Saturday, October 31, 2015

It Came From ReverbNation - The Ripple Music-ReverbNation Playlist Part 4: featuring Rocky Darkroads (Ophelliah), Guru, Danielle H, and PR Stunt

Welcome waveriders.  Once again the good folks at ReverbNation asked us to participate in a promotion for their millions of bands and artists.  Who ever was interested had 60 days to submit one song to us.  I then promised that I'd go through each submission and write a quick line about the 20 that caught my ear.

2480 artists submitted from all genres.  Originally, I only wanted to review heavy rock stuff, you know, Ripple Music record label kinda stuff, but wouldn't you know it, I simply fell in love with some of the voices, songs, craft and melodies of some very surprising (to me) submissions. I don't really lean towards Country/Americana, yet the Tennessee Stiffs grabbed my ears and refused to let go. I've been bored with too many emo-ish pop bands and intended to skip the whole scene, but a talented young signer/songwriter named Danielle H was way, way too talented to ignore.  Not looking for any indie, folk or alternative yet you'll find amazing songwriters/performers like Lauren Marsh, Gentlemen and Scholars and NMBR11 on the list.  That's not even to mention some of the amazing bands that crossed my computer, like StoneCoats, Ophelliah, and Axis/Orbit.  Way too many to name here.  And despite the fact that ReverbNation ranks submissions by how many fans, facebook/followers they have, etc, I intentionally ignored those rankings and often started at the bottom of the list where the funky as all get-out, bluesy hip hop of PR Stunt was just waiting to be found.

Its a very mixed, eclectic playlist for all kinds of moods.  In other words, it's what the Ripple Effect is all about.

My apologies to all the others who submitted.  Some of these cuts were brutal for me.  It was a brutal process, listening to each and every one of the 2480 submissions and trimming it down.  Once I got the list down to about 100 the process trudged to a snail's pace.   I wanted to keep them all, but simply couldn't.  Often it wasn't that a submission wasn't worthy, it just may have been not what I wanted to write about at this point in time.  Case in point, The Black Marbles, who I passed over the last time I did this, but jumped out at me this go around.

So, without further ado, the Ripple Music ReverbNation playlist, part 4.

Rocky Darkroads (Ophelliah) - Memento

Some of you know that I was a disc jockey at KSPC radio in the '80's where I reveled in discovering new, darkwave, post Joy Division style music to blast across the airwaves during my saturday night show.  If Rock Darkroads had been around then, you can bet they would have been part of my set.  Fusing just the right amounts of light guitar tones to counterbalance the heavy darkness of the bass, Rocky Darkroads have created a near perfect blend of gothic pop.  Think Mission UK.  Think Sisters of Mercy.  You won't be too far off.  Sometime in between me accepting this song in the promotion and actually getting around to writing about it, the band apparently changed their name from the previous Ophelliah to the current moniker, Rocky Darkroads.  Personally, I like the previous name better as it's more obscure and lends itself more to the mystery of the music.  But whatever they call themselves, if you like it darkwave but with a strong spine of perfect pop chops, they're worth checking out. 

Guru - Desiertos Pintados

A rollicking power trio from Durango Mexico, Guru bring a bluesy soulful edge to their rough-and-tumble rock.  Streaming guitar licks paint the corners of this barnburner of a blues rock explosion.  Catchy vocals and a hummable melody wrap it all up into a nice package.  I wish I could tell you more about the band, but even ReverbNation doesn't have much info on them.   In fact, I couldn't even find their ReverbNation page.  But I did find a link on soundcloud so you can jump in and give a listen

Danielle H - OK

Not something I would naturally gravitate towards, but there was just no way of denying talent of this young singer or the simply grab you-by-the-ears and drag you into the speakers catchiness of this tune.  Damn, from the heavy riffing to Danielle's perfect vocal to the absolute earworn of a chorus, this song should be getting every teenage girl up in arms, jumping up and down on their bed and screaming to the stars.  Heck, it even got me doing it!  Evanence-inspired electro-heavy rock is the name of the game here, but it's no rip off.  The songwriting is simply perfect and Danielle pulls is all off with panache and her own personality.  Wow, talk about a future star being born!

PR Stunt - Looking for a Friend Tonight

And now we're saying one of the best for last.  Or at least the very first song I accepted for this promotion.  PR Stunt were an immediate success for me, so much so that I accepted the song right away, instead of making it go through the 40 or 50 rounds of listening that most songs were subjected to. Why you might ask?  Because I am a damn fool for the acoustic, laid back, blues funk rap of the Fun Lovin' Criminals, and I've never heard anyone else come close to capturing that feeling.  Until PR Stunt, and they nailed it.  A languid blues guitar riff, and funky beat and some killer rapping flow on top.   This is manna to my ears.   PR Stunt is an awful name for a band and one that will guarantee they can never be found on a google search (change your name boys) but the music is all that matters and this is friday night, beer in hand, pull up my collar swagger type of bluesy rap and it's damn fine. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

The Dictators NYC – Supply and Demand (Single)


The Dictators, the seminal  NYC Proto-punk legends are back – well – sort of.  For reasons it's best not to get into here – how can I be politically correct about this – musicians who were in the band The Dictators have joined forces with other musicians - to play the music of the Dictators to fans around the world.  They've been touring steadily since 2011 performing said music, and this year they sat down and wrote new music together. 

The band consists of singer and world renowned personality “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, guitar god Ross “The Boss” Friedman (both founding members of the Dictators), bassist Dean “The Dream” Rispler (aka that dude that EVERYONE fucking knows apparently!!), rhythm guitarist Daniel Rey and drummer J.P “Thunderbolt” Patterson. 

Pay attention here, Wave-riders: Manitoba, JP and Daniel formed Manitoba's Wild Kingdom (With  Andy Shernoff – bassist and primary songwriter for the Dictators).  Ross replaced Rey before the band recorded their only album “...And You?”JP joined the Dictators when they recorded “D.F.F.D (Dictators Forever, Forever Dictators) in 2001.  Dean and J.P played together in Richard Lloyd's (ex Television) band. January 2012, Manitoba, RTB, Daniel, Dean and J.P played their first show – as Manitoba at Asbury Lanes in NJ as part of the Light of Day foundation's weekend.  I was there – I have the shirt.  In fact, there's a video on YouTube where you can see me smiling and headbanging off Ross's side of the stage, but I digress.  That was the beginning of those dudes touring and performing the music of the Dictators and Wild Kingdom. 

In May 2013, the group re-named themselves “The Dictators NYC”.  That's where they're at now – that's the banner the single is being released under.

Now that that's out of the way – what does the music sound like? Co-written by Ross the Boss and Handsome Dick Manitoba: IT SOUNDS LIKE THE DICTATORS!!!  I can't put it any other way...It's about – simply - “Supply and Demand” - the fans wanted to hear the music, these guys are playing the music.  That's what's up!! According to Ross the Boss himself, “We've been touring with the new lineup and new agent; doing better, playing to bigger crowds in more countries than ever !  We've been touring since '96 but now we're blowing up everywhere!”  He continues, “The new era of The Dictators NYC HAD BEEN BORN. NYC added to let the fans know its not the same lineup and respect the old band, but same ideology and a the start of the new era.”

The digital “b-side” is a cover of the MC5 ditty “Kick out the Jams” - recorded live at Slims in San Francisco. 

 I've been told the boys are working on a full-length of original material – and if this single is any indication it's going to give all these young up-start bands a run for their money.  In the immortal words from “Two Tub Man” - “It's feeding time” !!

- Rys

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Kind – Rocket Science

Sometimes in sports, a team will gather a bunch of superstars on their roster, with the idea that all of the mega-talents involved must create an unstoppable team.  Music has the same idea, with the phrase “supergroup” thrown around anytime members of different bands get together to form a new band.  Whether sports or music, a lot of the time this idea falls flat, because what really matters in any ensemble, either sports team or band, is that the players have chemistry.  It has to be the right fit, the right ones coming together in the right ways, to create something special.  Kind are a supergroup, and they have definitely come together to make something very special.

The band is made up of Matt Couto of Elder, Darryl Shepard of Black Pyramid and The Scimitar, Tom Corino of Rozamov, and Craig Riggs of Roadsaw.  If you know anything of these bands individually, this is enough to get you excited.  Wait until you hear the end result.  They play a kind of blues for the cosmic wanderer, like, if space truckin' was really a thing, this would be the 8 track tape in every player.  The vibe they create is very fluid and if you didn't know better you'd swear these guys had played together for 15 years.  Everything they do, every riff, every time they launch into a jam, sounds organic and just as it should sound.  There are no missteps anywhere on this album.  This is simply great stuff.

One of things I enjoy about this album is that you can feel power of the band underneath everything they do.  Each song has a great verse/chorus/verse section, but they feel like a thoroughbred race horse, just surging along until they really run into the jam part of each song.  That's when they really hit, and just like Secretariat rolling down the home stretch in the Belmont, they can't be touched.  When these guys drop the hammer and let loose, I don't know that I can really describe it.  You just have to hear it for yourself.

Highlights of the album for me start with the very first track, “German For Lucy”.  Kind come out firing on all cylinders, just a blistering start to the album.  Then about halfway through, they pull it back to a half-time jam that is simply breathtaking.  “Siberia” is just a stunner.  After 7 tracks of rip-snorting, take no prisoners heaviness, they dial it back and slow it down and man, what a song!  A gorgeous track with a great lyric and very tasteful playing.  It's something that makes me just stop whatever I'm doing and listen every time I hear it.  The final track, “The Angry Undertaker”, really showcases the psychedelic jamming that these guys are capable of.  The song builds and builds until finally it reaches the peak and winds back down.

I love albums like this, that make you want to take them for a spin over and over again.  There is a lot of depth to the arrangements and you hear nuances each time you listen.  This is really a masterful album full of great songs, and if you have friends who want to know what all this stoner rock/heavy rock revival business is all about, this would be a fantastic gateway album for them to check out.  This one needs to be in your collection as soon as you can get your hands on it.  And hey, I didn't even make a “Rocket Science” joke.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It Came From ReverbNation - The Ripple Music-ReverbNation Playlist Part 3: featuring Opey Tailor, American Bombshell, Newdayz, Tuco Ramirez, and Wall-Eyed.

Welcome waveriders.  Once again the good folks at ReverbNation asked us to participate in a promotion for their millions of bands and artists.  Who ever was interested had 60 days to submit one song to us.  I then promised that I'd go through each submission and write a quick line about the 20 that caught my ear.

2480 artists submitted from all genres.  Originally, I only wanted to review heavy rock stuff, you know, Ripple Music record label kinda stuff, but wouldn't you know it, I simply fell in love with some of the voices, songs, craft and melodies of some very surprising (to me) submissions. I don't really lean towards Country/Americana, yet the Tennessee Stiffs grabbed my ears and refused to let go. I've been bored with too many emo-ish pop bands and intended to skip the whole scene, but a talented young signer/songwriter named Danielle H was way, way too talented to ignore.  Not looking for any indie, folk or alternative yet you'll find amazing songwriters/performers like Lauren Marsh, Gentlemen and Scholars and NMBR11 on the list.  That's not even to mention some of the amazing bands that crossed my computer, like StoneCoats, Ophelliah, and Axis/Orbit.  Way too many to name here.  And despite the fact that ReverbNation ranks submissions by how many fans, facebook/followers they have, etc, I intentionally ignored those rankings and often started at the bottom of the list where the funky as all get-out, bluesy hip hop of PR Stunt was just waiting to be found.

Its a very mixed, eclectic playlist for all kinds of moods.  In other words, it's what the Ripple Effect is all about.

My apologies to all the others who submitted.  Some of these cuts were brutal for me.  It was a brutal process, listening to each and every one of the 2480 submissions and trimming it down.  Once I got the list down to about 100 the process trudged to a snail's pace.   I wanted to keep them all, but simply couldn't.  Often it wasn't that a submission wasn't worthy, it just may have been not what I wanted to write about at this point in time.  Case in point, The Black Marbles, who I passed over the last time I did this, but jumped out at me this go around.

So, without further ado, the Ripple Music ReverbNation playlist, part 3.  Part 1 played (find it here) a bit back, Part 4 plays next week.

Opey Tailor - Movement

"I got a bullsyeye painted on me, but I keep it moving, you bitches missin' the target"

Somewhere amongst all the ego and bravado of the rap scene, those lines burst through the speakers like a burst of fresh aire.  Following a middle-eastern style sample, Opey comes blaring in, daring his haters to come after on him.  He knows he's in the headlights, but nothing is gonna stop him from reaching his goals.  It may be lazy to compare a white rapper to Enimen, but damn, if there isn't a similarity in their style and flow -- and that's a compliment not a criticism.   Toss in some tasty beats and some rhymes about fighing against the barriers to get his music heard, and this is about as good a rap track I've heard in ages.  We're starting this playlist off right.

American Bombshell - Another Dead Rockstar

Back in my teen years, my walls were covered with KISS posters.  Later generations used Motley Crue to indoctrinate heir walls.  Today's kids may as well just run out right now and buy up any American Bombshell posters they can find.  That's what we got here.  Straight up, KISS-inspired, Crue-sleazed, straight- ahead  rock and roll and it's damn fine.  No pretense.  No hints at a deeper, wounded soul.  Just guitar mad, whiskey fueled, fiery solo jammed rock.   Toss in some killer riffs and vocals with just the right amount of wail and snot and we got a winner.

Newdayz - Fou

Perhaps the biggest surprise on this playlist is the lightly reggae-tinged, downtemp, french chill cut from Quebec's Newdayz.  As I was digging through the thousands of submissions, this was one song I simply couldn't get out of my head.  With its smokey, sultry vocals and catchy as hell chorus, I just wanted to keep it going.  Over and over.  But damn, it was so different from anything else in the playlist.  Pure, golden pop.  Finally, one day I put it on for my Ripple partner, The Pope, with the simple question.  Is this song really as good as I think it is?   The smile on his face was an instant answer.  Rock, pop, chill, EDM. Whatever it is, it's an amazing, feel-good slice of musical happiness. 

Tuco Ramirez - Latin Girl

More local flavor (for Ripple HQ that is) I've known of Tuco Ramirez for a while, but never had the chance to see them.  Not for their lack of gigging.  The boys really work it, getting their fuzz, riff-mad rock out in front of audiences at a steady pace (including an upcoming show with Ripple's own Mos Generator on Halloween night in San Jose . . . if you're free).   But for some reason, my schedule always seems to miss em.  So instead, I got this slice of 6-string electricity with a southern swagger and a stoner rock soul to listen to.   And that's the name of the game here.  Formed from the ashes to two legendary underground Bay Area Bands, Six Liter and Canyon Creep, Tuco Ramrez blast out a double barrel load of big, bad southern rock, and 70's metal - inspired grooves, with a southern-soulful delivery and fire on the six-string leads.  I'm gonna try and catch the San Jose show, but again, might miss them. But don't worry, someday I'll catch them live, and so should you.  They are just that good.

Wall-Eyed - Exile

Without a doubt, the most surprising song to have caught my ear during this promotion came from the individual/band known as Wall-Eyed.  Wall-Eyed is the alias of Raleigh, NC-based street poet, gutter-Americana singer-songwriter Wilson Getchell, who is also known for his work as a member of The Whiskey Decision. Wall-Eyed’s music is characterized by a highly-energetic, lyrically-driven songwriting, which fuses together country, punk, progressive, and rockabilly, and is anchored by Getchell’s wailing, crackling, warbling vocals.  At times a band, at times a one man project, Wall-Eyed are stripped bare, yet surprisingly full, archaic americana that is surprisingly fresh.  Getchell's vocals may wander wherever they want, but it all hangs together and is actually mesmerizing.  If you like bluegrass, roots, americana, street punk . . .whatever, he's worth checking out.

-- Racer

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Flight - Flight

Let's talk a moment about downloading. Is it really technically "illegal"? In my opinion it's just good marketing to get the music out there and in the hands of consumers who if they like what they hear will purchase physical merchandise such as CDs, vinyl, tee shirts and live concert support. As long as the bands are not offended and/or they endorse the downloading, I'm okay with it. Today's article demonstrates the power of the free download/stream. The band I'm featuring here today came my way via the infamous download site Getmetal, which is essentially a blog forum spreading download links to a plethora of awesome albums with a wide range of styles in what I’d like to think is an effort to spread the word of music. They really do have decent taste and seem to cater towards the underground crowd featuring many bands I've never heard of including Flight.

Flight was linked up by an online friend of mine and judging by the albums cover, band name and tags of "hard rock" I went out on a limb to listen and holy moly was I impressed. Opening number and title track "Flight" immediately had me hooked with an almost gothic punk vocal delivery reminding me of early Misfits era punky heavy metal with somewhat of a modern occult retro vibe similar to Witchcraft. As the track takes flight it begins to drift into more of a metallic groove. The chorus holds true with a punk chant and then eventually erupts into what sets the bar for the entire album that is the almighty guitar solo at around the midway mark of the song. Dueling guitars chase each other through a lightning storm of riffs before arriving into a delicate plume of molten clouds.

I was hooked deep by the time Flight landed safely. What I wasn't quite prepped for was how far from over the actual flight was. High and Dry era Def Leppard guitar tones pierce the airwaves combining with the muscular blues chops of prime time Deep Purple and brute strength of Judas Priest.

“Lions Den” slows down the pace slightly bringing more of that classic Leppard guitar crunch of the late 70's early 80's. Lyrically, Flight scream heavy metal all the way to the bank, nothing too serious or thought provoking, just fantasy laced stories of evil women and mythical lore which leave the shredding guitars and pounding rhythm to do most the talking.

It was clear 3 songs in that the album was going in for a repeat listen. The hooks ring loud, the vocals soar melodically, and the solos burst violent with groove. The way the choppy riffs glide the stage reminds me of why I've always been attracted to metal. The primal chords hone a metallic edge, slicing like an air guitar hero hopped up on smoke and whiskey. Each and every song breaks away from the day to day verse chorus verse for a trip across the Thin Lizzy highway riding on the back of Iron Maiden. It’s hard to pick a favorite track as Flight spirals smoothly through the 8 track epic.

In closing, if it weren't for Getmetal other blogs and online friendships this album, as well as many others, would likely have flown right under the radar into enemy territory possibly crashing and burning, void of passengers. I truly believe the download offer has already convinced many of us purveyors of the heavy rock n’ roll to climb aboard the Norwegian flight and sail into the clouds of retro metal. I'm inviting you all to take the plunge and ride the metallic skies. Now do as I have done; listen for free, then go support by purchasing digital via Bandcamp or physical (vinyl, CD) via Bad Omen Records or book a flight to Norway to see Flight in the flesh. How cool would that be? Almost as cool as this shredding album sounds. I pre-ordered my limited white vinyl while I sit here listening to my free online download. Call me a criminal if you’d like but I’d wager that the band and even the label sides with fans like me. The free download or stream is only helping the bands get heard. Of course the music has to be good, and in this case it’s a total win. 

-The Huntsman

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Ripple Conversation with Virginia Monti of Psychedelic Witchcraft

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

My first musical epiphany moment was when I was 8 years old and I grabbed my father's album "Led Zeppelin II". I listened to the album the whole day, it completely blew my mind and changed the way I perceived music. Shortly after the same thing happened with Janis Joplin's "I got dem ol' kozmic blues" and Jimi Hendrix' "Are you experienced". These have mostly been my musical epiphany moments.

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

The first thing to come is usually the riff, right after it's the melody turn ; after that the lyrics take place, it depends by a lot of stuff : I'm pretty much inspired by movies and human nature : I like to observe what happens either to me or to the people around me, then I try to get these things into lyrics, with a lot of metaphors (especially occult ones). After I build up all the structure of the song, I discuss it with my bandmates and here comes the time of the song's arrangement. The song takes shape in a really fast way, in the sense that I have a kind of vision of how I want the song to sound and the song's arrangement is a really natural process.

Who has influenced you the most?

This is a difficult question, because I've been influenced by a lot of stuff since I was a child. As said before, 70s music (as Led Zeppelin or Jefferson Airplane) has influenced me a lot but I think that the most important influence is the cinema : cinema it's been a huge part of my life. I graduated in a cinema school, I acted for a long time and I've always been interested in 70s movie (like Hammer ones or Italian ones : movies directed by Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci). When I started Psychedelic Witchcraft, I wanted the band to sound as a modern soundtrack of those movies.

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

As I said before, it comes from everyday's life and from what surrounds me so it's not a planned thing. Most of the time I find the inspiration in my occult readings (I've been reading occult books since I was a child) like ancient spells or ancient grimories that I chase all around Italy. Since I was studying philosophy in university I'm inspired by a lot of philosophers and by the way They perceive life, i.e. Kant, Schopenhauer. But again, it's not planned. I'm inspired by everything that is around me.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

We all come from different places of Italy, and we come from different music backgrounds at the same time. I.e. I've been singing Jazz music for a lot of years, as Dinah Washington, Billy Holiday etc. because even though I loved rock music, I thought that I was unable to sing rock music, since I started the band of course. Daniele (Drummer) is influenced by a lot of hard rock stuff, instead Jacopo and Riccardo (Guitars, Bass) are more influenced by classic rock (with a little tip of metal). For what concerns the environment, growing up in Italy (where the rock scene it's never been that big, and where modern music has never been considered that much by the folks) takes us to push ourselves further, to create something really personal and as original as possible.

Where'd the band name come from?

The band name actually came by night. I was writing Angela and I was thinking about the band name ;  I was chilling out in my room listening to Jefferson Airplane and thinking about what horror movie to watch lately that night. I thought that the words Psychedelic and Witchcraft described very well my vision because I wanted to create a sound that was occult but not doomy, instead it was energic and powerful, like in an Alice in Wonderland witchy kind of trip.

Tell us about witchcraft, what it means to you and your life?

I never talk so openly about witchcraft. I think it's a very intimate dimension for me. What I can say it's that witchcraft it's been an important part of my life since I was a child. I also think that magic is a way to express freedom and avoid to follow blindly someone because somebody told You it is a God. Magic expresses the power to believe in yourself, to make decisions and to change your life in the way You want it.

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

This is a VERY difficult question, I could mention thousand movies. Even though I'm a huge 70s and old movies fan, there's one particular movie I loved and watched back in 1999, when it came out. It's Polanski's "The Ninth Gate". I would love to make a soundtrack for that movie.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

It would be Yesterday from Beatles because Beatles has opened the doors for basically rock music and also because it's been the first song that I ever sung in my life, so it has a huge emotional impact on me and also because Beatles (i.m.o.) has been one of the most important rock bands in the whole history.

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

I just wanted to sing for myself. I've never planned to sing for someone or to have an audience, I started because I wanted to prove something to myself, then it all came so fast that I didn't even realize what was happening. What can I say, my goal is to make honest music and to make people feel this honesty.

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

My kind of Spinal Tap (embarrassing?) moments are basically two : When I hit the microphone with my teeth and I hope that nobody notices this and, when it happens to be a little bit too drunk at concerts.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

We didn't play as many gigs as we wanted but we can say that we prefer playing live gigs rather than recording songs. The live atmosphere is something magical that cannot be described in words. About my fans, well, You just have to ask 'em what They think. In my opinion They're the best maniacs in the world, haha.

What makes a great song?

A great melody of course, a great beat and simply pure honesty. If you listen to most of the 70s music, You can actually feel all the honest vibe which I'm talking about, that is what creates great songs. Simply singing for yourself and singing truly from your heart. At last but not least, it has to stick in your mind.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

The first song I ever wrote was an acoustic ballad called "The Reason". I mean, I still was a kid and I was singing about my little inner desperation and I was wondering about the reason why everyone was feeling so happy even if They were so blue inside, because I couldn't make the same. It's a simple ballad, it's just D, E, and G chords. It's been important to me because it made me realize that I could write songs. Up to that moment, I never knew I could write songs with the guitar, so it's been a huge step forward for me.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

All the songs I've created are my "babies", I'm proud of any single song. My favourite song from "Black Magic Man" EP is "Slave Of Grief" because it was built around a theme that I really liked, the tarot's reading. I was proud to be able to express a tarot reading within a song and without being too cheesy about it.

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

Orchid. I always say this band because for me, even though They're clearly inspired by Black Sabbath and a lot of 70s music, They really create their own sound and I really like the way They express themselves within the lyrics. Again, not to sound too snob but I'm not a huge fan of modern music, I have hard times finding good bands nowadays.

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

Vinyl it's my favourite one, not only for the music itself (You get to listen the whole album, from the beginning straight to the end), but also for the way it presents aesthetically. When you buy a vinyl it's like buying a piece of art, and I really love that feeling.

Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice

Beer, You drink more, You spend less money on it, haha.

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

My hometown it's Florence. The best record store (Actually the only important one in town I guess) it's the vinyl store near Santa Croce's church (DataRecords93). If You come in town You definitely have to check it out.

What's next for the band?

We're about to record our debut LP and We're very excited about it. We hope to go on tour as soon as possible after its release, that's our schedule at the moment.

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

I'd like to thank every single person that follow the band since the beginning because (I tell this every time) I'm doing all of this for them, and They make this little dream kind of real to me. Thank You a lot and well, rock on!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Stone From The Sky – NGC 1976

I admit that I didn’t have a clue what French trio Stone From The Sky was about when I witnessed their gig at Gothenburg's newest festival Wizard Of Fuzz in early October. I had heard snippets here and there but didn’t think much about it. Well, was I in for a nice big surprise? Yes I was. The gig was one of the most explosive things I have experienced in years. This of course made me curious about the band and their music so after a quick search on the Internet I found the band's Bandcamp page and downloaded the album “NGC 1976”. It’s free to download but by Iommi's left hand you will pay for it. Right? Yeah I thought so…

Now, Stone From The Sky leans heavy onto the tradition of shoegazing, kraut rock, stoner and progressive rock. And it’s not farfetched to make connections to stuff like Earthless, Colour Haze, Monomyth, My Sleeping Karma and Sungrazer. Its instrumental guitar rock that builds its energy from the tension that occurs when you have nice mellow parts that clash with big explosions of riff.  Add an infernal groove to that mix and you have some kind of description of what this is about.

To keep this kind of music interesting for the 41 minutes that it takes to listen to the six tracks that is “NGC 1976” is not an easy task. But Stone From The Sky pulls it off in grand style. Opening track “Pelican Bay” starts off with a slow pace and after two minutes the whole thing goes off in a big wave of melodic guitars handled by Florent who lays down the law of the riff like a boss. Stone From The Sky then continues to unfold the secretes of the six strings in the tracks that follows. And I like the fact that they have made Dimitri’s bass lines an important part of the whole soundscape of “NGC 1976”. It’s right there up front in the mix right beside the guitar which I think is one of the secrets to this album sounding so great. The music is built around three instruments equal to each other that all together make a very nice nucleus from which it all transcends to space.

It’s obvious that this trio has spent a lot of time in the rehearsal room and on stage. The almost hypnotic power of “NGC 1976” takes you on that wonderful non chemical trip out in the vast desert of the universe of rock that sometimes occurs when you least expect it. Stone From The Sky brings new energy to this genre of stoner rock or whatever label you might want to put on it. Bien fait mes amis!

- The Void


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Crate Digging: Axe Attack Vol II

Man, these British K-tel compilations just blow the crap out of the tepid K-tel albums that were available in the States.  Instead of the run of the mill, pass for heavy metal, comps K-tel released over here (where bands like Fleetwood Mac counted as Heavy rock), the British versions really knew how to put some stuff together.  Start off with a few "standards" like Rush and Scorpions, then toss in some decidedly British metal bands that were making noise at the time, like Samson, Iron Maiden, and Def Leppard, and we got ourselves a killer comp that really gives a flavor of where metal was going in 1981.  Some classic bands and some rough upstarts making waves at the fading edge of the NWOBHM.

Some may ask why bother adding compilation albums to your collection, and one facebook post I saw came up with the perfect answer: "because your turntable doesn't have a random button or a playlist."

And that's what you get here.  About an hour of quality heavy metal/hard rock.  Just put it on and let it play as the vinyl spins you through the gamut of 1981 sounds.

So, let's look at the playlist.   Kicking off with Rainbow "Since you've been gone"  we're off to a good start.  Not the best Rainbow song ever (written by Russ Ballard, not Ritchie Blackmore -- so it's really more pop hard rock than metal) it's still a competent song from a legendary band,  And Ritchie still manages to shine as he cranks out a killer solo.  Motorhead take over from there with Ace of Spades.  Nothing much to say about that except, '"Hell Yes!"  Black Sabbath make an entry with "Die Young" a rather obscure album cut from the legendary "Heaven and Hell" with a killer later-era Sabbath riff, some amazing leads and RJD in fine form.   Samson steps in next with Bruce Bruce (ne . . Bruce Dickinson) still leading the band with his distinctive wail and a nice cut off their vastly under-rated "Shock Tactics" album, "Earth Mother."   Toss in some classic cuts from Michael Schenker "Armed and Ready, " Rush, "The Trees" and The Scorpions "The Zoo" and we've just had a tasty feast of heavy riffing.

Side two kicks off with a live version of Whitesnake's "Ain't no Love in the Heart of the City" which is simply a classic cut off the Moody/Mardsen era of this band.  Whitesnake were always more popular in the UK than in the US (at least until the hair metal days) so this is the sort of song that would never have made it on a US version of this sort of compilation.  Iron Maiden blast in next with "Murders in the Rue Morgue" followed by Def Leppard and "Rock Brigade."   A nice one-two punch of NWOBHM velocity, with two bands that were still almost completely unknown on US shores at that time, and a nice reminder just how amazing Dianno-era Maiden and On Through the Night-era Leppard were.  Ted Nugent lays an egg with "Flesh and Blood"(more on that later) then we delve into "Mutually Assured Destruction", a rather obscure, mid-tempo cut from former Deep Purple screamer, Gillan and the '80's version of his band.  Like most Gillan, it's a kind of hit and miss song, but still cool since it's not something that US ears would normally hear.  Blue Oyster Cult come crunching back with "Godzilla" to set the hard rock world right again, followed by UFO and "Mystery Train" before finishing with the metal Gods themselves, Judas Priest, and "United" off the British Steel album.  Not the best two songs from these legends to end the set, but still, any UFO and any Judas Priest is appreciated.

So, a nearly breathless compilation of killer legends and new kids, tearing up the metal world in 1981.

Some missteps?   Yeah, of course.  There always are with this type of project.  As I wrote, some of the song selections are a bit suspect (United is hardly the best, heaviest, or "axe attack-y"song from the British Steel album) and the Ted Nugent song is simply a mess.  A stark reminder that, as great as Nugent once was, by 1981 his expiration date had long passed.  Another nuisance is the editing that K-Tel did.  Some of these songs just seem brutally short.

But that's just quibbling.

I found this in the crates for $7 and it was well worth it.  Copies can be had on eBay and it's certainly worth digging for in your own crates.

And yes, I am on the look out for Vol I,


Friday, October 23, 2015

YOB: North American Headlining Tour With Black Cobra To Commence This Week; Band Added To Sabertooth Fest 2016

"YOB might be one of the best bands in North America." - The New York Times
Long-running, psychedelic doom conjurers, YOB, are readying to kick off a near month-long North American headlining tour with support from San Francisco riff peddlers, Black Cobra. Set to kick off on October 22nd in Boise, Idaho and run through November 21st in Oakland, California, the trio will conquer the stages of over two dozen venues including a special performance at this year's edition of Philip H. Anselmo's Housecore Horror Fest in San Antonio, Texas. As an added bonus and in celebration of the record's ten-year anniversary, fans attending the November 5th show at Bell House in Brooklyn, New York will pay witness to the band's performance of 2005's mammoth The Unreal Never Lived album in its rumbling entirety.
Additionally, YOB will appear at Sabertooth Fest 2016 in February in Portland, Oregon which includes the likes of Super Furry Animals, Earth, King Black Acid, Red Fang, Witch Mountain, Eternal Tapestry, Built To Spill, Mikal Cronin with Emmett Kelly, Fresh & Onlys and Snakes!
Comments vocalist/guitarist Mike Scheidt, "[Drummer] Travis [Foster], [bassist] Aaron [Rieseberg] and I are really excited about this tour. Not only do we get to share the stage every night with our good friends and excellent tour mates Jason, Rafa and Black Cobra, but we get to travel the country again and rock with quite a few amazing bands and see our friends around the US. Black Cobra and YOB have been talking about touring together for the better part of a decade, and now it's happening! We can't wait."
YOB continues to tour in support of their universally-adored Clearing The Path To Ascend full-length, released early last Fall via Neurot Recordings. Recorded at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene alongside longtime YOB comrade/iconic sound wizard, Billy Barnett, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) at Audiosiege, Clearing The Path To Ascend topped Rolling Stone's 2014 list of the best metal albums and was praised by countless media outlets from Pitchfork to The New York Times. Never before has doom metal been at the forefront of the public consciousness, and it's easy to see why: though it's come almost two decades into their existence, YOB have created not just the best album of their career - they've manifested what will come to be regarded as one of the defining records in the pantheon of doom metal.
YOB w/ Black Cobra:  
10/22/2015 Neurolux - Boise, ID w/ Brett Netson [tickets]
10/23/2015 Area 51 - Salt Lake City, UT w/ Worst Friends, Huldra
10/24/2015 Hi-Dive - Denver, CO w/ Yung $tar Diamond$ [tickets]
10/26/2015 Bourbon Theater - Lincoln, NE w/ Ezra
10/27/2015 Turf Club - St Paul, MN w/ High Graves [tickets]
10/28/2015 High Noon - Madison, WI w/ Jex Thoth [tickets]
10/29/2015 Reggie's - Chicago, IL w/ Acid King
10/30/2015 Southgate House - Newport, KY w/ Ethicist
10/31/2015 Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH w/ Sparrowmilk [tickets]
11/01/2015 Mod Club - Toronto, ON w/ Sons Of Otis [tickets] *
11/02/2015 Foufounes - Montreal, QC w/ Dopethrone *
11/03/2015 Brighton - Boston, MA w/ Sea Of Bones, Lord Almighty
11/05/2015 Bell House - Brooklyn, NY w/ Wizard Rifle [tickets]
11/06/2015 Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA w/ Crypt Sermon, solace [tickets]
11/07/2015 Webster Hall (Marlin Room) - New York, NY w/ Kings Destroy [tickets]
11/08/2015 Metro Gallery - Baltimore, MD w/ Iron Man [tickets]
11/09/2015 Strange Matter - Richmond, VA w/ Bastard Sapling [tickets]
11/10/2015 The Mothlight - Asheville, NC w/ USX [tickets]
11/13/2015 Siberia - New Orleans, LA w/ Author & Punisher, Muscle & Marrow [tickets]
11/14/2015 Rudyard's - Houston, TX w/ Krvshr
11/15/2015 Housecore Horror Film Festival - San Antonio, TX [tickets] *
11/17/2015 Sister - Albuquerque, NM w/ Deafheaven, Tribulation *
11/18/2015 Club Congress - Tucson, AZ w/ Sorxe
11/19/2015 Brick By Brick - San Diego, CA w/ Debt Ritual [tickets]
11/20/2015 Echo - Los Angeles, CA w/ Deathkings [tickets]
11/21/2015 Metro - Oakland, CA w/ Acid King, Embers
*no Black Cobra
2/07/2016 Sabertooth Fest @ Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR [info]
YOB's Clearing The Path To Ascend is available now via Neurot Recordings HERE.
"Psychedelic rock, stoner rock, stoner metal, blues metal and ambient, all reside comfortably in YOB's wheelhouse, coalescing and collapsing on a path that stretches as far as the listener's imagination." - Pitchfork
"The seventh album from Oregon doom metal sky-gazers, YOB ... makes perfect bedfellows of volume and beauty, pain and transcendence." - Rolling Stone
"Mike Scheidt's songwriting has never been stronger or more dynamic... a masterful return to form by an American doom powerhouse." - Decibel
"Clearing The Path To Ascend is YOB at their most frenzied ('Nothing To Win') as well as their gentlest ('Marrow'), but taken as whole, its four songs feel like the seasons or the elements: powerful, eternal, wondrous, and bigger than all of us." - Stereogum
"An absolute monument of musicianship, songcraft, and raw emotion..." - Free Williamsburg
"All dreams must end-but by extension, so must all nightmares. On Clearing The Path To Ascend, YOB has beautifully, brutally conjured a bit of both." - The A.V. Club

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Black Pussy – Magic Mustache

When Black Pussy decided to open this album with a track called “Let's Start A War”, I'm sure they had no idea how prophetic it would be.  I'm also sure they had no intention of starting a war of ideas, but that is certainly what has happened since the album was released.  If you're not aware, as the band has become more popular they have drawn the ire of feminists, mainly because they are a group of white men in a band called Black Pussy.  Most of the outrage has been based upon assumptions that have been made about the band and band name, but a blog was written about them, which was picked up by other blogs, and has now grown to the point where there is an anti-band page on Facebook. Lately people have taken to posting about the band on social media with such cheery thoughts as “I hope your van crashes off of a bridge”, and other such sentiments.

I could get really political here, but that is not the point of what we do at The Ripple Effect.  I will say, however, that this just highlights the hypocrisy of political correctness and holds a mirror up to our society to show a very sad reflection of certain groups.  When it is politically correct to wish death upon a group of musicians, there is something very wrong here.

I can tell you that this is a fantastic album and if you are a fan of stoner rock you should pick this one up, if you haven't already.  There is a tasty swirl of cosmic, psychedelic grooviness baked into every track.  This is a band that works hard, tours constantly and takes their music seriously.  There is such improvement in the playing and songwriting over their previous release that it is mind blowing.  Cheers to these guys for doing their thing in the face of all that has gone on this year.

The music on this album is really well done.  All of the songs are on the tuneful side of the stoner rock.  “For The Sake Of Argument” even has a little poppiness to it, if pop music were good and inventive instead of the dreck we have these days that passes for Top 40.  Each song has a melody that will get stuck in your head and you'll find yourself humming along or just humming the tune while you go about your daily routine.  A good test of an album for me is how well it holds up on repeated listens, and I don't mean just popping it into the CD player once in a while.  If you can put it in your car CD player, and drive around for 4 or 5 days listening to nothing else, and you still dig it, then you've got a great release on your hands.  “Magic Mustache” passes that test with flying colors.

“Lion's Breath” is another song that really sticks with me.  There's a very hooky riff, very simple but very good, that kicks things off and stays with you throughout the song, just a good, catchy tune that you don't always get in this genre.  “Into Your Cosmic” is another one that really does it for me.  In a different world, this is the music you would hear on your pop radio station.  We could call it stoner pop, music that is dank and fuzzy but still catchy.

Let me just close with this.  If you've never heard this band before, check out this album.  Catch them live in your town.  They tour constantly so it shouldn't be long before they are in your neck of the woods.  Mostly, don't believe all the crap you might hear about them.  See and listen and judge for yourself.  That's the way it should be.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Announcing Positive Charge Skateboards!!

Positive Charge Skateboards takes flight with the release of two limited edition models for legendary skaters Tas Pappas (the award winning Vice documentary All This Mayhem is currently streaming on Netflix) and Fabian Alomar (member of the team of teams; Menace). Only 100 of each model will be pressed, there are currently 50 of each in stock.

The startup was created in response to the dominance of big corporate sponsorship money in skateboarding, as well as the continuing offshoring of jobs in the industry to China and Latin America.  

The founders wanted a company which put people over profits built on a business model that would ensure, not only the long term success of Positive Charge, but that such success would make a direct, positive impact on the lives of people.  As of right now there are approximately 24 families directly affected by the production of these boards, and the company's goal is to involve hundreds, if not thousands.  In time, they want to build much, much more than just skateboards.

All boards are made right here in the U.S., the graphics are screened, they are not heat transfers made in's all about quality of craftsmanship.

The artwork for the Fabian Alomar board was done by award winning U.K. illustrator Johnny Stingray (whose work has appeared in many books, including the legendary Jim Phillips' "Surf Graphics"). The style represents Fabian's life and background in the mean streets of L.A., it is both a mix of his Latin heritage and American, from the screaming Bald Eagle to the voluptuous curves of "La Malinche", this says pure street for an O.G. with a lot of street cred.

Tas' graphics were drawn by Adam Burke, an accomplished musician and artist out of Portland Oregon.  For anyone who has seen the documentary "All This Mayhem", then neither the meaning of "Barnes & Elias" in this graphic nor what it means to Tas personally should come as a surprise.  From the darkness of the jungle and beneath the gleaming stars of the southern cross emerges Barnes ready to face life with grim determination.

Have a look at Positive Charge's promo, their shop is open for business plus they are giving away a Tas Pappas board, see their website or Facebook page for details!

ADRENECHROME New Single 'God Sized Shadow', Reveal New Album & Artwork 'Tales From Adrenechrome'

L-R - Matt Copeland - Drums | Tim Kehoe - Guitar | Mike Van Dyk - Bass | Chris Friesen - Guitar /Vocals  (photo credit Dave Saunders)
 If Mastodon and Baroness gave birth to a bastard child, that child's name would be Canada's ADRENECHROME. Hailing from Orillia, ON this quartet offer a blend of groovy progressive thrashy heavy metal that's ready to smash your headbanging into overdrive. Three years since releasing their 2012 debut 'Hideous Appetites', these mosh thirsty bangers are ready to release their sophomore follow up 'Tales From Adrenechrome' on November 27th. With its epic album artwork by graphic artist Clöwnbäbÿ, 'Tales From Adrenechrome' features seven hot pocket tracks exposing you to the horrors of their metal crypt. Leading up to its release the bands first single 'God Sized Shadow' is now streaming and available on bandcamp at the following link: 

"I think this is our most "song" like offering to date with a little black metal in the middle" comments vocalist / guitarist Chris Friesen. 
Track Listing:
1. A Familiar Face (2:59)
2. Lockstep (5:17)
3. Black Brubeck (4:05)
4. God Sized Shadow (4:01)
5. The Heart and The Feather (5:21)
6. Hideous Appetites (3:36)
7. The Led Elephant (5:36)
Album Length: 30:57

Ontario’s Adrenechrome are hurtling forward like zombies with a hunger for flesh looking to create good old-fashioned rock n’ roll infused with groove and peppered with metal. The group features Chris Friesen dominating on guitar and lead vocals, Tim Kehoe who shreds guitar and haunting vocal work, Matt Copeland thrashing the drums, and Mike Van Dyk creating groovy basslines. Their name inspires a frantic, adrenaline fueled misadventure and is a direct reference to a fictional drug in the film “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”.  
These heavy metal monsters started in 2010 and rode like the four horsemen to devour every audience they could around Canada. Their songwriting swings like an unhinged pendulum between rapid, brief works to heavy, ten-tonne brick tunes. Members are veterans of the music scene, coming from various acts like Gaswitch, Shimmy Rabbits, and The Doug Trucker Band. Live, the band is tight and strictly a “no frills”affair -- this means no make up or gimmicks, just straight-forward, kick-ass metal.

The band has upcoming album 'Tales From Adrenechrome' is due out on November 27, 2015 to follow up their 2012 debut 'Hideous Appetites' and is their most abstract, spastic, and explosive release to date. This album is established on heavy riffs,  roaring drums, smooth bass lines, and wrapped up with lyrical themes that combine personal experience with fantasy, sci fi, and classic literature. This album is reserved for only those who can handle the high velocity heavy metal adventure that is Adrenechrome!

For more info, please visit

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ponamera Sundown - Veddesta

Long anticipated new album from Swedish stoners Ponamero Sundown recently hit the streets of Veddesta and fans all around the world are frothing at the mouth over the enormous buzz. Nearly 4 years in the making, after touring extensively across their neighboring Euro landscape, Veddesta takes off right where Rodeo Electrica left off. I'll go ahead and attempt to put the sounds into words for you as I listen for the nth time this week.

Layers upon layers of fuzzorama swirl in unison as the sweet Swedish cheeba-like melodies billow like a vintage Triumph burning rubber on a poker run. The ferocious guitar riffs and trembling bass battle like monster trucks fighting dust devils on the desert playa. The euphoric groove solicits stoney-eyed stares and an infectious case of head bob-orama. Off the charts catchiness rings steadily like unplugged ears at a heavy metal concert.  The echoed cadence sterilizes the senses with a tribal essence as Mondo riffs burst with energy while slow stints of psychedelia soothe the spine with tingling pleasure.

Veddesta is one of those albums that emerges with a climax at song one and never lets up. Like one big musical orgy drenching the listener in rhythmic ecstasy. Not only is the rhythm in tune with the driving pace of the ripping guitar riffs, but the vocals brim with a polished sheen like an outlaw's spurs glisten at a gunfight in the old west.

I knew 1 minute into Veddesta that I was in for a treat much like the reaction I got with last years Universe by Truckfighters. Towering fuzz, radiating solos and addictively stellar production mark Ponamero Sundown near the equator of the best of the year music map. Vinyl coming out in December so pre-load your wallets; this one will be mandatory. Get it now digitally below on the old Bandcamp.

-The Huntsman

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