Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee PartTwo

Hey Waiveriders! Normally I'm not known for reviewing Hip Hop albums but hell, I'm probably the only one who is gonna review the new Beastie Boys album. I'm sure you are all asking the question, “Why the hell isn't Penfold reviewing Hot Sauce Committee Part Two?”. The answer is simple, Penfold fucking HATES those dudes. Don't get me wrong, this new Beastie Boys record is right down Penfold's alley. Musically and lyrically he would love this album. However, his hatred for the Beastie Boys overtakes any musical bliss he would receive from this record. I'm sure you are wondering why Penfold despises is them so much. My friends, this is a story that is way to long to write up about and would be better told on the Ripple Radio Show by Penfold himself. Let's just say if Penfold ever saw Mike D or any one of the Beastie Boys we would begin receiving his write ups from the local or possibly federal prison. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get digital promos to man on the inside?? It's tough! Now on to the music.

Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is one hell of a long album and the album title is just as long. We begin our journey with the the most recent single, “Make Some Noise”. These guys still have “it”. This track is tremendously entertaining. Even the video for this single is awesome. It almost seems like the older they get they better they get. I think MCA says it best in his opening lyrical spit:

“I burn the competition like a flamethrower
My rhymes age like wine as I get older
I'm getting bolder, competition is waning
I got the feeling and assume the lane”

Another stand out track is, “Too Many Rappers”, featuring one of my favorite emcees in Nas. Pretty classic sounding Beastie Boys track. Nas' flow adds a little something to this record. You can't deny losing yourself in this track and just taking it all in. This is my favorite lyrical flow:

“Cuz this the type of lyric goes inside your brain
To blow you bullshit rappers straight out the frame
My lyrics spin round like a hurricane twister
So get your hologram on off of Wolf Blitzer
Too many rappers to shake a stick at
I oughta charge a tax for every weak rap
I had to listen to, ‘cuz we be makin’ stacks
Like Stax records
My squad we gotta pack
We never coming wack”

Lastly, I'll touch on the track “Lee Majors Come Again”. This track you can really here the usage of actual drums and instruments. You can hear it on a couple of other tracks too but this is really where they stand out. In case you forgot these guys used to be in the late 80's puck scene. They used to open up for bands like, Bad Brains,The Dead Kennedys, The Misfits and hell even Reagan Youth. So, these guys really can play and don't always need to produced mix behind them. My favorite part of this song is the opening flow.

“I’m the lyrical, mathematical genius
Splashin' like lime juice
You never seen this
Internationally known
The longest to lead us
Shout out the one
How’s gonna lead us?
Hit’em with the rhyme
But the rhyme don’t stop
We got the beat
And the beat gonna drop
The beat …. Go pop
Now take a look around
And ….”

If you are a Beastie Boys fan and have yet to pick up Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, go get it! As for Penfold's story of Beastie Boys hatred, that is for another time. The story is great maybe you will be able to hear it one day....maybe.


Buy here: Hot Sauce Committee Part 2
Buy here mp3: Hot Sauce Committee Part Two [Explicit]

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Y LUV- How Chill Can You Let Go

 How Chill Can You Let Go

Did you know PR companies remind me a lot of foxes? Not the real foxes with the bushy tails, but the cunning ones that are portrayed in cartoons. I have come to that conclusion as most press releases I have  read for a band are really far off the mark. Oh yeah, X Band has “unique” sounds and “is exploding onto the indie scene”... That is why they remind me of every other mainstream artist right now...

I had to retract these beliefs though (Thank you Planetary Group) when Y LUV's press release summed this band up brilliantly. They pulled the words right out of my brain and I feel as if my entire review is going to be paraphrasing them, because they know how brilliant these guys are too.

Y LUV have released two previous musical explorations, and I think this is the cream of the crop. They have tied together the psychedelic, rock, pop sound to make How Chill Can You Let Go their best work to date.

Starting with “All Night” you get the psychedelic treatment. It is heavier on that side of things, focusing less on the guitar riffs you will get to hear later.

“Never Touch The Ground” is my favourite on the album. Clean, clear, strong vocals, fun drum beat, stronger guitar line, it works for me. The lyrics are the epitome of indie pop- catchy yet meaningful.
“I feel the weight on my shoulders,
Can you feel it too?
I know that we're getting older,
What else can we do?...
..Now I know that we will all stop making sense
And that is okay.
Simply saying that I'm never coming down
We never touch the ground.”

You get launched back into the psychedelic sounds with “Feel Sound” but there is the twist of the riff. The guitar plays a bigger part here and paired up with the drums you have some really great indie pop/rock/psychedelic music going on.

I sort of like tambourine-like sounds, I don't know why... If you like tambourines, you will like “Be Free.”  Stream the awesome-ness here-

Tying things off with the fast paced, riff filled “Super Heavy” was a wise move and just leaves you wanting more. How could you not want more with lyrics like-
“Think that I get it
But I know that I don't
I think that I am trying all alone
Inside of my head now
Just trying to find
I lost my head inside my mind”

How Chill Can You Let Go is by far the best work of Y LUV and unless something truly amazing comes along, they are on my top ten albums of the year. They have the sound nailed, it is the perfect mix of all of the things that make great music- great music, great sounds, great vocals. Plus, when you are as talented as them, you can't ever go wrong. Right?

- Koala

Buy here: How Chill Can You Let Go

Buy here: How Chill Can You Let Go

Friday, July 29, 2011

Revenge of the Quick Ripple Bursts -

Sinem Saniye- I'll Confide

This. Is. Fabulous.

I must admit, before I go on about how you need to locate this woman's music if it is the last thing you do, that when I first hit play I went “Damn. Another freaking carbon copy female pop singer.” I am so glad I stuck it out. Yes, the music is pop, but has something about it that keeps you listening, without groaning.

The vocals are strong, feminine, and perfectly in tune. The music may be pop but it also has jazz elements that take it from tacky pop, to something sexy and nice for your ears. Plus, the bonus of catchy lyrics!

“I was looking to my left when I almost saw you pass me by,
I've been lost on my own, that's why I chose you for the drive
Cause you know who I am, only on the inside”

Phlying Saucer -Breaking Down Takes Two

It has been a while since Racer has sent me anything that is very heavy pop/rock and I was very grateful for Phlying Saucer!

They have the sound that comes with the territory of pop/rock, but they do it extremely well which makes it awesome to listen to. The riffs hold the pop hook, with the rock heavyness, the drumming keeps the beat and takes the song up another level. The vocals are clean, and the lyrics catchy. It is a tidy song, stripping away the pointless pop, and taking in the rock for something that is simple and full.

“I want to go, if I can bear
I want to stay, but why should I care?
You know it's just a matter of time,
Before you end up in my arms again”

If you are after some high quality pop/rock, follow Phlying Saucer around for a while.


Switchblade Jesus - EP

Out of Corpus Christi, Switchblade Jesus fire up a value-packed combo (i.e., a 3-song ep) of melodic raspy vocals (think Dave Wyndorf), short, well written songs and obvious enthusiasm for the material. “Joyride” features a nice riff, well constructed songs... nearly catchy! Love it when pop hooks and stoner riffs come together. “Negative Planet 11”: very cool riff in D, a bit Hendrix and a bit Badlands; and “Copperhead,” which sounds vaguely like Seduce (almost certainly coincidental); very heavy but still a recognizably rock (late-80s) type tune. The weakest tune here, but probably only because of its relatively longer running time of 5 minutes (versus three for the other songs). Probably great for a 70mph road trip.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Backwoods Payback – Momantha

For many years I thought I was the only one who remembered Kinghorse, the obnoxious band from Louisville who blended Black Flag/Misfits hardcore with Black Sabbath and The Damned during the early 1990’s. When my band had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Backwoods Payback it turned out that singer/guitarist Mike Cummings was a fan, too. The shadow of Kinghorse looms large over the new Backwoods album for me since it combines several styles of heavy music I love into one hot n nasty rip ride. There’s a strong Misfits/Samhain/Danzig influence for sure and Mike’s howling vocals bring to mind Glenn (Anzalone) Danzig as well as Sean Garrison’s powerful screaming with Kinghorse. There’s also a lot of post-My War Black Flag mixed with Sabbath spawns Trouble and Kyuss. Diversity is always a good thing as long as it’s heavy. And loud.

Momantha is a helluva album. So was their 2007 self titled debut but this new one is a major leap forward. The songwriting shows off many more layers, the musicianship is tighter and the production is much improved. The guitars of Mike Cummings and Rylan Caspar are heavy and crunchy but never get mushy sounding. Jessica Baker’s probably got the 10-and-a-half in this band based on her ballsy bass tone and W.S. Curtiss murders his drums to form a very tight and in the pocket rhythm section.

Opening song “You Know How This Works” begins with the sound of a guitar throwing up, then the drums come in and an almost happy sounding riff starts up. The mood changes once the vocals start “I’ve got no one on my side, what the fuck else is new?” The negative vibes continue with “Flight Pony” an excellent “Hole In The Sky” style stomper. “Knock Wood” and “Mr. Snowflake” are mid-tempo ragers with tortured vocals and some nice melodic lead guitar fills.

The middle of the album has a bunch of mid-tempo heavy rockers like “Parting Words,” “Lord Chesterfield” and “Velcro” that maintain their groove from start to finish but will keep you amped up behind the steering wheel without getting a speeding ticket. “Velcro” is the longest cut on the album (just under 6 minutes) and contains positive thoughts like “if I had a gun I’d clean it everyday to keep it in its finest working shape.” Things speed up and get really pissed off on “Timegrinder.” This one really reminds me of Kinghorse at their most furious with an early C.O.C. intervention. Album closer “Ballad Of A Broken Horse” is kind of a summary of the entire album. Parts are fast, parts are slow, there’s some Sabbath (maybe even from Born Again!) and the thing flat out rocks.

Backwoods Payback has come up with a real winner with Momantha, one of the better heavy music releases so far this year. As good as the album is I’m sure all of the songs will be even better live. If you’ve never seen Backwoods Payback before you’re in for a real treat. They will play at just about any dump that will have them and they always go insane even if there’s only one person in the crowd. As a matter of fact, I think they go even more insane when there are fewer people. They’re also some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet. Whether you’re a new friend or old they will always offer to take you out to their van and share their Wild Turkey with you. I’ve had the hangovers to prove it. The album is currently available on itunes and physical CD’s will be available shortly. Don’t snooze on this one, mutha!


Buy here:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Just Want To Sing! - Featuring Redefine and Brandon Jarod

Waveriders, Penfold here.  As you may or may not know I love me some experimental, genre-blending, wild music performed by experimental, genre-blending, wild bands.  Love it!  But there are times when this type of music just won’t do.  Here’s a perfect example.  I’m driving in my car on my way to work.  What do I want to listen to?  Do I want to listen to that stunning new black/death/thrash/etcetera hybrid band that takes all of my attention to enjoy to its fullest?  No.  I can’t listen with my full attention in the car.  There would be an endless parade of damages to my automobile and several unfortunate fatalities.  Plus, I can’t really sing along to all that growling/screeching/yelling stuff that seems so prevalent with extreme music today.  To be clear, I want to sing along.  Oh please…as if you don’t sing while driving.  Yeah okay, I guess I’m the only one.  Right.

So, I need some road music with clean vocals feeding strong melody lines that will allow me to sing along and maintain a groove, all the while keeping my attention on the road.  What’s that?  Why don’t I just listen to the radio?  Who said that?  If I find you I’m going to smack you!  Seriously.  Don’t provoke me like that.  Anyways, thankfully I’ve found a couple of acts recently that really fit the bill.  Let’s talk a bit about them, shall we?

MotorcadeRedefine - Blur On The Horizon EP

This five piece rock band hails from Dallas, Texas.  Perhaps simply living in such a large state affects these guys.  Perhaps it does not.  Regardless, the band has a massive sound.   Redefine’s music is hefty, in your face, and consistently shifting to keep the listener on their toes.  On this EP, their third release and second with singer Scott Headstream, they come roaring out of the speakers like a bat out of Hades!  Guitarists Chris Apaliski and Ryan Maynard lay down riff after righteous riff, along with several frenetic technical passages worthy of study.  The rhythm section of drummer Daniel Taylor and bass player Mike DiQuinzio join together in perfect lockstep to anchor the musical pyrotechnics while managing to provide excellent and tasteful flourishes throughout.  Oh, and the singer?  Let me tell you; this man can sing!  It is abundantly clear that Mr. Headstream puts his heart and soul into his performance.  The term emotive does not begin to do this man justice.

Alright, that’s enough talk of personnel.  Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.  The main reason I find this band so satisfying is that they effortlessly jump from influence to influence, all the while maintaining their own identity.  Listening to these songs I can clearly identify moments which evoke strong comparisons with other bands of note.  For instance the first song, “Arcana”, exhibits verses that have a significant Mars Volta feel to them, but then the song transitions to a thrashy bit reminiscent of Megadeth.  And that’s just the first song.  Track two, “Motorcade”, has a gang vocal chorus towards the end that has Belladonna-era Anthrax written all over it.  “Like A Vision, A Ghost” has guitar lines that scream Dream Theater.  “Take Your Medicine” offers up some rapid fire start-stop riffage reminiscent of Tool to my ears.  Keep in mind that all of this is wrapped neatly into an ear pleasing modern rock bundle.  No song ever sounds disjointed, and no individual moment sounds unnatural.  Everything flows together flawlessly.

The bottom line here waveriders is that I recommend checking into Redefine.  Heck, I’d even go so far as to say that this music should be played on the radio!

buy here: Blur On The Horizon
Listen Here – facebook

Brandon Jarod - The Crush EP

Well hey there!  Say, do you like your rock ‘n roll with a heaping dollop of soul?  You do?  No kidding?!  Me too!  But wait…what’s that you say?  You demand this new music to be unique and memorable?  And you want it to be filled with heartfelt emotion?  Okay then.  You do realize that this is a pretty tall order to fill right?  Whoa, calm down!  Look, I was just kidding around.  I’m going to see if I can find exactly what the doctor ordered…no, I’m not skipping over you.  There is no actual doctor.  You ARE the doctor!  Look, I know just what you need.  This is the debut EP from Brandon Jarod, and it is going to rock your world!  Pay attention.

Brandon Jarod is a self-taught guitarist from Virginia.  Together with drummer “B.A.” Bryan Adkins he recorded The Crush EP.  In a live setting the group is completed by Tyrone Jordan on bass, but the EP in question was recorded without him (perhaps before they even met).  I mentioned that Mr. Jarod is self-taught on the guitar because I think it is of the utmost importance.  According to historical record he learned to play by imitating other guitarists whom he admired from all walks of music, and it really shows.  His playing sounds fresh and organic and is clearly not limited by established stylistic structures.  I think the only rule he applies is that no matter what the music has to sound good, and boy howdy does it.

The six songs that make up The Crush EP run the gamut.  An insistent drum beat opens “Falling Into Place” before the guitar and bass kick in to bring on the good times.  “No Solution” is the heavy rocker of the collection with a slithery guitar line preceding the main crunchy riff and a huge bass presence.  There’s also this really cool bluesy flourish thrown in every so often that always draws a smile to my face.  “Luv ‘Em And Leave ‘Em” is a fairly short instrumental (excluding a message at the beginning of the song) that reminds me of Led Zeppelin and Chicago (“25 or 6 to 4”).  “Put It In A Love Song” is a darn near perfect pop-rock gem.  “The Crush” is a wonderful rock/r&b hybrid ballad that swings like a wrecking ball, and “Cream” wraps things up nicely with some killer up-tempo blues rock.  All of these songs are great, but there is something else that stands out.  Brandon Jarod’s vocal performances are something else!  He mixes your standard rock vocals heavily with what you might hear from an r&b/soul singer.  The result is unique and decidedly memorable.

Waveriders, Brandon Jarod is an artist you need to check out right now.  Think.  If his debut EP is this good, what does he (along with his musical cohorts) have in store for us down the road?  I’m eager to find out and after you listen to The Crush EP, you will be too!

Buy Here -

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eric Lindell - Gulf Coast Highway


There was very little change in my pocket.  The jingle jangle of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters had been replaced by the swish swish of the inner cotton pocket of my jeans.  I was quickly walking through the dark side streets of the French Quarter.  The glow of cigarette cherries in dank doorways and side alleys, and the smell of urine made me anxious.  I started to trot, then jog, out to Rampart St.  It was getting late and I needed to get back to my dingy hotel on Bourbon Street. 

To tell the truth I was lost and scared.  I hurried past Dauphine Street and pulled up at Frenchman Street.  That is when I first heard the sound coming from a bar called the d.b.a..  As I approached I could see this slender white boy belting out some of the best funky New Orleans-tinged blue-eyed soul I had ever heard.  I stood in the entryway transfixed. A melodious cacophony of electric guitars, organ and Creole horns accented the funk, blues and roots-rock. All of the sudden it didn’t matter that I needed to get back to the hotel to sleep since I had a 5:35 a.m. plane to catch.  I asked the bouncer, “who is this guy?”  He said two words “Eric Lindell” and then said, “If you’re gonna listen you got to pay them dues. Cash only.” I made rabbit ears out of my empty pockets, asked for directions to my hotel and left.

I woke up the next morning and could not get that sound out of my head.  Eric Lindell, hmmm?  I vowed to see if he had a recording or two. Half awake, and humming some unfamiliar melody, I made my way to the airport for my flight home via SFO. Before I made it over the Bay Bridge I stopped at a Rasputins in the City to look for Lindell recordings. I found a few, and grabbed the then most recent, a CD called Gulf Coast Highway.  I took my choice to the clerk at the cash register and pulled out my plastic. I think the clerk was a dude, however, it was hard to tell with the black leather, orange hair, heavy black and blue eye makeup, tattoos and dozen or so piercings.  I handed him, her, it Gulf Coast Highway and he, she, it said, “Oh, Eric Lindell, I grew up with him.”  I looked the cash register being in the eye and said “Really, where?”  The clerk responded “In San Mateo.  He used to play in bands throughout the Bay Area before he moved to New York then to New Orleans back in ‘99.”  I responded, “You don’t look like much of a blue-eyed soul fan.”  He, she, it said, “Well, his early stuff was influenced by Fishbone and Black Flag, that was more my style.  I’m told he’s now quite well-known in the Big Easy.”  I thanked the clerk for taking my credit card and set off for home.

I got back in my car and popped the CD into the stereo.  Out came the funkiest, coolest,  mix of roots-rock, blues, swamp R&B and honky-tonk soul I had heard.  Gulf Coast Highway features 12 original Lindell songs and three amazing covers - Buck Owens’ "Crying Time", Delbert McClinton’s "Here Come The Blues Again" and Waylon Jennings’ & Willie Nelson’s "I Can Get Off On You".  Backing Lindell are Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio of the funk band Galactic. The inimitable New Orleans fixture Jimmy Carpenter shows up on tenor sax.  Lindell adds an incredible lead guitar and vocals to this Crescent City Cajun musical stew.  Lindell’s voice is like Delbert McClinton’s but on steroids. His style is a hot mix of cool rhythm and blues ("If Love Can't Find A Way"), backroom honky tonk ("It's A Drag "), and country western soul ("Lullaby for Mercy Ann").

I pulled into the driveway just as the fifteenth and final cut, “Raw Doggin’,” a bump and run funk band bit of bluesiness, cleared the speakers.  Since that trip I have acquired every single one of his recordings and can’t wait until his newest West County Drifter is released on August 30, 2011.  Lawdy lord, I’m ready to pre-order.  What about you?

- Old School

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Cars – Move Like This

 Move Like This [LP]

“Captain, we have flux moderator ready.”
“The time is near.  Engineering, are you prepared.”
“Dimensional Shift inducer armed?”
“Einstein-ian Physics bypass?”
“Then prepare for warp-phase shift. Time-dimensional overlap on . . . one . . . two . . . three.  Now, move like this.”

Ok, a little overdone, for sure, but it must take some sort of disruption of Einstein’s physics and understanding of time and space to understand how – 24 years after recording their last album and 11 years since losing the essential Benjamin Orr—The Cars managed to leapfrog to 2011 as if time had never passed. 

There’s been lots of reformations recently – The Pixies, Devo, Smashing Pumpkins to name a few—but none have made that reformation sound nearly as easy and definitely as necessary--dare I say essential--as the CarsMove Like This doesn’t sound like a good old Cars album.  It doesn’t sound like a band jumping back and trying to recapture their lost sound.  This isn’t a retread or last stab for glory.  Move Like This is simply a killer pop-rock record that picks up right where the boys left off with Heartbeat City.  Back in the day, The Cars truly were the most accomplished, most successful, and best of the new wave pop bands, unleashing hit after hit from their first five albums.  And everything I loved about The Cars is here on Move Like This, fresh and invigorated and ready to take it’s place on the mantle with the best of The Cars work.

Simply put, Move Like This is essential Cars.  There, I said it.

Forget the Todd Rundgren led New Cars, these are the real boys.  Ric Ocasek unleashes another furious set of instantly memorable pop anthems.  Elliot Easton brings in the textures with his animated, hook-infused guitar work, David Robinson keeps the train running right on time, and the indispensable Greg Hawkes continues to demonstrate just how vital he is to the trademark that is The Cars sound.

“Blue Tip,” kicks things off with its quirky keyboard runs and catchy-as-hell beat.  Ocasek’s voice is in fine form, off-kilter, hesitant and nuanced as ever.  Hawkes has a field day laying down the big fills as the song motors towards its hook of a chorus.   The production, whether here by Jackknife Lee or elsewhere by The Cars, is spot on, giving the song a huge, timeless sound, full of The Cars characteristic stylish throb. This is pure Cars. A lost hit from the Shake it Up album perhaps? A top hit today?  It’s all the same.

No one can write of this album without mention of Ben Orr.  He was a huge part of the band, both as founding member with Ocasek as well as musician.  His tasteful bass played perfectly around Ocasek’s stuttering compositions.  Since Orr shared lead vocal duties with Ocasek and sang with the same stammering cadence as Ocasek, it took me years to be able to tell the difference in their two voices.  Then I read an interview with Ocasek and it all made sense when he said that Orr sang the romantic songs while Ocasek sang the neurotic ones.  So it was Ben’s voice that graced the most beautiful of The Cars tracks, like “Drive” or the smooth glide of “Let’s Go.”

While the band does an admirable job of carrying on without Orr, it has to be said that his presence is missed.  Second song “Too Late,” with its gentle keys and glossy melody is the natural successor to “Drive.”  Ocasek does a fine job with the vocals, but anyone who knows the band knows that this would’ve been an Orr song, his perfect tenor breezing smoothly through the melody, draping over the hooks.  Adding that romance that only Orr could.   In the liner notes, the band dedicates the album to Orr, saying “Ben, your spirit was with us on this one.”  And it was.

“Keep on Knocking,” is perhaps the heaviest Cars song ever, ranking right up there with "Down Boys.".  Deep and shadowy, this sounds like something that could’ve come from their lost, darkened masterpiece Panorama.  Easton sounds like he’s having a ball, laying down some thick chords, his fingers squeaking across the strings and Ocasek’s in fine form, his vocals eccentric as ever.  “Soon” is another Orr-inspired ballad of uncommon beauty while “Sad Song” brings back the sputtering guitar intro of the classic first album found on songs like “Best Friend’s Girl” and “Let the Good Times Roll.”   “Free” moves and pulses with the best of em.  “Hit’s Me,” stumbles out of the starting gate like many classic Cars compositions before picking up the pace down the back stretch for a true winner. 

Despite the references to past hits, Move Like This doesn’t ape any of them.  It merely uses the past as a launching pad to fire off some tasty modern, quirky, purely-Cars pop rock.  Space and time continue to exist, and Einstein hasn’t been proven wrong, but somehow The Cars have made the unlikeliest of reunions seem as natural as time marching on.  This isn’t just a great modern new wave album, it’s a great Cars album.

Of this or any other time. 


Buy here: Move Like This
Buy here vinyl: Move Like This [LP]
Buy here: Move Like This (Deluxe Edition with 3 Bonus Tracks & 2 Bonus Videos)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Toxic Holocaust - Conjure and Command

Portland, Oregon’s Thrash Masters, Toxic Holocaust are at it again! For three years I have been waiting for the follow up to 2008's An Overdose of Death. I must say, it was well worth the wait. Toxic Holocaust give an epic thrash album in Conjure and Command. My thrash loving brethren: take notice, this ain't your daddies thrash.

Damn Waiveriders, the album is fucking rad. If the Zombie Apocalypse, World War 3 or some other totally fucked up End of The World type situation went down, Toxic Holocaust would be my soundtrack. Every song is pure thrash aggression.

“Judgment Awaits You” is the lead off track. It's 1:57 of pure thrash bliss. Thrash purists will love the aggressive guitars and vocals. Instantly this song starts off with a full on wall of sound. The furious drums, aggressive guitars and Joel Grind's vocals are top notch. “Judgment Awaits You” leads us into the song, “Agony of the Damned”. This song starts off with a drum beat that is very doom like. This doom feel soon ends as the tempo rises and bam!, the wall of thrash hits you.

My personal favorite track on the album is “Bitch” . This song starts off with a nice mid tempo d-beat. Anyone who is big on awesome riffage will love “Bitch”. From the opening guitar lick they keep the onslaught going throughout the entire tack. Grind's vocal delivery is intense to say the least.

Some other awesome tracks on Conjure and Command include: “I Am Disease”, “In The Depths (Of Your Mind)”. Let's stop right there for a moment, “In The Depths (Of Your Mind)” is fucking awesome. This is truly a stand out track and deserves to be talked about. This is to me a very classic thrash song. The guitar work is insane! It so fast and the solo work is amazing. I'm not even a big fan of solos but damn, Toxic Holocaust does it well. The vocals are aggressive but you understand every word. When I first heard this song it seriously lit a fire under me and I wanted to punch something. It's easily one of the big head banging jams.

So, Toxic Holocaust, Conjure and it now! You won't regret it. While you're at it pick up their other albums...all of 'em! You won't be disappointed. There aren't a lot of new pure thrash band out there. Toxic Holocaust definitely rank highly among the best of a dying breed.

Toxic Holocaust goes good with: Warbringer, Suicidal Tendencies, Municipal Waste, early Metallica, Death Angel and of course Slayer.

Buy here: Conjure & Command
Buy here mp3: Conjure and Command
Buy here vinyl: Conjure & Command

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sarah Fimm- Near Infinite Possibility

 Near Infinite Possibility

It is July 19th 1848. First women's rights convention. What do women want? The right to choose, the right to vote, equal opportunity! These conventions and arguments continued on for what seemed like forever (well, they are still going on so it is forever..). Whilst most women are just pleased they get a say in things, they have made important changes, even in the world of music.

Without their revolutions against tradition amazing artists like Sarah Fimm would be at home baking bikkies and cakes for their offspring instead of rocking out my eardrums.

I say all of this because the numbers of female artists I get sent are significantly less than the males ones. When I do get a female artist they are singing sweet pop or gentle acoustics, I have nothing against this, as you may have read in my other reviews, but just imagine my glee when I hit play on Near Infinite Possibility and I am rewarded with some very cool rock.

More importantly Sarah Fimm isn't pumping out stock standard female leading rock, the music on  Near Infinite Possibility is varied with clear pop and alternative influences. Yes, you get the faster paced electric guitar, drum dominated songs like “Soul Let Swim” and “Closer” but you get a break in the rocking out with a highlight on the thirteen song album being “Sing.”

“Sing” is the main acoustic song and outstanding. With gorgeous lyrics like-
Let me begin
Make everything a story
Just sing
And a voice may come in
not forgotten and lonely
It is a welcome change of sound at the ninth song. The acoustics are clean and the matching vocals make it one of the best on Near Infinite Possibility.

Jumping back in the time line on the album is “Disappear.” Starting acoustic, then jumping into climaxing electrics it is dynamic, making it brilliant to listen to.
“I still hope the sun will come in
I still hope the sun will come in
Disappear trust
Can I know it enough
Do you hold it in your hand
The memory of you”

If we keep moving backwards we can start right back at the beginning of the album. “Soul Let Swim.” This song shows the strength of Fimm's vocals, and how vocally talented she is. In addition to the stellar vocals there are clever lyrics. I don't know who did the guitar work, but that too is amazing.
“There is no judgment waiting
Only arms that reach in the night
No sense anticipating
Your secret eye
You look out
But you see in
Come out somehow
Soul let swim”
“Soul Let Swim” has the attention grabbing fast-slow-fast pace going on, a style that is continued throughout the album.

Finishing on a strong note is “Morning Time.”
“Tear me apart if it makes you feel better
Born to die high birds of a feather
I know a piece of something wise
All comes apart but is always together
Silent not to slip away
It does no good to turn away
Come in close to the mirror's eye
Reap the stark face of morning time”

Near Infinite Possibility is strong. The fast-slow-fast rhythm of the individual songs, and the entire album jolt the listener into paying attention and listening to the lyrics and not just the music. It is a good thing she does this are the lyrics should be listened to, being deep, thought provoking and enjoyable.


Buy here: Near Infinite Possibility
Buy here mp3: Near Infinite Possibility

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hail! Hornet - Disperse the Curse


If swamp metal (like, say, Black Tusk) is punk, thrash, southern rock, sludge and grunge in a musical stew, then Hail! Hornet are swamp n' roll.

Fitting too, as while I write this it's 96.8 degrees outside, the A/C is half-broken, and on this second floor it's probably 115 degrees. It's hot (and humid) enough that I can actually feel my hair and beard grow out; shit, I can feel them WANT to grow out. I'm shirtless, sweating, unshaved (intoxicated?), and am really enjoying universes align here, really enjoying this synchronicity: my mental and physical worlds have almost perfectly coalesced into this record's sounds.

This record, this Disperse the Curse, perfectly encapsulates where I'm "at" now. Feel me?

No? Then dig this:

Current and former members of Buzzov*en, Weedeater, Sourvein, Bongzilla, Morne and others make up Hail! Hornet-- and if you're reading this site, you can probably guess exactly what this sounds like.
What you might not guess, however, is how much fun they seem to have been having recording this. This is 2011's version of 1955's good blowing sessions. Everyone got together, vibed off each other, and made that alchemy obvious enough to place on wax: dig us having a blast rockin out with our cock[in?] out. This is the dixie sludge metal equivalent of Monk, Parker, Stanley Turrentine and Coleman Hawkins jamming after hours at Minton's.

And Goddamn is it fun stuff.

Disperse the Curse is Motorhead if they smoked more than they drank, it's Entombed or the Cro-Mags if they were from the Deep South, it's... feel me.

It's fun, uptempo sludge: a rickety old beast, bored of lurching town to town destroying all, laying waste, et yawn cetera-- who went and got stoned on an argot fungus in wheat and St. Vitus Danced his  goddamned way to a primrose path of carnage and mayhem that smelled like diesel oil, weed, cicadas and hot amp cable.

Still in? Yeah you are. Don't act like that doesn't sound like mad fun, son-- the album version of mudding, cow-tippin, going shoeless for a season, or nailing your hot cousin.


"Gifted Horse," track 2, is a particular ripper, as is "Glass Roses." "Unholy Foe" slows down a bit --just long enough to crush, you understand-- then "Scars" punishes you with a pear of agony for daring to think Hail! Hornet  had slowed down for even a second.

That last simile got a bit more grotesque than I'd intended.

ANYhoo... go listen.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Deep Purple – Phoenix Rising

It’s too bad this country is so damn big. My first viewing of this should have been with Racer and Pope since one of the reasons I started Rippling is because those clowns love Tommy Bolin-era Deep Purple even more than I do. But it’s a long way from Brooklyn to California so I had to settle for the next best thing. My friend Vinny lives three blocks away and has a huge TV and also loves Deep Purple. It’s a hell of a lot easier to walk over there with a 12 pack of Bud talls then to deal with airport security to go space truckin to the west coast.

Phoenix Rising is a DVD/CD documenting the polarizing Deep Purple Mk.IV era. You either love Come Taste The Band or you think it’s heresy. I resisted for a long time but finally succumbed to its powers a few years back though I do tend to agree with a statement that Jon Lord makes that it’s a great rock album but not necessarily a Deep Purple album. Even if you’re not a fan you’ll find most of the documentary pretty interesting. Glenn Hughes was the driving force behind the band at this point, as well as the drug abuse, and he does a lot of the talking. Jon Lord provides more of a voice of reason behind the madness. Ian Paice is represented through an archival interview from 1976 and there are some interview clips with Bolin as well. David Coverdale was probably too busy counting his money or shampooing his hair to have been involved in any recent commentary on this part of his career.

One thing that the 80 minute documentary makes very clear is that Deep Purple was HUUUGE in the 1970’s. Millions of album sold, arena tours, private jets, mega egos and tons of drugs. Deep Purple was always more of a drinking band but Glenn Hughes had a major cocaine habit and Tommy Bolin was deeply involved in heroin. The fact that they made a great album and Glenn is still alive is truly astounding. Among the fun facts revealed is that Glenn was sent home from Munich when they were recording because his drug use was so out of control. He says that back then the treatment was large doses of valium. To add intrigue to the story, there’s an incident that took place in Jakarta that resulted in the death of a roadie. Glenn is adamant it was murder, though there’s a disclaimer at the end saying that Coverdale does not agree with this statement. By the time the band reached Japan things were really starting to unravel. Tommy Bolin arrived with his left hand basically useless. The story is that he fell asleep on his hand on a weird angle and woke up unable to play. Whatever the truth is it’s pretty certain that drugs were involved. The band was planning on a triumphant return to Japan and had to work extra hard to pick up the slack to cover for Bolin. Mk.IV ended on kind of a funny note. While on tour in Europe, after the last show Lord and Paice decided to break up the band. Right after they made the decision, Coverdale entered their dressing room to tell them he was quitting. Sadly, not long after Tommy Bolin overdosed ending a career that had a long way to go. Personally, I found the entire thing interesting but I’m a freak. It’s probably about 20 minutes too long and really could have used some other perspective, especially from Coverdale.

The live footage from Japan has been around for years but never in this good quality. All 5 songs from the original VHS are here with excellent fidelity. This was filmed during the final concert at Budokan Hall and it’s obvious that Bolin is sub-par but still pretty damn good. Jon Lord works really hard at picking up the slack and his playing is incredible. The rhythm section of Hughes and Paice is unbelievably tight and Coverdale’s vocals are spot on. What a killer band. There’s a kick ass version of “Burn” and great versions of “Love Child” and “You Keep On Moving” from Come Taste The Band. Mk.II standards “Smoke On the Water” and “Highway Star” get played but the jams are lengthy and self indulgent. And who allowed Glenn sing “Georgia On My Mind” in the middle of “Smoke On The Water?”

There’s also a 70 minute live CD made up from recordings from Japan and a much better concert in Long Beach, California. You get audio of the five songs from the DVD (though “Burn” is from Long Beach) plus “Getting’ Tighter,” “Lazy,” “Stormbringer” and “Homeward Strut” from Bolin’s Teaser album. And if that wasn’t enough, there are two fat, full color booklets. One contains a band history of DP Mk.IV with lots of photos and vintage press clippings. The other booklet is a reproduction of a 28 page Deep Purple magazine produced in 1976 with articles and interviews with Mk.IV as well as Blackmore, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. You even get interviews with managers, booking agents and roadies. The packaging is great and even if you don’t watch the movie part of it more than once, this is a great value.


Buy here: Phoenix Rising [DVD/CD Combo]
Buy here: Phoenix Rising [Blu-ray]

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Black Metal Butterfly Effect featuring Ghostfog - Hear Them Whisper

The year is 2150 AD.  Yes, the human race still exists after 2012.  Historians finally realized the Mayan calendar ended simply because they ran out of building materials, room to continue, and willpower at the exact same moment in time.  In fact, the human race has never been better, a statement which sadly cannot be extended towards one particular musical genre; black metal.  Black metal has been steadily declining in popularity since the mid 2090s.  Sadly few true supporters remain to keep the dark flame alive.  Okay look…that last statement might be misleading.  At last count there were five black metal fans left in the world.  There’s me and four of my friends, who also happen to be my bandmates.  Wait…scratch that.  I just got a video message from Larry.  He’s quit the band to pursue pop stardom on this season’s Earth Idol.  Right!  So then there were four.

A lesser fan might be discouraged, but not me.  I have been working out the kinks on a brilliant plan to revive my beloved black metal music, bringing it to more appreciative ears than ever thought possible.  The plan is this.  Use the time machine that I’ve built in my basement to transport myself and two of my bandmates back to the year 2010.  Once there, we will split up, seek out like minded musicians willing to experiment with the standard black metal template, and help promote them to no end.  Thus we will expose music which breaks free from the well established black metal mold by drawing on other influences and genres, and thereby bolster the black metal fan ranks.  Unfortunately, there was one major flaw in my brilliant plan.  I had three remaining friends/bandmates/fanatics, and only two back-in-time positions to fill.  One of them would have to stay behind to monitor the others’ progress and return us to our new and improved present day.

“Wait a second Penfold!  Why aren’t you including yourself when you talk about who has to stay in the present?  That’s not fair!”
“Yeah!  Why is that Penfold?”
“That’s right!  How come Penfold?”
“Sam, Bradley, Phillip…calm down.  Look, I didn’t want to play these cards but if you’re going to act this way let me remind you of a couple of things.  One; I came up with the plan in the first place.  Two; I built the time machine.  Three; I’m the most fanatic black metal fan out of all of us.  And four; think about it.  You know based on my past indiscretions that I cannot be counted on to abide by the proper schedule required to safely monitor the progress of those sent to the past.  You all know this.  So yes, it’s not fair.  Guess what?  Life isn’t fair.  I’m going back to the past and that’s final.”
“Fine then.”
“I guess that makes sense Penfold.  But who has to stay behind?”
“Well Phillip I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit.  I hate to break it to you my friend, but you have to be the one to stay behind.  You’re the best drummer I’ve ever played with, hands down.  You keep time like an atomic clock and you willingly practice everyday, far more than the rest of us, constantly honing your craft.  We need you to apply that devotion towards this new task.  Can you do this?”
“Oh for the love of Pete Penfold!  You know I can’t stand arguing with you.  You’re always right, and even if you’re not, I still lose the argument!  If I have to be the one to stay behind, I guess I have to be the one to stay behind.  I don’t like it, but you can count on me to do what’s necessary.”
“Thanks Phillip.  Sam?  Bradley?  Ready to go?”
“Uh huh.”
“I was born ready.”
“Alright.  Best of luck to each of us.  Phillip, push the button.”

Phillip obeyed my command, and the three of us seemingly winked out of existence.  Little did I know that what awaited us in the past would exceed my wildest imaginations.

Ghostfog  Hear Them Whisper

Have you ever wondered what a new wave electronic band from the late 1980s would sound like if they began playing black metal?  Well wonder no more waveriders because Ghostfog is here to demonstrate exactly that.  This one man musical dynamo hails from Germany, which I find somewhat fitting based on the discovery of other interesting artists who call that country home (Beehoover comes to mind).  Hear Them Whisper is Ghostfog’s latest release, and its thirty minute assault on your senses is not something you will soon forget.

Take the opening title track.  It begins very pleasantly with a slightly discordant guitar line which, coupled with clean vocals, would not be out of place in a lovely ballad.  But one minute into the song underlying tension is introduced behind the guitar, and twenty seconds later the sound of amplified guitars and booming electronic drums explode out of the speakers.  The sonic tension is ratcheted down for a moment before the demented vocals strike, slithering into the listeners’ ears and ensuring that no one mistakes this for a pop song any longer.  Oh no, this is definitely black metal!  Black metal with an inventive sonic blueprint, that is.

Rest assured dear waveriders.  The rest of this EP/album does not disappoint.  In fact, I’m transfixed every time that I listen to this music.  “The Night After” could find a happy home in dance halls with its propulsive backbeat as long as the mood of the hall was somewhat gloomy.  “Hear Them Whisper II” transitions back and forth from pretty keyboard movements to grungy, atmospheric portions driven by the same drum pattern as Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer”.  “December Nightingale” utilizes the most organic, non-electronic sounds on the album to great effect, and “Hear Them Whisper III” is…well…you’ll just have to listen for yourself to find out.

Head over to, take advantage of the free download, and prepare to get your electro/black metal groove on!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Steve Cradock - Peace City West


On August 22, 1969, the Beatles held their last photo shoot at John and Yoko’s British home Tittenhurst Park before the band disbanded.  As the last Beatles’ shots were being taken in Berkshire,  9 miles southeast of Birmingham city center Steve (“Stephen”) Cradock was being born. 

On Cradock’s birthdate the Rolling Stones ruled the U.S. charts with their No. 1 smash hit “Honky Tonk Woman.” By Cradock’s first birthday the Beatles had disbanded and it had been almost a year since the Stones placed a single song in the top 40.  Yet, somehow, those early childhood memories of Beatles and Stones were to become central influences in Cradock’s music and his guitar playing.

Cradock did not perform publicly with a band until 1988 when, at 19 years old, he formed a “Mod” cover band called The Boys.  In 1989 he first met his greatest influence musician Paul Weller who then owned a recording studio where Cradock spent much of his time getting evicted while trying to get The Boys’ music passed on to record companies and agents. Their relationship blossomed in 1991 when Cradock returned to the recording studio with his new band Ocean Colour Scene that ultimately toured with Weller. 

Weller is known for his work with The Jam, a band that started by playing Beatles covers and some original music until 1976 when it charted with a number of new wave songs before they disbanded.  Weller and his work with The Jam are cited by many Britpop bands, such as Oasis, Blur and The Arctic Monkeys, as a major influence on their music.

Cradock’s music is a reflection of his upbringing and life experience.  His second solo album, Peace City West, is a British Pop music fans’ dream. It  features James Buckley from the cult TV show The Inbetweeners and collaborations with Paul Weller, Sally Cradock, Andy Crofts and P.P. Arnold.  The release echoes the Beatles and Stones music of 1969. 

Peace City West rocks fourteen tracks of 1960’s tinged rock that, according to The Cornershop, was “recorded over a fortnight at Deep Litter Studios - a barn on a farm at the most southern most point in Devon.” The album is rich with the same mix of country, rock, skiffle, new wave, and psychedelia styles that were exhibited by Cradock’s greatest influences. Peace City West is also a very personal record, For example, Cradock says about the track “Only Look Up When You're Down,”

“That was written for my mum because she hasn't been well but it can be taken in general terms as a way to look at life. I didn't want it to be too maudlin.”

Other songs on the album run the entire gambit of the classic late 60’s sound from the Dusty Springfield-like “Steppin' Aside” to the Kinks-inspired guitar riff on “Last Days Of The Old World,” Cradock will have you thinking bell-bottoms are back in style.

It is not just the music that is inspired, it is also the lyrics.  Check out this gem of a couplet:

“Put on my flairs, cos I’m just a boy at heart...My scooter sits idle just like my bible.”

It is a type of writing reminiscent of John Lennon.

Peace City West is a cycle of life release and a renewal of sorts.  For the short 45 minute running time you will ponder - Is this what the Beatles would have sounded like had they stayed together?

- Old School

Monday, July 18, 2011

Katatonia - Last Fair Deal Gone Down

Y’know, it’s funny to me that I can have albums sitting in my collection for months, nay . . . years, before I recognize their brilliance. Waveriders, I have a hidden gem for you, specifically if you like your music dark, moody, and dipped in a healthy coating of depression, and draped in a heavy layer of gothic fabric. Katatonia’s Last Fair Deal Gone Down has been in my collection for a few years by now, though originally released in 2001 through Peaceville, and for some unknown reason, it didn’t immediately resonate with me. Maybe I was too happy when I received it, maybe my life was too good and shining with optimism. That’s not to say that my life has changed all that much now, but there is an air of uncertainty surrounding me these days that makes my perspective a little on the darker side. So . . . maybe that’s why this album suddenly makes sense to me, why Last Fair Deal Gone Down has inexplicably spoken to me more than the cheery and shimmering hits of the summer. I don’t know . . . it’s always a mystery. That’s one of the reasons I write these things!

For those not in the know, I stumbled on Katatonia a number of years back with the release of their impeccable Viva Emptiness album, an album filled with such darkness and somber violent intent that I fell in love with the band and haven’t looked back. The band’s music has depressive tones to it and there are many times that I imagine a cartoonish storm cloud lingering over my head threatening to douse me in cold rain. The emotions are turbulent, the mood dampened, however, tucked somewhere in these dreary tunes is this wandering ray of hope that we, as human beings, must cling to if we have any inclination to return to a world of sanity. The musicianship, especially in the guitar work, has an effervescence to it, in that, one guitar will lay down a foundation of sustained distortion while the second guitar comes along and adds flourishes of single note texture that creates a sweeping contrast of mood. In the meantime, the rhythm section holds a steady circling pattern for the guitars to work their magic. Oh . . . and let’s not forget the vocal work of Jonas Renkse . . . otherworldly. The man has a way of conveying his despondency that sends chills through my being.

Ultimately, I think what makes Last Fair Deal Gone Down work so well is the way the band crafts their songs with a combination of compelling melodies and heavily aggressive rock. Face it, without the haunting melodies, the songs would come across as one dimensional. “We Must Bury You” starts off with this morbid tale about the protagonist kicking the crap, and ultimately the life, out of somebody. Dark, right? But the lyrics that make up the verses don’t carry the emotional impact without the melodic chorus and the plaintive croon from Renkse as he recites, “We must bury you” . . . almost with a sense of panic, a need to hide the crime of the murder. One can almost imagine the scenario as this group of guys are standing over a broken and beaten body, not so much speaking the words, but communicating with their eyes and thoughts that the body must be disposed . . . somehow. And then, the second verse and the remorse, the begging for forgiveness . . . fuck! Dark and powerful! Follow that song with “Teargas” and Christ! Tracks three and four are an emotional rollercoaster! That sudden burst from the band as the guitars lay down a texture passage through the darkness . . . the sheer intensity that suddenly evaporates into the Renkse led vocal work. I love how his voice steadily gets stronger through the verses and then, by the time we get to the chorus, explodes into a haunting melody of sadness and personal tragedy of love lost.

“Tonight’s Music” is pure dark magic! The soft guitar work that opens the track is so fragile and is reflected by the vocals as they creep into the mix . . . like Renkse is well aware that if his vocals were any louder that the riff would be damaged. What Katatonia do probably better than any other collection of songwriters is they balance the light moments with dramatic movements of heaviness, and this song is a perfect example of that. The verses are so fragile, so vulnerable, but then it’s like the cracks suddenly begin to appear and spider web across the mind’s eye as the chorus erupts. So filled with passion and emotion, so vibrant and charismatically expressive. But, that’s not to say that the band can’t rock out heavily throughout a track either. “Clean Today” is a heavy guitar driven psychotic breakdown waiting to happen. Bitchin’ drum work, elaborate guitar textures, and vocals that are more filled with confidence, one of the lone moments where the sun seems to want to break through the dense fog rather than submit to its captivity within the clouds of despair. 

“The Future of Speech” is one of those dramatic moments in rock sound where the keyboard textures create wondrous soundscapes for the guitars, bass, and drums to wreak their havoc. The vocals are superb throughout . . . evoking physical reactions and that voice! Man . . . just beautiful! Then there’s Passing Bird” . . . I’m not even sure what to say about this track. It’s just one of those songs you have to hear, and then it’ll become a part of you. You’ll sing about the girl with the black hair and the black dress. The vocal works is fantastic and something that you’ll have to key into, not because you necessarily want to but because you’ll be forced to. The power of the vocals allows the guitars to play a more subtle roll, but then . . . then they explode and surprise the hell out of you coz’ they just seemed to linger in the shadows. Almost like you forgot they were in the song because you were so keyed in on the lyrics and the melody, but when they do jump out of those shadows, there’s no forgetting them. It’s that complimentary roll that all of the instruments play with one another that keeps the music ultimately interesting.

Every song on Last Fair Deal Gone Down is a keeper, there’s not a throw away track on the album. If you’re one of those new found Katatonia fans and you’ve been on the fence about this album for any reason, please . . . I hope my words will suffice as a fair assessment that you should have very little to no doubt that this record will be a welcome addition to your life. I don’t necessarily think that you need to be in some dark place to get this album, to truly understand it . . . you simply need to have a greater understanding of your own emotions. The songs are crafted around the listener and their ability to feel, and each song has the ability to move the listener to tears, send the listener to an inner place of reflection. For those hoping for more a hard rockin’ album, eh . . . Last Fair Deal Gone Down doesn’t rock in the traditional heavy metal sense, however, that’s not to say it’s not heavy. It’s texturally heavy, it’s emotionally heavy, it’s not necessarily sonically heavy. Again, really wish I had found this album earlier in my life. It’s too good to go through life without.

Of final note, apparently this is the 10 year anniversary of the albums original release, so you should be able to find a deluxe re-issue package of the album here, there, or wherever. Sage advice: Go out and buy it.


More Revenge of the Quick Ripple Bursts - Featuring Joan of Arc, Occult Detective Club,Lights from Space, Maria Rose &The Swiss Kicks, Roll Acosta, and Downcast Theory

Life LikeJoan of Arc – Life Like

Has it really been a year since Joan of Arc released Flowers?  And Boo Human a year before that?  Has Ripple really been around that long?  Yes, it has, so this makes the third time a Joan of Arc disc was hauled into the Ripple office by postman Sal, and the third time I fell under the intensely unique spell of mercurial front man Tim Kinsella.  With regard to Flowers, in my review I commented on how the album wasn’t an “easy listen” at least not in comparison to the extremely melodic Boo Human.  Little did I know that Flowers would sound like Top 40 pop compared to Life Like.  Ever reaching, ever expanding his musical template, Life Like definitely needs to be filed under challenging.  From the off-time, often-changing, oft-kilter angular assault of “I saw the Messed Binds of My Generation” Kinsella starts the album with 10:43 of stabbing guitar mayhem, loosely married to a beat and a rhythm.  That he manages to keep this discordant intro fresh for the whole 10 minutes is a testament to his genius.  Crashing waves of mayhem fall away to gentle, beautiful passages just in time to keep the ear trained.  Other places, Kinsella dismisses the simple pop of Boo Human to explore his own netherworld of agit pop and acute angles.  “Love Life,” is a hyper-kinetic, changing scenery of pop touches, “After Life,” is a military beat, call-and-response plaintive call, while “Deep State” sinks into some alternative funky post-Minuteman cum punk torment all it’s own.  Somehow, melody always finds a way to emerge and breathe the necessary oxygen into each song before we’re left dying on the vine.   As I said, challenging, but satisfying.  Not an album for the faint-hearted, but definitely worth hearing if you’re inclined to following madmen as they joust at their windmills.

CrimesOccult Detective Club – Crimes

Real late 70’s, early ‘80’s punk rock in the vein of real early Clash or the meth-energy of early Ramones.  Three chords played crisp and clear and fast and mean.  Bass pounding underneath like a big brother pounding your skull for knocking up his kid sister and a drum beat that’s simply mad at the world.  Two minute time bombs of blitzkrieg bopping and a vocalist who adds just the right flourish of phlegm to the proceedings.  As long as kids keep having parents, school, jobs, and girlfriends, true punk will never die.  Good, solid, mosh pit fun.

Six Song SetLights from Space - Six Song Set

Don't judge a band by it's cover, or in this case it's name.  Don't know what the lads were thinking when they named themselves Lights From Space, but to me it conjured up images of some spacey alt rock or wankerfest in the Silversun Pickups vein.  Not what we got here at all.  Sure, it's modern rock, but this little six song ditty rocks in the classic Jet, Supagroup, or Mardo vein.  Chunky guitar riffs plow us through "She's the Kind."  Modern rock rears its head in "RNR" with it's angular, squealing guitar hook, but the boys infuse the whole thing with extra adrenaline and hooks to keep it ever from becoming fey.  "Policies" brings on the darkness of a monstrous bass-laden riff.  "Hate Your Style," adds a punky tone a la Attack Attack UK, and  "Zombie" flat out destroys everything in this well tuned retro-surf garage.  All kinds of rock, wrapped up nicely, given a home and (mis)name.  But it's all good.  Seriously good.

Maria Rose & The Swiss Kicks - New Direction

I don't know what the old direction was, but the new direction is heading in the right way.  Maria Rose and her Swiss Kicks plow an electro/soul field with a ripe harvest waiting for the downtempo connoisseur.   "Velvet Cabaret" captures immediately with it's mellow reggae vibe  . . .and is that an melodica, a la Augustus Pablo?  Probably not, probably a synth, but it's real nice, giving the song that reggae/dub vibe.  Maria's voice itself is a captivating, expressive instrument, slightly nasal in tone and perfectly set for this smokey ode to a stripper looking to start a new life.  Really nice stuff.  "Pineapple Wine," is planted with the same downtempo vibe, adding a touch of a rhumba/brazillian beat a la Astrud Gilberto.  "Siren Song" brings on a theatrical vibe perfect for a late night cocktail and tale of woe.  "Angel Face" reminds of Portishead or Tori Amos.  All of it's sultry, all of its moving, and all of it's great for that late night come down.   Tune in.

Roll Acosta - The Dawn EP

Another offering from the mellower side of Ripple, Roll Acosta isn't quite the rollercoaster ride of emotions that the band name may suggest.  Rather this is heartfelt, earnest singer-songwriter in the vein of John Mayer or even the Dave Matthews Band.  A three-piece from Arizona, with vocals/guitar, violin/mandolin and drums, you can imagine Roll Acosta give an eclectic sound. What you may not anticipate is the power of their melodies or the hint at darkness that hangs like a pall over these songs.  "Beating on the Door" is the most rocking of these tunes bursting out midsong in a powerful chorus that reminds me of the Proclaimers, which is a pretty cool thing.  "Whirlwinds" has a melody and chorus that can only be described as beautiful.  Simply beautiful.  With it's windswept barren arrangement and mournful violin, this conjurers up images of Calexico in all the right ways.  "The Dawn" is as uptempo as this EP gets and benefits from great dynamics, and hooks, and Jacob Acosta's best vocals.  A great alt pop song, evocative, innovative and moving.  Words which could also be used to sum up Roll Acosta.  A great alt pop band. 

Downcast Theory - S/T

After a couple of mellower bands, it's time to get back to the heavy stuff and Downcast Theory are just the band to bring the hammer back down.   Bulldozing headlong down the nu-metal highway, passed the wreckage of Cold, Drowning Pool, and Powerman 500, this 4-piece blast it out with a heaping dose of honesty and chops.  I took one look at the kids in this New Jersey band (average age looking fresh-faced and recently graduated) and wasn't expecting this level of musicianship.  I mean this guys rock.  Sure, it may not be the freshest sound out there, but they mix in enough neo-prog flourishes, time changes, melodic hooks, and pure-out balls to make it all hang together and take off.  "Forgotten Within" is a beast of a track, that in a perfect world would knock any memory of Nickleback out of the world's consciousness.  "In Need" terrorizes through its chugging riff to a killer chorus.  "Isoloate" brings in a near-Tool-like essence to it's midtempo intro before exploding into a fury of a ferocious nu-metal temper tantrum.  Any critique would be that too many songs utilize the slow intro building to chaos middle formula, but I bet as the guys keep it going they'll move passed this.  A band to watch.  Their future looks bright.


Occult Detective Club

Lights from Space

Roll Acosta

Downcast Theory

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Despise You / Agoraphobic Nosebleed - And On And On... - Split

It's been a long time since a split CD has really caught my attention and made me want to continue to listen to it over and over. Back in the day some of my favorite splits were: At The Drive-In / Sunshine, Alkaline Trio / Hot Water Music, Pig Destroyer / Gnob, Napalm Death / S.O.B. and Agoraphobic Nosebleed / Kill The Client, just to name a few. So, it has really been a good number of years that I have heard a good split album. This year I have found a split worth worthy of a review and it is the Despise You / Agoraphobic Nosebleed split entitled And On And On....

For those who have read my past reviews, you know I love Powerviolence bands. Love 'em! Despise You are one of the most legendary bands in that scene. With this release, it marks the first new material from the band in 10 years! Needles to say I was super stoked to hear some new stuff. Despise You kickoff this 25 track split with the song “Berefet”. This song reminds me of old hardcore pioneers, Black Flag. This song clocks in at under just 40 seconds.

Despise You do a pretty amazing cover of Fear's “I Don't Care About You”, which on the album is just titled “Fear's Song”. Despise You make this song even angrier than the original and if my ears don't deceive me, it's a bit faster as well. This is a perfect cover. It holds true to it's early Hardcore roots but ads a twist of Powerviloence's anger. This song is still relevant after all these years. With lyrics such as:

“I see man rollin' drunks,
bodies the streets.
Some man was sleepin' in puke
and a man with no legs crawling down 5th street trying to get something to eat!

I don't care about you!
Oh noooooo!!
I don't care about you!
Fuck you!
I don't care about you!
Hey! Hey!
I don't care about you!”

Despise You knock out their 18 tracks in under 17 minutes. Is it good? Fuck yeah, it's good.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed are one of the premier Grindcore bands out there. They have been ahead of the Grindcore curve since the early 90's. Wow I just made myself feel old thinking that I have been listening to this bands since around 1998. Time flies by when you're listening to brutally fast Grindcore.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed keep the party going for the last 7 tracks. They start things off with the track, “Half Dead”. This is one of the longer tracks on the album clocking in at an astounding 4:39. This track begins where Despise You left off. With a sludgy and dirty sounding guitar. Vocally this track is epic. Lots of yelling and doomish vocals.

“No fit to live anywhere
With anyone I'd have any desire
Make a career out of apology
For a maid's wage, same day hire

The commute is hell, the coffee cold
If you worked here you'd already be home
Half man, half dead, half asleep at the wheel
Fuckin' as good as dead, drunk behind the wheel”

“Possession” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It's played super fast and fells punk laden. The Punk aspects I'm talking about are the way you are able to understand the lyrics fairly clearly. The lyrics of this song speak of prostitution, I can't wait to go to a show and scream these vocals with Jay Randall.

“Shit breath
Meth tooth

Playing it loose with the truth
Trying to crawl out of some shit you just stepped in

The demon possessed charged with possession
Bag of shards and a stem
Trying to loosen the noose and save your neck
From the shit you stepped in

Full blown AIDS
Fuck of death
Talking down another prostitute in poor health

Stick your dick in a casket and close it
Should of only paid her to blow you

The shit you just stepped in is on you 'till death”

And On And On... is an awesome split. Hopefully I get a chance to see either one of them live this year. If you love brutal music as much as I do pick up this split. Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Despise You are bands you need to know about.

This split goes good with: Pig Destroyer, Anal Cunt, Black Flag, Fear, Terrorizer, Cattle Decapitation and The Locust.

Buy this album here:

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