The Quartet of Woah “Self Titled” Album Review + Stream…

The Quartet of Woah

The Quartet of Woah! – Double Vinyl // CD // DD

Raging Planet – released November 25, 2017

Reviewed by Eric Layhe

 

Tracklist:
As In Life (13:26)
Forth By Light (10:46)
A Flock Of Leaves (17:18)
Days Of Wrath (13:30)

 

 

Review:

True uniqueness in music is hard to come by, especially in this day and age. It almost feels as though everything’s already been done and nothing is truly original anymore. Once in a blue moon, though, a band like The Quartet of Woah comes along and re-instills something of a sense of wonder – perhaps we haven’t reached the bottom of the barrel just yet.

The Quartet of Woah are a Heavy Progressive Rock band from Portugal; in case the song titles and lengths didn’t already give that away. Their individual songs, though, reach everywhere from Prog to Psychedelia to Folk to Blues and everywhere in between. Every song is crafted with artisan skill and precision and every note is crisp, clear, and audible. Each song brings a sense of energy and soul that is never wasted – it’s almost like a perpetual motion machine, never slowing down, never ceasing until its message is conveyed.

Live band pic

This album is not without its left turns into oddity land, though. Opener “As In Life” contains a drum solo and a flute outro and personal favorite “Forth By Light” veers off into some positively bizarre chromatic riffing and noodley organs that work far better than one would expect. What does remain constant, though, is the groove. The Quartet of Woah are experts in the art of groove and are ready and willing to show it off. It’s not exactly dancey, but don’t be surprised if you end up bobbing your head several times.

The Quartet of Woah are a band that set out to do what no one else had, to chart uncharted territory, and have done exactly that with their stellar debut. If you love heavy music with progressive tendencies and lack an aversion to really, really long and strange compositions, then do yourself a favor and listen and support this wonderful indie release and a band with a very bright future!


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


Album Review – All Them Witches “Sleeping Through The War”

ALL THEM WITCHES –

Sleeping Through The War – Vinyl / CD / DD

New West Records – Release Date: February 24th, 2017

 

Born January 6, 2012, ALL THEM WITCHES brings a mixture of fuzzed out psychedelic rock, bluesy slow tempo’s filled with the depth and might of southern hard rock. Hailing from Nashville TN, this quartet is set to release their fourth full-length and if you are a fan, you will love this collection offered. If you have never heard of them before, this will serve as the perfect introduction. Eight tracks that contain some of the best to come forth from these gentlemen.

Lead off track ‘Bulls’ starts off with the clean chords taking me back to the glory days of sunshine and softness of the seventies until a minute and a half into, the distortion enters full-force. Parks’ voice offers shelter speaking of “Leaves on the promenade…” For the next almost seven minutes, you experience all facets that make ALL THEM WITCHES so listenable… again, this is just the first track and shows they will not back down as you traverse this road.

 

Logo_Release Date

 

‘Don’t Bring Me Coffee’ starts right off with Parks letting you know “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me how to run my town…” showing that he is in control and nobody better question it because “That ain’t how it’s gonna go down.” Using the backdrop of a tale of a woman coming out of his chest; ATW prove they can spin a tale as they lure you into their labyrinth of sonic bliss. ‘Bruce Lee’ / ‘Am I Going Up’ / ‘Alabaster’ and ‘3-5-7’ are all master-tracks and let ATW flex the muscle they have been building since that fateful day in January 2012 and the might is shown throughout making you dizzy with the winding haze-filled solos and staccato drum lines seasoned with enough hallmarks of psych-rock to please the oldest tie-dye aficionado. ‘Cowboy Kirk’ starts with a standard 4-measure drum intro, setting the pace for this tale of what happened when he “Sat down in a Cantina” getting “Pretty close to havin’ fun”.

Here we have another case of the ‘last-track’ being the defining moment of what all of this meant on this record and at almost 10 minutes, there is plenty of time for Parks to tell you why he guesses he will go ‘Live on the internet’ as he states from the get-go past the Mellotron that opens this opus. “Time to go out-source lightning again” and there is much to be relayed to your waiting mind during this almost 10-minute beast into the mastery these gentlemen have offered up for our consumption.

 

Pro band shot

 

A band unlike any other out there currently and the dark mystic atmosphere shows the tireless work they continue to live while polishing up their signature sound/style as they traverse the skyline of the underground rock scene. This album shows they are ready for the big-time… let’s help them to make it happen!!

 

Words by Ric “Sui-Syko” Dorr