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

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

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