Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Things didn't look good for a while for Dave Wyndorf, singer and the only remaining original member of US band Monster Magnet. In 2007 he almost overdosed on drugs. Wyndorf barely dodged the reapers scythe. It saved his life but also gave him excess body weight. The once muscular noodle had transformed in an old overweight rocker, hardly looking anything like the person he used to be. Music wise the band wasn't the relentless monster of before either.
Monster Magnet - Last Patrol (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
Earlier this year however Wyndorf proved with a tight rock show in Tilburg's 013 that he found the old magic back. Now there's a new album Last Patrol that is showing the same. The beast is back and is hurtling over you like in the old days with pounding rock songs. The guitar riffs are violent and convincing, supported by the familiar heavy grooves. The songs also have the usual quiet moments, where tension is building up to eventually erupt relentlessly. The long title track 'Last Patrol' takes the cake as it develops into a kind of spacy rock anthem.
But it's not just violence that is thrown at us. There are the usual moments where the band is showing its psychedelic side, like in 'Stay Tuned', and where it's slowing down. The group even dares to cover Donovan's 'Three King Fishers' and add add their own signature to it. And are we hearing bongos in 'The Duke Of Supernature'? In 'End Of Time' the Apocalypse seams near with roaring guitars and rolling fills. Ruthlessly the beast is racing along as if it awoke in a rude way. This is clear in the threatening 'Paradise'. The monster lays his anger upon us in 'Hallelujah' to eventually seal our fate in the feedback dredged 'Mindless Ones'.
Monster Magnet is playing with renewed energy. Even the nice art work of the cover is showing a powerful and aggravated demon that is up to no good. Hopefully Last Patrol is not living up to its name and turns out to be their last exercise, since in this shape Monster Magnet can go on for years.
This review has been published on Festivalinfo in Dutch over here.
Listen to Last Patrol on Spotify.
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Tuesday, 10 December 2013
At the last edition of the Into The Great Wide Open festival an intriguing instrument is set up on the stage in the woods. On a low plateau the sitar is waiting until someone is going to play it. The man behind Canadian band Elephant Stone, Rishi Dhir, will only play it once during their successful performance at the festival. The sounds of the instrument are spreading throughout the trees and enchant its listeners. On their second album, simply titled Elephant Stone, you can hear it more often.
Elephant Stone - Elephant Stone (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
Dhir is an established sitar player who already worked with bands like The Horrors and The Black Angels. Dhir, whose roots obviously lie in India, is mixing his background into his music in several ways. We can hear the tabla and other Hindu influences. According to Dhir he was inspired by Bollywood movies as well. Especially in 'A Silent Moment' you can here these influences including nice oriental singing.
The result is a spicy and tasteful mix that is lightly digestible. The psychedelic songs are easy on the ears and are never too heavy. The sitar is mostly used in a subtle way and only now and then acts as the main attraction, like in 'The Sea Of Your Mind'. This song really is one big jam that eventually ends in a delightful apotheosis with a repeating sitar and fireworks by the guitars. It's the highlight of the record. The sitar proves to be the ultimate psychedelic instrument. Everything is floating on the remarkable and almost spiritual sounds. No wonder George Harrison was studying the sitar later on in The Beatles era.
But the other songs are worth it as well. Because the rest of the album is full of fine songs. Sometimes they are Beatlesque tunes like 'Hold Onto Yr Soul' and 'Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin'. They are almost light easy listening pop songs. Others are explosive guitar jams, performed with a lot of heart. Rishi Dhir understands well how to attract attention by being different. His musical talents combined with his background are a smart move which results in a wonderful record.
This review has been published on ROAR E-Zine in Dutch over here.
Listen to Elephant Stone on Spotify.
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Friday, 6 December 2013
It's been quite a year for Savages. They released one of the finest records of 2013 and have been touring extensively. The four women leave a real impression with their intense live shows. Tonight is their last show of the year and singer Jehnny Beth says she's glad to be playing that one in Paradiso.
Savages at Paradiso Amsterdam, December 3 2013
Beth left her high heels at home tonight. It doesn't really make a difference for her performance. While she's standing in the middle of only a few spot lights, her piercing eyes are going around the hall. It is as if she's trying to take in every one of us. The dark show together with the fierce and sometimes hypnotizing music still hasn't lost any of its impact.
A large part of the powerful music comes from the strong rhythm section. Drum player Fay Milton is confidently pounding out the solid grooves. Bass player Ayse Hassan adds great bass lines that give the songs an unstoppable drive. It sounds as if the band is playing even tighter than the last time I saw them. 'Shut Up', 'Husbands' and 'No Face' sound incredible that way. The mix of dark new wave, punk and noise music is contagious. In the more quiet songs like 'Waiting For A Sign', everyone is so quiet that you can even hear the amps buzz.
Even though the four have been on the road for quite a while, they are not showing any signs of exhaustion. The set list is slowly building up to a climax with faster songs at the end of the set. Of course the show isn't really long, since they don't have enough material yet for a two hour show. It doesn't really matter when a performance is this intense. Especially not when they end with an inspired version of 'Fuckers', which they stretch out to a seemingly endless version. The repeating grooves put you right into a trance. It's the perfect close of a still impressive and at some points even astonishing show.
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01. I Am Here
02. Shut Up
03. City's Full
04. I Need Something New
06. Waiting for a Sign
07. Another War
08. She Will
09. No Face
10. Hit Me
12. Dream Baby Dream (Suicide cover)