Dead Guys: because drummers are for sissies

Trawling Bandcamp for new jams has led to many a hidden gem, the Dead Guys are definitely one of those gems.

This trio from Duluth, Minnesota, play a blues/rock hybrid akin to early White Stripes or a more badass Black Keys. I say badass for a couple of reason. Firstly, they don’t have a drummer. Guitarist Jake Scott stamps on a ratty old kick drum with a tambourine atop it. The second reason is they use a banjo, anything with a banjo gets way more badass points in my eyes.

Keeping pace with the single kick drum adds a certain organic nature to their sound, it sounds raw and much more intimate than if they would have played the songs with a full kit. The songs have a slow, meandering pace that’s backed by some very tasty riffage and a solid baseline. It’s a very relaxing and comfortable sound that could easily be played over and over again.

Now the bad thing about the Dead Guys is they only have two songs as of now but the good thing is they’re FREE. So give these a listen and a download and give them some love on Facebook too.

Dead Guys Facebook

Dead Guys Bandcamp

 

Use The Fuzz: Split EP – Parasol Caravan // Cachimbo de Paz

Thanks to Islander over at NO CLEAN SINGING I got informed of this upcoming split between two Austrian bands, Parasol Caravan and Cachimbo de Paz. Slated for release on the 16th of this month, Use The Fuzz is a solid 8 track homage to stoner classics, big riffs and the ever glorious fuzz.

Parasol Caravan play a very straightforward, but very tasty, style of riff rock. Big, memorable riffs, heavy drums and all topped off with some whiskey soaked vocals. They pick you up right away with the opening build of “The Barbers Snake” and keep the fat grooves going until the closing drone of “Chinese Eyes”. The vocals are more of a soulful yell then a drunken growl but it works well with the modern rock themes that they work into their songs. Definitely worth a listen.

Cachimbo de Paz claim the last four songs on the EP. They play on the opposite side of the stoner spectrum, with heavily fuzzed and distorted guitars combined with thick, gritty vocals that border on sludge territory, it’s a nice contrast to the cleaner sound that Parasol Caravan brought to the table. Instead of keeping the heavy guitars as the focus and just beating your head in with them, Cachimbo work in some softer, almost psychedelically styled licks and interludes.

This EP is a great combination of two up and coming bands, playing two different but complementary styles of riffage. I’ve got links to both bands respective Facebooks/Bandcamps/Soundclouds and I’ll update with a link to buy the EP once it’s released.

Parasol Caravan Facebook

Parasol Caravan Bandcamp

Cachimbo de Paz Facebook

Cachimbo de Paz Soundcloud

METAL MONDAY: Nekrogoblikon and their Stench

*Metal is a huge part of my music rotation, so every Monday I’ll highlight one of the bands that is currently melting through my eardrums.*

Goblins have always been shit on in fantasy worlds. Usually classed as no more than vermin, they get kicked to the wayside as their orc and troll cousins go on to become world famous metal bands. Well Nekrogoblikon is a group of those goblins who snuck into a bands jam space, slit their throats, stole their instruments and then burned the place down. Now they roam the land raping and pillage with a doubled edged assault of skull crushing brutality and eye watering stench.

Nekrogoblikon pull all the stops in order to forcefully eliminate mankind. Galloping drums and riffage, well used synths and choruses more infectious than the black plague. With the switch firmly in the “fuck shit up” position, these goblins tear through songs, and your flesh, at a breakneck speed. One thing that separates them from other creature-based bands is the liberal usage of synths. From extra drum triggers to a full on dance beat at one point, it’s always surprising but never unpleasantly so.

The other thing is that these songs are damn catchy, “No One Survives” and “Prince of the Land of Stench”  (Which opens with a sample from Labyrinth. Yes the movie Bowie was in.) being the prime examples. As your nodding your head and singing alone you’ll come to the horrible realization that your singing about the gore and feces filled destruction of the human race. They don’t just want you dead, they want you ground up, eaten, shit out, lit on fire and then snorted like cheap cocaine. Goblins are evil bastards after all.

Nekrogoblikon currently have two full lengths out, “Goblin Island” and “Stench”. Both are up on Bandcamp and iTunes. Pick one up and help fund the end of mankind.

Nekrogoblikon Facebook

Nekrogoblikon Bandcamp

And the lyric video for “Prince of the Land of Stench”:

 

 

Sunday Sludge: DOPETHRONE

The riff comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s clean, catchy and elegant. Sometimes it’s filthy, grimy and about as elegant as a sledgehammer to the sternum. Dopethrone is the latter.

This three piece group from Montreal play some of the filthiest, skull crushingest, downright face smashing riffs I’ve heard in a long time. Dopethrone’s brand of sludge is like having your entire body slowly crushed in a vice. It’s not going to be fast, it’s going to be long and slow with a never ceasing pressure. This is the kind of sludge that just holds you in your chair, not only are you too scared to move, you can’t move.

Sticking to the tried and tested molasses slow pace, Dopethrone hammer you with riffage so drenched in distortion and fuzz, it might not even be human any more. Combined with the guttural groans from vocalist Vincent and the mixing of some truly creepy samples, it’s one hell of a trip.

For those up on their sludge education you may notice that Dopethrone is the name of Electric Wizards third studio album. showing where these guys get their inspiration from.

Like many awesome bands, these guys are currently unsigned with 2 albums to their name, 2009’s “Demonsmoke” and 2011’s “Dark Foil” (Which has been getting the most spins for me). Their album’s available for $6 on Bandcamp and they are currently on tour in Holland. Give these guys a listen and let yourself cave to the dark forces of the riff.

Dopethrone Facebook

Dopethrone Bandcamp

The Heavy Eyes and the simplicity of the riff

Memphis, Tennessee is the largest city in the south-west state and the 20th largest in the United States. Known for it’s giant pyramid arena, the Memphis in May celebration, and one other thing. That one other thing is a man by the name of Elvis Presley. Arguable one of the most influential people in modern rock and roll, he was one of the first to blend country, rhythm and blues into one oh so tasty combination.

Being from the home of such a legend may or may not have had an influence on The Heavy Eyes sound but either way their self-titled album is chock full of bluesy riffage, down tempo headbanging and so much of that glorious fuzz. Their riffs don’t beat you over the head or kick you in the teeth, they pick you up, get your head nodding and float you away on a great fuzzy cloud.

Taking the blues from Graveyard, the jam stylings of Radio Moscow and then doused the entire thing in a blanket of Whores –esque fuzz, you have The Heavy Eyes. This isn’t complex music, it’s sit on your ass high out of your mind music. Some people might argue that is sounds simplistic and derivative of all the great bands that came before them. But that’s the point; it doesn’t need to be complicated when you can write songs this god-damn captivating.

So basically you should buy this album. It’s $5 and they’re unsigned so it’s not like you’re paying a label. So get stoned, put this on and just drown yourself in the excellence that is fuzzy riffs.

The Heavy Eyes Bandcamp

The Heavy Eyes Facebook

Here’s a Bandcamp stream of the self-titled LP.

The Baxters: Live @ The Maf’s House

One of the reasons I started this blog was the egging of a couple of friends, one of those friends names is Taylor, the drummer in a band called The Baxters.

Calling London, Ontario their home, The Baxters play a modern interpretation of the classic riff rock we all love. A combination of memorable riffs, heartfelt vocals and catchy song structures, it sounds good, damn good. Everything is crisp with just the right combination of crunchy and clean guitar tones. It’s mixed beautifully with none of the instruments overpowering each other or vocalists Scott’s talent. Add some bluesy licks, solid solo’s and powerful drumming and this is some downright deliciously foot tapping ear candy.

The Baxters are currently unsigned and have just released their debut EP. To go along with the release they fully mic’d up their jam space and recorded a multi-angle video of the band playing songs from the EP as well as a couple extras, along with short clips of general shenanigans. Definitely worth a watch and posted right below along with their Bandcamp and Facebook.

The Baxters Facebook

The Baxters Bandcamp


A man in an Iron suit, playing Iron Man, with a Iron Guitar…In between two Tesla Coils.

That dapper fellow above is one Nikola Tesla. Born on the 8th of July, 1856, Mr. Tesla would go on to be one of the major contributors to what we now call modern electronics. He also laid the foundation for today’s remote control, developed the modern AC current system and went on to publish many patents that are invaluable to wireless communication and radio. Then in 1888, after creating the first brushless induction motor, he went on to make a little thing called a Tesla Coil. This is basically a really big transformer that produces low current, high frequency and high voltage electricity. They were not a huge technological success but you can see them in many entertainment settings today, producing blue-white lightening strikes that we can interact with.

Then in 1970, the grandfathers of stoner metal, Black Sabbath, released the song Iron Man. [I know this is classic rock. It’s an exception] Containing one of the most classic riffs ever to grace a guitar, Iron Man would go on to be the stoned Saturday evening or the inspiration for a generation of listeners and musicians. Without this riff, there probably wouldn’t be this many awesome bands to grace the pages of this blog.

So what do these things have to do with each other? Well there’s a group called ArcAttack. They specialize in playing music that is synchronized to a set of Tesla Coils. See where this is going? The Tesla coils have a feature that modifies their spark output to correspond to musical notes. The group also performs with a robot drum kit controlled using MIDI data.

So now we have ArcAttack, playing Iron Man, between two Tesla coils. Better but a hat on, cause this might just blow your mind.

Right?

Here’s another video of them performing the Dr.Who theme song at Makers Fair 2010.

ArcAttack Website

Thanks to BoingBoing to finding this gem.

 

 

 

Black Mountain and their army of sky sharks

While the majority of the riff coverage on this site is of a more aggressive, whiskey drinkin’ , ball swingin’ sort of nature, that doesn’t mean that the softer side of the riff is totally forgotten. Sometimes you don’t want to headband (Shocking right?), sometimes you just want to smoke a bowl and drift away into the gaping maw of a great white SKY SHARK. True Story.

So. Where is all that babbling going? To Black Mountain that’s where. Black Mountain come from the city of Vancouver on Canada’s glorious west coast. Formed in 2004, they have released 3 full length albums with the label Jagjaguwar. They’ve gained a moderate amount of fame within Canadian and international music circles as a band that weaves together soothing melodies of Zeppelin inspired riffage.

While all of their three albums are worth a listen, their third album, “Wilderness Heart” has been getting the most spins on my record player. Hearing these guys through a analog system just adds that much more to the appeal. Their song structure is minimalist, which works extremely well. They don’t rock out right in your face, the tempo slowly builds as the melody changes. Then a big boss motherfucker of a riff charges in and takes hold of the situation. Coupled with the amazing vocal combination of Stephen McBean and Amber Webber this album will keep you floating along in a kaleidoscope sky, chased by a horde of sky sharks of course.

Alright I’m done blabbing. MUSIC.

Black Mountain Facebook

The videos for “The Hair Song” and “Old Fangs”.

 

Bella Clava and feeding the cannibals

Let’s get some things out of the way. Bella Clava aren’t metal, I know that. I am also aware that the above picture should be centered around that truly awe inspiring piece of mustache.

Sticking firmly in the feel good, classic style of the riff, they keep you entertained with foot tapping rhythms, infectious grooves and choruses that will be stuck in your head all day long. Combining that with the highly underused asset of a female vocalist you have a very refreshing breed of riffage. It may not be ball swinging but it’ll sure get your head nodding.

Originally from Thunder Bay, Bella Clava now call Toronto their home and can be seen at many local venues. They’ll be opening for Barn Burner on February 17th at the Horseshoe Tavern.

Currently unsigned with one full length album to their name, titled Holy Crow, you can listen to their music below as well as watch their video for “Food for Cannibals”.

Bella Clava Facebook

 

 

 

Free Freaking Friday: XII Boar

*So in order to make Friday that much more awesome, and since free sounds good when you get all fancy with your alliterations on a Friday. I give you Free Freaking Friday, in which I’ll highlight a band that is not only freaking awesome, their music is also freaking free.*

I was introduced to XII (Read: 12) Boar’s distinct brand of tasty riffage by the good folks over at NO CLEAN SINGING, which is another metal blog you damn well should be reading. XII Boar hail from Aldershot, Hampshire of the United Kingdom. Now well a place like Aldershot, Hampshire of the United Kingdom doesn’t sound like a place you expect to hear some ball swinging, guitar swaggering riff’d stoner metal coming from, XII Boar deliver all that and more.

Currently unsigned (I believe) and with a total of eight released tracks to their name, XII Boar packs more pure swagger and riffage per square second in those either songs than most bands can manage in a career. I’m talking whisky drinking, harley owning, weed smoking pure motherfucking riffage. As much as a homage to Motorhead as pure badassery, XII Boar will hook in you right from the opening groove of “Smokin’ Bones” to the opening chug of  “Triclops” these boys shred.

Oh and best of all? It fucking FREE! So go download this, right NOW.

XII Boar Facebook

XII Boar Bandcamp

And a bandcamp player embed for all you lazy fuckers.

Annnnd the video for “Train Wreck”, cuz I’m just such a nice guy.