Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Black Metal Butterfly Effect 3- featuring So Hideous, My Love

In the blink of an eye Sam, Bradley, and I are back to our rightful time and place.  As usual the time travel is a total rush, and I take a deep breath to keep from giggling like a schoolgirl.  A couple of moments later I realize that something is wrong.  Something is very, very wrong.  This is not the same basement I left behind!  And what is that incessant noise?

“Phillip, where are you?”
“Right over here Penfold.  I’m practicing my drumming.”
“Phillip, stop.  Stop drumming!  I need to think.  I need to…hey, where did you get all of those drums?”
“What are you talking about Penfold?”
“The drums Phillip.  It looks like you’ve combined four full drum sets along with extra toms and two full tiers of cymbals. I can’t even see you back there!  Explain yourself Phillip?  Why do you need so many drums?”
“Jeez Penfold!?!  Everyone knows that the more drums you sit behind while playing, the more progressive you are as a musician.  The fifth drum set will arrive sometime next week, and when it gets here I’ll be the most progressive drummer in the whole state!”
“Phillip, I need you to step over here a minute.”
“Why Penfold?”
“Because I need to slap some sense into…oh my word!  What have you done to your face!?!  You look like a robot with half its flesh mask worn off!”
“What is the matter with you Penfold?  It’s not like you haven’t seen me before today.  I mean, you were the one who drove me to the hospital to get my brain augmentation surgery.”
“Brain augmentation?”
“Yeah.  Cybernetic implants to assist me in keeping a rock solid beat no matter how many time changes we put into a song.”
Horror crept over my whole being in an instant.  “Phillip, there does not need to be that many time changes in a black metal song.”
“Black metal?  What are you talking about Penfold?  No one plays black metal anymore.  We play technical/progressive metal.”

This was too much.  It was abundantly clear that our last trip to the past had been successful.  Entirely too successful I’d say!  I still believed in my original theory; that the promotion of interesting black metal bands (or bands with strong black metal elements) in the past would realign the tastes of the present day (2150 AD) world population and thus keep black metal alive.  The disturbing changes to Phillip’s appearance and behavior validated my theory.  But my goal was not to promote progressive metal.  My goal was to invigorate black metal!

“Sam!  Bradley!  We’re going back to 2011.  This time we have to locate a band who sticks closer to the original black metal mold.  They can’t be generic, but they shouldn’t be outlandishly different either.  Let’s go!”

So Hideous, My Love  To Clasp A Fallen Wish With Broken Fingers

I’ve learned over the years that trying to categorize artists is pure folly.  For example, I can completely understand a person casually listening to this EP quickly determining that So Hideous, My Love is just a plain old black metal band.  Notice that I said a person ‘casually listening’.  That is very important in this case.  To someone not paying particular attention to what they are hearing, the standard black metal elements are what will stand out.  Again, I get that.  But we waveriders know better.  Oh, do we ever!  Attentive listening to To Clasp A Fallen Wish With Broken Fingers reveals what is happening behind the facade, and boy is there a lot going on back there.

“Handprints On Glass”, the first song on TCAFWWBF, doesn’t stray all that far from the standard black metal mold.  It begins slowly, almost dirge-like, before mashing down on the detonator with an ear-blasting wall of yells, guitars, and drums.  That being said, So Hideous, My Love does bring something unique to the table.  I find their use of symphonic instruments to be far more prevalent and important throughout their compositions than what I’ve heard from other black metallers.  When you can clearly hear the string instruments along with the distorted guitars and drums, it lends a more dignified, grandiose air to the music.  The second song, “Prelude In G Sharp Minor”, cements their importance by fulfilling what is advertised by the title, a purely classical prelude to track three.

“However Boldly Their Warm Blood Split” is a fine song, but I want to focus more on the fourth and final track, “To Clasp A Fallen Wish With Broken Fingers”.  Now this is a different type of black metal!  I’ve seen this band referred to as post-black metal a few different places online, and this song makes me understand why.  Outside of the blastbeat equipped portions of this song, the pacing is noticeably slower.  Also, the guitar is focused more on creating a lush soundscape with deliberate note placement than on simply adding to the chaos.  Nicely done, and if you subtract the black metal elements this would make a good straight up post-rock song.

Well there you have it waveriders.  If you want your black metal to have more classical orchestration to it, or if you wish a group would incorporate some post-rock leanings in their black metal, I know just the band for you!  So Hideous, My Love will be happy to welcome you with open arms, and your adventurous ears will thank you every second TCAFWWBF plays.


Listen andBuy here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Olga (featuring Cody Dickinson) - Whatever You Want


I’m not sure if it is soup or salad. 

With soup all the various ingredients are left to simmer until they meld into a dish with inseparable parts.  A salad, on the other hand, mixes its ingredients up and pours a little dressing on top to hold them together.  Yet, the salad even after assembly can be separated into its constituent parts.  You can take the tomatoes out of a salad but you can’t take the tomatoes out of soup.

Sensuous singer, songwriter and guitarist Olga Wilhelmine Munding teamed up with the North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson to produce her latest album entitled Whatever You Want.  Cody is a hard electric blues rocker with a southern bent.  He plays the type of music that you expect from the likes of Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers or Derek Trucks.  Thus, when I heard that Olga’s album was dedicated to her mentor the Mississippi blues great Jesse Mae Hemphill and Cody’s dad, the late Memphis blues rocker Jim Dickinson, I fully expected a scorching delta blues album. 

So much for expectations.  Whatever You Want is, of all things, more of a 1980’s style pop album and one of the best ones that I have heard.  It has elements of R&B, rock, country, even trance.  However, after a thorough listen I am still unsure whether Olga really is the epitome of the 1980’s song temptress or whether she merely chose that persona for a bit of fun with Cody over a shared guilty pleasure - 1980’s pop. 

Olga and Cody play all the instruments and provide all of the vocals.  Adding to the slinky, sultry, come hither affectations of Olga, Cody plays in a manner completely unlike what you would expect from the Mississippi Allstars star.   He plays on about half of the twelve tracks wherein he supplies instrumentation and background vocals for Olga.  Instead of Cody’s expected heavy electric blues guitar, he plays in a style that has more in common with Sade’s guitarist Ray St. John and Hall & Oates guitarist G.E. Smith.  The approach provides a light touch and a mellifluous tone to each song on which he is featured and leaves you with a subtle feeling that the blues are in there somewhere.

Then there is Olga.   Before Whatever You Want she had released three blues-based albums and had established herself as a New Orleans-based blues singer, guitar player and actress.  This, her fourth album, is a huge deviation from her prior work. Her voice and guitar are no longer strictly that of the Delta Blues player.  Here she evokes a bit of Stevie Nicks, a little Smokey Robinson, a touch of Debbie Gibson and a pinch of Laura Branigan.

It is intriguing. Which is the real Olga?  Is she like a salad, with constituent parts that can clearly be identified?  Here is her blues persona; here is her pop persona; and here is her 1980’s love song ballad persona.  Are these just mimicry of others that can separately be identified?  Or, is Olga really a soup where each of those styles meld together into one inseparable tasty concoction? 

I tend to think she is right now on simmer, Some of the parts are still identifiable. I can’t wait to see what a little more cooking time and seasoning will do.  It’s really good now, but, just wait until all those flavors fuse. Then, give her audience a spoon and get out of the way.

- Old School

Monday, August 29, 2011

Falloch - Where Distant Spirits Remain

 Where Distant Spirits Remain

With it coming down to the last days of August, the temperature here in Arkansas is still reaching a hundred and five degrees on some days. After going through the miserable heat wave that took several peoples lives when it got as hot as a hundred sixteen degrees at times, I was more than welcoming winter to completely destroy us and bury me in snow. While the majority of humans will say they love winter during the horrible summers and adore summer when they have to drive to work in the freezing cold, I’ve always been the type of person that could live in the winter-esk conditions, forever. So, what goes good with snow, freezing temperatures and icy roads? If I had to choose a new soundtrack to this coming winter, something that literally embraces winter for everything it is, Falloch’s debut record “When Distant Spirits Remain” is that record that will have you freezing to death.

Creeping very slowly out of the harsh winters of Glasgow, Scotland, this two piece atmospheric/post-rock/folk duo, does a spectacular job of setting a mood and sticking to it. “Where Distant Spirits Remain” paints a picture, a picture that may not make you literally freeze, it will place you in a position of whether or not you should cover up with a couple blankets while this record is spinning. From front to back, this record makes me think of snow mountaintops, lakes that are frozen over and old churches that have been abandon for years. Not to mention, even though this record does have speed and chaos, it’s presented in very small doses and those doses are lethal yet very enjoyable.

The one thing that always came back to my mind while this record was playing is that it’s a soundtrack, it could easily be used in a silent film and even in the background to some films. Even though it can get pretty intense with heaviness and pure

“Where Distant Spirits Remain” is magical, it’s passionate and without a doubt in my mind, this record is the most gorgeous yet honest records I’ve heard in the last several years. Even though I am very confident in knowing Falloch recorded this record inside of a very warm, comfortable studio, I can’t help but want to think that these two guys might of recorded it inside of an empty shack in the middle of nowhere. Now, while several tracks on the record such as “Beyond Embers and The Earth” and “To Walk Amongst The Dead”, may be driven with pure power and heaviness that may lead you to believe these two men could produce a very promising black metal record but  it’s the sections of melody that tug at your heartstrings. In all honesty, for a debut record, I haven’t heard anything as flawless and down right gritty as this record is, that’s just the facts to.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, any record that can place images of beautiful landscapes and monstrous mountain covered in pure white snow, that record deserves props on many levels. Hell, even a record that could sooth everything out in my life and tell me everything is going to be okay, that’s a record that will stick with me for a very long time. So the final verdict is this - seven tracks, that’s all this duo needs to give you before you fall madly in love with what they’ve done on this record. Some might argue that Falloch seems to be confused as to what genre they want to be but at the end of the day, you can call them what you want, folk, post-rock, black metal with folk influence, all I know is that Falloch has created a masterpiece, hands down. “Where Distant Spirits Remain” – The one record that can kidnap you and place you into a better situation than you might be in right now.

Official Site -

Atriarch - Forever The End

 Forever the End

Stepping foot inside of a brand new world, to most, can be a very scary obstacle to overcome, let alone facing it head on. As the newest member of The Ripple Effect, I knew that I had to review something so gigantic, so large in scale that it would take nonstop drilling of my brain to understand everything that was being fed to me. I wanted a record that would tie my hands behind my back and force feed me garbage that tastes like paradise. I wanted something so raw that my neighbors would have to call the Sebastian County Police Department and complain that the echoing disturbance coming from my house sounded like someone was being thrown around by some mysterious force. With that said, Atriarch's Forever The End was the most suitable record that I could see fit for the occasion.

As I gear up and try to prepare myself for what's about to happen while I listen to this record, I couldn't prepare myself for what actually happened. Forever The End, the debut onslaught of mayhem from this four-piece, delivers some of the most monstrous and hellbent chords in the world of Blackened Death/Doom and a very small pinch of Crust. While this record might be a shaker and a roller in the world of metal, I can't help but think that this four track behemoth  of a record is anything but spiritual. Maybe not spiritual in the sense that it's praising a higher power of some kind because is definitely not the case here, but more in the sense that it completely takes the listener to another world. A world filled with outstanding gloom, dark shades of grey that litter the ground and even though the world you just stepped into seems calm, chaos reigned behind and above you as clouds started to evaporate into rain drops of acid.

Forever The End, overall, is a nasty, filthy, disgusting piece of art. Some might say those words are negative but to me, those words are the best ones to use when describing how this record feels, not sounds. Don't get me wrong, the record itself does sound disgusting, in a good way of vibes, but it also feels very filthy and muggy. The third track, "Fracture", should be the example you look at when you try to find the outrageous scum that dwells inside Forever The End. "Fracture", along with the whole record really, provides very sluggish sections that will make you feel as if you are being drowned in misery. In the past I've been very vocal and opinionated that with the majority of Blackened Death/Doom releases, the guitarist(s) need to step their game up in major ways. I may be the only one that feels this way but the bass and drums are what really make a doom record sound like it does and Forever The End is no different. The way that the drums literally vibrated the cup of water on my desk while this record was playing, blew me away. On the flip side, the drums, or what I call them, the soundtrack to Satan entering a room filled with worthless humans, also deliver on a scale that nobody can touch nor disagree with that they sound exactly what hell looks like, in a good way.

This record provides things, as mentioned above, that I really haven't felt since I listened to Meth Drinker's self-titled debut record earlier this year. The vibe you get that everything around you is collapsing into a burning pit of flames while the smell of burning flesh is heavy fogging the air in front of you. Forever The End and Atriarch both have laid waste to everything I wanted in this record. It has the atmosphere, the horrible disease ridden riffs that will make the pictures that hang on your hallway wall fall, only to shatter into tiny pieces and this overwhelming burden to just keep blasting this record until it melts, literally.

So, as I sit confused as to what I just heard from this record, yet I completely understand and latched onto everything that was thrown at me, I ponder the question to myself along with asking you, why can't every single record I come across sound like Forever The End? Simple question, right? The only answer I can give you is that most bands, to me, want to make it huge without much effort. That most definitely isn't the case with Atriarch because if I'm judging this band from this debut full-length alone, I can't see why they won't be featured in the most popular metal magazines or be put on tours with the bands they've looked up to for years. Atriarch - The one band that grabbed me by my throat the second this record started to spin.

Buy the record here:


Sunday, August 28, 2011

All Pigs Must Die - God Is War

 God Is War

“It was given out that the animals there practiced cannibalism, tortured one another with red-hot horseshoes, and had their females in common. This was what came of rebelling against the laws of Nature, Frederick and Pilkington said."
- George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 4

The year is 2031, I have traveled many miles in my search of human contact. Many have fallen in the fight against them. This new being of animal. A much smarter one than the fluffy or edible one from my youth. I have found myself in the now barren wasteland once known as Massachusetts. There are bodies everywhere. Torn to shreds by what looks to be ravishing pigs. Severed heads and random body parts now fill this once people filled state. The smell of rotting human flesh is overwhelming. I must trek along and find human life. Armed with only my machete and a 12 gauge shotgun I roam in search of human life. After traveling what seems like for days I see a sign. It simply reads, “ALL PIGS MUST DIE!”. “People!”, I scream in my head as to not give attention to the animals near by. I follow along a path to a rural cabin. The once putrid smell of rotting flesh has now been overtaken by the smell of bacon. I enter the cabin....

Okay, so while All Pigs Must Die's latest album God Is War is probably not about animals taking over the world it's still one brutal as fuck album. All Pigs Must Die is a four piece punk metal hardcore powerviolence mash of sickness. All things I love in a band. This mixture of all that is musically awesome makes a sound almost like no other. I hybrid of music unlike anything I have heard in quite sometime.

We start thing off with “Death Dealer”. All Pigs Must Die instantly turn on the brutality. This is a very violent song. It flows seamlessly into the non stop rampage of a song entitled, “Pulverization”. Just as the title says it is pulverizing. It's a musical onslaught of blackened hardcore with a d-beat outer shell.

What? You're saying your neck can't withstand the constant headbanging. Well, God Is War does offer up some melodic riffage. For instance, the song “Third World Genocide” begins with an awesome drum beat that leads into some equally great guitar work. Soon though the rage begins as the vocals kick in a literally kick your head off in the process. Let the headbanging commence.

All Pigs Must Die are a band to look out for. You can really tell they love hardcore and brutal music. The combination of the many different styles of music give All Pigs Must Die a sound all there own.

Pick up your copy of God Is War. Oh, and keep a neck brace're gonna need it.

 All Pigs Must Die goes good with: Celtic Frost, Entombed, Nihilist, Negative Approach, Sodom, Darkthrone, Integrity, Leviathan, Burzum, Amebix, Samhain, Discharge, Napalm Death, Chuck Biscuits, Disfear, Craft, Watain, Carnivore, Motorhead, Venom, Harm's Way, Weekend Nachos, Wiccans


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Will Croucher- I'd Rather Be Dreaming

19 hours trapped in a moving box. Some call it a train, I call it a torture device. Who chooses such torture? I do. How does one survive this circumstance? Music. Good music, bad music, it doesn't matter as long as it is playing long and loud throughout your sleepless night (and the horrible incident when you go to take a mouthful of your $5 apple and black current juice only to find that the sugars had putrified to make some sort of horrible tasting alcohol.)

Will Croucher helped me through the initial nineteen minutes and the subsequent five replays of his latest release I'd Rather Be Dreaming.

The album initially caught my attention (and made it beyond the first play) because the first song, “Reborn.” It is distorted, it is rock, it is heavy. I am expecting someone to start screaming that they hate me. I am waiting.

That moment doesn't come because I am launched into these vocals that too are distorted but in a cleaner way (making sense?).  The style works together though, creating something very individual and creative.

“The One Than Got Away” follows and for the first five seconds you almost think he has totally abandoned his style. Then it comes back. The spacey vocals, rock melodies.

Something changes and clicks with the next song on I'd Rather Be Dreaming. “Wave” begins slower, with airy guitar playing, and the vocals that match perfectly. Then it bursts into the rock mix Will Croucher has nailed. The riffs in this song make it one of my favourites- they are so nice to listen to. I do not know how many other people feel their brain connecting with the melodies and the sensations that makes, but if you have it this song will trigger it. There are minimal lyrics in “Wave”, which really works.

“This Makes Me High” mixes the spacey with the rock, instead of leaving a line between them, and it makes for a very interesting fusion. It is blurry, but clean. Thinking about the name of the song, that mix of the two sounds makes sense. There is also this strange silence at the end, as if he is letting you come down to get ready for the next song.

“The One Than Got Away (Millionyoung remix)” ties off the album and is.. funky. Completely different to the other songs but a nice way to tie off.

You may note that I haven't quoted a single lyric in the review (out of character for me), but it really isn't necessary, the vocals are just another instrument with the lyrics being the notes. He doesn't rely too heavily on them, it is about the sounds the music. At least for me it is.

--        Koala

Download “Wave”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Entrenched's Preemptive Strike and Book of Black Earth's The Cold Testament

Entrenched are your general issue death metal-- except for some tiny but interesting details: they're pretty much brand new compared to vets Exhumed; they're just two guys; they're too metal to use Pro Tools; and they love what they do.


I remember an interview with Venom's Mantas talking about the recording of Welcome to Hell. In it, he was laughing about the lack of synchronizing music recording software, and (at that time) even a lack of click tracks (i.e., no mechanical back-up plan to guarantee the same tempo is maintained during the whole song). He said you could put on the record at the beginning, listen, and then pick up the needle and move right to the end of the same song, which would have gotten noticeably faster.

Entrenched are all over the tempo map, often within the same song. Songs speed up, and up, and up....

This is not a dig: this is fucking cool as all hell....

I'm no expert, but I would bet this was recorded in their basement, live, with the cheapest recording devices they could find. This atmosphere, not unlike 5am jam sessions recorded on a tape player with Coltrane and Monk (Live at the Five Spot, i.e.), lends the whole thing an true air of ...sorry, TR00 air... of enthusiasm and passion. These guys in Entrenched love playing old school death metal and it's obvious. The songs aren't as well-written as Exhumed, they're not as well recorded or engineered, their musicianship isn't as obvious--

--but when "Bred to Kill" or "Burnt and Destroyed" are blazing along burning everything in their path you won't remember that.

Preemptive Strike, both lyrically and musically is Sodom and Kreator meet Hail of Bullets. That's the short version....

Oh: and like Guinness needing to stand 2 minutes after a draught pour, Preemptive Strike is 100 times better loud as shit with a ton of bass (even more than most metal).

Entrenched myspace: 

Secondly we have Book of Black Earth and The Cold Testament. They've tuned up (to Db, Black Sabbath and Howl's preferred tuning) from the much lower B tuning on previous LP Horoskopus, and they manage to sound even heavier, following a similar sound evolution to Behemoth-- the songs aren't as muddy and previously, and the guitars sound like they evolved from giant boulder catapults to mortars-- smaller and streamlined, but much more dangerous.

"Road Dogs from Hell" is an awesome death metal answer to songs like Metallica's "Whiplash" or Motorhead's "We Are the Road Crew," a cheeky punkish peon to life on the road-- you know, like "Wanted Dead or Alive." "Weight of the World" is a stock rager, but awesome... and album closer "I See Demons" is a slow burner, almost doomy at times.

Thank you, I've been Horn, and that's my time. Tip your waitresses, please. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow. Good night, and good luck. Satan be with you.

"Weight of the World" on Youtube:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gentlemen's Pistols - At Her Majesty's Pleasure

 At Her Majestys Pleasure

In addition to being a great guitarist, Bill Steer is also a busy mofo. He recently joined England’s regressive rockers Gentleman's Pistols and makes his recording debut on their new album At Her Majesty's Pleasure. I knew nothing about this band but heard the song “Living In Sin Again” on a Classic Rock magazine sampler and was impressed enough to pick up the album. If I was a little bit disappointed with the new Firebird, the Gentleman's Pistols far exceeded my expectations. I love this record! It’s the perfect mix of Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy. Lots of bands owe a huge debt to Sabbath and GP. They’re not a doom metal band at all but just a straight up heavy rock band.

Some of the songs sound like they were birthed straight out of the instrumental jams on the first Black Sabbath record and then welded to outstanding duel guitars. For example, “Some Girls Don't Know What's Good For Them” uses Sabbath’s “Wicked World” as a starting point before venturing into Thin Lizzy “Massacre” turf. “I Wouldn’t Let You” has a strong early Iron Maiden feel that will have you doing the “Prowler” boogie with your tennis racket. They even get in a little Witchfinder General on “The Ravisher.” This song really kicks ass and will make you glad to put a Gentleman's Pistols patch on your denim jacket.

There are 12 songs on At Her Majesty's Pleasure and not one of them is a dud. It’s not often that when a 47 minute CD is over that I listen to the entire thing all over again but that’s been happening a lot lately with this one. Gentleman's Pistols is heavy enough for most metal fans but won’t scare away the hard rock crowd. If you have any blood, guts and beer inside you don’t miss out on this one. Heavy rock at it’s finest indeed.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sistered - S/T

'...time is the real currency of life,' a friend once told me. I take that to heart when it comes to music. I have a short attention span so if a band doesn't grab me within about 30 seconds - I'm done. Sorry. It's just the way I am. I know what I like.

I'll give Sistered a break. It took them 40 seconds to grab my attention with their debut album New Sky. After that they held on tight and didn't let go. Then they left me aching for more.

When Racer sent me the link to this Pittsburgh, PA rock/metal band i admitted to him that i already liked the name. Sistered. It just sounds cool. I wanna get Sistered, I thought, but had no idea what it meant. Now i know. On New Sky, Sistered - Jesse Meredith (vox/gtr), John Dzziuban (gtr/vox), Cary Belback (bass) and Josh Egan (drums) - combine almost everything i love about 80's, 90's and current heavy rock/metal music into what i consider a smorgasbord of sonic delights.

The first song on New Sky is "Shut Your Eyes". So i did. They popped right back open. What the..., I muttered to myself. Uh-oh. Where are they going with this? The guitars are too weak for me. Where's the crunch?! That's about the time the damage started and I got riff-slapped upside the head for having any doubts. Aha. A little trickery perhaps? Some tomfoolery? I like it. I think they're going one way and they totally change tones and directions. They do that throughout New Sky and it's one of the reasons I love the album so much. I never know what's coming next.

For me, nothing beats variety and I believe New Sky oozes with it. "God Save the Child Bride" has an up-tempo, punk-ish thing goin' on. "Layer of the Empire", starts like beautiful lullaby. Then the whole nursery gets demolished by a 10-ton riff wrecking ball. My dog looked at me funny during this one I was head-bangin' so hard. I mighta hurt my neck a liittle, too.

"Story of the Witch" has a great southern-fried-metal feel to it and features some great guitar work. The title track, "New Sky", is just over 8 minutes long. It starts a little slow for me but give it a few - it's another riff monster. I think Sistered left one my favorites, "Blood Red Fog", as the last track for a reason - it left me wanting more. A heavy blues-rock epic, it shows the guitarist/vocalist can actually sing pretty well too if he wants. At almost 9 minutes it's also the longest on New Sky.

Have I said I love New Sky yet? There are a few parts i think Sistered could have done without (like the first 30 seconds), and the instrumental, "Talkin Shit from Outer Space" got a little cheesy for me in the middle, but i shouldn't nitpick. This is a debut album and the band will only get better. I think each song has it's own sound and it's own vibe. Once i came close to skipping through one - "Midnight Renegade" - but it was very short (1:30) and had another ripping guitar solo, so i didn't.

2011 has been a great year for my musical library so far. I've found a lot of great hard rock/metal bands and listened to tons of new heavy stuff. I'd put New Sky right up there with most anything else I've heard. I think Sistered are very talented musicians and excellent songwriters with unlimited potential. They offer on their debut what many bands can't ever give: something truly unique. To me, New Sky was a journey filled with unexpected twists and turns. It's a trip I take often and I'm gonna be back soon. You should visit too.

Sistered has a Bandcamp page where you can listen to New Sky before you buy it ; You can download the 8-track digital album in various formats for $6.

You can also hear some songs (not my favorite) on their Facebook page .  Go ahead and like their page. Like them as a band. I do.


Einvera - In Your Image

“Folks, I’m not going to lie to you.  I’m not going to sugarcoat the situation.  This economy is hard and uncaring.  It’s terribly tough right now.  But when I look out on all of your faces tonight, I see strength and determination.  I see a dominant will that refuses to be broken.  I see the architects of our prosperous future.  And that gives me great hope!  Now I want you to take what we’ve talked about today, take this surplus of positive energy, and apply it to your job search.  While you may not be offered a position today or tomorrow, you will see results soon.    I know that you will.  Thank you.”

After the applause died, I stepped down from the stage and began shaking hands and offering individual advice to those in need.  Eventually, after I assisted everyone near me, I noticed an anxious looking man lingering several yards away among the amphitheater seats.  Understanding that he might not be able to approach me due to shyness or uncertainty, I took the initiative and approached him instead.  Sure enough, there was a reason for his reluctance. 

It turns out that he was not actually in need of my help.  No, it was his friend.  When I asked why his friend was not with us he informed me that this friend needed to speak to me privately.  I did not see anything wrong with that so I let the man lead me out of the amphitheater to a small office down the hall.  Before opening the office door he tried to warn me about his friend’s appearance.  I assured him that physical appearances were not important, went through the door, and came face to face with a skeleton pacing the room.  Well that’s new!  Thus began one of the most surreal conversations I’ve had in my life.

“Are you Mr. Penfold?”
“Uhhhhh…sorry.  Yes I am.  Can I help you?”
“Mr. Penfold, I need a job.  I’ve been going crazy inside my crypt with nothing to do.  You have to help me!  Wait…are you laughing?”
“I’m sorry, but I have never been asked for help by a skeleton before.  You’ll have to excuse me.  I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of you in a regular office, working in a cubicle or the mail room.”
“Exactly Mr. Penfold!  Exactly!  For obvious reasons, I can’t fit in with the everyday workforce.”
“So what is your dream job?”
“Rodeo clown.”
“You can’t be serious!?”
“Of course not Mr. Penfold.  I was just making sure you were paying attention.”
“Rest assured sir, I am.  Have you thought of a position in the health care industry?”
“Is that some kind of sick joke?”
“Not at all sir.  Surely you know it is one of the fastest growing industries in the world?”
“I’m sorry Mr. Penfold.  You have no way of knowing.  Let’s just say I went through a very traumatic experience related to the world of medicine and leave it at that.”
“Fair enough.  Do you have any marketable skills?”
“Not really.  I hire myself out as a party decoration every Halloween.  That’s pretty much it.”
“Wait a second.  You know what?  That gives me a great idea!  Have you ever thought about doing some modeling work?”
“Clothes hardly ever look flattering on me Mr. Penfold.”
“No, not that kind of modeling.  I mean posing for heavy metal/hard rock album covers.  I know several artists who would kill to have you pose for them.”
“Mr. Penfold.  That doesn’t sound half bad.”

Waveriders let me tell you a story.  Okay not a story…an anecdote.  Being your faithful servant, I am always on the lookout for something new and interesting to bring to your attention.  This typically involves reading several press releases, most of which sound exactly the same.  Monotony quickly sets in, and I let my mind wander.  This is exactly the situation I found myself in when I first looked into Einvera.  I pulled up the press release, read the words ‘multi-instrumental explosion of technical metal’, decided that I knew pretty much what to expect, and zoned out.  Thankfully my eyes kept wandering down the page.  The next thing I knew, a question seemed to form in my head of its own volition.  Did I just see the words glockenspiel and trumpet included in the same sentence citing progressive, death and black metal musical elements?  Why yes.  Yes I had.  Further inspection of said sentence yielded other intriguing words such as banjo, vibraphone, accordion, and pedal steel.  Let me tell you, my mouse would not move fast enough to the play button!  And the glorious music my ears beheld that night well…read on waveriders.

Einvera is a metal powerhouse made up of three young men (Grant, Mike, and Zach) that hails from California.  Their debut album, In Your Image, is a guided missile sent to blow the minds of intelligent metalheads/music fans everywhere.  They clearly do things differently than anyone I’ve ever listened to in the technical metal world.  Their imaginative musical mix-and-match, which is apparent from the very first second of the first track, is something I found immediately irresistible.  Is it technical metal?  You better believe it!  Is it progressive?  Only in the best sense of the word!  What about those death and black metal elements?  Trust me.  They’re found all over this album, especially vocally.  You can’t miss them.  The real mystery here is how the band is able to weave all of these disparate elements together into one seamless concoction.

Opener “Static Ascension” begins with a single snare drum crack, and then it’s off to the races!  Speedy guitars vie for space with a lyrical violin line, a very intricate bassline, and some demented drumming.  While I have certainly heard violins featured in other metal tunes, this playing is unique to my ears.  It lends the song a type of folksiness that I can’t quite put my finger on (and thus making it all the more interesting). Not unique enough for you?  Okay, let’s talk about the second song, “Let In Without A Name (Sea Of Trees)”.  Flamenco trumpet coupled with Spanish-flavored guitar almost had me fooled into thinking I was inadvertently listening to another band before the distorted metal elements kicked in and took over.  Wow!  Seriously, moments of wonder occur at regular intervals all throughout In Your Image.  There is the absolutely insane instrumental “Send Me Home”, the epic undulating title track, and the old school death metal aggression of “The Gift of a Ghost”.

To sum up if you’re a music fan who would like to find something fresh and intriguing to listen to, you’ve come to the right place.  Eivera and their album In Your Image will excite your musical tastebuds, but be careful.  This music is extremely good!  I have firsthand knowledge of how this album can dominate your listening habits for days on end.  Waveriders it may be a little premature but I’m absolutely positive that In Your Image will be among my top ten albums of 2011.  Give it a shot, and it might land squarely on your list too.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Help Fund a Festival! Clean Air Clear Stars seeks Kickstarter Support for its Fifth Annual Music Festival

Over the past 5 years Clean Air Clear Stars has hosted over 100 of todays best bands such as the Dandy Warhols, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Angels, Robby Krieger from The Doors, Dead Meadow, Gram Rabbit, Spindrift, Sky Parade, Hopewell, He's My Brother She's My Sister and many many more. The festival features 3 stages and is held in the enchanting desert community of Pioneertown - a former old west movie set built in 1940s.  Our goal at Kick Starter is to raise the money needed to put on this years event which is being held on September 23 & 24th, 2011. Clean Air Clear Stars is a volunteer based community driven festival. Core costs are always a challenge to keep the event going. Your contribution will pay for essential operating expenses like sound, lights, crew, stage rentals, equipment costs and other necessities. Please note that the money we raise here at Kick Starter will go to funding the infrastructure costs of putting on the actual event and will not go toward the charity side of the festival. Each year, Clean Air Clear Stars donates proceeds from ticket sales to the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 1000s of trees around the USA. If you have attended Clean Air Clear Stars in the past and had the experience of spending 3 days out in the desert with some of the best bands around then you know how special this event is! Please do your part to keep the festival going! Thank you for your support!

Donate here:

Jefferson Airplane - 2400 Fulton Street

2400 Fulton Street

Tuesday I will be attending San Francisco Giants’ “Grateful Dead Night” at AT&T Park.  Deadhead friends are flying in from all over California. They will get together and talk of concerts, sporting events, life experiences and shared adventures.  I say this apologetically, especially when I am with them, I was never a big fan of the Grateful Dead.  Yes, I was an usher for their legendary 14 shows at the Warfield Theatre in 1980 but, that was solely a starving law school student’s little perk through the Placement Office.

It is not that I dislike the Dead.  In fact, I like much of their music.  I suppose when I first heard the Dead it was their 1967 release called The Grateful Dead and, by then, I found the Jefferson Airplane much more interesting

For me the Jefferson Airplane was that incredible band that lived at 2400 Fulton St. near Golden Gate Park in a Victorian house that they painted black. Almost every weekend in the summer they would play for free in the Park. Fact is their debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, came out in 1966 a year before the Grateful Dead’s debut.  In the same year the first Grateful Dead album was released the Airplane gave us two spacey albums, Surrealistic Pillow and After Bathing At Baxter’s.  To me back then the Grateful Dead’s old blues covers were just not as creative.

Of course, many differ with that assessment but, if you take into account how long each band survived, it is at least an argument.  The Grateful Dead went on to legendary status and lived until Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. Jefferson Airplane (according to Wikipedia the name is slang for a used paper match split to hold a joint that has been smoked too short to hold without burning the fingers but according to band member Jorma Kaukonen, the name was invented by his friend Steve Talbot as a parody of blues names such as Blind Lemon Jefferson) only survived until 1972 (sure, there was the Jefferson Starship, but there was also Ringo’s All-Star Band after the Beatles.)

During its life the Airplane produced a number of great recordings and even did a few Levi’s jeans commercials.  Fortunately, in 1987, 2400 Fulton St., a compilation of the Jefferson Airplane’s music, including their pitches for Levi’s, was released.  The two disk set captures the Airplane and the psychedelic period of 1966-1972.

The album takes from Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (1966), “It’s No Secret,” “Come Up The Years,” “Let’s Get Together,” and the amazing “Blues From An Airplane.” From Surrealistic Pillow (1967) it compiles “My Best Friend,” the classic “Somebody To Love,” “Comin’ Back To Me,” the LSD-inspired “Embryonic Journey,” “She Has Funny Cars,” the iconic classic “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” and that trip of a song “White Rabbit.” Bathing At Baxter’s (1967) contributions include “Wild Tyme (H),” the memorable “Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil,”A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly,” the anthem “Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon,” “The Last Wall Of The Castle,” “Rejoice,” and “Martha,”  Crown of Creation (1968) is represented by Grace Slick’s “Lather” and “Greasy Heart,” Paul Kanter’s “Crown Of Creation,” and David Crosby’s beautiful “Triad.”  The album pulls from Volunteers (1969) “We Can Be Together,” the Kanter, Crosby and Stephen Stills written song “Wooden Ships,” the traditional tune “Good Shepherd” and “Eskimo Blue Day.” The release Bark (1971) provides “Pretty As You Feel” and “Third Week In The Chelsea.” Their final album recorded as a band, Long John Silver (1972), contributes “Eat Starch Mom.”  To capture the era there is a live recording of “Volunteers” from Woodstock and “Fat Angel” from Bless Its Pointed Head (1969) a live album recorded at Filmore East and Filmore West in 1968, The album also contains obscurities - The Levi’s Commercials, the band’s 1970 single “Mexico” and the B-side “Have You Seen The Saucers?;” and “J.P.P. McStep B. Blues” which was first released on the band’s post break-up compilation album Early Flight (1974).

Many argue the sound quality of this compilation leaves much to be desired.  True, RCA could have remastered the originals, cleaned them up, compressed and decompressed them, digitized and excited them and provided greater separation and clarity.  After all, they have the Masters.  I suppose they could do that one day, but, I’m kind of glad that they didn’t.  There is a real honest quality to the recordings that is true to the day and the band that, if reprocessed, would likely be lost.  As is, it is the best kind of flashback an old hippie can have.

- Old School

Monday, August 22, 2011

Peaches -The Teaches of Peaches

 Teaches of Peaches

Besides being a music buff I consider myself a movie aficionado. Despite my age I have easily seen over 3,000 different films (at least that I can remember) and love when two of my favorite pastimes come together: music in film. In the past I wrote a music review for the Get Him to the Greek soundtrack and had a blast composing it. There’s something about a well-composed soundtrack filled from beginning to end with great songs. Whether they are all original compositions (Get Him To The Greek, Walk Hard, The Rocker) or just great music put together to create an iconic soundtrack (Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Purple Rain), good music will only enhance your movie.

Recently I found myself hanging out with some of my hipster friends and we discussed this year’s Sunset Junction lineup which featured Art Brut, The Belle Brigade, Butthole Surfers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Dum Dum Girls, Hanson, Helmet, Melvins, Rooney, The Soft Pack, Tapes ‘n Tapes and a DJ set by Peaches. Peaches is who I want to talk about. At first when her name was mentioned I had a puzzled face, but when my friend Adam reminded me of her music I was “NO WAY!” and was “beyond stoked” to see her.

Peaches’ music has been featured in such films as Drive Angry, Jackass 2, Lost in Translation, and Mean Girls. Drive Angry, Jackass 2 and Lost in Translation are my main motivation why I’m writing this review now. All three films feature my favorite Peaches’ song, “Fuck the Pain Away” and after recently randomly watching those films over the past month I’ve decided to discuss the greatness that is Peaches.

Peaches originally performed under her real name Merrill Nisker until she decided to obtain a stage name, which started with the release of her full-length debut album The Teaches of Peaches. The original edition of The Teaches of Peaches was released in 2000 by German record label Kitty-Yo and contains only 11 songs. The expanded 2002 edition, released by independent record label XL Recordings, contains 17 songs and two versions of the music video “Set It Off,” which is the one I shall be reviewing and is the one available on iTunes.

Peaches’ electroclash music, a genre combined of new wave and electronic, perfectly accompanies her unique voice and views. Most of Peaches’ songs are extremely sexually suggestive and deal with many post-feminism themes. What I like about her is she sings what she wants and doesn’t give a damn what anybody thinks. Peaches produces great danceable music, so shut up, listen and enjoy the party.

The Teaches of Peaches kicks off with “Fuck the Pain Away.” Most young males will instantly recognize this song since it was featured prominently in Jackass 2, when Johnny Knoxville plays the old man character Irving and he sings along to “Fuck the Pain Away.” The amazing and astonishing lyrics are what I love most about this song. Any song that mention Debbie Harry (Calling me, all the time like Blondie) and Chrissy Hynde (Check out my Chrissy behind) within the first few lines is awesome in my book.

Her breakthrough song not only instantly grabs your attention, but it’s something immensely catchy you can’t help but sing along to. Over the past two weeks I have probably listened and sung along to the song over 20 times and that’s a testament to how good the song truly is even after all those listens.

"Fuck the Pain Away" was listed by Q Magazine at #826 as one of 1001 Best Songs Ever and another interesting fact is there is no official music video of “Fuck the Pain Away” except for fan-made music videos. If you have a chance, I strongly recommend checking them out besides live concert footage of Peaches performing her classic composition.

The lo-fi beat and electro bassline in “AA XXX” is a perfect example of what great electronic music should sound like for people being introduced to the genre for the first time. Most of my friends not affiliated with music and those that only listen to one genre of music generally dislike electronic, electronica, house music and dance. However, when I’ve played “AA XXX” they are mesmerized and don’t know why they love it, but I do. They are listening to someone sing over a sweet bassline and it’s not just “loud random blaring boo boo beeps” (A friend said that, not me).

“Rock Show” is the third single from The Teaches of Peaches and Peaches’ vocals sounds similar to Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill probably because of the riot grrrl punk rock sound. This song feels more like an alternative song rather than an electroclash song. The drums and beats send this song over the top. The second single off the album is “Set It Off” and is probably the second best song on this album. Her voice is very soothing and sensual to create an instant electroclash classic.

“Cum Undun,” “Diddle My Skittle,” and “Hot Rod” utilize synthesizers and mixing to the max. These three songs are followed up by the first single, “Lovertits,” an almost throwback beat blasting with killer boombastic sounds. If you think the song is suggestive, wait until you see the even more suggestive music video featuring friend and fellow singer Feist as one of women riding a bicycle.

“Suck and Let Go” is more electronic sound with barely any vocals, “Sucker” has that alternative/ riot grrrl punk rock band sound and “Felix Partz” is pure electronic with no vocals. On the bonus disc, there are six songs: “Keine Melodien,” “Casanova,” “Sex (I'm A),” “Felix Partz (Remake),” “Fuck The Pain Away (Kid606 Going Back To Bali Remix)” and “Set It Off (Radio/Tobi Neuman Mix).” Super sexy Peaches delivers a killer album filled with goodies.

As a heads up, most of her official music videos are done to create a retro and vintage feel, whereas the fan-made videos have everyone from Miss Piggy to Jean Claude Van Damme to Andy Griffith being featured. The Jackass 2 clips featuring “Fuck the Pain Away” are priceless as well!

For those interested in other artists who sound like Peaches I recommend checking out Chicks on Speed, Le Tigre, Robots in Disguise, M.I.A. and Amanda Blank.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ripple News - Karma to Burn - Tour Begins Next Week - Updated Tour dates

Stoner-rock institution KARMA TO BURN is hitting the road next week, taking their immediately recognizable power-jams across the United States this month and next. Their first U.S. dates supporting new album V, released this June by NAPALM RECORDS and still reaping acclaim with the critics, KARMA TO BURN's latest tour will see them playing 22 dates total and hitting some new places they haven't played before. Here are the UPDATED + confirmed dates/venues:
August 23rd - Salt Lake City, UT @ Burt's Tiki Lounge
August 24th - Denver, CO @ 3 Kings Tavern
August 25th - Wichita, KS @ Blue Lounge
August 26th - Tulsa, OK @ Jake's Downtown Lounge
August 27th - Lafayette, LA @ Slammin' Salmon
August 28th - New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
August 30th - Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
August 31st - Atlanta, GA @ Star Bar
September 1st - Asheville, NC @ One Stop Deli / Music Hall
September 2nd - Huntington, WV @ Shamrock's
September 3rd - Lexington, KY @ The Green Lantern
September 4th - Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant Street
September 5th - Frederick, MD @ Krug's Place
September 6th - Asbury Park, NJ @ The Saint
September 7th - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
September 8th - Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus Bar
September 9th - Kent, OH @ The Outpost
September 10th - Charleston, WV @ Sound Factory
September 21st - Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
September 22nd - Virginia Beach @ Jewish Mother
September 24th - Covington, KY @ Mad Hatter -> "EVIL ROBOTOTHON"
September 26th - Toledo, OH @ Frankies Inner City

Winds Of Plague – Against The World

Against The World

Against The World is the fourth studio album from Winds Of Plague. Winds Of Plague are a Symphonic Deathcore band out of Upland, California. You may remember Winds Of Plague’s past albums, Decimate The Weak and The Great Stone War. Against The World is seemingly the album that's going to push them to the top of the Deathcore scene.

“Drop The Match” is the 3rd track off Against The World and the first track to catch my attention. Pretty standard crunchy guitar and death vocality. I have always liked the simplicity yet catch lyrical content from singer “Johnny Plague”.

“Burn it down
Burn it down with them locked inside
Don't give a fuck if they live or die
This city is full of thieves
This city is full of thieves which prey upon our hopes and dreams
Now it is I who cast the stones
Now it is I who steal your dreams Down that same old dead end path
Take my hand or get out of my way Here we go
So drop the match
Watch the flames erase our past
Erase our past
Burn this mother fucker down”

My favorite track on the album is a song called “Built For War”. The opening of this track is awesome and really gives keyboardist Alana Potocnick her time to shine. She's hot and she plays awesome keys, what more could you ask for?! Again, catchy ass fuck lyrics. Oh, did I mention Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed is on this track too? Well he is.

“I was born to crush you
Kill, kill, kill
I was built for war

Lock and load
Mount the guns
You better run
Pull them back
Let them fly
I was born to crush you

I stand and fight while the cowards run and hide
Step aside as I come ripping through
Or fall victim like the countless many other do
A single move and get wasted by my crew

Swing the hammer with the force of a raging bull
I won't rest until the snap of your neck
Fuck the best and die like the rest
You better know I am built for war
Take your shots and make them count
I'll chew the bullets and spit them out
Now you're chocking on my full-metal rounds
You better know I am built for war
Armed to the teeth, I'm a killing machine
Your artillery will never fucking stop me
When you come, you better bring an army
You'd best believe I am built for war”

Speaking of guest vocalists. The Ultimate Warrior, yes that Ultimate Warrior, does a guest appearance on the track “The Warrior Code”. Though not as furious and crazy as his 80's wrestling promos this track show Warrior could be great on the mic delivering awesome promos again. Anyone remember those great 80's wrestling promos?

“Strength To Dominate” is the closing track and it rules. It's an in your face track. It makes you want to scream along and really want to kick someone's ass. I don't know, maybe I have anger management issues but I really wanted to fight someone after hearing this song. If you are ever needing a “pump you up” gym song, this is it.

The blood stops flowing when there's no one left to bleed.
You'll be begging for your life. Get on your fucking knees.
I've never trembled in the face of fear. I posses the strength to dominate.
Standing strong with a lion heart. I obtain the strength to dominate.
Take heed of my warning. You'll be impaled headless on a stake.
Bones picked clean by the morning. We drove the nails now we've sealed your fate. One, two, fuck you.
I see the weakness in your eyes. Do you see me strength to dominate.
Walk away while your heart still beats, or feel my strength to dominate.
Get down on your fucking knees.
Don't come to killing fields when you don't have any fucking heart.
There will be blood.
What hasn't killed me yet, has given me the strength to dominate.
All the pain I have endured, has provided my strength to dominate.
Fools I have tried to warn you.
There will be blood.”

Overall, Winds Of Plague deliver another great album. Full of awesome breakdowns, a hot keyboardist,

brutal fucking music and killer catchy lyrics. Pick this one up!

Winds Of Plague goes good with: Despised Icon, The Warriors, Emmure, The Acacia Strain, After The Burial, Mortal Treason, Whitechapel, Veil of Maya


Buy the album here:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The American Scene -By Way Of Introduction

 By Way Of Introduction

Pop rock has this way of clicking in my head. The sound is heavy enough for me to convince myself that it isn't shallow mainstream music, the lyrics are catchy but with substance and I can relate to a lot of it. In fact, The American Scene seems to have infiltrated my brain and snatched out all of my thoughts and feelings and thrown them into a pop rock album to be known as By Way Of Introduction.

They are classic pop rock- no fusion, just the clean, crisp sounds that you should be able to expect. The guitar work makes for splendid, fresh riffs and the drums back it up and add an extra element that makes the music more full bodied. Their vocalist is strong, they don't need to cover up his weaknesses with the music because he doesn't have any audible faults.

The title track “By Way Of Introduction” leads you into the album with the short, slow build up into something that reflects the genre perfectly. It is a short track (1.17) but a good start.

“Did You Hear About Your Friends In California” takes the time to make sure you indulge in the guilty lyrical pleasure pumping out things like-
“Everybody's only making up for lost time, making up for lost time,
Where I am stuck at the part where I can't figure out just what to do with mine,
But trust me there's no place I;d rather be than right here”

“Last Chapter Out Of Saigon” is one of my favourites on By Way Of Introduction because of the richness of the riff, and who can say no when the lyrics sum up what your are feeling?
“I think I'm almost fine,
For the first time in a long time,
I'm finding out why,
None of this makes sense.
When I was on my back,
I started picking up the slack,
That I let flow away,
Over the last 365 days.”

My least favourite song on The American Scene's debut is “Home.” This isn't because there is anything wrong with it, rather the other songs on the album are just so strong it feels lagging because it is merely “good.”

“Marty McFly, Nostradumus and I” picks up the slack that was made by “Home” with strong rock sounds and lyrics you will find yourself singing at the oddest of times.
“I remember being good at looking to the future,
And always burying my heart in places apart from where I lay my head”

 “Killed Off In The Second Act” showcases the strong vocals backed up by those cheery rock melodies that frequent By Way Of Introduction.

“Another World Beater” has a heavier sound to it, leaning further on the bass lines and more prominent on the drumming.

The hands down best song on this album is “This Is Rebirth.” It slows things up, sounds fresh, and the lyrics top it off.
“You'll never be in love,
Like you were the first time,
You heard the first lines,
Of your favourite song.
And I've never been in love
Like I was on those late nights
On the long drives
That we spent growing up”

“A Million Minutes In The Making” ties off the album that is a stellar work.

The American Scene is not only kept me company for some of my nineteen hour train ride (next time I am flying...) but has wiggled its way into a regular playing on my iPod. Clean, new pop rock. Catchy, meaningful lyrics. Worth getting.


“Killed Off In The Second Act” streaming here!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Exhumed - All Guts No Glory

I was never a huge death metal fan; I started with power/speed metal, then to thrash, then somehow skipped over death's emergence with Death, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Pestilence, etc., and went straight to black metal (with doom in the background the whole time, natch).

But Exhumed here were so much fun (and had some distinct thrash elements, like Sodom or Kreator) that I keep listening over and over.

They try to say they're "no genre" in the downloads, but whatfuckingever-- it's old school "brutal" death metal.

Does that mean something to you? If if does-- this is AWESOME.

It's utterly generic, but done as well as humanly possible-- really cool, fun stuff. It's actually the most fun I've had listening to death metal since the last Hail of Bullets album.

Unless I indicate otherwise below, assume every track on All Guts, No Glory follows this blueprint-- simple, three- or four-chord riffs with atonal, whammy-heavy solos, detuned riffs (way down to B, a fifth below standard, the home of Pelican and --mai oui!-- Hail of Bullets), also screamed vocals....

Track 2, "As Hammer to Anvil" rivals pretty much anyone else in terms of fury and speed (even though the riff is basically just the open string picked as fast as possible, with an occasional pinch harmonic)... about half way through we get the normal death metal breakdown, lead-in to solo-- but: so well done it's distinct.

"Through Cadaver Eyes" so fast and mean you'll want to listen again and again... (unless you're in more of a Sara Bareilles mood, I guess)... and despite being so brutal, the instrumentation is also agile and able to turn on a time without disappearing up its own butt, à la some progressive death metal....

Possible highlight "Death Knell" is blistering, breakneck-paced thrash/death, with a melodic solo like Sadus... then, at 3 minutes hits that sweet spot of death metal with a simple five-chord outro, complete with tolling bells... it only competes with:

"I Rot Within," all fury, even faster than the above tracks, even angrier... catchy, and overall probably the best track here, and:

"Necrotized," which flirts with tech death for a second, but is quickly back to old school-death-bordering-on-thrash (like Sodom)....

Great stuff. Furious-yet-considered, intricate-yet-simple, funny-yet-serious....

Like death metal? You will enjoy this. It's "fun" death metal: stupid but intense, the musical equivalent of a movie like Shoot 'em up or Drive Angry.

Bonus Points: final track, "So let it be rotten, so let it be done" a death-metally pun on the refrain from Metallica's "Creeping Death."


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Firebird - Double Diamond

 Double Diamond

Firebird’s last album Grand Union was one of my favorites of 2009 and I knew they would have a hard time topping it. Their new album Double Diamond is a very solid rock album but doesn’t quite match the intensity of the last one. Still, Firebird is one of the better rock bands out there and new material is always welcome and worthy of support.

Double Diamond starts off with “Soul Saviour,” one of the stronger songs on the album. Guitarist Bill Steer fires up a classic riff and the band comes in with a great cowbell driven groove. The first thing I noticed is that the production seems to be a bit more “modern” than in the past. Of course, in Firebird’s world “modern” means Paul Chapman era UFO and Chinatown by Thin Lizzy. As always the band is very tight and Bill’s guitar playing is outstanding. 

Mid-tempo songs like “Ruined” and “Bright Lights” are pretty commercial sounding. Too bad these won’t get any airplay because they could definitely appeal to a mainstream classic rock audience.  Faster ones like “”For Crying Out Loud” and “A Wing & A Prayer” will sound great in your car as you’re rocking down the highway. Overall, I think this album will sound better in a car than on a home stereo. The production is top notch and there’s plenty of variety so you won’t get bored on the road. It is, however, lacking barnburners like Grand Union’s “Blue Flame” or their storming version of Humble Pie’s “Four Day Creep.”


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ripple News - Katatonia Tour Dates Announced

Headlining “Last Fair Day Gone Night 2011” performances scheduled for September and October

Katatonia has announced several special 20th anniversary North American shows in celebration of two decades of gloom and doom from the world-renowned progressive metal titan. The headlining “Last Fair Day Gone Night 2011” performances will take place in the United States and Canada while the band is in North America for the upcoming “Heritage Tour” with fellow Swedish heavyweight, Opeth. Full dates for “Last Fair Day Gone Night 2011” and the “Heritage Tour” can be seen below.

            Guitarist Anders Nyström issued the following statement in anticipation of the “Heritage Tour…”

            "Both you and we know that North America damn well deserves to see more of Katatonia, right? So how could we possibly resist heading back to the States this fall when Opeth are giving us the opportunity to be their special guests? It was just a matter of time before it had to happen again. Yes we toured together in the same formation ten years ago in Europe, and not only was that tour very well received by both bands’ fans, but we also shared a great ride together as long time friends. Some people have even been calling this bill their ‘dream line-up’, so it's only fair that the loyal fans in North America now get their piece of the cake too! So come out and see us on this great tour and remember we're playing headlining sideshows as well! Looking forward! Cheers!"

            Katatonia last toured North America in the fall of 2010, a headlining run on the “Night Over North America” tour, in support of its 2009 release, Night Is The New Day.

            Stay tuned for more information on Katatonia, “Last Fair Day Gone Night 2011” the “Heritage Tour”.

“Heritage Tour” dates 2011…
Sept. 16 - Ottawa, ON - Zaphod Beeblebrox*
Sept. 17 - Quebec City, QC - Agitee*
Sept. 18 - Montreal, QC - Foufounes*
Sept. 19 - Worcester, MA - The Palladium
Sept. 20 - Hartford, CT - Webster Theater
Sept. 21 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Sept. 22 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Sept. 23 - Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero
Sept. 24 - Rochester, NY - Montage Music Hall*
Sept. 25 - Cleveland, OH - Peabody’s*
Sept. 26 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
Sept. 27 - Louisville, KY - Expo Five
Sept. 28 - Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom
Sept. 29 - Charlotte, NC - Amos' Southend
Sept. 30 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage
Oct. 01 - Lake Buena Vista, FL - House of Blues
Oct. 02 - New Orleans, LA - Hangar*
Oct. 03 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
Oct. 04 - Austin, TX - Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater
Oct. 05 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
Oct. 06 - Kansas City, MO - The Beaumont Club
Oct. 07 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
Oct. 08 - Winnipeg, MB - Burton Cummings
Oct. 09 - Regina, SK - The Exchange*
Oct. 10 - Edmonton, AB - Edmonton Events Centre
Oct. 11 - Calgary, AB - MacEwan Hall Ballroom
Oct. 13 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
Oct. 14 - Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory Concert House
Oct. 15 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
Oct. 16 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theatre
Oct. 18 - San Francisco, CA - The Warfield
Oct. 19 - Los Angeles, CA - Mayan Theatre
Oct. 20 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
Oct. 21 - Pomona, CA - The Fox Theater
Oct. 22 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
Oct. 24 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
Oct. 25 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
Oct. 27 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave
Oct. 28 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
Oct. 29 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrews Hall
Oct. 30 - Guelph, ON - Guelph Concert Theatre
Oct. 31 - Millvale, PA - Mr Smalls Theatre
Nov. 01 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live!

* Katatonia headlining “Last Fair Day Gone Night 2011” date

The Haunted Continents - The Loudest Year Ever

After a long and arduous journey I parked our van in front of the address the group had provided.   I’ll admit that the location was a little spooky, even in broad daylight.  We were a couple of miles outside of New York City proper, and there were only a few mid-size industrial buildings around to break up the landscape.  Additionally, the squat one story building my camera crew and I were parked in front of appeared to be the only one currently inhabited.  I honked the van’s horn to formally announce our presence.

Sure enough a door opened and two normal looking young men walked out to greet us.  Handshakes and introductions followed.  James A.M. Downes was the singer/guitar player, and Matt Cascella was the drummer.  Together they made up The Haunted Continents.  Perhaps sensing my unease, Mr. Downes clapped me on the shoulder and reassured me that no one present was in any physical danger whatsoever.  Unfortunately his statement did not truly lessen my concern, and I asked for clarification on what exactly was going to happen inside this building of theirs today.  He laughed, put a big smile on his face, and explained that my crew and I were here to document the latest of their ongoing séances.  With any luck he continued, we would also be able to record video of new music being written and performed.  That seemed pretty straightforward to me, so my crew and I followed the two young men into the building with cameras at the ready.

Leaving the bright afternoon sunshine behind, I found the dark interior of the building quite disorienting.  Once my eyes adjusted to the low light levels, I observed that the interior space had been fully transformed into one large practice/recording space, with vintage concert posters decorating the walls.  The musicians took their respective places, strapping on a guitar and sitting behind the drum kit, and signaled us to begin recording video.  Incense was lit and a few choice words were chanted in unison.  At this point Mr. Downes closed his eyes and appeared to go into a deep trance while Mr. Cascella continued calling on otherworldly entities.  No more than one minute later, Mr. Downes visibly shook, opened his eyes and looked around the room as if he was unsure where he was.  He looked down at the guitar, smiled, and lifted his gaze onto Mr. Cascella.

“Hey Matt!  How are you?”
“I’m fine Buddy.  How are you?”
“Well it’s good to be back here I can tell you.”  He looked to his right and saw me and my crew.  “Who’s this?”
“Buddy this is…”
“Hi.  My name is Penfold, and you are?”
“Buddy.  Buddy Holly.  Pleased to meet you.  Are you here to listen to me and Matt play some music?”
“Great!  Hey Matt, I’ve been listening to those Weezer albums you showed me.  Man they’re great!”
“Yeah Buddy, I think so too.  I’m glad you like them so much.”
“You bet I do.  They’ve given me tons of song ideas!  Do you want to just play along with me as I run through some of them?”
“Sure.  That sounds good to me.”
“Great!  Here we go.”

Waveriders, waveriders, waveriders.  Boy oh boy do I have some music to tell you about today!  The Haunted Continents is the name of the band and their fantastic debut album, The Loudest Year Ever, is about to serenade your eardrums into a state of pure ecstasy.  As you might have guessed after reading the story above, The Haunted Continents is made up of the dynamic duo of guitarist/keyboard operator/vocalist James A.M. Downes and drummer Matt Cascella.  Originally from Old Saybrook, CT these two men can currently be found conquering New York City with their wickedly memorable tunes.  But why am I so excited about this band?  What do they sound like?  I’m glad you asked.

To borrow the groups own words, The Haunted Continents ‘mix 50s bop and soul with 90s alternative’.  They list Buddy Holly and Otis Redding as their two main influences besides Weezer.  Now I know what you’re telling yourselves waveriders.  You’re telling yourselves that you’ve heard plenty of modern rock acts that incorporate 50’s rock influences into their sound.  That is certainly true and I won’t bother arguing that point.  So what makes this group different?  I’ll tell you.  The Haunted Continents flip the script and compose songs like a 50’s era group who has been given the gifts of distortion and modern production.  It’s breathtaking!

The Loudest Year Ever is made up of ten songs.  Ten superb anthems dedicated to the fine art of the break-up.  There are ultra groovy heavy hitters.  There are mid-tempo wonders.  There are delicate ballads.  Anything you wish to discover can be found within this album.  Well, I take that last statement back.  If you were looking for some throw away songs or other musical filler, you’ve come to the wrong place.  This album is a lean, mean, bop and soul machine!  While all ten songs are great, there are a few that really jump out at me.  Opener “2nd Avenue Blues” really establishes that the listener is in for something different and wonderful.  “Cure For The Blues” lays some driving guitar strumming over top of another distorted guitar line and hand clap accompaniment.  This song makes me happy…end of story.  “She’s My Only One” sounds so wholesome throughout that I simply can’t resist its charms.  I dare you to try waveriders.  No, scratch that.  I double dare you!

Time to put a bow on this methinks.  Here is the bottom line waveriders.  I love The Haunted Continents album The Loudest Year Ever more and more every time I listen to it.  If you grew up listening to nothing but 1950s rock n’ roll thanks to your parents musical preferences, or if you simply value the sonic blueprint established by those early rock acts and wonder what a 90’s alternative take on their sound would be like you absolutely must hear this album!  The rewards are bountiful!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ripple News - LO-PAN To Begin Let Freedom Ding Tour; Vinyl Out Now!

Ohio rockers LO-PAN have unveiled their latest slew of tour dates in support of their Small Stone Records debut, Salvador. After scores of shows across the country with the likes of Truckfighters, Dixie Witch, Gypsyhawk and Fight Amp, LO-PAN’s Let Freedom Ding tour – allegedly named for the many bells that mysteriously occupy the dashboard of the band’s van – will find the outfit bringing their fuzzed-out soul rock bliss to the Midwest alongside heavy hitters like Bloodcow, Droids Attack, and Chapstik.

In addition, Small Stone’s 180-gram vinyl pressing of Salvador is available now in white and red/blue clear swirl. Whatever flavor you choose, it’s delicious, and available now at The band will also have copies with them on the road, and they take credit cards. Seriously.

LO-PAN Let Freedom Ding Tour:

08/17/2011 The Mill - Iowa City, IA w/ Snow Demon
08/18/2011 The Waiting Room - Omaha, NE w/ Bloodcow
08/19/2011 Tennyson's Tap - Denver, CO w/ Low Gravity, Black Lamb
08/20/2011 Burt's Tiki Lounge - Salt Lake City, UT w/ Muckraker, Dwellers, Top Dead Celebrity
08/23/2011 The Aquarium - Fargo, ND
08/24/2011 Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis, MN  w/ Droids Attack
08/25/2011 JB's Speakeasy - La Crosse, WI w/ Droids Attack
08/26/2011 Club Inferno - Madison, WI w/ Droids Attack
08/27/2011 Red Line Tap - Chicago, IL w/ Heaving Mass, Droids Attack
08/28/2011 Small's - Detroit, MI w/ Chapstick, Knife

Lo-Pan, Salvador vinyl track listing:

Side A:

El Dorado

Bleeding Out


Bird Of Prey


Side B:


Chichen Itza

Struck Match



Ocean Grove - Another Place To Stay

When Racer tossed me the new Ocean Grove EP release entitled Another Place To Stay.  I didn’t know what to expect.  When I queued it up for the first time I was floored.  Here was this band I had never heard of playing well-crafted rock rivaling that of Hall of Fame rockers.

The EP contains a scant five tracks - one of which is described as a “hidden track.” There is “Away” which  could have easily been written by an alternative rock Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers;  “The Best,” a song with a sound reminiscent of Paul McCartney and Wings;   the so called “hidden track,”  entitled “So Cool,”. which channels Freddie Mercury and Queen; and. “Take It Easy,”  a tune with a Graham Nash meets Warren Zevon poppiness. The final track, “Say Goodbye,” builds from a Flying Burrito Brothers-like country ballad to an uptempo alternative pop Train-like middle.  The ending, however, is like someone took the end of George Harrison’s “My Guitar Gently Weeps”  and crossed it with the end of Alvin Lee and Ten Years After’s “I’d Like To Change The World” culminating in massive rock guitar, drums, bass and tone.

When you hear music like this you have to ask, “Who are these guys?”  A quick search found that the band consists of John Taylor (vocals/guitar), Ryan Liestman (keys/backing vocals), Greg Garbowsky (bass/backing vocals) and Jack Lawless (drums).  I also learned that they have been playing together for years opening for, or backing, such artists as Stevie Wonder, Brad Paisley and Vince Gill. Now, they are on their own as Ocean Grove.

This summer Ocean Grove is touring the southwest U.S. from California to Texas.  Give them a listen or see one of their shows.  They may very well surprise you too..

- Old School

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