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? 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.

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.

Cocksure’s TVMALSV is the only industrial album you need in 2014.

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Fans of Chris Connelly are in for a treat in 2014 as the eclectic vocalist returns to industrial in a huge way with not one, but two projects being released. There’s Bells Into Machines which sees Connelly partner up with his former Ministry co-hort Paul Barker and the RevCo-inspired slab of awesome that we’re talking about here: Cocksure!

Teaming with Acumen Nation’s Jason Novak, Cocksure’s debut full-length is a rollicking throwback with a firm foot placed firmly in the now. Were you a fan of early Revolting Cocks or the Connelly-era of Ministry in the early to mid-’90’s? Then you better not miss this one.

“Skeemy Gates” comes out swinging and easily lays waste to most industrial music out there today. Connelly, as always, is in fine form with a range that goes from Bowie-esque croons to “Cannibal Song” shrieks of madness instantly. “Alpha Male Bling” distorts Connelly on top of swirling, hypnotic Novak electronics while “Guilt, Speed, & Carbon” is almost The Damage Manual “Take Two” with its’ Geordie-like guitar line looped throughout.

If you’re craving some raunch, go no further than “Cock Ripped To The Giddy Tits” which has some hints of NIhil-era KMFDM swagger and would make for some fine pole dancing music (Imagine the booty shakes to Connelly’s “Hoo! Ha!’s”). “Silikon Suckaz” is even more perfect for that setting with Connelly at his most maniacal. Soon to be touring partner Richard 23 of Front 242 shows up on “TKO Mindfuck” further into TVMALSV  to really bring things full circle on a track that is instantly mesmerizing and a reminder that you can’t keep a good Cock down.

TVMALSV is the album you need if you’re looking for some old school industrial without having to go on a nostalgia trip. It’s fresh, it’s new, and it’s easily a must-have for any industrial music and Chris Connelly fan.

Cocksure’s TVMALSV is out through  Metropolis Records on August 12th. You can pre-order yours here.

Video View: Sex Hands, “Pivot”

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In the all encompassing category of “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover”, Sex Hands come out of left field with “Pivot”, reminding listeners of Caesars’ raucous “Jerk It Out” albeit without that organ. It’s a wacky video (Those eyes! Mad psychedelia!) for two solid minutes of jangly guitars, dreamy hooks , and solid beats on a song which may or may not be inspired by a particular Friends episode (It’s totally not. I think).

Anyway, Sex Hands might not be a household name on theses shores yet but with “Pivot” and their debut full-length right around the corner that’s going to change real soon.

Sex Hands debut album, Pleh, is out on July 28th through Faux Discx and Negative Space. Pre-order here and get an immediate download of “Pivot” as well!

 

Mike Dean: A Rock and Roll Fables conversation

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Corrosion of Conformity bassist/vocalist Mike Dean has the perfect answer for those out there looking for a description of his band: “Well, it’s kind of an eclectic long standing heavy band that was originally born out of the American hardcore and crossover metal/punk hybrid era of the mid to late ’80’s. We went through many line up changes and configurations and have sort of landed in this spot where we just dabble in various Black Sabbath-inspired swarms of musical expression. That’s kind of it. It’s just heavy stuff with a little melody and attempt at being timeless.”

On their latest, IX, Dean along with guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin are once again in the trio “configuration” and that suits him just fine: “There’s less participants in the creativity but maybe the opinions are stronger. I think there’s a clearer sort of focus. You can play more notes. You can try crazier things harmonically when you don’t have a second guitar (In terms of the bass and the guitar). Things will come across a lot better but if they’re not working it’s really obvious because there’s nowhere to hide basically. Politically, it’s expedient. Financially, 33% is pretty good compared to 25%.  It’s another format. I like the 4-piece band. It’d be awesome to play with Pepper (Keenan, guitars/vocals). I like Thin Lizzy guitar harmonies and things like that so that’d be cool. We’re open to his contribution and kinda logistically just trying to make that happen and it’s something that everybody wants to do but for now, I like this format a lot as well. We’re just gonna roll with the changes or lack thereof and see what happens.”

Speaking of Keenan, Dean says the door is always open for his return but please don’t expect the current band to attempt any Pepper-fronted songs: “At some point we just figured that Down was too busy for us to do something with Pepper. Most of that stuff is just not gonna happen without Pepper. I don’t know, man. It just doesn’t quite feel right to take any of that on. We were supposed to do some shows with him in 2010 and it turned out he couldn’t make ’em and when he heard we were gonna go ahead and tour I think that’s one thing he was really concerned about is we would just take a lot of work that was his and try to ride the gravy train and that’s not something we’re interested in doing, y’know?”

Elaborating more on the song writing process and the songs for the latest record Dean continues: “I think the approach to writing is pretty much the same. It’s not like we’re great troubadours that sit down and we’re moved by seeing this bird with a broken wing singing to her mate and we wanna write a sad song and compose lyrics and music on the spot. We’re basically heshers. We come up with some cool riffs and some ideas, we show ’em to each other and make a basic structure and at that point it’s time to see what sort of vocal and lyrical ideas it compels you to produce. The basic style of writing is the same and some times we do it by committee collaboratively and sometimes we bring compositions that are nearly complete to the group.”

“As far as writing lyrics…since we come from traditional hardcore and at that point we were all 18 years old and we knew everything the songs would be pretty topical, pretty on the nose, taking on weighty issues and things like that. Over time we’ve kind of moved on towards more evocative type of lyric writing. We like to put things that will work to different people at different times in different situations and still resonate. We’re looking for imagery and sometimes there’s an agenda there that’s a little sneaky and a lot of times we’re just starting off with the usual gibberish the universe gives us.  Put that together with some nice turns of phrase and you start to see a coherent pattern merging. There’s a little bit of a stream of conscience element to it.”

“An early favorite was “On Your Way”. We kinda fast tracked that one to do a little music video that’s probably gonna be nice and strange. We were working last night at a very hot warehouse location deep into the morning hours just this morning. Y’know we’ve been playing that one live and it works pretty well. Beyond that, “Trucker” is one of my personal favorites and the riffs that Woody brought for “Brand New Sleep” in the studio just fell together. I really like writing lyrics and coming up with vocal melodies for songs with musical structures I didn’t have anything to do with much and I’m hoping we end up playing that piece for sure.”

Outside of C.O.C., Dean has reactivated Righteous Fool with Mullin which came about initially during the gap between 2005’s In The Arms Of God and 2012’s S/T album and handled live bass for Vista a Chino: “I would looove to work with them down the road. I went and did a couple tours with them and I felt musically Bruno (Feverey, guitars) and Brant (Bjork, drums) and John (Garcia, vocals) and I were communicating really well. It sounded really good. It felt really good. It felt like they were coming out the other side of a dark period imposed on them by an overly litigious legal action concerning the Kyuss Lives! name. It actually felt like there was some blacklisting type of activity going on that I was witnessing and privy to.”

“All in all it was pretty positive. I just enjoyed playing with them and enjoyed their new material. For awhile, John has been hatching the idea of doing a solo project so he went ahead and did that so Brant kinda did the same thing  so they’ve got these simultaneous solo endeavors which is cool cuz it gives me time to work on C.O.C. and dedicate some time to that. I would anticipate with one record remaining on their contract that certainly within the next year and a half they’ll probably reconvene on some recording. I hope they ask me to take part in that because that’s sort of what we were planning  and to play with Bruno Fevery is an awesome thing. Brant and Bruno and I would jam quite a bit and I thought we could be really comfortable just winging it and come up with a pretty good musical result just about every time so I’m looking forward to continuing that. But, y’know, those guys  have a great musical contribution whether separately or combined or whatever. Whether it’s with me or not, there’s amazing chemistry between Mr. Feverey, Mr. Garcia, and Mr. Bjork.”

Looking back, Dean agrees it’s a completely different world for musicians these days: “I would say the major difference is the landscape for music. Rock music, in particular, is not as big a piece of the cultural landscape and certainly a lot less of the cultural economy simply because there’s so much competition for our attention in terms of entertainment and all types of online time-sucking activities (Or inactivities really). Plus, the collapse of actually being able to sell a musical document to people when they can just figure out the bit torrent situation. That has kind of eaten away at the economy of it and while it’s been a great equalizer in a way it’s sort of taken out some of the meritocracy of the situation because anybody with with a certain amount of money can go and produce their music and, to some extent, distribute it so there’s actually kind of an overload of sort of mediocre to incompetent musical output with very little audience. It’s kind of an unfortunate situation in that regard but I like the egalitarian aspect of it in theory but the actual result of that development is less than ideal as far as there being a lot of music I want to listen to. I mean, there is a lot of music I wanna listen to but you have to dig around to find it.”

Thankfully, you don’t have to dig hard to find Corrosion of Conformity’s latest, IX, which streets on June 24th through Candlelight Records. Our review (With pre-order links) can be read over here.

 

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

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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!

 

Powerman 5000 successfully crowdfunds new album, releases new single!

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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.

 

 

Those Mockingbirds is your new favorite band in 2014!

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Looking for something to do in and around Boston this weekend? Sick of the music scene and need a band to come along and totally change the face of rawk? Then you’re looking for Montclair, New Jersey’s own Those Mockingbirds! I’m not going to mention the many accolades the band has already received because, quite frankly, the tunes speak for themselves.

Just one listen through “How To Rob A Bank” (Stream it below) or “A Ballad From Hell” (Here it here) should assure you that you’ve made an excellent choice should you choose to venture to one of their three (3!) shows in the area this weekend.

It’s hard to describe Those Mockingbirds to the uninitiated. There’s some Clutch in there (Check out some of the riffing in “…Bank”), some Von Bondies in other spots and enough “Whoa-oh” sing-a-long moments to bring a classic Misfits record to shame. But Those Mockingbirds is none of the above. Something else entirely, they pave their own way and that’s just fine by me.

Their first full length, Penny The Dreadful, should see the light of day this summer. Meanwhile, you can get all your TM needs over on their official Facebook page or better yet catch them live as they hit Pittsfield, Providence, and Cambridge’s Middle East this weekend with New City Ghost, Islands In Motion, Arms & Ears, Nemes, and Friendly People.

 

 

From the ashes of Flickerstick: Jetta in the Ghost Tree!

I think it’s safe to say that Flickerstick is one of my all time favorites. I have the original version of Welcoming Home The Astronauts along with the Sony version (It’s “lie here naked with my girl” not “taken” you corporate suit people!) and the EP’s, live albums , and studio album that followed. I loved VH1’s Bands on the Run and relentlessly tracked down copies of the series on a shitty VHS transfer just so I could relive the awesomeness that was the ‘Stick doing what they do best: Rockin’!

Cut to 13 years later: Flickerstick has broken up but after a few false starts it looks like singer/songwriter Brandin Lea is finally back with his new outfit Jetta in the Ghost Tree.

“It’s so nice to see you/I’ve been gone for awhile/The time in the spotlight paralyzed…” sings Lea on first single “Down and Out” and no truer words were ever spoken. I had no idea the troubles that Lea went through after the dissolution of Flickerstick but if anything Jetta In The Ghost Tree has reminded us why he is such a relevant songwriter and voice in the 21st Century.

At just over seven minutes, the debut single from JitGT is a haunting tale of woe that gives so much hope as to what the future holds for Lea and the rest of his new band with echoes of Noel Gallagher’s most recent solo endeavors shining through in spots while in others showcasing how far Lea has come as a songwriter since his Flickerstick days.

For more on Jetta in the Ghost Tree head on over to their official Facebook page and don’t forget to “like” us on ours!