Saturday, January 31, 2015

Penfold's Quick Hits: Amerigo Gazaway Presents Yasiin Gaye - The Return (Side Two)

Greetings waveriders.  I've found something to enrich your listening life that needs to be shared immediately.  Why the urgency?  Simple.  I don't know how long this music will remain online before the artist responsible will receive a cease and desist letter forcing it's removal from the interwebs.  No, I am not pulling your leg.  As a rule the powers that be don't like mashup albums containing material they own.  Thus there is a time limit on Yasiin Gaye - The Return (Side Two) and I don't know when the final grain of sand will fall through the hourglass.

I'll be totally honest folks.  I like musical mashups.  Hold on.  Let me add some qualifiers onto that last statement.  I like musical mashups that work well and that don't tarnish my memory of the original works.  Amerigo Gazaway is a master of the mashup.  I first discovered him when I ran across his Bizarre Tribe album which mashed together songs by The Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest.  Before that he had released an album called Fela Soul combining Fela Kuti songs with raps from De La Soul.  What impresses me to no end is how each of Amerigo Gazaway's compositions are utterly seamless.  It is truly stunning, and never more true than on Yasiin Gaye. 

Yasiin Gaye - The Return (Side Two) represents an imaginary collaboration between Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def and Marvin Gaye.  Actually this is the second album released under the YG name, hence 'The Return'.  Whereas the first mashed together Mos Def raps with Marvin Gaye's songs, this sequel of sorts mashes Mos Def vocals with songs that Marvin Gaye produced.  The result is incredible!  Did I mention that you can grab this album for free off Amerigo Gazaway's bandcamp page?  No?  How careless of me.  I'll just leave this linked player below...

Friday, January 30, 2015

An Open Letter to Tom Petty

Dear Tom,

I’m a huge fan, for real.  I have most of your records and I feel like you have never made a stinker.  I remember when Jimmy “Shoes” Iovine said you have never laid down a bad vocal track...WOW!  You are that good.  Your accolades, your sound, your middle finger attitude to the music industry, and your ability to be super cool all of the time has really left it’s mark on me.  I look at you like a role model....but today you broke my heart, man.

This, of course, is in regards to you getting a chunk of Sam Smith’s song, “Stay With Me”.  You accused him of lifting the melody from you.  Damnit, Tom.

Here’s the meat and potatoes: how does a similar melody from a song you released 25 years ago constitute you getting a chunk of Sam’s paycheck?  Tom, you are and have been a major proponent of roots music.  Your XM radio show is one of the coolest things to ever hit the air.  You know your shit.  So, does Kenny Wayne Shephard or Johhny Lang have to give Stevie Ray Vaughan’s estate a chunk of their earnings?  Did Stevie have to pay Jimmy, his brother?  Do they have to pay Albert King?  Did Brad Paisley call you up to get permission to mention ‘Wildflowers’  in that one of his MANY country radio hits?  Country and blues music is based on re-occurring melodies and the good ol’ I-IV-V.   Do I need to mention how rock and roll came out of that...directly?  That’s how you earned your bread, remember?  It’s redundant to the point of being a joke.  You can hide behind legal meanderings all day.  It doesn’t make it any more right than a guilty rapist going free on a technicality.  I think that is what just happened here.

So, I know the answer to this because it’s already been discussed in the media, but do you think you should get a part of Sam’s Grammys if he wins any on that tune? 

I’m not a pop music guy.  However, this song JUMPED off the radio when I came across  it in a peripheral manner.   Geesh...that’s the definition of a good song, right?  It sucked me in.  He deserves some credit for that.  His voice is beautiful.  The message is relevant to many people.  It’s an interesting point of view.  The production is spot on.  It conveys some heavy emotion.  It’s his first hit.  Like I said, he deserves that.  He’s getting to live the dream that so many of us musicians never get ANYWHERE near.  But now he gets to be “that guy who stole Tom Petty’s song”.   Good job, Tom. 

YOU stole that from him.  You are stealing a lot from him, actually.  Unless you know something that isn’t being said, the similarities were a total it has been reported.  Damn, what a dick move.  You have made millions of dollars and made millions of people happy with your music. You are an institution.  More than likely, this guy will have just this one hit.  If he does continue to have success, you have marred his track record.  If this is his only hit, you have taken away money that can sustain him and family for the rest of his life.  Surely you know the plight of most one hit wonders.  It’s really unfortunate.  It’s completely unfair.  

You have a lot of power and you misused it.  You straight up bullied him.   Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne did not write “Stay With Me”.  Period.  It sounds NOTHING like your song, save for a few notes that form a similar a different key, none the less.  You weren’t sampled.  The instrumentation is completely different.  The feel is completely different.  The visual representation of the song -while I’m at it and since you benefitted so much from MTV; something my generation will never experience- couldn’t be anymore different.  Tom, this song has nothing to do with yours.  Period.  If your songs where  represented in the form of a Venn diagram (I’m pulling from a Mitch Hedberg joke here, attention....that didn’t really need to be credited), they’d barely be touching to the point where you wouldn’t see it as a Venn diagram.  So, actually, I think he did you a favor by making you relevant at the moment.  Your new record rules, btw.  I’m sorry if it didn’t sell real well.  It was kind of expensive (yeah...uh huh, I went there). 

What really worries me here is that this might set a new precedent in a time where things like constitutional rights are being trampled on by corporations and crooked politicians.  Tom, do you remember what it is like to fight The Man?  You just became him.  It breaks my heart.  I had this day dream of meeting you and telling you how much you have influenced me.  I’d probably just say thanks and move along in reality, but music fans do that.  However, I’m a musician too.  I even have a song that I think of as my “Tom Petty song”.  I’d even play it in close proximity to a cover of one of your songs in my band’s set.  I thought it was a good homage.  I RARELY cover anybody.  You wrecked me, Tom.  Where do I send the check?  Maybe I should just play dumb, whatever I know.  I think this is about foolish pride.  Maybe you won’t back down, but neither will I.  Thanks for the hard lesson in rock and roll. 

For the record, I ripped the intro of that song straight from the song ‘Tailspin’ by the band Moe.  In fact, when I went back and listened to the Moe. song again, I was embarrassed at how close it was.  I ended up getting a chance to give a rough mix of said tune to Al Schnier and told him what I just said.  It was an annoying fanboy moment and I’m still a little embarrassed by it.  You know what he did?  He took that awkward moment and turned it around by telling me how he was inspired by AC/DC when he wrote his tune.  What a class act!  It made me feel real music is supposed to do in the first place. That’s what it is really about; not legal proceedings and who fucked who.  It’s unfortunate that reality is being propagated by a guy who I thought understood this concept.  Take a lesson, please. 


A Songwriter Undercover

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 6

Today's photo set contains guitars, other guitars, and what's that?  More guitars!  Oh...and a dog too.

Biotoxic Warfare – Lobotomized

I was reading the press release for this album and I misread a line, so I thought that they were saying this was a “blistering anal assault”.  And these guys are from Greece, so there's that.  It lead to a few seconds of befuddlement and then I realized that I couldn't have read that right.  I looked at it again and what it actually said was “blistering aural assault”.  Which makes a lot more sense and reduced my level of consternation considerably.  The last thing I need is music that is going to cause blistering in my nether regions.

These guys play thrash, more of the European variety, (think Sodom or Kreator) with some well placed touches of death metal.  And they play it very well.  Special mention goes out to their lead guitar player.  The guy has chops for days and makes some very ripping and technical solos sound effortless, which is always the sign of a dude who can shred.

Biotoxic Warfare are one of those bands that doesn't really bring a new spin on thrash to the table, they are just a very solid band and they do what they do very well.  This is typical thrash, by which I mean that if you don't like the riff they are playing at the moment, just wait about 30 seconds and they'll send another one your way.  It doesn't sound like they are just throwing riffs together for the hell of it, though.  All of it sounds as though they put some thought and effort into making the rapidly changing ideas flow into one another and work as songs.  They don't mess around either.  From the moment you push play things are off and running and it isn't until you hit the fifth track that things allow you a little bit of a breather.  Not much though; there's maybe 45 seconds of acoustic intro to that song and then we're off and blasting again.  The pedal stays down to the floor for the remainder of the album.  So if you want to be thrashing like a maniac from start to finish, this one will work for you.

This is the debut full length for this band and there is a lot of promise here.  This is a band that is probably not ever going to make it big enough that they will grace the shores of the US with their presence, so unless you make the trek to Europe during festival season you may never see them live.  Which is too bad, because I bet they put on a good show.  For now, though, dig this album and hope it gets enough attention that they can at least keep releasing more music.  There are not a lot of good things about the digital age and what it means for music, but one of the good things is that its a lot easier to find and hear music like this.  Sometimes you have to wade through a lot of mediocre stuff to find the gems like this one.  When you hear a debut like this, it makes all the rest worthwhile.  Here's to hoping that Biotoxic Warfare keep fighting the thrash fight and bringing us solid releases like this one.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 5

In my head I have been rebuked by Old School for not renaming yesterday's "Pictorial Report" to something more accurate such as "Video Report".  My apologies Old School.  We must carry on however!  With more pictures from NAMM 2015!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 4

Not satisfied with mere pictures, Old School brings us video from NAMM!

BoneHawk - Albino Rhino

BoneHawk seemed to get a little bit of a late start for whatever reason before taking off in the underground stoner metal scene with their hand numbered bone white 2LP vinyl release. The band was brought to my attention by a trusted music connoisseur and fellow bandcamper, sir Arttu Savvy whom you may have seen floating around bandcamp scooping up nothing but the best heavy, stoner, doom, blues rock and metal to name just a few styles. Anyway, he sent me pre-order links for a kickstarter or one of those links way back in March or something and they got lost in the shuffle until early in the fall he asked if I'd gotten a copy yet.  I totally hadn't even remembered so I went straight out and had a listen and my mind was blown to pieces. I immediately ordered a copy of the now sold out 2LP version.

Right off the bat you're smothered with a stoned out vocal tone and frizzy surface reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite stoner rock bands Fireball Ministry. Not only are the vocals relaxed and full of groove, the distortion is tuned to just the right amount of fuzz. Not too hairy, not too slick and loaded with enough energy to keep the party rocking all night long.

You see this is the kind of music I'd play at my party, or more realistically the kind of music I'd play on repeat by myself either driving down the freeway, or across the desert on a dirt road with windows rolled down and cold one between my legs. Or even more realistically the type I blast on the turntable while I’m in the kitchen making dinner while the kids run amok terrorizing the household. At least they have a good soundtrack right?

Like young kids tracking mud into the house, there are not a lot of new or revolutionary ideas or techniques brought to the table on Albino Rhino. What there is are low rumbling and hypnotic bass lines, smoldering riffs blazing like doobie rings lingering off a dead-heads crusted lips, and vocals crooning like the purr of a winter fire warming the bones after a long day on the slopes.

Nowhere within the album do you find filler, and each song brings its own weight to the bench. Catchy choruses galore and timely backup vocals give a nice flair on songs such as 'Ulysses', ‘Desert Run’ and the standout party rocker 'Tonight We Ride'. If you really investigate you will notice that every “commenter” on their bandcamp page lists a different “favorite song” in their comment about the album. That’s typical of only the most well rounded albums in camp.

You, Waveriders, are in for a tubular pipeline of colossal jams. "You feel it coming, through your town in an unstoppable way. You see it coming, on the horizon, you're gonna ride the wave" sets the tone to the no holds barred rock anthem 'Tonight We Ride'.

The album has a perfect balance with riff after riff and groove after groove. You want melody? BoneHawk bring it! You want groove? The Rhino busts a move! Do you love whipping your hair around in maniacal circles in the middle of the bar room floor? Crank it up! You crave bluesy metallic solos? You're gonna melt away from the scorching temperatures of the dual guitar onslaught of epic fuzzaliciousness.

I mentioned it earlier and I'll say it again, whether I'm out to lunch or not, but this album gives me that same familiar excitement that The Second Great Awakening by Fireball Ministry did when I first saturated myself in the stoner rock realm years ago. I used to go on marathon sessions with that album leaving no spine nerve un-tingled. Not saying it's a copycat or a rip off, more so that this album completely tears on all fronts. Every song shreds, the vinyl package rules, the white koozies offered up for sale at their big cartel keep my beer even colder than the "other bands" cold cups. 
There may even be waves rippling in the pipeline for BoneHawk in the near future. Keep your ears peeled, BoneHawk has just begun rawking and we're here to say listen up!!

-The Huntsman

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 3

Old School keeps 'em coming!

Ripple Field Trip - Pop Goes The Buffalo

What exactly is pop?  Not an easy pigeon to put in its hole.  Presumably something in-between the torchight crooning of Mel Torme or Frank Sinatra and the unabashed headbanging of Motorhead or Black Sabbath.  Maybe it’s akin to what the US Supreme Court famously said about obscenity a while back; you just know and feel it when you see or hear it, but it’s damn hard to define with any meaningful contours.  It clearly is a genre deserving of its own designation in musicology - it's just hard to decide on its parameters.

I’ve mused a fair bit about what might be the perfect pop song.  It’s not too hard, not too soft, and it just sounds so good. On lists of the  greatest “rock n roll” songs usually it’s Bob Dylan with "Like a Rolling Stone", Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven”, or Rolling Stones with "Satisfaction" or "Gimme Shelter".... but what might be at the top of the list for crystal clear, blissful pop?

I submit frontrunners  would be Beach Boys jewels like "God Only Knows" and "All I Wanna Do" (no, not the better known, Dylan-penned Byrds hit with the “Really” in the middle, I’m talking the gorgeous nugget from the Sunflower album) and Big Star’s just dreamy "September Gurls" (admirably covered by the Bangles, the Replacements, and English modsters Squire).  The Kinks' somewhat overlooked masterpieces “Village Green Preservation Society” and  "Waterloo Sunset" should be in the mix, as are Beatles' standards like "In My Life” and my personal Fab Four Favorite, "She Said She Said."

I’d like to make a case for an absolutely wondrous piece of indie pop creativity by relative unknown but buzzworthy Avi Buffalo.  Avi’s self-titled cd released a few years ago features single “What’s In It For”, which for my money stakes a claim for its place in the annals of pure pop heaven. Toiling for a while in relative obscurity in the LA club scene, Avi raised his four piece band’s profile by opening for Portugal the Man a year or so ago, and has made a well-deserved and noteworthy splash of late, at SXSW early last year and late last year releasing his second cd “At Best Cuckold” to some acclaim.

Songs from Cuckold featured prominently during Avi’s performance this past fall at mid-Wilshire’s lovely El Rey Theater, which for Long-Beach bred Avi must have felt like a bit of a homecoming, what with his grandparents chilling and cheering on the fringes of the dance floor brimming along with the millennials snapping cellphone pix and Instagramming away.  The new material is strong, a little more focused and less twee and kooky than his debut, and standout, radio-friendly tracks like “So What” and “Memories of You” sounded quite swell emanating from the stage.  But Avi regaled the crowd’s request with a scintillating version of “What’s In It For” that truly paints a portrait of how far this promising artist might venture into heady new heights.

The song may not approach unadulterated perfection quite as closely as the classics mentioned above; the lyrics, likening his girl’s lips to “tiny pieces of bacon”, are a tad bit on the silly side, and his warbling falsetto might be a bit precious for some listeners.  But musically it’s nothing short of spectacular.  Shimmering guitars reminiscent of classic Byrds, playfullly melodic bass evoking McCcartney’s best work, layered harmonies recalling the Beach Boys’ masterpieces - it’s four minutes of ear candy that’s just nearly unparalleled.  Avi’s songcraft talents shine so resplendently throughout this song that even mentioning such slight shortcomings seem petty.  When my seven year old daughter asks to hear it by name, rather than the latest pablum from Iggy Azalea or Robin Thicke, one only has to feel good about the future of quality sounds.

But alas, I was more than a bit miffed and mystified when “Cuckold” didn’t make it onto any of the myriad year-end best lists that proliferated a few weeks ago.  I mean really, are people swooning so hard over the supposedly suddenly respectable Taylor Swift and the latest commercialoid U2 offering dumped on the unsuspecting and uninterested IPhone users that they overlook completely the continued impressive artistic progression of an indie rock force by all rights to be reckoned with? 

- Rhythm Slayer

Sunday, January 25, 2015

BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH: New Hymn From Seattle Doom Visionaries Featuring Tad Doyle Now Playing Courtesy Of Decibel Magazine; CD Preorders Available

[Photo by Invisible Hour]

With the imminent unveiling of the self-titled debut from Seattle doom visionaries, BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH, now less than one month away, today the guardians of Decibel Magazine's web portal heave forth opening track, "Lava" for public ingestion.
Fronted by iconic guitarist/vocalist Tad Doyle - formerly of TAD and Hog Molly - BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH is a trio of longtime rock rebels featuring Doyle alongside veteran bassist Peggy Doyle and drummer Dave French (The Anunnaki). Not surprisingly, the threesome's forthcoming long player summons some of the gnarliest sounds from the blackest depths of the Pacific Northwest.

Relays Doyle of the debilitating resonance of the record's opening hymn, "'Lava' was originally inspired by a Native American folklore story that talks about Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, both active volcanos in the Cascade Mountain range spanning Washington State and Oregon. The story in short; 'Where little sister goes, big sister follows,' with 'little sister' being Mt. St. Helens and 'big sister' being Mt. Rainier. Native culture and geology records have mentioned that these eruptions happen every four-hundred or so years. Rainier is well overdue. This song is basically a tribute to the force and natural powers that lay within the region and what an eruption would look like through the eyes of the life that surrounds the region."

Get scalded by the "Lava," currently charring the airwaves of Decibel, at THIS LOCATION.

Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth was captured at Robert Lang Studios and Doyle's own Witch Ape Studio in Seattle, Washington and mixed by Billy Anderson (Sleep, High On Fire, Melvins et al). Thrusting forth five hauntingly heavy tracks, with two bonus psalms included on the CD edition, Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth is Doyle's first recorded output in nearly fifteen years. Splicing thick, jagged riffs through chilling post-punk drumming and hulking compositions that blow soulfully hot and desolately cold, sometimes within the confines of one track, BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH is the sound of earthly decomposition and planetary ruin; a slow, suffocating, spellbinding dance towards a looming apocalypse... thick, monolithic, deliberate and devouring. Their longform pieces present the kind of mature ideas and expansive progressions that outpace the listener's short-term memory leading them off the proverbial map; familiar landmarks like sludge, post-metal, rock all but disappeared over the horizon. Authentic and authoritative, Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth is as much a persistent thudding body punch of sonic destructive force as it is a thoughtful statement of awareness and the inescapable raw condition of life.

Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth will be released February 17th, 2015 via Neurot Recordings. CD preorders are currently available at THIS LOCATION.

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 2

 More from Old School!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Texas to release "Texas 25" in celebration of the band's 25th Anniversary

TEXAS celebrate their 25th Anniversary in style with the release of their latest album 'Texas 25' which celebrates the very best of the multi-million selling (over 30 million album sales so far), multi-platinum, Ivor Novello Award winning band.
'Texas 25' contains four brand new songs and highlights from the bands greatest hits completely re-recorded and re-worked for 2015 with acclaimed NYC soul outfit Truth & Soul (Amy Winehouse, Adele).
Recorded in the Queens studio of Truth & Soul and mixed at The Black Key's Dan Auerbach's Nashville studios, working on 'Texas 25' was a chance for Texas frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri and band mate Johnny McElhone to hear Black Eyed Boy, Halo, I Don't Want a Lover, Say What You Want, Summer Son, The Conversation with new ears. 'It's almost like we've got who we are, 25 years later,' says Sharleen.
In 2015, Texas will present the findings of their 25 years in pop in a new, intimate arrangement, 'An Evening With…' in which Sharleen will talk through her amazing career and the band will play as a four piece skiffle ensemble as punctuation points.

1. Start A Family
2. Black Eyed Boy
3. Say What You Want
4. Supafly Boy
5. Halo
6. Inner Smile
7. The Conversation
8. Say Goodbye
9. When We Are Together
10. Are You Ready
11. I Don't Want A Lover
12. Summer Son

Listen to "Inner Smile (Truth & Soul Session)" from the forthcoming album on You Tube or Soundcloud
Pre-order "Texas 25" at the official website.

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015

Old School, one of the most trusted scribes for The Ripple Effect, has taken it upon himself to document the NAMM 2015 conference.  What follows are some fancy photos.  Be jealous.

Friday, January 23, 2015

GEEZER release info for GAGE (EP) | Listen and share 'Ghost Rider Solar Plexus' via Ripple Music

Download and share 'Ghost Rider Solar Plexus', taken from Geezer's Gage EP via

"There’s an authenticity about Geezer that instantly puts them above their peers; the whiskey-soaked growl of Pat Harrington will take you down the Midwestern delta once more, while their heartfelt, gut-level grooves are reminiscent of ZZ Top circa 1973."
--Chybucca Sounds

"Believe me folks when I say Geezer's debut EP is a work of genius. Stoner Rock of the highest order with great psychedelic riffs to match. Brilliant and highly recommended.”
--The Sludgelord

Initially released as a run of extremely limited edition vinyl via STB Records in 2014, it’s little wonder that Geezer’s Gage EP sold out in practically no time at all. Yet such an unruly and original sonic meltdown of metal, psychedelia and blues-rock was never destined to stay gone for long.

This February, thanks to the California-based label Ripple Music it will receive an official worldwide release across Europe and North America.

"We're extremely excited to be working with Geezer to help spread their distorted heavy blues around the world,” explains label boss Todd Severin. “These cats are the real deal. They live it, they breathe it. It all comes through in Gage, which is a masterwork of heavy psychedelic blues. A real pace-setter for the scene.”

Recorded as a follow to their 2013 debut album Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues by the Kingston, New York trio – made up of Pat Harrington (Guitar, Vocals), Freddy Villano (Bass) and Chris Turco (Drums) – Gage now stands as the most complete release in Geezer’s canon. “The bass is a leviathan of low end rumble, the blues guitar forging molten riffs of iron and steel, and the drum work massive and purposeful.” (Heavy Planet)

Offering listeners an aural appreciation of the American outsider, it drops peyote grooves on opener ‘Ancient Song’, visits the Delta (‘Thorny’) and unleashes a number of fuzz-driven subterranean jams of the highest order. The best of which can be heard on EP highlight ‘Ghost Ride Solar Plexus’, a riotous trip into the hard-edged and heavy acid blues sounds of ’70s groups like Josefus and Blue Cheer. The loose and live feel of Harrington’s raw and unruly guitar and vocal work providing the perfect foil to Villano and Turco’s tight rhythm section.

Already hailed as one of 2014’s best in end of year polls by The Obelisk, The Ripple Effect and Heavy Planet, expect to hear a lot more from Geezer both onstage and on record. Known for their mind-bending live performances, they have shared bills with the likes of High On Fire, Wo Fat, The Midnight Ghost Train, Lo-Pan, Gozu and Borracho, as well as Volume IV, Order Of The Owl and Kings Destroy.

Geezer’s Gage EP will receive an official worldwide release via Ripple Music on 9th February 2015 (Europe) and 10th February 2015 (USA).

Listen to Gage EP in full at

Pat Harrington – Guitar, Vocals
Freddy Villano – Bass
Chris Turco – Drums
More praise for Geezer:

"Handmade Heavy Blues is a deep and heavy blues based rock. Imagine The Black Keys with a bit more evil in them. Geezer even sounds a bit like Larmon Clamor mixed with a little Five Horse Johnson. Either way you look at it, you’re getting a heavy blues album that covers it all."
The Soda Shop

“It's a powerful and soothing expression of nearly a hundred years of music placed upon an altar that a thousand giants built and cherished, and this one may stand the test of time in ways that will continue to define the genre for a long time to come. Yes, it's that damn good.”
The Ripple Effect

“The whole thing sounds like a peyote trip in the desert. Languid guitar passages swirl visibly like heat rising from a long stretch of highway asphalt. You can taste the sand in your teeth, smell the chopper fumes, feel the urge to finally find solace in a dusty saloon. This shit works.”
Vinyl Junkies

“Smoke-tinged vocals, orange amped guitars and hard rhythms combine to form a sound like Charley Patton getting into a fist fight with Junior Kimbrough over who gets the last bottle of hooch in an old liquor store.”
Stoner Hive

Penfold's Quick Hits: N.A.S.A. - The Spirit Of Apollo

Hello waveriders!  Take a trip with me back to February, 2009.  There I was leafing through the newly released music one Tuesday morning when I came across something unexpected and unknown.  I held a CD in my hand with cover art depicting two enormous rockets lifting off in front of a massive disco ball.  What really drew my attention however was the large triangular sticker affixed to the plastic wrapper.  It informed me that this album I'd never heard of featured M.I.A., Tom Waits, Santogold, David Byrne, Karen O / Chuck D, and over 40 guest performances.

Wait, what?!?!  What album is this?  The Spirit Of Apollo by some group called N.A.S.A..  Who the heck is N.A.S.A., and who in the world are the other guest performers?  I flipped the CD over in my hands and ran through the track list.  The first song featured Chali 2na, Gift of Gab, Z-Trip and the aforementioned David Byrne.  The second track has Chuck D, Seu Jorge, and Ras Congo.  Next up is a track with Method Man, E-40, and DJ Swamp.  At this point my eyes began skipping around.  I saw the names George Clinton, Kool Keith, John Frusciante, KRS- One, Fatlip, Kanye West, RZA, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Ghostface Killah, Scarface, and Ol' Dirty Bastard.  That's insane!  And that's not even the entire guest list!

If you couldn't guess TSOA is a hip-hop album.  N.A.S.A. stands for North America/South America, a fitting name for a group made up of Los Angeles based producer Squeak E. Clean and Brazilian producer DJ Zegon.  I have discovered that the idea behind this music was to bring together artists and musicians from different genres, countries, races, etc. in order to show how easily the boundaries between people can be eliminated.  Unity of the human race.  That's very admirable, but I wouldn't find it as interesting if the music were not to my liking.  Good thing this album delivers such a great listen!

Waveriders, if you're looking for something musically interesting to dig your teeth into I strongly recommend The Spirit Of Apollo.  Beware of excessive head bobbing however.  The grooves can be mighty strong!

- Penfold

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bhleg - Draumr Ast

Here's a bunch of guys from Gothenburg, Sweden.  If you think, though, that you're going to get a blast of melodic death metal, you are in for a very big surprise.  There is a lot of contrast on this album, and you will hear some straight up black metal, some atmospheric electronic stuff, and songs that I would call folk metal, sometimes in the same track but mostly separate.  Their band name means “to shine” in proto-Indo-European, and I don't have a clue what that is, so I guess you can also add them to the very long list of motherfuckers who are smarter than I am.

The album opens with “Solkronan”, a straight up blast of black metal.  One of the guitar tracks is so scathing and scalding that I swear it was peeling my flesh just listening to it.  All of the song titles and lyrics are in Swedish so I have no idea what they are going on about, but they don't sound happy.  Then the next track comes along, “Kosmos pulsadra”, which is a very simple, repeating phrase and done mostly electronically, and thus a big contrast from the first track.  “Nyckeln till livskraftens ursprung” is up next and it is a beautiful, folky sounding acoustic number.  So right away in the first 3 tracks you're kind of left wondering what exactly this beast is.

The rest of the album sets things pretty straight.  What they are is a very diverse black metal band, who doesn't really worry if they are sticking to the traditional black metal playbook or forging something new.  The music is grim and melancholic, yet with enough peace and light at its core that the listener can retain some hope.  Life can be brutal, the brutality can seem never ending, but there is still a core of light straining to shine through.  Which it does from time to time on this album.

My two favorite tracks on this album are “Brunnens hjarta” and “Skymningsdrommar”, which lead one right into the other and really show all the sides of this band.  There is driving, grim blackness leading into peaceful sounds from nature, then flowing into a repeating piano riff, only to fall back into blackness.  Which is a lot like life can be.  You have the highs and lows, the moments of peace and despair, happiness and sorrow, dark and light.  In the end each of us has to prove how we react to what life throws at us.  We have to embrace the light or be swallowed by the darkness.

This is music that depicts all of that.  It is a fantastic debut album and this is a band well worth watching.  That they have so much to say on their first release bodes well for them.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Father Sky-1.jpg

Photo by Trent Lee Maxwell
                                                                            (L to R: Jonah Holt, “Arkansas” Dave Pennington, Chris Ortiz, Jim Ortiz)

Musical movements are often referred to as cyclical. Every few moons, a band surfaces who borrows just enough from the past to infuse a new vitality into the musical present. FATHER SKY's sound makes listeners recall a time when guitar-driven blues-rock was in its proverbial prime. A four-piece from Austin, Texas, FATHER SKY have spent the last year perfecting both their songwriting and stage show. Guitarist/Vocalist "Arkansas" Dave Pennington and Jim Ortiz deliver a virtuosic twin guitar attack with a maturity older than they look; bassist Jonah Holt and drummer Chris Ortiz are the guardians of the band’s thunderous rhythm section. Pennington fronts the soul-driven blues rock militia with a passion & voice reminiscent of the early eras of Led Zeppelin and Muddy Waters.

Pennington explains “FATHER SKY is the culmination of everything I've ever wanted to accomplish musically- a creative outlet for me to see the world through music. I handpicked some of the finest musicians in Austin that I admire for their dedication to their instrument, and the desire to do something bigger than ourselves. It is a sound influenced by the roots of rock and metal, blended with the sounds of the South, that our personal influences- Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, & Muddy Waters (just to name a few...)- set in motion for us to continue the tradition of Rock N Roll.”

This March, FATHER SKY will release their debut EP “TOWER HEIST” via their DIY label Ouachita Music. The EP was produced and arranged by the band’s frontman David Pennington, the record uses analog recording technology to organically capture a hybrid of five, groove-laden chapters of heavy blues rock.  

Gargantuan guitar riffs, roaring bass lines, and pistonic percussion kissed with soulful rock vocals displays the renegade stride of FATHER SKY and will prepare you for the live experience awaiting you when the band tours the U.S. throughout 2015.

To stream their first song released to the public “Silver Spoon”, visit FATHER SKY at

Tower Heist track listing is:
      1.  Rain Will Fall
      2.  Silver Spoon                     
      3.  Withered
      4.  Tower Heist
      5.  Mongoose Blitz
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