Alive Naturalsound Records

Independent record label based in LA. Home to The Black Keys, Two Gallants, Buffalo Killers, Radio Moscow, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Hacienda, John The Conqueror, Brian Olive, Black Diamond Heavies, Left Lane Cruiser, T-Model Ford, Thomas Function, Waves Of Fury, etc. More at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

HACIENDA - All Music Guide

Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys once described the Austin, TX quartet Hacienda as "Mexican-Americans who are obsessed with the Beach Boys," and while that's an oversimplification, it isn't far off from the mark. Auerbach produced and plays on Hacienda's debut album, Loud Is the Night, and while the guys are clearly enamored of middle-period Beach Boys stuff (think Wild Honey through Holland), there are plenty of other obvious touchstones in their sound — the Beatles (dig the "I Dig a Pony" guitar figure in "Useless and Tired" and the Rubber Soul/Revolver-era melodies scattered throughout), the Rolling Stones in their quiet moods ("Wishbone" suggests a pocket-sized version of "Moonlight Mile"), 1960s and early-'70s studio pop (with scaled-back flashes of Phil Spector and Jack Nitzsche's production styles clearly audible, and a hint of the Turtles in "Angela" and "Officer") and even Sonny Bono (there's a surprisingly faithful cover of the Sonny & Cher hit "Baby Don't Go"). As with most bands who wear their influences on their sleeves, the real question here is if Hacienda can bring anything new to the picture, and thankfully Loud Is the Night leaves no doubt that this band knows how to write songs in the classic style and give them shape in the studio with a precocious grace. Brothers Abraham Villanueva (piano and vocals), Jaime Villanueva (drums and vocals), and Rene Villanueva (bass and vocals) and their cousin Dante Schwebel (guitar and vocals) conjure up a remarkably full and eclectic sound in the studio, and if their harmonies aren't quite up to the level of the Wilson siblings, they bring a warm, rootsy edge to the music that adds a distinct and welcome Southwest flavor. Hacienda may be in love with vintage sunshine pop, but Loud Is the Night shows they can give the sound a welcome shot of soul while staying true to its melodic roots, and this is a strikingly accomplished debut (especially when you consider that it was recorded in a mere two weekends). - by Mark Deming / All Music Guide

The NERVES - LA Weekly

Published on December 09, 2008

The Nerves |One Way Ticket| Alive Records

Surprise: The longest-awaited album of the season is not Chinese Democracy. In fact, it’s not even the most extensively delayed album by an L.A. band. That honor goes to the Nerves. After nearly 30 years of being transmitted in the form of bootlegs and mixtapes, of being covered by other bands, of becoming the stuff of rock & roll legend, the Nerves’ four-song EP has finally seen a proper reissue on Alive Records’ new One Way Ticket — along with unreleased tracks, demos and live cuts. And guess what? It’s better than Chinese Democracy, and cost $13 million less to record.

The Nerves were the trio of guitarist Peter Case, bassist Jack Lee and drummer Paul Collins. The band orginally formed in San Francisco and eventually moved down to L.A., where they recorded an EP and cultivated a small scene of like-minded pop acts with tiny budgets. They supported the Ramones, and managed to shore up enough bread for a national tour. That lone recorded document of their brief career ended up being regarded as a hallmark of what was eventually termed “power pop.”

The Nerves’ EP is one of those items — like a bootleg videotape of a rare kung fu movie — that gets passed around between friends to get people in the know. “Oh, you like Guided By Voices? Well, wait’ll you hear the Nerves!”

It contains four numbers: “When You Find Out,” “Working Too Hard,” “Give Me Some Time” and “Hanging on the Telephone.” The last track probably looks familiar, and it should: While touring in Japan, Blondie heard the song in their limo and covered it as the opener on their now-canonical 1979 album Parallel Lines. Their version was released as a single and charted at No. 5 in the U.K. The song would be reinterpreted by a number of artists down the line — including Cat Power and Def Leppard — and, like most songs referencing phones, it landed in cell-phone commercials.

Anyone hearing the Nerves’ original recording of “Hanging on the Telephone” might be surprised. Blondie embellished the song with so many new-wave accoutrements (frilly organs, laser-guided guitar parts) that it was rendered into a blanched version of the original. The minimal instrumentation of the Nerves’ version, with the hoarse howl of its vocals and brisk pace, sounds more like the youthful vigor of early Beatles than the stylish sheen of new wave.

The remaining three tracks possess the same jaunty rhythms, deft instrumental interplay, bottled-up enthusiasm, sharp vocal harmonies and unflappable hooks that characterize the first Beatles singles.

But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Shortly after their tour, the Nerves disbanded. Case and Collins attempted to re-form the band with a new guitarist under the moniker the Breakaways, but that turned out to have an even briefer life span than its predecessor. Lee penned a couple more songs for other artists before vanishing from the music industry. Collins went on to form the Beat, while Case carried on with the Plimsouls before creating a rather successful solo career for himself (even garnering a Grammy in recent years). Although these later careers eventually bore more monetarily successful fruits, on purely musical grounds their accomplishments are dwarfed by the influence and ingenuity of the Nerves’ four-song EP. It will endure long after Chinese Democracy is finally buried.


Got a hormonally explosive, just post-adolescent relative on your gift list who still thinks Fall Out Boy is power pop? Well, set him straight with a combo history lesson/girl obsession classic. For aficionados of first-era power pop (roughly 1977-82), the 4-song 7" The Nerves EP this Cali combo released in 1977 is not just a bristling batch of perfect, punk-prodded pop, but a viable argument stopper for where the genre began. Plus, all three members went on to create more influential pop gold (in collector desirability if not actual sales). Singer/bassist Peter Case had the most success with the '80s band, the Plimsouls; drummer Paul Collins formed the Beat, releasing a few super slabs (and are back with a new record on Get Hip); and singer/guitarist Jack Lee's career petered out the quickest with some personal problems that are barely hidden in his sparkly gems. Lee wrote "Hanging On The Telephone" (later a hit for Blondie), featuring the closing, repeated plea of "Hang up and run to me," that is one of the most purely heart-wrenching codas of that era. That EP is all here, Rickenbackers ringing and scruff harmonies yearning clearer than ever. While those songs and some of the other demos and live tracks on this 20-track compilation have appeared over the years in various quasi-legit versions, usually on small European labels (you wouldn't believe what a star Case is in Orleans, France), this is the first official release of all the Nerves and immediately post-Nerves related material, with liner notes from Case no less--in other words, the holy moley grail for power pop fans. Had they the cash to make that first EP an album--adding in the sugar rush of "Walking Out On Love" and "Letter To G," or the mood-piece pound, "Are You Famous"--the Nerves might've supplanted the Knack and saved power pop from its cheeky legacy. Standard motifs of skinny ties and "The" band names have reduced the era to a fad; and the genre phrase is flung around so much today it's become an enervated catch-all for anything vaguely upbeat with vintage guitars played by earnest 20-somethings. Well forget that and grab this One Way Ticket to a time when a band could rankle fellow too-tough punk scensters by simply covering the Beatles. - Eric Davidson / CMJ

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HACIENDA - Bearded Magazine

A band of 60s-lovin’ Beach Boys-obsessed Mexican-Americans from south-central Texas who weld candycane melodies to sure-footed, ballsy rock bravura… Confused? You won’t be. From first note to last, Loud Is The Night is rammed with youthful rock and roll that flails around like a nun with a fork in her eye, raw riffs tussling with sleek 60s harmonies and intricate pop melodies to create something that’s more than a little special.

Crafting similarly tumbledown rough-n-ready rawk to the likes of Dr. Dog and The Black Keys (the latter of whom are credited for mentoring the band and helping them record this album), Hacienda’s sound rolls effortlessly from the jaunty jangle of ‘Useless & Tired’ to tub thumping good-time rock n’ roll that sounds rawer than Tom Waits after smoking several tea bags wrapped in newspaper, most notably on highlights ‘She’s Got A Hold On Me’ and ‘Shake Ya’.

Naysayers may scoff that at its shamelessly derivative sound, but anyone looking for a little shimmy and joyfully retro bounce could do a lot worse than sidling up to a copy of this debut and giving it a right good seeing to.

Oli Simpson / Bearded Magazine

Friday, November 14, 2008


Black Diamond Heavies, though generally pictured as just two guys, seem to be a trio on their new album as well - in this case, supposedly from "the Southern States of America," though they sure do play live in Ohio a lot. James Leg is credited with "vocals, bass keys, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ, tack piano, knife"; Van Campbell with "drum, vocal, do things"; U.S. Justice with "background mouth, maracas, life." Helper-outers include Dan Auerbach from Black Keys (lending production assistance) and Ralph Carney from Tin Huey; cover versions include Nina Simone's "Oh Sinnerman" (cabaret hell-blues salvaging its ludicrous Waits/Cave schtick with gothic proto-psych swirl à la the Doors or Animals), T-Model Ford's "Take a Ride" (likewise kinda Doorsy due to trashy organ); and some pachyderm plotz all over Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits" (which Bob Seger did funkier).

Notable originals are plentiful: (1) "Everything Is Everything," a big stomp from the swamp, grumbled in the manner of Jim Dandy or Dr. John or Dan McCafferty from Nazareth atop huge drums hip-hopping in the manner of Run-D.M.C.'s version of "Walk This Way"; (2) "Bidin' My Time," a jazz-leaning apparent chitlin' circuit ballad tribute to our new Vice President-Elect, moaned slow and low a la Satchmo via Waits again; (3) speed-swinging Australian-style bogan-rock gutpunch "Make Some Time"; (4) lo-fidelity Count Bishops/Dr. Feelgood pub-punk murderer "Numbers 22 (Balaam's Wild Ass)"; (5) likewise pub-homicidal closing boogie "Happy Hour," which concerns visiting either the "pawn shop" or "porn shop"; (6) "Loose Yourself," one of the hardest-rocking songs I heard in all 2008; (7) and "Solid Gold," which comes closer to "Train Kept a Rollin'" than anything on the (nonetheless quite good) Mudsharks' album. Not necessarily in that order. - Chuck Eddy / Rhapsody

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


There is a pungent smell of sulphur blasting out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Thankfully, it’s not the end for all us sinners as predicted in the King James version of the Bible, but a barely controlled unleashing of some of the finest reverb-drenched rock ‘n’ roll to be heard in quite a while. With We Came in Peace, their fourth album in three years, Brimstone Howl have surpassed all expectation by turning in a record that galvanizes their seat-of-the-pants garage-punk stomp with razor-sharp lyrics, while production by Detroit’s Jim Diamond (think the White Stripes’ first two albums and the Gore Gore Girls’ latest) keeps it crisp without the loss of the band’s cavernous, gritty sound. The four-piece outfit’s description of their most recent effort as “weird fictional adventure stories, and beginner blues guitar lessons for mongoloids” barely scratches the surface of the strangeness beneath.

Recorded in just four days at Diamond’s studio, Ghetto Recorders, the 15 tracks here keep up a relentless pace throughout. Spine-tingling lyrics rub shoulders with fuzzed-out rockabilly. Lead singer/guitarist John Ziegler howls, croons, and screams about being a mere “ass scratch away from the truth” on the country-swamp ‘n’ roll of “Obliterator”, recalling a vibrant Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. He tells the excellent spoken-word tale of a young sociopath’s love on the run ("The World Will Never Know") and describes a boy’s delight at signing up for the US Marines ("USMC") so he can trade “in the cunny for a little bit of physical pain”. All the while, the boys from the backbeat keep it tight with Calvin Retzlaff’s pile-driver drumming and latest bass player Matt Shaughnessy (the band haemorrhage bassists - - eight or possibly nine, but who’s counting) fuelling the frenzied delights offered up by numbers like opener “They Call Me Hopeless Destroyer” and the feral rampage that’s “Catamite Blues”, where “eunuchs weep” as Nick Waggoner’s phosphorescent guitar solos light up the “valley of pain”.

Although at times reminiscent of both the Cramps’ wigged-out wanderings and the Damned’s mid-’80s psychedelic side-show Naz Nomad and the Nightmares (a gracious bow to ‘60s suburban punks) with a rocket attached to their butts, this never feels like the guys are aiming at recreating a sound or period, but simply finding their niche in a very crowded garage and letting in a little fresh air.

After six years of getting their name out there through constant touring and three increasingly good albums, the band formerly known as the Zyklon Bees (the Howl’s album debut in 2005 Seven Means Run was initially released under that name before controversy—it referred to the gas used in the Nazi extermination camps—forced them to change it) may very well get their wish of making a living solely by playing music, preferably in front of audiences exceeding 100 each time they get up on stage. Let’s hope so for all our sakes. “It’s kind of a weird record in parts,” claims lead guitarist Nick Waggoner. Indeed. - Alan Brown / PopMatters

The NERVES - Paste magazine

The Nerves compilation to see the light of day Nov. 25

Chances are you've heard "Hanging On The Telephone." It's been covered by a number of artists, most notably Cat Power and Blondie. But the original was crafted by The Nerves, a '70s power-pop group that only released an EP but made enough of an impact people for to still be talking about them decades later. Now, Alive Records has announced it will release the first full-length from the group (with its blessing), entitled One Way Ticket. It hits stores Nov. 25.
The Los Angeles-based trio—comprised of Jack Lee on guitar, Peter Case on bass, Paul Collins on drums and all three on vocals—were said to be in the center of the punk rock scene in the mid-'70s, even touring with The Ramones at one point. But things quickly went astray and the trio disbanded in 1978 after releasing just the aforementioned four-song EP. Each member moved on to different projects and different bands (including The Breakaways, Plimsouls and The Beat).

But "Hanging On The Telephone" still thrives today, with Cat Power's cover appearing in a popular Cingular commercial. Beyond that signature song, One Way Ticket will feature no less than 20 tracks, including demos, previously unreleased material and songs from the member's other bands.

The full tracklist:

1. One Way Ticket
2. Paper Dolls
3. Hanging On The Telephone
4. When You Find Out
5. Working Too Hard
6. Give Me Some Time
7. Walking Out on Love (The Breakaways)
8. Thing of the Past (Plimsouls)
9. It's Hot Outside (Jack Lee)
10. Too Many Roads to Follow (demo)
11. Are You Famous? (live from the Magical Blistering Tour)
12. Why Am I Lonely? (live)
13. You Won't Be Happy (live)
14. Any Day Now (live)
15. Letter to G. (live)
16. Come Back and Stay (live)
17. I Need Your Love (live)
18. Stand Back and Take a Good Look (demo)
19. Are You Famous (demo, CD only)
20. Letter to G. (demo, CD only)

Listen to The Nerves' "Hanging On The Telephone":

Paste Magazine

Monday, October 6, 2008

HACIENDA - Rolling Stone (David Fricke's picks)

Hacienda are a band of brothers from San Antonio, formed in 2006 by Abraham, Jaime and Rene Villanueva — pianist, drummer and bassist, in that order, and all singers — with guitarist-vocalist Dante Schwebel. Unlike Austin’s heavy-blues brother trios Los Lonely Boys and Amplified Heat, Hacienda write eccentric pop songs and play them with flashes of T. Rex (”She’s Got a Hold on Me”) and the Friends-era Beach Boys (”Sun,” “Degree of Murder”) on the fine debut album Loud Is the Night (Alive). Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys produced the record with a kitchen-jam, bathroom-echo touch, like a central-Texas version of Paul McCartney’s 1970 home-made solo debut, while the Tex-Mex groove Hacienda put under their cover of Sonny and Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go” reminds me of the great early-Seventies Chicano band Louie and the Lovers, who were not brothers but sure sounded like it. [From Issue 1063 — October 16, 2008]

Friday, October 3, 2008


Something hot, humid and nasty blew up from the South when the keyboards-and-drums duo Black Diamond Heavies shook the rafters at Plush last Friday, with deep blues, cold-sweat soul and swamp R&B.

From East Nashville, Tenn., the Black Diamond Heavies played for only about 50 minutes, bookended by excellent sets from local acts Chris Black and Tom Walbank.

John Wesley Myers, a Texas-born son of a preacher man, looked a tad like the long-lost younger brother of Steppenwolf's John Kay, but sang like Howlin' Wolf--all bark and bite, his growl was the real deal. On the keys, Myers kept up a hypnotic rhythm with his left hand, while molesting his piano and organ with layers of fuzz and other effects, building a monstrous groove in which the lack of bass or guitar was never an issue. His partner was rabble-rousing drummer Van Campbell, a scion of Kentucky whose energetic style helped propel the momentum into overdrive.

Myers and Campbell worked devilishly to bring the backwoods juke joint to Tucson with immediately appealing, flame-throwing numbers such as "Fever in My Blood" and "Bidin' My Time." But they really killed on interpretations of soul classics such as Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits" and Nina Simone's "Oh, Sinnerman," both of which are on the Heavies' latest album, A Touch of Someone Else's Class. - Gene Armstrong / Tucson Weekly

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ROLLING STONE - Killer Bands on Alive Records

SMOKING SECTION by Austin Scaggs

Killer Bands on Alive Records

September 24, 2008 3:20 PM

Photos courtesy of Alive Records

Burbank-based label Alive Naturalsound Records are boasting a sick young roster. Here are a few of our favorite young bands:


  • Brothers Abraham (keys), Rene (bass), and Jaime Villanueva (drums) and cousin Dante Schwebel (guitar).
  • Discovered by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who produced their latest album, Loud is the Night.
  • Obsessed with the Beach Boys. Look like Mexican-American Kings of Leon.
  • On tour now with Dr. Dog.

    Hacienda - "Shake Ya"

Brimstone Howl

  • Led by singer John Ziegler and guitarist Nick Waggoner, with Calvin Retzlaff on drums.
  • Cross between The Clash and The Misfits. Part fuzz, part grunge and a machine gun back beat.
  • Legendary producer Jim Diamond (The White Stripes) produced their latest, We Come In Peace.

    Brimstone Howl - "Child of Perdition"

Buffalo Killers:

  • Power trio with bassist Zachary Gabbard, brother Andrew on guitar. Joseph Sebaali holds it down on drums.
  • Blues, classic rock and lot of hair.
  • Dan Auerbach produced the latest record from the Buffalo Killers, Let It Ride.

    Buffalo Killers - "Get Together Now Today"

Click more to check out their latest videos.

Hacienda - "Shake Ya"

Brimstone Howl - "A Million Years"

Buffalo Killers - "Let It Ride"


All this political stuff has got me down. Watching all those people get jazzed up when people say "thanks but no thanks," and mean, "heck yeah, we'll take it," makes me realize I don't really understand the way other people think in this crazy country. Until I hear a band like Thomas Function. They're from Alabama, and I 100% get them. Not only do I get them, I goddamn love em. With a first record out on Fat Possum and a spankin new record, Celebration, out on Alive, these guys are as American as it gets. Taking punk rock, country, blues, new wave and garage rock and throwing them in a melting pot turned up to 11 and draped with the stars and stripes, "Filthy Flowers" and "Conspiracy" make me want to put my hand over my heart and raise up my Budweiser and say America, this one's for you. Which I will be able to do when they're on tour this fall. - Christen Thomas / RCRD LBL

HACIENDA - video


Il y a, dans le livret de cet album, une photo qui fera rêver les chtis : les Black Diamond Heavies en concert sur la remorque d’un tracteur, pendant l’excellent festival Les Nuits Secrètes d’Aulnoye-Aymeries (59). Concert au Nord, groupe à l’Ouest : les Black Diamond Heavies se composent d’un organiste-chanteur et d’un batteur, dévoués à la cause du rhythm’n’blues le plus farouche. Ici, ils attaquent par Nutbush City Limit, une reprise d’un classique d’Ike & Tina Turner. Deux autres reprises sur l’album : une de la déesse soul Nina Simone et une autre du féroce bluesman T Model Ford. La soul et le blues, les Black Diamond Heavies ne les abordent pas en gardiens de musée, mais un marteau-piqueur à la main et la bave aux lèvres. Le pileux James Leg chante un peu comme Bon Scott D’AC/DC, ou un disciple dégénéré d’Howlin’Wolf. Il n’y a pas de guitare, mais le clavier Rhodes est colossal, le son extrêmement sale et saturé, hardcore, comme déformé par l’intensité de l’interprétation. Evidemment, les Black Diamond Heavies sont cousins des Black Keys – c’est d’ailleurs Dan Auerbach des Black Keys qui a enregistré et produit cet album (bien meilleur que le dernier Black Keys), en trois jours. - Les Inrocks



The template may be quotidian as dry toast but the differences come with the influences. LLC sound like early ZZ Top, if Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard had dropped Dusty Hill and headed off on an extended sabbatical to the Mississippi Hill Country to soak up the lineage that runs from Fred McDowell through R.L. Burnside, firsthand. The latter man is in fact an anointed hero in their pantheon and comes out in Freddy’s fuzz-saturated slide and the thundering fife/drum beats of Breck’s junk pile kit, a loose conglomeration of duct-taped plastic buckets and metal garbage pails. Purposefully primitive, but surprisingly pithy in their use of trance-inducing riffage, the songs waste little and leave little wanting. “Big Momma” and “Busket” contain breaks custom-built for bruising head banging amidst the coiled coarse-grain leads, lyrics barked in a raw-throated croak. “Justify” burns on the friction of a stentorian backbeat tied to more venom-spitting fret play, a 21st century retooling of the Diddley staple “Hush Your Mouth”. - Bagatellen


Black Diamond Heavies are a filthy raw blues duo from Tennessee whose sophomore album A Touch Of Someone Else’s Class is full of Southern fried and burned-in drums-n-organ blues stomps. It’s a sweaty, trashy, and whiskey-soaked ride but amazingly well-played despite the devilishly red-lined production that sends the album into a hot hot overdriven heat. Owing as much to roof-raising gospel as they do to punk, Black Diamond Heavies have stripped it all down to the bare essentials.

John Wesley Meyers provides vocals and pounds the keys while Van Campbell plays drums like they’re exploding. Myers is (fittingly) the son of a Baptist preacher and Campbell comes from a family of bourbon distillers. Their pedigree couldn’t be more perfect.

There are stomping songs like “Nutbush City Limit” and blues ballads like “Bidin My Time” but Black Diamond Heavies pull both stylistic affects off without a hitch. The drums burst right out of the speakers as if my ears are 6 inches from a 500 watt sound system. And through all of the feverishly fuzzed-out bliss the soulful nature of these tunes can’t be denied. If Catfish Haven dishes out neo-soul the these guys have sold their souls (or soul) to the devil and recorded this album deep in the fiery depths. Black Diamond Heavies are on tour now and will actually be playing Chicago as the opening act for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Hell yeah. - Can You See The Sunset

HACIENDA - Doctor Mooney's 115th Dream

Here we go again patients, it’s that time again at the 115th Dream when we stick by our rock ‘n roll stethoscopes and fight for the liberation of good music. Today we have a band of brothers (and cousin) hailing from the Alamo city, San Antonio Texas. A sound that’s infectin’ the halls of the asylum. Patients, if yer ears are plannin' on addin' a little bit of new music to their day then they better be listenin' to these guys. The name of the band is Hacienda and their sound radiates laid back cosmic dreamscapes and beautiful neo-retro note clusters that bleed through the grooves. If you were mad enough to take the elements of The Beatles, Beach Boys, The Band and mix ‘em up in a rock ‘n roll cauldron you would get Hacienda’s new album Loud Is The Night. This quartet has a knack for four part harmonies and that 60s AM dial sound-but in a 21st Century way. A sound that puts a good number of these 'throwback' bands in a day care center. - Doctor Mooney's 115th Dream

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


We get loads of e-mails each day from bands and PR firms representing bands. Very few have grabbed my attention like the email about San Antonio, Texas band, Hacienda. It went something like this: Blah, blah, blah, Dr. Dog harmonies, blah, blah, blah produced by Dan Auerbach. I damn near wet myself as I replied back that, yes, I would like an advance copy.

Here’s the scoop - Hacienda was started by cousins Abraham Villanueva and Dante Schwebel. After some failed projects, they were joined by Abraham’s brothers Jaime & Rene. From there, demos were recorded, one of which ended up in Dan Auerbach’s hands. A quick aside - where the hell does Dan Aerubach find the time rock with his band, The Black Keys, and produce 5 to 10 kickass albums a year? Anyway, Dan was intrigued by the boys from San Antonio and their obvious Beach Boys and Band influences. More songs were written, a couple of weekends were spent in Akron, and here we are.

I think you all know where this review is going. I mean, Jesus Christ. What’s not to like? Four piece harmonies? Check, they’re in there. Solid production? Check. Well written tunes recorded live to give it the authentic feel of a live performance? Check. And I know what you’re thinking. Woody, wouldn’t it be cool if Dr. Dog chimed in on a couple of tunes? One step ahead of you, my friend. Frank and Scott do stop in to lend a helping hand. You can hear them on “Little Girl” and “Angela” lending their vocal prowess to the harmonies.

This is a great debut. Some of my favorites include “Shake Ya,” “Sun,” “Wishbone” and the opening track, “She’s Got A Hold On Me.” Loud Is The Night is being released on September 16th on Alive Records. - Woody/Hear Ya


The Buffalo Killers, another band on the rise from the Ohio rust belt music scene, play a wonderful stew of music, clearly inspired by the classic blooze rock of the late ‘60s and ‘70s. At different times, the group’s sound can be both psychedelic and southern fried. One thing’s for sure: It is almost always hard, heavy and crunchy, carrying on a great classic rock tradition at a time when we need it most in this era of half-baked indie pop. Just listening to the band’s new album, Let It Ride, one can hear the presence of no less than Cream, Mountain, Black Sabbath, the Who, the Kinks, David Bowie, and even some light touches of Seattle grunge, such as Soundgarden or Alice In Chains. The album was produced by the guitarist Dan Auerbach, who spends most of his time with another Ohio band, the Black Keys, and his impact is apparent here, as well, most notably in the fuzzed-out guitars that graciously color most of the album. However, the most obvious, underlying, and appreciated influence (by this reviewer, at least) on this record is yet another classic Ohio staple: Joe Walsh and the James Gang. - Dave Bond/NONzine


Since I first reviewed Buffalo Killers’ debut album and their subsequent stop in our studio for their live session, the boys from Cincy have opened for the Black Crowes and hooked up with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys to produce their second album, Let It Ride.

Let’s just say that working with Dan Auerbach agrees with the band. While the first disc was good in its own right, Let It Ride has more life to it - loads more soul and hints of early 70s blues-boogie that bands like Faces, The Stones and Grand Funk were banging out with regularity.

The main difference between this album and the debut is the confidence in Zach Gabbard’s vocals. He has more swagger. I don’t know if it’s due to Auerbach’s production, Gabbard maturing as a singer, or just the influence of listening to Chris Robinson on a daily basis, but he sounds outstanding.

The album opens with a big, juicy bass line on “Get Together Now Today, a song that rambles along with Gabbard delivering the goods. I was gobsmacked after that tune. I was then smacked across my face by the title track that sent furious guitar licks busting out of my speakers. Other standouts include “On The Prowl” and the relatively chilled out “Heart In Your Hand.”

I really liked the debut, but Let It Ride is is loads better. The album is a more complete effort. I was tempted to say that the album is more polished or refined, but that description is an impossibility when describing Buffalo Killers. I mean, look at the cover art. They are savages.- Woody/HearYa

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Nashville's Black Diamond Heavies spent a lot of time on the road after the release of their first album, 2007's Every Damn Time, and you can hear the lessons of dozens of sweatbox gigs on their second full-length set, 2008's A Touch of Someone Else's Class. While James Leg (aka John Wesley Myers) on vocals and keys and Van Campbell on drums sounded tight and fiery the first time around, on their sophomore LP they sound tougher, harder, and practically incendiary; the duo's blues gestures are just as solid as before, but there's an emotional weight and an almost telepathic synergy between Leg and Campbell that makes their fine first record seem like a rough demo by comparison, and the songs rock harder and crazier than ever before. Leg often sounded like he was trying to channel Tom Waits on the BDH's debut, and not in a good way, but while the raspy growl of his voice still bears more than a passing resemblance to Waits, this time he sounds more like an inheritor of the great vocal tradition of Howlin' Wolf and Captain Beefheart, and it's a welcome improvement. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys produced and recorded these sessions, and while his approach feels pretty hands-off, the results suggest having a more sympathetic hand behind the board was a real help for the band. And when a band's originals sound as good as covers of stuff by Tina Turner, Nina Simone, and T-Model Ford, there's no question it must be doing something right. In short, if you want to hear some blues-shot rock that'll kick your butt and make you love it, A Touch of Someone Else's Class is one album you need to hear. - Mark Deming / All Music Guide

Thursday, September 4, 2008


5 stars

“We Came in Peace” is the best real rock ’n’ roll record of 2008.

It just happens to come from Nebraska’s very own Brimstone Howl.

A massive assault of garage punk honed to perfection by legendary Detroit producer Jim Diamond, the disc takes the propulsive, big-beat, big-hook, fuzzed-out Brimstone Howl sound to a new dimension, rarely pausing for breath in its taut, slithering attack.

Diamond, who has worked with The White Stripes, The Dirtbombs and The Henchmen among others, puts just the right touches on the music — a keyboard here, lots of echo there — and singer John Zeigler has written his best set of tunes yet.

Those songs shift from sci-fi weirdness, as in the trip to the nuclear city in “Hero of Gold,” to the dramatic spoken-word tale “The World Will Never Know,” which starts out sounding like autobiography but turns out to be a creepily romantic story of a loner who gets himself shot by the law, and “USMC,” about a guy signing up for the Marines.

“Obliterator,” a bluesy slide through the jungle, is followed by the psychedelic“Summer of Pain,” with Nick Waggoner’s guitar going wild against a driving beat that spins keyboards into the mix. Then things roar away on the sexually charged “Bye Bye” that hints of the Stooges.

“Catamite Blues” is, in fact, 21st-century blues, a futuristic screamer with Zeigler shouting about seeing blood in his veins and Waggoner’s guitar twisting the old sounds into something fresh and new.

But, as always, Brimstone Howl isn’t afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve, touching on the Cramps on the greasy, harmonica-driven “Child of Perdition,” the Velvet Underground on “Easy to Dream” and a little Ramones-tinged power pop on “A Million Years” (OK, it has guitar solos and the Ramones never did, but who cares?).

Brimstone Howl has been one of my favorite bands since I saw them in a previous, controversially named incarnation playing Duffy’s Tavern four or five years ago. They’ve just gotten better and better, and the collaboration with Diamond has brought them to a recorded peak that matches the intensity and entertainment of their live shows — the highest compliment that I can give to any rock ’n’ roll record.

Oh yeah, “We Came in Peace,” which hits stores Tuesday, was made loud to be played loud. Crank it up!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

HACIENDA - Listening Party on MOKB

Hacienda will be touring with Dr. Dog this September and October, which is fitting because if you like Dr. Dog (or the Beatles, The Beach Boys or The Band), you'll really love this band. It's nice to find a good band that compares well to a band(s) you already love, but generally you get a small taste and the rest doesn't follow through. Hacienda's new album Loud Is The Night satisfies from start to finish.

These four Mexican-Americans gave a demo to Black Keys' lead singer Dan Auerbach that "blew my fucking mind...I told everyone about them." One of the groups Auerbach told was the aforementioned Dr. Dog who also guest on the new album. Auerbach also then proceded to put his money where his mouth was and produced and engineered the entire album. You can really hear Dan's influence on Shake Ya. Baby Don't Go is a sweet Sonny Bono cover too. Loud Is The Night is out on Alive Records.

Hacienda U.S. Tour Dates – supporting Dr. Dog:

September 13 - The Parish - , TX
September 16 - Club Congress - Tucson, AZ
September 17 - The Casbah - San Diego, CA
September 19 - Detroit Bar - Costa Mesa, CA
September 20 - Cellar Door - Visalia, CA
September 23 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
September 24 - Tractor Tavern - Seattle, WA
September 26 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City, UT
September 27 - Hi-Dive - Denver, CO
September 29 - The Waiting Room - Kansas City, MO
October 1 - High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI
October 2 - Blind Pig - Ann Arbor, MI
October 7 - Club Hell - Providence, RI
October 8 - Revolution Hall - Troy, NY
October 9 - Iron Horse - Northampton, MA
October 10 - Middle East (Downstairs) - Cambridge, MA

My Old Kentucky Blog

Black Diamond Heavies to support Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in Chicago

Southern punk-ass blues duo Black Diamond Heavies hit the road beginning September 9 in Kansas City. The band close out the first leg of their US tour with a two-night stand, September 28 and 29, at Chicago's Riviera Theatre with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds before heading overseas for both a European and Australian tour.

The Black Diamond Heavies new album "A Touch of Someone Else's Class," was recorded with producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys at his Akron Analog studio. A free mp3 download of the track "Everythang is Everythang" can be found here. For up-to-date information, check out:

Black Diamond Heavies are a two-piece consisting of John Wesley Myers aka James Leg on bass keys, fender rhodes, organ, and vocals (left hand of rhythm, right hand of soul) and Van Campbell completing the lineup on drums and vocals. With a family pedigree that includes Myers' father being a Baptist preacher and Campbell coming from a family of bourbon distillers (seriously, “Old Rip Van Winkle"), the Heavies pound out a raucous southern style punk take on the blues and soul.


Black Diamond Heavies U.S. Tour:
September 9 @ The Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
September 10 @ Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO
September 11 @ The Back Porch - Spearfish, SD
September 12 @ Highsides - Livingston, MT
September 13 @ Boundary Bay - Bellingham, WA
September 14 @ Dante's - Portland, OR
September 15 @ Big Pete's - Arcata, CA
September 16 @ Caspar Inn - Caspar, CA
September 17 @ Rickshaw Stop - San Francisco, CA
September 18 @ Spaceland - Los Angeles, CA
September 19 @ Plush - Tuscon, AZ
September 20 @ Hotel Monte Vista - Flagstaff, AZ
September 21 @ The Barn - Las Cruces, NM
September 22 @ Atomic Cantina - Albuquerque, NM
September 24 @ Conservatory - Oklahoma City, OK
September 25 @ Lambert's - Austin, TX
September 26 @ Triple Crown - San Marcos, TX
September 28 @ Riviera Theater - Chicago, IL w/Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
September 29 @ Riviera Theater - Chicago, IL w/Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Black Diamond Heavies UK/IrelandTour:
October 15 @ What's Cookin, The Sheep Walk - Leyton, London
October 16 @ The Tap House - Kiddeminster, Midlands
October 17 @ The Sanctuary - Birmingham, Midlands
October 18 @ The Croft - Bristol, Southwest
October 19 @ Riff's Bar - Swindon, Southwest
October 20 @ Schiving Scholar - Plymouth, Southwest
October 21 @ The Shakespeare - Sheffield
October 23 @ Roisin Dubh - Galway, Galway
October 24 @ Eamonn Doran's Temple Bar - Dublin, Ireland
October 25 @ Beatnik Soul - Derry, Northern Ireland
October 31 @ TBA - Newcastle, Northeast
November 1 @ Fibbers - York, Northeast
November 2 @ The Shed - Leicester, Midlands

Black Diamond Heavies U.S. Tour:
November 11 @ Northside Tavern - Cinncinati, OH
November 12 @ Lisa's Oak Street Lounge - Louisville, KY
November 13 @ The Basement - Nashville, TN
November 14 @ JJ's Bohemia - Chattanooga, TN
November 15 @ Star Bar - Atlanta, GA


The first of two superb releases heading out of the Burbank, California imprint Alive that we’ve managed to nail in recent weeks from our local dealer that frankly you should invest the time in trying to track down as your own.

Damn fine smoking bliss out grooves is in abundance on the second full length from Cincinnati trio Buffalo Killers. Having just completed a short stateside tour with the Black Keys and with planned prestige support slots with the Black Crowes scheduled in the fall, ’Let it ride’ is the bearded ones follow up to 2006’s self titled debut full length - which annoyingly we appear to have missed.

Blending lazy eyed chilled blues motifs, Southern breeze accents and softly woven psychedelics, Buffalo Killers sound like they’ve woken from a prolonged acid induced coma and in so doing have missed the musical landscape changes of the last 35 years, their collective heads still tuned into an era still recovering from the Altamont fall out, Easy Rider and the whole latent counter culture vibe and the Vietnam war.

Blessed with some superbly exquisite production by Dan Auerbach at Akron Analog, ’Let it ride’ is pristinely crafted in a decadent retro vibe that seriously wouldn’t look amiss amid a record collection boasting a garage / rock / psych purists smattering of key late 60’s and early 70’s recordings. Freewheeling between a melodic tapestry that’s as equally at home carving out mellowing AOR nuggets (as on the middle America embracing ’heart in your hand’ and ’give and give’ which to these ears sounds like a shyly retiring Buffalo Springfield shimmying with Guns ’n’ Roses) and bitching blues grinds (as on the upbeat power driven boot stomping pedal to floor road blues beauty ’on the prowl’ with its drop dead cool Stones riffage or the subtly sexually charged Zeppelin like ’it’s a shame’ with its bourbon soaked gridlocked grinds and impeccably distilled Detroit garage flair), Buffalo Killers may just have turned up the trump card with ‘Let it ride‘.

Reference points are obvious - between the lazy hazy grooves you’ll hear the aural apparitions of Cream, Neil Young (Buffalo Springfield) and Mountain swirling and echoing in the mountain range breezes, yet scratch a little deeper and the unmistakable undercurrent of laid back blues dialects hint towards an overt fondness and admiration of Zeppelin’s first opus - none more so is this the case on the aforementioned ’it’s a shame’ and ’take me back home’(a proto ‘misty mountain hop‘ killer - yes we know it was from Zep‘s ‘IV‘ before you all start writing in complaining).

Elsewhere the gorgeously wrapped sultry mirages of feel good vibes work on the nervous system like some super potent prozac and seem a tad restricted from the comfort of a hi-fi appraisal rather more you’d feel better served finding a beaten up convertible throwing down its hood and letting rip through an endless horizon of wide open picturesque freeway. Case in point the hip grinding sexuality that literally seeps from ’if I get myself anywhere’ - a sumptuous honky tonking road blues babe that nibbles at the Faces while ’leave the sun behind’ is just simply classy - a moon shining and mooching cutie that slithers and side winds amid flotillas of countrified pines, its warm like radiating cruise controlled casualness deftly set upon the driving southern styled motifs casting a strangely trippy hue to the proceedings. ’Black paper’ wraps up the set superbly with its softly bathed 60’s speckled lysergic psyche mindset - best described as imagining Baby Woodrose freebasing on Free.

All in all once on the turntable turn up loud, light up a spliff or two and simply tune out. Killer stuff.
Marh Barton/Losing Today



American rock 'n' roll has retreated to the depths of the underground. For the bands that continue the time-honored tradition of smooth talking swagger and stiff lipped cool, they exist only in the eyes of the people who have discovered their clandestine reverberations.

Cincinnati, Ohio's native Buffalo Killers struts with the moan of a blues-laden trio who mix vintage tone with growling guitars to formulate passionate testimonials of lost love, desperate aggression and reckless endangerment. It is the underbelly of American rock 'n' roll, and with the release of their sophomore album, Let It Ride (released July 8 on Alive Records), the Buffalo Killers have been hatched upon the age in a time of desperate need.

Sleek in a tattered way and possessing a ferocious assault, the Brothers Gabbard (Zachary - bass and vocals, Andrew - guitar and vocals, joined by Joseph Sebaali - drums) have channeled a wrinkled, raspy-toned muse who was too purposely intoxicated to catch the train of trend. This is a story about defiance and destiny, the snarling moan of a scene crawling beneath the bustling avenues.


I'm a traveling man just a pushing ahead
We're a traveling band looking for a bed
We're not trying to bite you, we're just starving to death

"We recorded five songs and I sent the pressing out in a blank jacket with nothing more than the band's name and my home phone number on it," says Zach in reference to the band's debut LP. "A phone call came from Burbank, California two days later. It was Alive Records founder Patrick Boissel. We really didn't expect to be making a record at the time. When Alive Records called me back, it came as a shock. We were just looking to catch our bearings and the next thing you know I am telling someone, 'Yes, we do have the rest of the material prepared. Go ahead and send us a check and we will finish the album. It was a scramble to book additional studio time and do whatever the fuck we needed to do to finish that first record."

For Andrew and Zach Gabbard their musical explorations started not with the Buffalo Killers but with another Ohio-based trio, Thee Shams. Consisting of Zach, Andrew, Sebaali, Max Bender and Keith Fox, the band earned the attention of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys as a local garage band contemporary. When Thee Shams disbanded, according to both parties, Auerbach was never told.

"Dan didn't know we formed a new group until he heard the first Buffalo Killers record and realized it was us. He called me wanting to know why I hadn't got in contact to tell him about it," Zach explains. "It was just a thing where we started over and didn't want to approach audiences as a band rising out of the ashes of another."

"Things started to happen for us when we went to L.A. in support of the first album," Zach continues. "A drummer friend of mine came that night and told me that Chris Robinson [The Black Crowes] had told him about the show. I was kind of taken aback. All I could think was, 'Chris Robinson heard our record!' We were just going out to California to play some shows in support of the first record and we were fully under the impression no one was going to show up. We thought we were going to make some rounds, play to a few people and then upon returning we might have a cool thing going on."

"It was a big fucking deal to me when The Black Crowes asked us to go on the road with them. I grew up listening to them. For us, it was like touring with The Beatles," Zach offers.

The Grooming

"My brother and I grew up in a musical household because my dad played guitar. We grew up listening to Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, CSNY and New Riders of the Purple Sage from as long back as I can remember. They, along with my father, taught us how to play music. As a kid you think, 'What does your father know?' but looking back, if I wanted to hear something new all I had to do was go downstairs and rummage through his record collection. It was all right there. If we wanted to play an instrument, the amps were already in the house. We were groomed to do this," Zach says.

"There were a lot of good groups stemming from Cincinnati. The Greenhorns were natives as well as The Afghan Wigs. I was really into The Afghan Wigs when I was younger. As a matter of fact, we actually recorded the first record with [Afghan bassist] John Curley, who has a studio here. There are lots of places to play. It's a good home base."

"When we would go out on tour, we would come home and it felt like every town in Ohio embraced us. There was no pressure, like playing in New York, for us," Zach explains. "For us, it is about the music we play not how we look. Playing here in Cincinnati, there was no pressure. We could go fuck off and completely bomb here. It really didn't matter. We could always just start over. The spotlight wasn't as bright as it might have been in New York. [Though] we were playing to our friends and family, the people we grew up with [and] sometimes that might hold more pressure than playing to a bunch of strangers."

The Let It Ride Sessions

"We recorded it in two weekend sessions with Dan Auerbach. We were focused but it was a very relaxed situation," says Zach, while sprawled across his bed in Cincinnati just off a tour leg supporting The Black Keys.

"The atmosphere surrounding this record was completely different from the debut. We knew what we were doing, what we wanted to do, and half of the songs were already fleshed out on the road while supporting The Black Crowes. When we got off the road we went right into the studio for the sessions that would become Let It Ride."

"I got involved with the project simply because I was a fan of the band," says Dan Auerbach. "I invited them up to my studio in Akron. Zach called and basically said the band was ready to record and plans were made."

The recording sessions for Let It Ride were born from a meeting of longtime friends to create a testament of expression that unearths the primal endorphins buried deep within the souls of men.

"I have been into those guys for a long time. Back when they were in Thee Shams I brought them on the road with The Black Keys. I didn't hear anything from them for a while after Thee Shams disbanded until the next thing I know the Buffalo Killers first record is coming out. I bought a copy of it and was stunned, like 'Holy shit.' They transformed from a good garage rock band to light years ahead of what they were doing in terms of songwriting, arrangement, and harmonies," expresses Auerbach. "Not to mention, Joseph Sebaali is an animal behind the drum set. The entire conception was particularly impressive."

Auerbach's studio is as much of a refined gem as the recordings that have propelled The Black Keys' catalog into vinyl necessity. Custom built from the ground up with a simple design, accented with classic flashback décor and baked-in vintage cool.

"It only took a few days to record Let It Ride. They were practiced," says Auerbach. "As a producer I was there as someone for those guys to bounce ideas off of. These are the kind of guys that don't need a lot of help when it comes to making records or sparking their imagination. These guys just don't need it. They have so much natural ability and talent that all I could do was just be there to answer any questions they might have. Occasionally, I would give some input but I knew the most important task was capturing their sound; the raw live sound of this band."

"I think anytime you get talented musicians together who are writing original music it is important. They may not be important to MTV, but apparently they don't like to see real musicians playing instruments," continues Auerbach. "I'm partial to people who have an idea of the past and the related sounds, because that is what I like - the sounds from the late '50s through the '70s. Not necessarily the songs, but the tone. The way things were recorded back then sounded better in my opinion. When the '80s came around things just seemed to go to shit. Engineers and producers took liberties with editing devices and really screwed up a lot of band's recordings. Recordings became so clean it was nauseating. The pops and hiss are as much of a part of the music as the songs themselves. People might refer to the sound as vintage, but to me it is just simply rock 'n' roll."

The Ideology

Let it ride, don't you hide
Cause tomorrow might never come, so won't you let it ride
Don't you lie or wait one minute
Just hold up your hand and make a stand

"It is beyond the point of faking it these days," says Zach on the philosophy of the band. "You can't fake it because there is so much fake stuff out there; people see right through it. Artists like Devendra Banhart and Vetiver aren't faking it. They are living what they do, as we are living what we do. We are not in it for money; we are in it because we want to say something. We want to do what we love. There is no other ambition I have in life."

"I think it is great how rock 'n' roll has gone back underground. You can have a group that tours the United States, puts out their own records and nobody in the mall knows they exist," continues Zach. "That is how rock 'n' roll should be, not on MTV. As a fan you want it to be yours and that is what it is again."

"We put out records [and] we don't worry about if we are going to get reviewed by the papers. We set out to sell records to people at shows. We make a recording and we hit the road. We don't stop until the next album is ready to be recorded," says Zach. "Playing music onstage is one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced besides having a child or being in love. Nothing compares to people connecting with something you are creating for them. That is why I cannot stop. It is better than any drug you will ever take."

"I want people to cherish the song," Zach states. "We write songs about our families and being in love rather than telling you everything is bad and the world as gone to shit. It has but you don't have to believe that. You have your friends and your family. As stupid as it might sound all you need is love. Cherish what you have because it might not be here tomorrow. 'Let it Ride.' That is what it is. There might not be a tomorrow so you might as well let it ride."

Martin Halo / JamBase


"Get Together Now Today" gets the album off to a good start. It is a rootsy sounding song with some heavy-duty groovaliciousness. A few things are readily apparent about this band. First, they believe in reverb. Big time. Secondly, it sounds like this band was raised listening to James Gang and Grand Funk. Buffalo Killers has one thing in common with Grand Funk: the sound seems like it's being produced by more than three guys

The band brings not only a big sound, but also a good energy to this recording. It's pretty clean and gives a great idea of what the band is all about. "On the Prowl" is one of those songs you want to play in the car with the volume cranked up and the windows down. Yes, even if it's only 40 degrees.

This is a solid album, especially if you are a fan of reverb-drenched groovy classic rock. There aren't any tracks you'll want to skip. Oh, and if you are a fan of Black Crowes, Buffalo Killers will be touring with them later this year. My advice is to put this on, crank up the volume and let the sound surround you. And make no mistake, the sound will surround you.

Gary Schwind/antiMusic

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LEFT LANE CRUISER - Can You see the Sunset?

Fuck man, this is awesome. I think I probably heard about Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Left Lane Cruiser from the good folks over at Nine Bullets (a great site you should check out BTW) and once I picked up a copy of their latest album, Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table, I haven’t been able to turn it off. Their swampy Mississippi ghetto electric blues just rumble like an earthquake inside my head. I’m not even sure how Joe Evans and Brenn Beck (yeah, a two piece) can actually coax this much ferocious noise from their instruments. I love it.

If you can’t tell what I think of Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table from the few sentences above, here are a few more to convince you. Evans’ blistering electrified slide guitar, his whiskey soaked vocals, and “Sausage Paw” Beck’s thumping are raw like broken, blistered, and bleeding hands splintered and holding a fifth. This shit is greasy, gritty, grimy, and un-fucking-real. I mean, the sweat just drips off this this record thick like motor oil. Left Lane Cruiser is the real deal folks so tap yer toes, stomp yer feet, nod yer head, or do whatever it is you do and go get a copy of Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table. - Can You see the Sunset?


There's something so simple and easy and necessary about Brimstone Howl of course they're from Nebraska. From the sound of "A Million Years," it seems like these five fellas could play a goddamned sock hop in a school gym and without missing a beat go and set a dark and sweaty club on fire. From the catchy as hell hooks to the cooler than cool vocals Brimstone Howl know their way around a rock song. With records out on Boom Chick and SYA it seems logical that the band has found a new place to rest their hat with Alive, currently putting out some of my favorite straight up, balls to the wall, twisting the night away rock and roll. Brimstone Howl may say they need a million years but in two and a half minutes they make the girls swoon, the fellas dance and the room fall in love. - Christen Thomas / RCRD LBL

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Best known for the hit "Village of Love," soul shouter Nathaniel Mayer has quite an impressive '60s discography behind him and after a few decades of lost time this record finds him ready to pick up where he left off. A marked improvement over his 2005 Fat Possum release, Mayer is backed up by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and the Detroit contingent of Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry), Troy Gregory (the Dirtbombs) and Dave Shelter (SSM). These guys know their stuff and they provide the perfect mix of sympathy and raunch for Nathaniel to outline his plans, pleas and female troubles on top of. It's an excellent combo that let's Mayer do what he does best while still delivering the goods in the rock action department. An overwhelming success across the board. - DMa / Other Music

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Image(Alive Records)

Black Keys-aided beardy rockers

As well as creating one of this year’s standout records in his own band, Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach has also found time to produce and engineer these 10 songs by ragged roots rockers Buffalo Killers. However, while the Black Keys’ latest is expanded by the experimental touches of producer Danger Mouse, Buffalo Killers opt for a much more back-to-basics approach, with Auerbach overseeing a garagey burst of psychedelic biker rock. Seemingly laid straight down onto tape in Akron, Ohio, Let It Ride opens with the wide open spaces of air-guitar-happy workout Get Together Now Today, while the title track follows with a more ‘60s rock musical/gospel approach. The entire album adopts the no-frills sound of late ‘60s road rockers such as Steppenwolf (many of these songs could accompany montages of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper hitting the open highway), while the songwriting and performances are versatile enough to stop the record from going stale, and what could be pleasant but rather anonymous desert jams in the hands of lesser talents instead have a welcome dose of melodic grit and soul.


MATT THROWER / Rave Magazine

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BUFFALO KILLERS - Real Detroit Weekly

The Buffalo Killers sound like the bastard sons of the James Gang and the Black Crowes. But like both bands, the Buffalo Killers come by their sound naturally. It’s organic, dripping with down home funk. It’s groovin' — oozing with soul, draped in grittiness and filled with tasty, but not overwhelming guitar licks. The band’s sophomore set, Let It Ride, is one of those records that’s a perfect soundtrack for your weekend afternoon, whether it’s tunage for a road trip, something to kick back to while enjoying a beverage or music to pump you up for a night out on the town. This record hits on all cylinders and will definitely require repeat listenings. — Willy Wilson / Real Detroit Weekly

Monday, August 18, 2008


Left Lane Cruiser plays North Mississippi style blues like a lot of blues bands do these days, they just play it louder and harsher than anyone else, and that includes the North Mississippi AllStars. There's nothing subtle or sophisticated about LLC. Their music lunges straight for your soul, and puts a stranglehold on it until you're involuntarily rocking along.

When I first heard them, I thought they were a three or four piece Southern band presenting a rawer version of the Black Crowes. Turns out, it's just two guys from Fort Wayne, Indiana. But this ain't no Black Keys. Joe Evans plays a righteous and riotous slide guitar with snarling lead vocals, while Brenn Beck plays a bass drum, cymbal, washboard, harmonica, and a homemade kit of various thingies to bang on. The dude is just a human multi-percussion machine.

Their debut album Bring Yo' Ass To The Table came out at the beginning of this year and the dozen originals sound like they were composed on a front porch in Tupelo with a Marshall amp set next to the rocking chair. Even when performing at some record store (as in the video below), their sound comes across big enough to fill a stadium.

Pico / Blogcritics

BRIMSTONE HOWL - Colorado Springs Independent

Sulfur, so good
Brimstone Howl wants to be your American band

Colorado Springs Independent

Brimstone Howl: Definitely not a pop-punk band.
Brimstone Howl: Definitely not a pop-punk band.

Having already recorded with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and White Stripes producer Jim Diamond, Nebraska's Brimstone Howl is making a name among analog purists and rock 'n roll revivalists.

And even though their Diamond-produced album, We Came in Peace, isn't due out until next month, lead guitarist Nick Waggoner is already thinking about the next one.

"I would happily go back and do another record with Jim, but the other place I like is the Distillery in Costa Mesa [Calif.]," says Waggoner. "I think some of [Distillery producer Mike McHugh's] records sound kind of fucked-up, but I like that."

In fact, We Came In Peace has a few elements of its own that reach beyond the boundaries of conventional alt-rock, whatever that is. The swampy "Obliterator" aims for classic Cramps/Gun Club terrain, while "The World Will Never Know" stands out as a funereal, spoken-word-dominated track that Waggoner agrees is the band's creepiest song to date.

"It's kind of a weird record in parts," he says.

Still, most of the album resonates with the garage-rock, British Invasion and early punk influences that, over the course of four albums, have become Brimstone Howl's stock-in-trade. John Ziegler's vocals remain somewhere between early Mick Jagger and a less affected Lux Interior, while Waggoner's guitar work on "Easy to Dream" is reminiscent of post-Velvets Lou Reed.

All of the above, Waggoner confirms, are artists the band listens to, though he's reluctant to take on the labels that are typically associated with them: "It's kind of like the Ramones saying that they weren't a punk band. They said they were an American band. And Radio Birdman — when people were like, "You're the best punk band I've ever seen,' they were offended by that."

In the studio, the quartet likes to record the old-fashioned way, playing live through tube amps onto 2-inch tape, with just one or two run-throughs.

"We don't do a lot of takes," says Waggoner, "unless somebody's doing something that sounds really stupid."

Speaking of which, Brimstone Howl wasn't always the group's name. Its first album was initially released under one of the band's previous monikers, the Zyklon Bees, an allusion to the cyanide gas used in death camps. That drew e-mails from the Anti-Defamation League.

"That's not really the real reason we changed the band name," says Waggoner. "It's just kind of stupid to have a joke band name. It was a joke, and we're not a fucking pop-punk band, so it didn't make any sense to keep it. It was just stupid."

Of course, Britain's Joy Division was offensive for much the same reason, but at least that was a good name.

These days, the band currently known as Brimstone Howl tours relentlessly, but still gets mixed reactions on its own turf.

"Sometimes we'll pack a place, and other times we're just playing to the same 20 people," says Waggoner. "I think there's just too many options for entertainment nowadays. Back in the '60s, there was nothing to fucking do, so people would go out to see some music."

Friday, August 8, 2008


Instantly infectious melodies, buttery fat organ sounds, tambourine infused beats and from Alabama of all places? Thomas Function should have the world at their feet very soon with debut album Celebration!. Beaming with the confidence of a junkie troubadour with nothing to lose, lead singer Joshua Macero channels the spirits of Jonathan Richmond and Richard Hell. The band backs him with the energetic minimalism of kiwi rockers The Clean, but with an intensity seldom seen since the “hey days” of Violent Femmes and The Pixies.

Celebration! does not let up. From honkey-tonkers to speed freaked-out rockers, Thomas Function blend all the aspects of what a new band can get themselves into while in the garage. When listening, you really can visualize the group hacking it out in the Alabama heat giving each other unabashed looks of approval and high fives. There's nothing throwback here at all. The song writing is far too strong to make a jaded comparison.

"Can't Say No" plays like a kid bouncing in one those inflatable back yard party contraptions. The Hammond organs are as sweet as sunshine playing against this powerful yet simple little masterpiece. - Joel Roth / Heave Media

Sonic's Rendezvous Band - Herohill

Rock n' roll relies on energy, sweat and swagger. Seeing a band crush through a set is should be something that changes a fan's live. Until you see that first live show, you can't understand why we file into dark little holes in the shadiest parts of town to hear a band most people have never heard off. We are all searching for that moment in time that can't be replicated or ever taken away from you.

There are only a few bands that seem to come to life the minute they hit the stage, and almost none that can capture those special nights and make you feel like you were there when the songs are put on CD. Whether it's Live at Leeds, The Apollo or Folsom Prison or something completely unique like Unplugged in New York there are live albums that everyone seems to have and hold on to because the sound is terrific and the record defines the band.

But there are a few records, like Kick Out the Jams, Live at Sin-E or Otis Redding's Live in Europe that shows an artist transforming in front of us; becoming something bigger than you could ever imagine. The tape hiss and static crackle are ignored, and the current of electricity that runs through the set and becomes a part of us. It's that energy that people can't let go of and the reason people trade shitty bootleg copies and listen with strained ear and volume cranked.

Well, Alive/Natural - a long time supporter of the band - has done us all a favor and transformed one of those hiss filled sets into a CD recording. In 1978, the Ramones grabbed a hold of Fred "Sonic" Smith's band, Sonics Rendezvous Band, and requested they open for them in Detroit. End result? Well, for 36-minutes the power of the band dominates your ears. The sound is rough and ragged, but hot damn does it move. I'm not saying this white hot set should be placed on a pedestal like some of the other "live" staples, but it helps you remember that Detroit was kickass and why so many people were influenced by this super group.

From the minute the set starts, Fred's guitar and voice are piercing and Scott Asheton refuses to let up on the drums. I have no idea how he didn't kick a hole in the bass drum, but even on this converted recording - remastered from an old tape recording - the bass drum feels like it might pound through your chest.

The guitars on Gone With the Dogs are unrelenting and the last 2 minutes are almost overwhelming, but somehow they are able to keep the energy going when Scott Morgan takes the mic on my favorite track, Love and Learn. By the time Sonic signs off with City Slang, you are left broken and battered and have to wonder if even for one night in 1978, the opening act was able to upstage the Ramones and renew faith in the Detroit scene. - Herohill

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