Album Review: “Repent to Karma” by Charles Kavoossi

kavoossi art“This trip has taken longer than I had presumed.”

Ah, to be back catching waves at SurfRhythm. It’s been a minute!

For those of you who might not remember me, my name is Henry Pazaryna, and I wrote for SR this past summer. After experiencing one of the single most fun, and sadly last, summer of rock and roll adventures before graduation, I took some time to focus on school and my own music this past semester. But as many of you know, when the waves are calling, you have to answer. And a very friendly wave happened to reach out to me.

That wave was none other than Charles Kavoossi, a Local Waves featured artist from this past summer, and good friend of mine. Charles asked me to review his first album and it sure was a treat to do so. Recorded in Baltimore and featuring a number of talented musicians from other local groups, Charles put together a quality piece of work that can be enjoyed by people of any walk of life. The album, “Repent to Karma” by Charles Kavoossi, makes for one of the most solid pieces of work from a local artist that I have heard in a while. From the different styles to the range of musical motion, this album captures a variety of sounds at both a high level of writing and performance. While many reviewers that I read in magazines are very quick to give works of art a numerical score, I do not plan on doing that myself. I think it is somewhat disingenuous and it ruins the subjectivity of art as a whole. Because of that, I want to use a more black and white style review to make things simple, and give it a favorable grade.

While I listened to this album, I felt confused on how I would label it. Is this folk music? Alternative? Rock? Or something else? After a bit of thinking, I believe that this album is neither and all of them at the same time. It is just plain good. Despite the indie or alternative label one could easily give to this music, I believe that “Beatle-esque” might be a more appropriate way to describe this album. While I will be the first to admit that my knowledge on modern alternative is not up to par with my peers, there was a simplicity that I not only caught, but genuinely enjoyed while listening to the songs. While the complexities of the musical structures exist in Charles’ writing (and are enough to throw any musician trying to strum along for a bit of a loop), everything featured on this album is fun to listen to. My personal favorites include “Blue Eyed Jesus” and “Trip and Fall.” The music, while not only being good and fun to listen to, had very well crafted and high quality audio engineering to go along with it. Thumbs up on every front.

While the pop industrial music machine might be cranking out repeat after boring repeat, local albums just like this really strike a chord with me, and I am sure it would with many other people. Even though the minority of artists that rule the majority of the airwaves don’t take as significant risks with their work, as what was once common, local albums just like these make up for the lack of creativity in the popular scene. When people, myself absolutely included, say “music isn’t creative any more,” they just don’t know where to look. If you are into anything remotely indie, alternative, or just plain music in general, I would highly advise giving this album a listen when it is released later in February.

Congrats Chaz, you did a great job.
Track Listing:

1. Housesound
2. Out of Time
3. Mannequin Girls
4. Pavlovian Dog
5. Brick to Bone
6. Holes in My Heart
7. Trip and Fall
8. Repent to Karma
9. Blue Eyed Jesus
10. Bad News
11. Christine
12. Purple
Recorded at Mobtown Studios, Baltimore MD
Produced by Aaron Wold and Charles Kavoossi
Engineered by Aaron Wold

Guest musicians include: Davis Rowan (Weather the band) on drums, Evan Chapman (Square Peg Round Hole) on drums, Thom Beall (gingerwolf) on lapsteel, Deirdre McAllister on female vox (Minimus The Poet), Jason Roe on banjo, Abby Becker (Haint Blue) on violin, Max Kuzmyak (Astronaut Jones) on horns, and Aaron Wold (Minimus The Poet) on theremin.

Kavoossi Music Facebook Link

Kavoossi Music Single, Out of Time

Bevan Davies’ Tribute Album Is Way More Than You Think

Bevan Davies - SurfRhythm.comFirst off, full disclosure: I work with ZoSo, for whom Bevan Davies is now the drummer. Bevan is widely known for his work with Static-X, Still Rain, Madfly, Comes With The Fall and Danzig. That said, I don’t work with Bevan in any way outside of ZoSo, and I’m not obligated to review side projects from members of the bands I work with, in fact I’ve never done so until now. That’s because one listen to Bevan’s album brought me to so many different musical places that I could feel what he was aiming to do with this work.

Bevan Davies was made, purely and simply, for Bevan to give a nod to some of the most influential artists and songs in his musical life. He duly credits the artists for the inspiration and motivation which led him to his drumming life: “The songs I’ve chosen here are a nice mix of the stuff that wass bouncing around in my head when I was a kid. In other words, here are some of the direct influences that caused me to pick up a pair of drumsticks for the very first time. Additionally, there are influences on here that drove me to continually improve my craft over the years.”

The resulting album is one that caught me by surprise. An eclectic group of songs, really, but cohesive in a way that gives me a respect for Bevan’s tastes and talent. Assembling an impressive crew of musicians to record the songs with him proved to be the hardest part of the project. “Trying to schedule everyone in the studio was hard, definitely the biggest challenge. It made the recording process a lengthy one, but it was well worth it.”

Guest players on the album include Brent Hinds (Mastodon) and William Duvall (Alice in Chains) Nate Utz (The Blondz), Tuk (Biters), Roy Cathey (The Fifth, Cold Sweat), and Angela Wolfe (Dirty Polyanna).

Don’t dig in to this album expecting major artistic twists with the songs he covers, instead Bevan pays homage to the songs by recreating them as they were originally recorded. “I wrestled with the ideas of “modernizing” or “beefing up” certain things here and there, but ultimately I decided these faithful recreations were the way to go. I couldn’t see the point of sharing my influences with you if I was going to go in and play things differently. That approach is certainly cool on plenty of “covers” albums, but that’s just not what I’m doing here. This is my tip of the hat to the drummers and songs that shaped me.”

Why I love this album: Bevan’s song choices are excellent, and bring me back to many of my own musical memories. It’s as if he took the originals and dusted them off, giving us shiny new versions of each song. And his drumming skills are off the charts, just a pleasure to listen to. Finally, the talent that worked with him on the album help make this one that I’ve already listened to over a dozen times, and will keep in my regular listening rotation.

Tracklist for Bevan Davies

01. Kill The King
02. Light Up The Sky
03. Rip It Out
04. Time Of The Season
05. Cornucopia
06. Fireball
07. Strange Days
08. High Wire
09. Dreaming
10. Ready An’ Willing
11. Bad Reputation

Get the album:

On CD: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bevandavies
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bevan-davies/id1024825870

Or just listen to it right here:

Bumpin’ Uglies new EP has best title ever: Sublime With No One

BU-SublimewNoOneYeah, they went there with that title. Aren’t you glad they did? I am, because they just set the reggae/punk/rock scene back closer to a state of normalcy than it’s been in a loooong time.

If you listen to Bumpin’ Uglies enough, several things will hit you, perhaps unexpectedly to the uninitiated. First will likely be but that name! You may ask yourself, do they take themselves seriously? Is it a gimmick? What type of characters make up this band? Second will be the direct and from-the-gut lyrics lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Brandon Hardesty throws down. Third will be the characteristic humor and charm you find in him and his band, realizing that they make grooves that are immediately recognizable, memorable and loveable. Which I suspect is exactly how Brandon wants it.

Stream Sublime With No One  on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/album/0r8mVEt4LpixMYsrI5Ml8X

That’s not saying that Brandon doesn’t take his music seriously; he certainly does, however he holds nothing back in poking fun at himself and life in general, but it comes out right when it’s the true words boiling out. It’s just Brandon and Bumpin’ Uglies. See the final track title and lyrics for what I mean.

So it came as no surprise when Brandon contacted me to ask my thoughts about naming the next Bumpin’ Uglies release Sublime with No One. In my opinion there is no other band out there that could do something like this and have it make complete sense other than Bumpin’ Uglies. There will never be another Brad Nowell, we will never have Sublime again, especially the brutally honest and at times gut wrenching lyrics. It is something Brandon shares with the late legend, and it’s something that I applaud. Be who you are, be true, and own it. Brandon has never tried to be anything he’s not, nor has his music ever veered into places that were of questionable intent. In an age where everyone is becoming hypersensitive to words and speech they deem un-PC, Brandon flips them all the proverbial bird. And for that I am grateful.

Irreverence? Check. Humor? Check. Honesty? Check. Integrity? Check. Five new tracks of punky-reggae-dirty-rock-ska goodness from Bumpin’ Uglies? Yes please. These guys are slowly yet steadily developing legend status, mark these words: They are never going away. Sublime With No One just proves that they’ll never change, and obviously they’ll never sell out and try to be something other than Bumpin’ Uglies. Not many bands can say that…hell, not a lot of people can even say that.

Brandon and Bumpin’ Uglies approach is decidedly old school in a new school world. No pretense, no made up facade, no over-inflated sense of self-importance from them, ever. There was only one Sublime, and it should be said that there is only one Bumpin’ Uglies.

Sublime With No One track list:

  1. Warning
  2. Social Ladders
  3. Nostalgia
  4. Maturity
  5. Fuck It

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/bumpinugliesmusic

http://bumpinugliesmusic.com/

Charlotte, NC reggae-funk rockers Of Good Nature release new single “Life Worth Livin”

Of-Good-Nature---Album-ArtEmaildisclaimer: Of Good Nature is a Montauk Music client. This is the press release for their new single. 

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Of Good Nature unveils the premier single, “Life Worth Livin” off of their forthcoming album of the same name, which is set for a October 23 release.

Four years have passed since their well-received debut album Just Add Water, with the band expanding from three to four members, introducing trombone into their new material. Lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Cameron Brown is confident this lineup has the right dynamic and talent to exceed the success of their debut album, which garnered Nashville’s Indie Ville TV Reggae Album of the Year.

The lyric video for “Life Worth Livin” is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoLE7cSkeyU, and the track is available for purchase at http://ofgoodnature.bandcamp.com

Brown grew up learning piano from his grandmother, then picked up a guitar at 14 when he saw his brother learning to play and decided that he had to learn as well, lest he be outshined by his younger sibling. Brown and his guitar have been more or less inseparable since then, initially playing the music that strongly influenced him growing up–mostly Hendrix and the blues, but as he got a bit older reggae music made a big impression on him, to the point where Brown says, “Reggae always felt right.”

“Life Worth Livin” has the feel of a tried and true reggae jam, though Brown’s skillful blending of influential styles is evident.  The song was an easy choice for the band to choose as their first single because they feel that we as a nation have changed, and that the message will resonate with Americans who feel and see this every day and wonder what has happened. The lyrics allude to this collect shift, and that what we stand for is slowly being lost.

The song came to Brown during a writing session at his favorite spot on Lake Wylie in Charlotte, NC last summer. Ruminating on the state of our nation, the lyrics “We used to be, we the people, unity,” were written to reflect that the changes so many of us feel contradict the Constitution of the United States.

Howi Spangler, lead singer of Ballyhoo, gave the song strong praise: “The intro guitar/bass riff has that 311-shuffle vibe that I like. I dig that lazy trombone there too. I also like how the song goes more uptempo in the bridge, almost like a jam band. Then they bring it back down to finish it out. Nice to hear a solid American reggae rock song from an East Coast band. It’s very easy to get cheesy with it and these guys don’t go there with “Life Worth Livin”.”

 “Live Worth Livin” was recorded at Ocean Industries Studio in Charleston, SC, which is owned by Shinedown bassist Eric Bass. It was produced and engineered by Eric Rickert and Jeff Leonard Jr. (A song they engineered,”Cut The Cord”-Shinedown, just spent 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard rock chart–It’s now #2.) It was mixed by Eric Rickert and mastered by Michael White.

The title track single “Life Worth Livin” is available for download 9/25 and on 10/23 the full length album will be available on iTunes and other platforms.

Link to live performance video:

Other links:

www.ofgoodnature.com/

www.youtube.com/ofgoodnature

www.facebook.com/ofgoodnature

www.instagram.com/ofgoodnature

About Of Good Nature: While touring the East Coast, Of Good Nature has rocked festivals such as Shamrock Fest (Washington, DC)…sharing the stage with Rock/Reggae powerhouse Sublime with Rome. During this time, the band also focused on creating and getting back in the studio to capture the new sounds and additions to the group. Their lineup is: Cameron Brown – Guitar/Vocals; Joey Vachon – Drums/Vocals; Brandon Hucks – Trombone; Jon Reed – Bass.