Monday, April 20, 2015

Big Okie Doom - (2015) The Trail

Hailing from the world's largest small town, Big Okie Doom is an Oklahoma City band with years of street cred, while maintaining virtual anonymity. Having been involved in bands such as the legendary New Orleans based "The Slugs" (now known as Crowbar), Pavement recording artist "Ugly Stick", the L.A. pop-punk band "Kottak", and other projects... Now, in anticipation of the release of their first CD with LACKPRO Records it is not likely the members of Big Okie Doom will be able to continue lurking in the shadows. People are going stand up and listen. This album has got groove. The style of Big Okie Doom is an incomparable amalgam of fused influences that include stoner rock with heavy metal vocals that explode from a outlaw country core. This band provides crunchy guitar riffs that lean toward flashy, then come back to tasty. The drums create a rhythmic melody into which you want to fall and flow. The bass follows where it should, and leads when it needs. In any particular song you might hear hints of TOOL, Ted Nugent, Queens Of The Stone Age or Clutch... but B.O.D. doesn't attempt to emulate their peers.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Luna Sol - (2015) Blood Moon

Luna Sol is a high-mountain stoner-rock band fronted by veteran singer and lead guitarist David Angstrom (Hermano, Supafuzz). Angstrom moved to the mountains just north of Denver in 2012 and started soaking in the strange but relaxed mountain communities around him. Inspired by the local news and folklore, Angstrom started writing the songs that would become Blood Moon (out 4/20 on Slush Fund Recordings), and put together Luna Sol with local Denver musicians—drummer Pat Gill (The Feds, ’76 Pinto), guitarist and vocalist Shanda Kolberg (The Swanks), and bassist/vocalist Shannon Fahnestock (The Swindlers).

A drive into the mountains with Angstrom shows that Blood Moon captures the removed-from-society lifestyle of the Rockies. Songs “Leadville,” “Standley Lake,” and “Death Mountain” all come with stories from Angstrom that seem like bizarre mountain folklore, like cautionary tales read to children from books with colorful drawings. Angstrom clearly loves the morbid strangeness of his new homeland and shares it with us on Blood Moon.

The album was recorded at Sierra Estates in Colorado, and the album artwork was designed by celebrated Denver tattoo artist Christel Perkins of Sol Tribe. The basic tracks were finished in a week, and in keeping with the long-standing tradition of the stoner and desert-rock communities, members of the Luna Sol extended family tree contributed additional elements to the recording. John Garcia (Kyuss, Hermano, Vista Chino) adds vocals on “December,” Dandy Brown (Hermano, Orquestra del Desierto) plays bass on “Death Mountain,” Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age) plays bass on “Pretty Rotten,” Greg Martin (The Kentucky Headhunters) contributes slide guitar on “Death Mountain,” Dean Smith (Supafuzz) plays bass on “Bridges,” Jason Groves (Supafuzz, Asylum on the Hill) bass on “In the Shadows,” and Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses) delivers a Hammond B3 performance on “Your War.”

The album is bleak, heavy and filled with monster hooks. John Garcia calls Blood Moon “a dark twisted ride down the mountain.” One you’ll be compelled to ride out ’til the final track.

I really wasn't going to write a review of this album. For one reason, I like it too damn much. Then I decided that's probably the reason I should. So here it goes.

First of all if the name Dave Angstrom doesn't ring any bells (which it should), and you didn't read the bio up above. This guy has had his hands in so many different kick-ass bands, its unbelievable. The biggest ones of course is his guitar work in "Hermano" and his band "Supafuzz", who released three killer albums from 1998 to 2004. Some maybe more obscure projects were "Black Cat Bone" way back in 1992, and the more recent "Asylum on the Hill" which I still listen to a lot, and reviewed here many moons ago. So needless to say when I learned he had a new project ready, I was restless with anticipation.

I first caught wind of the band with the demos they had posted on Bandcamp, two years ago and was starting to think there never would be an actual release from the band. I thought they were smoking all of that legal weed out there in Colorado and had no motivation to get shit done. But low and behold, the rock will be crushing peoples heads officially on 4.20.15.

I was lucky enough to get my copy a bit early, and have been blasting it in my car for a couple weeks now. Really all that I'm going to say, and needs to be said is that it lives up to my expectations, and then some. It's modern sounding, it's fuzzy, it's retro, it's pretty much anything you'd want it to be. I've found myself at work, or even walking around the supermarket with these songs stuck in my head. Fantastic musicians writing catchy, riff driven rock tunes is Luna Sol and what "Blood Moon" is all about. With songs that have that timeless quality to them... tracks that will still be as awesome today as they are ten years from now. If they would just bring their show to my neck of the woods, and give me a good excuse to get drunk, I'd be ecstatic!.

"Blood Moon" will be released on compact disc, and clear red vinyl and can be ordered here. If you only buy one album this year, this is the one you're going to want to get. Trust me. Brilliant stuff.  -AW

Saturday, March 28, 2015

SuperGiant - (2015) On to the Stars

In a dutch orange yellow sky fire of fall 2005, amidst an arid dusty high-desert somewhere on planet Earth, four distinct galaxies collided creating colorful musical fusion. Through burning intergalactic wormholes and the vibrations of their infinite minds the sonic waves of SuperGiant came to life bellowing to the darkest spaces within and without. The very Universe lives and breathes through their bodies and sound and that love has brought them to one another and to the world. The Suns lends their souls to healing and the very energy that connects us all to ourselves and countless other civilizations. As Antares smiles with joy so the bliss shall find all who choose to listen, feel and reveal themselves through groove.

Brother has it not been forever since I’ve last heard from these guys. Well, not forever, but far too long. 4 years later and we finally get a follow up to Pistol Star. On To The Stars. We haven’t seen much change in the music, and thank goodness for that – far too many bands seem to have dropped, what to this brother, is a classic stoner rock sound. Thick fuzzy riffs, natural bass, of the hairy variety, scuzzy drums, oh... just sweet music to the ears. Although FAH-Q is a bit of a strange one, a bit more harried, as if you’ve had a neurotic meltdown in your brain. Say what, eh? 

The last half of this album is brilliant, not to say the first half is standard fair, because it isn’t. Titan, Galaxy & The Phoenix, if ever there was a quintessential trifecta of songs to end an album, this is it. You know by now that an expedition has been taken. It’s a flight you’re on. They’re asking you to reach out with them. Do you feel the stars just within the tip of your fingers? To swim through space, surf through Saturn’s rings? This is the journey they are asking you to accept here, to accept the idea of other worlds. Who doesn’t want to? Why sleep the mind, when the enormity of imagination allows the brain to travel?

We’ve waited far too long for this album. What can I say... they remind me of, Truckfighters (old), Lowrider, Fu, etc.. with a nice subtle touch of Sabbath – holy fuck, eh? Don’t sit on it. It’s a keeper.     -WB
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