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 www.alivenergy.com

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 - Rhapsody


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

BRIMSTONE HOWL - PopMatters


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":



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