Monthly Archives: September 2012

West End Motel Release New Song, “Burn it Down”

Musicians are notorious for a couple of things. One of these things are side-projects. Some side projects are just god awful, but some just work. A clear example of this is Brent Hinds of Mastodon’s side project West End Motel which is a great combination of country, western, rock, and soul. The band which was formed sometime around 2002 recorded some songs over a period of seven-year, but disbanded as  Tom Cheshire and Hinds both had very busy schedules. But In 2009, the band reunited along with the addition Mike Shina for a one-off as a band called, County Hell. Instead of County Hell being a onetime only thing it truthfully re-launched West End Motel. The band recently released a track entitled “Burn It Down” which will appear on the band’s new album, Only Time Can Tell, which will be out October 30th.

“Burn it Down” is truly a great track that really emphasizes a very soul and groove oriented vibe. The song starts out with a clear sample, but this leads into a very soulful country riff. The vocals then come in with the refrain. The refrain ends quickly, and this is where you hear Hind’s uniquely nasally vocal which is doubled to give it a cool echo effect. I also enjoyed the awesome horns and walking bass lines that are prominent throughout the track. The real highlight of the song however is Hind’s guitar solo which is mixed very dominantly.

This band is great, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of their new material when it comes out later this fall. Make sure you give it a listen. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

-B. Harlow

Check out to the song  which is streaming  HERE

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mumford & Son’s Sophomore Album, ‘Babel’ is Finally Here

The date September 25th couldn’t have come soon enough for fans of the English folk-rock band, Mumford and Sons. But now the day has past, and it has left behind the band’s new album, Babel. After a performance of “I Willl Wait” and “Below My Feet” on the September 22nd  episode of Saturday Night Live, Babel quickly became the most talked about of the releases this week.  The album which consists of twelve tracks truthfully lives up to the hype that has been generated behind it.

The album opens up with the title track; “Babel” this song is a very upbeat banjo and guitar driven song with great dynamics in tempo. The Next track is entitled “Whispers in The Dark” this track to me was very well composed, and takes a very simple arrangement and makes it work. The third track on the album is the single, “I Will Wait.”  The guitars and banjo seem to mix together really well on this track. They only tweak I think could make the song better is if they moved the piano up in the mix more, it would have given the song a lot more movement. Vocally the song is very impressive, and contains many soaring vocals, but also many smooth parts.

“Holland Road” is the fourth track on the album, and to be truthful I think this is one of the best songs Mumford & Sons have written. The lyrics and the music throughout the song bring the listener on a journey that leads to a horn interlude that is placed perfectly in the song. This gets echoed nicely by the vocals.

“Ghosts That We Knew” is up next, and this song is very calm and less country sounding than the majority of the album. It starts with just vocals and guitar. Eventually the piano comes in with a section of harmonized vocals. This is followed by the introduction of a tenderly plucked banjo that gives nice movement to the track.  The musical arrangement of the song really helps to emphasize the lyrics and melodic structure of the song.

“Lover of Light” is next up on the album, but I wasn’t really impressed by the song as I felt it was to reminiscent of the band’s debut release.  However I did enjoy the simplistic banjo solo. The next track to take note of is the eighth track, “Reminder” which is a very melancholy number which is very simple with just vocals accompanied by guitar. The song is short but sweet, but this makes it a nice change of pace.

The next song is entitled “Hopeless Wanderer.” Lyrically this track is one of my favorites, but it is the clear emphasis on the piano that makes me really enjoy the track. It feels throughout the track as if the banjo and guitar were only there to emphasize the piano. This changes around the 3:30 mark when the banjo takes over the track.

“Broken Crown” follows, and to me has one of the nicest finger picked acoustic intros. The vocals come in next. Soon this builds and the piano and banjo join the mix, but they are not so far up in the mix that it brings down the very subdued feel of the song. This changes around the halfway when the music builds into a great section. Again this track plays with the band’s awesome ability to get soft and then loud again.

The second to last song on the album is the track, “Below My Feet.” This song is a very haunting, and plays with the traditional Mumford and Sons formula. The vocal harmonies on the track though are fantastic and add a depth to track, as does the random Pete Townsend-esque electric guitar.  “Not With Haste” closes the album, and I have to say that it did not disappoint in terms of closing the album, as it was a nice reflective piece of music that really pulls the album together.

Although very similar to their debut release, Mumford & Sons have put together an album that I’m sure will keep them out of the sophomore slump. This is a fantastic album, and a candidate for the best album of the year.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Video For The Song, “I Will Wait” Below:

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Who Are, JEFF The Brotherhood?

When I look at a band’s name I often think that the odder they are the better. When I found JEFF The Brotherhood, I knew something would be unique about these guys, and I was correct. I was not only blown away by their songs, but also by their stripped down aesthetic and the plethora of influences you can hear throughout their music.

The duo consists of brothers Jake and Jamin Orral, and call Nashville, Tennessee home. Their father is also a musician who has writtin songs for artists such as Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, and Lindsay Lohan. But this duo is far from those acts, and sound like a mix of classic rock, punk, grunge, and contemporary indie music. The band has released eight albums including one live record. Most recently the duo put out their seventh studio album, Hypnotic Nights, which was released in July.

One of the coolest things about JEFF the Brotherhood is that they’ve been touring the country for ten years, playing many diverse venues, ranging in size, but through it all they keep a positive attitude and a great DIY ethos. In the last two years alone the band has played over 400 shows, which averages out to about one show every other day. The duo act as if they’re ordinary dudes, and have a stripped down aesthetic, Jake even plays a guitar that is stripped down, and only has three strings.

If you want to listen to a band that just wants to enjoy life, JEFF the Brotherhood is the cure. They will blow away any pre-conceived notion of who you thought they were, and show you who they really are.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Video For “Sixpack” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bands You Need To Hear: Red Fang

What do you get when you add cheap beer, armor made out of beer cans, and larping? The answer is a Red Fang music video. This band not only produces great music, but they’re funny guys who aren’t afraid to show. The Portland, Oregon based band consists of vocalist and guitarist Bryan Giles, bass player and vocalist Aaron Beam, guitarist David Sullivan, and drummer John Sherman. The band has been performing together since 2005.

Sound wise these guys would fall somewhere in the stoner metal category, but I think they’re a great example of great 70’s based riff rock mixed with Melvins-esque sludge. This combination in my mind sets them apart from most bands that emulate those two sounds because they make it their own. This was evident on their 2009 self-titled debut which started off with the unrelenting riff of “Prehistoric Dog.” Then there were also songs like “Human Remain Human Remains” which was an atmospheric composition in the vein of bands like Neurosis.

Red Fang followed up their self-titled with 2011’s, Murder The Mountain which was a bruising riff driven record. The record featured many great tracks including the track “Wires” which had an awesome music video. It also featured a track called “Into The Eye” which is one of my favorite song by the band.

Be sure to check out Red Fang and their awesome groove center riff rock. I guarantee you will enjoy them, and even if you don’t, you’ll have a laugh at their music videos.

-B. Harlow

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Introducing Daniel Mustard

Daniel Mustard was first brought into the public eye when he was discovered by radio hosts, Opie and Anthony. At the time Mustard was homeless and had just gotten out of the hospital and arrested the night before his performance. This made his performance of Radiohead’s “Creep” even more special, and the fact that Mustard did it on no sleep is truly an amazing feat.

Mustard soon found himself back on his feet and in his own words is “Focusing on the music I love and live for.” He also has been sober and off the streets, and with the help of his kickstarter.com profile he has been able to fund the recording of a new EP entitled Fragments of Bone. This will be Mustard’s second EP a follow up to 2010’s, The Daniel Mustard EP.

Be sure to check out this amazing musician, and be sure to check out his amazing story.

-B. Harlow

Check Out Mustards Cover of Radioheads “Creep” that got him noticed. Then be sure to check out his Kickstarter page!

Daniel Mustard’s KICKSTARTER 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Down Release First of Four EPs

Today New Orleans based super group will release their long-awaited, The Purple EP. The EP which will be the first in a series of four new EPs and features six new songs that do not disappoint the listener. You definitely get the feeling Down took their time composing these track, and thus the yield is amazing. Down is a great band, and all the elements that the members bring together from their plethora of musical projects makes them so unique to all the other bands that are around today.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of this album starting with the first track, “Levitation.” This song starts off with a very groove oriented riff reminiscent of something that Pantera would have put out in their heyday. Soon however you get a very melodic riff that is played over the riff, which then leads to a more Sabbath inspired riff. This is the point where Anselmo’s vocals come in, and your reminded that this is definitely a Down song.

“Whitchtripper” is the next song on the EP, and starts off with a great Pepper Keenan penned riff. This then leads into a great vocal by Phil Anselmo. On this track Anselmo sounds equal parts himself as he does a low register, Sabotage era Ozzy. I have to give it up to Keenan and Kirk Windstein who stay incredibly tight. I also have to give it up for bassist (and Down’s newest member), Pat Bruders for his incredibly tight and punchy bass playing. Drummer Jimmy Bower also puts in a great performance pounding the skins in steady time, as he helps keep the riff kings in check.

Next up is the track, “Open Coffins.” This track is classic Down, and sounds as if it belongs on 2002’s Down II. It’s truly driven by the riff, and the power of that riff caries throughout the song. Anselmo’s vocals throughout the song sound good as do Bower’s numerous drum fills.

Next up is the track, “The Curse is A Lie” which is a true doom/stoner metal song consisting of the key concepts of the genre, “Tune Low Play slow.” The song slowly builds up to a chorus that features some heavy lyrics from Anselmo including the truly haunting lines “Your days are numbered, start counting backwards.” This chorus then leads into what I’d like to call the Black Sabbath section. First of all Anselmo’s lyrics start to sound a lot like Ozzy’s, but you can definettly hear the influence around the 2:45 when a truly Tony Iommi inspired riff hits the listeners ears. Yet there’s something in it that makes it sounds uniquely like down.

“This Work Is Timeless” is the second to last track on the album, and this track reminds me more of the material off of the 2007 album, Over The Under due to its up tempo  rhythm, and yet it still keeps it’s very sludgy down trodden sound. This is followed by the final track, “Misfortune Teller” which is one of my favorite tracks off the album. This is another track where the riff just jumps out at you and reels you in. Anselmo’s vocals sound strong throughout as does Jimmy Bower’s drum work throughout. Make sure you listen to the song all the way through though.

As a big fan of Down, I was thoroughly impressed by this collection of six killer tracks. I think Amselmo, Keenan, Windstein, Bower, and Bruders all put some of their best work down. Check it out and see what you think.

-B. Harlow

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bob Dylan Releases New Album, ‘Tempest’

Bob Dylan is an American icon, regardless of the generation Dylan’s music speaks to people. To this day he continues to produce music that speaks to the masses, and continues to tour which is amazing for being 71. Last week Dylan put out his latest album, and I have to say I’m very impressed with this collection of ten tracks.

The album starts out with the impressive “Duquesne Whistle” a gritty blues number that Dylan wrote with Robert Hunter whom also wrote and performed with the late, Jerry Garcia. The track which runs at almost six minutes starts with guitar which then gets double by piano. It really starts to pick up when the drums and walking bass line kick in. Then Dylan’s soulful and gravely vocal comes in. Next up is the track, “Soon After Midnight” which is a slower song that lyrically is great, but musically kind of boring. The next track on the record is a real rocker, and entitled, “Narrow Way.” The track is a fast blues, but you definitely get more of an early rock and roll feel. I enjoyed the track, but at seven minutes it got a bit repetitive. “Long and Wasted” years is up next, and to me it was one of the most enjoyable tracks due to the story telling nature and the way the track just had that very easy groove.

“Pay in Blood” is the fifth track on the album and to me this sounds like a Keith Richards penned Stones song. The piano and guitar groove very much like something Richards would pen, but the vocals throughout are uniquely Bob Dylan. Again, Dylan finds himself telling another enjoyable story that is much like a soap opera with the lines “You got the same eyes that your mother does/If only you could prove who your father was.” This story telling aspect and the very Rolling Stone’s like vibe makes this one of my favorite songs on the record.

Next up we find the track, “Scarlet Town” this is also another track where Dylan shows his tremendous story telling abilities. It is truly a haunting tune driven by banjo and a haunting violin played by David Hidalgo.

After listening to the great slab of work that was “Scarlet Town,” I found myself very disappointed by the next track entitled “Early Roman Kings” which musically is a clear rip off of a Muddy Waters riff, with only some added accordion and keyboards to make it sound different. This track was followed up by another track called “Tin Angel” which is driven by a small band and a prominent fretless bass that sounds magnificent and emphasizes the dramatic nature of Dylan’s lyrics.

The title track, “Tempest” follows “Tin Angel,” and to me this is an epic song about the sinking of the Titanic. Dylan’s imagery is just magnificent, and unlike most people who portray the sinking, he does not candy coat it.

The final track on the album is entitled “Roll on John,” and is a tribute to John Lennon. The song starts off with a nice progression, and leads into a verse that tells the story of John Lennon from The Quarrymen to the sudden fame of the Beatles. Dylan also makes numerous references to Lennon’s own words when he sings lyrics that came from Beatle’s classics, “Come Together” and “A Day in The Life.” The song is truly an amazing tribute to a great musician and friend.

Tempest is an amazing piece of work by Dylan. Musically Bob Dylan is on par with his best material, but when it comes to lyrics, you can see why some refer to him more as a poet than a musician.

-B. Harlow

Check Out Bob Dylan’s music video for “Duquesne Whistle” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick Artist Profile: Feist

I first heard Feist when I listened to the Feistodon single where she and the Atlanta-based prog quartet switched songs. Since then I looked more into her music, and I have to say I’m very impressed with her overall songwriting skills and amazing vocal ability. To be so aggressive vocally yet come across smoothly is a talent that not many people have. This talent can be seen throughout her catalogue of solo material and with her former band, Broken Social Scene.

Feist started her music career at age 15, playing in local venues around her hometown of Calgary. After a period Feist moved to Toronto and fronted/played guitar in a couple of bands. In 1999 she released her first solo record, Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down). Shortly after this she joined the group, Broken Social Scene which she rotated in and out of for a period. In 2004 she released, Let it Die. She toured behind Let it Die for three years receiving numerous awards, and in 2006 entered a studio where she recorded, The Reminder, which features one of her best songs, “1234.” In 2011, Feist continued on with her solo releases with the ironically titled, Metals.

Feist is such a talent that I feel I was lucky enough to stumble upon. Her music is so unique and vintage sounding, yet uniquely modern which leaves the listener up for a real treat.

-B. Harlow

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick Artist Profile: Periphery

One of the bands that have been on the cutting edge in progressive music is Bethesda, MD’s, Periphery. Founded in 2005, Periphery has been putting out complex metal tunes for the masses, and was one of the bands that really embraced the Djent sound. But it hasn’t been an easy road the band has traveled with constantan member changes plaguing a solid lineup.
Periphery was started in 2005 by guitarist Misha Mansoor. Mansoor had been active in the music scene, but only in the production sense. During the early years it seemed that Mansoor was the only constant, but eventually he was joined by guitarist Jake Bowen, guitarist Alex Bois, and bassist Tom Murphy. The drum throne was helmed by two primary members through the band’s career and the spot of vocalist seems to be a revolving door. Currently the band consists of Misha ‘Bulb’ Mansoor, Jake Bowen and Mark Holcomb on guitars, Matt Halpern on drums, and Spencer Sotelo on vocals.
What’s very unique about periphery however is that most of their musical progress was self-promoted, and took lots of bold and risky moves. One of these bold moves was to release the bands full catalogue of 130 or so songs for free download. A true rarity for many bands these days, as most bands would not be able to support themselves without selling their music. The band is constantly looking for ways to evolve and let their fans experience new music.
Check out Periphery. I don’t think that their epic brand of progressive music will disappoint the seasoned or rookie listener.
-B. Harlow

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Necessary Listening: Lissie

About this time last year myself and a good friend stumbled across singer/song-writer, Lissie. Not only were he and I impressed her voice and songwriting abilities, but also by her amazing covers, and the ability to make those covers her own. One of those covers was Metallica’s, “Nothing Else Matters.” Not only was it the most beautiful arrangement of the song I had ever heard, but it was also so unique that it sounded like something she had written. The next cover I heard was Kid Cudi’s, “Pursuit of Happiness” I was so in awe of her talent. To take a metal song and a rap song and make them your own, now that’s what I call talent. But that only was the beginning of me looking more into her amazing work.

Lissie was born in 1982 in Illinois. She took up music quite early, and took a roll as Annie in a local production of the musical. In high school she dug more into music, and used it as a crutch to deal with the drama around her. Eventually however the drama around her unfolded, and during her senior she was expelled. She eventually successfully finished her high school career and earned her diploma. At that time she decided to go to college in Colorado, but did not finished. While in college she did open for many touring bands though promoting her first self-titled EP. This exposure lead Lissie to her first big tour opening up for, Lenny Kravitz.

Eventually Lissie entered the recording studio and released her second EP entitled, Why You Runnin in 2009. The EP was released via Fat Possum, and the production was bone by Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses. This lead to her getting signed to Sony Music UK’s Columbia Records and the recording of her first full length, Catching a Tiger. The album was released in June 2010, and featured 12 tracks, three of which appeared on her Why You Runnin EP. In 2011 Lissie released an EP of cover tunes called Covered Up in Flowers. This included those two amazing covers I mentioned earlier.

At the current moment Lissie is finishing up work on her next full length which will come out early next year. Be on the lookout for that. I know we will!

-B. Harlow

Check Out Lissie Play her song, “Everywhere I Go” Live in London

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,