Jak Locke Paranoize Magazine Evil Flying Chickens 35 PSI Brad Orgeron . . . and more
ALTERNATIVE, PUNK, HEAVY METAL, ROCK Nâ€™ ROLL
Volume 1, Number 2, February 2017
ATTENTION BANDS! WE WANT TO REVIEW YOUR MUSIC email us at SBPalz@outlook.com Subject line “SONIC SOUNDS!” for more information
Sonic Boom! Magazine Issue #2 . . . the initial goal is officially accomplished. I set out to produce a minimum of two issues of a music magazine, and here we are the with the second issue, and Iâ€™m proud of this accomplishment. I hope that people enjoyed the first issue, and I hope that issue #2 exceeds that of the first issue. I had some delay getting this issue done, and I hope that we get faster at putting out new material. I want to thank everyone that read the first issue and
enjoyed it, I hope you like what we have for you this month. So far we have done this with zero budget. Extra special thanks to the people that have helped me create this magazine Melissa Crory, Austen Krantz, Hex Windham and Colby Foreman. It means a lot that you guys believe in Sonic Boom! Magazine and me, but your help has been incredible. Thanks guys. Without further ado, let the music guide us. - Kevin P. Johnson
JAK LOCKE The Ultimate Rock Show by Kevin P. Johnson . . . . . . . page 4 Evil Flying Chickens by Melissa Crory . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . page 18 35 PSI: Dust To Dust by Austen Krantz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 20 PARANOIZE with BOBBY BERGERON by Kevin P. Johnson . . page 28 Prodigal Punk by Hex Windham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 34 SONIC SOUNDS! - Reviews . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . Page 39
SONIC BOOM! MAGAZINE, VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2, FEBRUARY, 2017 - Published by Kevin P. Johnson. SONIC BOOM! MAGAZINE is Copyright ÂŠ2017 Kevin P. Johnson. All rights reserved, no part of this work may be reproduced without express written consent of Kevin P. Johnson. Published in the United States of America with a budget of ZERO dollars. This issue: Kevin P. Johnson - Publisher, all layout design, all photography unless otherwise noted, writer, reviews, Melissa Crory - Writer, reveiews, Austen Krantz - Writer, editing, Hex Windham - Writer, photography (Prodigal Punk), Colby Foreman - Reviews
JAK LOCKE The Ultimate Rock Show By Kevin P. Johnson
Every now and then you come across something special in your life that maybe not many people know about, and it feels like it’s your little secret. In a local music scene this could happen, and you very well could be one of just a few people that know about a certain artist. But if I have anything to say about it, this won’t be the case for one New Orleans musician by the name of Jak Locke. Jak Locke is that performer that captivates a room no matter if the stage is big or small and gives the same performance to 10 people as he would for thousands. Jak has all the rock star moves and seems flawless as he jumps and gyrates. Recently I talked with Jak about his music, his live performance and what he has planned for the future.
the intent of putting it in front of people, live or not, that’s the most basic requirements, steps 1a and 1b. When it’s live, whatever exits you at that moment is all it’s ever going to be. There’s no editing or second take or fixing it in post, you’re working without a net and the reactions to it are *right* *there*, immediate. There’s a spectrum to approaching that: on one end there’s planning every second ahead of time, and on the other there’s going full synaptic and tapping the energy of the room and your own adrenaline, following wherever it’s gonna end up, sequential, rapid-fire so it can’t be locked down, hearing words you say after they come out of your mouth. Obviously, you have to know the songs and how to play them, I’m not talking about that—in a show’s context, the songs are just components of the full experience that people are spending their time and/or money to see. The Rock Show’s on the full synaptic end for sure. I’m possessed when I’m doing that set, riding the loa that’s riding me. If I take the time to think about what I’m doing when I’m up there, it’s going to fail.
Sonic Boom!: One thing is for certain when someone pays to see a Jak Locke Rock Show performance they get every penny’s worth of their money, and it should not be missed if at all possible. Is this a conscious effort on your part or does your live performance just happen naturally? Jak Locke: For me, the conscious effort begins and ends with two ideas: “Am I expressing what I want to?” Sonic Boom!: I’ve had several conversations over the and “What would I want to see? What would entertain last couple years with several different local musicians, me, what would I think is really cool? Would I think this is and when talking about the best thing New Orleans has interesting?” I think if you’re going to do anything with to offer in rock music, they said Jak Locke … I agree
with this statement. How does that make you feel to know that many of your peers look at you as the best? Jak Locke: Wow. I mean, that’s an incredible compliment. I’m very grateful to have their respect.
our instrumentation, or to throw trad jazz turns into a simple pop composition and hear it totally open up into something new. Jak Is A Four Letter Word is my pressure valve. Lots of experimental, anti-folk and harsh noise for the most part, stuff that doesn’t belong under my other Sonic Boom!: You play what I would describe as an banners. “This is for me, that is for you” is how I describe alternative rock style of music with the Rock Show, but it. It’s definitely “this”. Error 163 is glitch and chiptune you also play in some much different style versions of music. I was bandleading for a burlesque troupe for about your band including The NOLA Troublemakers a-1950’s three years, but if we’re gonna get into past projects, this is style rock band. Tell us about the different bands you gonna go on way too long. perform with. Jak Locke: The NOLA Treblemakers is my trio that Sonic Boom!: A lot of bands are together for a really plays rock’n’roll and R&B songs from 1950 to 1965. We’ve long time and never record an album or maybe just one. been around since 2010 playing clubs, festivals, weddings, For me I think a band should record new material at parties, restaurants, the standard cover band circuit. When least every two years ... that being said you have recorded I was growing up, my dad played those kinds of records tons of material. Since 1997 you have been recording around the house all the time, so that sound’s as nostalgic constantly, whether it be the Rock Show, side projects, for me as anyone, and you can go *hot* with some of movie soundtracks, all kinds of things. Could you tell us those songs. In The Speakeasy Serenaders we play trad how many albums and E.P.’s you have recorded and what jazz, old blues and vaudeville tunes as well as more modern keeps you inspired to keep working and creating new songs we adapt to sound like that era. There’s something music? about the schmaltz and cheesecake of a lot of those tunes Jak Locke: Music’s always been a thing I feel like I that really entertains me, that’s a lot of fun to play with just inevitably end up at—eventually some chemical in in the performances. As a musician, it’s a kick to strip my brain triggers, and I lock myself inside for literally the more modern songs down in a way that works for weeks because I’m obsessed with getting these particular
ideas out before they disappear and don’t feel like they’re coming naturally anymore. Right now I’ve got 35 LPs and EPs publicly available from 1997 to now. A while back I took down a lot of the older stuff because I had mixed those when I had no idea what I was doing, and in many cases the mixes were so bad you couldn’t understand vocals or hear the drums. Those songs and anyone interested enough to listen to them both deserve better. When I can find master tapes, when time allows, and when I feel like it, I’ve been cleaning up the mixes on those and putting them back out online, one album at a time. Sonic Boom!:Your music is available on bandcamp.com as digital downloads but, I myself love a physical copy of an album. Do you offer physical copies of your albums? I purchased the great 2014 release Action Packed Self Destruction at one of your shows but where can the fans find more? Jak Locke: The past few years there’s way more people at the shows asking if it’s on iTunes or online than if they can get a CD. There’s more people asking if it’s on vinyl than CD, honestly. Now that you ask, I can’t remember the last time someone at the show wanted a CD instead of a link or a record. Actually I think it was you. I’ve still got a few CDs left over, if they sell out, I’ll make more. Sonic Boom!:The Jak Locke Rock Show has had
different interchangeable members that perform with you. When recording your music how do you decide who plays on the record or do you play everything yourself ? Jak Locke: I play everything myself on like 95% of my original recordings. When someone else is on a track, it’s either because I brought them on for their specific style of playing, or they dropped in while I was recording and so, you know, while you’re here, why not. Sonic Boom!: As I said before your live show is not to be missed. You have all the big rock star moves down to a science and your show is always bigger than the local rooms and stages I have seen you perform on, have you ever had the opportunity to play on a large stage at an arena or something like Jazz Fest? Jak Locke: Thanks very much for that. I’ve been on a few of the larger stages for festivals and the like, and I always feel like the pauper in the castle, like, “There’s too much room! The microphones don’t have hepatitis! This is too nice!” No arena caliber stages yet, that would be fun. I could go crazy with choreography and pyro and all that pop shit. There’s no such thing as too many lights. Sonic Boom!: Who are your major influences as a songwriter, guitar player, and performer?
Jak Locke: For songwriting, Bowie, Beck, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan. For performing, Bowie, Beck, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Elvis, James Brown. I look at guitars like any other instrument, a tool to make a particular sound, and so I never consciously modeled my playing on it off of anyone in particular. It’s definitely the easiest instrument to put on a dynamic show with, so that’s why I usually end up on that live.
we’ve been kicking around a while. I’m also getting back into game programming.
Sonic Boom!: Back to the music, talk about your latest release Over (2016), it seems like a stripped down heavily acoustic album what was the thought behind this album? Jak Locke: Over’s a collection of songs about disappearing, obsession, compulsive self-destruction, and running out of time: the background noise in my Sonic Boom!: Jak Locke is not only a rock star but you head since I was able to make thoughts. Poisoned brains. have also written a novel, dabbled in comic books, been Suicidal if idle. Musically I wanted to make it lush but part of a movie and possibly flown the space shuttle, tell desolate without relying on a lot of minor chords, that us about these projects and where we can find them. felt right--a bleakness that’s warm, because it’s familiar. Jak Locke: Everything’s at Jaklocke.com or linked The devil I know. It’s definitely the yin to the Rock Show’s from there, and it always will be. The book’s second yang, for last year anyway. edition’s actually coming out in a few weeks for anyone who likes comic political satire. We did a western short Sonic Boom!: The Jak Locke Rock Show has played film series with no budget called Targeted that we plan to a lot of shows and shared the stage with bands of many continue as well as other short film and music video ideas different genres. What are your favorite kind of shows to
play, do you prefer playing shows when all of the bands are similar or when you get put between thrash metal bands like House Of Goats and electronic oddness like Zombies Eating Sheep? Jak Locke: I have a feeling the kind of person who leaves their house and willfully spends an evening to see an original local show in 2017 is probably more open to seeing a variety of styles. Or maybe I’m wrong, I don’t care. I like playing with others who like playing with others to people who like being entertained, that’s my ideal show. Classifications, expectations and partitions bore the hell out of me. Sonic Boom!: Lastly what does Jak Locke have planned for the future? Jak Locke: More shows, more releases, more of what I like, and hopefully more things I haven’t even heard of yet. Jak Locke is the ultimate in what a rock star should be. He plays live shows as often as possible and he records lots and lots of new music. Jak performs with an honest energy that pulls the audience in and captivates for his entire set. If you are in Southeastern Louisiana there is a good chance you can find Jak Locke rockin’ a stage
somewhere several times a month you don’t want to miss out on his show if you have the opportunity to see him. You can find Jak Locke on Facebook at www.facebook. com/jaklok89 or visit www.jaklocke.com for all of Jak Locke’s music and other projects. -Kevin P. Johnson
Evil Flying Chickens by Melissa Crory Background photo by Colleen Hanson
I first saw Evil Flying Chickens play at a small goth club on Decatur Street in New Orleans. I was immediately enamored with not only their guitar-driven electronic rock show, but also their effortless humor in the most unlikely arena – the darkwave scene. The ear-to-ear grin of singer, guitarist and founder, Jason Charles, pulls you in. He’s an old soul in the body of a trickster. Gothic impishness surrounds him and imbues his music with a mixture of hope and joy in the face of impending societal collapse. Founded in Montana in 2009, Charles has taken his wacky poultry show on the road in the south, first in New Orleans, and now residing in Austin, TX, naturally helping to “keep it weird.” He will always be a New Orleanian to us, and it is a celebration every time he rolls back into town. Along with keyboardist, Donna Jean, and DJ Jazzie Wonder, the trio are currently promoting their newest album, “Music For Pyromaniacs,” and with any luck, we will be seeing them perform soon here at home. I had a chance to speak with Jason briefly about the project:
believe in aliens? One night, a little green man came into my room. Or maybe he was gray. No, I think he was green. Hmmm… Do you know how hard it is to tell what color your midnight visitor is with only a My Little Pony nightlight on? Anyway, I made it up. Sonic Boom!: You’ve been playing under the “Evil Flying Chickens” brand for quite a while, but your lineup evolves. How do you arrange and plan performances for different instrumentation? Jason: It’s a complicated mathematical equation. And I’m no good at math. So I kidnapped some kid from MIT, and tortured him in my mom’s basement. It took a while for him to break, but he finally gave it to me.
Sonic Boom!: Tell us a little bit about your current lineup. They add a lot of fun to your live show and you guys really seem to enjoy yourselves. Jason: I met the lovely Ms. Donna Jean through our wonderful, stompy OONTZ club here in Austin – Sonic Boom!: Let’s cut right to the chase. What’s Elysium. Mr. Jazzie Wonder was a friend of hers, and one up with that name? I know that it immediately provokes night we were with out a DJ due to, well, legal issues. He speculation on how a darkwave act landed on that moniker was nice enough to step in. I feel truly blessed to share and how it came about. the stage with these people. I believe this line-up gets the Jason: Well, lets be totally transparent here. Do you essence of what it is to be a Chicken. They understand
Photo by Colleen Hanson
the weight of the responsibility, and they don’t make fun of me. That’s a big plus.
to them after that. You want plausible deniability, right?
Sonic Boom!: Your sense of humor and carefree Sonic Boom!: Where does your inspiration come attitude are always spiced with hard truths, but you inspire from? What is your musical muse? others to be the best they can and laugh at the tough Jason: Oh, lots of things. Sometimes, cats have sex things. What keeps Jason Charles smiling all the time? by the dumpster outside. That’s pretty inspiring. Or, you Jason: Porn. know the Roomba? You know the little robot that you have in your house that supposed to pick shit up, but fails Sonic Boom!: Your new album evokes questions at pizza and socks? Yeah, that’s also pretty inspiring. about the future of technology and where it’s leading us. Do you think electronic music is, ironically, rebellion in Sonic Boom!: How have you been received by the the face of an electronically controlled society? goth scene as opposed to other genres? As someone with Jason: It’s kinda hard to tell. On some fronts, I suppose such eclectic influences, do you find that certain types of so. Most people don’t see the other side. They see what listeners “get” you better than others? they’re told. And they are told EDM is blowing up. The Jason: The goth scene has been wonderful to us. I think raves look like frat houses to me. I think it’s going through that’s because they understand fashion and humor. Some a “cool” phase right now. It’s kinda popular, but that will people don’t get it at all, and that’s ok. Modern technology wane. I think the real power of electronic music is best is a wonderful thing. Since most of the audience has cell experienced in headphones, in your room, working some phones, people are really easy to find when they piss you shitty job, just trying to find meaning in our boring life. It off. At our live shows, Jazz Wonder secretly hacks into their was for me, anyway. Once you get outside the boundaries phone from our laptop on stage. I can’t tell you what we do you can find your voice.
Sonic Boom!: Who are your influences both musically and philosophically? Who makes YOU laugh? Jason: Porn. Sonic Boom!: Is there an invention that would make your life easier? What would you like to see on the horizon of technological innovation? Jason: Nothing. It seems we have everything we will ever need. I think itâ€™s great that weâ€™re moving so fast. I think we will soon live forever, even though we, as a species, are completely doomed. Our clones and robot masters might take good care of us. We must remember to be nice to them. They are the future. Sonic Boom!: Lastly, where are The Chickens headed? And why should we follow? Jason: The Chickens will continue to assault your eardrums and good taste far into the future. With the current political state, I can see us making a very harsh record next. Or maybe some clown-core. Clown-core is the next thing. - Melissa Crory
35PSI: st Du to
t s u D
z t n a r K n e t s u A by
In a world of digitally consumed music, it’s not easy for artists to bust through the constant viral stream and reveal their unique story to new fans. Across social media, bands are labeled with generic comparisons to popular genres and big-name artists, helping listeners make a quick, simplified assessment of what that sound is coming out of their laptops or phones. But despite the difficulties of the web, bands still find innovative ways to set themselves apart and show new listeners what their music is all about. New Orleans’ 35 PSI has managed to do this by coining a term that sums up the passion in their music: “Dust.” With a love for the analogue recording process of old school rock and roll, and their own brand of ass-kicking songs that bring heavy drive, soulful melodies and poetic lyricism, 35 PSI was able define their music with this this single term. Sonic Boom! spoke with 35 PSI guitarist/songwriter Chris Billiot about the band’s latest album, their record label (Wharehome Records), and how the idea of Dust is embodied in their latest musical projects.
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Sonic Boom!: You’ve described the music from 35 PSI and other bands on your label (Warehome Records) as Dust music, could you explain what that is? Chris Billiot: when I first started playing in a band in New Orleans, the kind of music that was being made around here was so deeply influenced by jazz, but none of us had really any jazz background. We’re playing rock music, we’ve got guitar, bass drums and vocals. So it didn’t immediately make sense to me what we were doing. I never wanted to call it psychedelic rock, because that’s not what it was based in or what it was founded on. It was more so authentic rock and roll music that was being digitally produced. To me, rock is an analogue music. It’s something that you take from an analogue input and complete it with an analogue output. That’s not something we do anymore. We record everything digitally and edit it digitally, but try to preserve an analogue sound. So to me, what we have today is analogue rock music that was obliterated by digital electronic music, or by digital interfaces in general. So what we have left are remnants of rock, which I just call “dust.” Sonic Boom!: It’s cool that you’ve been able to make your own musical identity with this title, and it sounds like you’ve been able to pull together some like-minded bands for your label. Chris Billiot: Yeah, so the label is Warehome Records. It’s me and Shane Avrard — he’s in The Noise Complaints, and he actually practices next door to me, so we see each other all the time. He really came to me with the idea. I put
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out three albums, and Shane just put out his first album. There’s no publications around here, and there’s no real promotion for rock music that we’re already connected to, so we decided we might as well start something so we can put our music out. As of right now it’s 35 PSI, The Noise Complaints, Green Gasoline, and Cikada on board. The idea for now is just to promote each other’s music and get shows booked and make records. It’s not a traditional label, we want all the bands to be involved. We’re also working with The Painted Hands and our friend Black. We’re all working together, and we’re helping produce each others’ music and booking shows together. Sonic Boom!: You mentioned how you’re making rock music in New Orleans where it’s surrounded by jazz and
classic funk music, what was it like starting a rock band in a city like that? Chris Billiot: I grew up listening to a lot of punk, ska, and reggae music. Eventually a friend of mine got me into John Frusciante and I started listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers a lot. Frusciante is pretty much my main influence to making as diverse a catalogue of music as I can. There’s so much to learn from the different things that Frusciante has put out, and he has a whole bunch of music recorded he might never release. At this point I’m just funneling everything back down into my music. I haven’t been listening to a whole lot of music recently though, other than local bands and bands we’ve played with, I’ve been kind of just creating new stuff for the past few years. Sonic Boom!: You seem like you’re a songwriting
machine. Was that something that always came naturally to you? Chris Billiot: I’ve been writing songs since I was about 12. My cousin Mike Patton really inspired me to be prolific about it. He’s the real songwriting machine. I’ve always written poetry, or what I’ve considered to be poetry, and I’ve always loved making those poems into songs. Once I learned how to record what I was writing and play instruments with it, I was like, “What? This is all I’m ever going to do.” (Laughs).
guitar part that just feels really good to play, and the only way I can play it is if I get some words on top of it or feel like my body is one with the guitar part of the song. A lot of times that’s how it will come to be. As far as how long that took to develop — when I was around 18 years old, I spent at least a year of my life in a room in my parents house that I turned into a recording studio. I just taught myself how to sing, and I learned what I liked, and decided what kind of music I was really into — what felt like it had the most longevity, what felt like it was stale. After that year or so, I moved down to New Orleans with a band called Funk Sway. It was cool but the band was never going to hold together. But since it brought us to New Orleans, I ended up meeting so many awesome people.
Sonic Boom!: Yeah, It’s like one of those things you can do for hours and not even think about how much time you’re spending on it. Chris Billiot: I can write an album in about 20 minutes. Now, it’s more about knowing how to construct it. For me, it’s writing everything backwards, start with the whole Sonic Boom!: Did you meet the drummer for 35 PSI concept of an album. I figure out what the big idea is, and [Clayton McManus] then? I work from there down to the chords. Chris Billiot: I technically did, but I had met him in Mandeville when we jammed once before I moved. I didn’t Sonic Boom!: In your songs there’s a lot going on in do anything serious with him until I moved down to New both your singing and your guitar playing, did it take you a Orleans. He was here working in a kitchen, so he had a job while to foster that ability to play really well while singing here already. I got a job at Dat Dog on Freret Street, and these elaborate lyrics? we jammed with some other dudes who ended up helping Chris Billiot: A lot of the songs I write, lyrics will come us start 35 PSI. We made our first record, “Big Bear,” and to me and I write the songs around them. Sometimes it our second record, Introverse over the next couple years. will go the other way though; I’ll have a very elaborate At the end of the day, Clayton can play anything I throw
at him. I can’t always play what he throws at me, but most of the time it works out. He’s very good. I recently started playing a Danelectro baritone guitar, and our bass player quit, so it has really just been me and Clayton. I’ve been playing this baritone through a bass amp, and it sounds amazing. That’s the next thing that’s about to happen for 35 PSI. The name of our new album will be “Unchocolate.”
much practice damn near naked. It gets really hot in this room. I get very hot when I’m playing too, because I’m a really active guitar player. I like to run around the stage and stuff. It’s just natural, I don’t really think about it. People talk about it all the time, but it’s just something that happens (laughs).
Sonic Boom!: Do you have any big plans for Warehome records in the immediate future? Sonic Boom!: What is the other guitar you use? Chris Billiot: We have some very big plans. We’re Chris Billiot: It’s a 1974 Carvin that has a ridiculous working on a video series called Warehome sessions. I amount of range. It has 24 frets, and it’s got stereo mic it up and record it live in the studio, and we record outputs, and coil switches and everything. I get it to the video in here at the same time. The lights are set up sound as much like a Les Paul as I probably can, and I real nice and it looks really cool. play it through a Red Bear which is an old ‘80s Gibson That’s a big thing that we’re working on soon, and aside tube amp. It’s the perfect amount of punch with as much from continually recording albums — which everyone scream as I possibly can have behind it. I’m really into is constantly doing, it’s hard to stop recording — we’re loud, yelling guitar stuff, but also being able to hush it up trying to get one tour going for each band at a time, and to this smooth, clean tone. put everyone out on the road. Sonic Boom!: Is playing shirtless part of embodying Sonic Boom!: Is there anything else you want to that? I’ve seen a lot of your videos where you’re playing mention about your bands or Warehome records I haven’t like that. asked about? Chris Billiot: If you’d ever seen us practice, I pretty Chris Billiot: There’s also another band I play in,
Cikada. They practice down the hall, and Jonathan Crawford from [New Orleans punk band] I’m Fine and his friend Trey Burch — who I found out was my cousin through marriage — they both play guitar in this band. It’s a sweet doom metal outfit that draws inspiration from a lot of other things. I wasn’t playing in this band when I first saw them playing at practice. I was like “Holy shit, ya’ll are awesome!” One thing led to another, they lost their bass player, they had a show booked in three days, and they asked me to play bass for them. I was like “Fuck yeah! I get to play bass for Cikada.” I learned their songs that day, and I played that show with them. Then they asked me if I wanted to keep doing it. So I’ve been playing bass in this band since. It’s been one of the greatest experiences ever. I don’t think we’ve ever actively looked to book a show since I’ve been in the band, but we’re gigging often. We’re
about to record our first album in February. It’s also been one of the most supportive scenes I’ve been a part of. Sonic Boom!: What do you mean by that? Chris Billiot: The Metal scene in New Orleans is just unmatched. People go out to metal shows.[The venues] are packed, people buy drinks, and the shows make a little money — they pay the bands, and people are really into the music, it’s great. While we’re waiting on Unchocolate, be sure to check out some awesome tunes from 35 PSI and Cikada on Bandcamp, and stay tuned for more releases from Warehome Records! -Austen Krantz
Bobby Bergeron By Kevin P Johnson
Sonic Boom!: Paranoize is the main inspiration that got Sonic Boom! off of the ground if you didn’t know already. I saw what you were doing even before I knew you and thought that it was such a great idea. Were you inspired by any particular magazines when you started out or was it just something you decided to do? Bobby Bergeron: In 1987 I was introduced to the whole underground metal/hardcore scene that was
Image courtesy of Bobby Bergeron
A few years ago, I got back into going to local rock shows and trying to soak in as much of the local scene as I could. I’ve since seen bands of just about every genre of rock music that there is. Over this time I have taken thousands of photos and seen a couple of hundred bands, most of them from the New Orleans area. I have always paid attention to what they are selling and have bought as many CD’s as I could, but I also grabbed all of the free magazines available at the different venues. One particular magazine stood out, because it wasn’t the typical corporate music magazine but something local and handmade and rough around the edges. That magazine was Paranoize. Paranoize is a magazine that thrives on the fringes of the heaviest metal and punk rock, dedicating its pages to the music that almost nobody gets to hear . . . And I think that most of the bands would want to keep it that way. If it’s underground metal from New Orleans, Paranoize covers it. The mastermind behind Paranoize is Bobby Bergeron who told us a little bit about the history of the magazine and what is going on currently. happening at the Franklin Street VFW Hall in New Orleans through various friends in high school that turned me on to the metal and hardcore shows on WTUL (91.5 FM). My friend Weldon, who at that point I hadn’t seen in a couple of years because his parents divorced, got in touch with me one day and was telling me about the hardcore shows that he was going to that
Sonic Boom!: Paranoize has over 40 issues out which is a huge accomplishment for any magazine. How long have you been doing the magazine? Bobby Bergeron: Paranoize started in 1991, but after several false starts (the master copy of the original first issue getting lost in the mail on the way to the printer, unsupportive spouse, bands breaking up and having to find another one to fill the space, in that time more bands breaking up, etc.) I finally got Paranoize #1 out in either the late summer or early fall of 1993.
Sonic Boom!: Paranoize is a magazine dedicated to the more extreme styles of heavy music that most people don’t know about. What genres do you cover? What are your favorite types of music to cover? Are there any types of heavy music that Paranoize will not touch? Bobby Bergeron: While I’ve been scanning all of my old issues this past week to put up online, I realize that I’ve contradicted myself many times over the years as far as the content of the ‘zine. I mostly cover punk, hardcore, Sonic Boom!: You have been creating digital editions grindcore, thrash, sludge and doom but over the years of Paranoize and have found most of the back issues for I’ve covered southern rock, garage rock, grunge, and the archive. I noticed that you started out with a magazine industrial bands. I definitely try to steer clear of anything called Thrashcore that lasted four issues. Was there a mainstream or radio-friendly. I try to keep it mostly New reason Thrashcore ended or the name was changed to Orleans related, but that doesn’t always happen. Paranoize? Sonic Boom!: Paranoize is a New Orleans based Bobby Bergeron: Well, after crankin’ out 4 issues of Thrashcore, I was doing the bulk of the work while magazine featuring many local bands and regional acts the other folks were taking the credit so I just started that pass through the area, but you reach bands and fans my own ‘zine and left Thrashcore for dead. A punk/ from all over the world with interviews and music reviews. hardcore band from Washington D.C. called Avarice had How do you find the bands you interview and review? Bobby Bergeron: In ye olde days before the internet, sent me their demo titled “Paranoize” to review and while brainstorming trying to think of a name, I saw that tape I found out about bands through reviews in magazines laying on my bed and thought it would be a cool name for like Maximumrocknroll and Metal Maniacs, plain ol’ word of mouth while writing to and interviewing bands a ‘zine, so I stole it.
Image courtesy of Bobby Bergeron
I remember the DJs talking about on the radio. I spent a weekend at his Mom’s apartment where he was living out in New Orleans East and before I went to my first show I was soaking it all in.. the records, tapes, flyers, etc., and he had a copy of a locally published ‘zine called The Dark Truth and even though it was really badly photocopied and you could barely see any of the pictures of the text, I thought it was the coolest thing ever! I found it awesome that people were just producing their own music and publications themselves! He eventually moved to his dad’s in San Antonio, TX and he got involved in the scene there, playing bass in bands and he started his own ‘zine called Frontline, which he gave me a copy of while he was down here for a visit. I told him that it sucked that there were no ‘zines in New Orleans (by this time, Dark Truth had stopped publishing) and he told me to just start my own. So a couple of high school friends and I started our own ‘zine, which we ended up calling Thrashcore which finally came out in 1989. We interviewed a few local bands and found out about a few bands in other parts of the country and sent them interviews too. It was all done via what is now called “snail mail”.
Image courtesy of Bobby Bergeron
read the liner notes, do you have any preferences? For me it’s like Christmas when a band sends me a package of their music. Bobby Bergeron: I do miss the days of actually receiving packages in the mail of a release to review, but since postage is so damn high, it’s only logical to send out mp3 promos nowadays. The only drawback to me though is that now I tend to pick and choose what I review because I get to get to preview it and if I don’t like it, I end up passing on it so I don’t have to go through all that whereas in the past, if somebody went through the trouble of actually sending me a physical copy of their release there was a 90% chance I’d review it even if it sucked. There have been a few instances where a band sent me a cd and I never even opened the shrinkwrap and it just went straight into the garbage after reading their bio, but that was usually stuff that Victory Records put out after 1998. Sonic Boom!: Paranoize has put out a few compilation albums digitally as well as limited run CDR’s, is the process of putting together a compilation difficult and do you only include unsigned bands or have you had to get permission to use music from a record label? With the compilations I’ve released, it’s always been unsigned bands, so I just dealt with them directly. It was never really difficult, I’d just put them together like I would a mixtape of bands that I wanted friends to hear. in interviews (up till the late 90’s, I still did interviews via snail mail), and the network of little 1/4 page or smaller flyers that bands would send out with their demos and correspondence from all over the world. You’d open up a letter or a package and dozens (sometimes hundreds) of little pieces of paper would fall out and the idea was to keep it going and send the ads out with your letters/’zines/ demos/etc. Bobby Bergeron: Nowadays I still use Maximumrocknroll reviews to find out about new punk/hardcore/ etc. bands from around the globe as well as music blogs, message boards, Facebook posts, etc and a few PR companies that give me access to stuff released by various labels. Of course the best way to find out about new bands is to actually GO TO A SHOW.
Sonic Boom!: Speaking of record labels a new compilation on C Rage! Records has just been released on vinyl and digital download called Crescent City Carnage Volume 1. What is your involvement with C Rage! And where can the record be found? Bobby Bergeron: C Rage is just one guy (Craig) who loves this scene as much as you and I do! Aside from C Rage! putting A Hanging on Crescent City Carnage (and another possible upcoming release in the not so distant future) my only involvement is conversation about music over a beer or 2 or 3. The record is available in the cooler record stores in New Orleans (Euclid, Skullyz, Sisters In Christ,etc.) and I believe at Atomic Pop Shop in Baton Rouge. You can also order it through their bandcamp page at cragerecords.bandcamp.com
Sonic Boom!: As for reviews does Paranoize have any Sonic Boom!: You also do a radio show called Out Of parameters on what can be reviewed? A lot of bands want Bounds that is hosted by Metal Devastation Radio can to send you to sites like bandcamp.com to review music you tell us about the show? What do you play? When and and this is a wonderful site but I prefer to have a physical where can fans hear it? copy of an album that I can hold and look at the art and Bobby Bergeron: Out Of Bounds airs on Tuesday
Images courtesy of Bobby Bergeron
nights at 8 PM Central/9 PM Eastern at www. coreofdestructionradio.com. It’s 2 hours of whatever I feel like playing. I mostly stick to punk, hardcore, grindcore and thrash, but occasionally throw in some classic metal and glam rock if I’m in that sort of mood. You can also listen on your phone via the Tune In app and searching for Core of Destruction Radio. Find out more about Core Of Destruction Radio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/codradio/ Sonic Boom!: Paranoize is a very independent style magazine and holds true to it’s DIY style and format over the years. Do you put everything together yourself or do have an army of minions to do your bidding? Bobby Bergeron: I currently have some very talented slackers writing for Paranoize! Mike Bevis and Jenn Attaway have been regular contributors since issue 20, and Lizard jumped aboard for issue 34. Occasionally Mike IX Williams does an interview or reviews.
As far as the physical product, I mostly assembled it by hand over the years,copying, collating, folding and stapling them all myself. Nowadays I pay a printer because ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. Sonic Boom!: Where can copies of Paranoize be found? Bobby Bergeron: When they’re released, I make the rounds to all the record stores and venues around New Orleans that support the local metal/punk scene and leave stacks of them there and just replenish them if I happen to see that they’re gone or low. I also keep a stack in case I get orders for them. SO,you can find them, while supplies last, at Euclid Records, Skullyz Records, The Mushroom, Sisters In Christ, Siberia, Poor Boys, Twist Of Lime and anywhere else that I managed to catch a show while I had a stack of ‘zines on me. OR you can just order them via the Paranoize website for $2 ppd or send well hidden cash to the P.O. Box.
Sonic Boom!: Lastly is there anything that you would like to add about the magazine, the radio show, music in general, bands we need to know, your band or the metal music scene in New Orleans? Bobby Bergeron: I’ve noticed that the scene in the past decade or so has become divided between the city and the suburbs and I’m thankful for the folks who I see at EVERY SHOW no matter where it is. A Hanging is 10 years old as of this interview and I’m thankful for the old and new fans who have been coming out to our shows! We HOPE to put out a special release this year to celebrate a decade of venting our pent up anger and frustration via our brand of thrash/hardcore/ crossover. Check out AR-15, Six Pack, Pussyrot, Classhole, Fat Stupid Ugly People, Gristnam, Something’s Burning, The Void, Cikada, Torture Garden, Recluse, Severed Mass, Gasmiasma, Witch Burial, Space Cadaver and Donkey Puncher.
Paranoize will keep going until I either die or deem you all unworthy. Also, if anyone wants to send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, ‘zines, money, Star Wars action figures, etc. : Paranoize P.O.Box 2334 Marrero, LA 70073-2334 USA Find all of the Paranoize issues and information at www.paranoizenola.com. Check out Bobby’s band A Hanging at ahanging504.bandcamp.com -Kevin P. Johnson
Prodigal Punk by Hex Windham Photo by Hex Windham
Tall, lanky, and with a mop of dark hair that hides his eyes like sunglasses, Brad Orgeron looks a bit like a more-grave Joey Ramone or a more-gaunt Marc Bolan; but when he opens his mouth to sing, out comes a voice that is low, husky, and authoritative. This prodigal native son was in some of the earliest punk bands in 1970s New Orleans (Harlot, The Backstabbers, Aces 88), and he only recently moved back to town after over 30 years of living in Austin, San Francisco, London, and elsewhere. In between rehearsing for his regular acoustic solo sets at LA46 and his lead guitar role in Glamarama (a local glam rock cover band featuring several other NOLA New Wave scene veterans), he sat down to chat with local punk Hex Windham. Sonic Boom!: What were your earliest musical influences? Who made you want to start playing music in the first place? Brad Orgeron: Hmmm . . . a multi-faceted question really... I guess seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan would be the first time I thought I may wanna do this . . . then I was very much into the psychedelic ’60’s, especially the Doors; but the one defining moment was seeing the New York Dolls in Baton Rouge 1974 . . . I knew then that THIS is what I wanted to do. Harlot was born months later. Sonic Boom!: You drove to Baton Rouge to see the New York Dolls in 1974? How had you heard about them? Obviously not the radio? Brad: Reading “Creem” & “Rock Scene” magazines, plus I bought the LPs when they came out. Sonic Boom!: What was the music scene like in New Orleans before punk came along? Brad: What music scene? Just a bunch of cover bands playing either top 40 or approximations of Led Zeppelin & the like. Not an original thought between them. Sonic Boom!: You weren’t a fan of Led Zeppelin? Brad: Sure I was . . . but the Dolls and glam was much more exciting, new and different.
Sonic Boom!: What do you remember about that Alice Cooper / MC5 / Stooges show at the Warehouse? Brad: MC5 opened . . . Wayne Kramer flies across the stage twirling on one leg and promptly pukes at the other end . . . never missing a beat . . . The Stooges were next . . . GIANT wall of sound . . . like a machine . . . Iggy jumps into the audience and proceeds to smash the heads of the docile seated hippies on the floor while the endless riff never stops . . . Alice comes on to “Sun Arise” & leaves to “Black Juju”. . . the middle bits were pure slimey debauched fun! Sonic Boom!: What was the audience/public response like when people started playing punk rock in New Orleans? Brad: Practically non-existent . . . We took gigs from whomever would have us... Luckily, The Backstabbers had a small following from fans of Ultrex & Harlot who preceded us, and we drew on the Deja Vu and former glam crowd to build on. Sonic Boom!: What was Déjà Vu? Brad: A hip club back in the 70’s . . . very glam-friendly. Sonic Boom!: Who else was in The Backstabbers originally? How did that band come about? Brad: There were 3 phases of the band . . . Initially the lineup was myself on vocals, Russell Joubert on guitar & vocals, Tim Addie on bass, & Charlie Hanson on drums & vocals . . . The band started when both Harlot, my band, and Ultrex, Russell’s band, folded simultaneously. I remember sitting with Russell at the Ship’s Wheel in Fat City and planning the whole thing after we had both played during Mardi Gras . . . The next lineup featured myself & Russell, plus Randal Gary – bass (ex-Ultrex), Billy Drew - drums/vocals (ex-Harlot), & Ken Goode keyboard/guitar/vocals (ex- Raw Power) . . . This was the longest-lasting lineup and probably the one most people remember . . . I left the band in ’78 to form a series of short-lived combos (Young Lords, Derelicts, etc.) before settling in with The Contenders. Around ’79 the Backstabbers reformed briefly w/Russell, Randal, & Ken (who moved to lead vocalist), & Bubby Mendoza on drums. They lasted about 6 months but recorded the classic “Lunatic Fringe” for the comp LP.
Sonic Boom!: Did you go to a lot of concerts at the Warehouse? Brad: From the day it opened . . . I practically lived there. Highlights include Bowie in ’72, The Who in ’71, Pink Floyd in ’71, T-Rex in ’72(?), and tons of great cult Sonic Boom!: Was this the same Charlie Hanson that bands like the Strawbs, Groundhogs, Atomic Rooster... played guitar in The Normals? I’d often go for the openers rather than the headliners but Brad: Yes . . . he started out as the Backstabbers you were usually guaranteed quite the eclectic bill. drummer.
Photo by Hex Windham
Sonic Boom!: What other bands were you in back in your early New Orleans days? Brad: My last band in New Orleans was Aces 88, who moved to Austin in 1980.
New Wave was becoming very popular (right before The Cold got huge I’d guess). What was your perspective on the transition from the more bluesy, Dolls-style glampunk to keyboard-heavy synth-pop? Brad: I had very little time for what became “New Sonic Boom!: Are you on the Aces 88 recording of Wave” . . . Much like anything, once something gets “Character” from the N.O. Questions / N.O. Answers popular, it also usually gets watered down for a more record comp? mainstream audience. Brad: Yes . . . playing guitar on that one... We had 3 singer/songwriters in the band, so we each sang our own Sonic Boom!: How did you end up opening for the songs . . . That one was bass player David Doucet’s song. New York Dolls? Were they tight and awe-inspiring or strung out and terrible? Sonic Boom!: What other local bands did you do Brad: Harlot opened for the reformed Dolls (The shows with back in the early days? Dollettes) minus Thunders, Kane, & Nolan, in 1976 at Brad: Everyone basically . . . The scene was small so Cords Underground . . . I think we got the gig thru Ultrex, we all played together . . . The Normals, Totally Cold, who also opened during that 3 night run. They were friends, Wayward Youth, Men In Black, Dukes . . . whomever was having opened for them several months earlier at Ballinjax. around really. The Dolls were neither tight NOR strung out for these shows but they WERE quite drunk on occasion. Sonic Boom!: You started playing in bands in the pre-punk/glam days, and you left New Orleans right as Sonic Boom!: So this version of the NY Dolls included
David JoHansen, Sylvain Sylvain, and some hired guns? Brad: Well . . . not really hired guns per se . . . Peter Jordan played bass w/the original Dolls when Arthur couldn’t, and Tony Machine was a drummer in the scene. Sonic Boom!: I know you also did a show with Gun Club at some point. Again, were they tight and aweinspiring or strung out and terrible? Brad: Yes, my band in San Francisco, Fade To Black, opened for them in Berkeley in ’84 . . . Of course my favorite story to tell is about Jeffrey Lee screaming that he wasn’t going on till he had his morphine backstage . . . Though the show was delayed, he finally got his wish, & they went out and opened with a 15 minute version of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” . . . a veritable wall of noise . . . That said, it was stunning! Sonic Boom!: Did you share any bills with any other seminal/legendary bands? Brad: Oh Gawd . . . SO many . . . here are some highlights . . . The Damned, The Teardrop Explodes, Rain Parade, Arthur Lee & Love, True West, GG Allin (a lowlight), Walter Lure, Fleshtones, Joan Jett, Sex Gang Children, Green On Red, Alien Sex Fiend, The Cramps . . . I know I’m forgetting many here . . . Sonic Boom!: You told me you left New Orleans ~1980. Why did you decide to leave? Brad: Well . . . THAT decision was made by the courts really . . . but it WAS time for a change! Sonic Boom!: When you play a solo show today (like when I opened for you recently), are you playing mostly new songs, or do you draw from throughout the years of your life of song writing? Brad: Mostly songs from, say, the last 10 years; but I do throw in an oldie on occasion, as well as a few choice covers. Sonic Boom!: Having seen your solo set a couple of times, I feel like you’ve earned some gravitas as a songwriter, something that can really only come through years of song writing. What drives you to keep writing and playing songs, even into “retirement age”? Brad: Songs usually come either in bunches, or now, I’ve learned how to “write to order.” I think it’s an emotional release of sorts. “I’m compelled to write” is the best answer I can give you . . . Sonic Boom!: When you moved back to New Orleans,
Photo by Hex Windham
Photo by Hex Windham
how did you fall back into playing music with some of your old comrades? Brad: All started with the “punk reunion” in 2012 with Jimmy Anselmo. Sonic Boom!: It seems to me like there is a Renaissance of 1970’s & ’80’s NOLA punk bands getting back together for reunion shows (Backstabbers, The Models, SexDog, etc.). What do you think is the motivation behind all of these get-togethers? Brad: Nostalgia . . . fun . . . socializing . . . our last chance?
Brad Orgeron can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brad.orgeron Glamarama can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/glamaramanola/ - Hex Windham
Photo by Hex Windham
Look up Brad Orgeron and Glamarama on Facebook for upcoming shows!
Roger,” nearly seven minutes long this song rises and falls from the somber theme of the album to the big wonderful chorus that makes you want to sing those words every time. This album won’t rock the party, but it’s a really good listen and is well worth your time. -Kevin P. Johnson
Jimmy Eat World Integrity Blues, 2016 RCA
Jimmy Eat World are known for a handful of infectious catchy alternative pop rock singles, but on their ninth album “Integrity Blues” they give a somber emo effort that would do well on a lonely night when you needed a soundtrack to your inner thoughts. “Get Right” is a little heavy sounding but doesn’t go to any extremes and just let’s you know that Jimmy Eat World are still capable of rocking out if they want to do so. “You Are Free” is the sing-along radio friendly song that maybe all the young girls will be singing in a few months. While “The End Is Beautiful” sounds like that song you hear in a Romantic Comedy when everything finally works out for the guy that couldn’t win. If anything on this album could be that catchy pop anthem it would be “Through.” A fun song that picks up the pace for a generally slow album. My favorite track on “Integrity Blues” is the closer “Pol
Revolution Radio, 2016 Reprise Green Day . . . honestly are one of my all-time favorite bands. They are not as “PUNK” as they once were, but I don’t think they ever wanted to really be. I think they just wanted to be a great rock band, and Billie Joe Armstrong is an amazing pop song writer which goes all the way back to the very beginning of the band. As the band reaches it’s twelfth album “Revolution Radio” they show us some “old style” Green Day, some “modern style” Green Day, and some “brand new” Green Day. Bang Bang is the fast paced old school punk rock Green
Day song that they always seem to fit in on their albums, showing where they come from, immediately followed by “Revolution Radio” which bridges the past to the present. The next two songs slow down into these big alternative rock sing along type songs on “Say Goodbye” and “Outlaws.” After this we get six tracks that battle back and fourth between what period of Green Day’s career they belong in. I personally like the transition between songs because it makes me feel at home with this band. “Revolution Radio” is a really good Green Day album . . . is it my favorite? . . . no but I like every bit of it including it’s surprising end. The last track is this “almost” solo acoustic song called “Ordinary World” that kind of shocked me this soft spoken love song that sounds like something from the 1960’s or 1970’s and is definitely something you put on your mix-tape for that girl you are completely in love with. I’ve listened to that song more than any other on this album, and I fully expect it to hit radio before long. The artwork is cool and very punk rock (the interior mostly). Very happy with “Revolution Radio.” -Kevin P. Johnson
and paintings (which actually works for me). I don’t think this is a terrible album or anything, it just doesn’t have any of those huge Korn hits that flood the airwaves. This is more an album of the “other songs” that only the real hardcore fans would bother to know. If you are a big Korn fan pick this up otherwise go get their greatest hits album and rock out to that instead. -Kevin P. Johnson
Hardwired...To Self-Destruct, 2016 Blackened
The Serinity Of Suffering, 2016 Roadrunner “The Serenity Of Suffering” is an album for longtime fans of Korn but probably not so much the new fan looking for something new. This is the twelfth album from Korn, and it’s not groundbreaking or going any place new. The songs sound similar to older material. Even the album art uses imagery from the “Issues” album in the photos
If you are one of those people that likes “old” Metallica and hates everything after “...And Justice For All” (some of you will say “Master Of Puppets” was it for you) this album is not for you. It tries to reclaim some of the old school thrash style Metallica we all loved, but comes up short on that . . . it most likely will never happen that we see a true Metallica thrash album again. Metallica is not a thrash band anymore, I’m hard pressed to say that Metallica is currently even a heavy metal band, for me Metallica is a polished hard rock band that after over 35 years and 10 albums deserve to be whatever they want. That being said “Hardwired...To Self-Destruct” is not a bad album . . . not great but good. For me the faster songs are the best ones. “Hardwired” the lead single is by far the shortest song on the album giving you hope that maybe you’ll get a mosh pit going in your living room for the next seventy-eight minutes. Unfortunately it mellows out after that first song until the final song on Disc 2 “Spit Out The Bone,” which I feel is the best effort at that old style thrash Metallica made famous so long ago. I think every song on this album is listenable and are all
good at what they are but it really will depend on how open the listener is to different styles of heavy rock music. Lastly the album artwork controversy on this album in my opinion is legitimate. The cover art looks very similar to the 1998 Crowbar album art on “Odd Fellow’s Rest” and a band like Metallica should have known better than to let the album come out with the artwork. As disappointing as it is to see the album cover similarity I doubt that Crowbar’s version was the first to do this style of artwork (I just haven’t found anything as exact as the two). Aside from the cover debacle the album’s interior art and design are very cool and edgy. -Kevin P. Johnson
from liking every bit of this album I want to give extra note to the vocals. Often in hardcore music the vocals are lost in the wall of noise that comes from the speakers, and Hatebreed have provided an album where the lyrics are understandable and fairly clea,r which is very important to me. I promise you, if you want to turn your living room into a mosh-pit this is the album to do it with. -Kevin P. Johnson
A.D., Single, 2016 Nuclear Blast Entertainment
The Concrete Confessional, 2016 Nuclear Blast Entertainment Hatebreed’s seventh album is my first experience with a full album by the band. And holy smokes, “The Concrete Confessional” had me ripping up my living room in my one man mosh-pit. This thing is a hardcore metal masterpiece that doesn’t let up. Your body will be out of your control for thirtythree and a half minutes . . . but that is what is supposed to happen right? This album bleeds metal all over from the heavy fast paced music, to the scary skulls and dark imagery of the artwork, to the black, white and red design. This is the whole package. I can’t really say that I have a favorite song on “The Concrete Confessional,” because I like them all equally. Aside
This is one of those special singles that Best Buy does for two dollars but has a two dollars off of the album coupon inside of it. The disc contains two tracks “A.D.” and an awesome live version of “Destroy Everything” originally from the album “Supremacy.” The live version of “Destroy Everything” is the gem here and is played like a sing along anthem with the audience chanting EVERTHING! after Jamey Jasta screams DESTROY! The art and design match the full length album and take a part of “The Concrete Confessional’s” cover to create a new cover for the single. A great little extra that most fans will miss out on . . . I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Good luck finding this one if it was only available with the Best Buy album release. -Kevin P. Johnson
Crescent City Carnage Vol. 1, 2016 C Rage! Records
Honkey Tonk On The Moon, 2007 Independent
It took me a long time to get the nerve up to write a review of Shadow Giant’s self-released, debut album, “Honkey Tonk On The Moon” primarily because they give you that rare feeling that you have when you know you have inadvertently stumbled across something so filled with lightning, so electric, that you are certain you won’t be able to do it justice with the written word. Shadow Giant is a band to be experienced. It might be accurate to categorize them as a “stoner rock” band, but that description is too flat and one-dimensional. Their skill as a band, and the individual contribution of each member creates not only a cohesive whole but also a collective emotion that transcends the genre completely. I wouldn’t say that they are “reinventing the wheel,” or doing something outrageous. Rather, the energy and emotional authenticity of their work makes you hover a bit with excitement. They have all of the best qualities of the modern bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Clutch, but they also seem to recall a mystical allegiance to 70’s southern bluesy rockers such as The Allman Brothers and Golden Earring while exuding the sexy swagger of glam rockers like T-Rex. The grind of “Dan-O Heads West” opens the album with a bang. The track blisters with tension and is perfectly Find out more about “Crescent City Carnage Vol.1” and peppered by Byron Daniel’s wailing guitars and singer, purchase it on vinyl or digital download at https:// Jason Harrison’s cigarette and whiskey growl. You know cragerecords.bandcamp.com/album/crescent-city- from the very first track that this band means business and that no-holds barred scorching of the earth is in store. The carnage-vol-i -Kevin P. Johnson track eases seamlessly into “Monty Ran For Beer” before If you ever wondered if New Orleans had an extreme metal underground the answer is yes and at times it can be brutal. C. Rage! Records has put out this ten song vinyl and digital compilation album that will crush your brain. The music here ranges from Hardcore Punk to Thrash Metal to Doom Metal to some other things I don’t have a name for. The bands featured on this album are Ossacrux, A Hanging, Short Leash, Fat Stupid Ugly People, Something’s Burning, Eat The Witch, sunrise:sunset, Gristnam, Solid Giant, and GLUT. All of these bands can be found on Facebook with the exception of GLUT, I could not find a page for them. I think there is a little bit here for fans of most of the heavier genres of music and should not be a disappointment to anyone that is open to different things in their music collection. My favorite tracks on “Crescent City Carnage, Vol. 1” are “Cannibal, Me?” by A Hanging, “Ebola Hyperbola” by Short Leash and “What You See” by GLUT. I don’t dislike anything on this compilation. These songs just fit into my wheelhouse. If you want to melt your brain for about 41 minutes grab this record from C Rage! but be careful, it could possibly set the city on fire.
“Vir Antiquus” takes over and showcases their ability to chug and roll without ever losing momentum. The vocals drive this track with a yearning so keen, that it bends the ear and tugs the heart through the desolation of its effective minimalism. Whether this immersion is planned or if Shadow Giant just knows how is a mystery. “Spiro Agnew” is, at first blush, a jazzy, mellow thing ,until it bursts wide open with the same gut wrenching heartbreak seen on the previous track. This is the moment that the album becomes its’ own thing. Daniel proves that he’s a force of nature, demanding respect for his talent as much as his taste. Bassist Tim Weaver and drummer, David Carroll, are the steel (more like adamantium) backbone of the band, relentless and solid, contributing an intuitive groove that buoys the project effortlessly. “Suckass Paycheck……….” (sorry, guys, I didn’t count the ellipsis) rounds out the collection perfectly, recapping what you already know by now- that Shadow Giant is something special, familiar, yet decidedly unique. If it was difficult to capture the feel of this band in words, the same is true for the album. The production is professional and perfect, worthy of mainstream play, but the best way to see the band is live. Do yourselves a favor and do that before the venues they play are no longer the intimate tattoo shops and smoky clubs and they start to, deservedly, fill arenas.
“Someone’s Getting Rich Off It” satisfies the noisier, guitar driven impulses - the latter of which actually throws in some dubstep influence just to prove they can. EFC never backs down from manipulating the genre, and while the entire album is solid, the stand out hit is “Nerds,” not only because it is a fun song, but also because it’s sing along, irreverent, chorus is a joy both in the recorded version and at their live shows. Evil Flying Chickens never disappoint. They are a Find out more about Shadow Giant at www.facebook.com/ band that invites you to the party at the end of the world – not at arm’s length - but with a wide-eyed grin and a bear shadowgiantband/ -Melissa Crory hug. Or a chicken hug. If chickens could hug, that is.
Evil Flying Chickens
Music For Pyromaniacs, 2016 Wicked Wonderland Empire Simultaneously foreboding and musically quirky “Music For Pyromaniacs” takes chances sonically while never sounding forced. It’s a wonder of arrangement that advances the Chickens’ progress, while staying true to their signature feel. It’s decidedly an Evil Flying Chickens album, but feels strongly like a brave new chapter for the electronic rock trio. It is fitting that songwriter, Jason Charles, addresses not only the perils of stagnation, but also a frightening dystopian future centered on electronic obsession and social media pitfalls. Opening track, “Gonna Get Strange” establishes the musical landscape the listener is about to enter and sets the tone for the thematic elements contained in the collection. Tragic and moody, “Discomfort Blues,” leads into absolute floor stomper, “All The Things She Said” with ease. Fans of 80s dance floor burners will also love the ping-pong beats and wistful vocals of “Down In The Trenches.” “BTFD” and
Find out more about Evil Flying Chickens at www.facebook. com/evilflyingchickens/ -Melissa Crory
Forming The Void Skyward, 2015 Independent
“Skyward,” Forming The Void’s 2015 five song album is a heavy rock effort that doesn’t disappoint. The music is a heavy, slow-paced trip that maybe doesn’t get the mosh pit swirling in a frenzy, but it will rock you none the less into a slow head-banging session (that’s totally a thing right?). The five songs on this album are longer than a typical radio friendly song, the shortest song “Skyward” clocks in at 6:12, so you will need to give it your full attention. When trying to categorize this band I thought it best to take their own words from their Facebook page: Forming The
Void are “Rock, Heavy Rock, Metal, Progressive, Stoner Rock, Doom, Atmosperic, Psychedelic” and I agree that all of these genres apply. I listened to this CD about five or six times and I kept hearing something in the vocals that sounded familiar and I couldn’t put my finger on it but then it hit me vocalist James Marshall kind of sounds like Ian MacKaye (Fugazi and Minor Threat). Maybe I’m crazy but I mean it as a huge complement. The five tracks on this album seem to work together and I can’t really pick a favorite one. Each song on “Skyward” leads you into the next on this thirty five minute sleepy journey “Skyward,” “Three Eyed Gazelle,” “Saber,” “Return Again” and “Sleepwalker” all fit well with each other. The packaging on “Skyward” is nice, the comic book style artwork and imagery are a perfect feel for the album.
that Save Ferris style we all loved in the 1990’s. “Makes A Friend” is an album that definitely knows it’s SKA-PUNK references and influences but stands on it’s own as a great effort. Being that the band lists itself as having three vocalist I’m not sure who does the vocals on the male parts Andrew or Kerely (nobody in this band has a last name) but the faster tracks are mostly male vocals and Jessica takes over the slower songs . . . until we get to “Robot” an acoustic duet that is just wonderful, it is the least punk rock or SKA sounding song on the album and I think it’s the best just because of the simple fun it is. If you love all things SKA-PUNK go pick up this album you won’t regret it.
Find out more about Flying Racoon Suit at www.faceFind out more about Forming The Void at www.face- book.com/flyingraccoonsuit book.com/formingthevoid -Kevin P. Johnson -Kevin P. Johnson
Flying Raccoon Suit Makes A Friend, 2016 Independent
Green Mantles Black JuJu, 20?? Independent
“Black JuJu” is . . . well I really don’t know what it is. Is it an SKA! SKA! SKA! straight from the Gulf Coast of album? Is it a demo? I am not really sure. All I know is that I was told it was something they gave out at their shows. Mississippi comes Flying Racoon Suit. This album starts out as a fast paced SKA-PUNK record The packaging was most definitely hand made which makes that will have you bouncing around your bedroom and it as cool, as it is a mystery of exactly what it is. The music is interesting as well. It sounds like bluesy having your Mom screaming to turn that noise down. But then something happens on the third track “Crawl” when rockabilly sung by a vampire . . . that’s awesome right? The one of the bands vocalist Jessica takes over lead vocals, and songs sound quality isn’t the best which makes me think everything slows down into this nice danceable number. that they may be demo or live recordings (Two of them are Jessica’s vocals on this track are beautiful and bring back actual live songs) but they deliver a good rockin’ time and
will give you the feeling that you may be at one of their live shows . . . which must be awesome. With song titles like “Creature From The Ocean Floor,” “Swamp Thing,” “Queen of Skull Island,” “Fire Beast,” “Bride of the Rou-Garou” and “Damned Thing (Live)” this band needs to be on the soundtrack of every B-Movie Monster Mash from now until they retire. The special treat of this disc is the final song: a cover of the Kinks classic “Sunny Afternoon.” Recorded live in Edinurgh, Scotland along with The Ukaneers. This is a sing along with everyone in a bar (most likely) with just a Ukulele to guide them through the song . . . wonderful. Find out more about the Green Mantles at www.facebook. com/thegreenmantles -Kevin P. Johnson
Kill Ida Belle
The Debacle, E.P., 2014 Independent
a soft vocal over the distorted guitars, it reminds me of something from the 1990’s. “Ghost Trap” is the final song on the cassette and my favorite. Another song that sounds like it escaped the 1990’s and is probably the most radio friendly track on the cassette . . . aside from that chorus of “I don’t give a shit anymore.” The cover on this cassette is in black and white. I thought this was a cool cover, but then I saw the bandcamp page and the cover was in red, black and white, and it was even cooler. Find out more about Kill Ida Belle at www.facebook. com/Kill.Ida.Belle -Kevin P. Johnson
Kill Ida Belle
The Demagogue, E.P., 2016 Independent
The Debacle the second E.P. that I received from Kill Ida Belle is seven songs of indie noise rock. On “The Noise rockers Kill Ida Belle deliver an interesting set of Demagogue” the songs are shorter than on “The Debacle” songs on this four song cassette (a fifth song is available for the most part and seem to be structured to more of a straight forward rock sound instead of the meandering on their bandcamp page). The songs are very indie rock with a heavy edge to style on the previous release. “Annihilator” and “Midget’s Mistress” are good fast rockers them. Reminiscent of bands like Hum or the Pixies or even sometimes Silversun Pickups. The song “Grey Dick” but nothing can be predicted with this band when we get is a prime example of this E.P. It switches back and fourth “Pissing Contest” the mostly instrumental track that sounds from that mellow indie rock sound to heavy alt rock. It’s like something you’d here on a Dinosaur Jr. record and is my second favorite song on this E.P. almost like it is more than one song. Oddly enough the really long song on The Demagogue “Everyone” opens side two, and it’s my second favorite song on the cassette. It’s a distortion driven track with is my favorite song by this band. Clocking in at seven
minutes and twenty seconds “Picking Up Sticks (To Start A Fire)” is the song that will get the crowd moving. It’s a driving force of distorted guitars that never gives up and the vocals become lost into the noise that consumes your speakers and you won’t even notice it. Kill Ida Belle is definitely different than the mainstream but well worth your time.
While I’m a relatively new supporter of ToNC, it’s their core identity that I relate with; their name, alone, is derived from the mysterious plot Cage himself had constructed in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Just their name is opening Pandora’s Box of intrigue and curiosity. National treasure, indeed. My taste in music cuts a wide swath of landscape, but I have to admit, concept albums are kind of my favorite thing. Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime,” Pink Floyd’s Find out more about Kill Ida Belle at www.facebook. “The Wall,” Rush’s “2112” . . . anything that tells a story, com/Kill.Ida.Belle I’m on board. So, the idea here is fantastic, and I’ll touch -Kevin P. Johnson on some highlights without giving it all away. At first listen, the first track, “The Colony (Burn It Down),” is Jason & TheKruegers/Tomb Of a cue as to why these two bands work well together. Visceral Nick Cage in nature, it’s also a throwback to some of the greats, with Under The Wolf Moon (Split E.P.), 2015 it’s galloping cadence and Kym Trailz’s haunting vocals, Independent I’m immediately taken back to something you might hear Fire up the HAARP and cry out to Samhain, today we’re from Souxsie and the Banshees, circa “Spellbound” era. It going down the rabbit hole to bring you horror punk perfectly compliments the Misfits-like choruses and fuzzy greatness in the form of a split EP collaboration from guitar tones from Jason & the Kruegers’ previous efforts Jason and the Kreugers and The Tomb of Nick Cage, and found throughout this EP. Trailz’s vocals take front and center on the second “Under The Wolf Moon: A Tribute to the Howling.” These guys (J&TK) define horror punk like no one song, “Your Sister is a Werewolf,” singing about graves and else, and their live performances hold all the trappings: The Werewolf Queen, with the band backing her with face paint and prosthetics, hilarious dialogue, and sing along “whoah’s!!” Frightful fun! “We’re All in Fear” and “Chalkmarks” round out the EP, guitars fashioned out of cattle bones. Let me say that and are vastly different, with the first being heavier than again: GUITARS MADE FROM THE BONES OF the last. “Chalkmarks,” especially, is a highlight of Trailz CATTLE. Jason & The Kruegers songs are no different, full vocals. It stands out as almost a Blondie-type tune. This is an album for fans ranging from The Misfits, of graphic imagery and anthemic sing-alongs. So, I was pretty excited to see that they were collaborating with Samhain, Souxsie and the Banshees, even Carnivore. A great find for the horror punk fan. New Orleans’ Tomb of Nick Cage.
Samhain on “Grow Cold” and practically dares you to drop whatever you are doing and dance, dammit. A word of warning about that track - it’s a mighty earworm drunk on Find out more about The Tomb of Nick Cage at www. some serious whiskey. Good luck shaking it free. facebook.com/thetombofnickcage/ The chug of Hayes’ guitars and Voorhees’ otherworldly -Colby Foreman bellow of “In Love With The Motor” is an experiment in creeping tension. The vocals practically squeeze and drag satisfying dread from the listener while refusing to let go and resolve. The whole EP is strong, but it could be argued that they saved the best for last with “Please Bury Me In This Dream.” The song blazes ahead, mixing great songwriting while the guitar lines coax out a strange dance-y serenity in polar opposition to Voorhees’ and Ballenger’s sonic onslaught. The occult-rock band draws comparisions to everything from the Misfits to Cancerslug to Christian Death (and of course, Rudimentari Peni.) In short, this E.P. is a musthave for horror punks, deathrockers and goth music afficianados that like a little thrash in their spooky diet. Find out more about Jason and the Kruegers at www. facebook.com/JasonAndTheKruegers
Find out more about at www.facebook.com/DeathChurch -Melissa Crory
DEATH CHURCH 5, 2016 Independent
For the last decade the genre known as “deathrock” has enjoyed a strong resurgence. Initially a subgenre of punk, the style often incorporates dance elements, deadpan vocals and swirling rock guitars grounded by solid bass lines and eerie, atmospheric lyrics. The style has morphed and changed since its early 80’s incarnation. Now deathrock incorporates a wide spectrum of connotations from tribal influences to gloomy, experimental arrangements. Death Church successfully merges the modern forms while keeping a solid tether to the original feel. From the very first note of their EP “5,” the band lays down a fuzzy and insistent bassline provided by founder and vocalist, Mange Voorhees. Guitarist Graham Hayes masterfully adds swirling guitars that are anything but delicate, but beautifully arranged. It is clear from the onset that this is not a band to be ignored, and they are certainly not background music. The trio is rounded out by drummer, Christopher Ballinger, an absolute beast behind the kit. Solid and insistent, the guy just never relents. “Suicide Baby” is a short and sweet rocker that opens the gates wide for the rest of the tracks. The band summons
BAD MOON LANDER All Over The Street E.P., 2016 Independent I love Bad Moon Lander –that’s all there is to it. They are everything that I miss about 90’s independently released works. It’s sweaty clubs, self-manned merch booths, hanging outside with your friends waiting for venue doors to open, and
that feeling of solidarity-knowing you are part of something special. It’s rare that a punk album comes along that hits me with such happiness, and “All Over The Street” satisfies that craving. Though their pop hooks can’t be denied, there is nothing disposable or bubblegum about these tracks. It’s like tasting something delicious that you can’t quite place all the flavors in. I hear Sonic Youth just for a breath here and Teenage Fanclub there. I hear The Decendents, The Dead Milkmen. The Dead Kennedys - and all of the music of my youth. This album is such an absolute joy. The appropriately titled “Against You” barrels out of the gate - a sonic barrage of guitars and gang vocals. (Man, who doesn’t love gang vocals?) It’s arranged so perfectly that this short little number impresses as a power rocker at a mere 1:39. It does what it needs to do and establishes quickly that the Bad Moon Lander boys are accomplished on a number of levels. “Pigs of Borneo” is such a great sing-a-long. It’s epic vocals are so infectious that I had to go back and listen to it a second time, right away. It has that immediate likeability often attributed to bands like the Ramones that can write a song so infectious that you can’t wait to experience it again. “A-OK” revisits the 60s, channeling bands like the Beatles or The Monkees with lush harmonies and upbeat guitar work that solidifies the amazing production of the disc. Dave Troia (Balance Studio, J.T. Studio) does a fantastic job of making the disc slick and professional without sacrificing any intensity or authenticity. The unity of TJ Reetz on Guitar, Erik Haley on Bass and Stone Wall on drums really shine on “Plans” with lush three part harmonies and peppy riffs before blasting into “Cool Hand Luke” which is a straight forward rocker that should inspire sing-alongs, fist-pumping and mosh pits at every show they play. “Disappear” completes the disc with surly vocals paired with chugging, palm-muted guitars and disenfranchised lyrics. All in all, I cant’ suggest “All Over The Street” enough, not only as an introduction to Bad Moon Lander, but also for anyone that loves punk done very, very well. Find out more about Bad Moon Lander at www.facebook.com/badmoonlander -Melissa Crory
Sharing Cupcakes, 2016 Warehome Records
River, Sweet Water and Mudhoney . . . but then they throw in a little Dinosaur Jr. and something else that makes the magic happen. It’s not grunge by any means. It just has some of that do it yourself and your way heart that those bands did before a bunch of them got super famous. The third track “Rogue Island” is that song that catches you quickly, rocks you, and is super catchy sounding-but maybe a little more punk than your neighbors want to hear in the middle of the night. On the next song they slow it down, “Write A Song” is the kind of song that will maybe find it’s way on to a radio show, a slower pace, clean yet raspy vocals, nice guitar solos that continue right into the next song “Minor Loop Down, Major Hold Up.” The difference is that this song builds and get’s bigger and bigger until it’s feedback driven ending. Just when you think you have it figured out these guys turn up the funk on “Sexy Cuts” and “Time To Go” . . . at this point you are just on a ride you probably don’t want to get off of. We get back to a little more rock sound (but definitely some weird unique things going on) with “We Didn’t Get There Yet” and “Major Loop Down, Minor Hold Up.” The album ends with “Neanderthal” a wonderful acoustic track that sounds like what I think they mean by “Dust.” It’s raw and sounds like they had a tape recorder running while the guys were sitting around just jamming. A great end to a great album.
35 PSI is self described as a “Dust Band” (see article). For our pourposes we will say that they are an alternative rock Find out more about the 35 PSI at www.facebook.com/ band in the vein of some of those 1990’s Seattle grunge THIRTYFIVEPSI - Kevin P. Johnson bands that you probably never hear of like Brad, Green
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