Monday, September 30, 2013

Revenge of the Quick Ripple Bursts - Featuring Fin, Amaxa, Bacchus Baracus, Captain Asshole, and Monolith Cult

Rob Finlay - These Words Aren't Meant for Me

Back in the late 80's, I became enchanted with a Celtic singer/songwriter named Luka Bloom.  Playing a steel string guitar, his singing brogue and delicate, yet fiery arrangements became a sorta theme for my more pensive moods.  Now Rob Finlay has come to me to take his place.  On his debut, These Words Aren't Meant for Me, Rob weaves stories and emotions as effortlessly as water flows down the river.  Accompanied by his acoustic guitar and some spartan backing instruments, the star here really is Rob's gorgeous tenor, his songwriting and the moods he evokes.

Technically, Rob is from London, not Ireland, but his songs conjure similar images of desolate, rain-soaked fields of green hills, trees poking through the mist, time standing still in an endless embrace of the somber.  Lead off single "Stone Dead & Rising" is a prime example of the skill Rob weaves through his tales.  Moody to the point of heartbreaking, Rob's voice soars and undulates around the mournful melody.  Lavish production fleshes this song out, and after hearing it, I'd be convinced it's an ageless classic from the misty northlands of England.  But all 10 songs are just as strong, a mix of the gentle acoustic tenderness of "She's Give Up on Today," and the more rousing "Hero."

Start to finish, it's an album of uncompromising vision and beauty.  My new theme for the pensive moods.

Sample the album and download "Stone Dead & Rising" free here.

Amaxa - S/T

Hey you, psych and stoner fans.  Got a new one for you to check out.  For some reason I haven't seen too much written about these guys and that's a shame cause they have something pretty darn cool going on.  Combining a heavy groove, some super stoner riffmongering with some throaty vocals, Amaxa tosses a big organ sound into the mix giving it a real retro-heady vibe.  Let's add to the mix some superb fuzzed out, wah guitar, some soulful vocals, and I just can't think of another band that sounds quite like this.  Maybe Siena Root. And like Siena Root, when Amaxa gets going there's just no stopping them. "Afterglow" kicks off this 8-song debut with swagger and groove that doesn't show any signs of letting up.   Each song rocks in this manner, with that huge organ and fuzz bringing on a heavy-60's sound.  "Demands" drops in bucket loads of soul in with the bluesy riffing and some damn fine female backing vocals.  "Don't Feed," brings up images of early Purple as played through the Sabbath sound system.  Other tracks, like "Shooting Star" bring on a Doors-ish motif in a world of protometal.   Recommended.

Bacchus Baracus - Tales of Worries, Woes & Whatever

Sound more punky and all-around pissed off than I ever remember the boys sounding on their 2011 debut, Bacchus Baracus release a terror bathtub meth-adled, sleazified rock.  Guitar strings are shredded, bent, and simply beaten into oblivion, like on the opener, "Yo Wanna Deal."  No idea, what's got the boys so ready for a brass-knuckle fight, but my guess is it may be the music industry as a whole.  And let me tell you, when Gaz screams, "nothing comes easy, nothing comes free," there's enough venom and bile erupting from his vocal chords that you know he's lived it.  "Memo" plops us down into more familiar riff-chugging heavy rock territory with a riff and guitar flurry that's as addictive as fire to a pyromaniac.  "Man of the North" explores a heady world of tripped out psychedelic doom while "Mammoth" simply . . .is. A thundering herd of 1,000 ton pummeling footsteps and crushing beats. 

Eight tracks of blood-stained, bile-spittled, ponderous rock guaranteed to get leather clad fists pumping proudly in the air.

Captain Asshole - I'm Really a Nice Guy

Having followed Captain Asshole's career from inception, it's clear that the Captain has never sounded fresher and his flow smoother.  Production was amped up to a whole 'nother level with his latest release and it shows from the very first cut, "Aww!"  As far as his rhymes go, The Captain has always excelled in wry observations and cutting slices at the himself and the characters in this world.  Where else are you gonna hear a line like, "I'm  strong, I have Bruce Willis tatted on my arm," or a rhyme that ends in "pumpkin-spiced latte." Through it all, the Captain's voice is in the best form I've heard -- his timber a touch lower and calmer.  "Where's my Bag At?" makes fun of his comic book geekdom, getting clean, and his comic art as Mike Hampton. "Enlightenment" is another stab at himself with a cutting wit and surgical scalpel.

Thoughout, the beats are thick, the samples are creative, the flow is strong and the melodies keep the head poppin'.  These are the best songs I've heard the Captain rap.  It may be lazy to say that there's a bit of Eminem in the Captain's cadence and phrasing, but there is. 

If I read the liner notes correctly, this may be the Captain's last recording, at least under the name of Captain Asshole.  Which makes sense, since each song mixes his humorous flow with observations on gaining a new maturity and perspective on life.  Seems that Hampton may have outgrown the Captain persona.  If so, let's hope that Hampton comes back with a new handle, because "I'm Really a Nice Guy" finds him at the top of his form.

Monolith Cult - Run From the Light

You will listen.  You will obey.

I am your master, your leader, your exalted one.  I am the riff and you will worship at my alter of the Orange and the Marshall.  I am heaviness personified.  I am the slow power of a building power chord married to the strength of the bass and the groove.  Kingdoms rise and crumble within the time that I speak.  Stars implode.  That is my power.

Over the course of my five missives, you will be indoctrinated with my sermons.  You will learn of the "Blind Watchmaker" and the "Human Cull."  You will learn of your doom amongst "Suicide and Heroin" and "Violent Movements."  You will be subjected to my rule, my reign.

 I am the pounding fist and I am doom.  And I am your supreme being.  Your reason for existence.

For I am the Riff.  And you are my minions. You are the Monolith Cult.


Daily Bandcamp Album; Smoke It Off by Hail Dale

Something just reeked of "redneck" when I came across this. First off, the album cover looks like a cigarette pack, Smoke It Off is the title, their Bandcamp page has 2 other singles available with pictures Nascar on it, and the band's name is Hail Dale. To say I was intrigued is an understatement. What I got when I hit play was a full on, southern garage blues rock masterpiece. The further I listened, the more interested I got in the album. While I wasn't expecting the best, I got way far from the worst. These cats can play and boy do they play well. While I was listening I had to click on the "wishlist" button on Bandcamp followed slowly by the "follow" button. At this pace, I'll have the upcoming vinyl in my cart ready for checkout. Anyways, I'm straying. Just listen to the whole thing. You're not going to listen to the best album ever made, you'll be listening to a very good album that deserves some attention.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Favorite Sunday AM Album - Wes Montgomery - Full House

I hate being mellow. So on Sunday morning the thought of "relaxing" with the New York Times and brunching to the sounds of some laid back singer-songwriter jams makes me wanna puke. I don't even like to sleep late on a Sunday. What's the point? You have to get up early on Monday. If you snooze til noon you're not gonna fall asleep when you're supposed to at night and start the week off tired. I also don't drink coffee. It smells completely disgusting and the last time I tried some a few years ago, it tasted liked burnt underwear. Just get up and start the day already!

Weekday mornings I like to listen to soul music like Little Milton, The Temptations and The Impressions or early rock & roll like The Everly Brothers and Ricky Nelson. It wakes me up better than any stanky, doo-doo colored hot water ever will. I have a 5 year old daughter and I like for her to be exposed to the American classics. She enjoys the music and likes to sing along, too. On Sundays while we let Mom sleep, we try to keep it down a little bit and play some funky jazz records like Jack McDuff or Jimmy Smith. Lately I've been playing Wes Montgomery's killer live album Full House, not just on Sunday, but most days of the week.

Wes is one of the all time greatest jazz guitarists and Full House is one of his best albums. His playing is incredible throughout. For those of you who don't know, Wes used his thumb to play guitar, not a pick. The rest of the band on Full House is first class. Johnny Griffin is on tenor saxophone and the Miles Davis rhythm section of Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Jimmy Cobb didn't have a gig that night so they were able to play this show. Talk about a dream line up.

There's a total of six songs on the original album and everyone of them is spectacular. Yes, the two ballads "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" and "Come Rain Or Come Shine" are kind of mellow but I'm not complaining. The rest of the album swings hard and the slow songs are sandwiched in between barn burners like "Full House," "S.O.S.," "Cariba" and Dizzy Gillespie's classic "Blue 'N' Boogie." Wes and Johnny play some great unison lines together and really complement each other's solos. The rhythm section burns non-stop and Wynton gets some nice solos in, too. Full House has been reissued a few times with bonus tracks that are all worth a listen, but they chose the right performances for the original album.

So that's about as mellow as I'll get on a Sunday. If you prefer waiting on line for half an hour to buy overpriced omelets while being subjected to Norah Jones, knock yourself out.


Daily Bandcamp Albm; Dodge The Arrow by The Broadcast

"The Broadcast are a ground shaking, soul-driven powerhouse. Forming in NYC during 2010, the group relocated to the emerging cultural mecca of Asheville, NC to pursue music full time. Propelled by the thunderous and explosive vocals of lead singer Caitlin Krisko, this sensational 6-piece played to crowds all over the US last year, tallying over 140 shows."

This is some fine soulful classic rock. The female vocals provide a breath of fresh air in a male dominated field. The funkiness and soulfulness of the music provide for a relaxing listening session with enough boogie to get your feet moving.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Days Between Stations - In Extremis

Are you a musician?  Ever fantasize calling up the creme de la creme of musicians in your genre to ask them to come record with you?  In your fantasy, do they ever say, "Yes"?   They did when called by Oscar Fuentes Bills and Sepand Samzadeh and asked to appear on orchestral progressive rock band Days Between Stations' new album titled In Extremis.

When I say "Yes" I mean Yes.  Bills and Samzadeh were able to get the top echelon of progressive rock pioneers to play with them.  Former Yes band members Rick Wakeman, Billy Sherwood and the late Peter Banks sit in. The release contains some of the final studio work by Banks and a track, "Waltz In E Minor" that is dedicated to him. 

Members of Yes are not the only rock luminaries that came to play with Days Between Stations. Former King Crimson and Peter Gabriel Band bassist Tony Levin and XTC bassist Colin Moulding also sit in. Add the Angel City Orchestra, String Quartet and Brass Section, Josh Humphrey's instrumental programming, solo trumpeter Chris Tedesco,  Ali Nouri on the Persian Tar, Matt Bradford on dobro, Jeffrey Samzadeh with Sonati (traditional Persian) vocals, The Barbershop Quartet and you have one incredibly textured and moving progressive symphonic rock album.

Bills and Samzadeh wrote all eight tracks and they are pure genius. Some tracks are songs, others are concertos, and the final track, "In Extremis" is a full on progressive rock symphony in six parts, and is one of the last tracks recorded by Banks. 

Love and admiration for Banks flow freely through In Extremis.  Bank's friend and Manager George Mizer is quoted in the liner notes.  He says, in part:

"'In Extremis' is Latin for 'at the point of death' and is about a man at that point, wth his memories floating around him, with each memory being one of the songs on the album.  The song 'Eggshell Man' is about a man whose [sic] empire has crumbled, but keeps getting back on his feet.  Those who knew Peter will recognize how much these songs seem to fit Peter's life to a tee! Sadly, Peter passed away on March 7, 2013, but his music will always be with us."

This production is beautiful, haunting and massive.  I dare say it is some of the best music I have heard all year.  Get all your musician friends together.  Call a few that you have always looked up to as legends.  Ask them if they want to come listen to Days Between Stations' In Extremis with you and jam afterward.  You might be surprised and excited by what you hear and who shows up. 

- Old School


Ripple Field Trip: Fuzz & Fire - Midwest Stoner - Doom Fest at The Aftershock in Merriam, KS.

In the middle of the plains on August, 24 2013, light from a hundred roaches fill the smoke infused clouds and rise like a swarm of fireflies set adrift in the heavens. Merriam, KS, a sleepy industrial suburb of Kansas City hosted a whole grip of stoner and doom (and a little bit of straight heavy metal) for the first of, hopefully, an annual tradition of heavy blues and doom.

As we arrived in the middle of From The West’s set, I wasn’t locked into their groove at first. They fired off big and beefy riffs and I liked what I heard. Hard southern rock in the vein of Five Horse Johnson. The singer belted out some vocals at the end of the last song that absolutely slayed. I'm looking forward to their album. They were a real highlight of the local fare.

Merlin plays next, on the smaller stage, in the adjacent room so the whole crowd shuffled over to the other side of the building and that was cool because the wait time was relatively short. The first thing I notice is the singer in the halloween wizard robe and beard. I was a little surprised when they open the set with Twenty First Century Schizoid Man, a bold move, not sure I would start with such a recognizable classic but, that's just me. Knowing if I'm going to form an opinion, I'm going to have to wait until the next song… and it's good and filthy doom in the vein of space rock, so I'm grooving out. The wizard has a glow cane and I sort of wonder if he's going to ever set it down. The dude rocks the glow cane the entire set. All around decent set, fit's the bill well so, all thumbs up so far.

Brimstone crow plays big cowbell pounding biker rock in the vein of Danzig without any of the darkness, and a lot of joking around between songs. Solid stuff that fits the bill if not a little bit more hard rock than doom or stoner. No complaints really except toward the crowd, or lack there of.  I expected a bigger turnout but then again  metal like this hasn't been actually popular since the seventies so you take what you get. Good band, big voice, loud guitars and grease, very Kansas City.

Kingshifter seems to be the local headliner as the audience know all the lyrics to the songs. Lyrics consisting of drinking booze and raising hell. Anthemic vocals and biker fuzz, shining through a lens of radio polish. They are good and tight and seem to please the crowd so it seems like a win for all until they finish and the crowd seems to disappear! The singer seems very cool though and sticks around to support the last two acts which made me very happy considering the quality of doom and stoner rock to come.

Freakin' Egypt hits the small stage and deliver belly blasts of trembling bass grooves and big daddy beats. It starts out mixed very low in the p.a. and as great as they sound, all I can think is, louder, Louder, LOUDER! Every song sounds great and the levels are fixed over the duration of the set. They play constrained but heavy as hell blues rock and the band proves their quiet moments are just as loud as the swell of a band dedicated to tone and warmth of sound. The crowd that stuck around might not have been very well versed in the monolith of sound that is Egypt but they were well pleased, I conjecture. Valley Of Kings is etched on my brain, by the end they had managed to crush a coal into a diamond.

Wo Fat ends the night on the big stage and they bring their massive southern-stoner-rock to the KC area with a high decibel crack of thunder. The rock warriors start the set off with Black Code and their lengthy numbers sound tight and short with the energy they exude. Great guys playing great jams and no better way to end a festival. The vocals are cutting out most of the time and this doesn't do much to hamper the vibe and electricity of these Dallas die hards. Just beautiful, a great night that leaves me smiling and looking forward to next year. Get on board bands, this was a good venue in the middle of the country, ripe for bringing old school blues rock, doom and stoner. My cold and gloomy heart was warmed that night. Thanks to all who put together the first Fuzz & Fire, minus a few hiccups, you ruled my world.

--Plague Rat

Daily Bandcamp Album; Denim Armageddon by Musk

This hard and heavy hitting rock band from Sydney, Australia play that dirty, bluesy rock and roll. They seem to follow in AC/DC's footsteps which is a good thing as AC/DC has moved down a notch in recent years. Can Musk take the ball and run with it? You betcha!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Larman Clamor - Alligator Heart

It has to be said that Alexander Von Wieding is a pretty prolific kind of guy. As well as providing instantly recognisable cover artwork for several luminaries of the stoner rock scene including heavy hitters such as Monster Magnet, Karma To Burn and Gozu, he is also the brains behind one man swamp outfit Larman Clamor.

Larman Clamor’s first album, “Frogs” was a genuine slab of dark, swampy blues rock typified by droning blues guitar, sparse rhythms and Von Wieding’s gruff, Tom Waits styled vocal howl and on album number two the template still seems to fit very well. Second time around, however, it feels as though Von Wieding has become a lot more confident in himself as more flesh has been added to the sparse bones of the debut. The songs here are still based around simplistic, repetitive guitar figures back up by some unconventional, in rock terms at least, percussion such as bongos, wood blocks, foot stomping…etc, but Von Wieding seems happier to use the luxury of multi tracking to give his pieces more weight and gravitas.

Despite being on Small Stone Recordings this is by no means a hard rock record though it is heavy. Not heavy in the crush you with its mighty riff power kind of way but an understated, introspective, sombre kind of heavy. Songs tend to build from a guitar, sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric, and build gradually, further instrumentation creeps in such as banjo, keyboards percussion, extra layers of guitar float in and out of the mix, voices appear and disappear often independently of the lead vocal. The effect is startling. What initially seems to be the sound of one man doing it porch style and solo with his guitar and very little else actually turns out to be a dense, rhythmically diverse, highly orchestrated schizophrenic ensemble piece that pulls such diverse influences as Five Horse Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Tom Waits into a tightly woven world of deep, dark delta blues albeit born on German soil. This album is proof that the blues comes from within and you don’t even have to set foot on Delta soil to have it.

Now here’s the thing, recently I was watching a Joe Bonamassa live show on the TV. Joe is being widely touted as the saviour of white man’s blues and, yes, he is damn good admittedly. The guy has an incredible talent on the guitar, a decent voice and some great tunes but his sanitised, populist rehash of the blues is a stark contrast to the sheer emotive depth and soul of Larman Clamor. A white German guy has tapped so far further into the spirit of Robert Johnson than someone like Bonamassa could ever hope to. I mention this because some musicians play blues music and some musicians have “The Blues”…Larman Clamor fall into the latter category.

When the time comes at the end of the year to deliver the inevitable album of the year lists this is an album that may sneak into my top ten without me even realising it…I’ll just look down and it’ll be there by virtue of some strange Hoodoo Voodoo trickery…and who will I be to argue with that?


Daily Bandcamp Album; Villains by Bare Bones

"Hardcore Rock n Roll out of Sydney, Australia. Debut EP 'Villains' out now."

All you need to know is that this is fast paced, adrenalined punk-n-roll. Bad ass rock!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beelzefuzz - S/T

At last! Beelzefuzz's highly anitcipated debut is finally here. For anyone who has followed them from their first trembling steps back in 2009 via two demos to this full-length release by Church Within the time for reverence is upon us. Everything they have done thus far has gone from strength to strength, and a chameleon on stage where the three members: Dana Ortt, guitars, vocals; Pug Kirby, bass guitar and Darin McCloskey, drums can transform and alter songs from show to show elevating them expontentially while still keeping the core of them intact, this studio effort expands their multi-faceted face a thousand-fold! There are quite a few musicians out there that can claim the individual talent these three gentlemen possess but very few have the knowledge and know-how to create this fantastic canvas they are painting.

It shouldn't come as a surprise but the ease with which Beelzefuzz manouvers between the songs is mind-blowing. As confident as the band is though nothing is difficult for them and as they add quite a lot of humour into the songwriting as well, you're in for a world altering journey indeed. Whether it's the balls-out opener Reborn or the heavily weed and opium induced Lotus Jam to the groovy and heavily 70's-tinged Lonely Creatures there's a tongue-in-cheek vibe throughout which definitely broadens their sound. You can tell the guys take what they are doing seriously, however they also step away a little bit let some humour in and most of all they seem to have a shitload of fun playing their music. Taking these aspects into consideration along with the musical inspirations they have great music has been, let me re-phrase that, new great music has been created. Making Beelzefuzz the past, the present and the future of all music.

Coming across as the three grand wizards of holy fuck, they wave their magic wands taking me through strange but extremely pleasant worlds. Song after song I am immersed by other-wordly sounds and imagery. And as I sit back and let it all wash over me, marvelling at the wonder that is Beelzefuzz, I am content and have peace of mind.

Building the songs around the 70's-style drumming of Darin, i.e. an excellent mix of heavy rock, blues and shuffle played with extreme ease but with such power and presence it makes me think of Live And Dangerous and Made In Japan. Pug follows along any shift or change without skipping a beat making his bass guitar thunder, wail or riff at the flip of a dime. Their fantastic rhythmic partnership allows Dana free reign to transport us all to other dimensions. Whether he is taking off on a blistering solo, playing some intricate time signatures or singing his heart out to bring out Beelzefuzz' amazing psychedelic sound, this band will always be a unique ground-breaking and absolutely awesome constellation.

When you get your hands on an album like Beelzefuzz, everything else becomes superflous. True, there's plenty of great music out there but this band puts just about all of them to shame. Of course you have to have a certain level of talent to play music this good, which I have already mentioned but if others could take their cue from Beelzefuzz and shake off the shackles most bands have, the vast world of rock would be truly amazing. In the meantime I will enjoy this one of a kind masterpiece over and over again.

Brought to you in the words P and W.


A Ripple Conversation with Eddie Trunk - Eddie Trunk s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal volume 2

Abrams image publishing 9/24/2013

Eddie Trunk is a stalwart proponent of the metal genre. He is well respected within the metal community as a man of knowledge and passion for this musical style. His loyalty and dedication to the music, artists, and fans was born out of a simple love of the music. For 30 Years he has been leading the metal battle cry for all who do not believe. His latest book is a testament to that passion and drive. A forward by none other than Slash himself kicks off this literary tour de force of bands, that helped shape and define the heavy metal genre. Included within each band chapter are clever insights, stories from the Eddie's vast memory reservoir. Every band has a story and Eddie Trunk is your ringleader into their magic circus lifestyle.   I had the opportunity to talk with Eddie over the phone about his new book, radio, That Metal Show, and of course, metal in general.

Congrats on your second book, Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal volume 2. Also your radio show and That Metal Show. 30 years in the business. What is something that still amazes you about the metal genre and its fans?

Thanks. The fans are the ones that keep it all going for the artists and myself, and the genre in general.  I'm really lucky for that. It's incredible how much support I have from people from my TV show and my radio show, and now my books. I'm really grateful. At the end of the day, I just considered myself a fan. I got into this music 30 years ago because I wanted to find ways to share and spread the music I love with other people in a respectful way. And it's just been amazing to see it continue. You know metal has its ups and downs just like anything does, but the core of it and the passion from the fans is really there. I think that is really one of the true hallmarks of this genre of music.

You included almost every band that received a mention at the end of your first book within your latest book. How long did it take you to narrow down the list of bands?

It was a little difficult because as you mentioned the bands at the end of the first book were meant to be included in the book, but then I realized that there wasn't room. It was tough to cut those bands out but I had to do so because of space. Then when I was approached to do the second book, I said well that is the starting point. That is where we should begin. So that was the jumping off point. There are still a few that I did not end up using and then there were a few that were not listed at all that I did. So it was a little bit of a process trying to determine which bands to use. I ran into space limits for this book too. as much as you want to keep writing and writing, you can't just do that. So I had to go through the existing list and say yeah I think I have enough about that band to do a full section. It was a balance.  Eighty percent of the bands that were mentioned at the end of the first book now have full sections in this one. The last thing that was important was the variety. It's the same thing for the books, radio and television. This book has Manson in it and Warrant. I have always done that, I have never discriminated within the different genres. Never been afraid to say I like hard rock and I like heavy metal. I think we found a decent amount of variety within the book.

Right,  I'm so glad you included "Veteran of The Psychic Wars" in your Blue Oyster Cult playlist. I used to have that album on 8-track believe it or not.

Yeah (laughs) Blue Oyster Cult in general just being included in the book was really important to me. They were one of the tougher cuts from the first book. I think that Blue Oyster Cult is a band that is really overlooked by a lot of people. Buck Dharma doesn't really think of them as a "metal" band but they are certainly a hard rock band and they have such a huge influence on so many bands. So it was important to get them in. I spent a good amount of time listening to them as a kid as well, so I was glad that I was able to get those guys in the book.

You briefly touched upon Blue Murder. You mentioned you have the demo tapes for the Sykes,Portnoy project. Any chance of hearing that demo?

I don't think anyone would be comfortable with me playing them for people because they are really raw demos. Very, very basic. Really just them set up and playing. Nothing that they could shop to any labels. The skeletons of the songs are there. If they wanted me to and were comfortable with it then o.k., I would, but it would be more a curiosity thing because it wasn't a polished  product. The four or five songs I have are just skeletons. I am pretty sure that on John Sykes new solo record those songs are going to be on it.

How long will the book tour go on for

This will be pretty extensive. The initial run starts on September 24 goes for about eleven days and ends in Vegas. From there it's back to Jersey and New York. from there I go to Brazil to host a festival. I have new episodes of That Metal show taping in October. Might have to wait until November or December. There really isn't an end date. The first signing is the 24th of September at the Hard Rock in Times Square. The 25th in Morris Plains, New Jersey at the Barnes And Noble, and 26th is Staten Island at a Barnes And Noble. From there I actually start to travel. I hope to do more on the East Coast. I want to do Philadelphia, Ct. Boston. Just time and schedules.

Let's say you had a chance to put together an Eddie Trunk music festival based on the books. which five bands would have to be on the bill?

Oh wow. well if it was just a fantasy thing where it could be any band then....

Well any band living

Yeah, Kiss and Aerosmith. Original members. Those two started it all for me as a kid. Van Halen, Black Sabbath. Sabbath with Ronnie but sadly we couldn't have that. So Sabbath, and Metallica. That would be a pretty good line up.

I just saw Sabbath a couple of weeks ago, They were awesome.

Yeah, I thought Sabbath with Ozzy was great, but Sabbath with Dio is where I discovered them. Ronnie and I were close, so Sabbath with him has always been kind of special to me. As great as the current Sabbath is, I couldn't help but think while watching them ,that we would never hear Ronnie's vocals on some of those songs again. Never going to hear "Children Of The Sea" live again, sung by Ronnie.

Speaking of that. There have been a lot of deaths in the metal community lately and then of course  Lemmy's (Motorhead) health issues.  How concerned are you about the mortality and the future of Heavy Metal?

It's true. Nobody is immune to it. Us included. A lot of people ask, well who carries the torch? The biggest bands are still the bands that have been around 30 or 40 years. Doing the biggest business. So you do have to say that some bands do scale back or retire or even sadly, pass on. It definitely is a concern, but you have to point to the guys from the 80's. You hope they become big again. You hope they still have some juice left in them, than say the guys from the 70's.   Iron Maiden is bigger now than they have ever been, so they are still ten years younger than the 70's groups. New bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Five finger Death Punch are bands that certainly have great fan bases. It remains to be seen if they can continue the legacy.  Hopefully the combo of the 80's and the new bands can keep it all going together.

Almost every artist I have interviewed from Doro to John5 has tremendous praise for you and what you do to promote the genre.  Does that pressure ever get to you?

Honestly man I don't think about it. I don't let it ..I don't think about it. I am so grateful for people that support. Slash did my forward and Halford did the last one, so to have the friendship and respect of these great artists is amazing to me. But I don't think about it. I'm too consumed with what I am doing and pushing forward that I really don't think about it. Maybe one day when I am retired I will look back. Every day is still a fight for this music. People think you are set. But that is not the case at all. There is a perception about that. Every day is a struggle like anyone else to keep the bills paid and to make sure that you keep doing what you love. The struggle is with the industry to make them believe that metal is important. I would love to do more episodes or have a longer radio show but it's a struggle to get the powers to be to continue to support. It's not as easy as people think.

So you will keep this going as long as you can...

I think about it. I'm 49, doing this 30 years right out of High School. The audience and the fans have been along on this ride with me. My 30 year anniversary radio party in Times Square is really just a celebration of the fans. From where I go from there is anyone's guess. It's really up to the powers that be if it continues on. I am aware of the possibility that the television show and the radio show hinges on support from the companies that own the stations. It's out of my control. I will still be a fan. It's all I have known since High School. I would love to keep going for another ten or twenty years.

Let's play a little word association
If I say Metallica, you say:





Blue Murder:





    Obviously, Mustaine



That concluded our interview, but I could have talked to him about metal for hours. He is a true lifelong fan of all that heavy metal has to offer. You can check out His TV show on VH1 Classic called THAT METAL SHOW, His radio show, Eddie Trunk Rocks a syndicated show on q104.3(New York City), And Eddie Trunk Live on SiriusXM radio. Visit him at Eddie Both Eddie Trunk Essential books are available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble as well as other outlets.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Roanoke - Beautiful People

Much like the 2012 release of Jowls album Cursed,  Roanoke’s Beautiful People creates an incredibly heavy atmosphere while still weaving incredibly beautiful music.  This detailed auditory excursion actually has some incredibly detailed and weaving movements in which the guitar lightly twists through a dense forest of sweeping bass and heavy drums. 

It’s very reminiscent of old Thursday.  They aren’t brutal.  They just play really pretty emo/indie chords and runs.  However, the vocals don’t follow suit. 

This album is 90% screaming.  Maybe even higher.  I love screaming.  I love bands that rip an entire album of nothing but screaming.  But I truly think this band is at its strongest when it’s utilizing some of its singer’s variety of skills.  A great example of this is the strongest song on the album, which just so happens to be the title track.  Singer “Connor” has a very emotive voice.  It’s not the strongest, but it really conveys a sense of sadness that really moves me.  Combine that with his screaming, and it really works.  It fits more with the music. 

That’s not really a complaint.  This is a very good album. It’s incredibly solid for a band that has only been around for a little over a year.  It’s very mature.  The song writing is akin to bands that try to make you feel something.  It is very pure, and it gives me the same feelings I had listening to some of the great 90’s hardcore or screamo bands.  You know… before they became generic radio filler.  This is very real stuff, and I commend this band for standing out.     

I fully recommend this band.  If you like old Thursday, Saves the Day, One Six Conspiracy, or any band of the like… you will really enjoy this release.  I know I did. 

--The Professor

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

dUg Pinnick - Naked

Professor Penfold steps in front of an auditorium full of his students.  He looks slightly disheveled.  "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please?"  He waits until all the chattering has stopped.  "Folks, today I'm going off the script set out in the syllabus.  I'm going to be totally honest with you.  We are two-thirds of the way through this semester and more than two-thirds of you are failing this course.  I've never encountered anything like this in all my years of teaching.  I'm at my wits end."

"Early on I told myself that the bell curve would reappear as we progressed through the course.  Sure the test scores on our first exam were dismal, but things would even out after exam number two.  Well that didn't happen.  The second exam came and went and normalcy has not returned.  In fact, the overall grade point average is now more skewed towards abominable failure than it was before!  This is unacceptable!"

"Now before you jump to the wrong conclusion, let me be clear.  When I say that this situation is unacceptable I do not mean that it is unacceptable to me in relation to my fiscal well being.  Again, I'm being completely honest here.  I get paid the same whether my students pass or fail.  No, this situation is unacceptable because I want all of you to succeed.  This mindset has thrown me into the clutches of depression."

"It angers me to no end because I know that your poor results are my fault.  I have not been able to effectively connect with you students.  I've wracked my brain trying to come up with a way to grab your attention and keep it on the task at hand.  My regular techniques I dismissed because I've already been utilizing them to a certain extent and they have clearly not been doing the job.  No, I need a new technique.  Something drastic!  Well, after much thought and consideration I believe I've come up with a surefire method."

Professor Penfold takes off his overcoat and lays it on his lectern.  "Right now I can look out and see whole groups ignoring me."  He undoes his tie, tosses his cufflinks aside, and unbuttons and removes his shirt.  "Ah yes.  I can see the quizzical look developing on several of your faces."  He sits down in a plain wooden chair, unties and kicks off his shoes and unbuckles and removes his belt.  "Hmmm, I wonder what that crazy professor is up to?  Time for the coup de grace I think."  Off came the professor's shirt and pants leaving him completely naked.  He doesn't say anything for sixty seconds.

"Well, well.  Looks like I was correct.  Now that I have your complete and undivided attention, let's talk about the wonderful world of microeconomics."

Ahem.  Is this thing on?  Yes?  Good.  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, open your ears, your hearts, and your minds for I have something of great importance to discuss with you today.  I know for a fact that there are many people out there searching for music that is pure.  Music that is honest.  How have I come upon this knowledge you ask?  Simple.  I’m a musical truth seeker myself. 

To be frank a significant amount of the music that I hear nowadays, regardless of genre, sounds a bit phony.  Perhaps there is no emotional depth to the playing of the instruments.  It might be that the singer sounds as if they are only going through the motions and won’t fully commit to the music.  Goodness knows that a slew of superficial lyrics are being thrust upon anyone who cares to listen to the radio or watch television.  Thus, when something as powerfully honest as dUg Pinnick’s new album Naked comes along it feels like a revelation.

dUg Pinnick, for those unfamiliar, is a rock and roll institution.  I first came to know him as 1/3 of the vocal talent / bass player for the unique and brilliant heavy metal entity known as King’s X, but perhaps you don’t recognize that band name.  In that case you might have heard the man sing or play as part of one of his eight side bands (at the time of this writing) including Poundhound, Supershine, Tres Mts, and Pinnick Gales Pridgen.  Or maybe you’ve been privileged to hear one of the three previous albums put out under his own name?  And I simply don’t have enough space to list all of the appearances Mr. Pinnick has made on other peoples’ records and various compilations.  Still in the dark?  That’s okay because Naked is a fantastic introduction!

What we have here are eleven tracks that fall squarely into the ‘righteous rock music’ category.  The guitar and bass work, all performed by Mr. Pinnick, is outstanding and varied.  On several songs the instrumentation sounds positively nasty and brutish, while at other times it evokes a genuine tenderness.  Did I mention the colossal grooves sprinkled all throughout this album?  I dare you to resist them.  It can’t be done!  Also I would have sworn a real drummer was involved here, but it turns out the stick work on Naked comes courtesy of the Tune Track Drum Program.  Impressive and surprising.  But let’s talk about the real stars of the show, the vocals and lyrical content.

dUg Pinnick’s voice is astoundingly soulful and enormously powerful.  The emotional depth on display is staggering!  His vocals soar, they rage, they celebrate, they clamor, and they stand up to over one hundred industrial strength car washes.  Amazing!  Couple that with the deeply personal, brutally candid lyrics throughout the whole album and I can’t remember the last time I felt I had this kind of insight into the inner workings of an artist’s mind.  From dealing with childhood traumas, to tackling the reality of being a struggling musician, to dealing with depression, to thoughts of suicide the lyrics on Naked deal with harsh realities.  This makes the album incredibly human and touching.

What I'm trying to get at waveriders is that Naked from dUg Pinnick is an album you absolutely have to hear.  It's something special.  Those of you into soulful hard rock/heavy metal will positively flip your lids over this one.  Top ten of the year with a bullet!


Daily Bandcamp Album; IV by Sasquatch

"A decade is a significant length of time by any measure, whether you’re talking about accelerating divorce rates or playing in a rock and roll band. Add to that the fast-paced changes initiated by technology and a decade can feel like a lifetime – or, in the case of Los Angeles rockers Sasquatch, a turbulent yet accomplished career.

More importantly though, this career-establishing trilogy managed to seduce consumers and critics: beginning with the debut’s roaring-down-the-highway riffs, hypnotic grooves and occasional forays into southern rock; continuing with the sophomore LP’s increasingly focused, hook-laden hard rock classicism (standout “Barrel of a Gun” lacked only payola to become a massive radio hit); and culminating in the third album’s heightened states of fuzz-distortion and earth-rumbling power chords, capable of reducing Marshall stacks to so much plastic pudding."

Well it's here. Today is the day the Small Stone Records officially releases IV by Sasquatch to the rock hungry public. Well worth the wait from 2010's III. II has been my favorite album by this band for a long time but the more I listen to IV, I think I'm finally beginning to forget about II. IV has it all for me. Big sounding songs, great written lyrics, riffs that get stuck in your head (listen to "Sweet Lady") and overall, a great album from the opening note, to the last. It is the complete package. There's isn't anything I could find wrong with it. It is flawless. 2013 has turned out to be a monster year for new and great music. Ever since Clutch released Earth Rocker, I was sure that would be my top album of the year. Not so much now. I'm as addicted and mesmerized by IV. If you like heavy classic rock, stoner rock or just like good music (not radio crap), this is the album you need. Vinyl freaks will be glad to know that early next year this will drop on wax.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Borracho - Oculus

The birth of a star.

There are moments that those who watch the skies live for.  The observation of a star going supernova.  The creation of a Red Dwarf.  The cosmic birth of a new world.  

And those moments exist for those who watch the underground as well.

Witness, the birth of the new planetary star that is Borracho.

Formed in 2007,  Borracho first captured Ripple ears with their massively riffed out long player, Splitting Sky.  Since then, Borracho has continued to pump out EP's and Singles of bludgeoning, stonerfied heaviness.  Oculus is their latest effort and finds the band growing and expanding in ways few would have predicted.  Maintaining all the trademark Jurassic-sized stoner riffs and thunderous rock, Oculus brings in textures and expanded scenescapes-- touches of prog structures, moments of ambient etherealness, and black-shrouded doom. 

Album opener, "Empty," is anything but.  Mixing near middle-eastern tones into the slow-building intro, massive riffs ramrod through the gentleness with the force of two colliding heavenly bodies.  The song trudges over the bubbling magma of resultant primordial sludge through the 5 minutes of intro before the vocals kick in, feeding new life into the burgeoning landmass.  Stoner doom at it's finest. 

"Know the Score," enters with a surprising wisp of acoustic guitar before the riff-assault begins--combined with one of Borracho's best melodies and near sing-along catchy verses.  If "Empty" was the sound of a new planetary world being born, "Know the Score" is the moment that life first emerges from the nascent terra firma.  It's organic groove is the heartbeat of the new planet, it's addictive riffing the muscle.  It's melody the brain. 

"Stockpile" is the slow trudge of the building of mountains, the valleys, the cliffs, with its slow, yet relentlessly steady riff and bass.  Slow and plodding, like passing of time, the rise and fall of the oceans, wearing away the newly born rock, carving it into patterns and kaleidoscopic prisms.  All leading to,  "I've Come for it All."  With it's swinging beat and rock energy, we have the rise of life.  Mankind on planet Borracho, the steady pulsing energy of racing hearts, working muscles, and bustling civilizations.

5 songs birthed over 34 minutes, this new world of Borracho finds the band at their current peak, creating worlds of heaviness in their interstellar epic.


Daily Bandcamp Album; The Legendary Goodtimes by The Legendary Goodtimes

"We believe in powerful, groovy, balls out rock and roll, the way it used to be done. Rock aint dead, but it damn sure needs a revival. Do you believe?

Three musicians set out to create something of a retro rock hybrid. Forming melodic and catchy song structures with dynamic and unique percussion, they aim to re-introduce the 60's and 70's music they grew up on with a modern twist."

First things first, I need to give a shout out to Heavy Planet for posting about this band on their Facebook page the other day. I'm not sure I would have come across these guys if they didn't post about it. The Legendary Goodtimes are just that, good music for good times. The band hails from southern Oregon. If you were to stereotype, youd swear they were from the Southern part of the country and not the Pacific Northwest. The band plays a southern rock, blues rock, classic rock kind of hybrid music that is so good on the ears. Catchy tunes that are easy on the ears like drinking a smooth beer after a hard day of work. This is anywhere music. you can listen to it in the car, while chilling at home, any time is a good time for The Legendary Goodtimes. One stream on BAndcamp and I was hooked. I made my purchase immediately. As of this writing, I've had the album for about 24 hours and have listened to it 6 times already. Yeah, it's that damn good.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Ripple Conversation with Vicolo Inferno

Excellent hard rock sound, who are the influences?

M   MARCO: We don't have a main influence, we like to listen to a lot of music mainly from the eighties and nineties... Alice in Chains, Ozzy, Motorhead, ... but also Aerosmith!

IGOR: …and Bon Jovi, Kiss, Whitesnake, Europe, Toto and many others…..if I hadn't lost my hair it would have been 80’s style! Ahahah

Describe the writing process?

      MARCO: Some songs come from a guitar riff, some others from a voice idea Igor takes out of the magic hat... then everybody adds his own ideas and flavours. For this album we worked a lot also in the recording studio, without the common pressure you have there... I think you can feel this while listening to the cd.

IGOR: Yes, yes…they’re very happy when I arrive at the rehearsal room and I say something like:” I have an idea for a cool guitar riff ... this I how it should be: tha tha than nha nhaii na na naii niah ... do you understand?.. Let me see how you play it!! “... hahaha!

 How is the music scene where you live?

      MARCO: It's a very fervid scene, we have a lot of serious rock bands who, like us, try to find a way to emerge from underground... so be afraid of Italian metal bands!

IGOR: ..There is a healthy rivalry, it's natural, but we collaborate and we support each grow up our music scene.

One city you have never been to but would love to play?
      MARCO: Stockholm... for the strong rock scene there.

IGOR: I look across the ocean, if I can dream, I say Nashville!.. For many “tasty” reasons!!

 What's next for the band?
       MARCO: We hope to organize a small European tour to promote Hourglass and spread Vicolo Inferno's word outside Italy!

 IGOR: Yes right, getting on stage, have an experience abroad should be nice... and there would be a draft of the screenplay for the first video clip taken from Hourglass…

Daily Bandcamp Album; From The West by From The West

"From The West crafts songs of temptation, blasted out in that dirty rock sound that could only be born from the great Midwest, nasty loose grooves and high-gain soul. This is the soundtrack to a hot summer night in that dive bar on the outskirts of town. You know the one, gravel parking lot, blacked out windows with neon signs, beer and whiskey infused wooden floors, and questionable clientele."

Unique music, a unique voice, a band not trying to be a Clutch, Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu or Kyuss ripoff. Those are a few things I've been looking for lately. From The West fits that bill perfectly. Foot stomping hard rock with lots and lots (and lots) of killer guitar work, this self titled album is a non stop riff machine from start to finish. This album gets in your head like the snake or bug gets in you in a sci-fi or horror movie. It hurts so good. By time it clutches itself into your brain, it's got your full attention. You have no choice but to crank the volume up as far as humanly possible. This is music done right!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Ripple Conversation with Crankshaft - How to make it on your own in the music business.

Some months ago, by chance I was introduced to a band I probably would ignore if I had seen their latest release, What You Gonna Do? in a record store. Simply because I wouldn't look in "that" section - I only look in the hard rock and heavy metal section usually. However, since I received a promo copy for a possible review I listened to it and Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders from Anoka County, Minnesota had me hook, line and sinker. The band is the brainchild of Alex "Crankshaft" Larson and after a great conversation with the man I knew I had to share it with you all. So sit back and enjoy the story of a man with a distinct musical vision and how you turn prize money into three excellent videos.

For those not in the know tell us who Crankshaft is and what is the difference between Crankshaft and Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders?

Crankshaft is a traditional one man band, I play kick drum, a snare drum with a kick pedal on it, a hi-hat with a tambourine on top, guitar, and vocals at the same time, sometimes I add kazoo or harmonica. I've always kept my one man band free of loop pedals, so what you're hearing is a live one man show. Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders is a larger group playing the same songs as Crankshaft. The biggest difference is that a drummer replaces my one man kit, and I'm standing upright instead of sitting down. Being able to stand is a game changer for the performance side of the show, also it allows me to sing better. Typically if the show is billed as Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders you will be seeing a working three piece arrangement, guitar/vocals, upright bass, and drums. Sometimes I add a horn section, keys, backup singers, a harmonica, and an extra percussionist to the show, same goes for the studio recordings.

Judging by your stage name you're heavily into cars, am I right? Especially vintage cars from the 50's and the 60's. Is that a wrong assessment?

You're right, the first car that I paid for when I was a teenager was a 1959 Chevy Biscayne. It was missing an engine, and the brakes were bad. I installed an engine with the help of a friend of mine, Tom Haynes, and my younger brother Clint. Tom also taught me how to rebuild the brakes. Once I started that car for the first time and heard it run I was hooked. The first gig that I ever did under the stage name Crankshaft was actually at a car show.

To me who has just discovered you via your latest album What You Gonna Do? I think you musical foundation is in 50's rock, delta blues, surf, swing and a bit of zydeco which is such an eclectic mix. I even get some punk vibes. Am I totally wrong picking up all these variations?

No, you're right, I have an anything goes approach to writing and arranging music. I like a lot of different kinds of music, and those different musical forms seep into what I'm doing creatively. I'm writing songs how I hear them playing in my head when I come up with the lyrics. It's kind of an unconventional approach, I put songs together by relating the feeling of the music to the context of the lyrics, rather than making the musical style of the songs the basis of their conception, like  (insert every one hit wonder pop album ever made). I'm reluctant to reach out to labels for this reason, I don't want my approach to be compromised because it's less marketable, and that's where the punk rock attitude comes into play the most. Sonically the punk rock is rooted in my relationship to my younger brother and the friends we hung out with in high school. I was the odd duck that was listening to Elmore James, Chuck Berry, and The Sonics, when my friends were listening to bands like The Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat. I think playing in a surf punk band with my brother and being billed with hundreds of punk bands in my early twenty's could have something to do with the edge that people comment about in the delivery of my songs. I can also say that I like digging into the guitar with a heavy right hand, I always have.

Are you a full-time musician?

Yes, I stopped working construction in August of 2010, since then I've been paying my mortgage payment and my bills with money that I earn playing gigs, selling CDs, and other Crankshaft related merchandise.

How do you manage/cope to play one show as your one man band and then, just a few hours later at a different venue, you perform with your full band?

My one man show is pretty well developed, I played solo shows for almost two years before I considered adding pieces to the project, not to say that I'm done learning how I approach the music solo, but it is a bonus that I'm comfortable playing on stage by myself. Also, I don't need to communicate any of my ideas related to changing how I approach the music. Sometimes it's hard to communicate to the drummer that I'm working with where I want the snare pocket to land because when I'm by myself I just play it how I feel it should be. Interpretation is a big part of music, and depending on the guys that I'm working with on the next gig the feelings of the songs can change based on the personality of the players. I think that playing with a lot of different rhythm section players is forcing me to become a better listener, a better front-man, and leader.

Getting involved in music in 1996 playing in various projects and constellations through the years, Alex Larson became Crankshaft in 2008 and performed as a one man band around his native Minnesota. In 2010 he decided to go full time with his music, either as Crankshaft or with his new band Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders. Upon becoming a fulltime musician Alex has developed a strong DIY ethic and promotes his ventures diligently and admirably through mainly a rather busy live schedule. In that process he has built up a pretty big and devoted fan base which is continously growing. This is no more apparent than when it comes to his participation in Artist Signal's online competition in 2012.

A friend tipped Alex off about this online competition for independent bands where the winner would received $25,000. Unfortunatley it was a little bit too late and nothing came about from it. However, not long after the contest is over, he receives an e-mail from Artist Signal stating they will run the competition again. Much better prepared Alex enters and besides his profile on the Artist Signal website he creates a Facebook event called Vote Once A Day For Crankshaft. Aided by these two forums he started to spread the word and he made a vow to everyone who voted for him. If he won he would use the prize money to make three music videos.

After a while he claimed the top spot with quite some time left before the competition was over. Determind to win Alex went on a promotion spree in the truest DIY-style. He put up flyers all over his hometown; he printed business cards with the voting URL on them and he walked up and down the sidewalk of the busiest street in town holding a cardboard sign reading Vote For Crankshaft. This worked wonders because having lost the lead Alex reclaimed it and eventually won by a mile and a half getting 4,000 more votes than the runner up. Now the videos are done and a release party is being held at the club Famous Dave's BBQ And Blues Club in Minneapolis while the world wide release via YouTube will be on Thanksgiving Day. After the premiere viewing Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders will perform and all attendees will receive a DVD of the three videos.

The videos are pretty cool and actually stay very true to the story each song tells which is extremely rare these days. Usually videos have no connection to the songs, therefore that alone is refreshing with what Alex has created. In Waiting For Me Crankshaft sings about getting ready for a show and getting home late while his girl is waiting at home for him. Shot in both black and white and colour it is beautifully crafted and the switch in colours works wonders with the soft tones of the song.
Kingpin takes place in and around a bowling alley where this hot, tattooed girl is mesmerizing all the guys who this song is about. Each and everyone wants to be her kingpin but only one guy gets to take her home. One of my favourite Crankshaft songs and a cool video indeed.
The funniest video of the three is Fill It Up where Alex plays a disgruntled cement truck driver who's wife is cheating on him. He is looking for the playboy who swayed his woman and all I can say is...look out for that cement truck and it's driver. A very humourous video despite the cheating spouse.

You've been very busy lately shooting three music videos, will that restrict touring for you?

Yes unfortunately, I wont be able to tour this fall like I have in the past. I was too swamped producing, directing, and editing to allow for the time it takes to book a tour.

What are your feeling about being on the road playing live? Do you prefer that to studio work or vice versa. Or is it an equal share between the two?

It would be hard to compare the two side by side like that because they are so different from each other. Playing well in a live setting takes serious focus, which is challenging and rewarding. Recording music and producing albums in the studio is different because you can produce things in a way that can't be replicated live. Sometimes it's for the better, sometimes for the worst, again, another challenge that can be rewarding when executed properly. I think that there is an art to doing each, but they are different skill sets.

Most of your albums have been released via Slab Town Music Productions, a strictly DIY label. Are you planning on staying independent or are you aiming for a major label?

My goal is to continue to make music and art that I believe in, if a bigger indie label or major label likes what I'm doing and is willing to give me the final say, I'm all in.

Have you received a lot of exposure with your music, both nationwide and internationally?

Pete Knapp just ran two radio campaigns for me, one focusing on the AMA chart in the U.S., and one for the Euro Americana chart overseas, we managed to stay in the AMA top 100 for ten weeks, and on the Euro Americana top 25 for 8 weeks. I feel very happy about the success that What You Gonna Do? received with FM radio, especially because it was a self-produced, self-funded release, and all of the material on the release was my own.

What's on your immediate agenda now that the three videos are completed?

I need to finish mixing a live album that I'll be releasing in December. I'd also like to start writing again, It's been a long time since I focused on that and I miss it. I wrote a song called Made To Race this spring, the song before that was I Wanna Play which was finished sometime in March 2012. I'm excited to write and arrange songs now that.

And with this I thank Alex "Crankshaft" for taking the time to talk to me. He's a busy man making his living creating great music just the way he wants it to be and he does it all on his own. With a real strong DIY ethic everything he makes goes back into his craft. The three videos being a prime example of this. Most bands who won $25,000 would just blow it on whatever. Alex made these videos instead, cutting his touring and recording schedule down to about zilch simply to keep a promise he made. And that's how you do it folks! Mark Thanksgiving Day off in your calendars for the world premiere of the videos AND check out Crankshaft And The Gear Grinders, you won't be disappointed.


Ashes Of Chaos - Eye

When bands combine genres the end result is either salad or soup. 

Salads mix all of the styles, but, you can still identify the parts.  You can see and separately taste the lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado.  You might even dress it up to make it more palatable.  The final product is together but doesn’t change into something different.

Soups are not usually mixed; they are blended.  The end result is a distinctive product where all of the constituent parts meld to form a new whole.  The best soups blend complementary ingredients.  You may taste tomato or chicken, yet, each ingredient is imbued with the other and, in the process, each is forever changed.

Ashes Of Chaos makes soup out of metal, screamo, punk, classic rock, progressive jazz, blues, funk and classical music in order to create progressive rock masterpieces on their debut concept album titled "Eye."  The band consists of singer and frontman Alexios Ciancio, guitarist and background vocalist Mike Crinella, bassist Stefano Galassi, drummer and background vocalist Francesco Gabrielli and keyboardist Giorgio Gori.  Eye also has special guest appearances, including  a screaming Marcello Cavalli of Deadly Carnage on the track "Parallels" and an introduction to the track "Rinascita" by Claudia Saponi of Absynth Aura. The band started in 2008 as a heavy metal cover band.  Fortunately, they have started to write and perform their own music and the result has been phenomenal. Ashes Of Chaos says it draws its inspiration from progressive metal bands such as Pain of Salvation, Opeth, Tool, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Mastodon and Goblin. Great bands for sure, but, Ashes Of Chaos stirs in many influences beyond metal.  

Eye's ten tracks tell a story.  Here is the band's explanation:

The Earth is threatened by a huge meteorite and the worldwide authorities decide to hide themselves in underground shelters to escape a sure extinction, without warning the rest of the population against the impending danger.  The protagonist lives in a corrupted world, trying to survive, will even to kill other human beings to survive the collision.  While the world [sic] is waiting hopelessly, the protagonist hides himself in a small bunker and survives the meteorite impact.  Some time later, looking at a post-apocalyptic [sic] landscape, he realizes that his destiny is to be lonely.  Hidden in his underground shelter, aware of other people in his same situation somewhere in the world he tries not to let hope die, however, his true thoughts awaken only when he's asleep: the protagonist will fight against his own subconscious trying to drag him through the abyss of desperation. He has to decide whether to wander eternally in the Circle of Madness until self-destruction, or to resist and wakeup from sleep and nightmares, to carry forth the hope of a human rebirth.

Add this story to the music and you will be asking, "What were these guys taking and where can I get some?"  You can't tell and you can’t have any, but, you can hear the result. It's melded into the ear soup that is Eye.

- Old School

Daily Bandcamp Album; Revolutions by Castero

"Castero are a 4 piece Heavy Rock band from Ireland, New album Revolutions released in June 2013. We have toured with bands such as Diamond Head, O/D Saxon and loads more. We are strongly influenced by bands such as Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Down and Clutch."

The above 3 bands mentioned are huge influences on the doom/stoner community. I honesty cringe at times when I see that due to the fact that more times than none, bands more or less copy them. When I started to listen to Revolutions though, I could hear the influences but the band sets out to do their own thing and not be a copycat. Revolutions has a nice southern metal sound mixed with classic rock, a bit of the fuzzy/wah wah sound in Clutch, and the right tuning to make their guitars sing. "Too Much Sleep" has a killer solo at the end. Overall this is grade A material here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Album Review; Self Titled by American Sharks

If there's one thing I can really get into is a good old fashioned rock and roll album. In what is a seemingly crowded market, it's nice when something fresh and unique comes along. American Sharks fits that bill just perfect.

The band was first brought to my attention awhile back when there was a small writeup over at The Obelisk. I didn't really follow up to much beyond their 2 tracks posted on Bandcamp. I had forgotten about them completely until they were announced as touring with the mighty Clutch on their upcoming 2013 Earth Rocker fall tour. Who are these guys? Oh shit, I remember now. Perfect timing too because a new album was in the works. Man is it a winner.

The album kicks off in grand fashion. Heavy guitars, riff after glorious riff, and a shitload of adrenaline. The album is fast paced. It's like the band took a page from punk pioneers like The Clash or the Sex Pistols, mixed it with some great Texas based rock with a hint of surf and garage rock. This is some seriously rocking music. I had to double check to see where the band is from. Austin, Texas. I figured they were a Southern California band. They faintly remind me of The Shrine. That's about the closest you'll hear to something modern. What does that mean? Well for starters it means that they're not trying to be the next "Band A" or "Band B." Originality is the key. As of this writing, I've had it stuck on repeat for the last few hours. My play count was at least 20 or so since I received the album for review (before tonight's listening session). With each listen I'm getting more and more psyched to see them when they open for Clutch. Perhaps more than Clutch themselves.

American Sharks gets released on CD and vinyl September 17th, 2013. Make sure you give it a listen, you'll be glad you did. Don't miss them on tour with Clutch and The Sword this fall too.

-Soda Bill

American Sharks "Overdrive" (Official Music Video) from Picture Machine Productions on Vimeo.

Daily Bandcamp Album; Birdmouth by Birdmouth

One of the first "stoner rock" bands I was exposed to and liked a lot was a band signed by Small Stone Records called Throttlerod. Their earlier albums were quite something. They were honest, raw and just had that "feeling" to it. I'm not really sure how to describe it, it just sounded right. While Throttlerod still is a kick ass band making great albums, they seem to have lost something over the years. That's why when I first stumbled upon Birdmouth, it brought up all those lost feelings. It's kind of like when you break up with first first love then, when all the smoke clears and you've moved on, you get that feeling again when you fall in love. I can't say I "love" this album. Not yet as I've only listened through it once so far. This self titled album has that raw and natural sound the I liked so much in early Throttlerod albums. Vocally it's a bit closer towards a little hardcore at times while instrumentally they tread towards the southern heavy metal (not Pantera heavy) mixed with a little bluesy guitar and a few solos here and there. Overall this is a very good album that will probably wind up in my collection (on payday).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What's the Hot New Place to Get The Best Music From the Heavy Underground? Ripple Music Unveils HeavyRipples Distribution - Psych, Stoner, Doom and More.

North America's Exclusive Distributor for Vincerebus Eruptum - the voice of the underground.

Five years in the making, Ripple Music is proud to announce the creation of Heavy Ripples Distro (, the best new source to find LP's, CD's, 7"'s, Tee's, Magazines, and more from some of the most esteemed bands in the heavy underground.

Noting that the burgeoning underworld of bands pumping out stoner, doom, heavy psych and metal mania were horribly under-served by today's current distribution system, Racer and Pope--the head honchos of the hard-rocking Label, Ripple Music-- decided that something had to be done.  Knowing that there were tons of excellent heavy bands that couldn't get widespread distribution because they weren't "hot enough" for some of the current heavy distributors, or not signed to a big enough label, Racer and Pope decided to put together a Distro that could benefit from the years of experience and channels they'd gained with Ripple Music.

And Heavy Ripples Distro was born.

Featuring heavy bands from North America, Europe, Australia, South America and beyond, HeavyRipples doesn't discriminate against bands who may not move 100 copies or are self-produced and totally D.I.Y.  The only criteria for HeavyRipples is that the bands rock- pure, unadulterated riff-mad heaviness.  Utilizing a "bare minimum" fee strategy, Heavy Ripples Distro offers bands the opportunity to have their music distributed world-wide with the lowest possible fees, allowing the bands to recoup the greatest return on their music while getting maximum exposure and the opportunity to offer thei music to heavy rock fans at the best prices on the web. It's an entirely new model for heavy music distribution and one HeavyRipples Distro hopes can maximize the viral spread of the heavy rock.

Recognizing the dedication Heavy Ripples Distro has to the underground scene, some of the leading Labels in heavy rock jumped at the chance to join in, with Labels like Cosmic Artifactz, Buried by Time and Dust, PsychDoomelic, and Ozium Records all offering the best of their heaviness.

And there's more.  HeavyRipples Distro is now the exclusive North American Distributor of Vincerebus Eruptum (, the world's leading magazine devoted to the stoner, doom, and heavy psych rock scene.  Produced in Italy, Vincerebus Eruptum brings interviews, features, news, and reviews of such heavy legends as Colour Haze, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats Orchid, Kadavar, Witchraft, and more.  All in a slick, full-color format and for only $7 per issue.

Check out Heavy Ripples Distro, the web's leading site for the sounds of the true heavy rock underground -
For inquiries and band submissions, contact Racer at

And find all the heaviness and daily deals at:

@heavyripples /twitter
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