Untitled Metal Column: Volume 3 (Prong, Ruining Lives)

PromoImage

Prong can do no wrong in my book and, to be honest, I’m just happy they still exist because there seemed to be a time where that might not be the case anymore (Happily, that reality is in the distant past). Not only is Prong reinvigorated after 2012’s jaw dropping Carved Into Stone but the band has bounced back with one of the quickest turnarounds for a new studio album ever (For Prong, anyway).

The result is Ruining Lives which is undoubtedly more straightforward and more vicious than its predecessor. Probably the greatest surprise to be found on Ruining Lives is the amount of melody found within. Sure, it’s Prong through and through but RL succeeds the most when it takes the elements that made Carved Into Stone so great and experiments further. Where as CIS experimented with song structure, RL focuses instead on mastermind Tommy Victor using his voice in another way: to actually sing! Sure, the snarls and sneers are still there but the overall vocal presence on this one suggests a more mature Victor as lead vocalist.

For every thrasher like “The Barriers” and “The Book Of Change” (And boy, are those two thrashy!) there’s a pummeling song like “Windows Shut” with a chorus that’s just out of this world for Prong. Or take “Remove, Separate Self” which combines all the shredding Prong is synonymous for with another chorus that makes the song destined to be the next great crowd pleaser . Producer Steve Evetts returns once again to craft this next Prong classic along with new members Art Cruz and Jason Christopher on drums and bass, respectively.

Ruining Lives triumphs and strengths (Which is the whole of the album) also further proves why Victor is a staple when it comes to new albums by legendary personalities like Glenn Danzig and Al Jourgensen and why he has constantly served as a mentor for so many young musicians because at this point, and with the bass/drum revolving door within, Prong IS Tommy Victor. Prong band camp perhaps?

Ruining Lives is available now everywhere. Get your copy here now!

 

Kristen Ford bids Boston adieu at the Middle East on May 24th!

download Courage comes in many forms. There’s facing your fears head on, quitting a job you hate to take care of your kids, running into a burning building while others run away, or leaving behind the city you know and love to live in a van and tour full time. While those are some extreme ends of the courage spectrum, it’s the latter that we’re talking about today because that’s scary and that takes a lot of courage. Which is what brings us to Boston’s own Kristen Ford who will be saying goodbye to Boston for a while but not before gracing us with one last show at the Middle East (Tonight!) which also serves as a record release for her new album, Dinosaur.

 

For over four years Kristen Ford has been a staple of the Boston indie rock scene. Whether singing the national anthem at Fenway, playing all over the area with her band or organizing various queer dance parties or open mics, Kristen has constantly given back to the place she calls home. On Dinosaur, Ford is poised to break out of Boston and conquer the world. Just listen to her subtle vocoder vox on “El Camino” that breaks into cries of “Music’s gonna save my soul” or the soul scorching guitar cries that complement Ford’s heartfelt words on “Be Your Girl” and tell me that Dinosaur isn’t an album destined for great things. If ever an album was meant to be taken live on the road cross country, it was this one.

 

Produced by Jesse Ciarmataro (AKA Quill, who will be one of the support acts this evening along with Goli and the George Woods Band) and Dan Cardinal at Dimension Sounds in Jamaica Plain, Dinosaur will be available at the show tonight. However, if you’re impatient you can grab it over on bandcamp now When you get tired of Boston Calling (And you will!), head on over to the Middle East in Cambridge to say goodbye to Kristen and wish her luck (And maybe buy some merch, too?). Doors are at 6:30 (18+, $10) and tickets are available here. For more on Kristen Ford, head on over here and here.

 

Front Line Assembly rules all, releases remix album ECHOES!

PromoImage (8)

Let it be known that I do not like remix albums. At all. Of my favorite artists to do so, there’s only a handful that I find tolerable (Nine Inch Nails’ Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, Death From Above 1979’s Romance Bloody Romance: Remixes & B-Sides immediately come to mind). I guess I just tend to like the originals more and I’m usually just impatient waiting for another studio album. That said, with a remix artist roster like the one Front Line Assembly has but together for ECHOES, the remix companion to last year’s ECHOGENETIC, my skepticism has been quelled because this is a remix album that’s actually worth a damn.

It doesn’t get much better than this line up: Former FLA-er Rhys Fulber, upstarts Youth Code, Cyanotic, tweaker, and the indomitable force that is Primitive Race are just a few of the artists reinterpreting songs from Bill Leeb, Jeremy Inkel, and Jared Slingerland’s latest opus.

Doing a track-by-track would be a disservice to ECHOES as the the album needs to be experienced as a whole but I will say that it really hits the sweet spot and kicks into high gear when Blush Response’s (Joey Blush of Scar The Martyr) version of “Echogenetic” strikes. Then you get Henrik Blackstrom’s “Exhale”, HECQ’s “Prototyp”, Slighter’s “Leveled”…what I’m saying is, listen to it! It’s epic and undeniably Front Line Assembly at the core.

Did I mention that ECHOES also features two BRAND NEW SONGS? Well, it does! Co-written by Sneaker Pimps’ (Gone, but not forgotten!) Ian Pickering, “Contagion” which opens the album is the result if Delerium and FLA were to make an album together (And yes, I know what the connection is there) while “Next War” is a heavy dance track more in tone with last year’s ECHOGENETIC without the dubstep.

You can get all this and more if you shell out for the digital version of ECHOES on Itunes which features 4 bonus tracks or go with the standard edition which is also available now through Metropolis Records.

 

Tomboy slows down on “Hang Out”, further teasing upcoming EP.

artworks-000079230261-j4n60j-t200x200

“Hang Out” might be a slow burn compared to last single “Roll Out” but shows the range of things to come on Tomboy’s upcoming EP, due this summer.

William Shore’s brilliant beats and beautiful synths create a spacious sonic landscape that serves as the backdrop for Sarah Aument’s breathy, enticing vocals. Aument hints at even greater things previewing a smooth cadence early on in “Hang Out” that gives a slight Beyonce vibe (Hey, Beyonce is a great singer!).

If “Roll Out” got you excited for Tomboy then “Hang Out” will only further your obsession with Tomboy.

Listen to “Hang Out” below and stay tuned for more details on Tomboy’s upcoming EP.

 

Emma Ruth Rundle unveils Some Heavy Ocean, the music world explodes!

a3964655753_10

Listening to any of the outfits that Emma Ruth Rundle is affiliated with (Red Sparowes, Marriages, The Nocturnes) is a religious experience so it should come as no surprise that if you choose to listen to her latest offering, Some Heavy Ocean, you’ll be a convert for life.

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Emma Ruth Rundle goes it alone this time and bares all for an album that’s equal parts brilliant, beautiful, and undeniably earnest. Some Heavy Ocean brings a different kind of “heavy” then what you might expect from Rundle but it’s no less potent. Stripped down but all encompassing nonetheless (This is definitely a “must listen with headphones” kind of album), SHO opens up with the slow crescendo of its title track featuring Rundle in backwards-speak mode and setting the tone immediately: expect the unexpected!

If you follow Marriages social media at all (Check em out here and here!), you might remember they premiered a version of next track “Shadows Of My Name” early in 2013. Here, you get the complete version and it’s a little more subdued than the Marriages version but no less amazing.

Throughout the album, Rundle continually astonishes showcasing a vocal range that is unparallelled when compared making her one of the best female vocalists, no, make that vocalists out there today. And that’s not even touching the exquisite song structure and lush arrangements that she brings to Some Heavy Ocean!

Moving forward, “Oh Sarah” really focuses on Rundle’s angelic side while “Haunted Houses” features a gorgeous string orchestration that brings a certain air making the song truly “haunted”. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Run Forever” which is easily one of the best tracks of 2014 off one of the best releases of the year.

Some Heavy Ocean is out now. Get a digital copy instantly through the almighty bandcamp or if you like to hold your music in your hands (I’ve already got my vinyl), then head over here.

 

Powerman 5000 successfully crowdfunds new album, releases new single!

Powerman-5000-Builders-Of-The-Future-cover-art

It’s funny how there was once this middle ground between the Cummings boys of Haverhill, MA when White Zombie was achieving mainstream appeal and Powerman 5000 was just starting out and now, the respective bands have almost entirely traded sounds with each other. While Rob Zombie has embraced more of a rock sound since going solo (But without the funk/groove aspects that were found in early PM5K recordings), Spider One has evolved into a futuristic cyber rocker making music that would’ve been the next step after Astro Creep 2000.

But I digress. Too much.

Powerman 5000 is back with Builders of the Future (due on May 27th) and their latest single from the upcoming album, “Invade, Destroy, Repeat”, is a rollicking slab of electro-metal that’ll have fans banging their heads and singing along instantly.

You can pre-order your copy of Builders of the Future now over on AmazonItunes or at their Pledgemusic page.

To hear “Invade, Destroy, Repeat” now head on over to Loudwire.com for an exclusive stream.

 

 

Video View: Tomboy “Roll Out”

CPFu5sHdE-qrQ87DHNehVTEvBAe3IZed9kt4frueXTkts5PvKKcpyVzyef-apYryXTDToerAYcAzfRi2w7GSBUibQWWfh3rVxd9nMqvB9Wrt_XVUdx3VUcbc6sTimXGqUX3TGb0=s0-d-e1-ft

Think Martina Topley Bird (Or Sarah from The Good Natured) fronting a hyper Massive Attack filled with vast instrumentation and sporting a beat to keep your toe tapping ’til the end. Oh, and there’s hand claps. In other words, everything one needs in a perfect single. Comparisons aside, Tomboy makes some pretty fantastical catchy music. The just released “Roll Out” single and video will be appearing on their debut EP due out this summer. But for now you check out the video below and head on over to their Facebook page for up-to-the-date info!

 

Video View: Tom Vek “Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)”

tom-vek-announces-new-album-luck_300_300_80_s_c1

It’s no secret that Tom Vek is one of our favorite artists over at RNRF so when news came that his third album was almost upon us, we kinda freaked. We also freaked when a release date for Luck was locked down (June 9th) and then freaked some more when “Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)” was released a short time again.

Now comes the video and guess what we did again? Yeah, we kinda freaked, and once you hear the tune you will too.

The track is a great post-punk little ditty with a fuzzed out bass and some great wailing guitar lines that seem to take inspiration from the track Vek recorded with DJ Shadow some time ago (“Warning Call”). The video is equally exciting when Vek’s uncanny voice cuts through the swath of sound as he shimmies and shakes wearing a self designed shirt no less!

Make sure to follow Tom Vek on Facebook for more info and check out pre-orders for Luck here and here. And if you like what you see here, check us out on FB here.

 

 

The Afghan Whigs, Do To The Beast: Album Review

The-Afghan-Whigs-Do-To-The-Beast-608x608
It’s been 16 years since The Afghan Whigs last album. Frontman Greg Dulli has successfully navigated a post-Whigs career by fronting additional acts (The Twilight Singers, Gutter Twins) and through solo work. Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder and on the new Afghan Whigs album, the labor of love is heartfelt.

With reunions, I always wonder about missing pieces – especially when it comes to recorded material.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter at all because some musicians are simply hired hands as opposed to actual collaborators in the make-up of segments of a discography.  Steve Earle is no longer behind the drum kit and Rick McCollum (guitar) is also no longer a part of the current line-up.  Let’s face it, The Afghan Whigs has always been Greg Dulli steering the ship, but the music borne out of the collaborations under the Whigs moniker has always been distinct and have made a lasting impression on myself and anyone interested in musical acts with true legacies.

The album’s lead-off, ‘Parked Outside,’ begins with a chugging, gritty – if not simple – beat.  Dulli’s voice as good as ever.  The guitar solo’s just over-the-top yet classic enough.  Some signature hand claps along the top of the percussion signify this is a tightly wound affair.  More groove find it’s way on ‘Matamoros,’ as Dulli raps in r&b timing a kiss-off letter to a lover he’s wiped his hands of as a middle-eastern guitar snakes it’s way around to an even stronger middle eastern bridge.  The shortest track of the ten fades out in  a wall of guitar before seguing into the piano and strings driven ‘It Kills’ which juxtaposes themes as Dulli agonizes of losing (‘It kills to watch you love another…’).

On first listen of the single, ‘Algiers,’ one is taken aback by it’s decidedly pastoral bend.  With continued listens, the depth of the track and it’s placement on the album makes complete sense.  Once again Dulli’s vocals bring everything into focus around the music.  Another killer guitar solo (I know not which musician gets credit here between Jon Skibic, Marc McGuire or Dave Rosser) dots the track over the acoustic strumming.

While the first four tracks are a strong return to form (sprinkled with new tricks), the next six are largely a mediocre affair.  The trilogy of albums from 1993-1998 (Gentlemen, Black Love and 1965) traversed the alternative rock landscape and updated R&B, Soul and Funk within their rock and roll ethos.  The sonics employed on ‘Lost in the Woods,’ ‘The Lottery’ and the largely instrumental (if overtly U2-esque) ‘Can Rova,’ are stock, at best.  ‘Royal Cream,’ however, stands up to the best within the bands previous oeuvre, with John Curley’s bass driving the song’s structure.

‘Royal Cream,’ segues neatly into ‘I Am Fire,’ a quiet, moody soulful piece.   Album closer ‘These Sticks,’ is aided by the drama of the horn section and the building percussion and guitars.  Still, the album heads out into its final coda with a whimper and one wonders – will this reunion continue or is this it?  Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad to have Dulli back and creating music again with these cats.  I just hope the creative juices continue to flow and, for as much as other reports out there indicate that they are being progressive in their songwriting, I hope they’re not resting on laurels like a good portion of Do To The Beast seems to do for stretches at a time.   So while it’s a welcomed return – there remain question marks throughout…

 

 

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 3 (4.18.14)

PromoImage-4Oh my, the riffs! It’s as if Karma To Burn finally found the right vocalist, added some Hermano soul and a touch of Clutch’s Southern fried rawk. That’s Pet The Preacher. They rule all and you’d be a fool not to sit up and pay attention.

The Cave & The Sunlight , The Danes second album, begins with some ’70’s soaked out fuzz that lies in the form of “The Cave” but soon shows its’ true colors as “Let Your Dragon Fly” lets loose with some tight Hermano/Unida-style jams.

“Kamikaze Night” begins with a thunderous drum line that would effortlessly fit into a modern version of “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac but infused with some bass stylings that put Karma To Burn to shame. “Remains” slows the pace a little but ups the ante in terms of songwriting and diversity but “Fire Baby” brings it back to show what kind of riff mongers Pet The Preacher truly is. “What Now” is another ditty that follows this pattern chugging along as a mostly instrumental monolith except for the chants of “What Now” littered throughout.

Pet The Preacher’s The Cave & the Sunlight is easily a must own if your musical stylings tend to spend their time in the desert primarily.

The Cave & The Sunlight is out through Napalm Records on April 25th. Get yours here and here.