Month: January 2014

Band Of The Week: Open Hand

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Open Hand, formed in 1998, and has been a highly underrated yet powerful band throughout their career. Their influences are scattered through the genres of rock though most can be found in the  post – hardcore music of the late nineties. Over time, Open Hand has  constantly combined genres and grew musically. Both their albums “The Dream” (2000 / Trustkill Records) and “You and Me” (2005 / Trustkill Records… co-produced by Open Hand & Paul Malinowski of Shiner) made serious impacts in the underground scenes. Extensive touring turned the rest of the world on to their live experience. It looked as though Open Hand were poised to break through. The group released “Honey” in 2010 on Anodyne Records after years on Trustkill Records. The record was co-produced by Open Hand & Hum frontman Matt Talbot, incorporated new styles and arrangements. Due to the label folding during Honey’s release, proper touring was put on hold. The band during this time  went from being a 7-piece, complete with back-up singers and keyboards, to a commanding power trio. As this new 3 piece, Open Hand released a 10 minute track titled “Mark of the Demon” in 2011 that encapsulates what has become of Open Hand. Now in 2014 sees the band ready to unleash new songs . Currently in pre-production is the long awaited follow-up to “Honey” The band are gearing up to release their upcoming album titled “Weirdo”

I’ve had the opportunity to see them live recently and Open Hand packs one hell of a punch. The new songs are great and translate wonderfully live. As a 3 piece they really have a full lush sound that blends perfectly into one another.

https://www.facebook.com/OpenHandRocks

http://www.reverbnation.com/openhand

Open Hand is:

Justin Isham – vocals, guitar
Erik Valentine – bass, vocals
Ethan Novak – drums, vocals

Hard Night:

The Hand:

The Kaleidoscope:

By: Brian Lacy

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2 For Tuesday and Underrated and Influential: Dredg

Bug Eyes:

Sanzen:

Dredg are one of the most intriguing artistic bands that have come out in the last 15 years. Formed in the bay area in the mid 90’s, they found success as an independent band when they released their debut Leitmotif (their first concept record) in 1998. Shortly there after in 2001 Interscope records came calling and signed the band. El Cielo was released in 2002. The album was another concept record which was based upon sleep paralysis, a piece by Salvador Dali and was recorded mainly at Skywalker Ranch. Songs such as Sanzen, Same Ol Road, Triangle, and Sorry But It’s Over, really open your mind to a strange insightfulness. During that time Dredg toured with bands such as Deftones, Sparta, Glassjaw and Onesidezero. Their follow up Catch Without Arms was released  in 2005 and was produced by Terry Date (producer of Deftones, Pantera and many others). This album again had a concept about positives and negatives. Catch Without Arms featured some amazing songs that take you on a journey of heaviness and melody, all the while showcasing the tightness of the band. The songs Bug Eyes, Ode To The Sun, The Tanbark Is Hot Lava, and Jamais Vu really encapsulate the vibe of the concept. Not long after the cycle was complete, Dredg began working on their next album The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion another concept record based on an essay by Salman Rushdie. This record saw Dredg leave the major label machine of Interscope records. This record featured a more interstellar vibe all the while still rocking. Featuring the tracks Pariah, Lightswitch, Information, Savior and I Don’t Know all showcase why Dredg have never compromised their true nature of being artists. After a break Dredg returned to the studio to work on Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy. This album was a departure from their previous efforts and focused more on an electronic tinge. Dan The Automator was behind the boards for this one, and it shows. There are quite a few standouts on this album such as Another Tribe, Down Without A Fight and The Though Of Losing You. All in all Dredg has always stuck to their guns and stuck with their artistic integrity. The members also are quite remarkable, Gavin Hayes has a silky smooth voice that caresses the lyrics and melodies. Dino Campanella plays the drums with such force it’s almost like he has a dozen arms when he plays. Mark Engles has such a clean guitar tone that really compliments the songs beautifully. Drew Roulette drives the rhythm home with his mighty touch of the bass.

Dredg has influenced quite a few newer bands over the last 5 years. They are also a band that should’ve been a lot bigger than they are, if only the label they were on marketed them properly.

Here is a full show from 2007:

By: Brian Lacy

Band Of The Week: LIGHTSYSTEM

There must be something in the water in Los Angeles as of late. An influx of great bands have been coming out and revitalizing the artistic integrity of playing honest music that is self gratifying ,but also has the ability to connect with many others. Enter LIGHTSYSYTEM. Comprised of John Kyle (drums), Danny Byrne (Vocals/Guitar), and Jason Greenly (Bass), they have taken the atmospheric art rock sound to another level. There are pulsating drums, thumping bass and shoe gaze guitars that are reminiscent of Isis and My Bloody Valentine. Vocally and lyrically they almost connect automatically. The whimsical nature of the soundscapes pull you in deeper and deeper. Their album Lost Language which came out in 2013 is quite an epic. Songs such as Plurals, Time and Shape and Mirrors really drive in the notion of being epic. There is something to watch out for here. Lightsystem have what it takes to pull you out of the dark and expand your mind.

http://lightsystem.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lightsystem

http://www.lightsystem.us/

By: Brian Lacy