Category: Heavy Metal

New Audio: Austin-based Doom Rockers The Well Release a Murky and Uneasy Ripper

Comprised of Ian Graham (guitar, vocals), Lisa Alley (bass, vocals) and Jason Sullivan (drums), the Austin TX-based heavy psych rock/heavy metal act The Well can trace their origins to when Graham was fired from his previous band. Determined to redirect his musical focus, Graham hooked up with Alley and the two began picking out riffs in their garage. Completing the lineup, Graham and Alley stole Sullivan from Graham’s old band — partially out of vengeance and partially out of karma. The members of the trio are huge fans of cult horror films, and are inspired by early 70s psych rock and proto-metal and as a result their material revels in dark themes and haunting echoes. Interestingly, with their first few releases the Austin-based trio have developed a reputation for a sound that has been compared to Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats. And adding to a growing profile, the band has shared stages with the likes of Kadavar, Orchid, Fu Manchu, High on Fire, NAAM, Orange Goblin, Pentagram, Dead Meadow and others. 

Slated for an April 26, 2019 release through Riding Easy Records, The Well’s forthcoming, third album Death and Consolation reportedly may be the darkest and most intense album of the band’s growing catalog. As the band’s Ian Graham says in press notes, “This one is a little more personal. 2018 was a strange, dark year. A lot of change was going on in my life, there was a lot of depression and coming out of it over the last year.” And while darker, the album continues their ongoing collaboration with longtime producer and engineer Chico Jones and finds the band expanding upon their sound and approach, at points nodding at Joy Division and The Cure — but also while being a bit of a continuation of 2016’s critically applauded Pagan Science. Death by Consolation’s latest single is the monstrous and murky ripper “Raven.” Centered around enormous and extremely downtuned, power chords and bass chords,  thunderous drumming paired around Layne Staley-delivered vocals, the song evokes a sense of unease and dread, familiar to classic horror movies — and stumbling around graveyards late at night. But more important, the song captures a band that kicks ass, takes names and will frighten  the shit out of you. 

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New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Gritty and Funky Track Off the Eighth Brown Acid Compilation

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records ongoing collaboration on their increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid. Each individual edition often compilation is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recored together in 30 or 40 years, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes for each of previous editions of the compilation, “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

By having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation, it can give the artists and their songs, a real, second chance at the attention and success that they originally missed. Plus in a very real sense, these songs can help fill in the larger picture of what was going on in and around the underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Following the critical and commercial success of its first seven editions, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ edition of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip is slated for release on April 20, 2019 (4/20 y’ll!) continuing what has become a bi-annual tradition for both labels — and this site. And much like its preceding editions, the eighth edition finds Barressi and Hall digging deeper and deeper into the well of hard rock, psych rock, proto-metal and pre-stoner rock primarily from the States — with the addition of a Canadian band. 

Brown Acid: The Eighth Trip’s first single “School Daze” is a track from Detroit’s Attack — or more precisely St. Clair Shores. The track is a seamless synthesis of MC5, Jimi Hendrix and Grand Funk Railroad, as it’s a strutting and gritty bit of power chord-fed groove that will blow the doors down. Listening to this, it’s a shame that this track wasn’t a massive radio hit; but it does get a second life here. Play it loud and rock out, y’all. 

New Video: Mother Feather’s Ass-Kicking Death Match Visuals for “Red Hot Metal”

Comprised of Ann Courtney (vocals), Elizabeth Carena (vocals, keys), Chris Foley (guitar), Gunnar Olsen (drums), and the band’s newest member Seth Ondracek (bass), the Brooklyn-based rock/heavy metal act Mother Feather quickly emerged into the national spotlight with their 2016 self-titled, full-length debut. The Brooklyn-based metal quartet played 41 dates of that year’s Warped Tour, went on a series of sold-out UK dates, which featured a live session for BBC Radio 1 Rock Show, played sets at Rock On The Range and Carolina Rebellion — and they opened for The B52s.

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the Brooklyn-based metal quintet’s sophomore album Constellation Baby will be officially released on Friday through Metal Blade Records and Black Light Media. And interestingly enough, the album finds the band expanding upon their high-energy “pop cock rock” in an ambitious, kicking ass and taking names fashion while retaining the raw, playful and feminine energy that won them attention. Of course, upping the ante isn’t a small feat. As the band’s Ann Courtney says of the album and its writing sessions “All I knew was that I needed the new album to be awesome. ‘Mother Feather’ is such an empowered album, and when I began working on the new material, I was really struggling to feel that way. I knew this album needed to be even better than the first, and to capitalize on its momentum it had to happen quickly. It was a tremendous amount of pressure to put myself under, and it was a dragon I knew I wanted to slay alone – at least at the beginning.” So Courtney locked herself away to write, to face her depression and stare down some deeply uncomfortable feelings. “Truthfully, I went to some very dark and lonely places. But once I let myself go there, that’s when the album started to take shape. There’s a lot of fever and intimacy in those songs. I laid myself bare.”

With her bandmates assisting Courtney to fully-flesh out and realize the album’s material, the end result is reportedly a collection that’s cathartic and exuberant. We are diving way deeper into the question, ‘Who is Mother Feather?'” Courtney says, “and I think that the answer is extremely emotional. It’s eclectic, but it all sounds like Mother Feather. This album will definitely expand what that means.” Adds Courtney, “It definitely wasn’t a given that things would come together though. It was hard won, even back to the writing. Everyone in the band went way out of their way to make it happen because we wanted it to happen. Everyone had something to say. Ideas were pushed to the limit and the result is the collective combination of those forces of energy. We were extremely vigilant about working through ideas. Stuff got worked, and it got worked again. In spite of the challenges — personal, financial, artistic — we all tried really hard to work together and create the thing that everyone meant, collectively.”

Album single “Red Hot Metal” is centered around power chord-based riffs, thunderous drumming, enormous, raise-your -beer-to the-sky-and-shout-along, arena rock-friendly hook sand pop belter harmonies delivered by Courtney and Carena. Sonically, the song recalls Heart, Lita Ford and 80s hair metal, complete with the swaggering confidence of old pros, whose songs have a bigger purpose. 

Directed by Michael Thackray, the recently released video for “Red Hot Metal”  stars wrestlers Maria Manic and Matt “The Bulldozer” Tremont grappling in a sweaty and bloody death match. For a significant portion of the match, Manic looks as though she’ll lose — until she gets help from the members of Mother Feather. 

The Brooklyn-based metal quintet is playing a record release show later tonight at The Knitting Factory and it looks like it’ll be a helluva time. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Release a Roger Corman-Influenced Video for Pummeling Dirge “Red Cloud”

Throughout the past few years of the site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums) can trace their origins back to 2009. Within a year of their formation, they released a two-track self-recorded CD that quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath. Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months. 

Released in 2013 through Relapse Records, the Northern Virginia-based band’s critically applauded sophomore album Soma received praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band spend the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North American, the European Union and Australia supporting Soma with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak — and they made stops on the international festival circuit with sets at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest. 
2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Infernal Flower managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing power chord-based dirges. Released earlier this month, WINDHAND’s fourth, full-length album Eternal Return finds the band continuing their collaboration with renowned producer Jack Endino — and the album thematically is centered around observations and reflections on life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows, beginnings and ends. Between Grief’s Infernal Flower and their recently released album, the members of the band welcomed the births of children, experienced a number of lineup changes and mourned an unexpected and tragic death. And unsurprisingly, as a result, the album’s material and the sequential order of its song are the direct result of those experiences — while sonically, the band crafts material that balances heavy and brooding dirges with psychedelic and meditative passages.  Album single “Grey Gardens” was part of an early batch of album singles that were among the heaviest batches of material they recorded — and while being a thunderous and slow-burning dirge, the single finds the band’s sound and approach subtly moving towards Screaming Life/Foppand Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, complete with a lysergic bridge. “Red Cloud,” Eternal Return’s latest single continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as it’s a heavy and psychedelic dirge, centered by some explosive guitar work, rumbling low end, thundering drumming, Dorthia Cottrell’s smoky vocals and an anthemic hook; but unlike it’s predecessor there’s a sense of foreboding doom at its core. 

Directed and animated by Zev Deans, the recently released video  features a seamless blend of live-action and animated scenery, as it follows a washed-up and hopelessly incompetent warlock and imbecilic and hunch-backed henchman as they try to kidnap The Scarlet Woman. Visually, the video is reportedly a homage to the horror films of the early 1960s, specifically Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe series — and naturally, it’s perfect for the Halloween season. 

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release an MC5 Meet Jimi Hendrix-like Single from The Seventh Brown Acid Compilation

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records ongoing collaboration on their increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid. And as you may recall, each individual edition of the compilation is centered around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recored together in 30 or 40 years, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes regarding the previous editions of the compilations “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Naturally, by having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation process, it can give the artists and their songs, a real, second chance at the attention and success that they originally missed. Additionally, these songs can help fill in the larger picture of what was going on in and around the underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Following the critical and commercial success of its first six volumes, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ seventh volume of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip is slated for release on Halloween, continuing what I hope will be a bi-yearly tradition. Much like the preceding editions, the seventh continues Barressi’s and Hall’s exhaustive, painstaking research and curation that has fond them digging ever so deeper in to the well of hard rock, psych rock and proto-metal from the 60s and 70s. Much like its predecessors, the seventh edition features songs from predominantly American bands — although there’s the inclusion of material from a French band and a Swedish band. You’ll remember that I wrote about s C.T. Pilfherhogg’s 1973 bluesy stomp “You Haul,” a single that brings Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Iron Butterfly‘s “In A Gadda Da Vida” but with Echoplex-effected laughs to give the song a maniacal vibe; however, the album’s first single is a virtually unknown Oklahoma band, fronted by Rod McClure while still in high school — and the remarkably self-assured  MC5 meets Are You Experienced?-era Jimi Hendrix-like “Peace of Mind” is a bluesy and anthemic ripper centered by propulsive drum fills and some explosive guitar work, making it the perfect song for speeding on the highway. 

New Video: Kings of Spade Release Semi-Autobiographical Visuals for “Strange Bird”

Comprised of founding members Kasi “KC” Nunes (vocals) Matt Kato (drums) and Jasio Savio (guitar) with Tim Corker (bass), Ken Lykes (keys) and DJ Packo, the Honolulu, HI-based sextet Kings Of Spade can trace their origins back to when Nunes,  a self-described “somber, closeted queer kid, who felt soul and blues music,” was bartending at Honolulu’s Anna Bananas and was pulled up on the stage to sing. “They started playing ‘Sweet Child O’Mine,” Nunes says in press notes.  “I started singing and was like ‘Hey, I sound pretty good.”

Interestingly, Jasio Savio frequently sat in with the bar’s house band. “He wasn’t old enough to drink,” Nunes recalls. “But he would start and rip these Johnny Cash tunes.” As the story goes, they were both impressed by each other. “You feel this energy when she sings,” Savio says. “My first thought was ‘Damn, she’s going to be famous.’” Nunes approached Savio and suggested they start a band. They recruited Matt Kato, a local punk rock drummer and played with a revolving door of bassists until they found Tim Corker. As a quartet that played power chord-based blues riff rock, they didn’t find their hometown to be very receptive to their sound — although Nunes took it upon herself to book club shows that featured the band alongside local DJs, artists and other bands. After amassing a decent local following, the band relocated to Southern California in 2006 to chase their dreams. But as Nunes and Kato quickly found out, the big city isn’t very welcoming; in fact, they were barely scraping by — and they were forced to sell their blood for cash. “Everyone at the clinic looked down-on-their-luck,” Nunes remembers. “I was hooked up to a plasma machine, reading the self-help books. This was the lowest point in my life.”

After three years of crushing let-downs and disappointment, Nunes, Savio and Kato quit their jobs and gave up their shared apartment in preparation for a lengthy tour that was just booked by their new manager; however, he disappeared once they figured out that there wasn’t an actual tour. They returned home to Hawaii, and ironically enough, upon their return, they finally began to have much better fortune. Several years later, the band played at SXSW, where former Headbanger’s Ball host and MTV VJ Riki Rachtman caught them — and after catching them, he booked them to play a show commemorating the 30th anniversary of his old metal club, The Cathouse, best known for giving rise to Guns N’ Roses. Around the same time, they met Sue Damon, the ex-wife of The Beach Boys‘ Mike Love. “She was a huge supporter of ours, bought us a new drum set. She was a total free spirit, who could party all of us under under the table. She ended up passing away. But all of us have her initials tattooed on us.”

The band’s self-titled Dave Cobb-produced full-length was recorded in Nashville over the course of two weeks.  “He produced a band I like, Rival Sons, which had this old-school sound with modern energy—like, analog-tape soul built into it,” Jesse says, admiringly. t Album single “Bottom’s Up,” was a swaggering and stomping bluesy ripper and party anthem inspired by their late friend and patron Sue Damon, and their own experiences partying ridiculously hard that sounds as though it were influenced by Highway to Hell-era AC/DC, Electric Blue Watermelon-era North Mississippi All Stars and The Black Keys — all while further cementing their reputation for boozy, power chord centered, riff-based rock. Released in time for National Coming Out Day, the album’s latest single “Strange Bird,” is a anthemic song centered around Led Zeppelin-like power chords and Nunes’ own experiences coming out, that proudly says “go out there and march to the beat of your own drum because life is short!” May this song be a call for arms for anyone, who’s struggling to find themselves in an unforgiving world. As Nunes says in press notes about the song, “‘Strange Bird’ is my big queer anthem – a song about being true to who your are no matter what it costs. It’s about self-love and growing into a person who is proud to be different. I always tell my coming out story before we play this song at a live show. It starts off so tragic I end up going back in the closet until way later in life. The beauty is coming around so far that I can tell the story on stage in front of a crowd of people cheering me on for it. After every show there is always people who share their own strange bird stories with me. That connection is everything. It’s why I play music and love being in a band.”

Directed by Vincent Ricafort, the recently released video draws from Nunes’ own experience as a young person,  feeling forced to hide who she really was, before finding the courage to defiantly and proudly be the person she needs to be, finding herself and making connections through music.  Additionally, the video suggests that music has always been a way for the strange and uncompromisingly individual to find comfort, as well. 

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Bluesy Stomper off Their Seventh Brown Acid Compilation

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’d likely be extremely familiar with Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records collaboration on their increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid. Each individual edition of the compilation is centered around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recored together in 30 or 40 years, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes regarding the previous editions of the compilations “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Naturally, by having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation process, it can give the artists and their songs, a real, second chance at the attention and success that they originally missed. Additionally, these songs can help fill in the larger picture of what was going on in and around the underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Following the critical and commercial success of its first six volumes, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ sixth volume of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip is slated for an October 31, 2018 release continuing what I hope will be a bi-yearly tradition. Much like the preceding editions, the seventh continues Barressi’s and Hall’s exhaustive, painstaking research and curation that has fond them digging ever so deeper in to the well of hard rock, psych rock and proto-metal from the 60s and 70s. Interestingly enough, Youngstown, Ohio was a hotbed for these 45s and for a town of about 150,000, an overwhelming majority of the 45s Barressi and Hall found were by bands who hailed from there — and much like the predecessors, the seventh edition features songs from mostly American bands, although there’s the inclusion of a French band and a Swedish band to round it all out. 

Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip’s latest single is C.T. Pilfherhogg’s 1973 bluesy stomp “You Haul,” a single that brings Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida” but with Echoplex-effected laughs to give the song a maniacal vibe, centered around arpeggiated organs, enormous power keys and a hard rocking hook. During their day, the band was touted as “Southwest Virginia’s Finest Boogie Band” but from this single, the band kicked ass and took names.