Tag: heavy 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.

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.

New Audio: Los Angeles-based Quintet Ancestors Release a Slow-buring Shoegazer Take on Doom Metal

Currently comprised of founding duo Justin Maranga (guitar, vocals) and Nick Long (bass, vocals) along with Jason Watkins (organ, piano, electric piano, mellotron, vocals), Matt Barks (modular synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, guitar, vocals) and Daniel Pouliot (drums), the Los Angeles-based metal/doom metal/psych rock/stoner rock quintet Ancestors can trace their origins back to 2006 when Maranga, Long, and Brandon Pierce began the band as a trio; Englishman Chico Foley, who had met Pierce shortly after relocating to Los Angeles joined the band. Jason Watkins joined to complete the band’s initial line up. Their full-length debut was released in 2008 through North Atlantic Sound Records in Europe and Tee Pee Records in the States — and the album featured artwork by Arik Roper, who has done artwork of the likes of Sleep, High on Fire, and Earth. Their 2009 sophomore Of Sound Mind was produced by the band and Pete Lyman and featured collaborations with Melvins’, Unwound and Slug’s David Scott Stone, Black Math Horseman’s Sera Timms and cellist Ramiro Zapata.

2010 saw the first of several lineup changes as Chico Foley left the band and was replaced by Matt Barks and with a new lineup, they went into the studio to write and record the Kenny Woods-produced Invisible White EP.  And despite, a series of lineup changes, the band’s sound generally draws from prog rock, psych rock, stoner rock and doom metal — but they’ve also at points increasingly incorporated elements of experimental rock and musique concrete among others.  The Los Angeles-based rock quintet’s forthcoming album Suspended In Reflections is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Pelagic Records, and from the album’s latest single “Gone,” the new single and the album itself reportedly reflects a different take on their sound and approach as the single is a slow-burning dirge that manages to bridge shoegaze and doom metal as it features enormous power chords, played through tons of effects pedals, soaring and ethereal synths within an expansive yet moody song structure that nods a bit at prog rock.

New Audio: Electric Citizen Returns with an Anthemic, Classic Rock-Inspired 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 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.

New Audio: The Death Wheelers Return with a Bruising and Face Melting Single

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.

New Audio: Portland’s Blackwater Holylight Returns with a Trippy and Expansive Take on 60s Psych Rock

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight, and as you may recall, the band comprised of founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass),  Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth), the band, which can trace its origins to when one of Faris’ previous bands broke up, and she wanted to begin experiment what her own version of what “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally with the primary aim to celebrate vulnerability all of its forms. But along with that, as Faris explains in in press notes, because she was the only female in her previous band, she wanted to see how her “songwriting and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat, and working with women.” 

RidingEasy Records will be releasing Blackwater Holylight’s self-titled review on April 6, 2018 and from the Breeders-like alt rock meets shoegaze “Sunrise,” and the Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath heavy, power chord dirge and strident, feminist anthem “Wave of Conscience,” the Portland-based quartet have shown that their material draws from a wide array of sources with a piss and vinegar-fueled, kick ass and take names sort of self-assuredness. And unsurprisingly, the album’s latest single “Willow” continues in a similar vein while being their most expansive and most 60s psych rock-inspired song they’ve released from the album to date, as the band shifts tempo and mood while centered around some explosive guitar pyrotechnics and ethereal harmonies.