Monthly Archives: December 2012

Albums I’m looking forward to in 2013

Well, it’s the last day of the year. We’ve done enough looking back at 2012 and now it is time to look ahead to 2013. Here is a (hardly comprehensive) list of some of the albums I am looking forward to in 2013.

  • Clutch – One of my all-time favorite bands releases its first album since Strange Cousins from the West.

    Available from Clutch in March

    Available from Clutch in March

  • Dropkick Murphys – Do I need to explain this?
  • The Tossers – Another release from a great Celtic punk band.
  • Sir Reg – Celtic punk from Sweden is enough to catch my attention.
  • Nick Pride and the Pimptones – Because you can never have too much funk and soul in your collection.
  • Kris Kristofferson - A surprise entry perhaps, but the guy writes a good song.
  • Bad Religion – Another one that requires no explanation.

    True North will be available in January

    True North will be available in January

‘Billy Monday: The Rebellys

Get your 'billy fix with this band from Monterrey, Mexico

Get your ‘billy fix with this band from Monterrey, Mexico

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. For all the horrible music the United States has produced (see yesterday’s post Rock and Roll can never die), the impact of American music can be seen far beyond our borders.

How else to explain a rockabilly band from Monterrey, Mexico? OK, so in this case American music didn’t travel that far, but the point is still a valid one. I’ll put it this way. This Mexican band has a song called “Hill Billy.” How is that for American music reaching other parts of the world? This song (especially the bass line) will make you want to swing dance with the nearest suitable partner. And speaking of swing dancing, “Oh mi Rebelly” is a pure rockabilly song with really clean guitars and a melody that will make you want to swing dance.

If psychobilly is more your thing, The Rebellys have you covered there too with the song “Vampira.” Mind you, I don’t understand any of the lyrics except, “Won’t you love me, baby?” but it definitely has the psychobilly feel not only in sound but also in theme.

Then there is the total curveball of “Rockabilly Vampire.” Don’t let the rockabilly in the title fool you. The title is as far as the rockabilly goes in this song. The guitar sound is pure psychobilly, but this song also features some organ that you would expect to hear from a garage band.

This is a great band for ‘Billy Monday considering they span both rockabilly and psychobilly. But there is also a healthy does of 50s rock and roll (I’m guessing these guys grew up listening to a lot of Gene Vincent) in this band too.

Rock and roll can never die

Admittedly, this is a bit heavier than what I normally write, but your humble narrator had some strings floatin’ around in his head that he needed to address.

“What the hell ever happened to that real music? The stuff that’s coming out right now is gonna kill music.” That is a line from the song “Atilla” by Demon Waffle. I really like the band, but I have to respectfully disagree. It doesn’t matter who those lines were written about. The song does mention Black Eyed Peas, and it certainly seems like that group is doing what it can to kill music. But here’s the thing. People have been saying that music has been dying for decades. We’ve seen Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga before (especially Lady Gaga…when her name was Madonna) and guess what. They didn’t kill music. They can’t.

This guy (on the right) knows what rock n roll is.

This guy (on the right) knows what rock n roll is.

You see, rock and roll isn’t a genre. It’s a spirit. And even the most soulless, mind-crushing, corporate music can’t kill the spirit of rock and roll. Why? Well, allow me to quote Mojo Nixon, “there will always be a 13-year-old kid who wants to masturbate on the playground and sing some song he shouldn’t be singing.” Say what you want about the notion of a 13-year-old kid masturbating on the playground, but the truth is if you see something like that you know that particular teenager has the rock and roll in his soul. “Artists” like the aforementioned Bieber and Gaga don’t have any rock and roll in their soul. What they have is a lot of money. And why? Because if they ever did have any rock and roll in their respective souls (which is doubtful), they sold it to the middle-aged white guys that write their checks. They get money because they look good on billboards and the sides of buses, not because their music is any good. Trust me, I’ve interviewed enough musicians to know that a lot of them might envy the money made by the music acts that are corporate shills, but they would never sign on for it. That’s the spirit of rock and roll, Jack. Eating crappy food, swilling cheap beer, and playing in dark basement clubs in places like Wichita on a Tuesday afternoon.

This guy does not

This guy does not

And let’s face it. We used to be stuck with the crap on the radio. But there has never been a better time for exploring music that was not fabricated by middle-aged white dudes. We have podcasts that play good music you won’t find elsewhere. We have sites like Bandcamp, which is really an invaluable resource for people that like to discover new music. (Seriously, go to the site and enter a genre (or even an instrument) you like and explore the acts that appear as a result of your search.) So do this, loyal reader. As 2012 comes to an end, resolve to make 2013 the year you leave all corporate music behind and support real artists with rock and roll in their respective souls.

Surf Music Sunday: Goofyfooter

Calm before the Storm is available now

Calm before the Storm is available now

On Goofyfooter‘s (from Melbourne) website, the band claims that it is not your traditional instrumental surf band. From what I’ve heard (only previews of songs are available on Soundcloud), I’d have to agree. “Usurper’s Paradise” is the first track on the band’s latest EP and while it has the surf guitar sound you’d expect with lots of reverb, it also has a bit of an industrial feel to it at the beginning. Then about two minutes into the song, the industrial sound is switched for an acoustic guitar to accompany the heavy reverb on the electric guitar. It’s pretty fair to say that it’s not like other surf music out there.

The same can be said for “Valiant Safari,” which seems pretty heavily influenced by 70s rock. The guitar definitely has that 70s arena rock feel to it.

“Big Wave Bay” has a more traditional surf music feel to it. This upbeat surf tune will make you want to get on your board and catch the “tasty waves” Jeff Spicoli spoke about.

If you are a surf traditionalist, maybe this isn’t the band for you. However, if you generally like the sounds surf music and heavier rock, then this “mongrel mix” would be good in your collection. Plus, just think about the reaction when you lay it on your friends by telling them you’ve found this great Australian surf rock band.

Adam Griffith’s top 10 films of 2012

You know him as one of our beer panelists. He is also one of the three guys at 3 Guys 1 Movie. Here is the list of his 10 favorite movies of 2012.

Over at 3 Guys One Movie, as one would expect we watch a lot of films. While I watched more than 50 new releases this year, I did not see every film so this list may be a bit incomplete. I have not yet see Lincoln, Silver Linings, Playbook, or Les Mserables. While I have heard good things about these films, I am only including films I have watched on this list. I will, however see the aforementioned films before the conclusion of Oscar season.

10. Beasts of the Southern Wild: 6 year-old Quvenzhane Wallis turns in an amazing performance as Huspuppy, a small girl dealing with the effect of the melting ice caps on her bayou home and the illness of her old man. Also, this is a real pick-me-up if you have any questions about the viability of your own child-raising abilities.

9. 21 Jump Street: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum turn out to be a great comedic coupling in this sort-of remake of the 1980s television show. This may be the funniest film I watched this year.

8. Prometheus: The greatest viral-marketing campaign I have ever seen coupled with wondrous special effects and direction by Ridley Scott almost raise this film to greatness. However, a nonsensical screenplay by overrated scribe Damon Lindelof prevents the film from rising higher on the list.

7. Cabin in the Woods: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard deliver a tender homage to horror films in this tale. The movie has a lot of hot coeds, scooby snacks, zombies and a twisty plot to keep you guessing until the end.

6. Looper: A time-travel film that doesn’t dwell on the how and instead focuses on why. While Joseph Gordon-Levitt is rock solid as usual, Bruce Willis really steals the show. Warning: you may want to purchase a blunderbuss by the time the film reaches its conclusion.

5. The Hobbit: Yes its a bit long in running time, but that is sort of like complaining about receiving too many lap dances. It’s an amazing trip back to Middle Earth and Peter Jackson is back at the helm of the franchise.

4. The Raid Redemption: We walked out of the theater looking for someone to spin-kick upside the head. Far and away the best balls-to-the-wall martial-arts flick I’ve viewed in years. It suffers from spartan plot and dialog, but you will not even notice.

3. The Avengers: A near-perfect balance of action and comedy achieved while not alienating Marvel fan boys. Who knew Mark Ruffalo would steal the show as The Hulk? I loved it, the misses loved it, and my four-year-old was more excited than Tony Stark at an open bar.

2. Argo: Ben Affleck delivers a virtuoso performance both in front of and behind the in a film sure to be nominated for best picture. Sure, everyone over the age of 40 who has read a history book probably already knows how this one is going to end. The amazing thing is you are on the edge of your seat regardless.

1. Moonrise Kingdom: Far and away my favorite film of the year and not just because of my man crush on Wes Anderson. Arguably the most approachable Anderson film since Rushmore, I was entranced the entire time. When I got home from the theater, I tried to convince the misses to move to a small island in New England.

Ska Saturday: The Pandemics

High-energy New York punk ska

High-energy New York punk ska

The latest album from The Pandemics begins with what sounds like a news clip in which someone discusses what a pandemic is. It is pretty catchy right from the word go, but the first song that really reached out and grabbed me was “Movin’.” And what a fitting title for this song. You can’t single out any one instrument that gets you moving on this one because the trombone, organ, guitar, and rhythm section will all get you moving. Holy cow! If you don’t move some part of your body to this song, I think you’re clinically dead. And that’s not the only song like that either. “Skaramanga” is also a song that will get you moving.

“Hey You!” is a song that will get you moving in a different way. This is an uptempo and aggressive song that just might kickstart your instincts to fight someone. Not that it’s an angry song, but somehow it plays on that part of your brain that makes you a little aggro toward someone who deserves it.

This may sound weird, but when I listen to The Pandemics, I can’t help but think that this is what would happen if The Mahones started playing ska. The vocals are the same kind of raspy punk vocals you’ll hear when you listen to any album buy The Mahones. If you are a fan of punk ska at all, The Pandemics is a band that will fit nicely into your collection.

Five Horse Johnson: an early candidate for 2013 favorite albums

An early candidate for my favorite albums of 2013

An early candidate for my favorite albums of 2013

I know, loyal reader; 2012 is not even over yet. How can I have a candidate for favorite album of 2013? I’m not saying that The Taking of Black Heart (Small Stone Records) is for sure going to make my list of favorite albums of the year. Here’s how it works. Throughout the year, I keep a list of albums that I really like. It’s usually about 15 to 20 albums. Then in November and December, I go over my list and listen to all the albums again until I’ve whittled the list down to 13.

As for Five Horse Johnson…think of it as a Heisman watch list. When college football season begins, there is a list of players who are labeled “Heisman favorites.” Some of those players maintain their performance all year. Others, like Matt Barkley, are distant memories by the middle of the season. So, will Five Horse Johnson make my list of favorite albums for 2013? It’s impossible to say at the moment. I know I’ll get a lot more albums I like next year, but my short list for favorite albums of the year right now only has one album on it and it is the new one by Five Horse Johnson.

Funk Friday: Nick Pride and the Pimptones

Get funky now!

Get funky now!

People of England, I hope you appreciate all the good funk bands in your country. For whatever reason, there are a lot of great funk bands in England and Nick Pride and the Pimptones is one of them.

The band’s album It’s The Pimptones (Record Kicks 2010) begins with “Shake n Bake.” This one will definitely get you shaking what you got. It is such an uptempo funk song, your feet will have a hard time keeping up. And isn’t that the point of funk: to get you not only moving but also sweaty. Oh and by the way, the first track isn’t the only one that will get you sweaty. “White Mitchell” will do a pretty good job of that too.

If the thing you like best about funk is the bass, then “Bring It Home to Me” is the song for you. The steady and low rumble of the bass, along with the horns, is what drives this tune.

This is a band that leans more toward the jazz than say the psychedelic, but there are some really good grooves for shaking what your mama gave you. If you like what you hear from this band on Bandcamp, then I have good news for you. A new release from The Pimptones is expected in 2013.

The delightful strangeness of My Lovely Mustache

Delightfully strange

Delightfully strange

Sometimes, loyal reader, I find something so delightfully strange that I have to share it with you. After all, when you’re a sound hound (and why would you be reading this if you’re not), part of the joy of music is sharing it with people you think will like it. Now, before I present the song, I should perhaps share how I came across Biscuithead and The Biscuit Badgers. I was on Bandcamp and randomly did a search for tuba (no, I’m not kidding). This was one of the results of my search and let’s be honest; how am I going to overlook a band with this name? And so, without further ado (unless you’ve done your own keyword search for tuba on Bandcamp and already know this song) I present “My Lovely Mustache” by Biscuithead and The Badgers.

Far-Out Thursday: Hellbender

Get your heavy psych fix on Bandcamp

Get your heavy psych fix on Bandcamp

This week’s selection is from a radio show called Smoke to Sleep, which frankly sounds like a lot of people I have known in my life. The biggest difference is that a lot of those people went from sleep to smoke also In any case, knowing the name of the show, you get some idea of what to expect from Hellbender.

If you were going to smoke up and then go to sleep, Hellbender might be just the band you’d want to accompany you. Why? Because if you’re getting into that state (and I’m not saying we condone it), you want to feel like the sound is coming from everywhere. This band certainly achieves that. When you put this on your sound system, you will kind of feel like you are swimming in the instrumental psychedelia. I’m not even sure I have a good comparison for this band. It is loud and raucous, but it is all psychedelic.

That being said, the beginning of the performance comes as a bit of a shock to the system. While you may be expecting something mellow to get you to wind down, the band delivers “Atolia,” which is uptempo and loud to the point that it seems like the studio could not contain the sound of this band. I’m not going to say the sound quality is great, but let’s face it; this was recorded live for a radio show and it’s not the first or last time we’ve featured a raw recording here on Incognito HQ. Still, if you like heavy psychedelic stuff with a lot of long tracks, this is a band to check out. Plus, the band has a bunch of higher-quality recordings available on Bandcamp that you can get your ears on.