A Perfect Circle’s “Mer De Noms” Turns 20

IMG_E5916

On this day in the year 2000 “A Perfect Circle” released their debut album Mer De Noms. “A Perfect Circle” was created by former guitar technician Billy Howerdel. Upon meeting singer of “TOOL” Maynard James Keenan, Howerdel and Keenan quickly became friends and even ended up becoming roommates. This gave Howerdel the chance to show Keenan his demos he had been working on, which impressed Keenan so much that he proposed the idea of singing over Howerdel’s tracks. After Adding bassist and violinist Paz Lenchantin, guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, and drummer Tim Alexander who was soon replaced by Josh Freese, “A Perfect Circle” was fully formed. Don’t for one second think this is a supergroup or side project though, because the band have garnered their own fan base. Coming from a band as revered as “TOOL,” it must have been frustrating for Keenan to constantly hear people compare the two bands. Many wanted to hear “TOOL” part 2, but what we got was a whole new project that found Keenan showing a more melodic and emotional side that found the singer exploring themes of love and relationships as opposed to the analytical and often aggressive nature of “TOOL.” The goal to form a band that was as taken seriously and equal to “TOOL” was accomplished. “A Perfect Circle” still to this day have a large following of devoted fans. Happy Anniversary!

IMG_E5900

Track Review: VOODOO RADIO – Turn Out The Light

IMG_5386

Artist: VOODOO RADIO

Song: Turn Out The Light

Genre: Power Punk/Hard Rock/Alternative Rock 

Label: Self-released

“Is Rock dead?” London-based “Power Punk” duo “VOODOO RADIO” would most likely answer that question with a confident “Sorry I can’t hear you over these tasty riffs.” Coming from the London underground, “VOODOO RADIO” are about as trendy as Eric Clapton. You won’t hear Trap hi-hats or auto-tune in their music, but instead of going against the grain from a “kids these days” perspective, their ambitions to Rock like the 70’s feels natural and it’s a rebellion that reminisces over the days of Rock past, but at the same time embraces the new school. I mean, they covered Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” go check it out if you can’t take my word for it. The band’s latest single “Turn Out The Light” solidifies their status as Rock & Roll scholars. Featuring member Tony’s guitar riffs that shift from heavy to bluesy to boozy with an astounding guitar solo, and lead singer Paige’s relentless and attitude-driven vocals along with her upbeat drum-work, this track is a fearless dive into Rock & Roll bliss as it sounds like the love child of “Van Halen” and “The Runaways.” These two are aware that Rock music can still be fun, and that there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism. Hell, we need that now more than ever, but instead of sounding like a novelty act, the band are just as serious as they are fun, because this isn’t Rock music to take lightly. If the band are already this skilled in songwriting and composition, just imagine how much further they can go with their talent. They definitely have my attention.

IMG_5387

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Black Sabbath’s Self-titled Debut Album Turns 50

IMG_E4035

On this day in 1970 “Black Sabbath” released their self-titled debut album. This it it folks, this is the album that pioneered the sound of “Heavy Metal,” and it’s widely acknowledged as the first true blue “Metal” album. It’s easy to see why. Everything about this album paved the way for a lot of common tropes of the genre. The opening track “Black Sabbath” is “Doom Metal” through and through, the lyrical themes of Lucifer and the occult that are commonly affiliated with some of the more dark sub-genres of “Metal” are here, and just look at the cover art, that’s “Black Metal” and “Gothic” imagery if I ever did see it, but what really single-handedly invented the genre is without a doubt Tony Iommi’s guitar style. When Iommi was 17 years old he sliced the tips off two of his fingers while working at a sheet metal factory. Refusing to give up playing guitar, Iommi made prosthetic tips out of melted plastic bottles and detuned his guitar because the looser strings were easier to play, and with much distortion Iommi created the pivotal “Metal” guitar sound that you hear in every “Metal” song today. Albums that are the first of it’s kind are rare, and here is the album that everyone in the genre of “Heavy Metal” music owes a lot to. Happy Anniversary.

IMG_E4037

Czar Share New Music Video for “A Loathing,” Announce New Album

IMG_E3330

Colorado based band “Czar” are pretty new to the Rock world, but it’s evident that the band have been working hard since their formation in 2018. The band will release their debut album on January 31st 2020 via “Black Bow Records,” and what a perfect way to start off the new decade. Through my eyes Rock music is having a renaissance at the moment. Though interest in the myriad of styles and artistry in Rock has yet to reach the mainstream, (if it ever will) bands of all Rock genres have been creating the most captivating music as of late, and now we can add “Czar” to that list. Today the band premiered their new music video for their single “A Loathing,” a track that evokes the spirit of bands such as “Tool” or “Helmet,” but has it’s own staple of melodic accessibility and thoughtful inward-looking lyricism. This song sounds very 90’s, and that’s not a bad thing, because instead of going on a nostalgia trip and completely emulating the 90’s, the band show us that there’s much more to explore in the music that once was on top 20 years ago. You can watch the music video for “A Loathing” below:

 

Josh Homme Announces “Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12”

IMG_2856

Amidst the rise of “Queens of the Stone Age” in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, musician Josh Homme founded a musical collective series called “The Desert Sessions.” This series consisted of collaborations with numerous artists as they would record music in “Rancho De La Luna” in Joshua Tree. This series went on until Vol. 9 & 10 were released in 2003 featuring artists such as PJ Harvey, Dean Ween, Jeordie White, Alain Johannes, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Joey Castillo. This was the final session to be released and after 16 years it was looking like “The Desert Sessions” wouldn’t happen again, becoming a memory of the past for the die hard Homme fans, but today Homme announced that Desert Sessions Vol. 11 & 12 will be released on October 25th. The album will feature Billy Gibbons, Stella Mozgawa, Jake Shears, Mike Kerr, Carla Azar, Les Claypool, Matt Sweeney and Matt BerryLibby Grace, and Töôrnst Hülpft. You can watch a funny little video Homme released to promote the album below:

Album Review: Le Butcherettes – bi/MENTAL

51714882_1154498711376166_4924464323109060608_n

Artist: Le Butcherettes

Album: bi/MENTAL

Genre: Alternative Rock/Post-Punk/Garage Rock/Art Rock

Rating: 8/10

Some musicians are just completely captivating, whether it be on record, or during a confrontational live show, some musicians just demand your attention. Teresa Suárez Cosío A.K.A. Terri Gender Bender is without a doubt one of those enthralling musicians. The Denver, Colorado born artist started playing guitar and writing songs at a very young age when her and her family moved to Mexico. She has embarked on countless music endeavors since she was fully established in the music business, everything from her “Bosnian Rainbows” project with frequent collaborator Omar Rodríguez-López, to her star-studded supergroup “Crystal Fairy,” you can bet she puts her blood, sweat, and tears into everything she does, but her main project, the one that has her full heart is “Le Butcherettes.” Starting out as a “Garage Rock” duo that drew a lot of influence from feminism, “Le Butcherettes” have had a rotating lineup throughout the years, which has lead the project to vastly shapeshift on each album. Their 2011 debut Sin Sin Sin was a minimalist howl that spoke on gender politics, their following album Cry Is For The Flies was a lot darker and sinister in nature without losing it’s thought provoking and immensely poetic lyricism, and the band’s third album A Raw Youth contained synth-heavy Glam with a grandiose presentation. One thing has remained among these style changes though, and that’s sole member Terri Gender Bender’s personality and distinct style. Her artistic style of deep cutting and sometimes zany vocals, raw and grungy guitar riffs, and her signature organ that sounds like a circus from Hell are all what makes her style so incredibly unique and intriguing, and on her new album with a new live band bi/MENTAL features all of these things and then some. Everything that has made the band so musically compelling is perfectly incorporated into the mix, but the melodic and lush delivery with an underlying sense of melancholy but strong self-aware ethos are all balanced out perfectly on this album, making this the band’s best work to date. bi/MENTAL is largely ambitious with artistic instrumentation filled with Proggy synths, “Post-Punk” ridden guitars, groovy basslines, and some of the best sounding drum work there has ever been on a “Le Butcherettes” record, but of course, the main thing that sticks out and immediately grabs the listeners attention is Terri Gender Bender’s impactful vocals and meaningful lyrics. There are recurring themes of mental illness and bipolar disorder on these songs, and how these things can be hereditary and run through a family’s bloodline. These subjects are poetically delivered and the myriad of changing emotions conveyed on these songs reflect the theme of bipolar disorder. One song can be about self-empowerment and conjuring up the courage to rid yourself of a toxic relationship like the track “strong/ENOUGH,” but then the emotion can completely change like on the track “in/THE END” where Terri sings “In the end we’re faithless. We’re just in search for guidance” speaking on the frantic and confused human condition. The ever-changing sentiments on these songs beautifully represent the mindset of most humans who can’t help but get lost in introspective thought, and Terri fearlessly delivers these themes, forcing you to hang on to every word that is said. Some of these tracks are largely collaborative. Jello Biafra of “Dead Kennedys” provides a spoken word outro on the opening track “spider/WAVES,” artist and activist Alice Bag provides vocals on the sinister sounding “mother/HOLDS,” and all of these songs are cleanly produced by Jerry Harrison of “Talking Heads” and “The Modern Lovers,” but as effective as these features are, none of them overshadow Terri Gender Bender. They probably couldn’t if they tried, because her artistry is completely captivating and it’s very evident that she is an important figure in modern “Rock.” There’s no doubt that she’ll continue to push the boundaries and provoke thought, and that is the kind of ambition we need in the music world today.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

Date: 02/04/19

Ty Segall Announces New Covers Album “Fudge Sandwich”

41026250_2150593051862232_8221908001276035072_n

Does Ty Segall ever sleep? How does he have the time to make this much music? Well, whatever magical powers the guy has to remain this prolific, i’m sure glad he has them, because he usually makes quality music. Following his collaboration album with “White Fence,” which followed his incredible album Freedom’s Goblin, Ty Segall will release yet another album, but this time it is a cover album titled Fudge Sandwich, and it will be released on October 26th. Segall has shared a track off the upcoming album which is a cover of “Spencer Davis Group’s” “I’m a Man.” You can listen to the track as well as view the album’s tracklist below:

 

Fudge Sandwich Tracklist:

  1. Low Rider (War)
  2. I’m A Man (Spencer Davis Group)
  3. Isolation (John Lennon)
  4. Hit it And Quit it (Funkadelic)
  5. Class War (The Dils)
  6. The Loner (Neil Young)
  7. Pretty Miss Titty (Gong)
  8. Archangel Thunderbird (Amon Düül II)
  9. Rotten To The Core (Rudimentary Peni)
  10. St. Stephen (Grateful Dead)
  11. Slowboat (Sparks)