Thursday, August 23, 2012

BLACK SPACE RIDERS - Light Is The New Black.

I wrote a review of this album some time ago. "Where is it then?" I hear you ask... it didn't quite make it out into the 'real' world so I thought I would kind of review it again. I decided I would open a bottle of Southern, crank some tunes and pull a few random words out of my head...


Crank up your stereo, dip your joint in acid and light it up baby… German heavy psych rockers Black Space Riders have released their second full length release Light Is The New Black. The album is full of warmth and oozes heavy grooves with some mind bending psychedelics.

It starts off with Creature of No Light. A cruisier tune that is drenched in more fuzz than a porn set from the 70’s. Enough said.

Sun vs Moon starts out slow and builds. It’s somber and dark and feels like it’s painting the back drop to a Lynch film. The vocals are thick and rich like that of a story teller… as the instruments build and reel you in the vocals add another great layer and when they scream, you bleed. This is one my favourite tracks on the album, everything just sits so well and plays out like it should. The guitars kick arse and I fuckin love the solo.

Track 3, Digging Down, is reminiscent of AIC in the start, the fuzz and wah but again those vocals make you stop and listen “Dig, dig it down. Dig, dig it down…” Black Space Riders sound is built around hypnotic guitars and grooves. There are all sorts of elements at play here like hard rock, stoner and psych but the more I listen to it the more I can hear classic metal punching through. Yeah the solos may be wah’ed up Cantrell but the vibes and delivery is just guts and attitude.

The track that nails it completely is I Am Fire. This is 'I want to skull a bottle of bourbon and smash it against my fuckin head' good. I Am Fire is made to be exploding out of the speakers in your car as you’re screaming down the highway setting the roadside alight and melting the faces off those you pass… Every album needs this track on it. Without one of these you’ll just be flippin burgers for the rest of your life.

Seems Bowie was dropping ‘ludes when he recorded this song… Steady and hypnotic, dark and bright, We Used To Live In Light is thickly textured and full of atmosphere. Layers of visuals blending and bending and man that little bit of fuzzed out and chunky guitar that comes in at about 4:20 is pure sex.

Next up Lost (Return Into The Void) is for those of you that can’t hold on, that can’t keep up and that need a break to fall back down into your bean bag and chill the hell out. Written on the tip of an acid blotter… “everything is lost… here”.

You know what… I am up to track 6… I have proved two things… 1. I can count. 2. You should go and buy this album. There is still lots more to write about but why should I tell you now if the butler did it or who ran off and lived happily ever after. You need to discover this album for yourself. Black Space Riders have served up an awesome album that follows so many paths and travels in and out of so many sounds that it's always fresh and exciting… as I am typing this I am listening to track 7… it’s extremely cool! Go get the album and let me know what you think...

BLACK SPACE RIDERS - Light Is The New Black is available now on CD and also a kick arse gatefold CD / LP set that also features a bonus track.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

DEAD, Hotel Wrecking City Traders, Spider Goat Canyon.

Rather than stay in and watch reruns of NCIS, I thought I would better spend my time repenting my sins against humanity by way of kick arse music.

I headed down to the trying ever so hard to be street poster free streets of Northcote for my hit of Monday Night Mass.

Three bands on the bill. Three bands playing a night well below their weight. And I mean weighty in terms of depth, emotion, ferocity, originality and raw fuckin talent.

DEAD, Hotel Wrecking City Traders and Spider Goat Canyon all on one line up together is well worth it.

I haven’t seen Spider Goat Canyon for a while. Deryck's pounding tribal, repetitive beats and crashing cymbals. Atmospheric and ethereal guitars, air raid chaos, apocalyptic, six string farrrrrrrrocity from Steve, mesmerising. Josh's bass in the last song was so disruptive, destructive and distorted. He was going so nuts he ripped the lead right out of the pedal. They are masters of subtle change in emotion. The build is so gentle that you don’t even realise you have reached the summit and circled the stratosphere and then they crash you right back down into the their volcano. Spider Goat Canyon are three solo beasts annihilating the stage though working as one.

One thing I have really dig about Hotel Wrecking City Traders is that they always have a nice loose jam feel whenever I see them play. There can be enough crazy in this two man band for a 10 piece or it can have a cruisier groove, but they always make it seem natural, effortless and it flows from within.

It's like when they play you're not hearing the music from the outside the instruments, the person, you're hearing it from inside of the strings, the sticks, the journey from above Ben's head as they fly through the air to the buzz of Toby's guitar, then come crashing down on the skins, shuddering up through his arms to his heart. That vibration is felt throughout the room before it's heard.

HWCT are fuckin mesmerising, chaotic and beautiful. 25 minutes non stop and then half a breath before sliding into another. No one is sure... is it another song or the same? It's like an open plan kitchen and lounge. One room but not. Separate but sharing the same space. 42 minutes. One piece then peace... though noise soothes the soul.
It started with some cymbal taps and then the bass rumbles in with some feedback. DEAD have begun.

Those that know me know that my passion for music can lead me to get very carried away. I can fall in and out of love with a band easily and when I fall in I jump in wholeheartedly. They would also know that since I first saw DEAD I have been addicted. Jem and Jace are mind blowing at what they do and it's truly evident when you see them on stage. From Jace's jaw dropping string belting vein popping blood curdling chaos through to Jem's need to tape his drums down so they don't run away from the sheer terror they face from each and every beating he delivers. Every set they serve up a feast of only main's and it's scolding hot and set to burn every fuckin time! They are a bulldozing freight train.

I notice the base is dirtier, it has more grunt, like it's been through hell and back just to bring you every note, every chord. Jace has a new pedal, it sounds awesome.

I did appreciate Jem's effort to dress nicely for Monday Night Mass and wear long pants instead of his drumming shorts. Of which it seems there revolves numerous rumours including that they're never washed and that they are in fact made from the skin of Triple J listeners. Unfortunately these are unsubstantiated at this time. Though he did procede to take off his shirt at which time I think Jace realised his Hard-Ons Venom spoof T emblazoned with Goofy in a pentagram was just too much for the old ladies at Mass and he followed suit...

The set finished with some amazing cymbal control fading out to Jace whispering "Everybody shed a tear"... well, admittedly it was pretty moving.

One thing that came out of Monday Night Mass is that I would love to hear a collaboration between DEAD and HWCT. Can you imagine the carnage? The chaos? The beauty? DEAD TRADERS! Bring it on!!

Hotel Wrecking City Traders
Spider Goat Canyon
Northcote Social Club
FB event

Photo's once again courtesy of my not-so-high-quality uber-unreliable iPhone.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kyuss' 'Blues For The Red Sun' 20th Anniversary Celebration.

Kicking back on my bed in my haze filled room. Scanning through the posters on my ceiling, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Butthole Surfers, Syd Barrett, Jane's Addiction, Magic Dirt, all smiling down on me. I can feel the bass rumble up through the floorboards, it's vibrating throughout the depths of my soul. My blown out body gazing out into the universe as Kyuss fills the space and carries me away....

I have had so many days and so many nights of Kyuss... 50 Million Year Trips that open my eyes wide and expand my mind. There is nothing else, there is only one Kyuss. 

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Blue For The Red Sun, Kyuss' second release under their shortened moniker, The Cherry Bar opened its doors to the psychedelic love of Matt Sonic & The High Times with guest vocalist Chappy from My Left Boot... but before we get to that...

Battle Axe Howlers, a mixture of lads from Anglesea and Sunbury opened the night. The last and only time I saw them was when they opened for the mighty Mammoth Mammoth and they rocked. I was keen to see how they were a year later... and they fuckin blew everyone away. Some tight as riffs and killer songs really impressed but it was the spitting silhouette image of Brant Bjork mixed with the Aussie pub rock'n'raspy vocals of John Garcia of singer Diesel that was the stand out. Battle Axe Howlers were the perfect openers for the night. Awesome.

James Young, co-owner of the bar, got up to introduce the tribute to a completely packed to the roof Cherry... the punters were pumped and the band already had smiles on their faces. The energy was almost like we were seeing Kyuss back in the day. I have been to a few tribute nights but this was something special....

The guitars started softly... the volume rose slowly throughout the room... then fuckin BOOM!!! 'Thumb' kicked in wholeheartedly and it was fuckin on!!! When a band covers an iconic song it can be a scary feat to try and pull off. Fans know every nuance, every bend, every yeah. Matt Sonic & The High Times had only rehearsed this album four times but they fuckin nailed it. Two guitars as well gave it so much punch! Guest vocalist Chappy from My Left Boot may very well have been under the most pressure. All the Kyuss members sounds and style are so well known but that distinctive Garcia vocal is pretty damn impressive. Chappy sounded like he'd be singing those songs for years, he did it more than proud.

You would expect it not to be 100% perfect Kyuss as no one can do that, not even Kyuss Lives (insert fiery fueled argument between rivalling Kyuss / Kyuss Lives factions) but the band were right onto every part of it, they played from their heart, with smiles on their faces at times as they felt the love beaming back at them from the room. This was a tribute of the highest honour as they really did fuckin nail it. How many times should I say that?!! The sound, the vibe, the groove, it was all fuckin immense. All we can now hope for is that the Cherry and the band hook up again for tributes to Sky Valley & Circus...

Battle Axe Howlers: I don't know their song names but every song just kept getting better... can't wait to see them again and be able to grab something from them on vinyl. Good shit guys!

Matt Sonic & The High Times with Chappy: Thumb, Freedom Run, Allen's Wrench, well all of it! Interesting watching Chappy trying to deal with the mic lead tangled with the dude's dreads at the front during Mondo Generator... he kept head banging more and more and it just kept getting tangled! A special mention to Red (Cherry sound) who celebrated his 40th Birthday by way of singing Thong Song up on stage! You rocked the shit out of that song Red! Thanx dude! Happy Birthday!

Well done to all involved in the night.  "YEAH!!!"

Matt Sonic & The High Times
My Left Boot
Battle Axe Howlers
Cherry Bar
FB event for the night...

oh yeah, photo's courtesy of my iPhone... please forgive them!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


After taking some time off from reviewing due to reasons you wouldn’t give a shit about, I am so far behind now that it’s easier just to assume a new identity as an illegal immigrant and become a fruit picker in the Hunter Valley.

Unfortunately the fruit picking season for idiot savants hasn’t started so I am now forced to try and catch back up somehow. Keeping up the natural order of progression, I picked up one of the latest CD’s I received first from a Melbourne band. This EP comes highly recommended, but really, in this day and age when people are still buying Nickelback albums what the hell does that mean anyway.

I don’t know if it’s relevant to let you know that Drifter’s HEAD EP was recorded by the one and only Jason PC of Blood Duster fame at his Goatsound studio, or if it will have the same impact to let you tree hugging hermaphrodites know that the cover and insert is printed on recycled stock, but as a reviewer it’s my job to let you know the important things. Although I might as well be mouthing off about a Unida and Sasquatch gig in Palm Springs that’s only 3 dollars or some seemingly unrelated topic like how schools are getting rid of books in favour of using readers and eBooks for the kids.

It’s all somehow related, the future, the past… what’s coming and what’s been. And just like you Drifter simply don’t seem to care about what style of music they deliver and have made a blistering release that can’t be genre-fied or labeled other than in the category of ‘HELL YEAH!’. I can’t figure out if they are way ahead of their time or so far behind. For me their songs scream 80’s and early 90’s kick arse pub rock and like a dart to the head of your ex I fuckin love it. I wanna ring up my mates and get down to the local and rack up a game of pool. But these guys are no rip off, they aren’t even close. They are the real deal. This might have been recorded back then and only just released. How the fuck would you know? Dan’s mullet is testament to that! They are so right in there that they probably gave birth to the Cosmic Psycho’s while shotgunning VB’s at a cattle muster.

Some bands hate being compared to others, well I’m not comparing. If I was I’d be saying they were like a beer hat with room for a six pack and not a fuckin pink tennis visor. So rather than ramble on like some pastel coloured denim jeans and fedora wearing hipster fresh off a teenage internet show, I’m going to mention a whole lot of bands that might just not make any sense but if you like, you’d dig Drifter cause they make ya wanna shag ya misses in the back of ya ute at the local footy. It’s that’s fuckin good.

Cosmic Psychos
Violent Femmes
The Godfathers
Radio Birdman
The Screaming Tribesmen
Celibate Rifles
The 3Ds
Magic Dirt
NoMeansNo w/ Jello Biafra
Proton Energy Pills
Psychotic Turnbuckles

SST stuff... Alternative Tentacles, Red Eye, Waterfront, Sub Pop.
Whatever. Shut up I am just listing stuff now to fill space. Watch this.