Monday, June 20, 2011
An Electrying Edifice of Ebullient EP's - Featuring Frost Hammer, Aaron Zimmer, Prevenge/Dig It Up, and Bacchus Baracus
Sometimes you just get lucky. There I was, minding my own business, sharing a club sandwich with my father-in-law, when an email pops across my iPhone. Nothing too unusual. At the Ripple we get over 400 band submissions a month. But something about this email caught my eye. First, they were local boys, coming from San Jose, and I always want to support local music. Second, this wasn't a demo or a first ep, or some fine studio recording. What came across were 3 tracks, all recorded live at Reeds Studios, the first of many to come from these guys. Now, that takes balls. To introduce yourself to the world through three songs cut live. No overdubs. No glossy production. Just guitars, bass, drum, and occasional vocal. Yes, we have balls. Welcome to our world. We are Frost Hammer.
And fuck if they aren't! Forget the overdubs. What we got here are three searing tracks of guitar fury, detuned and bottom end heavy. We're mixing the root of Sabbath with some retro-70's Nugent guitar histrionics and groove and tossing in a hint of NWOBHM riffing. "Master of Weapon" is my off the cuff favorite. But that's not to say the others aren't killer. "Void" and "Wizard Tooth" both decimate with earthquake inducing doom riffing and guitar work that comes across like a cross between Iommi and Satriani. In other words, the cat can shread when he wants to but knows the value of keeping it simple and clean. "Wizard Tooth," is just a monster of post-Sabbath riffery that tosses in some furious NWOBHM finese, and stop-start time changes. "Void" is an instrumental that never loses focus and simply terrorizes.
This isn't really an EP. More songs from these sessions are coming and a full length is due soon. So keep your eyes open. But I just couldn't wait til then to give these guys some press. Retro-riff rockers, seek them out!
Hear them at the Frost Hammer Band Page.
Aaron Zimmer - This Time Next Year
It was last year sometime that we at the Ripple fell under the spell of earnest singer/songwriter Aaron Zimmer, and his full throttle pop. Now after spending a year playing in the NY area, Aaron comes back with his first new EP, This Time Next Year, and the maturation in song-writing is like a new day dawning. Playing it a bit looser and rootsier than most of the debut album, This Time Next Year is a knock out of a follow up. Aaron seems to be a bit more relaxed, some loose strumming of his acoustic guiding most songs like the erstwhile "Broken Records." The single "Honey, Give Me a Hand," we'd already reviewed in these pages after we got wrapped up in its giddy with spontaneity, and it's still my favorite song here. "Cab Fare," a languid ballad, brings out some of Aaron's more country roots while "Conspiracy Theorist" surprises with its horn-section accompaniment.
Just as he did with Live Wires, Aaron has crafted an EP of indy rock perfection. As with all Aaron’s songs, the melody is right in the forefront, bringing me in, letting me know I’m in good hands. The casual rush of the song sweeps over me in a moment of shear pop delight.
Aaron Zimmer band page
Hyper-adrenalinized punk from Montreal. We got us two bands fresh from the recording studio after pounding six cases of Red Bull and tossing in a Rockstar chaser. Jittery hands and flailing hearts avoid the Emergency Room by burning off that chemical concoction pounding away on buzzsaw guitars and pulverized drum skins.
It just doesn't get much better than this. Prevenge's two tracks, "Berry'd Alive" and " Wicked Mess," combine old-school punk chops with modern pop-punk melodic chops and enough blister-riddled fingers and knuckles to make it all work. Guitars chug and spit and slobber and it's all f'ing perfect. Vocals that dig into the punk larynx without ever becoming annoying or whiny are a major plus. I just may have found my new favorite true punk band.
Then comes Dig It Up, spitting and shouting, generally causing a ruckus and setting a bad example for youth everywhere. Slightly choppier, definitely dirtier. Dropping the melody for an extra dose of spleen venting, Dig It Up are the perfect foil for the slightly more polished Prevenge. "Move My Way," is a chaotic blast of poor impulse control in all the best ways. Drums are attacked with no signs of mercy. Guitars leap and jump seemingly at random but altogether forming a cohesive whole. Less pop. More punk. Bring on that big bass line 3/4 in and I'm in heaven. "Cops on Horses," adds even more hardcore intensity with some seriously surprising musical chops. What the hell are they doing when the crunching chords drop out? Punk with a touch of crust? Don't know what to call it. I just want to hear it. Again and again.
Punk rockers look out. This split is for real.
Get it here for free (but please donate) Juicebox Recording Co.
Another find from the brilliant musical minds of the Soda Shop. Here comes a four-song, double whiskey shot of blurred, alcohol dazed retro-stoner power. Massively heavy. Detuned to the point of rattling spleens out of their audience's bodies. Bacchus Baracus bring a lacerated larynx to the tobacco and weed stained proceedings. Going way beyond any Sabbath influence, these cats jump deep into the puddle of Nazareth, spit out the fluid of a sweaty Nugent, and ride the riff waves of Mountain. Thick, ropy chords propel this smoke-fest ever onward through the fuzzy haze. Named after the God of wine, Bacchus and whatever the hell Baracus means, these cats are not content to wallow in the doom misery of much fuzzed-riff rock. They want a party and damn it, if there ain't one, they're gonna get it started.
"The Longest Day," simply terrorizes, ripping through it's riffs with an orgy-feeding frenzy. "Dr Chu" marries a post-Fu Manchu fuzzmania to a serious beat. Damn, this song cooks. The pummeling, dirty, and bottom-heavy blues riffs of "Rock and Roll Man," probably serves as the band's morning mantra. And by morning, of course I mean three in the afternoon when they finally get their asses out of bed to deal with the hangover from the night before. This song even sounds like a Roman chant to me, getting the testosterone burning as the gladiators are paraded out for a night of pagan delights with the wives of all the old and frigid senators.
Seriously cool stuff.
Listen and get it here: Bacchus Baracus