Everlast’s “The Life Acoustic”: Lazy and Uneventful

Everlast’s (real name: Erik Schrody) 1998 hit What It’s Like was so wildly popular that plenty of people who DIDN’T know what it was like still learned all the words before they realized that the song’s finger-pointing-but-non-judgmental lyrics were aimed at them. It was a prominent enough track to help him sell almost three million copies of the record, Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, but can you name another single from this album? No? Neither can I? Before we get further, I want to remind you of the catchy, seemingly skillful composition of “What It’s Like.”

His most recent solo release, “The Life Acoustic” is, at least in sound, similar to his biggest hit, but starkly different from the myriad collaborations he’s been a part of. It takes his previously released but unknown solo tracks, strips them down, and lets his voice take center stage. Unfortunately, this is an album that feels like it’s trying and failing to be good enough for radio play on a rock station. There may even be a few tracks composed to head intentionally to adult contemporary purgatory. (All I can hear in Broken is Hootie and the Blowfish, but less vocally skilled.)

This is going to be a mostly critical review, so if you’re an Everlast fan, I’d recommend you take pause before continuing. Musically, this album feels stale, derivative and not carefully composed or completely thought through. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a seriously lack of competence that we’re only finally able to fully see in this record. After quite a few careful listens, I do not hear more than four or five chords in most of the songs, all of which begin with Everlast speaking the title of the tune into his microphone. Then the guitar comes in, followed soon after by keyboard or piano. I like simplicity in my music, but these tracks feel lazy to me, formulaic. It’s as if were rearranged and recomposed in a day and recorded in one take 24-hours later.

But worse is that Everlast’s recognizable, gritty, often almost-off-key vocals sound just as careless as the composition. He sings through most of the record. I found myself so distracted by how out of place his voice sounded, that I was sometimes able to forget there were even strings being strummed behind him. I heard pieces without a whole; genres being haphazardly thrown together into one song without consideration of the audience. (My Medicine is a good example of this.)

My last criticism here is that most of what this album conveys lyrically is adulthood, its underlying resentments, its unforgiving nature. The songs that Everlast chose to feature here are all about sort of resigning yourself to loneliness and responsibility, but doing so knowingly. Ultimately, though, I think I prefer him when he’s angry.

“The Life Acoustic” was released on August 27, 2013 on Martyr Inc. Records. It is available on iTunes here.

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PINKISH BLACK set to release Razed to the Ground

Los Angeles, CA – “Lots of good, lots of bad…” is one way to describe Pinkish Black‘s star-crossed career thus far. Their first incarnation arose in Fort Worth, TX, when 2005 saw a trio of like-minded souls connect under the banner of The Great Tyrant and set about hewing a new definition for the word “heavy.” Following the tragic passing of original bass player Tommy Atkins, the remaining duo forged ahead, morphing into an even darker macabre entity. Now comprised of drummer Jon Teague and Daron Beck on vocals and synthesizer, the band go under the new moniker Pinkish Black.

“Jon and I have been playing music for over 2 decades,” Beck comments. “The whole process of getting to this point in our lives and our music has been very much a repeating cycle of building to inevitably tear down to build again to tear down and so on… it’s how all life is. Building, destroying, building, destroying…”

‘Razed to the Ground’ was recorded and mixed by the band and Matt Bernhart at The Echo Lab, and was mastered to ominous perfection by James Plotkin. The songs themselves pierce the same vein as the band’s earlier material; death rock, post-punk, doom, and electronic elements slither over and under one another.

“thick, powerful thuds, with rubber band-like distorted bass from a keyboard growling between dynamic drums, teasing synthesizer lines, and vocals that push between operatic majesty and guttural infamy.”

-Pitchfork

Be forewarned: ‘Razed to the Ground’ will see a September 17 release date from Century Media Records.  Check out the album cover and track listing:

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PINKISH BLACK

RAZED TO THE GROUND

OFFICIAL TRACK LISTING

  1. She Left Him Red
  2. Ashtray Eyes
  3. Kites and Vultures
  4. Razed to the Ground
  5. Bad Dreamer
  6. Rise
  7. Loss of Feeling of Loss

 

PINKISH BLACK lineup:
Jon Teague – Drums, Synth, Loops
Daron Beck – Vocals, Keyboard, Synth

PINKISH BLACK online:

http://www.facebook.com/pinkishblackband

Just Rock – Black Water Rising’s Nameless Riffs

Brooklyn’s Black Water Rising’s second effort capitalizes on the band’s self-proclaimed moniker: “No frills riff rock.” At that explanation, the band’s image is already settled onto a plane riddled with derivative radio butt rockers like Pop Evil and Saliva. But let’s not count out their second album, Pissed and Driven just yet, because it’s not a bad record. On the other hand, it’s not great either. It’s a rock record. What kind of rock? Grinding rhythmic rock? Intricate speed rock? Neither. Pissed and Driven is just a rock record and that’s its biggest problem.

The tones on Pissed and Driven vary considerably throughout the album. “Pissed N Driven” is a revving adrenaline-soaked joyride, while lead single “Dance with the Devil” brings on the Alice in Chains-inspired sludge with steady paces and singer Rob Traynor’s snarling croon. “Last Man Standing” is a song that bursts with personality, something that the album doesn’t necessarily flaunt. The guitars are usually downtuned extremely low throughout the album (like in the sludgy “All Gone”), which makes for a rough and grindy sound reminiscent of groove metal like Pantera and early nu-metal like Deftones. This kind of rhythmic guitar aesthetic is something that could make the band’s sound blossom, but it isn’t utilized in a personal manner and is introduced in a pedestrian and unneeded way. It doesn’t have an accurate focus, it doesn’t sound cohesive: it wanders aimlessly.

Guitarist Dennis Kimak’s Zakk Wylde/Dimebag Darrel inspired solos are revving examples of great shredding (especially during the solos of songs like “Pissed N Driven”), while vocalist/guitarist Traynor brings on the downtuned grinds. While rhythm becomes the key element on a majority of the songs, the parts of the album that sound the most exciting are the faster, more energized ones like “The Allure of Self Destruction,” a fantastically composed song that manages to bring up enthusiastic vibes despite its clear metal roots. There’s a virtuosity in the musicians’ bones that begs to be free; it’s clearly there, but only for a short moment.

Some songs, however, don’t demonstrate enough creativity or fluidity in their sound. “Along for the Ride” aims for a smoother groove, but ends up sounding boring with uninspired lyrics and a tempo that doesn’t sound as tight as it should. “Fire it Up” has some fantastic guitar solos, but once again, the boring vocals and nu-metal-sounding rhythms tend to overstay their welcome. The whole album’s sense of indirection is really what makes it so underwhelming. The metal sides of the musicianship are great and some of the more traditional hard rock bits are good at times too, but just as you’re beginning to see a vision in one great song, the entire picture shifts and you’re listening to something different and generally less appealing.

In that regard, it’s tough to see the kind of direction that Black Water Rising is trying to achieve with this album. The variety throughout the album is surprisingly well-done, but at the same time, it’s scatterbrained and unfocused. You just can’t tell what kind of rock band Black Water Rising wants to be. The use of rhythmic grinding guitars in addition to faster, speed-metal influenced guitar solos make the album’s otherwise honed rock fundamentals disperse into something formless and difficult to identify. Black Water Rising’s already ambiguous description of themselves is a sign that they need to develop their personality beyond just “riff rock.” Pissed and Driven isn’t a terrible record at all, but at the same time, it’s not great at all either. It’s just rock. Riff rock. And right now, I’m not entirely sure that anyone can really say what that means.

The Furries Attack Pittsburgh, Matthew Ebel Provides Soundtrack

An interview with pianist/vocalist Matthew Ebel and drummer Runtt, one of the musical acts of Anthrocon 2013, a record-breaking-in-attendance Furry gathering held in Pittsburgh, downtown at the David Lawrence Convention Center last weekend, July 5th through the 7th. If you haven’t heard of the spooky subculture known as Furries, it might be for the best. They’re pretty dangerous.

–       –       –

Matt: Before I forget, GarageBand did not shit itself this time, so we actually got a recording!

Runtt: *growls triumphantly* Yes!

Pittsburgh Music Magazine:  So are you guys Furries yourselves or just entertainers of Furries?

Matt: I’ve been a bird since I was fourteen.  I’d love to be able to do a show in costume, I just don’t have a head that I can do it in.

Runtt: I’ve actually done it. I drummed in a progressive metal band, songs like nine minutes long, in a full red panda outfit. Complete with head and gloves. I’d do it again!

PMM: That’s impressive.

Matt: They need to make, like, a sweat valve…

PMM: You were in a progressive metal band, eh?

Runtt: Yeah, By Blood Alone. Very, very different from this. I actually played a smaller kit with them, and in a fursuit! They were good, they were really cool about the whole Furry thing.

PMM: Were you the only Furry in the band?

Runtt: Yep, I was the only one.

PMM: So you were a red panda, and everyone else was dressed up like metalheads?

Runtt: No, well our lead singer Melinda made a man-o-war costume out of a crystal umbrella. And dangly things…

Matt: Bizarre, man.

Runtt: She’s an amazing artist. She’s in Portland, Oregon right now.

(I learn from the guys that man-o-wars aren’t just old large ships, but also massive Portuguese jellyfish, the largest jellyfish in the world, they don’t sink are the size of beach balls, and very deadly.)

PMM: Sounds like an interesting looking band, to say the least.

Runtt: Oh yeah, and our keyboardist dressed up as Hit Girl.

Matt: That’s more fun than any band I’ve been in, man…

Matt: We both come from pretty diverse musical backgrounds

Runtt: I pretty much listen to everything, except anything that has robotic voices

Matt: Like, Katy Perry, auto tuned crap.

(Runtt describes the dissolution of his old band By Blood Alone, a nice mutual break-up, not, to quote Matt, a “**** you, I’m leaving and taking my sound equipment with me!” kind of thing.)

Runtt:…then during all this I get an email from a friend named Andy, said ‘check this out, if you like it tell the guy Andy sent you.’ And it was Matt, a video he put on his site, and it was like “this is a plea to replace my robot drummer.” And it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen in my life. I thought, I actually dig this… listening to the music I could hear the influences: Billy Joel–I love Billy Joel–Elton John, and Ben Folds, big time.

Matt: A lot of Ben Folds.

Runtt: Plus quirky, like, They Might be Giants lyrics. It was right up my alley.

(And so they met, sparks flew, musical history was made.)

Matt: I grew up in Washington State, I started off doing Christian music, and released a couple of really terrible albums (laughs). I interned at a Christian record label, the label that had Jars of Clay and bunch of big Christian music names, and moved to Nashville immediately after that, once I realized I shouldn’t be in the Christian music world. I mean, you have to write about the same subject every song, every album, for your entire career. And what have we covered tonight? Cows. Trees. Uh, Pirates! I got ninjas. I got robots!

PMM: Pretty much any eight year old’s Halloween fantasy concert

Runtt: Well, I mean,  you were here in the audience. This is every eight year old’s Halloween experience. Only with way more expensive costumes.

PMM: What is it that you think dressing like this does for people? Why is it such a big phenomenon?

Matt: Well, um,  It runs the gamut… (Suddenly transcribing the interview I have the urge to look up “gamut.” On top of meaning “a complete range or extent” it also means in music all recognizable notes.  Matt and Runtt have taught me so many fun facts tonight.)

Runtt: It’s very specific to the person.

Matt: Ask ten people you’ll get thirteen different answers. For me, and I’m assuming for a lot of people… like… I have trouble making eye contact with people….

(Of course, out of instinctual awkwardness, I that very moment I try to make eye contact with Matt. It happens, he doesn’t seem phased.)

Matt:…I’m real insecure, because I grew up as a nerd. In case you hadn’t gathered that by now…so if I’m wearing those pompous, pretentious Bono glasses that just have those blue lenses that wrap around, I can look at people. I become a slightly different person just by putting those on. I think that’s why Bono wears those, why rock stars do that. Some people become a different character when they put on an animal costume. And they are more comfortable that way. They’re able to interact with people because there’s a lack of  pretension when you’re dressed up as a coyote.

PMM: There’s no way you can be cool.

Matt: Weellll, there’s coolness in the fandom, you know…

PMM: I mean, like, mainstream cool, like sexy.

Matt: Well some people think that… but I can’t imagine…how hot that must be! You know, for the people who are into, like, sex in costume.

Runtt: *Laughs* That’s a fraction of one percent…

PMM: How is it even possible? All these costumes seem to go out like six inches on all sides, I mean physically…

Matt: Well some people get ‘em skin tight.

(Gloriously goofy sex scenes involving all sorts of whimsical Furry combos run through my mind.)

Matt: It’s amazing…there’s some world class talent in this building right now in costume design, sculpting, artwork, some ridiculously talented people.

(I think he was really trying to skip the subject, which I was cool with, because my escort to the event–who according to the big bold letters on my badge and the glares from the doormen could never leave my side, they really lock it tight for the non-payers it seems–is nearby and I don’t feel like he’s the type to joke around with strangers about weird sexual fetish stuff. Especially if it might be printed somewhere later.)

PMM: This all reminds me of Burning Man.

Matt: Yeah, no kidding!

PMM: It seems like people spend all year working on these crazy art projects.

Matt: *whispers* only there’s air conditioning!

PMM: And you don’t have to sign a waiver because you might die!

Runtt: And no patchouli…

Matt: Nothing against the hippies. Just… take a shower.

Runtt: The patchouli and the b.o. is not a good combination

PMM: Is this a travelling thing? Are there Anthrocons other places?

Matt: Oh, God, there’s practically one every weekend now.

Runtt: “Fur Fright” in Conneticut…

Matt: “FWA” in Atlanta…

Runtt: …San Jose…

PMM: Every meet anyone who just follows these gatherings all the time, makes it their life?

Matt: Oh yeah, there’s people for whom the Furry fandom has changed their lives. They have shitty jobs, they have trouble interacting with people, and they come here, become someone else, and get to play. This is their vacation, every chance they get. There’s tons of these, it’s just like anime conventions, comic book conventions, Star Trek… same caliber of nerd, but the things that bring them into the fandom are Disney movies, Pokemon, My Little Pony, Digimon, Sonic, you name it…

PMM: Is there a rule that you can’t dress like an actual cartoon character?

Runtt: No, no, no, I just saw the Swat Cats. T-Bone, Razor, and Viper,and a couple of ponies from My Little Pony.

Matt: The bunny from Rise of the Guardians… and Jack Frost!

–       –       –

Yes, even Jack Frost, who most certainly does not have fur, made it to the party. I don’t know how he didn’t melt. Outside, while the Furry stragglers in blocks adjacent growled and posed for pictures, the sun beat down like a sledgehammer on me in my short sleeves. No human could survive that kind of heat.  Their otherworldly strength against the sun reminds me of this vampire convention in New Orleans. Their slogan was “Vampires Pretending to be Humans Pretending to be Vampires.”  I’m dying in this sun and humid air. And they’re acting full of cheer in massive fursuits. Maybe, just maybe, some of them aren’t faking the fur–

(…this article is unfinished….author found dead seated in front of typewriter, large toothmarks in throat, bright purple hair caught in broken window-glass only evidence found. Case remains unsolved.)

— From PittsFurgh Police Report, 7-11-2013

REVIEW: Female fronted NYC progressive rockers Eye Ra Haze release their brooding EP Eye Of The Storm

https://media4.haulix.com/39121/PromoImage.jpgModern 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).https://media1.haulix.com/39119/PromoImage.jpg

Wilson Thrash 2013: New Album Worth Your Weekend

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This ten-track mammoth begins with a satirical opening mic-check, blasting into a power-chord, and some marvelously raunchy vocals. For the few of you out there that might snag this reference, Chad Nicefield (vocalist) champions a tinge of “Refused” singer (Dennis Lyxzén) style, which I really don’t hear often.  Nicefield also seems to have a bit of an interesting Daryl Palumbo (Glassjaw) vocal influence? Regardless of procuring taste, this five-piece from Michigan will leave you on your ass after they rage through a town near you.

This rightfully titled album “Full Blast F***ery” is just largely an enormous album to get you pumped.  In my mind, it sounds a lot like the soundtrack to the “Jackass” Sagas…but maybe amped up worse than they were.  There is also a pleasant savor of a Van Halen 80’s metal influence on track number 4 “College Gangbang,” just to take things back to their roots.

The song titles are slightly less than professional, but that’s what Wilson stands for.  Breaking the monotony of the 9-5 work grind, these dudes are busy espousing all that it means to be rockstars.  They don’t mess around when it comes to getting the job done in the recording studio, with real instruments and not a bunch of computers and synthesizers the way a lot of good hard rock is recorded these days.  Wilson is a REAL touring band that doesn’t try to be anything other than real, which this ten-track album is – much the opposite of ethereal.

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The old-school 90’s revolt mentality is brought back by these guys in their album artwork as well.  The cover reminds me of Crash Bandicoot with rabies, it’s pretty cool.  I think my favorite track is titled, “Viking P***ies, F*** off.”  I can assimilate this notion, since I’m not the biggest fan of Viking metal.  Not only is this title hilarious and accurate, the track is also a super slick and rad transition into the 8th track, followed by “Susan Jane.”  This track is balls to the wall badass, with an intense breakdown resembling something solid. The sound almost envelops slides Mark Morton and Willie Adler would collaborate on.

Listening to this album, I envision back flips into pools off 3 story buildings, lighting things on fire, or maybe what it might sound like inside your mind if you stole a car (which we do not advise).  The album itself is systematized bedlam, enrapturing all of your senses and inner angst into a quiet revolt at your office desk.  It’s the perfect illustration of the white-collar HR manager tearing his tie off and slamming some bourbon with his buddies after a long week of dealing with a slew of incompetent interns.  Pre-order your copy of “Full Blast F***ery” today and transform up your summer weekends to what they should have been all along.

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http://www.wilsonpartyanimals.com/

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Still Sailing – Primus Revitalize Their Second LP

In total retrospect, it’s a damn good thing that Les Claypool was rejected from Metallica and continued his band Primus. Yes, he had some experience in the world of thrash metal with his band Blind Illusion, but when it came right down to it, Claypool’s love of progressive rock and funk metal was too much for Metallica to handle. We wouldn’t have gotten their debut studio LP Frizzle Fry otherwise, and we certainly wouldn’t have gotten the post-punk gem of Sailing the Seas of Cheese. After over 20 years, Primus decided to update the album with a deluxe edition with bonus material and a cleaned-up mix. Though the extra tracks aren’t too impressive, the improved sound quality is, improving further on what remains one of the best and most original rock albums of the 1990’s.

Frizzle Fry might have been Primus’ debut album, but it wasn’t until their sophomore album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese that Claypool’s warped virtuosity on the bass guitar came alive for more than the privileged few. Despite his obvious reverence for Rush, Claypool’s playing style is miles beyond anything Geddy Lee has offered. “Tommy the Cat” is the best example of Claypool’s brilliantly unorthodox musicianship, where he busts out power chords and slap sessions with speed and honed funkiness. He literally makes the bass a melodic instrument and a rhythm instrument simultaneously. The infectious bassline of “Is It Luck?” is unlike anything you’ll ever hear. The experimental element in the songwriting is clear, but this is still a heavy album with a lot of unique and unexpected turns throughout.

But Claypool isn’t the only one in Primus doing the leg work. Larry “Ler” LaLonde’s guitar solos demonstrate a razor-sharp intensity, but a looseness that gives them a sense of natural flow. It’s a garage-y metal sound; rough, but complex and obviously influenced by prog. Tim Alexander lays down the drumbeats with gusto, focusing on smooth, jazzy rhythms, especially in tracks like “American Life” and “Fish On (Fisherman Chronicles, Chapter II).”

This steady brew of musical ideas is fleshed out on the band’s sophomore album, with the band successfully demonstrating their musicianship, but in more concise and immediate bursts. Sailing the Seas of Cheese signified Primus during the MTV age (their videos for “Tommy the Cat” and “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” got plenty of airtime in the 90’s). This radio-friendly vibe was made clearer by shortening the song lengths to airtime perfection, leaving out the extensive jam sessions seen on later albums. Despite this condensed state, there’s still so much musical skill here. The songwriting keeps that quirky Primus humor in the lyrics, with Claypool’s nasally vocals giving the album a considerable amount of circus-like, devil-may-care style.

The 2013 mixes of Sailing the Seas of Cheese are healthy improvements over the original 1991 recordings. The sound quality is much more dynamic and the music sounds amazing through headphones. The surround sound recordings on the DVD or Blu-ray are amazing ways to try out your best audio equipment and if you have a quality subwoofer, prepare for some of the best use of bass you’ll ever hear. As far as further bonus material, the live tracks of “Those Damned Blue-Collared Tweekers” and “American Life” from their 2012 3D Tour are extensive jams that tend to overstay their welcome a bit too long (the live version of “American Life” clocks in at over 11 minutes). The final track is a remix of “Here Come the Bastards” by dubstep artist Bassnectar, which starts off subtly, but is interrupted about a third of the way through with intrusive bass drops and bizarre sound effects. Despite Bassnectar’s good intentions, the song sounds more like a messy mash-up than a full-on remix.

Sailing the Seas of Cheese, even for a Primus album, is musically ambitious and rockin’ to the bone. Even with alternative rock moving into the mainstream during the 90’s, Primus kept their soul of progressive rock and jazz and made something purely one-of-a-kind. The catchy radio hooks of “Tommy the Cat” and “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” mask a musicianship that takes both the heaviness of thrash and the creativity of prog. While the bonus material isn’t worth a re-buy from those who already own the 1991 release, the refined mixes on the deluxe edition are well worth paying the price of admission again. The songs sound clearer and more dynamic than ever. Despite having some amazing albums over the last 20 years in Pork Soda, Tales From the Punchbowl and even their 2011 Green Naugahyde, Sailing the Seas of Cheese is still Primus at their best. Originality isn’t an easy find in music today, but Primus secrete it from every pore and Sailing the Seas of Cheese is a real ocean of originality.

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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.”

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.

Triple Hex’s New EP Will Creep Into Your Conscience

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Although the last tune on the EP, the opening cymbals and synth laden tune “Kill” puts into perspective the journey the listener has taken on Triple Hex’s newest effort. Part The Doors, part Stooges, part apocalyptic trance music for the hedonistic survivors, Dave Hex takes us to the dark recesses of the mind and soul through a sonic layering of punk underpinnings with goth icing. “That Ain’t Enough” takes a different turn with the throwback 60’s guitar fuzzbox sound and a rockabilly sensibility. The lyrical styling is clear, but raw, with a weird psychedelic film feel, the organ pounding through, and the bass blending with the hum of Hex’s voice. From the opening track of “Winter” it’s crystal clear where the influences derive from, but the end product is twisted so nicely that the origins are an afterthought rather than a centerpiece. Hex’s droning voice continues to work it’s creepy magic spells in “The Deranged” with the tones of a Saturday night fright fest or a murderous drive in the desert, whereas “Love Song” picks it up a notch and takes it down the Minsitry path or if Johnny Cash was a young cat and totally loaded up on ecstacy. Continuing the groove guitar gauntlet is “Viking Funeral” with a hypnotic backbeat welcomed on any roadtrip to hell. It’s dark, demonic, and dangerous in all the right ways. Don’t be surprised to hear one of these tunes show up on a soundtrack or a great show like True Blood where it would be right at home.

Guitarist / crooner Dave Hex founded Triple Hex in the early oughts in Brooklyn, releasing the rockabilly tinged Phantom Highway 13 EP in 2006 on Thigh High Records. The band followed up with extensive touring throughout Europe in 2007 before releasing a Stooges-esque three track 7” entitled Scratch My Back. The band went through a couple lineup changes before enlisting Miss Chip on 60s electric organ and Jill on drums to release their self titled full length LP on Lucinda Records in Spain and Thigh High in the US. The band’s lineup has remained the same since 2008; however, their sound has progressed over the years to their current incarnation.

Triple Hex’s E.P. will be released January 01, 2013 at 12:01 A.M. on Mon Amie Records. It was recorded and produced by Matt Verta-Ray (Heavy Trash, Madder Rose, Speedball Baby), at NYHed Studios.

Bison B.C.’s ‘Lovelessness’ Will Put Them On Your Love List

They hit you like a shovel, already caked in mud and blood and piss, slamming your brain. Bottom basement guitars rooted down deep with drum and bass rhythm and riff on top of heavy riff on top of heavier riff. Based in the love of all things metal and good, born out of the Sabbaths, and Panteras, and Soundgardens, and Melvins of the world. They are dirty, fast, drop D, pounding, pulsating, back to basics, metal up your ass, all that is beautiful and disgusting about metal that we love.
‘An Old Friend’ opens up ‘Lovelessness’ and has no reverence to your need for codling. It thrives on your hate and anger and fist pounding frustration. If you are at the edge you have just been given a hearty push as you hear the maniacal laugh in your descent. Bison B.C. creates layers of patterns that have a texture of grime and excrement polished with a bit of smut for good measure. Reminiscent of the works of Mastodon and their kin, Bison B.C. has the potential to reach that bands’ level as their fans will surely tell you, and has their own style to add to the genre of ‘mind metal’.

‘Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness’ is the second track on the effort and has a throb of punk sensibility reminiscent of Black Flag, but then flips itself over and takes root in old metal magic. Gorgeous guitars blend over one another and their notes hang and bump into one another with malice punctuated by agonizing vocals. Lyrically, the thematic of ‘Lovelessness’ are glaringly clear, this is no R.E.M. ‘Happy Shiny People’ unless Slayer covered the tune and changed the lyrics to deal with destruction, death, and desolation. The “psalms of suffering” continue with ‘Last and First Things’. Starting on a slower tone than its predecessors on the disc, it quickly pulls the listener in and puts a choke hold on their eardrums. Their is a dichotomy present here of complex yet simplistic measures that are burrowed in familiarity but have a twisting, festering, invasive new passion that is infectious; it’s as if the body has lost control and must now sway and pound in homage to the music before it.
‘Blood Music’ continues the barrage of the senses and will make any sensible metalhead pray that Bison B.C. hits their town. They have built quite a reputation for their live show, touring with the likes of Baroness, Priestess, and Ghenghis Tron. Hard hiiting and unsympathetic in its brutality, ‘Blood Music’ could be the best description of Bison’s sound yet. Next up is ‘Clozapine Dream’ named after the drug oft prescribed to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. The drug is typically used as a last resort, thus fitting very neatly into the feel and tone of Bison B.C.’s third release on Metal Blade. The cohesiveness of the music with the lyrical content puts this accomplishment on par with the bands’ cohorts such as Between the Buried and Me, Baroness, Becoming the Archetype, and The Dillinger Escape Plan. To conclude their latest is ‘Finally Asleep’ that trudges in with a military like beat to put to rest any doubts of the true weight of the material, bloody and beaten from the experience, scarred by pure existence, and disturbed beyond repair. It is the perfect cap off to what amounts to an amazing piece of sludge metal that will rot in your brain, devour your veins, and haunt your soul.

BISON B.C. worked with acclaimed producer Sanford Parker at Soma and Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago to record Lovelessness. Parker is best known for his work with bands such as Yob, Pelican, Rwake, Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Zoroaster, Unearthly Trance, and more. Needless to say, Parker is more than qualified to put-to-tape the raw, furious
energy that is BISON b.c.

What others are saying about Bison B.C.:

“thrash, smash and fuck-you-up energy that’ll soil your britches faster than a bottle of Mexican moonshine” Decibel
Magazine
“And worthy of a herd of their namesake, their music is thunderous, bone-shaking and most of all, heavy. Really heavy.
These cats have got their own gravitational pull.” Sacramento Press
“Heavy, man. Real heavy. Jean-jacket heavy.” RollingStone.com