Category: metal

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. 

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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.

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.

New Audio: RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records Team Up Once Again for Sixth Edition of Renowned “Brown Trip” Compilation — Release Explosive First Single from Album Slated for 4/20/18

Over the better part of the past few years, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records have collaborated on an expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations, Brown Acid. Each individual edition of the series is based on RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with both 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 explained in press notes regarding the previous editions of the compilations “All of (these songs) could’ve been he 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 their compilations, it frequently can give the artists and their songs, a real, second chance at attention and success. And certainly as a critic and as a fan, these songs 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 five volumes, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ sixth volume of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip is slated for an April 20, 2018 continuing an annual rite of passage.  And much like the previous five editions, the sixth edition continues on Barressi’s and Hall’s exhaustive, painstaking research and curation with the duo continuing to discover that the well of hard rock, psych rock and proto-metal 45s from the period is incredibly deep — with the sixth edition featuring 9 deep cuts from bands based in Continental USA and one Canadian act.

Interestingly, each edition of Brown Acid has begun with an barn burner of a track and the sixth edition also continues that honored tradition with a swaggering yet frenetic, mind-melting, guitar pyrotechnic-fueled track from San Francisco, CA-based act Gold, “No Parking” recorded circa 1970. Reportedly, the band used to open their sets with the song — and as soon as you hear it, you’ll hear why: it captures a band that’s completely unafraid to kick ass and take names.  

New Video: WINDHAND Releases Ominous Visuals for Doom-Laden New Track “Old Evil”

Currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND was founded back in 2009, and with their 2010 practice space, two track CD, the band quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath.  2012 saw the release of the doom metal band’s self-titled debut, which became an underground hit and sold out of multiple vinyl pressings within a few months. 

By the following year, the Virginia-based doom metal band signed to Relapse Records and after a busy touring schedule, they collaborated with fellow Richmond-based band Cough on a split single “Reflection of the Negative,” which was released to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork and others. Building upon the growing buzz around them, the members of WINDHAND released their sophomore effort Soma to critical applause and attention 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 growing profile, the band also spent the course of 2013 and 2014 touring throughout North America, Europe and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as playing a number of major festivals including Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest, before ending that period with a split album with Swedish doom metal act Salem’s Pot, an effort praised by Noisey. 

2015 saw the release of the band’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Internal Flower and unsurprisingly, the album, which featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” further cemented the Richmond, VA-based  reputation for crafting punishing, sludgy, and murky dirges with enormous power chords. 

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about WINDHAND but interestingly enough, they’ll be releasing a split album with fellow Virginians Satan’s Satyrs, which Relapse Records will release in February 2018, and the split album’s first single is the blistering, forceful and mosh pith worthy “Old Evil” which prominently features thundering drumming, some impressive, psych rock meets metal god-guitar work and soaring, anthemic hooks that belie the lurking evil within the song. 

Edited by by Jordan Vance, the recently released video for “Old Evil” features footage of the band shot as though it were filmed don film negatives, superimposed over equally ominous footage of nuns by Stonehenge, mountains that seem to undulate before the viewers eye, collapsing icecaps and the like. 

New Audio: Dallas, TX’s Power Trip Returns with More Blistering, Hook-Laden Metal

Now, if you had stumbled on to this site towards the end of last year, you may recall that I wrote about Dallas, TX-based metal quintet Power Trip. Comprised of Riley Gale, Blake Ibanez, Chris Ulsh, Nick Stewart and Chris Whetzel, the Dallas-based quintet have developed a reputation for a sound that draws heavily from 80s metal, complete with similiar guitar pyrotechnics and thundering drumming. “Firing Squad,” off the quintet’s forthcoming album Nightmare Logic was a mosh pit worthy song that’s reminiscent of Slayer, Metallica and Iron Maiden; but with a modern production sheen. The album’s latest single “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)” continues on a similar vein as blistering cascades of power chords, propulsive and thundering drumming and howled lyrics while possessing a subtly modern production sheen –with what sounds like a bit of twinkling piano, just under the surface; but perhaps more important, both singles off the band’s forthcoming album reveal an emphasis on crafting incredibly tight and anthemic hooks while expressing a contemporary sense of complete hopelessness in everything. After all, things do seem increasingly bleak.

Comprised of Riley Gale, Blake Ibanez, Chris Ulsh, Nick Stewart and Chris Whetzel, the Dallas, TX-based metal quintet Power Trip have developed a reptuation for a sound that draws heavily from 80s metal, complete with similiar guitar pyrotechnics and thundering drumming. And “Firing Squad,” the latest single off the band’s Nightmare Logic, their forthcoming album slated for a February 24, 2017 through Southern Lord Records, will futher cement their growing reptuation for pairing blistering and explosive riffs with thunderous, insistent drumming and howled vocals — in a mosh pit worthy song that sounds as though it draws from Slayer, Metallica and Iron Maiden; but with a modern production sheen.

With the release of”Firing Squad,” the Dallas-based metal quintent announced the first leg of a North American tour to support Nightmare Logic — and it includes a March 3, 2017 NYC area stop at The Marlin Room at Webster Hall. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates:
1/4: RBC – Dallas, TX ^
1/5: Barracuda – Austin, TX ^
2/24: Walter’s – Houston, TX *
2/25: Siberia – New Orleans, LA *
2/26: Saturn – Birmingham, AL *
2/27: Kings – Raleigh, NC *
2/28: Broadberry – Richmond, VA *
3/1: Soundstage – Baltimore, MD *
3/2: Webster Hall’s Marlin Room – New York, NY *
3/3: Spirit – Pittsburgh, PA *
3/4: Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH *
3/8: Les Foufounes Électriques – Montreal, QC *
3/9: Brass Monkey – Ottawa, ON *
3/10: Velvet Underground – Toronto, ON *
3/11: Marble Bar – Detroit, MI *
3/12: Reggie’s – Chicago, IL *
3/13: Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN *
3/14: Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA *
3/16: Riot Room – Kansas City, MO *
3/17: 89th Street Collective – Oklahoma City, OK *
3/25 – 3/26: South by So What? – Dallas, TX
3/31 – 4/2: Tacoma Hardcore Fest – Tacoma, WA #
^ – w/ Antwon 
* – w/ Iron Reagan 
2/27 – 3/1 – w/ Genocide Pact
2/28 – 3/4 – w/ Concealed Blade 
3/2 – w/ Krimewatch 
3/3 – 3/4 – w/ Protestor 
# – w/ Destruction Unit and Primal Rite