Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Stubborn Son “Birthright”

In a time when many recording artists are creating music that focuses on the pop side of things in order to appeal to the widest audience possible, there are others who still want to create the full-fledged sound and feel of real Rock and Roll. One such band that focuses their efforts on creating real Rock and Roll is the band Stubborn Son.

The Seattle-based Stubborn Son is a trio consisting of guitarist and vocalist Garrett Lamp; bassist and vocalist Andrew Knapp and drummer Blair Daly. Together, the three musicians create Rock and Roll sound that takes the listener back to earlier times as their style features a large amount of Blues influence. Stubborn Son’s Blues-influenced music is brought to life with the help if Martin Feveyear who seems to bring out the best in the band. The resulting collaboration can be found on Stubborn Son’s 2015 release entitled Birthright.

Birthright from Stubborn Son begins with the track “The Broken Heart Proof”. The track begins with Garrett Lamp and Blair Daly creating a Black Keys-inspired, guitar-and-drums approach to the song. The Blues-Rock sound created by the duo soon becomes even stronger once bassist Andrew Knapp adds the bass to the track. As the duo becomes the full trio, the track’s Blues-Rock sound gains a strong, driving feel to it. “The Broken Heart Proof” would feel at home with anything from the early Rock And Roll as it would with today’s bands.

Stubborn Son slows the pace of their music just a little bit with the track “Make Believe”. And while the track is slightly slower than “The Broken Heart Proof,” no energy is lost. The three members of the band add even more Blues influence to their playing and this sound brings to mind the musical approach of someone like Cream. “Make Believe” gives the listener the best of Classic Rock with just a little modern-day influence, proving that the sound of Stubborn Son is the perfect bridge between Classic Rock and modern-day Rock and Roll.

With the next track on their Birthright release, Stubborn Son creates a track with a very modern feel. While still containing plenty of Blues in its style, the track “Catch Me Runnin’” feels somehow modern. And just like The Black Keys or The White Stripes, this track would easily feel right at home on today’s Top 40 radio. “Catch Me Runnin’” ends up being one of the strongest tracks on the Birthright release.

Changing directions just a little bit, Stubborn Son adds a lot more Blues influence to their song “Thick As Blood”. The track has so much Blues influence that it feels like a Blues track. On this track, vocalist/guitarist Garrett Lamp plays his guitar with a slide which adds to that Blues feel. The Power Blues created by the trio allows the listener to hear the talent and abilities of each member of the band.

While many of the tracks on Birthright from Stubborn Son come close to Blues but still contain that Rock and Roll edge, the track “Vixen” finds the band coming very close to creating a straight-out Blues track. The slow pace of the music and guitar solo on the track from Garrett Lamp makes the song sound very Bluesy. To take the track over the edge into the Blues, the lyrics of the song contain just the right amount of pain.

Staying in the same Bluesy frame of mind as “Vixen,” the track “Voices” also finds Stubborn Son creating a very mournful track. The track’s musical feel seems as if it were influenced by the classic song “House of the Rising Sun”. Singer Garrett Lamp brings plenty of Blues influence to the song as he sings of the voices in his head slowly driving him crazy. Along with the Bluesy feel, the track also seems to contain a certain amount of influence from Classic Rock band Iron Butterfly. In fact, there are several moments in the song where some vocalizations on the track bring to mind Iron Butterfly’s Doug Ingle as he sang on the song “Iron Butterfly Theme”. At nearly six minutes long, “Voices” is yet another strong track on Birthright and one of the best tracks on the album.

Throughout the ten tracks that make up Birthright from Stubborn Son, the three musicians of Garrett Lamp, Andrew Knapp and Blair Daly prove that The Blues is far from dead. The resulting Blues-Rock from the band not only keeps the style alive, but it also pushes the style and keeps it fresh. Birthright from Stubborn Son is a great album that would be great for any lover of Rock and Roll or for those who enjoy the Blues. And with the blending of the two styles on the Stubborn Son album, the release could inspire people of the Blues musical mindset to explore more artists in the Rock genre and vice versa.

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, XO Publicity.

Click HERE to check out the video to “The Broken Heart Proof”.

Click the album cover below to purchase a copy of the release.


Artists & Bands Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Black Rainbows “Hawkdope”

Black Rainbows is a Fuzz Rock band that makes its home in Rome, Italy. The band is composed of Gabriele Fiori on Vocals / Guitars / Keyboards, Dario Iocca on Bass and Alberto Croce on Drums. Together, the trio creates some of the most psychedelic, hardest-hitting and coolest music out there today. If you are a fan of bands like Black Sabbath, Monster Magnet or even Hawkwind, Black Rainbows is a band you need to check out. After releasing the Holy Moon, Supermothafuzzalicious!!  and Twilight in the Desert albums, as well as being included on a couple of split releases with other bands of high quality Hard Rock, Black Rainbows returns with their latest album, 2015’s release entitled Hawkdope.

Hawkdope from Black Rainbows begins with the track “The Prophet”. The hard-hitting track features some strong guitar playing from Gabriele Fiori while the drums from Alberto Croce and bass from Dario Iocca help add to the energy of the track. The addition of electronics and other production to the background also add a bit of psychedelic feeling to the song. The combination of all of the elements creates a track that feels slightly aged yet surprisingly fresh at the same time. While “The Prophet” has plenty of energy, with the track “Wolf Eyes,” Black Rainbows takes their music in a stronger direction. The first thing you’ll notice with this track is the use of the fuzz guitar. The sound of that guitar adds a difference to the music and seems to add a lot of body to the song. The lyrics about staying aware of what is around you in case you end up being tracked end up good pieces of advice for anyone.

Perhaps the main piece on Hawkdope from Black Rainbows is the title track of the album. “Hawkdope” is the type of track that would have been right at home on FM radio once the DJs started playing the longer, more underground tracks from people like Iron Butterfly who were more interested in pushing the boundaries of the music than they were with fitting on the more commercial radio formats. Black Rainbows creates a track with “Hawkdope” that is very expansive as the band plays extended instrumental breaks and just allows the music to speak for itself. Like with the earlier track of “The Prophet,” the inclusion of the effects in the background of the track adds a bit of psychedelic feeling to the track.

The band changes directions slightly with the track “Hypnotize My Soul with Rock ‘N’ Roll”. The track finds the members of Black Rainbows being influenced by earlier bands Cream and other early rock bands. The music on the track features a strong Blues influence to it while still containing plenty of Black Rainbows’ style and sound. The changing of the tempo throughout the track keeps the song interesting. The solid Rock ‘n’ Roll feel of the track makes “Hypnotize My Soul with Rock ‘N’ Roll” a song that would fit in with other songs of the Classic Rock era of the genre.

Once “Hypnotize My Soul with Rock ‘N’ Roll” comes to an end, the band changes directions on the next track of “Waiting for the Sun,” as well. The track begins with only bass, some keyboards and some light percussion. The use of minimal instrumentation creates one of the more interesting tracks on the entire release.

Black Rainbows brings the energy of their music back up once again with the track “Killer Killer Fuzz”. And while they pick up the energy, they slow the pace of their music down for the track. The slower pace of the music adds a bit of intensity to the track as each note being played feels harder. “Killer Killer Fuzz” ends up being one of the songs that seems to stay with you.

The newest release from the Italian band Black Rainbows comes to an end with the track “The Cosmic Picker”. Like “Killer Killer Fuzz” before it, “The Cosmic Picker” features a slower pace to the song. While some of the other tracks on the newest release from Black Rainbows are psychedelic, “The Cosmic Picker” is easily the most psychedelic, musically and lyically. Like some of the stuff from a band like Pink Floyd, “The Cosmic Picker” seems to be the type of song that is best listened to through headphones with the lights off in order to get the full effect of the song.

Hawkdope from Black Rainbows is a strong release from the very first note. For those looking for bands that make Rock and Roll that is meant to be heard through headphones, Black Rainbows is one band that fits that description. And with the band already having a nice library of releases, this is a nice place to start before digging into the rest of the band’s output.

To hear some of the music of Black Rainbows, check out the title song from the album Hawkdope.

To check out the band’s record label, Heavy Psych Sounds, click HERE. Also check out FLY PR, the band’s PR firm.

To purchase a copy of Hawkdope from Black Rainbows, click on the album cover below.


Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Heavy Glow “Midnight Moan”

Midnight MoanCalifornia-based Heavy Glow is a power trio that features a certain amount of “heaviness” to their sound, which makes the band’s moniker rather appropriate. At times, the band sounds like early Cream and at other times, they take on a much harder feel to their music. The band currently features Jared Mullins on guitar/vocals, Joe Brooks on bass and Andrew Merkle on drums. The band’s most recent release is entitled Midnight Moan.

Midnight Moan begins with the track “Lose My Mind”. On this track, the band takes on the sound and feel of the band Cream. The majority of the tune has the classic “power trio” feel to it with all three instruments (guitar, bass and drums) centered to feel as if the band is playing in one room. The band then builds the track with additional guitars from Mullins on both the left and right channels to help fill out the tune.