Tonight : Deafheaven and Tribulation

This is going to be perhaps the best metal show of 2015. Both bands playing have risen to the pinnacle of their respective crafts. Both Deafheaven and Tribulation will be fighting for top spots on most best of 2015 lists. In Deafheaven's case those lists might not be confined to metal blogs. This San Francisco band went from a two piece project whose demo gained notice on the Internet into one of the most talked about metal bands out now. They garner debate not only as to if they are black metal or not but if they are metal or not. While their last album "Sunbather' gave the black metal die-hards more fuel to burn churches with, "New Bermuda" put out most of the vitriolic flames. It might not be black metal in the truest since or at all, but it is metal. The black metal influence is stronger in the vocals, they now
carry more menace in the vein of early Dissection. On their previous albums the vocals were a monochrome layer of human static, the new album finds them expanding into darker shades of gray. The band locks into several chugging gallops that are rooted in the essence of metal. Live they enrapture their fans in their emotional current while coming across as more aggressive than their albums portray them.

Tribulation is a death metal band from Sweden who also defies the boundaries of the genre. Their newest album "the Children of the Night" finds the band branching out from paying homage to horror movies into a multi-dimensional journey. Their singer sticks to his rasp, while musically the band has begun to develop a more organic almost classic prog rock sound at times. They allow their guitar tone to deviate from the typical over driven crunch to paint the songs in a broader spectrum of sonic colors. They took both their playing and songwriting to the next level with " the Children of the Night" while retaining the inner darkness that makes their music feel heavier than if they were just trying to emulate Morbid Angel. On their last pass through the Masquerade with Watain and In Solitude they really surprised me in the manner they allowed themselves to jam out the songs live.

If you are a fan of either band then you already know this is a show you don’t want to miss, if you have been skeptical of Deafheaven then know that Tribulation is certainly worth the twenty bucks you were going to waste at another bar any way and then perhaps you will stick around and see if Deafheaven is now able to convince you their metal mettle. The doors for this show, which is downstairs at Hell in the Masquerade, are at 7:00.

Tonight : Author & Punisher

Industrial cyborg Tristan Shore brings his one of a kind project to the Earl tonight. He really has to be seen to be believed, as he makes music with home made machines and using various masks to alter his voice. Often harder than Ministry or Godflesh, his music packs an apocalyptic crunch. Some of his beats you feel as much as you hear and thats on his albums so I can only imagine what that will be like live. His new album "Melk En honing" finds his song writing evolving to new emotional depths and getting heavier while adding more melody. This will require the lead singer of opening act Muscle and Marrow to join him on stage to help handle some of the vocal layering. To fully grasp where Shore is coming from read the interview I did with him over at Cvlt Nation below...

Atlanta rarely gets industrial shows, much less one from a project this ground breaking so you won't want to miss this. The opening act Muscle and Marrow could very well head line a show at the Earl on their own. They are a duo who plays a more experimental version of doomy blues. Comparisons could be drawn to Chelsea Wolfe, but they have their own sound which will be a dynamic juxtaposition to Shore's crunch and pound, as they are heavy in their own right but from more of an emotional catharsis rather than the kind of sonic pummeling Shore's machines bring with a droning dub massacre. Get to the Earl early because Dead Register  hits the stage shortly after the doors open at eight. It's only ten bucks at the door.

Track Preview : Patti Yang's " Anonymous Face"

Yang is a fresh voice in the ebm/ electro pop scene that is flourishing in Europe and New York.  This is the first single from here upcoming album that she is currently putting the finishing touches on in London  as she works with Tricky’s partner in crime Martina-Topley Bird. This album is to be the follow up to  “War On Love”.  This association might bring with it Yang being lumped in with 90s trip hop, but she is very much her own person. Her overall sound has much more of a pop sensibility to it than anything Martina ever did with Tricky. The bass line moves with more of a Brit pop pulse putting her closer Lilly Allen than Massive Attack. The songs upbeat vibe might have a shadowy underbelly, but it drives rather than wallows in a in a narcotic stupor.

Not hanging on Martina’s apron strings this Polish singer brings to the table an impressive resume having shared the stage with Depeche Mode and songs on the soundtracks to ten major motion pictures.  She built her name in London performing under the moniker of Flykkiller,  working with Hurt’s producer Joe Cross on two eps. She is not content to live of the glimpses of her former glory as she continues to push herself in the studio. There are still surreal traces of the psychedelic journey she embarked on in the Californian desert while making “War On Love”. Like all the other elements on this track it balance out by the vocals hooks that ground it. Fans of anyone from Zola Jesus to Chrvches will be able to find some common ground with song that will leave you looking forward to when she drops the full length album. 

You can check out her new single below. 

Tonight : Rasputina

Rasputina rolls into the Earl tonight. No other show this well will be as fitting for Halloween as this one. You might have gotten a taste of them at Dragoncon this year, but this is going to be their most intimate performance to date. Expect to hear your favorites from their 96 debut “Thanks For the Ether” since Carpella Parvo one of the original cellist from that album is re-joining Mellora Creager. This tour is also going to be the first for the band that will feature piano and beat boxing courtesy of Luis Mojica, taking the place of drums.

They are touring in support of their new album “The Stranger” which came out April of this year. Some of the normally fanciful lyrics are now veiled metaphors for Mellora’s experience of being stalked on the internet, which serves as the cathartic inspiration for the album. While saying “Expect to see it on my top 10 best of list” could best sum up my review of the album, You can read my full review of “ The Stranger” here…

For those of you not as versed in the band and are wanting more of the glimpse perhaps you caught at Dragon-con or are just looking for something to do tonight don’t be fooled by the cellos as they have been known to step on the distortion pedals and crank out covers of Heart and Pink Floyd. Creager was also the cellist for Nirvana’s last tour of Europe. The band has shared the stage with everyone from goth royalty such as Ms. Siouxsie Sioux and Marilyn Manson to Les Claypool and Porno For Pyros. So the cellos will be much louder than you might imagine. Creager was dressing in victorian garb years a decade before steam punk became a thing and songs like Transylvainian Concubine will put you in the mood for the spookiness that follows this weekend. If you are an old goth like me then this is just business as usual like the other 364 days of the year, but if you are looking launch your Hallowed weekend into full ghastly gear then get to the Earl at 8:30 when doors open to get your drink on. Daniel Knox opens and it’s only twenty bucks at the door.

Album Review : Rob Williams'"Southern FM"

Things are not always cut and dry with Rob Williams. If you get listen to the first half of this album then you might feel that he is more of a country singer than coffee shop folk artist.  But at the end of this journey you will have discovered this album is painted with many colors. The opening song of his new album "Southern FM" is upbeat in the same way many of Johnny Cash's lighter moments. Vocally he is not a gravelly baritone, but his voice is not that of a squeaky clean pop singer either. He has more of a Bob Dylan earnest to his voice without any of the nasal cadence that leaves Robert Zimmerman as a better songwriter than singer. Like many of the earlier country singer's its not that Williams is going to wow you with his pipes, but he uses them to the best of his ability. A  western guitar tone rings into "Best I Can Do" giving the music another not as organic layer.


Williams influences are not limited to the cross roads where folk and country meet, as I can hear some rock on the outskirts similar to John Mellancamp whose rasp is another reference when trying to place Williams voice in your head. "Where You Hang Your Heart" keeps up the pace at a brisk shuffle matching the other songs on the first half of the album which doesn't slow until "Sometimes It's a Song". The country ebbs away lending its more towards the rock side even in this more ballad like intimacy. Female vocals harmonize with him on the first song that feel decidedly folk to me" Henry and Maria".  Then album goes for more of an alt rock thing in the vein of Matthew Sweet on " Sun Gone Down".  Lyrically it’s a little darker, despite the upbeat chorus.  The intro to "You've Been a Bad Christian" reminds me a of Ben Folds song. There is a similar lyrical smugness as well, reflecting the tone of the awesome song title. This is not the first moment the ghosts of 90s alternative haunt this album. 

The album closes with a song that takes the two sides of Williams’s musical personality and fuses them together. The quirky alt-folk and the more countryside, which in this song is found more in the western guitar, layered around the acoustic strum that is the song's backbone. Overall fans of alt-country and Americana will find this a refreshing if not lighter take on those genres. Dabblers into folk and country will find this as an easy entry way as this very accessible and honest in a way that keeps it from being pop music. It is worth a listen if pop and country are two terms you think go together as it reaches back to more of a Cash and Hank sr with no Brad Paisley notions to it. Williams has out attention with this release let's see where he goes from here. Check out the album's lead single " Sometimes It's a Song" below.  

Tonight : Protomartyr

Atlanta is way behind the larger markets when it comes to musical trends pretty much totally missing the train on the post-punk revival . But you don't have to miss out as Protomartyr is rolling into town tonight.  Protomartyr however is not just a tribute to Joy Division or the bands of that era, taking influence from that time when punk got darker and dirtier and making it something of their own. The band is on the road in support of "Agent Intellect" their newest album where you can read my review


They had raised the bar pretty high for themselves on the preceding album"Under Color or Offical Right" where front-man Joe Caasey commanded your ears with his infectious yet down trodden charisma. If I wasn't on the mend from a bout with viral meningitis, I would be up front and center. The Detroit band should have all the energy of punk band, but twice the smarts when they hit the stage at the Earl tonight.The doors open at 8:30 with Amanda X and Mtn Isl opening. The cover is only 12 bucks at the door tonight.

Album Review : Matt Lande's "Glow"

When pop music regained it’s legs in a post-Nirvana world it did so with pop groups thrown together by record labels and producers bringing us the Spice Girls and Back Street Boys. Both of whom are in the where are they now files, it took a talent manager digging into the Mickey Mouse club to create the kind that would have more staying power such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Then came the reality tv game show element to put this process in the spotlight with shows like American Idol and the Voice. Not until Taylor Swift was playing guitar a worthwhile attribute. She paid her dues to the Nashville Mafia, but this did not have the blood sweat and tears like hitting the clubs every night as a rock band. A process that allows the artist to find themselves own their own, the kind of process Matt Lande under went when he got his start as the guitarist for StorySide: B, before moving onto a solo project.

His solo project is more pop than rock , but is still more rock than any of the current crop of pop singers . Technically sound, his strength lies more in his phrashing than range. His range tends to fall into the sphere of a breathy tenor. He saves his diaphragm for the choruses. Most of it mid-paced. the first single off the album is "Glow" which drifts somewhere between Muse and 30 Seconds to Mars. There is a more modern rock like build up at the end of the song that has hard rock leaning put back off and don't kick like a band such as Tool might.

The first that breaks out from the formula is the bouncy "Nowhere that we Know". This is much more of a pop song. Lyrically it has the nutritional value of Sour Patch Kids, but the piano line that comes in around the bridge add some almost post-rock ambiance. His vocals are well produced on this one and the guitar takes more of a back seat. There is a few degrees more intensity in the way the chord progression to "Spin" works which is in the vein of Sliversun Pickups. It's has a poppier vocal melody and less of melancholic underpinnings. The vocals The first strum of acoustic guitar is on the ballad " If I Could Love" which I am surprised did not come sooner. This opens the flood gates for his softer side to show. More upbeat by a few degrees is "On My Own" which swells into more rock territory than say Cold Play ever strays into. The trend continues on "Robin" which is even more delicate and centered around a fragil piano line.

The albums end with the more organic feel of " Looking Down". It does get slightlier close to the more Cold Play neighborhood that I gave him credit for steering clear of earlier. To his credit even in those moments there is more of an old 90s alt-rock feel more akin to Collective Soul or Live. This album is worth a listen if the current crop of radio pop doesn’t speak to you with it’s frequent lack of organic musicianship. Lande has tapped into a formula that could really pay off for him if placed in the right hands.