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

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