It’s been three days and the post-blues blues are sort of beginning to fade. The 2009 East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival was my first Bluesfest, and proved to be a superb way to pop the cherry and chill out in Byron Bay for a few days.
What was awesome?
1. Blue King Brown – I’ve never seen BKB live before but the energy and mood of their whole set was simply joyous. Natalie Pa’apa’a was smoking in some short-shorts and a leetle black singlet. I chugged two Smirnoff Ice’s and danced the whole way through.
2. Seasick Steve – what a fascinating man. The 68 year old guitarist still looks like the hobo he used to be (and took frequent swigs of whisky from a bottle under his chair in between songs) but his sound is superb and his stories are humbling. Easily the crowd favourite among the smaller Bluesfest acts. Read the full story
You don’t get many people going to Nine Inch Nails gigs that are ‘kind of in to them’, or that have picked up a spare ticket from a mate at the last minute so pop along just to see what all the fuss is about. In many people’s eyes (including my own) Trent doesn’t put a foot wrong, not just when producing and performing but also in taking a stance against the traditional music industry and its inflexible distribution model.
My expectations for this event were stratospheric as soon as it was announced. Either because of the superlative reputation it had in the UK for being a grown-up, chilled out festival, the involvement of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the venue itself or, more likely, a combination of all three. Read the full story
On Friday night, I headed to Luna Park to catch a highly-anticipated (by me) gig at the Big Top.
First up was Ash Grunwald, who I’ve been listening to lately but have never known much about. I was surprised by the fact that Grunwald is a one-man show. He does the guitars and vocals and operates a snare, kick drum and toms using his feet. Great plan, in theory, but if you break a string and get flustered (and admit that to your audience), you’ve got no one to hold things while you get your shit together. While Ash rocks at what he does, his feet were half a second behind the rest of him. Get a drummer, son.
The rich vocal melodies over some really innovative rhythms make it both powerful and smooth. Great tension and release that really drive the tones to deliver the overall moods. Overall the tracks are very progressive and offer a deep range of moods that seem to fall into one another with perfect harmony.
As I listen to each track I’m constantly longing to hear more – especially from a very unique vocal flavour who I can’t help but admire for the dynamics, liquidity and melodic bounds.
Thoughts: Vocal tones remind me of David Draiman (Disturbed) but with much more soul (and clean tones); guitars that of Tool, The Butterfly Effect; Drumming and bass similar too.
Without a doubt, Wes Borland’s new project Black Light Burns is one of the best sounds I’ve heard in years. Straight to the favourite band list. Sophisticated, dark and powerful; both the songs and the album collectively take you on a journey.
The latest interview with Borland I’ve read provides great insight.
The record starts real aggressively, but toward the middle it gets a little more hurtful and hurting, lyrically, trying to express painful feelings, but still in an aggressive way. Then it kind of opens up in the end. And that was the purpose: to attack, then explain, then release and be done with it.
Jye put the call out a little while ago for people to send in music for reviewing, and Julian Rapp from Friendship Records was one of those who answered the call.
He’s sent me some music by a rock band on the Friendship Records label called Nobody Can Dance. Nine tracks, with titles like Dance, Fucker, Dance!, Creepy Little People and Post-Apocalyptic Pussy.
Here’s my favourite track from the nine tracks I received, If You Got a Problem:
Nice start, the guitars complement each other well – which isn’t always the case in some of the other tracks, though of course it’s going to be tricky having two leads especially when they’re both running effects.
The band comprises of a drummer, bassist and two lead guitars which leaves the mix fairly open although both guitars use overdrive and one is usually fairly heavily distorted giving the band a grungy garage feel.
The vocals reminded me of Beck for some reason.
Nice variety of tempos and feels, although the start of You Put Me On worried me a bit with its country sound but its all good after the first minute.
I rate Nobody Can Dance 3 out of 5 stars.
Another track Animal Love:
The tracks “If You Got a Problem” and “Animal Love” have been offered for streaming on The Music Blogs under permission from Friendship Records.
Now listening to: Puscifer – V Is For Vagina. Really loving Maynard James Keenan‘s new album – it’s not Tool and it’s not A Perfect Circle, which I’m sure disappointed so many. It’s dark, haunting and acoustic with some industrial undertones. Keenan’s voice is delivered in a soothing baritone and really sets it apart from anything he, or anyone else, has done in the past.
Originality is not dead.
Speakers and Tweeters by UK group Dub Pistols has been a favourite of mine for quite a few months now possibly odd considering dub isn’t a genre I have many albums from – mostly d&b, house, rock & metal – but it’s a great album to chill back to; I can listen to it over and over again and never get sick of it.
Good mix of tempos from the downtempo opening track Speed of Light, through to Gangsters; some tracks crossing into reggae, some into more hip-hop/rap style. Actually if you like this album you’ll probably also like Guru’s Jazzmatazz series.
Billy Howerdel‘s (A Perfect Circle) new project ASHES dIVIDE is also at the top of my playlists at the moments. The guitars and vocals deliver a very emotive sound over the alternative rock base. As producer and performer (on all instruments unless otherwise noted) Howerdel’s signature, singing guitars can be easily recognised; co-produced with Danny Lohner (former Nine Inch Nails) some industrial tones can also be picked off.
Reading more about the ASHES dIVIDE project, it immediately demonstrates Howerdel’s experience with planning and arranging the album – and you hear it too: