Atlanta’s swaggering smooth alternative rockers The Buzzards Of Fuzz are preparing to release a new single “You Never Bring Me Any Flowers” b/w “How Could You?” on July 15th. The band’s laid back, heady demeanor is a real blues-infused treat for rock fans as evidenced by the Soundcloud embedded streams of the songs below. They serve as the The Buzzards Of Fuzz first new material since their critically acclaimed debut EP Buzzard Custard was released.
In related news, The Buzzards Of Fuzz were recently named as one of the many bands that will perform at Asheville, North Carolina’s “Only Real Rock N Roll Music Festival”: the 828 Festival 2! The latest round of this event sees it growing to encompass three stages at The Boilerroom, Scandals and Club Eleven. It all happens in AVL on Sunday September 17th, 2017 from 2pm-2am. Find more info and details here.
PUTA VOLCANO Harmony Of Spheres – CD//DD//Vinyl iota5 Records – Release Date: April 28th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
I have long said that there is some incredible music happening in the nation of Greece and this band, Puta Volcano, are the latest example of what I am talking about. Clearly, I am not alone in that belief either seeing as how Athens’ Puta Volcano is set to play at DesertFest Athens 2017 alongside acts like Saint Vitus, Orange Goblin, Colour Haze and Graveyard, among others. It has now been close to a month since the band, vocalist Luna Stoner (aka Anna Papathanasiou), guitarist Alex Pi, bassist Bookies and drummer Steven S., released their latest album, the stellar ‘Harmony Of Spheres‘. The 8-song offering is the eagerly awaited follow-up to the band’s earlier releases, The Sun (2015) and Represent Victory Below Eye (2011) and let me tell you, the wait was worth it.
Much like their namesake, Puta Volcano and their music are an explosive eruption of lava hot Desert Rock, but such that has elements of Stoner, Psyche, Grunge and Progressive Rock augmenting it. The quartet craft intensely enthralling riff-driven hard rock that just flows with rhythmic propulsion, they keep it tight knit and cohesive thanks to their solid deliveries. It simply astounds me that the band is not a widely known commercial success, a well-recognized household name uttered upon the lips of countless music fans. But then like I said, this record is a freshly out of the oven, piping hot slab of molten musicality so who knows what may be lurking around the bend?
Speaking of bends, things kick off here with the winding rollercoaster that is the aptly-titled introductory song, ‘Dune‘. Huge grooves, thunderous rhythms and impressive drumming drive the song’s swaggering, laid back flow but without question, something gets revealed. A sultry sounding, raspy-throated and utterly incredible vocal powerhouse that is Luna! Don’t get me wrong, the guys are as equally fantastic as well but we all know that without the proper singer, even the best music can fall short. There seems to be no chance in hell of that happening here though thankfully.
Once you’ve regained your senses, there’s a whole range of multifaceted music explored in subsequent songs like the beautiful ‘Bird‘, jumpin’ ‘Jovian Wind‘ or radiant ‘Afterglow‘. For me personally, things really landed well during the middle segment of the record, particularly ‘Zeroth Law‘, ‘Neon‘ and ‘Moebius‘. All three tracks are just incredible, the hypnotic haziness of ‘Zeroth Law‘ with a structured, pattern-like vocal delivery where Luna once again struts her stuff. From there, ‘Neon‘ ratchets up both the tempo and intensity like a driving, pumping engine as a tempest of energized music swirls about. Meanwhile, I believe ‘Moebius‘ may actually be my favorite cut on the record with its own trippier nuances. Things eventually careen headlong into some truly powerful Alt. Rock, the band itself in unison and rolling out a truly stand-out performance. I will let ‘Infinity‘ just surprise and impress you all on its own.
Yet when all is said, done and played, Puta Volcano‘s ‘Harmony Of Spheres‘ is a veritably stand alone musical statement itself. Simply put, it is a fantastic album and I feel that life is better with it than without it but you will have to be the judge of that for yourself. You can do exactly that by streaming it via the Bandcamp embedded player below.
FOTOCRIME Always Hell – Vinyl 7″//DD Self Release – Released May 12, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
Once upon a time there was a man named Ryan Patterson from Louisville, Kentucky that played in a sludge-ish, albeit punk-infused, post-hardcore band named Coliseum. As an integral component of Coliseum, he participated in the release of five studio albums and numerous EPs and Splits with the band. In 2015, that project would release their final studio record, the critically acclaimed Anxiety’s Kiss, and from there eventually disband. In the months and eventual years since then, Ryan would adopt a pseudonym, R. Pattern, and undergo an intriguing musical metamorphosis.
In more recent times, Pattern has resurfaced with a new musical endeavor named Fotocrime, one where he alone has been the sole member thus far. The story goes that he holed himself up within a home studio and went to work on giving Fotocrime its very own aural identity. Now be forewarned, if you are seeking sonic output similar to that of this man’s previous project then you may as well turn around and leave as quietly as you came in. I bequeath that advice to you based upon the reality that Fotocrime is nothing like Coliseum in any way of substance or similitude. Inspired by more minimalist musings and armed with a seemingly stripped down arsenal of riffs, synths, and drum machines, Fotocrime emanates a fatalistic fever of darkly gothic music. It’s a staunchly haunting, musical menagerie of stark, shadowy overtones and post-apocalyptic new wave.
Captured in conjunction with longtime collaborator and producer J. Robbins at Robbins’ Magpie Cage Studio, Fotocrime‘s 3-song EP debut, ‘Always Hell‘, was just released on May 12th. It contains the ‘Always Hell’ title track (and official video below) along with ‘Plate Glass Eyes‘ and ‘Tectonic Shift‘, a trio of hellishly deep cloak and dagger cuts. Spellbinding and all-consuming, the tracks are a refreshing lungful of enthralling, atmospheric-laden opposition to the stagnant norm of moden music. If it is different you seek, that you want and ultimately must have, then Fotocrime has come to deliver you from the mundane sameness that assaults us daily.
Alongside R. Pattern in the live version of Fotocrime are Shelley Anderson andNick Thieneman. The trio have a series of live performances scheduled to begin in late June and they are listed below.
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
FOTOCRIME On Tour:
Jun. 27 — Chicago, IL @ Gman Tavern
Jun. 29 — Toronto, ON @ Baby G
Jun. 30 — Ottawa, ON @ Pressed
Jul. 1 — Montreal, QC @ Turbohaus
Jul. 2 — Boston, MA @ O’Briens Pub
Jul. 3 — Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Jul. 6 — Philadelphia, PA @ Boot and Saddle
Jul. 8 — Columbus, OH @ Café Bourbon Street
Infectious modern Alt. Rock bandThe White Noise are excited to premiere their new Official Video ‘Bite Marks‘ today. The song hails from the band’s upcoming full-length debut album AM/PM, set to release June 23. Produced by Drew Fulk (Motionless In White, Crown The Empire), the album is sure to resonate well with fans of modern rock bands across the board. To celebrate the album’s release, The White Noise has planned a busy summer ahead as they will be part of the Vans Warped Tour 2017. The band will playing the entire tour on the Skullcandy Stage from June 16 through August 6. Find all the details and tour stops here.
“We’ve worked very hard for the past three years on getting this band exactly where we want it to be,” says vocalist Shawn Walker. “‘Bite Marks’ was actually the third song we ever wrote together, so for the video to finally be coming out is very fulfilling. And to top it off, we will be releasing our first album on our first Vans Warped Tour. It’s going to be a hell of a year.”
– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
1. Innocent Until Birth
2. Bite Marks
3. Picture Day
4. The Best Songs Are Dead
5. I Lost My Mind (In California)
6. Rated R… ft. Landon Tewers
7. All Drugs Go To Heaven
9. 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
RED BEARD WALL Self-Titled – CD//DD Argonauta Records – Release Date May 12th, 2017 Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker
We all know how things are done down Texas way, don’t we? Everything is blown up and bigger than life, done up right in a massive way or it isn’t done at all. That philosophical application seems to also be the mission statement of the newest release from the Lone Star State’s Red Beard Wall. The 9-song self-titled effort will be released through Argonauta Recordson May 12th and it very well might change the whole game of how music fans view Post-Rock. Of course I label said record as ‘Post-Rock’ but truth is, there is a shit-ton lot more going on in this thing, everything from Noise Rock to Sludge to Grunge and Alternative, just to name a few.
Red Beard Wall has been a true labor of love for the duo currently behind the wall itself, vocalist/guitarist Aaron Wall and drummer George Trujillo. It has been a little over a year now since RBW issued the 3-song self-titled Demo back in ’16 and in that time, the guys have really perfected their sound. You really have no clue what to expect as the feedback-ringing intro of first cut ‘Beauty In‘ heralds the arrival of downtuned riffs and slamming kit-work. Quickly a groove is found and explored to the hilt with a little mid-tempo flare at hand and there it remains for the duration of this instrumental introduction. Exiting out with some more feedback and then, before you know it, the explosive ‘I Am‘ takes over. Reminiscent of some Nineties’ era Pacific Northwest grunge bands, the track is a lulling foray into a bit of hazy alt. rock. The juxtaposing vocal styles, one minute clean and melodic, the next screaming and angst-y, remind you there’s an aspect of aggression ever-present beneath the surface. Intensity comes soaring inward with several of the other songs here too, ones like ‘Switching Circuits‘ and ‘Bottom Of A Well‘ (streaming below) are constructed on controlled aggression. They’re fluid and manage to touch all the bases when it comes to melding multiple styles together with strength and cohesion.
For me personally, I really took to the middle segment of the record especially the triple threat of ‘Alive‘, ‘Born With A Hammer‘ and ‘Top Of The Mountain‘. ‘Alive‘ has a very carefree or uplifting quality about it, very groove-oriented but with a lighter vibe permeating its playing time. It repeatedly brings to mind Local H for me..and that is a damn good quality if you ask me. On the opposite side of that spectrum is the pummeling ‘Top of The Mountain‘, a volatile cut that rides the rhythmic rails straight to the pinnacle of Mt. Anger. Things begin to crest with the hypnotic lyrical rhymes that narrate the next to last track, ‘March In Time‘. It has a Southern Metal-meets-Satanic-Surf Rock type of content, not to mention its very own take on an abrasive breakdown about mid-way through. Things come full circle with the ending track ‘Beauty Out‘, a reprise of the instrumental start that kicked off this aural trek. The gravity-generating grooves pull you back down into place as you begin to stumble from the stupor of what you’ve just listened to.
I won’t try to bullshit you or lay a bunch of undue hype on you here because, truth is, Red Beard Wall is somewhat minimalist in nature. It’s a bit stripped down and as such, it refuses to rely on a bunch of razzle-dazzle studio trickery to make you think you’re hearing something you actually aren’t. No, instead it, and the duo themselves, just lay all their cards out in front of you and ask you to check them out. They don’t need sleight of hand tricks placed within their audio gamble because they are confident they’ve covered the spread and in truth, they have.
Former Coliseum singer/guitarist Ryan Patterson has officially announced his new project, Fotocrime (where he goes by R. Pattern). Although he appears to be the band’s sole member at this time, Fotocrime plans to release its debut EP, ‘Always Hell‘, on May 12th. Recording the record took place at Magpie Cage Studio under the auspice of J. Robbins (Clutch, The Sword, The Bakerton Group).
Below you can find a stream of the title track from the three-song EP, which also features “Plate Glass Eyes” and “Tectonic Shift“. A live debut is planned for later this month with the following shows booked:
04/28 Nashville, TN – Hail, Dark Aesthetics
04/29 Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club (feat. Russian Circles)
04/30 Charlotte, NC – The Underground at the Fillmore Charlotte (feat. Russian Circles)
It may come as a surprise to some people given my pedigree, but I’ve got a real soft spot for the guitar driven indie/alternative rock of the 90’s. My favorite band and biggest influence in high school was The Smashing Pumpkins. When you really think about it, it’s not that surprising at all. Growing up in Western Mass, some of our most prominent local bands were The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, and Sebadoh. Also, growing up in a small town with no music scene whatsoever, none of us realized that it wasn’t cool to like both Metallica and R.E.M. Our musical tastes were allowed to develop organically, outside of the confines of the types of local scenes that often promote purism, elitism, and insularity, a hive mind whose tastes are established by a few strong personalities within the group who have a strong influence over what’s defined as “cool”, and what’s musical taboo.
What I liked about these indie bands were that they were distinctively guitar-centric bands, and they were distinctively rock bands, with an emphasis on distortion, volume, big rhythm sections to back up the guitars, and elements of anger mixed with other various emotions within the songwriting. Which transitions us right into NARCS, the little Leeds U.K. band that could. Wow, that was a rather short tangent for me, I may have to drudge up another one later in the review!! The first sentence of this paragraph accurately describes their sound, though I’d obviously like to get into it a lot more. I’m not much of a fan of one sentence reviews, although I do believe the review I wrote for Metallica’s new record was right on the money, and distinctively wrapped up everything I had to say on the matter in a single sentence: “Wow, Metallica tries really, really hard….” I’m just quoting it here for posterity, and to also start my second tangent, which is basically to say that more and more, I’m realizing I don’t want to fall into any kind of formula when I review records. I used to talk a little about each individual song, because a lot of other reviews do that and it seems impressive. It also makes the reviews lengthy, and maybe too much so for a society that’s been conditioned to have such short attention spans. I’m largely going to start avoiding this practice, because it is formulaic, and it’s redundant. Plenty of other reviewers do it, and I’ve said time and time again that their opinions are just as valid as my own. Read their reviews. I’m not taking it totally off the books, as it may make sense at times, just like my Metallica review makes perfect sense for me in the context of that record.
What I’d like to really get into during this review is a point of contention: I do read other reviews because I’m insatiable curious about the thoughts and opinions of others, and what keeps reoccurring is this tendency to refer to NARCS as a grunge band. And I don’t really like that, perhaps because for me, grunge pretty much died with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind. Seriously, from my perspective that’s the nail in grunge’s coffin. To me, grunge was the sound of early Soundgarden, Melvins, Green River, Mudhoney, and TAD. These bands initially recorded their records loudly and cheaply, often with Jack Endino, and often releasing them with Sub Pop. They tended to mix elements of punk and metal in a way that differed vastly from crossover thrash. These records came out in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and yes, I’d include Nirvana’s Bleach as a prime example of an actual grunge record. Later on, the term became applied to just about ANY band that came out of Seattle in the record industry’s attempt to figure out what in the fuck had actually happened with Nevermind, to replicate that magical yet allusive formula, and most of the aforementioned bands got major label contracts and mainstream-ized their sounds. Of course, this also led labels to sign just about any band with “alternative”/underground credibility, which led to the term “grunge” also being applied to bands like The Meat Puppets, Cell, The Screaming Trees, and Nudeswirl. I can accept that, and in this terms, I can also accept that NARCS are a “grunge” band. They’re loud, swanky, aggressive, quirky, catchy, noisy, and draw from a wide variety of influences. However, another part of me thinks that it’s really a disservice and a bit lazy to call them a “grunge” band. They certainly draw influence from almost all of the bands that I’ve listed, and their sound is extremely 90’s centric. With that being said, I can hear also hear elements of The Jesus Lizard, Unwound, and Fugazi in certain songs, and none of those bands fit very neatly into the grunge category. There’s also a lot of shoegazing going on in terms of the production and the way that the guitars are layered. Some of the stereo panning is quite lovely.
The vocals are also quite lovely and subdued at times, though at other times, they’re snarling, over-the-top blasts of bile and vinegar. For me, they’re one of the high points, and frontman Wilko (not to be confused with the critically acclaimed band that I do not really care for) is to be commended for his performances. The juxtaposition of his soft, lulling indie adulation and roaring punk sneer is one of the main things that makes this record sound so vital and so immediate, and his performances always mirror the instrumentation. Wilko should also be commended for the passion of his lyrics, and their political relevancy. England needs more bands like this right now, hell….we all need more bands like this right now.
Despite that no two songs sound all that much alike, there’s a strange coherency to the record, largely in part due to how eerily the guitars, vocals, bass and drums are always clearly on the same page stylistically. It’s rather magical to listen to. At 11 songs in 43 minutes, NARCS don’t overstay their welcome, and it’s the perfect length for vinyl. I feel like the supremacy of the CD in the 90’s often led to albums that were overlong, had filler, weird “hidden” tracks that were ultimately annoying, etc. You’re not going to find any of that on A Thinking Animal, just another demonstration that these definitely were using their heads when they made this record. It’s aptly named. Do yourself a favor and check out the single “Pigs”, which I’m sure is up on YouTube. It’s a pretty accessible place to start. If you really want to hear something wild, see if you can find some of the more acetic tracks like “Mile Die” or “Empathy The Dog.” Everything is on YouTube these days, so you can make up your mind if this is an album that’s worth your continued attentions beyond reading this review. For me, I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t hear this last year when it came out, though they were largely off my radar. I’m seeing an extremely bright future for these Leeds lads, as long as they can keep thinking like animals.
From Poznań, Poland we have received the impressive new effort from Strange Clouds, ‘Calm Before The Storm‘. This five song album possesses an interesting potency of melodic rock that’s founded on bluesy swagger and solid playing. Those bringing that surety through in the music are vocalist/guitarist Lucky, guitarist Żożo, drummer Czarek and bassist Kajo. What they manage to capture in that self-same music are hazy, ethereal qualities that add an intriguing texturing to these songs. Laid back with a definite carefree vibe to them, songs like the scorching introductory cut ‘Heal The Ghosts‘ hit great heights within their groove-laden release. Killer guitar work is stitched throughout the song, including some cool, meandering moments laced with trippy psyche touches. Continue reading…
Minneapolis/St Paul Minnesota is the location! Formed in 2010, Morosity band members listed simply as Jesse / David / Nick / Shawn and Jason… no other identifiers, no telling who does what on ANY of their pages, but they are clear when they say that “History doesn’t matter.” is the response to asking about the past of this gathering of five minds. Influences listed include but not limited to TOOL / DAYS OF THE NEW / OPETH / DEAD CAN DANCE / PINK FLOYD, from ALICE IN CHAINS to SOUNDGARDEN, as far back as LED ZEPPELIN and as current as you can think of from VAST to ECHOBRAIN… Oddly, if you listen close enough, you can hear each and more in these nine songs offered, the first since 2011’s first full length release. Sit back, smoke ’em if ya got ’em and let it roll…
MOROSITY From the first, quick face in, strings and things in a cavalcade of movement and you are suddenly surrounded by Middle Eastern majesty in subtle drum tones and tempo and there is a mystic sounding flow of voices that are turning circles around you for the 2 minutes and 10 seconds of ‘Mind Over Matter’ and the next thing you know, ‘The Answer’ hits you with a crushing intro that belies the over-washing tale of ’round and round’ that ‘no one will ever know’ per our vocal guide. The last 50 seconds begin with ‘You’re all wrong’ and then some of the most dynamic lead-guitar work I have heard out of these guys yet and just when the crescendo seems imminent, ‘Ouroboros’ hits with the soft mystical sounds of winding of drums and strings in writhing symmetry that keeps your feet off of the ground as you drink this tale in, savoring each drop until the next hits you until the last echoes off into ringing silence.
‘Moon’ shows off just how far the last six years have meant in growth and shows it shines brighter than any other on this album with the glistening smooth first note full of multilayered guitar tracks that slip and slide as you settle in for the ride as the tempo evens. The glistening slows and that voice enters, telling you that ‘You make it all black and white’ and the body of the melody wraps around you like the lightest touch and your closed eyes do nothing to prevent the grin that involuntarily crosses your lips as everything gets so soft and then takes charge with complexity of a flanged guitar progression that circles like so many fingers until ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ fades to life with a reverb-heavy single string under a wash cymbal beckons to this direction. Onto the next tale… Straight into slide guitar Heaven with this vocal that is clear without menace, strong without volume and commanding without command, showing that maturity in content and execution that is typically lacking in a sophomore effort, yet is very abundant throughout this one.
‘Death Grip’ begins with that spaghetti-western cowboy swagger that lets you know, this is not going to be more of the same. I immediately thought of post-grunge band LITTLE KINGS and then the whistle hits and you can almost feel that hot breeze crossing your cheek with the uttering “BANG BANG BANG, THEY TOOK AWAY OUR GUNS…” and the violins sing exactly that tale with each sinewy note that permeates the rest of this song. ‘Limbo’ is a quick follow with an almost gypsy sounding progression that sets the pace for this tale where no one believes you, where title track ‘Low Tide’ is more morose sounding out of the gate with subtle rolls and fills as the body rolls under the haunting yet solid vocal that continues to keep you elevated as he beckons you to watch him fly. As the song ends and the waves begin to wash back over you, album closer ‘Adrift’ fulfills the dream state once more with the layers of astral sounds soothe and accentuate the ghostly vocal line that slips it’s metaphoric fingers through your hair and across your flesh giving that inner chill that fades ever so slowly as do the waves fade to nothingness and suddenly, you realize it is over.
I did not know what to expect what with almost 6 years past between releases but gave it a shot and am thankful that I did not let this slide past me. I recommend grabbing one of the limited edition first-pressings and support them live if they come anywhere close!!
Thirty years is a mighty long stretch between album releases for any band and although rare, it does happen at times. In fact, it just happened this past Friday, April 7th as an iconic act of yesteryear, Jesters Of Destiny, returned with ‘The Sorrows That Refuse To Drown‘ via Ektro Records. See, this is the first new studio album of original material from the duo of jokers Bruce Duff and Ray Violet since 1986’s seminal Fun At The Funeral outing (released through Metal Blade subsidiary Dimension Records FYI). Some might say the new record was by sheer accident while others might claim divine providence, take your pick. Evidently the new music began as an independent, non-Jesters undertaking but as the songs took on lives of their own, it became quite clear they were of such a caliber worthy of a Jesters Of Destiny designation.
See, if you know anything about this cult-revered band then you know that they are the very embodiment of terms like “unique” or “iconic”. They obtained such tags long, long ago when they were first pioneering what we now call Alternative Rock/Metal. At the time, there was no such genre classification and it’s because of the things that Jesters Of Destiny were doing musically that such labels were inspired and attached. They spearheaded the movement itself with their amalgamated hodgepodges of jumbled bits and pieces of various types of sonic smatterings in their earlier life. A touch of this, a taste of that, all blended together to create something unlike anything else in their contemporary surroundings at the time.
That very same approach, the method to the musical madness so to speak, is the very exact formula applied to these new recordings as well. Frenetic flavors of metal, punk rock, psychedelia, new wave and other extensive abstracts are melded into a cohesive, and yes, rather eclectic effort. So many decades in the making has allowed for a truly freestyle process to unfold where limitless elements are instilled into the music. Bassist/vocalist Bruce Duff says it best perhaps by stating: “This is our third record,” he says, “we took 30 years off. It wasn’t like we were sitting around though. We’ve been working on these songs for a while and we think it connects with the same stream of consciousness we previously mined but without looking back to 80’s sounds. We think it’s pretty current. It also required a lot of current.”
There will be no track by track breakdown this time, to attempt such would result in a struggle to properly quantify the myriad nuances contained within this album. And in all humility, I am good but even I may not be THAT good in this case. No, ‘The Sorrows That Refuse To Drown‘ is an album that must be heard firsthand to fathom, to understand fully and appreciate justly. Thank your lucky stars that Taste Nation LLC has provided you the very means to do so in the embedded stream of this opus below. Old fan, new convert, unsuspecting stranger, it matters not as Jesters Of Destiny are a band that must be experienced aurally to either embrace or reject. That undertaking is what I now leave to you and remember, ‘The Sorrows That Refuse To Drown‘ was just issued on vinyl (the version you hear with this premiere), digitally on CD and via download/streaming this past Friday. The vinyl and digital versions are different from one another too as the CD has different mixes of two of the songs, and three songs not on the vinyl, including a cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Two Minutes Silence“. Now, explore and enjoy!