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

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

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sonic's Rendezvous Band - All Music Guide

Sonic's Rendezvous Band may well have been the finest rock & roll band to emerge from the Midwest in the last half of the 1970s, but there isn't as much evidence as one might wish to back up this claim. Fronted by MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and also featuring Scott Morgan (ex-Rationals) on rhythm guitar and vocals, Scott Asheton (ex-Stooges) on drums and Gary Rasmussen (ex-Up) on bass, Sonic's Rendezvous Band took the primal "high energy" sound of classic Detroit rock and streamlined it with force, precision and intelligence; however, record companies showed no concrete interest in the band, and outside of a self-released single with the same tune on both sides, the group broke up in 1980 with their great songs and blazing performances undocumented. Many years after Sonic's Rendezvous Band called it quits (and Smith succumbed to a heart attack in 1994), a small trickle of live recordings of the band began to circulate, and a treasure trove of SRB material was released in 2006 by the U.K. Easy Action label in the form of a six-disc box set. Masonic Temple: Detroit 1978 is a stand-alone release of one of the live shows featured in the SRB box, a storming seven-song, thirty-five-minute set the group played opening for the Ramones on January 14, 1978. From the opening notes of "Electrophonic Tonic," it's clear Sonic's Rendezvous Band were determined to show the hometown crowd what they could do, and this show never lets up its majestic intensity and drive for a moment. The musicians sound almost telepathically tight, the guitar attack is joyously unrelenting, the songs are excellent (especially "Sweet Nothin'" and "City Slang"), and the set is paced with the care of a good album. This recording was easily one of the high points of Easy Action's SRB box set, and if you're hesitant about forking over for a collection that large to find out what Sonic's Rendezvous Band were all about, Masonic Temple: Detroit 1978 is an excellent place to discover one of the greatest "unknown" bands of all time -- though don't be shocked if you want to hear more after checking this out. - Mark Deming / All Music Guide
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