INTRODUCING: DARREN DPAUL WISE.

DARREN DPAUL WISE is an American guitarist perhaps best known in his own country for his work as music director of the Drew Pearson Live television show. (This is an entertainment / sports programme that airs on ABC, ahead of all Dallas Cowboys’ NFL football games.

Originally from Louisiana, Darrren moved to the Dallas area in the nineties where he played in several local bands. As he began to garner a reputation as a mean guitarist, general networking within the local music industry opened up various new avenues for him to further his career.

When, in 2013, the band he was playing with was asked to come up with theme music for a TV pilot show (that subsequently bombed) it was suggested he create music for the hit Texas show, ‘Gas Monkey Garage.’

And so, well – you what they say about success leading to success.

Since then, he’s been involved in composition and production of various commercials and worked on incidental music for Major League Baseball, NASCAR and the NBA.

And now …. he’s only just gone and landed himself an ‘artist arrangement’ with Gibson Guitars!

Who needs big hair, make up, spandex trousers and set their guitar on fire to make a name for themselves in music, these days?

Talent will always come through.

MEMORY OF A MELODY: ‘Mary Go Round.’

Wow!
It’s been a while since I listened to a ‘metal’ track that grabbed me as instantly as this new release from MEMORY OF A MELODY.

After a six year hiatus, the San Antonio five-piece, returned in March of this year with a three track EP, ‘Burn Alive,’ from which this chilling, nursery rhyme inspired single is lifted.

Mary Go Round,’ is a tale of betrayal … and revenge. The anger in Mario Galdos’s voice is palpable as he spits out the immensely threatening lyrics.

(November 2019)

My personal roots in punk, hardcore and metal are, I suppose, of an ‘old school’ nature and perhaps that’s why I instantly took to this song / band. At various points through its four an a half minute duration, I can hear possible influences from System of a Down and Slipknot poking through. It has everything: pounding and rolling drums; growled vocals; heavy, heavy riffs and of course the almost obligatory searing guitar solo.

Memory of a Melody describe themselves as playing ‘Metal with mass appeal.’

I think they’re right. Absolutely love it!

THE MEMORIES: ‘Pickles & PiES.’

THE MEMORIES formed in the Belmont/Hawthorne district of Southeast Portland, Oregon in the Summer of 2010 by White Fang bandmates and childhood friends Rikky Gage and Kyle Handley. They recorded their first album in one of the upstairs bedrooms at what was called the 40th house, a big three story home on a busy street that was a hangout for local stoners and artists. Their self-titled debut was released on their own Gnar Tapes label as a cassette. Two hundred were ‘pressed,’ and from such humble beginnings etc, etc….

Almost ten years on, and re-located to Los Angeles, The Memories are set to release what I think will be their ninth album (though it could be argued that some of their EP recordings could additionally fall into the ‘LP’ category. Their output has been pretty prolific over the years – check this little lot out – and so I’m surprised to find myself scurrying around the internet to find out more about the band.

Being my first time listening to the band, I’d describe them as a kind of lo-fi, summery, jangly pop type of unit. For instance, I wouldn’t have been too surprised had someone played me ‘Second Try‘ from this new album and told me it was Teenage Fanclub (with a very brief Puddle of Mudd styled intro .) It’s certainly in that groove.

‘In My Heart I Am Sailing,’ has a weird kind of pacing issue at the outset – I don’t know the technical term for this, but it sure grabbed my attention enough to write about it! When it comes in, the main vocal seems to hold a couple of beats longer than the backing harmonies do, so initially, they appear ever so slightly out of kilter. Clever!
The backing vocals wash over, in and out, of the listener like a gentle tide, and there is a very strong Sixties California feel to this song.

THE MEMORIES (May 2017)

It took me a minute or so, but, ‘The Sign‘ is an excellent down-tempo, lovers rock / reggae version of the Ace of Base song from back in the day. I believe the vocals are sung by Colleen Green and they are spot on – a little bit more ‘hushed’ than Jenny of Ace of Base, and I’d say a little more dulcet and playful.

The final final of the four tracks made available on Bandcamp prior to release, is ‘Purple.‘ This seems a little different to the other tracks I’v e heard in that it’s much more soulful, with vocals provided by PYNKIE. I have no idea, but when the chorus comes in and the production becomes that bit more dramatic, then drops down to the finish, I’m put in mind of Prince. But maybe that’s just a word association thing triggered by the word ‘Purple.‘ I don’t know. Whatever – this track’s a grower. (Just listened on repeat four times. It is.)

Yeah – so there it is. To my shame, I hadn’t listened to The Memories before. But right now, I’m off to work my way through their other twenty-seven releases as featured on Bandcamp.

See you the other side of summer.

LAUREN NAPIER & VIC RUGGIERO: ‘Duets Vol. 1’

The sign of a good cover is when you’re able to sing along, confident in the lyrics …. but just not quite able to place the song title or original artist.

That’s exactly the case with this new release from Lauren Napier (multi talented vocalist / writer / model – aka Punk Rock Doll) and Slackers front man, Vic Ruggiero.

This five-track EP features covers of two established and popular songs – one a country classic, the other a Rolling Stones favourite. An added bonus are King Tony’s two fantastic dub interpretations of Lauren and Vic’s interpretations, if you see what I mean!

The Patsy Cline song, ‘Walkin’ After Midnight‘ is the one that threw me. The words were familiar, but the presentation was completely alien to me. Country done Reggae works marvelously well here. Lauren’s vocals are given a bit delay / echo and her haunting, dulcet pitch perfectly blends with Vic’s warm tones.

‘Dead Flowers,’ is one of those Stones‘ songs that every fan knows, but maybe is lesser known to the casual listener. I guess the original also has a bit of a Country feel to it, and again, it’s given a real infectuous and jaunty reggae backbeat.

Lauren and Vic work so well together. They play off each other so well on this and the videos I’ve seen. And as with everything I’ve heard Vic do, he sounds so relaxed in his delivery, almost casual-like, and yet there is a playfulness, a smile, behind the vocals that draws the listener in.

Yeah – another excellent one to go check out / buy!

A ‘straight’ version of ‘Walkin’ After Midnight.’ (Not the one on the EP)

LAMMPING: ‘Heartland Rock.’

Toronto psych rock band LAMMPING are due to release their debut album ‘Bad Boys of Comedy’ towards the end of July – but more of that a little closer to the time.

In the meantime, though, the excellent DIY Turkish label Kafadan Kontak have just released a two track ‘single’ – two tracks that are not featured on the forthcoming album.

Featuring in demand drummer, Jay Anderson (see earlier mention of Stonegrass) and multi-instrumentalist Mikhai Galkin, the duo have come up with a couple real slow-burning psych tracks that remind me a little of Psychic Ills – that sort of vibe.

If these two tracks didn’t quite make the album, then we can expect great things from ‘Bad Boys of Comedy‘ when it appears on 21st July.

As a taster for the album itself, here’s the lead single, ‘Forest for the Trees’ – which may be more Black Angels than Psychic Ills. (I know, it’s really annoying making feeble and totally subjective comparisons … but it’s what I do.)


EGOMASINA: ‘Spastai.’

This’ll be quick!

I know next to nothing about EGOMASINA, other than that they come from Lithuania (Vilnius) and are soon to release their second album, in both vinyl and digital formats.

‘Spastai‘ follows on from ‘id‘ which was released in May of last year, and although it may be a little presumptive to judge from just the two tracks that have so far been released (see video below) it would seem the trio of Karolis, (guitar / vocals) Tomas (bass / vocals) and Antanas (synths / drums) have worked on the depth of their sound.

To an extent, I’d say their earlier album release reflected the sounds of, for example, The Fall and Joy Division. I think it’s the driving bass that does it.

Spastai‘ has built on that, but factored in a sound more akin to the motorik noise of Krautrock innovators Neu! – with a added heavier and rockier punch.

In fact, if pushed, I’d say EGOMASINA remind me a little of Berlin ‘krautrock guerillas,’ Camera.

And that’s a good thing!

(‘Spastai,’ is released on 1st July, an can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp right now. )

SIMON JEFFERIS: ‘Vibrations.’

It would be terribly insensitive to say there’s anything ‘good’ to come from this dreadful situation the world finds itself in right now.
We have to accept that, for the immediate time being at least, Nature holds the upper hand but we need make best of the position we find ourselves in.

In my case, that means Saturday afternoons sat in the house listening to the radio instead of following my local football team. And that has resulted in my experiencing new sounds via the Gilles Peterson show on Radio 6Music.

Which, in turn, when skipping through Bandcamp the other day, I for the first time, checked out a forthcoming album that was portrayed as straddling the ‘jazz fusion,’ ‘hip-hop’ and neo-soul’ categories.

Now, I’m just a beginner when it comes to these genres of music. I’m more of a shallow, in your face, punk / rock kinda guy, but even I can tell ‘Vibrations,’ by SIMON JEFFERIS is pure class.

Brixton based multi-instrumentalist Simon has garnered a burgeoning reputation throughout London hip-hop circles these past few years for not only his music, but also his production skills.

This new album would appear to be his first since the ‘SJ’s Pockets – Vol 1′ EP back in 2017, though there have been several other digital tracks released along the way.

From the four tracks currently available to stream, ‘Vibrations‘ would certainly seem to be worth the wait. ‘White Rabbit,‘ is slow-funky, featuring the warm vocals of Rosie Lowe, while ‘High Grade,‘ is a smooth, slow burner which has the feel of a lovely, deep, chilled pillow for your head to sink into. There’s a lot going on in this track and each listen brings something new to the fore.

Something In The Water,’ makes me think of early Saturday evenings as I listen to Craig Charles’ show on the radio, and groove (in a very inelegant and sort of bad Dad Dancing way) around the kitchen with a couple of beers in hand as I prepare the meal. Like I’ve said, I’m new to this style of music, but this track, reminds me of The Meters and Deodato. (Apologies if I’m way out on this!)

My favourite track though, so far, is ‘Back 2 Ours.’ Featuring the rapped vocals of Abhi the Nomad, this one fuses a laid back jazz groove with hip-hop rhymes and beats.

I know I’m old, and only just about getting my head around accepting the concept of digital music – but THIS album is surely one to be listened to in its physical format. Some music is made for vinyl – this is one.

Oh – and thank you Gilles Peterson / Simon Jefferis for opening my ears to differnt styles of music. I’ll definitely be back for more.

Vibrations’ is released in both vinyl and digital formats via DeepMatter on June 12th 2020)

sounds little known hitherto

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