I wouldn’t normally direct readers away from LOUD HORIZON for any reason, just in case they never come back …. but this is SO good, I’d feel really guilty if I didn’t share it!
Heavy San Diego psych band EARTHLESS and New York’s WHITE HILLS (currently on a UK tour!) played together at the Roadburn Records showcase in Los Angeles back in November 2012, where the lovely people at Scion Audio Visual captured both sets for posterity …. and now made one track from each band available as a free download! (I’m not sure if the downloads are Limited, so you maybe need to get across there pretty damned quick if you want to make sure you don’t miss out.)
If you’re undecided as to whether you should go to the bother of downloading these two tracks (running time is twenty minutes) then the excellent Noisecreep website has partnered with the folks at Scion Audio Visual to bring an exclusive video shot at the Roadburn Records showcase featuring live footage and an interview with EARTHLESS.
……. and here’s a stream of ‘Red,’ the EARTHLESS track available as the free download.
ARMCHAIR COMMITTEE are a three-piece alternative rock band, based in Bristol. Since forming almost two years ago, they have gained a reputation for their ‘live’ shows, with BBC Introducing declaring them ‘ones to watch.’
A demo EP (‘Toybox Sessions‘) came to the attention of Ian Davenport, producer of Band of Skulls, Nine Black Alps and Duke Spirit, and towards the end of last year they were invited to record this debut formal release with him at the helm.
I often find that the tag of ‘alternative rock,’ is a kind of code for ‘grunge’ and certainly that’s the feeling I get from the lead track ‘Boxcutter.’ The initial chugging rock-riff bursts into something more dense and dark after about a minute and the powerful vocals reflect a sort of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) feel. The guitar buzzes throughout and the bassline is rock-solid with the final explosive minute of the song’s four and a half minute duration peaking in a cacophony of searing noise. (The only bit I’m not so sure about is the mid-song ‘break down,’ where the music drops and the vocals become that bit more exposed and hushed. I can understand the reasons for going there and the desired effect of contrast is surely achieved, but to me the voice becomes a little stretched.)
Which is a little surprising really when you hear the following track, ‘Codeine.’ This shows the band in an altogether different mood – its a slower track, more bluesy in nature with shimmering guitar sounds and softly sung vocals. No stretching here, even though as with the previous song, there is the mid-song break. This time though, when the song’s depth returns it reappears with a more ethereal feel and celestial sounding harmonies.
‘To Arms,’ is only two minutes long. It’s a quiet little instrumental that builds in intensity towards its very sudden climax. The production quality sounds different to the other tracks and it abruptly ends just as it sounds like it may be headed somewhere … strange!
Title track ‘Imola,’ is definitely the strongest (although I do really like ‘Codeine‘ also.) There is a little bit of a ‘grungy,’ feel to this one as well, but I’d say it’s more of an out and out ‘rock’ track than anything else. There’s a real ‘determined’ rhythm to this one, the beat’s incessant and the vocals strong and slightly rasping. The backing harmonies are pitched just right and the guitar solo zips around the whole song, tying it up nicely.
Overall, when you consider how early on in their ‘career’ they are, ARMCHAIR COMMITTEE have come up with an EP that’s certainly worth checking. And by all accounts, it would would be an evening well spent at their live shows. (For upcoming UK dates, see here.)
Personally though, I’ll go on record as saying that ARMCHAIR COMMITTEE have all the constituent parts to develop into an excellent hard-rocking driving ‘rock’ band. I’d prefer it if they lost the ‘alternative’ tag and concentrated on straight-up, in yer face rock ‘n’ roll.
It’s maybe just me / my age – but I feel that ‘alternative / grunge,’ sounding music ‘dates’ very easily, whereas ‘ROCK,’ …. well, doesn’t!
(‘Imola’ EP will be released on 13th May by way of Limited run hand-made CDs as well as being available to download via the usual digital outlets.)
[The band will play their 'EP Release Show' on Saturday May 11th at The Lanes, Bristol.]
(7 / 10)
Confirming their assumed title of Kings of Psych (in my house at least) THE BLACK ANGELS have drip-fed another taster track for their forthcoming fourth studio album, ‘Indigo Meadow,’ which hits the street on April 2nd.
Having already streamed ‘Don’t Play With Guns,‘ LOUD HORIZON can now add the track ‘Evil Things,’ for your aural pleasure!
‘Evil Things’ focuses on a man and a woman on opposite sides of a conflict who meet on a war-torn battlefield. Frontman Alex Maas elaborated on this concept saying: “they come to the realization that, by nature, humans have the capacity to be either evil or benevolent, empathetic and compassionate. They share an obvious mutual concern for the human condition, but don’t feel as though they are doing anything to make things better. They ask themselves: ‘What am I going to do with the power that I have?’ This song asks that question.”
As soon as the album becomes available, you can be sure that LOUD HORIZON will give its rather excitable opinion!
THE FAST PREACHER is one Daniel Hanson from Orlando, Florida, and as far as I can see, ‘Five Songs’ is his debut release.
Although Daniel is currently putting together a band for touring purposes, this collection of songs were all written, performed and produced by the man himself. And from this you perhaps detect the wide and varied eclectic taste in his influences.
And I think that’s what kinda sold me on this release and prompted me to post it here for all to hear. It starts out in quite a melancholic mood, quiet and tender, but as the tracks progress it moves through various moods and ends with the upbeat ‘Tracks’ with its Beach Boys harmonies mixed with slight punk sensibilities!
Along the way, the EP has its gentle desert-rock moments (think Seventies America) on ‘Trip‘; there are the bluesy moments of ‘Wrong Again‘ and throughout there are little snippets of dreamy acoustic psych.
And I know this will sound odd, but you know what I really like about ‘Five Songs,’ is that it (here goes) it reminds me very much in feel and mood (though not specifically the music as such) of Joe Walsh‘ s first album after leaving The James Gang – ‘Barnstorm.’ By that I mean the way the music is mixed and general feeling that although the sound is hushed and thoughtful, there lurks something more substantial just around that corner. In fact I’d go so far as to say the vocals at the outset of ‘Trip‘ have that little nasal nuance of Joe Walsh.
Anyway – this is not meant as a ‘compare and contrast’ exercise! Suffice to say I think THE FAST PREACHER shows great promise with this one!
(8.5 / 10)
Since their ‘Howl’ EP of last year made its appearance and subsequent impression on various Rock charts, the excitement has been building around the band. And 2013 looks set to continue in the same fashion.
Having already shared the stage with the likes of Social Distortion, Middle Class Rut, Deftones, Stone Temple Pilots, Hollywood Undead, The Wombats, Metric, Tegan and Sara, and Youngblood Hawke, the band will add more names to the list with performances on the Vans Warped Tour, a string of radio station-organized festivals, SXSW and a tour through Europe.
The much acclaimed ‘Howl,’ (the video for which follows below) is the lead track on the new album which will be released on May 7th through Bright Antenna. Yeah – it’s a few months away, so right now let’s make do with a right raucous three minutes and fifty-four seconds of riff-laden madness.
…….. and here’s another track from last year’s EP just to whet the appetite:
‘LIFE COACH is a collaboration. Following Phil Manley’s (formerly of Trans Am and The Fucking Champs ) 2011 solo debut ‘Life Coach,’ which Aquarius Records called, “a serious, and seriously kick ass slab of modern minimal krautrock,” Manley set about writing a set of songs that he could perform live. After writing and tracking guitar, bass, synth, and vocals on his own, he recruited his friend and former Golden band mate Jon Theodore (The Mars Volta, One Day As A Lion), with whom Manley has been playing music for two decades, as the drummer and second official member of LIFE COACH. The complimentary kinship between Manley’s tightly constructed songs and Theodore’s unrestrained playing was instant. Rounded out by the addition of Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless, Golden Void), who contributes lead guitar on several songs, Life Coach was born as an entity unto itself.’
So, before I even press the ‘play’ button I’m already sold on this album, what with the references to Earthless , Golden Void and Trans Am! Isn’t the music business so incestuous?!
This album was written and is indeed performed ‘live’ as one continuous piece, with each track flowing into the next with only a barely discernible break notifying he listener of the progression. (Now this makes so much more sense now that I’ve read the Press sheet and rearranged the order in which my copy of the album was downloaded!)
Album opener is ‘Sunrise.‘ It’s only about three minutes long and is a tanpura-led drone track with rushing cymbals and rolling timpani sounding drums that perhaps suggest the morning skies are not so happy! (I often find it amazing just what images you can glean from drone tracks if you just empty your mind and focus on the music / noise.) This then leads into the title track ‘Alphawaves‘ which I’d say has its roots in a krautrock base. It’s seven minutes of real kick-ass riffs and piano arpeggios all set to to a hypnotic but throbbing beat.
‘Limitless Possibilities’ slows things down a little, and comes across as quietly ethereal with the hushed harmonies over a reverb-drenched, slightly darker repeated riff. It’s like a moment of reflection after the title track. ‘Into The Unknown,‘ builds slowly and atmospherically for about three of its five-minute duration, before morphing into a raging swirl of space-rock synths. A further change in mood follows with the more outwardly rocking ‘Fireball.’ This is indeed the first track to incorporate any lyrics as such. There’s a definite Seventies rock thing going on here, and again (as throughout the album really) mention must be made of the drumming style. The rhythm just lolls and rolls constantly. The guitar-work over the top of the riffs is truly splendid without at any point becoming over-bearing or over-indulgent.
‘Life Experience,‘ follows. Another drone-type track, this time reminding me of something The Dead Skeletons might do. Brilliant! ‘Mind’s Eye’ returns us to the heavier side of things, with an incessant chugging riff in the background and ‘clean’ sounding, searing guitar over the top.
Final track ‘Ohm,’ is a classic. It’s an epic. It’s almost seven and a half minutes long, but seems only half that! It’s a dark and brooding drone noise, again with the rushing cymbals in places and also with little interjections of swishing synths to give the impression of a windswept, desolate landscape. To me at least!
At the moment I have no tracks to stream, but will do as soon as some become available. meantime, you’re just gonna have to take my word for it – this is a masterpiece! Do what you can to get a listen / buy!
(Released through Thrill Jockey Records on 15th April)
Whenever I search various websites for new (to me) psych bands, the name of Earthless almost always crops up for some reason or in some connection. And once again, I find that band’s name mentioned in association with San Francisco’s GOLDEN VOID whose members have been connected musically off and on since they were teenagers.
You see, it was when Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell moved to the Bay Area in 2009 and hooked up again with Aaron Morgan (bass) and Justin Pinkerton (drums) that the band took form. Realising that their sound required the enhancement of a keyboard player, it seemed only natural to invite Isaiah’s wife, Camilla Saufly-Mitchell, and the band was complete.
This debut album has been available for a few months now I gather, but it was only when the band recently released the video for ‘The Curve’ that it came to my attention. That particular track really sucked me in. Like a frenzied psych sojourn, it explodes, relaxes, drifts and then explodes again as it picks up the listener and hurls him ultimately into a maelstrom of guitar riffs and Hammond organ swirls. A real psych freakout!
It’s possibly the best track of the seven and most definitely the one that should have been hung out there for listeners like me to bite!
But then this is one massive album! There’s not really a weak track amongst them, and in closing track ‘Atlantis,’ GOLDEN VOID show they have subtler moments. This seven-minute epic holds back on the pace and centres more on the sun-drenched desert-rock harmonies and a sort of ‘rolling’ drum rhythm.
The drum-style is actually a bit of a feature of the album itself, with the percussion providing a wide and substantial base on which the heavy guitar and riffs are supported.
There’s no denying a bit of a ‘retro’ feel to this album and even although it really encompasses the likes of psych, classic rock, and even prog-folk styles at various points, I find it difficult NOT to reference bands such as Uriah Heep. Check tracks such as the opener ‘Art of Invading’ which features a bassline and riff not too dissimilar to that of (especially) the live version of Heep‘s ‘ ‘Look At Yourself‘ …. when that track goes into a little mid-song breakdown. The vocals too remind me of early Uriah Heep and I suppose that feeling is accentuated by the liberal incorporation of the Hammond organ.
And then we have the references to Black Sabbath and more specifically, Ozzy Ozbourne‘s vocal style on the likes of ‘Virtue.‘ It’s the slight reverb on the voice that does it I think.
‘Jetsun Dolma‘ has more of a bluesy feel that is nicely emphasised with an understated guitar solo. In fact, I’ve got to mention the guitar work throughout – each track features solos that vary from the blues influence in the track just mentioned to the searing and soaring tones of ”The Curve.‘
Which is where we came in.
I love this album. Sure, it may have one foot in the past – but it has the other in the future. I know – I have seen it!
(‘Golden Void’ is available now – February 2013 – through Thrill Jockey Records.)
(8 / 10)
WOW! Now THAT’S some serious rock and roll! Psych just the way God intended it!
The first thing you gotta know, is that it’s released on the amazing Thrill Jockey label – they simply don’t do ‘OK!’
The second thing you may want to know is a little bit of background:
The members of GOLDEN VOID have been connected musically off and on since they were teenagers. After playing in various bands together and apart throughout high school and the intervening years, Isaiah Mitchell (guitar/vocals, also of Earthless), Aaron Morgan (bass), and Justin Pinkerton (drums) coalesced as GOLDEN VOID after Mitchell’s move to the Bay Area in 2009. The addition of Camilla Saufly-Mitchell on keyboards cemented the band.
That’s all I have at the moment, but hopefully I’ll be able to post a full album review shortly and will glean further information then.
But right now, sit back, crack open a beer, close your eyes and freak out!
L.A. rockers, DEAP VALLEY (Lindsey Troy on vocals and guitar and Julie Edwards on drums) have just released the video for ‘Lies,’ a track taken from their debut EP ’Get Deap,‘ which will is scheduled for an April 9th release across North America. (No word on a UK release, but I’m guessing you’ll be able to download from the usual suspects around that date also.)
LOUD HORIZON reported on their scuzzy, dirty rock riffs a few months back and it seems the likes of NME and even the Independent newspaper have also been raving over their sound. The band will be playing a series of headline shows throughout UK towards the end of February / early March (dates below) before they cross mainland Europe in the latter half of March, in support of Mumford and Sons.
(I may just pop along to Tuts myself on 4th March.)
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
Feb 23 – Queens Social Club, Sheffield
Feb 24 – Rainbow, Birmingham
Feb 26 – Dingwalls, London
Feb 28 – The Haunt, Brighton
March 1 – Thekla, Bristol
March 2 – Empire, Middlesbrough
March 4- King Tuts, Glasgow
March 5 – Fibbers, York
March 6 – Deaf Institute, Manchester
March 7 – The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
After a little bit of detective work, it emerges that CHEATAHS are a four-piece rock band from London, and signed to the iconic Witchita Recordings label. I’m probably the last person in the world to know this, but the lack of information on the band’s Facebook page doesn’t help!
However, with the sound of jangly, fuzzy and psychedelic guitars, tinged with a slight grunge influence that harks back to some of the best bands from the late Eighties /early Nineties (say, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr., and the like) I’m glad I made an effort to check ‘em out (he says, not meaning to sound at all patronising!)
The band will be releasing a mini-album (‘Extended Plays’) on February 5th 2013 which will include 8 tracks compiled from the band’s two EPs released in the UK earlier this year, ‘Coared’ and ‘SANS.’ They will also be supporting Veronica Falls and Cold Showers on a short U.S. and Canadian tour the following month.
The video for ‘The Swan’ which opens the album is posted below.
The second album I ever bought was ‘Love It To Death,’ by ALICE COOPER. The first ‘concert’ I really wanted to go to (but was grounded by my parents who feared the contamination of their son’s mind by some ‘freak’ who supposedly bit the head off chickens and snakes etc.) was at the Greens Playhouse in Glasgow on a November evening in 1972.
One of the best radio shows currently airs on Planet Rock and is hosted by … ALICE COOPER.
A part of me will always be an ALICE COOPER fan.
But I’m not so sure about this box set issue that is touted as a ‘career-spanning’ 4 xCD set. Yeah, I know the ‘career-spanning’ bit relates to the Alice Cooper GROUP, which disbanded in 1974 for Vincent Furnier to then take on the moniker for himself in 1975. True, certainly in my humble opinion, this ten-year span was the best musically for the band, and much of it is contained here. But what I’m not certain about is the amount of ‘demos’ and ‘pre-production’ and ‘rehearsal’ versions of the finished songs.
Sure, your ALICE COOPER ‘completist’ is going to go for this big time, but with one of the CDs taken up with a bootleg recording of the ‘Killer’ Live in St Louis set and another full of ‘interviews’ then who else is going to shell out for it? (And regrettably, neither of two of my favourite tracks from that time are included: ‘Black Juju,’ and ‘Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets.’)
That said, the ‘sampler’ that I was sent for review purposes confirms my early (and continuing) interest in the early days of the band. If we ignore the recoding session with the kids who provide the backing on ‘School’s Out’ (funny and cute as it is, how many times are you going to play this track?) then the music is still as exciting as it was forty-plus years ago; in fact, some of the ‘demos’ actually quite fresh and different.
The eight-minute ‘demo’ version of ‘Halo Of Flies,’ sounds just like a high-school band ( a very good one, mind) recording on their tape-recorder in someone’s garage; likewise the pre-production version of ‘I’m Eighteen,’ which sounds really ‘empty,’ if you know what I mean.
There’s a great extended version of ‘School’s Out,’ going under the ‘Mar Y Sol’ banner, which I think is a live recording from Puerto Rico – I don’t have access to sleeve notes to confirm this. The bass-line and guitar work is excellent!
‘No Price Tag,’ has a sort of Rolling Stones R&B feel about it and the ‘Working Up A Sweat,’ demo has the chugging innocence of a young, aspiring rock ‘n’ roll band.
So yes- play me the music, and I’d buy it. But just the music, please ….
(Regardless, ALICE COPPER is still the Man!)
On hearing MOS GENERATOR for the first time, it did cross my mind that there was a bit of a similarity in sound to that of Stone Axe. You know – the heavy guitar riffs, the chugging stoner type rhythms and the general Seventies hard rocking imagery.
And so it seems there IS a connection, with the latter band having been formed as a result of former’s split, the common denominator being guitarist / vocalist Tony Reed. Then, with the Stone Axe signing to Ripple Music, Tony sought the opportunity of re-launching his earlier band, the initial result being a r-release of the long out-of-print eponymous debut album, this time in a grand deluxe package.
Since then, MOS GENERATOR have recorded their first album in years, ‘Nomads’ and earlier this month (October 2012) it was made available world-wide.
If you like heavy rocking, stoner, space-rock or just plain and simple dirty old rock and roll, then these guys are well worth checking out!
It didn’t take much … as soon as I read the Press Release from Ripple Music describing Kelley Juett’s guitar-playing as like ‘Rory Gallagher meets Brian Robertson,’ I just had to look a bit further. Jumping straight to the You Tube video featured below (maybe not the best sound quality, but it’s as good as I can find) I’m now thinking, ‘Motorhead.‘
It’s a mighty fine introduction – and already I’m sold on MOTHERSHIP.
Here’s what the label (who have just signed the band to a world-wide, two album deal) have to say on the band:
Mothership was formed in 2010 by hard-rock loving brothers, Kyle and Kelley Juett, infused by a love of all that is retro-heavy from years of influence under their father John’s record collection. Originally bereft of a drummer, father John learned how to play and filled in for practice and gigs until permanent skin pounder Judge Smith took over the drummer’s throne. Since then, there’s been no looking back.
Already one of Texas’s hottest live bands, word of the Mothership’s rock and roll prowess has leaked far across the country and is already gathering steam in Europe. With a sound that satisfies like a steaming hot stew of UFO and Iron Maiden, blended with the southern swagger of Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top, Mothership’s goal from the beginning has been to carry on the tradition of the classic rock style of the ’70′s, updated and amped up for the modern day. That hard-rocking sound is filled out by the true legend-in-the-making axeman, Kelley Juett, who seamlessly builds upon guitar heroes of the past with his own fiery licks.
Ripple will re-release Mothership’s debut album on CD and 12” vinyl, including an extremely limited run of 100 multi-colored, splattered 12” with autographed posters. The album also features the production, mastering, and guest guitar contributions of Kent Stump from Texas heavy rock heroes, Wo Fat.
A week or so back, I reviewed the new EP from STILLMAN and ‘awarded’ it an 8/10 rating.
Well – here’s why:
STILLMAN (Chaz Craik) follows up his excellent ‘Eton Mess’ EP with another slab of retro-styled rock.
Despite the name somehow making me think of a generic hip-hop artist, STILLMAN succeeds once again in making ‘proper’ (and I mean the good old, Seventies original) Progressive rock sound fresh and re-vitalised.
Opening and title track ‘On Bended Knee’ opens with a Stone Roses type of guitar riff which kind of resurfaces in flashes throughout the song. However, this is more of a shuffling blues-inspired track, infused with some dancing Hammond organ licks. The vocals are on a higher range (think Supertramp / Yes) but clear and sharp and are interspersed with some nifty guitar work.
‘Swollen Air’ is a bit darker and grittier although the vocals are a touch softer (more ‘Californian desert’ than Rush) but still with that classic Seventies Prog refrain. ‘Small Deaths,’ has a funky edge, with deep bass-end riffs, building towards a controlled crescendo at the end of each chorus before dropping back into Jon Anderson mode, and then starting all over again.
EP closer, ‘The Debt’ is the longest of the four tracks at just over five minutes’ duration and opens quietly with gently picked guitar and hushed vocals. About a minute and a half in though, it fires up with some heavy background riffs and piercing solo work, with the final couple of minutes featuring some excellent guitar, and maintaining a constant tempo and rhythm.
And this is my only beef with this release: as a punk and blues man, I go more for the basic, conventional hash-bash rhythm and beat in a song. The odd time signatures of Prog Rock can be a bit of an inhibitor, I feel, when trying to get ‘into’ a track.
But that’s just me.
Overall, I’ve got to say that this is another excellent release from STILLMAN, and one well worth checking out.
(Unfortunately, I can’t find any streamed tracks / videos for this particular release just yet, but I’m sure they will appear somewhere, some time soon within the links attached to this post.)
(Released on 5th November 2012)
Leeds melodic rockers MORAIN have just released a new music video for the title track off their forthcoming debut EP ‘Are We Lost’. The moody video was shot at a working men’s club in Newcastle. This track was from the first batch of album sessions that the band recorded.
The four-track EP is set to be released as a free download through under Indigo Records on 23rd September. Indigo is a label set up by members of the band Futures to release their own debut album and the project is backed by Brightblack Recordings.
I believe access to the download will be available via the band’s website at www.morainmusic.com and if you like your rock with big melodic riffs, pounding beats and strong clear vocals, then it’s definitely worth checking out. (Think kind of along the lines of LOUD HORIZON favourites, SOUND OF GUNS.)
‘Little Girl’ is the opening track from GWYN ASHTON’S forthcoming album ‘Radiogram,’ a hard-driving renegade rock and blues album which boasts nine self-penned tracks plus a phat groove version of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Wanna Make Love To You.”
This feast of electric blues, heavy funk and melodic rock has been inspired by his well-worn vinyl record collection and sounds like it could have been recorded in 1971. The diverse guest artist roster includes Don Airey (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath), Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant, Bronco, Silverhead), Johnny Mastro (LA’s Mama’s Boys), Mark Stanway (Magnum, Phil Lynott) and Mo Birch (UB40, Go West, Culture Club).
I was not too familiar with Gwyn’s background before this video found its way to LOUD HORIZON. But being a bit of Blues Rock fan, I was keen to find out that:
* Gwyn was born in Wales, moved to Australia, picked up and learnt guitar when aged twelve and started gigging when sixteen.
* In 1991 he moved from Sydney to Melbourne where he recorded his first two albums and ‘opened’ for the likes of Junior Wells and Rory Gallagher.
* Five years later, he relocated back to Europe where he secured support slots for, amongst others, BB King; Johnny Winter; Mick Taylor and Status Quo (on their 1999 Arena Tour.)
*Now this (for someone like me who regards Rory Gallagher as their all-time music hero) is where it gets really interesting: In 1999 Ashton recorded Fang It! with Rory‘s rhythm section Gerry McAvoy (possibly the best and most under-rated bass player around) and Brendan O’Neill.
* He then replaced ex Motörhead/Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson in Band Of Friends, a memorial to Rory Gallagher with Rory’s former sidemen Gerry, Brendan, Lou Martin, Mark Feltham and Ted McKenna. In 2001 French fans voted Ashton at number three position in Guitar Part magazine’s Guitarist Of The Year poll with Jeff Beck and Gary Moore at first and second positions.
* And there’s more! (God! I’m in danger of wetting myself!) In 2006 GWYN recorded ‘Prohibition‘( voted ‘Album Of The Year’ by ’Guitar and Bass’ magazine) with Sensational Alex Harvey Band (another of my all-time favourite bands!) bassist, Chris Glen; SAHB drummer (prior to joining up with Rory Gallagher) Ted McKenna, and Deep Purple / Whitesnake / Rainbow keyboard player Don Airey.
SO! Big respect to Gwyn, then!
Here’s a taster of what we can expect when ‘Radiogram’ is released on 22nd October.
Sounding good ….!!
You know I’m a sucker for bands that come from Brooklyn NYC, right? Just why that is I’m not entirely sure – maybe I just imagine that there is an air of credible ‘cool’ from the inventiveness and atmosphere surrounding their music. It doesn’t really matter the style of music …. just tell me they’re from Brooklyn and I’m immediately interested.
No matter – whatever it is that lies in my subconscious and prompts me to press the ‘play’ button, has once again been aroused by EMANUEL AND THE FEAR.
This six-piece (they once numbered eleven!) are no different from the other bands of the city’s most populated Borough, in that they are themselves ‘different,’ if you see what I mean. The band freely admits that they cannot agree on how to categorise themselves.
Which augurs well for an interesting listen!
I’ll not waste too much time trying to describe what they do as the album is streamed below for you to make your own mind up. Suffice to say however, that the one single word that springs to mind when listening to their music, is ‘epic.’ OK – two words – ‘epic,’ and ‘dramatic.’
And if I were to succinctly sum up this album in one breath, I’d ask you think about locking Arcade Fire up in a large, barren cage and poke them with sticks incessantly so as to provoke their rage.
(Released through Haldern Pop Recordings on 28th September 2012)
Many moons ago, I was a huge fan of Ian Hunter – from his days with Mott the Hoople and through the early days of his ensuing solo career. But following the release of his 1983 album, ‘All The Good Ones Are Taken,’ he effectively took a ten-year hiatus from making music until shaken back into action by the death of his long-time friend and collaborator (and former Spider From Mars) Mick Ronson.
Unfortunately from my point of view, it was a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ and I effectively took a twenty-year hiatus from the music of Ian Hunter! (Shame on me, I know!)
In recent years though, I have dipped in and out of his more recent work, but while I still enjoyed it, for me it was (certainly the bits I heard) were a bit on the downbeat side. But Ian reassures me (through the Press Release … it’s not as if we’re best buddies / buddies / he even knows me!) that
“.. the songs seem more upbeat this time round”
So, until now my rather selective memory always reverts to the Mott / Bowie-esque sounds of the Seventies when thought turns to Ian Hunter.
Not any more though – ‘When I’m President’ is a real ‘dirty’ R&B (in the proper sense of the expression) rock album. It’s also pretty varied in mood and style – especially in the vocal department.
I think it’s important to highlight for people like me that this is not a sort of reincarnation of the Mott the Hoople sound. There are little flashes, granted; especially so when the saxophone gets involved in the more rocking numbers, and in particular at the very end of the opening track ‘Comfortable (Flyin’ Scotsman) which is a dead ringer to the close of ‘The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” All that’s missing is the latter’s little piano roll – but my somewhat anally retentive memory inserts it anyway!
That particular track is one of the strongest on the album. Initially I had a problem with the vocals ‘scanning’ and it seemed as if they were hurriedly crammed in, but the more I listen, the better it sounds. ‘Fatally Flawed’ is the first of a few tracks where I hear Ian’s vocals take the form of another. In this case, he sounds rather like a Bob Dylan / Keith Richards hybrid. It’s a rasping drawl, sounding ever so slightly flat (in a good way) in parts. The song itself is slower than the opener, but erupts briefly at the mid-point before reverting to its original form.
‘When I’m President’ is like a soft-rock pop song. The vocals are still slightly rasping and the backing harmonies really strong and warm. You know (and I mean this as a compliment) if this were recorded by someone like Boyzone, then it’d be getting loads of airplay and shifting plenty copy.
‘What For,’ sees Ian back on the Rock vibe. It opens in a Rolling Stones style and kicks its way through four and a half minutes of good old-fashioned R&B with great guitar, pounding drums, bar-room piano and gang backing vocals.
‘Black Tears,’ pares back on the pace and is a soulful, bluesy number, before it’s all cranked up a notch again with ‘Saint.’ I can’t help thinking of John ‘Cougar’ Mellencamp when I hear this one. (Just as well that I like him, then.)
‘Just The Way You Look Tonight,’ has a bit of a folk-rock feel at the opening with the mandolin to the fore and the gently rocking rhythm. Yeah – there’s definitely a touch of Americana about this one, and it sounds so familiar! (I’m no Bruce Springsteen fan, but it could bear some fleeting similarities to ‘Glory Days.’ Don’t shoot me though …..) Whatever, this song comes complete with added handclaps and is a prime sing-a-long candidate.
The feel-good, rock ‘n’ roll mood continues with the bar-room stomper, ‘Wild Bunch’ – a song that would not be out of place in a Faces anthology. There then follows the brilliant and inspired ‘Ta Shunka Witco (Crazy Horse.) Tashunka Witco was the Sioux Chief more famously known as Crazy Horse, and this track takes the form of a Native Indian chant, with the deep tom drums echoing the beats of the American West. It’s all very atmospheric, and is one of those songs that actually force you to stop what you’re doing and actively listen to the music and lyrics. (For those of you into your British Blues artists, I think the vocals here, because they are more rasping than on the other tracks, sound a little like Glasgow’s Dave Arcari.)
‘I Don’t Know What You Want,’ features a guest vocal from Ian’ son Jesse, and is another of those excellent, dirty, blues-rock numbers that sounds like a really tight jam that’s just been accidentally captured when someone forgot to switch the ‘record’ button off! Brilliant!
‘Life’ closes the album in a bit of an introspective mood – and this time there are shades of the Mott days. Think along the feel of ‘Ballad of Mott,’ and you won’t be far away. Ah … the memories come flooding back!
You may have guessed by now that I like this one!? Damnn right!
Class never fades!
(‘When I’m President’ is released through Proper records on September 4th 2012)
(10 / 10)
Listening to the free download of THE RAPIDS‘ eponymous album, I was imagining a band of leather-clad, crusty old rockers that had perhaps been around the block a few times.
Nuh! These five lads are averaging about twenty years of age and yet they have such a ‘mature’ sound about them. It’s all very accessible melodic Rock with big swooping choruses, searing guitar solos and solid slightly rasping vocals, all tied up and driven along by a solid, pounding rhythm section.
So what’s not to like?
And it’s FREE! You can download the album below, and read more about the band from their Facebook page.
(I’m sure you’ll be reading more of them in the future!)
OK – so their musical style may not be to everyone’s taste, but with a name such as STINKY WIZZLETEAT, the least you can do is check ‘em out, right?
My faith in ‘music’ has just been restored! Hallelujah! Praise be to TRICORN!
In these days of ‘processed’ and ‘disposable’ music, it’s so refreshing to hear a band that just wanna kick ass and rock-out, no frills attached!
Producing a brand of heavy rock that sits somewhere between my current obsession for psych / space-rock and ‘stoner’ rock, Portsmouth four-piece TRICORN have produced an excellent album of eight songs spanning a forty-three minute duration.
It’s all about the big, chunky guitar riffs and ripping drums. The vocals are not of the ‘screamo’ / larynx shredding grunting type, but more of a throaty growl that somehow manages to stay this side of ‘melodic.’ All the tracks conform to a more standard composition with sing-a-long (shout-a-long) choruses and little unpretentious searing guitar solos.
It just ‘fits.’ Simple as that!
Good on ya, guys!!
We Scots like ‘value for money.’ Everybody does I guess, but we as a race have created our own stereotypical identity based on this fact. And with twenty tracks (yup – two, zero!) spanning one whole hour, this is exactly what we get with DIE PRETTY’s album, ‘Beyond Fate.’
I recall reviewing their ‘Battle Over Brooklyn’ EP last year and feeling suitably impressed, but wondering how they would fare over a longer effort. ‘Beyond Fate,’ the second full length album from the band provides the answer.
Twenty tracks is a bit of a daunting prospect. There’s the danger of it becoming a bit familiar, tedious even, in the latter stages. But I think DIE PRETTY manage to get away with it. How?
Well, I reckon (though I have no confirmation of this) that with so many songs at their disposal, some of these were written a good while ago. Consequently, there are two distinct sides to the music of DIE PRETTY, as indeed there are regards the vocal styles of Sarah Orloff.
Firstly there is the ‘Rock’ side and Sarah’s powerful voice roaming around a high range and sounding something like a combination of Amy Lee from Evanescence and the grittier Andrea Zollo from Pretty Girls Make Graves. This is most prevalent in the album opener, ‘Medicated Nation.’
And then there is the more ‘Punk’ side to the band’s style. Tracks such as ‘Girls And Boys’ and ‘Heart Of Stone’ have a more frenetic feel and frantic drumming while on ‘Paint It Red,’ the vocals and harmonies combined with this energetic backing create something akin to early Go Gos! My personal favourite though, ‘Knife, Bullet, Noose,’ is screamed and sneered in a manner that at points reminds me of Brody Dalle.
And let’s not forget the Country infused ‘7th Avenue.’ Well, it’s certainly not a ‘Country’ track’ but the guitar and galloping drums do give it a little tweak in that direction. The softer, more ballad type ‘Microphone’ also mixes things up a little as the album approaches the mid point.
In general the more ‘punk’ side to DIE PRETTY manifests itself in the second half of the album, and this I think is most definitely the stronger half.
My initial ‘fears’ were certainly allayed by the time I reached the end of ‘Beyond Fate.’ This is a pretty damn fine album – but it could have been two!
(Available now via the DIE PRETTY website)