Song Discovery

Release Radar – J. Roddy Waltson & The Business

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This week it’s really all about only one new release – Converge’s “The Dusk In Us”.  The legendary Massachusetts hardcore/metal/punk/touch of jazz band is not for most people since they are extreme all the way around.  But they feature incredible musicianship, thought-provoking lyrics and innovative song writing.  But vocalist Jacob Bannon is intense, so you will need to absorb those thought-provoking lyrics as they are passionately screamed into your ears.  This is album #10 for them and it’s been over 5 years since their last release.  The 4 members of Converge all also play in other bands, and guitarist Kurt Ballou is one of the most sought-out hardcore/metal producers in the industry. I’m such a fan of his work, I actually have a t-shirt with a photo of his GodCity studio located in Salem, MA.  There are no other notable releases worth pointing out this week, but if you’re curious I’ll be checking out new albums (with low expectations) from Gunn-Truscinski Duo, Blitzen Trapper, Tracy Bonham, 21 Savage, Kid Rock and Ty Dolla $ign.
If you read last week’s email, you may recall a comment I made about Chris Stapleton hypothetically destroying all other contestants on The Voice if he were to go on the show and sing “Either Way”.  Well lo and behold one of The Voice contestants decided to sing “Either Way” this week.  Unfortunately it didn’t work out for him, but he’s not Chris Stapleton (but he did a fine job – Blake just wanted to keep the other guy on his team because he was very unique).
I have written a piece about J. Roddy Walston & The Business before, but they have a new album out titled “Destroyers Of The Soft Life” and you should check it out.  This four-piece Southern rock band originally formed in Tennessee 15 years ago, but quickly relocated to Baltimore.  They initially had a few lineup changes, but have been steady lately with J. Roddy Walston on vocals/guitar/and the hardest rocking piano playing you’ll ever see, Billy Gordon on guitar, Logan Davis on bass and Steve Colmus behind the kit.  These guys have developed a huge live following, because 1) they have some great songs to play live and 2) J. Roddy Walston is a formidable presence on stage.  I’ve never seen anyone headbang playing the piano like he does.  Check out some live performance clips on YouTube to see it for yourself.  Anyway, this is just the band’s 4th proper album, and it appears that they are gunning for more commercial success with this release.  The songs are less raw and are more polished and radio-friendly.  So you lose a little of the rawness/excitement factor, but they could gain an even bigger audience.  J. Roddy Walston moved to Richmond, VA since their previous album was released (his wife is from the area).  He and the band built their own recording studio in Richmond, where they worked on “Destroyers Of The Soft Life”.  This local connection is personally nice for me because the band frequently plays in Richmond.  In fact, Thanksgiving weekend they have a 3 night stand at a local club and I’m dragging my wife, son, sister-in-law and nephew to one of the shows – promising them an entertaining evening.  The band has their own unique sound, but you’ll hear elements of My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon and The Band.  When trying to select songs to highlight from the album, I realized I had marked 8/10 tracks on the album.  So yeah, to say the least it’s a strong album (I can’t remember ever having that many songs from an album to draw from).  And none of these below are even the initial singles from the album.  At the very least, when they come around to a venue near you, go check them out.  You will be entertained.
You Know Me Better – The lead track on the new album, and this song sounds most like their older material.  Maybe that’s the reason it’s my early favorite song on the album.  Plus I’m sure this is going to be terrific live.
I Called You – The band does have a slower, softer side and this track is one example of that.  This is also an example of a more carefully crafted song that is an attempt to broaden their fan base.  Nice use of a big drum sound to really boost the choruses.   
Bleed Out – And here’s a mid-tempo example, but the chorus is massive.  J. Roddy puts everything he has behind the vocals on this track.
If you can’t be bothered to do a search on YouTube to see a performance video, here are a couple of live clips: – “Take It As It Comes” – “Don’t Break The Needle”

Release Radar – Foo Fighters – Concrete and Gold

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We have some pretty big artists dropping albums this week, mixed in with a few up and comers.  I queued up 6 albums on my Spotify playlists to listen to.  I’ll start with the very talented songwriter/guitarist/vocalist St. Vincent’s 5th album “Masseduction” which I’m eager to listen to.  King Krule, aka Archy Marshall has dropped “The OOZ” and it’s getting a ton of positive buzz.  This London artist has been compared to Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg and can count Beyonce and Kanye West among his admirers. A collaboration album between indie “superstars” Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett titled “Lotta Sea Lice” is sure to feature plenty of understated guitar and interesting lyrics.  William Patrick Corgan (brainchild of The Smashing Pumpkins) has released his first proper solo album, “Ogilala”, produced by Rick Rubin.  I previewed this on NPR and it’s an interesting stripped down effort from him and worth checking out.  The next two albums I will listen to but not too hyped about.  Beck has finally released “Colors” but it’s getting negative buzz so far which is disappointing, but I will still listen for myself.  And Wu-Tang has a new album “The Saga Continues” but it comes with caveats.  Mathematics, the MC-turned-DJ who learned everything about production from RZA, has produced and co-written all 18 tracks on the album.  His production efforts are allegedly admirable but the verses the MCs have brought to the album are more on the mediocre side.  You will find Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Killa Priest, Redman, RZA and Capadonna on the album but they are not inspired.
Finally, you may not have heard the latest regarding Marilyn Manson (who I don’t like in any way, shape or form but I find this amusing).  On his latest tour, he fell off the stage in Pittsburgh allegedly breaking his ankle.  Then the next night in NYC, he had a giant stage prop fall on him, breaking his fibula in two places and requiring a plate and 10 screws and also a screw in his ankle.  He has since pushed his tour dates out and hasn’t played a show since.  So that’s all good, but now Manson is hinting that “God, whatever it might be” is trying to put a stop to things on his tour.  So evidently God is to blame for his misfortune.  If that’s actually true – then way to go God!
Oh, and a big thanks to Eminem for sharing his current political beliefs on a national stage – let’s continue to protect the all-important 1st amendment since the outdated 2nd amendment is unfortunately not going away soon.
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Dave Grohl is someone I admire in the music industry.  Loves to collaborate, seems to really enjoy being a musician, went from being the drummer in Nirvana to stepping out as the guitarist/vocalist in his band Foo Fighters, made an interesting movie about a recording studio “Sound City” – I’ve even read a book about his life.  I’m a major Nirvana fan, but the Foo Fighters I’ve always been more lukewarm about.  I have their first album, but no others.  I enjoy hearing a lot of their songs on the radio.  But at the end of the day, I never fully latched onto them.  Maybe it’s the uniformity of their sound, maybe Dave’s vocals, while certainly serviceable, are somewhat limited in their depth.  But for some reason, their latest album “Concrete and Gold” is resonating and sticking with me. 
Is it a great album?  No, the second half of the album has some tracks that while not bad, are merely ok.  But it’s a very enjoyable album to listen to all the way through.  The songs are sequenced well, and there’s enough variety in the music to keep you engaged.  Plus, it’s rare to find a solid straight rock album these days.  That type of music simply is not in vogue at the moment.  So what do I love about “Concrete and Gold”?  For starters, the first 5 songs are all very strong.  You can’t help but get pulled into the record when the first half is very stellar.  The opening short track “T-Shirt” starts very slow with Dave softly singing to a few guitar notes and then, bam, it immediately morphs into some seventies sounding huge rock recording – like a mix of Queen and REO Speedwagon – before fading out like the intro started.  Then the song “Run” (featured below) immediately follows.  Another soft opening before it slowly gains in intensity before guitars rain out and launch the song into another atmosphere.  Great track.  Then the next 3 songs are all outstanding (2 of them are featured below).  And they all have a very unique vibe/sound which why this album is fun to listen to.  And it’s not like the next six songs are bad, they just can’t keep up with the first half of the album. 
“Dirty Water” has an interesting very subdued initial 2:30 before it picks up into a pretty cool track for the last half.  “Arrows” is a mid-tempo rocker that has its moments but drags some in the first half.  “Happy Ever After” is a slower song that is serviceable but doesn’t stand out.  “Sunday Rain” goes on too long at over 6:00.  “The Line” sounds like your prototypical Foo Fighters song that could have appeared on any other album.  The album closes with the title track, which has some touches of Pink Floyd on it.  It’s an interesting experiment by the band and a cool way to close the album.  So that’s my summary – first half is incredible, second half is ok but altogether it’s a fun rock album to listen to, given the variation in the different tracks and the experimentation explored by the band.  Grohl has said that in order to begin writing the album, he sequestered himself in a cabin in Ojai, bought a case of wine and sat in his underwear with a microphone for five days just writing – inspired by what was going on in the country – politically, personally, as a father, American and a musician. 20+ years into the Foo Fighters, their 10th album is a solid addition to their discography.  Enough that I actually bought the cd, and wished I had bought tickets for their show in Richmond tomorrow night.  However tickets are now approaching $200 for not great seats so that will be a pass.  I was indifferent about seeing them before I listened to “Concrete and Gold”, which speaks to the impact of the new album.Image result for concrete and gold
La Dee Da – Probably my favorite song on the album right now, Grohl is fired up on this track.  I don’t know what he’s addressing, but I like to think it’s a message to Trump.  From the very beginning with that distorted bass, when the guitars kick in and Dave’s vocals – it’s a powerful combination.  Dave’s screaming vocals on the chorus add a lot to the song and make my throat hurt.  Background vocals added by Alison Mosshart (The Dead Weather & The Kills). – live version because why not?
Run – The first single from the album, which is a nice choice.  This song reminds me of what I’d like to do when I hear the latest about what’s going on in the White House.  But this song has it all, soft intro which deftly leads into a high tempo rocker.  There’s a nice contrast between the alternating harsh shouted vocals and Dave’s normal vocals.  The song jumps back and forth between high tempo and very high tempo which provides a bigger impact for both parts.
The Sky Is A Neighborhood – I picked this track over “Make It Right” since it showcases a slightly different tempo for the band.  This is a big epic song with a huge shout-a-long chorus. Grohl again tests the durability of his vocal chords during the verses.  Mosshart also provide backing vocals on this track.  The chorus may get stuck in your head for days.  can’t not post the coincidence of live versions of “Run” and “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” performed back-to-back in Berlin

Release Radar: Death From Above

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New releases continue to blossom as September wraps up – this has definitely been the biggest release month of the year.  New releases I will be checking out include (there are 10!) the 4th album from J Roddy Walston & the Business “Destroyers of the Soft Life” who are now based in Richmond after starting in Tennessee and time in Baltimore.  This legendary live band is hoping to capture some of that appeal on record  for this effort they have a new producer and spent much more time in the studio than previously.  North London indie rockers Wolf Alice have completed their always difficult second album “Visions of a Life”.  Innovative alt-metal S.F. band Primus who formed over 30 years ago are unleashing “The Desaturating Seven”, a concept album based on an Italian children’s book about color-eating goblins.  German retro psych-rockers Kadavar are sharing their 4th proper studio album “Rough Times”.  Switching over to pop, there are a number of releases this week but the only one I may check out is Miley Cyrus “Younger Now” since I’ve gained some respect for her from The Voice.  Indie rock vocalist Torres, with influences from Cat Power and PJ Harvey is dropping her third album “Three Futures” which is worth checking out.  Winnipeg punk rockers Propagandhi are getting some positive buzz for their 8th album “Victory Lap”.  Detroit indie rock band Protomartyr are presenting their fourth album “Relatives in Descent” – I haven’t been able to get into this band in the past but I will continue to make an effort with this new release since they are so highly regarded by many others.  The last two new releases are probably the most polarizing – violent noise rockers Unsane are unleashing album #10 titled “Sterilize” and saxophonist Kamasi Washington, one of the leading progressive jazz musicians/composers is sharing a new EP “Harmony of Difference”.
Death From Above, formerly Death From Above 1979, have just released their 3rd album “Outrage! Is Now”.  If you’re not familiar with the duo, they infuse elements of punk, rock and dance music into their heavily distorted bass and drums sound.  Jesse Keeler handles the bass/synth duties while Sebastian Grainger mans the drums and delivers the vocals.  When their debut album came out in 2004 their unique high-powered sound made an immediate mark on the music scene and help them nab opening slots for high profile bands like Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age.  The following year the duo released a remix album and then called it quits – primarily due to musical differences.  Keeler went more to the dance side, with his more recognized project being MSTRKRFT and Grainger attempted a solo career.  Five years later near the end of 2010 they reconnected personally and then a few months later in 2011 they announced that the band had re-formed.   Their comeback started at Coachella that year and they began to play more concerts over the next few years.  In 2014 they released their second album, which charted in the top 40.  That brings us to a few weeks ago when the band dropped album #3 and also dropped the “1979” from their name (I guess the previous issue with using the name “Death From Above” has been resolved).
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I’ve been a fan of this band since day 1 and this new album is no exception.  I jotted down six tracks to possibly highlight and there are only 10 on the album, which shows a very high quality of songs.  In fact, there’s not a song I don’t like on the record.  These guys are all about giant hooks, big sounds and mostly urgent vocals.  There’s an occasional piano or horn thrown in the mix, but mostly just drums and bass generating the  catchy cacophony.  That’s what sets these guys apart, they have hooks imbedded in their noise which I find to be a great mix of poppy bombast.  Royal Blood owes a large part of their current success to Death From Above.  When an album has such an immediate impact, I worry that I will quickly grow tired of it.  So far that hasn’t been the case with “Outrage! Is Now”.  In fact, I’m probably liking it even more after repeated listening.   So it’s difficult to pick just three songs to highlight from the album.  So I’m going to take three right from the middle of the album, tracks 5,6 and 7.  That also says a lot when the songs placed in the middle of the album can hold their own.
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Never Swim Alone – This track hits me in a visceral way, that riff is just in your face.  Since this is easily the shortest song on the album, it ensures you don’t get tired of it before it ends.  There’s really not a whole lot to the song, beyond the riff and the propulsive beat that drives it along.
Moonlight – The little interlude at the end of “Never Swim Alone” allows this song to kick in with a bigger impact than it normally would have.  This track sort of jitters along precariously, like a Jenga tower that could fall at any second.  But it keeps pulling it back together before continuing along again.  Maybe that’s the appeal?  I hear a little bit of Muse in this track.
Statues – Big-time hooks in this track.  Maybe a little glam-rock elements.  The sound is HUGE on this one.

Release Radar: Sannhet – So Numb

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The onslaught of new releases continues this week – Sept. is crushing it!  While I’m not excited by this release, my curiosity will get the best of me hoping that the Foo Fighters change things up a bit with their new album “Concrete and Gold”, I have to respect Myrkur for attempting to play black metal as a solo female in a genre that is completely male-dominated so I’ll check out her second LP “Mareridt”, lo-fi pretty strange pop artist Ariel Pink has a new album “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson” which I plan to check out if only to see how well his drugs were working while recording this album, underground hip-hop duo The Cool Kids are releasing what they are calling their first LP (even though it’s their second) titled “Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe”, Rostam is releasing his first solo LP “Half-Light” after being a member of Vampire Weekend and collaborating with many other artists on their recent albums, Prophets of Rage, comprised of the instrumentalists in RATM and Chuck D. and B Real on the mic have released their first LP which is S/T, Austrian death/black metal band Belphegor are releasing their 11th album “Totenritual”, The Contortionist’s 4th progressive rock LP “Clairvoyant” is out today and finally just for the title alone I must mention the new release from technical/death metal band Gigan “Undulating Waves Of Rainbiotic Iridescence”.
I also must mention the passing of Grant Hart this week after a battle with cancer.  He’s most notable for his work with legendary band Husker Du as their drummer/songwriter/vocalist.  If you’re not familiar with Husker Du, then you have some homework to do over the weekend.
I’m assuming most of you haven’t heard the band I’m featuring this week – the three piece instrumental band out of Brooklyn who call themselves Sannhet.  It’s a little difficult to describe their atmospheric sound, but it’s a mix of post-metal, sludge and black metal that is more accessible once you remove the vocals.  Without the screaming, wailing or guttural vocals mixed in the sound, I think a lot of people who don’t normally listen to this type of music may find it intriguing.  Sannhet is composed of guitarist John Refano, bassist AJ Annunziata and drummer Christopher Todd.  They first formed in 2010 and made a name for themselves with their intense live sets – not only instrumentally but also visually.  They released their first album in 2013, followed by a couple of EP’s.  Their second album came out in 2015. 
Most recently (in August), they released their 3rd LP titled “So Numb”.  On this most recent release, the post-rock elements take on a larger influence while the black metal and sludge take a back seat.  They have evolved their sound to a point where it’s become their own and not stereotyped by any genres.  Sannhet’s music on their latest album provides a lot of emotional moments and is defined more by feelings or moods than the specific music they are playing.  This is some of the best instrumental music I’ve heard since the Russian Circles album “Guidance” they released last year.  I’ve included a few songs to check out below – unbelievable how few views the first two currently have.
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So Numb – The title track jumps right into things.  This is a more upbeat and faster tempo track.  Regano’s guitar provides the atmosphere on this song, while the drums and bass rumble along locked in together.  The song builds in intensity as it unfolds and then winds down a little in the middle before building back up again.  I hear some elements of Deafheaven.  My favorite part is near the end when a second guitar comes chugging in to help close it out.
Sleep Well – This track gives off a more anxious vibe, spurred mostly by the guitar.  The rhythm section provides a heavy beat which propels the song forward.  Don’t listen to this if you’re running late for something, it will only make the situation more manic. 
Way Out – This track actually got a promo video from their label, Profound Lore, so the views have actually reached 5 digits instead of 3.  Distorted bass drives this song forward, as the whole band is locked in tight.  Regano’s guitar almost takes on the sound of a synthesizer – a ton of atmospheric sound coming from his amps.  The band takes the song down almost to a standstill before breaking back out for a frantic ending.

Release Radar

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August has been redeemed this week by more noteworthy releases than you can shake a stick at!  Iron & Wine (Sam Beam) gives us his first new material in 4 years as Iron & Wine with “Beast Epic”, the debut album “Invitation” from supergroup Filthy Friends (Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), plus friends), Bay Area garage/psych rockers Thee Oh Sees (now just Oh Sees)give us maybe their 16th? Album with “Orc” and finally Australian rockers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard drop their 3rd album of 2017 (goal is a total of 5!) with “Sketches of Brunswick East”. 

Notable and esteemed rockers Queens of the Stone Age unleash their 7th album with “Villains”, Philly rock traditionalists The War on Drugs drop album number 4 “A Deeper Understanding”, Long Island band Brand New who have evolved from punk/emo to more indie rock release their long-awaited 5th album “Science Fiction”, underrated EMA gives us her 3rd proper album which is a commentary on the current social plight in the Midwest “Exile in the Outer Ring”

Something new for just about anyone who enjoys music this week.

Release Radar – Rainer Maria’s “S/T”

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The most exciting release this week is a reunion album from a band I had never listened to – Rainer Maria’s “S/T”.  I saw a recommendation somewhere in the blogosphere which is why I listened to a few singles which immediately impressed me.  The new album is not a disappointment and I’m enjoying it quite a lot.  I don’t know if it sounds like their earlier work, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t like their older albums as much as their new one. 
Rainer Maria is an indie rock/emo (I don’t consider this new album emo by any means) originally from Madison, WI but now based in NY.  First forming in 1995, the band had an EP out in ’96 which led to an album release in ’97.  They released their second album in ’99 and then another EP in ’01.  They continued to build a worldwide fan base and released their most accomplished album yet in ’03 “Long Knives Drawn”. 
They would go on to release two more albums the next two years before breaking up at the end of their ’06 tour.  Then 8 years later they reunited for a New Year’s Eve concert at the Bowery Ballroom in NY.  They played some more shows the following year.  Then this summer, they released several singles from their new album and released “S/T” today. 
After Rainer Maria broke up at their peak, singer/bassist Caithlin De Marrais moved out to the country and tried a solo career, drummer William Kuehn spent time living and studying music in the Middle East and guitarist/singer Kaia Fischer studied Buddhism in Tibet and came out as a trans person. 
The three friends found themselves all back in NY again, reflected on their significant life changes and decided to write some new music.  And I’m happy they made that decision.  “S/T” is a confident, heavy and spacious slab of indie rock that is very welcome right now.  I’ve featured three songs below to check out from their new album.
Suicides and Lazy Eyes – Driven by a bombastic beat and a fuzz heavy bass line, this song makes an immediate impact.  It’s also a good example of how the band can simultaneously mix heavy and spacious into their sound.
Lower Worlds – The band doesn’t pause between tracks on the album, kind of giving the vibe of a live show with one track moving right into the next.  The transition between “Suicides…” and this song is seamless.  But once you hear the distinctive bassline on this track you realize the song has changed.  I love the riff on this track.
Possession – Starts off a little softer, but the rhythm section kicks in hard.  I like how each of the three instruments is prominently featured in the mix and the guitar effects work really well to create a cohesive sound.  Good stuff.

Release Radar – Ron Gallo Young Lady You’re Scaring Me

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Notable new releases this week continue to remain on the lean side – Downtown Boys are getting a lot of positive press on their third album “Cost of Living” with their upbeat punk sound and multi-racial, gender-integrated bilingual line-up (with two sax players) hailing from Rhode Island. Frankie Rose has been a part of Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls and after some unforeseen delays she has released her third solo effort “Cage Tropical”.  Cormorant are a blackish metal band with progressive elements based in the Bay Area and they are releasing their 5th album today “Diaspora”.  Finally, Kesha has released “Rainbow” and it is worth checking out(who knew?).
Bob Lefsetz also decided to do a write-up on Greta Van Fleet this week after I did –
This week I’m covering Ron Gallo, who’s Philly-bred but now residing in Nashville guitarist/vocalist whose band is also called Ron Gallo (Joe Bisirri on bass and Dylan Sevey).  Gallo has crafted a garage punk sound with a hint of Nashville in it.  They released their first album “Heavy Meta” back in February.  Gallo did a previous solo album, but it had a much different sound than the current release. 
Prior to his solo career, Gallo was in a band called Toy Soldiers which was more blues and country sounding.  He has abandoned that sound with his new garage punk and gritty, retro sound.  The band sounds pretty tight, and their music also features some great sharp-witted lyrics.  With song titles like “Why Do You Have Kids”, “All the Punks Are Domesticated”, “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me” you can imagine the swagger and social commentary that fuels his music. 
I like Gallo because his music stands out right now, both in sound and attitude.  The first time I heard “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me” on the radio I immediately had to find out who the artist was because it was such a unique sound (and awesome song).  Here’s a few tracks below from “Heavy Meta” which is actually worth listening to all the way through – but these songs are a good starting point.
Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me – The lead cut on the album and my favorite, I enjoy the energy from the band and Gallo’s interesting lyrics.  There’s an interesting guitar tone and a prominent bass line as well.  I don’t know if anyone remembers the Hoodoo Gurus, but Gallo’s voice sometimes reminds me of that band (who were way underappreciated).  Nice little solo at the end of the song as well.
Put the Kids to Bed – A great one-two punch to start the album, this track has a great little bassline that is prominently featured.
All the Punks are Domesticated – The second half of the album is a little slower, and this is the final cut on the album.  Even Gallo’s slower songs are interesting, due to his lyrical content and the interesting recording style on the album.  For some reason, this reminds me, just a little bit, of the Replacements.

Friday’s Release Radar – Greta Van Fleet

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Notable new releases this week are lean but here’s four to investigate – Girl Ray, comprised of three 19 year old girls who started playing together in high school 3 years ago (same North London high school where the Kinks formed), have released their debut LP “Earl Grey” which has an indie pop flair with a warm vintage sound and they combine many influences to create their own sound.  Randy Newman has released his first album in 9 years “Dark Matter” and he’s always worth checking out.  Dead Cross, comprised of Mike Patton (Faith No More), Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and two other guys have released their thrash-tinged S/T debut.  Finally Rope Sect, which is a German band with a subdued gothic punk sound have dropped “Personae Ingratae” and they have an interesting sound worth checking out.
I’m not going to pass on a rock band that can capture some of the vintage Led Zeppelin sound and energy and also put their own mark on their sound (I’ll take Led Zep over the Beatles any day).  Wolfmother and Rival Sons are two bands that immediately come to mind where the soul of Zeppelin is strong.  Now we also have Greta Van Fleet coming on the scene who also bring in a whole lot of Led Zep vibe.
Coming out of Frankenmuth, MI, these young whippersnappers have been playing together for over 4 years.  3 of the 4 members are brothers (twins Josh Kiska on vocals and Jake Kiska on guitar, younger brother Sam Kiska on bass and Daniel Wagner is behind the kit).  3 years ago they recorded a live EP, and Chevy latched onto “Standing On” for an Equinox ad.  The quartet then got signed to Lava Records.
This label helped them get a song “Highway Tune” on the Showtime series “Shameless” and this song also acts as the anchor for their debut EP “Black Smoke Rising”.  It’s only 4 tracks, but a ton of fun to listen to as Josh channels a young Robert Plant on vocals (luckily Plant is alive or there would be reincarnation talk).  Yes, there’s a lot of Led Zep in their 4 original songs, but they perform with so much enthusiasm and energy it keeps things fresh.  I’m sure these guys likely kill it live, so check this band out if they’re playing in your city at a local club.  It may be your chance in the future to say you saw these guys in a small club before they were playing stadiums.  I’m eager to see what Greta Van Fleet can do when they are ready to release their debut full-length album.  Check out the songs below and don’t be surprised if they put a smile on your face!  Special thanks to Braden for pointing this band out to me!
Highway Tune – Yes, similar guitar tone to Page, and then the Plant wail kicks in.  Man, these guys could be a killer Led Zeppelin cover band.  This song is short and sweet.
Safari Song – Another great Plant wail to kick off the song.  The 3 musicians have a good chemistry and seem pretty locked in on this song (the drummer is channeling Bonham here).
– live version – these guys can really play/sing (check out the drum solo 4 minutes in)
Black Smoke Rising – What do you know, the beginning of this song doesn’t sound just like Led Zep.  And Josh kicks up his register a bit so he sounds just a little bit unlike Plant.  This song is a little bit more slowed down than the first two.  If Great Van Fleet can get their sound a few more degrees away from Zeppelin, it will benefit them going forward.

Friday Release Radar

Posted by | Song Discovery | No Comments
Its Friday!! Time again to mix up the ole playlists.
Do yourself a favor and go check-out “Baby Driver” if you have the time to see a movie.
It’s very entertaining but also one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of incorporating/immersing the soundtrack into the movie.  Many scenes have been set-up and choreographed to play out exactly in time with the music – even machine gun fire going off right on the beat of the music.  The main character is always listening to music on his ear buds (there’s a story behind that), so the music isn’t being thrown randomly into the movie.  Great soundtrack to buy as well, but with 30 songs featured it’s a double cd/album.
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Some good new releases to check out include the sophomore album from the excellent song-crafting sister trio Haim with “Something To Tell You”, Broken Social Scene are back together and “Hug of Thunder” is very good if you’ve enjoyed any of their previous releases, David Bowie has a live album from ’74 in LA “Cracked Actor” that is very good, DJ Shadow released a new EP “The Mountain Has Fallen” that features Nas and Danny Brown on two different tracks, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released their second album this year “Murder of the Universe” which is another solid effort, and a deluxe edition of the album “Introducing” from Cuban bandleader Ruben Gonzalez is a good listen if you like Cuban music and enjoyed “The Buena Vista Social Club”.  Rapper Vince Staples also has a new album “Big Fish Theory” but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.
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On the metal front there are excellent new releases starting with Polish death metal band Decapitated who don’t disappoint with “Anticult”, sludge metal band Bison have dropped the “B.C.” from their name, added some new elements to their sound and released a solid new album.
“You Are Not the Ocean You Are the Patient”, southern blackened death metal band Goatwhore unleashed “Vengeful Ascension”, new band Ex Eye have created a black/post/doom/jazz metal sound that actually works on their S/T debut, and Richmond, VA thrash rockers Municipal Waste have completed another fun release with “Slime and Punishment”.
 Image result for Shabazz Palaces
Finally, the new albums out today that I’m interested in hearing include Waxahatchee’s 4th album “Out in the Storm” which is garnering extremely positive reviews, the first LP from Philly band Sheer Mag “Need to Feel Your Love” which highlights their garage/punk/AOR sound and finally the first hip-hop act signed to the Sub Pop label, Shabazz Palaces, released two albums today featuring their left-field sound with “Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines” seemingly the stronger of the two.
New Music Friday is your favorite day isn’t it..

Release Radar

Posted by | Industry News, Show Reviews, Song Discovery | No Comments

This week has an overflowing handful of interesting new releases including the debut solo album from Amber Coffman (formerly of Dirty Projectors but when you break-up with your boyfriend and he’s the leader of the band a solo career suddenly seems like a really good idea) “City of No Reply”, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys is releasing his second? solo album “Waiting on a Song”, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) is releasing his first solo album in quite some time “Is This The Life We Really Want?”, Alt-J are dropping “RELAXER” and on the harder side Mutoid Man featuring Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) and Ben Koller (Converge) share their second album “War Moans” and Philly-rockers Elder give us their 5th album “Reflections of a Floating World”

Chris Cornell’s toxicology report showed multiple prescription drugs in his system, including 4 Ativan, Narcan (from EMTs), Butalbital and Pseudoephedrine (decongestant). Clearly he wasn’t in his right mind and it resulted in a catastrophic impact.

For you Tool fans (or the curious) here’s a link to the show I was aa a couple weeks ago in Virginia. If you’re not familiar with them, go right to 1:38:36 and watch their final song. Another good part to check out is the 18:00 mark with “Schism”.