Rumors Heard in MySpace, Vol. II, Episode 8

Happy end of August, Waveriders! The kids are getting their fresh new haircuts and being prepped for the return to school, the summer nights are a little more chilled, big men in pads and leotards are chasing around other men holding an oblong object of sorts, all of these events just leading to autumn. Sigh . . . that means hockey season is right around the corner. You can’t see my smile right now, but ever see a picture of the Cheshire Cat? Yeah. I think you’re getting the picture. Anyway, I digress once again. This has been a super quality month in music and I’m pleased to pass on the word to y’all. We’ve got rock, we’ve got vocal performances, we’ve got metal, we’ve got acoustic music. In essence, we have it all. As always, if you’ve already heard of the bands, great! Go tell a friend. If you haven’t, sit back and read up on ‘em here, then swing by their MySpace pages (I’ve included links,) and then . . . go tell a friend.

Recently, there was a movie that hit the big screens about a group of guys who road trip it to Vegas called The Hangover. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve been told that it’s pretty damn funny . . . unless this has actually happened to you, in which case the whole viewing experience will feel like a terrible flashback. Apparently, during the movie, there was a song played by a band called Revolution Mother, which is a band fronted by veteran pro skateboarder Mike Vallely. Racer told me to go check out the band, so I did, and here’s what I found . . . some pretty fuckin’ high energy, devil may fuck himself, rock ‘n roll. Who do they sound like? Fucked if I know! A little Ramones here, a little Bad Religion there, may be a hint of OffSpring? Fuck it . . . they rock! The tune “Born to Rock ‘n Roll” is a mover and the kind of tune that plays well on the freeways of Los Angeles. Roll down the windows, light up a smoke, tuck the can of Schlitz between your legs and roll out! “Ride the Sky,” the song from the movie, is a burner and makes another great soundtrack tune for driving at excessive speeds. They have an album out there for your listening enjoyment called Rollin’ With Tha Mutha, which appears to be available through Ferret Music

I woke one morning this past month to read that one of my favorite extreme metal bands was releasing a new album on October 13th. The band is called Skeletonwitch and the album is titled Breathing the Fire. Wanna’ know what they sound like? Okay. They sound like a chorus of souls being tortured by the very pitchfork of the devil. Big thrash-y guitar riffs, titanic waves of drumming fury, and guttural vocals . . . y’know, the sound of modern metal. For the metalheads out there, swing by the bands page and check out the new tune, “Crushed Beyond Dust.” C’mon! That opening guitar riff is awesome, and that groove! See? This is why I dig this band so much! Breathing the Fire, like Beyond the Permafrost before it, will be released through our friends at Prosthetic Records.

On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, we have an amazingly talented and soulful vocalist named Mariah Scimone. Now, she dropped by and introduced herself to the Ripple Family a few weeks ago and I was simply blown away! My God, people! This woman has a voice that will take your breath away. Mariah has that kind of voice that is deep and rich, filled with wondrous flavors and soul. She sounds a bit like Tracy Chapman, y’know, that voice that tells the tale of tortured pain of life, but Mariah cuts loose from time to time and her voice has a power to it that could stop a herd of raging buffalo dead in their tracks. The first track that she has posted is called “I’m Alive” and this is the first experience I have with her talent, and I recommend that you start there and work your way through the rest of the posted material. “Sun On Your Skin” is the next moment that is just got floored. Great lyrics, great performance . . . I could rave for days. I’ll go grab a drink while y’all spend a few minutes listening.

Alright, you guys made it back. Thanks for rejoining me. This next guy has an interesting tale behind his music. Singer / Songwriter Scott Krokoff dropped the more practical professional world of tax law to play his music for folks like you and me. Kinda’ romantic, huh? Hang up the suit and tie, jump out of daily grind, then pick up the ole six string, and find a coffee shop or street corner to serenade the guys in the suit and ties who are still toiling away in the soul sucking confines of Corporate America. Scott . . . you’re our hero! Like most singer / songwriters, Scott’s music is a bit on the folk-y side, close to the heart and sentimental lyrics make up the core of the songs from his aptly titled debut album, A Better Life. Check out his page . . . it looks like he’s posted the entire album to stream, and it also appears that he’s offering all of the songs for free download.

Here’s one for you, Waveriders. The guys name is Nicholas Howard and he’s got this great jazzy, soul filled gospel thing going on that is compelling for me mainly because it’s not like your straight up gospel stuff sound. The vocals are filled with these great harmonies, the songs have a smooth criminal swagger to them, and the structures of the songs are all over the place . . . slow and groovin’ for the first half and then busting into an up tempo passage to make sure that you were paying attention, and then back to the groove again. The album is called God is in the City and it’s a remarkable album packed with stellar moments of cool. I get a vibe of that ‘20’s or ‘30’s blues / jazz club scene from listening to this. The fella’s in their stylish suits, hats cocked over their eyes, and a cigarette hanging from the lips. The women . . . all dressed to kill. There’s a sexiness here . . . sultry and steamy. Nicholas has five songs posted on his page, but you’ll want to pick up the album because God is in the City holds two more gems that you just have to hear in “My Hands Are Rough” and the chilled out jam of “Scotch on Her Lips.”

Now, for something a little more high energy, let’s head on up to Toronto, Canada and check out the barroom brawlin’, straight up hard rockin’ Surefire Machine. They released a self titled album sometime back and its jam packed with burly, fist clenched rockers that borrow from a simpler time of rock ‘n roll. In other words, there’s no dreamy musical sequences where we sit back and contemplate the creation of a universe or how the Grand Canyon was formed. Surefire Machine write, record, and perform rock unfettered and uncompromising rock songs, and they do a great job of just getting to the point. Their MySpace page features five of the eight songs from the album, plus a handful of interviews. But here’s the coolest thing that the band has to offer, they have a “Secret Single” download that they do every month. Ya’ just click on the SFM logo and viola! Also, take a little extra time to stew on “Walking Tall.” There are some great breaks in the steady bludgeoning and they do a masterful job of selling the tune. Oh, word also has it that one of the guitarists got himself a tattoo while skydiving. That alone should tell you what you’re in for when listening to these guys.

On act that I stumbled on, or who stumbled on us, that really surprised me is The Dandelions. They’re an unsigned band with a mere two songs to listen to on their page, but those two songs . . . wow! Somewhat sugary pop oriented stuff, but not bubblegum. There’s an edge to this stuff and I can’t put my finger on where that edge is coming from. Is it the dual vocals, male and female, that create the tension? Is it the more complex that usual arrangements to the song? Don’t know . . . but it’s one of those questions that will sit with me as I kick back and marvel at these guys until the end of days. Both songs are rich and fantastic musical adventures, brimming with compelling sounds, and I’m gonna’ bet that you’ll sit in front of your computer doing the same thing I was . . . working fruitlessly to close your mouth.

Before we head out and put the wraps on another months worth of information, I need to point out, primarily to the metalheaded Waveriders, that there are a couple more bands from France that are stirring things up. The first is Way To End, bringing a dark and complex black-ish metal vibe to the scene. They just signed to Listenable Records, home of Hacride (y’all know how much I love Hacride,) and their newest album should be seeing the light of day on September 25th. Check out the tune “Unconscious Evocation of a . . . “ and note that these guys are tackling the black metal genre their own way. We’re not pummeled by a barrage of blastbeats, but rather, we’re soothed by a beautiful acoustic guitar followed by some melodic guitar lines before the vocals leave us incapacitated.

Out of the Toulouse area, we found Manimal. Part man, part animal, and the music conveys this symmetry damn near perfectly. It’s well thought out in the way of composition, but there’s an animalistic approach to the vocals that gives the music a primitive and feral vibe. The vocals are very Mike Patton-esque without sounding like the maniac, and the influence of Faith No More is evident. Now take that influence and combine it with some of the nastiest death metal that’s out there and Manimal is the band that is born. “Check out the tune “The Dark Half” to see what I mean. Fascinating stuff and I can’t wait to find more from these guys!

Just as I was getting ready to close the door on this month’s report, I got a juicy piece of information across the MySpace wire. Gov’t Mule are back and ready to release their first album in three years. The album is called By A Thread and is going to be in stores on October 27th. The boys even posted a new track on their page called “Broke Down on the Brazos” and it features the guitar talents of the legendary Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top for the uninformed.) The song sound just as soulful as anything they’ve ever done in the past, but there’s an aggressive groove to it, probably due to new bassist Jorgen Carlsson. Nice guitar duel going on . . . man! I can’t wait for this one!

Surefire Machine Skydiving Tattoo