INTERVIEW: Dave Bruzza of Greensky Bluegrass Talks “Stress Dreams”


 

Catch up on our interview with Dave Bruzza of Greensky Bluegrass! We chatted with them at BottleRock Napa this year and discussed the return of touring, their 2022 release “Stress Dreams,” the crossover appeal of the band, and much more.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Austin Meade – Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind


 

A singer-songwriter from Texas, Austin Meade’s new album Abstract Art Of An Unstable Mind is his second with Snakefarm Records. It is a concept album of sorts, with each track encapsulating a little stories of life and growing up – these episodes are broken up by the occasional short clip from the fictitious radio station LMAM. It is a varied record that gels together well, even if the radio clips do disrupt the flow somewhat – although ‘LMAM What’s Your Problem’, with its flat-earther style spin off, does raise a smile. Continue reading


INTERVIEW: Connor O’Neal of Tejon Street Corner Thieves – The Ghost Cult Interview


 

Ghost Cult caught up with Connor O’Neal of Tejon Street Corner Thieves to discuss their new full-length album Thick as Thieves – out now on Amigo The Devil’s label Liars Club. We chatted with Connor about the last few years of the band, touring with Amigo, having sober members in spite of their hard-partying past, moshpits at Americana shows, their new lineup, creating a comic book to go along with the album artwork, and more!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Whiskey Myers – Tornillo


 

A circle of discerning music lovers tasked with burying a time capsule to reveal to future generations the state and spirit of US rock in the mid-to-late 1970s would perhaps have included albums like The Last Waltz and Street-Legal, Born To Run, Grievous Angel, Street Survivors, Rust Never Sleeps and Tornillo – if, in fact, the latter had existed back then. Luckily, for us, right here, it exists right now. Continue reading


CONCERT REVIEW: Dropkick Murphys – Jim Lindberg – The Rumjacks – Jesse Ahern Live at Roadrunner


St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Boston. We know this song and dance already, but let’s recap… green beer, parade, inevitable bar fights, Dropkick Murphys show. But this time, there’s a twist to this weekend. The week leading up to the show also marked the grand opening of Boston’s newest concert venue, Roadrunner! Now, truth be told, I had to Google what the hell Roadrunner even was because I had never heard of it before. But let me tell you something… this may be my new favorite venue in the city.

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REVIEWS ROUND-UP: ft. Emma Ruth Rundle, Emily Jane White, Eight Bells, and Hangman’s Chair


Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back (Sargent House)

On the back of 2021’s exceptional Engine of Hell release, melancholic song-writer extraordinaire Emma Ruth Rundle cannot resist but cast one last longing look over her shoulder at the material prepared, written, and relating to that period, which included the break-up of a significant relationship – the subject of her previous, delicate, powerful full-length.

Consisting of three songs, each different in sound and style that didn’t completely fit with the dynamic of Engine…, Orpheus Looking Back nonetheless brings beauty in its wistful minimalism. ‘Gilded Cage’ is a strummed acoustic piece, ‘Pump Organ Song’ a spontaneous creation during the recording sessions on, well, a pump organ, while ‘St. Non’ is a breathy, guitar / vocal reflection.

While the format is less immersive than the previous full-length, Orpheus… is further example of Rundle’s class as a song-writer and ability to transfer emotion to bare music.

7 / 10

 

Emily Jane White – Alluvion (Talitres)

Taking a fuller approach to production, singer-songwriter Emily Jane White is reflecting on loss, grief and the impact of recent events on Alluvion, her downbeat and reflective sixth album.

Coaxing a gothic beauty to the underlying synths and minimal instrumentation, there is something of a gentle electro-pop feel to tracks like ‘Show Me The War’ and ‘The Hands Above Me’, a song that introduces subtle guitar peals and swells, and a hint of folk and shoegaze – as does the cello-backed ‘I Spent The Years Frozen’. ‘Mute Swan’ mixes in a repetitive eighties synth refrain with a comforting and underplayed vocal, and the standout track ‘Heresy’ is an ominous and effective duet with Darkher, with sparse chants recalling elements of Chelsea Wolfe.

There is plenty of scope in this reflective offering, as White’s intimate and open tones sit softly over the lush arrangements of multi-instrumentalist Anton Patzner and offer not just escape but hope amongst the darkness of our current situations.

 

7 / 10

 

Eight Bells – Legacy of Ruin (Prophecy Productions)

Patience is indeed a virtue, and good things doth verily come to those who are prepared to take their time dwelling in anticipation. It may be six years (and an overhaul of the supporting cast) since the last Eight Bells release, but the progressive, introspective vehicle of Melynda Jackson (guitars, vocals) is all the better for it. The addition of Cormorant’s Matt Solis works as a perfect counterfoil, either with harsh blackened backing vocals, or when chanting in unison with Jackson’s haunting, melancholic intonations. Solis also pops up in the spaces with as some interesting meandering bass runs, working intuitively with the atmospheres that Jackson creates.

This request for patience bears out in the individual tracks, too. Opener ‘Destroyer’ walks us through hints of progressive metal, psych, sludgy tones and touches of blackened cascades, before using a sparse guitar refrain to take us home and into the doomier, eleven-minute sprawl of ‘The Well’. Dynamically as a whole, this is further played out with the mid-album conjoined dreamy pair of ‘Torpid Dreamer’ and ‘Nadir’ combining and paying off; the former dark and doomed, with the latter bringing us through a moment of reflection to peace with its integrated dual vocals, at times reminiscent of a heavier Fleet Foxes – a feeling which is continued into ‘The Crone’, before the blackened elements of the Portland natives arsenal are unleashed.

And all of this is with the hulking presence of standout track, and album closer, ‘Premonition’ still to come; a summation of all the previous parts. Tremolo refrains scythe under a merging of howls and chants, before things settle, breathe and expand into a stately, melancholic close to moody, yet welcoming album.

8 / 10

 

Hangman’s Chair – A Loner (Nuclear Blast)

Tags and sub-genres, when misapplied, can be quite detrimental at times to bands. Not only are they misleading and mis-set expectations but can lead to people who would embrace and celebrate an act missing out on something that would be a perfect addition to their collection. France’s Hangman’s Chair have been labelled as Stoner and / or Doom (which in itself has a couple of different applications), yet there is nothing Desert or Weed-based here, as their sixth album A Loner continues the evolution and progression of their sound, and is a gorgeously reflective album of downbeat, shimmering Downer alternative rock, laced with moments of shoegaze.

Where there is anything sludgy, it is in some of the Stephen Carpenter / Deftones style looping, rolling low-slung supporting guitar moments, such as on ‘Cold and Distant’, a track that demonstrates Hangman’s Chair have a neat line in understated chorus, too, as does ‘Second Wind’. Moreover songs such as with the aptly titled ‘Supreme’, underline a Type O Negative influence that runs throughout, building in Life of Agony melodies and moments. Cédric Toufouti deals in layered vocals and lines of harmonies to support a voice that sits perfectly floating on top of the cinematic music, at times (‘Who Wants To Die Old’) reminiscent of Kristoffer Rygg.

 

Atmospheric and considered, the pairing of ‘Pariah & The Plague’ – a beautiful, layered non-vocal piece of music with tinkling guitar effects and brooding electronics – and the melancholy title track sum up the strengths of this unsung album.

8 / 10

 

STEVE TOVEY

 


ALBUM REVIEW: Sylvaine – Nova


 

Sylvaine is the pseudonym of Norway’s Kathrine Shepard, a classically trained composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. Since 2014 Shepard has been releasing albums as Sylvaine, of which Nova (Season of Mist) will be the fourth (not counting a 2020 split with Unreqvited).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Dashboard Confessional – All The Truth That I Can Tell


A contemplative, but serene gaze out of the window, as a hazy half-smile plays on the corner of the lips. Half a memory aligns with the story that is playing in the ears, but it has its own shade and hue, something the same but different, but definitely and absolutely connected. ‘Me and Mine’, the second song in a breathy, intimate, quietly sung middle of the album causes pause to reflect. A simple song about children, how being a parent as your kids grow up can be, it’s about closeness… And it is genuine.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Gregor Barnett – Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave


They say (well, Turisas did, which is probably as unlikely a band to reference in the introduction to a review of a solo album by the vocalist from The Menzingers as you’re going to get) no good story ever starts with drinking tea. But, maybe, just maybe this one does. For the journey of Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave (Epitaph Records), the first solo album from Gregor Barnett begins with the premature closing of one adventure and the unplanned void of returning home to… no plans. Just peace, quiet, solitude, and, well, whatever hot drink of choice our man from Pennsylvania chooses to imbibe the morning.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Matt Pike – Pike vs The Automaton


Absolute legend of stoner doom and sludge metal, Matt Pike has lifted off with his first solo album entitled Pike vs The Automaton (MNRK Heavy). Being known well for his work in Sleep and High on Fire, Matt takes all of the things he loves from those projects as well as other influences to put together a fantastic psychedelic rock album. Groovy, heavy, and really something for everyone can be found here to be enjoyed.

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