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Amplified Heat - How Do You Like the Sound of That (CD)



They're still doing that bluesy, boozy, off-the-cuff style of rock that jumps recklessly into this decade from 30 years past, bypassing most of the muckity muck in between. It's the sort of music that seems loud and out of control even when it's not. That's probably why it took a couple of listens before I realized how accomplished How Do You Like the Sound of That actually is. The Ortiz brothers still play like they're getting into a bar fight over the honor of a woman, which initially makes songs simpler than they actually are. But really, there's a sly depth to their playing, one that's an even mix of the more blues-centered style of their self titled EP and the raucous rock of In for the Sin. How do I like the sound of this? I like it plenty. Recommended for fans of dirty roadhouse rock 'n' roll.

It's like ZZ Top snorted a pound of PCP laced with gasoline, set all their equipment on fire then started playing their set and dared anyone in the bar to say shit about it.

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Amplified Heat - In for Sin (CD)



To put it as succinctly as possible In for Sin, is raucous. The band’s name is apt, as the record burns fast and bright. Like RPG, Amplified Heat capture the manic, almost-out-of-control energy of the MC5, but their direction is more rooted in 60s blues rock (think Orange Sunshine). It’s not often that you hear a studio album that has the energy of a live show, and although I’ve yet to see Amplified Heat, In for Sin strikes me as being one of those rarities. It’s a boilermaker of a disc, the kind that makes you stomp your foot, shake your head, and ask for more.

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Amplified Heat - Self Titled (CD)



Although Amplified Heat seems to exist in some eternal, adrenaline-soaked NOW, their roots can be traced back to ZZ Top, Cactus, good Mudhoney, and Jon Spencer. They'd be ideal on a bill with Bad Wizard, Hognose, Five Horse Johnson, and of course Dixie Witch. Hell yeah!

Amplified Heat perfectly melds energetic punk and fuzzy stoner rock for a sound that is white hot. Both of these genres are at their roots about being good ol' rock and roll, pure and simple, and Amplified Heat's groove-laden sound has all the goods to appeal to punk rockers as well as stonerheads. Thumping grooves catchy guitar riffs and unbridled attitude fuse into punch-packing rock music.

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Book of Knots, The - Self Titled (CD)

Written by Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, They Might Be Giants), Matthias Bossi (Skeleton Key), Carla Khilstedt (Tin Hat Trio, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) and Joel Hamilton (JJ Paradise Players Club, Shiner) with appearances by John Langford (The Mekons), Jason Mills, Megan Reilly, Catherine Oberg, Norman Westberg (Swans), Dave Curran (Unsane), Matthew Waugh (Nil Cline) Alice Lee, Rev. VInce Anderson, and Brandon Seabrook.

The Book of Knots is a powerful, intricately crafted and unique CD that I immediately fell in love with. It has "epic rock masterpiece" written all over it. All of the songs have their own individual style and mood yet they flow together smoothly and effortlessly into a singular voyage. It's a similar type of journey to Pink Floyd's The Wall, but sounding more like a Desert Sessions record. If all of the folks behind Desert Sessions 9 & 10 got together with Meatjack to write a concept record I expect that it would sound a lot like The Book of Knots. This is a very high quality release in all aspects! Highly recommended!

The Book of Knots could be compared to bands like The Swans, but there is quite a bit more to it than that. The main bulk of this awesome CD is an orchestrated melodic noise fest of sorts- artistic and abstract at times, other times just pure genius. The guitar work is great and along with the stomping drums there is a thick base of tones for the band to stand on. Sometimes the vocals are strange and slammed through effects uneasy and other times very melodic or shouted in a demented trance. Well written melodic noise with strange samples and just plain great musicianship- and of course a good concept.

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Book of Knots, The - The Book of Knots (T-shirt)

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Cardinale - 31:13 (CD)



Austin, Texas’ Cardinale take a ballsy step out of the gate with their debut, 31:13. After all, it’s not everyday when a new band (they formed in early 2005) has the audacity to make you judge them on one 31 minute, 13 second song. But hey, they pull it off. This isn’t one long rock jam; rather, Cardinale is of the Isis and Neurosis school of sonic bludgeoning. While the style of those two groups is noticeable, this four-piece steps ahead of the like-minded groups that have seemingly sprouted up overnight by keeping this influence more conceptual than direct. For instance, there’s also a good bit of sludgey grind, a la Deadbird or Kylesa, to counterbalance the more melodic sections. And “31:13” has plenty of peaks and valleys as it evolves. They don’t settle into one groove for too long, and the passages never really wear out their welcome. Nor does the song as a whole. Cardinale took a risk with 31:13 and it paid off. For that, this one’s recommended.

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Dixie Witch - Smoke & Mirrors (Black) (LP)

Limited edition of only 250 copies on black 180 gram vinyl in a deluxe gatefold sleeve!

With Smoke and Mirrors, the three-piece have managed to get a professional studio polish with the energy of their live performances (thanks to Joel Hamilton of Player’s Club/Book of Knots fame). The punch of Trinidad Leal’s drumming and Curt Christenson’s bass playing creates the perfect rhythm support for guitarist Clayton Mills. The overall sound is thick and balanced the way the band sounds live. Dixie Witch again lay down some raucous southern grooves.

Straight up '70s influenced groove laden heavy southern rock.

This one is going to blow some heads for sure with a production that finally suits such a fantastic band. The songs are solid and the playing is top notch.

Unavailable (Archived)
Price: $13.99
Dixie Witch - Smoke & Mirrors (Clear) (LP)

Limited edition of only 250 copies on clear 180 gram vinyl in a deluxe gatefold sleeve!

With Smoke and Mirrors, the three-piece have managed to get a professional studio polish with the energy of their live performances (thanks to Joel Hamilton of Player’s Club/Book of Knots fame). The punch of Trinidad Leal’s drumming and Curt Christenson’s bass playing creates the perfect rhythm support for guitarist Clayton Mills. The overall sound is thick and balanced the way the band sounds live. Dixie Witch again lay down some raucous southern grooves.

Straight up '70s influenced groove laden heavy southern rock.

This one is going to blow some heads for sure with a production that finally suits such a fantastic band. The songs are solid and the playing is top notch.

Unavailable (Archived)
Price: $6.66
Dixie Witch - Smoke & Mirrors (Swirl) (LP)

Limited edition of only 500 copies on swirl colored vinyl in a deluxe gatefold sleeve!

With Smoke and Mirrors, the three-piece have managed to get a professional studio polish with the energy of their live performances (thanks to Joel Hamilton of Player’s Club/Book of Knots fame). The punch of Trinidad Leal’s drumming and Curt Christenson’s bass playing creates the perfect rhythm support for guitarist Clayton Mills. The overall sound is thick and balanced the way the band sounds live. Dixie Witch again lay down some raucous southern grooves.

Straight up '70s influenced groove laden heavy southern rock.

This one is going to blow some heads for sure with a production that finally suits such a fantastic band. The songs are solid and the playing is top notch.

Unavailable (Archived)
Price: $6.66
Hognose - El Sombrero (CD)



There's nothing like it when a good band gets better and avoids the "sophomore slump." It's proof that the debut wasn't a fluke, and all the things you dug about the first album are reinforced, stronger than ever. That's the case with Hognose's El Sombrero where you can take your pick of great songs. Hognose's sound is a strong combination of riffs and hooks, all drenched in Texas boogie. Hognose are getting better and better, and El Sombrero is the proof.

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Hognose - Longhandle (CD)



If you like feel good stoner grooves, tons of energy and busy guitar lines then Hognose is probably right up your alley. These guys are doing a classic rock based sound that is 100% stoner good times. These guys have a lot of the same sort of driving rockers that veterans Motorhead have, and share a lot in common with Orange Goblin in that respect. It's 100% balls to the wall guitar rock and roll. If you like Throttlerod, Dozer, Orange Goblin even some Nebula fans might find this CD pretty damn tasty. Impressive guitar work, a tight well rehearsed unit and vocals that mean business.

The debut full-length from Hognose titled Longhandle proves that this band is a force to be reckoned with. Hard driven riff rock from the heart of Texas heavy hooks with trippy vocals and a rock solid rhythm section. This is what Hognose does best. Longhandle captures exactly that with 9 blistering tracks. This is what would happen if Black Sabbath and the Butthole Surfers had a picnic.

Unavailable (Archived)
Price: $6.66
Lions - No Generation (LP)

Limited edition of only 250 copies!

No Generation packs a fury of scorching guitars and screaming vocals, a pent up, seething rage circulating and bursting forth unrestrained. Yet the album doesn’t simply unload a buckshot of heavy rock, but takes careful aim and fires in tightly controlled bursts rather than sprawling, sloppy jams. Every riff hits hard and to the point, while Matt Drenik’s vocals slice with unbridled urgency, from the edgy, whispered drops of “All Hail” to the commanding strut of “Evil Eye” and “No Generation’s” smooth disgruntled angst.

Their sound is a ferocious blend of fuzz, sweat and riffs, with a slinky Southern groove holding it all together.

The result is explosive raving and in psychedelic color.

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Pack of Wolves - Betrayer (LP)



Boasting and liberally advertising the involvement of former At All Cost guitarist Trey Ramirez, who also handles multi-layered growls and screams here, Pack of Wolves traffics in to-the-point metalcore, giving even focus to both the “metal” and the “core” aspects of their personality.

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Players Club - Coextinction (CD EP)



Players Club have settled on a pattern of releasing an EP and then following it up with a full length that’s not only just as good, but shows marked growth with the band’s songwriting. First was their self titled EP and Wine Cooler Blowout. Last year saw the release of the Clean EP and the underappreciated Regenesis, an album so good I wouldn’t have begrudged the band if they did the same shit all over again. But instead there’s the Coextinction EP, another step forward for this New York four-piece. While waiting for the next full length (due this fall), I’m going to keep this one in constant rotation. Highly recommended.

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RPG - Full Time (with Bonus DVD) (CD)

This re-issue edition inlcudes a high performance bonus DVD!!!

RPG are re-releasing Full Time with a bonus DVD, High Performance. If you hadn’t heard the album yet, now’s your chance. And if you’ve got the album and are wondering if it’s worth getting it again for the DVD, the answer is a resounding YES! Full Time’s 13 tracks are infectious AC/DC meets MC5 rock overflowing with manic energy, songs so good and so tight that you can’t help careening around the room, crashing into things and flailing about. High Performance is fucking hysterical, a Spinal Tap for struggling bands. Amidst the live clips and obligatory “how we got together” bits, you’ll find out how to make a cutting edge video, witness fights with producers and band mates, and discover exactly how difficult it is to open a door and scream bloody murder.

These are Southern-tinged punk'n'roll songs with staccato force that belies RPG's sly wit and rock-solid writing. This album never backs down and never lets off the gas. The songs keep getting tighter, the sound keeps getting more realized, and their irresistible, no-frills delivery. Hooks a-go-go, funny, clever lyrics, and undeniable soulfulness make this rock for the masses. Full Time is the essence of rock'n'roll in all its raw, dirty, and high-octane glory. Full Time sounds like The Ramones, AC/DC, Hank Williams Jr., and Raging Slab collectively crawled into the warm engine block of an old pick-up truck and someone cranked her up. The thoroughly blended explosion of guts and riffs is all RPG, rendered completely individual by the sardonic delivery of singer/guitarist Matt Conner, the frenetic drumming, and the foot-stomping thumb-tucking riffs. It's printed right there at the bottom of the CD credits on the back of the case: PLAY LOUD.

Unavailable (Archived)
Price: $6.66
Speedloader - Steady Hookin' (CD)



Speedloader is a refreshing blast in the face. Some of the best kind of driving rock/hardcore crossover stuff out there. It's definitely tinged with punk rock and could be considered hardcore along the lines of Corrosion's Animosity.

These guys have chops like Judas Priest and the energy of a solar flare. Great changes, weird angular guitar riffs, pummeling drum beats and an overall tight, tight rhythm section with vocals that scream. If you like everything from Black Flag, Boulder, COC, to Man is the Bastard chances are you will find pleasure in Speedloader.

Unavailable (Archived)
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Super Heavy Goat Ass - 60,000 Years (CD)



Super Heavy Goat Ass have a straightforward rock style. There's melody to their songs, giving 60,000 Years an immediate accessibility. They may barrel down on you from time to time, but you're still going to be humming the songs afterwards. And with two guitarists, there are ample opportunities for solos. Super Heavy Goat Ass' 60,000 Years is a solid, 100% rock album, with southern attitude and a hell of a swagger. It's no frills, no bullshit music. If that's your thing, then you'll be spinning this one quite a bit. File them amongst Hognose, Sasquatch, and the like.

Imagine Down turning down the doom and turning up the blues. Thick, crunchy guitars and heavy southern vocals but the nod goes to Stevie Ray Vaughn instead of Black Sabbath.

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Super Heavy Goat Ass - Nemesis (CD)



The album is a molotov cocktail that is equal parts groove metal (a la Sabbath, COC, Sixty Watt) and classic rock (ZZ Top, Nugent) that manages to sound original and fresh in a sea of imitators. It is leaps and bounds better than its tremendous predecessor,60,000 Years, in terms of vocals, lyrics, more diverse song structure, blistering guitar work and huge drums. If the best rock bands from the Austin scene truly got the attention they deserved, SHGA and Dixie Witch would join The Sword in selling out venues across the country. Regardless "Nemesis" should catapult SHGA's star within the underground hard rock community.

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Super Heavy Goat Ass/Southern Gun Culture - Split CD (CD)



First off is Southern Gun Culture with their southern flared dirge sludge. Their sound is definitely southern fried derivative and has some decent classic rock blues leads and hard hitting moments. Great melodic vocals done by Danny G and back up vocal duties taken on by bassist Amber. The closest thing that these cats have always reminded me of were Dixie Witch, similar but different. Super Heavy Goat Ass's sound is heavy and classic rock rooted southern blues, the vocals are a bit grittier and remind me slightly of the dude from Mississippi Sludge, heavy bluesy melodic. Great songs that are on par with the overall flow of the CD.

I recommend this one if you haven't had a chance to check out either band. This CD is one packed rock and roll treasure and shows some promise of what to expect from Arclight records in the future. Check it out if you dig southern stoner stuff.

Out of Stock (temporarily)
Price: $6.66
Tia Carrera - Heaven/Hell (CD EP)



On the three song Heaven/Hell EP, the band takes one reel of one inch tape and cuts loose with three psychedelic instrumental jams. In all three cases, Tia Carrera does what all good bands should – they have a strong link between each other that allows for more than just noodling off on one or two ideas. Heaven/Hell is full of interesting twists and turns. That alone makes it recommended. That the band did it in two takes makes it even more so.

The masters of blissed-out, swirling, driving psychedelia have released a black hole of an EP. I don't say that because it's so heavy, not even light can escape. I say that because the music is so engaging, so transcendentally fucking GROOVING, that you will not be able nor want to leave its gravitational pull. Improv with a great hook, which does not devolve to either noodling or noise, is a rare beast, which makes Tia Carrera the abominable snowman, the roc and the chupacabra of this magic part of the music ecosystem.

Unavailable (Archived)
Price: $9.99
   
 
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