May 02

Sohn – Tremors

Sohn - Not that chick from The Wire

Sohn – Not that chick from The Wire

 

I have an eclectic taste in music to say the least, and from time to time it takes me to places of sheer beauty. Places where maybe a few years ago I would never have found myself. SOHN’sTremors is a perfect case in point. I could simply tell you to read what Pitchfork said about this album and then think the opposite. Because that’s basically how I feel – the exact opposite, and I suspect there’s a chance that you might too.

 

 

By and large I tend to gravitate towards guitar based music, but I like anything that’s creative, original, unique, special. Described as electronica and/or post dub-step, SOHN falls very much into all of those categories that attract my attention yet aren’t guitar based. Some albums just have that X factor that take them to another level. Take Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’ as an example. They exude emotion from every note or half beat, a melancholy that runs through every chord, burrowing itself through your chest and into your soul where it connects with you in a way that 99% of the music you listen to is unable to. I like a lot of music, but those albums are few and far between.

‘Tremors’ by UK artist Sohn I feel is one of those albums. The first thing that struck me was the guy’s voice. I am a sucker for a sweet voice and this guy, Christopher Taylor has nectar for vocal chords. It’s one of those voices that personally, I cannot get enough of. The kind my ears just wanna keep on soaking up. He doesn’t push it, he doesn’t overwork it, he’s not trying to prove anything the way all these poxy, overrated R’n’B artists are constantly trying to do. He just sings and it’s beautiful. Simple and beautiful. Then there is the music. I am finding it difficult to describe. It’s synth heavy, yet somehow minimalist with stuttering beats and lyrical melody. I find it beautiful in it’s simplicity, yet progressive all the while. It’s the kind of stuff I could listen to forever, at any time, in any given situation. There is a common DNA in every track but each track stands on it’s own merits, with three or four real standouts such as ‘The Wheel‘, ‘Artifice‘, ‘Bloodflows‘, ‘Veto‘, ‘Lessons‘ and ‘Tremors‘. Ok, make that five or six standouts. Listen – if you don’t find yourself immersed deep in the soaring climax of ‘Lessons’ or singing along with the chorus of ‘The Wheel’ then you don’t like good music! Which apparently Pitchfork does not. I cannot for the life of me see where they were coming from when they listened to this record? But to each their own. I for one think that ‘Tremors’, is something very special and I’ve provided a couple of tracks so you can make up your own mind on the subject. Enjoy. I really think that you will!

May 02

Steel Panther – All You Can Eat!!

Still Feeling The Steel

Steel Panther – Still Feeling The Steel

 

Thank fuck for Steel Panther. Crass, rude, lewd, brash, and occasionally, downright offensive, these guys are a big fucking breath of fresh air right now. Their timing is perfect. Nothing but a cover band just years ago, earlier this year they put out ‘All You Can Eat’, their third full album in 5 years packed with everything you’d expect a Steel Panther record to be packed with. They are like a Spinal Tap of our generation. With track names like ‘Gloryhole’, ‘Bukkake Tears’, and ‘Gangbang At The Old Folks Home’, if you are not already familiar with them, you can get an idea of what they are all about. I said their timing was perfect, and to explain what I mean, at a time when you cannot fart in your crapper in the dead of night without upsetting somebody somewhere, the particular way they take the piss out of everything stereotypically hair metal is genius. Almost akin to the way FZ did it with society all those years ago. The irony is that all those hair metal bands from which they take their inspiration, are enjoying renewed interest because of it.

The thing is, Steel Panther are equal to anybody as far as musicianship is concerned. They don’t write shit songs with shocking titles. They write really fucking catchy songs with shocking titles. They are all shit hot on their instruments too, as good and better in many cases than most of those 80s bands, and I think the cleverest thing they do is to always include a couple of tracks with an essence of something you’ve heard before, but not so much that it sounds like a blatant rip off. With sold out tours around the world it’s clear that their particular brand of irreverence is a popular antidote to the crap that’s being produced by a lot of bands these days and as far as I am concerned I say long may they continue! Wanna feel some steel? Check’em out below!

 

Apr 16

Of TesseracT – Altering the State of Progressive Metal

Tesseract - Immense!

TesseracT – Immense!

I came to the party a little bit late as far as TesseracT are concerned. And actually, I’m kinda pleased I did, because had I come across them after their first release I probably wouldn’t be raving about them the way I am about to. Their latest album, ‘Altered State’ is their second full length record and was released last year to critical acclaim. And rightly so, cos it’s fucking immense! I found them in a top ten of 2013 list and checked them out. It was some seriously weird video where this pretty young thing wrapped in red lace gets boned by an octopus, or something? It’s kinda clever cos it’s all to do with their name (I’m guessing) but I suspect not many people considered that fact as the chick was writhing around in the bath with a tentacle between her legs. However the girl was pretty enough that it warranted another look and the second time I actually noticed the music. Well to be honest that’s pretty disingenuous of me to say, the music hit me the first time because it was really fucking good. One of those ‘ who the fuck are these guys?’ moments. incidentally it was the ‘Singularity’ video and I’ve posted it below. Check it out, it’s really rather entertaining!


 

Okay, so I bought the album, and was blown away instantly. It was one of those instant likes. The sounds coming at me were heavy, majestic, euphoric, melodic, lots of ‘-ics’ as you can see. It was brilliant. I loved the guy’s voice instantly, and yeah I too thought it was a chick after watching that video. I was instantly a huge fan. So I did a little digging, eager to know more about them. And the first thing that pleased me to see is that they hail from the UK. Which is awesome cos we pretty much invented the genre of progressive rock/metal music so it was nice to see fresh young bands taking it on and building upon the legacy. Secondly the whole vocalist thing has apparently been a bit of an issue for the band. And this takes me back to the beginning of this piece.

So naturally having been extremely impressed with ‘Altered State’ I purchased the band’s first album, ‘One’. It also had great reviews.The music is fantastic, as in the instrumental side of things, the vocalist was good too when he actually sang. But, like a lot of modern metal bands these days, it seems he felt like he needed to inject some menace into his vocals with some rather nonsensical (to me at least) growling. Now call me old fashioned, call me whatever you like, but this whole post grunge neo-hardcore new metal bullshit that has spawned all these growling cunts really gets on my fucking tits. I just don’t get it. I’ve had a bit of experience in the past where it’s been really tough to find the right vocalist for your particular sound. And it’s almost as if these bands are saying, ‘well we can’t fucking find anybody so let’s just get some cunt that growls, it’s what everybody else is doing anyway’. Go through the ages of all the great eras of rock music, from the 70’s to the 90’s, nobody did this growling shit. Bands were known for their great fucking vocalists as much as their awesome guitarists. Plant, Coverdale, Gillan, Cornell, Staley. All as integral to their band’s sound as their fucking guitarists, bassists or drummers. Even Ozzy was unique. Any cunt can fucking growl and it really pisses me off that every cunt and his brother seems to be doing it!

Anyway, fortunately, TesseracT seem to think the same way as I do. Between releases the first vocalist left and after a long, hard search a new, full time guy came in. Ashe O’Hara took over the reins, expressed he felt the weight of expectation on his shoulders and subsequently nailed it! The band say in a statement on their website that they wanted somebody who was the ‘perfect fit’, well for my money they found him. It may have taken them awhile but it was worth it. The guy has an amazing voice that just compliments everything else majestic that’s going on around him. And he doesn’t fucking growl!! Cos he doesn’t fucking need to!


 

So the band are complete, every piece is in place, the songwriting is, I’ll say it again, immense. They are credited among others, as being pioneers of the ‘djent’ movement, whatever the fuck that is, nobody seems to really know. What I do know is that ‘Altered State’ is one of the finest crafted records I own. It’s quite something for a band to take on the name of something with perfect form, and then deliver a sound that reflects that perfect form to perfection. These guys are seriously talented. And to merely say that they deliver a clinical, precise sound does them no justice. Because there is a funky groovy soul train running through their music that’s just as prevalent and relevant as the diamond cut poly-rhythms and off beats. I fucking love them. They just released their last record but I cannot wait for the next. These guys simply must have a huge future before them. There are a lot of good bands around right now, but TesseracT fall squarely into the category of greatness. I’m talking a TOOL level of greatness. I’ll say it one more time, they are simply fucking immense!

TesseracT are currently on tour in the U.S. and Canada. Check out their website for details but be quick cos tickets are selling out fast!

Apr 16

Antemasque – Watching And Waiting…

Antemasque unmasked

Antemasque unmasked

I think it was about a week ago i just so happened to be looking at something on my iPad and I heard that little tweet noise that indicates somebody had tweeted something. I’m not big into twitter, but I had a look and it said that Cedric Bixler Zavala had followed something called Antemasque. Now I love Cedric but I’ll be fucked if I can understand half the shit he comes out with on Twitter so I was kinda like okay, whatever. And then just as i was checking that out I got another notice that ORL Productions had done the same thing. Okay, my attention was now caught. I suspected something was up, something was going on and it was probably gonna be something good! I checked out this Antemasque thing and followed it too. It had about 30 followers by the time I got there but that number was going up fast. The photo was cool, and telling. Omar and Cedric behind a triangular logo, now I’m thinking ‘Fucking hell, could it be?’

Well long story short, yes it fucking could!! A clip quickly surfaced of this new entity in the studio, with Flea working out some bass lines for a track called 4am. I mean like holy fucking shit it was like ‘De-loused…’ all over again! It sounded good, Omar was thrashing out a tune, Cedric was giving it large in the background, Dave Elitch was on skins and like I said, Flea was carving out a bassline. No official news, no official announcement, just this clip.  It was all very mysterious. The web was buzzing, nobody really knew what the fuck was going on. New band? New TMV record? WTF?

Antemasque – In The Studio

‘4am’ was quickly released as a single that same day, and things started to become a little clearer. Firstly, holy fucking shit!! Secondly, great fucking tune! Omar and Cedric to the core but a bit different to what they’ve done before. So fucking good to hear them back together again. I mean seriously, these two fuckers were meant to be! Hearing new music from them justified how fucking choked I and everybody else was when The Mars Volta ‘split’ not too long ago. The press were catching on, writing about the formation of a new super-group. More teasers, that’s more teasers and not Maltesers, I love Maltesers, I haven’t had any since I got here, I don’t think they sell ’em in the U.S. Anyway yeah more teasers (I love those too) and more singles released. Two more over the next couple of days, ‘Hangin in the lurch’ and ‘People Forget’. I don’t know if it was just me, but each track seemed to be better than the last. I made a three track playlist and had it on loop for at least 3 days.

Antemasque – Creative stuffs

One thing that was made clear was when Flea tweeted the fact that this was Omar and Cedric’s band and that he’d just played on a few tunes with them. Okay so we get to the weekend, Cedric goes to Coachella and has a close encounter with Gerard Butler’s Axe lubed ass (see twitter for details) and things quieten down a little. We still don’t know if this is just a few tunes or something bigger? Fuck all happens yesterday but today we get a better idea of what’s going on. This is a new project with a full album coming in July. Fuck YESSS!! If you buy the three singles as a bundle on Omar’s site Nadie Sound, and you are one of the first 10.000 to do so, you get a code to download the new album two weeks before its release date on July 15, and you get the newest single, ‘Drown All Your Witches’ free. It’s something like that. Don’t quote me cos they told Rolling Stone, so go there to find out the details. The Nadie Sound site doesn’t go live until 12:01AM on the 16 April, that’s basically tomorrow morning as I write. Plus I think if you already bought them, you get the same code. I aint sure about that either but it’d seem fair to those of us who jumped all over them the second they were released.

Antemasque – People Forget

So that’s it. Completely out of the fucking blue Cedric and Omar are releasing new music. I mean fuck me, it’s like hearing your mum and dad got back together after they just started seeing other people! I know weird analogy but whatever, I’m well fucking pleased, and no I still can’t get into the Bosnian Rainbows no matter how much I try. Oh well.

Apr 15

Sick, Sick, Sick – QOTSA Live in St Pete

Reigning Supreme - Qotsa

Reigning Supreme – Qotsa

It’s been a seriously long time since I posted anything on here, so I’m gonna start a couple of months back when I saw Queens Of The Stone Age play here in Florida.They played the Mahaffey in St Pete at the beginning of February. It’s the continuation of a busy touring year as they support the ‘…Like Clockwork’ album which, if you’ve heard or read in these pages, kicks serious fucking ass. It’s a fucking great album, I mean a FUCKING great album, in my opinion their most complete work yet. So I was really looking forward to seeing them.

Now it was my first gig on American soil, I’m from London and so I’ve only ever seen bands play in the UK. I was kind of intrigued to see if there was any difference in crowd reaction or atmosphere? One instant minus point was the fact it was an all-seater arena. Again, back in the UK and London specifically the venues all tend to be just that, music venues. Old theaters or cinemas with the seats ripped out so they can squeeze as many people in as they can. The Mahaffey is actually a really cool place. Clean, tidy, quite flash actually. It’s very much a theater, with an army of ‘older’ women leading people to their seats which was totally weird but quite cute. All these old girls walking around with big smiles on their faces was a bit trippy but pleasant all the same. The Brixton Academy this ain’t!

Chelsea Wolfe was up first. I hadn’t really heard much of her prior to that night but I liked what I heard. She has a new fan in me that’s for sure. Quite dark, atmospheric. The kinda stuff you might hear on Game of Thrones, cos I did the other week on one of their trailers. So yeah, good start. The crowd were warm too, they certainly paid more interest than your average UK crowd for a support act.

Ok so the place slowly fills up, little old ladies walking the aisles like an army of happy ants showing people to their places, the lights drop and the big screen counts us down from 60 seconds. 3,2,1 BOOM, ‘…Millionaire’ starts pounding at our chests! Fuck yeah, this is what we came for! This band know how to tear it up live and they were on it right from the start, slipping straight into No One Knows, the crowd fucking loved it. Instantly I detected a greater willingness for people just to enjoy themselves than back home in the UK. What I tended to find in the UK was the crowd would just be letting go and getting into it as the gig came to an end. But here in St Pete in a very conservative looking theater people were bang up for it from the word go, which was awesome cos it made the gig that much more enjoyable. It also just so happens that we had a class fucking act up onstage whipping us all up! I fucking love this band, as if you couldn’t tell, from one track to the next, the set-list was perfect just to keep the crowd simmering all the way through. New tracks, old classics, (yeah classics, QOTSA sound so contemporary that it seems odd to say any of their earlier stuff is old enough to be called a classic, so maybe I’ll say crowd favourites?) all welcomed by the crowd with equal enthusiasm cos this band were on top fucking form, the best I’ve ever seen them, and the audience was lapping it up.

It was one great track after another, all the best stuff from all their albums with a little ‘Desert Sessions’ tossed in. If there is one track I love live it’s ‘Better living through chemistry’ and they played that too, I was in my fucking element, along with the entire auditorium. People were freaking out allover the place. And the band kept on jacking us up, we’d just started the descent after ‘Better Living..’ and then BAM –  ‘Go With the Flow’ made everybody crazy again.  Yeah, yank crowds are fucking awesome!

It seems like you can’t see QOTSA or THE FOOS lately without some drunken prick getting up onstage and showing us just how stupid alcohol makes you. On the other hand, he’d have been grateful for the anesthetic effect of said alcohol when Josh literally threw him off the stage! It actually served for a comedic break before Josh sat back down, slagged him off a bit, and then carried on with the opening bars to Vampyre. ‘Feel Good…’ came next and everybody went fucking nuts again, naturally, and then they finished the night up with another fucking awesome tune in ‘Song for The Dead’ Fucking A-mazing. Awesome from start to finish. This was the best I’ve ever heard them, and a great introduction to gigging in the U.S. Oh and then I tweeted about how good they were, and they followed me! That made my night!

If you get a chance to see them on this tour, fucking grab it with both hands cos they are on fire right now, at the top of their game. They tore up their way right to the top of my fave gig list and I can’t fucking wait for them to come back and do it all over again!

Setlist :-

You Think I Aint Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire, No One Knows, My God Is The Sun, Burn The Witch, Smooth Sailing, Misfit Love, …Like Clockwork, Long Slow Goodbye, If I Had A Tail, Kalopsia, Fairweather Friends, Little Sister, I Sat By The Ocean, Make It Wit Chu, Sick, Sick, Sick, Bettter Living Through Chemistry, Go With The Flow,   Encores – The Vampyre Of Time And Memory, Fell Good Hit of The Summer, A Song For The Dead.

Older posts «

» Newer posts