Kidman J. Williams

Kidman Williams

Executive Publisher

Kidman J. Williams has been professionally writing for 15+ years now. He has written for many publications in a wide range of different mediums. Through his 20’s he was the frontman of the band Call to the Wise with a mild amount of success touring and making two albums.

Kidman also was in political radio and worked for the broadcasting giant WLS. He worked and learned a lot from the experience. He got to meet political conversation pieces like Todd Stroger, Blagoyavich, etc.

During this time he became burnt out on the high pressure and dishonesty of the broadcasting industry and left. He couldn’t take the constant and brutal dishonesty that came with political radio broadcasting.

With his illusions shattered, Kidman struck out with his writing again. Much like one of his writing influences (Lester Bangs) he found a kinship with music journalism. He has interviewed many from the industry like Hank Williams III (Hank3), Scott Ian and so many more.

He has covered many events like the porn convention, Exxxotica, concerts and sports; he has even done strip club reviews down in the Tampa area.

Now he has found a home and a true kinship with Gonzo Today and the high standard that comes with carrying the “Gonzo” name.

Kidman, “I have always been a political/social junkie of sorts. I always knew that I wanted to be in the political forum. WLS did nothing to curb my passion for it, but what they did do was ass-fuck the ideals that I carried for the genre. They showed me a dark seedy room with sawdust on the floor, bent me over callously and gave me a true knowledge of how dark politics can truly be!”

Album Review: Justin Townes Earle – Kids in the Street

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

Artist: Justin Townes Earl

Album: Kids in the Street

Label: New West

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Justin Townes Earle despite recording now for over a decade is not quite the household name that his famous father (Steve Earle) is. His new album Kids in the Street could just be the point of reckoning.

Earle has gotten a lot of publicity on this album, probably more than he ever has and with good reason.

Kids in the Street is a multi-level music smorgasbord of sound, emotions, and comic relief. Earle knows how to put perspective on the sometimes difficult situations of our lives with prophetic poetic prose.

The music itself is nothing that you haven’t heard in the almost 70 year collection of rock music. We have heard this blend of rock/folk/country/blues before, but not in the way that Earle opens up this can of down home black-eyed peas.

The most idiosyncratic part of this great body of work is the distinctive words and timbre of Earle.

The opening song on this album says it all. This is Earle’s answer to the dated “Pink Cadillac” as his object of lust rides by in an epic champagne colored Toyota Corolla in the appropriately titled, “Champagne Corolla.”

The song has that solid rock-n-roll beat accompanied by a horn section and an old school thump that your foot just can’t help but move to.

The fourth track “15-25” isn’t exactly what you might think. Earle cleverly points out those years with the idea of jail time while hitting you with a New Orleans blues sound that again forces you to jump up and shuffle.

The song is not about doing time in prison, it is about those crazy years. We all know them. When I was 15, I thought I knew exactly what the world was and how everything was going to work. Then I started learning just how life really was.

I lived a lot of life in those years, then 25 hit and I realized the party had to stop at some point and as Earle points out in the end of the song, “25 to life.”

There is a something for everyone on this great body of work. Earle explores his folk roots, old rock music, New Orleans swing blues, and even down home delta on the track “If I was the Devil.”

Kids in the Street is not just a country or folk album. This effort is what art should be and shows what music can really do for a persons’ soul. It has those great party songs, but is also the kind of album you take with you on a night drive after a huge argument with your significant other to just escape from it all.

Justin Townes Earle knows how to touch your heart and keep it dancing all through the night with a great bottle of wine.

Kids in the Street comes out May 26, 2017.

World Premiere of Billy Momo’s NEW MUSIC VIDEO

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

This is the world premiere of Billy Momo’s newest video and song, “Following Me Following You,” off of their third album “Seven Rivers Run Wild.” They may not be a household name, yet, but you may have heard their song “Wishing Ain’t No Sin,” that was featured in the trailer of the hit TV show “Better Call Saul” on AMC.

This seven piece out of Sweden has a unique sound that you will find hard to pinpoint. You can’t say that it is just rock music or folk. You can’t say it is blues or pop. The music of Billy Momo blurs the line of rock and vaudevillian slant.

This new offering from the Swedish seven is just as filled with talent, fun quirkiness, and a catchy and hypnotic beat.

The band said that “The song is our comment on the current state of the world, where increasing polarization makes people stop listening to one another. All different fractions cling to their own views of the world, never question themselves, but everyone else. Even a voice of reason will be misinterpreted and twisted into different meanings by different people. This is a very serioius matter, but in this video we have tried to illustrate the point with a sense of humor. Hope you enjoy it!”

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Ladies Night with Christian Zionists—NOW It Is A PARTY

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

January 26, 2017 was the day that over half the country and world finally took a notice and interest in politics. Everyone became a pseudo crusader for what they thought was right and wrong in this world.

Mad chaos ensued between every individual and group that you could think of. The feminists were fighting the male gender, Black Lives Matter was fighting with Blue Lives Matter, the LGBT were screaming at the Breeders and hicks, and everyone was fighting with the Alt-Right.

It was a circus that was keeping the main attraction hidden from everyone who bought a ticket. Much like in North Korea, we had no choice but to buy the ticket.

As I watched the King of the Oompa Loompas take the stage at noon to officially become our 45th President of these United States Continue reading

Sheryl Crow’s Newest Proves That Music Can Save You

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

Artist: Sheryl Crow

Album: Be Myself

Label: Warner Bros.

Rating: 4.4/5.0

 

Sheryl Crow’s first album “Tuesday Night Music Club” hit the scene in 1993 and since then she has earned herself nine Grammy Awards and sold more than 35 million albums all over the world, along with five of those albums breaking the platinum mark.

This future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer hasn’t done too bad for herself by just putting her real self out there album to album. Crow’s honesty has always been her drawing power. And let me tell you, she doesn’t disappoint on her newest effort “Be Myself,” due out April 21, 2017.

“So for the first time in my life, I made it a point to sit down and really listen to my old records.” Says Crow. “I’d drive my kids to school and play the old stuff as I came back home. That helped me remember what it felt like when I was just beginning as an artist.”

“But,” she clarifies, “it wasn’t about repeating myself. It was about revisiting where I came from and seeing where that would take me now.”

“Be Myself” has a welcoming throwback sound; the same sound that gave Crow the ability to speak to every fan on a personal and individual level while letting us know that she is just one of us with the same salient struggles that we all have to live with and endure.

She also reunited with producer, songwriter, musician and her partner on the early albums of her career.

“Musically, this record is about coming back together with Jeff Trott,” Crow said. “This past summer, because of what was going on in the world and particularly in the United States; I began to feel a sense of urgency about writing. So he came out from L.A. for a couple of days here, a couple of days there, and we turned out some good old-school Sheryl Crow tunes.”

Usually I wouldn’t start with the fourth track on an album, but in this case I will because the hit is not the most attractive thing on this album. The self-titled track and single “Be Myself” is a great catchy soundtrack song for this summer.

Trust me when I say there is nothing wrong with this anthem song declaring to the world that being yourself is the best self you can be. It just isn’t the finest work on this great album. And frankly, after we end up hearing it three times an hour on the radio for a whole summer, we are going to be begging for relief wishing that we were someone else.

“Love Will Save the Day” is the kind of song that saves people from themselves. We have all been there. Those times where everything is hopeless, despairing, and desperate. Whether it is a break-up, problems with your family, or maybe even your own anxieties crippling your life; this is the song you put on repeat in your dark room lit by one single candle while you fade out with your headphones on and forget about the world for a while.

Right from the opening of the song with that vinyl scratch embedded into the background of the song as the guitar gently holds you to its breast and tells you everything is alright while an angel resonates into your ears, “We get lost along the way. I know it hurts right now, but it will fade. Sometimes it is hard to find some light, with darkness on the left and on the right, believe me that love will save the day.”

The very funky second track, “Halfway There” is a whirlwind of sound with a message of compromise, something this world has forgotten how to do.

The song is jammed full of funky guitar riffs, grooving beat, and a guitar hook that seems to come in on the four count, giving it a unique movement. The lead guitar has a great break part that incorporates a nod to the psychedelic era of the late 60’s.

Crow nails it with “Be Myself.” She harnessed all of who she is, where she came from, while staying true to herself and above all, she is honest with her fans.

She gives you all of her fears, love, while being very topical, and most important, she leaves you with hope. No matter how dark things seem Crow makes sure that the listener understands that it will always get better. And she really knows how to have fun as well, as she explores all of the nooks and crannies of the human experience.

Sheryl Crow is out on tour right now. Click Here for more information.

Tracklisting:

  1. Alone in the Dark
  2. Halfway There
  3. Long Way Back
  4. Be Myself
  5. Roller Skate
  6. Love Will Save the Day
  7. Strangers Again
  8. Rest of Me
  9. Heartbeat Away
  10. Grow Up
  11. Woo Woo

Album Review: The Damn Truth’s Devilish Folk

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

Artist: The Damn Truth

Album: Devilish Folk

Label: Fineline Records/Warner

Rating: 4.7/5.0

I was 17 years old, my mind was altered to such a degree that I should have been put into a mental hospital after I decided it was a good idea to climb the balconies to the third floor apartment where the party was popping off; young, dumb, and ready to take on anyone.

There were about 40 pubescent wall-bangers packed into a 2 bedroom apartment, chock full of raging hormones that make teens even more disabled than they already are.

There was case after case of Mickey’s bigmouths, a collection of bottles piling up on the table and counters, and of course a fight at the door while the women were subsequently picking out the alpha male of their choice for the night, and The Damn Truth should have been the soundtrack for this level of irresponsibility.

The Damn Truth is the kind of band that you can not only party to, but you can sit at home and just take it all in with your best pair of headphones. They are the queens and kings of the subtle nuances in the music, seemingly taking lessons from Pink Floyd.

With Lee-La Baum on vocals and guitar, Tom Shemer (lead guitar), Dave Traina (drums), and PY Letellier (bass) they are the winning combination to a lock that we didn’t even know needed to be open.

The Damn Truth are Canada’s answer to the wildly predictable iTunes institution of cookie-cutter hit making.

The Damn Truth’s newest effort ‘Devilish Folk,’ released on Fineline Records/Warner Canada, is the kind of album that you can listen to all the way through, and there aren’t that many of those in the music industry anymore.

This is their sophomore effort to the critically acclaimed debut, ‘Dear in the Headlights.’

It is hard to pick out a highlight for this album when the whole album is one big highlight. The Damn Truth understand the formula to make you move, without actually sticking to any one formula.

On track 3, Plastic Flowers, they catch your attention immediately. Most of the rock songs you hear now hit you counting sheep 4 by 4 with their doldrum downbeat over and over until you fall asleep. This song hits you with a surprising 3 count and then Baum bombs you with her powerhouse vocal style that you feel down into your genitals.

The sixth track, “Heart is Cold” is the not so obvious single. It is a far cry from your predictable pop hit formula, but fully understands the vocal hook and ALWAYS important guitar hook from Shemer with an intensely groovy rhythm from Traina and Letellier.

This track slaps you with Baum’s grit and teeth-bearing style almost reminiscent of Janis Joplin, but I almost don’t want to make that comparison because it does a disservice to her and the band.

I would love to give you a rundown on all the tracks, but I have to keep this short. The sixth track on ‘Devilish Folk’ is “Alex.”

The song kind of switches gears with an angelic clean opening influenced by good ole delta blues. The song hits you with a very “star-crossed lovers” situation; bittersweet, loving, and forlorn.

Alex still gives the power of Baum’s vocals and lets it shine, but you can feel the sadness and grief while she bellows out the pain.

This Canadian foursome gives me hope that true music is not dead; that you don’t need a synth with pre-programmed drums and a basic cute face to sell records. The Damn Truth’s music has all the grit and dirty rhythms that made rock music great while still keeping a pop sensibility.

The Damn Truth express themselves with honesty in a world of devilish folks.

Interview With Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein

 

Interviewer: Kidman J. Williams

Illustration by: Joey Feldman

This is the second time that I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. And I do mean a pleasure. Doyle is nothing like his monstrous persona, he is simply the guy next door that you want to hang out and have a beer with or in his case, eat a bunch of peanuts and work out seven days a week with.

Frankenstein’s newest project simply called Doyle, has now come out with their sophomore album titled, “As We Die.” The album comes out on April 27th.

This modest monster and I got to sit and chat again about everything from the Misfits’ reunion, a possible Misfits album, our kids, and even the move to a new label.

Doyle Interview

 Kidman J. Williams:  So, it is a nice day in Florida.

Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein: I bet! (laughing)

Hell yeah! It is beautiful, once we got through the tornado weather last night.

Oh, sorry man.

Well, you know. It happens. I just wanted to say sorry. Not that you would remember me from an interview two years ago.

It is frightening, I’m horrible.

I just wanted to say sorry. You were very cool. You personally invited me to your show on Halloween and I just wanted to say sorry I couldn’t make it out. The show was on Halloween and I had to take my kid trick-or-treating, just wanted to say sorry.

Yeah, I miss all that stuff. When I’m out and doing my stuff. You’re lucky.

It was cool and now he is eight and he talks back and —

(Laughing) Yeah, wait four years and see what he says then.

I’m sure it can’t get better from here.

Now he’s got a opinion for everything.

So, how are you doing man?

I’m doing great man. Everything is feeling good man, bands doing good, the crowds are getting bigger and they are starting to sing all the words. Excited about the new release. So, pretty good.

I  haven’t had a chance to hear or review the new album yet.

Well, we are still working on it! We got to finish it by tomorrow, it comes out on the 27th. (laughing)

Oh, I didn’t realize you guys didn’t finish it yet.

Well, I just want it perfect. If it isn’t perfect I just won’t like it.

The last time we talked you did a self-release off of your label Monsterman.

Yeah.

What made you decide to release on a big label, EMP. What made you go with the big label this time?

Distribution, promotion, and the stuff that I just couldn’t afford this time. And they are very excited to have us.  They are also taking on Monsterman Records on as a partner. And sign other bands. So it is pretty cool.

Plus working with David Ellefson (Megadeth) who owns the label. I’ve known him for a long time. I brought him Abominator and he got back to us. I was like if you want us make an offer. He asked what do you want? I told him what we wanted and he was like “ok.”  I was like “Really?!?” (laughing)

NICE! Did you guys self-produce this one or did the label assign a producer for you this time?

Yeah. We recorded the stuff at the same time as Abominator. We had to do the drums over because we got a new drummer Brandon Pertzborn. It came out better, better performance.

Last time I did the guitar, drummer did the drums, Alex did the vocals in his underwear in his kitchen. It just came out better.

So, you just said that a lot of this came off from Abominator. Last time we had spoken you said that for Abominator you had written 40 songs, recorded 25, and then used only 18. So a lot of this album came from the other tracks from the Abominator sessions?

Umm, yeah. They were all written. We had to write 9 or 10 more. We — (incoherent mumbles)

What was that? It is really hard to hear you wherever you are.

Yeah. We are driving. We are driving through, I don’t even know where the fuck we are…umm, Nebraska.

Nebraska?!?

Where are you headed to?

Wisconsin…somewhere I’ve never heard of.

You took care of my next question, how did the signing come about. Now did you take a different approach with the writing of the new album “As We Die?”

Umm, no. We just do what we do. I don’t approach it with “I’m going to write a song like this or I’m going to write a song like that.” Whatever is comfortable for me to play I use it. If it is too hard I don’t use it. I don’t need to be standing out on stage having a panic attack because I don’t know what is supposed to be played next.

What can we expect on this new album? Are there any big surprises on this new album?

Yeah! We have some guests on this album. We have Randy from Lamb of God singing with Alex Story on one. Alisa Winkler and Michael from Arch Enemy on “Kiss Me As You Die.”

We got this new drummer who is fucking insane. He is just so good. Brandon Pertzborn was playing with Black Flag. Our drummer, he just had to go.

We met up with Brandon and we weren’t even going to rehearse with him. I was just like, let’s just do it. He got the stuff perfect in like two days.

Are things still as easy with the chemistry and writing between you and Alex as they were on Abominator?

Oh yeah. It is just so easy.

You had been playing with Danzig for years off and on, but how was the vibe when you ALL got together for the reunion shows?

It was really funny man. (laughs) It was good times man. We all laughed. I know it was an easy gig. It was fun.

I’m sure somebody had to have asked this. But, could we expect a new Misfits album in the near future?

That would be sick wouldn’t it?

It would be! It think a lot of fans would love to see it.

I think I would love it MORE than them.

I know we have some limited time. I figured though, since we have done the interview dance before we could do something a little different. So, we took the questions to the fans and asked them if there was anything they wanted to know. You ready for this?

Yeah, yeah!

We will start with Mike Vest asks, “Would you ever play on a Cancerslug album?”

Yes, absolutely. We already talked about that. Why wouldn’t I do that?

Now we have another one. He must be a really big fan of yours. We have Chas “Frankenstein” Riley. He wants to know… oh, this is a pretty good question. “What was the punk scene really like? I’ve always wanted to know from a musician who was around at the time.”

It was pretty crazy. The shows were pretty violent, rowdy, very cool man. I was pretty young then though.

How old were you then?

I did my first recording when I was 15.

Wow.  This is a weird one. Jesse Chapman wants to know, “How did you like your time managing Vampiro in WCW?”

Let me go on the record saying that wrestling is all absolutely real (laughs). It is really happening. It was all very violent. Getting hit with steel chairs.

Did you ever get hit with anything?

Oh fuck no (laughs)! I didn’t want to get fucking hurt bro.

(Laughs) John Burden wants to know, “Is the Devil-Lock real or just a hair extension?”

It is fucking real as Hell.

Right (laughs). Right! Like stupid bastard.

This is kind of a two parter. Octavious wants to know if you are a vegan?

I am.

You are?!? I didn’t even know that. And how much do you have to work out to keep the look?

I work out 7 days a week.

Do you find it harder to keep in shape now than say 10 years ago?

Of course it is what kind of question is that (laughs)? I’m 10 years older. Let me ask you.

I would say yes

Yes of course. I’ve been doing it for so long that it is just part of my job. Plus it makes me feel good. If I don’t do it, I don’t feel good.

(Laughs) I get it man. Even in my 30’s it is harder to stay in shape.

Yeah. And everything gets heavier every day (laughs).

(Laughs) You aren’t joking there. I know you guys are doing a lot of touring right now in the UK. Are you going to extend your touring in the US?

Yeah. We have some shows in June, I don’t have the list. I know we are also going to be doing South America and some more in the UK as well.

I like to usually end on this. Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans reading this?

Yeah, don’t steal music. Go to the shows.

Album Review: Blue Fruit Snacks

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

Band: Blue Fruit Snacks

Album: No Artificial Flavors

Label: Independent

Rating: 4.6/5.0

Take me to the beach with a nice bonfire, surfboard, and Blue Fruit Snacks, not the food, the band. This Island Rock band hails from landlocked St. Louis, MO, but don’t let the location fool you, they bring a beach paradise right into the heartland.

The band brings a unique stripped down sound with the very talented Ahna Schoenhoff on lead vocals that will take you back with a Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon) and Janis Joplin kind of an approach while Bongo Jak lays down the rhythm with the bongo drums. Get it? “Bongo” Jak? He also lends sounds from the tambourine, kazoos, and even pulls backing vocal duties, while Jesse Cruzen rounds out the rhythm section with his tasty bass licks.

BFS has been touring nationally now for 5+ years and has played well over 500 shows all over the US.

BFS’s album “No Artificial Flavors” is a high energy spirited race, with a sun to the horizon on a wind surfboard.

From the first few measures of the first track, “Good Pain” you are instantly hooked into the feeling of popping open a cool beer on a hot summer beach evening.

The tone of the album really doesn’t change from song to song on this album, but what it gives you is that “glad all over” feeling that you just need out of music sometimes. The song “Skinny Corn” is no different.

Despite the somewhat dismal lyrics it still contains a powerful message and infectious rhythm that your feet just can’t help but tap and stomp to.

The sixth track “I-YO” will leave you loving life. This song as Schoenhoff states in the beginning of the song “is a sing along.” If the catchy, simplistic sing-a-long lyrics don’t float your boat maybe the kazoo will catch your funny bone enough to hook you.

Some songs have a bit of a long intro, but that is something you should expect with a jam band. For example, “Walking with a Gun” has a two minute intro, but you almost don’t even notice it through the Spanish like chug that keeps you waiting for what’s next.

“No Artificial Flavors” is an album for all ages and all types of consumers. Much like Sublime, it doesn’t matter what genre you typically listen to, Blue Fruit Snacks brings a little something for every listener. They are just looking to show you a good time and they want you to get to the end of the album with nothing but a smile on your face.

Album Review: Bad Mimosas

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

Band: Bad Mimosas

Album: Demo Album

Label: None

Rating: 1.2/5.0

Bad Mimosas are…well…they are a…have you ever dealt with a person who was A.D.D.? If A.D.D is something you are born with, much like being homosexual. You are just born with it. But if a person could be virally infected with A.D.D., Bad Mimosas are the band to give it to you.

The only adjective in the Queen’s English that comes to mind while describing this band would be reprehensible.

They are an assault on the senses. Let me rephrase that. They are Germany starting war…nope. They are like Ethiopia starting a war against the rest of the world. At least Germany had a chance in WWII until the Russians thinned them out.

This New Orleans based band Bad Mimosas is comprised of guitarist Michael Colomb, Joe Dominick (drums), George Deane (bass guitar), and David Desroche (lead vocals). I understand that typically a writer would start with the vocalist in a list like this, well there is a good reason I ended it with him.

Desroche is the part of this band that allows people to immediately connect with them, but when you have a short curcuit in the wiring it causes a very negative shock to happen.

In the email I was sent a link to a live video from February 26 of this year that shows the band and Desroche as he plays with his hair, and gives his generic rockstar poses while still needing to read his own lyrics off of a music stand in his notebook, and filling his set with screeches and off key notes.

Desroche needs to spend more time on practice and professional vocal training and less time worrying about telling women he is in a band while smoking and drinking his brain cells into submission.

The tracks I was sent via a link to Bad Mimosas’ Soundcloud had six songs on it that sound like they were recorded with a cell phone in the middle of the room with a cheap recording app installed on it, but even in spite of the opprobrious recordings the idea came through just fine.

The music itself is not a bad showing of skills by a very green band. The band is proficient on their instruments, but lack the experience in recording and arrangements.

The music song to song leaves you feeling like you have heard three different songs in one track sometimes.

For example, “Down and Dirty” does this musical change at about a minute and a half that sounds like a completely different track entirely while Desroche mumbles his verse ruining the bit of vibe that the band tries to convey.

This is not a one time writing mistake. Almost all the tracks are arranged in this way leaving you like you have a bad case of A.D.D.

The fact is that Bad Mimosas have a lot of musical growing pains to go through before they think that they could ever get a record deal offered to them. They have yet to really find their own voice and sound that is unique to them. They just have to make sure that their own egos and stubborn nature that a lot of bands tend to have doesn’t get in their own way of honest growth and love for what they do.

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.

Music Review: Candy Cigarettes Self-Titled

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

This Portland, Oregon one-man band creates a sound that you would swear was being played by a six piece. Candy Cigarettes is headed by the highly talented singer/songwriter Lane Mueller and has earned a lot of praise and love in the highly proclaimed Portland music scene.

The music is everything that you would expect out of Portland. If you haven’t been to Portland well, get your flannel on, jump on the Max to Voodoo Donuts, get some coffee at Stumptown, and pop this album on the headphones and take the funky fortune 500 fast track into Candy Cigarettes’ world.

It isn’t normal to start off a review with the third track on this adventurous collection of work, but MY 45 is THE TRACK.

MY 45 is the obvious radio friendly hit. The song is so catchy that you are going to find your grandmother whistling it while she force feeds you liver-n-onions for dinner. Your Dad will even begrudgingly listen to it in the garage when nobody is around. Even that artless coxcomb “How Bou Dah” girl would bop her dimwitted head up and down on this infectious spellbinding track.

This track is not so candy sweet. When you listen to the lyrics it is about a guy who can’t be with the girl he wants. The song is like hiding a lemon inside an M&M and letting your friend eat it while everyone gets to laugh about it.

The chorus line:

“I want you, but I can’t have you. So I guess I’ll listen to my .45. And if she deceives me baby please leave me, I’ll find another way to die.”

If that gives you an idea?

The rest of the album is a sonic waterslide of adventure taking you through twists and turns that you may not have expected with your tube going so fast that you might go over the edge.

This collection of music is the real deal. Passion bred with true vision and art. Mueller catches your soul and flies you to a place of pure imagination.

Songs like MY 45, and the short but Beach Boys esque Sweet Love, all the way to the snappy The Party’s Almost Over; you will enjoy the unique and familiar sound that this self-titled album brings into your ear drums.