MUSIC

Flogging Molly Kicking Off Summer Tour

 

– A Gonzo Today Report

Flogging Molly kicked off their summer US tour today in Las Vegas. The seven piece Irish Punk band has been on the scene since 1997 and even earlier if you count their early days playing at Molly Malone’s.

On St Paddy’s Day they will be playing in Inglewood, CA at The Forum with special guests, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Mariachi El Bronx.

Flogging Molly hasn’t put out an album since Speed of Darkness in 2011. We here are hoping that this is a tour that could spark some brand new material from the Irish punkers.

If you haven’t seen Flogging Molly before with their mix of traditional Irish and punk rock this is your opportunity.

Follow this link to see when they are coming to a town near you.

Album Review: Blacktop Mojo’s Burn the Ships

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

 

Band: Blacktop Mojo

Album: Burn the Ships

Label: Cuhmon Records (Self-owned Indie)

Rating: 4.7/5

 

Twenty-two years old, recklessly driving at 90 mph in an ’87 Ford Bronco with a .351 small block blasting by cars on the decline of the Smokey Mountains – Chicago to Tampa in 16 hours. Only fueled by nicotine and heavy doses of caffeine pills equipped with a hangover from my good-bye celebration from the night before.

That is Blacktop Mojo’s sophomore album “Burn the Ships.” It is a hard rocking tromp through the Everglades while making love with a trashy southern belle.

Blacktop Mojo has spent their time opening up for acts like Bon Jovi, Aaron Lewis, Drowning Pool, and Puddle of Mudd; just to name a few.

Back in July of this year Blacktop Mojo decided to go for broke with recording “Burn the Ships” and went down to record at two of the most famous and legendary recording studios that this country has to offer. They took their talents to the Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville where Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kenny Chesney recorded. That is just a few of the Grammy winners that have recorded there.

Along with their producer Philip Mosley they brought on a co-producer by the name of Jimmy Johnson of the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios along with long time sound engineer Steve Melton (The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd).

With these combinations, could they really go wrong?

“Burn the Ships” opens up a can of redneck whoop ass and then celebrates by head-banging over your bloody battered body with its opening song “8000 Lines.” The song lets you know who is boss right from the beginning and tells you that this is much more than just another metal band.

If you are looking for generic mall metal with simplistic chunky guitar down-strokes go download some Asking Alexandria. Blacktop Mojo brings a real musicianship and soul that you just don’t get to see much anymore in the download era where studios are just looking for snappy hit after hit.

The fourth track “Dog On A Leash” grabs you with its pseudo delta blues opening only to slap you with hard hitting metal rhythms while declaring independence. Something we can all relate to.

The 5th track on this album was an ambitious cover. When bands do covers they tend to go down faster than the Titanic. Not the movie where Kate let Leo die despite there being enough room on that hunk of wood, that took forever. I’m talking real life.

Blacktop Mojo covered Aerosmith’s prodigious song “Dream On.” We have all seen cover song crashes – Madonna doing “American Pie?”

Blacktop Mojo’s rendition of “Dream On” however, stands at full glory. Though the band didn’t change much of the song, they kept pretty traditional. What they did bring to the legendary song is their undeniable stamp. The singer didn’t try to be Steven Tyler, but let me tell you…when you hear the grungy soulful vocals from Matt James it adds a new dimension and then he delivers on the high notes dropping you down the basement steps. Saying that it “floors you” isn’t enough. It kicks you in the head down the basement steps.

Matt James (Vocals), Nathan Gillis (Drums), Ryan Kiefer (Lead Guitar), Kenneth Irwin (Rhythm Guitar), and Matt Curtis (Bass) bring a combination of musical melody and southern stomp that I haven’t heard in quite a long while.

It is like the old Lynyrd Skynyrd story where Ronnie Van Zant knocked out the piano players teeth in the studio. The music is just that. It is that rough southern soul with a harder rock and metal sound that you have to beat your chest to, but then can show you what the heart is all about with songs like “Prodigal” and can even give you a chill in your soul with the song “Underneath.”

Burn the Ships is a body of material that you can listen to from start to finish. It explores every part of the human condition and takes you on a very personal journey of your own. It almost hurts me to not give it a 5/5, but I have to be objective. Everyone will get something different out of this album, but you will get something out of it and that is the point of music.

Album Review: Goth Brooks’ Moonshine and Mascara

 

by: Doc Jeffurious Higgason

 

Band: Goth Brooks

Album: Moonshine and Mascara

Label: Unsigned

Rating: 2 or 3 or 4 outta 5 (I hate this rating crap.)

 

The complicated aspect of how things change over time are sometimes only realized when expressed in the simplest of truths.

About ten years ago on the 4th of July I was visiting the town where I grew up in the rural parts of Southern Illinois. We were there to catch some fireworks at the park and to eat one of those funnel cakes.

Obviously because I had been gone for a couple years I came back to a town a bit different but in wide reaching corners. As my wife and I pushed our way through the crowd we ran into Tim Stine, an old pal of mine from high school. As he and I were pouring over the details of what we were currently doing for work, we started talking about the shifting culture of the town. He said something along the lines of “Yeah, it’s weird to come out here and see all the Goth girls hitting on the Rednecks.” The juxtaposition of both those elements made me laugh out loud and the point was rigidly driven home. Little did I know there were weirder times ahead for our muddled refinements. Alan Jackson replacing Robert Smith in The Cure fell to the bottom of my expectations list and time went on. But…I had most arrogantly forgotten about the notion of ‘Rap-Metal/Rock’, a major mistake on my part. The reward for my oversight came recently in the form of ‘Moonshine and Mascara’, the debut album by the industrial-country band ‘Goth Brooks’.

This offering right out the gate (YEE HAW!) is as upsetting, beguiling and lovely as a herd of drunk and horny cattle making their way into the mosh pit at a Marilyn Manson concert. Springing from the darkest home on the range…eh hmm! Phoenix Arizona. This mash up band consists of Mike Lee on country vocals, “Werm” Jonah Foree screaming out the gloom and “3pac” Xian Austin holding them all together with some tasty danceable drums. They have dared to answer my deepest, darkest question of “What if?” When I was first handed this assignment by Mr. Kidman at ‘Gonzo Today’ I really wanted to hate it and in ways I suppose I do. The nature of a true Gen X old fart is to apply skepticism first as your main filter to reality. (We’re not impressed.) But we are also known to recognize originality and tongue-in-cheek wit. Who remembers that first smile you got when listening to ‘GWAR’ or ‘Green Jello’ or ‘Ace of Base’? Exactly, maintain an open mind.

The whole trouble kicks off with the majestic cadences of ‘Motherf**kers From Hell’. It reminded slightly of an anthem for a bad guy wrestler walking into the ring during a three dollar match. You can almost smell the odor of vinyl mats and a blend of armpit odor. A real victory jaunt across the landscape of pain and torture, all to sampled bits of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s ‘Fishing In The Dark’. It embraces thematic elements of what it’s like to have the darkened heart of a cowhand who really doesn’t give a “toss”.

“Ghost riding, gun fighting, cattle driving, motherf**kers from hell.”

The poignant stories told during ‘Achy Breaky Twerkin’ relate to the listener the struggles of stripping for cash in provincial America. “Mullets just don’t age like wine.” If you have never sat in attendance in a dive “bikini bar” called ‘The School House’ located in a town of less than fifty people or travelled over to the local Elk’s Club to catch the “Man Muffins Revue”, you’ll never get it.

The strongest point of the whole album is the third track ‘She Thinks My Hearse Is Sexy’. Within this song there are artfully assembled pieces of Ennio Morricone, floating ghosts of the Revolting Cocks and greasy slabs of neo-country beefcake Tim McGraw. The simple repetitiveness can make you understand why this track would be a favorite for the gloriously unwashed and their grease painted counterparts in the haze of a small town bar. Hopefully it lands on the radio in full saturated rotation because this is what we truly deserve in this moment of human existence. Something to truly reflect the confusion of living within this current multiverse reality but, you know, a toe tapper? Have we truly taken music to it most outer limits? Will it begin to go backwards now? Upon further reflection could ‘Goth Brooks’ be the very pinnacle of musical achievement?

In fact all of these songs qualify for the playlist for all strip clubs. Not only do they qualify I think they should be mandatory. It also qualifies to go good with bong time with your friends. It truly is dark fun. When asked I would say this epic first release is truly original. In that, I have listened to it several times rocked my ass off and enjoyed some sinister giggles. But I still really don’t know if I should be laughing. Which is the true beauty of it. Perhaps, these guys will prove that at the absolute limits of the progression of music instead of rolling backwards we can always shift sideways. No one ever said it was supposed to be a straight line anyway.