Art As Catharsis fry up some riffs in The Devil’s Kitchen

Posted in Riffs with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by Ben

Next time your trying to pick up a lady why not try offering her an Australian kiss? It’s like a French kiss, just down under.


Sexual innuendo and bad puns aside, tonight I’ve got a new compilation from the reliably awesome Art As Catharsis. I talked about their previous comp, “Drone from the Underside of the Earth” here, here and here, as I struggled to wrap my brain around the amount of awesome pouring out of this previously unknown resource. While the previous compilation had been focused on psychedelic, noise and sludge, “The Devil’s Kitchen” is sticking to rough cut and greasy, with 19 tracks of “stoner-punk-death-boogie-sex-rock”. Sounds good to me.

It should be noted that this compilation is in support of the three-pronged showcase taking place in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane starting January 5th, 2013 (Event link is at the bottom for those lucky enough to go). Instead of trekking through this monster on a track-by-track basis like last time, I’m just going to highlight a couple of the rip-roarin’est tracks outta the bunch.

Chainsaw Hookers opens things up with a shot of ether and a kick in the ass in the form of “My Revenge”. Straightforward punk ‘n’ roll riffs careen their way through your ears, backed up by a full complement of off-the-cuff guitar solos, gang shouts and general shit-kickery. This isn’t complicated music, it’s the kind of music that lends itself to speakers cranked past capacity and plaster shaking off the ceiling.

With the tone firmly placed in the “fuck-shit-up” direction, the rest of the tracks step into line like the Dirty Dozen plus seven. Mammoth Mammoth were one of the few bands I recognized, thanks to a piece from NCS (found here). The same video being showcased there is their track on the compilation. “Go” is a solid chunk of red-meat stoner rock, garnished with fuzz and fried in a couple decades worth of throwback grease. More please.

The gale-force winds of napalm and broken glass on “Shit on the Liver” from King Parrot threw me for a bit of loop, as it’s 2 minutes of hardcore verging on grindcore insanity, with crusty mosh riffs and a horns up, heads down approach.

Battle Pope claw themselves some sleazy breathing room with “Rapture Cominatchya” from their split with Jesus Christ Posse (Coming later). It’s a rather eclectic mix of sex-fueled sleaze rock, garage punk and cheap drugs, an end result that ends up sounding like some perverted Rolling Stones from another dimension. The harmonica and off-balance drum work is a sweet touch, aided by some extra psychotic vocals.

“Tomahawk” by Winterun is another sweet track, with some heavy southern riffs and biker vocals that speak of some Alabama Thunderpussy influences. It’s a solid groove to accompany the last of your beer, smashing things with a hammer or driving your Harley through a quiet, suburban shopping mall. Good family fun all around.

Last track I’m going to highlight is “She Burns” from Wicked City. Snatches of Brit-pop rock influences flirt with more modern rock and roll riffs and both are paired up with a frantic sense of energy. The track’s four minutes long, which is getting up there, but your never left bored as they thrown in plenty of clever drum and guitar work in to keep the listen interesting.

Keep in mind that while I highlighted only 6 tracks, there are still 13 other bangers for you to drag out and play with. Something you should have no problem doing considering the compilation is up for a name-your-price option on Bandcamp.

Don’t be a scrooge and pay what you can. Put money back into artists you like so they can keep making music you like.

Links below. Enjoy!

Art As Catharsis Facebook

Devil’s Kitchen Bandcamp

Devil’s Kitchen Facebook Event



Freshly Squeezed: Low Volts with Oh My Stars

Posted in Riffs with tags on December 11, 2012 by Ben

Hello everybody. I’ve finally found myself a bit of breathing room, as my next exam isn’t until Friday. This means I can finally get to some fresh new jams from So-Cal’s Low Volts.

The new album is “Oh My Stars”, the follow up to the 2011 debut, “Twist Shake Grind Break” which I talked about right here. This one-man band’s debut was a sticky-sweet combination of crunchy blues guitar and the steady boom a single kick-drum. It was a raw and simplistic sound that was just the right kind of dark and dingy.

“Oh My Stars” sees some new changes to this formula and showcases a stylistic shift from the darker blues tones of the first album to some much more apparent rockabilly influences. Perhaps one of the major changes that is immediately noticeable is the addition of extra percussion elements. While “TSGB” pretty much exclusively used a single kick-drum with additional rattle or clanks, “Oh My Stars” uses everything from analog drum machines to chains and jerry cans.

The programmed drums are the most noticeable addition, apparent right from the get-go with “Shake in the Knees”. For the most part these drums work well, providing a nice contrast to the guitar. However some other tracks like “Can’t Deny” seem at odds with the new percussion, creating a sound that just isn’t quite cohesive. This is only a very small portion of the tracks though, as the majority of the album showcases the peanut-butter and jam sound from the first album.

Stylistically the album has toned down some of the garage blues from “TSGB”, with songs that seem more linear, with a friendlier guitar tone and lighter atmosphere. The riffs and licks seem a bit simpler, with more energetic songs that would lend themselves quite nicely to a rockabilly setting. It wouldn’t be too much of  a stretch to hear these songs played with a stand-up bass or washboard in the background.

Basically what I’m trying to get at is that the new songs seem like they would reap the benefit of having a full band. Something like “Knocked Me Over” or “Crippled Cat” are two prime examples that would be killer with some extra instruments. There are still plenty of tracks that are dominated by that delicious slide guitar and could not be served up any other way, like “Bloody Knuckles and a Hickey” or “Our Joyous Doom” (My favorite track).

So at the end of the day I see this album as somewhat of transition between two sounds. On one hand there is the crunchy blues drawl perfected on the first album, on the other hand there’s some new, more energetic veins of rockabilly crawling out from the murky swamp. I personally prefer the sound from the first album but I would expect just as much or more love for the new tracks.

“Oh My Stars” was just released today and is currently available for download from CD Baby and Amazon. It will also be up on iTunes and Bandcamp later in the week (I’ll update this post with the Bandcamp player once it’s up). Give it a listen and see what you think!

Low Volts Facebook

Low Volts Bandcamp

Apologies, Random Music, Australian Zombies and Mind Bending Magic

Posted in News and Information with tags , , , on December 9, 2012 by Ben

Hello all.

Sorry for the absence, the last little while has been pretty blurry. A collection of deadlines morphed into studying for exams which morphed into back to back exams. One of which I tanked and the other I’m not so sure about. The good news is that they were the hard ones so I actually have some time to collect my thoughts now.

So I’ve got three very different things to show you tonight, one is music, one is film and one is downright amazing.


Rich Man cover art

First up is a new single from the Brutal Jooks, the blues rock/roots group who’s debut album “Believer” was on the Church here last winter. The new single is “Rich Man” and was released during September of this year. Followers of the show “Sons of Anarchy” may have noticed this track making an appearance during the season finale last Tuesday.

Aside from the excellent success this band has managed to reach in a fairly short time, “Rich Man” is also a bombastic little bundle of joy, with an organic rhythm driven along by scratchy desert guitars and bare-bones percussion work. It’s a tasty little track that shows a solid progression from the blues rock sound the band laid down with “Believer”. You can listen below and get it through either Bandcamp or iTunes.

Brutal Jooks Facebook


I know zombies have been getting played out, I know you’re tired of everyone and their neighbors brother either making a zombie movie or zombie stitched tea cozy. But still. You should give the trailer for “Wyrmwood” a chance. A %100 Australian endevour, (We know how awesome Australia can be. See herehere and here for proof.), it promises to be a combination of equal parts Mad Max and Walking Dead.

I am slightly biased though, as Mad Max is one of my favorite collections and probably my favorite post-apocalyptic movies. Aside from all the zany automotive/zombie action that could be had with a Mad Max/zombie hybrid, “Wyrmwood” also has a killer idea up it’s sleeve, one you’ll get to see at the end of the trailer. Watch below.


Finally I’ve got a video that some of you might have already seen, as it’s been making pretty solid rounds of the interweb recently. The video is a magic routine by French magician Yann Frisch. He combines sleight of hand trickery with some incredible dexterity and amusing facial expressions. All of this is executed flawlessly and will leave you with a flapping jaw as your feeble primate brain tries to comprehend what in the hell just happened.


That’s all for now, I’ll be back later on in the week though, with some new music from Low Volts!

Late Video Fees: Turbonegro and The Shrine

Posted in News and Information with tags , on November 26, 2012 by Ben

Good afternoon ladies and gents, time to catch up on some of them moving pictures that were released in the last couple weeks.


First up is the newest video from Turbonegro in support of their newest album, “Sexual Harassment”. I talked about the previous video for “You Give Me Worms” here and talked about the album and new lineup right here.

The newest video is for one of my favorite tracks from the album, “I Got a Knife”. This was one of the tracks that played well with the new vocals courtesy of Tony Sylvester. The video matches this rough and tumble punk anthem with assorted bar shots featuring lots of denim, ladies, tattoos and knives. Also if someone wants to pay for me to get a belly tattoo, let me know.


Neeeext is the new video from the California thrashers, The Shrine. This video is in support of their “new” album, “Primitive Blast”. The reason I’m using quotations is because the album is the same as their demo which I mentioned here, except re-released with their new label.

Anyway, the video is for “Whistlings of Death”, a window-rattling, booze stained and extra sloppy rock ‘n’ roll whirlwind. The accompanying video shows off some skating, live shows and general hoonery. The entire thing is drenched in a thick coating of visual fuzz thanks to being shot on actual film instead of this new-fangled digital wizardry. The end result is a perfect set of retro vibes matched to the music.


That’s all for now. Chances are there won’t be too much coming out until after this Thursday, as I’ve got about 5 different converging deadlines. Who needs sleep anyway?


Musical Deviance Part 2: Quakers

Posted in Not Riffs with tags , , on November 23, 2012 by Ben

*Warning: Hip-hop below. You have been warned.*

Welcome to the second part of my week of musical deviance. As I mentioned in the first post (found here), I haven’t really listened to any riffs this week. Instead I’ve been alternating between big-band jazz and the subject of today’s post, hip-hop.

I’ve always liked hip-hop to a certain degree but I’ve always been picky about what I like to listen too. This has made my taste somewhat eclectic, bouncing between Australian natives Hilltop Hoods to some classic Wu-Tang. Two things I always look for are interesting beats and infectious rhymes, something that the self-titled debut from the 35 person collective, Quakers, has in spades..

By the numbers this is a project headed by 3 produces, featuring 35 MC’s and resulting in 41 tracks with a run time of just over an hour. So yeah, it’s a pretty big fucking collection of music. I’m not going to start naming names either, partially because of the sheer number of bodies involved but mostly because even if you followed recent hip-hop these names wouldn’t ring a bell.

The project was created as an effort to showcase the biggest and brightest talents that no ones heard of and then cramming all their rhymes into one massive album. The first thing I noticed after finally finishing a listen through is that even though this collection covers a dozen different styles, beats and rhythms, it all ends up sounding musically cohesive. Tracks flow together perfectly, sometimes you can’t even tell the song has changed until a new MC starts up.

One problem with this approach is some songs manage to stick in your head much more than others, causing the next couple tracks to loose their oomph. This is a very small complaint though, as more than %80 of this album is top-notch shit to my uneducated ears. Due to that fact I’m just going to highlight some of the tracks that really stood out to me, when in reality, the whole album kills.

One of the first tracks to hit me was the huge brass section and back-alley drawl of “Fitta Happier”. Watch below.

This is exactly the kind of stuff I look for, beats that slap a nod into your head and rhymes that make you feel like a twelve foot tall grizzly bear smoking a blunt and driving a Cadillac. Next up is “What Chew Want”.

Smooth flows, drum breaks and one hell of a voice. A couple tracks later we’ve got “Mummy”.

And a little later on we get the last track I’ll showcase, “War Drums”.

Even with those four tracks you can see a huge difference in the beats, rhymes and flows but nothing every sounds out of place. Everything ends up mixed together perfectly, a challenging feat considering every track is scrabbling for your attention. It’s a rapid fire of underground hip-hop that just sounds so damn good and like I said before, none of the 41 tracks disappoint.

So if you’ve made your way through that and still haven’t condemned me as a blasphemer and stormed off in a huff, then you can pick up “Quakers” from the US iTunes or from Stones Throw Records. Links below and don’t worry, the riffs will be back tomorrow.

Stones Throw Records


Musical Deviance Part 1: The Seatbelts

Posted in Not Riffs with tags , on November 21, 2012 by Ben

*Confession Time: I haven’t listened to any riffs this week. I know, but just bear with me.*

Afternoon folks. I’ve finally found myself a lull between deadlines and impending exams, giving me just enough time to talk about some of the music sashaying through my ears this week.

If your still reading after my little confessional than chances are your ears are open to some tasty riff alternatives. The music in this case is courtesy of The Seatbelts, a Japanese/International jazz group headed by Yoko Kanno. I found them for what they are most famous for, the music of Cowboy Bebop, a late ’90’s anime about space-faring bounty hunters. Chances are if you like anime you’ve already seen it but if you haven’t I highly advise giving it a watch.

One of the things that makes Cowboy Bebop stand out in my mind is the integration of the music into the stories. The music is just as much of a character as the cast is and most of the episodes are based around one musical theme, or use one style. The other standout fact is the sheer diversity during the series. Musical styles bounce between eerie noir-style crawls, big-band jazz sessions, ambient orchestral arrangements and classic western/blues twanging. All of these styles were preformed by The Seatbelts.

They currently have seven albums, four of which are Cowboy Bebop related, the other three are originals. I’ve managed to track down a pretty solid discography to give everything a listen, which is far more convenient than trying to track down every album. Since there was such a massive variety of music in these albums, it’s not surprising that I didn’t enjoy everything. What I did enjoy (and what I’m going to highlight) is the big-band jazz sessions and western blues songs, as these were the two styles I enjoyed the most.

Since I don’t really have the experience or knowledge to write anything in-depth on this music, this post is more aimed at exposing the music and seeing if y’all like it too. Here’s a live version of their most infamous song for the opening of Cowboy Bebop, “Tank!”:

I’ve always loved the sound of big band, probably thanks to my mothers rotation of early ’50’s classics. Suffice to say very few things put a chill down my spine like a full brass section going balls out. Here’s another of the big band efforts, “Too Good, Too Bad”:

So damn tasty. One thing I’ve noticed is that if you listen to a lot of complex or technical metal, large jazz compositions will have similar elements to metal songs. Little bits and snatches of song that seem familiar, or time signatures you can relate to a much heavier song. I might just be crazy though.

The other style of The Seatbelts I mentioned was their western blues songs. Cowboy Bebop is essentially about space cowboys and the mix of old west twanging guitars and howling blues harmonicas works amazing with lonely shots of a ship in space. Probably the most famous example of this style is shown below in “Spokey Dokey”:

It’s a haunting kind of music, melancholy and alone, at home in both the black vacuum of space and the searing hot sands of the desert. The harmonica is severly underused instrument in modern rock ‘n’ roll, so it does my ears good to hear it given the main stage. Here’s a guitar centered piece, “Forever Broke”.

Well that’s all I really wanted to accomplish, I hope I’ve piqued your interest for some new musical styles. If your looking to listen to an album/pick one up, I’d suggest just getting the straight Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, as it covers all the styles and classic songs. I’ll end with two more of my favorites, “Want it All Back” (one of the few songs with lead vocals) and “Mushroom Hunting”. Enjoy.

Short but Sweet from Sons of Huns, Firetruck Rally and The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Riffs with tags , , on November 17, 2012 by Ben

Hi there folks!

I’ve been spending the week getting skullfucked by school and haven’t had much room to breathe, let alone get some writing done. Thankfully I’ve found a little reprive tonight in order to bring you three new EP’s from The Heavy Eyes, Sons of Huns and Firetruck Rally. Can you diiiiig it?

First up is the oldest new release from Portland’s Sons of Huns. I talked about their previous work here and this newest 7″, “Leaving Your Body”, was released during September of this year. Containing two new songs, “Leaving Your Body” and “The Wanderer” along with a music video for the title track, it’s a solid slab of stoneriffic goodness.

There is a distinct difference in their sound this time, with “Leaving Your Body” showing a tendency towards thicker riffs and heavier grooves, in contrast to the lighter and more agile music on the “S/T EP”. The vocals have been tweaked to match this new musical style, with some more gruffness thrown in to match the grizzled guitars. These are by no means bad changes, just things I noticed.

Glimpses of their older sound come through on both tracks, which provides a nice little jolt to the songs. Both of the tracks are packed with head nodding grooves, finger-licking solos and good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. The accompanying video is also quite tasty, with some evil cultists and general occultyness to add some flavor.

This EP is currently only available in physical media, as no download option is up on Bandcamp. However, you can stream both tracks and watch the video below. Now for round 2!

Sons of Huns Facebook

Sons of Huns Bandcamp

Round two comes to us in the form of some gristly hardcore thanks to the Israeli band Firetruck Rally. Their 7 track EP was released also during September of this year and contains some interesting quirks along with the usual dose of napalm, rage and broken glass.

Currently there are only 2 tracks streaming on Bandcamp along with a video for a third song. All three are sharp, abrasive and utterly destructive. The interesting quirks come in the form of experimental elements that go a long way in giving the songs some depth. Quirky time signatures, clever guitar work and frantic vocals give the songs almost a mathcore feel.

It’ll take a couple listen through to get your head wrapped around everything, since the tracks rarely top two minutes. It demands your attention, you can’t really tune it out to the background or else you’ll end up with a lead pipe bashing your skull in. The video for “Open Letter to a Cop” is well executed and original, matching the track with some folks taking a punch to the face.

Currently only the three tracks are available for streaming, with plans for a physical release in the works. Listen below!

Firetruck Rally Facebook

Firetruck Rally Bandcamp

Last but not least is the newest EP from Memphis based, The Heavy Eyes. I talked about their previous EP here and their full length here. “Maera” was released this November and is two tracks that manage to pick out all the things I loved from their full length and and make it even better.

Sticky sweet grooves and endless riff worship are the name of the game, with never ending head nods and toe taps to boot. The apple pie-classics riffs are back, with all the accompanying ice cream fuzz and served hot to order. They’ve taken that perfect formula and just given it a simple massage. There’s no radical changes, just classic stoner tunes to put your mind at ease.

Even better is having the EP up for a name-your-price option on Bandcamp, something that only sweetens the deal even further. Enjoy.

The Heavy Eyes Facebook

The Heavy Eyes Bandcamp