Saturday, May 31, 2014
Some artists and albums grow on me. Initially, I may not care for a work, but, I will occasionally put it in the digital rotation until something else comes along that catches my ear. My procrastination in clearing out the playlist queue at times has led me to reassess my first impression and come to really like an effort that I originally dismissed. One such artist and album has been popping up in my playlist now and then since its release in 2011 - Ivan Appelrouth and his fifteen track album titled "Blues and Instrumental!" It took a while but now I get it.
For the past two decades there has been very little money for most gigging musicians in playing gigs or selling music. Due to free file-sharing and streaming services, and the decline of physical media in favor of downloads, many artists have had to turn to other ways to keep the music alive and make a living. It is that desire that I believe led to Ivan Appelrouth's 2011 release.
Appelrouth is an obscure, but rather well-credentialed, blues guitarist. He played with his teacher and mentor, the blues legend Duke Robillard, on several releases and also as a session musician on albums by a number of other well known blues bands. Blues and Instrumental! was Appelrouth's first release as a band leader.
It is not your ordinary blues album. First, it is entirely instrumental (over time that formula has come to remind me of the approach The Ventures took to making albums) and, second, it is recorded to try to land TV and movie placements. In 2011 few artists realized that the only place decent money in the future would be made in making and playing music for media placement deals. TV and movies pay nicely for music performance rights and the artists get mailbox money every time their music runs. Appelrouth appears to be one of the first in the blues community to realize that those placement deals would become the difference between a comfortable existence, survival, endless touring and life on the street.
On Blues and Instrumental! Appelrouth's guitar is accompanied by John Cocuzzi on piano and vibraphone; Dave Cwiklinski on trumpet; Tommy Hannigan and Steve Potter on acoustic and electric bass; "Big" Joe Maher on drums; Steve Utt on Hammond B-3; and Chris Watling on tenor and baritone saxophones. The album is full of originals and sprinkled with covers of songs by some of Appelrouth's biggest influences - T-Bone Walker's "Strolling With Bone," Albert Collins' "Frosty" and Acker Bilk's "Stranger on the Shore." Appelrouth also swings and jumps like the Duke. Check out "Booky's Boogie," "Drivin' With Ivan" and "The Uptown Downtown Groove." It took me a while, - plenty of unhurried listenings - before I fully appreciated how smokin' hot Appelrouth's lead guitar is and how well he uses his rhythm, horn and keyboard sidemen.
Appelrouth understood something well before most in the industry and that is this - in the new music economy, pay the bills by gigging as much and as often as you can. However. your financial security may only come through successful media placements and licensing. The audience that will sustain you financially is movie and TV producers. The audience that will sustain you physically and emotionally shows up for your shows, and more will if you are successful in obtaining media placements of your material. It comes down to this, if you want to be successful today, and in the immediate future, know your audience.
That target audience isn't you or me, unless you are a movie mogul, but we still get to listen and be fans, even if it takes us awhile to get there.
- Old School
Friday, May 30, 2014
Dallas swampadelic fuzz faction, WO-FAT, today drops a brand new resin-coated canticle for your bong-ripping enjoyment. Titled "The Conjuring," the smoke-fueled number comes by way of the band's forthcoming new full-length of the same name.
Much in the same vein as their last two offerings - 2012's The Black Code and 2011's Noche del Chupacabra - The Conjuring boasts big jams and brawny riffs, the sort of record that turns the vaguely interested into converts and makes the corners on squares look even sharper. Guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter are jazz-combo tight and their roll is easy and natural, much like Fu Manchu, but far bigger and in the case of The Conjuring, far darker. There's been a creature lurking in the woods since WO FAT's 2006 debut, The Gathering Dark. Their second album, 2009's Psychedelonaut, pulled back on the threat some to lighten the mood, but whether it's the motor-driven rush of "Read The Omens" or the you're-already-lost-in-it riff-exploration of seventeen-minute closer "Dreamwalker," The Conjuring is indeed a backwoods ritual. Bluesmen have sold their souls for less. Topped off with a mastering job from Nolan Brett at Stump's studio and an otherworldly cover courtesy of Alexander Von Wieding, the beast that WO FAT's tectonic riffage calls to earth has never seemed more real or more alive than it does on The Conjuring.
Get down with the contact high of "The Conjuring," now smoking out the airwaves of Revolver at THIS LOCATION.
And if you missed it, check out "Beggar's Bargain" at THIS LOCATION.
The Conjuring will drop via Small Stone on June 17th, 2014 on CD, vinyl, and digitally. The vinyl edition -- 180 gram vinyl with deluxe jacket and poly-lined sleeves -- comes in transparent red or black, each limited to 250 copies.
In related news, WO FAT is currently levying their stoner rituals overseas on a twelve-date trek that commenced on May 27th in London. The journey includes an appearance at the illustrious Freak Valley Festival (today) sharing the stage with Truckfighters, Blues Pill, Solstafir, Mothership and more!
WO-FAT Live 2014 [remaning dates]:
5/30/2014 Freak Valley Festival 2014 - Netphen, DE
5/31/2014 Jagerklause - Berlin, DE
6/01/2014 Fonobar - Waraw, POL
6/02/2014 Chemiefabrik - Dresden, DE
6/03/2014 Chemiefabrik - Munich, DE
6/04/2014 Kinski - Zurich, SW
6/05/2014 Le Volume - Nice, FR
6/06/2014 Rocksound - Barcelona, ESP
6/07/2014 Peyote Fest - Madrid, ESP
5/30/2014 Freak Valley Festival 2014 - Netphen, DE
5/31/2014 Jagerklause - Berlin, DE
6/01/2014 Fonobar - Waraw, POL
6/02/2014 Chemiefabrik - Dresden, DE
6/03/2014 Chemiefabrik - Munich, DE
6/04/2014 Kinski - Zurich, SW
6/05/2014 Le Volume - Nice, FR
6/06/2014 Rocksound - Barcelona, ESP
6/07/2014 Peyote Fest - Madrid, ESP
Preorder WO-FAT's The Conjuring today via Small Stone at THIS LOCATION.
In addition to their upcoming European tour and stateside performance at This Is Hardcore Fest, reformed Santa Cruz hardcore act BL'AST has just confirmed several upcoming July East Coast gigs.
As previously announced, following their invasion of the European continent -- beginning at the massive Hellfest in Clission, France on June 21st, and running through Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark on July 4th -- BL'AST will take part in the four-day Philadelphia-based This Is Hardcore Fest. But this week an additional pair of shows has just added, with BL'AST now confirmed to hit New York City and Boston preceding the festival. This three-day run will mark the band's first East Coast shows in over two decades!
The new BL'AST! live lineup sees original vocalist Clifford Dinsmore (Dusted Angel, Gargantula) and guitarist Mike Neider (LAB) joined by Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Mondo Generator) on bass and Joey Castillo (Queens Of The Stone Age, Danzig, Eagles Of Death Metal, Goatsnake, Wasted Youth) on drums. In 2013 Southern Lord released the newly-revamped vintage recordings from BL'AST! in the form of the Blood! LP, the recording mixed by Dave Grohl at his 606 Studios on the legendary Neve console as featured in the recent Grohl-produced documentary Sound City. Then in March of this year the label released The Expression Of Power, including several different sessions/recordings of the band's seminal debut LP, The Power of Expression. BL'AST!'s boundary-pushing form of hardcore, advanced musicianship, unstoppable energy and intense perseverance is as prominent now as it ever was.
BL'AST! Tour Dates:
6/21/2014 Hellfest - Clisson, France
6/23/2014 Stick Mikes - Brighton, UK
6/24/2014 The Fleece - Bristol, UK
6/25/2014 Star and Garter - Manchester, UK
6/26/2014 Audio - Glasgow, UK
6/27/2014 Underworld - London, UK
6/28/2014 Schlachthof - Wiesbaden, Germany
6/29/2014 PMK - Innsbruck, Austria
6/30/2014 Freakout Club - Bologna, Italy
7/01/2014 Lo Fi Club - Milano, Italy
7/02/2014 Vipor Room - Wien, Austria
7/03/2014 Magnet - Berlin, Germany
7/04/2014 Roskilde Festival 2014 - Roskilde, Denmark
7/23/2014 Santos Party House - New York, NY
7/24/2014 Great Scott - Allston, MA
7/25/2014 Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA @ This Is Hardcore Fest
Watch for additional BL'AST! updates as the year continues. For all coverage of BL'AST! and Southern Lord artists and releases, in North and South America contact firstname.lastname@example.org and in Europe contact email@example.com.
Sometimes I feel like Sabbath planted a sapling way back in 1970 and ever since then that tree has grown into a gnarled, giant banyan full of character and ever reaching around itself to entrap more disciples of dark, ominous tone. That magnificent tree is impressive, but perhaps it’s finest moment is realized when a group of young artists take it’s soul and cauldron it up with a brilliant mix of Pacific Northwest Soundgarden-esque groove.
Seattle’s Ancient Warlocks deftly weave these powerful, classic influences throughout the full 8 tracks like old, battered artisans of the stoner scene. One minute you are face down in the heavy riffage of Super Wizard, and the next you are riding the Sweet’s Too Slow monorail through the Emerald City. It’s a strong record through and through without a weak track and that’s getting more rare in today’s music market where single sales rule the roost.
The album originally saw it’s European release on Lay Bare Recordings back in November, but sees it’s US debut Saturday May 31st on STB Records at Noon EST.
STB is a purveyor of premium vinyl releases that have historically been as much art on the exterior as within the grooves of the records themselves. You will find this Ancient Warlocks release to be no different, and the variety of selection includes splattered hues of white, black and clear ranging from extremely affordable up to a “die hard” version that contains a wearable cloak and alternate artwork by W Ralph Walters.
Ultimately, I think Ancient Warlocks produced something magical here. They used the Sabbath banyan tree, but built a house all their own within the branches and gave it the full Seattle interior decorating treatment. Climb on up and give it a try. You may stay a long, long while.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
New album 'Sonic Child' due in September
After the successful release of “A Hiding Place” in 2013 and an intense touring campaign all over Europe in its support, the German blues rock four-piece ZODIAC have once again entered Megaphon Tonstudios with producer Martin Meinschäfer in order to record their next album, which is expected to be released in North America on September 16.
To bridge the gap until the release, ZODIAC have decided to unveil a new music video for their track “Free” (taken from “A Hiding Place”), which features footage shot recently during the band’s trip to London in order to perform two sets at the Desert Fest UK event at the end of April. Check it out at Pure Grain Audio or streaming below:
ZODIAC recently checked in from the studio to give a status report, announcing the name of the upcoming album and also to comment on the clip as follows:
“Hey folks! Good news from the studio -- we just started with the vocals, and it sounds amazing so far. We are pretty sure that you’ll like the new stuff. The title of the new album will be 'Sonic Child,' and it’s gonna be a concept album. More details on that soon…
"To shorten the waiting time, we've got a little video for 'Free' from our last record 'A Hiding Place' for you. It was filmed on our road trip to the Desert Fest London! So please enjoy and make sure to get your ticket for the Zodiac headliner tour in fall 2014!”
UPCOMING ZODIAC TOUR DATES:
5/29 Netphen, DE - Freak Valley Festival
5/30 Pilsen, CZ - Metalfest Pilsen
6/6 Gelsenkirchen, DE - Rock Hard Festival
6/19 St. Goarhausen, DE - Metalfest Loreley
6/22 Clisson, FR - Hellfest
6/28 Bourlon, FR - Rock in Bourlon Festival
7/31 Burg Herzberg, DE - Burg Herzberg Festival
8/29 Worrstadt bei mainz, DE - Neuborn Open Air Festival
9/6 Raismes, FR - Raismes Fest
9/19 Koln, DE - Underground
9/20 Essen, DE - Turock
9/21 Osnabruck, DE - Bastard Club
9/23 Munchen, DE - Backstage
9/24 Nurnberg, DE - Rockfabrik
9/26 Aarau, CH - Kiff
9/27 Milano, Italy - Lo-Fi
9/28 Bologna, Italy - Freak Out
10/3 Hamburg, DE - Rock Cafe St. Pauli
10/4 Frankfurt, DE - Das Bett
10/5 Berlin, DE - Privatclub
More dates to be announced soon…
Stay tuned to:
Sophomore Album BATHED IN BLOOD Out Now.
Band To Tour With WILD THRONE And APE MACHINE This Summer.
The wait is over! The saga of Seattle sludge rockers WITCHBURN’s "Der Hexenhammer" premieres today on Revolvermag.com and also in the current edition of Revolver's "Worlds Loudest Newsletter." Directed by Jeff Ferrell (Ghost Light) this music video takes us through the sacrificial and slaughterous history of those accused of practicing witchcraft in centuries past.
Watch "Der Hexenhammer" now via Revolvermag.com:
"Der Hexenhammer" is the very first video from the downtuned female fronted four piece. The single comes off the current album Bathed In Blood which is available now on iTunes.
Before taking off on tour with WILD THRONE and APE MACHINE this summer; friends, families, and fans will join WITCHBURN at home in Seattle, WA where they will celebrate with an official release party at Feedback Lounge. The band will be performing a special, acoustic set of re-invented originals and will then be joined onstage by friends from multiple Seattle area bands for an all-acoustic tribute to Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne and Dio. It all goes down this Friday May 30th. Check out Facebook for more details.
WITCHBURN's self released 'BATHED IN BLOOD' was recorded by Jack Endino and is available now on iTunes.
“Jamie Nova's voice takes no prisoners. Bluesy and deep, gritty and unfaltering- think, ''Black Velvet, If You Please'' but without all the drama. It makes sense considering her years of practice in her other endeavor, the AC/DC tribute band Hells Belles, as Bon Scott-Brian Johnson. In the Seattle-based Witchburn, Nova's strong vocals are a quintessential match for straightforward rock. Guitarist Mischa Kianne, who's been hammering away metal riffs since junior high, is her six-string equivalent. With a debut album produced by Jack Endino, the man behind seemingly every good band from Nirvana to High on Fire, Witchburn is rock incarnate.” --San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Seattle's Witchburn has that seething, Southern-fried hard rock-meet-metal style that's hard to listen to without at least a little head banging. If a witch were to burn, she'd probably howl similarly to the band's throaty female vocalist, Jamie Nova. She snarls, she hollers -- holding notes over wailing guitar. The band's latest release, This Is How We Slay Our Demons, is full of juicy metal.” --The San Francisco Weekly
The band is also currently writing heavier than ever material for a third album, stay tuned!
Featuring former HELL'S BELLES vocalist Jamie Nova, guitar and violinist Mischa Kianne, Dana Sims on drums and bassist Jacy Peckham; WITCHBURN delivers passion forward southern-edged sludge metal infused rock. Tapping into a classic rock vein with gritty guitar lines, their smoky grooves remain deep and heavy. Their current album BATHED IN BLOOD is seething with ready-for-battle anthems, apocalyptic overtones and dirty, doom-laden riffs that keep your ears at attention while confirming that these are dedicated musicians with genuine love for all that is heavy. See for yourself all summer when WITCHBURN hits the road this June!
WITCHBURN Upcoming Dates:
5/30 - Feedback Lounge (Seattle, WA)
6/13 - Flights Pub (Everett, WA)
6/14 - Emerald Of Siam (Richland, WA)
Tour Dates with WILD THRONE and APE MACHINE
6/27 - The Hop (Spokane, WA)
6/28 - El Corazon (Seattle, WA)
6/30 - The Hawthorne (Portland, OR)
7/1 - The Shredder (Boise, ID)
7/2 - Mesa Theatre (Grand Junction, CO)
7/3 - Moon Room (Denver, CO)
7/4 - Lofi (Salt Lake City, UT)
7/5 - Sunshine Studios (Colorado Springs, CO)
Q: How did you get started running an independent record label?
A: I started Unable Records in May 2007, with the encouragement of my
wife, because I had started to feel out-of-touch with the scene. Back in
the late 1990's I had been in a punk band and had made an attempt at
starting a record label; both of which had fizzled out. There were about
7 years there where, other than going to shows, I didn't really have much
connection to the scene. As the years went on I realized, much like
anyone who's ever been a part of this industry, that music was in my blood
and I needed to find a way to stay involved. So, with 2 investors and the
lessons learned from my previous attempt, I formed Unable Records in
Jacksonville, FL in May of 2007. We moved to New Jersey (home again for
me) in August of 2008.
Q: What motivated you? Did you tap into a particular local scene or were
you aiming to capture a sound?
A: My motivation when I founded the label was pretty much the same as it
is now: to keep myself involved in the the music industry; to continue to
be around creative people, to be a part of something creative. I want to
contribute to the scene, I want to help out. With that said, I can't say
that I tapped into a particular local scene. At the time of Unable's
beginnings in Jacksonville, the music scene there was quite weak. We
tried to put on shows, and did, but it was always a huge challenge getting
people to come out, and even getting bands to play. I had to take comfort
in the fact that scenes elsewhere where thriving. That and my fond
memories of the 1990's New Jersey scene, that I grew up in, kept me going.
I wouldn't say that I was aiming to capture a certain sound either. Now,
having said that, I started Unable Records to be a punk rock label. Punk
rock is what I know, inside and out; it's what I play and what I listen
to. I've always been a huge fan of bands like The Queers, Screeching
Weasel, Mr. T Experience, Green Day, and being from NJ, the Bouncing
Souls. Bands with that sound where what I sort envisioned when I started,
but I never exclusively sought out those types of bands. My only real
caveat was that I had to be able to listen to, to really enjoy, any music
that my label put out. That caveat has been my guide ever since.
Q: You describe your label as a Co-op between bands and label. Talk
about that for a while?
A: This one is huge for me! I have always believed that competition in a
scene can destroy it, while collaboration can foster it. Time and time
again I have seen record labels exploit bands with terrible contracts.
I've seen booking agents make promises that they never intended to keep.
I've even seen bands step on one another, in fact go out of their way to
smear or denigrate another band, just to get ahead or to project the image
of getting ahead. In every case like that there's no winner. Bands break
up, record labels put out crappy records, venues collapse, people stop
going to shows, and so on. It can become very depressing, but I've always
wanted to solve those problems.
Part of the mission of Unable Records, from the very beginning, was to
give bands a shot that otherwise would have been "unable" on their own.
Rather than go out and grab a sure thing, we wanted to take a little bit
of a financial risk, put our money into a project that we felt was
deserving of it; use our resources to help bands that lacked money,
contacts, or know-how, but didn't lack talent and heart.
The projects that we've taken on have all been collaborations like this.
At the end of day, it's the band's music, but we like to feel that we
contributed too, because of the way in which we all worked together to
make it happen. We aren't out just to make a quick buck...we put our
heart and soul into these projects just as much as the bands do. Our
contracts are written so that once we have covered the costs of a project,
all of the income is split 50/50 with the band involved. It's a true
partnership. For me, as long as we make enough money to continue putting
out records, to keep contributing something to the scene, and helping
bands, then I'll be happy.
We really try to surround ourselves with, and work with, bands that see
the scene in this way. We encourage our bands to work with and help other
bands. We are always open to working with other record labels or
distributors to cross promote and help sell each other's merchandise, that
sort of thing. Some might see it has helping the enemy, aiding the
competition. I don't see it that way. I believe that if we all work
together the music industry will become a healthier place, capable of
supporting us all.
One last note on this: I believe in this concept so much that in the
summer of 2013 I co-founded a music and arts non-profit called 1776 Local.
It's mission is to build the type of scene that I've described by giving
everyone who is involved in some way, a seat at the table. For those who
might be interested, they can check out www.1776local.org.
A: The first release that Unable Records issued was a re-release of
material that was put out on my failed label in the late '90s. Unable
compiled several releases and put them out as the "Under the Radar" album
by my former band, Point Blank.
The first NEW release that Unable Records put out was a split record
called "Dropping Expectations". Released in December of 2007, it featured
a punk and reggae band called The Bastard Suns and a punk rock band called
No Fuego. Each band contributed 7 songs. We worked on this album from
start to finish, and it is still one of my favorite albums of all time. I
Q: There's so much to learn about running a label, share with us some of
the lessons you've learned along the way.
A: Most importantly, if you are going to run a label, you've really got
to have a passion for what you are going. You've got to love the music,
you've got to love the scene, and you've got to really want to be doing
it. It is HARD work, often very tedious and frustrating, and it is damn
near impossible to make any real money doing it. With that said, I can't
imagine NOT doing it. It is extremely rewarding to get a record
completed, see it selling, and hear positive feedback from critics and
fans. Just don't expect anyone to notice the record label; you've gotta
be content to make your contributions to the scene "under the radar".
It's about the art, not the recognition. But the recognition is awesome
when it comes!
If you were looking for lessons from the business side of things, let me
know when you find some: I need them. I've been making this up as I go
along for years now.
Q: What's been your label's high point? Low point?
A: I can honestly say that the label is at a high point right now. About
6 months ago I brought on a new business partner to assist in completely
overhauling Unable Records. His name is Jason Ruch, owner of 0x1 Sound
Studio in Cherry Hill, NJ. I'd known Jay for some time and had taken some
studio projects to him. In addition to being an audio genius, Jay is an
awesome friend and shares my "co-op" approach to the music scene.
About 6 months ago we decided to merge the operations of our businesses,
effectively creating one company with three separate divisions: 1.
Unable Records continues to be the record label that we know and love, 2.
0x1 Sound Studio continues to be, hands down, the finest recording
facility that I have ever seen, and 3. we created a full service music
distribution, licensing, and promotions company called Unable
Distribution. Unable Distribution does a lot of the same stuff that we
were doing at Unable Records, but we are now able to work with a
significantly higher number of bands because of the fact that we aren't
taking huge financial risks on every project.
The 3 partners in the company (Jason, my wife Amanda, and I) are jointly
and equally involved in the operation of each of our three divisions. We
have also been lucky enough to be able to bring on some outstanding staff
members over the last few months.
As for our lowest point...who cares? That was so 3 years ago.
Q: Who would you like to work with, but haven't yet?
A: I'm sure there are a ton of people out there that I haven't met yet
that would be awesome to work with. I'd love to work with them all. I
can't really think of some well known band or company that I'm dying to
work with. Instead, I'll work with anyone who shares my outlook and
values. It would be awesome, however, to work with Billie Joe Armstrong.
I'm just sayin'...
Q: What changes do you see ahead for the music industry?
A: This one is tough for me. I'm not sure if it is because I'm ignorant,
or I'm afraid of what might lay ahead for the industry, but I really can't
make a prediction on where things go from here. I mean, for years now
I've seen everyone involved in the industry, from bands to labels to
venues, becoming more and more isolated. No one seems willing to help
each other out. Bands work alone to promote themselves instead of working
with others to promote the whole scene. Businesses do all kinds of stuff
to make a quick buck off of struggling musicians. I don't get it. But
that's why the "Co-op" approach, and organizations like 1776 Local, are so
important to me. I think that this has to change, and will change. I
think that the sense of community can be returned to the scene.
On the business side of things, streaming services like Spotify and
Pandora have totally changed the game for independent musicians. We are
able to reach audiences that just 10 years ago would have been
unthinkable. On the flip side, pay rates for musicians using streaming
services are downright insulting. As more and more consumers switch from
purchasing music to streaming it on-demand, making a living as a musician
is becoming harder and harder, as these services literally pay fractions
of pennies per stream. Something will have to change here too, and I
think it will, at least I hope it will. I think that sooner or later this
industry will realize that it is worth paying a decent royalty to the
creators of this fantastic art that we so enjoy. Otherwise, not many
people will be left to create it.
Q: What are you doing to stay on top of new and emerging technology?
A: Well, I'm certainly not in the "old guy" category, but I'll admit that
I do have trouble staying on top of tech developments. This is a problem
that Amanda and Jay (my two partners) suffer from too. So, we've decided
to surround ourselves with a young, tech-savvy staff; they "educate" us
daily in a "not-at-all snotty" way.
Q: What's the biggest challenge facing you today as an independent label?
A: Same challenge that independent labels have always faced: time and
money. Not enough of either. In addition, the same old challenge of
getting past the industry "gate-keepers" still exists. Things are perhaps
getting better here...we are more successful in getting access to things
like radio play and featured placements in retail outlets, but the walls
are definitely still there. It's still all about who you know.
Q: Seems that the sound of the bands you sign keeps evolving. What do
you look for in your bands?
A: As I said before, the biggest things that I look for in a band is
whether they share my values as they relate to the music industry and
whether or not I really enjoy their music. If the style of bands that we
sign has evolved over the years, it is probably because I've learned to
appreciate a wider variety of music as I've gotten older. Punk rock will
always be my favorite, but I've learned that there is certainly beauty
I've also found that due to the expansion of the company, with 0x1 Sound
Studio and Unable Distribution, I've had the opportunity to work with
bands of all different genres and styles that I never would have
encountered before. I've found it rewarding to get outside of my comfort
Q: How do you find your artists? Are you a club rat, constantly
searching live venues for cool acts?
A: I'm definitely NOT a club rat anymore. When I was a kid I went to
shows constantly. Now though, I just don't have the time. I have two
children, 6 and 4 year old boys, so my free time ain't what it used to be.
I do make time to go to the shows that are important to me. In fact I'm
looking forward to taking my 6 year old to a Bouncing Souls show, but in
general going to shows just isn't as high on my priority list as it once
We generally now find bands through demo submissions. Bands will send us
press kits, we review everything that we get, and if we like what we hear
we'll get in touch with the band. We'll do a little research on them,
hear more of their material, get to know them a bit and see what happens.
Q: What are you looking for now?
A: Nothing in particular actually. Just music that moves me to take a
chance. It's out there, just don't know when I'll find it. But I will.
We've worked with lots of great bands, lots of great people. I'm just
looking to continue that ride.
Q: Are you involved in all the creative decisions?
A: Not necessarily...it depends on the project. Some bands will come to
us needing and wanting guidance and advice. They'll want us to be a part
of their creative process. For those bands, I will definitely make some
creative decisions. I might go into the studio with them to produce, or I
might simply offer editorial changes.
Other times, bands don't need or want creative input from the label. Our
label is structured in such a way that we won't force our selves into a
band's creative process. If we don't like what they are doing creatively,
we probably wouldn't have agreed to work with them in the first place. So
generally speaking, I'll be as hands on, or as hands off, as the band
wants me to be.
For business decisions, and promo and marketing decisions the story is
different. All 3 partners are very involved in all of those decisions.
Q: What would you like to see happen for the future of the music industry
and your label in particular?
A: I would love to see more people adopt my "co-op" approach to the
industry. I wish more bands would work together, help one another out.
I'd love to see established bands begin to mentor the emerging acts, take
them on the road, introduce them to their "contact lists". I'd love to
see more businesses that understand that, at the end of the day, the music
is still the most important thing in the music industry.
As for my company, I'd love to see us expand. I'd love to be able to
create a ton of jobs. It would give me immense pleasure to pay people a
living wage to work in a field that they love. I'd love to be known,
whether through Unable Records, the studio, or Unable Distribution as a
company that exists for the betterment of the art, for the betterment of
the community. I'd love to see people embrace those ideals, and help us
become wildly successful because of it. I'd love for Unable to become a
household name, and a name fondly associated with a "community approach"
to the music industry.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
First off, if you can’t tell by the cover, this album is trippy (in the most beautiful way). After two minutes into some of the most genuine country crooning to ever cross my speakers, the lead-off track, “Turtles On The Way Down”, Sturgill breaks the mold with obvious psychedelic flourishes. It made me want to cry. With a voice that comes at you like a velvet shotgun, it would be hard not to. Like I said....it’s EVERYTHING I think country music could be. Even the music video for the track is beautiful and engaging; a perfect compliment to the composition. However, the single is just the start of this record.
This isn’t a record with standout tracks. It’s a standout record. It’s been forever since I have heard anything that just seemed so natural to me. Songs like “Life of Sin”, “Just Let Go”, and “It Ain’t All Flowers” boast some off the most pertinent lyrics to anyone who has wrestled with the music business and the existential crises that can emerge from living the parallel life style...or just life in general. Sturgill’s word-smithing seems fluid, natural, and relevant. You don’t have to be a struggling musician to appreciate the beauty that is Metamodern Sounds In Country Music; I just happen to be one. So, Sturgill, if you are reading, I should take this time to extend a major thank you for creating this record. You blew my mind and quieted it all at the same time. There’s a lot of comfort in knowing that someone out there hears country music the way I do.
Now for that ”underrated” thing. I listen to 35 hours of modern ‘country’ music a week because that is what plays at my job...for the last 8 years. I’m pretty up on the who’s who of the scene. I have not heard one mention of this record. It’s kind of ridiculous, as we all know modern ‘country’ to be, but any one of these songs could fly on the radio....except they are too square to put anything that good in their programming. Granted, the single mentions marijuana, LSD, psilocybin, and DMT affectionately, but I swear I have heard Eric Church going on about drinking a little drink and smoking a little smoke. Maybe it’s the amazing production turning them off, but apparently Tim McGraw can use auto-tune and Jason Aldean can rap about living on a dirt road. There of course is Kacey Musgraves with her Nudie-suited band (that reads: smells of record company varnish....but in all fairness, they are a smoking band) playing that “Arrow” song where she is all about getting stoned but they don’t play that one on the radio either. Apparently Sturgill didn’t get that in his deal. Whatever, we all know the score. Fuck modern country music. Metamodern is where it’s at, whether that is on the radio or just streaming from his Bandcamp. Do not pass up a chance where you get to listen to this record. This is a record for music lovers. No genres needed.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Waveriders! I am writing to you today with a clear purpose. What purpose might that be? Why, to extol the virtues of the latest release from Blueprint. He's one of my favorite hip hop artists. I've been supporting his work ever since seeing him perform live years ago as the emcee half of Soul Position. Respect The Architect brings everything I wanted to hear from Blueprint to the table. It's fantastic! You need this album my friends! Here's why.
In my opinion, RTA is an album all about focus. There are no wasted moments. At no point does the music stray onto a tangent. Nope. All of the beats are expertly crafted to keep the listener's head bobbing, and the sampled instrumentation making up these productions simply sound better to my ear than electronic creations. Also, at no point do I feel that a song has overstayed it's welcome. Not once. In fact at the conclusion of the album's running length I am left wanting more. That's perfect! Have you ever listened to a hip hop release and experienced deja vu in terms of lyrical content from song to song? Not here. Not even close! For those curious here's a sample of the wordplay. This is the second verse from album closer "The Climb".
I never write rhymes just because the beat bang / I write rhymes cause I got things I need to say / I never force the pen even if I’m getting paid / I wouldn’t care if it's a song with Nas, Big, and J / You see what I did there, I shouted out the greats / Without name dropping every bar like Game / That ain't even a diss, so don’t get it twisted/ It’s just what my dudes say when they hear him spittin' / Everybody raps so I lie when I'm asked / Say I either work behind a desk or a chef / 'Cause if I tell the truth they gonna ask if they can spit / And I don’t wanna tell them that they sound like shit / See back in the day I probably would of told the truth / 'Cause certain people's feelings used to make me feel cool / But now I got a lot less to prove / I learned it's best to let people do what they do.
Alright waveriders, here's the deal. If you are a hip hop fan and you don't know who Blueprint is then it's time you get familiar. He is the definition of a dual threat. Not only is he a fantastic wordsmith, he is also an excellent producer. Respect The Architect proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. For me personally RTA is one of the standout releases thus far in 2014, and I expect you will feel the same way. You have your assignment folks. Get listening!
Buy Here - http://weightless.net/product/respect-the-architect/
Labels: Blueprint, free album music review zip download new music new album new cd mp3 cd review album ripple music, Respect The Architect
Monday, May 26, 2014
The reason I mention it is that the first thing that struck me about Powered Wig Machine's new album, "Supa-Collider" is that it makes fantastic mudding music. Maybe that was just the state of mind I was in, maybe mudding is a little specific, but I could broaden it to this: Powered Wig Machine's new album, "Supa-Collider" makes fantastic music for outdoor summer activity. Fishing, Swimming, BBQ, Party's, you name it.
It has that cool, laid back punch and swagger that you look for in such music.
It's reminiscent of a Clutch record in its groove, the songs all groove. If you're a tone-freak, you'll love this album. Most of the songs have some really nice guitar and bass tones, I was struck by them so much that I actually asked the band what gear they used; turns out that a bit of the gear is handmade by Wayne, who also runs Zombie Effects Lab. So, you know, check that out.
Favorite songs are always hard for me to pick out. "Here Come the Freaks" is, to me, the most obvious contender for a single on the album. It's catchy, for sure. But I think the album's title track really steals the show. It's just a damn good song in all respects.
This is all American blues rock. There's nothing fancy, nothing groundbreaking, but so what? It's a good album by a great band. It's just fun to listen to, and it makes superb head-bobbing music.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Venom. The band so bad they're awesome. They couldn't play their instruments, Conrad “Cronos” Lant couldn't sing, the lyrics were a mish-mash of pseudo-satanic misogyny. I love this band so much. When I found original drummer Tony “Abaddon” Bray on facebook through mutual friends, I couldn't resist the urge to send him a request for an interview – and within an hour he responded. I could tell from the few messages we've exchanged that he's got a great sense of humor and this is going to be fun.
Even as I type this up I have a goofy grin on my face I can still see a teenage me sewing a Venom patch onto my school backpack and hanging up posters of the original lineup in my room. They didn't look scary (even though they were trying to) and they were a hell of a lot more sexy than Manowar- probably because there was no animal fur involved.
I remember about 10 years ago I was dating a bass player in a Progressive metal band – he absolutely worshiped Rush and Dream Theater. I used to insist on putting Venom tapes on in his car when we went for really long rides to gigs..it drove him nuts. I'm surprised none of the tapes ended up going out the window...
Hi Tony, thanks a lot for doing this. What are you up to right now? Do you still have the studio (Lynx)? I remember reading a while back that you were working on some techno (??) music??
TB: What am I up to now, well I'm working on another Abaddon album, a follow up to I am Legion, Its been a while, but with the advent of social media, I've been able to see how much it means to some people that I record again, so lets see how it pans out. I'm recording in three different places now, including my own studio in Newcastle, its not Lynx anymore. And no, its not techno.
Here's something I always wanted to ask : You had that massive kit onstage was it more about looking good onstage and having huge kits then actually being able to play? Did you ever take any lessons? How did you pick drums? Exactly how much hardware did you have and how big were your kick drums??
TB: Why was the kit so big, hahahahahaha well I had high expectations, and lots of gear always looks cool, though I managed to play all of it at one time or another ahhahahaha. I always wanted a Ludwig kit, it just feels so solid, and, I've just got my original kit back and am restoring it as we speak....literally, I'm covered in rusty shit as I type this.
The bass drums are 2x26inch and I have 10, 12, 2x 13, 2x 14, 16, and 18
Speaking of stage shows – when did this obsession with pyro start? I read about you setting off explosions in the small church you used to practice in during the early days.
TB: Yeah I love pyros, proper big stuff, and we always used them in rehearsals, we blew up that old church a few times. I've always been in charge of stage design and management and love the job.
Was there a rivalry between Venom and some of the other bands on the Neat label? Is it true Neat were pushing Raven and Tygers of Pan Tang more? Are you friends with those guys now?
TB: There was a healthy rivalry between us and the other bands on the Neat label, because we were a bit different, and they were out....paying their dues...round the local venues, we were never into that....probably to fucking lazy. hahahaha
TB: I think to call a band Venom there has to be more than one original member in the band. So whats out there now does not constitute Venom to me. M:Pire are mainly playing Prime Evil time Venom material, and there are more than one member of that band so that's more reasonable in my eyes.
I'm not afraid to say that I actually like “Prime Evil”, “Temples of Ice” and “The Waste Lands” but I can see how they weren't “Venom” enough for the Venom fans. Do you think of you re-named the band when Conrad left then the albums wouldn't be pre-judged based on the Venom name? Is there bad blood between you and Jeff vs. Conrad?
TB: Yeah there's bad blood with the Venom camp. Always was, always will be.
And now the “things I always wanted to know”
Whatever happened to the silver spandex pants??
Who pulled the most girls at Venom's heyday (and if you want to plead the fifth so as not to offend your better half than I understand)
Why did you always wear sunglasses on and offstage? It was a good signature look, but I always thought it was because you wore regular glasses and just couldn't see!!
TB: The spandex pants were given to Rudy from Scorps, I pulled all the girls, obviously hahahahahah, and yep I need normal glasses as I'm pretty much blind and thought darker ones looked cool.
Where can fans find out what you're up to? Is there a website?
TB: You can find lots more including pics of the refurbished kit on my Abaddon face book site.
Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Abaddon/677240588960267
Tony's personal facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bray.tony.5
Saturday, May 24, 2014
At one time it was difficult to find good Southern food in the Pacific Northwest. Field theory suggests that localities will eventually spread out until they reach a steady state of relatively even distribution. Such theory applied may account for the recent proliferation of rib, chicken, 'slaw and grits serving restaurants on the West Coast - from San Diego to Seattle. The food has brought a music genre with it - kick ass Southern rock.
Southern rock and food are not new to the Left Coast. The Pacific has always paid reverence to the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band, to name a few of the rock legends who perform the genre. There are even a few performers who pumped out great Southern-tinged rock who originated from the West Coast, such as John Fogerty and the Doobie Brothers, but they have been far and few between, until now.
The genre as diffused across all geographical lines. Want proof? Pick up the album A Reckoning Is Coming by SweetKiss Momma. The four piece band hails from Pullyap, Washington. That is about as Pacific Northwest as Pacific Northwest gets. Jeff Hamel sings. Aaron Arnold plays guitar. Jeremy Hamel plays bass. Jimmy Hughs beats the drums. For the album Dan Walker helped out on keyboards and Kim Hamel provided background vocals thereby making the album a family effort. A Reckoning Is Coming was produced by a founding member of Wilco, Ken Coomer, and engineered by Richard Dodd (Tom Petty, John Lennon, Johnny Cash . . . . )
This is not fancified or watered down Southern rock. It is smoking hot Southern roots rock n' roll . Among the confederation of songs on the album you get a slide guitar delta blues-inspired opener, "Fix My Hair"; the double-barreled shotgun of lead attack on the title track; the boogie of "Dirty Uncle Deezer"; genial sentimentality with "Same Old Story"; an acoustic instrumental, "Laura Rose"; as well as two versions of a back porch jam number, "Breathe Rebel."
So, now, you don't have to look toward the Gulf of Mexico for good southern music and food. You can go to the Pacific Northwest and see SweetKiss Momma. Go to dinner before the show. I recommend the organic wild Pacific Salmon jambalaya.
- Old School
Friday, May 23, 2014
I bought it on a whim, really. I was just starting to get tired of rock and roll, there wasn't anything exciting happening that I knew about, and almost every band I enjoyed was dead. So, I browsed around allmusic for a while and somehow came across this. The reviews hailed it as album of the year and such, so I grabbed it.
When I first listened to it, I was disappointed. I was a kid who played drums, this had no drums, in fact, no beat. It was slow, and not much was happening in the songs. But for some reason, I listened to it again, and again, I started to "get" it. I could hear the differences in songs, some of them even started to get stuck in my head (Heavy Water, Stuck). The album transitions from gentle and beautiful to almost menacing at times.
It really is an achievement. Don't expect clean crisp recordings, the music is hazy, like watching a play by candlelight while looking through a thin sheet. It almost sounds like you're listening to it through water.
I've called it a work in the "ambient" genre, and that might be a little misleading. It's not solely that. It has enough in common with the genre for me to relate them, but it's a little pop, more folk, and just whatever it is that Grouper (Liz Harris) does. I think she accomplishes what she sets out to do with the album, which is, to create an auditory representation of dream.
It's really a fantastic album, and really a gorgeous piece of music.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Welcome back Prong, welcome back! It's about time this mighty New York band returns in full swing the way they used to be. On stage they have kept the flag flying but the last three studio albums have left a lot to be desired. So much potential has been wasted the last eleven years. 'Carved In Stone' from 2012 is alright; 'Power Of The Damager' from 2009 is so-so while 2003's 'Scorpio Rising' is horrendous to say the least. So it was with trepidation I pressed play expecting disappointment to be honest. How wrong I was! Immediately I'm thrust into a state of euphoria and elation as sole original member Tommy Victor along with Tony Campos, bass guitar, and Alexei Rodriguez, drums, are doing what Prong is supposed to do..annihilate!
From the moment Turnover' emanates from my speakers until closer 'Limitations And Validations' rings out I am floored, absloutely mangled! The sheer brute force Prong unleashes knocks the breath out of me. And I love it because each listen lifts 'Ruining Lives' and in the process it brings back to life the Prong I once knew. It's vibrant, pulsing and so alive. My blood starts to pump and I can't stop bouncing off the walls as Tommy's razor sharp riffs shreds through my already damaged head like a lazer beam.
Apart from sounding outstanding another remarkable feature is Tommy's voice. The bile and anger is back and he spits out his contempt with such conviction that I haven't heard from him in a long, long time. Our world is going to shits quickly which I am sure has been a huge inspiriation for him. Just listen to 'The Barricades', 'Windows Shut', 'Self Will Run Riot' and 'Limitations And Validations' and you know what I mean. If this doesn't make anyone fuel their frustration I don't know what. Regardless, we the people need Prong to stand on the barricades leading the masses against the forces of oppression and corruption.
Stand out tracks on 'Ruining Lives' are the title track, 'Turnover', Windows Shut', 'Absence Of Light', 'Self Will Run Riot' and 'Come To Realize'. They all pretty much represents this release. The common thread is brutally heavy music with buzzsaw guitars, extreme riffing and an earth shattering rhythm section, all mixed with trippy undertones. Think Prong at their very best merged with Slayer and Killing Joke, I guess that sums it up the best. Regardless, this album is fantastic whatever influences each one of us will hear.
I said it earlier but it is worth repeating...welcome back Prong! 'Ruining Lives' is a very strong contender for album of the year for me and not only that, it's my new go-to reference to let aggressions out. Get a good old punch bag, hang it from the ceiling and hit play. Let all your bad feelings once the music starts and that ball will be demolished once the album is over...that is a guarantee my friends! Awesome stuff!
Labels: free album music review zip download new music new album cd mp3 cd review album, prong, Ruining Lives
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
|London's finest stoner rockers STEAK are confirmed for the first edition of Desertfest Belgium in Antwerp, along with Electric Wizard, Yob, Brant Bjork, Kadavar and many more.|
Within two years, STEAK have established themselves as one of the British stoner rock scene's most satisfying acts. Following the sandy steps of their American elders Kyuss or Fu Manchu, STEAK's music is driven by ballsy riffs and contagious grooves, tinged with moments of pure cosmic escapism.
After their two critically acclaimed EPs Disastronaught and Corned Beef Colossus and a serie of successful gigs across Spain, France, Switzerland and the UK, the fuzzy foursome flew out to Palm Springs’ very own Thunder Underground studio this winter to record their first full-length record, due out on September 4th via Napalm Records.
The album was produced by Harper Hug (Vista Chino, Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri) and co-produced by Unida’s guitarist Arthur Seay, and will feature guest vocals from desert rock legend John Garcia. Before going on a full European tour this fall, Steak will hit the stage of the first Desertfest Belgium edition to introduce their new tunes to the crowd. Not to be missed!
Glanshammar is http://youtu.be/6HR3mnIGNGw
The Butcher is http://youtu.be/NCzEUM85nVg
The band will also play UK's brand new music event ALT-FEST, as well as a couple of gigs to support the release of their first full-length, due out September 4th via NAPALM RECORDS.
UPCOMING LIVE SHOWS
08.16.14 - ALT-FEST (UK) Kettering
09.04.14 - CARDIFF (UK) Moon Club **
09.05.14 - MANCHESTER (UK) Kraak **
09.06.14 - LONDON (UK) The Borderline ***
10.10.14 - DESERTFEST BELGIUM (Antwerp) Trix Centrum ***
** w/ Greenleaf *** w/ Greenleaf and Sedulus **** exact date to be confirmed
(Full European Tour coming in November)
After the undeniable success of both Desertfest London and Berlin, the brand expands a bit more with the first edition of DESERTFEST BELGIUM in Antwerp this October. Get ready for three days of stoner rock, doom, sludge and psychedelia in a super friendly and chilled atmosphere.
October 10-11-12th in Antwerp (Belgium)
Tickets and infos on www.desertfest.be
"Ill-mannered and charming hitseeking rock like it was made by KISS, Billy Idol and Pat Benatar - together and in their prime."-- SWEDEN ROCK MAGAZINE (rating 8/10) Even the famous Geoff Barton (Classic Rock Magazine) chimed in on the band, naming their first album one of the best of 2012!
So let's check in with Robert Jajd of the band and see what makes them 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 epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
I saw a KISS cover band doing "I Love It Loud" on Swedish TV in 1995 and was blown away. After that I was a full on KISS-fan. Later when I went to my first concert ever to see KISS in 96 I was even more hooked!
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?
Usually it's the riff. At least for me. Then I try to make a song out of it. Me and Zakk usually puts the songs together and it differs how we do it. Sometimes he has a lyric that we try to write music to. Anyway that get's the work done is good I guess.
Who has influenced you the most?
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
I like so many different bands and there are so much good music out there! It really isn't that hard to get inspired if you just look for it. Some bands that I enjoy are The Beatles, 220 Volt, The Yardbirds, Aerosmith, Rainbow and of course... KISS.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
We're from Stockholm and I'm not really sure how that might shine through in our music. We have yet to write a song about meat balls but that would be a give away, wouldn't it?
Where'd the band name come from?
I don't really know. Zack and our previous guitar player came up with it I think.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
Captain Black Beard's "Bad Girl" because it's a great song with a great video!
What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?
Fun. We want to have more fun than any other band and we want our audience to be part of it too.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
We've filled the stage with too much smoke so that we weren't even visible to the audience, our limo got lost driving to a gig in Brooklyn, we had a power failure on stage that sounded like an explosion in the PA and scared the shit out of us...
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
I love playing live. Getting the energy out there and also feeding off the energy from the audience. Our show is like a great party!
What makes a great song?
A memorable melody or riff and a lyric that makes sense.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
I'd just joined my first band in 2002. So I tried writing a song. I called it "Little Death" and thought it was actually pretty good.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
I like "Aiming For Love". I was on sick leave recovering from surgery and feeling pretty beat up. When I managed to write the song I felt a little better.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
I think Nicke Andersson in Imperial State Electric who used to be in The Hellacopters, he just always comes up with great material! Mats Karlsson who play on our new album writes great stuff with his two bands 220 Volt and The Summit.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice
Beer and lots of it! Beer need not to be defended. It just tastes better.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
If you're in Stockholm go to St. Eriksplan and there's plenty of cool record stores.
What's next for the band?
We're gearing up for our release party on May 28th and then we're planning another visit to the UK.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
Keep on rockin' and buy our new album "Before Plastic", out on May 23rd via Dead End Exit Records. It's a great melodic kick-ass rock album that features guest appearances by Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS) among others.
Don't forget to rock our video for "Somebody" too: