REVIEW: German rock legends The Scorpions release MTV Unplugged in Athens on Bluray, DVD, and CD

When it comes to making immaculately crafted acoustic sets that warrant repeated listens, MTV Unplugged has a nearly unparalleled track record. For a program and recording series that has spanned more than twenty years, and seen such a wide and disparate cast of talents, the show has become a cornerstone for acoustic sets. From Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, to Led Zepplin and Kiss, to LL Cool J and Jay-Z, one thing remains the same, and that is the consistency and standard they hold to the audio quality of all of their recordings.

On the latest release, Scorpions Unplugged In Athens, MTV has stayed true to their format and delivered another high quality performance from a group of musical legends. The release, a CD-DVD combo set, is set below the stars in a gorgeous open-air amphitheatre in Athens in front of a decent sized crowd Scorpions loyalists. The band has come dynamically well equipped and full bodied to this performance, appropriating 6 additional musicians, a full 8-piece string section accompaniment from the group Strings From Heaven, as well as special guest appearances from Morten Harket, Johannes Strate, CATHE, and Dimitra Kokkori. The sound is full and rich, the quality is exceptional, and most of all the music is on point, staying true to the spirit and energy the Scorpions have been conjuring since the early seventies.

All the huge classics are here in spades: “Rock You Like a Hurricane“, “No One Like You“, “Send Me an Angel“, “Still Loving You“, and “Wind of Change“. The instrumental arrangements are dynamic and robust, doing justice to the sound that brought these German rock legends international fame and recognition. Around every corner there are visually as well as audibly interesting details that make watching worth the price of admission. For instance, the finger picking insanity at the beginning of “Speedy’s Coming”, or any of the mid-set solos illustrating the guitar chops and expertise of a lifetime of performing.

As this Unplugged album comes on the heels of the worldwide Scorpions farewell tour, it seems these guys are alive and still kicking. While they’ve had a long touring history and become heavy metal icons, it seems fitting to see a group that have been together for the better part of forty years to step into a subtler arena and do an acoustic set. Although the boys have additionally confirmed after the farewell tour that they will not be breaking up, it seems that they might be ready to step back and take some time to reflect. Overall this is an entertaining set, albeit a bit relaxed and calmed down compared to the Scorpions early catalog. A must have for any die-hard Scorpions fan.

CD review SCORPIONS "MTV Unplugged - live in Athens"


1. Sting in the tail

2. Can’t live without you

3. Pictured life

4. Speedy’s coming

5. Born to touch your feelings

6. The best is yet to come

7. Dancing with the moonlight

8. In trance

9. When you came into my life

10. Delicate dance

11. Love is the answer

12. Follow your heart

13. Send me an angel

14. Where the river flows

15. Passion rules the game

16. Rock you like a hurricane

17. Hit between the eyes

18. Rock’n’roll band

19. Blackout

20. Still loving you

21. Big city nights

22. Wind of change

23. No one like you

24. When the smoke is going down

25. Where the river flows

REVIEW: Easy Company release their rocking new EP Hello World

Easy Company, a modern rock outfit based out of New Jersey, pack a solid rock punch on their EP Hello World. While far from the much used first line of code used by computer programmers to test out or teach a new program (i.e. the hello world program), the title aptly fits the band state of affairs and intent on this EP nicely. As their website states, Easy Company “takes cues from favorite artists such as the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and various modern and classic rock acts” and it shows. As a band, it seems Easy Company knows who they are, what they like, and how they want to sound and they aren’t afraid to show it. Their hello world, while not too far removed from the sounds of other band is refreshingly straight forward and honest.

The EP starts out rocking and keeps moving for the remainder. There are no lulls or dull moments, and there is a great deal of potential for future releases. They are stated as saying “hopes to help people remember that rock and roll, rock and roll shows and big drums and guitars still throw one hell of a party.” If their sound is indicative of the vibe at their shows, I’m it’s nothing but a good time and a solid sound with these guys.

So if you’re looking for good old, ass kicking rock and roll head on over to their Soundcloud and check out Easy Company. Also, be sure to check them out live if they stop by your town. From the looks of things they might be head south and all around the East Coast, so stop out and give them a chance.

Iconic Post-Rock outfit My Education to release a vinyl remaster of their debut album “5 Popes” on February 4th

In a genre like Post-Rock, where bands are about as divergent and vaguely dissimilar as genre descriptions themselves, it can be difficult for groups to gain momentum and notoriety. What’s more is a group’s ability to stand the test of time among the every-changing torrent of new music, even in the most obscure genres. My Education, it seems, has done just that. More than a decade after 5 Popes‘ original release on CD, My Education will soon celebrate the album’s inaugural vinyl pressing. The record has been completely remastered and also features two new mixes and a bonus track.

My Education has had quite a ride as ambassadors of the Texas post-rock scene. In a little over a decade the band has released a veritable arsenal of full length LPs, 7″s, compilations and appearances, original scores across a multitude of indie record labels. Over the years, the band has toured Europe once and the US numerous times, playing music festivals, performing live film scores that have moved people to tears and crafting a notorious live show that has led some folks to moments of life-altering epiphanies.

The album that started the whole journey for My Education was 5 Popes, released on CD via Ballyhoo Withdrawal and Thirty Ghosts Records. This album has left an undeniable mark on instrumental music. Rave reviews followed 5 Popes from its inception but one major request that came over the years was: “Do you have 5 Popes on vinyl?” This was a rare request back in the glory days of the CD but has taken on a new urgency in recent years. After a white-hot 2013 for My Education, the band has taken a look back at the album that started it all and is proud to be reissuing their debut with two all new mixes and a bonus track via Beat Imprint Records. This will mark the first time 5 Popes has been released on vinyl and the album has been remastered by the indefatigable Sean Seagler at811 Studios, unleashing new sonic delights. The artwork has been redesigned by My Education’s lighting/visuals/graphics wizard Skye Ashbrook, but retains the classic Eric Gibbons painting that graced the original cover.

All remains aesthetically on this reissue, which is an open, dynamic soundscape similar to that of Explosions in the Sky, Tortoise, or even elements of Mogwai. The new track, “Thanksgiving” is a shimmering gem that holds true to the integrity and aesthetic of the original album. A worthy addition, this track in addition to the new mixes is an enticing extra incentive for vinyl aficionados to pick up “5 Popes”. Anyone new to My Education but familiar with Post-Rock would definitely enjoy this reissue. Likewise, anyone new to Post-Rock that enjoys instrumental music. Do yourself a favor and not only check this album out but also the aforementioned bands in this paragraph. You won’t be disappointed.

The Austin, TX based post-rock group will be playing a hometown release show December 14 at Red 7 and the album will be released nationally February 4, 2014 via Beat Imprint.

Stream first single “Deep Cut”

Artist: My Education
Album: 5 Popes
Release Date: Feb 4, 2014
Label: Beat Imprint


REVIEW: Sultry vixen of Betty Black seduces your ears on Bad Weather and Fatality of Love

Betty Black, brainchild of multi-talented singer/songwriter and musician Sylvia Black, is a force to be reckoned with. At first glance, Betty Black is steeped in intrigue and history through name association alone. While this is only the surface, and the music itself delves deep into the sonic realms of electro, break-beat, downtempo and trip-hop, the surface itself is very telling of the unique contents of the music it contains. While it’s not entirely clear whether Sylvia is purposely drawing a comparison with the historical Black Betty, the result is extremely effective in adding another layer to her mystique. But more on that in a minute…

As background, over the past six years Black has established herself as a sonic rebel with an indomitable spirit and a fearless approach to music. She’s gained international acclaim as the lead vocalist for New York-based dark electronic pop outfit KUDU, and for her successful co-writes and collaborations with Black Eyed Peas, Moby, William Orbit, Kelis, The Noisettes, Spank Rock, Benny BenassiThe Knocks and, most recently, RUN DMT and Télépopmusik, which have amassed sales over 5 million copies worldwide. Her collaboration with Run DMT – “Starlight” – is currently the most added dance release on all US college radio stations. In short Betty Black is a badass, and she has successfully seduced her way into the music world as an elegant dark electro-pop diva.

Now back to the interest element of the Betty Black namesake. The musical origins of “Black Betty” (the reverse of Sylvia’s project name) stretch back quite a bit, into the 18th-century in fact. Used as subject matter in song, the term has been cited as referencing a variety of objects such as a musket (with the signature line Bam-Ba-Lam referring to the sound of gunfire), a bottle of whiskey, and a whip. Interestingly, after listening to her music I tend to find all of these interpretations relatable in unison to the overall tone and sound achieved on Bad Weather and the accompanying EP Fatality of Love.

Vocally, Black audibly sooths and arouses a state of warm wobbly comfort, much like the smooth but cutting companionship of a bottle of whiskey. There is a sultry mystery and suspense in Betty Black’s sound akin to a creeping assassin. Not the typical mechanical firing squad repetition associated with rapid gunfire, but the quietly calculated deadly force of the trained killer sneaking in the shadows. And just when you get comfortably lulled into the intimate corners of Black’s sound, the modern beat-inflected electro fluorescence come back around to whip your ears back into shape. In irony and hindsight, while pulling direct referential comparisons can sometimes dumb down the importance of the art or artist, somehow the “Black Betty” association actually increases the conceptual force of the very talented Sylvia Black.

As for album specifics, Fatality of Love (The Remix EP) features the sultry original with mixes by Aram, avant-garde drummer/artist and former KUDU band mate Deantoni Parks (who has also worked with Mars Volta, John Cale, Me’shell Ndgeocello and Kimbra) and French producer/composer Pino Rastovitch (whose quixotic downtempo rework recalls AIR and Goldfrapp), as well as, the new recording “Possessed”.

It’s the latest offering from Betty Black’s gritty and darkly seductive album Bad Weather, which includes “Killing Time”, the slow-burning “Am I Not Your Girl?”, and the anthemic title track. Released this past summer with the bonus track “Bad Weather (Antipop & Analog Boy Remix)” from Télépopmusik’s own Antipop and former Autour de Lucie guitarist, Analog Boy, the gripping set was composed, arranged and produced by Black along with co-producer/engineer Rudyard Lee Cullers (Yeah Yeah Yeahs/ Basement Jaxx/ Bright Eyes) and Jamin Gilbert.

Both Bad Weather and the Fatality of Love EP are worthy of multiple listens. Black’s sultry vocal delivery, steeped in moody electro breaks creates interest and atmosphere. Betty Black delivers a unique musical experience and is definitely worth checking out.

REVIEW: Brutal death metal release from Indian based Gutslit is turning heads

Tagged as “Brutal Death Metal”, the ferocious act known as Gutslit is a four-piece crusher hailing from… Mumbai, India? That’s right, India. But make no mistakes here folks; location is no factor in the sheer pummeling force of these emerging metal makers. Quickly gaining notoriety in metal circles, these boys are kicking teeth in with their brutal metal sound. Gutslit just released an album titled “Skewered in the Sewer” on the Transcending Obscurity label in September, and it is chock full of face grinding insanity.

“Skewered in the Sewer”, is definitively one of the most professional releases in the genre to come out of their country. These guys aren’t dabbling in a genre they don’t understand. This release dispels all doubt that they’re among the best of their sound – featuring outstanding vocals, crushing riffs and technical wizardry, pummeling percussion and dastardly bass mayhem. Not to mention the fact that some of their song titles are “Circumcised with a Chainsaw”, “Hemorrhoidal Brain Custard”, and “Pulp Face”. Awesome.

Additionally, Gutslit’s release has a fully professional production complete with a 12-page booklet that include both lyrics and a number of illustrations. On top of that, the album artwork was created by none other than the legendary death metal artist extraordinaire Mark Riddick. Honestly, I’d say pulling out all the stops from every angle including the attention to detail these boys put into things like packaging reinforces the dedication they have for their craft and ultimately the legitimacy of their album. They might not be coming from somewhere you’d expect, but they’re here, ready to shred and definitely worth a listen.

Skewered In The Sewer cover art

Reviews – 

“stays with listeners long after the speakers go bust” – Rolling Stone India 4/5

“will certainly be ranked among the classicks in the future years” – Sick Reviews 9.5/10

“No one else in Indian extreme metal will be able to touch Gutslit for a while now” – PopSplat

“this is an excellent display of what the band has to offer in a country with no other contemporaries to name” – Heavy Blog is Heavy 3.5/5

Current Members:

Aditya Barve – Vocals
Gurdip Narang – Bass
Prateek Rajagopal – Guitar
Aaron Pinto – Drums

Track List:

1.  Prelude to Putrification

2.  Pustulated Phallic Enthralment

3.  Offal Barter

4.  Circumcized with a Chainsaw

5.  Atrophic Cranial Disintegration

6.  Haemorrhoidal Brain Custard

7.  Pulp Face

8.  Maze of Entrails

9.  Skewered in the Sewer

REVIEW: AWOLNATION’s Limited Edition Deluxe release of Megalithic Symphony out November 19th

On October 29, 2013, AWOLNATION announced they will release a newly expanded 2-CD Limited Edition Deluxe package of their blockbuster debut album Megalithic Symphony on November 19, 2013 via Red Bull Records. The Megalithic Symphony Limited Edition Deluxe package features 32-tracks and couples the original studio album on disc one, with disc two containing rarities like the latest single THISKIDSNOTALRIGHT, Some Kind of Joke and Everybody’s Got A Secret; b-sides including I’ve Been Dreaming and fan-favorite MF; live tracks; and remixes by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Borgore, Dan The Automator and Robert DeLong. The special boxed set bundle also includes an official AWOLNATION jacket patch as well as a limited edition AWOLNATION surf wax comb. Pre-orders for the package are now being taken at: and at iTunes.


For any AWOLNATION fan, this newly released material will most certainly be worth a listen. It seems like every time you turn around, you hear Sail playing from just about everywhere. Fittingly, there are 5 remixes of Sail tailing the end of this reissue. Notably, there is a Sail remix from Dan the Automator (Gorillas, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Dr, Octagon) who has also recently released a new album as half of the Underground Hip-Hop duo Deltron 3030. Also, it seems like you can’t swing a dead cat around without hitting a Kendrick Lamar reference, so it comes as no surprise that he makes an appearance on one of the remixes as well. For those of a Dubstep tendency, the final remix on this album, the Unlimited Gravity Mix, should resonate fairly well.

Additionally the three new tracks kicking off Disc 2, THISKIDSNOTALRIGHT, Some Kind of Joke and Everybody’s Got A Secret are also worth a listen. The opener, THISKIDSNOTALRIGHT, is a solid upbeat track that fits right into the musical wheelhouse the boys from LA established on their first album. Next, Some Kind Of Joke brings the band into electro pop rock waters that sound almost a bit MGMT-ish, yet maintain their own individual personality. Everybody’s Got A Secret starts on the quieter side, but steadily builds into a solid rocker by the end. There are also a few live tracks, including MF and Soul Wars, as well as a number of additional remixes (People, Burn It Down, and Jump On My Shoulders).

Originally released in March 2011, Megalithic Symphony has held a number of long-running, major Billboard chart positions including 120 weeks on Billboard 200 and 46 weeks on Heatseekers Albums Chart – hitting #1 seven separate times in 2012. The album is certified gold in Canada and is well on its way to gold certified sales of 500,000 in the U.S. AWOLNATION recently wrapped an extensive two-year world tour in support of Megalithic Symphony and are now in the studio to begin work on the highly anticipated follow up full-length album slated for release in 2014.

For more information visit AWOLNATION online:

The Nation:


YouTube channel:

Red Bull Records:

REVIEW: Xiu Xiu’s compelling tribute album NINA provides new perspective on a jazz legend

So what can be said of a group, led by the ever prolific Jamie Stewart, named Xiu Xiu doing a cover album of one of the most influential, stand out female jazz vocalist of all time, namely Nina Simone? Let me tell you, while a dark, experimental avant-pop group like Xiu Xiu (pronounced shoo-shoo, or more accurately something more akin to shiow shiow in Mandarin) is definitely NOT everybody’s cup of tea, a great deal most certainly can be said for the courage and vision it took for this group to completely re-imagine these songs while still paying sincere homage to the late jazz legend Simone. And remarkably, even though jazz purists might be put off by an album of this nature, Xiu Xiu (who are in no way a jazz standards band) were able to pull off using this group of jazz songs to make what can only be described as a Xiu Xiu album. And if this means nothing to you, let me explain.

To start, the album is sonically constructed of mostly traditional instruments, highlighting horns, guitar and keys. Many times the arrangements sound fairly close to a traditional jazz sound, but there is a definitive twinge of the avant-garde that builds to unstructured eruptions throughout a number of the pieces. Think Ornette Coleman doing backup for Tom Waits. The percussion is sparse and minimal, at times being little more than an occasional click or steady chop. And then there are the vocals. Being a tribute to a jazz vocalist, the spotlight and driving force of this album is the vocal delivery. Objectively, the sound of the vocals can be described as deep and breathy, whispered and quivering, as if sung by someone on the edge, lovesick and broken. But it gets deeper. It sounds as if Stewart has conjured the dark brooding essence of the powerful sacred feminine that is present on the perimeter of all of Nina Simone’s works. At times he sounds as if he is not just channeling this energy into these songs but even casting a wicked spell, damning the ones who have betrayed and degraded women throughout time. This is a musical journey into a dark and foreign land, riddled with many strange and unexpected sights.

While it can be off-putting and quite challenging for the uninitiated, there is much reward for opening up to this music. Stewart and long-time collaborator Ches Smith — “the only person I know who could understand this in his heart and also handle the technical side of fearlessly reorienting such wonderful music” — bring Simone into focus through their own avant-dark lens. “The idea came being back stage in Austin TX, opening for Swans and feeling like I did not play well,” Stewart explains. The night before, he and Swans’ Michael Gira had discussed Simone, their love both for her talent as a musician and her fearlessness as a civil rights activist, and how Simone inspired them to make better work. Feeling down on himself, yet inspired both by the memory of Simone and the “epic and beautiful persistence” of Gira and Swans, Stewart decided to honor Simone and challenge himself in making NINA.

To that end, NINA was recorded in just one day, all in first or second takes. In doing so, Stewart captured the immediacy of the feelings that inspired the record, but it was also a practical decision. Stewart is a busy man. In the next year alone he has a new full-length Xiu Xiu record coming out, along with other planned releases, and an event with conceptual artist Danh Vo at Milwaukee’s Walker Arts Center in October. Last month, he wrapped up another performance, “Dark Materials,” with visual artist Monika Grzymala and choreographer Jeremy Wade at Hamburg’s Internationales Sommerfestival and he’s also been busy touring with Swans and working with Eugene Robinson from Oxbow on their side project, Sal Mineo.

So is this album worth a listen? Well, let me put it to you this way: is conceptual visual art worth looking at or trying to understand? While it is not mainstream or accessible in the way that say a work by Van Gogh or Picasso might be, if viewed through the right lens or personal perspective it can potentially be deeply impacting and meaningful. In fact, much of what is considered “mainstream” in art today and can be seen on everything from coffee mugs to postcards and calendars, was at one time considered cutting edge and quite avant-garde. The same applies with this album and style of music as a whole. It can be difficult and challenging, but ultimately very unpredictable and rewarding if given a chance.

NINA will be released on December 3, 2013 on Graveface Records



REVIEW: New hip-hop album “Zero Gravity” from CeasRock shows potential

Canadian based rapper CeasRock’s new album Zero Gravity (free download) show his ability to lyrically stretch in different directions, but more importantly it shows a lot of potential. Zero Gravity, produced and mixed by 514IndoRecordz, starts out of the gates with the ascending title track that strikes of the higher dimensional, elevated hip-hop the likes of Hieroglyphics, Blackalicious, and Jurassic 5. The track production shines, adding the right atmosphere for the lyrical content and delivery. As an intro, the album seems to be headed for a spacey, conscious hip-hop journey.

However, the next few tracks seem to go into much more familiar waters. The production quality is still on point, but the sound comes back into the current more Southern-style rapid high-hat, slow and low beat sound. Lyrically while Ceas stays quick on the delivery, the creativity and unpredictability of his word play doesn’t reach back up to the promise of the opener. That said, while the album dips slightly it comes back up with the quietly cool “Jones” whose production nods to the warm classic R&B tinged hip-hop of Common’s “Be” era Kanye.

Toward the end of the album, Ceas comes back into interesting waters again with both the very conscious “Real Life Pt. 1” and classic sounding “10.5”. Real Life finds Ceas bringing both introspection and social commentary into the light with a solid, classically true sounding hip-hop beat to back him. Then on the closer 10.5 produced by Deejay IZ, things come back full swing into the elevation and creativity of the opener. It nods to the more genuine element of hip-hop, being true MC’ing which focuses more on content and delivery rather than catchy hooks and cultural trends.

Ceas is quoted saying about the album: “ZERO GRAVITY” represents the continuous ascension process that I go through as an artist. Focused on a modern style of production, “ZERO GRAVITY” will serve a catalyst to “FREQUENCEAS LP” which will be the 2nd instalment of the 2 part project. The goal is to show my versatility and ability to deliver quality sound within a cohesive piece of work, while still respecting the standards I hold as an emcee.” CeasRock does seem to hold high standards as a MC, and he really shines when moving into the more elevated, conscious direction of his creativity. Zero Gravity is definitely worth a listen, and CeasRock is one to watch. Stand out tracks: Zero Gravity, Jones. Real Life, and 10.5.


REVIEW: Swedish Metal act In Solitude release the darkness on their new album “Sister”

On In Solitude’s latest release on Metal Blade Records, “Sister”, the Swedish retro-metal act has created an eclectic group of songs that stay focused in a style and sound while still coloring outside of the lines.  As the Goth-Rock and Post-Punk-esqe opening track “He Comes” winds on, you get a sense of the way the rest of the album will sound and progress. There is a dark, barren atmosphere of despair present in this opening number that seems to be setting the tone for the rest of the album. While this first track certainly does set the tone, it isn’t until the relentless “Death Knows Where” punches you in the face that you realize that In Solitude will not only take you into the dismal depths of darkness, but that they’re going to beat your ass once you get there.

Upon recording the album, the band was quoted saying: “It’s time to release our third album, and things have never felt this clear and pervasive before. This is a feeling that has permeated our whole lives during the latest year of writing and recording this album, as well as digesting and dealing with its consequences. And it has been wonderful, overwhelming and utterly devastating.” Wonderful, overwhelming and utterly devastating seem to ring fairly true for the sound of this new album as well. There is a wonderfully crafted musical precision that is counter balanced with atmospherically dark grittiness, resulting in something engaging and unpredictable.

As the album progresses, In Solitude bring you further into their heavy metal world with moods that range from Mercyful Fate-esque guitar flavors, shadows of Black Sabbath, the heavy dissonance of Swans, to straight-forward, ear worm riffs not unlike their Swedish peers, Ghost. Not to mention the vocal quality and delivery of singer Pelle Åhman. At times almost demonically chanting in reverb while at others driving and pervasive, Ahman possesses a certain tone of filth and desperation not too far removed from Birthday Party era Nick Cave. In any case, one thing can be said for certain: their delivery is as genuine as it is impressive.

“Sister” was recorded at Studio Cobra in Stockholm, Sweden during March 2013. The album was produced and mixed by Martin “Konie” Ehrencrona and stands as a logical next step above and beyond its predecessor, “The World.The Flesh.The Devil.” In Solitude’s strength resides in their ability to craft dark and oppressive atmospheres within the auditory realm of classic heavy metal. The album concludes with an 8-minute, driving, near trance-like opus that features guest guitarist Pelle Forsberg (Watain).

IN SOLITUDE signed a worldwide deal with Metal Blade Records in 2010. This is also the year that Henrik Palm, vocalist and guitarist for the heavy punkers Sonic Ritual, passed the trials by fire and thus a new fury rose within the horde. The cultivation of a new sound nears perfection; one that bears the dynamic powers of youth and the embittered wisdom of the ages.

In November 2010, the horde entered Nicke Anderson’s (HELLACOPTERS) brand new studio Gutterview Recorders in Stockholm, Sweden with producer Fred Estby (DISMEMBER, DEATH BREATH) to record the band’s sophomore record, which was released in the Spring of 2011. The World.The Flesh.The Devil was released to worldwide praise from press and fans alike and landed at the #4 spot on Decibel Magazine’s Top 40 Extreme Albums of 2011. Additional accolades were heaped onto the album from Terrorizer Magazine, who called the album”finely crafted, occult-oriented, melodic heavy metal of the highest order”, as well as Guitar World Magazine who claim that “On their sophomore album, Sweden’s retro-minded metallers In Solitude summon the dark essence of Mercyful Fate and the two-guitar attack of Iron Maiden. Guitarists Niklas Lindstrom and Henrik Palm’s heavy riffing and tasty harmonies propel this head-banging disc.” Two years of touring in support of The World.The Flesh.The Devil has earned the band a global fan base. Fans have seen the band on tour on a myriad of European festivals, in the UK with Amon Amarth, as well as in North America as a part of the Decibel Magazine Tour, as well as on tour with metal legends, Down. 2013 and beyond will see continued growth of one of metal’s best newcomers.

Pelle Åhman- Vocals
Niklas Lindström – Electric Guitar
Henrik Palm – Electric Guitar
Gottfrid Åhman – Electric Bass Guitar
Uno Bruniusson – Drums

REVIEW: New metal comp from Sly Productionz brings the variety

The new compilation from the Chicago based Sly Productionz titled “Sly Productionz Volume 1” brings a variety of emerging metal bands into focus. This first release from Sly Productionz hosts a wide range of acts, totaling at 17 tracks from 17 different acts. The tone of a lot of this album treads into the Alternative and Heavy Metal waters, but there are also some Thrash Metal and Metalcore tracks as well.

Some of the highlights of this comp are the tracks from Fist To The Sky, Like A Storm, Psychotic Daze, Punch Cabbie, and Emergent. The album opens with a Trash Metal piece from Fist To The Sky the blast away at full tilt the whole track through. Like A Storm takes the second track into Alt Metal territory with accessible lyrics and an impressively technical and industrial tinged breakdown towards the end. Psychotic Daze keep things moving with their riff laden speed metal track “Ride This Bullet Home”. Punch Cabbie brings the Metalcore mayhem to light with their heavy and vocally System of a Down-esque contribution “Revenant”. Wrapping things up are two dirt-rocking, grooving tracks from the bands Hollywood Dirtbags and Hot Dang!, which create a very interesting bookend to the rest of the sound and feel of the compilation.

In all, this is a solid preliminary release from Sly Productionz. It shows a lot of potential for future recordings from the artists included, as well as new artists to come.

Sly Productionz Volume 1


Fist to the Sky |
Like A Storm |
Forever Waiting |
Three Years Hollow |
Psychopathic Daze |
Two Ton Anvil |
She Loves Seven |
Dead Ringers |
Left Of Reason |
Unhinged |
Gone For Days |
Punch Cabbie
Age of Ares |
Sudden Dark |
Hollywood Dirtbags |
Hot Dang! |

REVIEW: Swedish groove metal act The Quill show their rock determination on “Tiger’s Blood”

Remember how alternative (whatever the hell that means) music used to rock? Not the crap that is “radio-friendly”, but the stuff that used to really kick ass. Like all the nineties powerhouses, especially the grunge guys when they were still trying to make it, and the “indie” bands that rocked and didn’t really know they were indie bands yet? Well let me tell you folks, Swedish rockers The Quill certainly remember.

This should come as no surprise from a band that has been around since the nineties and released six albums in the meantime: “The Quill” (1995), “Silver Haze” (1999), ”Voodoo caravan” (2001), ”Hooray! It’s a deathtrip” (2003), ”In triumph” (2006) and “Full Circle” (2011). The core of The Quill consists of the two mainstays, guitarist Christian Carlsson and drummer Jolle Atlagic (ex. Hanoi Rocks, The Real McCoy Band). The two musical motors, whom together formed the band in the early nineties, have always worked with one single goal – a determination to show audiences all over the world the sheer quality of The Quill. This latest offering which is meant to deliver more of their sheer quality, certainly doesn’t disappoint.

In 2010 they teamed up with new singer Magnus Arnar (ex. Ground Mower, Soul 78) to fill the vacant vocalist spot. Vocally, Arnar delivers on the most recent offering from The Quill. Arnar’s vocal style lends itself well to the hard driving groove metal sound that the band has cultivated. Not too far removed from the vocal qualities present on “In Triumph” or “Full Circle”, Arnar delivers on “Tiger’s Blood” staying true to the overall sound of the band. In mid 2012, the lost son Roger Nilsson (ex. Spiritual Beggars, Firebird) returned to handle the bass guitar after having spent 7 years exploring other musical journeys.

“Tiger’s Blood” is a solid rocking entry into the musical catalog of these Swedish veterans, and it shows their relentless dedication to their vision and sound. The majority of the release is driving and energetic, with the exception of two slower tempo tracks in the middle that help to add depth and variety to the overall album. The album was released through Metalville in June, 2013 and the band is ecstatic over the times to come. The songs have a wider range, live shows will be more explosive and touring will be more intense.

The Full Circle-campaign of 2011-12 saw The Quill yet again touring extensively all over Europe and also, for the first time, in the US. Having toured and shared bill with a variety of bands, such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Monster Magnet, there’s no stage The Quill fear to tread. Known for their high-energy, take no prisoners attitude they always deliver a live-show leaving audiences grasping for air.

REVIEW: Female fronted NYC progressive rockers Eye Ra Haze release their brooding EP Eye Of The Storm progressive music is somewhat of a boys club. With the exception of a few bands that surfaced between the mid-90’s and now, the female gender has been primarily absent from the world of progressive hard rock and metal. Finally, the wait ends now with the introduction of New York City alternative/progressive quintet EYE RA HAZE. Not only featuring drummer Kevin Corcoran’s (ex-Buried Alive) thunderous beats and Berklee-schooled bassist Chris Marrone’s fresh rhythms, the band also includes the female triple-threat of seductive crooner Natasha Nicholson, striking 8-string guitarist Nicole Papastavrou (ex-Through this Defiance), and captivating classical pianist Karine Catenacci.

Musically, Eye Of The Storm is laden with intricately laced rhythms balanced by dark spatial melodies. This is music that knows the importance of leaving room to breathe between the notes and rhythms in order to create depth and atmosphere. This is not the brand of progressive rock that subscribes to musical excess as a way to flex their musical prowess. Rather, Eye Ra Haze mindfully weave thoughtful sonic constructions that demonstrate mastery through constraint and design. Natasha Nicholson delivers crisp, clear vocals throughout that are an interesting contrast to the music the float on top of. Lyrically things are a little fairly straightforward here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is an instrumentally dynamic offering which can be quickly digested and appreciated.

As for their background, EYE RA HAZE is the natural formation of five heavy music lovers who shared the dream of sculpting a nonpareil sound in the alternative and progressive genres. Their blend of delicate, ardent melodies and tumultuous rhythm riffs force EYE RA HAZE to stand apart from the crowd. They craft each song like a passionate, personal encounter, using dynamics to translate their mood and intentions. During the tremors of their live set, EYE RA HAZE exposes a crude display of skills, taking the audience from love to rage and leaving them hung; craving to know the source of their enigmatic dark side, and their intimidating show of beauty.

EYE RA HAZE played their first residency at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, New York last July. The band is planning a string of live shows in the Northeast this spring and plans to return to the studio in July 2013 to record a full length with hit songwriters Bob Marlette (Saliva, Shinedown) and Jasen Rauch (Korn/Breaking Benjamin).

REVIEW: Thrash champions Suicidal Tendencies release 13 – their first release in 13 years!

Suicidal Tendencies – Institutionalized

All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one…Diet Pepsi? Well for anyone who was listening to those early Suicidal recordings, the “All I wanted was a Pepsi” reference being an all-to-famous line from the 1983 track “Institutionalized” (check the video above), you certainly remember that the pure ‘cyco’ style that was the Suicidal Tendencies signature sound was anything but diet.  Well only a few minutes into “Shake It Out”, first track on their new release 13, Mike Muir has referenced himself from those earlier outings…..but he’s added the qualifier of diet.

As a backdrop, when they first broke out in the early 1980’s the thrash sound of Suicidal Tendencies (who have been dubbed the fathers of crossover thrash), embodied the spirit and angst of the youth generation of their time with their hardcore/punk/thrash/metal/I don’t give a f@¢k sound. Having lyrics dealing with alienation, depression, non-conformist and anarchist politics, along with rumors and controversy of gang involvement and a string of furious shows, Suicidal’s sound was full force insanity.

Now back to the present. Diet Pepsi references or not, have no fear. On the mark of their 30th anniversary, the Suicidal Tendencies are back and still ready to rip it up and get cyco. While some time has passed and the band lineup has shifted a number of times from those original recordings, the sentiment remains the same.

The album’s sound has all of the Suicidal qualities intact, though in addition there have been some improvements. The production quality and sound throughout are uniform and crisp. And it should be, as it was produced by Mike Muir and Paul Northfield, who has done notable progressive rock production for RushDream TheaterQueensrÿcheOzzy Osbourne,Hole,Marilyn Manson,and Infectious Grooves. Likewise, there is a noticeable emphasis on the quality and complexity of the rhythm section. There is an undeniable complexity underneath the power chords and thrash melodies that add texture, depth and interest to an already interesting and memorable band.

In short, for memory sake alone you should listen to this album. Even if you’re new to the Suicidal Tendencies but appreciate influential hardcore, punk, or thrash metal check this album out. Suicidal fans will not be disappointed.

In conjunction with the release of 13SUICIDAL TENDENCIES is out on a full U.S. tour, dubbed the ‘Slam City Tour’. The tour features support from various champions of hardcore music both young and old. Support ranges from NYC hardcore heroes MADBALL and SICK OF IT ALL to Houston greats D.R.I.The tour included a stop at this year’s New England Metal and Hardcore Festival in Worcester, MA on April 21st.

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES Slam City Tour Dates with Various Support:

4/19 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory (W/ SICK OF IT ALL, DRI, WAKING THE DEAD)
4/20 New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater (W/ SICK OF IT ALL, DRI, WAKING THE DEAD)
4/21 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium (New England Metal and Hardcore Festival)
4/23 Patchogue, NY @ The Emporium (W/ DRI, WAKING THE DEAD, THIS IS HELL)
4/24 Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage (W/ SICK OF IT ALL, DRI, WAKING THE DEAD)
4/26 Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend (W/ DRI, WAKING THE DEAD)
4/27 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (W/ DRI, WAKING THE DEAD)
4/28 Charleston, SC @ The Music Farm (W/ DRI, WAKING THE DEAD)

4/30 St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre
5/02 Miami, FL @ Grand Central
5/03 Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live
5/06 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
5/07 Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
5/09 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
5/10 Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
5/11 Pomona, CA @ The Fox Theater
5/12 San Diego, CA @ House of Blues

Mike Muir – lead vocals
Dean Pleasants – lead guitar
Nico Santora – rhythm guitar
Steve Bruner – bass
Eric Moore – drums

For more information on SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, please visit these websites:

REVIEW: Victory’s debut album “Victory Is Music” brings a little neon VHS retro to the party

‘Victory Is Music’ Track Listing:

1. Bad Man
2. This, That or This
3. Play It
4. Woman
5. Soothing Me So
6. Straight Line
7. Lazy Art
8. System Strange
9. Records
10. Dirty Jeans

Victory is the music project of Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist Robert Fleming who produces new songs that are at once fresh, familiar and focused.  ‘Demonstrations’ was the first offering from Victory, a 7-song EP self-released in September 2011 and his first full length is set to see the light in April 23rd, 2013.  Victory crafts a sound that is both a throw-back to psychedelic 60’s British rock as well as an homage to today’s thriving independent music scene.

In his freshman debut, Fleming comes out of the gate with a consistent release that is a unique approach to pop rock. With a gravelly blues tone in his voice, Victory’s mastermind brings a definitive swagger and charisma to his thumping party starters. Take for example his singe “Play It”, which was featured in a Cadillac XTS commercial. It’s got the vibe of a party-hopping late night bender fueled by the energy of gritty synth bass lines and LCD Soundsystem-esque vocal chanting.

There is something slightly retro, slightly Atari 2600, slightly Betamax, yet strikingly current about Victory’s style. Rhythmically there is a high level of sophistication present, and the percussive arrangements and production are distinctly modern in there approach. The album Victory Is Music as a whole is definitely an energetic ride throughout, stylistically maintaining a gritty blues electro pop vibe. Overall this is a strong entry for this LA-based newcomer who finds beauty in the everyday noise of the city, and art in the conflict of the day.

Check Out The Video For ‘Play It’

Purchase ‘Play It’ On iTunes


Victory Website
Victory facebook
Victory twitter

Victory Bandcamp

REVIEW: The new Eric and Magill release Two Travelers is a testament to beauty in global collaboration

Globetrotters Eric and Magill have created an interesting new collection of music on their new EP Two Travelers. Ryan Weber and Eric Osterman are a testament that distance is no barrier to making beautiful music. Weber is in the Peace Corps in Kenya, while Osterman is settled in Brooklyn. With little more than Wi-Fi and laptops, they’ve developed a collaborative relationship across time zones and continents.

From the opener, “Tangled Up In Nets”, you can tell there is something unique about this music. Amidst a glimmering electro pop rock backdrop, they somberly and delicately deliver a mouthful of echo laden lyrics dealing with the potentially mind bending concept of universal interconnectivity. However, their song writing chops are so on point that they can lull you peacefully into their world of indelible cosmic melodies without you realizing the gravity of their lyrics.

Vocally the work on this EP is diverse, and there are times of distinct two-part harmonies and also times of vocal singularity. Both work to deliver the band’s lyrical message in coherence with their eclectic instrumentation and swirling pop rock rhythms. The lyrical delivery ranges from energetically urgent to discreetly whispering, and stays aesthetically relevant throughout. They have crafted a number of gems in true pop rock fashion and format, while at the same time peppering the soup with little surprises throughout.

Originally from Milwaukee, they first played together in Camden, an indie favorite with shoegaze flavor. After only a handful of EPs and one stellar full-length – the gorgeous Reel Time Canvas, produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) – they disbanded while on the brink of bigger things. After they disbanded, Osterman followed his heart to Michigan and Weber enlisted Camden alum William Seidel to form the indie-folk outfit Decibully while moonlighting with The Promise Ring. The two friends drifted apart as you do when life happens, but not so far that they couldn’t easily fall in with each other again.

In 2007, Weber took up a teaching post in Armenia for a year; it was in this faraway place where he began the initial sketches of a new project. Reaching out to Osterman was a natural step; writing together again was a matter of exchanging tracks over email. Taking the concept one step further, they invited myriad friends to participate, including members of ShearwaterDirty Projectors, Owen and a slew of hometown heroes like MaritimeHey Mercedes, and The Championship. The resulting record, All Those I Know, is a dream-pop composition marked at times by lush reverb and at others, by delicate folk melodies. Released first as a free download in the late winter of 2010, it was pressed in limited-edition vinyl (Ten Atoms) the following summer.

Forever traveling, in 2011 Weber joined the Peace Corps in Kenya while Osterman relocated to Brooklyn. Apart from the inherent challenges of place, little had changed in their creative process. Still the laptops, the Internet connection, the revolving cast of musicians – this time including (amongst others) members of The DelgadosSnailhouse, and Faunts. Night Singers builds on the framework of All Those I Know, building upon the band’s hallmark vocals flush with reverb. The end result is an album full of glittering, hushed moments juxtaposed against electro-pop gems.

The coming year will see the release of Night Singers (May) preceded by an EP, the aptly titled Two Travelers. At times reassuringly uplifting while at others worrisome and haunting, Two Travelers is the culminating creative outpouring of two individuals traversing the ever-changing simultaneous multiplicity of our modern landscape.

Praise For Eric And Magill:

“Aided by a sizeable supporting cast that includes members of Dirty Projectors, Shearwater, and Headlights, Decibully’s Ryan Weber and pal Eric Osterman have focused their electronic-folk project Eric & Magill on rectifying the divide between simple, earnest, nostalgic folk-rock and highly polished, manipulated pop..” — A.V Club

“I became instantly hooked to every note, every harmonic hum, and every cavernous sung word. “ — Tympanogram

“From it’s colorful and sweeping soundscapes down to it’s quiet whispers, ‘All Those I Know’ is an undeniably gorgeous record that will have you captivated from start to finish. Imagine that you’re on a road trip with your best friend, have a light conversation and enjoying the afternoon sun… ” –Sloucher

“lustrous bedroom pop and atmospheric folk” — Express Milwaukee


Band Website

Band facebook

Band Bandcamp

‘Two Travellers’ EP Track Listing:

1. Tangled Up In Nets
2. Take On Too Much
3. I Feel Your Pain
4. Don’t Worry
5. Carried Away
6. Super Oso (Same Starry Sky)

Day Joy’s “Go To Sleep” Will Let You Do Anything But

Florida based duo Day Joy have just released a new LP titled Go To Sleep, Mess.  My only advice is not to fall asleep too quickly. While the tone and mood of this debut work is gently mellow and calming, it is absolutely riddled with delicate production nuances and rich textural harmonies. A midst the swooning and sweeping instrumental backdrop, Day Joy pulls you into a deeply personal, heartfelt, and genuinely sincere musical experience that is both revealing and enveloping.  Day Joy makes beautiful lush dream folk landscapes caressed with crooning and heart felt melodies and deep poetic lyricism.

Hailing from Orlando, FL the now five sometimes six piece was originally a two person project started by Peter Michael Perceval and Michael Serrin. Peter and Michael met in college years ago where they acoustically wrote all the songs via late nights on porches and rooftops that are just now coming to fruition and being released on Small Plates Records on their debut LP Go To Sleep, Mess. Quite aptly, they were recently hailed as one of the top 10 Florida Bands You Should Listen To NOW by Paste Magazine alongside their friends and other up and comers Levek and Hundred Waters.

Orlando, Florida’s Day Joy glimmers on a lucid dream, borne on a conscious wind, as they both adhere to the tried and true dream-pop formula and also break its clamorous mold. Carried by the pensive vocals of original members Michael Serrin and Peter Perceval, they began as a duo writing acoustic song structures for psychedelic dreams on rooftops and porches amidst late-night Floridian sunsets. As they now encompass a five–and sometimes six–piece collaboration of banjos, ukeleles, synthesizers and steady percussions, they will be releasing their debut album, Go To Sleep, Mess, on Small Plates Records.

Mirroring the mystifying image of the Floridian landscape that surrounds them, they have sought to provide a similar tone and intimate experience as their fellow Floridian friends, such as Hundred Waters and Levek. With humble origins, and brimming effectual sounds to share, Day Joy offers a reflective experience and a sobering reverence that only these South Eastern dream poppers would know how.

Day Joy have reached an emotional depth on this record that doesn’t come off as pretentious, but rather intimate and unmasked. While this album isn’t quite in the same territory as Bon Iver, there is a parallel in that I haven’t heard a debut that sounds this engaging while at the same time being so subjectively personal since I first listened to For Emma, Forever Ago. Fans of Bon Iver, The Acorn, Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, and the like should check this one out. Listen | Day Joy: Go To Sleep, Mess

Click Here To Watch “Go To Sleep, Mess” On Paste

Click Here To Pre-Order Go To Sleep, Mess LP 

Tour Dates

02.15 – Will’s Pub – Orlando, FL
02.16 – New World Brewery – Tampa, FL
02.19 – Burrow Bar – Jacksonville, FL
02.21 – Caledonia Lounge – Athens, GA
02.22 – Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA
02.23 – Apothecary – Asheville, NC *
02.25 – Blind Tiger – Greensboro, NC *
02.27 – Kings Barcade – Raleigh, NC *
02.28 – Metropolitan – Annapolis, MD
03.01 – Pianos – New York, NY
03.03 – The Outer Space – Hamden, CT
03.05 – Glasslands – Brooklyn, NY
03.07 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
03.08 – Rozz Tox – Rock Island, IL

* w/ Casual Curious
(More Dates To Be Announced)

Hatchet Releases “Fall From Grace” Single Announces New Album Details Dawn Of The End Out March 5th On The End Records

‘Dawn Of The End’ Tracklisting

01. After The Dark
02. Silenced By Death
03. Screams of The Night
04. Fall From Grace
05. Revelations Of Good And Evil
06. Signals Of Infection
07. Dawn Of The End
08. Sinister Thoughts
09. Welcome To The Plague
10. Vanishing Point

Click Here To Pre-Order Exclusive ‘Dawn Of The End’ Bundle

The Bay area’s thrash metal maniacs Hatchet released a brutal single from their new album Dawn Of The End due out March 5th on The End Records.  Hatchet’s sound rides somewhere between the racing, driven sound of classic thrash metal (think old Metallica and Megadeth, Anthrax, Sacred Reich, Testament, etc.)  and 90’s hardcore (Agnostic Front, Biohazard, Sick Of It All).

Crushingly precise and technically flawless, Hatchet brought that blood pumping, feverish thrash energy back to the forefront of the metal scene with their debut album Awaiting Evil. Now with their Dawn Of The End, they have come back to slay fake metal with their razor sharp sound.  If you like your metal fierce and thrashing, pick this one up and check it out.

The quartet’s sophomore work is a huge step forward in precise aggression, performance, songwriting and production. Having recently confirmed The End Records as the band’s new home the band and label want to share a new song from the album, “Fall From Grace”, in addition to Dawn of the End’s cover, as illustrated by All Things Rotten (Children of Bodom, Eluvetie, Amon Amarth).

“Fall From Grace” was chosen as the first preview track off Dawn of the End. This song is about the fall of Lucifer from heaven as the fable goes. Lucifer was struck down by God for taking a stand against him leading to what we now know as Satan and Hell; that is if you believe in that sort of thing.

The cover art of Dawn of the End was meant to depict and signify the title of the album in one picture. It’s the end of all mankind — a total apocalypse. This could be depicted In many ways, but to us this might be a scene from the end of the world with Death summoning demons to rise from their slumber and ascend unto our world and destroy it completely. I’ve just always been a fan of apocalyptic scenes. Very metal!” laughs Julz.

Track to track Hatchet’s new album pack’s a serious punch and doesn’t back down. Even on the album’s one acoustic track “Revelations Of Good And Evil” the mood, tone, and proficiency of the song writing create a track worthy of repeated listens. Thrash is trash, and it either totally rips or totally sucks. Undoubtedly, Hatchet is totally ripping it up.

Fatboy Slim To Release Big Beach Bootique 5 CD/DVD Out February 19th On The End Records

1. Fatboy Slim: Right Here Right Now
2. Fatboy Slim: Praise You
3. His Majesty Andre: Clubs
The Black & White Brothers – Put Your Hands Up
Fatboy Slim: Fucking In Heaven
4. Chuckie: Who Is Ready To Jump?
2Symmetry: Lollipop (New Thomas Mix)
5. Firebeatz : Where’s Your Head
John Dahlback – Grunge
6. Bingo Players L’Amour
Chuckie & LMFAO : Let The Bass Kick In Miami, Bitch
7. As Tequileros Do Funk : Surra de Bunda (Sidney Samson Remix)
Tocadisco: That Miami Track
8. Nari & Milani vs Maurizio Gubellini : Up
Fatboy Slim : Right Here, Right Now
Felguk vs Tim Healey: Score
9. Fatboy Slim vs Riva Starr feat. Beardyman : Get Naked  (Fatboy Slim vs Futuristic Polar Bears Remix)
10. Bart B More : Traction
Tittsworth: WTF
11. Lazy Jay – Reflux
12. Nari & Milani – Kendo
13. SYMPHO NYMPHO (Erick Morillo, Harry Romero, Jose Nunez) – Build It Up
14. Soul Central : Strings Of Life (Supernova Remix)
15. Fatboy Slim : Star 69
16. Sidney Samson & Steve Aoki – Wake Up Call
Armand Van Helden: NYC Beat
Fedde Le Grand/Mitch Crown: Rockin’ High (Nicky Romero Mix)
Incredible Bongo Band: Apache
17. Seductive – Take Control
Fatboy Slim – Sunset (Bird Of Prey)
18. 68 Beats – Noise (Robbie Rivera Mix)
19. Fatboy Slim – Praise You

Rarely is one able to sum up an album with simply a phrase, a word, or even better a number. On Fatboy Slim’s most recent outing, it seems that time has come: 303. That’s right. TB-303 to be exact. This album is absolutely melting with dripping 303 lines that harken back to the golden age of Acid House music. And it is full of bangers! The squirming, squelching chirp, originating from innovative Chicago house music pioneers in the 1980’s experimenting with the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer, is so contagious and energizing that even the stiffest wallflower at the party might just have to get down and shake it.

What better time for Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim to blow minds with such a jumping set then at a mega-gig at Brighton, UK’s Falmer Stadium. Cook said that this gig was special –  “I was involved with the fight to get Falmer built – I took a petition to Downing Street, I went on the marches – so it’s a celebration of Brighton, it’s a celebration of getting the stadium, it’s celebration of my links with the Albion, it’s the icing on the cake for all of us”. Though Cook was integral in getting Falmer built, that didn’t stop him from tearing the walls down with his schizophrenic house-rocking mixes. It’s all here – classic Slim tracks, cut, snipped, mashed, and mixed along with unheard bits and other party anthems (“Put your hands up for Detroit”,  “In The Annex”, and “Bird of Prey” to name a few).

This set is also a bit of a symbol, epitomizing  just one in a litany of amazing-sounding shows that Cook has played recently, a faintly deranged global journey stopping at all points from the Big Brother house in Brazil to the Great Wall Of China.Playing a DJ set there, he says, was “one of those boxes that needed to be ticked off”, as if everyone has a to-do list stuck to their fridge with PLAY DJ SET ON GREAT WALL OF CHINA just below GET MORE BIN BAGS and DENTIST’S APPT. “Everyone said it was like playing at an M25 rave. It was in the middle of nowhere, two hours outside of Beijing, right by the Mongolian border, in the car park of the tourist center. There’s nobody there at night. We’d had our gear impounded at customs, we were fully prepared for the idea that it might not happen. And 5000 people turned up. Projecting lasers onto the Great Wall Of China! I don’t know how we got away with it.”

He still heads into his studio to chop up other people’s tracks for use in his DJ sets, to which end, he clicks a button on his laptop and out bursts a highly improbable mash-up of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Armand Van Helden’s New York City Beat, The Incredible Bongo Band’s Apache and Prokoviev’s Peter And The Wolf, which is simultaneously brilliant, entirely ridiculous and the kind of idea that only Norman Cook would have. But at the moment, he’s concentrating on DJing rather than making records. “I did 70 gigs last year,” he says. “I’ve never done that many before. I’m just really enjoying doing the gigs, as a career. This is my job, I love doing it, I still seem to be getting away with it.”

These days, Cook’s show involves not just playing his own patented brand of “party acid house”, but a complex audio-visual production. “I’m technically a video jockey now. We write scripts for all the tunes, make films. In the past, I used to have to literally hold up the next record I was going to play to the guy who does my visuals, and he’d have to find the images to match it. And they were never synched. But now, because of the technology, no matter what speed I play at, even if I just chop quickly into it, the visuals are all synchronized. It’s a show.”

There’s more: DJing back to back with Carl Cox, unwittingly becoming FA’s “official World Cup DJ”, a forthcoming tour of “nice characterful old ballrooms in Britain”. It goes on and on: it shows no sign of stopping. “Oh no. I love it too much. I can still get away with it. It doesn’t matter that you’re old and bald and grey and fat, because you were never a sex symbol in the first place. We’re pushing new limits. No one knows what the cut-off age limit of a DJ is. And apparently, it’s not yet.” Norman Cook roars with laughter. “I take great delight in that.”

Fear Of Men Announces New Singles Compilation Early Fragments Out February 12th On Kanine Records

Brighton based Fear of Men is set to release a compilation of singles on marbled vinyl 12” and as a digital set under the title “Early Fragments” on February 12, 2013 via Brooklyn based indie Kanine Records. To date, Fear of Men has released singles on various UK labels, and they are excited to have their first release in the US, to be followed by their first live appearances (including SXSW).

Fear Of Men serve up a healthy dose of beautifully lo-fi music that is both lush and enigmatic. On this most recent offering of early tracks, they have cultivated a sound that is reminiscent like Polaroid pictures and mix tapes on cassette. Sonically Fear Of Men  occupy the same territory as bands like The Sundays, and have the ability to dreamily ease their ways into your heart. This is the sound of a long drive down a country road on a Thursday night in May, with the one you love at your side and not a care in the world. The tracks on Early Fragments are not only well crafted, but they glow with nostalgic warmth and beauty.

About Fear of Men: Fear of Men, born of an art school project, has turned into one of the most promising bands of 2013.  Drawing their inspiration from art and philosophy, Fear of Men deliberately juxtaposes iconic museum imagery and lyrical themes of loneliness and fragmentation with buoyant pop melodies.

While studying for a Fine Art & History of Art degree, Jessica Weiss (vocals + guitar) was exhibiting some of her home recordings of ambient soundtracks to short films when these recordings caught the attention of Daniel Falvey (guitar). The two began swapping mix tapes and started a friendship based on a shared love of melody and an eclectic mix of artists such as The Chills, Grouper, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Magnetic Fields, and The Byrds, ultimately leading to the start of a more pop-focused project which they called Fear of Men.

Starting out, the duo recorded their music on a 4-track and transferred it onto their laptops, which Jess would then use as part of her degree work. They uploaded their songs to bandcamp and immediately caught the attention of UK blogs. Enlisting the help of friends to play drums and bass, Fear of Men approached DIY promoters and immediately began playing live shows.

Fear of Men, completed by Michael Miles (drums) and Robyn Edwards (bass), began releasing singles on DIY and independent UK labels and capturing the attention of Pitchfork, NME, Gorilla vs. Bear, Stereogum, The Fader, Drowned in Sound and topping the Hype Machine charts.  For a wider introduction into North America, Fear of Men is releasing “Early Fragments” a reverse chronological collection of their previous single releases, many of which were only available in Europe on limited edition 7” and cassette pressings.

Fans of Broadcast and Julie Doiron will instantly gravitate toward Jess’ tender vocals and melodies. The songs are beguilingly sweet while the lyrics are often bleakly nihilistic, meaning that you’ll find yourself singing along to these intelligent, well-crafted pop songs while unwittingly sinking deeper into Fear of Men’s world.

Reverend And The Makers Announce New Album @Reverend_Makers Out March 5th On The End Records

@Reverend_Makers’ Tracklisting

01. Bassline
02. Out Of The Shadows
03. Shine The Light
04. Depthcharge
05. Warts N All
06. Yes You Do
07. The Wrestler
08. 1 + 0
09. Noisy Neighbour
10. What Goes Around

Click Here To Pre-Order ‘@Reverend_Makers’

It takes a special talent to make magic out of the kitchen sink, to tell the story of the real world with an intimate touch that doesn’t sound patronising. John McLure of Reverend and the Makers made his name with this kind of writing and the new album sees the band return with their most concise and perfect work yet. If Shane Meadows made great contemporary pop records, mashing the rush of indie with the hedonistic pulse of electronics and dance, then this what they would sound like.

On @Reverand_Makers, McLure isn’t just lightly skipping stones across a few different musical genre pools, he is fully submerged. From the dubstep infused “Depthcharge”, to the club anthem-esque “Bassline”, and the indie electronica guitar tune “Warts N All”, this album is no stranger to jumping styles. The best part is that it actually works. There is cohesion across the album, even though it tends to skip around as it winds on.

The album is quite polished and well produced, giving it a very modern and contemporary sound. Reverand And The Makers mix club style synthesizer lines and four on the floor beats with guitar riffs, pop hooks and periodic randomness reminiscent of Miike Snow or Junior Boys. Vocally, there are moments that edge close to the rasp and tone of Spiritaulized, while others like “Yes You Do” capture some of the warmth and quirk of Menomena. However, regardless of the modern production I can’t help but be reminded of some indie dance groups from days long gone. For instance, on “Shine The Light” I can’t help but hear flavors of the classic indie/alternative/dance hybrid sound of “Fool’s Gold” era Stone Roses.

The album title is ‘@Reverend_Makers’ because, as McLure explains, ‘the songs the little situations I see living in Sheffield in 2012.  Nothing seems to sum up the present and the times we live in more than the @ symbol.’

McLure is one of the most engaging modern musicians. Sheffield bred, he is six foot plus of pure high IQ attitude and passion and a key player in the city’s recent musical revival. Breaking through in 2007 with the top ten hit ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ from their first album ‘The State of Things’ and consolidating it with the second 2009 studio album, ‘A French Kiss in the Chaos’ his band’s mix of indie guitars and electronics updated the form adding heartfelt vocals and a social consciousness rare in modern music.

After a three year hiatus, ‘@Reverend_Makers’ takes this a stage further with every song sounding like a 21st century pop classic, marrying indie melodies with the sparse electronics that dominate his home city – it’s the sound of bedsits cranking their music, soundclashing across the city night.

The resulting album is the sound of someone who has lived the dream, had the success, the hit albums, traveled the world, played the stadiums but is still fascinated by his own roots. The magnetic draw of the north and its powerfully unique musical cities like Sheffield with their experimental pop heritage tempered by a blunt social realism is at the heart of some of the best British pop.

The new album sees a return to the social conscious that marked out his initial forays into music. This is small ‘p’ politics, the politics of the everyday, 21st century kitchen sink with the internet and social networking as well as beer and fags and fights.

Reverend And The Makers are back to reclaim their crown. Never has real life sounded so good. The tumbledown of cheap drugs, gritty realism, thrilling escapism, sex, and fish and chip suppers, hedonistic living, all night dance music in dank semi legal cellars, and the comedown – all soundtracked by great guitar music.

Krokus Announces New Album Dirty Dynamite Out March 5th On The End Records

‘Dirty Dynamite’ Tracklisting

01.  Hallelujah Rock’n’Roll
02.  Go Baby Go
03.  Rattlesnake Rumble
04.  Dirty Dynamite
05.  Let The Good Times Roll
06.  Help
07.  Better Than Sex
08.  Dög Song
09.  Yellow Mary
10.  Bailout Blues
11.  Live Ma Life
12.  Hardrocking Man


Well let me tell you, on Dirty Dynamite Krokus keep it dirty indeed. They’ve zeroed in on that particular sound of adrenaline pumping, pure unadulterated rock and roll that can drive a true power rocker into a frenzy.  It’s the sound of a dive bar on Friday night at 11PM, and all the regulars are half kicked in the ass and ready to anthematically chant their collective work week worries away.  This isn’t the “dive bar” hipsters go, where they drink Pabst and try to feel nostalgically gritty.  No this is the real deal.  Scuzzy, gritty, smoky, and Krokus is right there in front serving shots of whiskey and rock and roll.  There is timeless, furious rock energy on Dirty Dynamite, and proof positive to why Krokus are rock legends.

For almost 40 years now, Krokus has stood for high-quality, honest-to-goodness, hand-made power rock. No other Swiss rock band sells albums and its back catalogue worldwide like Krokus. The band has already sold over 14 million records, toured the world, and received gold and platinum discs in the USA and Canada. The milestones in their rock career are dotted around the world: from Australia and the USA to Mexico, Russia, Japan, and China.

But it hasn’t all been one long high: death, sickness, and internal strife have pushed the band to the brink of collapse. The story of Krokus is like no other. Dotted with highs and lows, sell-out stadium concerts and sweaty club gigs, these five musketeers of rock have outlasted trends and survived treacherous US managers, tough splits, bad deals, shady lawyers, drugs, awful fast food, endless bus trips, disco, grunge, grotesque record companies, and double-dealing advisors.

Today they are back in their classic line-up plus Mandy Meyer and are stronger than ever on their new album, DIRTY DYNAMITE. The band spent a whole two years working on the new album under the watchful eye of Chris Von Rohr. ‘We didn’t spend all that time on golf courses or tennis courts. No, we just wanted to make our best album yet, the magnum opus of the new Krokus era,” says the hit producer. Guitarist Mark Kohler has this to add: ‘This is not just another Krokus album. I think we have definitely passed another rock milestone with this record.’

To reach this goal, no expense was spared; the band booked into the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. Krokus went back to their roots, back to where it all began with the Stones, the Beatles, the Free, the Who, and the Bluesbreakers; back to where the band headlined concerts in the Hammersmith Odeon, celebrating their first international success. ‘The atmosphere there is very special, and we wanted to make the most of that,’ says singer Marc Storace. Guitarist Fernando von Arb is quick to add: ‘With Dirty Dynamite, we have recorded the urgently needed, dirty kind of rock that no one plays in this country.’

It sounds like Krokus will be keeping it dirty for quite some time.

Veronica Falls sophomore release Waiting For Something To Happen in stores February 12th

VERONICA FALLS are set to release their aptly titled sophomore album Waiting For Something To Happen on the Slumberland/Bella Union label February 12th.  Waiting For Something To Happen is a good summation of the feel of this album that explores themes of the wandering twenty-something existence in all of its starry-eyed glory.  It’s a coming of age tale set to the tune of crisp, inviting guitar pop that invokes a reminiscent warmth and energy.  Veronica Falls audibly weave you through their dreamy space with a bouncy energy akin to Stereolab, only without sounding the slightest bit electronic.

Waiting For Something To Happen is crafted with tunes about bridging the divide between adolescence and adulthood that are sunny and bright on the surface, while containing a subtle darkness lurking in the shadows just beneath.  Pitchfork has enigmatically but quite accurately coined them as “shoegaze that looks you square in the eye.”  If you can imagine a band like The Jesus And Mary Chain crossed over with a more straightforward pop band of yesteryear, perhaps The Mommas & the Poppas, you’d be in the same aural neighborhood as the new Veronica Falls release.  Pristine and unpredictable, this London based quartet have created a sophomore release worth checking out.

Western Medicine’s Debut EP Painted World due out January 29th

Dark, brooding, and relentlessly chomping along, WESTERN MEDICINE have come to musically kick you in the shins.  Hailing from Nashville, TN, these post-punk rockers mean business. As front man Justin Landis puts it, Western Medication is “the remedy against the epidemic of uninspired rock that has been pumped out for years.” While staying true to a punching punk rock aesthetic (driving power chords, a thundering rhythm section, and yes, even a song that clocks in at less than one minute) there is also experimentation into some wider sonic spaces on the new EP Painted World, due out on January 29th. One part Dead Kennedys, one part Joy Division, with just a dark splash of Bahaus, these southern rockers have mixed up a tasty concoction of the greatest tastes of post-punk. And with enough pure punk fury, fuzzy distortion, and reverb to shake the flask out of a squatter’s hand, tracks like “Big City” and “Problems in DC” give reason to believe that Western Medicine are here to stay.

My Gold Mask’s Debut Album Leave Me Midnight Due Out February19th


MY GOLD MASK, a duo hailing from Chicago, have come out of the gates running with their debut album Leave Me Midnight due out in stores on February 19th. At times the album is stark, minimal, intimate and enchantingly haunting, while at others pulsing, energetic and anthematic.  They have crafted a very rich, textural sound that while containing reminiscent elements remains unique and individual.  There are moments hinting at the bleak warmth of The XX in a backdrop of Florence And The Machine’s rhythm section. Others seem like a balancing act between the  Coceau Twins and Morrissey. Others still are edging on some kind of frantic mash-up between the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Bat For Lashes.  However, even though all of these moments are present in the new MY GOLD MASK album, in no way does this duo sound like a knock off of any of these acts.  Pitchfork has said that  “…the bottled lightning of ‘Violet Eyes’ makes My Gold Mask a band to watch.”  Fader says “My Gold Mask gets mega sounds and emotion out of two instruments, their tense guitar whorls and crackling warbles perfect for this rainy morning”.  MY GOLD MASK have created a skillful, thoughtful, and interesting debut album that, in a sea of somewhat forgettable rock albums, actually warrants repeated listens.