Friday, September 30, 2011

Free Music of the Day! - ESCAPING THE ORDINARY vol II

ESCAPING THE ORDINARY is back with Volume Two featuring music from 23 bands that must be heard. The second installment of the ETO compilation series is continuing its mission of compiling bands and artists that set themselves apart from the ordinary and will never fade into the scenery. Broaden your musical horizon with this FREE download that continues to showcase bands that are on the forefront of everything that is right in rock music. Back by popular demand, Escaping The Ordinary presents….

Get it here

Escaping the Ordinary: Volume Two Audio Promo by EscapingTheOrdinary

MonstrO - S/T

MonstrO are an exhilarating breath of fresh air. For real. I'm inhaling deeply.

This one-of-a-kind, rock/metal/ambient band out of Atlanta, Ga., play music much like the cover art of their self-titled debut - it's vibrant, colorful and lively but still has a touch of darkness. MonstrO is plenty heavy enough for me; the vocals are clear and triumphant with intelligent and thought-provoking lyrics. The album quickly lifted me to the highest oxygen-deprived peaks and brought me back down gently on soft feather pillows. I love it.

I have to admit something. I really should have listened to my old buddy from Kentucky, Randy, who liked MonstrO before I did. "I dig the vocals a lot," he told me. "Sounds like something I could get into."

Me too, bro. I was already a huge Torche fan and now I can include guitarist Juan Montoya's new band. Former Bloodsimple rhythm section Bevan Davies (drums) and Kyle Sanders (bass, vocals) joined Montoya and vocalist/guitarist Charlie Suarez (Sunday Driver) to spawn MonstrO in 2009.

“We are unashamed to stretch ourselves musically, with no regards for a 'play it safe' mentality" says Davies.  No doubt. The first half is much more zestful to me and the last more psychedelic but every song on MonstrO is an intriguing adventure.

I'm in my own little world as soon as I press play. "Fantasma" (2:27) is fantastic and explosive and it's probably my favorite song. Then again, I'm a former sailor and current 'Saylor' so I really enjoy riding the rolling waves of "Anchors Up!" (5:10), with it's nautical nature.

On "Concertina" (6:15), my world's beginning to calm down but with about 2 minutes left, MonstrO bust out titanic riffs while suggesting, "Concertina cradles you to sleep." Then, "Wake up!"  I did already. Sheesh. Just in time for "Stallone" (4:17) to punch me in the gut, tell me to shake it off and remind me to breathe. Ugh. Thanks.  "Solar" (2:47) is another groovin' jewel. I'm blinded by its light, too.

"Elizabeth", "Helios" and "Apollo" are perfect psych-rock masterpieces, each is about 4 minutes long and has its own trippy, thick atmosphere. But the last track, "April" (8:29) is the crowning psychedelic achievement on MonstrO, in my opinion. It's the ideal ending to an amazing musical experience.

MonstrO are on a U.S. tour this month with KYUSS Lives! and The Sword. See this band if you get chance but definitely get a copy of MonstrO (Sept. '11, Vagrant) from ITunes.

You should also check out Montoya's side-project, Stallone, in which he teams up with drummer Evan Diprima. They have a couple of extremely hard-hitting instrumental tracks on their Facebook page (link below) and I can't wait to hear more.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yob - Atma - Two Reviews by Two Ripplers


An album that struck our writers so hard we had to review it twice!

 I’m glad the new Yob album is finally out so I can go on a doom metal diet. There’s a lot of good doom out there but Yob blows just about everybody else out of the water. Their power, originality and ungodly heaviness is something to behold. Yob’s popularity has greatly increased the past few years and even the New York Times has raved about the band. When they came to NYC in July a lot of curiosity seekers got their doors blown off by their pure molten metal. It was obvious some of these people had never seen a real metal band that plays loud and headbangs through the whole show. That’s probably the thing I admire most about Yob. They have a lot of experimentation and diverse set of influences in their music but everything they do is METAL. These aren’t dudes who grew up on indie rock and heard Black Sabbath for the first time in college. These are true followers of the One Commandment – intense metal is all that you need.

Atma picks up where 2009’s The Great Cessation left off and climps higher on the scale of hardness. Yob songs are long and the new album is no exception. Skull crushing opener “Prepare The Ground” pounds for a full 3 minutes before guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt starts screaming his mystical lyrics. Mike’s vocals are a turn off for some people but I love his voice. At times he reminds me of the clean metal singing of David Wayne from Metal Church and other times of the harsh grunts of Blaine Cook of The Accused. Either way his vocals are impressive and the way he can switch between styles reminds me of the almighty Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas. Mike’s guitar playing is also great. Ultra heavy and downtuned yet you can still hear the notes in the riffs. Bassist Aaron Rieseberg pummels a Gibson Thunderbird bass and it’s pure filth but stays in the pocket with Travis Foster’s drums. Heavy! And how the hell do these guys remember all the parts for these long-ass songs?

The title track has a strong Black Sabbath influence, right down to the rain and tolling bells of the intro. When the riff kicks in, it’s a long slow ride that brings to mind Black Flag’s water torture experiments on side two of My War. “Before We Dreamed Of Two” is a 16 minute mind fuck of psychedelic guitar, trippy samples and guest vocals from Scott Kelly of Neurosis. This is what happens when you listen to Animals by Pink Floyd after a ride on the mescalator at a Slayer show on the Hell Awaits tour. Weird but still totally metal. “Upon The Sight Of The Other Shore” must be the single since it’s only 7 minutes. The album wraps up with the 13 minute “Adrift In The Ocean.” The first third of the song is pretty quiet with some definitely David Gilmour influenced guitar playing before the band kicks in with a heavy groove.

Atma is not for the faint of heart but repeated listens can pay long term dividends. Definitely one to play loud as you drop out of life with bong in hand.


Okay, so, not as "metal" as previous effort Great Cessation--more hippy, more earthy, tuned up from A to B-- but just as cool.

Warm, ritualistic, definitely-spiritual somehow, maybe religious-in-the-formal-sense, while at the same time being friendly, accessible, again, hippy-ish in its lack of hostility and openness to the listener.

Opens with the simple B riff of "Prepare the Ground" with its blend of tribal-funky and crushing. (No easy feat, that.)

Mike Scheidt and his Geddy Lee-ish high-end vocals welcome you, though direly, after one minute of rain and distant church bells at the beginning of  the title track, and about halfway through it revolves around a triplet-on-the-low-string riff, the rhythm section lurching in and out, a voiceover popping up now and again.

"Before We Dreamed Of Two," with its chant-like backup vocals at around 4:00, reminds me of every Zen retreat I've even been to-- and is also metal as fuck.

Scheidt and his voice reiterate the great juxtaposition here: the vocals are the venom in the syrup, the arsenic in the punch-- they're raspy, often rageful and somewhat black metal-ish, and they contrast well with the slow, reverent riffs from which Atma is built.

How does it compare to older releases? It's more immediate. Whereas the beginning of The Great Cessation, when that first low A chord bottoms out and just fucking resounds like a heartstring from the House of Usher, was a mighty, distant, massive Heraldic Summoning by the Gods (seriously-- when you meet your God, if it doesn't sound like that, change religions), Atma is a much subtler, more organic kind of mighty, like the old hippy playing his low tuned lapsteel guitar on the street corner, who gives you the impression he's the embodiment of some Very Old Wisdom, and is only toying with you by being in the human form in the first place.

Atma is just as powerful as its predecessor, but much more "after-hours jam session at a tiny bar" versus Cessation's Roar From The Temples.

Frankly, I would've been just as satisfied with Cessation II-- but this is an awesome surprise and riff on/evolution of that classic Yob sound. Definitely top 5 of the year.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grifter's Critically-Hailed Self-Titled Album Out Now!

Captain Zen Beyond has called them "the best classic rock band around" and the album "brilliant without any weak points." The Obelisk says they "sound like fans of 70's rock creating their own riffs and grooves to universal appeal." Classic Rock Magazine has seen their brand of irreverent rock to be fitting enough for one of their cover-mounted compilation CD's. Grifter has taken the world by storm with their new self-titled album of gritty, blues-based biker rock and you need to know what the fuss is all about! Available now through the Ripple Music Store and available world-wide on October 3rd through Clearspot International in Europe and Code 7 Distribution in the UK, Grifter is the album that will fuel every high-octane weekend party and chase away the doldrums of everyday life!

This eleven track album is the band's first full-length effort with indie rock label Ripple Music, however, Grifter’s unique one-foot-in-the-gutter, sleaze rock sound first appeared on the Ripple roster with their dual contribution to the Heavy Ripples, Vol. 1 compilation released earlier this year. To fill out 2011, Grifter will be performing numerous shows throughout England, as well as preparing for a tour of UK and parts of Europe for 2012.

Confirmed live dates:

Sept 29th - The Rosr, Hounslow, London with Desert Storm, XII Boar and Strung Heavy
Sept 30th - The Purple Turtle, Camden, London with My Sleeping Karma and Steak. (London album launch)
October 7th - The Junction Underground, Plymouth with Stump Grinder and Guns Under The Table. (home town album launch)
December 2nd - The Unicorn, Camden, London with Doctor Cyclops, Stubb and one more TBA


Also available at CDBaby,, Ebay, and All That Is

Ghost Robot Ninja Bear - S/T

“Ah Vegas.  There is nothing like the Strip when it comes to staging extravagant events or promotions.  Welcome everyone!  We’re coming to you live from inside the WGW Large resort and casino where a capacity crowd is on hand to witness the dramatic conclusion of what has been a fantastic week of technological mayhem.  Thirty two teams entered this prestigious competition, and now only two remain.  The first, Team Megasoft, is made up of veteran competitors who have dominated this event in years past.  The other, Team Ripple, literally came out of nowhere to reach the finals in their first Vegas appearance.  Let’s find out a little more about these exciting newcomers from our own Tony Shrugged who is standing by with Team Ripple’s spokesman, Mr. Penfold.  Tony?”

“Thanks Ken.  Mr. Penfold, thanks for taking the time to talk with us.  I know you’re busy preparing for the title bout.”
“Oh, it’s no problem Tony.  I think Team Ripple is as prepared as we can be.”
“That’s good to hear Penfold.  So tell me, where does Team Ripple come from?”
“Well our base of operations is in California, but the members of our team are scattered around geographically speaking.”
“What made you all want to enter this competition?”
“Truthfully we have wanted to take part in this competition for some time.  However, this was the first year that we felt we could bring a competitive entry to the table.”
“A competitive entry Mr. Penfold?  I’d say so.  Your robot quickly and efficiently demolished everything in its path on Team Ripple’s road to the finals.”
“Thank you very much Tony.  Team Ripple is incredibly proud of the work we put in to building our robot, and I think our efforts have paid off thus far.”
“I’d say so Mr. Penfold.  Handsomely.  One last question.  Have we seen everything your robot is capable of, or is Team Megasoft in for a surprise during the finals?”
“Trying to make me divulge our fight plans Tony?  Come now, I won’t answer that.  But I will tell you that Team Ripple may have an ace up our sleeve.  You’ll just have to wait and see like everyone else.”
“Ha!  It’s your first year and you’re already acting like a seasoned pro.  Thank you Mr. Penfold.  Good luck to Team Ripple in the finals.  Back to you in the broadcast booth Ken.”

Skip ahead to the actual battle after all the pyrotechnics and introductory video montages.  Team Ripple’s robot facing off against Team Megasoft’s robot inside the dodecahedron, the multi-edged circle.  The shape of Team Megasoft’s combatant could most easily be described as a giant wedge, whereas Team Ripple’s electronic gladiator was ursine in nature, with four reinforced limbs supporting a large mouth used to crush objects.  The fight began.  Team Megosoft’s wedge quickly maneuvered around the side of its opponent and extended an arm causing Team Ripple’s robot bear to fall on its side.  The members of Team Megasoft were all looking very smug, smiling and high fiving each other in an effort to taunt the members of Team Ripple standing beside them.  That smugness quickly vanished when the robot bear flipped itself back upright, raised itself upon its hind legs, and disappeared.  The crowd was instantly silenced.  Seconds later Team Ripple’s robot bear uncloaked itself behind Team Megasoft’s wedge.  It delivered a vicious karate chop that split the oversized wedge in half.  Sparks flew every which way, and the crowd went wild.  A chant started up and quickly spread to all those in attendance.  Ghost – Robot – Ninja – Bear!

Waveriders.  Fighting in the green, yellow, and teal trunks out of Brooklyn, New York…it’s Ghost Robot Ninja Bear.  This band is here to bring their stellar rock and roll vibes directly to your waiting ears.  And folks, let me come right out and state the obvious (obvious to me at least).  With a name like Ghost Robot Ninja Bear, I was going to be extremely upset if the music on this album was sub par.  You can’t come up with a moniker that would take first place in the ‘Awesome Band Name Olympics’ and then fail to support it with good music!  It’s a rule…and you must never break the rules.

As stated before Ghost Robot Ninja Bear is from Brooklyn, New York.  The main man behind this musical heavyweight is vocalist/guitarist Oscar Albis Rodriguez.  Veteran waveriders might recognize this gentleman as one of the members of Nakatomi Plaza, a band who received a glowing review on The Ripple Effect back in January of 2010.  The other talented musicians that make up Ghost Robot Ninja Bear are Geoff Kraly on bass, Gunnar Olsen on drums, and Jordan Melkin on guitar.  Together, these four men and the occasional guest produce rock music with strong currents of punk and indie rock working together to create an ear pleasing sonic gumbo.  The liner notes make a special point of declaring that the band’s recorded output was produced with minimal editing.  All I can say is that I approve of this decision.  The songs sound fantastic to my ears, and the lack of overproduction gives the music an honest, trustworthy feel.

Not only are these songs ear pleasing, they are compositionally varied as well.  Album opener “The Curtain Call” does a great job of setting the scene with compelling clean vocals, aggressive in your face guitars, smooth yet complicated bass lines, and very tasteful drumming that offers loads of musical backbone without ever becoming too busy.  “Watching Me Watching You” sees the band lift slightly off the throttle controlling song tempos before launching into some epic sing along choruses.  “I Can’t Decide” is really quite beautiful and soothing.  That being said when the band wants to flex its muscles the volume spikes and a wave of guitars sweep the listener away.  “Swamps Of Nova” has an irresistible down-home charm to it, and I would go so far as to say that the whole song has a certain ‘twang’.  “Pilots” is of special note not only because it is by far the most aggressive, riff-tastic song on the album, but also because it comes as a complete shock when the song’s growled vocals assault your eardrums.  They sound great juxtaposed against the clean vocals also present in the song, but man oh man, can a listener get a little warning?  Last but not least, just when you think you’ve got this band figured out they hit you with a killer instrumental (“In The Helium Mines”).  Can you ask for more?  I think not.

Here is the bottom line waveriders.  Ghost Robot Ninja Bear is not just a rock band with an extraordinarily awesome name.  No.  Ghost Robot Ninja Bear is an exceptional rock band with an extraordinarily awesome name!  Fans of punk, indie, or just plain old great rock and roll should not hesitate to pick up this album.  You will be richly rewarded.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


 ZZ Top A Tribute From Friends

The music and legacy of ZZ TOP - “That Little ol’ Band from Texas,” that has been part of the world’s musical landscape for over 40 years - will be celebrated with the October 11th release of A TRIBUTE FROM FRIENDS.

The album, to be released by Show Dog-Universal Music, features 11 classic ZZ Top songs interpreted by top-flight artists working in a broad range of musical genres.  All of the album’s tracks have been newly recorded, specifically for the project. These include Filter’s performance of “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” Grace Potter & The Nocturnals’ take on “Tush,” as well as Wyclef Jean’s “Rough Boy,” “Legs” from Nickelback and Wolfmother’s interpretation of “Cheap Sunglasses.”

The album kicks off with “Sharp Dressed Man,” from The M.O.B., Mick Fleetwood’s ad hoc group that includes fellow Fleetwood Mac founder John McVie as well as Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and guitar great Jonny Lang.  Fleetwood commented, “We’re delighted to honor ZZ Top this way.  Their legacy, like that of the original Fleetwood Mac, is steeped in the blues we all love so much.  I know that Steven and Jonny feel as strongly about their legacy as John and I do.”

After Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, the original--and continuing-- members of ZZ Top were informed that A Tribute From Friends was in the offing, they issued the following statement:

“When we were told there was going to be a ZZ Top tribute album a while ago and logically asked, ‘Who are we paying tribute to?’  Then we found out that a bunch of great artists were paying tribute to us and we were in disbelief.  For the past forty or so years, all we've done is get out there and crank it and try to have a good time while doing so. To a great extent, we've succeeded since we're still having a good time so that would be reward enough for ‘the same three guys playing the same three chords.’ Now comes A Tribute From Friends and we're so delighted that our music resonates with these great musicians whom we so admire.”

A Tribute From Friends also includes “Waitin’ for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago” by Daughtry, “Got Me Under Pressure” from Duff McKagan’s LOADED and Mastodon’s version of “Just Got Paid.” Coheed & Cambria contributed the anthemic “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” while country superstar Jamey Johnson’s track is the seminal “La Grange.”  Of their invitation to be a part of the album, lead singer Chris Daughtry said, “We were completely honored! A classic great band with amazing songs? We're in!” And of ZZ Top’s music, “It's classic! Simple chord progressions, great riffs with hooky choruses...very inspiring to a band like us.”

The co-executive producer of A Tribute From Friends is Carl Stubner, ZZ Top’s manager, who noted, “A Tribute From Friends underscores the legacy of ZZ Top in the most musical way possible and illustrates just how important Billy, Dusty and Frank have been to successive generations.  It was a privilege to work with the pantheon of brilliant artists who contributed their efforts and so much love to this project.”

Since Billy, Dusty and Frank founded ZZ TOP on the last day of 1969, the band has been responsible for the worldwide sale of over 50 million records highlighted by many of the very same songs heard on A Tribute From Friends as well many others including  “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Pearl Necklace,” “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide,” “Tube Snake Boogie” and a score of smash hit albums that include the RIAA Diamond Award winning (10 million sold) Eliminator as well as gold and platinum winners Afterburner, Fandango!, Deguello, Recycler, Antenna, El Loco, Tejas, Tres Hombres plus compilation sets. Their hit repertoire, iconic and award-winning videos and massive touring schedule has made them a favorite with audiences throughout the world and beyond – they previewed a track from their forthcoming album aboard the Soyuz space vehicle. They are recipients of the Texas Cultural Trust’s 2011 Texas Medal of the Art and had previously been named “Official Texas Heroes” by the state's House of Representatives. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in 2004 who cited the band’s remarkable consistency and longevity and, first and foremost, the fact that ZZ Top is “steeped in the blues,” calling them “the heartbeat of the whole country and the heartbeat of rock ‘n’ roll.”


1.    “Sharp Dressed Man” – The M.O.B. (Mick Fleetwood, Steven Tyler, Jonny Lang & John McVie)

2.    “Gimme All Your Lovin’” – Filter

3.    “Tush” – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

4.    “Legs” - Nickelback

5.    “Cheap Sunglasses” – Wolfmother

6.    “Got Me Under Pressure” – Duff McKagan’s LOADED

7.    “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” – Coheed & Cambria

8.    “Just Got Paid” – Mastodon

9.    “Rough Boy” – Wyclef Jean

10. “Waitin’ for the Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago” – Daughtry

11. “La Grange” – Jamey Johnson

A non-Sunday Conversation with Ogen

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

Surely when I was given as a birthday present the eponimous album from Iron Maiden. Since then I devoted myself to the discovey of this rather unknown dominion that back then was for me the heavy metal world. Then I would probably say, seeing Tiamat supporting Black Sabbath in my own city, which got me into fantastic bands far from being mainstream that populated the scene in Europe from the early Nineties.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

First comes the riff, but the riffing itself is loosely bound to a lyrical, or conceptual idea that strengthens and in some way leads the writing process. Sometimes it takes some just few hours to have the final song, more often it's, maybe, a matter of weeks, it all depends on how excited I get with the newborn riffs and... on my laziness!

Who has influenced you the most?

Bands from the Eighties – melodic stuff as Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM bands – and various bands from the northern side of Europe, like Emperor, Ulver, In the woods, and other Norwegian acts, Swedish bands like Bathory (mainly the epic stuff) and more elaborate stuff like Opeth and maybe old Katatonia, but even some mid Nineties' doom-death bands like My dying bride. But I think that a real musical influence was mainly played by the above mentioned black metal bands.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

I really love mountains, and – even though it may sound a bit cliché – I still think they are a perfect subject for writing lyrics and music that's both intriguing and epic. I love mountains not only from a poetic, literary perspective since I always 'lived' this kind of environment, being the Alps really close to where I live and having climbed, skied and walked a lot on their backs through all my life...

Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

An adventurous, sincere, epic output of basic musical needs.

What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

I'd be more than happy if I could bring the audience to feel for a while isolated from the noise and repetitiveness of daily life; I'd like to offer a brief yet intense way to rediscover the basic need to feel in touch with nature and awe-inspiring elements – like mountains – that are the same age of the Earth.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

The best Spinal Tap moment of my musical 'career' actually deals with another band I played in for the last 15 years. It happened while gigging abroad and basically it was me thanking the great audience we were lucky to play before through a microphone connected to an harmonizer / octaver set tu 'on', so that each time I addressed the audience my voice was actually super high-pitched...

What makes a great song?

The feel to be hearing something that's obviously great and simple but none ever managed to write before.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

I really can' remember which one it was! I remember that with every new slice of music I was able to write, felt that something was happening with my compositional skills and it kind of forced me to go ahead without topping!

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

Maybe 'Crest of the forgotten', fast, short but rich nonetheless.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

I think that great bands are to be seen in Enslaved and Opeth, just to make the first names which I happen to like a lot. They are always evolving though retaining solid roots to what makes them recognizable. And they play music for music's sake.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

CD, but I wish I could turn my CD collection into vinyls.

Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice

Beer: you can drink a lot and still be able to play some music.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

My home town is a middle Italian city not far from Milan, whose name is Brescia. You definitely must go to Magic Bus Dischi, the temple of Rock-Metal music in town and a real sanctuary for anyone willing to form a band and get some advices by a great person and a real rocker, the owner Gigi.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

I'd like to thank anyone who invested time in reading and conducting this interview. Give Ogen's debut EP a chance: we didn't reinvent the wheel but you might find some little gems here and there...

Only Living Boy - Hide Nothing

Who the hell do these guys think they are?  First they hit me with the damnedest Deep Purple sound with “Lonely Puppy Blues.”  Then, they make me wrap my mind around “Sunny Day Man” somewhere between Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.  My ears were not ready for the next onslaught, “Hide Nothing,” the album namesake, a hard-edged electric blues power trio guitar hooked blast that approaches “When The Levee Breaks” deliciousness. Who the hell gives them the right to write and play the blues this well?  Damn it, who the hell are these guys and why am I just hearing of them?

Two parts of the “Demon Shuffle,” the first a dark soft acoustic piece, the second a dissonant mess, drink out of the depths of the Tommy Bolan and Blue Cheer shotglass.  Then, WTF happened?  I’m handed a “Bag of Bullets,” and the band seeks quietude in acoustic instuments and soft harmony that, save for the drums, probably would beckon a Ry Cooder to sit in.  You’re punk with “Ronny Rozoni,” a song that Johnny Rotten would love.  Where the H - E- double toothpicks did this band come from?

Things do get a little  nasty as they “Open You Up” and, as they sing  “dip my fingers in it.”  it’s like Dave Matthews singing for an effin’ Jeff Beck during his rocker days..  Look, I’m trying to roll with the punches but this damned band has got me by the throat. “I Hear Music” as they again get the Led out. WTF is going on here?  Who are these guys?

I got no answer, rather, just a weird dragging “Family Of Ghosts” as it rattles the chains and pulls at the bottom so deep that the bass player must be underground.  Wow, I think I may have lost my  “Marbles,” (but they sing to me that “they’re back in my pocket”)  which is a bi-polar song with bizarre theatrical changes that would have made Frank Zappa very proud.  I gotta know, what the hell is going on?  Have I fallen into early heavy blues heaven or is it merely a self-induced delusion?  No, really, is this a new band or did someone find a bunch of hidden obscure heavy rock from the Masters and just now release them under a fake pseudonym?

As I’m pondering that very thought “Priority One” is released upon me.  Did Blind Faith reunite and someone not tell me? Then the final push is “My Heart Is Burning.”  Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Honeyboy Edwards, they’re all there.  I swear.  Even sounds like Jimi Hendrix also dropped by.  I’m pretty sure I also heard John Entwistle and Keith Moon.  But, hey that’s just me.

So who is this band that blew me away so?  Is it the ghost of heavy rockers come back to life?  No, it’s Only Living Boy comprised of lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Joe Cirotti, bassist Eric Curley and drummer Trevor Newcomb.  They grabbed Scott Liss to sing and Anthony Chick to play percussion on “Bag Of Bullets.”  Paul Ritchie plays bass, Sam Bey plays percussion and guests Ron Franco and Mike Varina are featured on “Ronny Ronzoni.”

I still don’t believe it.  Try it for yourself.  Start at track 1 of Hide Nothing.  By the thirteenth track you’ll be  ready to play it straight through again.  It is ear candy tinged with the blues soul of heavy rock ‘n roll.  Now, who does that anymore?

- Old School

Monday, September 26, 2011

Grand Atlantic - Constellations

Does environment stimulate inspiration or does inspiration dictate the environment?

That’s a question that can be asked over and over regarding Brisbane-based Grand Atlantic’s latest album, Constellations.  Whereas their last release How We Survive was an immediately addictive slice of psychedelic-dripped power pop—that quickly climbed into my top-10 release list for the year – Constellations is another acid trip altogether.  Recorded in 12 days at the certainly-haunted Seacliff Lunatic Asylum near Dunedin, New Zealand, Constellations seems to be a reflection of that psycho-geographical location.  Dark, almost infinitely dark, compared to the light urgency of garage pop in How We Survive, Constellations echoes with hidden spaces, chilling touches, and near phantasmagorical breaths.  Spectral forms seem to duck in and out of the shadows, dark spaces hiding in the music, while the hint of distant poltergeists lingers.

Sure, I might be making too much of this . . . but maybe not.  Lead singer/songwriter Phil Usher claims the band had quite a few “strange experiences” while there, from voices to strange sounds, to moving microphones.  The boys even go so far as to thank “the ghost voices of the past/present residents of Seacliff” on the liner notes. 

But it’s more than that.

Dale Cotton’s production is definitely of the moment.  Thick and claustrophobic, barely any light seems to escape from the spinning CD.  None of that is to say that the album is a downer, it’s not.  But it’s a different record from How We Survive, for sure.  Now, in fairness, having traveled with the boys, I remember clearly Phil and drummer Mat Von Diehm telling me that they wanted something different with their next album after How We Survive.  They wanted something darker, more swimmingly psychedelic, less poppy and more adventurous.  So perhaps in this case it was the inspiration dictating the environment.

Whatever the case, the results are spectacular.

Kicking off with the mid-tempo swirling vibe of “Searchlight” it’s clear this isn’t Grand Atlantic’s attempt at a breakthrough pop record.  Thick waves of guitar pummel like waves battering the shore.  Phil’s voice breaks through in all its rough-hewn glory, as the band breaks it down.  Von Diehm keeps it steady until Sean Bower’s bass and Morgan Hahn’s chiming 12-string come racing back in . . . like the wind sweeping through a broken asylum window.  The song is haunting, in the truest sense. Dense and thick, even through the moments of stillness.  It certainly sets the tone.

And that tone is laid down for “Central Station Blues” the first of several terrific rockers on Constellations.  Von Diehm adopts an extra set of arms to lay down the beat with Dale Cotton on congas, while Sean quickly grows a bonus set of fingers, which race up and down the bass in percolating time.  Phil unleashes a steady garage terror on top of this foundation, with he and Morgs layering guitar and effects on top with maniacal abandon.   And there, amidst the walls of guitars and the impenetrable production, is what Grand Atlantic does so well.  Garage rock guitar licks sear through the mix with Phil’s trademarked mastery of melody and hooks.  Throughout the song, and album, Phil’s voice –best described as a hoarse whisper—is perfectly in tune with the songs.  A soaring, infectious cut.

From there the album goes on, dipping and dropping in mood and tone.  “Carved from Stone,” is an assault of brick walls of guitar, barely contained within the framework of the CD.  “Constellations” is a gorgeous, mid-tempo, semi-acoustic ballad, laced with touches of post-psychedelic Beatles, The Church, and the Brisbane-rock scene, completed with hypnotic guitar work courtesy of Morgs. 

One of the things that separates Constellations from How We Survive is the immediacy of the listen.  How We Survive sucked me in like a pornstar giving a $2 blow job.  Immediate and unforgiving.  Once in its grasp, there was no way for me to escape.  Constellations is different.  A slower lover, it requires time and repeated love-making sessions to really appreciate it’s beauty.  Songs like “Mountains Too Steep,” lack the urgent grab of a How We Survive cut like “Used to be the Sensitive Type.”  But still . . . it’s all there, it just takes longer to unfold.  And in the end, that might make it a more satisfying lover.

None of that is to say that there aren’t killer urgent tracks on Constellations.  There are.  The already mention “Central Station Blues” is joined by blow-my-mind rockers like “Poison to the Vine,” “Fresh Ideas In Home Security,” and one of my favorites on the album, “No Man’s Land,” with its ghostly, neo-sitar and haunting voices intro. 

With its density of craft, Constellations may not be the album that Grand Atlantic needed to make to burst themselves to the top of the scene, but I get the feeling it’s an album that band needed to make for themselves-- to grow and mature.  A work of cerebral intensity, Constellations seems to be a record that Grand Atlantic needed to free from their souls, like a snake sheds its skin, freeing themselves from old confines so they could break out into the new. 

With that thought, Constellations is a stunning success.  A mind-altering trip of neo-psychedelia that never loses sight of its pop roots.  I can only imagine that when the band goes back to the studio and fuses what they’ve done with these last two releases, we’ll have a masterpiece for the ages.

And I know they can do it.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brutal Truth - End Time

Brutal Truth has always been one of my favorite Grind bands. Since the first time I heard Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses, I was hooked. I heard that album and said "Fuck, this is my favorite kind of metal now!". Brutal, it's in their name and boy do they deliver. After two years we are finally being graced by Brutal Truth newest album, End Time. This is the end all be all of Grindcore. Bands take note, fuck those pussy breakdowns, this is real brutality.

This 23 track Grind masterpiece begins with the track, "Malice". What a great way to begin an album. Almost doom sounding drums start things off. This is the song to warm up to in the pit. This song starts off a little slow incorporating the doomy drums and minimal guitar accompanied by a few choice words from vocalitst Kevin Sharp. It leads us into the beging of our brutal journey with the song, "Simple Math". Have you ever been punched in the face by a wall of sound? You will be with this track. Brutal, fast , in your face grindcore; all in a minute twenty-eight.

One of my favorites track on this album if "Fuck Cancer". Coming in at exactly one minute long, this song and title says it all FUCK CANCER! The title track "End Time" is easily one of the highlights. Lyrically it is one of my favorites.

"our future is now, our world is ending
our life for the disdain has brought about our end time
... It's our time

for those who would fail to see a future uncertainty, end time is certainly
bring in you lost and pray, our world's catastrophe,
bring in the lost to stay

The end time is our time - Our time is the end time

No matter what our self destruction
a condition of memory suppressing past transgressions
bring on our annihilation in our world in chaos collapses
it never fails to amaze me how quickly we forget
watch our world in chaos collapse

our time
our time here on planet earth
cradle obliveon
fall asleep
in arms of obliveon "

In my humble opinion Brutal Truth is ahead of the curve in the genre of Grindcore. Personally they do it the best. As much as I love Assück, I'll still put Brutal Truth at the the top of my Grindcore list. For those about to Grind, we salute you!

Brutal Truth goes good with: Assück, Napalm Death, Anal Cunt, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Retox, The Locust, Cattle Decapitation, Inevitable End


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Julius Pittman & The Revival - Live Tonite


I was hoping I wouldn’t like this album. I didn’t even want to listen to it.   It says on the cover, just below Live Tonite, “funky southern soul!”. I turned the cover over and there is a photograph of a brick wall full of middle-aged white men in their best blue jeans with their names under each of their visages, “Velpo, Randy, John, Julius, Dave, Audie, Howard and Chris.”

That alone was enough to tick me off.  I thought “Funky southern soul my arse!  Ray Charles was southern soul, James Brown was southern soul, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, now that is southern soul.  I don’t remember one non-African American ‘southern soul’ band that I would give any more than a Texas two-step to listen to.”

The second thing that pissed me off was that it was a live album recorded in a Richmond, VA pub.  Richmond, VA! Give me a break.  That ain’t the real south.  Richmond, VA is closer to Washington, D.C. than it is to Memphis TN or Mussel Shoals,AL.  I also know that a small pub recording too often means bad sound and, when it is a live album, the sheer presence of the audience during recording can hurt the quality of the recording

So, great.  Here is what I thought I was looking at - fake soul music by a bunch of Mid-East Coast middle-aged white guys, badly produced, played live in a small room before a drunken pub crowd.  Like I said, after seeing the cover and back I didn’t even want to crack the cellophane. I chucked the unopened CD into the back seat of my car along with whatever else lurks back there out of sight and out of mind.

One Thursday evening, a week or two later,  I was driving in rush hour traffic down the Diablo Valley to an appointment in the Livermore Valley.  There was massive road construction and virtual gridlock on the highway.  Local hills, power lines and ghost radio stations resulted in fuzzy static on the radio. Even my bluetooth transmitter was useless.   In 3 mile per hour stop and go traffic I hastily grabbed at the backseat for one of the legion of CDs that seem to multiply there - ripples if you will.  Traffic started to move so I quickly, without looking down, slit the plastic wrap, opened the cover, grabbed the CD, threw the cover into the back seat and popped the CD into the dashboard player. Traffic stopped. The CD didn’t.

The damnedest thing happened. The slickest James Brown-inspired music filled the car with soul horns, rhythm, and an amazing vocal presence that I later discovered was Julius Pittman, a long-haired blonde dude with a Tom Waits visage and the voice of Wilson Pickett

Wow!  I listened transfixed, rather oblivious to the mind-numbing traffic. One great high energy soul and blues track after another pushed me back in my seat.  The band played its own songs as well as obscure songs by some famous artists (such as Gloria Houston and Isaac Hayes.)  The sound engineering and mixing were impeccable.  The crowd was excited, appreciative and unobtrusive.  They may actually have made the music better by their presence.

I got into the rhythm.  I got into the beat. I got into the whole white southern soul thing.  I opened the sunroof and windows.  Three guys in a Black Chrysler M300 with large chrome wheels inched next to me in the fast lane.  The traffic stopped and they yelled to me,

“Whose that youz listening to there brother?” 

I quickly grabbed at the backseat and fumbled for the CD cover.  I looked down and saw it was the album for which I had had such preconceived distain. I yelled,

“Ummm, Julius Pittman & the Revival.”

He yelled back,

“Yo, whazza the name of the album?” 

I inched forward and replied,

Live Tonite.”

The Chrysler stopped and I inched forward until we were even. The passenger in the Chrysler front passenger seat hung both of his arms out the passenger window and said it all to me,

“Man, those guys got soul!” 

Need I say more?

Yup.  The album will be released on October 7, 2011.  No video is yet available from the new album, but you can listen to a few cuts  here.

- Old School

Friday, September 23, 2011

Concrete Sun - Sky is High

This gig is the greatest and one thing I'm learning fast is that my kinda music knows no boundaries or borders whatsoever. I'm listening to awesome tunes spanning the globe. It's like I'm on a rock/metal world tour.

Next stop: Serbia. Yep...I know. The only sounds I've heard from there are the grunts bellowed by hot women tennis players. I never thought my next top southern metal album would rise from a former war-torn country in southeastern Europe, but Concrete Sun (now that's heavy) sure blew me away with their debut, Sky is High. It teems with jackhammer riffage straight outta NOLA, and overflows with super-weighty vocals. I love Sky is High more than a fat kid loves cake and I quickly included it among my favorite releases of 2011.

A huge 'thank-you' to guitarist Bojan for hooking up The Ripple Effect with a digital copy of Sky is High. This is what he told us via email:

"Concrete Sun is a five-piece band from Novi Sad, Serbia. 'Southern sludge-n-grunge' is probably the closest you can get in an attempt to put us into a genre, but there's a lot more to the story than just that." Bojan said, "Our music is a blend of southern rock, blues, stoner, groove, sludge and grunge, characterized by bluesy melodies, sharp vocals and heavy riffage."

I couldn't have put it any better Bojan, but I'd like to add that it's also phenomenal music. Sky is High is 9 tracks of fresh southern heaviness that I've been craving for what seems like ages. Sure, veterans Crowbar finally have a new album, but Down and Eyehategod haven't put out any new songs in while and the real C.O.C. ended years ago. So did Acid Bath and Floodgate. Concrete Sun are the new European rookie starters on my southern metal roster. Hell to the yeah 'cause my Jonesin' days are over for now.

On the outstanding Sky is High, I hear hints of Black Label Society guitar licks along with the NOLA-inspired riffs. The vocals excite me, too, and bring back fond memories of another southern rock/metal darling of mine - Sixty-Watt Shaman. This album is hard as granite and I enjoy every song.

"Just a Beginning" (3:43) is the first on my copy, but shows up last on the Bandcamp track listing. No wonder it's one of my faves. It pulverizes me like a cinder block to the head the riffs are so dense. I think it's the beginning of a first-class album. "Euphoria" (4:24) is next, with dual guitars mixing it up before a rolling groove takes you along for a ride.

"Last Man Under the Sun" (4:52) is maybe the only song which I think has a mellow feel, but it still showcases a hefty chorus and amazing guitar/bass solos. "D.A.N.U.B.E." (4:43) and "Junkyard Dog" (5:03) both grab and throttle my neck.

I think one of the best on Sky is High - musically and vocally - is the longest, "God Forsaken Prostitute" (5:49). It's pure southern metal greatness...but the poor girl. You can almost feel her pain. Kidding. "Ruff Song" (3:10) is the bluesiest to me and just might be the most appealing to the general public. The title track "Sky is High" (4:00) begins with an intimidating southern riff and "Hide Behind" (4:22), another top choice, is peppered with Zakk Wylde guitar squeals.

Concrete Sun are looking for a record label, Bojan wrote. Hello...? Ripple Music...? The band was formed 2007 and went through a lot of lineup changes which halted its initial progress, including a year-long hiatus in 2009. Current members since 2010 include: Cerovina Strahinja (vocals), Mijatovic Bojan (guitar), Zivkovic Budimir (guitar), Petrovic Strahinja (bass) and Topic Milos (drums). Each "continues to evolve musically," according to Bojan, "with every member bringing their own set of influences into the story."

Sky is High by Concrete Sun (Aug. '11) can be downloaded in digital format (name your price) from Bandcamp. It's a must-have for any fan of 2-ton southern metal so click the link below and get crushed. Now.

Hard-hat and steel-toed boots recommended.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Valley of the Sun -The Saying of the Seers EP

When I was visiting family in Kentucky earlier this summer I had no idea I was so close to such noteworthy new stoner rock. Cincinnati was just a hop, skip and a jump from where I was and I would have happily taken the short drive north for a chance to see Valley of the Sun. The Ohio rockers (Ryan McAllister, Aaron Boyer, Ryan Ferrier) have come out with a fantastic 5-track ep, The Saying of the Seers.

Before anything else, first let me say that The Sayings of the Seers have some of the best vocals I've ever heard in my favored style of rock. That's right. I said it: EVER.

Sometimes when I'm rockin' out I could care less about the singer. Now and then I don't even care if there's vocals at all. That's how I can like instrumental bands so much. It can be all about the music for me, but this guy (Ferrier) is in a class all his own so I just had to say something. Like electrifying. Or wondrous. How about moving? That's works, too. I love it when a band's vocalist can make me feel something deep down in my core.

Not to take anything away from the top-notch musicianship, but I got goosebumps about 2 minutes into "Riding the Dunes", an appropriately-named desert rock song. After relaxing me with some low, soothing and comforting "Woah"s and "Yeah"s, Ferrier voice astonishes me as he climbs way up the scale when the real riffage begins. I'm flabbergasted. He has amazing range and can hold a note for more than a few seconds.

It won't surprise you to know that "Riding the Dunes" (6:03) is my most beloved song on The Saying of the Seers, and it also the last. You'll find that I say that a lot. How my favorite is the last song on an album. Maybe there's a reason for that. Hmmm. Anyway, I included a link to it so you could listen (I know, the title is wrong). The beginning is great, too, but just wait until the "Woah"s and they "Yeah"s are done. You'll hear what I mean. You might even get chills like I did. I hope so.

The Saying of the Seers starts with an exclamation for me, much like it ends. The fuzzed guitars and heavy drums on "Hearts Aflame" immediately get my head nodding and then I'm introduced to Ferrier's vocal prowess. How do you do? You do it with style, man. I have an instant feeling this ep is gonna be another winner.

And I'm right. The up-tempo boogie treat, "Deep Light Burns", while it's the shortest, is one of my favorites 'cause guessed it...the cowbell. I'm a sucker for a cowbell, even if it's only at the beginning of the song. "Mariner's Tale" (4:17) has more of a southern-style rock groove to me and "Aquarius" includes a Loud Love atmosphere, if you feel where I'm coming from.

Overall, I think Valley of the Sun give a stellar performance on The Sayings of the Seers, from beginning to end. The only problem I have is there wasn't enough to fill me up. I'm greedy like that.

You can listen to The Sayings of the Seers and snatch up a digital copy for yourself off Bandcamp. If you're a fan of superb rock music, I'm sure you will. Or you have already. There you can also get a free version of Valley of the Sun's self-titled 2010 debut ep.


Grifter - S/T

If Grifter didn’t exist I would have had to make them up. Three hairy, over the hill guys from Plymouth, England playing no frills heavy rock and living in a 1974 time warp will always be something I will encourage. Since 2003, Grifter has been kicking ass and putting out EP’s but now it’s full length album time and it’s on Ripple’s home grown label. How cool is that? Pretty fuckin cool if you ask me since Grifter rock hard and the Ripple guys are experts at recognizing the real deal. A match made in rehab, for sure.

If you’re into Humble Pie, Cactus and Foghat then you’ll like Grifter. There are probably some “modern” influences like Clutch and Fu Manchu in there, but they are overpowered by the original boogie. “Good Day For Bad News” is a powerhouse opening jam complete with a nice Johnny Winter-ish slide guitar solo. It’s followed up by “Alabama Hotpocket,” which is easily the best song title of the year if not the century. (Look it up, have a bucket nearby to hurl into). The chorus on this one is so catchy that it should be sung at sporting events.

If “Alabama Hotpocket” offends you, then chances are that songs like “Asshole Parade,” “Piss and Gas” and “Strip Club” will really get you upset. Sure, potty mouth lyrics and four letter words show a limited vocabulary but that’s society’s problem, not mine. When the riffs are this tough you can’t sing about lame crap like feelings or, even worse, politics. Some of the toughest riffs are on “Young Blood, Old Veins,” a total Black Sabbath stomper that wouldn’t sound out of place on the underrated Sabotage album. “Bucktooth Woman” and “Preacher And The Devil” were probably written after being bombarded with Blackfoot tapes in the van when they toured with Sun Gods In Exile. And I think I detect some Zep on “Bean” and “Unwelcome Guest.” The album wraps up with the nice acoustic “Gone Blues.”

Production on the album is top notch and all of the songs would sound great on the radio if the classic rock stations would take a break from brainwashing us with yet another Elton John weeper. Ollie’s guitar sound is killer, pure Charvel plugged into a solid state Peavey combo amp (just kidding!). Ollie’s a Les Paul/Marshall/Guinness kind of a player and the rhythm section of Foz (drums) and Phil (bass) are very tight and in the pocket at all times. Ollie’s vocals remind me at times of both Peter Frampton and Greg Ridley from their Humble Pie days. Hopefully next summer Grifter will get to headline Plymouth Jam II with Federale and Stone Axe at the Argyle Football Club stadium.


Buy from these jerks

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Two Faces Of Gookin feat. D. Gookin and 2 Ton Bug

I stormed into the claustrophobic room and slammed my hands palm down onto the table situated in front of the suspect.

“Listen up Gookin!  I’ve had enough of your games.  Do you realize how much trouble you’re in?  Wipe that smile off your face!”
“Detective Penfold, I don’t understand you.  Only a moment ago we were having a nice, pleasant conversation.  You left the room in a jovial mood, but now you’re back and clearly upset.  Why is that?”
“Hey!  I’ll ask the questions here Gookin.  Got that?”
“Of course Detective.  Of course.  You mentioned that I was in trouble?”
“Ohhhh yeah.  Big trouble.”
“I’ve done nothing wrong Detective.”
“Hahaha.  Play dumb all you want Gookin.  We’ve got enough evidence to put you away for a long time.”
“You can’t be serious.  What’s the charge?”
“Inciting excessive happiness and good cheer among the depressed, dejected masses.”
“That’s a crime?”
“You’d better believe it mister!”
“But I’m an artist.  Cheering people up is my job.”
“Can it Gookin.  I don’t want to hear any more of your socio-emotional ranting.  It’s bad enough that I had to listen to your so-called music.”
“You listened to my music Detective Penfold?  Which album did you listen to?”
“First I listened to your own Spiral Style EP, and then I listened to Wedding Of The Century where you play drums.”
“Did you like the music?”
“Did I like the music?  You bet I did.  It was great!  I loved it!  Say, is there a way I might be able to get a hold of some of your other relea…”

“Oh you’re good Gookin.  Too good.  In fact you’re so good, you’re dangerous!  You nearly had me there for a second.  All right.  Enough talk.  I’m leaving now.  When I come back I’ll have a formal confession that you will sign whether you like it or not.  And didn’t I tell you to get that smile off your face?”

D. Gookin - Spiral Style

I admit it.  I did not think it was possible.  If I had not heard it with my own ears, I would swear on anything you had handy that it was physically and theoretically impossible to capture the properties of sunshine inside a piece of electronic music.  Preposterous!  Can’t be done!  Well waveriders, I was wrong.  Dead wrong in fact.  Allow me to introduce you to an artist by the name of D. Gookin, and his newest EP entitled Spiral Style.

The music on this EP is electronic sunshine, plain and simple.  Joyous, effervescent, celebratory electronic music.  I’m telling you the truth.  Spiral Style effuses such good cheer and glee that it feels like your birthday and Christmas morning rolled into one package.  You’ll have to excuse me folks.  I listen to so much anger-fueled music that when I hear something great that is engineered to produce happiness instead of rage or gloom it is pretty shocking.  And I’ll be completely honest.  While I am not at all adverse to purely electronic music, it’s simply not my normal go-to genre.  Thus, when I stumble across someone like D. Gookin it helps to expand my horizons and make me a better listener.

There are six songs on the Spiral Style EP.  All six are appropriately upbeat and bubbly, but I don’t want to imply that they are simple copies of one another.  Not at all.  Each song has a strong, unique melody line that makes them easily identifiable.  Another element that changes from song to song is the vocals.  While there is a limited amount of clean vocals scattered throughout the EP it often sounds as if the vocals are being pumped through a vocorder, and at other times it sounds as if they were recorded underwater.  I can’t be sure, but I would guess Mr. Gookin sometimes uses a wah pedal to manipulate the vocals as well.  Regardless, I am very impressed with how immensely the vocals add to the overall sound and musical vibe.  I suppose if I were forced to pick one I would say that “Freak On A Cloud” is my favorite song of the bunch.  It’s a close call however as there is not a slacker in the bunch. 

Alrighty then people.  It’s time to sum up.  If you are having a bad or off day and need a musical pick me up to turn your frown upside down look no further than D. Gookin’s Spiral Style EP.  One listen and you’ll be skipping along chanting ‘happy happy, joy joy’.

Listen Here-

2 Ton Bug - Wedding Of The Century

Watch out waveriders because you’re about to be run over by a musical Mack truck coming straight out of left field!  I’m not joking folks.  I hit the play button on this album with absolutely no idea what to expect.  All I knew was that D. Gookin, whose excellent solo material made me very happy, plays drums in 2 Ton Bug, a band led by Joe Rumrill.  Wanting to prolong my happiness and expand my knowledge of Mr. Gookin’s work I dove in ears first.  Am I still happy after listening to Wedding Of The Century?  The short answer is absolutely!  A more refined answer would be yes, I’m incredibly happy, but in an entirely different manner than before.

2 Ton Bug is a direct shot of adrenaline to your brain.  Wedding Of The Century is an electro/punk/riff rock extravaganza with more energy than a collapsing star.  When the band kicked into ultra-high gear the first time it literally made me sit back in my chair.  Filthy is the adjective that most easily comes to mind when I think about this band’s sound.  They combine distorted guitars, washed-out keyboards, and overexposed drums (including a trash can) with megaphone-enhanced or strained vocals (female and male) to produce a sound that punches you right in the solarplexus. It sounds perfect!  It sounds fantastic!  I love it!

There are eight songs (all written by Mr. Rumrill) making up Wedding Of The Century.  I guarantee you won’t notice the first few times.  Nope.  Your brain will unconsciously rebel against this album ending and automatically force your finger to hit the play button and restart the ride.  It happened to me.  It will happen to you too.  But what about those songs?  Opener “Time Trabblin’” explodes with punk energy until about halfway through when it slows down to match up with a devastating guitar riff.  “Burn the Witch” has the potential to spark a combative hoe-down with its punk/country vibe.  “Tank Wipe” and “Meth Mouth” are fast and furious hardcore workouts.  “Follow the 2 Ton Bug” offers a fantastic Hendrix-like portion of “The Star Spangled Banner” before launching itself into orbit.  For crying out loud!  The only song which allows the listener to draw breath would be the slightly slower, ultra-groovy “Hurricane Lemmy”.

Waveriders I implore you.  Take the time today to head over to the 2 Ton Bug bandcamp page and listen to this album.  Do it now, thank me later.


Buy and Listen Here-

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Iron Claw's Brand New Album is out Now!

Scotland’s Proto-Metal pioneers, Iron Claw, return with a long-awaited album of gritty, blues-based melodic heavy rock that is already garnering album of the year accolades from the press. The thirteen track album, A Different Game, is scheduled for UK release through Code 7 Distribution on October 3rd and world-wide release on October 4th, and is already available at the label’s web store.

To kick off the bands rampant live attack, they’ve volunteered their services to a charitable cause. On September 25th at 7:00pm, Iron Claw will perform at Comlongon Rocks, which will assist Cash For Kids and Cancer Research UK. This festival, which features and highlights local talent, will run from noon to midnight and will include 22 bands and 6 DJs . . . all for a mere £10! For more information, please follow the link: (

Iron Claw will also be performing at the Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow, Scotland on October 5th, and will act as more than just a CD release event. The performance is sponsored by Governor Derek McGill to help show the prisoners that there are healthier alternatives to crime, such as playing and creating emotionally stimulating music.

A Different Game has been receiving airplay all over the globe, specifically the lead single, “What Love Left”. Huge supporters have come from the likes of Classic Rock, Get Ready To Rock! Radio, Planet Rock, SuperestacionMetal, and SineFM to name but a few, and Iron Claw are now one of the featured bands on the Screaming Singles, Vol. 1 compilation disc released through Nasty Casty Records.

Here’s what the press has to say:

"They have taken all their musical experience and rolled it up into an album which simply rocks. If you dig the roots of heavy metal, 70's hard rock and Southern Rock, you will indeed enjoy listening to these experienced masters of Rock N Roll." -- ThrashHead

“This is pure muscle at work and Iron Claw still has plenty of the natural juice in them to make this reunion endeavor soar . . . thankfully Iron Claw has given themselves the opportunity to say a thundering hello to the rock world, if not hijack it.”  --  Ray Van Horn, Jr., The Metal Minute

 "This is a solid, dynamic, vintage rock ‘n roll record, 13 tracks spanning 57 minutes yet hardly a dull moment to be found. A Different Game is more of the same—high quality heavy rock unearthed from the underground" --


Victor Wainwright and The Wildroots - Lit Up!

We headed up I-5 on the way to a four-day three-night fishing/camping trip at McArthur-Burney Memorial State Park.  It is a four and one-half hour zombie drive at 70 to 80 mph through commercial crop fields and speed traps on a two lane strip of tarmac festooned with construction, slow moving 18-wheelers and overweight RV’s.  Our little Subaru was stuffed to the roof with gear. We were left with just two seats.  There was no rear view through the rearview mirror.  I deemed it a perfect opportunity to listen to the dozen or two new releases that had been sent to me in the hopes of a review.

As we eased up I-505 toward our first bathroom stop at Granzella’s in Williams I popped in and pulled out of the dash player one mundane or truly awful release after another until I got to Victor Wainwright and The Wildroots’ fourteen track CD aptly named Lit Up!  The first track,”Big Dog’s Runnin’ This Town” played to one of my guilty pleasures - Jump Blues.  Not only is it Jump Blues, it is some of the best new Jump Blues in recent memory.  I salivated over the prospect of the next thirteen tracks.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Wainwright is the lead vocalist and plays an acoustic piano.  He co-wrote seven of the tracks on the CD with producer, arranger, acoustic guitar player, bass player and percussionist Stephen Dees.  Dees also provided five of his own originals including ”Big Dog’s Runnin’ This Town.”  Wainwright teamed up with electric and resonator guitarist Greg Gumpel to write “Coin Operated Woman.” Wainwright and Dees shared writing honors with blues player the Reverend Billy “C.J.” Wirtz on “Honky Tonk Heaven,” a song dedicated to Jesse Wainwright, Victor’s boogie piano player grandfather.  Weston Bradigan helped Wainwright pen the final track “Let It Be the Same.”

This is not a Jump Blues album.  The band has mastered all types of blues.  The songs run from Delta Blues to Country Blues to Gospel to New Orleans tinged Cajun to electric Chicago Blues to West Coast Blues to Modern Blues and everything in between. The band is rounded out by Patricia Ann Dees on tenor saxophone and backing vocals, Billy Dean on drums and Ray Guiser on tenor saxophone and clarinet.  The album is stacked with guest musicians - tenor and baritone saxophone, saxcello and clairnet player Charlie DeChant; mouth harpist Mark “Muddyharp” Hodgson; Hammond B3 organist Chris Stephenson; trombonist Bob Dionne; trumpet player Ken Titmus; and “The Little Pigs” identified as Chickie Baby, Cat Daddy, Six String, AreBe and Hounddog Man, as backing vocalists on ”Big Dog’s Runnin’ This Town.”  Time merrily flew by and I found myself drumming on the steering wheel, seat, armrest and dashboard.

Before I knew it we were at Granzella’s.  We went inside, used the facilities, sampled the olives, and got back in the car.  I looked down at my feet where there were still almost a dozen discs that I had not yet heard and about three more hours in the car.  I hesitated.  Then, I popped Lit Up! back in for a second time.  I let it run for almost an hour and a half all the way to Red Bluff.  Why go with something else when you’ve got something this good?

- Old School

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