Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rumors Heard in MySpace, Vol. II, Episode 7

It seems like forever since we all clambered aboard this music fueled contraption that takes us to such wondrous lands. If memory serves me right, last month’s episode was somewhat abbreviated as most of my spare time was focused on a preparations for a Field Trip on the East Coast, and I couldn’t go into great depth on some of the hidden gems lurking in the world of MySpace. So, now that I’m back in the saddle again (thank you for the screeching melody, Mr. Tyler,) and life is falling back into its normal routine, I’ve been able to delve deeper in the seemingly bottomless pit of cyber music. This month, as per usual, we’re headed to lands afar, so I hope y’all updated your passports. Buckle up, Waveriders! With Racer piloting this beast and Woody stirring drinks, we’re gonna’ traverse this globe and check out some more of the best music that you’re not listening to!

Our first stop this month will be to a land that the U.S. media has portrayed over the years as being a war torn land who’s inhabitants live in constant fear of bombed by groups of hostile neighbors. Being that this picture is being painted by our reporters, I’m going to assume that the Israeli people are a happy lot and the land is a lush paradise. Really . . . the place can’t be as bad as we’re hearing if the land can be called home to one David Broza. Now, I’ve been listening to Broza’s work for the last decade and I always find that he has a fresh take on a piece of music, even after repeated listens, there’s always that something that I never heard before. It can be as simple as a tone of his voice, a fill on a flamenco guitar passage, a chord progression, whatever. He seems to do it right every time out. While surfing the MySpace cyber wave, I saw that he updated the songs on his player and realized that I had yet to touch on his brilliant songwriting, somewhat acoustic folk-y vibe with a bit of rock and world flavor. It looks like he has a new album being released, but don’t quote me on that. He does, however, have a number of new tracks uploaded that highlight that rich, oh-so-rich, voice. Lordy, there’s some passion in there and a quality that’s hard to describe. And as for the music, think that earthy Cat Stevens acoustic sound without the edge and a bit more easy listening. If you want to hear the stuff that got me into his sound in the first place, listen to the track “Time for Trains.” It’s kinda’ Springsteen-ish, just a little less blue collar. The albums that I have are Time For Trains and Second Street, and both come highly recommended from Yours Truly.

Our next stop is taking us quite a bit north to one of our favorite regions of the world, Sweden and Norway. First, let’s catch up with our doom-y goth rockin’ friends in Katatonia as they power away in the reek filled halls of their studio to put the final touches on their new album. We recently found out that there’s now a release date as well as a title available for the masses. Night is the New Day will hit the stores on the 19th of October in Europe and a week later in the U.S. and will be released through Peaceville Records. From the posted diary, it sounds like we’re in store to hear some deeply atmospheric passages and acoustic works mixed with the traditional Katatonia metal sound. These guys have always pushed the envelope further and further with each recording once they dropped their full on death metal sound. The music has consistently become more and more moody with each release. Night is the New Day promises to show more of that musical growth.

While we’re enjoying our Swedish summer, we’re going to check out a newer band. They call themselves Corroded and they have a cool thing going on. Gritty, hard edged rock with songs like “Leave Me Alone,” and full on metallic, head bangers with “Come On In” and “Inside You” show these guys are above average. A nice balance of angst ridden guitar pummeling with beautiful vocal melodies make up the body of their latest release, 11 Shades of Black. For our European Waveriders, it looks like you can catch these guys on select dates through the summer. I’m not certain if that’s Sweden that they’re playing in, but that would be my assumption. Damn . . . I really need to bone up on my Swedish if I’m gonna’ keep dragging everybody out here!

Heading west, we’ll cross into Norway and visit with Sarke. Have y’all picked up a copy of Vorunah yet? This is just a friendly reminder that it’s a killer of an album and is becoming a favorite for my end of the year top ten list. Anyway, the main reason I wanted to bring everybody here was to take note that Sarke will performing at the Wacken Open Air Festival, which in itself is so over the top spectacular, but what is is that the legendary Tom Gabriel Warrior will join the lads on stage for a rendition of the classic Celtic Frost tune, “Dethroned Emperor.” See . . . this is one of the reasons why Europe will always entice me. The U.S. doesn’t have cool festivals like this that highlight legendary acts of metal. . . . so, this year’s Wacken festival not only includes this extraordinary collaboration of Sarke, Nocturno Culto, and Tom G. Warrior, but will also feature the likes of Motorhead, Nevermore, Tristania, In Flames, Saxon, Enslaved, Machine Head, and so much more. Racer . . . we really need to get press passes for this one next year.

Heading back to the U.S. we need to make a stop in Woodstock, NY. No, not because this is the 40th Anniversary of the music festival that changed the world or so all of us music geeks would like to think. Though that is a good reason, there’s another reason. By the words of a friend who pointed me in the right direction, I tuned into the folk-y and soulful sounds of a singer / songwriter named Bar Scott. First and foremost, what struck me about this music was the power of Bar’s voice. It just lights up the soul and chases away the crud that’s been building up in there for years. Waveriders, do me a favor and listen to a few of the high points from the posted songs. Check out the vocal harmonies on the song “Like It Was.” C’mon . . . is that cool or what? Somewhat operatic, a touch of theater . . . it’s those kind of nuances that keeps me digging deeper and deeper in to MySpace for music! And then there’s the cello on the song “Parachute.” Is there any instrument that sounds as wondrous as a cello? Love it! The song builds upon itself with every note, just getting more and more passionate with every passing second. Follow the link, folks. Don’t be shy.

Still traveling west, we make our way to Chicago on the recommendation of our resident bar keep, Woody. There’s this sleazy, bar room brawlin’, alcohol swillin’ bunch of rockers going by the name Low of the Low and they’re tearing it up with a gritty stoner metal sound that immediately had me thinking of bands like Down or later era C.O.C. Crap . . . check out hard driving, head bobbin’ tunes like the wah drenched “Reduce to Zero” or the profanity laced tirades of “Mississippi.” These guys have that groove that gets me tipping back a beer and unconsciously reaching for the pack of smokes that I dropped fifteen years ago. It’s honest rock that’ll give you a swift kick in the backside and then give you a high five for your troubles. Makes me wanna’ hang out with the lads, talk shit, and cook up some brauts!

Racer turned this sucker to the south and parked us directly on the border of Tennessee and Mississippi (maybe he was inspired by the Low of the Low song?) so that we could catch up with a band called Evanscapps. These guys recently released an album on Rock Ridge Music called Last Time, and interestingly enough, this musical project is made up of Ean Evans (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and Bobby Capps (.38 Special.) I somewhat expected this to showcase their southern rock roots, but was turned onto something altogether different. Though the southern rock thing is apparent throughout the album, there’s a harder edge to the whole thing. Try imaging the detuned alternative sound with southern flavor, something akin to 3 Doors Down, but not as refined. The album opener, “Hell If I Know,” is a straight up rocker with a metallic hint to the massive riffage, but the edges are eased by the catchy melodies. “Dead Is Rising” is much the same. Heavy palm muted guitar riffs with distorted vocals over a thunderous drum beat give way to a melodic chorus that captivates with its dynamics. A number of years ago, there was a band tooling around called Cry of Love that captured a similar sound. Heavy, but soulfully bluesy and steeped in the southern swelter. Strong stuff. Spend some quality time groovin’ to these lads!

Finally, we’re back in California and news has come across the wire that The Soul of John Black has posted a new song on his page. On further exploration, there certainly is a new tune called “Emotions” that is a bass driven groover, jam packed with a huge hip shaking helping of soul. Lord, this tune is simply dripping groove that I defy you to not move while listening to it. It hits the entire being and you’ll become part of the rhythm, almost like some sort of sentient being that’s made of music rather than bones, muscle, and various fluids. Yeah. John Black is the man and he warrants more than your attention. He deserves your undying servitude to make his a household name.

Oh yeah . . . groove on, Waveriders. Until next month . . . - Pope JTE

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