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

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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!

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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.

 

 

Video View: Tomboy “Roll Out”

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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)”

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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.

 

 

Jokes! Episode 2: Hannibal Buress Live From Chicago

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“I’m Hannibal Buress, represented by Hannibal Buress”

That statement alone about sums up what you’re getting into when you turn on Buress’ latest, Live From Chicago. Penguin sandwiches, who’ll die first: Buress or Will Smith,  why he’s not currently Scarlett Johansson’s baby daddy, why pissing in your sink is the way to go, or scamming his way into a $75 Eddie Griffin show (See the above statement) are just some of the topics that will have you falling off your seat laughing on is latest.

And that’s just scratching the surface of Live From Chicago. Delving deeper into his special and you get his take on performing for the troops (“A lot of comedians go overseas and perform for the troops…and I don’t”, “The troops have Youtube? I have a bunch of shit on Yotube!”), opening for Tracy Morgan, and why Buress loves New Orleans (Drinking in the streets and throwing yourself a parade are some highlights).

I’ll admit, I’ve been hearing a lot about Hannibal Buress but hadn’t actually heard the man until Live from Chicago came across my desk. Pressing play on this was the best decision I’ve made as far as comedy choices are concerned and it’s the best decision you’ll make, too.

“Yeah, 630 (AM) on Monday…that’s Hannibal time right there.”

That might be the time that’s right for Hannibal Buress throwing himself a weekly parade in New Orleans (See my favorite,  “New Orleans Is Amazing”) but after listening to Live From Chicago it’s pretty apparent that anytime is Hannibal time.

Hannibal Buress, Live From Chicago, is available now over at Comedy Central Direct. The extended and uncensored DVD is available exclusively through Amazon.com and is available digitally though iTunes, Xbox Video,  Sony Entertainment Network, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and Target.

 

 

The Afghan Whigs, Do To The Beast: Album Review

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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.

“Destroy My Love” will not ‘destroy’ your love of Those Mockingbirds!

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Didja get a chance to check out Those Mockingbirds when they hit New England last month? No? Then you missed one helluva show AND maybe a chance to catch this little number live.

The song is “Destroy My Love” and if it’s even the slightest indicator of what the upcoming full-length from Those Mockingbirds is going to sound like then we, the music lovers, are in for a treat this year. Striking the perfect balance between the raucous “How To Rob A Bank” and the somber “A Ballad From Hell”, “Destroy My Love” goes deeper adding some Middle Eastern mysticism before a blistering finale.

Check it out below and stay tuned for more from your new favorite band, Those Mockingbirds!

Jokes! Episode 1: Jasper Redd Jazz Talk

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I’m never really sure how to rate a comedy album. Do you judge it on the content? On the flow? Or do you go by how many times an album makes you laugh? How hard you laugh? Does a giggle get a lower grade? A chuckle a higher one? What about guffaws? Belly busters?

For the purposes of not wasting your time anymore with nonsensicals I’m just going to say that if it makes me laugh throughout and the jokes stay with me, it’s a winner in my book.

Which brings us to the focus of our new feature “Jokes!” and Mr. Jasper Redd’s latest Jazz Talk. According to his press release he’s appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly, Lopez Tonight, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Tosh.0 to name a few. All I know is, the promo came across my desk and the track listing looked interesting. Best decision I ever made!

With a vocal cadence like no one else in the biz today, Redd covers everything from the mystery of McDonald’s gluttonous mascot Grimace (Redd’s “Mctheory” is that Grimace is the color of your heart, “purple and fucked up”, just before a McD brought on heart attack), where Whopper Jr’s come from (“I don’t mess with the Whopper Jr. because that mean the Whopper been fuckin!”), and some thoughts on his fellow African-Americans and the fascination with slavery films (“Hate slavery, love slavery movies. It’s like a cow watching how hamburgers are made. Why you wanna watch that?”).

And that’s just the first half! Beyond that you get some observations on The Michelin Man (Yes, the tire mascot), a new name for The White House (“Halfway House”), and how audio commentary on DVD’s was invented by the black man (“We’ve been talking over movies for decades!”).

You might not have known this Knoxville native before but with Jazz Talk in stores now and available on Netflix, there will soon be no excuse not to know Jasper Redd.

Jazz Talk is available digitally on Amazon now through New Wave Dynamics. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

 

 

Chevelle, La Gargola: Album Review

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As I tackle listening to the new Chevelle – I mean really listening to it on a pair of headphones – I start to hear something worth talking about on album #7 from the Chicago trio.

If one were to go back to 1999, when the band first dropped on the scene with Point #1, I remember being at a vendor trade show and being handed a promo copy of that album.  My close colleagues, who were hard rock fans themselves, asked me what I thought.  Well, I could hear parts of Tool and some of the other more melodic hard rock at the time.  This was before the Three Days Graces of the world.  We’re talking the Staind’s, Godsmacks, and Korn’s still commanding stages and this band coming up and trying to play to half packed arena’s waiting for the headliner.

The first two tracks, ‘Ouija Board,’ and ‘An Island,’ harken back to their early days…the more I listen, the more I appreciate.  The single ‘Take Out The Gunman,’ is pretty sweet, even if it’s usage of cowbell seems to be a running joke in rock these days.  In my opinion, Chevelle’s albums are generally pretty decent, but you never know how decent (Speaking of decent, I don’t know if I’ve just got a shitty digital copy that I DL’d or if the production of this album truly is this gritty).

For example, on one listen of 2002’s Wonder What’s Next – I knew that album was going to be huge and that it was chock full of radio and arena-friendly singles.  Sadly, I was right about Nickelback’s Silver Side Up during this time too.  Chevelle have always remained true to their sound, though – and there’s something to be said for that.  This Kind of Thinking… (2004) was kind of their ‘commercial,’ sophomore album and it was just kind of ‘eh…’  Vena Sera, well, to be honest I’d completely forgotten about that album until I sat down to write this.  That could have had something to do with first single, ‘Well Enough Alone,’ which never managed to register with me.  Too commercial and lacking in hooks, which was indicative of the album as a whole.

Sci-Fi Crimes brought it all back to Wonder territory for me and 2011’s Hat’s Off… was half an album of really solid stuff.  So after an initial strong start, where do the other seven tracks land in summary of La Gargola?

‘Jawbreaker,’ is a slow simmering boil reminiscent of a few tracks on Hat’s Off… ‘Hunter Eats Hunter,’ sounds like something off of Tool’s Opiate EP for the first 2:40, before :50 of instrumental threaten to derail the almost six minute track.  A little bit of editing here would have tightened up the aggression.  Honestly, the track could have been a lot better if two minutes were trimmed.

Featuring guitar patterns that recall dredg, ‘One Ocean,’ is an interesting, lighter turn midway through the album.  ‘Choking Game,’ is melodic to a degree before dissolving in it’s final minute into something recalling Pretty Hate Machine type industrial rock and feedback.  ‘The Damned’ is groove oriented but perhaps a bit stock for Chevelle at this point.  ‘Under the Knife’ again starts with riffs that are most cognizant of early Tool, and fortunately maintain the vibe through the entire four minutes without diverging elsewhere.

La Gargola closes with ‘Twinge,’ a slow burner with distant shimmering guitar and  a steady refrain.  It’s a good track and in the same vein as ‘Clones’ (which closed the last album).  Basically, I found six out of the 10 tracks to be keepers after giving things an honest listen.  I enjoy Chevelle and admire their work ethic.  They’re mostly consistent and La Gargola, while perhaps not as good as the last two albums, still holds it’s own early, in the middle and again at the end with some filler in between.