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Make My Head Sing'
UNIM-ATO-8411xJessica Lea Mayfield
Make My Head Sing...Make My Head Sing , the new album from acclaimed singer and musician Jessica Lea Mayfield, will be released on ATO Records. Co-produced
by Mayfield and her collaborator, bassist and husband Jesse Newport, the ten-song album was recorded at Nashville's Club Roar studio. Of the new
music Mayfield comments, "The whole record is just me and Jesse and my drummer Matt Martin. I think a lot of my favorite bands are guitar, bass, and
drums. I wanted to simplify things. Bands are so big these days, I wanted to get in the studio and make a rock record and hear real guitar tones and
The new album follows Mayfield's 2011 release, Tell Me, which was produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and was described by Rolling Stone,
which named her an Artist to Watch, as "a disarming collision of stark country balladry, dynamic alternative rock and arty electronic pop." Additionally the
Associated Press asserted, "Tell Me is the portrait of a precocious girl growing into self-assured womanhood and a producer reaching the peak of his
powers. It is a dark and moody album, full of delights throughout, and if it doesn't make Mayfield a star, that too will be heartbreaking," while Spin
Magazine included Mayfield in their "The Next Big Things: 11 Artists You Must Hear in 2011" feature, calling her a "smart-ass country-rock ingÉnue." She
also made her network television debut on the "Late Show with David Letterman," performing the album's first single, "Our Hearts Are Wrong," which NPR
Music praised as " genuinely moving."1. Oblivious
2. I Wanna Love You
3. Standing In The Sun
4. Pure Stuff
5. Do I Have The Time
6. Party Drugs
7. Unknown Big Secret
8. Anything You Want
9. No Fun
10. Seein* Starz$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Come My FanaticsImport
What a difference two years can make ... Between their self-titled debut and this follow-up, Electric Wizard beefed up and distorted their sound and polished their song-writing and the result has taken them light years beyond what the first album achieved. For this reason alone, anyone interested in the band's history and how a young group can progress in leaps and bounds, these two albums are worth seeking out and hearing. The most obvious improvement in the band's style is the overall sound: thick and grimy textures in slower-than-slow guitar chords and riffs, accompanied by basic drum rhythms and a washed-out wailing vocal singing lyrics of despair at the present world and conjuring avenues of escape from the social and political oppression in our society.
We dive straight into the deep end with Return Trip, a crusty doom sludge song if ever there was one, with black grime peeling off riffs to expose a raw layer that quickly changes to hard and dark and bleeds off in turn. The song sticks to the straight and narrow: even an extended instrumental passage doesn't attract a wiggly guitar solo, and it's only towards the end the song acquires layers of melody and riffing to suggest the vocalist's increasing mental derangement. Jus Oborn's singing isn't great - it's more like chanting or shouting sometimes - but his voice has a rough, anguished edge suited to the lyrical content. Real life is cold, hard, tyrannical, unjust and abusive and for many people the only way to stay sane is to escape into one's own world through the portal of hallucinogenic drugs. Wizard in Black and Doom-Mantia take up where Return Trip leaves off: these are epic tracks that extend the sludge / stoner doom trip out further into the realms of psychedelia, the latter track featuring treated vocals and multi-tracked voices (or so they sound).
Ivixor B / Phase Inducer is a wonderfully trippy mindfuck of a piece featuring a seemingly endless loop of female chanting with bubbly guitar effects and lazy bass rhythm followed by an abstract spacey tone piece that probably fell from an old pre-Autobahn Kraftwerk album and needed a home, so why not here. The atmosphere is spooky without appearing sinister. The two separate passages of the track are combined in a way that suggests a breakdown in a spaceship's communications with Earth while the astronauts are overcome by strange cosmic forces that can't be understood by rational people. Very original and quite ingenious!
The remaining tracks on the album suffer for being footnotes to the instrumental track and the strong first half of the album. Son of Nothing is hardcore melodic rock with metal trimmings in style and its post-apocalyptic / sci-fi lyrics embody both hope and fear as the remnants of humanity flee a scorched Earth to find a new home. Solarian 13 brings up the rear with a mix of gently buoyant and seesawing grime-thickened guitar rhythms around which trippy ambient effects swirl and tease.
The album draws its strength from a more streamlined musical approach in which music serves to enhance each song and its subject rather than fill out empty spaces with frills or show off individual musicians' dexterity and master of their instruments; and also from powerful lyrical themes of alienation, global destruction and flight to new worlds whether internally in one's head as a form of escape or externally for survival. Fantasy, the apocalypse and its aftermath, and science fiction elements of space travel through drugs and spaceships, and human migration to new worlds combine with doom, stoner and sludge metal to generate an original piece of work in Come My Fanatics .... It's on this album that EW find their calling.
- NausikaDalazBlindaz (The Metal Archives)1. Return Trip
2. Wizard in Black
4. Ivixor B / Phase Inducer
5. Son of Nothing
6. Solarian 13
7. Demon Lung
10. Return to the Son of Nothingness$37.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Freedom & SurrenderFreedom and Surrender
The circuitous dance between the beginning and the end.
Something amazing and terrifying happened to me as I entered into my 30s. I realized that I had run far off the course of my scripted plans, my projections for who I'd be, what I'd be doing, and how it would feel at this point. Then, the realization the mapped trail couldn't be recovered. A hound without a hunt, I was captured by unfamiliar woods far from earshot of the original game and players. Untethered by marriage with a scrap pile of maternal designs that never took root, I found myself forced, thank goodness, to let go.
The pageantry of over-identifying with past experiences and old ideals had ended. In review, I found that life's unfolding had exceeded my most elaborate visions while other hopes had slipped into ruin in the clasp of my determined hands. Meanwhile, a new meekness and curiosity made all of my experiences sacred and overwhelming, something akin to a reverent depression. Desire was quieted in my heart, and I was uneasy in the cool of my newness, wondering what I really wanted to do next.
When the label suggested that I consider working with Larry Klein, my entire focus shifted with a warm shrug, Why not? He's produced some of my favorite records. Within a few conversations I had found plenty of reasons to trust the voice on the other end of the line. I knew that I was respected for my potential and achievements, and he wasn't new to dealing with strong women. Another shrug, Why not? I had plenty to sing about now, a heart cracked open by disappointment, a will broken by the truth. I was ready for a new project, the kind of baby that I knew how to make.
It was suggested to me initially that I make a record of covers. It was the very moment my hard head became bent on writing my way out of my valley, no matter how hard or long I'd have to work for it. I'd count my steps and tell stories until I met the ridge line without borrowing anyone else's view. This was not my hour to cover, but to uncover, and hopefully, the reveal would be worth something. I trembled in the wait for my own revelation.
I scurried around the country (Nashville, New York and LA) to have collaborative conversations with old and new friends. I remembered how to just sit with people and talk, even though I was on a schedule and budget. We all spoke like we were on Grandma's porch, but the work got done. To my delighted surprise, much of this record was written with Larry himself.
My average day of preproduction with him looked like: A sunrise run and swim at Santa Monica pier, showing up to his studio sandy, salty, and red faced, talking through beautiful rambles with him and David Batteau while high on espresso. Then we'd get snagged by a soulful riff from Larry's acoustic bass guitar as he noodled along (seemingly) aimlessly. Often a story would present a hook and we'd return the next day with responses. This felt like an old and dignified pace of work, but also kind of risky. However, I looked up after a few months of these weeklong neighborly sits and real songs were following us, a train getting longer, each car intact and connected as we rolled on.
In the evenings I listened to demos of the budding songs on my phone as the sun set over the Pacific. I could see them, unmade movies. The tide of communion would pull back and the shining pieces left could be made into anything. This is when I knew that I had, in these mosaic sessions, stumbled upon a new page of my life.
I remembered the feeling of being found. One of the most moving songs from it's inception was, Somewhere Down the Mystic. Playing on the simple wonders of my rustic Appalachian life, we imagined a love lost to death and the feeling of it's lasting warmth, a nod to love's reach across life's threshold.
Months later, on February 20th, I had a near death experience, sliding across 300 yards of ice coated mountain curve. I softened my body and rested my hands in my lap. The heavy car floated silently towards a 75 foot ravine that ended with a wide band of frozen creek. Ok was the only thing I could get out in a sigh. I was stopped by a young bellwood tree that grew out of the bank like a hook. I slowed my breathing and meditated in suspension. About 20 minutes later, a young neighbor pulled the door open, reaching in with a strong arm to guide my climb out. Now when I sing the chorus, I see the gracious hole and the sweet sapling that grows over it. It threw me back, a fish returned to the river with a cut lip.
The pink bells of the tree can be seen on my homepage, and I want to keep such simple things close from now on. Why not? They were strong enough to save me. In surrender I experience freedom. The gift of an end is a beginning. I greet the sun with the only reason I've ever needed, why not?
-Lizz Wright1. Freedom
2. The Game
3. The New Game
4. Lean In
5. Right Where You Are
6. River Man
7. Somewhere Down The Mystic
8. Real Life Painting
9. To Love Somebody
10. Here And Now
12. Blessed The Brave
13. Surrender$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
REDD-SIN-7524xJohn Paul White
BeulahBeulah. It's a small, complicated word with a tangle of meanings.
It's the title of John Paul White's new album, his first in nearly a decade, a remarkably and assuredly diverse collection spanning plaintive folk balladry, swampy southern rock, lonesome campfire songs, and dark acoustic pop. Gothic and ambitious, with a rustic, lived-in sound, it's a meditation on love curdling into its opposite, on recrimination defining relationships, on hope finally filtering through doubt.
Beulah is also a White family nickname. "It's a term of endearment around our house," White explains, "like you would call someone 'Honey.' My dad used to call my little sister Beulah, and I call my daughter Beulah. It's something I've always been around."
Beulah is also something much loftier. For the poet and painter William Blake, Beulah was a place deep in the collective spiritual unconscious. "I won't pretend to be the smartest guy in the world," says White, "but I dig a lot of what he's written. Beulah was a place you could go in your dreams. You could go there in meditation, to relax and heal and center B photo credit: Allister Ann 119 west 57th street, penthouse north, new york, ny 10019 t 212.741.1000 www.sacksco.com SACKS A CO. N D yourself. It wasn't a place you could stay, but you came back to the world in a better state."
And perhaps the music on this album originated in that "pleasant lovely Shadow where no dispute can come." According to White, the songs came to him unbidden-and not entirely welcome. "When these songs started popping into my head, I had been home for a while and I was perfectly happy. I wasn't looking for songs. I didn't know whether any would pop back in my head again, and I was honestly okay with that. I'm a very happy father and husband, and I love where I live. I love working with artists for a label that I think is doing good work."
Far from the grind and glamour of Nashville-where he worked for years as a working songwriter before stepping into the spotlight himself-White settled in his hometown of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a wellspring of gritty Southern rock and soul since the 1960s. Together with Alabama Shakes keyboard player Ben Tanner and Shoals native Will Trapp, he founded and runs Single Lock Records, a local indie label that has released records by some of the Yellowhammer State's finest, including Dylan LeBlanc, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and legendary songwriter and keyboard player Donnie Fritts. The label is based in a small ranch house a stone's throw from White's own home, which would come in handy when those songs started invading his head.
"Honestly, I tried to avoid them, but then I realized the only way I was going to get rid of them was if I wrote them down. I got my phone out and I'd sing these little bits of melody, then put it away and move on. But eventually I got to a place where it was a roar in my head, and that pissed me off." Due to his experiences as a gun-for-hire in Nashville, White was reluctant to romanticize the creative process, to turn it into a spiritual pursuit. "Then one day I told my wife I think I'm going to go write a song. She was as surprised as I was. I went and wrote probably eight songs in three days. It was like turning on a faucet."
Most artists would kill for such a downpour, but White was wary of the consequences. He knew that writing songs would lead to recording them, which would result in releasing them, and that means touring and leaving home for weeks at a time. "As soon as I write a song, I start thinking what other people might think of it. I've talked to friends about this: What is it about us that makes us do that? Why can't I just sit on my back porch and sing these songs out into the ether? I don't have an answer for it yet, but I think it's just part of who I am. I need that reaction. I need to feel like I'm moving someone in a good way or in a bad way. I need to feel like there's a connection."
White threw himself into the project, no longer the reluctant songwriter but a craftsman determined to make the best album possible-to do these songs justice. He cut several songs at the renowned FAME Studios in his hometown, where Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Allmans, the Osmonds, Bobbie Gentry, Arthur Conley, and Clarence Carter recorded some of their most popular hits.
One product of those sessions is "What's So," which introduces itself by way of a fire-andbrimstone riff, as heavy as a guilty conscience-the kind of riff you wouldn't be surprised to hear on a Sabbath album. But White's vocals are gritty and soulful, a product of the Shoals, almost preacherly as he sings about earthly and eternal damnation: "Sell your damn soul or get 119 west 57th street, penthouse north, new york, ny 10019 t 212.741.1000 www.sacksco.com SACKS A CO. N D right with the man, keep treading water as long as you can," he exhorts the listener. "But before you do, you must understand that you don't get above your raisin'." It's the heaviest moment on the record, perhaps the darkest in White's career.
At the other end of the spectrum is "The Martyr," one of the catchiest tunes White has ever penned. The spryness of the melody imagines Elliott Smith wandering the banks of the Tennessee River, yet the song is shot through with a pervasive melancholy as White wrestles with his own demons. "Keep falling on your sword, sink down a little more," he sings over a dexterous acoustic guitar theme. This is not, however, a song about some unnamed person, but rather a pained self-diagnosis: "These are the wounds that I will not let heal, the ones that I deserve and seem so real." White knows he's playing the martyr, but he leaves the song hauntingly open-ended, as though he isn't sure what to do with this epiphany beyond putting it in a song.
The rest of Beulah was recorded in the Single Lock offices/studio near White's home. "I can be more relaxed about the process. We can all just sit there and talk about records or baseball without feeling like someone's standing over our shoulders. That's a big deal to me, not to feel pressured. And I'm only about twenty yards away from home, so I can walk over and throw a baseball with my kids or make dinner with my wife."
Some of the quieter-but no less intense-songs on Beulah were created in that environment, including the ominously erotic opener "Black Leaf" and the Southern gothic love song "Make You Cry." As he worked, a distinctive and intriguing aesthetic began to grow clearer and clearer, one based in austere arrangements and plaintive moods. These are songs with empty spaces in them, dark corners that could hold ghosts or worse. "There were certain moments when Ben and I would finish up a song, listen back to it, and think how in the world did we get here. But that's just what the songs ask for. These are the sounds in my head. This is the sound of me thinking and living and breathing and doing."
Once White had everything assembled and sequenced, it was time to give the album a title, to wrap everything up for the listener. Beulah stuck-not only because of family history or Blake, but because White realized that making music was his own trip to Beulah. "If you had to sum up what music is for most people in this world, it's that. It's that escape. It's that refuge. You go there and you come back and you use that to help you with your life. You always have that as a place to go."1. Black Leaf
2. What's So
3. The Once And Future Queen
4. Make You Cry
5. Fight For You
6. Hope I Die
7. I've Been Over This Before (Feat. The Secret Sisters)
8. The Martyr
9. Hate The Way You Love Me
10. I'll Get Even$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Crooked TeethPapa Roach has never taken the easy way out and they aren't going to start now. Over the past two decades the group have established themselves as true trendsetters in heavy music: They've been nominated for two Grammys, toured the globe with everyone from Eminem to Marilyn Manson and crafted the nÜ metal anthem "Last Resort," which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio seventeen years after its release. However, the group's tenth full-length Crooked Teeth sees the band returning to their humble-and hungry-roots. The album was recorded in a cramped West Hollywood studio with up-and-coming producers Nicholas "RAS" Furlong and Colin Brittain, who grew up listening to Papa Roach and inspired them to revisit some of the traits that personally endeared the band to them, most notably frontman Jacoby Shaddix's remarkable rapping technique.
"We've always kind of considered ourselves to be the bastard cousins of everything we've every been involved with so we wanted to be true to that and switch things up this time around," Shaddix says. "The first time we met up with RAS and Colin, they said that [2000's] Infest was on constant rotation when they were growing up and they wanted to bring back some of that fire." The connection between the artists and producers was immediate and the first song Papa Roach-which also features guitarist Jerry Horton, bassist Tobin Esperance, and drummer Tony Palermo-came up with for Crooked Teeth was "My Medication," an instantly catchy banger that sees Shaddix spitting verses in between massive choruses and ambient accents. "I really felt like we had a personal connection and the music was just there waiting to be written and once we nailed that song things really clicked and we knew exactly what we had to do" Furlong explains. "We really followed our instincts and tried something unproven with this record and because of that we ended up with a bold, courageous and more adventurous version of Papa Roach." It was in this studio that "old school" Papa Roach ways, morphed to create this "new school" Papa Roach sound.
From the instantly infectious nature of the title track to the atmospheric sheen of the ballad "Periscope" (which features Skylar Grey) and the hip-hop rock mashup "Sunrise Trailer Park" (which features an impassioned verse from Machine Gun Kelly). Crooked Teeth displays the various sides of Papa Roach and illustrates why they've managed to remain relevant while musical trends ebb and flow. "We didn't go into this album with the intention of trying to write radio singles," Horton explains. "The collection of songs was really about bookending everything that we've done prior to this album and reintroducing Papa Roach to people who didn't realize the depth that we have," says Palermo. "The whole idea was to take the classic elements of Papa Roach that everyone loved and revamp them into a modern version of the sound through the creative process," adds Furlong. "We just wanted to flip everything on its head and see what would happen and it turned out more amazing than any of us could have expected."
"The people who have wanted to hear me rap for years are gonna love some of the viscousness on this record," Shaddix explains adding that while he had his own initial reservations about some of the album's more unorthodox moments - such as the 808 bass drop into a metal breakdown on the album title track, "Crooked Teeth" - ultimately those adventurous decisions are what make the album such a refreshing change of pace in a rock climate that's grown increasingly sterile. "I'd like to personally thank all of the guys in the band for making this happen because all it takes is one person to give you a shot and this was definitely mine," Furlong adds. "I want to be one of the best producers in modern day music so I wanted to work as hard for these guys as they would for themselves because as a producer it was my job to push them to get the kind of quality work everyone has been expecting."
Just as Papa Roach felt like they still had something to prove with this record, so did the production team who attempted to bring in elements of music from different genres and parts of the world while still staying true to Papa Roach's sound. "One of the big elements in my production is finding those pockets of rhythm that people associate more with rap or reggae," Furlong explains, a fact that came in especially handy when Shaddix was fine-tuning his freestyle skills. "I know rap rhythms because I grew up listening to hip-hop, so I was able to make sure that the delivery was on point and the beat was in the pocket so it didn't suffer from a lot of the stylistic pitfalls that can happen when you merge rock and rap."
Crooked Teeth also sees Shaddix pulling no punches lyrically, as evidenced on intensely personal tracks like "Born For Greatness," produced by Jason Evigan (Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Kehlani, Madonna), which sees Shaddix getting sentimental about his three children, or "American Dream" where the lifelong pacifist begs the listener to ask, "have you ever thought war was a sickness?" "My father is a Vietnam veteran and a lot of those soldiers came back to a country where people weren't accepting them back into society or aware of the effects that war has on your psyche," Shaddix says of the song." "Post-traumatic stress disorder and the disintegration of the American family are things I've dealt with personally and I knew other people could relate to. I think that's what makes this record bold. Nothing was off limits when it came to what was on my mind."
Never one to shy away from difficult topics, Papa Roach dug deep with Crooked Teeth and refused to censor themselves when it came to their opinion of the current political landscape and organized religion. For example, on "None Of The Above," every ounce of musical intensity on the album is mirrored by Shaddix's words whether he's screaming, singing or rhyming. "It took me a long time, but eventually I realized that in life we're all human and we all make mistakes whether you're the president or the preacher, you know?" Shaddix explains when asked about the latter song. "It's an example of how I can get lost in a storyline and explore so many different issues in one track and that's what I love about this record. Just the spark of an idea would instantly ignite and the next thing we knew we had another song that we all loved."
In many ways making Crooked Teeth reminded Shaddix of the band's early days, well before they sold millions of albums and became a household name. "When we were in the rehearsal space I wasn't thinking about who I needed to impress, I was thinking about how much I love making music with the guys in this band," Shaddix admits. "It feels honest and it feels pure," adds Esperance. Fittingly, throughout the process, Shaddix gained inspiration from bands like Led Zeppelin and Faith No More, acts who constantly redefined themselves and were never content to rest on the merits of a hit single." This band encompasses some of my greatest victories, but it's also brought out some of my darkest character flaws," Shaddix summarizes, "so I have kind of a love-hate relationship with this music, but I can't stop because I've got too much of my life invested in it at this point. We are a purpose-driven band and I've got a responsibility to myself and our fans to continue to create."1. Break The Fall
2. Crooked Teeth
3. My Medication
4. Born For Greatness
5. American Dreams
8. Sunrise Trailer Park
10. None Of The Above$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Why Love NowPissed Jeans have been making gnarly noise for 13 years, and on their
fifth album, Why Love Now, the male-fronted quartet is taking aim at
the mundane discomforts of modern life-from fetish webcams to
office-supply deliveries. Rock bands can retreat to the safety of what
rock bands usually sing about. So 60 years from now, when no one
has a telephone, bands will be writing songs like, 'I'm waiting for her
to call me on my telephone.' Kids are going to be like, 'Grandpa, tell
me, what was that?' I'd rather not shy away from talking about the
internet or interactions in 2016, says frontman Matt Korvette.
Pissed Jeans' gutter-scraped amalgamation of sludge, punk, noise,
and bracing wit make the band-Korvette, Brad Fry (guitar), Randy
Huth (bass) and Sean McGuinness (drums)-a release valve for a
world where absurdity seems in a constant battle trying to outdo
itself. Why Love Now picks at the bursting seams that are barely
holding 21st-century life together. Take the grinding rave-up The Bar
Is Low, which, according to Korvette, is about how every guy seems
to be revealing themselves as a shithead. It seems like every guy is
getting outed, across every board of entertainment and politics and
music. There's no guy that isn't a total creep.
The lyrics on Why Love Now are particularly pointed about gender
relations and the minefield they present in 2016. 'It's Your Knees' is
about the endless, unrequested, commenting on if you'd fuck a girl.
'My great aunt won a cooking contest.' 'Oh, that's pretty hot. I'd hit
that,' says Korvette. On Love Without Emotion Korvette channels
Nick Cave's guttural side while bemoaning his detachment over
cavernous guitars. Ignorecam twists the idea of fetish cam shows-
where the woman just ignores you and watches TV or eats macaroni
and cheese or talks on the phone-into a showcase for Korvette's
rancid yelp and his bandmates' pummeling rock.
As they did on their last album, 2013's Honeys, Pissed Jeans offer a
couple of fuck that shit type songs about the working world. And the
startling I'm A Man, which comes at the album's midpoint, finds
author Lindsay Hunter (Ugly Girls) taking center stage, delivering a
self-penned monologue of W.B. Mason-inspired erotica-office small
talk about pens and coffee given just enough of a twist to expose its
filthy underside, with Hunter adopting a grimacing menace that
makes its depiction of curdled masculinity even more harrowing.
No Wave legend Lydia Lunch shacked up in Philadelphia to produce
Why Love Now alongside local metal legend Arthur Rizk (Eternal
Champion, Goat Semen). I knew she wasn't a traditional producer,
Korvette says of Lunch. I like how she's so cool and really intimidating.
She ended up being so fucking awesome and crazy. She was
super into it, constantly threatening to bend us over the bathtub. I'm
not really sure what that entails, but I know she probably wasn't
joking." The combination of Lunch's spiritual guidance and Rizk's
technical prowess supercharged Pissed Jeans, and the bracing Why
Love Now documents them at their grimy, grinning best. While its
references may be very early-21st-century, its willingness to state its
case cement it as an album in line with punk's tradition of turning
norms on their heads and shaking them loose.1. Waiting On My Horrible Warning
2. The Bar Is Low
4. Cold Whip Cream
5. Love Without Emotion
6. I'm A Man
7. (Won't Tell You) My Sign
8. It's Your Knees
9. Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst
10. Have You Ever Been Furniture
12. Not Even Married$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Live From Austin, TX (Buck Owens)Maybe it was an epiphany of sorts. As Buck tells it, One day I was watching Austin City Limits and Dwight Yoakam was on, then he dedicates the program to 'Buck Owens.' So I said, I'm going to see what this kid is like. It wasn't long after that he was on stage with Dwight singing his old hits. Buck was bitten by the bug to return to music, after calling it quits almost ten years earlier. This man from Sherman, Texas - probably best-known as the wide-grinning rube on Hee Haw for so many years - started a country music revolution. Or more accurately, a counter-revolution. It was called The Bakersfield Sound. He and fellow revolutionary Merle Haggard were cranking out raw, hard-driving honky-tonk music that stood the country-pop coming out of Nashville on its head. When Buck Owens and the Buckaroos would launch into I've got a tiger by the tail, it's plain to see....! the packed crowds would be on their feet and headed for the dance floor. Along the way Buck inspired none other than The Beatles to record their first country song, his classic Act Naturally, and the master of soul, Ray Charles, to immortalize one of the best-known country songs ever, Crying Time. Buck always loved his home state, and once flew to Austin on his private jet to make a surprise visit to a club that celebrated a Buck Owens Birthday night every year. He was also one of the few artists to ever write a handwritten note thanking us for inviting him on the show. Many thanks, he wrote, it is very representative of what I am all about. In my mind, Buck Owens will always be a rock star.
- Terry Lickona (producer Austin City Limits)1. Act Naturally
2. Together Again
3. Love's Gonna Live Here
4. Crying Time
5. Tiger By The Tail
7. Hot Dog
8. Put Another Quarter In The Jukebox
10. Under Your Spell Again (With Dwight Yoakam)
11. Johnny B. Goode$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Indoor LivingWith a lot of Superchunk products, it's easy to think there's a simple message because
the music is so direct. But on Indoor Living, typically unfussy guitar hooks and
shout-sung tag lines that beg for an audience to croon along-"Let's burn last
Sunday"-are just the overarching structure of a record that moons over details:
"Marquee" drapes a lazy sonic arm over the seat, pulling you in for a story about egos
twisting apart ("The arc of lights / above your head / is not to be believed").
"Martinis on the Roof " puts a slightly manic, rueful smile on the loss of a friend, a
search for that emotion that lurks in a mix of anger and nostalgia: "Well the wasted
space is mine / Yeah I hardly have the right to sing about it."
Indoor Living is about domestication: The taming and training of human beings to inhabit each others' lives, during which a certain amount of blood is spilled. But anyone
can write a break-up record, anyone can color in a broken heart all black. It takes a
more sophisticated eye to find the light and perfect moments that happen even when
we wish they didn't, and Indoor Living is a scrapbook of those moments. A request
for mercy comes across like an in-joke ("We both know that I've got bad knees") in
"Watery Hands." "European Medicine" is a lively travelog that's by turns amusingly
fatalistic ("All our wine just froze, so much for your sunny coast") and achingly needy
("Hold my hand steady while I write / Look over my shoulder all night"). Even "The
Popular Music," the record's angriest slice of heartache, has a protagonist that can't
quite pull off a fully punk rock tantrum: "I'm smashing not washing the china you left
me to use," but "making mosaics of scenes from the parts of my life that you left me
Angst is easy, hope is hard. Thinking you're going to die from a broken heart is easy,
knowing you won't is hard. Adulthood is about forsaking the black and white
resolutions of youth for a more complicated, and resonant, resilience: From "Burn
Last Sunday," one of the saddest lines in indie rock: "The branches you thought you'd
break / Well, they just bend." In music and with people, maturity happens when the
sharp edges and jangly rhythms of angst and outrage give over to fuller conversations.
Indoor Living shows that you don't have to lose a single joule of energy in becoming a
little more self-reflective. You just have to be willing to take it all in.
Trying to hear Indoor Living the way I heard it sixteen years ago was easier than I
wanted it to be. Though of course-of course!-I've listened to the record on and
off in the intervening time, I had forgotten how familiar this record is to me. I had
forgotten I knew all the words to every song, could anticipate every hesitant drop in
rhythm and wavering chorus. This record was the soundtrack of being 25 and because
of that, it does remind me of a really specific time; but that time is not so much the
late '90s as the turning point between adolescence and adulthood, which happens later
and later to me every year.
-Ana Marie Cox, 20131. Unbelievable Things
2. Burn Last Sunday
4. Watery Hands
5. Nu Bruises
6. Every Single Instinct
7. Song for Marion Brown
8. The Popular Music
9. Under Our Feet
10. European Medicine
11. Martinis on the Roof$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ADAD-SUB-1151xFather John Misty
I Love You, HoneybearI Love You, Honeybear was recorded intermittently from 2013 to 2014 in Echo Park, Los Angeles and produced with Jonathan Wilson, whom I also recorded and produced 2012's Fairly Fun with. There's a case to be made that it sounds and acts a bit like solo-era John Lennon, Scott Walker, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, and Dory Previn, while taking more than a few cues from Woody Allen, Kurt Vonnegut, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Muhammad Ali. Blammo.
It has a decidedly more soulful presence than Fear Fun, due in no small part to the fact that I am truly singing my ass off all over this motherfucker. The album is really characterized by the scope and ambition of the arrangements. Nearly every tune is augmented by something special, be it orchestral strings, a mariachi band, questionable electronic drum solos, ragtime jazz combos, soul singers, or what have you. I'm pretty sure there's a sitar in there somewhere. Blammo. My ambition, aside from making an indulgent, soulful, and epic sound worthy of the subject matter, was to address the sensuality of fear, the terrifying force of love,
the unutterable pleasures of true intimacy, and the destruction of emotional and intellectual prisons in my own voice. Blammo.
This material demanded a new way of being made, and it took a lot of time before the process revealed itself. The massive, deranged shmaltz I heard in my head, and knew had to be the sound of this record, originated a few years ago while Emma and I were hallucinating in Joshua Tree; the same week I wrote the title track. I chased that sound for the entire year and half we were recording. The means by which it was achieved bore a striking resemblance to the travails, abandon and transformation of loving someone. There: I said it. Blammo.
-Josh Tillman, aka Father John Misty
I Love You, Honeybear was produced by Josh Tillman and Jonathan Wilson, mixed
by Phil Ek, and mastered by Greg Calbi.1. I Love You, Honeybear
2. Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
3. True Affection
4. The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.
5. When You're Smiling and Astride Me
6. Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow
7. Strange Encounter
8. The Ideal Husband
9. Bored in the USA
10. Holy Shit
11. I Went to the Store One Day$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
No More Shall We PartNo More Shall We Part ends a four-year silence from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. A best-of was issued in 2000, but no new material has appeared since 1997's landmark album, The Boatman's Call. With that record Cave had finally delivered what everyone knew he was capable of: an entire album of deeply tragic and beautiful love songs without irony, sarcasm, or violent resolution. It appears that The Boatman's Call has altered the manner in which Cave writes songs, and the Bad Seeds illustrate them. Two musical directors -- the ubiquitous Mick Harvey and Dirty Three violinist Warren Ellis -- craft a sonic atmosphere whose textures deepen and widen Cave's most profound and beautiful lyrics to date. The ballads have the wide, spacious, sobering ambience one has come to expect from the Bad Seeds. There is an ethereal change in sound in the up-tempo numbers, which are, for lack of better terminology, musical novellas. They plumb the depths of blues, yet contain glissando and crescendos from the orchestral music of composers such as Fartein Valen and Olivier Messiaen. There are places, such as in Oh My Lord, where rock & roll is evoked as a device, but this isn't rock music. A listen to As I Sat Sadly By Her Side, Hallelujah, and the aforementioned track (the most rock song here) will attest that it is merely one color on a musical palette that is more expansive now than at any time in the band's history. Also in the band's musical treasure trove is the addition of the McGarrigle sisters on backing vocals - nowhere is their contribution more poignant than on the tenderly daunting, haunted house that is Love Letter. Lyrically, and as a vocalist, Cave has undergone a startling, profound metamorphosis. Gone is the angry, humorous cynic whose venom and bile touched even his lighter moments. His deep taunting ambivalence about Jesus Christ and Christianity in general is gone, vanished into a maturity that ponders spiritual things contemplatively. Humor that pokes fun churchianity remains, but not as a source of its inspiration. Over these 12 tracks, Cave has taken the broken heart--so openly exhibited on The Boatman's Call--and elevated it to the place where he has learned to live with, and speak from it as both an artist and a human being. Leonard Cohen stated in the song Anthem, that, there is a crack in everything/that's where the light gets in.No More Shall We Part is a mosaic of those cracks. If this album is about anything, it is about love's ability to survive in the world. It is examined concretely and abstractly; to the point where it meditates on this theme even cinematically. His methodology for the listener is, even though these are intimate conversations, the effect is illustrated in widescreen. In this way, Cave touches the heart in the same way Andrei Tarkovsky's films Stalker and The Sacrifice and Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire do. There is powerful emotion here, spiritual, psychological and romantic, without a hint of the sentimentality that would make it false. As both a singer and a songwriter, his work has been transformed into something so full of depth, color, and dimension, that there is simply no one except his mentors working on this level in popular music. In the opening moments of As I Sat Sadly By Her Side, a tenderly, softly sung vocal delivers: Then she drew the curtains down/And said when will you ever learn/That what happens there beyond the glass/Is simply none of your concern/God has given you but one heart/You are not a home but the hearts of your brothers/God don't care for your benevolence anymore/But he cares for the lack of it in others/Nor does he care for you to sit at/Windows in judgement of the world he created/While sorrows pile up around you/Ugly, useless and over-inflated/At which she turned her head away/Great tears leapin' from her eyes/I could not wipe a smile from my face/As I sat sadly by her side. The title track is a ballad that could have been lifted from The Boatman's Call, except it lacks the reaching tragedy. And Cave sings in a tenor no one thought him capable of -- And all the birds will sing to your beautiful heart/Up on the bell/And no more shall we part. The chaos of earlier Bad Seeds outings does kick up on The Sorrowful Wife, where violins and Blixa Bargeld's guitars duel with Jim Sclavunos's drums for domination of the sonic torrent. The record closes with two of Cave's most beautiful songs, a near country gospel waltz called Gates to the Garden with the McGarrigles sweetening an already lovely tome to redemptive love. Finally, Darker With the Day, illustrated by Harvey's striking pianistic ballad framework touched by Bill Evans' technique, is as strikingly autobiographical as Cave has ever been, highlighting the extremes of good and evils that inform and torment the protagonist's inner emotional life within in a single day. There is loss and the seeking of deliverance and, in a statement not so much of recognition that this is simply fate, he also acknowledges hope: All these streets are frozen now/I come and go/Full of a longing for something I do not know. As he calls to a lover gone seemingly forever, he comes to the conclusion that for him, redemption is in love itself, whether divine or profane; the only hope is that love, between two people or between an individual and her or his creator, depends on one's openness to receiving it. Who can argue with him? No More Shall We Part leaves listeners in awe, full of complex emotions, and pondering the notion that they've been in the presence of great redemptive art--which Henry James calls, the thing that can never be repeated.
- Thom Jurek (All Music)1. As I Sat Sadly by Her Side
2. And No More Shall We Part
4. Love Letter
5. Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow
6. God Is in the House
7. Oh My Lord
8. Sweetheart Come
9. The Sorrowful Wife
10. We Came Along This Road
11. Gates to the Garden
12. Darker with the Day$22.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Sundown Heaven Town (Deluxe)McGraw takes us back to that place with Sundown Heaven Town, his thirteenth studio album (and second release for Big Machine Records).
I picture a little town, like the one I grew up in, he says of the album's picturesque title. It's late in the afternoon. Sunset. Maybe some kids are playing baseball, and their family members are in the stands. You're at the point where the working week has given way to the weekend. That's my idea of sundown in heaven town.
Sundown Heaven Town pays tribute to those two decades, putting a new stamp on all of the sounds the revved-up country rockers, the nostalgic ballads, the down-home numbers that have made McGraw one of the best-selling country artists of the modern era.
From the banjo riff that kicks off the opening track, Overrated, to the digital percussion that pushes Lookin' for that Girl into pop-influence territory, Sundown Heaven Town mixes the old with the new, the rustic with the modern, the organic with the electric. It's a country record, in other words... with all the twists and turns we've come to expect from someone who's been at the top of the genre since 1994.
This album is very encompassing of everything that I've done in my career, McGraw explains. It's a good microcosm of what my 20 years in music has been. You can hear parts of my career throughout all these songs, as well as the future and where my music is headed.
Sundown Heaven Town also shines a light on the family, friends, and collaborators who've played roles in McGraw's career. His first cousin, Catherine Dunn, joins him on Diamonds Rings and Old Barstools, a classic-sounding country ballad about love on the rocks. His wife of 18 years, Faith Hill, lends her award-winning vocals to Meanwhile Back at Mama's, which doubles as the album's first chart-topper. Longtime friend Kid Rock makes an appearance, too, raising a rootsy ruckus on the bonus track Lincoln Continentals and Cadillacs.
I love being able to collaborate with great people, he says. To be in a place in your career where you can call up somebody like Keith Urban or Kid Rock and ask them to play or sing on a song with you, and they do it... How cool is that?
Several months before the album's release, McGraw launched the Sundown Heaven Town 2014 Tour, giving the singer a chance to perform some of the album's songs long before they hit stores. After spending countless summers on the road McGraw knew that his new songs deserved to be heard not only on the radio, or in a pair of fans' earbuds, but on stage. After all, there's an immediacy to Sundown's faster tunes, an anthemic vibe that owes just as much to the amphitheater as the honky tonk.
A family man and devoted husband, McGraw also shines a light on his softer side with tracks like Words are Medicine and Portland, Maine. He recorded his vocal parts for the latter song in just 10 minutes. The result is a wounded, wistful ballad, driven forward not by a drumbeat, but an acoustic guitar. McGraw may look larger than life while standing onstage... but when he sings about heartache, he sounds just as vulnerable as the rest of us. Maybe that's why he considers Portland, Maine one of the album's best songs, a difficult distinction to make on a record that spawned three hit singles before the album's release.
From start to finish, Sundown Heaven Town tips its cowboy hat to the traditions of country music, then tosses a some new ingredients into the mix. The result is a melting pot of everything Tim McGraw does best. It's a country album for 2014, anchored by a fondness for the genre and the desire to push it into uncharted territory. More than anything else, it's proof that artists can sound contemporary without chasing after current trends. After all, trends don't last but songs do. Especially songs like these.1. Overrated
2. City Lights
3. Shotgun Rider
5. Diamond Rings and Old Barstools with Catherine Dunn
6. Words Are Medicine
7. Sick Of Me
8. Meanwhile Back At Mama's feat. Faith Hill
9. Keep On Truckin'
10. Last Turn Home
11. Portland, Maine
12. Lookin' For That Girl
13. Still On The Line (No Ghost Ending)
14. Lincoln Continentals and Cadillacs duet with Kid Rock
15. Kids Today
16. I'm Feelin' You
17. The View
18. Black Jacket$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
FutureIt's something we all want the answers for. It's something we fear. It's something we want to have a grip on.
So we ask for clearcut forecasts, desperately seeking security in precise, defined direction. Tossing and turning, we think if we could just glimpse the end of the book, we'd rest easy. We make plans and maps, charting out our lives and where we want them to go. We find ourselves filled with anxieties, pressure, worries
Jordan Feliz knows the feeling.
But he didn't write his newest album, Future, because he figured out all the answers to his path. Quite the opposite. This record was born out of Feliz making peace with the fact that he doesn't, none of us can, know what his future holds. Cling to your best-laid plans until your knuckles turn white, mark your calendar up and down, worry yourself dizzy But the real answer is accepting that we do not hold the future in our own two hands. And thank goodness, because the One who does has already written better stories for us than we ever could.
Following widespread acclaim for his first album, The River, Jordan Feliz began the journey of recording a new one. But the process didn't start how he expected or hoped.
"I started going through anxiety and honestly didn't know how to begin, because I felt like 'Everything I create isn't going to be good enough.'" Jordan remembers.
He was on tour, trying to write for the album, but experiencing panic attacks. He found himself unable to connect with the songs he'd been working on.
"My head wasn't in the right spot. My heart wasn't either. it was more focused on appeasing people. It was listening to myself and not to God."
Then back home with friends and co-writers Paul Duncan and Colby Wedgeworth, he marched not around the fear, but through it. And on the other side was solid ground.
"I said 'What if I just can't do it?' but then Paul says to me 'Look man, there's no pressure. Everything in your future has already been plotted by Jesus. He has paved every step of the way for you, in a way to have favor on your life. Our future is not wound up in our success, but in the inheritance of God.'"
With those words, something clicked for Jordan. He took a breath. He let go. He remembered that his future is held by the strong, kind hands of the Father.
"Sometimes it's really hard to silence out the world and just listen to the small, still voice. But once I refocused and listened to Him, He had a message for me," Feliz shares. "A fire was set in me to write a song about freedom. A song we can sing to be stoked that every single day there's a God that loves us, never ceases, and never fails."
That day they wrote "Witness," which would go on to be Feliz's first single for Future, in only 45 minutes.
"And that's when the record started."
It's certainly not the first time Jordan's had to rely on faith. Six years ago, following much prayer, he and his wife ventured to Nashville after feeling called to make the move; the only catch: they didn't even have enough money to make it all the way from California to Music City. They were depending on a few performance gigs Jordan had along the route.
"But all the shows I was scheduled to play got cancelled. At first we were stressed and asking 'What do we do?'. We just felt like the Lord was saying 'You need to go.You just need to trust me.' We had to decide to think about what the Lord has for us, instead of what we have for ourselves. Watch and prepare for what He can do, not what we think we can do."
He ended up with a spontaneous opportunity to perform for less than 30 people, who bought more than enough merchandise to get the Felizes to Nashville.
"We sobbed in the car," he reflects. "For God to show us that He gives us more than we even need "
Jordan tells that story in the album's track "All Along," his most personal song to date. With the first lyric describing his literal first moment of breath, Feliz goes on to tell some of his life's highlights, revealing God's presence through each moment of every season.
And that's what marks this album as a mature step forward for the singer-songwriter. The vibrant pop melodies are not only infectious, but deep-rooted in the vulnerable walks of faith he's ventured through in the past year.
"This record is just chock-full of story. Every single song," Jordan says. "It's kind of me taking a piece of my life, my heart, my beliefs, and my trust in God and just giving them to people. And hopefully they'll hold onto the message and learn to trust God even more through it."
He wrote most of the album on the road with a hectic tour schedule and only eight other writers. Feliz was surprised to find that he loved this unorthodox writing process, saying it allowed for him and cowriters to spend more time simply experiencing life together, then reflect on it through creating music. Gone was the pressure to sit in a room and crank out a hit song. The result: more authentic songs that come from inspiration found in everyday life. Songs the musicians poured themselves into- including one of Jordan's favorites, "Faith," which came about from a middle-of-the-night writing session.
"That never would've happened back home," Jordan laughs.
And as Feliz and his team were wrapping up, something incredible happened for an album that began from a place of insecurity. When it came time to make the final song decisions, typically a stressful and challenging process, Jordan felt an unexpected peace.
"Not even kidding, the day we left that meeting, we all just kind of knew those were the songs. With The River, we thought through every little thing, but this time it feels like the Lord just gave us these songs and was like 'This is it. You don't need anything other than these.' And we still wrote over 40 songs, but it was so clear that these were the ones that were going to be recorded. We hadn't even heard them produced yet, so we were just hoping it was all going to turn out right and it did. These songs were gifted to me by the Lord."
Jordan Feliz belts out "Witness" to a roaring crowd.
"Your love is moving mountains every day of my life. Can I get a witness?"
Hands shoot up, voices join in, souls worship. Jordan beams. It's the smile of a heart that knows it's landed in the hands of its Protector. The smile of a heart, fearlessly honest, that is connecting with others. A heart that's traveled through uncertainty, and probably will again, but will always find home in the story already written for it.
Jordan listens to the new record, the latest season of his life in musical form. Those early doubts have transformed into peace. The shame into compassion. The worry into joy, and the fear into excitement.
"Probably craziest of all is that I didn't see any of it coming together at beginning. I thought 'There's no way this is going to get done and I'm going to be able to handle it,' and it just happened. This entire project comes down to the fact that every day I'm learning how to trust God more and more and more."
He doesn't know how the next chapter reads. But he knows something more important: the Author.
"Every time I think about the concept of this record, it feels like it's purposeful for people to grab onto the idea of a song and hold onto it for a very long time. That's what it stands for. It stands for what's coming. It stands for what God has for our life."
Written. Held.1. Witness
2. Count That High
4. Streets Of Gold
6. Lay It Down
8. All Along
11. That's The Life
12. My Shelter
13. Blank Canvas$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Santa CruzReared on a hefty diet of 80's glam rock Americana á la Guns N' Roses and such, Santa Cruz are a rock 'n' roll sensation, who, despite their very young age have hosted numerous rock clubs of their own in their native Hellsinki Rock City, scoring hordes of stark-raving-mad fans and reaping attention and endorsements from peers and media alike. The German rock magazine Stalker even recommends it to their readers that they plan their Finnish vacations around Santa Cruz's tour dates.
If there ever was a band that looks completely out of place in their hometown, it would have to be Santa Cruz. Whereas contemplating suicide in a snowdrift, drunk out of one's skull, comes naturally for the inherently dark and brooding Finns, something as sunny, positive and unlawfully h-h-h-hot as Santa Cruz shouldn't probably be even possible on these semi-Arctic ice-ridden shores! It's just that tracks like "High on You" with its shimmering harmonies, rabidly energetic "Let's Get the Party Started" and "Aiming High" which probably possesses the sickest guitar riff in Finnish rock and metal this side of 1986, will prove to you, the Santa Cruz brand of rock 'n' roll works like an intravenous shot of Adrenaline! The top-notch songwriting and guitar chops from Hell will leave your jaws ajar and with Archie's unbridled yelps, at times you'd be willing to bet your cojones that it's the ghost of Bill Bailey singing - no small feat considering that Mr. Bailey is still very much alive! No wonder the Santa Cruz gigs are infamous of getting a wee bit unhinged at times!
Without further ado, let's round it out with the endorsement of a guy who knows what the f**k he's talking about: "Never mind that they are young, 'cuz the matter of the fact is, that Santa Cruz definitely sticks out from all these retro hair metal bands running around nowadays. Not only do they have the attitude and the looks, but most importantly they sure as hell know how to play and the songs along with the awesome guitar playing pretty much makes me wanna bang my head in two pieces when I see them play live. And after all that's what it's all about. End of fucking story!!!" -Alexi Laiho / CHILDREN OF BODOM1. Bonafide Heroes
2. Velvet Rope
3. My Remedy
4. 6(66) Feet Under
5. Bye Bye Babylon
6. We Are The Ones To Fall
7. Wasted & Wounded
8. Let Them Burn
9. Vagabonds (Sing With Me)
10. Can You Feel The Rain$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Get BackIt's doubtful that Stephen McBean set out to make The Great Rock 'N' Roll Primer when he started conjuring the
songs that would come to be Pink Mountaintops' Get Back.
The record's beginnings were reasonably straightforward: McBean had moved to Los Angeles, taken a long hiatus
from Black Mountain and an even longer one from Pink Mountaintops when he met producer Joe Cardamone, lead
singer of Icarus Line at Valley Recording Company in Burbank,CA.The two bonded quickly over Flying Nun bands,
Television Personalities, Roxy Music, Johnny Thunders, and Born Against. Joe was excited to meet someone he
actually liked. Stephen was excited to work with someone who said Sing it like you would've sung it when you were
21. Simple enough,right?
But ask him to set the scene and you'll hear about a motorcycle shop owned by Michael Barragan, former member
of Los Angeles noise rock band Plexi. You'll hear about an endless supply of rock 'n' roll video documentation for
last minute inspiration or de-evolution in the living room.Ask who's on the record and you'll get a constellation of
greats:J Mascis(DinosaurJr &Witch),Rob Barbato (Darker My Love,The Fall & Cass McCombs), Steve Kille (Dead
Meadow), Daniel Allaire (Brian Jonestown Massacre, Cass McCombs & Darker My Love), Annie Hardy (Giant
Drag), Jon Wahl(Clawhammer), and Gregg Foreman (Cat Power & Delta 72).Randal Dunn (Sunn O))),Earth, Sun
City Girls, Boris) mixed Get Back at Avast! Studios (Bikini Kill, Mudhoney, Christ On A Crutch, Soundgarden) in
Seattle. Howie Weinburg (Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Danzig, Ramones, Slayer) mastered it in Laurel Canyon.
Ask about the record itself and McBean will tell you about Alleys, curbs, walls, and cigarette stained gig flyers.An
island on the Pacific coast. Fake British towns. Slayer posters.The beauty of youth.It's about listening to Driver's Seat
and 'Guns of Brixton' and hotboxing The Duster. And suddenly it becomes clear: when the aliens do touch down
and they don't know rock 'n'roll, you can play them Get Back start to finish, and that'll be all they need.
Get Back comes out swinging with Ambulance City, a head-trip of a song with a chugging, insistent, oddly timeless
guitar riff sitting front and center.The Second Summer of Love needs almost no explanation; it dives into 80s VHS
saturation and never comes up for air. Sell Your Soul is a deep sigh and a motorcycle ride, a roll in the grass
lamenting summertime blues with a little grit and a little harmony. And North Hollywood Microwaves is
downright obscene. But what better way to start Side B than this? You can listen at hushed volumes so your parents
don't hear, you can crank it in a dorm room, you can smirk to yourself from the safety of rock 'n'roll's old age.You
start to wonder- why don't all Side Bs start with a song like this one
The number of platitudes in music hit critical mass years ago, and among those tropes is that annoying, inescapable
mantra:rock 'n'roll is undefinable.And yeah,sure, that's true. It's different things to different people. It starts with
guitars, maybe, and ends with a stage-dive, or spit, or feedback. Rock 'n'roll is drugs, is rebellion, is youth, is sex, is
cosmic. It's wanting more than you have.Rock 'n'roll is butts and cigarette butts.And Pink Mountaintops might not
be the best-known band ever to make rock 'n' roll, but in Get Back they just might have written its scripture -- an
exploration and celebration of what, exactly,rock 'n'roll can be.1. Ambulance City
2. The Second Summer of Love
3. Through All The Worry
5. Sell Your Soul
6. North Hollywood Microwaves
8. New Teenage Mutilation
10. The Last Dance$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Double ExposureWhile many rocking bands in San Francisco and beyond claim to be 'garage' bands' - Kelley Stoltz has actually recorded his new LP Double Exposure in the garage behind his house. And while the car oil stained floors are covered by oriental rugs and there are no snow shovels laying around - there is a collection of vintage synths, 17 guitars, tape echos, mellotrons, a 50's jukebox, a Teardrop Explodes poster, a tape machine used by The Residents, an amp used by Stooge James Williamson, and a myriad other noise making devices which rear their heads on his new record. All told the place is called Electric Duck Studio and it's become a muse capturing zone for Stoltz, as well as Sonny & the Sunsets, The Mantles, Tim Cohen, Life Stinks, The Sandwitches and many other tuneweavers big and small.
Double Exposure is Kelley's first album in a while - near on 3 years since his last one, To Dreamers came out on Sub Pop. What the heck has he been doing since, you ask? Well, renovating the garage for one, and using said garage studio to engineer, produce or encourage the above named bands You see time flies when you're having fun. Add in some love, a little heartbreak, turning 40, deciding to jog everyday, staring at the wall, singing hundreds of songs into the phone, sleeping, recording an album of cover songs with his family, making a couple 45 singles, catching white wine buzzes, getting dropped by Sub Pop, playing keyboards on tour with Rodriguez, and signing on with old supporters at Third Man Records really it's as good old Sandy Denny sang, who knows where the time goes.
Anyway, if you stir up all that stuff and a few other things we won't mention here, you have the makings of a fantastic and heartfelt record, Double Exposure has 10 new jams that Thee Oh Sees main man, John Dwyer, describes thusly, A piece of gold in your ear, A lovely thought in your mind, A breeze in the sun, This record is perfect
Nicely put there Johnny! And you too will thrill to the sound of delay pedals twisting the keys on Inside My Head, crane your neck to the backwards guitars of Are You My Love, ramble and gamble to the clanging cymbals on the title track, question the sanity of a song called Kim Chee Taco Man, and finally, fall down and weep at the sweet fluted sentiments of It's Summertime Again.
For all of you Aussie rules fans, the album was mixed and mastered by Mikey Young of Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Total Control and features Stoltz playing most of the instruments himself and overdubbing parts through his trusty 8 track tape machine.1. Storms
2. Are You My Love
3. Your Face
4. Double Exposure
5. Inside My Head
6. Still Feel
8. Kim Chee Taco Man
9. Down By the Sea
10. It's Summertime Again$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Grace & LiesOn the surface, the two concepts Grace and Lies couldn't seem more different. One of them restores, the other ruins. One of them forgives, the other deceives. But to hear Kim Krans, frontwoman for Family Band, tell it, the two aren't opposed, they're intertwined. Grace and Lies are two characters I envisioned last summer, she says, by way of explaining the haunting title track on the group's second record. I couldn't get them out of my head. I saw them in a field behind our cabin, singing and slow dancing, like ghosts, sort of. They're the rulers of beauty and false promises. And we all fall for them from time to time."
And therein lies the beautiful dichotomy of Family Band. A collaboration between visual-artist-turned-singer Kim Krans and her husband, onetime heavy-metal guitarist Jonny Ollsin (Children, S.T.R.E.E.T.S.), the merging of the couple's sensibilities makes for music that's simultaneously elegant and visceral. Their songs are as stark as bare trees in winter, Krans' baleful alto swooping mournfully over Ollsin's glimmering guitar like a black crow against a grey sky.
As its title implies Grace & Lies is equal parts light and shadow, evoking the mystery and terror of early Cat Power, the ghostly aura of Warpaint, with whom Family Band toured in 2011, and the hushed longing of prime-era Cowboy Junkies. Though they explored similar territory, both sonically and lyrically, on their self-released debut, Miller Path, on Grace their canvas is wider, the greys lusher, the blacks deeper. Assisted by bass and lapsteel player Scott Hirsch (Hiss Golden Messenger), the couple has made a record that boldly confronts life's darker questions.
Miller Path was recorded mostly at our cabin upstate, while Jonny was busy with his metal band and I was focused on my visual arts career, Krans explains. It was my first time recording music and I didn't know how to steer the wheel. I didn't even know what the wheel was. But with Grace & Lies, we all decided what the overarching atmosphere and mood of the record should be. I made big drawings of each song in the control room, with all the parts and changes illustrated, and we built those visions with sound.
That meticulous planning is evident throughout. Night Song revolves around a single, dazzling guitar riff that spirals like stars in the night sky; Ride builds steadily to an ominous, spectacular finale, timpanis booming and guitars gathering like storm clouds in a clear sky; and Again, which boasts production and instrumental work by Dan Rossen of Grizzly Bear, surges forward, a roaring river beneath a sheet of ice. Grace & Lies is a document of a band staring down life's larger riddles: love, death, loss and deceit.1. Night Song
5. Your Name
7. Grace & Lies
9. Rest$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Savages (Discontinued)Max Cavalera is the walking embodiment of creative energy, of all of the diverse layers of urgency that are possible from that select few whose artistic output defines genres. Mystic shaman, protest singer, revolutionary hero, everyday metalhead, furious consumer of heavy music of all shades, husband, father, leader, songwriter Cavalera reigns as the adoptive tribal chief of a generation of fans, stretching from the roughest slums of South America to the coldest confines of Russia. Anywhere that people are disenfranchised, the songs of SOULFLY serve as their anthems.
Armed with Cavalera's four-stringed guitars, unmistakable growl and instantly recognizable riffage, the muddy tones and constant rhythmic bounce of SOULFLY has retained its gritty edge while pushing the boundaries of what's possible in metal. »Savages« represents a career-defining moment, solidifying the lineup with longtime lead guitarist Marc Rizzo (who has been in SOULFLY almost as long as Max was in SEPULTURA), bassist Tony Campos (Static X, Ministry, Prong) and Max's 21 year-old Zyon, who splits his time between drumming in LODY KONG and now SOULFLY.
"All of the things that make SOULFLY killer are combined in Savages," Max declares.
»Savages« melds the most brutal, the heaviest and overall the most vibrant components that made up each record in SOULFLY's diverse catalog. By Max's own account, »Savages« is possessed of the tribal groove of the first two SOULFLY albums, particularly in songs like 'Bloodshed', 'Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rolla' and 'Master of Savagery'. But there's also the thrash metal that was found on DARK AGES and OMEN; whereas the CAVALERA CONSPIRACY records contain short, punky bursts, the new SOULFLY record gets into the epic length territory of early METALLICA. The death metal vibe of SOULFLY's »Enslaved« emerges in songs like 'Fallen' and 'Cannibal Holocaust'.
"I really like the name »Savages«. I like single words that sound powerful, like 'Primitive', 'Roots', 'Arise'," Max explains. "It's about the human condition right now. We have the Internet and we're working on missions to Mars, but we are still decapitating each other and blowing up marathons. We're still savages. Even with technology and how far we've come in the world, our spirit is still that of a savage."
A trailblazing pioneer and musician with millions of albums sold who nevertheless retains boundless street cred due to his grimy, raw and undeniable authenticity; Max Cavalera is one of the most prolific artists the realm of heavy music has ever known. There's CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, which reunited Max with his brother and former bandmate, Igor Cavalera. There was the brutal attack of NAILBOMB, Max's collaboration with Alex Newport from FUDGE TUNNEL, which included members of DEAD KENNEDYS, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, BIOHAZARD and NEUROSIS on-stage. There's his forthcoming band with members of THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, MASTODON and THE MARS VOLTA. Of course, there's Max's unassailable work as SEPULTURA's founder, leading the Brazilian band from their badass lo-fi beginnings, through their era of sophisticated thrash classics, up through the cultural landmark that is 'Roots'.
SOULFLY began almost instantaneously after his departure from the band he founded. The eponymously titled debut »Soulfly« sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone, further expanding upon the tribal foundation of 'Roots' with percussive instrumentation, forays into esoteric sounds and multiple guest performers. Across the seven albums and never-ending tours that followed, Max worked with a who's-who of the heavy music scene as band mates, guest musicians and touring members, including guys from SLIPKNOT, SLAYER, MEGADETH, DEFTONES, RADIOHEAD, STONE SOUR, CYPRESS HILL, MACHINE HEAD, DEVILDRIVER, FEAR FACTORY, MORBID ANGEL, THROWDOWN, S.O.D., SKINDRED, BORKNAGAR, WILL HAVEN and CATTLE DECAPITATION, among others.
In addition to Max's own self-production, a number of important producers have lent their skills to SOULFLY, including »Roots« producer Ross Robinson (KORN, AT THE DRIVE-IN), Toby Wright (Ozzy Osbourne, SLAYER), Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE), ex-SOULFLY guitarist Logan Mader (FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, GORJIA) and Zeuss (HATEBREED, SUICIDE SILENCE) and Terry Date (PANTERA, DEFTONES).
Cavalera asked Date, who had mixed for SOULFLY in the past, to produce the new album. Once studio time with the legendary producer was on the calendar, Max kicked into high gear with the material. Max and Zyon worked on the songs that would comprise »Savages« at home. "Zyon came up to me and said, 'Give me a shot. I'll play on the record for you. I won't let you down," explains the elder Cavalera. "I went into a room with him to jam and it felt great. So I said, 'Fuck yeah, let's do it!"
Generally on a SOULFLY album, the drummers would learn the songs in the studio, based on demo recordings from Max. This time, Max had the luxury of working out the songs at home with Zyon. "We jammed every single day for a month. He knew 90% of the material already when we got into the studio. It reminded me of recording the old Sepultura stuff, like Arise and Chaos A.D., Igor knew exactly what he was going to do before we went into the studio. This was very similar."
Cavalera says he must've written at least 1,000 riffs specifically for »Savages«. "The killer riff is what hooks the whole song together," he says. "For me the writing process is about finding the most killer riffs possible. It's a battle; sometimes I struggle with the guitar for hours. You have to throw it down on the floor and take a break. Come back a few hours later. 'Let's try this again, motherfucker!' Grab it again and go to battle, go to war with the guitar until you get the right riffs."
Max points to BLACK SABBATH's 'Symptom of the Universe' as one of the penultimate riffs of all time, citing SABBATH's Tony Iommi and METALLICA frontman James Hetfield as among the riff-masters he most admires. "I think of riff making as an art-form. I take it really seriously. I think it deserves more attention. It has such value."
Speaking of riffs, Rizzo came into the band a decade ago and his love of thrash metal, death metal and collaborative spirit has energized Max ever since. "When Marc entered Soulfly, it was a drastic change. He's the guitar player I've been looking for my whole life. Andreas [Kisser] and I really clicked when we worked together. I never had that again after that. We had other guys that were cool, but it was never 100% there. When Marc came in, I found it! We've developed a great bond since." Rizzo particularly shines on the opening track on Savages, 'Bloodshed.' "There's stuff all over the song - clean guitars, feedback - he just makes the song better."
Campos has a lengthy resume in the world of metal and Max says they bonded over their shared Latino heritage, among other things. "I had this idea about this guy Vargas, a Venezuelan cannibal, they call him 'El Comegente.' He's the Hannibal Lecter of the Andes. We both read about it. Tony sings some of it in Spanish and I sing in Portuguese. He's a great bass player too, fucking amazing. Killer bass tones, distortion, all balls-out metal. He keeps this shit real heavy, great tone. It's great recording with guys who know what they're doing. I don't have to ask if they know."
Max acknowledges the inherent risk in putting a 21 year-old behind the kit for such an important record, but it was a risk he absolutely wanted to take. "To have my son drumming on the album, that's killer. I like risks. I like to start shit up and see what happens. Even if I fail, at least I knew I tried. Rather than knowing I didn't try at all. To me, that's the bigger failure. It took a little bit of courage to put my son on it. I came to the studio and told Terry there was a young drummer who doesn't play to a click. Terry knew what to do and Zyon did great. The drums sound amazing."
Like all things Max Cavalera, does SOULFLY's »Savages is a family affair. Not only does it mark Zyon's recorded debut with the band, but one of Max's other kids throws down some vocals in the opening track, 'Bloodshed'. "My son Igor has a killer punk rock voice that reminds me of the old CORROSION OF CONFORMITY days," Max says. "The chorus has this old punk style riff, almost like a MISFITS type riff. His voice is killer."
Like every SOULFLY album, »Savages« contains an impressive guest list comprised of veterans and up-and-comers. CLUTCH's Neil Fallon turns up on 'Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rolla', the title of which was inspired by Mel Gibson's classic Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior movie. Jamie Hanks from I DECLARE WAR brought his high and low deathcore vocals to 'Fallen', a death metal oriented song Max says is in the vein of CANNIBAL CORPSE.
Mitch Harris from NAPALM DEATH contributed vocals to 'K.C.S.' Harris has been around the Cavaleras long enough that there are videos of him changing Zyon's diapers when SOULFLY's new drummer was just one month old. "Mitch came to the studio just to hang out during a day off from tour," Max explains. "I'm like, 'You ready to sing some shit on this record?' I put him on the spot. He's like, 'Right now?' I said, 'Fuck yeah, let's do it!' There was one point where we were recording together where he did a scream and I saw his eyeball popping out of his face like a cartoon. I was like, 'Dude that was the most metal thing I've seen in a long time.'"
Even as Max continues to consume new music from band like NINE INCH NAILS, MAN MUST DIE, TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED and I DECLARE WAR, even as he revisits seminal material from METALLICA, SLAYER, C.O.C. and the like, and indulges his penchant for world music, and gets his hands in his other projects and collaborations, it all adds up to a singular, distinct, straightforward and riff-heavy machine known as SOULFLY.LP 1
2. Cannibal Holocaust
4. Ayatollah Of Rock 'N' Rolla
5. Master Of Savagery
1. This Is Violence
3. El Comegente
5. Fuck Reality (Bonus Track)
6. Soulfly IX (Bonus Track)$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Set Your Lightning Fire FreeIt's been a busy couple of years since the self-release of Shana Falana's debut EP,
2011's In The Light. The veteran dream pop artist has toured all over the US and
Europe. She's released two Bandcamp-only collections of lo-fi works, Channel and
Velvet Pop, as well as a cassette-only document of her early-career music, Shana Falana
Sings Herself To Sleep. But for all her globetrotting, archiving, and micro-releasing, this
is the moment we've been waiting for: Set Your Lightning Fire Free.
A lightning fire is exactly what it sounds like, the earth at odds with itself, burning
itself to the ground and starting from scratch. On this record, her debut LP, Shana
Falana makes a point of breaking her own rules. "I've always kept the different sides
of my music separate. The ambient ballads, the fuzzed out stuff; they all needed to
exist as their own statements," says Falana, "I would have two or three bands at one
time: a sludge rock band; a Bulgarian women's choir; a pretty, dreamy organ and guitar
duo. This is the first record where I've combined all of that, sometimes in the course
of one song."
Rather than spending months in the studio, laboring over arrangements and ideas,
Falana recorded SYLFF in just over a week. The songs were already compact and fully
realized from years of touring. Recorded at ISOKON studios in upstate New York
with producer Dan Goodwin (Devo, Kaki King), SYLFF's working mantra was a) get
the idea down b) move on c) don't look back. Shana chose to record the vocals herself
alone in various locations, from her bathroom to a child's bedroom. And for the first
time, Shana wrote and performed her own lead guitar parts.
The other noticeable difference is the addition of steady drummer and creative
companion, Mike Amari. The two met at a garden party. Shana was covering a
Bauhaus song and the two instantly connected. Soon after they were setting up to
play together for the first time in an abandoned theater in Kingston, New York.
Mike's minimalistic and tribal approach to drumming was a perfect fit with Shana's
droning dream pop, and within six months they were heading out on their first
Shana and Mike's collaboration has culminated in Set Your Lightning Fire Free, and the
result is a record of stark confidence. Undaunted guitar riffs and thundering drums
prevail, while Shana's two decades of songwriting and performing lend authority and
emotion to one or two word refrains like "Gone," "Go," and "There's a Way."
"Anything," with its Bollywood strings and industrial groove, climaxes with repeated
shouts of "No, you didn't take anything from me!" in a way that would make James
Murphy sweat. Lead single "Heavenstay" takes the lilting "higher, higher, higher"
refrain of In The Light's "Light The Fire" and absolutely soars with the most explosive
chorus of the LP. Day-Glo guitars are smeared across this record, and Falana's
veritable army of vocals stacked and vibrating with her eastern European influences.1. Gone
5. Know UR Mine
6. Shine Thru
7. Second Skin
8. There's a Way
10. That Girl$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Music For DogsThere's a quote tucked into the recent documentary film about the iconic design duo Charles and Ray Eames, commenting on the symbiotic nature of Charles and Ray's marriage, their work life in Venice Beach, their home life not too far away, and their creative life: Work is art is life is work is art... It's a concept so simple a small child could dream it, yet it's one we tend to lose in the strange, abstract grind of modern life and modern ambition. For Gardens & Villa songwriters Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen, a return to this very harmonious relationship of art/work/life and a rediscovery of the DIY ethos that once defined the pair's formative creative years mark the defining thread of their head-turning new album, Music For Dogs. The revelation that we hear play out so inspiringly across Music For Dogs is one that came at a make-or-break moment for the band last year. Pushed to fall in line as an indie-pop act while their artistic interests lie as much in the avant-garde. Pushed deeper into debt just to keep their band alive. Pushed from within to leave the comfort zone of their longtime home base in Santa Barbara and set up a new HQ in Los Angeles. Lynch and Rasmussen responded by bucking the idea of art as a career and making art their very way of life. With a top-to-bottom renovation of a warehouse space in LA's Frogtown neighborhood lovingly dubbed The Space Program and shared with visual artists, designers, and creatives, the pair began to live and write music on their own terms, just as they'd done before their music was placed on the marketplace. Music For Dogs is a deeply personal album that pokes, prods, and even strangely celebrates the zeitgeist of music commerce, pleasure culture, technological advances and the new home they've found in Los Angeles. The New Age and Eastern Religion sentiments that rippled across their first two albums (2011's Gardens & Villa and 2014's Dunes) have been swapped out with a new sort of zen pop-Nihilsm. What's Nihilism anyway but Buddhism with a fuck-it attitude? They've found a way to live on the firing line, a way to actually harvest creative energy from our sad Internet tendencies, the uncertain future. My whole life fixation/See if we can make it underneath the radar, goes Lynch and Rasmussen's respective call-and-response on Fixations, a song about the beauty in bottoming out and then finding the false bottom. Lynch could mean living as a creative in the underground or living outside peripheral view of the NSA. Under the stewardship of visionary producer Jacob Portrait and with irreplaceable rhythm section Dusty Ineman (drums) and Shane McKillop (bass), Fixations - and a great deal of Music For Dogs - is really just Gardens & Villa doing what it has always done best. G&V creates Byzantine melodies and richly interwoven arrangements for synths, guitars and vocals that work incredibly well on a cerebral level, but wouldn't upset a 3 a.m. pool party either. The jaunty, jarring piano and bass that begin Everybody perfectly frame the song's anxiety-riddled themes of 21st Century voyeurism, surveillance and the turnstile of avatars intended to represent our true selves. Everybody wants the new you/No one cares who you are, Lynch sings in a repeating chorus before the band collapses into a lovely out of time mall piano breakdown, which itself drops effortlessly back into the jaunty verse section. And the speedball ripper Maximize Results that begins the record is perhaps G&V's most ecstatic, vulnerable moment laid to record to date. It alone is worth the price of admission.1. Intro
2. Maximize Results
6. Alone in the City
7. General Research
9. Happy Times
11. I Already Do$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Rock 'N Soul Part 1Rock 'N Soul Part I On Numbered Limited Edition 180 Gram LP From Mobile Fidelity
The Definitive Hall and Oates Greatest-Hits Compilation: Rock 'n Soul Part I Loaded With Nine Top 10 Singles, Including Kiss On My List and Private Eyes
Mastered From the Original Master Tapes and Pressed On 180 Gram LP At RTI
All The Signature Songs From The 1970s And 80s Are Here, From Sara Smile And She's Gone To Maneater
Other compilations have longer track lists and go farther back into their career, but no Hall and Oates greatest-hits collection surpasses Rock 'n Soul Part I. Originally released at the height of the duo's career in fall 1983, the 12-song set functions as a time machine back into an era when Daryl Hall and John Oates dominated the charts with songs that have long since become standards. While a majority of the anthology draws from the group's trio of mammoth RCA albums spanning 1980 through 1982, it also includes the pair's only three Top 10 smashes from the 1970s: Sara Smile, She's Gone, and the chart-topping Rich Girl. One-stop shopping for the absolute best of Hall and Oates doesn't come any easier.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g LP at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's analog reissue presents nine Top 10 Hall and Oates singles with awe-inspiring detail and palpable realism. Lifelike tones grace the array of guitars, pianos, basses, and voices placed against synthesized backdrops. Each member's singing claims enhanced intimacy and balance. The collective harmonies sound sharper, the dynamics richer, and the soundstages wider and deeper. While the tandem's peers often relied on robotic mechanisms and now-dated keyboard devices, Hall and Oates wisely merge the period's savvy styles with tried-and-true soulful instrumentation.
Indeed, with one listen to this definitive-sounding version of Rock 'n Soul Part I, and you'll understand why the duo's music not only ruled radio and record stores in the Reagan era but also continues to be referenced by influential artists today. You already likely know every song - or nearly every one of them - here by heart. Arriving upon a near-flawless fusion of dance grooves, soft rock rhythms, smooth vocals, romantic sentiments, catchy beats, and spotless hooks with #1 singles such as Kiss On My List and Private Eyes, the collaborators simultaneously crossed over into multiple markets and eradicated boundaries.
All the trademarks - swinging verse structures, call-and-response choruses, stick-in-your-head bridges, sleek keyboard layers, doo-wop fills, and, in some places, reggae-nodding accents or cool saxophone lines to stir up the mood and atmosphere - that make the duo's music irresistible pulse throughout Rock 'n Soul Part I. Eight of the singles included here cracked the Top 5. They remain prototype intersections of blue-eyed soul, edge new wave, and dance, blueprints for pop mastery that catapulted Hall and Oates to becoming the most successful duo in rock history.
Hear the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees' standard-setting equilibrium between polish, melody, muscle, and craft on their signature hits like never before.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Say It Ain't So
2. Sara Smile
3. She's Gone
4. Rich Girl
5. Kiss On My List
6. You Make My Dreams
7. Private Eyes
8. Adult Education
9. I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
11. One on One
12. Wait for Me$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Porcupine MeatNaming one's album after a song titled "Porcupine Meat" may seem a little unusual - unless, of course, you're Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled "Chicken Heads." He elaborates on his recent composition: "If a lady won't treat me right, but she doesn't want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest." Hence the lyric, "too fat to eat, too lean to throw away."
Porcupine Meat is Rush's debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. The album is due out September 16, 2016.
Rush estimates that he has cut over 300 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with three Grammy nominations, as well as ten Blues Music Awards and 41 nominations. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.
Make no mistake: Rush is not your typical octogenarian. At age 82, he exudes the energy of a 20-year-old, on the road for more than 200 dates a year. His hectic tour schedule has earned him the affectionate title King of the Chitlin' Circuit. Rush has traveled the globe including Japan and Beirut. In 2007, he earned the distinction of being the first blues artist to play at the Great Wall of China. His renowned stage act features his famed shake dancers, who personify his funky blues and the ribald humor that he has cultivated during the course of his storied career.
Born Emmet Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, he adopted the stage name Bobby Rush out of respect for his father, a pastor. According to Rush, his parents never talked about the blues being the devil's music. "My daddy never told me to sing the blues, but he also didn't tell me to not sing the blues. I took that as a green light."
Rush built his first guitar when he was a youngster. "I didn't know where to buy one, even if I had the money. I was a country boy," he says. After seeing a picture of a guitar in a magazine, he decided to make one by attaching the top wire of a broom to a wall and fretting it with a bottle. He also got some harmonica lessons from his father He eventually acquired a real guitar, and started playing in juke joints as a teenager, when his family briefly relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. The fake moustache Rush wore made club owners believe he was old enough to gain entry into their establishments. While he was living in Little Rock, Rush's band, which featured Elmore James, had a residency at a nightspot called Jackrabbit.
During the mid-1950s, Rush relocated to Chicago to pursue his musical career and make a better life for himself. It was there that he started to work with Earl Hooker, Luther Allison, and Freddie King, and sat in with many of his musical heroes, such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter. Rush eventually began leading his own band in the 1960s. He also started to craft his own distinct style of funky blues, and recorded a succession of singles for a various small labels. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Rush finally scored a hit with "Chicken Heads." More recordings followed, including an album for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Label.
Rush relocated one final time, to Jackson, Miss. in the early 1980s. He was tired of the cold up north, and he realized that setting up his base of operations directly in the center of the South would make it easier to perform in nearby cities on weekends. More indie label recordings followed. Songs like "Sue, A Man Can Give (But He Sure Can't Take It)," "What's Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander Too," and" I Ain't Studdin' You" became regional jukebox favorites in juke joints throughout the region, and many of those songs are still fan favorites that are an integral part of his live repertoire.
Since 2003, Rush has self-released the majority of his work (including the critically acclaimed Folk Funk album) on his Deep Rush label, but recently, he came to the realization that having a bigger record company behind him would be beneficial. "I outgrew myself," he says. "I need someone to help in doing the things I can't do. When you are wearing all the hats, you can't be everywhere at once."
Enter esteemed producer and two-time Grammy winner Scott Billington, Rounder Records' longtime VP of A&R. Billington first met Rush at a Recording Academy meeting 25 years ago, and they became fast friends. He has wanted to work with Rush ever since. "He is the most vital bluesman of his generation," says Billington. He continues, "There are many people who still don't know Bobby Rush, even though he is a hero in the parallel universe of the Chitlin' Circuit - fans stop him on the street in Memphis and Helena and Little Rock."
Porcupine Meat will not only please Rush's older fans, but is likely to win over many new ones. Billington reflects, "We wanted to come up with something fresh, while staying 100% true to Bobby."
The album was recorded in New Orleans, and Rush was pleased and proud to be given the opportunity to make an album in his home state for the very first time. His impassioned vocals and in-the-pocket harmonica playing are among the best performances of his career. Unlike most of his recent releases, these sessions only feature real instruments and no synthesizers. All of the rhythm tracks were cut live in the studio, often edited down from jams that on several occasions ran close to ten minutes.
For the project, Billington assembled some of the best Louisiana musicians, including Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander, Kirk Joseph, Cornell Williams, and others. Rush brought along his old friend and longtime collaborator, guitarist Vasti Jackson, who worked with Bobby and Scott on getting the songs ready for the studio. Guitar greats Dave Alvin, Keb' Mo', and Joe Bonamassa all make guest appearances on the album.
Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as "Dress Too Short," "I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around," "Me, Myself And I," "Nighttime Gardener," "It's Your Move," and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material. "Funk O' De Funk" delivers exactly what the title suggests and what Rush has always done the best, which is putting the funk into the blues. While "Got Me Accused" is inspired by events from Rush's own life, the lyrics tell an all-too-familiar tale about the rampant racial injustice that afflicts our society. Producer Billington and his wife Johnette Downing (the well known New Orleans songwriter and children's musician) co-wrote a couple of fine selections, "Catfish Stew" and "Snake In The Grass."
Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing. Porcupine Meat is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn't try to be anything that he is not. "I just try to record good music and stories," he humbly states. With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times.1. I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around
2. Porcupine Meat
3. Got Me Accused
4. Snake in the Grass
5. Funk O' De Funk
6. Me, Myself and I (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
7. Catfish Stew
8. It's Your Move (feat. Dave Alvin)
9. Nighttime Gardener (feat. Keb Mo)
10. I Think Your Dress Is Too Short
11. Standing on Shaky Ground
12. I'm Tired (Tangle Eye Mix)$25.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
UNIM-ATO-0010xKing Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Nonagon Infinity (Awaiting Repress)Pressed On Splattered Vinyl (Dark Vinyl With Light Splatters)
"Nonagon infinity opens the door," sings Stu Mackenzie, frontman of Australian psych-rockers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. It turns out, though, that once the door's open, it never closes. That's because the Melbourne septet has ingeniously crafted what may be the world's first infinitely looping LP. Each of the nine, complex, blistering tracks on 'Nonagon Infinity' seamlessly flows into the next, with the final song linking straight back into the top of the opener like a sonic mobius strip. It's exactly the kind of ambitious vision that prompted Rolling Stone to dub the band "one of the most compelling collectives of art-rock experimentalists in recent years." But far from a simple conceptual experiment, the album is both an exhilarating shot of adrenaline and a remarkable feat of craftsmanship, the result of painstaking planning and an eye for detail years in the making.
The roots of 'Nonagon Infinity' stretch back to 2014, when King Gizzard recorded their critically acclaimed album "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz," which was hailed by Pitchfork as "dense, intricately crafted, and most importantly, powerful."
"We actually wanted to do this with 'Mind Fuzz,' but it just didn't work," explains Mackenzie. "We ended up writing songs that needed to be on that record but didn't connect to the others, so we had to abandon the idea, but the seeds were sown."
To an outsider, it may have seemed like the band had completely given up on the concept, as the ever-prolific group quickly followed 'Mind Fuzz' with two more records in 2015, 'Quarters'-described by The Guardian as "the neon intersection of DIY psych and 1960s beach pop"-and the stripped-down 'Paper Mache Dream Balloon,' which earned praise from NPR to Stereogum. The truth, though, was that King Gizzard was honing in on the 'Nonagon Infinity' material the whole time, test-driving various tracks in their explosive live shows to prep for the monumental task of stitching them all together into one searing, multi-movement epic.
"We really wanted to focus on things that felt good live," says Mackenzie. "We'd grab a little riff here or a little groove there, and we'd jam on them and form songs out of them, which was the opposite of 'Paper Mache,' where we were making songs in an acoustic, classic-songwriting kind of way. I wanted to have an album where all these riffs and grooves just kept coming in and out the whole time, so a song wasn't just a song, it was part of a loop, part of this whole experience where it feels like it doesn't end and doesn't need to end."
Recorded at Daptone Studios in Brooklyn, the final result is an intricate and immersive listening experience. Lyrical refrains and musical motifs establish themselves and then submerge beneath the chaos, only to resurface unexpectedly later like familiar companions on a labyrinthine journey. Motorhead-grade riffs give way to King Crimson and Yes-levels of prog complexity, as songs churn through unusual time signatures and shifting rhythms with blunt force, laying waste to everything in their path.
"I wanted it to feel like a horror or sci-fi movie," explains Mackenzie of the album's dark overtones. "The lyrics came as a stream of consciousness, all of these elements just falling out of my head as it was happening."
"Big Fig Wasp" references a particularly macabre insect that must kill itself in order to perpetuate the species, while "Gamma Knife," with its 11/8-time drum solo, is named for a surgical tool that burns cuts into the skin, and "People-Vultures" plays like a sinister film soundtrack. Album opener "Robot Stop" pulls more directly from the band's recent experiences, inspired in part by their relentless work ethic and tour schedule, which has included festival performances at Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Montreux Jazz & Roskilde as well as countless sold out dates in rooms across the USA, UK, Europe and Australia.
"That song's about feeling overworked, like a bit of a robot that's just going to crash and die or something," he says with a laugh. "But you get yourself up and do it again and you robot on and you're alright. It was one of the early ones we wrote for the record, and I think when that song came together, everybody started to feel like were going to actually be able to pull off this never-ending album idea."
To say they pulled it off would be an understatement. The record is a force to be reckoned with on par with the road trains Mackenzie references in the album's final track.
"In the Australian desert, in the outback, there are what's called road trains, which are these massive trucks pulling heaps of carriages that can end up being 50 meters long," he explains. "They drive on the road really, really fast, and they're deadly, with these bars in the front to kill kangaroos and anything else in their path."
'Nonagon Infinity' has opened the door for King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and they're barreling ahead with more momentum than ever before now. Much like those road trains, with a band this good, the safest place to be is onboard.1. Robot Stop
2. Big Fig Wasp
3. Gamma Knife
5. Mr. Beat
6. Evil Death Roll
7. Invisible Face
8. Wah Wah
9. Road Train$19.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
The Grinding WheelArmed with pioneering pure metal proposals like "Death Rider," "The Beast Within," and "Raise The Dead" already in 1982, New Jersey's Overkill were a rock-solid part of the first clutch of bands forging in fire this music known as thrash metal. Along with Metallica, Exodus, Slayer and cross-town doppelgangers Anthrax, D.D. Verni and Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth were helping to create a new form of metal that is still as vibrant today as when the band's first album, Feel the Fire was issued by Jonny Zazula's Megaforce Records back in the spring of '85.
Witness Overkill's 18th album of blistering yet precise and thought-provoking thrash magic, The Grinding Wheel, a record on which thrash's ultimate team of five machined parts shows up and executes to perfection with a little punk thrown in for bad measure.
But a life dedicated to metal can be a grind, hence the title of this sparks-a-flyin' record. "It just makes sense for us," reflects D.D. "If you've been making metal for almost 40 years like we have, it can be a grind. But we also liked the old school metal idea of referencing "Grinder," the Judas Priest song, which suits the album because it has classic metal parts on it as well as the thrash parts. There's a blue collar feel to that title too, and that's how we approach Overkill. The guitar case is basically a lunchbox and we go to work."
"One of the principles-if not characteristics-of the band is that it's been grinding through for long, long periods of time," seconds Blitz. "Decades to this point. And not necessarily with huge gains with regards to popularity, but for sure, with huge gains in as much as we can earn a living while doing the kind of music that we want. And so the idea of grinding it out over the decades became a device for writing the album, whether it would be riffs or lyrics."
Despite, as D.D. says, the album's classic metal references (such as Black Sabbath in "Come Heavy" and Iron Maiden in "The Long Road" and the epic and cinematic title track), when the band gets up a full head of thrash steam, they bring to the party a trademark punk aesthetic, forged from trips on the train to CBGB and Max's Kansas City to witness original punk legends such as The Damned and The Dead Boys.
"Punk is huge for Overkill," confirms Verni. "And it's something we very specifically brought back to the band in a sort of second wave, beginning with Ironbound in 2010 and then The Electric Age and White Devil Armory. I know from my end, it came from talking to the band and talking to fans. We had some of those metal records in the middle of our career where I wasn't paying enough attention to the punk rock vibe of the band. But just before we started writing Ironbound, I was very specific about getting back into that mentality, picking up on that energy again. You're not going to hear any Green Day or Ramones in us, but the energy and the attitude of punk mixed with the New York vibe that's what Overkill is, compared to other bands. You don't hear any of that in Megadeth; you don't hear any of that in Slayer. It's more specific to what we brought to the thrash world."
Central to that premise is the incendiary "Let's All Go to Hades" which is sure to become a pit favourite. "This one was a hell of a lot of fun," says Blitz. "You know, I've always written abstractly. I'm not the guy who says, 'I'm going to crush your skull into dust.' I like writing more so from an abstract point of view, putting a slew of thoughts together that create one idea, like a puzzle more than a specific black or white. And when I looked at all these lyrics when I was done, I said, oh my God, I'm 57 and I finally matured (laughs). Oh, this is gross! (laughs). But I do like tongue-in-cheek songs like 'Hades,' where it says, sort of let's all go to the Bataclan, you know, stand arm in arm and sing 'Killed by Death.' I kind of tied in not long ago events, specifically what happened in Paris, with losing Lemmy. After that, I'm on a train from Paris to Istanbul on the Orient express, which actually existed (laughs)-it actually went from Paris to Istanbul. So that one is mapped out a bit more."
Adds D.D., "It's not a 'smash your face into the wall' kind of song. It got a little bit of fun in it. I know any time you talk to the really heavy thrash guys, they go, 'Oh, no, no, no-no fun allowed. It's got to be heavy and brutal every second.' But that song definitely has a bit of fun in it. And we've done that before, with things like 'Old School' and 'Fuck You.' We're not afraid to do a bit of that sometimes."
Another favorite lyric of Blitz', which is set to a non-nonsense old school thrash track, is "Our Finest Hour." "It's about the recognition of sameness," explains Ellsworth. "I think people are comfortable when they recognize themselves in someone else. And 'Our Finest Hour' is kind of a detailed journey through that concept. It's like, 'Come on over here; I recognize you.' I've always been a firm believer in the fact that it's great to accomplish things on your own, but people are always stronger as a group-that's the basic outline of that tune."
At the other end of the spectrum from punk is a song like "The Long Road." D.D. readily agrees that there was a Maiden influence as part of this one's crafting. "Oh yeah, for sure. The opening, along with a little section in there with the vocals, definitely feels like New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
More evident in the band's panoramic classic metal passages, but even articulated here on "Our Finest Hour," is another storied Overkill trademark, the definition one gets in the band's bass parts. Combine this with the Mensa-like percussive wizardry of Ron Lipnicki (laid bare for all to hear at headphone levels through the smack of his gravity-defying double bass work), and The Grinding Wheel emerges as a record with a remarkable rhythm section foundation from which to rise.
"I've had that kind of sound now for a long time," says Verni. "There are a lot of bass players that say, 'I want to feel the bass.' And it's like, I just couldn't give a shit about feeling the bass. To me that's low-end. Guitars have low-end, kick drums have low-end, bass has low-end-I want to hear the bass, not feel it. So from a long time ago, that's what I would be doing on my EQ. I would be tweaking and turning knobs until not only could I feel it, but I can hear it separate from the guitars. And as a result, the bass just got more and more aggressive. I'm not a finesse player at all, on a bass. I bang the shit out of it, and I kind of do that to get away from the guitars and give it its own identity, its own sound, its own thing, so the bass has its own personality, not just serving as a foundation for the guitars."
This affects the writing as well, says Blitz. "Don't forget, D.D. is a guitarist. He's been playing guitar probably more so than bass in his spare time since the late '80s. This is a guy who has two-and-a-half decades of six strings under his belt. So we get more of a unique perspective; it gives this band its unique qualities when it comes to songwriting. Because it's a guy holding six strings who's got plenty of experience playing those six strings, but thinking from the other perspective. So you get a punchier thing; you don't get a lot of fluff. When you compare Overkill to some of our contemporaries, there you get a guitar player writing guitar-based songs. D.D. is writing, first and foremost, from a rhythm perspective, and that's what drives the songs. Add Dave Linsk to the picture, once there's a ten-note riff written, then you have the best of both worlds."
Which brings us back to the aforementioned machine-like efficiency of the five guys that comprise Overkill, this idea that there are no weak links within this particular classic five-piece with two guitars lineup of metal warriors.
"That's the strength of the band," explains Blitz. "Dave is really the one that holds the guitar reigns in this band. He's a writer at his core. You know, he's one of these guys who brushes his teeth and hears a rhythm the way the bristles are hitting the enamel (laughs). He's that dude. 'Oh wait a second, I have another idea.' He has an idea a minute, and if that's the case, some of them are going to be great. So he holds the reins. When it comes to Derek, he's more the opinionated thought later on. And so when it runs through the machine, being D.D. and myself, then Dave, Derek comes in and can change that song. It's always kind of good to have, let's say, a chief and some Indians. And it depends who's wearing the chief hat at any particular time. But I think at the end of the day, when you're looking for a clean perspective, it goes through Derek-that's usually what his contribution is, more of a finalization."
And Ron? "He's one-of-a-kind," says Verni. "He's a great drummer. I've worked with him for a bunch of records now. This is our fifth record together and so I really understand how he plays at this point. Working with him in the studio is just a pleasure, because he's so right on it."
After heaping all manner of praise on legendary producer Andy Sneap (brought on only for mix given Verni's proven acumen at the task), D.D. further clarifies the reason Overkill can be at the top of their game 18 records into their distinguished run.
"I have a studio and I did most of it at my place; I've been doing it that way for a while now. And now the group of guys we have in the band has been pretty consistent for a while. So we have a nice mix; everybody kind of knows their role, and is good at their role. Everybody brings a little something to the party. And I think that's why these last couple of records people ask, 'How is it that your records get better after 25 years?' And I think part of it is that everybody has a role in the band, everybody is comfortable with their role, and they're really good at the part they have. So the records actually get better. It's like having a team, instead of having a whole bunch of chiefs and no Indians.
But a proven people's band like Overkill-a more personable bunch you'll never meet-fully recognizes that part of the band's success in being able to survive and thrive with the grind is due to the allegiance of the band's considerable worldwide fan base.
"For sure," says Blitz. "One of the things with regard to grind, with regard to four decades of Overkill, it's good to be here, but it's obviously earned, not just by us but by the people that support this in general. The fact is that it's not just us grinding it out. I mean, maybe it is when it comes to the studio and writing and recording songs, from that selfish perspective. But the reason something exists for decades is based on group effort. Like we had talked about earlier with 'Our Finest Hour,' people are stronger together. In that light, this band is, let's say, not just our project, but it's a project by and for all those who hold it dear."1. Mean, Green, Killing Machine
2. Goddamn Trouble
3. Our Finest Hour
4. Shine On
5. The Long Road
6. Let's All Go To Hades
7. Come Heavy
8. Red, White And Blue
9. The Wheel
10. The Grinding Wheel
11. Emerald$31.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Grinding Wheel (Yellow And Black Vinyl)Pressed On Yellow And Black Vinyl
Armed with pioneering pure metal proposals like Death Rider, The Beast Within, and Raise The Dead already in 1982, New Jersey's Overkill were a rock-solid part of the first clutch of bands forging in fire this music known as thrash metal. Along with Metallica, Exodus, Slayer and cross-town doppelgangers Anthrax, D.D. Verni and Bobby Blitz Ellsworth were helping to create a new form of metal that is still as vibrant today as when the band's first album, Feel the Fire was issued by Jonny Zazula's Megaforce Records back in the spring of '85.
Witness Overkill's 18th album of blistering yet precise and thought-provoking thrash magic, The Grinding Wheel, a record on which thrash's ultimate team of five machined parts shows up and executes to perfection with a little punk thrown in for bad measure.
But a life dedicated to metal can be a grind, hence the title of this sparks-a-flyin' record. It just makes sense for us, reflects D.D. If you've been making metal for almost 40 years like we have, it can be a grind. But we also liked the old school metal idea of referencing Grinder, the Judas Priest song, which suits the album because it has classic metal parts on it as well as the thrash parts. There's a blue collar feel to that title too, and that's how we approach Overkill. The guitar case is basically a lunchbox and we go to work.
One of the principles-if not characteristics-of the band is that it's been grinding through for long, long periods of time, seconds Blitz. Decades to this point. And not necessarily with huge gains with regards to popularity, but for sure, with huge gains in as much as we can earn a living while doing the kind of music that we want. And so the idea of grinding it out over the decades became a device for writing the album, whether it would be riffs or lyrics.
Despite, as D.D. says, the album's classic metal references (such as Black Sabbath in Come Heavy and Iron Maiden in The Long Road and the epic and cinematic title track), when the band gets up a full head of thrash steam, they bring to the party a trademark punk aesthetic, forged from trips on the train to CBGB and Max's Kansas City to witness original punk legends such as The Damned and The Dead Boys.
Punk is huge for Overkill, confirms Verni. And it's something we very specifically brought back to the band in a sort of second wave, beginning with Ironbound in 2010 and then The Electric Age and White Devil Armory. I know from my end, it came from talking to the band and talking to fans. We had some of those metal records in the middle of our career where I wasn't paying enough attention to the punk rock vibe of the band. But just before we started writing Ironbound, I was very specific about getting back into that mentality, picking up on that energy again. You're not going to hear any Green Day or Ramones in us, but the energy and the attitude of punk mixed with the New York vibe that's what Overkill is, compared to other bands. You don't hear any of that in Megadeth; you don't hear any of that in Slayer. It's more specific to what we brought to the thrash world.
Central to that premise is the incendiary Let's All Go to Hades which is sure to become a pit favourite. This one was a hell of a lot of fun, says Blitz. You know, I've always written abstractly. I'm not the guy who says, 'I'm going to crush your skull into dust.' I like writing more so from an abstract point of view, putting a slew of thoughts together that create one idea, like a puzzle more than a specific black or white. And when I looked at all these lyrics when I was done, I said, oh my God, I'm 57 and I finally matured (laughs). Oh, this is gross! (laughs). But I do like tongue-in-cheek songs like 'Hades,' where it says, sort of let's all go to the Bataclan, you know, stand arm in arm and sing 'Killed by Death.' I kind of tied in not long ago events, specifically what happened in Paris, with losing Lemmy. After that, I'm on a train from Paris to Istanbul on the Orient express, which actually existed (laughs)-it actually went from Paris to Istanbul. So that one is mapped out a bit more.
Adds D.D., It's not a 'smash your face into the wall' kind of song. It got a little bit of fun in it. I know any time you talk to the really heavy thrash guys, they go, 'Oh, no, no, no-no fun allowed. It's got to be heavy and brutal every second.' But that song definitely has a bit of fun in it. And we've done that before, with things like 'Old School' and 'Fuck You.' We're not afraid to do a bit of that sometimes.
Another favorite lyric of Blitz', which is set to a non-nonsense old school thrash track, is Our Finest Hour. It's about the recognition of sameness, explains Ellsworth. I think people are comfortable when they recognize themselves in someone else. And 'Our Finest Hour' is kind of a detailed journey through that concept. It's like, 'Come on over here; I recognize you.' I've always been a firm believer in the fact that it's great to accomplish things on your own, but people are always stronger as a group-that's the basic outline of that tune.
At the other end of the spectrum from punk is a song like The Long Road. D.D. readily agrees that there was a Maiden influence as part of this one's crafting. Oh yeah, for sure. The opening, along with a little section in there with the vocals, definitely feels like New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
More evident in the band's panoramic classic metal passages, but even articulated here on Our Finest Hour, is another storied Overkill trademark, the definition one gets in the band's bass parts. Combine this with the Mensa-like percussive wizardry of Ron Lipnicki (laid bare for all to hear at headphone levels through the smack of his gravity-defying double bass work), and The Grinding Wheel emerges as a record with a remarkable rhythm section foundation from which to rise.
I've had that kind of sound now for a long time, says Verni. There are a lot of bass players that say, 'I want to feel the bass.' And it's like, I just couldn't give a shit about feeling the bass. To me that's low-end. Guitars have low-end, kick drums have low-end, bass has low-end-I want to hear the bass, not feel it. So from a long time ago, that's what I would be doing on my EQ. I would be tweaking and turning knobs until not only could I feel it, but I can hear it separate from the guitars. And as a result, the bass just got more and more aggressive. I'm not a finesse player at all, on a bass. I bang the shit out of it, and I kind of do that to get away from the guitars and give it its own identity, its own sound, its own thing, so the bass has its own personality, not just serving as a foundation for the guitars.
This affects the writing as well, says Blitz. Don't forget, D.D. is a guitarist. He's been playing guitar probably more so than bass in his spare time since the late '80s. This is a guy who has two-and-a-half decades of six strings under his belt. So we get more of a unique perspective; it gives this band its unique qualities when it comes to songwriting. Because it's a guy holding six strings who's got plenty of experience playing those six strings, but thinking from the other perspective. So you get a punchier thing; you don't get a lot of fluff. When you compare Overkill to some of our contemporaries, there you get a guitar player writing guitar-based songs. D.D. is writing, first and foremost, from a rhythm perspective, and that's what drives the songs. Add Dave Linsk to the picture, once there's a ten-note riff written, then you have the best of both worlds.
Which brings us back to the aforementioned machine-like efficiency of the five guys that comprise Overkill, this idea that there are no weak links within this particular classic five-piece with two guitars lineup of metal warriors.
That's the strength of the band, explains Blitz. Dave is really the one that holds the guitar reigns in this band. He's a writer at his core. You know, he's one of these guys who brushes his teeth and hears a rhythm the way the bristles are hitting the enamel (laughs). He's that dude. 'Oh wait a second, I have another idea.' He has an idea a minute, and if that's the case, some of them are going to be great. So he holds the reins. When it comes to Derek, he's more the opinionated thought later on. And so when it runs through the machine, being D.D. and myself, then Dave, Derek comes in and can change that song. It's always kind of good to have, let's say, a chief and some Indians. And it depends who's wearing the chief hat at any particular time. But I think at the end of the day, when you're looking for a clean perspective, it goes through Derek-that's usually what his contribution is, more of a finalization.
And Ron? He's one-of-a-kind, says Verni. He's a great drummer. I've worked with him for a bunch of records now. This is our fifth record together and so I really understand how he plays at this point. Working with him in the studio is just a pleasure, because he's so right on it.
After heaping all manner of praise on legendary producer Andy Sneap (brought on only for mix given Verni's proven acumen at the task), D.D. further clarifies the reason Overkill can be at the top of their game 18 records into their distinguished run.
I have a studio and I did most of it at my place; I've been doing it that way for a while now. And now the group of guys we have in the band has been pretty consistent for a while. So we have a nice mix; everybody kind of knows their role, and is good at their role. Everybody brings a little something to the party. And I think that's why these last couple of records people ask, 'How is it that your records get better after 25 years?' And I think part of it is that everybody has a role in the band, everybody is comfortable with their role, and they're really good at the part they have. So the records actually get better. It's like having a team, instead of having a whole bunch of chiefs and no Indians.
But a proven people's band like Overkill-a more personable bunch you'll never meet-fully recognizes that part of the band's success in being able to survive and thrive with the grind is due to the allegiance of the band's considerable worldwide fan base.
For sure, says Blitz. One of the things with regard to grind, with regard to four decades of Overkill, it's good to be here, but it's obviously earned, not just by us but by the people that support this in general. The fact is that it's not just us grinding it out. I mean, maybe it is when it comes to the studio and writing and recording songs, from that selfish perspective. But the reason something exists for decades is based on group effort. Like we had talked about earlier with 'Our Finest Hour,' people are stronger together. In that light, this band is, let's say, not just our project, but it's a project by and for all those who hold it dear.1. Mean, Green, Killing Machine
2. Goddamn Trouble
3. Our Finest Hour
4. Shine On
5. The Long Road
6. Let's All Go To Hades
7. Come Heavy
8. Red, White And Blue
9. The Wheel
10. The Grinding Wheel
11. Emerald$31.99Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now