Sunday, March 17, 2013

CD REVIEW: "The Sweet Life" Mud, Blood & Beer

All I had to do was listen to first single "Little Black Heart" to know I was going to like this band! The Sweet Life is their name and "it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all" (Emily Dickenson) These guys remind me of The Hold Steady,  Drive By Truckers even the Black Crows, and Elvis Costello.

Not sure how well they do in NYC but they would be huge here in Portland Oregon! They claim to be into playing dive bars, if they ever play outside a dive bar I think I would stop listening to them. They are so the definition of upper cool DIY alt country, prog rock, and stoner rock!

Moving on from stand out track "Little Black Heart" my favorite track on the album is "Corner of His Eye" this song gives you a real stoner rock vibe. The guitar solos which make up most of the song are jammy and prog. How do I get that song on vinyl! The vocals almost remind me of an Elvis Costello.

The name Mud, Blood & Beer is cribbed from a line in Johnny Cash’s classic “A Boy Named Sue”: “Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer “which they claim is a perfectly apt description of who we are and the music we make.

My only complaint is their artwork.... it through me for a loop. They should have a super artsy cover or even only put this out on a picture disc! I almost didn’t listen to them because of the artwork. I mean I get they might have been going for the throw back look. But I thought that was what I was going to get with a listen. Some advice for bands...make your artwork non genre specific that way a writer or editor will want to listen to it just to see what it is. And my personal preference never but an image of yourself on the cover.

Really though this album is awesome! and who cares about the artwork the real art is the 13 original tracks! Nice work older guys (again only know this cause you posted your faces on the cover!)  - xo kaytea
Record Label: MBB Recordings
Hometown: New York City
Genres: Americana - alt-country, indie rock, cow punk

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Thick danceable techno pop/rock from Gunslinger

Gunslinger - Breaking Through (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)

Thick danceable techno pop/rock from Gunslinger. These guys are definitely coming from a place where technology is the main driving force in the music. We checked out the band's web site...and we'd be willing to bet our best bottom booties that these guys put on one helluva show. These dance-inducing tracks initially reminded us of 1980s icons Sparks in many ways...but the overall sound is much more synthesized and gritty. The band made quite a splash in 2010 with their debut album Early Volumes 1. With the release of Breaking Through, our guess is...that is exactly what this band is about to do. They have great positive energy and a sound that could be appreciated by millions. The band will no doubt be touring heavily in support of this one so keep your eyes peeled to see if they're playing anywhere near your nest. These guys seem to be on a mission to redefine alternative dance music. And with cool tracks like "Breaking Through," "Busy Pop," and "Looking At You"...they'll probably do just that...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gunslinger's Breaking Through on CD


Gunslinger bills itself as a "genre-jumping group of musicians/producers and DJs...pairing past with present, blending classical song structure and vocal with years of professional electronic dance experience." That description could fit most up-and-coming alternative bands these days, but where Gunslinger excels is in the seamless blending of these two realms, of avoiding the trap of sounding like a '70s rock band drowned in goofy electronic effects. Gunslinger, which is actually an international duo (Anthem is from SoCal while Vidal is from Lisbon, Portugal), keeps the songs on Breaking Through strong, lean and tight without the constant gear-shifting and strange ambient tangents that define most indie bands these days.

Stripped down to their skivvies, these songs are basic rock and roll, slanted perhaps to prog and maybe even glam (the opening title track will probably remind you of T. Rex), but catchy and anthemic and more suited to arenas than the local underground club. The electronic peripherals are just that, framing devices, and you won't walk into a room during a random moment of Breaking Through and wonder "What kind of music is this?" It won't take you long to realize it's contemporary with its manufactured beats and deftly layered ambience, but you'll feel at home. Gunslinger sounds like a less manic and drama-ridden version of Muse, and if you're the kind of person who hears Muse and thinks about Sweet, these two guys will drop you off at the same bus stop.

Out in the real world, Gunslinger is making a name for themselves. Their live gigs can either be a DJ set or a stage show with drums, guitars and keyboards. Anthem and Vidal are even planning a remix of The Doors' Waiting for the Sun, which shows they have strong ties and a healthy amount of respect for the stuff baby Boomers hold dear--which is obvious when you listen to Breaking Through. Look at it this way...I know lots of people my age who are looking for an entry into the DJ scene and perhaps jump too readily into the deep end and find themselves quickly dog-pedaling back to the edge of the pool. (There's a friend of mine who nearly drowned a couple of weeks ago while listening to the latest from Shackleton--too soon, too soon!) Gunslinger might be a good lesson #1 for those cautious soles who want to explore what the kids are listening while still basking on dry land, listening to Electric Warrior and Desolation Boulevard.