JOVM celebrates the life and music of ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill.
Currently featuring core trio Dylan Sizemore (vocals), multi-instrumentalist Josh Menashe and Shaughnessy Starr (drums), the Los Angeles-based psych rock act Frankie and the Witch Fingers can trace their origins back to their formation about a decade ago in Bloomington, IN. Since the band’s formation the band has developed and honed a reputation for restless experimentation, multiple permutations and a high-powered, scuzzy take on psych rock, centered around absurdist lyrical imagery — fueled by hallucinations, paranoia and lust. And as a result, the band’s material manages to be simultaneously playful and menacing.
With the addition of Shaughnessy Starr, the Los Angeles-based psych rock act went through another sonic mutation that resulted in a lysergic and claustrophobic sound — while further relying on their penchant for Black Sabbath-style riffage. Building upon a growing profile, the members of the Los Angeles-based act has opened for the likes of JOVM mainstays Thee Oh Sees, Cheap Trick and ZZ Top.
Written while on the road, the act’s forthcoming album Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters . . . is slated for an October 2, 2020 release through Greenway Records and Levitation Festival’s label The Reverberation Appreciation Society. Recorded in a breakneck five day recording session, the highly-anticipated follow up to ZAM, Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters finds the band taking the turbulence of its immediate predecessor and making the material much more insidious, evil and ambitious while capturing the band in the midst of massive personnel changes — longtime bassist Alex Bulli left the band, and as a result the band’s Menashe wrote and played most of the material’s bass parts with occasional contributions from Dylan Sizemore. Much like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Infest the Rats Nest, Frankie and the Witch Fingers’ forthcoming album sees the band crafting expansive, maximalist material — with fewer moving parts. (Interestingly, Death Valley Girls’ Nikki Pickle will join the band as a touring member.)
“Sweat Freak,” Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters . . .’s latest single features crunchy, power chord-driven riffs, punchily delivered yet surrealistic lyrics and explosive horn blasts within an expansive, constantly morphing and expansive song structure. Sonically, the result is a song that’s one part King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard one part Stooges and one part Tool-like prog rock with a menacing and malicious air.
Done by Spaghetti Jesus, the recently released claymation video for “Sweat Freak” features trippy visual effects by Slob Dylan and 2D animation by Mitchell Zeni — and the video is centered around monstrous aliens performing weird and bloody experiments on people and each other. It’s hilariously disturbing and absolutely brilliant.
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.
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.
Comprised of Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “The Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi, the members of Canadian band The Death Wheelers have been largely inspired by the aesthetics 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 — with the result being sleazy, primal and bruising, jam-based instrumental rock ‘n’ roll.
Slated for a May 11, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, the band’s forthcoming I Tread On Your Grave is an album 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. But the time has come and they have risen for their last ride. They’re back from the grave and they’re hungry for blood! Nothing can stop this gang of living dead from recruiting new members as they travel coast to coast to find the filthiest, nastiest, trashiest individuals to join their ranks. Their goal, assemble a legion of 13 “discycles” (disciples+cycles) to seek revenge on the pigs that dismantled the club and send them to their graves. The cycle of violence continues . . . ”
I Tread On Your Grave’s latest single “Black Crack” is a raw, swampy, bluesy track that sounds as though it were inspired by ZZ Top, Howlin’ Wolf and Portland’s R.I.P. as it features enormous power chords with some boozy guitar pyrotechnics, thundering drumming paired with a jam-band “you-are-there-in-the-room” immediacy and swagger, while evoking a sense of primal lust and danger — and holy shit, does it kick ass.
Comprised of Worthing, UK-born, West Sussex, UK-based Mike Kerr (vocals, bass) and Rustington, UK-born, West Sussex, UK-based Ben Thatcher (drums), the British rock duo Royal Blood first met when the duo were briefly members of a local rock band, Flavour Country, in which Keer played keys and keytar; however, their collaboration together can officially traced back to a sabbatical Kerr spent in Australia, where he had started Royal Blood with Matt Swan on drums. And as the story goes, when Kerr eventually returned to his native England, his former bandmate Thatcher had picked up from the airport, and they immediately decided that they should start a band together. According to Kerr, the British iteration of Royal blood initially had a difficult time landing gigs and they wound up playing a lot of open-mic nights with acoustic singer/songwriters.
After further developing their sound at Brighton Electric Studios, the band was signed to Warner/Chappell Music and the same management company that managed blogosphere darlings Arctic Monkeys, the duo began to receive a steady amount of buzz before the release of their first official single. Now, as you may recall, the duo released their sophomore effort How Did We Get So Dark? earlier this year to critical praise from USA Today, Rolling Stone, NME, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes. Unsurprisingly, the album has also been a commercial success — it debuted at #1 on the UK Charts, as well as garnered over 30 million streams across Spotify and Apple Music and has sold over 250,000 copies. Adding to a breakthrough year for the British duo, they played at this year’s Outside Lands Festival and are finishing up a string of opening dates for Queens of the Stone Age throughout 2017 and 2018. (You can check out those remaining dates below.)
You may also recall that the swaggering, power chord-based arena rock friendly, album single “Lights Out” reached #1 on the Rock Radio Charts as the #1 Gainer, marking the second time the band has reached #1 in their relatively young careers together. The duo were recently on Conan where they played the bluesy and scuzzy, power chord-based, ZZ Top-like “I Only Lie When I Love You,” which will further cement their reputation for crafting bombastic arena rock.
I’ve long been a fan of The Onion AV Club, as I think they’ve consistently offered some of most incisive and hilarious criticism of movies, movies and pop culture, written by some of the country’s smartest critics and writers. And it shouldn’t be surprising that for a long time I longed to write for them. Now, since moving exclusively to the interwebs, the folks at The Onion AV Club created the Undercover video series. The concept behind the video series is pretty interesting — every season, the website’s writers and editors devise a list of songs that they would love to hear some contemporary artist or band cover.
The website’s staff then invites artists and bands over to their Chicago studio, where the invited band chooses a song from the AV Club’s list for that particular session — and then the band or artist records it in a live session. Here’s where things get truly interesting: Once a song is chosen and then covered, it’s crossed off their list, reducing the number of songs anyone else can cover that season, so if an artist or band is invited later on in their season, their choices may be much more limited than a band that was invited earlier. By doing that, it prevents having several invited artists or bands from covering the same sets of songs over and and over and over again.
And while revealing the influences and tastes of many contemporary acts, it also forces artists out of their confront zones, sometimes to a gloriously weird result — such as They Might Be Giants’ boisterous cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Screaming Females‘ feral, punk rock cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Gwar’s thrash punk covers of Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car),” and Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” which are so fucking awesome, that you need to check them out below) or to the “oh shit, I never thought that artist could pull that song,” like Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater’s collaborative cover of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” And as you can imagine, sometimes the covers are straightforward — and other times, the band or artist brings a unique, never thought of take. Adding to the unpredictability of the series, they’ve had Shearwater cover Bowie’s Lodger in its entirety.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this very strange year, you may recall that to start off the eighth season of Undercover, The A.V. Club invited the Seattle, WA-based indie rock blogosphere darlings Minus the Bear to their newly redesigned Chicago studio, where they played a forceful and lovingly straightforward cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room.” Adding to a pretty interesting season of covers, The A.V. Club invited renowned and incredibly prolific experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu into the studio, where they contributed a tense, manic, almost Devo “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”-like cover of ZZ Top’s smash hit “Sharp Dressed Man,” complete with a wild drum accompaniment that brings new life to an oft covered song.
Along with their John Congleton-produced 11th full-length effort FORGET, which was released earlier this year, the members of Xiu Xiu will be releasing a split 7 inch with Italian band (r) and it’ll feature both bands covering ZZ Top.
As Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart explains in press notes, “It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid i thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary Get In The Van wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new Exploited record and watching them cry.
This was funny and I thought hmmm . . .
Then after watching a long jag of music documentaries, Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, time and time again was a commentator. He was always incredibly smart, clearly deeply devoted to the history of music and insane looking.
We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’
The stars had aligned. I had no idea what a radical guitar part it was and what a pleasure it was to learn, by the end of the song I had to have 4 different fuzz and distortion pedals on to make it as zonked out as it needs to be.
Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, “Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.”
He sent in his perfect minimal, experimental, goth, cabaret version of ‘Gimme All Your Lovin.’ A perversion made in heaven was born. “
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