Hank & Cupcakes set to conquer the world on sophomore album, CA$H 4 GOLD!

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Trust me when I say that if you thought you knew what was coming after Hank & Cupcakes fabulous debut, NAKED!, then you have absolutely no idea what’s actually in store for you. On their sophomore release, CA$H 4 GOLD, the duo you love to love have not necessarily reinvented themselves insomuch as they’ve completely expanded their sound.

“Bat Your Eyelids” is a futuristic funk-filled phenomenon fused with enough fuzzy bass lines and warm feelings to instantly put a smile on your face. It’s the perfect opener for this opus and instantly indicative of what’s to come. Previous tease “Relax” follows up and enhances the vibe with a powerful electro stomp that really shows off Cupcakes massive vocal range which goes from a spoken word sing-song to a screech in a second. It’s also sure to be a huge crowd pleaser when presented in a live setting.  And while we’re on the topic, you can head here for the latest tour dates for Hank & Cupcakes upcoming fall tour!

“Romeo” lets Hank’s grooves shine with Cupcakes’ sonic percussion adding more depth while “Cocaina” is a gospel-fueled Southern blues romp that’s probably about the most unpredictable and fierce song H&C have ever laid down. If NAKED! gave you impressions of Duran Duran mixed with Yeah Yeah Yeah’s (Like it did for me) then CA$H 4 GOLD is Berlin, The Vapors, and Wang Chung in a modern setting.

Hank & Cupcakes is truly one of those groups that I can’t praise enough. They do their own thing and they do it really well defying modern Pop expectations with each and every release. Whether it’s the swirling synth bounce on “I Don’t Want To See”, Cupcakes soulful croon on “Spin”, Hank’s bass bravado on the epic “Go Slow” or the lush strings on “Money Is King”, CA$H 4 GOLD has something for every music fan. And if you were already a fan of H&C prior to this release, prepare to be pleasantly blown away.

CA$H 4 GOLD will be available for mass consumption on September 5th. For the latest on Hank & Cupcakes you can head on over here or here. But more importantly, head on over to Itunes or Amazon to get your copy of CA$H 4 GOLD!

What’s In A Name? Mr. Kitty releases the latest “Self-Destructive Synthpop” masterpiece.

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Don’t let the name throw you, Mr. Kitty is not the cute and cuddly Pop you might’ve expected when you tuned in. Far from it, Mr. Kitty is, quite simply, the saviors of dance-pop synthetic goth what have you. It’s great dance music. It’s great music if you’re a vampire or great if you’re a fan of mood films like To Live And Die In L.A. or Manhunter. Modern noir, if you will.

In regards to Time, Mr. Kitty’s fourth (!) album, let’s put it this way: Have you ever wanted an album that perfectly encapsulates a night in the club, filled with those mindless throbbing beats and mid-tempo numbers that sporadically break up the dance floor sweatiness? That’s Time.

“XIII” storms the gates of Time with subtle, droning beats building into an indescribable crescendo of screams and electronics that will move you to no end. “Rats” breaks up the intensity with some nice Pop-infused mid-tempo awesome and “Glow” continues that trend with some beats destined for the Fright Night soundtrack. Circa 1985, obviously.

Like I said, if you’re itching to dance then a Mr. Kitty track to suit your needs is never too far away as “Hollow” follows to beef up the foot stomping quotient. “Devour” delivers even more so as does “Laceration” which brings back “XIII”‘s urgency. “Pathogen” keeps the pace alive  while “Shadow Dancer” is that song you heard in every moody ’80’s flick, being equal parts New Order and Depeche Mode.

Not only one of the greatest synth albums of 2014 but one of the best albums, period. Like me, you’ll be wondering how Mr. Kitty passed you by for so long (Seriously, this is the FOURTH album!!!!!). Now I just need to insure I get all of Time played at my next local goth night.

Time, the latest and greatest, from Mr. Kitty is out now. Head over to bandcamp to stream and buy.

Life On Planet 9 return with The Theory Of Everything

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I randomly discovered Ultraspank when they were featured on Ozzfest back in 1998 and instantly fell in love with Pete Murray’s voice. The range, the emotion, the intensity….just everything about it was such a step above what the other bands on the bill offered. This was a bill that gave some great exposure to the Serj Tankian’s and Brandon Boyd’s mind you! But Pete Murray stood out. Yeah, he had that snarl but there was something else. One listen to “Wrapped” off their self-titled debut and it was obvious that this guy had “the voice”. Those sweeping choruses that echoed Maynard James Keenan that went to vicious Phil Anselmo-style attacks in no time were incomparable.

Over time, that voice has only grown as has the musicianship with the riff-machine Neil Godfrey who accompanied Murray from Ultraspank into Lo-Pro and the band of the hour, Life On Planet 9.

Bittersweet, the 2011 debut from Life On Planet 9, may have spawned from a desire to create a studio version of “Lo-Pro unplugged” but on The Theory Of Everything the band go for new extremes and finally find themselves. The minute the programmed beats of “Carry On” hit along with Godfrey’s gorgeous riffs and Murray’s uncanny voice it’s as if “Line Stepper” off Bittersweet never ended. “So we’re picking up where we left off” adds Murray around the 3-minute mark but it’s so much more than that.

The Theory Of Everything as a whole is bigger, better, and badder. “Everything” is just massive as is “Here We Are” which follows next, abruptly stopping for Godfrey’s lush acoustics and Murray’s echoed cries until opening up again into a gargantuan chorus. And that’s just the first three songs, people! “Home” is even greater than that and more epic, “Now” follows and ups the tempo slightly with Murray hitting those soprano notes just right while “Ordinary” picks up the pace with Godfrey’s guitars screaming along with Murray’s voice. And I haven’t even gotten to single “Rainy Days” or the the game-changing seven minute monstrosity “Stay” that hits in the middle!

Jeebus, I don’t want to say that this is the best album of the Murray/Godfrey collaboration era but hot damn if it isn’t close. “The Sky” adds to that argument along with the piano-driven “What Would You Say” and its’ record scratch beats. As an outsider, I don’t pretend to know what Murray and Godfrey’s musical vision might be but I imagine that this record is the closest accomplishment towards that.

If you love that voice and that guitar and have followed these gentlemen from Ultraspank to Lo-Pro to this then this is an essential part of your collection. If you’re a fan of music in general then it’d be highly illogical if you don’t pick this up.

The Theory Of Everything is out on August 26th. We really think you should buy it here.

 

Ravioli Me Away release The Inevitable Album!

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Like Devo fronted by Kathleen Hanna, Ravioli Me Away brings something different to the music table. This post-punk trio are about to make waves on their debut, The Inevitable Album, with a sound that is so out there it’ll make even the naysayers perk up and pay attention.

“Good Team Player” is as good an introduction as any into the world of Ravioli Me Away with synth horns and steady beats. Lead single “Cat Call” is just as strange as the video that accompanies it with a strong message (Don’t be an asshole when ladies are walking down the street, fellas!). “One Kiss” has a ’50’s feel to it as does “Romance Amnesia” with shared vocals, one spoken word and one providing the melody, and a simple yet effective snare and bass line.

That’s one of the great things about Ravioli Me Away, though, is that the concept is so basic (Bass, drums, keys) but the layers that Sian Dorrer, Rosie Ridgeway, and Alice Theobald bring to each song catapults The Inevitable Album above the rest.

Other highlights include “Estrogen” (Pronounced “eeeeee-stroh-gen” here) with  its funkified bass that continues into the spoken wordiness of “Imagination” which synths up the proceedings while later “Euro Breakdown” makes a bid for “Best instrumental score from a Miami Vice montage scene”.

The Inevitable Album is out on August 18th through Good Job Records. Head on over to Raviolimeaway.co.uk and their Facebook page for the deets!

 

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 9 (Nachtmystium, The World We Left Behind)

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Is this the end of Nachtmystium or isn’t it? According to a recent interview with Blake Judd the end isn’t exactly nigh for the Chicgao black metal luminaries.

Regardless, if The World We Left Behind is, in fact, the last Nachtmystium album then listening to this opus is a bittersweet experience. From beginning to end it’s a reminder of not only how important and vital Nachtmystium is to the black metal scene but also the need for the scene to sometimes morph and change over time.

Assassins: Black Meddle Part I started the trend by adding elements of psychedelia and classic rock (Think Kyuss does Satyricon), Addicts: Black Meddle Part II in 2010 continued along the path while 2012’s Silencing Machine went back to basics almost erasing what had been built.

On The World That We Left Behind, however, Nachtmystium brings their sound full circle and lay everything bare. Those Assassins-style experimentations are back on not only the epic introspective lumbering beast that is “Voyager” but scattered throughout. Speaking of “introspective”, that word is a theme that runs rampant throughout The World We Left Behind touching on the tumultuous year that band leader Blake Judd experienced on almost every track.

But back to the music.

The first proper song here (“Fireheart”) is more of a rocker and less a metal affair with, dare I say, danceable drum beats? Experimentation indeed.  On the other spectrum, “Into The Endless Abyss” is the blackest of black metal fusing spaced out electronics with a slamming blast beat by Sam Shroyer as Judd just fucking roars. The title track builds for a solid minute and a half to a chaotic peak and then just explodes as Judd screeches the chorus and you bang your head in solidarity. Elsewhere, the gorgeous (Yes, I used the word “gorgeous” to describe a Nachtmystium song) “Epitaph For A Dying Star” closes TWWLB with Judd’s howls of “No More Pain” set against Karla Murphy’s lush vocals amidst a sonic maelstrom of screaming guitars.

The World We Left Behind crash landed on Planet Earth today via Century Media Records. You can still get some pretty sweet package deals at CMdistro or for instant gratification, check the album out on Itunes.

 

 

What’s In A Name? Sex Hands release Pleh!

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“Sex Hands are not a garage pop band, they have never practiced in a garage. They never practice.”

And that statement from the press release of Pleh, the masterful debut from Sex Hands, about sums up the ride you’re about to embark on. From the onset, it’s loose and fun but expertly administered to your ears. But don’t try to pigeonhole their sound, though, because after just one listen it’s pretty obvious what Sex Hands is all about: Rockin’ and a rollin’!

“Space Song” is an instrumental jam fest that opens Pleh and could substitute as an updated theme for The Young Ones (RIP Rik Mayall) but it’s “Flat Mate” up next that ultimately sets the tone for the rest of the album piling on jangly guitars in the vein of Caesars with airy vox like The Raveonettes and nods to The Animals.

First single “Pivot” rocks even more in context with the rest of Pleh while “Gay Marriage” is a nostalgia-fest soaked in ’50’s dream Pop. Elsewhere on their debut Sex Hands delve into more quirky territory on “Hairdo”, straight up Pop on “Hot Cheddar” or full on rockers with “On A Break”.

Pleh is out now through Faux Discx/Negative Space. Buy/stream yours here.

The man, the myth, the legend….Mr. John Garcia flies solo!

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“These songs were not B-sides or leftovers from any of the other projects. These songs were plucked from my career and I kept them in a dusty old cardboard box and every morning I’d look at ’em. And I actually felt bad. I was, like, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll get to you. Hold tight!’ I collected 44 songs throughout 20 years that were special and very personal to me.”

So says the man of the hour, Mr. John Garcia, via phone in a recent interview with Rock and Roll Fables (Full interview coming next week). From the 44 songs collected, 11 ended up making his debut solo album and they are most definitely not B-sides and otherwise.

Rocking from the start with the slow burnin’ “My Mind”, John Garcia sounds exactly like, well, John Garcia. But if you thought you knew this influential vocalist, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet. JG manages to capture the magic from all of his other bands: the best of Kyuss, the best of Slo-Burn, the best of Unida, the best of Hermano, the best of Vista Chino…but it’s not a “best of” by any means.

The greatest accomplishment of Garcia’s first solo outing is that, despite his unmistakable voice, the album sounds like nothing he’s done before. It’s more “hard rock” than “stoner rock” if you’re looking for labels but those signature Homme/Fevery-style guitar licks still pop up (Check out “Flower” and “The Blvd” especially).

If you like that desert vibe, however, “5000 Miles” has got that in spades for you laying on the grooves and the riffage thick. Later still, “Argleben” and “Saddleback” hit another  groove sweet spot on the album. Garcia also does a solid job bringing things full circle with a standout performance from The Doors’ Robby Krieger playing flamenco lead on the “Planet Caravan”-esque closer “Her Bullets Energy” while looking to the future by covering current Canadian rockers Black Mastiff”s “Rolling Stoned” earlier on the album.

If you live for the groove and for the rawk, then it’d be in your best interest to pick up John Garcia on August 5th through Napalm Records. Some pretty sweet pre-order packages are available here.

Adage get Defined on debut EP!

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Hook these guys up with a national tour opening for Lo-Pro! Can you imagine what a duet between lead singer Justin Doyle and Pete Murray would sound like? Hot damn!

But I digress.

On Defined, Adage channel the best parts of heavy alt rock that’s sorely lacking in today’s scene. Think that already mentioned band with a little smattering of Breaking Benjamin and some of the more aggressive moments of the Sevendust catalog for a proper taste of Adage.

“Anymore” gets the ball rolling with a driving beat laying the foundation for some solid riff action. The minute Doyle opens up his voice, the range that Murray conveys immediately comes to mind with broad moments of melody and underlying hints of rage just waiting to breach the surface. Solid opener for a solid debut.

As listeners get deeper into Defined, it’s immediately apparent that Adage sound more like seasoned vets instead of a 4-piece putting out a debut EP. Slower tracks like “Best Of” and especially “Growing Colder” (Easily the stand out track here) already display a maturity in their songwriting capabilities and almost guarantee that new fans will stick around to hear what’s next from this young band. But if you’re just here to headbang then skip straight to “Hold On” and get ready to scream along to the chorus.

Defined is out on August 19th through Pavement Entertainment. Pre-order yours here.

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 8 (Corrupt Moral Altar, Mechanical Tides)

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Corrupt Moral Altar bring the stuff of metal nightmares on Mechanical Tides. On their debut, these UK metallers bring the frenetic intensity of Converge, the frenetic intensity of Goes Cube, the frenetic intensity of…..there’s just a lot of “frenetic intensity”, okay?

Speaking of GC, “Father Tongue” begins MT like a Goes Cube song that went berserk and flows into “Blood Harmony” with ease slowing things down considerably and focusing on Chris Reese’s brilliantly vicious voice. Next, Carcass’ Jeff Walker helps out on the crazed schizophrenia of “Die Glocke” complete with gang vocals and Tom Dring’s time changing drum mastery.

If that wasn’t enough “old school” metal for you then try “Line Check” which channels Entombed with John Cooke’s guitar capturing some of that Swedish crunch from Wolverine Blues. Reese has some of that Petrov punch in the low range but it’s his ear piercing screeches that take this one to another level.

You still want more? How about the epic slab of metal mayhem known as “Wire Mother”? At almost eight minutes long and still barely in the middle of Mechanical Tides yet, this one has it all. Time changes? Yep. Massive breakdowns? Oh yeah.  Style changes? Got those. Indecipherable shrieks? What’d you say???

If you’re looking for a metal debut that really hits all that and more then Corrupt Moral Altar is a band you really need to check out. And I didn’t even touch on the second half of MT and crushers like “Closed Casket”  and “Garland Greene” or the out-of-left-field “Admit Defeat” which has some full on crooning hapening. Seriously. And it’s really, really good.

Mechanical Tides is out now through Season Of Mist. Get yours here.

There is only one Entombed and they’re apparently named Entombed A.D. (Back To The Front album review)

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I don’t care how many Entombed’s are out there now. If LG Petrov isn’t fronting your outfit then you ain’t Entombed. Simple as that. I’m not going to get into all the politics about the different sides, I just know that what I’m listening to as I type this sounds like the Entombed I know and that’s all that’s going to matter to fans, too.

Like a mix of Clandestine and Wolverine Blues, Back To The Front (Their first in 7 years!) is a welcome reminder of why Entombed is still such a relevant and visceral unit. Once “Kill To Live” really kicks into full throttle at the beginning, fans will know that long wait was all worth it. Teasers “Bedlam Attack” and “Vulture And The Traitor” don’t do the album justice as they’re just a taste of how great this album really is. Petrov sounds like a beast once again and hearing him roar on some fresh Entombed material is like a breath of fresh air.

“Waiting For Death” is the latest “death ‘n’ roll” rocker with some nice chants inside. “Eternal Woe” sounds as if it could play nicely on Serpent Saints with a low, heavy crunch accenting Petrov’s unmistakable growl. Other highlights include “Pandemic Rage” which opens with a string section straight out of a Hitchock-ian thriller and “Bait And Bleed” featuring some nice thrashin’ making for some superb headbangin’ and mosh pittin’ action.

Just as powerful as anything the band have put out thus far but more urgent, Entombed A.D.’s Back To The Front is out on August 5th through Century Media. Pre-order packages, as always, are a avilable through the always reliable and lovely CMdistro.com.