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.

 

WHORES.

Whores hail from Atlanta and bring a kick to the face of sludge based neo-monolithic-pick-fuck-noise rock.

What that translates to is BIG.MOTHERFUCKING.RIFFS. Then you take those BIG.MOTHERFUCKING.RIFFS. and just drench those suckers in distortion. Then deep fry it in fuzz. The louder you play them, the better the end result it.

Keeping a molasses thick sludge pace, Whores will pound the fuck out of your ears while simultaneously spraining your neck from uncontrollable headbanging.

Whores. are currently signed to Brutal Panda Records and have their debut EP Ruiner out now.

Buy this record, turn it way the hell up and just wreck shit.

Whores Bandcamp

Whores Facebook

Got your bandcamp player right here:

Barn Burner: If Iron Maiden drank more beer, smoked more weed and ate more poutine

Barn Burner hail from Bongtreal (Read: Montreal). Comprised of four sleazy dudes they play exactly what the title says. New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) at it’s core but covered in weed resin, beer, gravy and cheese curds. These guys shred.

Currently with 2 full albums, Bangers, and Bangers II: Scum of the Earth and signed with Metal Blade Records, they have not been getting nearly enough attention. Press play on any of their tracks and you get blasted with foot stomping riffs and beer drinking drums. Playing more in the mid tempo range, than the face blistering range, you get plenty of time to bang your head or air guitar along.

With a strong hesher influence seen in songs such as “Scum of the Earth”, “Keg Stand and Deliver” or “Beer Today, Bong Tomorrow”, Barn Burner always keep shit rowdy without loosing track of that oh so glorious riffage.

They’ll be playing a couple of Canadian dates this month, so get tickets, get wasted and get head banging.

17.2 Toronto @ The Horseshoe Tavern
18.2 Ottawa @ Mavericks
23.2 London @ Call The Office
24.2 Hamilton @ Casbah
25.2 Kingston MANSION

Barn Burner Facebook

Here’s the video for the song “Scum of the Earth”, which contains shredding, babes, more shredding and general shenanigans.

And “Half Past Haggard”, which while being less awesome than the above video, is still worth your time.

Graveyard: You really should be listening to this

Graveyard are a band from Gothenburg, Sweden. They play a blues influenced style of psychedelic/hard rock. You should listen to them.

But seriously. Graveyard’s sound is ripped straight out of the ’70s. Catchy riffs and bluesy licks all wrapped up in a nice layer of fuzz and surfed over by vocalists Joakim Nilsson whiskey soaked but not cigarette scarred lyrics.

Their most recent album, Hisingen Blues is something you can listen to from start to finish, over and over. It will keep you captivated right from the charging opening riff of “Ain’t Fit To Live Here” to the soulful closer “The Siren”, you’re never left wanting.

So go out there. Buy this album. Maybe consider buying some greenery to go with said album. Crank that shit to 11 and enjoy.

Graveyard are currently on tour with Radio Moscow (who will be mentioned later), but only in the states.

Graveyard Facebook

Here’s the video for the title track, Hisingen Blues: