Tony Iommi is the riff master. That’s undeniable. Back in 2000 (There’s that damn year again), Tony released his first “solo” album featuring many guest vocalists like Phil Anselmo, Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Peter Steele, Ozzy, Billy Idol, Billy Corgan and a few others. There were a couple songs on the album that always stood out to me, the one with Phil and the one with Billy Corgan. The latter of which “Black Oblivion” is one of the coolest songs on the record and it’s pretty epic too. It’s also interesting to note too that, Billy and Tony wrote two songs for the album but, only one was picked. I know I’d be very interested to hear the other one.
There are so many bands that are always under the radar that are far beyond great. These bands all tend to do it purely for the love, passion and desire to create. More often than not, these are the groups whose albums go on to influence and inspire countless other bands to form. One band that fits the former part of this equation is Planes Mistaken For Stars. This band is truly one of the best bands you probably missed over the years and when you really take a listen to them, you hear so many of your newer favorites in what they do. By mixing, rock with metal, post hardcore and punk, among others, Planes Mistaken For Stars breathed new life into the rock world and it’s many sub-genres. Over the course of their career they’ve released 4 full length studio albums (Fuck With Fire (2001), Up In Them Guts (2004), Mercy (2006) and Prey (2016), along with a slew of singles and EP’s (Knife In The Marathon (2000) and Spearheading The Sin Movement (2002).
I was first introduced to this band when a friend gave me the Spearheading The Sin Movement EP and from that point I was hooked. The first chance I got to see these guys live I jumped at the chance. I believe it was at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles but, I can’t remember who they played with. Their live show was intense and full of vigor. It’s something that is often still replaying in my mind. One of the coolest things about Planes Mistaken For Stars has always been their evolution. Rather than be tied any one genre, they’ve always explored different territories with a subtle approach. While listening to them you get all sorts of different elements from stoner rock, to space rock and even a bit of prog thrown in there. Not to mention that the rhythms, riffs, and tones emitting from former and current members really drives this ship. Lyrically and vocally is something else that makes them stand out. Gared O’Donnell has a real knack for writing very thoughtful and thought provoking words and melodies that are striking and makes his raspy voice come alive in a way that most singers in post hardcore/emo/rock bands could only wish for.
Planes Mistaken For Stars are a band that while overlooked, those that knew/know of them hold them in high regard because they are that damn good. Having played among punk peers and hardcore heavyweights, and newer emerging acts, NOW, is as good a time as any to go listen to them get out there and see this band live. They are truly one of the best kept secrets in rock music and deserve to be applauded as such!
Fuck With Fire:
Up In Them Guts:
The First Four Years (includes Knife In The Marathon and Spearheading The Sin Movement:
I’m about to introduce you to one of the best bands, you’ve never heard. The Tea Party, has been one of rocks best kept secrets. Formed in Canada in 1990, The Tea Party has sold over 2 million records worldwide. The band was active throughout the 90’s until the mid 00’s. They reunited in 2011 and have been writing, recording, touring and releasing new music since then. The band has an interesting sound mixing heavy rock with bits of blues, psychedelic rock, prog rock, industrial and world music to create a very epic sound. An interesting tidbit is the origin of the bands name, which comes from the infamous hash sessions of beat poets Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.
The Tea Party is made up of Jeff Martin (vocals/guitar), Jeff Burrows (drums) and Stuart Chatwood (bass/keyboards/etc). As a three piece they are devastatingly huge sounding. From their debut album in 1991 till now, each album has distinct sound to them, never repeating what they did before. Their major label debut Splendor Solis is very rock driven and inspired by the likes of The Doors and Led Zeppelin. The follow up, 1995’s The Edges of Twilight saw the band incorporating bits of world music into their sound. This record would propel the band to achieve double platinum status in their native Canada also earning nominations for album of the year and group of the year at the Juno awards. Then in 1997, The Tea Party released the album Transmission. This is my favorite album of theirs. Taking everything they’ve done since their inception, Tranmission saw the inclusion of an industrial tinge to their sound making it more grandiose and epic. Songs like “Temptation,” “Army Ants” “Psychopomp (which is my personal favorite song of the band),” “Transmission,” and “Aftermath” are among the best songs the band has ever written. This album for me is the epitome of what this band is and shows what a great band they are. The next album Triptych saw the band relying more on melody and well written songs, moving away a bit from the epic sounds of the previous albums. For 2001’s The Interzone Mantra’s, The Tea Party continued on with the sound of Triptych while holding on to a strong sense of their very early sound. The end result was an album that felt inspired and rich at the same time almost conceptual. The bands 2004 album and last before their 2011 reunion, Seven Circles was quite a departure from the bands sound the fans had come to love and admire. This album was more “ballad” driven and it shifted to a more positive, optimistic vibe rather than the bands use of dark imagry and moody tones of past releases. After this album the band broke up due to “creative differences.”
During the breakup Jeff Martin went on to start a solo career, releasing quite a few albums and live releases. Stuart Chatwood would go on to become a composer for video games, film and TV. Most notably is his work on the Prince Of Persia game soundtracks. Jeff Burrows would go on to work with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, and other Canadian musicians as drummer in the one-off project the Big Dirty Band, as well as become a radio DJ in Canada. Then in 2011, The Tea Party announced they were getting back together to play a number of select dates. Later in the year the band stated they were back for good. After countless shows, in 2014 the band released their first new album since 2004 with The Ocean at the End. The Tea Party would then go on to continuously tour and rock audiences all over the world, especially in Canada, Europe and Australia. Then on November 9, 2018, The Tea Party released their new single “Black River,” which is due to be released on an upcoming new album.
The Tea Party are truly one of the best bands you’ve probably never heard. They should have been HUGE in the states. They had all the right things in terms of sound, songs, and overall ability to kick ass. Jeff Martin is one hell of a guitarist and his voice is reminisent of Jim Morrison and Ian Astbury while still being unique to himself. Jeff Burrows is one of the most underrated and talented drummers I’ve ever heard. That guy is an absolute beast on the drums. Stuart Chatwood adds so much to the band with sound design and ability to play multiple instruments to give the band their rich sound. I was recently introduced to this band by a friend of mine and from the moment I first heard this band, I knew I had totally missed out on something great. I highly recommend you all taking time out to give this band a listen and hear what you’ve missed out on.
Since the beginning of Audioeclectica, I’ve been able to share so many different bands with you all from all sorts of genres. And now I present to you The Armed. Based out of Detroit, The Armed have taken hardcore, punk, metal, ambience, and electronics to a whole other realm. The band have released 3 EP’s, 1 live album and 1 full length so far and are gearing up to release their second album Only Love on April 27. The new album was produced by Kurt Ballou and features Converge/Mutoid Man drummer extraordinaire Ben Koller. The first song released from Only Love, is called Witness and it will pummel your speakers and might cause an impromptu mosh pit. Check it out!
About four years ago, a band from Seattle came on to the scene and brought with them rock and blues. Along with the Seattle gloom, Walking Papers used a more bluesy approach to stand out from others. It was truly a very welcoming sound that kept listeners engaged and gave something more to the rock world. The band is comprised of singer/guitarist Jeff Angell, drummer Barrett Martin (who you might know from Screaming Trees and Mad Season), keyboardist Benjamin Anderson and bassist Duff McKagen (from a little known band called Guns n Roses). The four of them released their self titled debut album back in 2012 and it was quite awesome. The album also features the very underrated Mike McCreedy of Pearl Jam on a couple songs. Mike is also known to make guest appearances on stage with the band as their lead guitar player. Songs like “Already Dead,” “The Whole World’s Watching,” “Red Envelopes,” “Capital T,” and “The Butcher,” are absolute stand outs from their album. Live, the band is quite the spectacle. They really hone in on their roots and summon the spirits of the past bringing the rock n blues every time along with some swagger.
After some time away, Walking Papers are getting ready to release their second album in 2018. I personally can’t wait for this album. I’ve been hoping for a long time that we would get to have a second album from them. Jeff Angell has mentioned that on this record “It perfectly captures the raw, explosive energy of a band primed from extensive touring while at the same time achieving the polish and elevation that comes from experimenting in the studio.” You can pre-order the new album HERE. I highly recommend you doing so as well as checking out their debut!
Way back in 2003/2004 there was a group that consisted of Atticus Ross (Nine Inch Nails), Leopold Ross and Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion). This group came about when Atticus was messing around in the studio and came up with some very interesting sounds that could become songs. Not long after the inception of the songs, Atticus recruited his brother Leopold to play drums and Bad Religion guitarist to play guitar and bass. On vocals Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) was asked to take on the vocals for the EP.
The end result of this collaboration brought 5 songs of pure electronic hardcore with a healthy dose of industrial. You can tell from listening to this EP, why Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross work so well together. The songs are blistering and uncompromising. After the 5 songs finish, the EP leaves you wanting more but, it also leaves you pumped up and ready for anything.
Sadly though it is unlikely that Error will return anytime in the future as discussed in a 2009 interview. However, in a 2011 interview with Greg Puciato, he discussed the possibility of doing a second EP with Error. I personally would love to hear a new EP. Greg will be done with Dillinger soon, so why not!
We’ve all heard bands that were so good, but it seemed they were ahead of the time. In 2000, long before bands got fully into the 80’s culture of glam and new wave again, The Start was THE band. The only problem is not many people knew who they were. All the bands that came out after them in their genre, were all bland, rehashed, and boring. The Start brought a new vibe to the 80’s new wave style, writing songs that were eye opening and full of emotion. You might know or not that the band was formed of the ashes of Human Waste Project and Snot. Aimee Echo’s voice is one of “the” most original I’ve ever heard and he lyrics were top notch. Musically, the band delivered a sound that mixed new wave, with punk and hard rock. Their debut album Shakedown is wonderful from start to finish. I’ll even put it out there that it’s one of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard. Their other albums are stellar and different, showing that the band can evolve. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing The Start a bunch of times. Let me just tell you that, you missed out on one of the coolest, best live bands ever. So if you did miss out, now is your chance to begin!!
I can’t even begin to think about how many bands I’ve listened to in my life that are so good that many people missed out on. I’m sure there are plenty that I’ve missed out on too. There is one band that has been on my mind the past couple weeks that I feel never really got their due. That band is Hurt. In 2005 the released their major label debut entitled Volume I. That album is truly great, top to bottom from the vocals, music, lyrics and production. Songs like “Rapture,” “Overdose,” “Falls Apart,” “House Carpenter, and “Danse Russe,” show how powerful this band is. Volume II picked up where Volume I left off. Songs such as “Summer’s Lost,” “Ten Ton Brick,” “Talking To God,” “Loaded,” and “Assurance,” really stood out on the album and if anything got heavier in the music and lyrics. Their third album Goodbye To The Machine is a little bit of a let down especially with the first two albums being so good. Thankfully not too long after, Hurt got themselves back on track and released The Crux especially the song “How We End Up Alone.” This album to me summed up what the band is. It’s got all the greatness from Volumes I & II along with the more subtle simplicities of Goodbye To The Machine.
Hurt live is spectacular. I’ve seen them a few times and each time was even more powerful than the last. Singer J. Loren Wince is so intense with his vocal performances live, that it becomes hypnotic when you watch and listen to him. His general delivery and belief in each song comes through beautifully. The rest of the band has changed a lot over the years but the songs seem to bring out the best in whomever is playing the songs.
One of the early bands of the week Ghost Idols, released an epic 7″ early in the summer this year. The 8 minute opus entitled “Monsoons,” goes from ambient to heavy that showcases the bands ability to build sonic landscapes with their music. The cool thing about this release is the experience of listening to it. The song is split into two sides, giving the listener a really intriguing sense of what the band is all about. Ghost Idols are a great band that deserves your attention. They are currently working on a full length expected out late this year or early 2016.
There are too many instances when bands come around and aren’t pushed the right way. Especially when they have all the goods to really make it. In 2003, Memento released their debut album Beginnings. Two singles were released from the album, “Nothing Sacred” and “Savior,” Both songs made some impact on the US rock charts. Memento was also a part of Ozzfest in 2003. Their album is heavy, melodic, and beautiful. From what I remember of their live shows, they were super tight and singer Justin Stewart Cotta was always on point and one of the most intense singers up close. His conviction while singing was undoubtably genuine. Musically, guitarist Jason “Space” Smith, bassist Leighton “Lats” Kearns, and drummer Steve Clark were superb. They were able to create a sound that matched the emotional lyrics of Justin. It’s a shame that it didn’t last. Due to personal conflicts amongst the band members, as well as record label issues, the band was dissolved in late 2004. Justin Cotta and Lats Kearns re-emerged as Man Vs Clock in 2005. In early 2006, Memento reformed with a new drummer, Jeff Bowders, under the new name Nine Times Bodyweight. The band went to work recording new material. However, the project didn’t last, and they disbanded again in early 2007.
Memento is a prefect example of a band that had all the right parts, but not the right support. It’s a real shame that this has been a continuing practice amongst the record labels for years. Had this band really been supported by their label, they could have gone on to really big things.