The Black Tears

I’ve always been weary of the phrase ‘re-imagining a classic,’ just for the connotations of altering an item of much adoration so it fits in with a modern mindset. More often than not in musical terms, that would come in the form of cover versions of songs, in which a change in tempo or even musical style could bring about that phrase, for opening the minds of people, to thinking of the original beloved version in an entirely different way. This is by no means a new concept in the industry, but allow me to give it some context. The 90’s are making a comeback, long story short, and whilst I remain dejected or indifferent about less-than-to-be desired trends and genres of music, some I’m pleasantly content for a revival of. By their own admission, Nuneaton’s The Black Tears are ‘unapologetically influenced’ by the Seattle grunge scene, traces of their work certainly recalling Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains to name but a few. This female-fronted four piece not only invoke that spirit of angst and disenchanted youth, but their taming of a now iconic sound has settled into a bluesier territory, making for a very intriguing listen. Their past EPs and album very much were piloting a straight-up emulation, but greater experience on stage and on the road is moulding them into a truly enthralling beast of a band, especially on the basis of their most recent double A side single Liquid Fabulous. While the title track itself is belted out in a siren-fronted Soundgarden-esque dreamstate, it’s the flipside La Ghooste that fuses the new found blues flavour into the grunge counterpart, to form what resembles a melancholy soul ballad as performed by a lightly downtuned Alice In Chains. The plucking of bass at the beginning with the reverb of the guitar swipes gives the mood an atmospheric haze that with vocalist Lischana Lane’s velvet tones, sets the scene for a smouldering performance. Verses remain a quieter affair, melodies from the guitars teasing an inevitable shift in amplitude, but giving an aura of tragedy to the words spoken. Drums propel the pace steadily, prominent and powerful, yet never overcomplicated or detracting from the forte of the vocals. It slots perfectly into the tone and ambience of the storytelling. Reaching the chorus, that Alice In Chains overdrive kicks in with the guitars delivering the right sorrow-tinged notes in a heavier persona, even adding some wailing into the equation for good measure, all the while with vocals spreading wings before soaring into the skies. The last minute certainly infers as much, an impressive vocal range in numerous altitudes, to the tune of guitars twisting tension in the closing moments. The blues-infused grunge dream weaving of The Black Tears is an utterly fascinating experience, one that deserves far greater recognition. There lays the workings of sheer brilliance in their rendition of grunge’s finest, wringing the raw emotion and energy out of the sound beautifully, but in shaping it with another of history’s greatest sounds, the label of a classic reinvention never seems more appropriate.

Their most recent EP Liquid Fabulous from April last year, 2013’s Philosophy Of Perception EP and 2012’s album Lacrimal Lake are all available from most respectable music retailers for a reasonable fee. In the meantime, they have a website you should be looking at for their gigs and other things.

You should go like them on social media right away:

And if you like them, maybe you might like, follow me or subscribe to the blog too, or you might not, your call:

Moxy And The Influence

Kinda without wanting to get tangled up in the vast web and warzone that gender politics and feminism have evolved into, when it comes to rock music, women seem to have had it tougher because the industry put a lot of emphasis on marketing sexuality over talent. In smaller pockets of the industry, that can still be a problem, you’d probably need a few hands to count the amount of bands in which this happens to. But the ambitions of those determined, undeniably talented women, wanting to make a living doing what they love, keep tearing at the fence of adversity and the flow of females, not just as vocalists, but kickass guitarists, bassists and drummers is becoming more of a mainstay in up-and-coming bands. In and amongst those jostling for greater widespread attention and rightly so is the youthful spirit of California’s Moxy And The Influence. Sitting somewhere between the shoulder blades of Paramore and Halestorm, but raised on a healthy diet of glam and some of the greatest rock bands to ever pick up an instrument, the three ladies and one gentleman that make up the band have already received glittering acclaim and plaudits from local media outlets on their unforgettable melodic hard rock battle cries. Despite only being a band for two years and having an average age of 18, what staggers me most is how seasoned and polished they already sound for a band that could still be considered in its infancy. Since their inception, there’s been a steady trickle of singles and material, all packed with the charisma, fire and passion that makes rock ‘n’ roll function and personally, none fulfil that more for me than the punk-fuelled statement of empowerment that is Alive. Though lyrics lead me to believe that this deals with not being comfortable in a relationship, it feels more like acknowledging yourself and that you as an individual has purpose in this world, which despite sorrow breeding poetry, the optimism and positivity is incredibly refreshing to hear. There’s an attitude and sass to vocalist Moxy Anne that becomes far more emphatic against the well-oiled engine of the fast but weighted buzzsaw chords, bass that vibrates deep through your bones and drums that dictate the form of attack. Yet while the chorus is a strong mantra for believing in yourself, there’s an unexpected feistiness in the near-screams of a later bridge and a damn impressive, smoking hot guitar solo that follows it. Moxy And The Influence are similar in nature to that of wildcats: in no way to be underestimated and certifiably no hope of being tamed. A band of superbly talented musicians, very well versed in rock ‘n’ roll with the earworm masterstroke and the potential to climb very high in the musical food chain.

Their Alive EP can be bought from their website in a physical capacity, or from most respectable music retailers if you want the immediacy of digital. They have plenty of other merch available too if you wanna look at all the other things you could be buying.

Show them some much deserved love on social media:

And if you’re feeling generous and feel I deserve some love too, why not like, follow and/or subscribe to the blog? Or don’t. Your call:

Beast Make Bomb

Very few bands I’ve listened to make me ask the question: Are they an indie band, or a punk band? Or even a very loud pop band? Actually Beast Make Bomb are the only band that’ve made me ask those questions. Defunct as of three years ago, the two guys and two gals responsible for this dose of sugar-charged, punk-injected indie pop hailing from four different cities in the States, were an underground sensation. Much of their output revolved around a fuzz-saturated guitar freight train, that could compare with many of garage rock’s greats, but they could also pen killer pop melodies, and even sweet but never saccharine ballads to showcase their multi-faceted abilities. Rough It Out, from free-to-download EP Sourpuss, is an upbeat rocket about failing to confess your love that has pace, a contagious chorus and searing hot guitar work to boot in just three and a half minutes that will leaving you smiling ear-to-ear. Beast Make Bomb could turn the struggles of teen life into a wonderland of positivity, punctuated with unforgettable melodies and the world, for what they didn’t know about this band, is worse off without them.

Sourpuss, as well as numerous other EPs and songs can be found on their Bandcamp page, either for a small fee or for nothing at all.