Juke with John the Conqueror
By VINCENT HARRIS
For the Herald-Journal
Listening to John the Conqueror’s 2014 album, “The Good Life,” is like stumbling upon the hottest juke joint in Jackson, Miss., on its sweatiest night.
The trio, named after an African-American folk hero, gets down to business on every song. Singer-guitarist Pierre Moore slings out greasy, muscular riffs and solos that skip the polish and head right for the gut, and the rhythm section (bassist Ryan Lynn and drummer Michael Gardner) play sharp, nimble changes that are downright menacing in their intensity.
In today’s musical climate, it’s like finding a lost Junior Kimbrough album in a sea of manufactured pop.
READ THE INTERVIEW HERE
Hollis Brown makes today the best day ever. Their debut album “Ride On The Train” is an immediate classic. Pulling from the roots of rock, soul, ballads, folk and jam this hybrid sound feels as comfortable as your old jeans and sneakers on a stroll through sunlit paths. Get-up-and-jam tracks are mixed with patient ballads and they all sound distinctive. Superior songwriting, analog processing and a self-evident dedication to musical excellence across the board has resulted in a total package of musical intensity.
Not only is “Ride On The Train” a must-have for any rock and roll fan but the band is currently on an extensive tour and this is a band that demands to be seen live. Young, but already well seasoned, they bring a fresh vibe mixed with a classic sensibility. Make no mistake, Hollis Brown is headed to big, bright places, and they’ve earned it by staying true to themselves. It’s pretty rare when a group comes on the scene with such a total identity already earned, and they are just getting started. These guys are here to stay because they’re just so darn good that fans won’t let them fade away.
Whatever you’re doing today, stop. Take a pause, just for a moment. Check Hollis Brown out. That task can wait. That email can wait. Invest just a single moment to take a listen to this amazing band. Essential.
Nice ALIVE NATURALSOUND feature in the new issue of CLASSIC ROCK THE BLUES!
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Lonesome Shack — More Primitive READ THE REVIEW HERE
In my untutored opinion, the blues should punch you in the gut. It should make the little hairs on your arms and neck stand up. It should make you want to dance. It should make you want to booty call that certain someone.
Lonesome Shack’s More Primitive will make you (want to) do all of those things.
Frontman Ben Todd knows what he’s doing. He sequestered himself in the New Mexico desert “to study the music of American folk and blues lineage.” (Man, wish I had the chutzpah to do something like that.) Todd’s studies have paid off. These songs have the contemporary immediacy of the Black Keys without the studio gimmicks. But Lonesome Shack is infinitely more cool than the Black Keys have ever been. There’s a slinky, slithery quality to this hypnotic album that will have you blasting it on repeat.
By Bill Bentley, Columnist
June 30, 2014
Hollis Brown, Gets Loaded. Defying the odds of gravity and greatness, the Brooklyn-based Hollis Brown band records all the songs on one of the perfect rock albums, Velvet Underground’s Loaded, and still manages to hold their head high. So what may have looked like a long shot on the assembly line turns into an inspired piece of music-making. When the Velvets’ fourth (and last) studio album was released in 1970, it finally looked like the ultra-boundary-breaking New York outfit would get their due. Except for one small problem: the Velvet Underground had already broken up. So soon-to-be classic Lou Reed songs “Sweet Jane,” “Rock and Roll,” “New Age” and others were left in the cold light of winter to die, only to live now and see another day.
Now that Hollis Brown has decided to do their own take of the entire album, it’s clear this is rock that has never been surpassed. By anyone. As much as what Hollis Brown has accomplished by putting their own life into these ten songs, it is also a mighty display of courage to even attempt such a thing, proving that lives are still being saved by rock and roll — and Lou Reed.
LINK TO THE MORTON REPORT HERE
Serving up some of the finest retrograde stoner rock imaginable, Radio Moscow’s fourth studio album, Magical Dirt, continues to build upon the vintage power trio exhilaration that such respected ’60s legends as Cream, Blue Cheer and the Jimi Hendrix Experience brought forth. Formed in Iowa in 2003, heavy metal-leaning frontman Parker Griggs provides Radio Moscow with well-executed and completely focused originals full of brooding tension.
Griggs’ keenness for unbridled six-string freneticism, decisive fleet-fingered pyrotechnics, primal garage-punk spunk and fuzz-toned psychedelia advances even his most derivative inspirations. A few diligently performed acoustic respites add contrast to the boisterous venom. And there are no extraneous notes to confound the steadfast flow of Magical Dirt’s entirety.
Tempering scathing hard-rock jams with narcotic mantras and borrowed blues, this ambitious 10-song set has a loose, opus-like schematic. Combining fast and slow tempos, and soft and loud timbres with the greatest of ease, Griggs’ limber outfit (also featuring newcomer Anthony Meier on bass and Paul Marrone on drums) never gets caught in a rut. But it’s the raucous moments that sizzle best, dominating and ultimately galvanizing the frantic head rush.
Aiming straight for the stratosphere, molten psych-blues opener, “So Alone,” revels in its stinging Hendix-derived wah-wah riffage and responsive full-tilt boogie rhythm. Demonic rampage, “Death of a Queen” (play audio above), crosscuts its scurried Hendrix bluster with wiry Stevie Ray Vaughan-inspired glissando licks. Blazing cryptic scorcher, “Before It Burns,” may be the best intergalactic firestorm Radio Moscow’s ever constructed, once more waking the ghosts of Hendrix and Vaughan with siren sonic epiphanies.
Reminiscent of Cactus (another glorified ’60s metal progenitor), the rudimentary “These Days” goes into hyperspace, drifts back to earth, then finally implodes. Griggs’ ile-driving guitar flails wildly above a wickedly stammered drum-cymbal attack on “Rancho Tehama Airport,” a thrashing sendoff to the rural Northern California terminal that’s apparently got the band flustered. Scathingly seared snarler, “Gypsy Fast Woman,” bludgeons the mind like a hellishly wicked Black Sabbath requiem.
When it’s time to get mellow and convey sensitivity, Griggs relies on the haunting Leadbelly-inspired folk-blues moaning of “Sweet Lil Thing” and the similarly backdated acoustical auspices informing the portentous closer, “Stinging,”
Throughout Magic Dirt, Griggs hurls phlegm-throated baritone wails against the insistent musical mass. It’s one thing to just scream and shout, it’s another to be meaningfully expressive while maintaining true defiance. Lashing out with a cataclysmic blast, Griggs gives his darkly penetrative sentiments deeper provocation than the usual head-banging metallurgist.
Radio Moscow appear to be formidable inheritors of a distinct legacy left by some of the greatest hard rockers ever. It’s doubtful any psychedelia-induced metal fan would try to resist them. – John Fortunato / CELEBSTONER
Radio Moscow: Magical Dirt (Alive Naturalsound) I would be lying if I did not say I have been completely taken with this, the fourth album from lovingly/freakishly retro combo Radio Moscow—a fabulous trio from Iowa including the amazing guitarist/singer Parker Griggs, bassist Anthony Meier and drummer Paul Marrone. With an album cover that absolutely evokes another album I have seen in my lifetime but simply can’t remember—must be the font, you’ve got to love these guys—the band actively evokes all that was great about hard-rock trios of the ‘60s, the Blue Cheers, the Creams, etc., but does it with such gleeful abandon you’ve got to admire both their spirit and whatever time capsule they rode in on. Great fun, and more info here. – By DAVE DIMARTINO
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