1. SO TIED UP – Cold War Kids featuring Bishop Briggs (2)
2. HOLDING ON – The War on Drugs (1)
3. THE MAN – The Killers (3)
4. LITTLE ONE – Highly Suspect (5)
5. HIGHWAY TUNE – Greta Van Fleet (7)
6. SUIT AND JACKET – Judah & the Lion (6)
7. LOVING YOU IS SO EASY – Wide Eyed Boy (8)
8. UNFORGETTABLE – French Montana, Swae Lee (4)
9. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (10)
10. THE NIGHT WE MET – Lord Huron (9)
11. WALK ON WATER – 30 Seconds to Mars (11)
12. LAY IT ON ME – Vance Joy (13)
13. THE SKY IS A NEIGHBORHOOD – Foo Fighters (19)
14. THE WAY YOU USED TO DO – Queens of the Stone Age (12)
15. UP ALL NIGHT – Beck (17)
16. WITHOUT YOU – Disciples of Babylon (18)
17. ONE FOOT – Walk the Moon (20)
18. EVERYTHING NOW – Arcade Fire (14)
19. CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU – Spoon (15) 19th week on list
20. FEEL IT STILL – Portugal. The Man (16) 24th week on list
1. HOLDING ON – The War on Drugs (1)
2. SO TIED UP – Cold War Kids w/Bishop Briggs (4)
3. THE MAN – The Killers (2)
4. UNFORGETTABLE – French Montana w/Swae Lee (3)
5. LITTLE ONE – Highly Suspect (6)
6. SUIT AND JACKET – Judah & the Lion (7)
7. HIGHWAY TUNE – Greta Van Fleet (8)
8. LOVING YOU IS SO EASY – Wide Eyed Boy (9)
9. THE NIGHT WE MET – Lord Huron (5)
10. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (12)
11. WALK ON WATER – 30 Seconds to Mars (13)
12. THE WAY YOU USED TO DO – Queens of the Stone Age (11)
13. LAY IT ON ME – Vance Joy (18)
14. EVERYTHING NOW – Arcade Fire (10)
15. CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU – Spoon (14)
16. FEEL IT STILL – Portugal. The Man (15) 23rd week on list
17. UP ALL NIGHT – Beck (19)
18. WITHOUT YOU – Disciples of Babylon (20)
19. THE SKY IS A NEIGHBORHOOD – Foo Fighters (N)
20. ONE FOOT – Walk the Moon (N)
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!
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.”
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.
1. HOLDING ON – The War on Drugs (2)
2. THE MAN – The Killers (1)
3. UNFORGETTABLE – French Montana, Swae Lee (3)
4. SO TIED UP – Cold War Kids, Bishop Briggs (7)
5. THE NIGHT WE MET – Lord Huron (6)
6. LITTLE ONE – Highly Suspect (8)
7. SUIT AND JACKET – Judah & the Lion (9)
8. HIGHWAY TUNE – Greta Van Fleet (11)
9. LOVING YOU IS SO EASY – Wide Eyed Boy (10)
10. EVERYTHING NOW – Arcade Fire (4)
11. THE WAY YOU USED TO DO – Queens of the Stone Age (5)
12. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (17)
13. WALK ON WATER – 30 Seconds to Mars (18)
14. CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU – Spoon (13)
15. FEEL IT STILL – Portugal. The Man (14) 22nd week on list
16. IT’S A TRIP! – Joywave (16)
17. FEELS LIKE SUMMER – Weezer (12) 20th week on list
18. LAY IT ON ME – Vance Joy (N)
19. UP ALL NIGHT – Beck (N)
20. WITHOUT YOU – Disciples of Babylon (N)
L.A. alternative rock band Disciples of Babylon have released their first official single “Without You” from their forthcoming album The Rise and Fall of Babylon, scheduled to drop this October. I recently wrote a piece announcing the album, which you can read here. As I’ve stated in previous posts about them, Disciples of Babylon (DOB) are one of my favorite indie bands, so I’ve been anxious to hear new music from them, and “Without You” does not disappoint.
DOB consists of 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. All are seasoned musicians who collectively bring a lot of talent to the band, creating a dynamic signature sound defined by epic melodies, Ramón’s killer guitar work, Gui’s monumental bass lines, Chris’s nimble percussion, and Eric’s commanding vocals. Their song lyrics are always deeply compelling, whether addressing social injustice, troubled relationships or the personal struggle to find truth and meaning in our lives.
“Without You” is loaded with all those signature elements, immediately blasting through the speakers with a soaring chorus and an assault of powerful instrumentals. Chris aggressively pounds out the beat while Gui lays down an impressive bass line, establishing a solid foundation for Ramón’s mind-blowing riffs. This man can play guitar, and I’m confident that as his career continues to grow, he’ll be included among the great guitarists of today.
With his impassioned vocals, Eric snarls the biting lyrics that speak to someone who’s betrayed you, killing the love you once felt toward them: “Without You, I can’t get past these lies that I lived with you. I doubt you could ever feel the same as I’ve felt for you. But this fight, has spiraled me out of control.”
It’s an awesome track, and a harbinger of more to come from The Rise and Fall of Babylon.
Hollywood, California-based rock band Disciples of Babylon unveil “Freedom,” the first track from their forthcoming album The Rise and Fall of Babylon, today, and it’s awesome! “Freedom” is immediately available to fans who pre-order the album (pre-order begins Friday July 14 at 3:30 p.m. ET). The lead single “Without You” is scheduled to be released the week of July 24.
“These are precarious times we live in,” exclaims front man Eric Knight. “The Rise and Fall of Babylon signifies something that I feel has been a long time coming. Babylon, meaning our country (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.”
Disciples of Babylon (DOB) was founded in 2012, and includes Eric Knight on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Ramon Blanco on lead guitar, Gui Bodi on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Toeller on drums. The band draws its influence from such Rock legends as Muse, The Foo Fighters, Queen, The Who, Stone Temple Pilots, U2 & Led Zeppelin. According to the band’s bio, “Our main musical aspirations are to incorporate key stylistic elements of all great Rock music eras into our music to create a large stadium-worthy sound that thrills all audiences, and proves once and for all that Rock music is here to stay.” I say hooray to that!
All seasoned musicians, the individual members of DOB, prior to joining the band, have accumulated several national releases independently, some having opened for some of the biggest names in Rock music, including Aerosmith, KISS, The Dave Matthews Band, and Kid Rock. The individual band members have toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad, and more recently, DOB was featured at the Vans’ Warped Tour in 2016. In June, the band performed at the extreme sports event Dew Tour 2017, and just last weekend on July 8, they kicked off the 2017 Gladiator MMA Championship Series with a performance at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Sports Coliseum.
DOB released their fantastic debut EP Welcome to Babylon in late 2015, which I reviewed. They will now follow up with their first full-length album The Rise and Fall of Babylon, which is scheduled for release in October. It was produced by GRAMMY award winner and longtime DOB producer Andres Torres, one of the producers behind the Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee mega-hit of the summer “Despacito” (which has held the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and counting). 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 Rise and Fall of Babylon | Track Listing
2. Without You
3. We Are The Ones
6. Simple Life
I recently had the pleasure of seeing two bands that I love in concert on the same bill, at The Slidebar in Fullerton, California. LA band Disciples of Babylon, whose debut EP Welcome to Babylon I reviewed a year ago (which you can read here), opened for Las Vegas band Adelitas Way. (Varna was the other opening band, but I missed part of their set so am not including them in this review.) Adelitas Way played several gigs up and down California in late January, including at The Slidebar on January 27, and will resume touring throughout the Western U.S. in early March.
The Slidebar is a pretty small venue with no seating, so everyone stands to watch artists perform. I would guess the room held no more than 200 people, so it was quite intimate, and great to be able to see the bands up close and personal. Unbelievably, the concert was free! Disciples of Babylon, a four -man rock band consisting of Eric Knight on lead vocals, Ramon Blanco on lead guitar, Gui Bodi on bass, and Chris Toeller on drums, were first to perform.
The guys look a bit tough in their promotional photo, but in reality are kind, generous and funny, with a great appreciation for their fans. This was their second gig I’ve attended, and they deliver 100 percent. Their set, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, included a number of new songs that will be featured on their upcoming full-length album, currently being mastered and planned for release in early Spring. They also sang their fantastic hit song “KARMA” and “The Great Pretend” off their debut EP, as well as an awesome cover of the David Bowie classic “Fame.” I filmed a portion of that song but, unfortunately, the sound quality isn’t very good (the music and bass were extremely loud in the small venue, so the sound is distorted in the audio recorded by my phone). Still, one gets a good feel for their dynamic sound and stage presence.
Adelitas Way came on stage around 10 pm, and by that time the room was filled to capacity, with anticipation running high. The band’s current line-up includes lead vocalist Rick DeJesus, Tre Stafford on drums, Robert Zakaryan on lead guitar and backing vocals, and Andrew Cushing on bass. The guys put on an exhilarating live show, and DeJesus is a crazy man on stage! He’s a big guy, and stalks the stage like a lion, his charisma and incredible energy charging up his audience.
They played many of their hits, including “Criticize,” “Bad Reputation,” “Sick,” “Getaway,” “Invincible,” and “The Collapse,” as well as their new song “Ready for War (Pray for Peace)” that will appear on their upcoming fifth studio album. In between songs, DeJesus engaged the audience and spoke about the band, their music and future plans. It was obvious Adelitas Way has a large, loyal base of fans, and a few people in the audience had seen them five or six times. At the end of their set, the band members circulated among the crowd, shaking hands and posing for selfies with fans. I was impressed by the amount of time and effort DeJesus put forth in meeting and greeting his fans, and his interest in them was completely genuine.
Here’s a snippet of their performance of “Bad Reputation” and once again I apologize for the poor sound quality.
Adelitas Way kicks off their Ready For War Tour 2017 on March 2 in Las Vegas, joined by opening act Letters from the Fire. If you haven’t seen them live, I highly recommend you make the effort to see them on this tour.