Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ripple News - Roadburn Festival Highlights Available for On-Demand Listening!


Finally, the volcanic dust has (almost) settled! For everyone no longer fighting short term memory loss and extreme fatigue caused by sleep deprivation and sensory overload, get ready to re-live the highlights of Roadburn Festival 2010!

Now we all know that Roadburn is undoubtedly one of the absolute coolest festivals of the year.  Masters of bringing the best of heavy rock, stoner and doom together under one smoky haze, Roadburn is the highlight of the summer festival season for tons of rock fans.  Unfortunately, not everyone has the chance to get there, whether because of the travel or this year, because of the volcano!

But we got some great news.  For everyone who couldn't make it due to the mighty Eyjafjallajokull eruption, now'is your chance to enjoy the festival without any hassles. And for everyone who could not magically clone ourselves to simultaneously catch all of the action in the Bat Cave, Green Room, Midi Theatre and Main Hall and felt kind of bummed about it, cheer up!

The good folks at Roadburn are pleased to announce that VPRO 3voor12, which is the leading cultural media network in the Netherlands, has posted additional on-demand audio streams for your Roadburn 2010 listening pleasure.

Online now! performances by Comus, Brant Bjork, Earthless, Jex Thoth, Nachmystium, Sons of Otis, Karma To Burn, Astra and more are currently available on-demand at: http://www.roadburn.com/audio-streams/

Don't miss it.  And plan early to book your tickets to next year's show!




Tuesday, June 29, 2010

JPT Scare Band - Acid Blues is the White Man's Burden



This is the first release on The Ripple Effect’s home grown label, Ripple Music, but before you start yelling about nepotism let me set the record straight. I have nothing to do with the label. Racer and Pope are in California and I’m over here in Brooklyn, NY. We’ve never met. What brought us all together is a mutual love of kick ass heavy rock, especially obscure stuff from the 1970’s and it doesn’t get more obscure than the JPT Scare Band. Truth (and Janey) be told, I’d be drooling all over this even if I wasn’t lucky enough to be associated with the Ripple crew.

With that public service announcement out of the way, let’s get down to business of talking about Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden, a collection of unreleased gem’s from these acid rock freaks. If you’ve never heard the JPT Scare Band before, you’re in for a treat. This is the stuff that weirdos who like the Tommy Bolin-era of The James Gang (like Pope) cream over. Guys who own over 100 hours of UFO bootlegs, including the Paul Chapman years (like Racer). Losers who wish that Fuzzy Duck made a 2nd album (yours truly). This album will sit proudly next to your worn out Leaf Hound, Dust, Budgie and Ram Jam albums.

“Long Day” is the first song and has a more commercial feel than some of their other material, but at 7 minutes and with a typically blistering guitar solo from Terry Swope, there was no chance this song was ever gonna get on the radio. “Not My Fault” is a catchy mid-tempo ditty with a laid back Blind Faith groove and some “Hey Jude” inspired background vocals at the end.

If those 2 songs aren’t your cup of tea, then chances are the rest of it will be. “Death Letter 2001” is a raunchy take on the old Son House classic. This is pure power trio blues rock. Terry lays down some furious licks over a powerful rhythm section featuring some truly filthy bass playing. “Stone House Blues” and “Amy’s Blue Day” are slow ones captured live and dirty in the garage. “I’ve Been Waiting” is almost 10 minutes of guitar orgy ecstasy that sounds like Tommy Bolin sitting in with Budgie.

The title track is the official anthem of JPT Scare Band. Acid Blues has been this bands burden since the early 70’s. Their toil is our reward.


--Woody

Buy here on CD or double colored LP, gatefold vinyl:  JPT Scare Band

or from Amazon  Vinyl Acid Blues Is the White Man's Burden [Domestic]

Export Vinyl Acid Blues Is the White Man's Burden [Export]

or CD Acid Blues Is the White Man's Burden

Monday, June 28, 2010

Judas Priest – British Steel 30th Anniversary Edition




And I had a car . . .

You have to let the magnitude of that sentence sink in.  There I was.  17 years old.  A raging, rampaging sack of testosterone, insatiable musical lust. . .  and I had a car.  Let’s don’t dwell on what type of car it was (a 1974 Fiat 4-door sedan with huge rubber bumpers and a 50 hp engine.).  Let’s just focus on the car part.  I had a car.  I had wheels.  I was free.

That meant I could get out of the small then-ranch town I grew up in and head for the big City.  Ok, so the big City was a town of about 30,000 people 7 miles away, but don’t you get it?  They had a record store--several of them, including a Tower Records.   I remember pulling (er . . . sputtering) my car into the Tower parking lot, my pockets full of money I’d slaved to get working 8 ½ hour shifts at a local car wash.  I wandered the aisles, my eyes agape.  I was 17, I had a car, and I had money.  The world was my oyster.

I don’t remember everything I bought that day, but I do remember picking up one new cassette.  The brand new, just released Judas Priest album, British Steel.  I’d never heard Priest before, but thought their album covers were bitchin’.  Unleashed in the East was maniacal.  Hell Bent for Leather frightened me in a good way. Sin after Sin, Sad Wings . .  . the list goes on.  But on that day, British Steel had just arrived and I knew I had no choice but to make that the cassette that would christen the tape deck in my new hot rod.

Leaving the parking lot, I popped the cassette in, and my entire world changed.  I’d been listening to “metal” for years.  Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC.  Pretty standard suburban/rural kid stuff.  The same things everyone listened to.  But I wanted more.  My musical nomad life had already begun, and I needed to wander, to explore.  I had no friends to accompany me on this journey.  My high school classmates were content with what they were listening to, so I had to venture out onto that musical crossroads on my own.  But nothing could have prepared my tender ears for the sound that suddenly was tearing my speakers apart that day.

“Rapid Fire,” was just that-- an insane, accelerating attack of things that were far too heavy for my heart to bear.  My pulse exploded in time to the jackhammer drumbeat.  When that heavy-as-heavy guitar came in, I felt reborn.  Rejuvenated.  Alive, as if for the very first time.  I’d never heard the song before but there I was, air-guitaring like a madman, singing along to that incredible Rob Halford voice that made Paul Stanley seem like some fairy boy from neverland.  And then came the song's famous mid-break.  Halford’s voice spat out words in a flurry, screaming about anvils, and wars, and corrosive subsiding, and KK and Glenn were tearing the world apart on guitars I couldn’t name.  Suddenly the universe made sense to me.  Suddenly, my virginity had been ripped from my musical womb.

From that moment, I’ve worn my Priest flag with undying pride.

I’m not going to go into every song on this fantastic reissue of the album, other than to say that "The Rage" is still one of the absolute greatest metal songs ever written.  You know this album.  You know these songs by heart.  You’ve lived them in your own way just as I did that day in my Fiat. But I will say that I can still recall the exact moment that “Metal Gods,” kicked in, with that guitar tone.  That amazing, so metallic guitar tone.  This was no longer pansy-ass Kiss.  The guitar sounded so menacing, so alien, so foreign.  God damn it, that guitar sounded metal; as if it had been forged in a furnace of fiery steel and was clashing against massive chugging gears.  Priest forever defined not just metal for me, but the sound of a guitar that could actually sound like metal.

I won’t bore you about the time I saw them on the Point of Entry Tour, or how I was pressed so close against the stage, that KK Downing actually played his guitar on my face.  Those are my private memories.  But I will say that this 30th Anniversary Edition does the album justice.  The remastered songs sound even more metallic today.  The bonus song “Red White & Blue” is cool, and the live cut of “Grinder” decimates.  The video of Priest performing the album non-stop, in it’s entirety at a 2009 concert shows the band to be even more imposing than when I saw them as a kid.  Ageless and timeless, Halford in particular has become even more of a demented, metal God than he was back in 1980.  Dressed head to toe in his full-length leather and denim, he looks fierce and nasty.  I don’t care how old he is, he still looks like he could kick my ass.

KK and Glenn are also ageless, as if they’d been locked in some air-tight vortex all these years and suddenly released to unleash all sorts of guitar mayhem on the masses.  Ian Hill has been a rock for ages and still anchors the side of the stage like an immovable mass, while Scott Travis beats with fury and passion.

You know the album.  You know the band.  You need to get this package.  Priest are legends and this is their most legendary moment.  Past or present, they still rule this world we call metal.  And for me that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

My Fiat is long gone.  My Priest flag is still flying high.

--Racer

Deluxe Edition has a third disc, the audio CD of the entire British Steel live concert.  Awesome.

Buy here: British Steel: 30th Anniversary Edition
Buy here: British Steel: 30th Anniversary: Deluxe Edition



Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Sunday Conversation with Award-Winning Songwriter, Kevin Beadles

Sometimes you hear a song that just hits that right note in your soul.  Moves you to a place that you've been afraid to go to, or reluctant to remember.  That's the power of a songwriter.  The ability to make you feel, remember, experience something from deep inside.  Little wonder then that when we learned that award-winning songwriter, Kevin Beadles was releasing a new album of beautiful, affecting rootsy americana, we jumped at the chance to have him come join us on the red leather interview couch and lend his thoughts on to what makes a song tick.


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 epiphanies 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?

About ten years ago, a recording engineer loaned me a copy of Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.  He had noticed that I sang and wrote in an affected style (much in keeping with the artists I grew up listening to such as David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne).  He thought Lucinda might shake me out of it and she did.  What a marvel of singing and songwriting.  Poetically stark, unflinching lyrics sung with a defiant vulnerability. There was a deceptive brilliance in the simplicity of the writing.  She could twist a vowel in her mouth and run through two or three shades of emotion before the word was finished.  Hearing her inspired me to seek greater honesty in my singing and songwriting.

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?

All the above.  Starting a song is usually the easy part, it's finishing where the work comes in.  Sometimes I sit down to write a letter (full song) and find that all I have is just a postcard (maybe a verse or chorus).  For me, writer's block isn't a lack of ideas, it's not knowing what to do with an idea.  So if I'm stuck on one song, I just pick up another and see where it wants to go.  And I keep doing that until it all falls in place.  Sometimes it happens in one sitting and sometimes it takes years.


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

Songwriting is just something I do. I don't worry about finding ideas; they seem to find me.  In fact, I'm often distracted by whatever embryonic song is tumbling around in my head.  Perhaps that's my way of processing life.  But re-writing is where the real craft of songwriting comes in and that's where I need motivation to keep plugging away at a song, trying to realize its full potential, especially when it's stopped being fun.  Here, my greatest resources are the West Coast Songwriters and my songwriting circle called Club Shred.  Both are chock full of terrific tunesmiths who take vicious delight in tearing apart each other's babies.  Their feedback is invaluable to me and hearing their new songs is a constant source of inspiration.




Genres are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

My music unites classic rock with the back porch drawl of gospel, blues and alt. country.  It's roots music with plenty of branches.  Picture Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams getting in a faded blue '65 Ford pickup and driving across America writing songs about the strange thoughts and characters they meet along the way.



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

I'm drawn to moments of transformation--that interval when a decision is made, an emotion discovered, or a life upended.  There might be only a dozen decisions or events which make any significant difference to the overall arc of a person's experience.  The rest is filler (the subject of "slice of life" songs) and the opportunity to reflect on decisions made or to be made.


In songwriting, how do you bring the song together? What do you look for in terms of complexity? Simplicity? Time changes?

I strive for simplicity but my default writing mode tends to be a little complex.  My band consists of terrific jazz players who were looking for a rock project so that tells me I'm still relying on way too many chords, extensions, and key changes.  If you listen to a song like "A Love Sublime," it just sounds like zany fun but it goes through three key changes, several shifts in feel, and a couple of chords I've never used before.  Someday I hope to master 3-chord rock, which is by no means a pejorative term to my mind.


The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living.  What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?

Woody Allen was famously quoted as saying that 90% of success is showing up and I find that's absolutely true.  You never know when or where you're going to make a fan or get a break.  I entered a couple of rough mixes in two big songwriting competitions last year and ended up coming in second place in the rock category with each song.  I get invited to play on a local NPR radio program and the next thing I know, Ripple Music is asking if I'd like to release a CD with them.  I don't have a great overarching plan to conquer the world but I'm trying to write the perfect song and willing to share it with anyone who'll listen, and I'm finding there's an audience for my music.  Any time I'm playing music, I'm doing something I love.  To me, that's success on my own terms and I don't worry about the rest.

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

In the late 80's/early 90's, I was singer-frontman for a band called mr. id.  We got booked to play a Harvest Festival or something of the ilk that was broadcast on cable access TV in Antioch, CA.  The stage was the flatbed trailer of a semi truck, for unfathomable reasons, I'm wearing bicycle shorts, and in the middle of our set, some guy pulls up in a little service vehicle and starts loading bales of hay on to the stage as we're playing.  That was a painful video to watch.

Later, that same band got asked to open for Chris Isaak and we had to pass on the gig because our lead guitarist wasn't willing to cancel the fishing trip he had planned.  That's when you know your band has just about reached its full potential.



What makes a great song?

COURAGE--no wait... that's what makes the muskrat guard his musk.  A great song is one you can listen to a hundred times and still want to hear again.  It's got to be unique (otherwise why listen to that particular song) but can't be gimmicky (even clever BS gets tiresome after a while).  More importantly, it has to tap into an emotion you want to experience over and over.  It speaks and you involuntarily answer "YES!"


Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Way too embarrassing...suffice to say, I was about eight years old, the title was "I'm a Fighter Pilot" and the melody bore a suspicious resemblance to "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog..."


What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

I entered five songs from the new CD in international songwriting competitions this past year and four of them won prizes.  So, naturally, it's the one I like best that came up short. "You Can't Argue with Water" absolutely nails something I've wanted to express for a long time... the ephemeral nature of love.  And I think that message is what makes the song problematic for some people.  They want to hear that love is eternal and undeniable, which it certainly can be.  But all too often, love is something beyond our control, it comes and goes, and no amount of whining will change that fact.  Plus the song has one of my favorite lyric couplets, "She blew in out of nowhere and left without a trace/How could a summer thunderstorm leave lipstick on my face?"



Who today, writes great songs? Why?

Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, Lynn Smith, Steve Seskin, Bonnie Hayes and a thousand others.  They each have a unique style and ability to get to the heart of an emotion.  There are so many talented songwriters and most of them never get widely heard.


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

Ever since I bought an iPhone, I've been surprised how digital has taken over my listening.  It's always with me... at the gym, on a bike, odd moments in the day.  And it's great to have my entire catalog of unfinished musical bits and riffs on hand anytime I get inspired to work on something.



We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music.  When we come to your town, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

I live in a college town (Berkeley) so there are a ton of used record stores nearby.  Just walk a few blocks on Telegraph Ave and you're bound to find one you like.



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


I used to think that being in Liverpool put the Beatles at a major disadvantage compared to bands in London.  Then I read how Liverpool was the major shipping port for the entire U.K. which meant that every kid in town, including the Beatles, knew someone who worked on a freighter and had cheap access to the latest records coming out of the U.S.  At a time when rock music was only played a few hours a week on the BBC, this was quite an advantage.

I think it's great that music is so readily available today.  In fact, it's so readily available that fantastic music can easily be overlooked or forgotten--that's why I love the concept behind Ripple and the waveriders.  So thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with me, I hope you check out my music as well, and please feel free to contact me if anything moves you.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ripple News - Baby Woodrose Back Catalog Re-issued

We already professed our undying love for the fuzzed out, bubbling psychedelic pop created by Baby Woodrose, so we were thrilled to learn that lots of previously hard to find stuff is being made available again from Bad Afro Records.

Baby Woodrose - Money For Soul LP (AFROLP018)

On Money For Soul Baby Woodrose created a unique sound that took them to the 60's and back leaving the music being influenced by many shades of rock'n'roll and psych but played with heartfelt punk attitude. Baby Woodrose received quite a lot of attention outside Denmark with their self-released debut album "Blows Your Mind" from 2001. In reality a one-man operation by Lorenzo Woodrose who wrote the songs, played all the instruments, produced the record and put it out on his own Pan Records. Baby Woodrose later became a real band and Money For Soul reflected that. The album was mixed and mastered by Jürgen Hendlmeier and contained their biggest hit so far;” Everything's Gonna Be Alright”. Sleeve made by Malleus. Originally released in 2003 in 2000 copies on black vinyl. New print limited to 500 copies on red vinyl. 


Baby Woodrose – Chasing Rainbows LP (AFROLP035)

Chasing Rainbows was the sound of a band with more musical guts than on previous albums. Clearly inspired by the Baby Woodrose side-project Dragontears, Baby Woodrose  expanded their sound and produced an album that is very different from earlier efforts. Not only because of the use of instruments like cello, lap-steel, flute and tablas. But also because Chasing Rainbows was both their most poppy and commercial release AND their most experimental and druggy album so far. Originally released in 2007 in 1500 copies on black vinyl. New press limited to 500 copies on red vinyl.


Baby Woodrose – Blows Your Mind CD (AFROCD020)

The Baby Woodrose debut album is temporarily out of print on CD but a new new print is on its way!

If you're a fan of psych pop, you won't go wrong checking any of these out.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Punk Me? Punk You! -- Featuring The Second Academy, Leatherface, and Pistol Whip

The Second Academy – The Grave From Out of Which We Briefly Wander

I already professed my love of Eric Balaban and his amalgam of garage punk, The Beautiful Mothers, but you know what, the cat is so talented that one band wasn’t enough for him.  Enter The Second Acadey and their spinning translucent green vinyl ode to lo-fi experi-punk, The Grave From Out of Which We Briefly Wander.  Intentionally not as realized as The Beautiful Mothers, The Second Academy attack each composition as if it’s a moment in the now.  Songs seem to start off as sketches, ideas, and we bare witness to the band filling out those concepts as the inspiration hits them. 

Think a slightly more aggressive Violent Femmes or a stripped down Replacements, and you’ll begin to get the vibe.  Songs like “Aftergrass,” bridle with pent up tension, pulsating in the throb of the bass, the whine of the guitar, the sparseness of the composition.  One of the stand out tracks here, “Aftergrass,” percolates like an early Gang of Four outtake, riding that bass.  So simple but so effective.

Tracks like “The King and Queen of Filth,” explore more experimental realms of dissonance of feedback, but Eric always brings it back to down to earth with mini-masterpieces like the post-punk throb and roll of “The Wasp” or the very raw Replacements-esque acoustic agit-folk/punk of “Little Sister” and “ Pretty One.” Eric even manages to lock onto a post-sixties, summery psychedelic pop vibe (filtered through the Violent Femmes) for “Adventure Tuesday.”

As always, Tsurumi Records does things right with a limited-edition green vinyl pressing of 1000 platters, complete with enclosed full CD of the album and color liner insert.  It’s clear we got a label here doing what they do out of love, and a band living up to that adoration.  Check it.

buy here: tsurumirecords.com


Leatherface – The Stormy Petrel

It’s hard to believe that Leatherface have been going at it for nigh-on twenty years already, rampaging through one punk rave-up after another.  It’s been 6 years since their last album, so certainly, these aging punks have slowed and mellowed since then, right?

Hell no!  The Stormy Peterel finds Leatherface as reinvigorated, charging, and  . . . . melodic as ever.  Beginning with the almost Police-ish tones of “God is Dead,” the new album is one treat of roughened melodic punk after another.  And by roughened, I refer more to that voice than the music.  In truth, Leatherface are a lot more melodic and easy to listen to than their name might suggest.  Dismiss any images you have of chainsaw wielding madmen and severed body parts.  Leatherface bring on a Husku Du-ish brand of gritty punk that never loses sight of the song, the chorus and the hook. On this, their ninth album, they remind me of a cross between New Model Army and the Subhumans.  Moderately under-produced, guitar-oriented and ready to tell a tale.  In many ways, the album is so catchy, it’s almost pop.  Stepped-on-in-the-gutter pop, but pop nonetheless

“My World End,” brings on a more straight ahead dissonant punk attack, while “Never Say Goodbye,” could fit comfortably on just about any of your favorite New Model Army albums.  Guitars in full-frontal placement. 

One thing that will forever set Leatherface apart from the many out there is the charismatic vocals of Frankie Stubbs, part Lemmy, part Tom Waits, all throat and bile. His rasp brings an immediate personality to each song.  “Nutcase,” uses that voice perfectly through a truly catchy guitar punch to a bop-in-your-car-singing chorus.   Surely one of the standout tracks here . . . but there’s lots to choose from.

After 20 years Leatherface come raging back to remind us why punk mattered so much in the first place.  And they do it with grace and style, spit and ire.  And that voice.  They do it with that voice.

buy here: Stormy Petrel


TerminalPistol Whip – Terminal

Coming from Eerie, PA, and brandishing a career that lasted all of 2-plus years, it’s no surprise that Pistol Whip may be a band forgotten by history.  I certainly had never heard of them before this deluxe CD/DVD set made a surprise appearance at the Ripple office.  And truth be told, not every random 34 year-old Pennsylvania band is worthy of being resurrected and forced kicking and screaming into the modern day.

But Pistol Whip is.  Not that the brilliance here is readily apparent.  Terminal starts off with their inauspicious, only-released-record, a 7” slice of banal glam rock.  Sounding like a poor man’s Starz or a Kiss-butt band, the Pistol Whip story seemed destined to end right there.  But between the release of that single in 1977 and their journey to Chicago to record a 10 song demo, something freakish happened.  If you’d predicted they would have followed the Kiss path down staid corporate, MOR rock, you couldn’t be more wrong.  Instead the band that entered that studio in Chicago was a maniacal, piss-infused punk band on the order of the Dictators, with touches of the Ramones and the Stranglers thrown in.  Don’t know how it happened.  Erie, PA, is a far cry away from NYC or the Chelsea district in London, but there it is.

Chronicled here by a faded mono-cassette, the only proof that these recordings ever happened, the last 10-songs of Terminal are a must have for any fan of nascent punk.  These songs are like the missing link of rock.  The evolutionary bridge between horrid glam rock and inspired spittle rock and roll.  “Whatchamacallit,” is a fiery, snot-nosed blast of rough-throated punk, as good as anything else that came from that era.  Dig the wild “surf” organ, bringing in that hard-edged early Stranglers sound.  The guitars crush with venom and authority.  There is no hint of the glam disaster that was.  This is now.   Don’t know where the hell it came from, but damn is it good.  In fact, I may go so far as to declare it the best punk song you've never heard.

“Losing My Grip,” doesn’t let up.  Rough-hewed, confident in their anarchic disunity, this is raw, primal punk.   “Iron Curtain,” is even better with that nasty guitar tone and return of the organ wash.  Trashed up, punked up garage rock the likes of which weren’t being heard every day in 1978. 

An archival treasure chest of primitive punk.  A musical archaeologist’s wet dream.  

buy here: Terminal

-- Racer

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ape! - The Dirger

This is a primo slab of obnoxiousness from the Pennsylvania/Delaware region. Ape! are a noisy little trio that blast out dirty rock and roll that brings to mind filth lords like the Cosmic Psychos and Mudhoney as well as the spazzcore of Karp and Rye Coalition. The Dirger was recorded June, 2009 in West Chester, PA (home of the awesome Backwoods Payback) and released in November.

There are 9 blasts of fuzzed out scuzz in 35 minutes that will leave you feeling unclean. Louis Sarris plays guitar, distortion and wah wah pedal and does the lead screaming. Matt Gorzynski manhandles a dirty bass, Sean Connolly pounds the drums and they both do a bunch of yelling in the background. All the instruments are recorded well “in the red” but are not distorted beyond listenability.

Opener “Black Blood” starts off with a slow, druggy feel similar to early Monster Magnet before speeding up to a pummeling tempo. “Judas’ Dog” throbs to a Stooges “1969” beat. Actually, there’s a lot of 1st Stooges album influence, both direct and indirect. “Pretty In A Boring Way” comes across like an ancient blast of Australian Stooge worship from Lubricated Goat or (the aforementioned) Cosmic Psychos, with even a hint of early Nirvana.

“Dead On The Vine” is a slow pounder that sounds like the NoMeansNo song “The Tower” but with a heavier Black Sabbath feel. “Weekends In The Abyss” is a Blue Cheer-y instrumental with some wordless screaming that’s a lot of fun. And nice Slayer reference in the title. The lyrics to “The Ballad of Juan Montoya” are pretty inaudible. It’s hard to tell if this is about the former Torche guitarist or the NASCAR driver. Whoever it’s for should be honored by this burner with killer lead bass fills.

Ape! offers a nice mix of the loudest 1970’s style metal and the better parts of the 1990’s “grunge” bands. If you like it loud n raw, check these guys out. I have a feeling The Dirger is not available in many stores, so make contact via their myspace page. Vintage fuzz boxes are expensive and I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys so send them your slimiest 7 dollar bills.

http://www.myspace.com/weareape

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Single Life – 7” of Fun - Featuring The Shirks, Pistola, Stegosaur, and Junior Battles

The Shirks – Dangerous/Young and Filthy b/w Get Out

Coming from Big Neck Records, I had a pretty good idea what this platter’s gonna sound like before I even put the needle to vinyl.  One of the finest purveyors of rattling, grease-stained garage punk out there, The Shirks fit comfortably into their asylum.  Each song here is an adrenaline-infused, learning-how-to-string-a-guitar blast of raw and primal garage punk.  Rough, raw, indecent and probably banned in some countries, the Shirks ply their trade with unbridled adoration and love for all things ragged and fast.  Put away your cerebral neurons and just go with it.  Trashy good fun. 


Pistola – Chugs and Squeals (At the Amusement Park) b/w Out and About with Danny Rowe

Don’t know if it’s just my copy or not, but this was one of the more creative packagings I’ve seen.   A nifty, red vinyl 45 7” with a complete copy of the full-length CD dropped inside.  Granted, they may have dropped that in just as a promo, but it’s still a cool concept.  Buy the single, get the album.  

Of course that only works if the single is worth buying, and fortunately this one is.  “Chugs and Squeals” post-hardcore dissonant screamer of Helmet-styled aggression with some nasty pop smarts.  “Danny Rowe,” kinda brings on a Blondie-meets-Quicksand-and-then-beats-the-shit-outta-them-in-a-public-restroom vibe of heavy guitars, strong melodies, and intent female vocals.  Not metal, not pop, not indy, not post-anything core.  Just music.  Rocking, hard and soft at the same time.  Don’t try and name it, just check it out.


Stegosaur – Adventure

Three song little ditty from these ernest pop/punk emo rockers.  Riding big guitars, “Headache,” is catch and grating, ingratiating and infectious.  Guitars wallop into walls of sound under the big nasal ride of the vocals.  There’s no doubting the emotion here.  Good dynamics mix the tune up enough to bring me along.  “Big Breath,” ups the melodic aspects of the band, brimming like a nascent Weezer.  Tones of Cursive pervade throughout.  Second side’s “Bloooooood,” adds a beat of handclaps and gangland vocals to bring some quirk-pop to the affair, meshing it all into a massively engaging alt-pop affair.  Vocals and guitars build with rising intensity, then drop back down, shifting the pattern, changing the tempo, keeping the ears hooked.  This song clearly shows that Stegosaur are no plodding emo-imitation act, but got the chops to break through to a bigger audience.


Junior Battles – 7” S/T EP

Reading the bio of Junior Battles, it seems that the entire formation of the Toronto band and their subsequent success was a total accident, a sublime fluke of destiny that befell four teenaged lovers of old school pop-punk.  Well, let me tell you, what’s happened to them since is no fluke.  Launching into a rousing 4-song blitz of choppy guitars, soaring chorues, candy-melodies, and infectious grooves, the 13 minutes of this EP pass as effortlessly as listening to your old favorites.  Each song is rooted in the hook, without sacrificing true dynamic to get there.  Hooky, poppy and fun.  Just the way pop-punk is supposed to be.

--Racer

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bernadette Seacrest and Her Provocateurs - The Filthy South Sessions


I can’t always listen to rock, folk or country. Just like I can’t handle all “wasabi” all the time all that well.  Occasionally, I need the sorbet between new releases to clean my aural palate.

Only the finest restaurants serve sorbet between courses.  This smooth, luscious, sultry, frozen concoction not only prepares your taste buds for the next onslaught of flavors - it is a scrumptious dessert in and of itself.

Lately, I have listened to an enormous amount of new classic rock, pop, metal and alternative.  At some point it all started to sound alike.  Everyone lost their girlfriend, wanted to rock me or wanted to tell me had bad their troubles or the troubles of the world were in some semblance of 4/4 time.  I reached a breaking point.  It was clear to me that I needed to cleanse my palate.  I desired a bit of something that was not ice cream, jello, candy or Cake.  Rather, something more intellectual, calming, smooth yet complex. I needed music with more reflection. I wanted to hear what you would expect James Bond to listen to and less of an aural  “Girls Gone Wild” video.  However, it still had to be sexy.  I found it.

Bernadette Seacrest is a tattooed siren evocative of the great jazz singers of days gone by.  Think Lena Horne (may she rest in peace), Rickie Lee Jones, and Madeliene Peyroux all rolled into one. Seacrest studied classical dance with the Los Angeles Ballet and American Ballet Theatre until she suffered an injury that limited her ability to brisé volé and do other ballet moves. She loved the pageantry of drag and went underground re-emerging in New York’s early 80’s street punk scene as a fetish model, makeup artist and clothing designer.  In 2001, after moving to Albuquerque, she joined the rockabilly band The Long Goners as a singer of rebellious anthems. By 2003, she began to dabble in jazz.  Seacrest formed a new band- Bernadette Seacrest and her Yes Men - that specialized in jazz standards and originals penned by her well-known bassist Michael Grimes.  Her musical style became evocative of the smoky jazz clubs and speakeasys of the 30’s and 40’s.  In 2003, she started a new project, Bernadette Seacrest and Her Provocateurs with guitarist Charles Williams and bassist Kris Dale.  Her now almost completely original music took on a dark vintage jazz sound with a deep south bluesy feel.  The songs are sparsely orchestrated - mostly just Bernadette, a guitar, a bass and, occasionally, an interesting cacophony of percussion.

Bernadette Seacrest and Her Provocateurs’ most recent release is The Filthy South Sessions. The songs are written by her guitarist Charles Williams.  Williams shows an innate ability to turn a phrase that Seacrest can then emote in ways that stir the soul:


The world is just one big Game of Craps

Everyone’s bluffing, ain’t got no cash

And if you fold you gotta face the facts

You got nowhere to go from here but up



Someone’s always be talking about you

Someone’s always trying to close a deal

And someone’s always gonna have one hand in your pocket

While others are tryin’ to cop a feel


--- from “Trashcan Lens”



Each of the twelve songs stirs desire.  They make you want to meet Bernadette.  She is the epitome of a chanteuse.  By the third song you will be craving a bourbon,  a cigar, and a fedora. The musicianship is impeccable and unpredictable.  It is not often that a jazz trio can transcend the cocktail lounge.  This one does.

Okay, I’m now ready for my next  rock music meal.


- Old School

Buy here: Filthy South Sessions



Monday, June 21, 2010

On the Ripple Desk - Featuring The Silver Liners and Year of the Dragon

 The Silver Liners – Just Like the Rest EP

We’ve been totally blessed recently with the rainfall of fantastic bands that are capable of marrying irresistible melodies, and an alt-pop Brit rock sensibility to their killer garage hooks, gruff and muscle.  The Thieves, Mardo, The Steps . . . now let’s add The Silver Liners to that distinguished list. 

Coming from Washington D.C., these cats are already making waves, killing the competition and being named a finalist for DC 101’s Last Band Standing Contest.  And it’s no wonder.  This five-piece can play with gusto, powering through a crowd-chanting chorus, slow it down to an achingly pretty sweetness, or add crunch and muscle when they want to rough it up.  Through it all, they layer a touch of Brit-rock sensibility over their pure American garage-y/powerpop.

It took all of 1.3 seconds to hook me on this baby.  Just the slightly fuzzed out tone of the bass opening “Just Like the Rest,” let me know that I’d latched onto something special.  Bring on the muted vocals, a steady beat, some truly retro-garage chops, and a killer breakdown/build up to that treat of a chorus.  This song has it all.  Packed together and ready to be shipped out to the world.  Expect to hear it on Ripple Radio soon.

From there it’s a non-stop journey through the 7 songs of modern pop rock.  “Heard it From a Friend,” is another sure-fire winner, with it’s ultra-cool guitar tone and it’s nod towards an Stroke-y feel blended with some pop punk smarts.  Should be on the radio.

Will be.   If we have anything to say about it.


--Racer

 buy here:  Just Like The Rest EP [Explicit]



Year of the Dragon - Blunt Force Karma

There was a time a number of years back when I preferred my rock and metal funky. Faith No More spent months in constant rotation, as did RHCP . . . 24/7 Spyz . . . ahh, reminiscing over one of funk rock’s finest moments in Fishbone’s Truth and Soul. I mention Fishbone last primarily because that was the first thing that I heard when I put on Year of the Dragon’s Blunt Force Karma. Heavy groove with dense metallic guitars and a funky hip-hop vibe all rolled into the sonic party. It wasn’t until later that I found out that YOTD actually involves a couple of members from Fishbone, so I was pleasantly surprised to know that my ears haven’t failed me yet. Blunt Force Karma, though funky at times, is much more metallic and punky than the aforementioned acts, and the album’s density makes it feel like being mashed together with a couple hundred partners on a steamy club dance floor. Massive walls of low end propel the tunes and are accompanied by subtle flourishes of guitar texture, grinding distortion and the dual vocals of Rodcore and Dirty Walt that seamlessly shift from a rap style to sustained melody.

“Poppin’” takes me back to those heavier moments from Fishbone’s The Reality of My Surroundings or Give A Monkey a Brain . . . coz’ folks, this song has got all of that heavy distorted guitar, low end bass groove, funky jam shit going on that’ll have you bobbin’ your head with the rhythms. “Jailbreak” is a flat out bad ass groover . . . not as dense in distortion and aggression as “Poppin’” and has a great melody to the vocal lines. That’s not to say the isn’t heavy, it’s just not overbearing in weight and density . . . the song has air for the notes to breathe, and YOTD do a great job of shifting between the mid tempo and up tempo passages. The title track shifts from the straight up soulful funk rock stylings of Fishbone to something heavier and darker, heavily distorted and emotionally intense. “Who Will Save You Now” opens with a bitchin’ metallic, fuck-heavy riff and opens up for the choruses, highlighted by soaring vocals and space for the song to take flight. Strong record . . . one that I expect fans of Fishbone would gobble up, and one that I suspect I’ll be using to shake the cobwebs from my head on those fuzz-brained mornings. 

-  Pope JTE

buy here:  Blunt Force Karma









Guitar Legends JPT Scare Band Devastate BP with New Music Video, "Not My Fault"


After a hugely successful, 1 week debut on some of rock's finest websites, JPT Scare Band unleashes their darkly sarcastic attack on BP to the general public and the world.  Reports are that the biting, inflammatory video was picked up by over 40 news outlets and websites, as anger over BP's mishandling of the Louisiana Gulf Crisis bubbles over the boiling point.

Featuring the guitar wizardry of Terry Swopes, often hailed as "the most unheralded guitarist in rock" "Not My Fault" is a classic JPT Scare Band tune, written by drummer Jeff Littrell in the '70's but not recorded until 2004.  The ironic, almost cheery nature of the song plays in direct contrast to the destruction that BP has left in it's wake.

If you like the video, stay tuned to the very end, as the original 911 call BP made to the Louisiana Police demonstrates their epic downplaying of the situation.

And if you enjoy the video, please pass it on to your friends.  Link to it, embed it, twitter it, facebook it.  BP has paid millions of dollars to buy up all the sensitive search terms on the gulf crisis and is spending hundreds of millions of dollars white-washing it's role in the disaster and cleansing it's reputation. 

This is just one small way we can all fight back!

"Not My Fault" appears on the new JPT Scare Band album, Acid Blues is the White Man's Burden released by Ripple Music

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Sunday Conversation with Ufomammut


Do Italians do it better? When it comes to psychedelic/experimental metal, the answer is a loud “Si!” Ufomammut recently released their 5th album entitled Eve and it’s a mind bending mix of Pink Floyd at Pompeii trippiness and Black Sabbath heaviosity. Bassist/vocalist Urlo and guitarist Poia were nice enough to answer some questions for us here at the Ripple Effect. Even though their music is deadly serious, these guys have a great sense of humor. Pour yourself a nice glass of grappa and read on. Ciao!


Eve is your fifth album and contains 1 song divided into 5 parts. Talk a little about the songwriting process and how it was different from your previous albums.

Urlo: It's been a different approach to the song structure, working on a single long track has been quite different from what we've done in the past. We started with the idea of realizing an album structured like “Meddle” of Pink Floyd but we did the mistake to start from the long song.

Poia: We focused more on transitions and dynamic between parts: from whisper to scream.


Is Eve a “concept album” (like Tommy or The Wall) or more of a musical suite (like Tales of Topographic Oceans or Love Supreme)?
Urlo: Don't know, it's just what came to our minds.

Poia: I think it's more a very long single song.

Where did you record Eve and how long did it take?
Urlo: We recorded Eve in Roma, at Locomotore studio with our Soundlord Lorenzo Stecconi.
We had it done in 10 days.

For someone who’s never heard Ufomammut before, how would you describe it to them?
Urlo: Well, it's a nice album, just give it a listen.

Poia: It's a mixture of easy listening and complicated listening. So you'll need several listenings for appreciate the listening.

What was the first music that really excited you? And how long after that did you pick up an instrument?
Urlo: Sex Pistols. Then I started in play bass accidentally cause our previous bass player left the band and we had a gig coming in a week. I was only a singer...ahahaah

Poia: It was an Italian musician called Franco Battiato, in 1980. Then, I began with the guitar when I was seventeen, trying to play Led Zeppelin songs...

Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations? Favorite albums?
Urlo: Meddle of Pink Floyd, Malval of Shora, Lysol of Melvins, Lucifer Rising of Bobby Beausoleil and many more.

Poia: Beatles, Pink Floyd, Sabbath, Zep, Purple, King Crimson, Spirit, Captain Beefheart, Creedence, Ten Years After, Area, Sleep, Kyuss of Blues for the Red Sun, The God Machine, 35007, the early Motorpsycho and Monster Magnet, Entombed, Sons of Otis...

What current bands do you find inspiring?
Urlo: Shora, Shining and everything starting with SH.

Poia: Shora for me too, and Circle.

How do you feel about people posting your music for free on blogs?
Urlo: It's good. The more people listening to us the more we'll be happy.

Poia: It's an important thing. This way the music is flowing around the world. Then, if you like it you can always buy the physical object containing the music.

Your records have tons of cool layers. Do you try and recreate the sound of your records when you play live or do you prefer a rawer approach?
Urlo: We try to reproduce the record live the best as possible. Working on Eve has been difficult, there are a lot of layers!

Poia: Anyway live is different thing, and thanks to our live soundmaster Ciccio, we are both layered and totally raw :-)

Ever had any good Spinal Tap moments on stage?
Urlo: Mmmhh... guess not.

Poia: I must confess, never saw the movie. But I'll watch it very soon, and I'll tell you.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Urlo: I start with the digital and if I like it I buy CD (cause I listen to it easily). I love vinyls.

Poia: I think CD, but I prefer the big size of vinyl, for appreciating artworks too.

What’s the crowd like at your shows?
Urlo: Bearded men screaming. We're searching for girls, possibly not bearded...

Poia: It depends on the country we play.

How’s your hearing these days?
Urlo: You mean my ears? A little deaf, but still good. If you mean what I'm listening to... a lot of different stuff.

Poia. My right ear is frizzling.

Bands like Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator and Gentle Giant found an audience in Italy before the rest of the world. Why do you think Italians love prog rock so much?
Urlo: Because in Italy people is more interested in the good technique first. That's why nobody like Ufomammut here...

Poia: You have said all...

Were hardcore bands like Raw Power and Negazione an inspiration?
Urlo: Not for me. Never listened to them too much.

Poia: I'm sorry, I know them only by name.

Who’s the biggest mammone (mamma’s boy) in the band?
Urlo: Poia? Or me? Or Vita maybe? We're all mammoni!
Poia: Ufomammone.

Is it frustrating to go on tour and have to endure inferior food?
Urlo: Sure. We need spaghetti to survive, like vampires we need to refill our bodies with pasta. And coffee.

Poia: Of course. As Italians we are very proud of our food and wine. We know, we are boring about food, but it's probably the ONLY thing in which “Italians do it better” ;-)

Why do northern Italians look down upon their countrymen below Rome?
Urlo: Because we're idiots.

Poia: Since the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy has always been divided. It is a quite young nation, formed by several regions, each with its own dialect/language, food, wine (again!) and, amongst all, habits.  This is peculiar of Italy, but could be a problem for someone. Even in 5 km things slightly change. For many people difference between us is an excuse for divisions, instead a matter of enrichment. We can apply the same consideration on what it's happening today with the problem of foreign immigration. It's a natural and unstoppable process, the chance of mixing dna and cultures. But it's seen as a real danger, especially from the “most blind” part of our country, including our government.


What’s next Ufomammut?
Urlo: Ufomammut again. And hopefully a little of Farwest Zombee...

Poia: Dont know, we'll see in future.

Preferisci pasta e ceci o pasta e fagioli?
Urlo: Pasta e Ceci forever!!!

Poia: Pasta, aglio,olio e peperoncino.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ripple Music Announces a Killer New Split 7" with Stone Axe and Mighty High - Released as a Tour Single for the Saint Vitus/Stone Axe Tour

We couldn't be more excited about this.  In fact, we're so thrilled, we're giddy.  Like kids in a candyshop.

Ripple Music is proud to announce that last week we sent in the art and fully-mastered tracks for a killer new 7" split vinyl single featuring the masters of retro-70's rock, Stone Axe and stoner cretins Mighty High.  The single should be ready for your consumption mid-June.

Featuring some mindboggling, fold-out, Mighty High inspired artwork, this 7" is sure to leave em stunned.  Stone Axe contributes a monster rock burner, "Metal Damage," featuring Tony Reed's blistering guitar attack and staggering vocals from Dru  Brinkerhoff.  Mirroring 1978-1980-era Judas Priest, this song is everything that Classic Rock Magazine has been raving about when they declared Stone Axe to ". . . conjure a guttural, soulful hard-rock cauldron. "

Mighty High contributes "Don't Panic It's Organic" with a blistering high energy feel that sounds Rose Tattoo in bed with MC5.  Quite possibly the best thing to come from Mighty High yet.

The split will be extremely rare, limited to 500 and each one hand numbered.  Stone Axe will have some for their West Coast Tour this summer with Saint Vitus and Mighty High will be displaying some at their gigs as well.  The rest can only be bought here, at Ripple Music.  Don't miss out.

Go to www.ripple-music.com for more details.

Here's the Saint Vitus/Stone Axe Tour Schedule

6/25 - EL CORAZON - Seattle
6/26 - SATYRICON - Portland
6/27 - DNA LOUNGE - San Francisco
6/28 - ORIGAMI VINYL -Los Angeles(no Vitus)
6/29 - VIPER ROOM - Los Angeles
6/30 - THE CASBAH - San Diego
7/01 - WASTED SPACE @ HARD ROCK HOTEL - Las Vegas
7/02 - THE ZEPHYR - Reno(no Vitus)
7/03 - THE ALIBI - Arcata(no Vitus)

Ripple News - Exploding in Sound's latest Compilation "In Case of Evacuation" ready for free download!

IN CASE OF EVACUATION, remain calm and allow Exploding In Sound to be your guide.  It is amazing what can be accomplished in the span of two and a half years.  Since the inception of Exploding In Sound, their aim has been to bring great new music to an ever growing audience.  A simplistic mission statement from one music obsessed fan with a desire to help the artists that deserve to be heard.  Now comes the newest release in the beloved compilation series… IN CASE OF EVACUATION, with a  line-up that can't be missed!! 

A compilation of epic magnitude, there is so much great new music contained within that we had to make it a double album.   The FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD contains two discs worth of music from some of the greatest bands of our time, brought to you exclusively by EIS.  IN CASE OF EVACUATION features over 30 bands from around the globe including: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Caspian, Maps & Atlases, Wintersleep, Open Hand, Red Fang, Slang Chickens, Helms Alee, Imaad Wasif, LaFaro, Crippled Black Phoenix, The Twilight Sad, Old Canes, Black Helicopter, and many more incredible bands.  The music contained within your emergency evacuation supply transcends through all subgenres of rock, not concerned with what is cool or trendy, but rather with what is artistic, pure, and well… rocks.  IN CASE OF EVACUATION captures the true essence of the site, combining the music of critically acclaimed and well established acts with the up-and-coming bands that are virtually unknown to the masses.  Exploding In Sound remains dedicated to both, helping to spread the word of great rock to all with an open ear.

Sharing of the download link is HIGHLY recommended and encouraged to anyone and everyone you think might be interested. As this is a FREE compilation, the goal is to gain the maximum audience achievable, and word of mouth is always appreciated.  Enjoy.

DOWNLOAD HERE: http://www.explodinginsound.com/2010/06/exploding-in-sound-presents-in-case-of.html



IN CASE OF EVACUATION TRACKLIST:

DISC 1:

1.       Open Hand – Herrons

2.       Black Helicopter – Invasion of Prussia

3.       We Were Promised Jetpacks – A Far Cry

4.       Crippled Black Phoenix – Troublemaker

5.       Geronimo! – Thunderbattles

6.       Maps & Atlases – Solid Ground

7.       Slang Chickens – Tropics

8.       Old Canes – Little Bird Courage

9.       Me You Us Them – Pretty Nettles

10.   Wintersleep – New Inheritors

11.   Anakin – Abort.Retry.Fail

12.   Doomstar! – Sharon Mitchel

13.   LaFaro – Tupenny Nudger

14.   Left Lane Cruiser – Hillgrass Bluebilly

15.   Weird Owl – Mirror in the Mud

16.   Red Bellows – L.S. Blues

17.   Awesome Color – Slaughterhouse

18.   Gods are Ghosts – Bloodstream

DISC 2:

1.       The Twilight Sad – Reflections in the Television

2.       Caspian – Of Foam and Wave

3.       Disappearer – A Skull Full of Bats

4.       Imaad Wasif – Razorlike

5.       Jacob Turnbloom – Your Soul Can Be Sold

6.       Grass is Green – Greenville

7.       Hold Your Horse Is – Christopher Walken

8.       Red Fang – Good to Die

9.       Gozu – Meat Charger

10.   Helms Alee – A New Roll

11.   Actors & Actresses – Dig to China

12.   Solare – Winners

13.   The World Concave – Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program

14.   Sky Parade – I Should Be Coming Up (But I Keep Coming Down)

15.   Digital Homicide – Transmission

16.   The Black Shades – Don’t Put Salt On My Grave

17.   Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea – Any Port In A Storm

Friday, June 18, 2010

Darklight Corporation – S/T



You know, the undead like to dance just as much as the rest of us.

They just need something hideously special to get those gangrenous limbs and rigamortis-locked joints to move.  Here it is, Darklight Corporation's stunning debut of horror-scope industrial speed metal.

Industrial speed metal may not sound like something you’d expect the ‘ol Racer to be digging right now.  Those who know me know that I have a low tolerance for metal who's goal is to assault me like a bazooka blast to my temple.  Rather than excite me, it has a bizarre paradoxical effect – it puts me to sleep.  I mean mouth-open, drool-spilling-asleep.  The louder and more bombastic in my face it is, the quicker I nod off.

Not the case with this tremor-inducing slab of depth-charge bass, grinding guitar, and non-stop beat that is the debut from New Zealanders, Darklight Corporation.  Destroying all hardcore dancefloors with a combined assault of equal parts Rammstein, White Zombie, Metallica, enough melody to make it all hang together and some serious fucking groove.  Sometimes the industrial grind of metal can get a little repetitive, but Darklight Corporation throw in enough twists and turns, maniacal choruses, and just flat-out-good songwriting to make the album a burner from start to end.  Like some graveyard spawned combination of Helltrain's death-and-roll and Ministry.  It's what Slayer would sound like if they were set up on a blind date with a zombie and decided to go clubbing.  Imagine that, let your brain lock that down, then prepare yourself and put on the disc

“One Man’s Revolution,” kicks it right off the bat, battering my inner ear like a prize fighter going to town on an opponents face.   Give me some crushing guitar that rages like two pieces of machinery scraping against each other. Tie it together with some percolating synth, bringing in the electronica flavor, and then hit me with that colon-shaking bass and groove.  Oh yeah!   I’m not a fan of larynx-shredding vocals, but they work here.  Big time.  Rough and sputum-filled, this is aggressive, angry, assailant dance music.  Industrial madness.  Electronica for the criminally insane.

Every track here pulverizes with the same homicidal intensity, aiming for full on listener-dancefloor-evisceration, but the standout tracks are so fucking good you don’t even mind that they're splitting your belly opening and stealing something vital.  “Sweet Sickness,” starts off with some mutated guitar, quickly launching into that all-important groove.  Adding enough space and time, melody and synths, to make the song stand out from the previous two tracks, it’s like a breath of fresh air.  Granted its fresh air laced with the stench of the recent dead.   And it could only be the dead who don’t dance to this song.  More fucking infectious than the black plague.  You just wanna get infected with this one.  Never thought someone could come up with a chorus “Your presence makes me sick/I don’t believe your sickness,” that could become a crowd-chanter.  But there I was, screaming the words right along with the band in my best (worst) throat-shredding vocals.  Yeah, my wife left the room, but I didn’t care.  I had my groove on.

“Lockdown,” is about as much a commercial metal song as you’ll ever find that has the lyrics “Eat my blood/eat my body.”  Complete with a massive air-guitar riff and damn-singable chorus, this song will get even the most dead of the undead to crawl out of their earthen tombs and crawl off to the dancefloor.  “Propaganda,” ups the ante with the most Rammstein-esque blitz on the album.  Synths stutter and strut, guitars wail, scream, cry and howl.  Dancebeats swirl in orgasmic frenzies.   This intensity rages with fury all the way to the amalgam of electronica beats and slicing industrial guitar that is the closer “Ramrod 69.” 

Darklight Corporation’s debut isn’t a pretty album.  It’s one horrific, demented, seriously-in-need-of-therapy mess of rotting corpses and anger.  It’s an album of life-pounding intensity, anguish, and ire.  And it’s all served up hot and steaming with some of the best industrial beats I’ve heard in ages.  Not for the faint of heart, but not one to miss either. 

Now leave me alone, my zombie-bride dancing partner’s got her groove on and I ain’t missing it.


--Racer

buy here: Darklight Corporation
or mp3: Darklight Corporation [Explicit]



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kevin Beadles - You Can't Argue With Water

I receive about two dozen new or pre-release CD’s and a dozen new music downloads every couple weeks.  In addition, I spend three or four hours a week searching out new music.  My deal is that I only write about what I truly like.

I listen to all new releases at least twice. Then, I weed out works that I think are simply dreadful. Unfortunately, that accounts for 50% of what I hear.  Out of the remaining 50% I make a second cull that eliminates songwriters that can’t sing but who insist on doing so; musicians who can’t write lyrics but write their own songs anyway; cocktail lounge singers and acts; and amateur attempts to home record by musicians who cannot competently produce a recording or play their instruments. I never eliminate a work based on musical style or genre.  The music could be jazz, blues, gospel, rock, alternative, indie, folk, country, Americana, roots, reggae, hip hop, metal,  rap even Cajun. The type of music is irrelevant to my culling process.  If music is good it is good regardless of style. I also do not look at the record label until I have decided that the music is worthy of a written review.

The second cull usually leaves me with about ten to fifteen CD’s and downloads that I then listen to a third time. This time I look for two things - music that I believe has hit potential and artists whose musicianship and/or recordings make them potential stars worthy of a larger audience. If the music does not have one or both of these elements it is also placed on the “don’t review” heap. Thus, out of my mountain of new music only two or three releases actually make it to my “must review” pile.

One that made the cut is Kevin Beadles’ “You Can't Argue With Water.”  It is new yet very familiar - a mixed bag of pop, alternative and modern rock, country and folk.  The musicianship is competent, but, the album is not about the musicianship. Like the song’s musical scores, the music just fits nicely.  The vocals are good but not exceptional.  It is the songs that make the album worthy of review. They are well-crafted even if they occasionally sound like they are built on the shoulders of musical legends. This album is a case of the whole exceeding the sum of its parts.

The tracks “Shine,” “High,” and “Where We Came From” are crossover anthems that could  grab airplay on any one of the hundreds of modern pop rock radio stations . “A Love Sublime” contains Dave Clark Five background vocals that make this modern love song connect with the 1960’s. When Beadles sings “Mrs. Jones Cadillac” you can’t help but think of tongue-in-cheek Johnny Cash songs (”My Name Is Sue,” “Cadillac One Piece At A Time”) but, played with the feel of Michael Martin Murphy singing “Wildfire,” even though the lyrics make this a serious tune. The crooned “Sharkskin” rocks somewhere between Timbuk3’s “The Future’s So Bright (I’ve Got To Wear Shades)” and  Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose,” yet  is presented as if it were a Harry Connick, Jr. tune.  “A Prisoner In Chains” sounds awfully similar to the 1991 song “Walk On The Ocean” by Toad The Wet Sprocket. Two melancholy songs, “Caroline” and “Happiness Is Small,” are modern versions of street corner “doo-wop” (without the “wop”) and the final track, “Indian Summer,” is a modern country/pop crossover love song reminiscent of any of a dozen Carpenters tunes.

I finally got around to looking at the liner notes on the CD cover and, low and behold, The Ripple Effect’s own Racer and Pope John are thanked by Beadles.  It appears that Ripple Music in association with Tactile Records released the album.  Good job gentlemen.

- Old School

Buy here: Kevin Beadles

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