Music Submissions 6: Monterey / Euryale / EdTang & The Chops / Bateman / The Chewers / Chasing Dragons

Monterey - The Kings HeadEuryale - STEdtangBateman - Smut

I haven’t posted much over the past week, mainly because I finally got around to buying Assassins Creed: Black Flag (I know it took me a while) and then spent the week living as a pirate. Anyway, here’s some brief write-ups of music I was sent and wanted to feature. If you’d like to send something my way then feel free – there are links on my contact page and anything is appreciated.

Monterey – The King’s Head (EP) Kicking things off with a winner here, The King’s Head is the newest EP from New Jersey based Monterey, who play a compelling blend of indie rock and slight punk. These are songs to listen to when driving with the window down whilst tapping on the steering wheel and wearing a smile, and they get under your skin – even if you don’t initially realise it. The four songs that make up The King’s Head are well written and just as well played, showcasing fine songwriting ability as tracks get stuck in your head and play on your heart. Third track More Alive is a great example, jumping straight in after a disjointed intro, and it’s very difficult to resist nodding along in time before the lines ‘lean back lean back / wrap your legs around my neck / hear the thunder pounding inside my chest as you slide out of your dress’ are sung in the vein of reckless teenage abandon which so often strikes a chord with listener, and does again here. Think early The Gaslight Anthem – that nostalgic American whimsy and youthful conviction that makes tracks relatable and memorable, spinning a story that transports a listener. This track was my favourite from the EP and it sports some of the better instrumentation, beginning catchy and remaining so, dropping off towards the end to bass and basic drumming only to bounce back with a pulsating final thirty seconds that sees The King’s Head peak in almost every regard (no pun intended). For a debut release The King’s Head is pleasingly accomplished, merging technical instrumentation with a spirited delivery, and although it suffers slightly as a result of its production there’s no denying that the band are onto something. Monterey have found that winning formula and nail it, and for what The King’s Head lacks in polish it more than makes up for in heart, and considering it only contains four tracks it offers a lot, making a mark after only the first playthrough. The band capture that charisma and energy which brings life to releases of this nature and use it throughout, be it on the more honed and melodic opener Brainfreeze or catchy-as-hell finale Mr Rockaway, which reminded me greatly of Aha Shake Heartbreak Kings Of Leon – it’s very The Bucket, but maybe that’s just me. Monterey’s The King’s Head is out now, and it can be streamed and downloaded via the bands Bandcamp page, or through iTunes and Spotify if that’s your preference. Regardless of how you do it, this is a release that I’d highly recommend listening to. [9]
FFO: The Gaslight Anthem, Kings Of Leon, Jimmy Eat World

Official Site / Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter

Euryale – S/T (EP) Euryale is the musical side project of members of Kokomo and Terraformer, and their self-titled EP is as huge as you’d expect considering the reputation of both bands. It’s an expansive and towering selection of instrumental tracks, each of which soars despite bleaker tones. Any post-rock record instantly points me in the direction of This Will Destroy You, and Self-Titled is similar in scope but it’s a much darker beast, crashing and swelling throughout, rising up and hanging onto that high with sharpened claws. Opener Generation Noir is almost as black as its namesake, building from faded ambience and pounding drums, adding layers as it goes, making for a dense, writhing soundscape when it all peaks. Powerful guitars sit well, as does the climbing and atmospheric electronics which bring in shades of light, and the song drops off significantly just past the mid-point to choppy guitars and drums, chugging towards and emphatic finish. The following two tracks Metamorphosis and The Great Okapi offer much of the same, with the former transforming like its title suggests, beginning as an instrumental juggernaut and relenting slightly before scaling, monumental sections and ending with two minutes of mellowing downtime. This almost soothing approach continues into the closer, which again rises to a majestic peak, ending things on a euphoric yet crushing high. Self-Titled sounds absolutely huge and you’ll perhaps struggle to find a heavy instrumental release this year offering as much as this one does, despite it coming in at just under nineteen minutes at three tracks deep. This is a seriously impressive release from a group of musicians who know exactly what they’re doing, and the result is an EP which easily matches both of their main projects, possibly even surpassing them. It’s out now and available to stream through Bandcamp, with physical copies sold by I.Corrupt.Records. [9]
FFO: Isis, Russian Cirlces, epic soundscapes that make you appreciate music

Bandcamp

EdTang & The Chops – S/T (EP) You’ve listened to The Gaslight Anthem right? If not, you should, but if you have listened to them, or any other Americana-influenced band for that matter then you’ll love the debut EP from EdTang & The Chops, because it’s delightfully similar. Even though I’m not American and wasn’t raised on Bob Dylan I love releases of this nature – ones that are told from an honest perspective with grit and heart in every word, capturing America in the best way that music can. Self-Titled is five tracks of rousing folk-rock of the highest quality, and it’s an impressive debut to say the least, packing in songs that are energetic and thoughtful whilst begging for a drink to be raised when the chorus kicks in. Take opener When Death Should Find Us which begins with a sole acoustic guitar before bringing in soulful, passionate vocals over Vic Fraternale’s harmonica, rising to a chorus that delivers the line ‘And that’s alright / I said if I should die tonight  let me die tonight’ in a way that practically asks for a sieze the day sing-along. Self-Titled is irresistible, with Tang’s raw vocals and lyrics inspiring whilst the band accompanying him gives an equally suitable energetic backing. Admittedly, Tang steals the show, but his music is definitely bolstered by the addition of a band, with songs like the opener sounding raucous and enflamed. Willie Nelson and Brother In The Way Back both offer compelling narratives, and both are particularly good, bringing in a somewhat jaunty sound and using it to full effect, with A Lapsed Catholic closing off the original tracks and bringing in complementing female vocals, although I did find it to be the weakest track on the EP, bordering on repetitive. Self-Titled is rounded off with a take on folk classic Leaving Of Liverpool, a song which has been done by the likes of Bob Dylan, The Pogues and The Dubliners, and is covered just as well here. Self-Titled is a brilliant ‘debut’ EP from a band well worth watching, and I highly recommend it. I use ‘debut’ loosely because of Tang’s past releases, but it marks his first venture with a band, and it captures everything you love about the genre, and whether it’s enjoyed in a bar with friends, alone at home, or at a live show it’s bound to capture you just as much. It’s set for release May 16th, and it can be found on the bands site along with past releases, which can be streamed for free. [8.5]
FFO: Chuck Ragan, every great American folk artist who made me wish I was American like them

Official Site / Facebook / Twitter

Bateman – SMUT (Album) Following two years after Bateman’s well received debut EP Ultra Violence and slots supporting bands like Rolo Tomassi and Safe Hands SMUT is Bateman’s first full-length and it’s a sweat soaked, adrenaline fuelled riot of a good time that’s impossible to resist. After venomous, building, opener LHATSA SMUT launches into Red Wine Blues, potentially the records best track. Bateman mean business, even if they don’t want it to seem like they do, and the second track is a hard hitting alternative anthem, as vocalist Gaz Williams yells ‘break out the champagne, bring out the wine’ amidst sleazy riffs and chunky bass. His vocals may take a while to get used to, but they’re spirited and charged, as is every other members contribution, and his snarls / growls / guttural roars are brilliant once you’ve stopped giving a shit and started enjoying. SMUT was written and produced with the aim of capturing a live energy, and with tracks like QWERTY Guy you get the impression that the transition from studio to stage will be seamless. This a raw, uncompromising record, and it’ll hit hard regardless of where it’s played. Jabroni is fierce, opening with the lines ‘Punch, kick, spit, repeat’ and only maintaining this aggression as it continues, whilst closer The Cheap Seats throws in some solid riffs and mixes them with crashing drums and an almost Chino Moreno climbing delivery at times, which works surprisingly well. There are no holds barred on SMUT; it bounces along in a way that’s slightly uncharacteristic of heavy music and it excels because of it. Check out the great one-take video for Red Wine Blues below, and then stream or download the entire record for free on Bandcamp if you’re into it. You should be. [8]
FFO: Nails, Every Time I Die, good times that cost nothing and reward everything

Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter

The Chewers – Chuckle Change And Also (Album) I’m still not entirely sure what to make of Chuckle Change And Also, and it’s rare for a release to leave me questioning it after a few days.  The Chewers’ second record is one which toes the line between brilliantly bizarre and unnervingly unusual. Chuckle Change And Also could well be the soundtrack to some of your worst nightmares, but it’s off-kilter nature could also provoke a smile when you perhaps need one. Because of its very avant-garde approach it’s a sound that won’t appeal to everyone, and it’s a record which you’ll either grow tired of or love by the end of third track Burn It Down. For the purpose of writing an open-minded ‘review’ I listened to the nineteen tracks that followed it, and most of the time I was as perplexed as I was intrigued. Teeth Lock offers three minutes of a basement jam, whilst The Fat Man delivers plodding vocals and surrealist lyrics over equally surreal instrumentals, with A Part Machine pairing a catchy guitar riff with squeaking samples to make for an absorbing head nodder. It’s followed by the jaunty spoken word Inmate 227 which tells the tale of a newly released convict and his re-entry into society, and it’s a quirky and interesting narrative, and its possibly the most straightforward track on show, which is saying something. You potentially won’t hear another record this year that sounds like Chuckle Change And Also and maybe that’s for the best, maybe not. A few weeks back I cited Ultra Cultura by Select All Delete Save As the most eccentric release of the year, but that accolade now has to now go The Chewers and their ‘interesting’ second record. It’s a release I struggled to get my head around, but it’s also one that might surprise you. It should anyway, because if you already know how Chuckle Change And Also will sound going in to it then you’re likely as weird as its creators, which isn’t exactly a bad thing – right? [6]
FFO: I’ve honestly no idea, sorry

Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter

Chasing Dragons – Checkmate (EP) Chasing Dragons hail from Leeds, UK, and their take on hard rock bites, packing a punch from the offset as Prelude sets whispered vocals alongside dynamic instrumentals. Checkmate is a record which is technical and accomplished, mixing heavy instrumentals and sections of melody well, switching from Iron Maiden-esque riffs to orchestrals and climbing vocals courtesy of Laurie ‘Tank’ Carnan who is brilliant throughout and lives up to her alias. On Throw Down Your King her delivery is aggressive, whereas she sits back on the more cinematic, piano driven The Last Defence on which her vocals are enticing and rousing as she sings ‘hold on, don’t let go’ as the song builds to a sky-scraping peak which brings male vocals into the mix. The track eventually drifts to technical, impressive guitars which see it out. That’s Not Love has an undeniable charisma to it as it stomps along, and the same could be said about final track Broken Jaws, which is an empathic sucker punch punk closer, beginning with surging riffs and giving way to trademark hard rock bounce. The EP has its weaker moments in For The Sake Of Murder which falls slightly flat, but as a whole this is a finely produced chunk of hard rock which sounds incredibly confident and sounds all the better for it. Checkmate is well worth a listen, and is set for release June 2nd, with the band playing a few UK shows around that time. [7.5]
FFO: Halestrom, In This Moment, Iron Maiden

Official Site

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