Here in the terra firma of a dark bar, patrons loom anxious and curious like Area 51 gatecrashers armed with pints of special nectar. The anticipation of a sighting is overwhelming, and there are otherworldly glints of celestial beards afoot. We have been warned, probed and scanned for clearance and are about to witness a vision quest of extra terrestrial rock star bravado and virtuosity, a space brigade of five mysteriosos disguised in cut off denim jackets. What is this? Where did we get this information? A sweaty mess of space eggs holographically appear under the lights. They vibrate and break open and Valient Thorr hatch out to inhabit the stage, huffing spastically, riff ready and aiming to spread a plethora of prophecies and blessings by way of their galactic gospel spewing leader, Valient Himself. Read more…
F*ck Ups Forgiven
Stone Temple Pilots’ first album in nine years is a distinctive blend of peppy 90’s nostalgia and super melodic drug songs that succeed in picking up where the band left off, despite the addictions, divorces and alienation that followed their break up. Read more…
Posted in Reviews
There are many reasons people seek out metal shows. People love it loud. They want it loud enough to forget what they were trying to forget about. They know that excessive head banging puts bruises on a memory and the pain is pleasure for that hour long set. But for those who want to take it to the next level of loud, shaking muscle away from bone loud, this evening at the first Unitarian Church in Philadelphia was the place to be. Read more…
It is five days after the release of Dillinger Escape Plan’s new album Option Paralysis, and the groundswell of accolades has only just begun. These chameleons from New Jersey often get labeled as “math rock” or “post metal,” which is a lazy journalistic excuse for anyone writing about the band without listening to them. This band not only defies convention, but chews it up, spits it out, and sends it back to the endless landfill of false labels deemed appropriate to their sound. It is the element of surprise in their epic sets that bends and bleeds the ear of the common concert goer that makes memories rote and relentless. Read more…
The queue of fixed gear bikes chained to train bridge support columns is what welcomes you to Kung Fu Necktie on most nights. This one is was no different. One can almost sense the mishmash of messengers and shut-ins dancing their Dickies off before one note is heard from this menagerie of abrasive bands. Alas, there were many heavy notes. Read more…
Alt-bluegrass may be a genre whose primary purveyors are Duluth’s Trampled By Turtles. Eschewing traditional bluegrass trappings like the surrounding a lone microphone clad in sharp suits, the quintet lined up and blazed through a set of knee slappin’, heart songs, melodic and incredibly technical. Blazed being the operative word, because the songs are chord filled and mastered with a speed not often seen on the neck of a mandolin or banjo. The stand out tune may have been “Wait So Long” from their soon to be released Palomino album.
The movement in several slower, Americana-centric songs like “Empire” were steadied by quiet 3 part harmonies, and lyrics coming from a place of longing and distrust.
Part jam band, part country quintet masquerading as indie darlings of the bluegrass shred set, the band could do no wrong in this boot stomping, highly engaging showcase.
Posted in News
Chug, Chugga Chugga! Like a T. Rex grinding a hoof, Austin’s own hardcore metall-ers Iron Age pounced on a buzzy late night crowd with a blur of precision and fury.
Whipping up a razor blade wail, singer Jason Tarpey rode the twin leads and crushing drums hard as the crowd lost control and lost their footing. The mix of metal and mayhem was the perfect recipe for loosening up the tightly wound industry mavens whose Blackberries were almost swallowed up by a brutish wave of leather and denim.
Posted in News
The men on stage had heavy accents, mustaches and suspenders. Was this a twisted indie take on German barbershop quartet music? No, it was one of the biggest surprises at SXSW. Denmark’s Who Made Who make infectious dance pop, with a heavy disco lean. What sets them apart is the perfect vocal tandem of bassist Tomas Hoffding and guitarist Jeppe Kjellberg who channel Brian Ferry at a faster RPM.
Kjellberg used brilliant and spacey sweeps of slide guitar that accented the Studio 54 shuffle beats of drummer Tomas Barford with hearty aplomb.
The band had even the thickest sticks in the mud bopping to their best bassy hybrid of electronica, psychedelia and disco.
Posted in News
Sacramento’s Trash Talk looked very calm, even poised as they set up their wall of Emperor amps with little fanfare and casually volleyed soft spoken requests to the sound man. As the first notes exploded, the band went ballistic and feral, launching into a relentless hardcore blast of short songs, some no longer than a minute in length. The badges scattered as the pit burst open and the vortex of arms and sweat looked like it would push out the walls. Singer/ scream king Lee Spielman had no boundaries, leaping off a six foot tall speaker onto unsuspecting industry types and never missing a word in a two minute beast of a song.
The set instilled fear in most of the attendees, most of them overcome by the wall of aggression and mass of elbows swung high and fast in front. It was a short show that first timers would never forget. Mission accomplished, Trash Talk.
Posted in News
Sweet Apple, the latest side project from J Mascis is a fairly new band, but you wouldn’t have known it by their gig at the tiny Habana Calle 6. Led by Cobra Verde front man John Petkovic, with Mascis on guitar and drums, the quartet plowed through a brilliantly rough set of hard charged power pop,crafted and purged by these veterans of various bands. Under changing lights of purple hues , the band looked bruised and slightly battered. This was a perfect costume for the slightly askew and sometimes straight ahead rock numbers the band laid out for the crowd. Mascis, as he usually does,kept his shy eyes down and focused on the neck of his guitar. Renown as a former indie guitar god and prolific songwriter, he braved no real new territory here, but the songs were raucous enough to satisfy even the deep cut Dinosaur Jr. nerds in attendance.
Posted in News