Category: Heavy Metal

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 scarping 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. Now, as you may recall, I wrote about album single “Bottom’s Up,” 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.

 

New Video: The Ass Kicking Visuals for Electric Citizen’s “Hide It In The Night”

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that owes a debt to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram. The quartet’s critically applauded sophomore effort, 2016’s Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures but while retaining the conciseness of its predecessor. Additionally, the band’s sophomore album found Laura Dolan stepping up into more of a traditional frontperson role, which was reflected during the tour to support Higher Time as she strutted, stomped and swaggered across the stage with a larger-than-life confidence.

The band’s third, full-length effort Helltown was released through RidingEasy Records last month, and the album derives its name from the neighborhood in which the bandmembers live, practices and where the album was written, recorded and mixed. Now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album is also a decided return to form, employing a much grittier sound that in some way recalls their debut. Additionally, the album finds the band returning to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”

“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown‘s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel. Further emphasizing the gritty vibe of the song, the recently released video is centered around a brutal, winner-take-all street fight that the members of the band watch with a insouciant cool.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Stonefield Returns with a Decidedly Psych Rock-Inspired New Single

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Darraweit Guim, Australia-based sibling psych rock quartet Stonefield, and as you’d recall the Australian band comprised of Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass) began playing together when they were extremely young — the youngest member was seven while the oldest was 15. And as the story goes, the eldest sister Amy recorded their first song “Foreign Lover” for a school project, and then reportedly entered the song into Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought. Much to her and her sisters’ surprise, the band wound up winning the contest, and within an incredibly short period of time after their Unearthed High win, the Findlay sisters had two singles receiving regular airplay on Australian radio and an invitation to play at Glastonbury Festival.

Since their attention-grabbing Unearthed High win, the Australian sibling quartet has been incredibly prolific as they’ve written, recorded and released two EPs, their self-titled full-length debut, their sophomore album As Above So Below and their third album Far From Earth through King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records earlier this year. Stonefield is currently on a North American tour to support both their recently released 7 inch and their third album that will include stops at Desert Daze, Toronto’s Night Owl Fest, Mexico City’s Hipnosis Festival and a special NYC area show at Baby’s All Right to celebrate the release of the “Through the Storm” 7 inch, a single that finds the Australian sibling and and JOVM mainstays cementing their reputation as one of the world’s hardest bands, while pushing their sound towards a new direction — doom metal with hints of 60s psych rock in a way that brings Black Sabbath, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains to mind.

Interestingly, Far From Earth’s latest single “In The Eve” is  slow-burning, hypnotizing song that may arguably be the most decidedly 60s psych rock-inspired song centered around a propulsive and sinuous bass line, shimmering guitar lines, Amy Findlay’s ethereal vocals and a gently unfurling yet song structure — and sonically speaking, the song brings to mind JOVM mainstays Sleepy Sun, Secret Colours, and Elephant Stone but with a clean yet sensual sheen. The recently released video is equally hypnotic while visually drawing from 60s psych rock as it features the Findlay Sisters dressed entirely in white, wandering in a prototypically British field — and in some way it hints at some menacing ritual about to go down.

New Audio: Honolulu’s Kings of Spade Release an Anthemic Party Ripper

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.'” As the story goes 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 scarping 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 fell into some good 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.”

Interestingly, 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. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, the swaggering and stomping, bluesy  ripper “Bottom’s Up” is raucous, party anthem that’s 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. 

New Audio: Electric Citizen Releases a Black Sabbath-like New Single

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that’s indebted to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram.

The Cincinnati heavy psych rock/heavy metal quartet’s sophomore effort, 2016’s sophomore effort Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures — within concise songs that typically clocked in at around 3 minutes or so. Additionally, the album found the band’s Lauran Dolan stepping up into more of a frontperson role, which was reflected in their live shows to support their sophomore effort, as she strutted, stomped and swaggered with a larger-than-life confidence. And unsurprisingly, the album was released to massive critical applause from the likes of Consequence of Sound, who placed it on their 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016.

Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, Electric Citizen’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Helltown derives its name from the neighborhood in which the members of the band live, practices and where the album was written recorded and mixed. Although now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album reportedly is a sonic return to form with the band employing a grittier sound along the lines of their 2014 debut. Adding upon the overall homecoming theme, the band returns to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”

“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown‘s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “New Earth” is centered around a blistering, bluesy power chord riff, thundering drumming, arena rock-friendly hooks, and Dolan belting her lungs out. Arguably, the song is one of the most straightforward, riff-centered Black Sabbath-like singles they’ve released in some time time. It’s a certifiable headbanger that’s perfect for drinking way too much in your local bar or while catching them live.

Throwback: Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”/Happy First Day of School

Today is the first day of school for public schoolers across New York City, and as a product of the New York Public School system (PS 206 in Rego Park, Stephen A. Halsey JHS/JHS 157 in Rego Park and Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows), the first day of school brings back a lot of fond memories. 
Now, it’s been an almost annual tradition in which I dedicate Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” on the first day of school — both for those truly dedicated teachers, and for the knuckleheads who will likely have some kind of crush on them. 

Happy first day of school, everyone!

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Stonefield Return with a Grunge Inspired Face Melter

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Darraweit Guim, Australia-based sibling psych rock quartet Stonefield, comprised of Amy (drums, lead vocals), Hannah (guitar), Sarah (keys) and Holly Findlay (bass). Now, as you may recall, the siblings began playing together when they were quite young — with the youngest being seven and the oldest being 15. And as the story goes, the band’s elder member Amy recorded their first song “Foreign Lover” for a school project, and then reportedly entered the song into Triple J’s national, unsigned band competition for youngsters Unearthed High as an afterthought. Much to her and her sisters’ surprise, the band wound up winning the contest, and within an incredibly short period of time after their Unearthed High win, the Findlay sisters had two singles receiving regular airplay on Australian radio and an invitation to play at Glastonbury Festival.

During that same period, the sibling quartet has been incredibly prolific as they’ve released two EPs, their self-titled full-length debut, their sophomore effort As Above So Below, a handful of singles, and their third album Far From Earth through King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s  Flightless Records earlier this year. The band will be making a North American tour that will include stops at Desert Daze, Toronto’s Night Owl Fest, Mexico City’s Hipnosis Festival and a special NYC area show at Baby’s All Right to celebrate the release of the “Through the Storm” 7 inch, which coincidentally is the album’s latest single, as well. Interestingly, the single finds the Australian sibling band and JOVM mainstays cementing their reputation as one of the world’s hardest bands — while gently pushing their sound towards doom metal and psych rock, thanks to pummeling drumming, scuzzy down-tuned power chords, and a soaring and ethereal bridge. To my ears, the band sounds as though they’re actively channeling both Black Sabbath and 90s grunge — in particular, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. 

Directed and shot by Jenna Putnam, the recently released video is centered around footage from Stonefield’s Los Angeles area residency at The Bootleg Theater, during their last North American tour. 

New Audio: Swedish Doom Metal Act Alastor Releases an Anthemic and Expansive Single

With the release of 2017’s 3-song debut album Black Magic through Twin Earth Records and the Blood on Satan’s Claw EP, the mysterious Swedish doom metal quartet Alastor, comprised of Dharma Gheddon (vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, organ), Lucy Ferian (lead guitar, acoustic guitar, organ), Terry Fying (guitar) and Levi Athan (drums) quickly received attention for crafting a heavy and doom-filled sound that harkened to when the genre was primarily played by and listened by rebels, oculists, lurkers and depraved weirdos that’s centered around enormous, distortion-fed power chords, thundering drumming and expansive song structures.

Building upon their growing profile, the members of the Swedish doom metal act went into the studio with engineer Magnus Sorensen to record their forthcoming album, Slave to the Grave, which RidingEasy Records will fittingly release on Halloween — and as the band’s Lucy Fenian explains, is ” . . . an album that circles around the concept of death. It’s about death in both its spiritual and personal meaning — how death is a part of our everyday life. How it affects our thoughts and actions, How some of us spend our entire life in fear of death, while some seek it. But no matter how you live your life and no matter what you achieve here on this Earth. You are still just a slave to the grave.”  The album’s anthemic yet murky title track and latest single “Slave to the Grave” is centered around enormous power chords, thundering and propulsive drumming, severely down-turned bass, arena rock friendly hooks and an expansive song structure that helps evoke Black Sabbath and others.