Posts Tagged ‘the wans’

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I know I’m two days late to the usual “year in review,” but here are the Rocker Stalker-approved, top 5 releases of 2014!

1) Royal BloodRoyal Blood 

Every track on this self-titled album is a blistering, in-you-face rock track. This UK duo is bringing the rhythm section to the forefront, embodying¬†the power of a group many times their number. ¬†Royal Blood will be touring with Foo Fighters this summer, so don’t miss their incrdible live show! Get a taste of Royal Blood with the¬†video “Figure It Out:”

2)¬†Reignwolf“Lonely Sunday:”

Yet another teaser to the TBA¬†album from this heavy blues-rock power trio. Originally a solo project of Canadian born, Seattle- based guitar virtuoso Jordan Cook, this band is reigning supreme on the rock circuit, having toured with Black Sabbath this year, ¬†and gaining fans exponentially all over the world. Check out the track “Lonely Sunday” below:

3) The WansHe Said She Said

Follow up to their 2012 self-titled EP, Nashville-based The Wans can be very proud of this past year’s full-length He Said She Said. Ten tracks of non-stop face melting, this grungy garage three-piece took the festival network by storm throughout 2014 and even had song in a BMW commercial. ¬†And, just when you thought they were all business, think twice and get a good laugh with their video for the single “Never Win:”

4) The GraycesWesting

I’m not sure what it is about Nashville, but something awesome must be in the water. Heavy and ominous, The Grayces’ October 2014 release¬†Westing¬†takes you on a dangerous ride through the darkest parts of rock ‘n roll with fierce vocals, penetrating bass lines and unrelenting drums. ¬†The trio embarked on an extensive tour in support of the record, and definitely scared some hipsters when they took the stage here in NYC. Take the plunge with The Grayces’ video¬†“Lord and Gods of Alcohol:”

5) The Phuss–¬†On The Prowl

Ever since I laid eyes and ears on these three gentlemen from Dallas/Fort Worth, I’ve felt better about the future of rock ‘n roll and punk. 2014 was a big one for The Phuss, joining forces with Magnetic Eye Records, toured the nation, and dropping their sophomore album¬†On The Prowl,¬†which has gotten a lot of people talking and a lot of people headbanging. ¬†The Phuss reinvigorate the down ‘n dirty rock mentality that makes their live shows all-the-more-fun. ¬†Party with The Phuss in their video “I Don’t Feel Good:”

This might be the most exciting week in Rocker Stalker’s existence, with THREE rock-tober shows!

It all kicks of tonight at PIANOS in the Lower East Side with a hard-hitting, face-melting, eardrum-shattering line up featuring Boston’s SUMMONER, Asbury Park’s THE BATTERY ELECTRIC, Dallas’ THE PHUSS and Brooklyn’s STRNGRS! Be there at 7:30pm, RSVP HERE!

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Show #2 rocks BAR MATCHLESS in Brooklyn for the CMJ Music Marathon on TUESDAY 10/21! Official show featuring HEK, THE TOXIC FEMMES, THE COURTESY TIER, STROAMATA, CADAVER DOGS, THE WANS and STRNGRS! Everything gets going at 6:30pm, and is free to CMJ badge-holders and $10 for the public! RSVP and invite your friends! 

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Last but not least, CMJ week closes at SPIKE HILL in Williamsburg at the PARTY ON! OFFICIAL CMJ SHOWCASE! Get a huge dose of awesome music from 5 cities all through the afternoon from 12-6pm on FRIDAY 10/24!  Tunes provided by BLACK WING HALO, DAN ABRAHAM, MENAGE, ISLE OF RHODES, THE GRIZZLED MIGHTY, THE GRAYCES, TESLA ROSSA, THE WANS and CADAVER DOGS!

FREE TO EVERYONE!  RSVP and see you Friday!

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Not my first trip to Austin, but my inaugural attendance at Austin City Limits, I was treated to¬†three days of bliss featuring some of the top acts of my generation,¬†notable emerging bands, amazing food and perfect weather. ¬†Between 8 stages, thousands of people, and miles of walking, I was able to take advantage of some VIP luxuries and city’s downtown shenanigans.

On Friday, October 3, I kicked off my day with England’s newest hit-makers, psych/indie pop-rock group¬†Temples¬†who have been gaining notoriety with their¬†throwback¬†vibes and newest LP¬†Sun Structures.¬†Next up, some of Nashville’s tops, rootys rockers¬†¬†Blank Range¬†and soulful¬†Lake Street Dive,¬†which¬†features¬†vocal powerhouse Rachael Price, kept the afternoon energy surging. ¬†I took a break from the rock ‘n roll to sample what the kids like these days, the eletro-poppy dance creations CHVRCHES, before the one and only song-writing master¬†Beck¬†graced the stage. With an ever-growing repertoire, Beck selected tunes from basically every album released to date, ranging from ¬†Mutations, Odelay,¬†Midnight Vultures, Sea Change,¬†¬†Guero,¬†The Information, Modern Guilt to the latest release, Morning Phase.¬†Pretty killer way to start the weekend.

The next day, I was already hurting but amped for what the day would bring. Soaking up the 90-degree weather, I started day 2 with Canadian songwriter¬†Mac DeMarco, who had all the teenage girls screaming for his nerdy yet charming demeanor and playful indie rock tunes off¬†his recent release¬†Salad Days.¬†Across Zilker Park, one of New York’s pride and joys,¬†Interpol,¬†ran the gamut¬†of their (almost) 20 year career, including the 2014 album El Pintor, showcasing their signature dancy alt-rock cadence that never fails to crowd-please. Zig-zagging back across Zilker, Nashville’s grungy garage rockers¬†The Wans¬†took the stage and launched a counterattack on “laptop music.”¬†The power trio performed their¬†ultra-rockin’ album He said She Said¬†¬†in full along with selections from their 2012 EP, proving¬†that real instruments are still the way to go. The band recently debuted a hilarious video for the track “Never Winthat makes those who are all-too-familiar with epic fails feel a little less terrible, and will be heading out on tour starting October 16 and playing TWO Rocker Stalker showcases on October 21 (Bar Matchless) and October 24 (Spike Hill)!¬†By the time Eminem and Skrillex hit the stage,I could only muster up the energy to listen from afar before¬†heading out.

Closing day of Austin City Limits was bittersweet with an emphasis on sweet. ¬†Yet another Nashville act,¬†modoc, opened the day, showing off the city’s knack for pure rock ‘n roll with just the right amount of southern tinges. ¬†Switching gears and genres, the legendary¬†AFI¬†shook the stage with tastes of their¬†ever-evolving punky/hardcore/melodic sound. Lead vocalist Davey Havoc, even after almost 20 years of stomping around, gave audiences an energetic performance, climbing over crowds and leaping into the air throughout the set.¬†A Thousand Horses¬†brought¬†the¬†country to the festival before the beloved Austin-based, indie rock pioneers¬†Spoon¬†¬†put some pep in onlookers’ steps. ¬†Last but certainly not least, the quintessential¬†rock band,¬†Pearl Jam,¬†closed out the three days with a phenomenal set, blowing the minds of the seas of people throughout the park. Playing almost an hour and a half of favorites from the 90’s to Lightening Bolt, and even a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” to match the band’s revolutionary spirit, the¬†group¬†didn’t tire easily, as they pushed through a¬†half hour encore much to the park rules’ dismay. Eddie Veddar ¬†was willing to take the party elsewhere, as he teased their sound guy about hosting an afterparty at his house nearby. Solid as ever, Pearl Jam wrapped up the weekend on a perfect (and epic) note.

For anyone contemplating a trip to Austin for ACL, it’s a must! I can’t wait to go back again, but in the meantime…

Check out some photos from the weekend on Rocker Stalker’s Facebook and give it a ‘like’ while you’re at it :)!

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If you’re like me, you take finding new music really seriously, so seriously that you Shazam your computer, the TV, or even movies at the theater. This is in fact how I came across Nashville-based grungy rock trio The Wans, whose song ¬†“Want You” from their 2012 self-titled EP was featured on¬†USA Network’s¬†Necessary Roughness.¬†I unabashedly reached out last year and managed to keep in touch like any rocker pen pals would.

Over the¬†past year, I’ve seen the band’s notoriety increase exponentially, as they’ve landed¬†spots at Forecastle Festival, Hangout Festival and soon, Austin City Limits. ¬†Additionally, they announced¬†a forthcoming full-length album,¬†He Said She Said,¬†out September 9, produced by¬†Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Rival Sons, Sturgill Simpson), mixed¬†by Vance Powell (Jack White, Dead Weather, Arctic Monkeys) and mastered by¬†Richard Dodd (Tom Petty, Traveling Wilburys, Kings of Leon). ¬†Several of the tracks are already out via tastemaker sites like USA Today, Consequence of Sound, Flavorwire, PopMatters, and The AV Club,¬†riling up anticipation of the release.¬† When the band was planning their “Takeover Tour” a few months back, I did the Rocker Stalker thing to do and booked them a gig at Pianos for August 2. ¬†I had been waiting what seemed like ages to see the band live, so¬†I took full advantage and saw them three more times after Pianos at The Bowery Electric (supporting Jesse Malin), Niagara Bar, and The Legendary Dobb’s in Philadelphia. The gigs were a blast and obviously addictive, as the trio was consistently the stand out band of the night, bringing their high-powered¬†energy and tight musicianship to the stage. Check out the photos from the week on Rocker Stalker’s Facebook page!

¬†But let’s get down to business. ¬†The new album is¬†just plain badass.¬†However good music possesses you, be it headbanging, dancing, flailing, moshing¬†or taking your clothes off, He Said She Said¬†will lead you to do so.¬†¬†Fraught with bursts¬†of¬†raging¬†rock, sexy grooves, and dejected lyrics, this record blends Simon Kerr’s ¬†smooth and sultry upper register vocals¬†and¬†distorted guitars, Mark Petaccia’s ¬†heavy, pounding drums, and Thomas Bragg’s penetrating bass riffs into a smoothie of rock perfection. ¬†If you’re into “recommended if you like”¬†comparisons, The Wans’ sound ¬†evokes a large dose of¬†Queens of the Stone Age and Nirvana, splashed¬†with Led Zeppelin, Chris Cornell/Soundgarden and¬†tinges of punky brashness, a la¬†JEFF the Brotherhood or Bass Drum of Death. ¬†Opening with the ironically triumphant melodies of ¬†“Never Win,” The Wans show off their knack for ear catching songwriting. I hear there’s going to be a pretty awesome video to accompany it too, so stay on the look out!¬†He Said She Said¬†plummets into the dark depths of the unbridled “You’re Wasting” ¬†and “The Holy One,” which ¬†slinks along with¬†grinding slide guitars¬†and smashing drums. ¬†“What I’m Feeling” builds on¬†grooving bass lines and oozes with seduction and growing tension, which pushes the tortured¬†sentiment to erupt¬†on¬†“So Cruel,” as Kerr laments over and over, ” Why are you so cruel? Try to be a man but you treat me like a fool!” ¬†The Wans take a minor breather with a “balladic” but¬†burdened¬†“Turn Your Back,”¬†and though the slightly subdued mood seeps into the raw opening vocals of “Take Me Home,” it quickly escalates into fits of wailing choruses. “I Can’t Fix You” is probably the most contagious singalong track with “Oh’s” and “Ow’s'” that will be stuck in your head for days, and the discordant chords¬†of ¬†“Tired” ¬†aptly embody¬†the pain of the song’s message. Last but definitely not least, “Black Pony” (featured recently in a BMW commercial), is pure bluesy, grunge greatness,¬†pushing the album to a climactic close with hypnotic beats, crunching guitars, and angst-ridden welps. The point is, this might be my favorite album of 2014 so far, and I’d recommend getting your hands on it.¬†That’s what she said, and that’s final.

Keep your eyes peeled for more from The Wans, but in the meantime pre-order He Said She Said on Bandcamp and find the band on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram. Happy rocking!

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Looking back on 2013, there have been innumerable musical memories I could retell. Traveling to 4 different cities for¬† SXSW, Coachella, Music Midtown, and CMJ festivals, meeting some of my favorite musicians, attending Live on Letterman, and hosting over 25 “Rocker Stalker presents” shows, to name a few, ¬†all in all, these 5 releases (singles, EP’s, records) made the most impact on my 2013 music experience.

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1)¬†Queens¬†of the Stone Age-¬†…Like Clockwork:¬†Queens of the Stone Age¬†don’t need another itty bitty blog telling cyberspace how great they are, but I’m going to do it any way. Their sixth studio album¬†…Like Clockwork¬†is a masterpiece that represents everything that is wonderful about the band and modern rock for that matter: depth, darkness, charm, sass, and ingenious melodies, lyrics, and instrumentation. And, did I mention the incredible album artwork by Boneface? It was also fashioned into animated videos to accompany track teasers and concert backdrops, a badass collaboration to say the least. ¬†According to sources, and to make a long story short, lead vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme was pulled out of a deep depression and encouraged to write the album¬† by bandmates, after being bed ridden for four months due to a surgery complication. In a way, I think the album pulled me out of a lot of hard times, and returned the pep in my step, not to get TOO personal. ¬†From the ominous “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,” bubbly yet thematically heavy “I Sat By the Ocean,” anthemic and balladic “The Vampyre of Time and Memory,” dancy “If I Had a Tail,” sultry and bluesy “Smooth Sailing,” and hearfelt and poignant title track, QOTSA nailed it with this record. Seeing the band perform the album in its entirety on¬†Live on Letterman¬†in June, meeting Homme and newly adopted¬†drummer Jon Theodore, aka “Mr. Handsome,” at Music Midtown, and catching the band live in Boston and Brooklyn, drove the point home about the greatness behind the tunes. ¬†Get yourself a copy of¬†…Like Clockwork¬†and check out the interactive video for¬†“The Vampyre of Time and Memory.”¬†¬†The album is¬†up for three Grammy’s (not shocking)…fingers are crossed!

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2)¬†Reignwolf- Two-way tie between “Are You Satisfied?”/ “In the Dark:”¬†OK, so if you’ve met me, you know what a diehard fan I am of Saskatoon-born, Seattle-based blues rock band¬†Reignwolf.¬†I fell in love with this act last year at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC and experienced their jaw-dropping performances and Jordan Cook’s epic guitar shredding (think Stevie Ray Vaughan meets Jimi Hendrix meets Eddie Van Halen) about a dozen times since, rain or shine. Just in this past year or so,¬†the trio’s notoriety has grown exponentially, and deservingly so. Hitting every major festival on the circuit and flooring every person they’ve played to in their path, the only thing that was missing was music people could actually¬†own. When I got the news that¬†“Are You Satisfied?”¬†was available in August (during Lollapalooza), it was like hearing that Guns ‘n Roses’¬†Chinese Democracy¬†was FINALLY here, but this time, with a better and more, well, satisfying outcome. The anticipation for released music continued, made stronger by their insane September shows in support of the Pixies, and my prayers were answered a few months later when Reignwolf premiered¬†“In The Dark” on Rolling Stone. This is blues and¬†rock ‘n roll at its finest. Reignwolf gives hope that rock still has a heartbeat; they are reinvigorating the appreciation for the genre and¬†I, along with thousands of others, cannot wait for the full-length to arrive! ¬†Check out¬†“Are You Satisfied?” and¬†“In the Dark,”¬†and be on the lookout as Reignwolf takes over the world. Next stop: spring tour with Black Sabbath.¬†

arctic-monkeys-am-cover3)¬†Arctic Monkeys,¬†AM:¬†Album number five from¬†these Englishmen is totally unexpected, but in a superb way.¬† Not abandoning their spunky and punky Brit-pop/rock roots, Arctic Monkeys¬†take a different turn on their 2013 release AM. ¬†I’ve been a fan since their debut record¬†Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not¬†and sophomore album¬†Favourite Worst Nightmare.¬†Though I lost touch with the band’s goings-on for a few years (sorry), I’m glad I caught wind of AM. ¬†Showcasing their sultry and sexy side, Arctic Monkeys channel blues, R&B, and hip hop, while weaving their signature bounciness in with aching, seductive lyrics. From pulsating ‚ÄúDo I Wanna Know?‚ÄĚ yearning rock track ‚ÄúR U Mine?,‚ÄĚ smooth, hip-sway-inducing ‚ÄúOne for the Road,‚ÄĚ Motown-esque ‚ÄúFireside,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúWhy‚Äôd You Only Call Me When You‚Äôre High?‚ÄĚ(my personal favorite), grooving ‚ÄúKnee Socks,‚ÄĚ and clever, slinky closer ‚ÄúI Wanna Be Yours,‚ÄĚ AM is the burlesque dancer of records fraught with enticing tunes. I missed my opportunity to see the band live in Atlanta, but I hope I get a second chance when they rock Madison Square Garden in February.¬† ¬†Get romantic with AM. ¬†Peep the official video for ‚ÄúWhy‚Äôd You Only Call Me When You‚Äôre High?‚ÄĚ

black-sabbath-13-13702857354)¬†Black Sabbath,¬†13:¬†¬† Appropriately named for its June 2013 release, 13 demonstrates Black Sabbath‚Äôs relevance, even after 40+ years of existence, multiple line-up changes, and now, 19 studio albums. Combining the best of both Ozzy Osbourne‚Äôs style, ranging from mania to sentimental ballads, Tony Iommi‚Äôs heavy, driving, and penetrating guitar riffs, and grave topics, 13 gets down to serious rock business from the first power chord of ‚ÄúEnd of the Beginning.‚ÄĚ Followed by highlight tracks, ¬†doomy ‚ÄúGod is Dead?,‚ÄĚ super-Sabbathy ‚ÄúLoner,‚ÄĚ creeping ‚ÄúZeitgeist,‚ÄĚ epic ‚ÄúAge of Reason,‚ÄĚ stealthy ‚ÄúDamaged Soul,‚ÄĚ pounding ‚ÄúDear Father,‚ÄĚ and dynamic ‚ÄúMethademic,‚ÄĚ 13 ¬†is a head banger‚Äôs delight. ¬†I‚Äôm thrilled these heavy metal pioneers are still going, and I‚Äôm looking forward to seeing them for the first time in March at Barclays! 13 is up for three Grammy‚Äôs too, so get listening!

blacktaxi_chiaroscurocover5)¬†Black Taxi,¬†Chiaroscuro:¬†Brooklyn-based¬†band¬†Black Taxi, who has been in my top favorites for over half a decade, have made leaps and bounds since first I first lay ears on them. This past September, they released their ultra-dancy EP¬†Chiaroscuro,¬†follow up to their 2012 album¬†We Don’t Know Any Better,¬†showing off the band’s knack for ‚Äúdance music without laptops.‚Ä̬† ¬†Though you wouldn‚Äôt peg the quartet as a typical ‚Äúrock‚ÄĚ act, they definitely ROCK at what they do and hold true to real guitar solos and contagious drum beats that can whip both rock ‚Äėn rollers and club goers into a frenzy. ¬†Ever-so-energetic and charismatic on stage, Black Taxi continue to impress with their live shows and grooveable tracks. ¬†Chiaroscuro¬†showcases those ‘electro’-buildups, that break into danceable choruses that we all know and love, maintaining the band’s reputation as one of the top NY acts and most fun performances! ¬†Check out¬†Chiaroscuro¬†here,¬†and if you’re in the neighborhood for New Year’s Eve (that‚Äôs tonight!), come dance the night away with Black Taxi at Mercury Lounge!

Runners up: ¬†Compass EP by Brandon Boyd, ‚ÄúSatisfied,‚ÄĚ single by The Wans, “Tell Me Why” video by Butcher Knives, ‚ÄúRosemary‚ÄĚ video by Deftones, self-titled EP by Isle of Rhodes, and Reflector by Arcade Fire.

Happy new year! See you on January 3 at Bar Matchless and January 17 at Bowery Electric!