Category: Heavy Metal

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Release Insane Visual for Thrash Metal Ripper “Self-Immolate”

Over the course of 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard released five albums — with each album being in a completely different genre and style from its predecessor, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly experimental and prolific.   

For a band that has been as wildly productive and prolific as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not releasing new music last year was extremely odd; however, they were busy with other things, including — a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

Now, as you may recall, the band released their 14th album Fishing for Fishies earlier this year, and the album found the band creating a sonic world in which the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present with the band crafting material that’s essentially boogie blues that struts, shimmies and stomps through several different moods and terrains. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

Interestingly, the acclaimed Aussie JOVM mainstays have written, recorded and released a couple of standalone tracks that simply don’t fit on their most recent album because they’re on a completely different tack — one of those tracks is the thrash metal ripper “Self Immolate” which finds the band piling power chord riff upon riff upon riff, thunderous drumming and McKenzie taking on a growling vocal delivery reminiscent of Slayer’s Tom Araya and Sepultura’s Max Cavalera. Interestingly, the track is a reminder that they’re not dabbling dilettantes when it comes to thrash and thrash metal — and that they can pummel eardrums with the best of them. 

Directed by frequent visual collaborator John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Self-Immolate” sees the members of the band burnt alive in a Satanic ritual in the middle of nowhere. 

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New Video: Black Mountain Takes on 8-Bit Video Games in New Visuals for “Licensed to Drive”

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records. the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, an album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

Now, as you may recall, the band’s newest album Destroyer derives its name from the discontinued, single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, and reportedly the album is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. The serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled, boogie strut “Boogie Lover” was meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip late at night while drawing from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Licensed to Drive” evokes a sense of wild freedom  — of speeding down the highway with the music blaring at eardrum shattering levels while sonically drawing from krautrock, space rock, Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent, as the track is centered around a motorik pulse, shimmering synths, buzzing power chords and a razor sharp hook. Get in your car, play this one loud, man.

Directed by Zev Deans, the recently released video for “Licensed to Drive” is an extended riff on classic 8-bit video games and Mad Max, complete with leather and ax-wielding barbarians, a tricked out 1976 GMC Spirit, a guy playing trash can drums, and an enormous, mutant bat. And of course, while McBean and his buddy are playing the “Licensed to Drive” game, a cord is yanked out or something and they wind up having to watch a hilarious take on the classic Maxell Cassette tape commercial. For those of you who came of age in the 80s or grew up in the 80s, this video will bring back a lot of memories. 

New Audio: Black Mountain Releases a Motorik-Styled Ripper

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar, the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, anJ album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

Now, as you may recall, the band’s forthcoming album Destroyer derives its name from the discontinued, single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, and reportedly the album is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. The serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled, boogie strut “Boogie Lover” was meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip late at night while drawing from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Licensed to Drive” evokes a sense of wild freedom  — of speeding down the highway with the music blaring at eardrum shattering levels while sonically drawing from krautrock, space rock, Black Sabbath and Ted Nugent, as the track is centered around a motorik pulse, shimmering synths, buzzing power chords and a razor sharp hook. Get in your car, play this one loud, man. 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstays Thunderpussy Perform Their Fiery Cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” at Pukklepop Festival

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the Seattle, WA-based heavy metal quartet Thunderpussy, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah […]

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Zig Zags Release a Blistering Headbanger from Fourth Album

Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio and JOVM mainstays  Zig Zags. And as you may recall, the act, which is currently comprised of founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass) over the course of their eight-plus year have gone through a series of lineup changes while releasing seven singles and three full-length albums. During that time, the band has also managed to subtly yet continually evolve their sound, songwriting approach and overall aesthetic.

Slated for a May 10, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, the band’s fourth, full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive reportedly finds the band paying homage to some of their earliest influences — in particular, their mutual love of  Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly heavy metal. “Fallout,” the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like album single further cemented the band’s reputation for specializing in headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic hooks paired with a blistering urgency. The album’s latest single “Killer of Killers” continues in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, power chord-centered riffs, rousingly anthemic hooks, blistering and dexterous solos — paired with an urgent and frenzied production and performance.

Comprised of Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass) and Ruby Dunphy (drums), the  Seattle, WA-based heavy metal quartet Thunderpussy quickly exploded into the national scene as a result of a string of attention-grabbing, critically applauded live shows and co-signs from Rolling Stone and Pearl Jam’Mike McCready. And from the Led ZeppelinBlack Sabbath meets Joan Jett-like anthem “Speed Queen” and the bluesy “Velvet Noose,” which featured an “Evenflow“-like guitar solo from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, the early buzz surrounding the band was warranted.

Back in May 2015, the members of the band applied for a US trademark to protect their name and brand, as they were preparing for future world domination. Shortly after the band submitted their application, they received a letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denying the band their trademark on the grounds that their name was “immoral” and “scandalous” as per the guidelines laid down in the Truman-era Lanham Act of 1946. The USPTO even cited Urban Dictionary as a credible source as to why the word pussy is regarded as a derogatory term.

The fate of the band’s name — and their trademark application — depends on the outcome of a new case, Iancu v. Brunetti, which will be argued in front of the Supreme Court on Monday. Eric Brunetti will be defending his clothing brand FUCT in a case that he’s been fighting for nearly 20 years. As the band awaits the Supreme Court decision, they released a fiery and passionately stomping cover of Jefferson Airplane‘s “Somebody to Love” that turns the song into a contemporary, feminist, metalhead anthem.

Thunderpussy will be touring over the next few months. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
May 11 – Bellingham, WA – Wild Buffalo House Of Music
July 12 – Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf*
July 13 – Ophir, CO – Ride Festival
July 16 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom*
July 17 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre*
July 19 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up*
July 20 – Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver*
July 23 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre*
July 25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall*
July 26 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
July 27 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre*
August 2 – Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Iron Works
*with Black Pistol Fire
 

New Audio: The Shrine Releases a Headbanger’s Ball-era Single

Currently comprised of founding members Josh Landau (guitar, vocals) and Jeff Murray (drums) along with their newest member, Nashville Pussy‘s and Chelsea Girls‘ Corey Parks, the Los Angeles-based metal act The Shrine can trace their origins to their hometown warehouse skate parties and guitar shops — and since their formation the band has rapidly built up a national profile with multiple appearances at Ozzfest, opening slots for the likes of Slayer, Ghost and Dinosaur Jr., as well as several headline tours across Australia and Japan. Adding to a growing profile, the band have an official Dogtown Skateboard, a signature Converse shoe and an appearance on Ride with Norman Reedus.

Slated for a May 3, 2019 release through Eliminator Records, the act’s forthcoming Cruel World EP reportedly finds the band drawing from 70s and 80s metal — in particular Black Sabbath and ZZ Top — but with a subtly modern take.  The EP’s first single “Dance On a Razor’s Edge” is pure, unadulterated, Headbangers Ball-era metal: enormous, power chord-based riffs, thunderous drumming and arena rock hooks, delivered with a sleazy, boozy sneer.

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Gritty and Funky Track from Eight Edition of Brown Acid Compilation

I’ve written a lot about Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records ongoing collaboration on their increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid over the past few years. And as you may recall, each individual edition 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.”

Having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation can give the artists and their songs, a real second chance at the attention and success that they missed. Plus, these songs can help fill in the gaps within the larger picture of what was going on in and around regional and national 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 Eighth 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. The album’s first single was from “School Daze,” a seamless synthesis of MC5, Jimi Hendrix and Grand Funk Railroad from Detroit‘s Attack — or more precisely St. Clair Shores.

Originally recorded in 1969, Memphis-based act Grump took on “Heartbreak Hotel,” popularized by a fellow Memphian that you may have heard of, by the name of Elvis Presley — and Grump’s rendition is a gritty and funky stomp that recalls Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” and Grand Funk Railroad. 

New Audio: Zig Zags Release an Urgent Headbanger

Currently comprised of founding member Jed Maheu (guitar, vocals), Dane Andrews (drums) and longtime sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist Sean Hoffman (bass), the Los Angeles-based thrash punk/metal trio Zig Zags over the course of their eight year history have released seven singles, three albums and a number of lineup changes — and throughout that time he band has managed to continually evolve their sound, their songwriting approach and their overall aesthetic.  Interestingly, the band’s fourth full-length album They’ll Never Take Us Alive is slated for a May 10, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band upping the stakes while revealing their earliest influences — in particular, their love of Dead Moon and Wipers, while remaining decidedly heavy metal. 

They’ll Never Take Us Alive’s latest single, the Kill ‘Em All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica-like “Fallout” will further cement their long-held reputation for crafting headbanging, power chord-based riffs and rousingly anthemic “raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along-lustily” hooks but the song is centered by a blistering urgency that hasn’t been heard on their previously released material. 

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.