory sentence. These guys play a brand of blues-rock seldom duplicated. It's got a rather spaghetti western flair with a creepy vocal tone slurring together rhymes like fear loathing around in Las Vegas. From the get go 'Rum & Cigarettes' sets the stage with its hazy, drunken and nonconformist attitude. "Well I rolled into town, drink in my hand, smoke in my face cause I don't care about grace...." The music soaks you with liquor, strangles you with smoke, and satiates you with a jazzy fusion of swampy, psychedelic blues-rock.

The album plays through quick although the songs are not fast. Twanging in just over 30 minutes, it's an album worthy of an immediate repeat to confirm how extremely badass it just made you feel. Like a soundtrack to a Danny Trejo movie or something, the album puts a spell on you knowing you aren't really as rugged and tough as the theme of the music suggests. The spell lasts throughout the entire record.

Perfect Saturday afternoon drink’n and drug’n music. Let the dust blow across the rotting wooden deck while you squint through a pair of smudged aviator glasses and imagine the songs are about you. Let the sarcastic lyrical poetry float into your mind and enjoy being the Wolf for once, even if you’re a little imaginative one.

-The Huntsman

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