Showing posts with label net. Show all posts
Showing posts with label net. Show all posts


Post-Punk Album Review: Wire - Mind Hive

Release Date: January 24, 2020
Label: Pink Flag
Label Wire, Negate Wire. Since their groundbreaking 1977 punk release, Pink Flag, this has been the band’s core belief. Like a handful of sand transforming into liquid and escaping your grasp, once you have a grip on them, they morph into something else. Cited by bands like U2, The Cure, R.E.M., Minor Threat, and Black Flag as heavy influences, Wire supercharged the entire scene, expanding the boundaries of punk creating sub and spinoff genres of art-punk, post-punk, and apocalyptic-punk.

In their latest offering, Wire harnesses a hive of minds. The sound of cerebella pulsates synaptically over wavy synths. At the same time, alien outcries warn of souls being crushed by machines, and the surrendering of one’s will equates unequivocally to the surrendering of one’s life. Yes, Mind Hive takes you there.

Music, on its own, is a form of escapism, but adding aliens or robots to the mix only intensifies the experience and takes one entirely out of reality. This otherworldliness is eminent on Mind Hive, which brings forth strains of “Q: Are we not men? A: We are Devo” and brings to mind David Bowie’s lyrical mastery on the topic. Add in the nervy horror of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control,” and the result is a distinctive if not foreboding sonic experience. 

Let’s get real, if aliens are to take over our planet, they won’t do so by sudden invasion. It will be a slow infiltration and infestation. Upon closer inspection of the lady in front of you at the grocery line checkout, you’ll see that the wig she is wearing is not covering a bald spot, but a grouping of pulsating nodules recording the world around her and reporting back to the mothership. What if one of these aliens defected and took it upon itself to warn earthlings of what might cause their ultimate undoing? This is the vibe Mind Hive brings forth.   

The album begins with the rogue alien’s warning, “Be Like Them.” Doing so will surely crush your soul and contribute to the spread of authoritarianism and the downfall of humanity. “It’s history, rabid dogs. Tearing skeletons into piles of bones.” Then comes acceptance. “Nothing new about that...”. The song buzzes forth, taking hold of your spine, gripping it in reverberation for three minutes and fifty-two seconds. “Cactus” bursts forth with flashes from the late ‘70s and ‘80s. A rhythmic dirge with hooks, it sticks to you and stays with you.  

The essential track hits us three songs in with “Primed and Ready,” where stomping rhythm lifts fuzzy power chords to new heights while “Off The Beach” sees the beach boardwalk through a pop lens smudged with hopelessness. “Unrepentant” and “Shadows” are slower moody tracks giving voice to the aforementioned rogue alien. “Whistle dark because you can. Not to be an also-ran”, and “The men are lined up. Then shot into graves. The children are murdered. The women enslaved. Shadow of the future. Shadow of the past”. The eight-minute long “Hung” sounds like a funeral march.  It evokes the death of the future in harmony with the death of the past. Mind Hive closes cinematically with “Humming,” a lamentation of the past and how we ended up where we are. “I can’t quite remember when it went wrong. Someone was humming a popular song.”

All in all, Wire’s Mind Hive is an accomplishment, poetic lyrics for our time and the underlying mood to match. As a band, Wire continues to embody the punk spirit by playing and saying whatever the fuck they want. Riding the critical success of 2017’s Silver/Lead, Colin Newman (vocals and guitar), Graham Lewis (bass and vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (drums) remind you to heed the warning of the rogue alien or suffer the consequences. Wire have genuinely outdone themselves on Mind Hive, easily my favorite record of 2020 (so far).

Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | Staff

February 6, 2020

Alt-Country Rock Review: Drive-By Truckers - The Unraveling

Release Date: January 31, 2020
Label:  ATO Records
It's been said that giving a voice to your sorrows and fears helps to make them go away. Drive-By Truckers 12th studio release, The Unraveling is a confession and a testimony, a somber cry in the night, a prayer for the dawn to set the course for a brighter day.  

If you are turning to Drive-by Truckers to escape the harsh realities of the current political climate, turn elsewhere.  The Unraveling tackles gun violence, immigration, white nationalism, equal pay, and Armageddon with a velvet hammer.

The music is a blend of slow-churning alt-county grooves with cry-in-the-night guitar wailing riding on the heavy rails of melancholy keyboard dirges. The slow builds on songs such as "Grievance Merchants" erupt into fury at the end. Like a conversation that turns to confrontation, Drive-By Truckers add an underlying drama to these songs, intensifying the listening experience. "Awaiting Resurrection" puts one in the mind of Neil Young's On the Beach period.

Make no mistake, The Unraveling is a dark and heavy offering. If you're not in that mindset already, these songs will put you there. There are a few rockers such as "Armageddon's Back in Town" and "Slow Ride Argument," which provide the necessary anger for the lyrics. When the tempo slows, and brooding air fills the space between the notes, the anger turns to anguish.

Skillfully crafted lyrics and arrangements move songs like "21st Century USA" and "Thoughts and Prayers," one a step away from cliche. The latter, along with "Awaiting Resurrection," make up the strongest songs on the album. 

In essence, The Unraveling has the vibe of hanging out with a friend in a bar. Each song is a topic of conversation about the state of the community, country, and planet. Not all conversation is comfortable, but that's the way things go after a few beers. In the end, you'll have caught up, commiserated, gained some perspective, and grown closer to your fellow man.

Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | Staff

February 2, 2020

1. Rosemary with a Bible and a Gun
2. Armageddon's Back in Town
3. Slow Ride Argument
4. Thoughts and Prayers
5. 21st Century USA
6. Heroin Again
7. Babies in Cages
8. Grievance Merchants
9. Awaiting Resurrection


Blues/Soul Review: Billy Price-Dog Eat Dog

Release Date: August 2, 2019

Label:  Gulf Coast Records

Living Soul Blues legend, Billy Price and the Billy Price Band are back with their second album in as many years. Put Billy Price on your list of seasoned musicians who save their best work for last and refuse to go gentle into that good night. After looking at the album cover featuring Mr. Price strutting down the street with a lean, mean Doberman on a leash and a first listen to these twelve tracks, you’ll realize this man has found artistic liberty born from nothing left to prove and nothing left to lose. 

Collaborating with producer Kid Andersen and longtime guitarist Mike Zito, Billy Price’s Dog Eat Dog is destined to follow the path of 2018’s Reckoning and end up on many yearly “best-of” lists. 

With Anderson’s signature sharp and choppy blues guitar licks, The Billy Price Band has the blues covered. Add a blend of measured horns and a deep bass groove to the mix, and the vibe takes a turn to jazz and funk. Price’s soulful voice guides the listener to another place altogether. The end result is a sound that will feel familiar, yet not derived, well-crafted, and comfortable, yet not cliché’. 

In several of the finer moments on Dog Eat Dog, the guitar pierces a note which fills the air like a car slamming on its brakes. Then, he allows the listener to catch their breath, before pulling forward with a soulful riff and slow-riding through the city streets.   

On songs such as “Lose My Number” and “My Love Will Never Die,” Billy Price resists the urge to step in front of the groove. Instead, he knows he’s in the thick of it and rides it to its natural conclusion. “Same Old Heartaches” combines the soul, blues, and jazz elements with smoothest of smooth harmonies reminiscent of the Temptations or Spinners. 

Like many excellent records, it is difficult to put a label on it. Dog Eat Dog is no exception. Call it Blues, call it soul, call it R&B. I prefer to call it a damn good record.  

Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | Staff

January 28, 2019



01. Working on Your Chain Gang
02. Lose My Number
03. We’re in Love
04. Dog Eat Dog
05. My Love Will Never Die
06. All Night Long Cafe
07. Walk Back In
08. Toxicity
09. Remnants
10. Same Old Heartaches
11. More than I Needed
12. You Gotta Leave