Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CD REVIEWS: Blue October & A Good Rogering

Blue October
Up/Down Records

What impresses me about Blue October is they are still grounded even though they are at the point in their career that few people would hold it against them if they weren’t. Sway is the band’s seventh studio album. But this album is a homecoming for the band.

The band, made up of Justin Furstenfeld (vocals), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums), Ryan Delahoussaye (violin), C.B. Hudson (guitar), and Matt Noveskey (bass), recorded Sway back at Firehouse Studio in San Marcos, Texas… which was the city where the band first gained fame.

I remember being an SWT college student when Consent To Treatment came out with the “Big Time” Peter Gabrielesque cover. I also remember thinking that this was a band I’d never get into, sounded just like the really bad stuff that was emerging in the music scene and that they’d have a short shelf life.

Well… they proved me wrong. They’ve been around for about 18 years and have become impressive both live and on record. They hooked me in around 2006 when “Hate Me” came out and I found it more honest than most anything I’d heard in a long time.

Fast forward to Sway. They’ve gone away from the Peter Gabriel covers and seemed to embrace his sound instead. I found songs like the title track, “Angels in Everything” and “Not Broken Anymore” akin to the Gabriel sound… in the best way possible. Kind of like Foileds “Into the Ocean.”

If you’re looking for the anger of “Hate Me” or Approaching Normal’s “Dirt Room” look no further than “Hard Candy.” That track straight-up rocks.
“I used to act like a soldier / I never even picked up a gun / I used to dress like a hooker / But never seemed to hook anyone.”

Other call-outs on the 13-track Sway include “Put It In” and “Angels In Everything.”

It’s little surprise that the album, which came out in August 2013, shot to #1 on the Billboard Alternative charts . They’ve released “Bleed Out” and “Angels in Everything” as singles. The highest position on Billboard was “Bleed Out” at #24. I have a feeling if they release “Hard Candy” they’ll pop into the Top 10. It’s that good.

The band announced on Twitter that you can pick up Sway for just $2.99 from November 30-December 2. I suggest you do so. Link:
- Sean Claes

A Good Rogering
Suffering Dog Records

Skunk Manhattan and Chef Bull RD have outdone themselves on A Good Rogering’s 2013 release Lifeblood. Released in August, this is a natural musical progression from their 2010 EP Long Overdue.

The album kicks off with the beautiful and delicate piano of “Prelude in G Minor” before unleashing the guitar-driven “Care for a Rat In The Face” which I think is a Double-entendre as the song launches in a way that reminds me of “Round and Round” by Ratt before kicking in.

Lifeblood contains some of the most brutal technically sound metal I’ve heard come out of Austin for a while. Manhattan is an amazingly talented guitarist and Bull RD goes lick-for-lick with him on the bass. Plus, it’s hard rock radio friendly… as much as Pantera or Rob Zombie is anyhow... as Bull RD’s vocals have that classic Zombie/Hetfield/Lemmy growl.

Standouts on the 10-track disc include the rocking grunt-driven “Caveman Angry,” the fantastic title track, and “Melodic Intercourse” which is an instrumental that builds from a jazzy jam to a full-on guitar-solo that would make Eddie Van Halen salivate.

“Under The Gun” is one of my favorites on the album. “I may be a sinner but you’re no saint / And now I see they’re one and the same  / They police and love to condescend  / Commit the crime then do it again”

Their epic closer to Lifeblood is the 9:15 long “Silent Lantern.”

If you enjoy music that makes you want to throw your head back and yell out a primal scream while shooting the horns up proudly, this album could be what you’ve been waiting for.

Check them out at
 - Sean Claes

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