Chicago is renowned for being home to some of the country’s most acclaimed concert venues. Lincoln Hall resides just north of downtown and has been voted as one of the best spots for live music in the city by sites like Yelp and Foursquare. The owners of Schubas Tavern opened their second location in 2009 in a hundred-year-old building and have been hosting transcendent live appearances since. Soen picked well to make this their Midwest stop on their one-month-long North American tour.
We chatted with Mark Vollelunga of Nothing More, who just released their new album “Spirits” via their label Better Noise Music. Mark discussed the current state of the music industry, their new album “Spirits” – the nature of being more experimental for the first time in the bands’ career, the time and care spent on album production, how the band approaches songcraft, how to write an “arena rock song,” and much more! Continue reading →
Having a father famous in the same field as you must be a blessing and a curse – being the son of Diego Maradonna, Michael Schumacher,Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan helps get your foot in the door but are hard acts to follow. Eddie Van Halen was the best of the best and after his untimely passing in 2020, his son Wolfgang focused his energies on his solo project Mammoth WVH. His self-titled debut came out a year later, with Wolfgang playing all the instruments himself.
This deluxe edition comes with three extra tracks, the best of which is ‘Talk and Walk’ – a stomping rocker with a smooth, AOR chorus. As for the album, as a whole, it is a decent offering of arena-friendly hard rock, with alternative, Foo Fighters, and Alter Bridge influences. It starts off with ‘Mr. Ed’, a glossy alt-rock bruiser with a sweet chorus and a 4/4 rhythm, a fiery tip of the hat to his dad.
With its seventy-minute runtime you certainly get your money’s worth, from the punchy swagger of ‘Horribly Right’ to the crunchy guitars, short and sweet solo, and thunderous drums of ‘You’ll Be The One’ there is plenty here to like. The best ones are ‘The Big Picture ‘ and ‘You’re To Blame’ – the former is a hefty slab of metal with a pounding riff and a consummately crafted chorus, the latter a sharp alt rocker made for radio with a fiery solo. Not far behind is ‘Feel’ – a lively, Foo Fighters-like track powered with a sprightly drum beat and a restless rhythm.
It is not all thrashing guitars and distortion, he lets his softer and poppier side out occasionally – the lush guitars and the soaring vocal harmonies of ballad ‘Resolve’ offers a sweetly struck bit of variety. Alas the other moments do not quite reach these heights, with ‘Circles’ sounding like a humdrum version of ‘How Soon is Now’ by The Smiths and the polished pop punk of ‘Think It Over” belongs on the soundtrack to some nameless mid ‘00s teen movie.
A mid-’00surs aside, Mammoth WVH (EX1) is a relentless album full of loving made, hard and heavy rockers with a commercial sheen. It is full of attitude and energy, and a big chorus or two, but its length and well-worn stylings means it gets a bit generic at times.
It is hard to believe that the Swedish supergroup, Soen, has only been making music together for ten years. Their first full-length, Cognitive procured high praise for its progressive proficiency and emotional maturity. They have stood out for their Tool-like compelling intensity and wide range of sentiment. They have remarkably managed to expand on these ripened abilities with each album they release. Now this quintet is getting ready to celebrate their tin anniversary by releasing a concert film of their classic numbers and a cover with live orchestral accompaniment.
As the nights get darker, trees have lost their leaves and there’s a “nip” in the air, you could do worse than retreat into your man cave with a guitar and some whiskey, or even The Guitar & Whiskey Club’s new self-titled EP (Orchard / Sony).
Formed in a search for solace during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, punk colleagues Anthony Green (Circa Survive), Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), Travis Steever (Coheed and Cambria), and Tucker Rule and Tim Payne (Thursday) pulled themselves out of their isolation funks to make some hard rock lemonade. The sound of L.S. Dunes combines the styles each member is known for bringing to their respective bands while simultaneously creating something different and of its own.
The British rockers Massive Wagons’ sixth record Triggered! (Earache Records) is another dose of their tried and tested, anthemic classic rock. It is still laced with humour, big riffs and abundant hooks but more raucous. Alongside The Darkness and Slade influences of their last record, the top ten House of Noise, are heavier moments, a touch of soft rock and a bit of reggae.
The Gang’s All Here (earMUSIC) is the sixth album from New Jersey’s Skid Row. Of course, the gang in question is somewhat different from the one that emerged in the late eighties with Sebastian Bach at the helm. The core lineup of guitarists Dave “The Snake” Sabo and Scotti Hill plus bassist Rachel Bolan has remained since 1987, but many drummers and singers have come and gone since the band’s 1999 reformation. Rob Hammersmith has sat behind the kit since 2010, whilst former Swedish Idol winner Erik Grönwall only joined earlier this year, replacing ZP Theart.
Since relaunching Bush in 2010, the Gavin Rossdale and Chris Traynor partnership (Traynor taking on the right-hand role in the band once Rossdale resumed performing under the Bush banner in the stead of the retired Nigel Pulsford) have, in an understated way, added to the band’s legacy, producing five albums, and a slew of consistently decent tunes.
Canadian quartet Monster Truck have returned with new album Warriors (BMG). This is their fourth record and the title track kicks things off in fine fashion – it is a bouncy number with retro, eighties-era Iron Maiden guitar harmonies provided by guest axeman Dave Baksh of Sum 41 fame. This track sticks to Truckers tried and tested formula, fuzz drenched southern rock with chunky riffs, catchy choruses and chant along backing vocals that do not outstay their welcome.
This recipe served them well on 2018 predecessor True Rocker and the same is true here, as the propulsive, no nonsense boogie of ‘Golden Women’ shows. Perhaps the best taster of this is ‘Fuzz Mountain’, a Black Sabbath inspired chugger which is helped along by the insistent background hum of keys.