TEARS FOR FEARS – Single Review: “I Love You But I’m Lost”

I Love You But I'm Lost

Tears For Fears are one of my favorite bands of all time. I’ve been a fan from the moment I heard their single “Change” back in 1982. (I lived in Los Angeles then, and though their previous single “Mad World” was a massive hit in the U.K., it got little airplay in the U.S., nor did it make the U.S. music charts, so I never heard it until later.) When their monumental Songs From the Big Chair – unquestionably one of the greatest albums of the 1980s – came out in early 1985, I fell head over heels in love (pun intended) with their music. So it goes without saying that I was thrilled to discover they’d released a brand new single “I Love You But I’m Lost.” It’s one of two new tracks that will be included on their forthcoming greatest hits compilation album Rule The World, scheduled for release on November 10.

Though they’ve remained active, including touring and performing quite a bit recently (my sister saw them a few months ago in St. Louis, where they appeared with Hall & Oates), the single is their first new music in four years. And it’s been 13 years since their last album Everybody Loves a Happy Ending was released in 2004, so we fans have longed for new music from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith for quite some time.

Tears For Fears

“I Love You But I’m Lost” is a gorgeous, exuberant song with a captivating dance beat that instantly grabbed my attention and held it straight through to the end. It features their signature sweeping orchestration, sparkling synths and lush harmonizing vocals, along with some terrific guitar work. Smith and Orzabal’s vocals are in fine form, thought Orzabal’s are softer and at a higher octave than he’s normally sung, but still very effective for the song’s dreamlike quality. Though not of the same caliber as their masterpieces “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” or “Shout,” “I Love You But I’m Lost” is a great song nonetheless. It’s incredibly gratifying that Tears For Fears is still relevant, and making new music for us to enjoy.

Follow Tears For Fears:  Website / Facebook / Twitter

JOHN PAGANO BAND – Album Review: “One More Round”

One More Round Cover

Though I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the requests I get from artists and bands wanting me to review or feature their music on this blog, it’s always a treat discovering loads of great new music. Such was the case when I was contacted by Tony Hossri, bassist for The John Pagano Band, about their new album One More Round. The album dropped August 1, and I love it! Every single track is fantastic, and I’ve had it on replay the last several days.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, The John Pagano Band consists of front man John Pagano on guitar and lead vocals, Tony Hossri on bass and backing vocals, and Shiloh Bloodworth on drums. All are accomplished musicians who excel at playing an exciting blues-infused style of rock that’s soulful, seductive and addictive.

First a bit of background on the band. Pagano, originally from New York, formed a band JPBlues in 2008 while still in his teens, along with bassist John Young and drummer Pat Adkins. They recorded two albums Die Happy and I Will Not Go Quietly. In 2011, John left New York for Georgia, where he met Bloodworth, and in 2013 they were hired to back Australian artist Anni Piper on her first US tour. They reformed JPBlues, and set out to record their first album Make Room at the Table, but had problems finding a compatible bassist until Hossri came to the rescue. He proved to be a perfect fit for the band, and their lineup was now complete. They finished the album, and set out on a tour of the East Coast. In 2015, they released Live at Darwin’s.

More recently, wanting to expand their sound, they changed their name from JPBlues to The John Pagano Band. In an interview with Making a Scene!, which you can read here, Pagano said the new band name “better reflects our music and direction, and does not restrict us to a single genre fan base.” One More Round represents that new direction, which retains their signature blues roots while incorporating more rock’n’roll, pop and even a bit of funk into the mix.

John Pagano Band performing
Photo by Michael Valentine

OK, let’s dive into One More Round and see what’s so great about it. The guys get right down to business with the rousing “Bottoms Up,” an infectious country-rock song about just saying ‘fuck it all’ to your problems and going out, getting drunk and having fun with friends who have your back.

Been a long day. Keep my mind awake
But I’m going out now, gonna lose this frown
I’m gonna get drunk somehow
Gonna visit my friends, call them Jack and Jim
Well they listen real good when I’m in a bad mood
And make me forget what I knew
And bottoms up, I ain’t hit the floor
Fill ‘er up, I want more, more, more

The official video they made for “Bottoms Up” is great, and a lot of fun to watch. I always like seeing a band play their songs, and this video of a terrific Balcony TV live performance of the same song in Atlanta really captures the guys’ energy and charisma. Pagano deftly works his slide guitar, while Hossri – curly hair flying – is a wildman on bass, and Bloodworth drives the powerful beat home with a muscular attack of his drums. How can you not love these guys after seeing this performance?

They turn up the blues on the next several tracks, where their incredible musicianship is on full display. The soulful “Lost In You” features some terrific riffs, and “Trouble in Heels” is pure bliss. This sexy rock’n’roll track aims straight for the hips, leaving you no choice but to get up and dance. Pagano seduces with his lusty vocals, and his guitar solo in the bridge is so damn good. The sultry “Ain’t Mine” is wonderful too. Pagano pleads for relief from a woman he can’t have who’s cast a spell over him: “Baby please, baby please got a hold on me. I said oh no, oh no here comes trouble. Let’s go. You ain’t mine, no no.”

Rise Up” has a bit of a gospel quality, with gritty, bluesy guitars and humming bass. Speaking of which, Hossri injects some funk into his bass on the superb “Ain’t Gonna Lose You,” the first single and one of my favorites from One More Round. With his soulful vocals, Pagano sings about having to leave town, but promising to return to his woman and take her away. “Gonna take you one day away from here. I ain’t gonna lose you yet.” Great guitar work, great vocals, great song.

The guys keep delivering the blues with “99 Problems,” a reworking of an older song from the JPBlues repertoire that was featured on Live at Darwin’s. It’s one of their most popular songs, and it’s clear why because it’s freaking awesome. Nearly six minutes of bluesy rock heaven set to a captivating beat. Pagano’s jaw-dropping guitar work, Hossri’s buzzing bass, and Bloodworth’s nimble percussion are all perfection.

They show their tender side on “On My Mind,” a lovely but bittersweet song about missing someone after a break-up and hoping they’re thinking about you too. The track starts off like a gentle ballad, then gradually builds in emotional intensity, and really showcases Pagano’s incredible vocal abilities.

But don’t get too relaxed, ’cause the guys dial it all the way up with the sexy “Make You Shout.” It’s an exuberant, bluesy foot-stomping gem, with a powerful driving beat that not only makes you shout, it also forces you to get moving. It’s another one of my favorites, and I’d love to see them play this on stage. They keep the high energy flowing with the hard-hitting rock’n’roll tracks “Bad Habit” and “Catch That Train.” The guitar riffs are killer, and the bass and percussion on-point. And, as always, Pagano’s powerful vocals are phenomenal.

The John Pagano Band have created an outstanding, perfectly-crafted album that’s one of the best I’ve heard this year. As I stated at the beginning, every track is superb, with no filler or throw-away songs, making for a really pleasurable listening experience.

Connect with the John Pagano Band: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music: Spotify / SoundcloudReverbnation

Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon

WATERGOD – Album Review: “Watergod”

As I’ve stated before, one of the things I love about Twitter is finding out about new indie artists and bands; in two years I’ve discovered over 5,000! I’ve also made friends with more music lovers and bloggers than I can count, who’ve turned me on to even more musicians and bands. So it was my lucky day when Robert Horvat, who has an excellent blog called Rearview Mirror, contacted me about the indie band Watergod.

Based in Austin, Texas – a city with a thriving music scene that’s produced scores of country, blues and rock artists and bands – Watergod rose from the ashes of their previous psychedelic space rock band Psychonaut. They developed a fresh sound, but retained a bit of their psychedelic sensibility. Comprised of Ethan Schrupp (guitar, vocals), Justin Wilson (bass) and Nicholas Key (drums), Watergod takes an organic, highly collaborative approach to their songwriting and the development of the sound for each track. They’re essentially DIY, but enlisted the help of friend Sean Lochridge in the recording and mixing of their self-titled debut album Watergod, which dropped on the 1st of August.

Watergod 2

In an interview with Robert Horvat of Rearview Mirror, which you can read here, Ethan explained the inspiration and/or meaning behind the band’s name, album title, and each of the tracks:

“To me [Watergod] represents renewal and rebirth. We had taken some time off after our last band [Psychonaut] dissolved, so when we came back together we wanted a fresh start. The inspiration [for the album] was what was going on in my life at the time. Amygdala is about a breakup,  Whaler and Causality were about a girl I was hooking up with after that,  Helios is about being burned by someone you’re trying to help, Motion is about being ostracized for being yourself, Vectors is about succumbing to temptation, and Spirals is about dealing with anger.”

Interestingly, all the song titles consist of a single word. Their music is unconventional, delivering unexpected melodic shifts, guitar change ups and quirky vocals. All this works beautifully to capture and hold our attention, not only within a song but throughout the whole album. We’re compelled to really listen to each nuanced sound and vocal twist and turn, keeping us in a continual state of surprise and wonder. Not one thing about their songs are predictable, and Ethan’s vocals seem to sound different on every track.

Watergod performing

Ethan’s falsetto crooning introduces us to the opening track “Amygdala” then some really lovely guitar work enters, accompanied by snare drums and a light touch of cymbals. All instrumentals ramp up as the track progresses. The guys inject just a touch of jazz on “Causality,” featuring some really fine nimble guitar work, a smooth subtle bass line and lots of gently crashing cymbals. There’s something about Ethan’s vocals that are so beguiling as they go from smooth and comforting to soaring falsetto and back again. The little guitar solo in the last 30 seconds is pure delight. “Vectors” borders on psychedelic with an underlying funky groove, making for an unusual and fascinating track. Ethan’s fuzzy vocals occasionally become echoed with vibrato, adding an otherworldly aura.

Helios” is a perfect example of how Watergod delivers the unexpected. Starting off with a gorgeous, delicate and somewhat melancholy riff, the track has a bit of the psychedelic feel of The Doors’ “The Crystal Ship.” Ethan sings of seeing a deceitful person’s true self in the light of day: “With you nearer, I see you clearer. I see you for what you really are. In the sun.” Halfway through, the guitars become heavier and grittier, as Ethan shrieks his vocals, some of which are distorted. It’s an epic track.

So too with “Whaler,” which flows back and forth from a languid beat with a dreamy atmospheric vibe to a faster tempo with bluesy guitar and heavier percussion. “Motion” is the most psychedelic-sounding track on the album, with heavier bass overlain with shredded, distorted and reverb-heavy guitars. And just as we’ve gotten used to the slow tempo that predominates, the guys dial it up at the close.

Album closer “Spirals” is more melodic, starting off with jangly guitars over a pleasing steady beat. The lyrics speak of letting go of anger: “It will hurt you so much more before you finally learn to let it go. / It’s hard to see the change when it’s so slow.” Ethan’s vocals rise in emotional impact as the guitars become grittier and the percussion more aggressive, until he literally shouts the lyrics later in the song.

If you like music that’s experimental and unconventional, Watergod delivers it in heaping quantities on this stellar album. It has some of the most unusual and intellectually stimulating music I’ve heard in a while, yet it’s still accessible and incredibly satisfying.

Connect with Watergod on Facebook and purchase their music on Bandcamp

DISCIPLES OF BABYLON release new album “The Rise and Fall of Babylon” with a concert at the Viper Room

The long-awaited and highly anticipated release of the new Disciples of Babylon (DOB) album The Rise and Fall of Babylon is finally here, and it’s a revelation. I’ve been following the Los Angeles-based rock band since 2015, and it’s been a pleasure watching them grow both musically and professionally. They’ve been gathering national and worldwide acclaim and a rapidly growing base of loyal fans, not only because of their exceptional, dynamic sound and thought-provoking lyrics, but also their appreciation and undying support for their fans. I know I’m in good company when I say that I love this band!

DOB

All accomplished musicians in their own right, DOB are Eric Knight on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Ramón Blanco on lead guitar, Gui Bodi on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Toeller on drums. The guys have had quite a year. In June, they performed at the extreme sports event Dew Tour 2017, and on July 8, they kicked off the 2017 Gladiator MMA Championship Series with a performance at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Sports Coliseum. Also in June, Ramón and Gui had the thrill of playing in the backup band of Luis Fonsi when he performed his monster hit “Despacito” on Conan, and then in September, Chris joined Ramón and Gui to once again play backup for Luis Fonsi’s appearance on Ellen. Doesn’t get much better than that, except for DOB themselves to one day perform on Ellen!

DOB premiered The Rise and Fall of Babylon in front of a capacity crowd on Thursday, October 5 at the legendary Viper Room on the world-famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, and they all but blew the roof off the place. The crowd reception to the new tracks was ecstatic – no surprise given the band’s exciting and charismatic stage presence. Along with all seven tracks off the new album, they also played songs from their terrific debut EP Welcome to Babylon, plus an awesome cover of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Immigrant Song.”

DOB Viper Room

Here’s a video I shot of them singing their hit song “KARMA.”

The Rise and Fall of Babylon features seven powerhouse tracks, some of which speak to issues facing America today. Eric feels passionately about social justice, and has strong opinions about the current state of affairs in our country, which he took time to express Thursday night. In a previous interview, Eric explained the impetus behind the new album: “These are precarious times we live in. The Rise and Fall of Babylon signifies something that I feel has been a long time coming. Babylon, meaning the USA, is slowly spinning out of control and entering into vast turmoil. I feel we are at the beginnings of a revolution. one of which the likes we’ve never seen before. As a nation, we are no longer viewed in the regard we once were. The title reflects this shift and quite possibly a prelude of what’s to come.”

The album was produced by GRAMMY award winner and longtime DOB producer Andres Torres, one of the producers behind the Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee smash hit “Despacito.” The album was mixed by GRAMMY award winner Curt Schneider  (Augustana, Richie Sambora, Joe Bonamassa), and mastered by Dave Kutch (Bruno Mars, The Strokes, Outkast, Joe Perry).

The guys get right down to business with “Freedom,” a thunderous full-frontal assault on tyranny as powerful as anything I’ve heard in a long while. Ramon lays down blistering jaw-dropping riffs as Chris hammers out a galloping beat on the drums, anchored by Gui’s pummeling bass. With a passion that borders on fury, Eric brings goosebumps as he screams the searing lyrics:

Oppress us no more
We’ve waited for this day
Our rights have been taken
Your rule is coming to an end
The faster that we rise above
And we scream from our lungs
Freedom! Give us freedom back!
We crave freedom
Yes, we stand strong

Next up is “Without You,” the album’s lead single that I reviewed upon it’s release in late July. The hard-hitting track is a defiant rebuke to someone who’s betrayed you, killing the love you once felt toward them. Brimming with awesome instrumentals, the track is an exhilarating rock song. Ramón’s guitar work is a thing of wonder, and Gui nearly blows the speakers with his crushing bass line, aided and abetted by Chris’s pounding drums.

DOB slows things down a bit on the beautiful anthem “We Are the Ones,” a hopeful clarion call for us to all come together and unite in our fight against those who try to divide us. An especially notable aspect on this track for me are the gorgeous soaring backing vocals. And speaking of vocals, Eric has a phenomenal singing voice. As I’ve already noted, he can elicit chills with power and fury, or bring us to tears with heartfelt tenderness. He does both on the fantastic, emotion-packed “Lift.” And, needless to say, the guys unleash their sonic weaponry once again with mind-blowing instrumentals.

By this point in the album, I’m practically speechless at how incredibly good it is, wondering if DOB can sustain the high quality of the songs. I’m quickly reassured within seconds of hearing “Idiosyncracies,” a pile-driver of a track about struggling to keep a failing relationship from breaking apart: “I’ll fight to keep my sanity. I really want to believe in us, in you and me. There’s harmony, yeah! But I’ll fight to keep my spirit free.” And they keep on delivering the goods with the uplifting anthem “Simple Life.” This is one gorgeous rock song. Everything about it is perfection – lyrics, instrumentals, Eric’s vocals, and the superb production and arrangement.

The guys close the album with “Civilized,” a real head-banger of a tune. Gui sets the rhythm with a pulse-pounding bass line, then Ramon dives in with scorching riffs while Chris commences to attack his drum kit with all the strength he can muster. Eric snarls the lyrics that speak to someone he’s obsessed with who’s hurting him: “I’m out of my head, every time I realize all those things you said to me. So cruel, unkind. From the moment I wake, with every step that I take, draws me closer into you.”

The Rise and Fall of Babylon is a meticulously crafted album on every level, and a testament to the exceptional songwriting and musicianship of these four supremely talented gentlemen. It’s an effort they should be extremely proud of, and I’m so proud of them! I’ve gotten to know them all personally, and they’re as humble and kind as they are skilled at making music. I’m honored to be their friend.

Follow Disciples of Babylon: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music: Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation / YouTube

Purchase: iTunes / Amazon

THE TRIMS – Single Review: “The One I Want”

The Trims

San Jose, California-based indie post-punk band The Trims have been making great music since 2009, and were one of the first bands I featured on this blog, way back in October 2015 (you can check out that post here). They’ve released a fantastic new single “The One I Want,” which dropped August 30, and it’s one of their best songs yet. Featuring their signature high-energy, guitar-driven sound, the track is an exuberant expression of love.

“The One I Want” launches with a pummeling bass line, then layer upon layer of guitars are added as drummer Billy Brady pounds out a steady beat that literally forces the body to move. To say that the song is catchy is an understatement; its melody is outstanding and unforgettable, staying in my head long afterward. Gabe Maciel’s beautiful soaring vocals are packed with emotion as he sings about his steadfast devotion, even when it seems he no longer cares:

You say I never call or write you letters like I used to do before
Just know that even though my words have fallen short my love has only grown
You are the one I want to be the one who calls
You are the one I want to be the one who calls when everything goes wrong

“The One I Want” is a gorgeous song, and further proof that The Trims are as charismatic and strong as they’ve ever been.

Connect with The Trims:  The Trims / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud

Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon

FOLLOW NO ONE – EP Review: “5”

5 album

The rock band Follow No One is the brainchild of two highly accomplished musicians – singer/songwriter and pianist Rich Hall from Nashville, Tennessee & guitar virtuoso Pedro Murino Almeida, originally from Lisbon, Portugal but with roots in Brazil. Rich began performing at a young age in theater, but found his true calling performing and writing music. Pedro was classically trained in music composition, with a successful career involving his own musical acts, and his work has been featured in film and video. Together their music is influenced by such rock giants as Dream Theater, Alter Bridge, Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold, Imagine Dragons and Three Days Grace.

The duo released their debut EP – simply titled 5 – on September 1, delivering five hard-hitting tracks about relationships and the joy, pain and regret they bring. Each song is meticulously crafted, with passionate lyrics, intricate melodies and stellar guitar work – immediately evident in the opening track “Reflection.” Our ears are blessed with four minutes of blazing guitar riffs and thunderous drums galloping across a heavy bass-driven beat. It’s the perfect hard rock song.

Hall’s knack for writing catchy, yet compelling melodies shines on “Guardian Angel.” The track starts off with a jazzy little riff, then layers of heavier guitars are added as the song builds to a crescendo of shredded, wailing and distorted riffs so good they bring goose bumps.

The Greatest Sin” is probably my favorite track, with a gorgeous haunting melody and powerful lyrics about trying to salvage a relationship that’s crumbling due to neglect, and regain the love and passion that existed in the beginning:

Not so very long ago, I was caught up in the web
When lust and love draw the line
Pictures of the days gone by keep running through my head
But babe I guess that I was blind, so blind
It starts out so easy, your will is so strong
Then one day you wake up and your dream is gone
The greatest sin is when we’re not together
The greatest sin is when we’re apart

Musically, the song features jaw-dropping guitar work that runs the gamut from gentle chiming riffs to bombastic wails, and everything in between. And, as with all their songs, the supporting bass, percussion and synths are all in fine form. Hall made a video that does a terrific job of bringing the song’s lyrics to life. Take a look:

Follow No One tugs at the heartstrings on “No Regrets,” a lovely but sorrowful track about being filled with remorse for past mistakes, and wondering if you even have the strength or will to keep on living. Hall’s tender, heartfelt vocals rise with emotion as the song progresses from a gentle ballad to stirring rock anthem. Almeida makes his guitar practically weep in the bridge.

Every night I pray for the same thing
That tomorrow never comes unless there’s changes
I been holding on to a dream that I don’t want to
And I pray to god I don’t have that much time left
Hands won’t stop trembling, cause my eyes can’t see the ending
But it seems so far away, so for now I’ll stay

Last but certainly not least is the title track “5,” a hard-driving beast with more incredible guitar work. I love the opening riff and – oh hell, I love all their riffs! Hall and Almeida are phenomenal musicians, and their debut EP is a work they should both be proud of. I expect – and hope – we’ll be hearing more great music from them.

Connect with Follow No One:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  SoundcloudSpotify / Tidal / Google Play /YouTube

Purchase:  iTunesAmazon

THE TRIMS – Single Review: “The One I Want”

 

The Trims

San Jose, California-based indie post-punk band The Trims have been making great music since 2009, and were one of the first bands I featured on this blog, way back in October 2015 (you can check out that post here). They’ve released a fantastic new single “The One I Want,” which dropped August 30, and it’s one of their best songs yet. Featuring their signature high-energy, guitar-driven sound, the track is an exuberant expression of love.

“The One I Want” launches with a pummeling bass line, then layer upon layer of guitars are added as drummer Billy Brady pounds out a steady beat that literally forces the body to move. To say that the song is catchy is an understatement; its melody is outstanding and unforgettable, staying in my head long afterward. Gabe Maciel’s beautiful soaring vocals are packed with emotion as he sings about his steadfast devotion, even when it seems he no longer cares:

You say I never call or write you letters like I used to do before
Just know that even though my words have fallen short my love has only grown
You are the one I want to be the one who calls
You are the one I want to be the one who calls when everything goes wrong

“The One I Want” is a gorgeous song, and further proof that The Trims are as charismatic and strong as they’ve ever been.

Connect with The Trims:  The Trims / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud

Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon

FIE! FIE! FIE! – Double Single Review: “Edge of Space/Everything I Told You”

Edge of Space Art work

Fie! Fie! Fie! is an indie alternative rock band from West Yorkshire, England, and they have a glorious name you’ll never forget. Formed in April 2013 by seasoned musicians Daniel Varley and Pete Long – both of whom play some pretty amazing guitar – the band also includes bassist Avon Blyth and multi-instrumentalist Matt Burnside. Varley sings lead vocals, and the other band members provide backing vocals.

Fie Fie Fie

The band released their first collection of tracks, Live Solo Sessions, in late 2013 when it consisted only of Varley and Long. In 2014, Blyth was added to the lineup, giving the band a much stronger and fuller sound. They released the single “The Alternative” in 2015, followed by the album Can You Hear This?  In 2016, Burnside joined Fie! Fie! Fie!, and they subsequently released a live album Live at St. Mary’s later that year, as well as a fantastic single “Hit the Spanish Main.” The band has now released a new double A side single “Edge of Space/Everything I Told You,” which dropped in early August, and I think it’s one of their best works yet.

I was blown away by “Edge of Space” at first listen, as it has one of the most arresting guitar-driven melodies I’ve heard in a while. The song immediately hooks us in with what sounds like lush synths but in reality is an effect that Pete put down on one of his guitar tracks, along with an achingly beautiful guitar riff that burns itself into your mind. It stayed with me long afterward, leaving me humming the melody and wanting to hear the song again and again. Besides the stunning guitars and synths, the percussion and bass are perfection. Using metaphors of space exploration, Varley passionately sings about finding enough forgiveness to salvage a damaged relationship, or possibly a damaged world:

Could you find a way, a way to see past this
Past the mess that we both left, could you see through it
Gliding through the stratosphere, could fall off, float away
There’s bigger fears alone up here as we try to find our way
If you could see through my eyes 75 miles high

The tracks ends with snippets of what sound like old recordings of astronauts speaking from their spaceships, and a final dramatic flourish of distorted guitar.

“Everything I Told You” is a mellower track, with a pleasing folk rhythm delivered by silky layered acoustic guitars hovering over a smooth bass line and gentle percussion. The guitar work on this track is sublime, and Varley’s earnest vocals are backed by a lovely, almost dreamlike harmonizing chorus. All the ingredients you need for a truly great song.

If you’re in the UK, you can catch Fie! Fie! Fie! at one of these upcoming shows:

4 Oct 2017    The White Bear, Barnsley
7 Oct 2017     The Spread Eagle, York
14 Oct 2017    Oxjam, Huddersfield
18 Oct 2017    SoFar Sounds, Bradford
20 Oct 2017    The Highfield Bradford, Idle
28 Oct 2017    Oxjam, The Town Hall, Hebden Bridge
24 Nov 2017    Hot Banana Music, Holmfirth
26 Nov 2017    The Beck, Brighouse
02 Dec 2017    The Tan Hill Inn, Richmond

Connect with Fie! Fie! Fie!:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation

Purchase:  Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

VERIS – Single Review: “Devil in the Details”

Devil in the Details

Boston duo VERIS are quickly establishing themselves as one the most exciting new acts of 2017. Comprised of singer/songwriter/ guitarist AJ Edwards and songwriter/drummer Mark Hylander, VERIS released their fantastic debut single “Opening Night” in June, which I reviewed. Now they’re back with a seductive new single “Devil in the Details.

 

Veris

The song is darker and more musically complex than the bouncy, upbeat “Opening Night.” This time around, VERIS incorporates trap and hip-hop beats, as well as eerily beautiful synthesized instrumentals and altered vocals to create a mysterious and sultry track. The song opens with a gentle synth, then a throbbing bass line enters as AJ fervently sings of being unable to resist the temptress who has him spellbound with desire:

Pull me closer, lock the door and turn the lights off
I don’t want to dive in deeper, but you know I can’t give it up
Test the water, feel my way across your current
Swimming never came this easy, and I know I can’t give it up
You’re the devil in the details

Sexual tension builds as layers of soaring instruments are added along with a recurring shrieking otherworldly vocal that disturbs the rapturous mood, perhaps startling the singer back to reality? AJ’s vocals are backed by a deeper vocal in the chorus, adding to the overall sense of mystery. It’s an amazing song.

 

Follow Veris on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music on Spotify and Soundcloud, and purchase on iTunes

DRUIDS – EP Review: “Pink Aliens”

Pink Aliens

Druids are an indie psychedelic punk rock band from New Orleans, and I’m completely smitten with their music! I can’t remember the last time I’ve had as much fun listening to a band as I do with their terrific debut EP Pink Aliens. Released back in February, it’s an adrenaline rush from start to finish, and I was hooked the moment I heard it.

All longtime friends with roots in the Crescent City, Druids consists of Brandon on guitar and lead vocals, Eric on bass, and Jeff on drums. Their hyper-kinetic lo-fi sound is built on elements of punk, psychedelic, surf, garage and doom rock, and influenced by some of their favorite bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Wand, Black Sabbath, Ty Segall, The Doors and Black Flag. These guys are beyond high-energy, and with their charisma and sense of humor – just look at those silver pants! – I’m sure they’re a blast on stage.

Druids

Cult of the Pink Aliens” kicks things off with buzzing guitars, crashing cymbals and hazy echoed vocals. At the two-minute mark it abruptly erupts into a driving punk beat with surf-rock guitar riffs that occasionally venture into distortion, aided and abetted by pounding drums and an onslaught of crashing cymbals. But hold on ’cause things really ramp up a notch on “Black Magic,” a frantic head-bopping punk-soaked romp that’ll have you thrashing about the room with abandon. Brandon’s skillful guitar and Jeff’s pulse-pounding drums keep the energy flowing at full throttle, making this my favorite track on the EP.

Not skipping a beat, “Endless Maze” offers up over five minutes of punk rock goodness, with an infectious stop-start beat and killer guitar work. Brandon’s extended guitar riff will leave you breathless. A throwback to late 60’s psychedelia, but with a late 70’s punk vibe, “Lightning Bolt” will have you yearning for pink sunglasses and striped bell bottoms. Once again, the guys amaze with their awesome guitar work.

Ty Dye Rain” is a psychedelic beach party on steroids, with exhilarating stop-start guitar riffs and lively percussion. Two-thirds of the way through, the tempo slows a bit and we’re treated to more extended riffs of shredded and distorted guitars. Opening with a cacophony of distorted guitars and sharp cymbals, “The Hex” continues the slower bass-heavy tempo, but the guys seem to like surprising their listeners by changing things up to a frenetic punk beat halfway through, and it sure makes for an exciting listen.

The song’s about an evil temptress who casts her evil spell on men:

So I see you’ve learned some tricks
Dabbled dark arts, became the witch
I can see you’re planning something causing trouble whats comes next
I can see you contemplating planning evil, pass the hex

There are numerous bands out there playing psychedelic and retro punk rock, but Druids take it to another level, and deserve greater recognition. I hope they’ll keep making more music, because I can’t wait to hear it. Those in the Kansas City, Missouri area can catch them in concert on October 13 at the Riot Room, where they’ll be performing with The Crystal Method and other bands.

Connect with the Druids on Facebook and stream or purchase Pink Aliens on Bandcamp