Album Art Drawn by a Teenaged Bong-Ripping Member of the Metal Militia that Says Everything one Needs to Know about the Music
Aright then, let the dual guitar and soaring, Dickinson-indebted vocal attack featuring lyrics about demons, and standing and fighting, and looking for action begin. Let’s rock this motherfucker like a turbo lover with speed to spare.
The debut album from Spain’s Hitten, First Strike with the Devil, is out now. Grab a physical copy here. Or grab a digital version at the Hitten Bandcamp site here.
They had the name. They drew up the pointy, devil-horned logo in deep blood red. They rocked the galloping, NWOBHM-influenced riffs and a double kick bass drum. They even had a powerful vocalist who knew how to switch between a menacing growl and a soaring scream. So what the hell kept Powerlord from breaking through with their 80s thrasher The Awakening and joining the upper ranks of the metal militia? Did preparation just never meet opportunity? Whatever the reason, the damn fine folks at Shadow Kingdom Records are here to resurrect Powerlord with a reissue of The Awakening for retro-minded metalheads to discover. The album looks set for an August release, but you can check it out and grab a digital copy now over at the Shadow Kingdom Records Bandcamp page here.
It seems los grillos has been in the grip of some sort of midlife crisis of late. The jeans are skinnier, the hair longer, and the music almost always metal– all things that point back toward a younger cricket. But from younger metal days came many musical loves, not the least of which was an early twenties country and folk obsession that smoked a few with Neil, ran rowdy with the usual suspects like Waylon and Willie and Johnny, and drank its way through Townes. Also along for the ride was, of course, the so-called alt-country and outsider folk of those influenced by the same– Tupelo, Buckner, Oldham, and all manner of even lesser-known artists. Though these days it’s pretty much, as I mentioned, all metal all the time, I still hold the styles and genres I’ve encountered along the way in my soul, and they all churn together down in there and mean the same to me in one way or another (hell, Townes, with just a voice and guitar, is as heavy– heavier– than pretty much any metal motherfucker out there). And I still turn to them now and again when the moment seems to call for it.
Anyway, to get away from making this all about me, and to get towards the point, I have to say that when turning to folk and country to get me through some dark night of the soul or bottle of cheap whiskey or trip down the lost highway, I’m damned glad to discover that artists like Fort Worth’s Jacob Furr are out there carrying the country and folk rock torch. Like many of the aforementioned artists, Jacob Furr has endured tragedy and weathered it with song. And like them he has a true talent for capturing a mood or telling a tale with a well-picked melody and an insightful turn of phrase. With forthcoming album Trails & Traces, written in the wake of losing his wife to cancer and produced with the help of a crowd-sourcing campaign, Furr seems set to follow the path, and hopefully find the success, of the Texas singer-songwriters who’ve influenced his craft. The songs range from the sparse, delicate acoustic melody of “Blake’s Song” to the electric rumble through the back half of “Falling Stars”, and though they deal with weighty emotions, they never veer toward the maudlin. There’s an edge to these songs, a raw honesty, that cuts deep and makes a mark that will last. This is the work of a right and natural troubadour, and I imagine I’ll turn to this album many more times in my days.
Trails & Traces is currently set for a late summer/early fall release. In the mean time, check out the Jacob Furr Bandcamp page to hear previous releases. And if you’re in the Forth Worth area this Friday, June 20, head over to the Live Oak Music Hall to catch Jacob Furr live at the release party for “Falling Stars” from Trails & Traces. Hear an earlier, lo-fi version of “Falling Stars” below.
In light of the US Men’s team’s return to the World Cup, los grillos is revisiting a post from Team USA’s appearance in the 2010 World Cup…
As a high school soccer player, I wasn’t particularly good. But the team I played for, the Unicorns (that’s right, my high school mascot was a mythical beast, motherfucker!), weren’t too bad, and we managed to win a game or two despite having me as a left fullback and a coach who kept a soccer rule book that he consulted regularly during games in his back pocket. What our coach lacked in knowledge of the game he made up for by being a pretty cool guy. He caught shit for being uninformed about the game and a bit square, and for doing this nervous little dance during tense situations, but I liked the guy. He had a habit of saying things like “Crap, son, this ain’t Sunday” when a player wasn’t working hard enough, which is pretty hilarious, and he won major points by allowing the team to create our own pre-game mix tape that we played over the stadium’s speaker system while preparing to kick some ass.
Putting together a mix tape for a bunch of opinionated, smart-assed soccer players that satisfies everyone is no easy task, and to the credit of my friend (and starting halfback) Mark, who took on the challenge, he didn’t try too hard to be all that democratic about the process. There was really no need to–most of the team was made up of juniors and sophomores, and Mark was a senior, which gave him a certain amount of authority. And if that wasn’t enough, the younger players were intimidated by the fact that Mark’s girlfriend was better looking than any girl they could even hope to talk to, much less hook up with after a game, and that seemed to buy him endless amounts of respect. The mix tape included a lot of the so-called alternative music that we were listening to at the time, but between the lesser-known (at least to most of the team) songs, Mark did include one song by a band that is as democratic as it gets when it comes to teenage boys–the band, of course, was AC/DC, and the song was “Thunderstruck”.
AC/DC got everyone pumped for the game, but Philipp, a German foreign exchange student, got particularly fired up when their song started pumping through the loud speakers. He used to line up behind me as we ran our warm up exercises, and as the drums pounded in synch with the lyric, “THUNDER”, he would pound his fists on my shoulders and shout, “What the fuck and the shit, we’re going to kick their asses, man!” And that always made me laugh, but it also got me and the rest of the team raring to go.
So this one’s for Philipp and the German national team, which is currently kicking the shit out of Portugal. And it’s for team USA, who kick off against Ghana later today. Kick their asses, man! Leave ’em “Thunderstruck”!
AC/DC wrote “it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll,” and Jack Flash has been livin’ that hard truth ever since he loaded up his Ford Econoline with a suitcase full of spandex, some cans of hairspray, and a battered Marshall amp, and headed to L.A. to start his band, Bad Tattoo. The late eighties were good to Bad Tattoo– then grunge killed the hair-metal star, and life on the road got rough, but the badasses in Bad Tattoo never let the bastards get ’em down. They just kept on rockin’ and rollin’ like AC/DC fronted by a southern-fried Lemmy, and now they’re back with latest track “Another Bad Tattoo,” the advance single from forthcoming concept album Arockalypse Now: The Whorer. I hear the album will tell the story of a heavy metal band, a homecoming gig, and a cursed tattoo, and that there’s a movie in the works with lots of laughs, buckets of blood, and heaps of headbangin’ hits. Sounds fuckin’ great– can’t wait to rock it. In the mean time, I’ll be cranking this one up to 11.
Head over to the Bad Tattoo Bandcamp page here for a free download of “Another Bad Tattoo”.