I’m going to let you behind the curtain a little bit, loyal reader. The time for releasing the spring issue is nearly upon us, and a lot of it was put together. However, my old laptop quit on me. Not a big deal, right? Everything’s backed up. That’s what I thought. Only that wasn’t the case. So instead of scrambling to put out the spring issue on time, I am just going to publish all the contents here at Incognito HQ over the next couple weeks.
Pawtooth (from Asheville, North Carolina) is a band whose album Arcadian Playground I’d reviewed and included in the spring issue which has now disappeared. One thing is immediately clear about Pawtooth: this is not a band that is interested in sounding like dozens of other bands. It’s also immediately apparent that the band puts a lot of energy into its recordings. After the instrumental opener “Archetype” comes “Everwaves.” This is a tremendous example of the swirling sound and energy of the band. This is the kind of song you have to hear with your eyes closed so you can focus on all the layers of sound.
Vocalist Penelope Zing has at least one thing in common with Chrissy Hynde. She has the kind of voice that was made for fronting a rock band. She can do vocals that are a little trippy like in “Auxiliary.” At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, something about the vocals in this song reminds me of Grace Slick.
Of course I need to recognize the rest of the band too. It’s obvious that this is a tight group of musicians. They manage to create layers of sound so that it seems like you’re surrounded by the music. If you’re a fan of female vocalists and layers of sound, Pawtooth is a band you should get to know.
Jehosaphat Blow is a musician I first encountered a couple years ago, and I was immediately drawn to his raw and downright crazy sound. Or as Jehosaphat himself describes it, “rockin’ rock n roll, garagey-garage with a little soul and punk kind of space caveman thing.” Precisely.
You know, Mojo Nixon has a song about how rock n roll will never die because there will always be some kid on the playground singing like Little Richard and grabbin’ his tallywhacker. Now, I don’t know about the whole tallywhacker thing, but it’s easy to imagine that Jehosaphat Blow was one of those kids on the playground singing like Little Richard while strumming a guitar from Sears and banging on a bucket. Now he’s doing the same thing…only in his living room. Truth be told, he doesn’t really sing like Little Richard. Les Sexareenos is probably a better comparison. Still, you get the idea.
You could pick any song on this album as a good example of the raw energy and sound of this guy, but if you want some rock n roll to shake your soul, check out “Do the Cumquat.”
I don’t know about you, loyal reader, but I love songs that are sheer madness. You know, like “Surfin’ Bird.” Yes, it’s utter nonsense, but it’s catchy as hell. Well, Jehosaphat Blow has a lot of madness in his music, but there may not be a song on this new album with more madness than “Toshi’s Girl.”
Far be it from me to argue with the artist’s description of his own music. Allow me to say this though: this is the musical equivalent of a house on fire. And I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty cool thing. If you like raw howlin’ rock n roll, get this new album from Jehosaphat Blow.
Loyal reader, put yourself in my position; you receive a music submission that is compared to Black Sabbath. What do you do? Well, if you’re anything like me, you share this track with as many people as you can.
And it doesn’t take long to notice that the comparison of Gunpowder Gray to Black Sabbath is a good one. This is certainly riff-driven guitar with vocals that can only be described as big. Seriously, when you listen to this song, it feels like vocalist Chris Heffernan is right in the room with you. Not to mention that the rest of the band will knock you out of your full lotus too. I could sit here and tell you how great this track is, but you’d be much better off just listening to it yourself.
“Cut Me Out” will be available on a seven-song EP on Boris Records that will be released on Record Store Day (April 20). If you’re a metalhead, this is one you’ll want to add to your collection.
Welcome to another day of our new music bonanza here at Incognito HQ. I know you’re probably expecting Take ‘Er Easy Thursday, but I am working my way through a host of new albums. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the great things about doing this as long as I have is that now some bands are coming back around for a second feature. Last year, I featured a split 7″ of Arliss Nancy and Those Crosstown Rivals. Now Those Crosstown Rivals is back with a full-length album Hell and Back.
The album opens with the title track, and it’s a pretty good track to hook you. It starts with some groovy organ and a beat that will get your head moving. Then you hear the lyrics and you realize that – like a lot of great rock n roll songs – this is a song about the devil. Frankly, it’s hard to go wrong with a rock n roll song about the devil.
The next song “Ugly Side” opens with a riff that has the same loud and nasty quality you expect from Nashville Pussy. The drums in this song are amazing. It’s the kind of sound you would expect to hear from the drummer at an arena show.
I’ll be honest. I have to put this album on my ongoing list of albums that I’ll consider for my favorite albums of 2014. This is just a great rock record. This album will get you pumping your fist (just try listen to “Be a Man” without pumping your fist) and playing some wicked air guitar. Raucous guitars, driving rhythms, and volume levels that will make parents everywhere cringe: what more do you want? Hell and Back is available now on iTunes.
Bands, let me address you for a moment before I get to my review of Parallel Play. You have a number of ways to catch the attention of me and other potential listeners before we even hear a note of your music You can have a good band name (I have commandments about this), or cool cover art. Or like Parallel Play from Dallas, you can have a provocative album title like Take Your Pants Off. Now, while that name is eye-catching in any case, it is particularly eye-catching because I have two boys (the older of which is almost five) who frequently think that pants are optional.
This album was introduced to me this way: “bluegrass instrumentation in a rock band formation produced by Salim Nourallah (The Old 97′s) and engineered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys).” Is there any wonder why I was intrigued? The mention of Old 97s was particularly interesting when I heard the first song “When the Trail is Cold.” This certainly features bluegrass instrumentation, but the energy (and the drums) remind me of Old 97s.
Another band that comes to mind when I listen to this band is Yonder Mountain String Band. Yes, I realize this is not a string band. However, it’s not just the melodies but also the harmony vocals that remind me of Yonder Mountain. “Take These Hands” is a good example of a song that falls into this particular category.
And hey, if you look at the track list, you’ll see a familiar song title: “Found out about You.” That’s right. This band covered a song by Gin Blossoms, and it did a fine job. Also, I have to give the band points for vocabulary in “She Smiles Upside Down.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a band use the words philander and odious in the same song.
There is really a lot to like on this album. It’s a bluegrass sound with a rock n roll beat. It features some really solid musicians and amazing harmony vocals. If you like any of those things, give Parallel Play a try. Take Your Pants Off is available now on Bandcamp.
Yes, loyal reader, I know you’re expecting ‘Billy Monday, but here’s the thing. I get a lot of new music all the time, and I feel like I need to do a better job of sharing it with you. This could be just a temporary thing where the posts are more freeform depending on the kind of music sent to me. Or it could be the birth of some new weekly themes. We will see.
Speaking of themes, you’ll recall that Sundays used to be dedicated to surf music. Well, whether or not the good folks at Ding Dong Records knew about that, they were good enough to send an amazing compilation of surf music. My first WOW! moment of this compilation came in just the second track “Old Man Summer” by This Machine Kills Robots. Some surf albums are great for playing in the car as you drive to the beach to surf. Other surf albums are good for playing at night in your beachside bungalow lit up by tiki torches. This song is perfect for a video montage of surfers wiping out. The guitar in this song sounds like what would happen if Dick Dale took a handful of uppers before he played.
I’m not going to go over each of the 22 songs on this compilation, but here are some definite highlights.
- Band names: Diablo Pussycat, The Mullet Monster Mafia, Surflamingo
- It includes favorites such as Insect Surfers, The Mystery Men?, and Kill, Baby…Kill
- And if you want a real highlight, just know that you can pick any song on this compilation and know that it is an absolute destroyer. Seriously, how many times do you get a compilation and you like maybe half of it? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with this compilation. This is great surf music from top to bottom.
Monsters of Surf is 22 songs (each by a different artist) of surf music that makes you want to get in your Woody, drive to the beach and “catch some tasty waves.” Or maybe make some Zombie cocktails. This is the perfect compliment to either.
I’ve read a lot of band introductions in my time. Some are utterly forgettable. Others are immediately captivating like this one: “Don’t Turn Your Fucking Back On Me is a riotous 90 seconds of glorious, tightly wound rock n roll, taking pot shots at the corrupt politicians that deign to believe they lead us.” That is how The Pulsebeats (from Santander, Spain) introduced its three-song EP.
Let’s just say that riotous is a great word to describe the first track of this EP. Take some loud guitar, add a bass line that would fit just as nicely in a rockabilly song, and some drums that will get your feet tapping. Then add some shouted vocals that call out politicians, and what you’ve got is one riotous song that begs to be blared out of windows and sung at the top of your lungs. Not to mention a song that should be played at political speeches everywhere.
If anything, “White Little Horse” is just as much of a sonic punch as the first track. This is a good example of how a song can sound retro and modern simultaneously. The band manages to incorporate some trashy 60s guitar sounds into it while still making it sound like a modern song. Also, there is a bass solo in this song that will rumble your guy.
This EP is only eight minutes long, but these guys pack a lot of rock n roll into eight minutes. There’s no messing around. These guys get right to the rockin’, and blast it for a couple minutes before the song comes to an end. If you like hard-hitting rock n roll, check out The Pulsebeats. Don’t Turn Your Fucking Back on Me is available now on Bandcamp.
It’s not every day I get a message from an alternative rock band in Vienna, particularly one that seems like a U.N. meeting. Siren Call makes its home in Vienna, but its members come from Bulgaria, Hungary, and the U.S. Needless to say that the message I received piqued my interest enough for me to check out the band’s single “Comfort Zone.”
Now, before I get to the music, I have to say that I don’t really enjoy the term alternative rock simply because I always wonder “An alternative to what?” But if the term alternative puts you in mind of 90s rock, then you’re definitely on the right path with this song.
This is a good, melodic rock song that reminds me of bands like The Connells (although The Connells didn’t have a female vocalist). It has that same sort of even, melodic feel to it. Vocalist Yvonne Lace (bass) also hits you with some really good lyrics like “Don’t be one of them robotic slaves of Friday night.” Sound advice. It’s true that I don’t normally feature bands based one song, but it’s a good song. Don’t just take my word for it. Give it a listen and see what you think.
It’s no secret that we enjoy raw and wild rock and roll here at Incognito HQ. It’s also no secret that we enjoy the unusual. Well, on this Trashy Tuesday, I’d like to present something that is certainly unusual. How about a split 7″ featuring a Japanese band and an Italian band? Is that unusual enough for you? That is exactly what I found while browsing on Bandcamp.
That alone would have been enough to grab my attention. Then I pressed play and I got a sonic explosion in my earhole. After an intro borrowed from Ramones (“1 2 3 4!”), the song explodes with furious energy and volume. The song is only slightly longer than two minutes, but it would be understandable if the band were exhausted after playing the song.
The Morbeats do a version of “That’s Alright, Mama” that is quite a bit different than any time Elvis performed it…and it’s only a minute and a half long. But in that minute and a half, your ears are greeted with wondrously loud guitars, furious drums and vocals that are shouted. I think the best reaction to this song is simply, “Wow!”
This split 7″ is available now on Bandcamp.
Well, loyal reader, another Super Bowl (mercifully) is behind us and another work week (dreadfully) is upon us. OK, maybe I shouldn’t say dreadfully. On the one hand, it means five more days of mind-numbing, soul-sucking work. On the other hand, it means that ‘Billy Monday is once again upon us…and that’s always a good thing.
As often happens, I found Los Bandits (from Los Angeles) by randomly searching for psychobilly bands on Bandcamp. I was pretty well hooked on this band already. And then I heard “Pisto Song.” Holy moly! If this song doesn’t get you moving, I’m not sure any song will. This song is one part Johnny Cash, one part classic rockabilly, and one part ZZ Top (interesting combo, don’tcha think?). Oh, and did I mention this is a drinking song? Seriously, I have to say that this is an early candidate for one of my favorite songs of the year.
A good example of why this band comes up in a search for psychobilly is “Misery.” This is kind of a moody downtempo song…for the first two and a half minutes. Then it explodes into a furious psychobilly freakout that is tough to keep up with. The last minute of this song is the kind of music you want to listen to when you work out. And speaking of music for working out, “Die Tonight” is another good example. This is the kind of song that – despite its dark theme – forces you to push your workout just a little harder.
If you like rock n roll with a healthy injection of psychobilly and (to a lesser extent) rockabilly, Los Bandits is a band you should get to know. The band’s self-titled album is available in its entirety on Bandcamp.