Octopussy “Dwarfs and Giants” Album Review + Stream…

OCTOPUSSY

Dwarfs and Giants – CD // Digital Download

Independent: Released – Nov 10th, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Jan Babiński – vocals
Konrad Ciesielski – drums
Piotr Danielewicz – guitars
Michał Banasik – guitars
Marcin Bąkowski – bass guitar
Michał Koziorowski – keys

 

 

Review:

Ring ring… Ring ring…

(Man on receiver) – Hi! You’ve reached Octopussy. How can we help you?

(Caller) Hi this is the late 60’s and early 70’s! Who am I speaking with? We want our sound back.

(Octopussy) – Well you certainly called the right people. Where should we start?

(60’s/70’s) – How about some funky, bass driven rock?

(Octopussy) – Can do

(60’s/70’s) – Hendrix inspired guitar work?

(Octopussy) – Check

(60’s/70’s) – Disco vocals?!?

(Octopussy) – uhhhh… let’s keep that to one track…

(60’s/70’s) – I was only kidding on that one.

(Octopussy) – Well too late. You’re getting it. It fits with the funk track anyway. We’ll stick to a more bluesy, psychedelic groove for the rest of the album. Maybe a splash of southern rock but not too much.  Sound okay for ya?

 

Band Pic

 

(60’s/70’s) – So how about the vocals on the remaining tracks?

(Octopussy) – We’re going with a mix of smooth melodic, and raspy blues… plus some heavily distorted screams and speech.

(60’s/70’s) – Uhh.. screams?

(Octopussy) – Don’t worry about it. We’ll make sure it works within the context of the album.

(60’s/70’s) – In that case, we demand a ballad.

(Octopussy) – Sure. But it’s going to be trippy as fuck and really short.

(60’s/70’s) – I feel you don’t much like compromise.

(Octopussy) – Not at all

(60’s/70’s) – Great. I can’t wait to hear it.

(Reader) – Me too.

Uhhhhhhhhhh…. OK then. Links are below:

https://octopussyband.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/octopl/


Matthew James and the Rust Belt Union “Impromptu Musicals for the Skeptic” Review + Album Stream…

MATTHEW JAMES
AND THE
RUST BELT UNION

Impromptu Musicals For The Skeptic – Vinyl // DD

Sump Pump Records – released September 14, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed:
January 11, 2016

Hometown:
Rust Belt, USA (roughly in a garage, somewhere on the east side of Des Moines, IA)

Genre:
self-described ‘Midwest Junk Soul’

Band Members:
Wrex – Drums.
Larry – Upright Bass
Nathan – Pedal Steel
Brad – Guitar
Matthew – Acoustic / vocal.

Previous Release:
“Live From The Loft” (2016)

 

 

Review:
When I hear the term ‘rust-belt’, I am immediately in mind of that region of the country that begins in western New York and traverses west through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, ending in northern Illinois, eastern Iowa, and southeastern Wisconsin. Previously known as the industrial heartland of America, Industry has been declining in this region since the mid-20th century, leading to the unofficial labeling as the ‘Rust Belt’.

Including Detroit MI in it’s ‘snare’ that has served as home for Matthew,  a singer songwriter originally hailing from the ‘dirty mitten’, aka Michigan. He has been howling in microphones since 2000 and recording hand made lo-fi junk since 2006 with the formation of The Back Home in Michigan Band. He spent a few years touring with Rickett Pass, rambling around the country before settling in Des Moines Iowa. This album is singer Matthew James’ story of moving to Des Moines from his home of Detroit for a girl and leaving everything behind including music with his nationally touring string bands. The single “Goodbye” was written on that drive as heard in the lyrics. Matthew James & The Rust Belt Union refer to their brand of music as ‘Midwest Junk Soul’ and that description could not be more accurate.

Ten tracks that clock in at around 44 minutes.  Musically, what we are presented with here is a collection of compositions that fly up and down the proverbial scale of ‘type’ where we get everything from the elements of folk, gypsy, jazz, be-bop, country, bluegrass, blues, swing and rock to deliver what can only be described as a hybrid that could be described only as Midwest-junk-soul as they have aptly classified themselves.

Band Pic

Filled from the get-go, opener ‘Goodbye’ has each element described above in full force from the raspy vocals flavored with battery-acid, jangly acoustic in tow, great swing beat setting the pace as a soulful wail of lap-steel flows in and out of focus giving the body of this, and each track here a flavor typically kept in the background. Much as Primus brought ‘eh bass guitar to a new level having it out from the shadows, MJ&TRBU have brought this obscure-to-rock instrument to the forefront as well and it is amazing!!

‘Little Light In The Big Rust’ opens with a surf-slide tone over that acoustic guitar and slams right into the body of a song that makes you move!  Like it or not as the beat is infectiously hypnotic and keeps you in hold as Matthew sings of a “child crying and a mother trying” on top of a band that is as tight as any and doesn’t drop a note among the slyly-placed time shifts keep you wanting more. ‘Enthusiastic Apathetic’ opens with a slower, bluesy cadence as MJ’s vocal paints his picture over the band behind him and this pace fits this oratory like a glove, where ‘Left Foot Fail’ is country to the core complete with an upbeat ‘two-step’ rhythm line that pulls your boots to tap at the least along in response.

Shifting gears again with ‘Dying Dogs In South Carolina’, we are given another diatribe of wondering ‘why’, and when ‘Holidays’ kicks in with it’s faster upbeat tempo, it is right on time and lifts the mood again, even as Matthew slides forth with what must be an introspective perspective of what I can only guess to be a typical holiday for as he states that he said “We’re all going to Hell”…

Band Pic 2

The final four tracks represent what I would hope would a block of songs played in this particular order and could very well be the perfect ‘end-piece’ for their live set. From the soft acoustic opening of ‘600 Miles’ with it’s “Cold-moon sinking” into the ‘So broke” exclamation of ‘Tough’ through the advice of ‘It’s The Kind Of Place’ that could very well be describing a day in the life and by the time closing track ‘And We Went Drinking With Ed Love!’ hits, it is the perfect wrap-up of one HELL of a story an I found myself hitting play again after the frenetic ending section to savor it all again.

If you are looking for something that is meaty and satisfying at the same time, cured with the purity of music for the sake of music and masterful storytelling hidden behind a vocal style that will make you listen harder to catch each word, THIS is the record for you. Support them live if they come to a garage / tavern / library / or any other venue near you, play it to death for everyone you know and keep it LOUD!!

Band Logo


The Flying Eyes “Burning Of The Season” Album Review + Stream…

The Flying Eyes

Burning Of The Season – Vinyl // CD // DD

Ripple Music // Noisolution (Europe) – released September 22nd, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

The Flying Eyes:
Adam Bufano – Guitar, Lap Steel
Mac Hewitt – Bass
Will Kelly – Vocals, Guitar
Elias Schutzman – Percussion, Vocals

Tracks:

  1. Sing Praise (4:17)
  2. Come Round (3:26)
  3. Drain (4:41)
  4. Circle of Stone (7:29)
  5. Fade Away (5:18)
  6. Farewell (4:29)
  7. Rest Easy (4:56)
  8. Oh Sister (8:09)

 

 

Review:
The Flying Eyes know exactly what kind of band they are: A riff or two, some vocals, a solo, and a heaping tablespoon of Black Sabbath worship- that’s all they want, and to be frank, that’s all they really need.

Despite it being reminiscent of “the good ol’ days”, it’s always refreshing to hear a band that knows that all they need are guitars, bass, drums, with quality guest keyboards from Trevor Shipley, and a good, solid overall composition.  That’s precisely what Maryland natives The Flying Eyes deliver.

Pro Band Shot 2

Opening track “Sing Praise” bursts out of the gates with an astonishingly memorable bass riff. “Drain” opens with reverb guitars that one would be forgiven to expect out of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” before taking a left turn into Sludge and Doom territory with an absolutely blistering guitar solo. Even though the music is well-composed and performed even better, the vocals of guitarist Will Kelly are the real standout here. They won’t be fronting an opera or performing a Tenor aria anytime soon, but they are absolutely perfect for the music that is focused on here. When this music is coming out of a sound system, images of cruising through the desert in a 1970’s muscle car are sure to follow. This is the type of music that should accompany a vision quest or a protest montage of the Vietnam War and The Flying Eyes seem all too aware of this, owning that image with all the confidence in the world.

However, this album wears its influences (or “influence” in this case) on its sleeves perhaps a little too proudly. The Flying Eyes seem to have listened to Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality” many, many times and that particular influence seems to show itself quite a bit. That’s not to say it’s their only influence, as by the time the 7th track, “Rest Easy”, begins, some sections are reminiscent of Pink Floyd rear their heads. but by the time the listener gets there, they may have already gotten used to the already strongly-established vibe, giving them something of a case of stylistic whiplash. The riff-verse-riff-verse-solo-riff structure permeating throughout this release gets a little old after a while, and a listener would be excused for needing a couple of listening sessions to really get the intended effect from Burning of the Season, and it takes a little bit of patience despite being a fairly short album at a very digestible 43 minutes. Make no mistake, this is a high quality and highly recommended album.

On the whole, Burning of the Season is an album that knows what it wants to be.  If you are looking for an album that provides what is promised very effectively despite putting nothing particularly new on the table, then you should look no further than The Flying Eyes’ excellent new release.

Live Band Shot


Brock Davisson “Outtakes From The Soul” Album Review + Live Video…

“In Case You Missed It Series” – Episode 3

BROCK DAVISSON

Outtakes From The Soul – CD (sold out) // DD – CD Baby

Self Released – 2015

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Location – Marietta, Ohio

Released in 2015, BROCK DAVISSON has poured his soul into each of these 9 tracks that offer insight into the man himself and over these 33+ minutes, we are given the chance to ‘see with his eyes’ through his fingers. When asked to describe himself, he stated “I’m 4’4″ tall in a wheelchair from club foot and dwarfism and my entire life purpose is music. Without it, I don’t exist.” He has won 3 ‘CA HOUSE MUSIC’ guitar competitions so far in Parkersburg, West Virginia, came in 2nd in few others, and has won a few online guitar/music contests as well.

Mixing dirty blues into out-right rock-n-roll and then shifting into flat-out instrumental-bliss, all mixing perfectly together in flow from the first notes of title track ‘Outtakes From The Soul’ to the closing section of closer ‘If Only’ with a pinnache and attention to detail that makes this album a must have. No two songs sound alike on this but the ‘touch’ on each is the same, from the core of his being and that shines with every note.

brock-davisson-lge

Two songs in particular stand out to ME, the first being instrumental ‘Vagrant’ with it’s slow blues fire smoldering with the clean-tone leads that permeate this heart-string-puller.  Then there is ‘Tremors’ where we are reminded that “God is a safe-place to hide, ready to help when needed.” over a mid-tempo pace that allows Brock to demonstrate his mastery of his ‘over-the-neck’ technique that has been his method of playing all along. I have been blown away by how incredible each offering Brock puts out via his Facebook page and his YouTube channel is in originality and prowess. He has done things that are heavy as all get out to as soft as a kitten’s fur, ALL showing just what can be accomplished with dedication and love and his heart is open and poured deep into every crevice of every measure played.

WELL worth a revisit if you are already a fan, a MUST-HAVE for the rest of the world!! Get it NOW if you don’t already have it and share it with the rest of YOUR world and KEEP IT LOUD!!

Links:
https://www.discogs.com/Brock-Davisson-And-Friends-Outtakes-From-The-Soul/release/7400856
https://www.facebook.com/Brokstar

MUSICIANS ON THIS ALBUM:
Brock Davisson “all tracks except track 9, only lyrics”
Andy Holbrook “track 2,3,4,5,6,7,8”
Courtney Holbrook “track 8”
Michael Francis “track 2,7”
Todd Schexnider “track 4,6”
Jeremy Harmon “track 2,4,5,6,7”
Daniel Everson “track 5”
Jeremy Mayle “track 9”
Robert Lawson “track 3”
Greg Lester “track 8”

The Brockstar Empire Has Begun…


Clan “Carnivores” Album Review + Stream…

“Eat ‘M’ Alive!”

Clan

Carnivores – Digital Download

Self Released – June 19, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Hey all I got some music for you all to Rock ‘n’ Roll all night to from a power trio of rockers out of the UK’s Norwich calling themselves Clan. It’s been awhile since I last heard about Clan , but Matt , Ben, and Matt haven’t been just laying about. Since 2013 when they released their “Self Titled” EP, Clan has been hard at work.  They released a highly acclaimed sophomore album in 2014 called Witchcraft available in physical formats on Kozmik Artifactz Records.  On April 2017 they released a single Haunt Your Ghost as a teaser to get us all amped up for Carnivores.

I first heard Clan back in 2013 and instantly found myself singing along to their righteous rock/doom/blues sound like I had been listening to them for years and the feeling was no different when I gave Carnivores a spin. Since their S/T EP and Witchcraft album it seems to me Clan has grown musically.

Rather than rush to create their 3rd album or make up for a lack of material by potting previously released tracks on it as was done on Witchcraft the band took its time with Carnivores and gave fans a 10 song album of all new material. I have also noticed a slight change in sound as the songs are less bouncy and have a more heavy blues feel. Overall the album seems to have a dark theme about how people prey on one another; providing relevance to the album name.

 

Pro Band Pic
Clan: Left to Right – Ben Giller(Drums), Matt Rabong(Bass), and Matt Pearce(Guitar & Vocals)

A band with a versatile sound in a live show I think Clan would go over just as well with the Black Keys audiences as it would with Bikers, Wolfmother and those that attend the Maryland Doom Fest. What can I say Clan is just good Rock ‘n’ Roll. My favorites from Carnivores are ‘Burning,’ ‘Bodies Jackal,’ ‘Haunt Your Ghost,’ ‘True Believer,’ ‘Sleep In Salt,’ and ‘White Spider.’  This album is slammed with killer hits!!  If your looking for kick ass rock then Clan might be what you were looking for.


UNCOMMON EVOLUTION ‘Junkyard Jesus’ EP Review & Stream

UNCOMMON EVOLUTION
Junkyard Jesus EP – All Formats
Argonauta Records – Release Date: June 30, 2017
Review By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

From the high end low country of rural Montana comes the next step in the Darwinism advance of heavy rock, Uncommon Evolution and their latest 4 song EP, ‘Junkyard Jesus‘. Due for release this Friday, June 30th from Argonauta Records, this granite-hard slab of stupendous stoner rock is a monstrous movement crammed into a short-playing offering. Not unlike the Uncommon Evolution‘aries neighboring state South Dakota’s National Monument Mt. Rushmore, ‘Junkyard Jesus‘ deserves his very own recognition. Perhaps the residents of Montana might see fit to create their own tribute to their imminent favorite sons, Briar Gillund (vocals/guitar), Matt Niles (drums), Rick Bushnell (bass) and River Riotto (lead guitar).

What this fantastic foursome has carved out on this EP is nothing short of powerful and astounding, as well as energetic and enthralling. With mile-wide fuzzened riffs fueling these four cuts, they slither forward with swagger and surety. Gravity-generating grooves so deep they seem bottomless twist and turn without warning, pulling you along for the ride. All of this begins the very instant that the opening title track begins as “Junkyard Jesus” unfolds the tale of the regal one of refuse, the lord and master of scrappin’ himself, J.J. Rife with bluesy overtones and tightly packed rhythms, the song is an anthemic ode that serves to set things up for what may be my favorite song, the second cut, “Highly Modified Son Of A Bitch“. This slowly simmering scorcher is the kind of song only crafted after lengthy influence from the likes of Clutch, Planet Of Zeus or Wasted Theory. Its intertwining music and vocals yields a beefy number that is impossible to ignore.

The super cool infused sonics continue with the semi-doomish blues of “Feather Short Of Flight” as it alternates between slow jam verses and increasingly more uptempo choruses. Fat bottomed guitars churn and chug it out while the gargantuan, gravelly vocals spin yet another intriguing yarn you will refuse to resist. The subtle synths bubbling beneath the surface of the song at certain points is a damn fine touch too. Things end with the fourth and final track “King Of The Heep“, a furiously quickened cut that rips and tears along with some dizzying drums and outright intensity. The much more effect-heavy vocals are more aggressive, muddied with a seeming bloodthirstiness that works well within the confines of the song itself.

Grit, swagger, balls and burly machismo permeate each fiber and every moment of Uncommon Evolution‘s ‘Junkyard Jesus‘ EP. Still a relatively young band, one that formed in 2013 and has released two prior EPs, this latest effort from the irregular mutations is, simply put, remarkable. It is a fiercely unforgiving salvo of heavily southern-imbued stoner rock awesomeness and it will flat out rock you to your very core. Allow it to do so now via the Soundcloud embedded stream below and then go get this sumbitch this Friday, June 30th on Argonauta Records (purchase here).

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

 


THE COLD STARES ‘Head Bent’ Review & Stream

THE COLD STARES
Head Bent – DD//CD//Ltd. Ed. LP
Small Stone Records – Release Date: June 16th, 2016
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

I always dig it when a band I’ve been hip to for awhile, usually when hardly anyone else was aware of them on a large scale, begins to break out of thay pseudo “obscurity”. Nashville, Tennessee’s The Cold Stares are possibly the next band in my wide spectrum of somewhat secret enjoyments that are poised to experience that revealing spotlight. See, I saw the band back three or four years ago when they were out supporting Rival Sons (I think it was) on a date here in Kentucky. I was immediately sold on the duo of guitarist/vox Chris Tapp and drummer/vox Brian Mullins aka The Cold Stares for a variety of reasons, usual ones like the fact that the guys make flat-out incredible music. It’s almost incomprehensible to believe or even accept that it is just two guys playing this astounding music, getting this amazing sound, wielding this inhuman power.

Now, after a couple of well-received EP releases and the ice-breaking 2014 effort A Cold Wet Night And A Howling Wind, the duo are back with their new full-length, ‘Head Bent‘. The eleven song opus was produced and mixed by the band with Greg Pearce and mastered by Chris Goosman (Acid King, La Chinga, Solace, Lo Pan, Freedom Hawk, etc.). It just dropped this past week  on June 16th via Small Stone Records and I assure you now, with all foregone knowledge and sincerity, this record is going to blow your mind, my friends.

Continuing in the Small Stone tradition of hosting some of the best, heaviest, hard rock hitting the ground rocking and a’ rolling, there comes this. Yes, this is exactly what Rock & Roll in the year of our Lord 2017 sounds like, music rife with testicular fortitude and an undiluted, devil-may-care attitude. Taking heaping piles of blues and Americana-flavored folk rock into their own sound, The Cold Stares emerge victorious masters of electrified emotion here. Songs like ‘John‘, ‘Ball And Twine‘ and ‘Break My Fall‘ are full of soul, each exudes ample amounts of raw emotion and talent. But even they are mere drops in the bucket when you tear into the meat and marrow of this outing.

From the darker doom moments of ‘Neighbor Blues‘ to the blistering ‘Stuck In A Rut‘ or the Led Zeppelin-meets-Aerosmith feel of ‘Kings‘, there’s limitless miles of territory traversed. Just when you think you’ve heard the best the album could possibly offer, the next song queued up obliterates that assumption. Title track ‘Head Bent‘ or the astounding stand-outs ‘Price To Pay‘ and ‘One Way Outta Here‘ will simply blow you away. They simmer, they rock… they groove, they roll…all while you find yourself never wanting the album to end.

 


Hobosexual Features new Single ‘Monolith’ from forthcoming 3rd LP…

Hobosexual – Feature Single ‘Monolith’ 

“2 beards, 4 amps, and more raw talent than Jesus.”

 

Monolith will be featured on Hobosexual’s highly anticipated 3rd LP, which we are pleased as punch to say we will be releasing into the wild this Fall!

 

 

 


FIVE HORSE JOHNSON Share Second Single From The Upcoming ‘Jake Leg Boogie’ Album

News recently surfaced that the Buckeye State’s groove ‘n blues rockers Five Horse Johnson are back, via a brand new album no less, baby! Yep, ‘Jake Leg Boogie‘ will see release through Small Stone Records on June 30th, the guys’ first new studio effort since 2013’s The Taking Of Black Heart. The new record was recorded at Rustbelt Studios with the band’s longtime producer Al Sutton (Halfway To Gone, Novadriver) and David Cobb (All Them Witches, Rival Sons) assisting.

Artwork was provided by noted graphic artist and Five Horse Johnson collaborator Mark Dancey, keeping with a tradition established on 1999’s Fat Black Pussycat.

Jake Leg Boogie marks the return of original 5HJ drummer Tim Gahagan who joins vocalist Eric Oblander, gtrst./vox Brad Coffin, bassist Steve Smith and guitarist Phil Dürr for the band’s eighth studio album. They have just shared the second single from the album, ‘Hard Times‘, which is streaming below along with the recently shared title track.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

five-horse-johnson-jake-leg-boogie
Jake Leg Boogie Track Listing:
1. Jake Leg Boogie
2. Magic Man
3. Cryin’ Shame
4. Ropes And Chains
5. Hard Times
6. Smoke Show
7. Little Lonely
8. Overload
9. Daddy Was A Gun
10. Last Song


THE RIVEN ‘Blackbird’ EP Review & Stream

THE RIVEN
Blackbird – CD//DD
Self-Released – April 14th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

The London, UK-based band The Riven recently issued their 5-song ‘Blackbird‘ EP and it has quickly garnered quite positive press across the board. With an ever-present feel of bluesy hard rock and retro vibes, vocalist Charlotta Ekebergh, guitarist Arnau Diaz, bassist Max Ternebring and drummer Olof Axegärd deliver a powerful musical statement with the effort. Immensely soulful elements permeate the musical output of The Riven, ones exuding depth amid the intricacies resulting from brilliant songwriting.

If you can imagine the guitar-fueled strength of a band like UFO melded with the vocal chops inspired by greats like Ann Wilson or Pat Benatar then you’re starting to get the idea of what’s going on here. From the faster-fueled paces of the opening ‘Ain’t No Doctor‘, with its driving intensity and throbbing rhythms to the unhinged boogie of ‘Tower‘, this is energized music. There are moments of melodic psychedelia, such as in the bridge of the latter track there or in the fantastic haziness of the title track ‘Blackbird‘. It’s a simmering, heady number and definitely one of the stand out cuts from the EP along with the fantastic ‘One Last Time‘.

If you’re seeking something that’s steeped in classic rock overtones, embedded with bluesy swagger and full-on with amplifier-fueled attitude then look no further. The Riven‘s ‘Blackbird‘ EP is a superb display of raw, solidly-hewn hard rock that you can check out for yourself below.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

Riven