Track of the Week: I Am The Liquor – 454

Very few could’ve seen or predicted the international impact and influence that Canadian mockumentary series Trailer Park Boys has had since its launch in 2001. The Swearnet heads and lead characters scarcely could’ve imagined it too. Yet here we are, nearly two decades since its launch and barring a few years break since its original seven season run, and Trailer Park Boys still broadcasts annual seasons, which in a day and age of binge-watching, streaming services, and rapid proliferation of premium TV series ushering in a home screen renaissance, is unprecedented. The now infamous line uttered from chronic alcoholic Jim Lahey, portrayed by the late John Dunsworth, ‘Randy, I am the liquor,’ said with a smirk and a swig of whiskey between the namesake of his male lover, and acknowledging that alcoholism just may be driving him to have his fellow residents murdered, is iconic in certain pop culture circles. Obviously to the point, where these three gentlemen from Richmond, Virginia have lifted it to front their band. One aside to paying homage to this long-running show, and a beloved and dearly missed character, is that alcohol is not the only vice pulled into the limelight. Aficionados of the sweet green leaf will find plenty to enjoy here too in the ballads of I Am The Liquor.

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Since 2014, at the height of a stoner resurgence, I Am The Liquor have quietly but consistently put out excellent, white hot, grunge-fuelled romps that tickle the tastes of music fanatics, pop culture nuts, and grass smokers alike. Their debut established them as a deeply promising underground prospect, while 2017’s Game of Thrones-inspired 7 Days of Smoke expanded their Alice in Chains-goes-Palm Desert approach, with brooding, shadowy, Sabbathesque journeys that became as absorbing as they were skull-shaking. This time round, they’re taking fantasy to the reaches of outer space, with a sci-fi novel concept written by the band themselves, about restarting the Sun’s core with a mythical concentrated strain of weed. Still following? Good. Second track in on Escape From Planet Smoke bears its early highlight, 454, an assertive headrocker of a track that drives as hard as its engine namesake. Brazen, fuzz-drenched chords reel effortlessly from the guitar to start off, a singular booming bass punch and infrequent tom bashes in company, to build towards the verse, but instead of shifting to full speed ahead, ears are first treated to an impromptu groove, drums causing a snake-like winding in the rhythm that makes this track that little more thrilling. Groove does eventually concede to forward motion, and with the wall of fuzz now conducting traffic, you can feel the scorch of sunset and the sparsest of winds in this road trip narrative, as soaring vocal melodies that mirror and match Master Homme himself take the steering wheel. There’s even a brief characteristic stomp in the vein of Queens, that feels right at home in the back pocket of the trio. Lyrically, it hammers in the beginning of their quest, details concerning the launch itinerary before setting off which slots perfectly within the context of the track. Yet while not the most lyrically dexterous track of their repetoire, it has one hell of a memorable right hook in the form of their chorus, that its simplicity and melodic structure makes that 15 second refrain a burst of molten elation, and begs to be sung back en masse. Brief at only three minutes in length, perfectly performing its role as an establishing scene, but it accomplishes and wrings so much out of its duration than some bands manage in a lifetime, that the fire and joy that I Am The Liquor invoke still holds paramount to their offbeat brilliance. The best part being that there’s still an entire tale of fuzzed out, stratosphere-sized moments on par with and beyond 454 to explore, that if the Earth’s last hope for stoner rock lays with I Am The Liquor, we can universally breathe easy that these boys will be heroes.


All I Am The Liquor’s albums including the newly released Escape From Planet Smoke, not to mention a continual stream of sold-out merchandise, can be found right here on their Bandcamp page.

Go set their social media ablaze right here:

http://www.facebook.com/IamtheliquorRVA

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Another 10 Great Bands To Listen To While You Wait For The New Tool Album

On the 11th March 2018, something short of ground-breaking was announced on the social media outlets of one of the world’s most renowned progressive metal groups. Tool had entered the studio to record what has become their now fabled follow-up to 2006’s 10,000 Days. While this news has become a revelation and an answer to many a collective prayer (or keyboard warrior whinging, depending on how you view it), Maynard himself put on record at Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods ceremony that the new Tool album will most likely see the light of day in 2019. Affirmation is one thing, and commitment another, and while 2019 is just around the corner, chances are that will be the absolute bare minimum Tool’s global cult following will have to wait for a new sonic masterpiece. One more year after the twelve of relentless internet hyperbole and immeasurable anticipation that proceeded it, is surely doable, right?

Instead of preparing for what may end up becoming a mass exodus from the workplace on the day that album is released, and following the unexpected success of this article’s predecessor, The Soundshark has put together ten more bands from the underground, worthy of your time, until the musical gap has been bridged by the band themselves. To touch upon briefly from previous feedback, you won’t find Karnivool on this list, or any other list on this site themed similarly, as while not entirely known around the planet at present, they’ve had large enough worldwide success to be able to tour anywhere they see fit, which surely evolves beyond underground status.

Semantics aside, let’s begin:

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The Soundshark’s Top Ten Albums of 2017

I’ll be among the first to admit that 2017 is now a fading memory in long and short terms of immediate recollection. After all, we’ve reached a quarter of the year in already and only now do I find myself reflecting on and scrutinising the year past, since coming to terms with my current situation. Of which I feel is moving in a more positive direction. That said, while my own personal presence took a negative slant in the seventeenth year of the new millennium, musically, there was such a creative surge of magnificence which resulted in many, many excellent albums being released. Also one such reason for this list being delayed as it is. So, with ever-so-slightly wistful eyes, The Soundshark casts its spotlight on my ten favourite albums released in 2017, and for your listening indulgence:

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Secret Tsunami Club – Episode #13

So folks, it has been six months since I last endeavoured in radio, but at long last, I bring you the next instalment of the Secret Tsunami Club and the first podcast as an independently produced project. Quality may not be the best right now, but it can and will only improve over time. Hopefully it is of a standard you can enjoy.


Tracklist:

Black Vulpine – Twisted Knife
The Vibraphonic Orkestra – A Vibraphonic Introduction
The Impalers – Metro Azul
Geistfight – True Warriors
Release The Bats – Hornets In A Matchbox
Death Valley Sleepers – Your Face In The Skies
Seasloth – Marshmallon
Ten Tombs – Honestly
Ketch Hatbour Wolves – Queen City Believes You
In Case Of Fire – Do What I Say
Vektrill – I’ll Never Die
Elephantis – Stronghold
Octopede – The Gush
The Gentle Art Of Cooking People – King Tukan II
Cavern – Ithican
Atomis – Maelstrom
Bullet Height – Hold Together
Kurt Dirt – Pleasure Machine
Iltoro – High Fly
sØ؆ – ÐΔRKES† HØUR
Glass Cobra – Up
Furious Freaks – No Indeed
Youth Code – Doghead
Dirk Geiger – 24 Hours Without Interruption

If you enjoyed this, then you can keep up to date with the latest Secret Tsunami Club happenings via Facebook or Twitter, and you can never miss an episode by subscribing to the site on the link down below:

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Iron Jawed Guru

 

I don’t know how often boxing or boxing terminology crosses over into music, or at least has a hand in naming bands, but it seems kinda few and far between. To my knowledge anyway. Perhaps most famously an example being the outstanding Glassjaw, whose output helped define the landscape for post-hardcore and its endless ilk today. I’m sure there’s half a dozen bands or so that are called Southpaw too, one of which I know are pretty good. Any more for any more? I got the Prize Fighter Inferno, The Boxer Rebellion and Title Fight (well, can be applied to boxing), but I think that’s all I came up with after some serious thought. I’ve never heard of an iron jawed guru though, unless that refers specifically to one of the greatest of all time, like a Floyd Mayweather or a Muhammed Ali or something. Part of me wishes it was something to do with having a mechanically reconstructed deity, but that’s my imagination going walkabouts. Onto the topic at hand though, Iron Jawed Guru is actually the namesake of a West Virginia based instrumental hard rock duo, whose primary objective is to conceive the most electrifying musical stampedes imaginable, solely based on just a guitar and drums. Last year saw the birth of the Caldera EP, a six-song sledgehammer that introduced those who tuned in to a cavalcade of white-hot riffs and a gallant drum performance, with enough speed and force to blast your stomach out through your spinal column. Their first full-length album Mata Hari continues that trend, remaining as unrelenting, never taking its foot off the accelerator for a second. While only seven songs in length, the rapid fire bursts of stellar hard rock action are an absolutely storming affair, with undeniably the most fun reaching the album’s climax Vesuvius. It seems they left the longest track until last to illustrate the best of their impressive toolset. Vesuvius opens like walking calmly into a saloon, seeing through the viewpoint of vigilante justice, sizing up every antagonist in the vicinity while keeping hands close to guns. The guitar and drums are an excitingly tense interplay, keeping a fine balance of riffs and groove in an almost Western blues-inspired tone, if such a thing exists. Confidence and charisma simply oozes out of their musicianship, two men possessed and intent on making all hell break loose and having the balls to butt heads with the Devil as he emerges. But much like the volcano itself, the pressure builds up too much and it begins to trickle over with the pace increase, before spurting white hot magma in every conceivable direction. If this was that Western saloon shoot out, justice by the bullet load would be unfolding as the lone gunslinger lets the occupants taste three inches of lead, from each furious guitar lick and snare bash. And there’s a lot of them in the space of the final minute. All in all, it’s a terrific thrill ride that showcases the talents of two incredible musicians, who are aiming for that lucrative title fight and have all the credentials and necessary ability to be a dominant force, and hoist that belt high above their heads.

Mata Hari is out now on Grimoire Records, which can be obtained on a digital and physical capacity from their Bandcamp page, and I highly recommend doing so. Otherwise, Caldera can be bought from their own Bandcamp page and also well worth your investment. You can find their music in most respectable music retailers too if you wish to do so that way.

Go buy them the equivalent of a social media drink:

https://www.facebook.com/IJGrock/?fref=ts

And you’re more than welcome to do the same for me if you so wish, be it a like, follow or subscription:

https://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark/
https://twitter.com/The_Soundshark

 

The Soundshark’s Top 20 Songs of 2015

Something somebody said recently struck me as it made an awful lot of sense. Exactly when do you stop saying, ‘Happy New Year,’ to one another? Or at least when does it become acceptable at the least. I honestly don’t know, but for now, I’m still considering it an appropriate time to talk about my favourite songs of last year. Seeming I’ve made a habit of it, and I finally have time to sit down and write about them.

2015 was a challenging year as it more or less marked my transition from degree student to having to fend for myself. Sometimes it sucked, sometimes it didn’t. But something that I didn’t previously have was a companion, somebody that I hold very dear to me and somebody I look forward to what the future holds for the both of us. As such, she has had an impact on deciding this list, just as much as the rollercoaster of emotions I’ve gone through in the past year has. Like I’ve said before, I do these lists for biographical reasons, to show where I’ve been and what’s happened in years gone by. Music and memory are powerful things.

So my rules for the list are as follows: I don’t always pick songs from this year to put on the list, it involves literally anything I’ve listened to in the past year that I’ve enjoyed frequently enough (that said, there are a lot of 2015 entries on this list which makes a change), but I try to avoid putting more than one song by the same artist in. Some of my past lists had more than one or two. You can find them on Spotify if you want to.

I would like to make an honourable mentions list, but there were far too many to include on this year’s list, so I’ll skip that formality this time. Just so many good moments or songs to include the entire list. And if you would like to listen to this list uninterrupted, commentary-free, then head on over to the Spotify playlist instead.

Righty then, on with the show…

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