Comprised of founding and primary duo Ann Courtney and Lizzie Carena, along with Chris Foley and Gunnar Olsen, the New York-based rock act Mother Feather formed back in 2010 and since their formation they’ve developed a reputation for swaggering and epic songs that some have said invoke Marc Bolan, David Bowie and To Bring To You My Love-era PJ Harvey. And while that can debated, the band’s sophomore album Constellation Baby is slated for a November 11, 2018 release through Metal Blade Records/Blacklight Media, and the album’s second and latest single “Snakebite” will further the act’s growing reputation for crafting anthemic, arena rock centered around enormous power chords, thundering drumming and Ann Courtney’s powerhouse vocals. Interestingly, the track manages to simultaneously nod at 80s hair metal and classic rock, complete with a coked-up, balls to the wall swagger.
As the band’s Ann Courtney explains of the song, “‘An homage to the evil impulse and the speed of its ambush, I wrote ‘Snakebite’ in a hot 20 minutes. With its production setting it in the cinematic imagination of an 80s punk cult-film, this is the riotous theme song for your psycho ex-girlfriend with an axe to grind.”
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.
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 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.
The Canadian instrumental band The Death Wheelers, comprised of Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “The Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi have largely been inspired by theaesthetics and ethos of bikesploitation movies such as The Wild Angels, Werewolves on Wheels and Psychomania, as well as Davie Allen, The Cramps, Motorhead, The Stooges and Grand Funk Railroad — and the end result is incredibly sleazy, primal and downright bruising and face melting rock.
Now, as you may recall, the band’s soon-to-be released album I Tread On Your Grave is slated for a May 11, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album was devised to serve as the soundtrack for an imaginary B-movie with an incredible plot: Decimated in 1972 by local authorities, all members of The Death Wheelers, a notorious motorcycle club, have been buried at the Surrey cemetery. After some time, the motorcycle club has risen from the grave for their last ride — and of course, they’re hungry for blood, mayhem and violence. This brutal, living dead motorcycle gang travel from coast-to-coast to find and recruit the nastiest, filthiest, trashiest individuals to join their ranks with the goal of assembling a legion of 13 discycles (disciples + cycles, of course) to see revenge on the pigs that dismantled the club and sent the dead members of the club to their graves.” Earlier this year, I wrote about “Black Crack” a raw, swampy and bluesy track that sounded like a bluesy lovechild of ZZ Top, Howlin’ Wolf and Portland‘s R.I.P thanks to some boozy, guitar pyrotechnics and a forceful immediacy. The album’s latest single “Roadkill 69” features a hilarious sample featuring the iconoclastic actress Divine, known for her insane roles in John Waters’ legendarily perverse films as an apt introduction to a face melting bruiser that sounds as though it were written by Rob Zombie.
Mick’s Jaguar is a New York-based rock septet that initially formed as a drunken Rolling Stones cover band, and after a few years of mainlining Stones songs and playing sporadic shows marred by violence and beer showers, they started writing original material that attracted the attention of RidingEasy Records; in fact, the material on their full-length debut Fame and Fortune, which is slated for a June 22, 2018 release is a much more primal affair, that sounds more like Highway to Hell-era AC/DC, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy and New York Dolls than the Stones, as the album’s songs are centered around 12 bar blues power chords and tight grooves that focus on life, death, cars, blood, murder, sex, drugs and booze — it’s all the classic rock tropes you desperately need in your life. And unsurprisingly, Fame and Fortune’s latest single “The Real Boss” is a scuzzy and gritty, hook-driven anthem that’s perfect for raising beers aloft to shout along the hook, for excessive speeding down a freeway, and for gearing yourself up for a night kicking ass and causing trouble. Let it be a reminder that primal and scuzzy rock is still alive, and absolutely necessary.
Currently comprised of founding members Chris Cornell (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Kim Thayil (lead guitar), along with Matt Cameron (drums), who joined in 1986 and Ben Shepherd (bass), who joined in 1990, the Seattle, WA-based grunge/alt-rock quartet Soundgarden can trace its origins back to the formation and eventual breakup of an early 80s Seattle-based band The Shemps, which featured Cornell on drums and vocals, along with original bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Strangely enough, over the years what seems to have been forgotten is that the members of Soundgarden had started their recording career with Sub Pop Records; in fact, the renowned alt rock/indie label released the band’s first two EPs 1987’s Screaming Life and 1988’s Fopp, two efforts, which the label re-issued a couple of years ago through both vinyl and digital formats, marking the first time in about 25 years that the EPs were pressed onto vinyl — and the first time they were released digitally. Interestingly enough, Sub Pop Records helped distributed Soundgarden’s 1988 full-length debut, Ultramega OK.
And although they had some creative differences with the album’s producer Drew Canulette and the band’s overall dissatisfaction with the final mixes, their full-length effort was a commercial success as it garnered both a 1990 Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance and attention from larger labels — including A&M Records, who quickly signed the band. At the time, the band had intended to spend some time remixing the album for subsequent pressings of the album; but those plans wound up falling by the wayside, as the band went on to write and record their sophomore effort, and major-label debut, Louder Than Love.
Last year, the members of the band acquired the original multi-track tapes from the Ultramega OK sessions and they enlisted the assistance of renowned producer, engineer, long-time friend and frequent, old-time collaborator Jack Endino, who has famously worked with Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard, The Black Clouds and others to create a new mix of the album that would tie up what the band felt were persistent loose ends — while fixing the album’s overall sound. Interestingly, the band found six early version of album singles that eventually wound up on Ultramega OK and reportedly those early versions, which would eventually become staples of their live sets at the time, capture the band’s sound and songwriting in a much rawer, less polished form — and much closer to the sound on the Screaming Life EP.
Almost 30 years after Ultramega OK’s original release, Sub Pop Records will be releasing the remixed and expanded re-issue of the album, as a long-awaited “correction.” Naturally, for die-hard fans and completists, the re-mixed material will capture the band’s sound as they fully intended it, while the re-discovered early material will serve as a window into the development of the band’s songwriting approach and overall sound. Now, as you may remember, I wrote about the re-issue’s first single “Beyond The Wheel” and the re-mixed version possessed a crisper, cleaner sound, which helped to display Kim Thayill’s incredible guitar work and the interplay between Matt Cameron’s Bonham-like thundering drumming and Cornell’s Robert Plant-like wailing. The re-mixed and expanded Ultramega OK’s second single “Flower” much like its preceding single displays a cleaner, crisper sound, which gives the song the muscular insistence that the band became known for while interestingly enough, the song has moments that nod at Badmotorfinger and Superunknown.
Over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on Permanent Records‘ and RidingEasy Records‘ collaborative proto-metal, pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid: The First Trip, Brown Acid: The Second Trip and Brown Acid: The Third Trip. Each edition of the compilation has been based on RidingEasy Records founder Daniel Hall and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi extensive and painstaking research and curation — with Both Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down the songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recorded together in 30 or 40 years, and encouraging them to take part in the process. And as Barresi explained in press notes, “All of (these songs) could’ve been huge 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.” And by having the artists participate it can give the songs and the artists a real second chance at success, if not some kind of attention for their work.
Following the critical and commercial success of the first three volumes, Riding Easy Records and Permanent Records will be releasing the fourth volume of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip fittingly on April 20, 2017. Much like the previous three volumes, the fourth edition is based on Barresi’s and Hall’s exhaustive, painstaking research and curation, and as both men discovered, the well of privately released hard rock, heavy psych and proto-metal 45s is incredibly deep; in fact, they’ve barely scratched the surface. Most of the singles they stumbled on for the fourth volume of Brown Acid were either barely released or never properly distributed with two of the album’s 10 tracks being previously unreleased — until now.
Brown Acid: The Fourth Trip‘s first single is Kanaan’s “Leave It,” a towering and explosive, barnburner that features some incredible guitar pyrotechnics paired with swaggering vocals fed through a bit of reverb and delay, a sinuous bass line and propulsive drumming. and while the song possesses a free-flowing, booze and psychedelics fueled improvisational feel, the song manages a tight, motorik-like groove that holds the song together.
Since their formation back in 2005, San Diego, CA-based drone metal/doom metal band Goblin Cock, comprised of frontman and founding member Rob Crow (guitar, vocals) a.k.a. Lord Phallus, and a member of Pinback; Lara Benscher (vocals, guitar), a.k.a. Larben The Druid; Dave Drusky (guitar), a.k.a. Bane Ass-Pounder; Sam Mura (bass), a.k.a. King Sith; Anthony Fusaro (drums), a.k.a. Braindeath; Adam Ekorth (keys), a.k.a. Loki Sinjuggler; Mike Goldfarb (keytar, banjo), a.k.a. Phuck Tard, have developed a reputation for pairing metal power chords with rather unusual lyrical subjects –i.e., they once wrote material about Sesame Street‘s Snuffleupagus.
The band’s soon-to-be released album Necronomidonkeykongimicon is slated for a September 2, 2016 release through Joyful Noise Recordings and as the band notes, the album is a “crushingly brutal ‘Dear John’ letter to society.” And interestingly enough, the album’s latest single “Your Watch” was written for those who “heroically endure” the exhaustion that comes from being a parent — and they pair those lyrics with sludgy power chords, forceful drumming and anthemic, shout-along worthy hooks and melodic vocals. Sonically, the song sounds as though it could have been released in 1993 or 1994 but with a mischievously — and yet subtle — post-modern take on a familiar and beloved sound.
Goblin Cock will be embarking on a US tour throughout the fall to support the new album and it includes a September 25, 2016 stops at The Knitting Factory. Check out tour dates below.
9/14: Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
9/15: El Paso, TX @ Bowie Feathers
9/16: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar n Grill
9/17: Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
9/18: Houston, TX @ Rudyards
9/20: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade – Purgatory
9/21: Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Backroom
9/22: Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
9/23: Washington, DC @ DC9
9/24: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts – Black Box
9/25: Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory
9/27: Providence, RI @ The Parlour
9/28: Allston, MA @ Great Scott
9/29: Syracuse, NY @ Funk N Waffles
9/30: Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
10/1: Indianapolis, IN @ The Hi-Fi
10/2: Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
10/3: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
10/6: Spokane, WA @ The Observatory
10/7: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon – Funhouse
10/8: Portland, OR @ Ash Street Saloon
10/10: San Francisco, CA @ Social Hall SF
10/11: Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
10/14: San Diego, CA @ Casbah