Sunday, April 20, 2014

King Dead - part 1: The Music

    It was a long day, work had worn me down with simple monotony. I got home and checked the mail. A glorious caffeine smell burst out of the box. Oh yes, it was coffee time. I had requested a King Dead CD and a bag of Evil Weevil coffee to review, both were impressive.

    I'll start with the CD. King Dead is a instrumental trio from Pennsylvania, this is their debut EP, and they've signed with Earsplit (not bad at all). It's a little long for an EP, but so what? When my band, Deadweight (now Grel) put ours out we said the same thing. It's good music. I usually think that instrumental bands have a hard time sounding dynamic without the use of either vocals or virtuosic playing, but these guys do it. The music has feeling and some emotion, which is more than can be said of most things I hear, even with vocals. The sound is a neat mix of psych/doom/ambient/whateveryoucallit, and it has that spring-reverbed-to-hell surfdoom thing I talked about in my review of Merlin's album. I love that sound. I think it's really cool and refreshing to hear, even Sun o))) has started doing things like that. So, there.

    I always have a rough time picking standout songs on these things, mainly because I don't think so much of this music is built to have standout songs, but to fit together as a whole instead. If I did have to say "oh, listen to this one" I'd say listen to "As One Plows And Breaks Up The Earth, So Our Bones Hvae Been Scattered At The Mouth Of The Grave" which is a mouthful, but yeah, it kind of encapsulates everything I have to say about this great release.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Joe Pass - Virtuoso

So few can do it well. Solo - no vocals, no bass, no drums, no effects, no other instruments whatsoever, and no rhythm track.  Just one guitar.  Alone.  Without help.  Even fewer guitar soloists can profitably record an album of solos.  One guitar through a clean amplifier, microphone and mixing board to tape, then, mastered and released.

There was one cigar-chomping guitarist, a former heroin addict, a prodigy who became a sideman for Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Mathis and Ella Fitzgerald, among others. He played with all of the jazz and bebop greats including Oscar Peterson, Zoot Sims, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie.  He died of liver cancer at the age of 65 in 1994, but not before inspiring a generation of improvisational jazz guitarists.  His genius can still be heard on over one hundred albums.  Joe Pass had, and his recordings display, the gifts of a master guitarist.

During his lifetime Joe Pass recorded six special solo albums among his 100+ recordings - Virtuoso, Virtuoso No. 2, Virtuoso No. 3, Virtuoso No. 4, Virtuoso Live! and Virtuoso In New York - with absolutely no accompaniment.  Just Joe and his jazz box, improvising.

The first Virtuoso album was released in 1973 on Columbia's Pablo label.   It only contains one original composition, "Blues for Alican," but offers improvisational guitar wizardry on an additional eleven American songbook standards, including Cole Porter's "Night and Day,"  and Hammerstein and Kerns' "All The Things You Are," and "The Song Is You."  Pass mesmerizes with his ability to simultaneously play, in time, melody lines, chords and bass lines. It is difficult to remember that the sound is coming from only one guitar and one guitarist.

The Oxford Dictionary defines "virtuoso" as "A person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit." Joe's Virtuoso is thus an understatement. He was more than a virtuoso, more than a master, more than a mentor to a generation of jazz guitarists - he is, due to these recordings, immortal.  Guitarists still bow to his artistry on their own journeys.  I was fortunate to have seen him and to have taken part in his mass improvisational guitar lessons that he taught at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in the early 1980's.  There was, and could only be, one Joe Pass, a Five Star General in the Guitar Army.

- Old School

Friday, April 18, 2014

Polaris Rose - OceanSongs EP

Begin established routine.  Search through promotional messages.  Listen to music linked in those messages.  Research the bands who created these songs.  Nothing strikes my fancy.  Hello?  What's this?  A song melding aggressive alternative rock guitar with poppy male and female vocals?  I like it!  Who is this that I am listening to again?  Ah, it's a band who goes by the name Polaris Rose.

Polaris Rose is based out of Los Angeles.  The group is made up of guitarist/vocalist Peter Anthony and bassist/vocalist Madelynn Elyse.  Kiel Feher handles the drums.  OceanSongs is the band's latest release.  It follows on the heels of another EP entitled The Moon & its Secrets.  Waveriders this collection of five songs sounds great!  Peter and Madelynn both have strong voices that blend seamlessly with each other to create wonderful harmonies.  When it comes to the instrumentation the way these musicians combine alt rock, indie rock, pop, and a touch of the electronic to create their invigorating sound is very impressive.  Also the production on this EP is crisp and uncluttered, allowing every musical element to shine. 

All in all waveriders, I highly recommend that you listen to OceanSongs from Polaris Rose.  This EP rocks, it rolls, it brings the energy in the room down, it brings it back up, it demands that the listener sing along, it solves complex arithmetic in five simple steps.  Okay it won't actually replace your calculator or abacus, but the rest is 100% true!  I want to hear more and I think you will too!

-- Penfold



Thursday, April 17, 2014

AC/DC deny split rumours but confirm Malcolm is taking a break

From Classic Rock Magazine.

16/04/2014 ~ by Luke Morton

Founding member of the legendary hard rockers is taking a hiatus

It's been on the cards for the past 24 hours and now it's been confirmed via AC/DC's Facebook page that Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to his ill health.

In an official statement posted on AC/DC's Facebook page, the band have said: "After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.  In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music." Rumours had been running wild on the internet since it was alleged that Malcom Young, rhythm guitarist and founding member of the group, was no longer able to play. The rumours were originally denied by frontman Brian Johnson.

BLACK COBRA Confirms May West Coast Tour Dates The Cutthroats 9 And Årabrot To Provide Support On Five-Date Run

The decimating metal/sludge duo that is BLACK COBRA has crawled out of the shadows with their first shows since two one-off cross-continental gigs in January, proclaiming an upcoming May decimation of the West Coast!

The newly planned five-day, five-city run will originate in BLACK COBRA's San Francisco hometown on May 22nd, then systematically shredding through Fresno, Pacifica, Portland and Seattle. Providing opening support for the trek will be California-based noise metal outfit, The Cutthroats 9 (featuring members of Unsane, Death Angel and -16-), and Norwegian Grammy-winning noise/punk outfit, Årabrot.

Preceding the new West Coast tour, BLACK COBRA will raid Portland to take part in the annual Stumpfest on April 26th, performing alongside sludge metal visionaries, Yob, and gritty doom unit, Diesto.

Additional live outings will be announced in the coming weeks. BLACK COBRA is currently constructing new material; additional news on the band's 2014 actions will be released in the near future.

4/26/2014 Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR @ Stumpfest w/ Yob, Diesto [tix]
5/22/2014 Slims - San Francisco, CA
5/23/2014 Audies Olympic - Fresno, CA
5/24/2014 Winters Tavern - Pacifica, CA
5/25/2014 Rotture - Portland, OR
5/26/2014 El Corazon - Seattle, WA

For all BLACK COBRA coverage, in North/South America contact and in Europe contact



Visually intoxicating, uncompromisingly heavy and revered for making music and lifestyle one, Electric Wizard have completed work on their new studio album, title to be confirmed; the album will be the band's first release through Spinefarm Records.

Formed by vocalist / guitarist Jus Oborn in 1993, Electric Wizard (based in the UK's South-West) have thus far released seven studio albums - an increasingly influential body of work recorded on vintage analogue gear with as little technology as possible intruding on the signal ("Protools is for pussies!").

Result: some of the heaviest, dirtiest, most evil-sounding audio ever put to tape, and more importantly to vinyl, with both Come My Fanatics (1997) and Dopethrone (2000) being lauded as landmark releases.

A cultural as well as a musical force, Electric Wizard have left an indelible mark on a host of different genres, the likes of doom, stoner and sludge; at heart, however, they stand as an iconic British metal band, cast in the great tradition, with lyrics and artwork reflecting the hypnotic weight of the music, and subject to the same intelligence and detail.

Wreathed in occult ritual and drug-culture references, with classic '70s horror an inspirational seam, Electric Wizard are poised to turn a page; there's the new deal with Spinefarm Records, plus - after a nine-year hiatus - the return of Mark Greening (the drummer on Dopethrone), who completes the line-up of Oborn, US guitarist Liz Buckingham, a key member since 2003, and new bassist Clayton Burgess (Satan's Satyrs).

Fueled by strong emotion and the harder sounds of late-'60s Detroit, the remodeled line-up - isolated by choice, giant stacks glowing red - set about crafting an eighth studio album to both rival and exceed the milestone recordings of the past, with Buckingham keeping things suitably monolithic and the band generally looking back to some of their earliest influences.

Toerag Studios in London was once again charged with capturing 'The Sound', and (encouragingly) words like "raw", "hateful" and "sickeningly heavy" are being traded.

Says Oborn: "Our master plan is this. Real metal!! We stand for rebellion, we are with the kids; we fight, puke, smoke weed, etc... Electric Wizard is an entity, with its own history, its own symbols, its own iconography, and with this new album, we wanted to return to basic values. It's primitive. We needed to claw it back down to the evil core - sex, drugs, violence, revolution... to go back to being a band that hung out and jammed hard. No teaching songs, just feeling them out. If you jam enough and you are on the same level - artistically, musically, whatever, you gotta be committed - then good music will happen. I totally believe that..."

Electric Wizard will make the following festival appearances in 2014, with more shows to be added:

May 2   Temples Festival, Bristol, UK (headline)
June 20   Hellfest, Clisson, France (Valley Stage headline)
July 3      Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark (Arena Stage)
July 4       Sonisphere, Knebworth Park, UK (stage headline)
August 16   Jabberwocky, The Excel Centre, London, UK
September 12  Reverence Valada, Portugal (headline with Hawkwind)

ELECTRIC WIZARD are: Jus Oborn - lead vocals, guitars | Liz Buckingham - guitars | Mark Greening - drums, percussion | Clayton Burgess - bass

Established in 1990, Spinefarm Records is an international rock and metal label with dedicated offices around the globe. Working with Caroline under the Universal banner, Spinefarm marries the ethos of the independent to the clout of the major, developing signature artists worldwide.


JEREMY IRONS & THE RATGANG MALIBUS: Swedish Psychedelic Space Rock Brigade Premiere New Track Via HeavyPlanet


JEREMY IRON & THE RATGANG MALIBUS, in cooperation with the amplifier worshippers at HeavyPlanet, are pleased to unveil "Wind Seized," from their forthcoming Spirit Knife full-length.

Recorded at Puch Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, mixed by Viktor Källgren, produced by the JIRM collective and mastered by Chris Goosman (Early Man, Sasquatch, Dixie Witch, Solace et al) at Baseline Audio Labs in Ann Arbor, Michigan, JIRM supplies imposing passages of torrential guitars that rattle, roll, shimmy and soar with oceanic reverb and sweaty rock and roll, partnering with thrumming keys and mesmerizing Motorik drums to incite cyclical hypnosis for protracted song-suites. Ever teetering between tight, instrumental control and loose vibes, JIRM achieve optimal tantric tension and release through sound. Envision Jeff Buckley jamming with Can, and you'll have a fair gist of the fantastic voyage that awaits the armies of the Spirit Knife; an album that finds JIRM rekindling their time-traveling communion with vintage psychedelia and Krautrock, while expanding on the sonic palette revealed by the ensemble's past full-lengths, Elefanta and Bloom.

Proclaims HeavyPlanet of the second track, "From JIRM's latest trippy eight-track jaunt, Spirit Knife, comes "Wind Seized," a belted free-spirit epic of canyon-dipped vocals glazing an elevated terrace of red rocks and staggering majesty. These guitars sail only to erupt and spray a dusty terrain with gold flakes, stunning with solos, riffing and rolling with sticky cosmic hope. It's impossible to hide the beauty amid the heavy hollows as your head tilts 90º and elemental variance threads spirals due North. This opus accomplishes more than simple seizure."

Drift away with "Wind Seized" at THIS LOCATION.

Spirit Knife will be released via Small Stone Records on April 29th, 2014. Preorder your copy today at THIS LOCATION.  

Killers - The Origins of Iron Maiden: 1975-1983 --Maiden's early years. Explored for the first time!

Format: Paperback
Price: £14.99
ISBN: 978-0-9575700-2-3
Published: April 14th 2014

There have been plenty of books about Iron Maiden’s long and glorious career, but this is the first to explore the crucial early years from 1975-1983 in depth.

Author Neil Daniels chose this period because it is vital to the band’s development, with many line-up changes and false starts before Steve Harris found his winning team. Daniels wants “to give a balanced and objective view on the first eight years. Two albums with one singer (Paul Di’Anno), two with the other (Bruce Dickinson)”.

As well as painstaking secondary research, Daniels interviewed many people connected with band including former members Dennis Stratton and Tony Moore, plus fan club chief Keith Wilfort (who is currently undergoing heart surgery – we wish him well) and more. Their comments throw light on the early years.

Über fan Ryan LaMar has supplied the most up to date gig guide ever produced for these years. Historian Barry Considine has also contributed to making this work as accurate as possible, as well as providing images.

Daniels is ideally placed to write this book having previously penned Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History Of The Beast (Voyageur Press 2012).

Neil Daniels is the author of over a dozen books on rock and metal and has contributed to many music magazines, fanzines and websites. Visit


Stone Titan 7

Last Fall we introduced you to Connecticut-based doom-sludge-metalcolytes Stone Titan. Decibel Magazine called their last album, Scratch N' Sniff, "a mess...fucked up in all the right places." A US tour, lineup change and several bank holidays later and they're back with an all-new slab of wax for Record Store Day entitled Peace, Love & Get The Fuck Out Of My Face. The 12" features five new songs of endorphin-morphin' sonic bedlam and wall-of-fuzz guitars. Their label Safety Meeting Records has a pre-order available now and the vinyl will be available in 250 limited edition copies in random mixed colors at your favorite metal-slinging record shop on RSD this Saturday. 
Pre-order P,L&GTFOOMF from Safety Meeting Records, Stream it on Bandcamp.

"“If you like it downtuned and heavy, then definitely check them out.” – CT Indie
"If you worship the slow and heavy then I'm sure you will dig it.​" - Thrash

Michael Sweet - I’m Not Your Suicide

Big3 Records

  Wow. The production and guitar tones on this album are some of the best I have heard. Full on in your face metal on some songs, rock and roll juggernauts on others. The ballads are simply angelic perfection. Such a great collection, of strong songs. And with special guest musician powerhouses like, Tony Harnell, Chris Jericho, Doug Aldritch, Elektra Mustaine, and others, this album plows through the speakers like a freight chain of melodic monster hits.

“This Time” and “The Cause” are incredible pieces of music. The vocals are truly inspired.

“Taking On The world Tonight” is by far my personal favorite. Just a juggernaut of intensity. The production is so strong on this track. Tony Harnell adds a tremendous element to the structure.

“I’m Not Your Suicide” hits you hard. the message, always a strong component of Michael’s music, really comes into play with this song. Very emotional, and freshly modern sounding. He captures the spark of the old 80’s rock vibe and delivers a modern rock anthem. Perfect.

“How To Live”, The songwriting on this track is intense and truly emotional. Ballads have become clichéd over the years on rock albums. but Michael delivers a powerhouse of a tune. You feel every note. This one adds a new dimension to an already hit [acked album.

“Unsuspecting” is a classic metal rocker that features some of the best guitar playing I have heard in a while. Fantastic vocals coupled with some serious guitar antics. This song has some incredibly high vocals from Michael sweet. Very intense. Reminds me, of the early Saxon, Def Leppard sound. Better production than those bands here but the idea is the same. One of the best tracks. Guitar solo is insane.

“Heart Of Gold” is performed twice on the album, once with Michael alone and once with Elektra Mustaine sharing vocal duties. Breathes new life, into the Neil Young classic. Strong. Helping to cross, that rock/country line. Guitar tone on the track is very well done. What is he using?

This album is top ten this year so far. It is a strong faithful rock and metal epic creation. Fans of stryper and modern day rock will find common ground on this album. Play it loud. Michael Sweet has outdone himself on this disc.

10/10horns up


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