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.

 


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


BISON MACHINE Sign To Small Stone For New Album; Playing Burnin’ Turf II Fest In June

Michigan’s retro-infused heavy rockers Bison Machine have shared the news that they have signed with their home state-based Small Stone Records. The band is currently preparing a new album for release later this year and will enter Rustbelt Studios (Five Horse Johnson, Halfway To Gone, Novadriver) later this Summer to record it. Bison Machine bassist Anthony Franchina commented on the news saying:

“It’s amazing! Small Stone has released some of my favorite records, from Sasquatch to Greenleaf to Lo-Pan, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Scott [Hamilton] on our next record, which is going to completely blow away everything we’ve done before. We’ll be hitting the road too, so keep an eye out!”

In addition to this latest news about Bison Machine, the band are involved in organizing the Burnin’ Turf II festival, which is set for June 3rd at the Parisville Saloon in Ruth, Michigan. Bands set to perform include Bison MachineWild Savages, Dead Feathers, BoneHawk, Red Stone Souls, Rip VanRipper, and Gear Jammer. There will also be chopper games, raffle prizes, van and tank lettering by Zak Warmann of Detroit Sign Painters, camping, DJ Smoak (Loy Smoak Jr.), bonfires and plenty of beer according to the PR release.

Bison Machine released their latest single, “Cloak And Bones” last year. A video for the track is playing below.

BTF II