Container “Mountains of Gaia” Album Review + Stream…

 

CONTAINER

Mountains of Gaia – Limited Edition 12” Vinyl // Digital Download 

Independent: Released – March 26, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Daan – vocals
Boudewijn – bass
Rutger – guitar
Erwin – drums

Location:
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Review:
One might expect and album that opens with a piano excerpt from “Entry of the Gladiators”, more commonly known as the song they play at the circus as the clowns pile out of their tiny car and climb on their unicycles to juggle bowling pins, or break into a tumbling routine or whatever else clowns do… well you might expect an album that opens with this to be a bit of a joke.

 

 

But you’re not quite right. While Mountains of Gaia does have its fun moments, most are relegated to the opening track which is appropriately named “Circus”. Once the piano fades behind the percussion, the bass takes over, carrying the tune while distorted screams point us in a different direction. Thankfully, the screams give way to more melodic, though still filtered, singing. Really, this is where the lightheartedness goes out the window and we begin a musical adventure.

“Backstabber” takes us to a completely different locale of Container’s sound with a little 70’s Black Sabbath worship and an edge all their own. It’s a bit stoner and a bit “garage”, as they put it. It’s clear listening to the band that this was recorded in a studio, but I still think garage is a very apt term to describe a certain rawness or lack of refinement in Container’s style.

 

Band Pic

 

“Challenger” is an 8 minute, long, slow piece that musically reminds me of the Doors. Maybe Riders on the Storm or LA Woman, but then there’s some spoken word reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine, if you can imagine these two together. That’s only the first couple of minutes. It picks up with more of a Vol. 4 ambiance before slowing again to that Doors-y, wandering-through-the-dessert-on-peyote feeling with one last increase in pace to close it out.

Even though we’re only about halfway through, it’s hard now to look back and remember the silliness Mountains of Gaia opened with. The album leads us down a path of variety with different tracks blending the (aforementioned) base elements, stoner rock & “garage rock”, with a touch of post-rock, punk and hardcore. The result is an eclectic adventure that might seem to stray yet is uniquely Container. It’s almost surreal how after the 8th and final, the title track, another 8 minute opus taking us through the Mountains of Gaia until the music ends. Surreal, I mean if we decide to press play and take the trip again. We realize we’re started back at Circus. Is it a metaphor?

 

Live Band Pic

 


Ruff Majik “The Hare And The Hollow” Album Review + Stream…

RUFF MAJIK

The Hare And The Hollow – Limited Vinyl // DD

Self Released – released June 20, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed:
September 1, 2012

Location:
Pretoria, South Africa

Band Members:
Johni Holliday (Guitar/Vocals/Organ)
Jimi Glass (Bass)
Benni Manchino (Drums)

Previous Releases:
“The Bear” EP (Oct 2015)

“The Fox” EP (Sept 2016)

“Monarch Of The Hills” single (March 2017)

“The Real Swan” (March 2017)

“The Swan” EP (April 2017)

Review:
Three piece band with a penchant for recording LIVE in the studio and this release that is being touted as not an EP, but part one of a four part release and was recorded in one take per their notes on their bandcamp page. According to their bio, Ruff Majik “has been aggressively marketing their brand of super-stiff rock ‘n roll madness since early 2012. Now they have three EP’s under their belt, an album filled with out-takes from the sessions for this album, and a reputation for wild and aggressive live shows, and they’re coming your way – tie down everything you want to keep, the boys are bringing earthquakes with ’em.” An intriguing descriptor for certain and I had to dive deep in. With the previous recordings, there has always been that garage-sound that lent itself to the ‘live’ feel that these guys tout as their modus-operandi,  while keeping that bass-heavy groove they are known for intact.

Live Band Pic

Let me re-emphasize that these songs were recorded  live and in only one take, not stopping for a break between songs but rather charging on through as a means to keep the cohesion true and the feel as ‘real’ as possible. Opener ‘Harpy’ starts off with a staggered drum line, mid-tempo pace, the bass hits four measures in and then the distorted guitar reaches out and grabs your throat before the vocals come out front in classic RM fashion, sounding slightly distorted and still clear in delivery.

Using all of the twists, turns and time shifts of stoner rock/metal you could hope for, ending with that hyper-fuzzed bass line that slowly fades into the opening progression of ‘Gone Down In The Woods Today.’  This is a full throttle galloping track that hits as hard as any SABBATH track with the veracity of a cobra and is relentless in the pummeling heaviness of the arrangement. Still no pause between as closer ‘Breathing Ghosts’ is even faster than the other tracks during the first minute until the vocal hits, tempo shifts and guitar drenched chords leaving their juices running down your chin as you drink it all in to the very last note.

If this is the tone of the next three releases, then the wait will seem unbearable. An amazing jumping point in this next stage of the evolution of this trio, MAJOR leaps in mix and composition and the arrangements truly are stellar in advance over all previous releases and should absolutely signify the turning of the tide for this band. Add it to your ‘rotation’ immediately, make sure every person you know hears it and support them live if they come to your shores…this IS South Africa after all. And as always, keep it LOUD!!

The Hare and the Hollow logo


BLACKBIRD HILL ‘Midday Moonlight’ Review & Stream

BLACKBIRD HILL
Midday Moonlight – CD//DD
Releases May 5th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

 

French garage rock power duo Blackbird Hill are back with ‘Midday Moonlight‘ this Friday, May 5th and are poised to rock out as only they can..and do! Guitarist/vocalist Alexis Dartiguelongue and drummer/vocalist Maxime Conan create six powerful cuts of delta blues-infused, fuzzened heavy rock on their latest outing. With one foot firmly planted in a place of organic folk music and the other in enthralling electrified heaviness, Blackbird Hill takes us on quite an interesting ride.

With the introductory track ‘Trigger Law‘ comes a deluge of fat, fuzzy riffs at first which then yields to some bluesy banjo pickin’. Hazy vocals narrate a tale of murder and vengeance while rhythmic grooves abound beneath. Diversity takes the lead on other fantastic tracks like the swaggering ‘Horseback Sight“, the rockabilly scorcher ‘Run Like Mad‘ and the incredible title track, ‘Midday Moonlight‘ (streaming below). Without question though, my favorites are a pair of back-to-back songs, ‘Stories From The Road‘ and ‘Hold Your Fire‘. The first is a full-on dive into backwoods-y Americana, an emotionally intense ode that runs nearly nine minutes in length. Rippling with sedate nostalgia, its eclectic minimalism unfolds a fantastic yarn both lyrically and musically. The latter is hard-hitting and allows the duo to really cut loose and strut their stuff so to speak.

So, if you like blues-strutting Garage Rock with abundant tilts toward psychedelia and fuzz rock, plus great songwriting, arranging and execution, well then I have news for you. That news would be this latest salvo of killer two man-based rock ‘n roll, ‘Midday Moonlight‘ from Blackbird Hill. It will be available on this Friday’s (May 5th) release date and here’s the title track until then. Enjoy!

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


Bionic Cavemen – “Reactor” Album Review & Stream…

Bionic Cavemen

Reactor – DD Release

Self Released – April 20th, 2017

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Happy 420 day all!!  This is Terry the Ancient One and I would like to tell you about a real rockin’ band called Bionic Caveman and the album they released today on April 20th / 420 Reactor. I grew up listening to my daddy’s records and his collection had some amazing blues based rock bands like Joplin, Hendrix, Cream, and The Doors and listening to the Bionic Caveman album Reactor took me back to those days.

 

Live Band Pic

Reactor is filled with heavy blues rock that you both hear and feel. Meaning when you listen to the music you find yourself rockin’ to the beat and the riff and unable to sit still.   I liked this feeling so much I had to play the album twice and  intend to buy their debut album Predator.  You know this is an ambitious album with Bionic Cavemen’s J. Bernal’s wicked drum solo on ‘Black Diamond.’  Not many bands can/will effectively showcase their drummer with solos while just focusing on “The Riff.”   ‘Black Diamond’ also shows there is no weak link in this group!!  It has it all…

I loved this album from beginning to end. Some of my favorites from Reactor are ‘EOW’, ‘Lover’, ‘Black Diamond’ and ‘Train.’  If you like blues based hard rock then Chicago based Bionic Caveman will trip your trigger.  Highly Recommend!

Bionic Cavemen are:

J. Bernal – Drums
L. Drennan – Bass
A. Morgen – Vocals
R. Morgen – Guitar


Fairtrade Floyd – “In Money We Trust” Album Review & Stream

FAIRTRADE FLOYD

In Money We Trust – CD // DD // Band Shirts

“Worthy Of A Further Look”…Review

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

Legend has it…

“Thousands of years ago, Chickeater Joe the Banana-Head, (he’s one of your lower-ranking demigods), “Chickeater Joe had invented the Diddley Bow to save rock’n’roll, but he couldn’t find anybody to play it and left planet Earth to explore the greatness of the universe. On the 21st of December 2012 he finally came back, only to discover the damage the human race had done to themselves and their planet. Pissed off, Joe searched the globe for musicians, to spread his word of enlightenment through the mass manipulating medium of pop music. But then he discovered an awful truth; ALL the famous musicians also worship another  god of humanity, the so-called “Money“.

 

Diddley Bow_2

 

Somewhere in the backwoods of Austria, after a long journey around the devastated planet, he finally crossed the path of three young musicians who had just formed a band called „Fairtrade Floyd“, and Chickeater Joe liked their music, but most important he liked their attitude. So he gave them the ancient instrument, and sent them out to save mankind from the mess they are in.”

Quite the backstory for something that had almost slipped through the cracks. After reading this and knowing a diddley-bow is a usually homemade stringed instrument with typically one to three strings, strung over a cigar box or some such size piece of material and a guitar pickup mounted to electrify. I was indeed intrigued… 10 items and 27 minutes… engage.

From the very first 10 seconds of ‘Outbreak’, the pace is set and you’re already on your way feeling the need to get the fuck up and MOVE. “Listen up, this is how the story ends. An economic re-set; think again.” and if you are breathing, you are standing while this insane hook drags you along as the bass and drumline push you back and forth with equal force. The last minute took me back to MINISTRY of the 90’s with the inserted oddities and the fury of this track never falters until the very last note. Not metal, but heavy as shit and I am impressed at how big that one string has just appeared.   ‘How & Where’ show a more pop-type structure laden with dark humor and demonstrate a virtuosity of style hey ban handle with each, not losing the edge they run along.

 

Live Band Shot

 

‘Peace Like Gandhi’ has a more ‘spaghetti-western’ twangy guitar tone but still a complex arrangement, still keeping that dark-side in this tlae asking what else can they do and they remind that they are “Back to save mankind” as the aforementioned legend proclaims’ Great solo to close out the last portion of that leads right into the knock of an engine coming to life in ‘Engine 56’ with a nice even driving-pace SET for driving, ride cymbal fading as the engine drops off and next thing you hear is the sudden appearance of a full string acoustic and could those be maracas in ‘Three Saints Bay’? “Come close to me, watching the scenery” the seeming chorus of what could be direct from some island beach.

‘Great Panic’ has a haunting bass intro before the almost ghostly harmonics ring and the gruff voice beckons you to “Barricade your windows” and the thickness of that ultra-distorted hyper modulated guitar screams to the front of this tale of never giving up fighting, even as the news voices fade back and forth as they do in our everyday living giving credence to this outing. ‘Dunkirk’ hits immediately with am ugly/thick wall of strings that permeate from all sides, ringing off of each other until the melody snaps your neck with the singularity of the body of Fairtrade Floyd, our seeming warrior in this quest to save mankind from itself.  The speed and complexity makes this the standout track for me.  The use of such minimalism and making it so just HUGE sounding is incredible and I did not want this track in particular to stop. In a live format, this could go on for 20 minutes as a jam song and would not be enough as the frenetic ending they use suggests… they just weren’t DONE yet.

Live Shot_Diddley Bow

 

And speaking of live, we are given the treat of a LIVE version of the second single release ‘In Money We Trust’ and the sound is just as ‘big’ as the rest of this album.

If you have not found this one on your own, get it and crank it up and support them if they come anywhere near you!!

Link:


New Album Review – Super Snake “Leap of Love”

SUPER SNAKE

Leap Of Love – CD / DD

Self Released – Release Date:  February 14, 2017

 

Band Members:

Pete August: Guitar
Vinnie Fiore: Drums
Jerry Jones: Vocals
Joe Laga: Guitar
Jesse Marianni: Bass, Keys

Hometown; New Jersey

Super Snake were Born in 2012 and were baptized in the waters of psyched-out post-whatever!!  “Rock ‘n’ Roll Mind Control via a mouthful of psychedelics washed down with ten beers while listening to Black Sabbath and the dirtier parts of Sonic Youth. ”

 

Band in a car

 

This being the first full length release, opener and title track ‘Leap Of Love’ sets a pace for the album that those unaware of SUPER SNAKE will have a quick idea of what they are in for with this album. Super Snake has certain flavor the band describes as “…a Ouija board chopped up into little pieces, made into kindling, stuffed into your pipe.”  This is pretty much what you get, from the first line about how ‘Sometimes they never get your name right…’ and PUNCH the double guitar assault hits and bowl is lit as the first break shifts to a dream/nightmare state as you follow the mix of cascading sounds swirling over each other until that double-six hits again. ‘Lie4U’ is the perfect 21st century anti-love song ripping forth with lyrics steeped in questioning and declaration like ‘I’d lie for you, even if you wouldn’t’ and a ghostly-mixed vocal rolling left and right as the solos whip back and forth to the end. ‘Hot Pavement’ begins with a measure of high bends and the rest hit after a measure, slower paced than we have been so far but still rolling along making your head bounce in time where ‘Spirit Cave’ has a 70’s wah-pedal rolling along with a stoner’s wet-dream of flow-along on this air stream vapor feel through the seven and a half minute ride along this tale of two. No break between, ‘Lavish Sum Of Dread’ comes in with a drum line filling the air as the perfect pace for this tale of a ‘Sunday thrill for one’ as described in what has become comfortable this voice that never quite fades out as it shifts speed and pitch. Standout ‘Sister Margaret’ wastes no time in the perfect headbanger 4/4 time signature with the mystic-sounding keys lilting between the melodies that keep winding around as so much smoke in a room surrounding the bodies bouncing along. ‘Dreamcoated’ give a quick four-click heads-up before it’s sonic blast rips the paint off the walls, ‘Too Late Who Cares’ instead is a full-on SONIC YOUTH/UNDERNEATH WHAT recipe of swirling lights melting into the walls and it makes sense. ‘Get Lost Be Mine’ has a blues-fueled bounce while ‘Cecelia’ reeks of Mississippi mud with the chugging single guitar jag. ‘Big Seize’ has a cleaner guitar tone that we tend to hear a lot out of New jersey but with a punch that is often lacking for whatever reason, switching to pure crunch across all strings as we slide onto a stellar solo that bridges the mid section across to the screams that come in and grab the frontal cortex while the drummer kicks into overdrive and everything is back to swirling together.  Next enters ‘Take My Breath’ kicks in in true psychedelic bliss, clouds of varying colors circling like so much bong smoke to the end showing a band that is ready to make a stand and have accomplished their goal with this record.

Super Snake in a live setting would have to be insane if they can deliver the intensity of each song on this record and I have no doubt that they can and MORE… buy the album, support the live venues and let’s get these guys to your town and mine!!

Links:

 

https://supersnakerock.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/supersnakerock/

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr


New Album Review – Beach Slang “A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings”

BEACH SLANG

A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings – Vinyl / CD / DD

Polyvinyl Records – September 23, 2016

 

“Guitar, bass and drums. Played loudly.” And that is how Philadelphia’s own BEACH SLANG describe their music via Bandcamp and Facebook as no pretense, just strait-ahead to the point. And that is exactly how they want it. Representing the latest incarnation of post-punk pop wrapped in teen-angst and power chords, this second full-length release brings 10 tales of strife / love / hate and getting through it all screaming, “I still taste you in the ash of every cigarette you kill.” I think everyone KNOWS that feeling.  If you don’t, you are a better person for it!!

Mixing a delivery that rings richly of PSYCHEDELIC FURS meets GREEN DAY, then devoured by SOUL ASYLUM and finally, snorted by SONIC YOUTH all the while adding that ‘snap’ of GANG OF FOUR soaked drum lines being brought to a froth with the richest production values utilized as of yet by this four piece, we have this gem that stands on it’s ‘own eight feet’ as it were, not trying to clone the 2015 1st full length album. James Alex, songwriter and front man for Philly indie-punk outfit Beach Slang, says that “‘A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings’ (Polyvinyl), is a crash-and-thunder collection of songs about what it takes to keep yourself going, to make it through the rest of the night—hell, through the rest of your youth—and beyond.”

 

Live Band Shot

 

Opener ‘Future Mixtape For The Art Kids’ sets the tone from the top, e-chords and lyrics, “Play it loud, play it fast” and you are already moving when the rest of the bands hits stride with the first step.by the last line, “We are fucking alive” and the squealing note fades.  Next comes the faster ‘Atom Bomb’ that punches you right in the face from the first second. Pure rage-rock-n-roll hammering forward non-stop to the end. The jangly guitar intro to ‘Spin The Dial’ sets a slower tone with that early SOUL ASYLUM vocal permeating this tale of being “born at the bottom but…”

‘Art Damage’ rips open with a multi-layer guitar line that sounds almost happy with the aforementioned PSYCHEDELIC FURS style delivery from James giving a nod of influence in this track as well as ‘Hot Tramps’, ‘Wasted Days Of Youth’, ‘Young Hearts’ and the quintessential love song ‘The Perfect High’, all that secret recipe mix of spices and seasonings to create this date-friendly blending of songs that run the gamut of scenarios and flavors. ‘Punks In A Disco bar’ has more of that SOUL ASYLUM / SONIC YOUTH blend of punchy guitar lines and reverb soaked vocals that just keeps you moving as sitting still is not an option and there is no fighting the urge anyway.

 

Who Would Ever Want Anything so Broken

 

It appears to be a continuing trend, the last song is the standout here for me. ‘Warpaint ‘ stands out as one of those songs that could be either the perfect opener for a live gig or the ultimate closer in said scenario, it is that powerful and attention grabbing of a song.  The first minute thirty is just guitar and vocal before the rest of the band kicks in for the final minute. Striking me as a song of encouragement and direction with the lyrics “Make a muscle with your brain. You’re not as broken as you are brave. All the things that fuck you up, knock them out then come back to us.” By the time that final ringing note decays to silence, the grin doesn’t leave your face with the satisfaction factor of what you have just consumed.

In describing what was put into the writing of this record, James said “I did feel a sense of responsibility to the kids who told me they were finding something in our music that brought them back from a bad place, the ones who were getting BEACH SLANG tattoos and quoting lyrics to me after the shows. I don’t want to let those people down. Am I leaving behind work that’s going to matter? What’s this going to say about me when I run out of air, and my son is listening to these records and tapes that I left behind. Is he going to say, ‘Yeah my dad was all right’?  I want to do right by them. When this whole thing started it was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to get to hear my sappy little songs played loud and interact with other human beings again,’ the admittedly shy Alex says looking back on Beach Slang’s existence. “Then one day this really sweet explosion happened and Beach Slang became a thing that mattered to people.”

James and Company put everything into their music.  They sweat it, bleed it and it shows in every note of this album.   Simply, they are a rock and roll band that makes records, tour and repeat… find out when / where they are playing and get out and SUPPORT!!

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 


Album Review – Dealer “Billionaire Boys Club”

Album Review – DEALER

Billionaire Boys Club

Wicked World Records – February 17th, 2017

Vinyl / CD / Cassette / DD

Described as a cocktail of metal/punk/grunge/rock-n-roll, Dealer is a trio out of Oakland that is certainly not lacking in discordant rock solos steeped in crazed post-a-punk-a-lyptica with grunge sprinkled on for “color”… well then. Not my usual taste, but somebody said they really liked these guys so, I better check it out, right??

Opener ‘AM Gold’ is pummeling and thick from the first chord, showing this unit is a machine as opposed to some three chord wankfest, complete with vocals as snarling as the leads. ‘Slur’ comes out of the gate even faster and spares no one from the flying fingers ripping up the guitar in your face, taking me back to the days of bands like Quicksand, full of multi-tone harmonics screaming like so many insects swarming. ‘Total Horse’ / ‘Stone Freak’ / ‘Fester’ / ‘Solar Dominion’ and ‘Cake Walk’ all demonstrate the confidence to shift tempo on a split second and not drop a step marching through nonstop.

 

Band Pic on the Boat

 

Two tracks stood out to me in particular, the first being ‘In The Flesh’ which starts out slower than the rest with a loopy guitar intro, shifts into a faster jaunt before settling in on a lurching pace that pulls you forward without resistance. Longest song on this release, the frantic staccato soloing will not let you get bored but keeps you moving. This is the second best vocal delivery on this record in my opinion. The second standout is the rather lucid cover of ‘She’s As Beautiful As A Foot’ originally done by legends Blue Öyster Cult. Not straying very far from the original, they still manage to put their own signature and feel throughout while still paying homage to the song itself, definitely the clearest vocal performance on here.  Hailz for the effort gentlemen!!  Great band to watch in 2017………

Words by Ric “Sui-Syko” Dorr