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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20 Bands And Artists With New Music in 2019 You Should Keep An Eye On

By now, the hangover of 2018 should have long subsided, and 2019 should now begin to be as familiar to everyone as much as your work colleagues, classmates, or friends you go clubbing with, are. We’ve conversed, debated and voiced our collective opinions on what the best of the best of 2018 was, and ahead, we look into the eyes of 2019 longingly, yearning for continued musical excellence as this decade draws to a climax. So bearing that in mind, the site has put together 20 bands and artists bearing a variety of new musical fruit in 2019, that you should absolutely sample, and hopefully savour and find immense pleasure from.

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Track of The Week: The Burial Choir – Till Death Do Us Part

If ever asked to define a burial choir, you could assume by matter of association, that it is the voices of those in hymns or prayers, at the site of loved ones that have departed this world. The voices of mourning, grief, and heartbreak. Downtrodden and united in sorrow. Turning to Robert Scott, songwriter for 25 years, the singular voice, and sole member of Wisconsin’s The Burial Choir, does he fulfil the namesake and imagery conjured around such a vivid, macabre concept? Well, not exactly.

Granted on his 2017 self-titled debut EP, the ominous toll of a church bell proceeds and concludes the three tracks in between: a mass of swirling mist and melancholy that touches on Type O Negative territory, but has far more in common with the urgent dissonance of post-punk, and the spacial ambience of post-rock and post-metal. Similarities cease there however. Digging deeper, riffs and resoundingly impressive groove form the solid backbone to Robert Scott’s pained wail, closer to a downbeat Queens of The Stone Age. Like if Josh Homme was thrown down a well so to speak.

So mere days into the new year, what does 2019’s Relics herald on the continuation of The Burial Choir saga? Another four more tracks that further tap into Scott’s wider web of influences, introducing shoegaze and more substantial psychedelia into what was already a distinct fusion of styles and sounds. Arguably the best of the bunch is the EP’s second odyssey, Til Death Do Us Part. Seeped in cavernous reverb, a distorted buzzsaw of guitar groove wastes little time in pace-setting, with the tease of short, sharp snare and cymbal shots building anticipation as Scott affirms that ‘This is where it all starts.’ The drums burst forth, the distance between itself, and guitar vocals sounding huge, but working to great effect with the subtlest undercurrent of bass, accenting every beat, as you can slowly feel hips start to sway, losing control to this primitive but mesmerising rhythm. He knows when to throw the hammer down also, launching into a rousing rock ‘n’ roll shuffle between verses, that certainly stokes those Queens of the Stone Age comparisons. Heavier still, is a sludgy, verging on doom-esque breakdown around midway with terrifying guttural roars that sound like abyssal calls from realms far beyond our own. Positioned in the middle of the allusion to a child’s trauma between warring parents, makes it all the more poignant and dramatic, maintaining that consistent tone of melancholia and feeding on very real, raw personal scarring for many, despite an upbeat tempo. Followed by an emotionally charged, melodic guitar solo, which is sure to chill many a spine, and solitary vocals, complete with hand claps you can just visualise any respectable venue participating with, and it tops off what is an early highlight of the very beginning of this year’s new musical calendar. The Burial Choir certainly continues to shapeshift and elude iron-clad genre constraints, instead manifesting itself as one man’s creative playground of smoke and sadness that the world should be dying to hear more of.

Relics is out now on 3ZERO4 Records, only on Bandcamp.

You can find everything that goes on in the world of The Burial Choir here:

http://www.facebook.com/TheBurialChoir

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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

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Jaw Bones

I’d like to think dentists have a hidden agenda as to why they are in the business they are in. Let’s face it, they are in one of the best paid professions possible in society that doesn’t involve being a fat cat corporation figurehead or a banking tycoon. What could go beyond profiteering off of our health defects? Childhood trauma? Sadism? Teeth fetish club? Personally, my money is on that when faced with a biting power the size of Thessaloniki, Greece’s Jaw Bones, their immediate reaction would be to neutralise the threat, because it is scarily powerful. So dentists are keepers of peace by weakening the pearly gnashers we carry in our mouths, to quell any overpowering urge to crush with them. That highly fantastical musing aside, Jaw Bones are indeed a forceful and dominant outfit in the Mediterranean stoner scene, since their inception in 2006 and subsequent rebirth following the departure of key members, completely justifying their namesake. Their roots primarily lie in grunge a la Alice In Chains, but there’s elements of Tool certainly in their work as well as more thrash and punk creeping into their more recent material. The band have been hard at work on their debut LP for a number of years, but certainly solidifying their live status as some of Greece’s most exhilarating live performances in recent times. Supporting the likes of Therapy?, Clutch and 1000Mods is a stamp of approval enough on their license to thrill. Though their recorded output only so stretches as far as a three song EP, the potential tower of strength and wealth of talent is undeniable. Ego Tripper reaches the apex of stoner rock nirvana, with vocal harmonies touching that Alice In Chains nerve ever so gently, whilst taking the odd moment to descend into some soft funk. A Thousand Masks certainly is a far harder, darker affair, wearing that Tool influence with pride and calculating how to destroy everyone in its vicinity as efficiently as possible. Last but not least, Fear takes the band on that promised rampage, taking a flamethrower’s worth of riffs and torching its surroundings with white hot intensity, before incredible primal howls flatten everything still remaining. Fear? Damn right it’s fearsome. If the dentist story were true, on the considerable scale and vigour of Jaw Bones’ grunge avalanche demonstrated in just three songs, quite rightfully they should be in awe of their might. The best thing is there is more to come, and fans of hard rock with teeth to crush and maul everything in their wake should be excited by that appetising prospect.

The aforementioned EP can be bought from their Bandcamp page, in digital format on a pay-what-you-want basis, or physical format for a bargain. Footage of some more recent material can also be found on YouTube, courtesy of Contemporary Bohemians in Bulgaria. Go check their YouTube channel too.

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