Building on the goodwill of their critically adored debut The Loose EP, LA’s Irontom are back with The Nitro EP, a four-on-the-floor blast of classic rock indebted bombast and punk-tinged, effects-laden grooves. The EP shows considerable growth for the young band, with single “What Will Happen to All the Indie Stars” containing the group’s strongest songwriting to date. A lament for a simpler time, the track is a requiem for disposable indie bands that get swallowed in our hyper-tweaked, ADD generation. The Nitro EP is Irontom’s mission statement: a howling, stomping declaration from a band that intends to be around for the long haul.
I love Canada. I really do. I grew up in Seattle so Vancouver being only a few hours away, it became a haven of chaos for my friends and I in our younger years. Mostly because the drinking age is 19, which I think is a good thing. Kids are gonna drink. Might as well have them drinking comfortably and legally in a bar, rather than in a park where they could be raped and or stabbed by a hobo. Come to think of it the drinking thing isn’t the only forward thinking they have going on up there. The government is moving toward legalizing and taxing pot. They also legalized same sex marriage nationwide in 2005. Sure we here stateside call Canada “America’s Hat” but to me that isn’t an insult. If they are “America’s Hat”, they’re a super fly lid that Don the Magic Juan would wear while he has fine ladies hanging off of him.
Not only are they up with the times socially, but their music lately has been pretty great. No longer is Canada the butt of every alt-rock joke. They’re separating themselves from the Avril Lavine’s and Chad Kroger’s of yesteryear.
SIDE BAR: Don’t send me an email to point out that both Nickleback and Avril Lavigne have sold shit loads of records. In a past article I took a jab at Katy Perry and someone sent me an email pointing out her millions in sales. You think I don’t know she’s sold oodles of albums? My point here is, no one who bought a Nickelback t-shirt back in the day is all that pumped to own it now. No one I know is still jamming This is How You Remind Me, unless they are being “ironic”. He’s a message to those people listening to Nickleback ironically. STOP
Back to the article, this week’s AOTW is one of the many new bands coming out of Canada that not only doesn’t suck, but they’re making rock music that’s interesting and fun. Hopefully these guys become as godlike as their name implies. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Zeus.
Here’s the single How Does It Feel? off of their debut album Say Us.
Normally I’m not that big on music videos, but this one’s inclusion of ninjas won me over. I love ninjas. If you don’t love ninjas…what is your problem? Get on bored with the rest of the ninja lovers like me.
The band formed in 2009 by childhood friends Mike O’Brien and Carlin Nicholson. They had been bouncing around different bands in Toronto for years and decided to hook up and make the music they had always wanted to. They enlisted their two buddies Neil Quin and Rob Drake. They came upon the band name when the first venue they played needed a name to put on the marquee. Why not Zeus?
After a while they began releasing EPs. The first of which was titled Sounds Like Zeus from 2009 with Say Yes following soon after. The best way I can describe their sound is if you took elements of Dr. Dog, The Sheepdogs, and Teeth, and gave them a 70’s flare. The vocals are Doobie Brothers-esque and I love it. This next track is called Renegade.
After heavy touring heavily in the Great White North, the U.S. and overseas, they began releasing a series of 7” singles with the label Arts & Crafts. My favorite of which has a title that I find myself asking people everyday; Are You Gonna Waste My Time?
This year they released their second full-length album titled Busting Visions. It’s 21 songs of pure indie-rock gold. The sound is bigger and richer this time around. I can honestly say this might be my favorite album of the year currently. I can’t stop listening to With Eyes Closed.
Check these fellas out. They are up in Canada touring currently, so if any of you are up in those areas, I highly suggest checking them out. These dudes are impressive, artful musicians that are highly skilled. Thanks again Canada. You’ve got my full attention now so please keep the good tunes coming.
I got an email the other day from Johnny Hoffman and The Residents who are a two piece from Everett Wa. They just dropped a new album a few days ago and wanted to share some cuts. I listened to “Leather Face” and wanted to post it as a free song download! After afew emails back and forth they agreed to release the song to us! Big thanks to Johnny and The Residents, we wish them well on their musical journey! Enjoy the track and connect with the band!
In this edition of the Bootleg Series we travel to Pasadena to check out The Rebel Light as they play a show in the Old Towne Pub! We take you inside as we smuggled in our recording equipment and afterwards we interview the band! Enjoy the show!
In this episode of Outside The Shell, Turrtle travels to an event called “Unnatural Abduction” hosted by Unnatural Alliance. Turrtle speaks with the organizers. Join him as he explore the unknown in the form of music and art. The curiosity of the unnatural, hyperdimensional, and extra-terrestrial is something that has fascinated the multitudes farther than humanity’s records can reveal.
Chet Zar, Meats Meier, Bruce D. Mitchell, Jesse Gee, Tas Limur, Ave Rose, Treiops Treyfid, Erick De La Vega, Brian Smith, Ana Bagayan, Jacob Roanhaus, Grant Standard, Dustin Meyers, Tod Waters, Nathan Cartwright, Michael O’Brien, Tracy Roberts, Tyler Jones, Snow Mack, Richard Landon, Deeann Morales, Cig Neutron, Keri Kilgo, Jared Guenther, Cici Anderson, Nelson I. Leal, A.J. Catalano, Jessie Fohrman, McEvoy/Rodriguez, Aubriana Zurilgen, Caitlyn Brisbin, Christopher Hernandez, Erick Rodriguez, Laura Doolin, Ver Mar, Adam Mloney, Michaela Bookout, Dim Borisov, Matthew Levin, Abhi Thati, Louie Becker, Shoghi Castel De Oro & Kathryn Keys and more!
I’m sitting here writing this on Thursday morning, literally barely able to contain myself. Today is a day that has been 14 years in the making. For tonight, I am going to witness a performance by two of my idols. I will be within a few feet of these dudes! IT’S HAPPENING!!!! Am I getting across that I am fucking pumped? The two men I will be seeing tonight changed my life. To be honest I never thought this moment was going to happen. With the way hip-hop was trending in the 90’s, I figured at least one of them would be dead by this point, or at the very least in jail. But things have fallen in my favor. I will finally see the two rappers that made my love of hip-hop reach epic heights. I love them separately sure, but it is the collaborationsbetween that two that melted my young mind. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: REDMAN & METHOD MAN!!!!
Method Man got his start with The Wu Tang Clan back in 1992 when they released their groundbreaking album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The other week I was talking with my buddy Quinn about this record and the first time we had heard it. We both recall not really knowing what the fuck was going on. I mean, at 11 years old I heard the line from Method:
I mean oh, you check out the flow
like the Hudson or PCP when I’m dusting
Niggaz off because I’m hot like sauce
The smoke from the lyrical blunt makes me. (cough)
I literally had no clue what the hell he was talking about, but the beats and the aggression had me on board from the get go. I started following Meth’s solo stuff picking up Tical (1994) and when I first heard All I Need, I knew then and there I had found my dude. This was my favorite rapper. There was no question, his flow, voice, and rhyming schemes. I dug it all. It was fun. When I listened to it, I felt like I was included in this different world. I felt cool. I was down like four flat tires with this shit.
In the 7th grade I got my first taste of Redman when my buddy Nick Harris Gave me a copy of 2pac’s All Eyez On Me (1996), on the track Got My Mind Made Up. The song featured, Pac, Dat Nigga Daz, Kurupt, Redman, and of course Method Man.
This was the first of many Redman and Method Man collaborations. The two hit it off. So began a steady outpouring of songs from the duo, each appearing on one another’s albums. Starting of with their track Do What Ya Feel on Redman’s Muddy Waters (1996).
This was then followed with Redman appearing on Meth’s album Tical 2000: Judgement Day (1998) titled Big Dogs.
This song would also appear on their collaboration culmination. An album I put up on high with Ready to Die. It’s Red and Method’s Blackout! (1999). This album blew my immature mind. It was rap punk rock. Two dudes wildn’ out like there was no tomorrow. The very first track floors you and the rest of the record gets you movin’ on said floor. It’s loud, it’s fun, it’s fucking rad. Here’s the first track. The title track no less. Blackout!
I can’t get enough of that beat. Da, da, da, da, dum, de, dum TO MAKE YALL FEEL THAT! Man, I have flashbacks every fucking time I listen to this record. In junior high holding the disc man flat on the bus ride to school, with the anti-skip on. Sure that shit drains the battery, but it’s a must have. Can’t have these tracks jumpin’. No way, no how.
This album had it all. Banger tracks like the chaotic party Tear it Off
To the dark and venomous Cereal Killer
The duo went relatively quite musically after the release of Blackout! They did songs together here and there, but biggest pairing we got from them was the film How High and the TV show Method & Red.
The producer of this movie came to talk at my college way back when. I told her it was one of my favorite movies of all time. Pretty sure she thought I was fucking with her. The harder I stressed the fact that I wasn’t joking at all, the more she was offended. What are you gonna do? Some people just don’t know how to take a damn compliment.
Finally, ten years later, they released the sequel to their audio masterpiece, Blackout! 2 (2009). While I love this record, it’s missing some of the frenetic energy that was on the first album. I mean I can’t blame them. They are ten years older. Sensibilities change, but the kid in me just wanted them to come back and blow faces off. Not to say that some songs don’t do exactly that. The killer bass on the opening track I’m Dope Nigga certainly will. But my favorite is the late night cruiser jam, City Lights.
I’ve been waiting for this night for a really long time. Hopefully I can come on the podcast next week and gush about how awesome it was. My fingers are crossed. I’m breaking a cardinal rule about going to see ones heroes here I think. So what though? This show isn’t for me now. This is for 12 year old Kelly back in 1999, boppin’ his head with his big Labtech headphones, in the back of Mom’s Volvo. If I could talk to that dude, I’d tell him, “don’t worry man, you’ll get there one day.” Today is that day.
Midnight Faces (L-R): Philip Stancil, Matthew Warn. Photo Credit: Alexandra Warn.
Midnight Faces recently completed its debut full-length album Fornication in Los Angeles with producer Jason Martin (The Drums, Cold War Kids, Starflyer 59) and will tour the US, Asia and Europe with a full band upon the release of the record this summer. The band has announced a handful of dates for June and July. See below for details. Fornication is scheduled for release on June 18th, 2013.
I don’t sleep a whole lot. I think I’ve brought that up here before. I don’t know what the deal is. As soon as the lights go out and I’m alone in the dark, my brain starts running on high. I guess I just don’t have the ability to naturally turn off. Sometimes music helps. The trouble is you gotta find the right tracks or you might find yourself worse off than when you started. Nothing like a drawn out Bob Dylan track to get you thinking on shit you don’t fully understand. Next thing you know it’s 4AM and you are starring at the ceiling trying to figure out “who you are”. You gotta find the sweet spot. Few artists are in that sweet spot. This week’s legend is one of the few that help me out as sleep eludes. This week ARTIST OF THE WEEK: LEGEND is Lead Belly aka Leadbelly. The spelling has been up for debate for some time. I think it’s that analog white noise hiss that gets me. Something about it gets me to slow down. I love that hiss. It’s comforting like nothing else I know. Good Night Irene is in heavy rotation come night night time.
Born in January of 1888 Lead Belly (Huddie William Ledbetter) spent much of his early life in the racially segregated South. The post Civil War South is a region that I find infinitely fascinating. While life was terrible for many, it was a time where one could get lost entirely. If you were in downfall, from the stories I’ve read, it seems you could really disappear. That’s the thing about the rambling lifestyle that’s always appealed to me. One minute you’re playing harmonica outside of New Orleans, poor as all get out, then after a quick rail ride, you’re sweeping out front of a record store in Chicago for studio time. Sure it isn’t the most stable career path, but damnit if the idea of being able to mix it up every few months isn’t appealing. There is no lock-down. Anything is possible.
This lifestyle was not lost on Lead Belly. The man was a wildcard. Sure he attempted to live the straight and narrow for the first twenty or so years of his life, but then he got squirrelly. Was busted for carrying a pistol in 1915, was sent away again in 1918 for killing a man. He ended up back in jail in 1930 for attempted homicide and then again in 1938 for stabbing a guy. It was during one of these several stints in jail when he was discovered by John and Alan Lomax. They recorded him for the Library of Congress while he s was still incarcerated in 1934. The songs included:
Midnight Special, Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In, Let It Shine on Me, The Titanic, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,Go Down Old Hannah.
The Lomax boys found Lead Belly to be a great resource for the songs of the South. Not only was his catalogue of southern folk and gospel astounding but the guy could play nearly every instrument he got his hands on. Sure he was noted for the 12-String guitar, but he also had his way with the 6-String, harp, mandolin, and accordion.
Later in life Lead Belly began touring with Alan Lomax. Alan would speak about his travels throughout the South, Lead Belly would play the classics. Introducing thousands to a sound they would have never known. Lead Belly became renowned as a premiere folk musician. Prior to his first European tour in 1949 he was diagnosed with ALS. His health rapidly declined and he died later that year.
I got into Lead Belly after hearing his songs cover by my favorite artists. The most famous of these covers was featured in MTV’s Nirvana Unplugged as Nirvana and members of the Meat Puppets played Where Did You Sleep Last Night. The song is haunting.
Cobain even talks of trying to convince David Geffen to buy him one of Lead Belly’s guitars.
I love Lead Belly. His life was crazy and at times violent, yet his voice and music soothe me, when I need to be soothed. It’s my comfort. I wish more music could accomplish what Lead Belly does. Check him out. You’ll love it.