Clutch – The Book of Bad Decisions

Death. Taxes. Clutch. That should be the new pecking order of the old adage going forward. The band remains a beacon to disciples of honest rock and roll music, with no pretense. I mean I don’t think this band could act pretentious in any way if you paid them millions of dollars to do it. As one of the most consistent bands of the last musical generation, it’s never really a question of if the new Clutch album will be good, but rather “How good is that new Clutch, bruh?” Their last few efforts have been especially stellar and seemed to be building to something huge. That something is their new release The Book of Bad Decisions (Weathermaker Music). Continue reading

Volbeat Books US West Coast Tour Along With Coachella Dates

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Danish rockers Volbeat have booked another US tour with nine dates on the west coast and Texas. The dates support Volbeat’s two appearances at Coachella Festival, where they will share the stage with the likes of Guns `N Roses and LCD Soundsystem and others. Direct support on some of the dates will come from Black Stone Cherry and Monster Truck, as noted below. The private fan club sale fan club pre-sale begins tomorrow, February 17th at 10 am local. The password is BOOGIE2016. The general to the public sale starts Friday, February 19th at 10 AM local. Volbeat continues to tour behind 2013 Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies (Vertigo/Universal) album, and are expected to release a new album in 2016. 

Volbeat US tour dates:

April 13: The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA

April 14: Hard Rock – Las Vegas, NV :The Joint *

April 15: Coachella – Indio, CA SOLD OUT

April 18: Centre Plaza – Modesto, CA :Modesto *

April 20: Silver Dollar Fairground Chico, CA *

April 22: Coachella – Indio, CASOLD OUT

April 24:Downtown Phoenix – Phoenix, AZ :*

April 25: Abraham Chavez Theatre – El Paso, TX :*

April 26 : Lonestar Amphitheater – Lubbock, TX *

*Black Stone Cherry & Monster Truck

volbeat_ Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies album cover 2013 ghostcultmag

 

Volbeat - Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Tour 1

Volbeat, photo credit by Keith Johnson/Big Shot Concerts

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Stray From The Plan- Reece from STEAK

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We just want to have fun and play live to as many people as possible. Keeping it fun when things get a bit serious can be a challenge but I think you need to just focus on the original brief. Play music, get pissed and have a laugh. As long as that happens then we have a long future ahead.”

It’s a straightforward idea, but then again this is hardly the most complex of bands. The music industry may be a hard place to get by these days but stoner band STEAK seem to be stronger than ever. With a recent signing to Napalm records and a slot this year at Desertfest Belgium, the band are quickly establishing themselves as one of the biggest rising acts on the UK scene. Perhaps it’s this attitude that helps them survive where so many bands fail as guitarist Reece reveals.

They’re not just living the attitude when they play, it can really be heard pulsing throughout the music.

A thunderous bass line and fuzzy guitar is the core of our sound. Not over complicating things and letting the riff flow without trying to be too clever. It’s rock n roll, it needs to flow. Sammy joined the band on drums in 2012 just before the Corned Beef Colossus EP and he added a new dimension to the band and brought the whole thing to life and Kip’s vocals just seem to get better and better. Whether you like us or not the Steak sound is unmistakable I would say.”

It seems there’s very little about this band that wants to be taken seriously, and when your playing fuzzed out stoner rock music, that’s definitely not a bad thing. The name STEAK may seem unusual, but the meaning behind it couldn’t be simpler.

Because meats meat and girls have gotta eat”

This simple philosophy carries through to their attitude towards the band itself. Not straying too far from the usual story: friends get together and form a band, play a few shows and eventually things begin to flow. This band is however pioneering in one crucial area; practice makes perfect even with heavy amounts of alcohol involved!

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We have been close group of friends for years and Kip the singer is my (Reece) cousin. We talked about starting a band for a good while before we actually got our act together and done it. Kip and I went to a music store and picked up some really shitty drums, then called a friend and basically told him he’s our drummer! We were really terrible! In fact I still can’t work out how we stayed together through some disastrous gigs, but in fact it makes you a stronger unit and a little more tougher as a band. Man it was hard work back in the early days, we liked the beer more than playing tight. Some things don’t change but we are a much better band now when pissed!”

Whereas their releases in the past had all been EPs, latest album Slab City saw a departing from the usual shorter format into a full-length album. Commenting on the decision to stray from the original plan, Reece reveals it was getting signed that made the transition possible.“Mostly due to the support from Napalm after getting signed. We honestly wasn’t too fussed about being signed and had a plan to release 4 E.P’s all connected by the comic. At the end we was going to release a comic book that linked them all. After ‘Corned Beef Colossus’ e.p we was signed to Napalm and they wanted us to release a full length. It made total sense to do that if we had their support as we could spend time on the recording and have the back up to get it out to as many people as possible.”

 

The STEAK guys are just as passionate about music on the stage as off it, and the partying continues as Reece reveals his favorite concert memory.

For me personally it has to be seeing a reformed Unida, Lowrider and Dozer share a stage at Desertfest London in 2013. Man that was an awesome thing to witness and really never thought it would happen. It felt like it was like 1996 or something.”

Although they may not be letting their current success go to their heads, it seems there are exiting opportunities on the horizon for this band still. Just weeks away from a full European tour on the horizon it seems this band wont be buried in the UK underground for too much longer.

We are just about to be announced as support for John Garcia on a 5 week tour around Europe. That will be awesome as it means playing bigger venues and good crowds. Hopefully Garcia fans will dig what we do and we will sell lots of records! Hopefully he gets up and sings on the track ‘Pisser’ form the new album as he does on the record. Maybe it will happen!”

 

STEAK on Facebook

 CAITLIN SMITH

Lionize – Jetpack Soundtrack

lionize album cover

For years Lionize had carved themselves a nice little niche. A small but dedicated fanbase that lapped up their unique brand of Clutch-style boogie rock combined with soulful Reggae that led to some cracking records. But times change, and with new album Jetpack Soundtrack (Weathermaker Music) the band look to be really trying to breakthrough to a wider audience.

 

The Maryland rockers are five albums into their career and all the core elements of their sound are still in place, but they’ve tried to push everything up a notch. Produced by Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and Machine (best known for his work with their mighty Blast Tyrant album), which can only help their profile, the music is far slicker than it was before.

 

Take ‘Breather,’ there’s still plenty of funk, but with more melody, bigger guitars, and the whole thing is just more polished than their previous releases. ‘Evolve’ is more of a hard rocker, with its galloping riffs and synths while lead single ‘Reality Check’ is a well-polished melodic number that sticks in the head for days.

 

The only bad thing to say about the album is that there a few forgettable ‘Lionize by numbers’ tracks. ‘Electric Reckoning’ and ‘Lazarus Style’ fall under this category. They’re not bad, they’ve still got all the elements of a good song and played with plenty of energy, but leave little impression once they’re gone.

 

There are still plenty of gems, however. Lionize are seriously good at making feel good music that infects the body and give you the desire to move, and that’s exactly what good rock bands should do. The title track, the southern-fried ‘Replaced By Machines’ and the cowbell-filled ‘Skynet’ are all highlights. And as ever, front man Nate Bergman’s lyrics are a highlight throughout. Micro Machines, Dinosaurs and Friend’s Rachel Green all make an appearance, while ‘Amazing Science Facts’ is full of lyrical gold such as “Did you know Alex Jones grows his own food at home without GMOs, wow what a guy.”

 

Jetpack Soundtrack is a quality record. Perhaps not as enjoyable as Superzcar and the Vulture or Destruction Manual simply because the songs aren’t quite as memorable, but there’s nothing bad on here. And even if it’s still not an improvement on what’s gone before, Lionize still stand apart in a genre of one.

 

7.5/10

Lionize on Facebook

Dan Swinhoe