ALBUM REVIEW: Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown – Pressure

As last year wound down, 2020 was looking bright for music, with tours galore and a litany of reunions. Nashville’s rock ‘n rollers Tyler  Bryant and the Shakedown were looking forward to building on their busy 2019, which included tours and festivals across the US and Europe, most notably with Stone Temple Pilots, Rival Sons, Clutch, Sevendust, Blackstone Cherry, and Airbourne, among others, and the release of their critically-acclaimed album, Truth and Lies. But as 2020’s landscape changed, big plans did too. Some artists went on hiatus, while others decided to take the time to reflect and write. In this case, guitarist/vocalist Tyler Bryant, drummer Caleb Crosby, and guitarist  Graham Whitford did not slow down, took on the latter approach, and hunkered down in Bryant’s home studio to craft some of their best work with the help of co-producer/engineer Roger Alan Nichols. Aptly titled Pressure (out October 16th on Snakefarm/Spinefarm Records), the album takes listeners on a journey through the emotional and tumultuous year. Coincidentally, many of the songs began to take shape before Nashville faced a destructive tornado, COVID, and racial justice rallies. However, the release could not have been timed better, as it offers up 13 tracks to headbang and air guitar away the trials and tribulations of the last seven months and beyond. With a multitude of moods and tempos, and a collage of rock, blues, roots, and country stylings, Pressure follows the roller coaster that is 2020 life.  Continue reading

EP REVIEW: South of Eden – The Talk

South of Eden, a classic rock-esq band from Ohio, release an EP, The Talk (LAVA Music), to eager supporters, new admirers, and all-around music connoisseurs. The Talk presents listeners with a wonderful classic rock era sound. Think the mid to late seventies through the early nineties; when rock was fun, light, airy, and full of awesome guitar riffs and harmonies that sweep you off your feet and float you away to rock and roll heaven.  It may sound like an over-exaggeration, but pick up The Talk and you will smile in understanding. 

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Millencolin – SOS

Millencolin’s SOS (Epitaph) has a lot going for it which is only natural as it’s the ninth full-length from a band with 27 years of experience under its belt. You also must factor in that it’s got the right amount of songs, running time and a clean and crisp mix. So far everything is coming up Milhouse, but I have a gripe. Continue reading

Clutch – The Picturebooks – Inspector Cluzo: Live at Academy, Manchester (UK)

 

A last gig of the year sees me take in the familiar sound of Clutch, with dual support from Inspector Cluzo, a Funk/Soul n’ Roll duo from Gascony, France, and German Blues-Rock act The Picturebooks. After a brief chat with Jean-Paul from Clutch prior to the gig, I took my place up to take in the evening’s entertainment. Continue reading

BAK – Flower EP

Though enigmatic Australian duo BAK released an album back in 2010, new EP Flower (self-released) is the first time the band has released any music in the UK. Despite having a base of Beau Djekic and Kit Dyson this Arabian / Prog hybrid at times involves a full orchestra and up to 100 musicians in total. This release is, therefore, highly intriguing. Continue reading

Rival Bones – Strangefruit EP

From the powerful opening salvo of ‘Beautiful/Dangerous’ and its driving beat, Indie Rockers Royal Blood come to mind. As well as the sonic similarities, Liverpool based Rival Bones are also a duo, with James Whitehouse on guitar and vocal duties and Chris Thomason on drums. Continue reading

Alunah – Amber & Gold

As EPs go, this release by Birmingham doomsters Alunah is perhaps a necessary one. In the wake of their founder/head vocalist Sophie Day leaving the band last year, the need to establish her replacement, Siân Greenaway, as quickly as possible means Amber & Gold (self-released) has a purpose, if nothing else. Continue reading

Amaranthe – Helix

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever but to create something that will…” begins the fifth Amaranthe album, all proudly released by Spinefarm. And while this particular release may not be quite in and of itself destined to live indefinitely in our hearts and minds, as a collective, the band really must be given credit for carving a sound and style that is wholly and completely their own. Ten years deep into a healthy and prolific career, Helix not only shows no sign of letting up but feels like a second wind to launch the band into a second decade. Continue reading

Good Charlotte – Generation RX

It’s hard to fathom that Good Charlotte has been around for over twenty years – it doesn’t seem that long since the Maryland natives were the one band to really thrive in the pop-punk MTV explosion of the early 2000’s with the very successful The Young and The Hopeless (Epic/Daylight). They’re released a number of hits since then, the Madden brothers took time off for a side project, got married to Hollywood darlings, and came back with 2016’s Youth Authority (MDDN) to much praise from old fans, and not so much from others.

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Counterparts – Private Room EP

Three songs. Six minutes. Chaotic aggressive punked-up discordant post-hardcore with antagonistic, flesh-ripping hooks, more attitude than most style-over-substance poser acts can muster across a career and a mic drop of a release ahead of their upcoming tour with Stick To Your Guns, the Private Room EP (Pure Noise) is three previous B-sides that Canadian modern hardcore band Counterparts felt deserved more attention. Continue reading