Heavy music is my bread and butter. I can’t get enough of it. Doesn’t matter the genre or sub-genre, I dig it. Recently I came across a band that will be playing with Helms Alee at their upcoming Los Angeles show. This band is Andraus and they are fantastic. As a two piece of just drums and guitars, holy wow! When I was looking into the band more I read their bio and I have to agree with what they said the band sounds like. “If the Van Halen brothers grew up listening to Metallica, the Melvins, and, well, Van Halen, you have the sound of Andraus.” That couldn’t be more true. Their self titled EP is one hell of a record. There are so many wonderful moments on this record it’s hard to pinpoint just one. From the start of the EP with “Ignition” and all the songs in between like “Getaway,” “Beast Heart,” and closer “Passage To Hell,” you know that brothers Andrew and Austin Cox are the real deal. I personally can’t wait to see them with the great Helms Alee and another Los Angeles favorite Mustard Gas and Roses.
Andraus- Andraus EP:
In today’s modern metal scene there are so many different sub-genres that it’s getting harder to pinpoint exactly where bands fit. That’s not the case with Valor and Vengeance. They know exactly what they are and where they fit. Their use of melodic sensibility and syncopated rhythms make them stand out among their peers. I like to think of Valor and Vengeance as sounding like Avenged Sevenfold if the latter had balls and didn’t suck. Singer Adam Ryan has a commanding presence to go along with his exceptional vocals and uplifting lyrics. The dueling guitars of Mike Muenzer and Tyler Morgan are on par with many of their contemporaries. While the rhythm of bassist Paul Perry is tight and precise. From the two songs they have released so far, “Sinking Further” and “Devil’s Highway,” you can tell they are serious about this band and their want to expand past the underground heavy circuits. Check out Valor and Vengeance and play it loud!
Sinking Further Video:
Los Angeles is flush with great bands. It always has been but these days, it takes a little bit of searching to find the gems. Recently I came across a band that really peaked my interest. They are called Darkroads. The best way to describe them is a post punk band with Bowie tendencies and a bit of 90’s alternative rock. Darkroads are the type of band that I’ve found myself gravitating to over the years. The way they hit on the darkness of life yet create these bright spots with the music is quite beautiful. The clean guitar tones provide that light while the drums, bass and vocals usher in the dark. Their first EP/demo RockDie from 2013 is quite the listen and judging by the songs new songs up on their soundcloud page, Darkroads are traveling down the right roads to new music.
Darkroads- RockDie EP:
Art and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s just the right combination and it works out perfectly. When you have people that are inspired they are able to create something that stands out and inspires others. Recently I was introduced to King Woman, a band that evokes so much of what I love about music these days. The transcendental and psychedelic prowess of their music creates an aura of power and desire that is stunning as it is dark. I read somewhere that compared King Woman to Black Sabbath with Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star fronting the band. That’s a pretty damn good way to describe what you are about to hear.
The debut album Created In The Image Of Suffering is full of doom rock, and sensual vocal melodies that will leave you with goosebumps and a feeling of warmth. The album was recorded by Jack Shirley, who recorded Oathbreaker’s masterpiece Rheia. So you know that this album is powerful and sounds brilliant. Being able to create music that is artful isn’t easy but, King Woman definitely harnessed the will to make something substantial and worth while.
King Woman- Created In The Image Of Suffering:
King Woman- Manna:
King Woman- Deny:
There are a slew of bands in the underground that really seem to be getting the “passion” and “art” elements that are missing from mainstream music. When you are inspired rather than influenced it shows in the music that is created and the performances while on stage. A while back when I went to see Superjoint, there was a band that stole the show and left me really intrigued. That band was Child Bite. Their inspired blend of Faith No More, The Jesus Lizard, Black Flag and Mr. Bungle is unique and much needed in music today. Their most recent album Negative Noise is 12 songs full of unbridled art rock, alternative, and post punk. Child Bite are a band that when you see them live, it all makes sense. Child Bite packs a ferocious bite of enigmatic energy and ignites like a molotov cocktail. Do yourselves a favor and check out this band!
Child Bite- Negative Noise:
Child Bite- Vermin Mentality:
Child Bite- Ancestral Ooze:
You know the saying “music can save lives?” Well, I truly believe that. There is a real sense of healing power through music no matter the genre. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to The Mendenhall Experiment. Guitarist Brandon Mendenhall who has cerebral palsy, started to learn how to play guitar at age 19 as a way to work through his physical limitations. The band which originally formed in 2008, has seen its share of line up changes over the years but, in 2014 the line up was solidified with the additions of Nate Stockton (who is also deaf), Mike Lira, Bruce Lira, and Mario Valadez. The Mendenhall Experiment is more than just your run of the mill heavy rock band. Instead they use music to help change the perspective people have about those with disabilities and inspires hope to those that have one to overcome it. Through the years they have played shows and toured with the likes of Korn, Fear Factory, POD and more, leaving a lasting mark with those bands and their fans.
This past May, The Mendenhall Experiment released their self titled EP featuring 6 songs of heavy melodic rock. The EP also features a few guests like Korn’s James “Munky” Shaffer on the song “Prosthetic” and former Nine Inch Nails multi instrumentalist and producer Danny Lohner on “Find A Way Out.” If you are looking for sharp melodies and hooky guitar parts, then The Mendenhall Experiment is the band for you.
The Mendenhall Experiment- Seize The Day:
Nothing Good Came Easy:
Prosthetic (featuring James “Munky” Shaffer):
Find A Way Out (featuring Danny Lohner):
Over the last few years I’ve really gained an affinity towards electronic music, especially synth driven music. There are quite a few bands that I’ve come across from this realm that I’ve really grown to enjoy. Last night before I was watched Spirit In The Room decimate the audience at The Satellite, I got there just in time to watch a band called Of The Dark I Dare. Their blend of dark wave, goth and haunting synth driven music really peaked my interest. One of the most profound things about Of The Dark I Dare is the vocals of Tracy Lorin. Her voice is soaring and fits the darkness of the beats and synths of drummer Christopher Hendrich and keyboardist Rickey Lumpkin. Lyrically, the words come across as more poetic than just words. Of The Dark I Dare have described their sound as cemetery pop, to which I think is a pretty interesting and provocative way to draw people in. While the music and lyrics are dark, there is definitely a pop sensibility to the band that doesn’t take away from the vibe they are putting out.
Of The Dark I Dare- Sleeping Bodies:
Of The Dark I Dare- Stars: