Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Black Math Horseman

Black Math Horseman
purchase this album here

As a fan of all that is considered throwback, psychedelic, doom, and stoner metal and just about everything in between, I usually jump at the chance to give a listen to anything that certain record labels have to offer. These aforementioned labels include Rise Above, Candlelight, MeteorCity, and most recently, Tee Pee Records. I have always loved the majority of the Tee Pee artist roster: everyone from Alive to Witch, Sleep, Entrance, and of course Graveyard, whose debut was my album of the year for 2008. Lately, it seems that Tee Pee, along with Alive Records, has had the golden touch, producing some of the best rock and roll that the world has to offer including Los Angeles quartet, Black Math Horseman who just released their debut album, Wyllt, joining elements of doom, psychedelic, and space rock in a dark cloak amongst a heavy haze.
Wyllt gets started with an extremely relaxed pace, with "Tyrant", an opening track that would be the perfect sound accompaniment for an opium den. All kidding aside, this song makes your head swim and your innards feel all warm with a hypnotic groove and guitars that swirl, swell, and snake around the droney, smokey vocals of frontwoman and bassist Sera Timms, who sounds to me at times like a melding of young Grace Slick and the clean vocals of Kylesa's Laura Pleasants. In many ways, Black Math Horseman reminds me of a much more laid back, doomier Kylesa in that they have a strong, but not cliche female voice leading the charge, they both can freak out psychedelically without getting too monotonous or obnoxious, and they pay close attention to the dynamics of their songs at hand, making the album flow for an easy listen. For the majority of the album, the pace remains constant, never straying too much from their calm, but massive sound. This sound is achieved by maintaining riff-oriented grooves established by Timms' bass and the heavy, almost tribal drumming of Sasha Popvic, joined together with the layered and dynmaic guitar work of Bryan Tulao and Ian Berry. This music is extremely delicate and beautiful at times, transending into tritone-based, Sabbath-influenced doom riffs, and returning back to the drones and swells that eventually dwindle to nothing.
Many, including myself, are having a difficult time categorizing Black Math Horseman. Are they psychelic rock? Are they doom metal? Whatever the case may be, they have achieved a highly distintive and addictive sound that caught the ears at Tee Pee records, the concert-goers at the 2009 South by Southwest Music Conference, and soon the world. -Andrew Bryant

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wolves in the Throne Room

Wolves in the Throne Room
The Black Cascade
buy the album here

I can't really put my finger on what draws me to the music of Wolves in the Throne Room. Never being a huge fan of black metal, I was always reluctant to give them a shot, expecting to hear the same old chaotic shrieks and chest-rumbling blast beats regurgitated over and over again. What I found, however. was an extremely intelligent and enlightened band that goes above and beyond the traditional black metal subgenre, reach into their strong eco-spiritual belief system for direction and influence, in addition to bringing prominent elements of experimental and ambient music into the mix as well. Their music is beautiful and captivating, dark and heavy, and puts the listener in an almost trance-like state with some of the most unique music that is being released today. In my mind, they are as much like Mogwai, the Grails, and Red Sparrows as they are Burzum and Gorgoroth, appealing to vast amounts of eclectic music lovers across the boards.

With The Black Cascade, Wolves in the Throne Room are delivering the music that they have always desired to, very heavy and at the same time beautiful. Unlike their previous releases, Diadem of 12 Stars, Two Hunters, and even the Malevolent Grain EP, this album puts a great deal of the atmospheric experimentation on the back burner and is much more heavy and aggressive. Not saying that The Black Cascade isn't gorgeous, far from it in fact. Part of this great beauty lies in the primitive, minimalistic approach that the Wolves take with their sound throughout the entire album. There are no obnoxious guitar solos or machine-gun triggers blasting through double kick drum attacks in this music, rather it is layered and extremely organic, all of the different parts joining together for the overall sound as a whole. The four tracks making up the album that clocks in just over fifty minutes, are meant to be listened to as a whole and make it damn near impossible to decipher when one song ends and the others begin. The album is extremely dynamic, not getting as ambient as Two Hunters and Diadem of 12 Stars, however still maintaining the balance between the light and dark within the sound. Interspersed amongst the musical elements of the album are samples of nature including rain in the Pacific forests and the ringing of what sounds to me like temple bells or Tibetan prayer bowls. The Black Cascade sounds as though dark mountains, caves, streams, and forests that surround the commune on which Wolves in the Throne Room make their home are actually more responsible for this music than the players themselves.

If the earth were to speak, if the trees had a language, and if the elements communicated freely, these are the sounds that they would make. And I am sure that Wolves in the Throne Room wouldn't have it any other way.
-Andrew Bryant

Friday, April 17, 2009


They will be at the store signing copies of their latest DVD Ashes of American Flags

for all the details check out the store site here

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Saturday April 18th from 9am to 9pm come on down and support your local record store!!
We'll have prizes, giveaways, sales, exclusive new releases and live music for most the the day
Sweet P's BBQ & the Copa Cabana will be on hand selling food and a quick thanks to Rik's Music and Backline Pro for providing the backline for the day!

here's what we have planned so far

12pm Van Eaton
1 pm Greg Koonz
2 pm Wilco - Ashes of American Flags DVD Screening with prize pack give
3:30 pm Rockwells
4:30 pm Wild Sweet Orange
5:30 pm Tenderhooks
6:30 pm John Paul Keith
7:30 pm Cuttthroat Shamrock

Check out the store site for some more information

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heavy Hands Review

Heavy Hands
Smoke Signals
Album Review

Heavy Hands snuck up and bit me on the ass. They came out of nowhere; I had no idea of who in the hell they were and had heard none of their music. I was intrigued merely by their name and unique album artwork, so I dug a little deeper and found one of 2008's strongest psychedelic releases flying under the radar. Signed to Drag City's Language of Stone Records, Heavy Hands are New York City, neo-psychedelic three piece that look backwards toward early 70's progressive rock and 1960's garage and psychedelia for their sound and inspiration.
In some circles and on several reviews they are cited as being partially a stoner rock/stoner metal band, however I have to go ahead and disagree. Don't get me wrong, a great deal of this record is made of of distorted riffs and heavy drones, yet doesn't line up in my mind at all with what is considered stoner metal. After listening to the record several times in its entirety, I can see where the attribute of "stoner" anything would come to mind. This album makes you feel a little fuzzy in the head and hazy in the vision department just by listening. Who am I kidding, you can almost hear the bongs ripping in the background. The best way I can describe the sound of this record is The Stooges meets Black Sabbath. There is definitely something about Heavy Hands that reminds me a bit of Dead Meadow, however things are amped up a great deal, more emphasis is placed on the groove element of the rhythm section, and the vocals pushed higher in the mix. The music itself turns out to be very conducive to the personal exploration of one's headspace. In a nutshell, this means that Smoke Signals is an extremely hypnotic album that you can easily get lost in. Highlights include "From Stonehenge", a heavily percussive trance-like track and "Can't See Through", that could just have easily been taken from the outtakes of Funhouse.
Good album. Not life-altering, but a great debut and way to get things going for Heavy Hands nonetheless.-Andrew Bryant

Scott Miller release party!

He will be performing in conjunction with the release of his latest album
For Crying Out Loud
Monday April 13th at 7.30 pm
2615 Chapman Hwy
Knoxville TN

Henry's Funeral Shoe

Henry's Funeral Shoe
Everything's For Sale

By now, the whole two-piece rock phenomenon doesn't pack the punch that it once did. It has been proven time and time again that two musicians can bring enough to the table to suffice for a full band sound and folks aren't as easily blown away as they once were. Therefore, bands that choose to go this route are forced to put a hell of a lot more blood, sweat, and tears into songwriting and musicianship just to stand out in the crowd. Like most other two-piece rock outfits in the Alive Records arsenal, Henry's Funeral Shoe remain deeply rooted in the blues rock traditions, at the same time bringing something refreshing and new to the genre with a great ear for hook-laden songwriting and tremendous musical talent.

In a nutshell, these Welsh rockers are not as gritty and don't kick you in the teeth as do several of their Alive brethren including the Black Diamond Heavies and Left Lane Cruiser. They fall more along the lines of early Black Keys, if the Black Keys grew up listening to a lot more of the Who and other British powerhouses. With Everything's For Sale, Henry's Funeral Shoe keeps things simple, with a large emphasis placed on the melody of the guitar riffs themselves and the tones used by guitarist/vocalist Aled Clifford. The guitar work is warm, fuzzy at times, and heavily steeped in the blues, reminiscent of early Peter Green and Marc Ford. Vocally, Aled Clifford sounds a great deal similar to the late, great Shannon Hoon and even a smidgen like Jon Spencer from time to time. Aled's younger brother, Brennig fills the percussive duties that are very heavy on the tom-toms and kick drum, which thickens the low end of things for the overall mix of the album itself. Highlights for me include, "Down the Line" and "Stranger Dig" that bring a Southern, delta blues feel in the mix, complete with mean slide guitar work that would bring a smile to John Lee Hooker's face. Another standout track is "It's a Long Way" which is much darker than their other material on the album, reminding me somewhat of a Morphine tune. Everything's For Sale winds down in the end with "Mary's Song", a beautiful, acoustic number complemented with light harmonica and brush work on the snare drum.

Henry's Funeral Shoe is a band that I have been hearing about for a while and this debut was damn sure worth the wait in the end. A band couldn't ask for a better sound than what was achieved on Everything's For Sale and I feel that they are only hitting the tip of the iceberg with this one. I am sure that Henry's Funeral Shoe and Alive Records have great things planned for us in the future and all we can do now is sit on our asses and wait patiently. -Andrew Bryant