Thursday, September 18, 2014

Regulator (Cro-Mags + Bad Brains Members) to Play Benefit Concert (9/25) at Bowery Electric

Regulator (Cro-Mags + Bad Brains Members)  to Play Benefit Concert (9/25) at Bowery Electric
In late 2005, the Bad Brains played two sold-out shows at CBGBs with Cro-Mags' John Joseph on vocals and Mackie Jayson on drums and the band focused on songs from the Bad Brains' self-titled debut album and I Against I. (I can't remember the reason given for HR being in CA these nights). This lineup is back and is playing a benefit show on Thursday, Sept. 25th at Bowery Electric under the name Regulator.

A NYHC all-star event, Regulator includes John Joseph & Mackie of The Cro-Mags and performs all classic Bad Brains material.

Special guests to join Regulator during this performance will be none other than the Bad Brains own Darryl Jennifer & Dr. Know. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Children’s Tumor Foundation (which is also the charity John Joseph supports through competing in Ironman Triathlons). Also performing will be Wilding Incident (which features members of Crown Of Thornz, Maximum Penalty and The White Mandingos) and the recently re-united Subzero.

Tickets are $20 and you have to figure that this show will sell out.

Bad Brains

The Swan King (Chicago Post-Hardcore) - 'Last So Long' CD Review (War Crime Recordings)

The Swan King (Chicago Post-Hardcore) - 'Last So Long' CD Review (War Crime Recordings)
Chicago post-hardcore unit, The Swan King, featuring members of Pelican and Planes Mistaken For Stars, released their second LP, Last So Long (War Crime Recordings), this past June. Spawned in 2009 in the Windy City, The Swan King is made up of Pelican guitarist and former Duane Denison pupil, Dallas Thomas (guitar/vocals), bassist Jamie Drier (x-Planes Mistaken For Stars) and drummer Zafar Musharraf (x-Toro! Toro!). Over the years, The Swan King has shared the stage with the likes of Red Fang, Black Tusk, Indian and Whores.

This new eight-track/30 minute disc is a refreshing throwback to the post-hardcore sounds of the late 80’s/early 90’s and was recorded by uber-producer Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea and Minsk) at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio. This three-piece band works up a big head of noise (think Helmet or any of the early AmRep bands) with chugging and distorted guitar riffs and a pounding rhythm section but the band keeps the music accessible with solid melodies.

This is a big-sounding “rawk” disc where the band consistently maintains head-banging, high energy across all of the tracks. The band doesn’t stray far from their post-hardcore ‘core’ but the guitar riffs and melodies twist and turn within each of the songs (occasionally straying into mathcore) which keeps the disc from ever getting stale. Dallas Thomas’ vocals are up-front in the mix and he sings with a gruff but melodic yell which becomes another weapon in the band’s sonic attack. Some of the standout cuts showcase the band’s diversity which range from the hardcore of “Explore the Void” to the mathcore of “Returning to Haunt” to the melodic punk of “Last So Long”.

The Swan King

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)

X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14
(from X's online bio)
Q: When you look back at old photos, what do you think?

John: I don't
Billy: I was so thin!
DJ: We were so young
Exene:  I can't believe I thought I was so plain looking.  We were lucky to be around so many good photographers.

I caught the first two nights of X's four-night run at City Winery and, while the band sounded great the first night, it all came together on the second night. I don't know if I can attribute this increased energy to any one particular thing: Billy Zoom seemed to take more leads and his 'trademark' grin was more in evidence, DJ Bonebrake seemed to hit the drums a bit harder - ranging from tribal beats to jazzy fills - and John and Exene were all over the stage and seemed incredibly energized.

The crowd was having fun this night as this is the first time that I've seen City Winery staff try to get audience members who were trying to dance back in their seats. The band must having also been having fun as they played another 15 songs after wrapping up their Wild Gift set.

X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
The set list for the second night was:

Set 1
01 The Once Over Twice
02 We're Desperate
03 Adult Books
04 Universal Corner
05 I'm Coming Over
06 It's Who You Know
07 In this House that I call Home
08 Some Other Time
09 White Girl
10 Beyond and Back
11 Back 2 the Base
12 When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch
13 Year 1

Set 2
14 The Hungry Wolf
15 Breathless
16 Drunk in My Past
17 Dancing with Tears in my Eyes
18 I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
19 We're Having Much More Fun
20 How (I Learned my Lesson)
21 Nausea
22 Johnny Hit and Run Pauline
23 Motel Room in My Bed
24 Soul Kitchen

25 The World's a Mess, It's in my Kiss
26 Blue Spark
27 Because I Do
28 Devil Doll

X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)

X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)
X (@XtheBand) - Live Photos from Second Night at City Winery, 8-22-14 ('Wild Gift' set)

I'm 'cheating' a bit as this video is from the fourth night (most the video posted to YouTube from the second night isn't that good quality) but this should give a good indication of what X's live set sounds like.

X (the band)

Simple Minds Release 'Blindfolded' from forthcoming 16th Album, Big Music (Out Nov. '14)

Simple Minds Release 'Blindfolded' from forthcoming 16th Album Big Music
"We have audiences within our audiences who only care about the greatest hits – but new material brings vitality to the set, and should stop you calcifying and being a museum piece." - Jim Kerr

Simple Minds just posted a studio version of "Blindfold", a new song that has been part of the band's live set since summer. This song will be on their 16th album, Big Music, which is due out in November. Big Music will be the band's first studio disc since 2009's Graffiti Soul and Kerr has said in recent interviews that band has been working on this album over the last few years, in between touring behind their greatest hits album Celebrate.

For anyone who wants more Simple Minds, in exchange for your email address (free membership), you can download the following tracks from Simple Minds' website:

Live at Werchter Festival on 8th of July 2006:
1. New Gold Dream
2. See the Lights
3. Stay Visible

Simple Minds

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Uriah Heep - 'Outsider' CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Uriah Heep - 'Outsider' CD Review (Frontiers Records)
Uriah Heep’s twenty-fourth disc, Outsider (Frontiers Records), picks up where 2011’s Into the Wild left off with 11 tracks of melodic hard rock that are sure to leave a memorable mark with fans of the classic rock genre. Now that I’ve heard my second Uriah Heep album, I really don’t understand why the band isn’t big in the States. In a different era, Outsider is the sort of arena rock that one would hear in coliseums (as opposed to B.B. King’s) but, unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an active concert circuit in the States for hard rock bands outside of those acts pandering to boomers with ‘greatest hits’ shows.

Just a couple of ‘operational notes’ before getting into the review:
  • there are two bonus tracks on the Japanese edition - the first, “One Minute (Sixty Seconds)”, is presumably a studio track and the second is a live version of 1998’s “Between Two Worlds”,
  • long time bassist Trevor Boulder (who joined Uriah Heep in 1976) died last year from cancer and this new disc was recorded with his replacement, Dave Rimmer.
When reviewing Into the Wild, I had noted that, musically, the heavy use of a Hammond organ and Bernie Shaw’s Ian Gillian-like vocals make for an immediate comparison to Deep Purple’s comeback albums in the 80’s/90’s. While this comparison is still mostly valid, where it falls away is that founding member Mick Box delivers some solid guitar work without ever crossing into the realm of ‘guitar hero’ histrionics and all the songs have a “full band” sound rather than lingering too long on any of the members’ individual efforts.

This first single/video from the album, “One Minute”, is a solid indication for what the rest of the disc sounds like. The first minute of this song is the slowest the band gets as all of the eleven tracks range from mid-tempo to b*lls-out rockers. Within each of the songs, there is a healthy sense of melody but there is little of the pop commercialism that crept into the metal scene in the mid-80’s.

The first two songs on the disc (“Speed of Sound” and “One Minute”) will suck the listener in but the gloves come off for the two songs that follow: “The Law” and “Outsider”, as both of these songs are driving, hard-rock numbers. “The Law” starts with a repeating groove riff from Box and a galloping beat. This number shows the band at their peak as there are a number of tempo changes throughout the song where the band brings the pace down and the vocal harmonies up just to pick up speed again and pile-drive through the next part of the song.

Some of the other strong numbers on the disc are “Is Anybody Gonna Help Me?” and “Kiss the Rainbow”. On “Is Anybody Gonna Help Me?”, the band slows down the pace and highlights melancholy shimmering organ from Phil Lanzon (which has some shades of Argent) along with a stomping chorus. Similar to “The Law”, the band slows down the tempo of this song mid-way before bringing it back up again with a full head of steam. On the track “Kiss the Rainbow”, all of the band’s individual parts come together to form a memorable hard-rocker. The band doesn’t go quietly as disc ends, musically, where it started. “Say Goodbye” is a mid-tempo melodic hard-rocker that is in the same spirit as the two tracks that opened the disc.

Uriah Heep

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Young (Matador Records): Win Tickets to Tomorrow Night's Show at Glassland

The Young (Matador Records): Win Tickets to Tomorrow Night's Show at Glassland
Austin, TX’s The Young has made a solid album that is, simply stated – high quality, straight up rock and roll. While Chrome Cactus is a little darker in it’s lyrical and musical content than their past efforts, it’s still an album that reinforces everything great about American Rock music currently. The rhythm section of drummer Ryan Maloney and bassist Lucas Wedow lay down a heavy (though nimble where they need to be) foundation for the already formidable guitar interplay of Hans Zimmerman and Kyle Edwards. While their last two albums were produced by Zimmerman himself, this time they brought in fellow sonic assassin Tim Green (Nation of Ulysses, The Fucking Champs, Thee Evolution Revolution etc.) who also played on the record.

The Young’s members have all spent many collective years exploring musical interests previous to and in addition to their time in the band. Hans is a recording engineer, and he produces records out of his home. In addition to the first to albums by his own band, he’s recorded Spray Paint, Criaturas, Destruction Unit, Total Abuse, Institute and more. Kyle builds his own guitar pedals.. Lucas previously played bass for the notorious band Women In Prison in which Hans was also the drummer. Ryan was previously the drummer in Deskonocidos. Ensconced in their scene in Austin, these guys have given it their all. No shtick, no drama, just four friends playing music together. Chrome Cactus has been called the “highway record of the summer”. If you need bells and whistles and shtick, you probably won’t like this album. If you like straight up rock, sans gimmick, then this one’s for you. “...if you’re in the market for a summer guitar record - nothing that asks you to think deeply or emote, just sun-dazed guitars that coat your soul in industrial-strength reverb dust.” - Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone

At tomorrow night's show, The Young are playing with Fly Golden Eagle and local swamp-rockers Degreaser.

To win tickets - send along your full name to Mike.BrooklynRocks at Gmail Dot Com at winner will be chosen at random.

The Young

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Grayces (Nashville Grunge/Pysch) Play CMJ Show at Bowery Electric on Oct. 21st / Day Show at Spike Hill on Oct. 24th

The Grayces (Nashville Grunge/Pysch) Play CMJ Show at Bowery Electric on Oct. 21st / Day Show at Spike Hill on Oct. 24th
Nashville's The Grayces are set to release their sophomore album, Westing on 10/14/14. The band is already making waves with singles "Do It to Me," "Lord and Gods of Alcohol," and "Drop In a Bucket." Influenced by Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Ramones, The Grayces are known for their howling vocals, pounding drums, and swaggering bass lines. Iz Stone (Vocals, guitarist), Patrick Ward (bass, vocals), and Chase Cantrell (drums) hit the ground running, releasing a self-titled vinyl in 2010, the single, “Just Another Thing” in the Spring of 2011, and their first full-length, Social Shock, in the Fall of 2011.

Gearing up for Westing's release, The Grayces will be starting their extensive tour this fall, including an appearance at New York’s CMJ Music Marathon. "On the new record, The Grayces have gotten heavier. The band is more hardcore punk and metal, less sexy blues than The Dead Weather, reflecting their influences from the heavier side of Nirvana and Black Sabbath" (No Country For New Nashville).

The Grayces' Fall Tour
9/25-Louisville, KY @ Magnolia Bar
9/26- Evansville, IN @ PG (Arts and Entertainment)
9/27 -Carbondale, IL @ PK’s
9/28-St Louis, MO @ Melt
9/30- Kansas City, MO @ Vandals
10/5- Chicago, IL @ Live Wire Lounge
10/7- Detroit, MI @PJ's Lager House
10/9- Indianapolis, IN @Melody Inn
10/11- Cincinnati, OH @ Rake’s End
10/15- Pittsburgh, PA @31st Street Pub
10/17- New York, NY @ Arlene's Grocery (NYC Official Release Show)
10/21 New York, NY @ Bowery Electric, CMJ Music Marathon (Official Show)
10/23-Philadelphia, PA @ The Fire
10/24- Brooklyn, NY @ Spike Hill, CMJ Music Marathon (Official Day Show)
10/25-Raleigh, NC @ Slim's

The Grayces

Quiet Riot - '10' CD Review (RSM Records)

Quiet Riot - '10' CD Review (RSM Records)
With the untimely death of vocalist Kevin DuBrow in 2007, it seemed the book was closed on Quiet Riot’s three decade long career. Frankie Banelli though restarted the band in 2010 with Chuck Wright (bass) and Alex Grossi (guitar) from Rehab’s touring lineup but vocalists rotated through the band until the end of last year when Jizzy Pearl (Love/Hate, Ratt, L.A. Guns, etc.) joined the band. This lineup released the band’s twelfth disc, 10, this past June and the disc also features guest appearances from Rudy Sarzo and Tony Franklin.

While Rehab highlighted Quiet Riot’s 70’s rock influences, which range from The Faces to Spooky Tooth and Led Zeppelin, 10 is a melodic hard-rock album that brings to mind Motley Crue’s self-titled 1994 disc. On this new ten track disc, the first six songs are studio recordings with the new lineup and the final four songs are live recordings with Kevin DuBrow, which are from the last professionally recorded shows that Kevin played.

10 follows in the spirit of Remedy and continues to veer away from Quiet Riot’s “party rock” sounds, with most of this cuts on this new disc being melodic guitar-driven, hard rockers. While Pearl’s vocals are grittier than DuBrow’s, they aren’t that far removed either which makes this disc clearly sound like a Quiet Riot album. The only noticeable difference from the past is that the band now uses group/gang vocals on the choruses.

The disc starts with “Rock in Peace” which sets the tone for the rest of the studio cuts and the band gives gives a nod to their past bringing lyrics from “Metal Health” into the chorus. On “Bang for Your Buck”, the band pick up the pace with a faster, teasing guitar line that sounds somewhat like Van Halen. This new lineup hits their groove with “Backside of Water”, which is a riff-happy hard rocker with pounding drums and brilliant guitar licks. “Band Down” is more groove oriented with the echo on the backing vocals and sounds like it could have come from Motley Crue’s self-titled 1994 release.

The live cuts are an interesting selection and are sort of a mixed bag in terms of sound quality. In an interview with Loudwire, Frankie Banali said: “I picked tracks that were special and of the moment. Let’s just say that there will be a familiar track, two unexpected choices and one that really shows the roots of Quiet Riot and how the band interacted in the live arena.” The live tracks start with “Put Up or Shut Up” from QRIII and then are followed with “Free” and “South of Heaven”, from Rehab. While DuBrow sounds in great form and Alex Grossi plays some stellar leads, the sound quality on these first two tracks is just ‘fair’. Unfortunately, the tracks aren’t well mixed and there are some noticeable sonic limitations, like mic overload and harsh backing vocals. The sound quality is significantly better (through bass heavy) on “South of Heaven” and the almost 10 minute medley of blues covers, “Rock ’n’ roll Medley” sounds phenomenal. This last song/extended jam includes songs from the Jeff Beck Group, Humble Pie and Led Zeppelin.

Quiet Riot

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Ghastly City Sleep (Brooklyn Post-Punk) Release "Clumsy One" from Forthcoming Fourth CD

Ghastly City Sleep (Brooklyn Post-Punk) Release "Clumsy One" from Forthcoming Second CD
Brooklyn based Ghastly City Sleep just released "Clumsy One", which is the second single from their 4th full-length release, Lulling Skulls, out October 2014 on Magic Bullet Records. The new single pushes sonic boundaries as the band mixes live instruments with electronic soundscapes. Mixed by engineers Alex Aldi (Passion Pit, Bruno Mars) and Andrew Schneider (Cave In, Bear Hands), Ghastly City Sleep’s latest offering serves up dense beats accompanied by complex electronic compositions.

Ghastly City Sleep was built from the ruins of influential Virginia hardcore/emo/post-rock bands City of Caterpillar, Gregor Samsa and Pg. 99. The members of Ghastly City Sleep moved to New York City in 2005 and, taking time to the develop their sound, they released their stunning eponomynous debut EP in 2007. Amazon proclaimed, "It isn't often new music surfaces that is so deeply intense, just hearing it may induce instant nostalgia..."

The multi-talented instrumentalists are known for their engaging and dynamic live shows. Every live event showcases each band member’s musical prowess as they swap instruments and roles seamlessly with the accompaniment of twisting synthesizers, triggered samples, loops and haunting vocal melodies and harmonies. NYC Taper writes, “Each act was striking in its own way, but perhaps none so much as Ghastly City Sleep, whose music takes a sharp turn from current trends with dark, sometimes lengthy songs that are not afraid to challenge listeners’ expectations… For a young band, these guys have a fully developed sound that is poised for bigger things.

DOWNLOAD: Ghastly City Sleep - Glasslands, Brooklyn, NY 5/3/10

Ghastly City Sleep

Chrissie Hynde Brings First Solo Tour to Beacon Theatre on Nov. 5th

Chrissie Hynde Brings First Solo Tour to Beacon Theatre on Nov. 5th
Chrissie Hynde's first solo disc, Stockholm, came out in June 10th and Chrissie and her new band Will Travel are doing a run of shows this Fall, which includes a stop at the Beacon Theatre on Nov. 5th.  Tickets for this show range from $39.50 - $75.00.

Tickets for the full Fall Tour go on sale Sept. 12th and pre-sale access is available through Chrissie Hynde's mailing list.

Stockholm was recorded at Ingrid Studios in Stockholm with Björn Yttling (bassist from Peter Bjorn and John) who both produced the disc and co-wrote most of the songs with Hynde. Interestingly, both John McEnroe and Neil Young guest on this new disc.

Hynde gave a recent interview with Louder Than War where she goes into depth about the impetus behind her first solo disc. Snippets from this interview are below:

Louder Than War: It’s your first solo album but in many ways the Pretenders have felt like a solo band for a long time, were they just a flag of convenience?

Chrissie Hynde: ‘I always said the Pretenders is a band. I was getting fucked off with having to defend the name of the band over the years. I was never a solo artist and never wanted to be a solo artist. I like being in a band. That’s what I do. What’s in a name? interestingly this solo album has been more of a collaboration than my last Pretenders stuff- it’s lot more of a collaboration.

Louder Than War: Is this solo album a deliberate move away from Pretenders?

Chrissie Hynde:‘Yeah you could say that the Pretenders is a tired brand or whatever but who gives a fuck. I like to tour but I have to figure out how to do this- like I said Bjorn said go in with my friend Joakim and I thought ‘yeah ok he’s trying to get rid of me! so I went with Joakim and wrote some songs and then Bjorn came down out of the blue as we were just finishing this song and he walked in and we said listen to this and he was mmmm that’s good- so then he wanted me back! so anyway Bjork finished the album because he could see that this album was the most rock n roll thing he’s ever done.'

Chrissie Hynde

Friday, September 05, 2014

Mount Salem - 'Endless' CD Review (Metal Blade)

Mount Salem - 'Endless' CD Review (Metal Blade)
Hailing from Chicago, IL, Mount Salem is a four piece psychedelic rock / doom metal band. They started writing music together in the summer of 2012 and released their first EP, Endless, in the spring of 2013. Metal Blade Records signed the band in the summer of 2013 and released an extended version of the band’s EP this past Spring which contained two additional tracks…The band puts a strong emphasis on tone and feeling in both their songs and live performances alike. Most of the band switched from their normal instruments and picked up new ones for this band and the result was much more natural than they had hoped for. Taking influence from the classics like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, they play loud, heavy rock and roll using all vintage gear. Throwing their own twist of dark and mysterious doom into the music, they invite the listener to step into their sinister realm..” — Metal Blade

Mount Salem play 70’s retro-doom (aka occult rock or witch rock) and, while the band’s music is the expected big sludgy stoner riffs and grooves, the songs often veer off into psychedelia. Vocalist Emily Kopplin sings in a haunted, waif-like manner and her vocals, along with the guitar riffs, are prominent in all of the songs. Kopplin also adds a church-like organ beneath the crushing riffs which serves as both additional atmosphere and a bridge between sections of the songs, rather than rising to the level of funeral doom.

The eight songs on Endless run just over 40 minutes and the disc picks up speed toward the back half of the disc. The first three songs are all stylistically similar, where bombastic, dirgy stoner riffs and thundering drums crash alongside of Emily Kopplin’s ghostly narratives and psychedelic organ. The songs start breaking from the mold with “Full Moon”, which has a slow burning atmospheric opening and this slow build kicks up into groove-based riffs with some time changes that will keep the listener engaged. “Mescaline” and “Mescaline II” are two of the strongest cuts on the disc. “Mescaline” is a shimmering and moody stoner/psychedelic instrumental which leads directly into the crunchy psychedelia of “Mescaline II”. This later number has a dense musical sound with a notable guitar line weaving beneath this sonic wall. The disc ends where it started as the guitar riffs on “Hysteria” sound like they came straight out of the Sabbath playbook and “The End” serves as a nice outro as it takes the pace down a notch with slower, brooding tempos and more prominant use of the organ.

Mount Salem