Saturday, August 31, 2019

Bandcamp Bonanza – 095

On this week’s addition I share some fresh digs, some older additions and a few buried in my Wishlist currently I haven’t got around to adding to the collection yet. In case you’re wondering the Wishlist is the cheap mans way of showing off their taste. Feel free to browse mine. I don’t bite. Hard.

The Cosmic Trip Advisors – Wrong Again, Albert…
Just when I think my last discovery couldn’t be topped I stumble onto an album like this. The Cosmic Trip Advisors preach by way of hopped up bluesy riffs with a soulful southern swagger. The backing organ vibe soothes cooler than your daddy’s old spice and the twangy interludes lift you higher than his water bong. This is glorious.

The Bitter Diamonds – Country Songs
This is my kind of country music. The new wave of west coast surf bum country bringing a punk rock narrative that incorporates that cosmic steel-guitar twang and soulful outlaw grit. The songs are playful, sarcastic in tone, and undeniably relatable. FFO Sturgill Simpson, Hank Williams Jr. Whitey Morgan and other bad ass CA acts like Hunter & The Dirty Jacks and Robert John & The Wreck. These are, no doubt, ‘Country Songs’ but have their hearts rooted in rock n roll. Favorite track: Better Than Nothing.

The Great Beyond – A Better Place
The sharp fuzz guitar harmonies carry us all to A Better Place on this shredding new album by The Great Beyond. These Germans bring a Swedish flavor to the stage with stoner born vocals, fiery solos, and metallic tone.

Heavy Velvet – Sessions
New project with David Kent guitarist of Slow Season, Mucho Drums of the Great Electric Quest and a rock star singer. This CA quartet lays down a thick layer of distortion, drenched in psychedelia, and soaring with groove. This is authentic heavy velvet a la the early 70's and the players make that obvious in both style and swagger.

Feverhawk – Nocturnal Urge
Hey guys, 1981 called and they want their juicy riffs back. Your mom found your weed and is wasted high n' dry melting away to the harmonious tempo and soaring solos. Feverhawk has landed and Nocturnal Urge is exploding with buzz and pulsing with a fresh take on vintage heavy metal. Favorite track: Dark Temptress.

Jason Hawk Harris – Love & The Dark
I haven’t bought this one yet but its only a matter of time. The sonic undercurrent within the anthemic Americana licks is gorgeous. Emotional songwriting, elegant flow, and masterful chops make this a top album in its class. It’s out on Bloodshot Records, that should tell you enough. The label without any duds. You like Jason Isbell? You’ll like Jason Hawk Harris.

Ether Feather – Devil-Shadowless-Hand
This one isn’t out for another week, but I can’t wait. The progressive textures lurking among the heady fuzz and intricate quirk recalls Pink Floyd meets TOOL or something weird like that. This one WILL grow on you once you let it set in. Holy shit!! All the playing is there. Funky grooves, powerhouse rhythm, hazy undertones, and psychedelic meanderings. Its got it all and it slays.

Moon Tooth – Crux
This is the kind of album you drop your jaw and lose your mind wondering why you just noticed they had a new album out months after the release. Well good thing music doesn’t have an expiration. This is another progressive edged heavy rock album. A little more on the heavy and aggressive side than the previous recommendation ‘Ether Feather’ but rumbling with energy and jarring with groove. Imagine‘Volbeat’ meets ‘The Damned Things’ but with an added emphasis on progressive metal.

Gran Duca – Beneath Thy Roots
Boy oh boy what do we have here. This one was sent in a few months ago and I noticed it still buried in my wishlist. Scoring high multiple months on my own Doom Charts submissions, Gran Duca smother us with an insane amount of groove and luscious vocals that will bring a grown man to his knees. Heavy and intoxicating. Certainly, a top album in its class and one not to let slip by your radar. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you push play and let you head bobs do the talking.

Brubaker – Mindhead
Like Adam mentions, we ain’t never had too much rock. This is smoking hot spanning multi-generations of classic rock, 80s Metal, 90s groove and modern day stoner! Just what the doctor ordered. Favorite track: Shark Killer.

-The Huntsman

Friday, August 30, 2019

A Ripple Conversation With DEAD FEATHERS

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?

We all have all had some different music epiphany moments, but I think we all collectively can agree that hearing those certain classic rock bands really got us hooked and started our Rock Music journeys. for Tony it was discovering Pink Floyd from his grandpa, for Rob it was diving into the Beatles discography, for Tim it was the "Selling England by the Pound" album by Genesis, for Joey it was watching videos of The Who at isle of Wight Festival, and for Marissa it was listening to Beatles and Joni Mitchell records with her dad.  But if there was one absolute defining music epiphany moment for this band, it was when Tony and Rob discovered The Black Angels, Sleepy Sun, & Black Mountain in Sophomore year of High School. It opened the floodgates on modern psych rock and they found the underground rock music community and all the bands it had to offer. People were still making incredible rock and there was so much more to dive deeper into. This also started a downright obsession with the psych world which included road trips to the early Austin Psych Fests (now Levitation Fest) and actually meeting the people who made the music we were listening to and getting inspired by.

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?

A little more than half of the time, Our song writing process is communal, while we are all jamming in our practice space. One of us starts the jam, a riff gets played and we just roll with it. Pieces start coming together and we all decide what sticks and what gets tossed. Marissa riffs and writes out lyrics ad melodies while the rest of us get the instrumentals down.
If it its like that, its usually one of us bringing a riff to the table paired with some melody or lyrics and the process begins again. There’s no true way we compose the songs. Its all different with each song.

Who has influenced you the most?

Many of us have been influenced by many of the "Rock Legends" of days past. People like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Syd Barrett, and Dio. But I think many of us are influenced by many of the people we have met along the road, lovers, family members, artists, and many creative muses.

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

We can as a group all agree that seeing all the great bands that are making music right now continue to inspire and creatively push us forward and motivate us to be as good as we can be. When we play shows with bands we really like or get along with well, it makes us want to be just as good as we were the last time we saw them. Finding hidden gems in older music is a place where we find a lot of new ideas, looking at how weird and out there some of these lesser known musicians were. Other than that, were also pretty inspired by nature, old films, interesting people, our friends.

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

When it comes down to it, Chicago is a pretty tough town. And it always has been. And you can really see it on the way people carry themselves and what they create musically and artistically. 8 months of they year its winter and cold, the other half is hot summer heat. And it really shows in the music and it really shows in the people. This isn't a city for soft people. Its also an extremely diverse city which influences us. Most of us have the midwest cheery attitude despite the crippling winters. Thats the midwest for ya haha. The city's rich musical past also really seeps into our music as well. Muddy waters and other blues musicians are definite inspirations as well.

Where'd the band name come from?

The band name came from Tony and Rob. They started the band and were walking home one day, listening to the black angels, when a hawk was circling overhead. Dead Feathers was on a list of names we were thinking of, and that moment solidified it.

"Many people ask about the name and what is a "Dead Feather". "In a way it's many things. Dead Feathers are those solitary feathers you find on the ground from what seems like, out of nowhere. It's detached from the living (or dead) bird that it came from. There's a feeling of mystery and cryptic vibes when you find one. some people find them more than others, some not at all, some people find entire dead birds haha. Feathers are also seen as sacred objects in many indigenous cultures. Finding one or seeing a certain bird was always special to me. Seeing that hawk flying above us that day felt like a sign or a good omen." - Tony

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

This question was pretty tough to choose. Many of us are Lord of the Rings fans, but that soundtrack already is so good I don’t think we could take that away or do it justice.

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?

If we had to write an essay on one song, I think collectively we would choose "No Quarter" by Led Zeppelin. It has a lot of depth, and it has influenced us all in one way or another. It was one song by zeppelin that really stands apart from the rest musically. When we played a show with Jake, A member of the Flaming Lips & Spaceface, he noted that Dead Feathers music reminded him of one long version of No Quarter played out into an entire set. In the best possible way. 

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

There’s been quite a few moments that's for sure! Playing a 4:20 time slot at a festival for recovering drug addicts, Haunted Hotel Parties, Pizza shop shows with a 5 person crowd and 100 people on a patio not knowing there is a show on the other side of the room, Border patrol taking our oranges, Post show 4am haze with a band from Mexico City and a missing band member. I don't know if we are allowed to play Iowa city anymore. We plead the fifth!

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

Playing live to us is all about making the connection with the crowd. Getting everyone on the same wavelength in the same boat that we are. Seeing the people in the crowd feeling the music and the expression on their faces. When the fans see and hear what we are trying to pour out on stage. That’s one of the greatest feelings for all of us.

What makes a great song?

To us, what makes a great song is a song that deeply connects to the listener. the feeling of goosebumps you get when you hear a certain part of it,  or a solo or even one note. When you can literally feel it in your bones and it shakes you to the core. A song that brings tears to your eyes and moves you. A song that you can connect with and relate to, or a song that literally feels like time travel and takes you to a different place in your life, or a different moment in time all together. Transcending. When you can really feel what the artist has put into it. That's what we think makes a great song.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

The first song we ever wrote was quite simple called "Dear Russia". Simple musicianship and a lot of straightforward lyrics. Like any other skill, it takes a lot of trial and error, and practice. the first song we wrote never made it onto any album. Sure there's recordings of it but it isn't going to be resurfaced we don't think hah. Young and political, with a lot to say. It was a crucial part in the songwriting and musical process. It felt very good to actually make a piece of music to call our own.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

We would have to pick one of the songs off of the upcoming album. "Not Ours To Own" is a song we all can agree is a song of ours that has a lot of depth to it. Instrumentally and lyrically.  It was written in a time when there was a lot of change happening in all of our lives and somehow, we channeled our energy to create that one song. it has a lot of pain, struggle, emotion, and power. its one of our more powerful songs. Its one song that we hope many of the fans and listeners enjoy and can really dig into.

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

Were huge fans of Kikagaku Moyo. We have played with them on their first Chicago tour date in 2016. We were fans of theirs for years before that as well. Every time we see them, they just kill it and blow the entire crowd away. They have a very big influence on Tony and Rob. We also really dig King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, The Black Angels, Tinariwen, & our Texas buds Crypt Trip.

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

Vinyl hands down. And Digital in the tour van.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

We're always down for the Whiskey Shot & Beer combo. But if we had to choose, probably whiskey.  Marissa leans towards Wine.

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?

Our hometown of Chicago has some of the best record stores in the country. And we never forget it. There’s quite a few favorites in the band but we would have to say our favorites are: Shuga Records & Reckless Records. Shuga is owned and run by some really cool folks that really know their music. They really got an incredible selection. And Reckless is hands down one of the best stores in the country. They’ve got it all. We could spend the entire day digging through crates. Which is what we usually end up doing while on the road.

What's next for the band?

The next steps for the band are pretty crucial. Following the release of our "All is Lost" Album is just the beginning. We have most of the second album in the bag, and we can't wait to record it and release it to all the people. We want to tour more, tour the west coast some more, they really do seem to like us over there. We also want to get over to Europe, tour overseas, and really get our music out there.

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

Thank you for the continued support to the people who have been with us since day one, or jumped on board along the way, it is really special knowing that there are people out there that really love what we do. And to all the new fans that will hear us in the near future, we can't wait to come to your city so you can hear it in person.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Announcing RIPPLEFEST U.K.!


Ripple Music in collaboration with Desertscene London (The team behind Desertfest U.K.) has put together the inaugural edition of Ripplefest U.K., and it's a smoker!

Featuring five heavy hitters from the Ripple roster emerging out of both the UK and beyond, the night will also feature DJ sets from Atom Heart Mutha (Geoff Leppard) and DJ Lil Rasher (Matt Bacon).The night will see performances from German riff warriors Plainride, Bradford fuzz freaks Psychlona, hard hitting War Cloud all the way from California, locals Trippy Wicked bringing on the London fury and of course Stubb closing things out with their trademark stomp.

Taking place at the legendary Black Heart in the historic London neighborhood of Camden this promises to be a stoner rock night to remember!

Label head Todd Severin says:

"RippleFests have always proven to be a rockin' good time and we expect nothing less as we invade London.  We're thrilled to bring our Ripple Family together in the U.K. and huge thanks to the Desertscene folks to hosting this blowout.  Expect a night of pulverizing riffs and fuzzy groove.  Hope to see you there!"

Tickets are still available here:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Xroadie Files

Plague 9 – Mr. Ass
Devin Smith –Guitar/Vocals, John Hopf – Bass, David Hone – Guitar, Kon Tsacos - Drums

Stuck In Hell crunchy guitars pounding drums thundering bass fist pumping riffs screaming guitars and powerful vocals. Criminal Justice fist in the air head banging metal madness. Flavour Of the Week chugging riffs thumping bass pounding drums screaming leads and excellent vocals. Feed It hit the pit and just slam out all your aggressions. Mr. Ass dark eerie fist in the air sing along metal.

Lightning Born – St
Mike Dean – Bass, Brenna Leath – Vocals, Doza Hawes – Drums, Erik Sugg – Guitar

Shifting Winds just kick back and let the music flow thru you and bring out many emotions. Renegade southern metal with tons of soul.  Silence scorching leads crunchy rhythms and a southern rock feel with great vocals. You Have Been Warned just stand up fist pump head bang and rock out. Salvation kickin back in a smoky bar in the backwoods just totally rockin out with an excellent band. Magnetic has a very catchy drum beat and guitar riff with some excellent musicianship and soulful vocals. Out For Blood just stand up sway have a few cold ones and get totally involved in the riff. Power Struggle has a very Sabbath style of feel with some southern influences and great scorching leads. Oblivion will have the entire crowd on their feet with a solid beast thumping bass and crunchy guitar with some very powerful soulful vocals. Wildfire a very catchy riff that just envelops you with a Sabbath style. Godless just close your eyes and get ready for a heavy metal southern blues adventure.

Old Horn Tooth –From The Ghost Grey Depths
Chris Jones – Guitar/Vocals, Ollie Issac – Bass, Mark Davidson – Drums

Follow The Demon dark dementia psychedelic overdriven doom rock that just slithers its way inside you. Grief just get enveloped in the strange sounds that are all around. Old Horn Tooth over 12 minutes of doomy slow droning stoner rock madness. She Is Risen just close your eyes have a few and let your imagination run wild.

Monarque – Jusqu’a A La Mort
Monarque – Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Keyboards, Bardunor – Guitar, Atheos – Guitar, Anhidar – Bass, Kaedes – Drums

Jusqu’a A La Mort spoken words then full on black metal death fury and aggression that just shred you to pieces. Le Serment Prononchard dark demented music that pulls you into hell. Le Grande Deuil over ten minutes of dark dementia that is like being along in an abyss of space and time all alone.

Rebel Machine – Whatever It Takes
Marcelo Pereira – Vocals/Guitar, Murilo Bittencourt – Guitar, Marcel Bittencourt – Bass, Chantos Mariani – Drums

Underdogs stand up shout and rock out to one catchy song with some great musicianship. Square One a gr n excellent song to crank while cruising down the highway. In My Heart lots of wahwah guitar that just pierces your soul and a very memorable rhythm with some screaming leads and great vocals.    Dancing Alone will have you up and grooving along as you sing and just enjoy. Full Throttle pounding rhythms crunchy riffs and soulful vocals with thumping bass searing leads. What You Feel has a very funky get up and groove feel. Fall Into Temptation thumping bass screaming guitars fist pumping riffs and sing along vocals. Dead Man Walking is one of those songs that just grabs you and won’t let go with some great melodies. Castle Of Cards get up and just rock out. California has a riff that just pulls you in with some scorching leads and a great rhythm just sing along. NOYB has one of those riffs that just has you up moving grooving and enjoying the song till the end. Fences is a very nice song with flowing melodies.


Festival to Blow Your Ears and Your Mind! Bowling and Beers in Hell 9/6-9/8

Heavy San Jose doesn’t mess around when it comes to putting together insane lineups of underground metal bands of many metal sub-genre for a festival. They are at it again, and this thirds installment of their underground metal festival, Beers in Hell, may be their most adventurous one to date!

With more metal than you can shake a stick at, attendees will be treated to black metal, sludge, stoner, hardcore, gritty blues, thrash, prog, doom…the list goes on. 3 days, 25 bands, 2 stages, bowling, local craft beer, and it’s all ages! Did you say “bowling”? You got that right! Bowling, beer and metal— take those elements, mix them all together, and you have a weekend festival that will be one for the history books!

FRIDAY 9/6: 8:30 PM - 1:00 AM

The Bad Light (Santa Cruz, CA)

Cosmic Reef Temple (Santa Cruz, CA)

Infinite Sleep (San Jose, CA)

Old Blood (Los Angeles, CA)

Solar Haze (Los Angeles, CA)

Robots of the Ancient World (Portland, Oregon)

SATURDAY 9/7: 5:00 PM - 1:00 AM

Brain Death (Benicia, CA)

Chrome Ghost (Sacramento, CA)

Dolores (San Jose, CA)

Doors to No Where (Santa Cruz, CA)

Earth Crawler (Livermore, CA)

Grimace and the Fakers (San Jose, CA)

Horseneck (Sacramento, CA)

Mothers Worry (San Jose, CA)

Pound (Seattle, WA)

Shotgun Sawyer (Auburn, California)

Turn Me on Dead Man (San Francisco, CA)

SUNDAY 9/8: 5:00 PM - 11:00PM

Disastroid (San Francisco, CA)

DØNE (Salt Lake City)

Hippie Death Cult (Portland, OR)

HTSOB (Oakland, CA)

Holy Grove (Portland Oregon)

KOOK (San Jose, CA)

Phantom Hound (Oakland, CA)

The bands might not be all local, but the guest breweries are all from Northern California. Alvarado Street Brewery has been cranking out some of the best IPAs in the world. Yes, the world. Forget the world-famous aquarium, beer hounds make the pilgrimage down to Monterey Bay just to visit Alvarado Street.

Quite possibly one of the most metal-loving breweries in the Western States, Ghost Town Brewing in Oakland is making a name for themselves by brewing up some of the best beer you can find in the Bay Area. Now that’s saying a lot! They also support local music, are a group of metalhead themselves, and put that heart of darkness into everything they brew!

Last, but certainly not least, Laughing Monk is a shining light in the San Francisco beer scene. Any place that lives by the motto “laughing, libations, adventure” has got to be pretty incredible. They believe that at the center of every community is that glass held high, bringing together locals and travelers alike to share stories and laughter over delicious beer. They are local and they support local!

This is the metal underground, but many of these bands won’t be underground for long. This is sure to be one of those “I saw them when” events. Passes can be purchased directly through the event Facebook page by going to Come witness something special happening right here in the Bay Area. Bowling, beers, bands—what a weekend!


3-day PASS: $30

Friday PASS: $10

Saturday PASS: $15

Sunday PASS: $12

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Huge Things Happening at Ripple Music: Dead Feathers, Horseburner, Second Coming of Heavy and the R.I.P. Sale!

Seems the waveriders have been eagerly awaiting this one!  Dead Feathers came to us after the demise of Hevisike Records, and we were thrilled to welcome them to the family.  Limited vinyl almost gone already, and there's no question why.  If you want to get in on this one, you may want to hurry!  "Dead Feathers are influenced by rock bands of the 60s and 70s and the modern underground psych of today. Fusing a heavy, early 70s Fairports-via-Affinity vibe with a Dead Meadow and Black Mountain-esque appreciation for big riffs, their live shows are filled with a thunderous energy on stage that puts concert goers under their spell. Combining soulful and emotional songwriting with obscene levels of fuzz and reverb, overflowing bass lines and booming drums," -- Nighwatchers House of Rock
Horseburner bring together all the best elements of the new wave of heavy metal.  Combining many disparate elements of sludge, stoner and progressive metal, into a sound all their own, Kerrang! Magazine has called The Thief a "timeless ode to exploration."   Already getting many nods for album of the year lists, you won't want to miss this one.  Heavy, majestic. Soulfull  It has it all.  "This band has perfected the art of drama in music."  Heavy Blog is Heavy
After 10 Chapters, 20 bands, over 3 1/2 years, The Second Coming of Heavy 12" Split Series is finally reaching its zenith.  Over the years, every edition of SCOH has been a near instant sell out, some chapters selling for obscene amounts of money on discogs.  Now we introduce the final chapter of the series, featuring The W Likes and Palace in Thundeland.   Pre-orders are open now and no doubt, this one will deservedly take it's place as the penultimate chapter of the series.  And remember, all 10 chapters line up so the spines form one killer image.
We hate it when it happens, but sometimes even the best bands reach their end.  Many reasons why, but bands often split up.  At Ripple, some of our favorites have ended way too soon.  So in their honor, we're launching the R.I.P. Sale, a special 50% sale on all release from Ripple family that are no more. You'll find 50% saving on bands like Witchers Creed, Sweat Lodge, White Light Cemetery, Earthen Grave and more.  No code needed, discount is already applied.  We won't run this special sale forever, to pop over quickly and show your love for the recently departed.


PAT TRAVERS - “Swing!” - (Cleopatra, ‘19, Canada)

What a refreshing piece of music this is! PAT TRAVERS’ last album was the ripping, snarling hard rock lead guitar explosion of “Retro Rocket,” arguably the heaviest album of his career. This time he gives way more than a nod to his love of ‘40’s big band & jazz music by dusting off 8 great standards from back in those days and giving them the PT treatment.

Mostly instrumental (2 songs feature vocals), PAT tackles the numbers either in his usual guitar-bass-drums format or with the scintillating accompaniment of keys & a blistering horn section.

I know a few other luminaries like BRIAN SETZER & JOE JACKSON have paid tribute to this style of music. “Swing!” is special to me, though, because it features one of my guitar gods playing some of my Dad’s favorite that he shared with me as a gateway to my own burgeoning hobby as a kid. Especially emotional for me in this regard is the version of GLENN MILLER’s “In The Mood” on offer here, a tune near the top of Tony Dorsey’s playlist at all times.

--Ray Dorsey

Monday, August 26, 2019

Sundogs - Legends In Their Own Minds


The Sundogs are a Seattle based band formed by Stan Snow and Jed Moffitt. Legends In Their Own Minds is their second video album and includes all original music written by Snow and Moffitt. Their music is diverse in style because Snow and Moffitt approach songwriting from different angles. This gives their music significant variation and they typically alternate tracks throughout the album. Each song is different. Their music is inspired by the days of classic rock and jazz fusion so this is both an audio AND video album. The videos were shot during the recording sessions using green screens, and all videos have CGI post production.

Starting off with the single “Fallen Hero,” you definitely get that classic rock vibe and a damn good song as well. Catchy and tight playing really make for one heck of a beginning to the album. Next you get some of that Steely Dan influence and the jazz feel with the terrific “Snowman.” This is a song that reminded me of the stuff I used to hear coming out of my older brother’s room back in the late ‘70s. With Snow and Moffitt switching from song to song, the variation of sounds is great and really gives you a nice mixture of styles and keeps things interesting. Stan Snow is a songwriter, producer, does vocals, guitars, etc..., and Jed Moffitt is a songwriter, co-Producer, also does vocals and keyboards, while the rest are studio musicians that they hire for the recordings and videos, but they are not "in the band." This album has amazing production, the vocals for both singers are perfect for their styles and the playing is tight, but has a groove to it that really makes for a toe-tapping good time. I really can’t say anything bad about any of the songs; every one of them is great and could be a single.

Grab this album, turn the light slow and groove along to the mixed up sounds on here and smoke ‘em if you got ‘em…you know what I mean. If my brother was still here, this would be on his rotation, so for you Curtis, this is one that I will play for you my brother.

-Rick Ecker

Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Sunday Conversation With Stephen Sullivan Of Alluvion

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?

The earliest I can remember was probably watching Michael Jackson's superbowl halftime show in the 90's when I was a kid. I remember thinking this is so cool! He was dressed like military personnel and he just appeared on stage and was standing still and everyone was freaking out and screaming. Then he took his sunglasses off and I was like WHOA! Lol!

That is probably the earliest epiphany moment I can remember. Especially being a performer and stuff. Of course, I've had tons of other moments like hearing Metallica for the first time and High on Fire and stuff but yeah...

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?

Its usually a riff and  It all depends really. Sometimes we will come to the session with songs that are about 80% done then other times we just write it in the spot. That goes for lyrics and stuff to sometimes.  John writes to majority of the lyrics. I love the writing process the most. The whole creation is what I love about music.

Who has influenced you the most?

Live music. Any band that is crushing loud and crazy to watch on stage is what inspires me most. I like when things are dangerous at shows.

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

I listen to a ton of ambient music like Brian Eno and Harold Budd. I like to get to a quiet place and just sit with the guitar. I write most everything on an acoustic.

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

We are out of Fredericksburg, Va. There are a ton of good bands from Virginia as a whole. It's really cool and inspiring to say the least. I think it does effect our music most definitely. Its gotten alot more populated as the years have gone by. It still has that small town feel to it though. It will always be home.

Where'd the band name come from?

We have been a band since 1999. We started playing together in high school then sometime around 2005 we went on hiatus to do some other musical projects. Fast forward 7 years and we rejoined in 2012. I remember vaguely that that name came from a list of other possibilities and we just liked that one the best.

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


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?

Man that's tough. Personally I'd say our song Fight Real Fires. It's really powerful and the message is really hopeful. We had another band from our hometown called Genosha that covered it a while back and they did a really great job! It was really cool!

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

I fell backwards over my amps one time in the first song of our set. Lol! I just laid there. It sucked.

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

That's our thing. We take alot of time to make the shows memorable. We build our own lighting rigs and we have lasers and tons of smoke. We run a projector and we have places in our set that are "blackout" spots where the stage just goes black. There are strobe lights sometimes broken guitars. It can get nasty sometimes.

What makes a great song?

Riff. Hooks. More riffs. More Noise.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Oh boy. We wrote this song called "Pain" back in like 99. It's still rips but we don't play it anymore. Maybe one day!

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

I love the new album "The Secret's Out". This one and the last one from 2017 "...Of the One Consciousness" are definitely my favorites. I think we finally found our "Thing"

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

I mentioned before High on Fire. Anything Matt Pike touches is gold IMO. I saw them in Baltimore back in 2005 it was soo good! I like A Place to bury strangers alot to. There is a band from our town called Ceremony that writes really catchy pop songs that are crazy distorted out. I enjoy them alot.

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

I love the look of vinyl but I'm too busy to collect any so I just digital everything. Maybe one day. I'm in my car ALL the time so digital works best for me.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

I don't drink. I don't judge anyone that enjoys it but I really don't like the taste of either.

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?

Fredericksburg, Va is our hometown and I would suggest FAT KAT records and books. They have a ton of stuff. Also there are alot of antique shops that sell used vinyl.

What's next for the band?

We have our record release show on 9/7 in our hometown of Fredericksburg. After that we may plan a small tour in November. Also, we have plans for a "special release" soon but I cant say alot about that.

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

I'd just like to say thank you. Its because of you that we do what we do and I really appreciate it.

Saturday, August 24, 2019



“We are super excited to get an opportunity to be with all our SCI Family to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend at The Mission Ballroom to close out our 25th year anniversary. What a quarter century it’s been! It seems perfect that we get to simultaneously usher in the next era of SCI by blasting off at The Mission. We have no doubt that our buddies Don (Strasburg) and Chuck (Morris) have gone to great lengths to make it epic. We’ll see you there!”
- Michael Kang, SCI

"After producing decades of shows with The String Cheese Incident in Colorado, from the Fox to Red Rocks, I'm really excited and proud to bring the band to Colorado's best new venue, Mission Ballroom. I hope SCI's loyal fan base will love this great new home for big concerts in Denver."
 - Don Strasburg (co-president and senior talent buyer of AEG Presents Rocky Mountains)
The String Cheese Incident have announced their final two incidents of 2019. The two night stand will be at Denver’s new Mission Ballroom. The Denver Post said that the venue “is among the best-sounding rooms in the city,” and added “Denver finally has the concert venue it deserves.” Tickets will be available for purchase using the “Mission Fair Ticketing” system, a concept developed by the venue to ensure that everyone has equal and fair access to tickets. Further info on Fair ticketing can be found at

SCI spent 2019 celebrating their 25th anniversary with several new single releases, a sold-out Electric Forest, appearances at notable festivals such as Peach Fest and Floyd Fest, a series of special shows across the country including Atlanta, a Colorado amphitheater run at Dillon Amphitheater and Red Rocks, and will continue with upcoming shows in Eugene, San Francisco, Oakland, Austin, Chicago and now Denver.

SCI plan to use the first part of 2020 to focus on writing. The band will be back on the road in June. 

Connect with The String Cheese Incident

Friday, August 23, 2019

A Sunday Conversation With Jeff Wilson From KOOK

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?

I don’t remember most of my childhood in great detail…but I do remember the record player that was in the formal living room in our house. It was mostly ignored, but I remember flipping through the records and putting on my favorites. We had a 12” single of Randy Newman’s Short People (probably problematic now), and I remember listening over and over again, mostly because it was funny, but I think something clicked.

After that I remember being stuck in the car on long road trips because my brother (who is 7 years older than me) was on a traveling soccer team. His friends would bring tapes…this was probably like 1978 to 1983, and if you were a soccer player in America you had a mullet and listened to rock and metal. I heard ACDC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, UFO, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and probably a bunch of other stuff I’ll never remember…but the one that stuck was Rush.

When I was in 6th grade I rode my bike to the local mall to the Warehouse record store. We all bought tapes…my friends bought whatever pop was on the radio, but I remembered Rush from a car trip…flipped through the Rush cassette section, and grabbed 2112. We rode back to my friend’s house and everybody showed what they bought. When I pulled out my tape, they made fun of me…mercilessly. I went home and listened to it over and over until the tape broke.

I dug into the rest of Rush’s catalogue, and everything else I could find associated with them: King Crimson, Yes, Hawkwind, Camel. I also went down the classic rock rabbit hole, which led to blues, and then back out the other side to heavy metal again. High school was spent listening to Bay Area thrash (early Metallica got me through public transit bus rides home from school for the first couple of years).

And then somewhere around sophomore year of high school, it all changed again when my best friend discovered Primus, Mr Bungle, and the rest of the weird mixed-up bay area heavy music that was floating around the late 80s and early 90s. The common threat with all of them (Rush, Primus, Bungle) was the amazing bass playing, so I talked my mom into buying me a bass sophomore year and never looked back. I was in my first band maybe a year after I started playing (Purple Circus). I should send you link to the demo we recorded…

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?

For KOOK, it’s an iterative process. Karl has an endless well of riffs and wild chord progressions. I tend to travel a lot for work, so Karl, Eric, and Troy will work through Karl’s riffs and have some basic song chunks down. Then when I’m around and we’re not getting sharp to play live, we dig into the song chunks they’ve been working on and arrange, add to, change, smash together, destroy, and otherwise refine them into songs. We very much like all the songs to take you on a ride…some longer (most), some shorter, but always a journey. We have riffs, progressions, and musical themes that so far echo across I and II (both complete) and III (in writing now), so we find ways to thread in the stuff from the past, but also create new songs and sounds. Troy hums melodies over the jams, and through repetition irons out the key melody lines and some of the lyrics. Once the arrangements are complete we go back through the vocals and finalize the actual lyrics…similar to the music, there are repeated themes and phrases that we want to make sure are there to connect everything together.

Who has influenced you the most?

The three most influential musicians for me are Les Claypool, Buzz Osborne, and Mike Patton. The way they’ve navigated an industry full of sharks to create an amazing body of work that touches the mainstream at points, but really seems mostly to satisfy their creative needs. That’s the ultimate life for a professional musician in my opinion. They can do whatever they want and have built the goodwill with their fans over the course of long career, so they know they will always have support.

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

Life. The news, books, TV, movies, my family, nature, other bands, visual artists. I love how music really pulls together so many disciplines (technical prowess on an instrument, understanding of theory and songwriting, visual art, writing, film/video). I like the idea of telling dynamic stories, and the world is pretty full of interesting material right now…not hard to find inspiration regardless of your worldview. I mostly use music as a way to decompress and express my anger, fear, anxiety, joy, etc. If I’m feeling shitty, band practice is 100% guaranteed to fix it.

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

San Jose is a town with a long music history, especially when it comes to the heavy underground. I’ll try to keep it short here, because there’s probably a book’s worth of information about what started here (not counting Smashmouth). For us…it was all the bands that were packed into a rehearsal studio called the Rock Garden in downtown San Jose in the 80s/90s. There was a pretty thriving metal scene in the early/mid-80s…we were part of the Bay Area, and close enough to drive to the Sunset Strip for a showcase. The list of what would now be considered seminal stoner/doom bands that came out of that studio is pretty epic…Sleep’s Dragonaut video was filmed there, Des first auditioned for High on Fire there, Operator Generator, Dear Deceased, and a bunch more all practiced there.

The town itself is weird…since the 60s, technology has been the lifeblood of San Jose, and there has never been a big focus on the arts. This means great opportunity for disaffected young people to do what they do-make underground metal, punk, hip hop, whatever. We have a really great crust/grind scene here right now, with bands like Deathgrave and Coldclaw standing out. Problem is it’s so expensive to live here, that artists tend to leave. Go and interview 100 bands from Portland and Seattle and ask how many of their members are from San Jose (or the Bay Area in general)…it will be a bunch.

Where'd the band name come from?

Haha…this is the source of a continuing argument with a former band member…so I’ll leave this one out to save myself some headaches after publishing…lol.

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

Weird question. I’ll say an adaptation of one of Philip K. Dick’s books…one that hasn’t been done yet, like Ubik, Flow my Tears the Policeman Said, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Dick created the template for telling a story that is about the intersection of personal and cosmic struggle…always full of outsiders experiencing the world in a different way than most people around them (AKA KOOKs). Dick had a very tenuous grasp on reality due to mental illness (and drugs probably), and tried over and over to write what that felt like. In a world now gone completely mad, his work makes more sense every year.

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?

Oh man. Where to go with this one…1000 words is a decent amount, so I’d have to pick something where the music itself was worth discussing, but also the themes and story. For the last couple of years I’ve been pretty seriously obsessed with Zeal & Ardor. I’ll say “You Ain’t Comin’ Back” off their second album, because it’s a fascinating song that right on the edge of being something that you would hear on pop radio from one of the garbage “rock” bands that dominate the charts (like Imagine Dragons). It sounds like one of those songs right up until the point that it doesn’t. I think I could easily write 1,000 words on what separates it from pop rock candy, even though my mom could listen to it back-to-back with some of those artists and wouldn’t know the difference. Can’t wait for their next record.

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

Haha. Playing underground shows and being on DIY tours doesn’t afford you the opportunity to have Spinal Tap moments…there are no limos or agents or in-store signings. Probably more like Airheads moments. Driving in a van for hours on end requires at least one of you to be a pretty decent comedian so we don’t get bored to death.

A couple of years ago we were touring up through the pacific northwest and had 2 funny run-ins. We had a black sprinter, and when we stopped to get gas, somebody got out of another car and came up to Troy and asked him if he was Judas Priest (he had a Priest t-shirt on). Not sure how to unpack that one. Also on that same tour we were in Kennewick Washington staying at the promoter’s house (shout out to Blaine!) with Salem’s Bend…at some point in the night we realized there was only one door in/out of the basement we were in, and it locked from the outside. Started telling ghost stories to each other, and ultimately Left Behind on II was loosely based on being murdered in Blaine’s basement in Kennewick. When we woke up the next morning there were a bunch of guys standing in front of the house across the street, and they asked if we were the FBI. Troy has dreadlocks down to his knees. Hahaha…one of them said something about how the Feds can disguise themselves.

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

I love playing live. We keep trying to build more and more into the live experience…visuals, lights (coming), interstitial music/narratives, wild uncomfortable energy, crazy outfits (mostly Troy), and all the passion that we pour into the music. We want it to evoke the recording, but also to be it’s own experience. My favorite albums growing up were all live albums (after 2112 I quickly bought All the World’s a Stage and Exit Stage Left, which I still listen to weekly).

What makes a great song?

For me? Lots of dynamics, good melody, unexpected twists and turns, great tones, great playing, and a sense of purpose…a feeling that even if I don’t know why parts of the song are they way they are, the writers know exactly why. I like a song that I can get lost in like “2112”, or Mastodon’s epic “The Last Baron”. There are also short/tight songs that I love…but they usually still have all the elements that move me.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Oh man. That’s a long time ago…it was when I was 16, so 30 years ago…one of the songs off the Purple Circus demo…not sure what we wrote first. It was like pissed off punk/hc with a bay area funk/weird vibe (slap and tap bass, goofy lyrics). There was one called Holy Guacamole that was about…surprise surprise…aliens. And there was one called Purple Circus that was about…again, a huge surprise, a freaky evil circus. We were pretty original.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

The cliché answer? The 4 finished songs from III that nobody has heard yet. From the KOOK catalogue? I think “Left Behind” is the one that really sticks with me. There are other songs on the record that are more progressive, more weird, harder to play, catchier, etc….but that one, even though we’ve been playing it for close to 3 years now feels like giving birth to a new living creature every single time we play it. It’s one song that I always get lost in while playing…never wonder if I remembered to take out the garbage or finish up something at work in the middle of playing it. So far all 4 of the new songs give me that same feeling.

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

One guy? Stephen Brodsky. Listen to Cave In. Then listen to Mutoid Man. Then listen to Old Man Gloom. And his work with Marissa Nadler. The man can literally write a compelling song in any style of rock and roll, from the chilliest and most somber, to hilariously complex, to gut-wrenching textured, and everything in between. We’ll all look back in 20 years and realize he was one of the real geniuses…at least the people who don’t already see him that way will.

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

All of them, and tapes too. I even go back to 8-track. Anything that grabs your fancy and gets you listening to music. I love physical media because I love seeing and touching the art…so vinyl has a leg up because the art is large. I think they can all sound good and bad in different listening situations, so I’m not a purist about one form over the other…I just like seeing people hold, and own, music.

Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice

Yes. I love them both. I have been brewing on and off since my mom bought me my first homebrew kit for my 18th birthday, and I’m a certified beer nerd (I really am, I am a certified beer server under the Cicerone program and am most of the way through the coursework for certified Cicerone…kind of like a sommelier for beer, but you also have to know how kegs and draft systems work, and you have to understand brewing chemistry too). But who can say no to Whiskey? Beer before 10:00pm, whiskey after.

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?

We have a bunch…Streetlight Records, Rasputin music, Needle to the Groove, The Analog Room, On the Corner Music. I like to go to them pretty regularly (I’m there all the time hanging flyers, might as well poke through the stacks).

What's next for the band?

Finishing up the writing process for III and then recording, with an eye to putting it out late summer next year. We did some of the US stoner/doom festivals this year, but only got as far as Texas…would love to make it all the way to the east coast and then out to Europe. Reception for II was pretty positive…it’s a weird record that’s not really for everybody, but it was well enough received that I think there some festivals out there who want a piece of our weird vision. We’ll head back to the Pacific Northwest some time soon as well.

We’re going to start playing some of the new stuff live too…we’re playing a 3 day festival in Cupertino that I’m putting on from 9/6-9/8 called Bowling and Beers in Hell. It’s a mixed genre underground heavy music festival at a bowling alley. The venue is all ages, we’ll have some lanes rented out, some breweries pouring interesting beer, and 25 bands on two stages, including Holy Grove, Shotgun Sawyer, DONE (Andy Patterson from SubRosa’s new band), High Tone Son of a Bitch, Hippie Death Cult, Robots of the Ancient World, and a bunch more!

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

Just to thanks them for being an awesome community that shows up to support the heavy underground over and over. Very few bands in our scene are paying the bills 100% with music, so ever ounce of support helps. And if they’re in the bay area, come out to the fest in September! Tickets are at

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...