Eagulls: Believe the hype!

 

Whenever a band is labeled as “post-punk” and compared to one of my all-time favorites like Killing Joke I’m always skeptical. Take Eagulls, for example, who have even gone so far as to put out a cover of “Requiem” (For the record, I didn’t like the cover). When it come to these UK upstarts, however, you best believe the hype.

From the moment the hypnotic “Nerve Endings” kicks in it’s apparent this debut is something else. In fact, is it too early in 2014 to declare an album “must-have” or “brilliant” or champion it for album of the year? Mixing Killing Joke, U2’s early days in some spots and then Failure-like guitar screams in others, Eagulls capture an era and then go beyond on their debut.

“Hollow Visions” is and abrasive guitar exercise complete with Raven/Youth bass lines while “Yellow Eyes” captures some of that ’50’s dreamy guitar pop during the intro but quickly devolves into 21st Century post punk. Official first single “Tough Luck” mixes that “Eighties” riffage with a thunderous percussive presence and some truly monolithic choruses while later on, “Fester Blister” combines shimmering guitar lines, pummeling drums, and enough time changes to make Kyuss step back and say “Whaaaaa?!?!?!”. Through and through, Eagulls is a solid debut that demands to be listened to at obnoxious volumes

Eagulls self-titled debut is out on March 4th though Partisan Records. You’d be wise to get your copy here (And like us over here if you want).

 

Maximo Park give “Too Much Information” on fifth LP.

“Wanted to try something different this time” sings Maximo Park vocalist Paul Smith in a haunting falsetto during the chorus of Too Much Information lead single “Brain Cells” and no truer words have ever been sung. TMI is, hands down, one of the most diverse records MP has ever released. It doesn’t totally abandon the Maximo Park “sound” so much as it expands upon it greatly.

“Give, Get, Take” is like the pied piper leading listeners into a trap with its jangly guitars and broad choruses, typical for standard Maximo Park. Then it all goes South. The aforementioned “Brain Cells” is unlike anything the band have written to date and we had some words to say about it when it was released late last year. From there, TMI takes a turn for the somber and the synth.  “Leave This Island” follows next and continues along the “Brain Cells” path adding a little more organics to the mix with a tale that’s equal parts beautiful and bittersweet.

“Lydia, The Ink Will Dry” dials it back to Our Earthly Pleasures while “My Bloody Mind” is an almost Beatles-esque full on rock out which, when fully realized on stage, is sure to be a crowd pleaser for years to come. Smith’s heavenly falsetto comes back into play on the ’80’s inspired “Is It True” reminding listeners that TMI is definitely not your typical Maximo Park album.

Too Much Information might not be the Maximo Park album that fans deserved but it’s the one that we all need from time to time. TMI is out now. Get your copy here and be sure to check out the band when they tour the States this spring!

 

White Noise Owl’s debut EP is the first must own of 2014!

It’s true what they say: Good things come in small packages. In White Noise Owl’s case the “small package” is in the form of a debut EP instead of a full-length and the tracks included within are definitely some of the best hard rock anthems you’ll hear in all of 2014.

Until We Meet Again is a mature helping of hard, heavy rock from a bunch of guys who you probably saw in one form or another on Ozzfest ’98. Make no mistake, though, this is not another version of Snot or Ultraspank or even Evanescence or Staind. WNO is something different altogether. This is a group of guys who have been around the industry and are banding together to forge a new destiny and judging by the results of Until We Meet Again, it’s definitely a promising one.

Vocalist Pete Murray croons on opener “Feed” with the line “I don’t care for what you’re feeding me/And I won’t stand for negativity, no!” and that is exactly the case with White Noise Owl. There’s no bullshit and a focus on the heart of the matter: The music!

“Bomber” is a sonic masterpiece and has some of those grandiose Filter-like radio rock choruses that the band have become known for (Title Of Record producer Ben Grosse coincidentally is the producer and mixer here) while guitarist Chris Shy diversifies the proceedings during the opening of “End Over End” with some down home strumming. The EP culminates with “Are You Breathing” which is probably the best example of the “White Noise Owl sound” as it were featuring stellar drumming from Will Hunt and some fantastic bass work from John Fahnestock along with the aforementioned Shy and Murray.

Look, I’m a fan of most of these guys already. I’ve been Team Murray since I first heard of Ultraspank and their ridiculously underrated vocalist in the late ’90’s, I bought the Snot debut after seeing Lynn Strait leap on stage during a Manhole opening slot in Boston (Fahnestock actually sold me the long sleeve I still own after a Snot show opening for Sevendust in Worcester), and I loved both Skrape records that Hunt bashed away on.

These guys know the biz and they definitely deserve your attention. Hopefully White Noise Owl is the spark that lights a fire under the ass of the hard rock music world.

For more on White Noise Owl including pre-order options for Until We Meet Again (Due on March 11th), head on over to their official Facebook and Twitter pages and please don’t forget to “like” us over on ours.

 

Skinny Puppy “Shapes for Arms” live at Boston’s Royale 2/15/14

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First of all, I’d like us all to bow our collective heads and observe a moment of silence for Pennsylvania and the Trocadero who not only postponed their scheduled Skinny Puppy show due to some nasty weather but eventually cancelled the thing all together (There will not be a rescheduled date). Boston and the Royale, however, persevered  through a second snow storm last week and bore witness to the spectacle of the “Shapes for Arms” tour (Sorry Philly!). It was a sight to behold indeed and nothing seemed to keep both old school and new school goth and industrial fans away (Although I wish the weather would’ve kept the two overly obnoxious, drunk, and aggressive large gentlemen who terrorized stage right home for the evening)

But enough about the weather. Onto the theatrics!

Cevin Key and Ogre never fail to amaze and the latest stage show Skinny Puppy put on was no exception. With a set mixing a fair amount of oldies with new favorites, SP also delivered sonically as well as visually. With the backdrop of a radiological disaster at its core and Ogre donning almost as many outfits as Lady Gaga (Albeit way more gruesome), Skinny Puppy put on a show that was not only one of their best but one that will not easily be forgotten (Thoughts of this being the top show of 2014 is already swirling around my head…).

After instrumental opener “Choralone”, SP ripped into “illisiT” off of last year’s brilliant Weapon and didn’t relent on any of the 14 songs that followed. New tracks like “wornin” and “paragUn” meshed easily with classics like “The Choke” and “Worlock”.  The highlight of the evening, however, was probably the encore of “Assimilate” which saw Ogre donning a costume of…himself. Probably the most “loose” song of the evening, it was also the best seeing Ogre uninhibited along with Cevin Key, cigarette between lips,  just wailing away behind his boards.

Metropolis Records labelmates Army Of The Universe opened up the show with some visuals of their own (Laser guitars!) and an electro thump rock sound that guarantees showing up early to this show is a good thing.

If “Shapes for Arms” hasn’t hit your neighborhood yet make sure you check it out when it does. You won’t be disappointed. For tour dates and more head on over to Skinny Puppy on Facebook and please be sure to “like” us on our page.

 

 

 

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!

 

Breton prepare for “War” on sophomore release.

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Listening to War Room Stories, the second full length from the UK’s Breton, has made me appreciate Other People’s Money so much more. They’re both equally brilliant but for different reasons. While OPM was this mechanical blip-hop masterpiece, War Room… sees the band opening up so much more.

Opener “Envy” is an easy contender for single of the year. It’s catchy and moves the band’s sound ahead tenfold presenting a more organic overall approach and a warmth not felt on some of their earlier works. Maybe it’s the Caribbean vibe the song emits or maybe it’s the typical “They’re growing as musicians” spiel. Whatever the case, the song is hypnotic and is the perfect introduction to War Room Stories.

From there, Breton continue to excel and exceed expectations. “S4” could be a film score with the plucked strings that open it up and while “Legs & Arms” (Along with “302 Watchtowers”) might be the closest Breton come to sounding like OPM, the track still drives their sound infinitely forward. Speaking of forward, “Get Well Soon” is the undeniable future of Breton. A veritable sonic tour-de-force, the song is unlike anything Breton have birthed thus far yet it’s the next one, “Closed Circuit”, that really shakes things up. It’s the striking guitar lines, the string section, the horns…just everything about this song that screams perfection.

While later still, echoes of “Envy” rear their pretty little head on closer “Fifteen Minutes” proving that Breton makes music that’ll make you think as well as move. Far be it from me to tell you what you should and shouldn’t like but I’ll be damned if I don’t take this opportunity to stress how essential War Room Stories is to any your collection this year.

War Room Stories is out on February 3rd. You can still pre-order the album here then check out Breton online here and don’t forget to head on over to our Facebook page and give us a like, too!

 

Have A Nice Life invite you to The Unnatural World!

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I have to admit: I tried to get into Have A Nice Life before and couldn’t. For all the praise Deathconsciousness received I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Still, when The Unnatural World was announced I was determined to try again. I’m lucky I did because this is easily an album that is not to be missed in 2014.

If ever there was an album that was meant to be heard through headphones and at high volumes it was The Unnatural World. Especially during these recent cold New England nights, a stereo just won’t do this album justice. One needs to be fully enveloped in the warmth of Have A Nice Life’s sound to fully appreciate it. Take opener “Guggenheim Wax Museum”, for example, which is this massive wall of sound that could easily be dropped into The Thing as it heralds something truly bleak and solitary.

Cut to the Joy Division meets The Sisters Of Mercy “Defenstration Song” which is glorious, goth-soaked, and destined to stand out on the dance floor at the Paradise during one of their inevitable Man Ray Redux nights to give you the knowledge that Have A Nice Life is anything but predictable. “Burial Society” follows and is this beautiful and hypnotic piano-laden piece with vocals that are at times Dave Gahan-esque while the rest of The Unnatural World just amplifies what the first three songs inevitably laid the groundwork for. Like Sigur Ros without the made up language (Especially “Music Will Untune The Sky”), Have A Nice Life is presenting something completely fresh and an easy contender for must-own album of the new year.

The Unnatural World is out on February 4th through The Flenser (Stream AND buy it here). For more on HANL, head on over to their Facebook page and don’t forget to like us, too, over on ours!

 

Sierra mixes old school Tool with COC-style swamp boogie on debut album Pslip!

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The debut release from Kylesa mainman Philip Cope’s Retro Futurist label is here and it is a glorious amalgamation of everything that can go right in the world of heavy rawk. The band is Sierra, the album is Pslip, and they deliver a down home-style rock album straight from the swamps of Ontario (Wait, what???).

“Pslip In” starts off with an almost Adam Jones-like riff leading into the epic “Little Smoke” which clocks in at just under seven minutes and introduces Jason Taylor’s COC meets COC vox (A little John Custer, a little Pepper Keenan, a whole lotta awesome).

“Control Folly” really displays what this band can do and lets drummer Ky Anto shine a little while Taylor lays some thick and crunchy riffs. Bringing up the low end is never an easy task in any band but bassist Robbie Carvalho does an excellent job especially during instrumental track “Psquigalogz” which brings to mind the vastly underrated Karma To Burn.

And as they say, the hits just keep on coming especially as you “Pslip In” more to the album. “Pseptember” is an unbridled riff session while “Smoke Filled Room” is quiet and introspective before giving way to an all out assault on your senses. Kylesa like Sierra already. Pslip is the evidence of why you should, too.

For more on Sierra, head on over here and please don’t forget to “like” us on our very own Facebook page!

Pslip is out on January 28th through Retro Futurist. Snag your copy here.

 

 

 

The Greater Wrong of the Right re-issue: How Skinny Puppy got her groove back

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The Skinny Puppy renaissance of the 21st Century began in 2004 with the release of The Greater Wrong of the Right, their first new studio recording in eight years. Ten years later and the band is better than ever and even more potent releasing one of their best to date with last year’s Weapon. In 2004, though,  they were still finding their sea legs if you will on an album that was also the first without Dwayne Goettel and longtime producer Dave Ogilvie.

As a whole the album was a welcome return for the reigning industrial giants but it shed most of the ferocious bile they spewed in their early years. Jarring guitar lines are mechanically cut and pasted  throughout and not much of a presence overall (Most noticeably on opener “I’mmortal”) while the ringmaster himself, Nivek Ogre, doesn’t quite sound like Ogre. That unmistakable snarl doesn’t rear its’ ugly little head until closers “Goneja” and “DaddyuWarbash” actually. The surprises continued with the overly lush, almost Pop, sound of “Use Less” featuring Wayne Static and Tool’s Danny Carey.

Is this a watered down version of SP then? Far from it! Instead, TGWotR presents a band falling in love with creating progressive industrial music all over again and a sign of what was to come. If you were a fan of the band previously, TGWotR just made you appreciate them more. If you were a new fan looking for a jumping on point then there was no better gateway drug then TGWotR.

The Greater Wrong of the Right re-issue is out on January 28th through Metropolis Records, pressed on heavyweight vinyl for the first time ever. Reserve your copy here, but act fast as the vinyl is limited to 1000 copies! You can also get the album on CD and digitally.

For more on Skinny Puppy (And to see where you can catch them on their upcoming tour) head on over to their Official Facebook Page and don’t forget to “Like” us at the Rock And Roll Fables page, too!

 

14 for ’14: A Rock And Roll Fables guide to new music in the new year!

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If I follow this thought process, 2025 is going to be a very long post. Anywho, there’s some new music coming out in 2014 that I really think you should pay attention to. Here goes nothing (No particular order, by the way):

1. He Is Legend (Untitled/TBC)

What kind of a band releases the most amazing album of their career and then disbands? He Is Legend, that’s who! But never fear, HIL is back and has been diligently working away on the follow up to 2009’s It Hates You between bouts of touring which should see the light of day this year. Will it live up to its predecessor? With a new song teased to be dropping imminently, we’ll soon have our answer.

 2. Tom Vek (Untitled/TBC)

Um, have you heard Leisure Seizure? If you have then you’ll know why I’m so excited for the third full-length from Tom Vek. The progenitor of Brit-hop makes music in fits and spurts but when it’s finally released it is so worth the wait.

3. Breton: (War Room Stories/February 3)

First single “Envy” has been on a steady rotation in RNRF offices since it was released late last year so the full-length that includes this masterpiece is easily high up there on our most wanted of 2014 list. I can safely tell you, though, that the whole of War Room Stories is brilliant as well. Watch this space for a review soon.

4. Prong (Untitled/TBC)

There is a lot of metal that we’re looking forward to in the new year and Prong is always a proven force of brutality. Their last, Carved Into Stone, managed to capture the entirety of Prong’s illustrious catalog on a single album. Will the follow up be more of the same or a step beyond? Here’s hoping it’s the latter.

5. Maximo Park (Too Much Information/February 3)

“Brain Cells” is the only song you need to hear in 2014 to prove that Maximo Park is not fucking around. Barely a year and a half after the phenomenal A National HealthToo Much Information sounds like an instant classic from the two or three songs released so far.

6. Reverend & The Makers (Thirty Two/February 24)

No song hit me like “Bassline” and the Youth-produced (He, of the mighty Killing Joke who might releasing a new rekkid in 2014) @reverend_makers album in 2012. Friends of Alex Turner who sound like an electrified Happy Mondays, Rev & co. is back with another one that’s sure to rule and first single “Your Girl” is the proof.

7. Nate Newton/Max Cavalera goodness (TBC/Throughout 2014)

Let’s see, there’s the just announced new Cavalera Conspiracy album which will have local boy Nate Newton on bass duties, the Max Cavalera, Greg Puciato, Troy Sanders Killer Be Killed supergroup, oh, and a little band called OLD MAN GLOOM featuring Newton, Aaron Turner, Caleb Scofield, and  Santos Montano all with albums out this year. Three for one. You’re welcome.

8. Dog Fashion Disco (Untitled/Spring)

Another band that soon disbanded after releasing what was probably the best of their career up to that point, Maryland’s Dog Fashion Disco is back and at it again with their first new record since 2006’s Adultery. Recording begins later this month. Adultery was, hands down, the band’s best which means the follow up can only be better.

9, Primitive Race (Untitled/TBC)

The only industrial album you need to seek out in 2014! The brainchild of Chris Kniker, this veritable supergroup features Raymond Watts (New PIG in 2014 please?), Burton Bell, Chris Vrenna (In some capacity although he’s since left the group/recording project), Graham Crabb of Pop Will Eat Itself, Luc Van Acker, Kourtney Klein…the list goes on. There’s an EP on the way along with, hopefully, a full-length. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for the latest additions and news.

10. Nachtmystium (The World We Left Behind/ Spring 2014)

The final Nachtmystium album! Blake Judd is sure to go out with a scream and not a whimper when he puts the final nail in the coffin of his black metal/prog band. “Voyager” was released towards the end of 2013 and gives a little taste of the upcoming long player which sounds more like the experimental Assassins: Black Meddle , Part 1 than 2012’s Silencing Machine.

11. Marriages (Untitled/TBC)

Emma Ruth Rundle and the boys are back with another slab of female-fronted Isis-like shoegaze post rock. It’ll be epic and you should buy it.

12. Crowbar (Untitled/TBC)

Kirk Windsrein left Down to focus on Crowbar so you know he means business especially when it comes to their 25th anniversary. 2011’s Sever The Wicked Hand was a refreshing return to form melding the New Orleans sludge of ’93’s Crowbar with the sonic brilliance of Odd Fellows Rest so frankly, the sky’s the limit for this one.

13. Combichrist: (We Love You/March 25)

Aggro-industrial at its best, Combichrist is destined to deliver a wallop on their latest if first single “From My Cold Dead Hands” is even an inkling of an indicator of where the rest of We Love You is headed.

14. Eagulls (Eagulls/March 4)

This is kind of cheating because I have this one but if you’ve heard “Nerve Endings” or “Tough Luck” already then you know that this post-punk outfit means business. The rest of Eagulls is no joke. You’ve been warned.

Also worth your time in 2014 are new albums from: Guster, White Noise Owl, Mastodon, Hank & Cupcakes, Slipknot, Fear Factory, Godflesh, and Bells Into Machines featuring Paul Barker and Chris Connelly