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 […]
Comprised of Brandon Bak (guitar, vocals), Tobin Hopwood (guitar), Patrick Lefler (bass) and Bradley Thibodeau (drums), the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based psych rock quartet Possum met within their hometown’s psych and garage scenes. And as as the story goes, the members of the up-and-coming Canadian psych rock act bonded over a mutual love and appreciation of CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall — with the end result being a sound that’s a fusion of garage rock, kraut rock, psych rock, ethno jazz, complete with rapidly tempo and time signature changes, hypnotic riffs and chugging bass. Their live shows are an immersive experience which finds the band pairing pairing high energy performances and trippy sounds with lysergic visual projections by The Oscillitarium. As a result of their high energy shows, Possum has shared stages with the likes of Ty Segall, All Them Witches, Shannon and The Clams, Bombino, L.A. Witch and Chad VanGaalen.
Using old tape machines, the Canadian psych rock act has managed to independently record, mix, produce and package all of their music; in fact, their full-length debut, Space Grade Assembly, which is slated for a June 21, 2019 release through Garment District Records finds the band further establishing their DIY ethos with the material being recorded almost entirely live and mixed by the band’s Brandon Bak and Tobin Hopwood. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “The Hills” is an expansive and heady mix of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chord-fueled riffing, thunderous drumming, Afrobeat and Latin-tinged percussion, jowering shoegazer meets 60s psych rock production and kraut rock with a cosmic glow and a muscular forcefulness. As the band explains, “‘The Hills’ came about after our experience at the Frontier Ghost Town – an authentic wild west camp where they once filmed a Charles Manson movie. Sonically, we wanted to travel between the feel of Mylar & Haight-Ashbury era mysticism.”
Unsurprisingly, the recently released video for “The Hills” is an appropriately feverish and lysergic affair.
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’s Mike McCready. And from the Led Zeppelin, Black 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.
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
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.
Over the past handful of years, I’ve written about and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act and JOVM mainstays The Budos Band a number of times. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music, classic soul and funk; however, with the most band’s most recent releases, their sound has evolved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.”Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Staten Island-based act’s fifth full-length album, the aptly titled V is slated for release next week through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums. The album’s first single “Arcane Rambler” featured a composition that nodded at hip-hop, 70s fuck, Afro funk and psych rock — and in a way that found them at arguably their loosest and trippiest. V‘s second single was the Ennio Morricone-like “Veil of Shadows,” a composition that’s centered around reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering and soaring organs and a big Western/Mexican-like horn arrangement — and as a result, the track possesses a cinematic quality; in fact, to my ears, it sounds as though it should have been part of the soundtrack for Kill Bill.Just before their two night NYC area run — April 5, 2019 at the Bowery Ballroom and April 6, 2019 at Music Hall of Williamsburg — the Staten Island-based JOVM mainstays released V’s third and latest single, the menacing “Maelstrom” brings several disparate things to mind — the Fela meets Black Sabbath power chord-based arrangements of Here Lies Man, a lysergic-tinged Morricone meets Quentin Tarantino Western. The expansive composition features their imitable and explosive horn line, reverb-drenched guitar and a propulsive rhythm section, giving the track a forceful yet funky muscle.
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.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada-born, Seattle, WA-based Jordan Cook (vocals, guitar) can trace the origins of his music career to when he was 15, playing with a blues rock trio, which performed at Montreux Jazz Festival. After recording a full-length album under his own name, Seven Deadly Sins, Cook began recording in Memphis with Matt Chamberlain and Soundgarden‘s Ben Shepherd; but around 2012 Cook relocated to Seattle, where he adopted the moniker Reignwolf. When Cook played his first official show as Reignwolf, he was accompanied by Joseph Braley (drums) and S. J. Kardash (bass).
Since their formation, the band has developed a reputation for a raw sound paired with a high energy live show that has earned them a devoted following, as well as appearances at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Glastonbury and Download and opening slots for the likes of Black Sabbath and Pixies. Following on the heels of a 34 date Fall 2018 North American tour, the Seattle-based trio’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated full-length debut Hear Me Out is slated for a March 1, 2019 release.
Hear Me Out‘s first single is the swaggering “Black and Red.” Co-written by Jordan Cook and Aqualung’s Matt Hales, the song is centered around enormous, arena rock friendly blues power chords, thundering drums, an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure and rousingly anthemic hooks. The song reveals (and captures) a band that’s ready to kick ass, take names, wreck stages and destroy eardrums.
The band will be touring throughout March and the tour includes two New York area dates — March 9, 2019 at Mercury Lounge and March 10, 2019 at Baby’s All Right. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1ST – SEATTLE, WA @ THE SUNSET
MONDAY, MARCH 4TH – LOS ANGELES @ MOROCCAN LOUNGE
THURSDAY, MARCH 7TH – CHICAGO, IL @ COBRA LOUNGE
SATURDAY, MARCH 9TH – NEW YORK, NY @ MERCURY LOUNGE
SUNDAY, MARCH 10TH – BROOKLYN, NY @ BABY’S ALL RIGHT
TUESDAY, MARCH 12TH – TORONTO, ON @ DRAKE UNDERGROUND
THURSDAY, MARCH 14TH – SATURDAY, MARCH 16TH – AUSTIN, TX @ SXSW
Comprised of high school friends Tarek Jafer (vocals, guitar) and Justin Tessier (drums, percussion, backing vocals), the up-and-coming alt rock duo The Blue Stones can trace their origins to when the duo, who had attended college together decided that they should start a musical project together. While being among an increasing number of blues-tinged rock duos including The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Royal Blood, and others, the duo cite Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, The Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper, MUTEMATH, My Morning Jacket, Jay-Z, Kanye West, J. Cole, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King as influences on their overall sound and aesthetic.
Jafar and Tessier spent seven years honing and perfecting their sound, during which they wrote and recorded an independently released EP. As the duo’s Tarek Jafar says in press notes, “It takes a lot to be a success. You have to stay proud and focused.” Building upon several years of hard work and dedication, the duo’s full-length debut Black Holes was released earlier this year— and the album, which features “Rolling With The Punches,” a single that has received placements on USA Network‘s Suits, Showtime‘s Shameless and ESPN‘s Monday Night Football and the attention-grabbing lead single “Black Holes (Solid Ground),” which has amassed 8 million streams, will further cement the duo’s growing profile for playing blues rock that as the duo’s Justin Tessier says is “lean, raw, tight, without a wasted note.” Thematically, the album as Jafar explains is “. . . about being a young adult and entering the real world from a sheltered environment, like college. Feeling torn between taking the secure path or doing something that might be riskier but you’re passionate about . . . following what you love as opposed to sticking to the straight and narrow.”
Over course of the year playing across the national festival circuit with stops at Carolina Rebellion with MUSE and Queens of the Stone Age, and at Northern Invasion, Winnetka Music Festival and Bonnaroo Festival. But let’s talk about the aforementioned, arena rock friendly “Black Holes (Solid Ground),” which is centered around big, bluesy power chords, thundering drums and anthemic hooks — and while clearly indebted to classic Delta blues, The Black Keys, The White Stripes and early Black Sabbath but with a subtly psych rock-leaning that reveals a twist on a familiar and winning formula.
Directed by Jason Lester and filmed in Los Angeles, the first official video from the band’s full-length debut is provoking, and considering the recent news stories about migrants and refugee seekers being tear gassed at our borders — disturbing and timely. As Lester says in press notes about the video treatment, “When the band told me about how their great track was an exploration of the battles we fight within ourselves, my mind went instantly to Stanley Milgram’s infamous shock experiments of the early 1960s,” says director Jason Lester. “Using the setup of his obedience tests as a jumping off point, we constructed a visual representation of the struggle with the self — a person facing their own image in a mirror, pushed to the brink by a choice that must be made.”