Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita

After spending some significant time with this record, I can proudly say it was one of my favorite records of 2014. Having no idea that Deerhoof was actually coming out with a new record I stumbled upon La Isla Bonita, (The Beautiful Island) while looking for a copy of Offend Maggie on vinyl which I am of course still trying to get my hands on.

Finding almost any Deerhoof record is a challenge so I grabbed this one while it was fresh. Ever since, it has been next to impossible to step away from it. With pop and experimental elements, this albums mix is nearly perfect. Greg Saunier supplies thick grooves to keep it all together and bring continuity to the chaos. Of course, anyone that can successfully pull off 16 inch hi hats has got a sound that is going to go untouched for a bit. Creative, complex yet somehow simple, and over the top. Not a week has gone by without me listening to it at least once since it’s purchase. Do yourself a favor and catch them on their current tour!

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Tera Melos

Continuing on the shred train I give you, Tera Melos. This may be old news for some but I’m recently discovering all of these “shred/math” bands. Tera Melos does a great job blending melody and harmony with vocals over some crazy instrumental parts on my particular favorite album X’ed Out. Seeing as I’m a recent listener, I don’t have an extensive knowledge of their discography. However, I do know you can find some completely instrumental shreds on the Untitled Album with headless, chainsaw wielding band members on the cover. Please note the striking similarity of the Abbey Road cover. Coincidence or a profound love for the Beatles? I’ve embedded the mentioned albums below and find more on their bandcamp page by clicking here.

 

Giraffes? Giraffes! – Spazz Master

My recent dive into shredding (no we aren’t talking about Michael Bay Ninja Turtles reboots, sorry) has led me into some terrific bands and great drummers. I want to share with you a killer 7″ that recently hit the shelves by Giraffes? Giraffes! Yes that is their real name if you haven’t heard of them. It’s titled “Spazz Master” and opens with the track SugaaaaaSpazzazazz. What sounds like a peaceful intro soon turns into a chaotic symphony of guitar, keys, and drums.  Side B gets a bit darker and heavier with a track titled Swallowing Light and Sweating Diamonds (Masters of the Fucking Universe). These 2 tracks promise what is hope to be a killer follow up LP soon. Check it out for yourselves and get the damn record for 5 bucks if you dig it. Oh ya, the artwork is sweet to.

Death From Above 1979 – Trainwreck 1979

Death From Above 1979 finally released a track from their new record yesterday! It’s titled “Trainwreck 1979” and is coupled with a lyric video designed by Nick Sewell. A bit different from their previous stuff, but hey that should be expected after an extensive hiatus. I’m still diggin em and good to hear some more stuff from Canadians, eh?

The Physical World is due out September 9th and the duo will be touring in support of the release.

Mastodon – High Road

On a weekend of celebrating Independence and blowing whatever you can get your hands on up, why not listen to some heavy tunes? I recently have been diving deeper and deeper into the heavy realm. I haven’t quite hit the so called “obscure” realm that heavy music fans will gladly throw at me after this post. However, jumping on this Mastodon train a bit late is definitely an awesome find. I decided to finally take a shot at Mastodon with their newest release and damn, the chorus to “High Road” is catchy as hell! Among gnarly guitar tones, to no surprise you have Brann Dailor doing incredible things behind the kit throughout this song and any Mastodon record. I know I’m late, but give this a listen if you haven’t and Happy belated 4th of July! Take note of the awesome artwork done by Oakland artist Skinner on “Once More ‘Round the Sun” as well.

Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun

Click on the artwork to link to the full album stream on Youtube.

 

Keeping Inspiration

I’ve recently been running into strikingly similar conversations among a lot of my close musician friends. Everyone seems to reach a point where you are second guessing your path. Hell, even I have myself. Here’s my quick advice to help keep your head up.

1. First of all, why did you even start playing music in the first place? The obvious answer to this question should be “to have fun.” If it isn’t, you should probably be re-evaluating your goals. Music should always be fun, even if there is business involved for some of us.

2. Second, stop dwelling on where you could be and look at how much you have already accomplished! What goals have you already met? I set realistic challenging goals yearly to help keep my drive up on something I know that is achievable. This seems to have a better effect than those that I see striving for just one main goal with an indefinite timeline. Do I have one of these, yes. However, you need other goals to help you get there and feel like you are growing and accomplishing things along the way.

Examples of some of these for me:

-Moving to Nashville was quite an accomplishment. I know many friends who struggle with this thing alone. It’s terrifying to leave what you know behind.

-Selling over 100 copies of 2 albums with Megajoos really doesn’t seem like a lot. However, take a step outside the big picture and think of how many individuals are supporting you and appreciate what you do. That’s the accomplishment. Most bands struggle with selling 25 or even 50 copies of anything. I still think back to releasing “Mega Deuce” at Springwater and honestly being in dis-belief just from how many people had come to show support for such a young band. We sold 50 copies that night alone and we were planning on maybe 20.

-Receiving e-mails about drum inquiries from my YouTube channel is quite inspirational for me. For someone to come to me, especially when the world is at their finger-tips is an enormous compliment.

-The plain fact of releasing 2 vinyls this year alone with Penicillin Baby and Megajoos.

-There are thousands of others, just look at all the small things like these. Think even smaller if you can.

3. Sit down and listen to the bands and musicians that initially inspired you. Every single time I feel I am losing my way, I go back to the band that struck the joy of wanting to play and share music with others. Led Zeppelin’s “How the West Was Won” Disc 1 always does the trick for me. Almost immediately, I am up and playing drums when “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp” finishes.

4. Listen to what your friend’s bands are doing. It is always inspirational for me to hear Clayton playing with Pujol/Bully or Dan with Quichenight. Seeing Kyle shape and form bands until he finally found the one he wants to push and Tennessee Scum destroy a house show circuit and pack venues in Murfreesboro. These things are all great inspiration for me in many different ways.

5. Help inspire your friends that are in the same position. I know most of you think you are alone with your challenges, but chances are most of your closest friends are going through the same struggles just in a different setting or environment. A prime example of this for me is Megajoos & Screen Door Records. We always seem to be growing at the same rate and going through similar situations, just in different sides of the business.

6. Live in the moment. Don’t dwell on the past or the future. Put all your energy and effort into what you are currently doing and the rest will write itself.

Sorry for the cheesy post and don’t get down! Here’s some tunes to keep the inspiration up.

Tweak Bird – “Upside Down Frankenstein”

Not only did I wait up until midnight last night to ensure a clear copy of Tweak Bird’s “Any Ol Way” LP from Let’s Pretend Records, they have coupled it with a 7″ split release with Buzzo from the Melvins. “Upside Down Frankenstein” is droney with a different drum sound that I’m used to hearing from these guys. Think big open toms with a bit of verb and a groove that entrances you all the way through the hook ridden vocals of the track. Hear it for yourself and pick up that new LP while it’s hot from Let’s Pretend Records. Download the 7″ single from Soundcloud for free!