Friday, July 3, 2015

Powered Wig Machine - Supa-Collider Review

I have a startling confession to make:  I haven’t been listening to much music on vinyl lately.  I know, I know...blasphemy around Ripple HQ.  Stone me.  Spotify is just real convenient...and we can have that argument somewhere else.  However, Wayne from Powered Wig Machine asked me if I’d like a copy their record on vinyl for review purposes and the only answer there is...duh, yes.  The fact of the matter is that I have record player envy right now and would really like to get a new player.   However, with the pressure on, I HAD to give their new release, Supa-Collider, a proper spin, right?  Duh, yes.  Call it a much needed slump buster.

Powered Wig Machine hails from the arid state of Arizona, so when they say they are ‘Desert Rock’, they fucking mean it.  No European stylists without the regionality (spell check says I made that word up, deal with it) or street cred here, PWM is the real deal in that department with all of the thick and fuzzy riffs to prove it.  Propelled by brothers Wayne and Joseph Ruddell on guitar and bass, respectively, these dudes bring the heavy and bring it hard. 

First off, it used to be a generally accepted fact that I’m not a big metal head.  Good thing too.  PWM is straight up rock.  No metal posturing to be had.  Well...maybe they are metal in the sense that Zeppelin and Sabbath are metal...but no palm muting and guttural vocals are to be had here.  The vocals are sung, not screamed, thank goodness.  That gets real old real fast.  They are catchy too.  You’ll find yourself singing right along with their strong hooks.  The hooks really are PWM’s strength at the end of the day.  Every song comes around nicely.  Around here, we call that songwriting.  A lot of stoner/desert bands forget that aspect.  Young bands getting into the genre should take note.

Most ‘stoner’ or ‘desert rock’ bands can’t get past using generic sounding riffs...and, look, that’s just the genre.  I have grown to accept that.  I also don’t listen to much of the genre anymore for that reason.  PWM skirts past that trap.  It’s safe to say that they have a ‘classic’ desert/stoner all the right places.  If I had to compare their sound to bands that you might know, I picked up Clutch, QOTSA, and Unida, but really, they are doing their own thing and doing it well.  Hell, there are even some real deal heroic guitar solos to boot.  These songs would sound real bad ass pumping out of your boogie van or Impala at 100 MPH.  Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. 

To top it off, the packaging of the record is pristine.  Supa-Collider can boast of killer artwork. a gatefold cover, and a real cool green splatter vinyl platter.  Bonus points for printing the lyrics on the inside cover, not to mention the cool little comic to compliment their music video release.  Supa-Collider is a top notch record with pristine production all of the way around.  Without a single track in the ‘let down’ column, there is no reason why you shouldn’t add it to your collection. 

Written by:  Ian Gerber on his fancy computer

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Faces – A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse

It is a shame and a pity to me that so many people, especially in the US, wrote this band off as some sort of Rod Stewart side project.  You have certainly done yourself a disservice if this is the case, and you've missed out on a lot of great music.  The good thing about music, though, is that it's never too late to correct your misconceptions.  Especially with the technology we have today, you can dig up these old recordings as simply as if they were made last week.  And you really should.

To clear up a couple of commonly misunderstood things; the band is simply called Faces, not THE Faces.  Also, this was not Rod's side project.  He was a full-fledged member of this band first, and his solo career took off while a member of the band.  If you're going to jump in now, you might as well have things right.

This was their third album and my favorite.  From start to finish, it is 37 minutes of everything that rock n roll should be.  One of the things that I feel is missing in rock music today is the fun, the joie de vivre, that you can just hear in every note of this album.  No one is taking themselves or the music too seriously.  Because it shouldn't be.  Just let it rip, have some fun.  It's only rock n roll.  It's like seeing Edward Van Halen onstage with his goofy grin.  You know he's having the time of his life, and he looks like it.  That's what rock should be, and in my opinion no band has ever embodied that more than Faces.

Besides “Stay With Me”, an absolute smash hit and, I think, one of the greatest pure rock songs ever written, there are some other gems here as well.  If you want to slow things down, “Debris” is a beautiful ballad, and features the underrated vocal talents of Ronnie Lane.  If you want to hear Mr. Lane having some fun, check out “You're So Rude”, a funny song about bringing the girl home for a little fun when the house is supposed to be empty, only to have the family come home a bit too soon.  This band had a very deft touch with R&B songs, and their cover of “Memphis” is a great, rollicking time.  Another example is on their live album and their version of “I Used To Love Her”.  “Too Bad” is a great little rocker.  It's one of those albums you put on and at this point in time, seems like a greatest hits album, but no, it was just album number three.  That's the way it is with the classics.  These songs were written and recorded over forty years ago, but they don't sound dated in the least.  Its also an album that seems to go bye way to fast and you want to listen to it again and again in the same sitting.  If somehow you missed it, or missed this band, put this in your collection at your earliest convenience.  And on your turntable, or CD player, or digital if you have to.

I love this band and I would put them up against any band from the time period, even the mighty Stones and their run of immortal albums that they were putting out at the same time.  Grab a bottle or six, or twelve, turn this up really loud, invite some friends over, and see if a wonderfully good time doesn't ensue.  There's that certain something about great albums, and you don't always know what it is, but you know it when you hear it.  Give this one a spin and you will definitely hear it.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

German heavy psychedelic rock trio WIRED MIND sign to HeviSike Records

The Hannover three-piece have inked an exclusive deal with UK stoner rock label HeviSike Records to release their debut album ‘Mindstate:Dreamscape’. Originally self-released by the band in March this year, the four-song opus has received a positive reaction from the psychedelic and stoner rock community.

Mindstate:Dreamscape will satisfy both the fan of classic rock and modern European psych. Combining clear influences from 70s legends such as Amon Düül II, Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath but with a modern twist. Nods to Colour Haze, The Machine and Samsara Blues Experiment are evident.

The album follows a journey into the depths of consciousness. Through cosmic jams and the occasional flourish of heavy, the songs explore the intricate caverns of the mind. Imagine a late summer’s sunset. Picture a voyage through the stars. Envisage a collective of minds united by the groove. This is Wired Mind. Mindstate:Dreamscape is just the beginning.

HeviSike Records will be giving the album the much-needed vinyl treatment including new mastering and high quality packaging. The record will be pressed on limited edition colour vinyl and will see worldwide distribution.

Wired Mind are: Chris (drums), Maik (guitar, vox) and Patrick (bass)
Listen to the first single 'Woman'.
Release date: Friday 25th September 2015
Worldwide distribution via Plastic Head Distribution

Find out more: |

Listen: |

French stoner rockers SPACE FISTERS premiere trippy new video for "Yellow Hills" on The Obelisk

Alps-based stoner rockers SPACE FISTERS are premiering the trippy, sensual and creepy video for "Yellow Hills" today on The Obelisk. This is the first vid off their fuzzy debut album "Vol.1", released late 2014... 
Feast your eyes upon "Yellow Hills" over at The Obelisk
Formed in 2012 in the heights of Savoy, French power trio SPACE FISTERS produces a highly volcanic kind of stoner rock, that could be described as a threesome between Sleep, Earthless and The Melvins.
Their debut album "Vol.1" is a 36 minute long heavy psych uppercut delivered without any hesitation or concession. The tone in there is roaring, the rhythm section is vibrantly dauntless, while riffs regularly take off to bluesier skies, all towered by an unprecedented amount of fuzz... to make the Earth's crust shake.
SPACE FISTERS skyrocket your minds into another dimension, and the live experience literally seizes you to the guts, as the band puts on infectiously fervent performances. Within three years, the trio already shared the stage with the likes of Red Fang, Kadavar, Earthless, Mars Red Sky, and more recently Stoned Jesus on their French tour. 
Space Fisters' debut album "Vol.1" is available now on Bandcamp
Also available on iTunes, Deezer, Spotify and all digital platforms
Clément Baltassat - Bass & Vocals
Robin Pruchon - Guitar
Léo Mo - Drums

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mad Season - Above

We’ve enough books looking back on the Merseybeat scene trying, with things safely decades in the past, to put together the confluence of influences that makes great music scenes happen. And, Cameron Crowe’s “Singles” aside, we’ve started to look back to Seattle, circa 1990 or so, and try to make oh so much sense out of an albino, my libido, and the rise and demise of Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, Alice in Chains and that other power trio.

30 years later, my personal favorites are the two jam pieces: Temple of the Dog, and, today’s badass subject, Mad Season. Overlooked in too many ways: too bluesy, too self-indulgent, too noodle. And I’m here to tell you it’s all bullshit. It’s one of the best, honest recordings to come out of Seattle, different musical styles bashing up against each other in all the right ways, recorded too fast for people to be self-conscious about what they were laying down on tape. After a first gig in October of 1994, they had a full album out by March of ’95.

Powered by bassist John Baker Saunders, whose blues background would lend a different feel to the album, and drummer Barrett Martin, there are different pauses in the rhythm section, the drums more underplayed, which makes it all the more stunning when McCready’s black Les Paul starts to soar over the top, or when the multi-tracked Layne Staleys start to harmonize in a chorus ripped from the depths of his encroaching drug addiction.

From the minute the needle drops into the groove, and the bass notes of “Wake Up” hit the subwoofer, you realize that this is a band cut from a different cloth. Willing to sit back and let things develop and build under their own steam, McCready’s chords finding interesting cracks in the songs, letting Layne’s voice stand alone, not mixed with Jerry Cantrell’s, letting the blues bass carry melody and fill space before the Les Paul comes in to drive the song home.

“River of Deceit” won some air play back in ’95, but if you bought the album for the quiet strummed song, with its gently insistent chorus, you’d be in for a surprise when “X-Ray Mind” starts in. Tribal drumming (owing more to Stephen Perkins) builds to a rolling bass line, shimmering sheets of sparse guitar chords behind Staley’s voice, a riff that was a left over from Jimmy Page, beautifully arranged so that when the chorus hits, it lifts you to another place, another time. Leaving behind the need to have multiple guitars in the band, McCready’s work here is both sparser and more inventive than his work with Pearl Jam.

“I’m Above” fulfills the promise of that black Les Paul, hitting a heavy blues opening similar to Zeppelin’s Rover, and then it backs down, and softens the mood, giving full voice to Layne’s lyrics:
Try to keep bad blood in the past
Never thought a chance, a chance it would last
I have strength enough, enough to forgive
I desire peace where I live
I've been blessed with eyes to see this
Behind the unwhole truth you hide
Bite to remind the bitten, bigger
Mouth repaying tenfold wide

But the chorus has a different story to tell, the guitars cranking up, Layne’s voice more buried in the mix, pulled back into the band, rather than riding on top. A similar story is told in “Artificial Red”, a blues jam that Alice in Chains would never have even tried. This could have been on Jeff Beck’s Truth album except its too loose, too loud, and too raw. It’s the House of the Rising Sun, and the call and response of the vocals and the guitar harken back to older days before McCready solos into the atmosphere for a short spin.

“Lifeless Dead” is one of the standout tracks that recalls the best of Alice in Chains mixed with Led Zeppelin, the minor key vocals, full drums that power the modal guitar riff that drives this song, and McCready’s guitar riding on top in the very best ways that Page used to. The production stands out because no matter how loud you turn this one up, you can hear everything. And it sounds better the louder it gets.

And you’ll want to leave the volume up for “November Hotel”, a staggering 7 minute jam of power house drumming, soloing guitar and thundering bass that leaves you exhausted and breathless ready for the church hymnal that is the closing track on the original LP “All Alone”. While the album opened with “Wake Up”, Layne’s haunting singing on this, along with the soft percussion and keys, takes on a life of its own.

Or, it simply takes a life. The Seattle rock and roll lifestyle would take bassist Saunders in ’99, and Staley just a few years later. And if you’re just coming to this album, there is no way to not hear the echoes of a life to short. Not only can we hear the ending of Layne’s life here in his lyrics, but his girlfriend Demri Parott would die of an overdose in October on 1996, adding one more layer to the profound level of loss that surrounded the band.

There is now a deluxe edition the completes the set, giving us the final four songs recorded by the band, with Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanagan sitting in for Layne, as well as finally putting to vinyl Live at the Moore, a concert by Mad Season that has been available on VHS for a number of years. The final songs are a curiosity, and not bad, but they add nothing to the original album. Live at the Moore is a great show, and well worth listening to. As always, it’s a treat to hear a young band be able to bring it live and sound great doing it. For all the people who had the VHS and always wanted a serious audio copy to play, this release is a welcome one. The videos are freely available on youtube as well. 

- The Rock Iguana

Monday, June 29, 2015

DEMONICAL and HYPOTHERMIA to headline Sick Midsummer Festival; chance to win tickets

Swedish old-school death metal tyrants, DEMONICAL, along with post rock / black metal wanderers and countrymen, HYPOTHERMIA, are going to headline Sick Midsummer Festival in scenic Bäckerberg/ Scharnstein (upper Austria), on July the 4th.

In connection with this event, memebers of DEMONICAL have recorded a short video, in which they are offering a chance to win tickets for the festival. The clip can be watched at this location:

The winners will be announced on Monday, June 29th.

Both band's are planning to perform tracks from their recent releases ("Black Flesh Redemption" by Demonical and "Svartkonst" by Hypothermia) along with some classic material from previous albums.

For more informaction on Sick Midsummer Festival visit:

DEMONICAL on-line:
Liveblog :


Agonia Records:

Vaee Solis Set Release Date For Signal Rex Debut, Premiere Teaser Video

Portuguese black/doom/sludge warlords Vaee Solis are set to release their debut album, Adversarial Light, on August 21st via Signal Rex and Mordgrimm. At six staggeringly monolithic tracks,Adversarial Light is aptly titled. Vaee Solis is a band that approximate Morrigan's martial howling, invoking the liberation and illumination of the eternal night, represented in Scandinavian traditions by Ragnarok. Its sun is the polar Black Sun that shines brightly like a diamond on Lucifer's forehead: such is the sound of Adversarial Light. Frontwoman Sophia's voice is, therefore, a hoarse and inflamed appeal to all human beings - slaves of the heavy, forgetful slumber to which they've been condemned by post-industrial society - to rise like titans from their nocturnal awakening. Lamia's apotropaic shriek, lined by melancholic yet intensely melodic bards provided in the shadows with long and phallic guitars, takes away all fear of the inertia of merely being human. Then, ancient and atavistic memories rise again, stealthily like wolves, coming from the visceral core of ourselves, inflaming our blood and hardening our muscles. Only then the awakening comes, and in the eternal night, bathed in Adversarial LightVaee Solis make us remember that we indeed are gods.
Initially released on cassette format through Signal Rex and Degradagem, Adversarial Light sold out its initial run of 100 copies within one month of release. Now, Signal Rex and Mordgrimm will be co-releasing the album on limited digipack CD, with a vinyl version to follow by early 2016. Vaee Solis have already preformed several shows, supporting such acts as Acid King, and taking part in one of the most eclectic festivals in Portugal, the Santa Maria Summer Fest. The band have several upcoming shows, including de OMG Fest and an album-release show alongside Corpus Christii, both in September/October 2015. A Vimeo teaser can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Vaee Solis' Adversarial Light
1. Saturn's Storm
2. Adversarial Light
3. Ennoia
4. Feral Isolation
5. Libra
6. Cosmocrat
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