Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 5

In my head I have been rebuked by Old School for not renaming yesterday's "Pictorial Report" to something more accurate such as "Video Report".  My apologies Old School.  We must carry on however!  With more pictures from NAMM 2015!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 4

Not satisfied with mere pictures, Old School brings us video from NAMM!
video video video

BoneHawk - Albino Rhino

BoneHawk seemed to get a little bit of a late start for whatever reason before taking off in the underground stoner metal scene with their hand numbered bone white 2LP vinyl release. The band was brought to my attention by a trusted music connoisseur and fellow bandcamper, sir Arttu Savvy whom you may have seen floating around bandcamp scooping up nothing but the best heavy, stoner, doom, blues rock and metal to name just a few styles. Anyway, he sent me pre-order links for a kickstarter or one of those links way back in March or something and they got lost in the shuffle until early in the fall he asked if I'd gotten a copy yet.  I totally hadn't even remembered so I went straight out and had a listen and my mind was blown to pieces. I immediately ordered a copy of the now sold out 2LP version.

Right off the bat you're smothered with a stoned out vocal tone and frizzy surface reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite stoner rock bands Fireball Ministry. Not only are the vocals relaxed and full of groove, the distortion is tuned to just the right amount of fuzz. Not too hairy, not too slick and loaded with enough energy to keep the party rocking all night long.

You see this is the kind of music I'd play at my party, or more realistically the kind of music I'd play on repeat by myself either driving down the freeway, or across the desert on a dirt road with windows rolled down and cold one between my legs. Or even more realistically the type I blast on the turntable while I’m in the kitchen making dinner while the kids run amok terrorizing the household. At least they have a good soundtrack right?

Like young kids tracking mud into the house, there are not a lot of new or revolutionary ideas or techniques brought to the table on Albino Rhino. What there is are low rumbling and hypnotic bass lines, smoldering riffs blazing like doobie rings lingering off a dead-heads crusted lips, and vocals crooning like the purr of a winter fire warming the bones after a long day on the slopes.

Nowhere within the album do you find filler, and each song brings its own weight to the bench. Catchy choruses galore and timely backup vocals give a nice flair on songs such as 'Ulysses', ‘Desert Run’ and the standout party rocker 'Tonight We Ride'. If you really investigate you will notice that every “commenter” on their bandcamp page lists a different “favorite song” in their comment about the album. That’s typical of only the most well rounded albums in camp.

You, Waveriders, are in for a tubular pipeline of colossal jams. "You feel it coming, through your town in an unstoppable way. You see it coming, on the horizon, you're gonna ride the wave" sets the tone to the no holds barred rock anthem 'Tonight We Ride'.

The album has a perfect balance with riff after riff and groove after groove. You want melody? BoneHawk bring it! You want groove? The Rhino busts a move! Do you love whipping your hair around in maniacal circles in the middle of the bar room floor? Crank it up! You crave bluesy metallic solos? You're gonna melt away from the scorching temperatures of the dual guitar onslaught of epic fuzzaliciousness.

I mentioned it earlier and I'll say it again, whether I'm out to lunch or not, but this album gives me that same familiar excitement that The Second Great Awakening by Fireball Ministry did when I first saturated myself in the stoner rock realm years ago. I used to go on marathon sessions with that album leaving no spine nerve un-tingled. Not saying it's a copycat or a rip off, more so that this album completely tears on all fronts. Every song shreds, the vinyl package rules, the white koozies offered up for sale at their big cartel keep my beer even colder than the "other bands" cold cups. 
There may even be waves rippling in the pipeline for BoneHawk in the near future. Keep your ears peeled, BoneHawk has just begun rawking and we're here to say listen up!!

-The Huntsman

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 3

Old School keeps 'em coming!

Ripple Field Trip - Pop Goes The Buffalo

What exactly is pop?  Not an easy pigeon to put in its hole.  Presumably something in-between the torchight crooning of Mel Torme or Frank Sinatra and the unabashed headbanging of Motorhead or Black Sabbath.  Maybe it’s akin to what the US Supreme Court famously said about obscenity a while back; you just know and feel it when you see or hear it, but it’s damn hard to define with any meaningful contours.  It clearly is a genre deserving of its own designation in musicology - it's just hard to decide on its parameters.

I’ve mused a fair bit about what might be the perfect pop song.  It’s not too hard, not too soft, and it just sounds so good. On lists of the  greatest “rock n roll” songs usually it’s Bob Dylan with "Like a Rolling Stone", Zep’s “Stairway to Heaven”, or Rolling Stones with "Satisfaction" or "Gimme Shelter".... but what might be at the top of the list for crystal clear, blissful pop?

I submit frontrunners  would be Beach Boys jewels like "God Only Knows" and "All I Wanna Do" (no, not the better known, Dylan-penned Byrds hit with the “Really” in the middle, I’m talking the gorgeous nugget from the Sunflower album) and Big Star’s just dreamy "September Gurls" (admirably covered by the Bangles, the Replacements, and English modsters Squire).  The Kinks' somewhat overlooked masterpieces “Village Green Preservation Society” and  "Waterloo Sunset" should be in the mix, as are Beatles' standards like "In My Life” and my personal Fab Four Favorite, "She Said She Said."

I’d like to make a case for an absolutely wondrous piece of indie pop creativity by relative unknown but buzzworthy Avi Buffalo.  Avi’s self-titled cd released a few years ago features single “What’s In It For”, which for my money stakes a claim for its place in the annals of pure pop heaven. Toiling for a while in relative obscurity in the LA club scene, Avi raised his four piece band’s profile by opening for Portugal the Man a year or so ago, and has made a well-deserved and noteworthy splash of late, at SXSW early last year and late last year releasing his second cd “At Best Cuckold” to some acclaim.

Songs from Cuckold featured prominently during Avi’s performance this past fall at mid-Wilshire’s lovely El Rey Theater, which for Long-Beach bred Avi must have felt like a bit of a homecoming, what with his grandparents chilling and cheering on the fringes of the dance floor brimming along with the millennials snapping cellphone pix and Instagramming away.  The new material is strong, a little more focused and less twee and kooky than his debut, and standout, radio-friendly tracks like “So What” and “Memories of You” sounded quite swell emanating from the stage.  But Avi regaled the crowd’s request with a scintillating version of “What’s In It For” that truly paints a portrait of how far this promising artist might venture into heady new heights.

The song may not approach unadulterated perfection quite as closely as the classics mentioned above; the lyrics, likening his girl’s lips to “tiny pieces of bacon”, are a tad bit on the silly side, and his warbling falsetto might be a bit precious for some listeners.  But musically it’s nothing short of spectacular.  Shimmering guitars reminiscent of classic Byrds, playfullly melodic bass evoking McCcartney’s best work, layered harmonies recalling the Beach Boys’ masterpieces - it’s four minutes of ear candy that’s just nearly unparalleled.  Avi’s songcraft talents shine so resplendently throughout this song that even mentioning such slight shortcomings seem petty.  When my seven year old daughter asks to hear it by name, rather than the latest pablum from Iggy Azalea or Robin Thicke, one only has to feel good about the future of quality sounds.

But alas, I was more than a bit miffed and mystified when “Cuckold” didn’t make it onto any of the myriad year-end best lists that proliferated a few weeks ago.  I mean really, are people swooning so hard over the supposedly suddenly respectable Taylor Swift and the latest commercialoid U2 offering dumped on the unsuspecting and uninterested IPhone users that they overlook completely the continued impressive artistic progression of an indie rock force by all rights to be reckoned with? 

- Rhythm Slayer

Sunday, January 25, 2015

BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH: New Hymn From Seattle Doom Visionaries Featuring Tad Doyle Now Playing Courtesy Of Decibel Magazine; CD Preorders Available

[Photo by Invisible Hour]

With the imminent unveiling of the self-titled debut from Seattle doom visionaries, BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH, now less than one month away, today the guardians of Decibel Magazine's web portal heave forth opening track, "Lava" for public ingestion.
Fronted by iconic guitarist/vocalist Tad Doyle - formerly of TAD and Hog Molly - BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH is a trio of longtime rock rebels featuring Doyle alongside veteran bassist Peggy Doyle and drummer Dave French (The Anunnaki). Not surprisingly, the threesome's forthcoming long player summons some of the gnarliest sounds from the blackest depths of the Pacific Northwest.

Relays Doyle of the debilitating resonance of the record's opening hymn, "'Lava' was originally inspired by a Native American folklore story that talks about Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, both active volcanos in the Cascade Mountain range spanning Washington State and Oregon. The story in short; 'Where little sister goes, big sister follows,' with 'little sister' being Mt. St. Helens and 'big sister' being Mt. Rainier. Native culture and geology records have mentioned that these eruptions happen every four-hundred or so years. Rainier is well overdue. This song is basically a tribute to the force and natural powers that lay within the region and what an eruption would look like through the eyes of the life that surrounds the region."

Get scalded by the "Lava," currently charring the airwaves of Decibel, at THIS LOCATION.

Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth was captured at Robert Lang Studios and Doyle's own Witch Ape Studio in Seattle, Washington and mixed by Billy Anderson (Sleep, High On Fire, Melvins et al). Thrusting forth five hauntingly heavy tracks, with two bonus psalms included on the CD edition, Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth is Doyle's first recorded output in nearly fifteen years. Splicing thick, jagged riffs through chilling post-punk drumming and hulking compositions that blow soulfully hot and desolately cold, sometimes within the confines of one track, BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH is the sound of earthly decomposition and planetary ruin; a slow, suffocating, spellbinding dance towards a looming apocalypse... thick, monolithic, deliberate and devouring. Their longform pieces present the kind of mature ideas and expansive progressions that outpace the listener's short-term memory leading them off the proverbial map; familiar landmarks like sludge, post-metal, rock all but disappeared over the horizon. Authentic and authoritative, Brothers Of the Sonic Cloth is as much a persistent thudding body punch of sonic destructive force as it is a thoughtful statement of awareness and the inescapable raw condition of life.

Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth will be released February 17th, 2015 via Neurot Recordings. CD preorders are currently available at THIS LOCATION.

A Pictorial Report on NAMM 2015 Pt. 2

 More from Old School!

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