Slow Season – ‘Mountains’

Released 11th November 2014

Right from the first chord of Mountains I was hooked and eager to hear more of what Slow Season had to serve up on this magical journey back in time. With tight, funky grooves that will make anyone want to get up and dance, it is a modern classic rock album that everyone can enjoy.

Mountains starts strong with the track ‘Sixty-Eight’, the first chord catches your ear and makes you zealous to listen on. Before too long the guitar riff builds and the drums thump you right in the chest. The full band enters with some fuzzy bass tones and sublime drum grooves. What catches my attention initially is just how vintage and authentic the drums sound. With a slight touch of reverb and distinct tuning, it seems that drummer Cody Tarbell channels his inner John Bonham. And how beautiful it is!

As the album progresses the listener is taken on an adventure back in time, with highlights from the sixties, seventies and even now. Yet another strong groove is featured in ‘Shake’, a laid back, bluesy slide-sounding guitar riff provided by guitarist David Kent, along with grungy bass from Hayden Doyel, pleasantly accompanies the drums. Vocalist Daniel Rice then begins with some classic vocal tones, perfectly in keeping with the vintage theme. This is a highlight of the album; the vocal performance displays such depth and timeless characteristics throughout Mountains.

What I love about Mountains is the live sound and the warm, organic feel of the album. Having a read of Slow Season’s biography, I learnt that the entire album was recorded analogue. In a digital world, where analogue is not utilized often enough, it is a breath of fresh-air to know that a band is being true to their influences and producing an album correctly in keeping with their vintage musical interests. Having produced Mountains this way, it gave the album a retro vibe that effortlessly comes across, particularly when listened to on vinyl. If you close your eyes, you can picture the band jamming together, just like Led Zeppelin did back in the late sixties.

Mountains is a treat for the ears and the soul. For anyone who likes and appreciates good old-fashioned rock, look no further; this is the album for you. With track after track of tasty grooves, impressive vocals and classic guitar riffage, Slow Season have produced an album that has depth and character like no other. Have a listen and discover a warm, analogue creation for the love of music.

Slow Season - Mountains cover 3-9-2015 Slow Season - Mountains record 3-9-2015

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Cherry Grind

Live at Jetty Bar, Glenelg SA, Saturday 8th August 2015

I was excited to head down to the Jetty Bar last Saturday night to experience a huge evening of music performed by one of my favorite Adelaide bands, Cherry Grind. With a full-length album on the way, they just keep getting better and better. Each time I see them I am taken aback by the old school grooves, sophisticated musicianship and tasty originals.

The night consisted of a mixture of various covers and originals. Cherry Grind are not afraid to let their influences show, they are tremendous at performing classic rock tunes from the 1960s and 1970s, providing truthful recreations for their audience. They then hit the concertgoer with an original, perfectly in keeping with the vintage themes but also refreshing and new.

Cherry Grind is made up of Sam Patsouris on vocals and guitar, Jack Stevenson on lead guitar, Peter Cerlienco provides thumping bass and some vocals, and Zach West holds it all together on drums. These guys have been playing together for a while; it is evident in the chemistry shared between them on stage, both musically and personally, making for a great performance and polished songs.

The first set progressed smoothly with different originals scattered amongst well-known covers. Early in the set a rendition of ‘Walk This Way’ was performed getting everyone warmed up and in the dancing mood. Next up was an original called ‘The Gap’, it displayed the classic rock influences Cherry Grind encompasses so seamlessly into their music. Full of powerful riffs, tasty guitar solos and spanking drums, with funky bass lines underneath, Cherry Grind’s originals are a highlight of the new music available to be discovered in today’s modern world.

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Cherry Grind put on a show full of hard rock classics and originals.

What I enjoyed most about Cherry Grind is the sophisticated and refined vocal performance of Sam Patsouris. Each time I see the band I am reminded of the sheer power and range of his vocals, making everyone in the venue stand up and take notice. With performances of Led Zeppelin classics, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’, Sam’s voice shines, hitting all the notes impeccably and getting the tone and delivery spot on.

As song after song was played, I watched the Jetty Bar fill up. People were mesmerized, not only by the vocals but also by the high-voltage guitar solos of Jack Stevenson. With remarkable guitar runs in covers of ‘Sunshine of Your Love/Crossroads’ and ‘Black Dog’, it was obvious why Cherry Grind can pull such a large crowd.

The set came to a head with the performance of the original ‘A Minor Problem’ to a Jetty Bar full of hard rock fans. The vocals kicked off the song with incredible energy, punching the listener in the face from the very first note. The guitars then entered playing a fat riff, with thumping bass from Peter Cerlienco that was felt all around the room. The entire venue was enthralled in a perfect hard rock ‘n’ roll universe that only Cherry Grind can create with their quality high-energy originals.

It was an evening to remember from beginning to end. Cherry Grind has shaped a juicy world of exciting, raw and memorable hard rock music that is itching to explode in your ears. With talk of a new album soon to be released, Cherry Grind continues to provide good old rockin’ tunes, keeping great classic rock music alive in the process. Get on down to the next Cherry Grind gig and rock out for the love of music, you will not be disappointed.

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The room was filled by the tasty tunes of Cherry Grind.

The Receiver – ‘All Burn’

Released 23rd June 2015

The Receiver’s latest album, All Burn, arrived on vinyl earlier this week and right from the first listen I was in love with the dreamy vocals, atmospheric keyboards and grooving beats. Many intricate aspects work together to make All Burn a terrific alternative dream-pop album from start to finish and an album worth hearing.

Only recently had I come across The Receiver. A few months ago a Kscope sample CD arrived with a vinyl copy of Hand. Cannot. Erase. by Steven Wilson. I am always open to hear some new tunes, and after hearing ‘Transit’ on the sample disc, which is featured on All Burn, I could not wait to get my hands on the full album. I was taken aback by the melodic vocal phrases and sophisticated harmonies.

All Burn is The Receiver’s third album, and is the first to be released by Kscope. The band is made up of brothers Casey and Jesse Cooper. Casey provides breathy vocals, atmospheric keyboards, thumping bass and programming, and Jesse plays groovy drums and percussion. It was a match destined since birth and how beautiful it is that these two brothers have shared this progressive music with the world.

From the very first track, an a cappella piece called ‘Drift’, the intense emotion and impressive musicianship of All Burn is instantly recognizable. The vocal backing shifts seamlessly from chord to chord, very similar to how the album flows between tracks. I love this about All Burn; it is a piece of art from start to finish that can be listened to in its entirety. However, each song holds its own when listened to singly making All Burn an album for everyone.

Further adding to the album mentality of All Burn is how it all ties together forming a bigger picture. The album begins and ends with the same verses, elegantly linking the whole album. This aspect relates back to the golden age of albums, back in the 1970s when artists were creating works of art and the album was at the forefront, it also outlines more vintage progressive influences that the brothers have acquired and utilized.

The progressive influences do not stop there. In the tracks ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘April Blades’ a strong Pink Floyd sound is evident but not initially recognizable, The Receiver have done a great job modernizing vintage influences and creating something fresh, new and different. The 1970s tones are alive and well in tracks like ‘The Summit’ and ‘All Burn’ broadening to the proggy nature of the album. With synthesizer resonances harking back to the golden days of Genesis and Yes, Casey Cooper has provided great textures and reminiscing touches through his choice of keyboard sounds.

All Burn has a powerful finish in the song ‘These Days’. The vocal performance by Casey is strong with interesting phrasing. He has the listener hanging on every word, backed effortlessly by Jesse Cooper with his driving grooves and proggy rhythms. The chorus of ‘These Days’ is full, catchy and memorable; it stands out as a commanding statement of the developed and advanced songwriting of the brotherly duo.

If you are looking for something fresh and different, or if you love classic rock and progressive music, or even if you are a fan of pop with a twist then All Burn is the album for you. The Receiver has created a sublime piece of art combining progressive influences and modern instrumentation, forming a crisp alternative dream-pop masterpiece from beginning to end. Spin this new record for the love of music and lose yourself in the world of The Receiver.

The Receiver - All Burn cover 17-7-2015 The Receiver - All Burn record 17-7-2015

Holy Serpent, Filthy Lucre and Jungle City

Live at Worldsend Hotel, Adelaide SA, Friday 10th July 2015

I headed down to the Worldsend Hotel last Friday night for a hard rock experience full of sludgy riffs, hypnotic bass lines and spanking drum solos. Holy Serpent served up some heavy music as part of their Shroom Doom Tour, designed to make you chill out and sway back to forth to the mesmerizing tunes.

Kicking off the evening was Jungle City, a band I had seen a few times before; each time I am reminded of their balls-to-the-wall performance. This time was no exception. Every member of the band was rockin’ out and really feeling the music they were playing. I enjoyed Brenton Wilson’s epic voice and tasty guitar solos, backed effectively by Kaileb Rothwell on fuzzy bass and Luke Wilson on drums.

Next up was Filthy Lucre, a heavy rock duo from Adelaide. When they took to the stage I was getting a beverage, what I thought I heard was four people but I was presently surprised to find two musicians jamming out. Filthy Lucre has mastered a full sound with only two members; the resonances I heard were fat and the riffs were flavorsome. As the set continued, the drum performance from Ed Noble was so ferocious that a cymbal was cracked in the process. I was further impressed by the huge tones emanating from Luke Marsh’s unique cigar-box guitar.

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A heavy and flavorsome set by Filthy Lucre.

To end the evening, Holy Serpent provided a muddy and psychedelic set. All the way from Melbourne, these guys know how to put on a heroic doom rock show. Right from the beginning the riffs were big and in your face, just the way it should be. The tempos just slow enough so you can take in all the mud and distortion. Both guitarists, Scott Penberthy and Nick Donoughue, have crafted vintage guitar tones that generously outline the old school influences of the band.

What stood out for me was a performance of ‘Holy Serpent’, a tune that is featured on their latest self-titled record, Holy Serpent. It made the audience jump around and trip out to the head-banging rhythms and riffs that were being created on stage. The songs were leisurely and dirty, helping everyone get into the groove of a powerful and entrancing show.

This was one night of intense, filthy and psychedelic rock music. It was awesome to hear such low-down, grimy jams that captured the listeners imagination and emanated such power and drive. Check out these bands and cross over into a dooming, enthralling world of heavy rock for the love of music.

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Holy Serpent provided doom rock at it’s finest.

Blues Pills – ‘Blues Pills’

Released 25th July 2014

It has taken me a while to catch onto the magic of Blues Pills, but it has finally happened. I got the Swedish rockers’ debut album, the self-titled Blues Pills, late last year. I listened to it during an exam period in the final year of my degree, so unfortunately the relaxed and chilled effect records have on me would have been non-existent and my mind would have been elsewhere.

The other day I pulled this album out and put it on. Right from the first powerful song, all the positive vibes of the first listen started flooding back to me and I was banging my head to the bluesy tunes.

The album starts with ‘High Class Woman’, a commanding song that pounds the eardrums from the outset. Elin Larsson’s vocal performance begins expressive and smooth, before long the song builds into a blistering powerhouse of awesomeness smacking the listener in the face. One of the first aspects of this album I came to love was Larsson’s vocals, it only took 30 seconds. Throughout Blues Pills, her voice is a pleasure to hear and demonstrates such depth and energy. It only gets better!

Having a quick read of their Bio on the Blues Pills official website, it mentioned soul influences. And right they are, proving this my soul-music-loving sister even knocked on my door and asked what the band is, a rare occurrence. ‘Ain’t No Change’ featured verses with a hybrid version of Motown combined with blues and rock. Further adding to the blues-rock side of things are multiple solos from guitarist Dorian Sorriaux, demonstrating his carefully crafted vintage guitar tone. ‘Black Smoke’ was also a stand out track, which incorporated many classic influences, such as a driving shuffle similar to that of Machine Head era Deep Purple and harmonised guitar melodies reminding me of Thin Lizzy.

Blues Pills is full of vintage influences throughout; much of the old school sound can be attributed to the production. The album was recorded, mixed and produced by Don Alsterberg, who has previously worked with the retro Swedish band Graveyard. Alsterberg does a tremendous job of making the recordings sound organic and fresh just like they would have been back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I don’t know exactly how he has done this, whether Blues Pills was recorded analogue, not digital, or minimal editing was carried out to make the music sound live and raw. What I can safely say is the rock ‘n’ roll music coming out of Sweden at the moment has a magical touch. It makes the listener feel like they are in a time warp; they can put on a vinyl and travel back to the golden age of rock, at the same time as discovering new and current music. Absolute bliss.

Blues Pills have served up a hearty stew of soulful blues-rock, it has never tasted this fresh and balanced. With the powerful, smooth vocals of Elin Larsson, the thumping grooves from Cory Berry, the fuzzy bass tones of Zack Anderson incorporated with the refined, retro guitar chops of Dorian Sorriaux: this is an album to get lost in and celebrate the hay day of good old rock music. So spin this one and head back in time for the love of music.

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Vidunder – ‘Oracles & Prophets’

Released 20th May 2015

With great pleasure I get to review the latest release from Swedish retro rockers Vidunder titled Oracles & Prophets. I was very excited when the LP showed up on my doorstep last week; I unwrapped it and put the record straight onto the turntable. I had only heard snippets of some tracks before the albums release so I was motivated to hear the complete work.

My excitement was brought on by the positive impression of the first album, the self-titled Vidunder. Since then the band has grown from a trio to a quartet, making organist Johannes Cronquist a permanent member of the group. This was a grand addition; the organ can be heard throughout the album creating a full and vibrant sound. The use of long, spacey notes, together with atmospheric guitar tones, made evident a psychedelic influence in ‘Kalhygge’, and the arpeggios played by the organ in ‘Gone With Dawn’ added excitement and colour.

The second I dropped the needle onto the record I was tapping my feet and banging my head to the classic 60s/70s style tunes. The album started with such power! ‘Gone With Dawn’ was a great opening track featuring anthemic choruses and searing vocals, provided by vocalist-guitarist Martin Prim. This high energy was maintained throughout the next couple of tracks. The side ended with a haunting tune, ‘The Owl’, that built-up pleasantly and showcased even more of the band’s psychedelic influences and depth.

I flipped the album over and the fast pace rock ‘n’ roll returned. These alterations in energy and feel show that Vidunder are a band of substance and quality. Many of the songs on the album would make anyone want to dance to the strong rhythms and punchy guitar hits.

The final track, ‘Oracles & Prophets’ stood out as a solid ending to the album. The song starts with a siren like guitar sound, alerting listeners to the tasty jam that ensues. The tune builds effectively with punching rhythms and scorching guitar solos. I had to rock along and couldn’t stand still! Before you realise, the song fades out, the album ends and you are inclined to flip the vinyl back over and listen all over again.

Vidunder know how to compose an album that isn’t afraid to demonstrate versatility and vintage influences. Oracles & Prophets is a well-crafted time warp back to when rock music was raw, fresh and lovable. I happily struggled to identify any distinct influences of bands from the past, which shows just how well Vidunder are at mashing their favourites together to make a vintage sounding but incredibly modern sonic artwork. This is an album that can be put on at a party or listened to with a glass of Baileys, either way it will be enjoyed. So take a trip back in time and discover Vidunder’s unique old school tones for the love of music.

Vidunder - Oracles and Prophets Cover 11-6-2015 Vidunder - Oracles and Prophets Record 11-6-2015