There are certain times in life when you hear a record that not only takes the artist to a whole other level it, resonates in a way that you begin to get swept away by the absolute force of its being. The evolution of Greg Puciato as a songwriter and artist has been quite the journey to hear and see. From The Dillinger Escape Plan to The Black Queen, Killer Be Killed and now as a solo artist as well, what a significant aspect and contribution to be proud of. On this new solo outing, Mirrorcell, not only is this the a natural follow up to his debut Child Soldier: Creator Of God but, it seems that there is a level of inspiration that took this one further.
“In This Hell You Find Yourself” kicks off this album and creates a tension that sets up an uneasiness and then it grabs you and never lets go as “Reality Spiral” starts to sink its claws in. As you listen, you start to hear where this album is coming from and the influence and inspiration that guided these songs. “No More Lives To Give” steps up the heaviness a bit and takes you on an introspective journey lyrically while musically you are hit with hard hitting riffs and melody that sticks with you. “Never Wanted That” (my favorite song on the album as of this writing) is the “Evacuation” of the record. The way this song hits you is astonishing. The bass driven opening again creates a tension that when the chorus of the song comes in, the crushing emotional weight hits you like a ton of bricks. The vulnerability on this song is absolutely powerful. “Lowered” is one of the tracks on the album that again, takes things to another level. The combination of Greg and guest vocalist Reba Meyers from Code Orange is a revelation. These two voices together make magic and when you hear them together, the chills you get from it, I’ll just leave it there. “We” is a track that has a bit of a Black Queen tinge to it but explores more of the new wave elements that are prevalent in their songs. “I, Eclipse” is another of my favorite songs on the album. The intensity of this song and where it’s placed really guides the last part of the album. There is something else about this song I can’t put into words quite yet that, when this song is played live, I’ll be able to explain further. “Rainbows Underground” is one hell of a stellar song and another one that shows the growth of Greg as a songwriter. Finishing off the album with “All Waves To Nothing” leave you not only wanting more but you are then compelled to start the album over. This track has moments that hark back to Greg’s time with The Dillinger Escape Plan but, in a way that feels natural and a bit different.
Throughout this album you are get to hear a whole other side of Greg Puciato. It’s a more cohesive album than his debut and this one seems to hit on a bit of a more personal streak. One of the revelatory aspects of the record is how talented of a guitarist Greg is. His riffs, solos, and playing is a story all on its own. Perhaps too, his time spent with Jerry Cantrell has rubbed off a bit, as there are plenty of ode’s to Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and other 90’s bands that have inspired Greg throughout the years. Another aspect of this album that deserves a ton of credit are the drums and playing by Chris Hornbrook. His ability to create memorable driving hits and rhythms helps propel these songs to that other level I was mentioning. Seriously, when you hear it all put together, you can hear why Chris and Greg as a duo are perfect for one another. Mirrorcell is not only one of those albums that you will be stuck on for a long time, you actually find yourself immersed in the album as a whole, just like it should. This album is a definite candidate for album of the year. Truly, each time I listen to this album I find something else to love about it. Greg put out one hell of an album with Mirrorcell and should be damn proud of it. I can’t wait to hear these songs live along with the ones from Child Soldier. I have a feeling the live show for this is going to be something special all on its own.
One of the most exciting new bands that I came across this past year is definitely Cowboy Destroy. They have this really cool garage rock meets indie rock sound with a tinge of punk rock a la the Riot Girl era. I’ve had the pleasure to see them live a couple times and even put them on one of our Cobalt Presents shows (which if you haven’t been to one, you should get your ass out to a show. It’s a total blast). Cowboy Destroy is one of those bands that combines all their influences and inspirations to create something that is passionate and believable. There is not one contrived element in this band. Their new single “Married Mercy” shows the diversity of the band. It’s a step into the evolution of a band growing and truly finding their own niche in the scene. When you see Cowboy Destroy is playing live near you, go see them!!!
One of my favorite releases of 2022 so far has come from the band Deaf Club. They have a ferocious and frantic energy that makes for some really killer heavy songs and a revitalization of sorts of what the “punk” genre should actually sound like. Recently, Deaf Club dropped a new EP called Bad Songs Forever. On this EP there is a track called “If You Eat A Rat, It Might Taste Good” that every time I hear it, I want to start a mosh pit. Deaf Club is the type of band that is carrying the flag at a time when society is on its last legs and a revolution is needed via music. Check out this killer track!
It was teased over the weekend and now it’s here… NEW MUSIC FROM THE MARS VOLTA! This is the band’s first new music to emerge online since their 2012 album “Noctourniquet.“ The song “Blacklight Shine” does seem to pick up where Noctourniquet left off. So for those of you wanting that follow up to Deloused, you’ll have to keep waiting. Either way, it’s nice to have The Mars Volta back who also just announced a 13 date Fall Tour this year as well.
The Mars Volta-Blacklight Shine:
The Mars Volta- Blacklight Shine (Official Video-Extended Version):
The Mars Volta 2022 Tour Dates:
09/23 Dallas, TX – The Factory in Deep Ellum 09/25 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle 09/27 Philadelphia, PA – The Metropolitan Opera House 09/29 New York, NY – Terminal 5 10/01 Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall at Fenway 10/03 Washington, DC – The Anthem 10/05 Toronto, ON – Massey Hall 10/06 Detroit, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre 10/08 Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom 10/11 Denver, CO – The Mission Ballroom 10/14 Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre 10/18 San Francisco, CA – The Warfield 10/21 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
I’ll admit, it’s been a minute since I’ve been excited by a new Russian Circles song. After their album Memorial, I kind of fell off on them a bit. Perhaps I was looking for more evolution from them or something else. Either way, my time away has made for this new track they released today be on repeat since I heard it. This is the Russian Circles I remember and liked. Great riffs and rhythms power this pummeling track. The song the released is called “Conduit” and it’s from their upcoming album, Gnosis out August 19 via Sargent House. If this is the direction Russian Circles is going with on their new album, I can tell you right now, it’s about to get very loud and awesome!
Covert Stations are back with their second cover off their upcoming series of covers from songs of the 70’s and 80’s. This classic by The Cult is forever one of the best songs to come out of the 80’s. And to this day when it’s played on the radio or when The Cult plays it live, it is still an anthem. This version by Covert Stations keeps it close to the original with a bit of a “chuggier/slightly heavier” guitar crunch and the soaring vocals of Craig Cirinelli takes it to the other level a cover should go.
Back before the world went into total chaos and lockdown and then some, there was a time when things were still “normal.” In 2019, when Baroness released their absolutely wonderful album Gold & Grey, they did a small concert in this really tiny club for Kerrang Magazine. The end result was beyond memorable. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve watched this show. The set list is amazing, the performances are out of this world and the older material with this lineup sounds better than it’s ever sounded. This performance solidifies Baroness not only as a force to be reckoned with live but also shows that they truly know how to make a show and set list flow in such a way that you not only are captivated but a bit hypnotized as well. I can’t wait for the next Baroness album! I have a feeling it’s going to be something to really be excited about.
Baroness- Live in the K Pit:
Set List: 01) Morningstar 02) Seasons 03) March To The Sea 04) Borderlines 05) Can Oscura 06) A Horse Called Golgotha 07) Shock Me
When the news first broke that Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle/Ashes Divide was going to put out a solo album under his name, I became very intrigued. While reading about the making of the album, there was a quote of Billy’s that really stood out to me, “”This is me stepping back into my early teen self and making the record I would’ve made if I had the means and the knowledge when I first picked up a guitar — just in 2022.” I couldn’t love that statement more. I love that he went back to the well of what first really got his passion of music going and created an album that pays homage to those musical influences and inspirations but this record is one that can stand on it’s own during a resurgence of that sound.
What Normal Was is ten songs of goth tinged, dark pop, with melancholic tendencies and a sense of ambience that is both haunting and beautiful. Digging into his love for bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode and Siouxie and the Banshee’s, you can hear those bands in certain moments wheteher it’s a synth, vocal melody, bass line, guitar part or even a drum beat. But this isn’t a “copy” of those bands. Instead this is Billy making the album that he grew up wanting to make. I have a strange thing about wanting to go track by track as I feel like it gives the listener a preconceived notion but I do want to highlight a couple tracks. Opener “Selfish Heart” is one hell of a track to kick off the record. The vocal delivery on this song is superb. As the album continues tracks like “Free and Weightless,” “Ani,” “Beautiful Mistake,” “Poison Flowers,” and “Bring Honor Back Home” have all been standouts each time I listen. Closing song “Stars” is quite the contemplative track and one that gives the album an open ending to continue on this path at a later date.
What Normal Was is the type of album in 2022 that is not only needed but it’s a teaching tool for all these younger bands and “kids” who don’t quite understand how to make this type of music. The homage portion of the album and the desire to create something that you’ve always dreamed of makes this album work. It’s not just Billy stepping out of the shadow of Maynard and A Perfect Circle, this is Billy discovering who he is as a musician and songwriter. What Normal Was is a record that will grow on you after a few listens. There’s even a part of it that will make you want to seek out the bands and albums that helped to inspire this record. Personally, I can’t wait to hear what Billy Howerdel does next in his musical evolution.
I love when bands reunite for the right reasons. You can often tell when a band gets back together it’s for reasons that has nothing to really do with the music or passion. That’s not the case for Venice, California natives Cycotic Youth. After being away for almost 30 years, the legendary DogTown Thrash Punk Rockers are back with a new attitude and an album of songs that will absolutely pummel you. Since they announced their return, Cycotic Youth has been ripping up stages any chance they get, reminding everyone that not only are they back but they are taking no prisoners along the way. Their new album CYCO UP, which was produced and recorded by Terror’s Nick Jett, will be out in July. In the mean time, CY have released two banging singles/videos in “Cycofied” and new single “Cyco Up.” Both videos were directed and edited by the bands new guitarist Nick Garcia. These videos give you a little glimpse into the life of CY and where they come from. The lineup consists of OG members Jason Brown (vocals) and Mikey Beato (bass/vocals) is rounded out by Nick Garcia (guitar) and Billy Greenwood (drums) new comers but, not new to the DogTown scene. Cycotic Youth are back with one hell of a vengeance and I highly recommend you take the time to check them out!
A friend of mine recently got into Baroness and ever since he told me that, I went back down the rabbit hole of Baroness and found a slew of alternate versions, acoustic renditions and live versions of some of my favorite songs in the bands catalog. Baroness’s last album Gold and Grey features some of my now all time favorite Baroness songs as well as my favorite lineup of the band. One song in particular that always gets me when I have Gold and Grey on is “Tourniquet.” There is something so gripping about this song. It’s delicate, powerful and one hell of a well written song. Plus the addition of Gina Gleason to the band really has taken Baroness to a whole level of writing and performance. Check out this killer version the band did during the quarantine of “Tourniquet.” It’s quite fantastic!