Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Attalus - Into the Sea


My favorite albums of all time all have some things in common.  I want to be moved by the melody, I want to revel in its aggressiveness, and I want to indulge in its complexity.  Songs and albums that I truly love mix weaving guitars and complex mixed vocal styles with incredible and professional songwriting.  There are not many bands that write music this way.  Thrice did it.  Emery does it (to an extent).  Between the Buried and Me does it.  Alexisonfire did it.  These bands have all produced some of my favorite music of all time.  You can add Attalus to this list as well… Into the Sea ranks as one of my favorite albums of all time.

The album starts with a neat “sea shanty” type of intro.  The banjo and bells create a down and dirty bayou feel.  After this nifty intro, the album really takes off.  The next three songs are driving rockers, with Sirens being a real standout.  The mixture of beautiful piano with heavy handed guitar, bass, and drums is an intoxicating formula.  Combine this with the dual singing of the clean vocalist and screamer, and you have yourself very potent post-hardcore fare. 

However, just as you think you’ve figured these guys out, Man O Shipwreck pops up.  This absolutely beautiful and haunting piano ballad throws shades of Thrice’s The Alchemy Index’s Water Album into the mix.  It really gives an excellent breath of fresh air.  The vocals are top notch, and the melody is beautiful. 

The next couple of tracks are really solid, with Albatross being a favorite of mine.  The tapping guitar licks and back and forth screaming creates a really dense sound that gives the listener a ton to hear. 

The Breath Before the Plunge isn’t my favorite song on the album.  The weird screamy-jazz intro doesn’t do much for me, but it redeems itself with a very catchy chorus that hooks itself into you. 

The next three tunes are piano heavy rock ballads that feel a bit less edgy than the previous tunes.  These are excellent songs that allow you to catch your breath from the intensity of the introductory songs.  O the Depths is one of my favorite songs of all time.  It builds from a really soft place into something truly epic.  The band utilizes the space of the music in order to really move the listener.  The ending of the song is goosebumps-inducing. 

The end of the album isn’t as strong as the first 13.  The fourteenth song, Safe, is a bit of an odd song choice here.  The album is pushing out 16 songs.  It’s an epic and relatively exhausting listen.  So when the band should be ending on a strong note, it reveals an instrumental song that ends with a prayer.  It’s a bit dramatic, and I can guarantee that it will be the most skipped song on the album.   The last three songs aren’t the strongest of the album, but Death Be Not Proud is an 8 minute opus that has some incredibly moving parts and pieces but will test the patience of even the most avid music fan.  This would have been a great song to place in the first three.  The very final song ends with some melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on a Lumineers album.  These are all great songs, but I think that the epic first 13 sort of takes away from these slower (albeit excellent) ending songs. 

With that all being said, pacing issues aside, this is the finest album of the year for me.  I have listened to it on repeat pretty much non-stop.  These are incredible musicians who know how to write incredible music.  I don’t throw around this comparison a ton, but this band reminds me of Thrice.  The same passion, musicianship, and energy flows through this entire album.  My wife knew these guys were a big deal when I said these words to her… I think I may have a new favorite band.

- The Professor

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Ripple Conversation with Daniel Hall of Riding Easy Records

How did you get started running an independent record label?

I’ve been working in music since the early 90’s, It’s been a bit of a wild road, I’ve done many different things and in different genres and scenes, the kind of music RidingEasy is putting out has always been my true love. I started it as a passion project and it’s kind of grown at a rate and size that I really had no idea would catch on.

 What motivated you? Why here, why now? 

I really just wanted to have limited runs of bands that I thought were cool, make some cool art, and help people get their stuff out there, and essentially have a role in shaping people’s record collection to artists of my liking. I started the label as a fun thing and basically have an excuse to always be buying and selling records because I’m a collector and music fan first and foremost.

What's your prior history in the music world? 

I’ve worked at major labels, management companies, marketing agencies, booking agencies, club dj, producer, played in bands, had another label in the late 90s that was all west african/nigerian psych funk afrobeat stuff. Like I said it’s really all over the place because I love music, and I love the social aspect of the music biz as well.

What was your first release?

Salem’s Pot “Watch Me Kill You” April 2013

Any special projects planned? 
All the records that I put out are special to me, but there is some stuff that is a bit of an expansion that is coming. I have teamed up with Permanent Records Lance Baressi to do a series of late 60s/70s obscure rock compilations called “Brown Acid”. Its all bands that loved Zeppelin, or Sabbath, or Hendrix, but they for whatever reason never got outside their small geographic area. The first 7”comes out in July it’s called “Raw Meat” and it’s never been released commercially. I’m looking forward to doing more re-issues like that, we have 5 volumes in the works that is almost completed on the licensing side.


 Tell us about the label Name and logo.  

It came from my favorite Hendrix song “Easyrider”, I thought that would be a cool name. I don’t ride motorcycles so Easy Riders Magazine wasn’t even a thought.  It was a bit too close for comfort and I agreed to changed the name to RidingEasy, no hard feelings, it didn’t really slow things down at all.  Dust La Rock (R.I.P.) did my logo, he was a close friend, I told him the general mission statement for the label or at least the visual component of the brand and he came back with both the circle and the longer logo a week later, I was pumped!  We agreed I’d give him my copy of the “Lost Highway” soundtrack on vinyl for his services and the rest was history……Dust died in February this year, but he also had something to do with the artwork for the first 40 releases.  He is greatly missed and I'm still really in shock that he’s gone.  To have had him do the logo for me is something that I value very much so and I’ll ride hard for that guy till the end.

 There's so much to learn about running a label, share with us some of the lessons you're learning along the way.

1. Don’t be afraid to walk away if something isn’t looking like it’s going to pan out. If you get dealt a hand you can’t win with while playing poker, you don’t bet your money hoping it’s going to turn around. Life is the same way, do things how you want. You will find others to work with that see your vision.

 2. Stay on top of your accounting! Signing bands, marketing, social media, packing records, art direction…..that's easy. The organization to actually run a business is where the real work comes in and basically separates the men from the boys.

 3. Build a direct relationship with your fan base.

 4. Make sure that the contract you are using with your bands, you fully understand.

What changes do you see ahead for the music industry?

The same things we all see. Digital is on the down, physical is back on the rise etc. I see records getting back to 4-6 week lead times in the next few years. There will be enough plants to go around so we aren’t dealing with this 5-6 month pressing period.

 What will you do to stay on top of new and emerging technology?

I’m a tech head. I also do social media professionally and I’m pretty in tune with stuff. I learn a lot from my wife as well.


What's the biggest challenge facing you today as an independent label?

The distribution model is the biggest problem outside record plants not being able to turn product out in a timely fashion. That is a whole topic in itself, which leads me back to: go direct to your fan base and educate them that buying from you is not only supporting without middle men, but they get the full experience of your brand/vision.

Seems like there are a lot of independent heavy labels emerging these days. What will you do to set yourself apart? 

I think art plays a big part, I love lots of artists, but if they do stuff for loads of other bands and are “known” for being the creative force behind something within our world, I don’t use them. I want to establish a very unique look and feel to the heavy rock arena. I think that people need to start thinking outside the box and make a name for themselves. Frank Kozik is my biggest inspiration as a label guy, Man’s Ruin was awesome even though I didn’t like all his records, I still bought every single one I could get my hands on because the art was fucking out of this world.

 What do you look for in your bands?

Good work ethic, Nice People, Good Record, and easy to work with.

 How do you find your artists? Are you a club rat, constantly searching live venues for cool acts?

I don’t go out. I don’t even have an LA band, I get stuff passed to me, I run across stuff online, social media, band camp etc.

Are you involved in all the creative decisions?

Yes, RidingEasy is the brainchild of me, I sign the bands, clean the toilets, make pay the bills, pack records, etc. Creative decisions are the fun part.

 What would you like to see happen for the future of the music industry and your label in particular?

I’  d like to have a record sell enough so that I can afford a book keeper =). I’d also like to see some new booking agents rise out of the ashes, easy to get a label to press vinyl. Booking Agents are an important piece to the puzzle as well and its getting harder and harder these days to find a good one.


 Anything else you'd like to share with the wave riders? 

Thanks for having me and being such a positive force within the independent music scene, Ripple is all good in my book. SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!


 Best of luck man. Ripple will be there every step of the way to support you in any way we can.


www.RidingEasyRecords.com 
www.facebook.com/RidingEasyRecords
www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord 
www.soundcloud.com/easyriderrecords 
www.youtube.com/easyriderrecords 
http://easyriderrecords.tumblr.com/ 
www.twitter.com/easyriderrecord


Sons of Huns | Mondo Drag | Shooting Guns | Salem’s Pot | Monolord | Electric Citizen | Slow Season | Old Man’s Will | The Well | Spiral Shades | Aleph Null | The Picturebooks | Holy Serpent | Blackout | Danava | Spelljammer | Aleph Null

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Venom Inc. - Iron & Steel Introduced




How many of you Waveriders love the Prime Evil era of Venom? By that I mean Prime Evil, Temples of Ice and the Wastelands? It was a period in Venom's history that still has die-hard (pun intended) fans divided.  Cronos was gone – Atomkraft bassist/throater Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan stepped in and more than filled his shoes.  With Demolition Man the band were headed in a more - dare I say it – melodic direction which pissed off loyal fans.  Of course we all know the “classic” line up reunited a few years later, then “Boys will be Boys” as they say.  Cronos still fronts Venom – Guitarist Jeff “Mantas” Dunn and Demolition Man formed their own band “M:Pire of Evil” and played Venom nuggets in their set mixed in with originals.

Then in 2015, Drummer Tony “Abaddon” Bray joined M:Pire onstage at Keep it True and Announced “Oh yeah all three of us are in a band now!!” Evil laughter...

Cronos shot his mouth off in the press, but, to their credit, the Venom Inc. boys have been nothing but gentlemen about the whole situation.  Two different bands both playing tribute to the monolith that is Venom.  Let the fans decide who the superior act is!!

You can read my interview with the lovely Mr Abaddon here.

I'm currently working on an interview with both Demotion Man and Mantas which will be published right here when it is done.

After the press release from the band's own website, please enjoy the promo video the band made in anticipation of their journey to entertain the metal masses in Asia!!

After more than 20 years and for reasons that will become apparent, along with repeated fan requests, we introduce …

VENOM.INC – IRON & STEEL

Following on from the much acclaimed Prime Evil album era and in the great tradition of VENOM, the three protagonists continue to brew the cauldron......

MANTAS – THE DEMOLITION MAN – ABADDON
Are BACK!

With a launch appearance at the highly respected 'Keep It True festival' in April, followed by live dates in China, Japan and Taiwan in July, a full European tour in September… and a full South American tour as well as festival appearances and North American dates planned.... with a FULL and CLASSIC VENOM set.

Followed by a brand NEW album

This absolute powerhouse of metal are set to bring you all that was/is and will be Venomously brutal and exciting. It is time to set the record straight and give back what was lost.
Welcome to the beginning of the end....!! 

-Rys

">Venom Inc. on Vimeo.

Venom Inc Iron and Steel Website.
 
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Saturday, July 4, 2015

House Harkonnen - Morphology EP




Let not the history of this blighted world be told without acknowledging the prophetic words and deeds of the House Harkonnen.  Long before our demise the four leaders of the House took it upon themselves to travel across the land as heralds, warning all who would listen of the impending doom shown to them in a vision from Helios.  Being his loyal disciples, the Sun God favored the House with a foretelling of blood, death and violence brought about by the hands of men.  A nightmarish, napalm-fueled inferno would engulf everything and everyone leaving nothing in its wake but charred devastation.

Initially the House leaders employed tactics such as monopolizing free speech areas, bombarding social media sites with urgent bulletins, and creating spectacles at town hall meetings to advance their cautionary message.  Unfortunately their efforts failed to draw the attention of the masses so they were forced to adapt.  To affect the change necessary for humanity's continued survival these four seers formed a band and put their message to powerful music.  It turned out that hearing our species death rites recited over rousing rock 'n' roll cut through people's stubborn defenses, making them aware of the imminent danger.

While we were unable to avoid the prophesied apocalypse, thanks to the House Harkonnen there remains a determined group of people intent on rebuilding civilization.

Greetings waveriders.  It's time to celebrate the new face melting release from Arlington, Texas based House Harkonnen!  This uncompromising, unrelenting aural assault delivers 21 minutes of rock that isn't out to be your friend.  Truth be told, the Morphology EP is a sonic bully looking to repeatedly connect with one of its five brutally orchestrated haymakers.  If the listener's eardrums succumb to a devastating musical combo, so much the better!

HH refers to their style of music as slop rock.  What does that mean?  Not what you think.  This music is not even remotely sloppy.  It is however a melting pot of musical ideas.  Songs contain monstrous riffs, clean singing as well as screams, dual guitar harmonies, tempo and mood changes, multi-part vocal harmonies, drumming to wake the dead, etc.  You hear strains of rock, metal, hardcore punk, and pop joined together to form a gloriously powerful Frankenstein's monster.

Similar to previous HH releases I have great difficulty singling out one of these tracks as a favorite.  All five songs are exemplary!  The opening salvo "Helios" wastes no time whatsoever, charging out of the gate at the speed of sound.  The hardcore backbone of this track is pulverizing.  "Napalm The World" successfully pulled the wool over my eyes on my first listen.  Based off the distorted guitar which starts the song I was expecting more out and out aggression.  The pop friendly vocal harmonies came as a complete surprise.  "Blood, Death & Violence" ditches those harmonies and returns to the business of hunting jugular veins.  "Straight Class" layers infectious melodies on top of massive amounts of fuzzy distortion.  And then there is "Death Rite, Pts. 3 & 4".  This song (or these two songs combined) is (/are) epic!

Waveriders, if your neck isn't sore after listening to the Morphology EP I'm afraid I don't know what to say.  The House Harkonnen make the pleasure centers inside my brain light up like a Christmas tree.  Those of you looking for something new to rock your world, this is your ticket!  Take a listen and join me in my adoration!

- Penfold

Buy Here


Friday, July 3, 2015

Powered Wig Machine - Supa-Collider Review

I have a startling confession to make:  I haven’t been listening to much music on vinyl lately.  I know, I know...blasphemy around Ripple HQ.  Stone me.  Spotify is just real convenient...and we can have that argument somewhere else.  However, Wayne from Powered Wig Machine asked me if I’d like a copy their record on vinyl for review purposes and the only answer there is...duh, yes.  The fact of the matter is that I have record player envy right now and would really like to get a new player.   However, with the pressure on, I HAD to give their new release, Supa-Collider, a proper spin, right?  Duh, yes.  Call it a much needed slump buster.

Powered Wig Machine hails from the arid state of Arizona, so when they say they are ‘Desert Rock’, they fucking mean it.  No European stylists without the regionality (spell check says I made that word up, deal with it) or street cred here, PWM is the real deal in that department with all of the thick and fuzzy riffs to prove it.  Propelled by brothers Wayne and Joseph Ruddell on guitar and bass, respectively, these dudes bring the heavy and bring it hard. 

First off, it used to be a generally accepted fact that I’m not a big metal head.  Good thing too.  PWM is straight up rock.  No metal posturing to be had.  Well...maybe they are metal in the sense that Zeppelin and Sabbath are metal...but no palm muting and guttural vocals are to be had here.  The vocals are sung, not screamed, thank goodness.  That gets real old real fast.  They are catchy too.  You’ll find yourself singing right along with their strong hooks.  The hooks really are PWM’s strength at the end of the day.  Every song comes around nicely.  Around here, we call that songwriting.  A lot of stoner/desert bands forget that aspect.  Young bands getting into the genre should take note.

Most ‘stoner’ or ‘desert rock’ bands can’t get past using generic sounding riffs...and, look, that’s just the genre.  I have grown to accept that.  I also don’t listen to much of the genre anymore for that reason.  PWM skirts past that trap.  It’s safe to say that they have a ‘classic’ desert/stoner sound...in all the right places.  If I had to compare their sound to bands that you might know, I picked up Clutch, QOTSA, and Unida, but really, they are doing their own thing and doing it well.  Hell, there are even some real deal heroic guitar solos to boot.  These songs would sound real bad ass pumping out of your boogie van or Impala at 100 MPH.  Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. 

To top it off, the packaging of the record is pristine.  Supa-Collider can boast of killer artwork. a gatefold cover, and a real cool green splatter vinyl platter.  Bonus points for printing the lyrics on the inside cover, not to mention the cool little comic to compliment their music video release.  Supa-Collider is a top notch record with pristine production all of the way around.  Without a single track in the ‘let down’ column, there is no reason why you shouldn’t add it to your collection. 

Written by:  Ian Gerber on his fancy computer




Thursday, July 2, 2015

Faces – A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse

It is a shame and a pity to me that so many people, especially in the US, wrote this band off as some sort of Rod Stewart side project.  You have certainly done yourself a disservice if this is the case, and you've missed out on a lot of great music.  The good thing about music, though, is that it's never too late to correct your misconceptions.  Especially with the technology we have today, you can dig up these old recordings as simply as if they were made last week.  And you really should.

To clear up a couple of commonly misunderstood things; the band is simply called Faces, not THE Faces.  Also, this was not Rod's side project.  He was a full-fledged member of this band first, and his solo career took off while a member of the band.  If you're going to jump in now, you might as well have things right.

This was their third album and my favorite.  From start to finish, it is 37 minutes of everything that rock n roll should be.  One of the things that I feel is missing in rock music today is the fun, the joie de vivre, that you can just hear in every note of this album.  No one is taking themselves or the music too seriously.  Because it shouldn't be.  Just let it rip, have some fun.  It's only rock n roll.  It's like seeing Edward Van Halen onstage with his goofy grin.  You know he's having the time of his life, and he looks like it.  That's what rock should be, and in my opinion no band has ever embodied that more than Faces.

Besides “Stay With Me”, an absolute smash hit and, I think, one of the greatest pure rock songs ever written, there are some other gems here as well.  If you want to slow things down, “Debris” is a beautiful ballad, and features the underrated vocal talents of Ronnie Lane.  If you want to hear Mr. Lane having some fun, check out “You're So Rude”, a funny song about bringing the girl home for a little fun when the house is supposed to be empty, only to have the family come home a bit too soon.  This band had a very deft touch with R&B songs, and their cover of “Memphis” is a great, rollicking time.  Another example is on their live album and their version of “I Used To Love Her”.  “Too Bad” is a great little rocker.  It's one of those albums you put on and at this point in time, seems like a greatest hits album, but no, it was just album number three.  That's the way it is with the classics.  These songs were written and recorded over forty years ago, but they don't sound dated in the least.  Its also an album that seems to go bye way to fast and you want to listen to it again and again in the same sitting.  If somehow you missed it, or missed this band, put this in your collection at your earliest convenience.  And on your turntable, or CD player, or digital if you have to.

I love this band and I would put them up against any band from the time period, even the mighty Stones and their run of immortal albums that they were putting out at the same time.  Grab a bottle or six, or twelve, turn this up really loud, invite some friends over, and see if a wonderfully good time doesn't ensue.  There's that certain something about great albums, and you don't always know what it is, but you know it when you hear it.  Give this one a spin and you will definitely hear it.

- ODIN



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

German heavy psychedelic rock trio WIRED MIND sign to HeviSike Records


The Hannover three-piece have inked an exclusive deal with UK stoner rock label HeviSike Records to release their debut album ‘Mindstate:Dreamscape’. Originally self-released by the band in March this year, the four-song opus has received a positive reaction from the psychedelic and stoner rock community.

Mindstate:Dreamscape will satisfy both the fan of classic rock and modern European psych. Combining clear influences from 70s legends such as Amon Düül II, Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath but with a modern twist. Nods to Colour Haze, The Machine and Samsara Blues Experiment are evident.

The album follows a journey into the depths of consciousness. Through cosmic jams and the occasional flourish of heavy, the songs explore the intricate caverns of the mind. Imagine a late summer’s sunset. Picture a voyage through the stars. Envisage a collective of minds united by the groove. This is Wired Mind. Mindstate:Dreamscape is just the beginning.

HeviSike Records will be giving the album the much-needed vinyl treatment including new mastering and high quality packaging. The record will be pressed on limited edition colour vinyl and will see worldwide distribution.

Wired Mind are: Chris (drums), Maik (guitar, vox) and Patrick (bass)
Listen to the first single 'Woman'.
Release date: Friday 25th September 2015
Worldwide distribution via Plastic Head Distribution

Find out more: facebook.com/hevisike | hevisike.com
facebook.com/wiredmindrocks

Listen: soundcloud.com/hevisike | wiredmind.bandcamp.com


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