Category: Rock

2020 has been a taxing ride for Australian born, platinum-selling artist Orianthi. Used to a heavy touring schedule that takes her right around the world like the rest of us 2020 has seen her stuck at home because of the worldwide pandemic.

“It has been pretty difficult, I am not going to lie,” says the gifted guitarist and singer as we sit down to talk about her first studio album in seven years. “Emotionally it has been pretty taxing. I really want to be able to see my family and friends and even over here (in the US) I haven’t been able to see that many people. It has got pretty bad out here in LA, we must be heading for another lockdown.”

The one saving grace for Orianthi in this tumultuous year has been the release of her new album O earlier this month. “I have been keeping to just seeing a small circle of people and have been doing a lot of press for my album,” she explains. “It is kind of crazy releasing an album during a pandemic but hopefully a lot of people will be helped by the album and entertained by it. But I really can’t wait for the word to get better again so we can begin to tour again… that would be awesome.”

The great news for Orianthi was that she was one of the lucky artists that didn’t have to find a way to record her album during the pandemic. “The album was actually finished a year ago,” she says as we talk about other artists who have had to face the recording in a pandemic hurdle. “We recorded it in Nashville with producer Marti Frederiksen who has worked with everybody including Aerosmith, Faith Hill, Buckcherry. He has done so much great stuff and he has been a friend of mine since I was 20 years old.”

“I went to Nashville and started to talk to Marti and he was like ‘let’s make a record’,” she says with a laugh. “So I was like ‘awesome’ and we went straight in and we didn’t over think it or anything, we just had so much fun. And you know what, one of the weirdest things was that one of the first songs we recorded was the track called ‘Contagious’ and we wrote that a year ago. For awhile we thought that would be the first single and I was like ‘no we can’t do that, that would be so wrong’. So instead we put out ‘Sinners Hymn’ and then ‘Impulsive’. But it has been pretty crazy because as you would know musicians are very reliant on touring and that’s how artists make money because records are basically free for everybody and touring is the way you get your music out there. That is why I make a record, because I want to tour it.”

O is out now through Frontiers.

At times over the years it has felt like the compilation album is dead and buried. I still remember those days of buying the latest music magazine and then having to get past that sticky stuff (what the hell was that?) to get my prized sampler of new music off the front of the cover.

Well Australia’s very own Rue Morgue Records has brought the compilation album back as they deliver Murder In The Rue Morgue Vol 1 that delivers a killer lot of music from the likes of artists like Fierce Diety, Dan Brittain and Espionage. Another band on the album are hard rock outfit The Vendettas and I recently caught up with them to chat about their track that can be found on the compilation.

“We’ve been together now for about fifteen years,” says vocalist Steve Redden as we start to delve a little into the history of The Vendettas. “Band members have come in and out over that time but Jared the guitarist and myself have been writing together for about 10 years now. In that time we have also released two full length albums and an EP as well and the track that you will hear on Murder In The Rue Morgue is off our third album that we have recorded.”

It is that third album that has led to the relationship forming between the band and Rue Morgue Records. “We had just finished the album back in 2018,” explains Steve. “We had released our other two albums independently but this time we felt that the songs had a little bit more of a commercial sound to them so we wanted to get some help from some labels and some publishing licensing and stuff like that so we sent it out to John (the owner of Rue Morgue) and he listened to it the next day and he was emailing us back after he listened to each song saying how much he liked it. He had a relationship with Golden Robot Records so passed it onto them.”

From there the vinyl relationship that The Vendettas have with Rue Morgue Records has grown and grown to the point where their single “Face To Face” can now be found on Murder In The Rue Morgue Vol 1.

“So we picked the first track on the album, “Face To Face,” says Steve with a laugh. “I think that resinated with John in the very early days because that was the one song that he told us that he wanted for the compilation… he let us know that before we even discussed it.”

“It is a bit of different track for us,” he goes on to explain. “Previously the rock songs that we used to do were punchy and straight from the beginning to end but this one has got a nice long intro. It actually builds for like a minute and a half before any of the vocals even come in. We now like to open with the tracks as well because you can feel the vibe of the rock because the guitar starts and then the bass comes in underneath it and then you have the drums build on the toms and it is just something that you do sometimes think whether or not an audience will sit there for a minute or a half but it does work.”

I finish off the interview by asking Steve how important compilations and labels like Rue Morgue are in the current musical environment. “People like John are so important to the scene,” says Steve with admiration in his voice. “Trying to promote your own band is a tough thing to do and I have been saying to a few people lately that there are two parts to the Melbourne live music scene. There is the rock scene and then there is the rock family. I think it is so important to build that family side of things, so if John ever needs anything from us we will do it no worries because of what he has done for us and vice versa. That’s why I think that having bands on a compilation like this you do feel that sense of family because we are all promoting this together and then we started promoting each other’s shows and each other’s singles and I think that is really important.”

Murders In The Rue Morgue Vol 1 is out now.

Artist: Elephant Gun

Album: Now To Survive

Date Of Release: 20th November, 2020

Label: Dinner For Wolves

Track Listing:

  1. Kill Street Blues
  2. Devil On The Dawn
  3. Now To Survive
  4. Mexicana
  5. Surrounded
  6. Caeser
  7. She
  8. In The Light
  9. Handspan
  10. In Hell
  11. Titanic

Review:

There are just some bands that really take you back to a time and place whenever you hear them. Yes, I am going to sound like an old codger when I say this but one listen to the brand new Elephant Gun album and I was transported back to my uni days. Back to a very well spent youth that saw me in live music venues every Friday and Saturday night eager to hear bands like Magic Dirt, The Mark Of Cain and Spiderbait plying their wares. And while Elephant Gun perhaps never reached the lofty heights of the others they were certainly a favourite with the other reprobates that I called friends during my tertiary education.

Flash forward 20 years and Elephant Gun have just dropped a brand new album… an album that thankfully doesn’t change too much from what they were doing two decades ago… and an album I should say that is one of the best damn alternative rock albums you will hear this year.

So many of the bands that I listened to back then have returned over the years and many have made one simple mistake – they try so hard to be ‘new’ that they forget the sound that made people fall in love with them so many years before. Luckily, Elephant Gun haven’t made that mistake. Take one listen to the opening track on Now To Survive, the terrific “Kill Street Blues”, and you straight away hear a familiar alternative rock sound that takes you back to those late 90s live venues in St Kilda and Fitzroy.

If anything has changed it is the fact that Elephant Gun have musically become more mature and seem to be a little bit braver with some of the choices they make. From the haunting opening of “Devil On The Dawn” through to the smooth hard rock sound of “Handspan” there is a feeling though that this is a band that have found their sound and want to share it with the fans that have missed them so much.

The catchiness of tracks like “Surrounded” and “Titanic” certainly doesn’t take anything away from the rawness of Elephant Gun… in fact the band sounds heavier and harder than ever. Then there are “Mexicana,” “Caesar” and “In The Light” that are so raw that you would swear that they were recorded live.

There are two gems on this album though that make the record something really special. First off there is the sensational “She” that showcases the amazing guitar work of Michael Barrett and Todd Angus while Angus’ vocals seem to take the song to a whole new level. Then there is the amazing guitar driven “In Hell” that shows that there is still a place for old school alternative rock in 2020.

Now To Survive isn’t a band trying to re-live their glory days, this is an album that show that Elephant Gun are just as relevant today than they ever were. This is a stunning album that shows for this band the best may still be yet to come.

Rating (out of 5):

It is hard to believe that hard rockers The Casanovas have been rocking the fairy city of Melbourne for over a decade now. Now with their new album Reptilian Overlord out there for all to hear the band have delivered another surprise – the title track from the album as a single.

“It is probably the heaviest track on the album,” says Casanovas guitarist Tommy Boyce as we talk about the single. “A lot of the album is hard rock and heavy metal but that one is much more Black Sabbath/Metallica like. It is a bit heavier than the other tracks but that certainly doesn’t mean the rest of the album is lightweight by any stretch of the imagination.

That leads me to ask about the old school raw sound that is very present with the single as well. “I guess it is,” says Boyce after thinking for a moment. “I mean my equipment is all very much old school. I have all this vintage gear and we recorded with Mark Opitz who is an old school AC/DC and Rose Tattoo style producer so that is the kind of vibe that we go for generally. That’s not because I want to be retro that is just the sound that I like.

And if you are wondering where the theme found throughout the single came from, well you can blame Youtube for that. “I got stuck down a rabbit hole of David Icke videos,” says Boyce laughing. “It is not something that I would subscribe to and whether or not you believe his idea that there is some kind of reptilian elite that rules the world from behind the scenes it makes for a good story regardless. That was the inspiration behind the song!”

Reptilian Overlord is out now through Rubber Records.

 

As Tumbleweed get set to approach their 30th anniversary in 2021, they return with a new single, ‘Shadowland‘ in 2020, the first new music from the band since 2013’s comeback album ‘Sounds From The Other Side’.

It was 2010 that saw the original five members of the group (Richie Lewis, Lenny Curley, Paul Hausmeister, Jay Curley and Steve O’Brien) reform for the first time in well over a decade to play a run of shows including Homebake and the Big Day Out. They followed up the live experience by getting back to the studio to write and record what would be Tumbleweed’s fifth album.

The album had followed a productive run in the nineties that included two ep’s (Theatre Of Gnomes & Weedseed) alongside the albums Tumbleweed and Galactaphonic before O’Brien and Hausmeister departed the band. Things continued on during the late nineties with the release of the albums Return To Earth and Mumbo Jumbo before the band faded out in 2000.

It was a chance meeting in 2009 between Hausmeister and Lewis that sparked the classic line up reformation and gave the band a new lease on life. Following on from the reformation tours and festivals as well as the release of Sounds From The Other Side, the band were back in full swing before the sudden passing of bass player Jay Curley in 2014 put things on hold once more.

There was uncertainty if the band would return to the stage or studio again but when they decided to get in the jam room with Jamie Cleaves on bass (who had grown up inspired by and was a long time friend of Jay’s), the time felt right to for Tumbleweed to once again return.

Following their own tours and a spot on the national touring festival Day On The Green, the band started writing a bunch of fresh tunes and were ready to get back in the studio. Enter Australian music legend Rob Younger, the frontman of Radio Birdman and The New Christs who also has a huge list of production credits from Died Pretty to The Stems and plenty of others in between.

A conversation between Richie and Steve in early 2020 led to them asking Younger if he’d be interested in producing their new music.
“I was always a big fan of Rob Younger’s work as a singer and as a producer and always wanted to work with him, when we had the idea to record a string of 45’s, we really wanted Rob to produce, considering he was responsible for producing most of our favourite Australian singles. We live in the same town, we have shared band members and crossed paths for the past 25 years but we have never worked together.” states Richie.

Rob was into the idea and before long they were in the studio, the first taste of those sessions is the new single ‘Shadowland’“We surrendered to the process, we listened to his guidance, we learned a lot. We’ve all got a lot of respect for Rob Younger, we wanted to impress him, he brought the best out in us,” Richie says of the experience working with Rob.

A classic sounding Tumbleweed song that has been refined by Rob’s production, it also pushes Richie’s vocals to territories previously not really explored and questions the strange times we live in. “Shadowland is about the uncertainty of the future, these are strange times, dangerous and divisive times. When the truth is not believed, there is little you can trust or count on,” is how Richie describes the content behind the new single.

Tumbleweed’s new single ‘Shadowland’ is out now via Farmer & The Owl/BMG.
Listen here.

The single will feature as a double A side 7” with the next single Rebellion out November 27th.

 

To any heavy music fan the name Phil Campbell should need no introduction. He rose to recognition with the almighty Motorhead before in 2017 teaming up with his sons and frontman Neil Starr to form Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons. November 13th will see the release of the band’s second album We’re The Bastards so we thought it was time to sit down and have a chat with him.

“I’m over the moon with it,” says Campbell laughing as I congratulate him on the album. “I am really pleased with it and I can’t wait until it is released next month so that everybody will get a chance to hear it.”

That leads me to ask him whether or not after all these years in the industry whether he still gets nervous when he has a new album coming out or whether excitement chases away the nerves. “I am certainly very excited about this one,” he says without even a beat. “I know it is a belter. It has thirteen new songs on it and it has the hugest, biggest production on it. There are great performances on it and great melodies so I am not nervous about it at all. All I really want to do is tour!”

“So far we have had really good responses from those that have heard it,” he goes on to say. “And you’re another one. But yeah last year we decided that we were going to put out an album for the end of 2020. So in January we got together in our studio and we had recorded some sound check ideas last year so we made them into some songs and then Todd turned up with five or six or seven songs so we put them all down. Then I had some songs and everybody had different ideas so basically by the end of February we were all rehearsed up and the songs were all in shape.”

Of course though best laid plans do to go pieces when a pandemic hits and for Campbell it was no different. “Then we had the major lockdown and all hell broke loose in March. Luckily we have our own studio though that Todd runs so we just put together the album there. One or two of us would go in with Todd at a time. We were all socially distanced there because we were in different rooms. We were in no rush to get it done… so that was how we put the album together.”

 

You can listen to the full audio interview with Phil Campbell below and We’re The Bastards will be available on November 13th through Nuclear Blast Records.

 

 

Scandinavia heads down under as Silverback Touring bring you two of Sweden’s finest Hard Rock exports H.E.A.T and CRAZY LIXX. This will be the first Australian Tour for both bands and the action takes place in April / May 2021.

Over the last several years H.E.A.T have established themselves as one of the leading bands in the melodic rock scene, both in their homeland Sweden and internationally. They have toured and performed front of thousands and thousands of fans around the world.

In April 2008, their self-titled debut album was released and became a massive vitamin injection for the genre and instantly received accolades from both fans and critics worldwide. The release was followed up by immense touring and H.E.A.T played with bands such as Alice CooperThin Lizzy and on big festivals like Sweden Rock.

Since that time H.E.A.T have released a further 5 studio albums that latest being this years H.E.A.T II and have established themselves as a major force in the hard rock world.

oining H.E.A.T are fellow Swedes CRAZY LIXXCRAZY LIXX carry the torch of Rock ‘n’ Roll with pride with their brand of Hard Rock and Hair Metal. Since their album debut in 2007, the band has been enthralling crowds with their unique brand of 80’s Hard Rock and stellar live show.

Their latest album Forever Wild is another sleaze metal gem that harkens back to the best of ‘80s rock, while also keeping a foot planted in the 21st century. Forever Wild further cements CRAZY LIXX as one of the leaders of the Scandinavian led ‘80s hard rock revival.

Rendering the pure nostalgia of 80’s Arena Hard Rock and ‘The New Wave of Swedish Sleaze’ CRAZY LIXX come packed with impressive guitar solos, memorable hooks, catchy choruses, big drums and genre defining riffs.

H.E.A.T and CRAZY LIXX 2021 Australian Tour Dates:

Thursday 29th April – Sydney, Manning Bar

Friday 30th April – Brisbane, The Zoo

Saturday 1st May – Melbourne, The Prince

Sunday 2nd May – Adelaide, The Gov

 

Tickets on sale now from:

https://www.silverbacktouring.com.au/heat-australian-tour-2021/

Artist: Marilyn Manson

Album: We Are Chaos

Date Of Release: 12th September 2020

Label: Loma Vista Recordings

 

Track Listing:

1. Red Black And Blue

2. We Are Chaos

3. Don’t Chase The Dead

4. Paint You With My Love

5. Half-Way One Step Forward

6. Infinite Darkness

7. Perfume

8. Keep My Head Together

9. Solve Coagula

10. Broken Needle

 

Review:

I still remember the first time I ever heard Marilyn Manson. While at High School a friend slipped me a mixed tape that contained a couple of Manson’s tracks. One was “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” and suddenly I had discovered another artist that seemed to be turning my diary entries into music.

Of course like all Manson fans I weathered the storm of the whole ‘he’s not really heavy… you shouldn’t be listening to him’ crap and to this day I still believe that Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death) is one of the greatest alternative albums ever made and I even have a soft spot for his more commercial The Golden Age of Grotesque.

Now comes Manson’s new album We Are Chaos and yes it seems even twenty-five years down the track Manson is still an artist that knows how to capture the mood of the world in an album. This isn’t just an album to listen to in 2020 this is the freakin’ soundtrack of 2020.

The album overcomes a fairly strange pre-amble (it is Manson so what do you expect) to fall straight into “Red Black And Blue” which captures the traditional Manson sound so well. From there Manson goes into “We Are Chaos” – a track that captures the mood and emotions of 2020 in a way that no other track has. He repeats that formula with “Broken Needle” which also serves to be the perfect closer for a deeply emotional and moody album.

As an album We Are Chaos makes a lot of twists and turns. “Don’t Chase The Dead” is pure old school Manson while “Perfume” is a creative despite its catchiness. “Keep My Head Together” captures more of an alternative rock vibe while the thought provoking “Infinite Darkness” has you seriously thinking about the line ‘you are dead longer than you are alive.’

There are some truly amazing tracks on the album as well though. “Paint You With My Love” sees Manson push his vocal boundaries and reach some amazing new heights and the beautiful instrumental sounds on “Half-Way One Step Forward” conjure up sounds normally only heard on folk metal albums. Then there is “Solve Coagula” which is clearly the best track on the album. Moody, blues like guitar mixed with Manson doing what he does best and capturing the inner thoughts of the disenchanted. ‘I’m not special, I’m just broken and don’t want to be fixed’ may well be some of the best written lyrics of this year.

Somebody had to step up and capture 2020 on an album and turns out that person was Marilyn Manson. Twenty-five years into his career and Manson once again shows why he deserves to be mentioned alongside artists like David Bowie and Iggy Pop for his creativity and the ability to capture the mood of his fans.

 

Rating (out of 5):