We Were Pirates – “Matter”

WhenWe Were Pirates - Matter We Were Pirates puts out new music it gets me excited for a few different reasons. One is that Mike Boggs, the mastermind of We Were Pirates (WWP), is talented yet completely unassuming–the lack of pretense in his approach is refreshing in this day and age when many artists think that since they can record their sounds and have a social media account that they and their music should somehow be magically famous.

Where they miss the point, Boggs totally gets it. He makes the music that he likes, keeps the songwriting tight and puts it all together in a cohesive package. The lack of posturing, irony and whining gets two big thumbs up from this old-school music lover; it’s what also makes me respect him as an artist and musician. The good ones never need to resort to millenial-esque self-infatuation, they realize that the product will either be good enough to stand on its own, or it won’t.

For those unfamiliar with WWP, Boggs is the singular musician behind the band, recording every part of the songs he writes himself. On Matter, Boggs brings indie rock and synth-pop sounds together neatly, hearkening back to a warm and gauzy 80’s feel that smartly pulls off sounding familiar and new at the same time. Not sure what I mean? Try this on for size: when Hollywood gets around to remaking the brat pack movies (Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, etc), they need look no further than Matter for the soundtrack.

That’s not to say that the strength of this album is limited to pure nostalgia and throwback goodness. For those that like the lyrics in the music they enjoy to have meaning–true, real-life meaning, not insipid catchphrases that pander to the disengaged and simple-minded, Matter delivers strongly in that way. It’s not so much that Boggs weaves ornate tales or comes across too intellectually for some, but it’s the straightforward honesty in his lyrics that grab my attention and hold it there. There is something very refreshing about the reflective nature of the songs on Matter, which I wish more musicians would pay attention to. Truly no single song can solve the woes of our planet, but when real, honest lyrics cut through the mindless clutter surrounding our everyday lives to make us really think, that is when a musician becomes an artist. In my opinion, Boggs was already there with We Were Pirates. Matter just solidifies that feeling, and it makes me relieved to know that Boggs and We Were Pirates exist.

Give Matter a listen to hear what I am talking about. No need to give me credit when you feel these songs in your gut, wondering what personal tempests led Boggs to create them. They’ll make you pause and think, and the album is solid all throughout, cutting through the clutter and noise that make up so much new music to clearly stand out.

Get Matter for yourself:
iTunes: http://apple.co/1QuRrVH
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/219XSlV
Physical CD: http://bit.ly/1SlAEZP

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.