Category Archives: Rock

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.

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. )

STONEGRASS: ‘Stonegrass.’

You know what? I actually know very little about the band STONEGRASS, or indeed this, I believe, their debut eponymous album.

See, I was skipping through Bandcamp again today and stumbled upon the pre-order page. Mention was made of ‘psychedelic,’ and ‘acid’ and ‘big bold psyche jams.’ And I guess that’s the importance of keywords, right there kids!

I was hooked and reeled in pretty quickly!

From what I can make out, STONEGRASS are essentially a duo from Toronto, Canada. Comprising bass / guitarist Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn and drummer Jay Anderson, they hooked up again after previously working together on their Spiritual Sky Blues Band project.

As I write, having just bought the album on pre-order, only two tracks of the seven have been made available:
Tea,’ is a thirteen minute long , stoner guitar wig-out; lots of wah-wah underpinned by a prominent bass line and crashing cymbals and drums. This was composed to be played LOUD, that’s for sure.

‘Frozen Dunes‘ to me has more of a desert rock feel to it. It’s certainly more laid back and dreamy / spaced out in its delivery. Jay’s rolling toms and bongos (says the writer with absolutely no musical experience!) lead the track through its seven minute duration, while effects-laden guitars cry and drift over the top.

I don’t think I’d be a million miles away in saying this track reminds me a bit of early Sleepy Sun, from back in the day.

Whatever – these two tracks on their own are well worth shelling out for, and with the other five being made available on release day, 22nd May, what’s not to like?

(The album will also have a limited edition – 300 – vinyl run. If the costs of importing from Canada to Scotland was not so prohibitive, I’d be right in there myself.)