Category Archives: music find

Psychostick: here to help you write that #1 song

Need help writing a #1 hit? Ask Psychostick.

Any musician wants to write a #1 hit, right? Well, it’s not as hard as you think. How do I know? How many #1 hit singles have I written? Well, let me answer the second question first. I haven’t written any #1 hit songs. How do I know it’s not that hard? Because Psychostick gives you the formula. Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself, smart guy.

http://psychostick.bandcamp.com/track/1-radio-ingle

beast!

Incognito pick of the week: BEAST!

It’s not surprising to hear that a hard rock or metal band is from Sweden. In fact, that just might be the least surprising thing you’ll read all day (aside from the daily update of Miley Cyrus’s “outrageous” behavior). While it’s not surprising, the band sure is good.

Yesterday, I wrote about an album that was like a slap to your earhole. This one is too. The album begins with “Save Me.” The best way I can describe this is groove rock with tough-chick vocals. Just imagine if Ann Wilson (70s Ann Wilson of course) sang vocals with Motorhead playing behind her. No, I’m not kidding. It’s like that. In fact, the entire album is like that.

If you’re someone who doesn’t profess to be a fan of metal, fear not. This album actually tends more toward heavy-duty rock n roll (sometimes played at the musical equivalent of ludicrous speed), than metal. Sure, it will get you bangin’ your head, but just listen to the bass line in “Outracin’ Hell” and tell me that’s not groove rock. This is rock n roll as it’s meant to be: loud, fast, and reckless. Do yourself a favor. Get this album, and turn it up as loud as you can stand it. If the neighbors don’t like it, well, just remember what Mojo Nixon once said, “I don’t care what the neighbors think. They got the highfalutin stink!” This album is all the rebuttal you need or those folks who say rock is dead.

Incognito pick of the week: Red Desert

Get your air guitar ready for the heavy groove rock of Red Desert

Get your air guitar ready for the heavy groove rock of Red Desert

What can I tell you, loyal reader? I’ve been listening to a lot of heavy groove rock recently. So I entered the term groove rock on Bandcamp and one of the bands I found was Red Desert from Minneapolis. This band definitely fits the groove rock category. If I had to describe this album with one word, it would be meaty. These are not ethereal guitar riffs. From the beginning of Damned by Fate, this band lives up to its motto: “Tune Down. Turn Up. Riff Out.”

The album begins with “Older No Wiser” and will immediately get your head moving up and down and your fist pumping.  Oh, and it will probably get you playing your best air guitar. In fact, you’ll probably want to have your air guitar muscles ready for this entire album. “Slow Kill” is one in particular that will have you slinging that air guitar. This song has a two-minute intro that is heavy on the guitar and drums.

In addition to tuning down, turning up, and riffing out, this band also believes in writing songs that are not three-minute songs that sound like they were made with a template. The shortest song on the album is “Blind Crossing” at 3:49 while most of the other songs are in the five- to six-minute range.

I’ll make this real simple. Instead of sitting here and telling you about the fat grooves produced by Red Desert, I will invite you to listen to the album in its entirety. I’ll tell you one thing for sure. Listening to this at work will definitely help drown out all the claptrap you don’t want to hear anyway.

 

Trashy Tuesday: The Penetrators

Garage goodness

Garage goodness

You know that feeling you get when you’re at your local record shop digging through the crates and you come across a find that you can’t believe? You look around for the hidden cameras and you wonder how no one has snatched up this record before you got there. No cameras. It’s true. That record is in the crate just waiting for you to rescue it and take it home. Finding The Penetrators on Bandcamp felt a lot like that, particularly since the album is called Kings of Basement Rock (Slovenly, 2013).
I don’t need to tell you, loyal reader, that basement rock is something that will always go over well with me. And this album whose songs were recorded between 1976 and 1984 doesn’t disappoint. This album is full of great garage classics like “Baby Dontcha Tell Me.” I’m not going to lie to you. If you want to set out to write a great garage rock tune, this is a great one to emulate. It has trashy guitars, a fuzzy bass line, and a brilliant rhythm pounded out by the drummer. And you know something? It’s not even my favorite track on the album. That designation belongs to “Rock n Roll Face.” This song declares, “If I’m trash, I don’t care.” Well, good. That’s what makes this band perfect for Trashy Tuesday. And just think about that title. A rock n roll face is a great thing. If you’ve ever taken in any live music, you’ve seen plenty of rock n roll faces. That’s part of what makes live music great.


There is one other song that really hooked me: “Life Stinks.” I’m not saying I agree with that sentiment. I’m of the mind that any day on the correct side of the grass is a good one. That being said, this song is a candidate for Take ‘Er Easy Thursday with lyrics like this:

Work in the factory, destroying your head

Push all the buttons and you’re half-dead.

Unfortunately, this describes the work situation for far too many people.  Even if you don’t work in the factory, it’s easy to feel like work is destroying your head.

If you like 60s-style garage rock, do yourself a favor and get this album. It’s lo-fi, loud, and T-R-A-S-H-Y. I guarantee you won’t find a lot of garage albums better than this one.

‘Billy Monday: Vince Ray and The Boneshakers

The Boneshakers: Setzer meets Frantic Flintstones

The Boneshakers: Setzer meets Frantic Flintstones

One of the terms frequently used to describe rockabilly bands is “high octane.” Well, it doesn’t take long to figure out that is a good descriptor for Vince Ray and The Boneshakers from London. The first song I heard from this band is “Snake Drive.” It’s about trucking and it has a tempo that dares you to keep up. See what I mean about high octane being a fitting term?

Someone described this band as Eddie Cochrane meets Motorhead. While that’s not a bad comparison, I’d say a better one is this sounds like what might happen if Brian Setzer played guitar for Frantic Flintstones. The Brian Setzer comparison is most apparent in “Strychnine Strut.” This is a cover of “Strychnine” by The Sonics put to a melody that reminds me of “Stray Cat Strut.” And yes, it is just as interesting as it sounds.

And if you think the tempo of that one is fast, just wait until you hear “Lady Luck.” I can only imagine that the hands of Ben the bassist are nothing but a blur when he plays this song. You can’t even play air bass as quickly as he thumps the doghouse on this song. Another thing I can say about this song (even though I haven’t seen it performed live), is that it would be a great close to a live set because it would leave the audience wanting more.

If I had to name a favorite of the band’s songs available on ReverbNation, I’d say it’s the cover of the classic “Cigarettes & Whisky (a song also covered by Black Jake and The Carnies, a band we featured in April).” Now, this is a great song simply because of the theme of a life ruined by smoking, drinking, and wild women (the ruin of many a poor boy). It’s an even better song when it features some great guitar and upright bass at a tempo that seems like it should be illegal.

If you’re a fan of rockabilly, particularly rockabilly that sounds like it’s been doused in whiskey and dragged through a gutter, you will love this band. Check out all of its tunes available on ReverbNation. Oh, and it bears mentioning that a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” is not among those songs.

Twitter: @the_boneshakers

Facebook: vincerayandtheboneshakers

 

‘Billy Monday: Batmobile

Psychobilly: Batmobile and everybody else

Psychobilly: Batmobile and everybody else

Here at Incognito HQ, we listen to our loyal readers. Recently, I asked if anyone had any recommendations for ‘Billy Monday and @Kreepy_Krawler gave the tremendous suggestion of putting the spotlight on Batmobile. Yes, loyal reader, I too wondered why I hadn’t done it previously. After all, when it comes to psychobilly, there’s Batmobile and there’s everybody else. Perhaps it hadn’t occurred to me to feature this legendary Dutch band because after 30 years, the band doesn’t really need any introduction from me or anyone else. That’s right. This band has been together for 30 years and when you listen to its tunes, you’d have a hard time coming across one that you’d want to skip.

Check out this video from earlier this year and tell me if you think the band has lost anything after three decades of playing.

Another thing I’ll say is that when you listen to this band, you’ll see just how much influence it has had on the entire psychobilly genre. Thirty years and a broad influence on an entire genre. Like I said earlier, this band doesn’t need any introduction from me or anyone else. Wherever you are on this ‘Billy Monday, make it better with Batmobile.

 

 

Funk Friday: The Bamboos

The Bamboos: Excellent Aussie funk

The Bamboos: Excellent Aussie funk

For this installment of Funk Friday we take you to Australia for the sounds of The Bamboos. Now, before I even heard a note from this band, I saw this quote “They’ve got IT.” Do you know who that quote was from? Eddie Bo. I don’t know about you, but if Eddie Bo puts his stamp of approval on a funk band, that tells me the band is legit.

And this band certainly is legit. The first song I heard “On the Sly” has the classic theme of wondering who else your partner is seeing. Not that I approve of the behavior itself, but there is always something about a good cheating song. Especially when that cheating song features a wicked bass line, some great horns, and an excellent organ part. Oh, and did I mention the incredibly soulful vocals?

This band also incorporates some hip-hop influence into its tunes, especially in the vocals. “Can’t Help Myself” is a great funk tune with vocals that are rapped more than sung. As a side note, it’s pretty interesting to hear rap vocals with an Australian accent.

This is excellent music not merely to get you through the drudgery of another workday, but also for a house party. You and your guests won’t be able to keep still when you hear this band from Melbourne. If you like real, good-time funk, do yourself a favor and add some tunes by The Bamboos to your collection.

 

It’s Sunday, Punk: The Toy Dolls

Try telling The Toy Dolls punk is dead

Try telling The Toy Dolls punk is dead

Some folks will tell you that real punk rock is dead. Try telling that to The Toy Dolls, a band that was there almost at the beginning of the punk movement and is still going strong. The band released a new album just last year. I’ll say this much. The band has been around for nearly 35 years and still hasn’t lost the punk spirit.

“Sod the Neighbours” might not have been recorded in the late 70s, but it sounds like it was. It’s loud, fast, and snotty. Not only that, but it has a classic rock n roll theme of being loud and not caring that the neighbors are asking you to keep it down. Oh, and did I mention the guitar and bass. Each one has an amazing solo in this song. The guitarist absolutely shreds on his axe and the bass man lays down a bass line that dares you to keep up.

Speaking of classic themes, the band also has a song called “My Wife’s a Psychopath.” The theme of this reminds me a lot of “I Gotta Crazy Wife” by Mojo Nixon. To be fair, The Toy Dolls is not the first band to sing about having a woman who’s “always on the warpath.”

If you’re a fan of old-school punk and The Toy Dolls isn’t already in your collection, you should do something about that. After all, what’s not to love about a band that has loud and fast songs about pissing off your neighbors, fightin’, and seriously crazy chicks?

Dear Nashville, remember country music?

Dear Nashville,

I am writing this as a fan of country music. I was browsing Bandcamp earlier this week when I came across this band called Sweetback Sisters. And you know something? It sounded familiar…like country music used to sound. You remember how country music used to sound, right? Well, judging by the stuff you’re putting on the radio, you don’t. In any case, once upon a time there was country music and it was sung by people who actually seemed to feel what they were singing instead of just singing whatever will get them a fat check. They were people who were more concerned with telling a good story (even if it was a tale of woe) than wearing the hottest designer clothes. I’m sure I’m not alone, but I miss those singers. You know, the ones that made Nashville what it is…or what it used to be anyway. In any case, I just thought you should know that real country music is still out there even if it’s not coming from Nashville. Oh, that’s right! I forgot to mention this band is from Brooklyn. That’s right. They’re Yankees, and they’re making music that’s more country than all of your “country” artists. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Give the album a listen.

 

 

 

Too Drunk by Secret Country

I see the stats for this blog and I know that you, loyal reader, like when I post songs about drinking. Who can blame you? It’s tough to beat a good drinking song. In this particular tune by Secret Country, the narrator has enough awareness to know that he’s too drunk to walk, drive, and even think. (If only everyone could have that much self-awareness when they drink.) He does, however, realize that he’s not too drunk for one thing: more drinking. That sounds a little more like real life. Oh, and if you like that drinking song (it sure is a catchy one), the band has a couple more drinking songs on the album Women, Whiskey, and Nightlife.