I'm late on this one. In fact, I think it's the first time in several album cycles that there's been a new CLUTCH record out that I haven't been able to get reviewed in time for release day. The reason? I'm The Rock Father now - a work-at-home Dad with two little ones running around. I'm an unapologetic CLUTCH fan, dating back to the days of the TRANSNATIONAL SPEEDWAY LEAGUE - a record that's 20 years old as of this year. As a guy that's literally worn out a few CLUTCH shirts (my favorite was the one with dual SGs on the sleeves - complete with flames) and hats over the course of two decades, I don't think the Maryland purveyors of fine rock can do much wrong. That said, I do have a problem with EARTH ROCKER, their 10th studio album...
In one of my past lives as a music writer, I might've spent a great deal of time breaking down the sonic content of HYDRA, the just-released and proclaimed "final album" from OTEP. 2013 certainly brings with it a new era, and one where I'll just cut to the chase and tell you this: HYDRA is not a good album.
When the members of a band come from such groovalistic heavy rockers as CLUTCH, FU MANCHU, CKY, and FIREBALL MINISTRY, it's a safe bet that what they'll be creating something of quality - provided you're already a fan of the source artists. When the band in question is THE COMPANY BAND, you can bet that customer service is a high priority in the interest of providing listeners with a top product at a fair price. On their latest EP, PROS & CONS (out now on Weathermaker Music), THE COMPANY BAND proves that to be true.
Having covered THE DIRTY HEADS at length on the last site I worked for, I've long-respected the band while not necessarily getting into them. Despite loving surf rock, I'm not a big 'beach' guy, and that's probably what kept them at a distance. I tend to skip the Jimmy Buffett and leave the Sublime with Rome to someone else. With the release of THE DIRTY HEADS' latest album, CABIN BY THE SEA (out now in standard and deluxe editions), something hit me and became very clear: their sun-drenched, beach-infused vibes are irresistible.
Through seemingly countless mini-releases and live configurations over the past few years, Klayton - the multi-hyphenate musician/performer best known as CELLDWELLER - has been giving listeners bite-sized tastes of the music that would ultimately become his second full-length studio album. Now, after much waiting and anticipation, that album has been released as WISH UPON A BLACKSTAR. Out this week on FiXT, 'BLACKSTAR is searing hour of electronic music that bridges and blends elements of dance, industrial, dubstep, and more.
Has it been 10 years already? It's hard to imagine, but I guess it has. When MAROON 5 first burst onto the scene with their debut album, SONGS ABOUT JANE in 2002, I was managing a Sam Goody store and was at the forefront of the musical battlefield, introducing the masses to new sounds on a weekly basis. In-between the punk rock and heavy music that so often could be heard blaring from the store (much to the dismay of the Dress Barn across the hall), we spun some pop - but only what we dug. MAROON 5 fit the bill.
It's not the thunderous twin-drummer assault that the MELVINS have been bringing for the past few years, but MELVINS LITE (Guitarist Buzz Osborne, Drummer Dale Crover, Bassist Trevor Dunn) 's FREAK PUKE is still an ample slice of noise from a band who, regardless of configuration, still bring the rock.
It's jarring to hear a shortened arrangement of GUNS N' ROSES ''Paradise City'' with vocals performed by Tom Cruise without visual accompaniment. That was the first thing that hit me while listening to the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to ROCK OF AGES, the big-screen adaptation of the popular Broadway show.
Having caught their recent video for 'Soldiers,' Las Vegas band OTHERWISE wasn't exactly at the top of my 'must-listen' list. But, after a special request came in for me to give their new album TRUE LOVE NEVER DIES a spin, I figured it couldn't hurt. The problem is, that uncanny feeling of 'Haven't I heard this before?'
Well here's a surprise: the self-titled debut album from KILL DEVIL HILL is a pretty good record. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting much. Their name is over-used - having been slapped on at least one film, and recently there was that ILL BILL and DJ MUGGS collaboration called KILL DEVIL HILLS, not to mention an Australian group by that name (taken from a place in North Carolina), and a IRON MAIDEN Bruce Dickenson song that's actually called 'Kill Devil Hill.' Toss in numerous bands that have mentioned or eluded to the NC region, and yeah - I would've called my band something else, but that's not what Vinny Appice, Rex Brown, Dewey Bragg, and Mark Zavon did. They're KILL DEVIL HILL.
It's been nearly 20 years since the VANS WARPED TOUR first rocked stages across North America, and in that time a number of video releases and 'concert films' have set out to document the experience. None has done a finer job than NO ROOM FOR ROCKSTARS, the new film from Director/Editor Parris Patton. Released in a one-night theatrical engagement last month and out now on iTunes with a DVD release slated for May 15th, NO ROOM FOR ROCKSTARS is not just another highlight reel smashed and chopped for the home video market. It's an engaging tale that weaves the stories of four drastically different artists as all of them attempt to bring their music to the masses.
Vampires have been very good to G TOM MAC over the years. With the cult status of his LOST BOYS anthem Cry Little Sister keeping Gerard McMann forever fresh in the minds of fangbangers and beyond (he even recorded a re-vamped bluesy, TRUE BLOOD 'swamp version' in 2010), it always seems as if there's an inviting form of darkness surrounding McMann (sometime's McMahon)'s music. On his latest album, UNTAME THE SONGS, Mac adds to his cinema-ready sonic arsenal with eleven new songs that ride the line between rock and pop while keeping adventure at the forefront. Unlike some other post-2000 releases under the G TOM MAC banner, UNTAME THE SONGS doesn't feel like a nostaliga-trip or reintroduction. It's fresh.