THE LIVE WIRE: The Kickback – “White Lodge”

Credit: Jim Vondruska

Prepare to have your minds completely eviscerated by this band from Chicago you haven’t yet seen live, but should soon be clamoring for the nearest available ticket. (Hint: For Indianapolis fans, they’ll be playing the Melody Inn on November 26, so get those ticket-buying fingers ready!) The Kickback perform “White Lodge” below in a video from Audiotree Live, and it’s an immediate winner. Billy Yost sings like a man possessed, his face contorting so wildly he at times resembles Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, while the band’s small army provides the kind of rhythm section assault you can only hear from a band on the rise — raw, ready and willing to win fans over one brain hemorrhage at a time. At the time I write this, I have now heard the song on repeat a half dozen times, and  I’m off to find an album copy to buy. Enjoy!

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ARTISTS TO WATCH: Hear, Hear

In a strange paradox, I’ve found myself falling for a band called Hear, Hear while running my music site called Hear! Hear! Music. But don’t let this confuse you. It doesn’t take much time listening to this Nashville band to realize they’re on to something. Kate Puckett and Matt Lloyd, two songwriters whose musical journeys led them from Pittsburgh and Indianapolis to the musical mecca of Nashville, front this energetic hybrid of pop-rock and modern country-tinged vocals. There’s plenty to love here, from Puckett and Lloyd’s Little Big Town-esque vocals to the strong hook of the full-on rock backdrop, heavy on melodic guitars and a rhythm section which sounds stadium ready. “Take You In” won’t have 800 YouTube views for long, that’s for damned sure!

TOUR UPDATE: Back Veil Brides announce Black Mass 2015 Tour Dates

If you’re in Indianapolis and want to see Black Veil Brides at the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre, there are still a handful of tickets available for the show this Friday. If you’re not in Indianapolis, Republic Records has announced additional dates on the band’s Black Mass tour, including dates in the US and Canada. See below for the full tour, and check out the band’s video for “Goodbye Agony,” which has built up nearly a million views since its release a week ago.

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THE BLACK MASS 2015 CANADA/U.S. TOUR DATES

DATE CITY, STATE VENUE
Feb 5th  Richmond, VA The National
Feb 6th  Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
Feb 7th  Hartford, CT Webster Theater
Feb 8th Huntington, NY The Paramount
Feb 11th Watertown, NY Exhibition Hall
Feb 12th Quebec City, QC Imperial De Quebec
Feb 13th Montreal, QC Metropolis
Feb 14th London, ON London Music Hall
Feb 15th Toronto, ON Danforth Music Hall
Feb 18th Winnipeg, MB The Garrick Center
Feb 19th Saskatoon, SK O’Brians Event Centre
Feb 20th Calgary, AB Macewan Hall Ballroom
Feb 22nd Edmonton, AB The Starlite Room
Feb 25th Vancouver, BC Vogue Theater
Feb 26th Eugene, OR McDonald Theatre
Feb 27th Sacramento, CA Ace Of Spades
Feb 28th Pomona, CA The Fox Theater
Mar 1st San Diego, CA House Of Blues

THE BLACK MASS 2014 U.S. TOUR DATES

DATE CITY, STATE VENUE
Nov 12th Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater
Nov 14th Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Nov 15th Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
Nov 16th Cleveland, OH The Agora Theater
Nov 17th Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
Nov 19th Philadelphia, PA The Electric Factory
Nov 21st Stroudsburg, PA Sherman Theater
Nov 22nd Worcester, MA Palladium
Nov 23rd New York, NY Best Buy Theater
Nov 26th Portland, ME State Theatre
Nov 28th Clifton Park, NY Upstate Concert Hall
Nov 29th Silver Springs, MD The Fillmore Silver Spring
Dec 2nd Louisville, KY Expo Five
Dec 3rd Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
Dec 4th Orlando, FL House of Blues Orlando
Dec 5th Charlotte, NC The Fillmore Charlotte
Dec 6th Norfolk, VA The NorVa
Dec 8th Grand Rapids, MI Orbit Room
Dec 9th St. Louis, MO The Pageant
Dec 11th Houston, TX Bayou Music Center
Dec 12th Dallas, TX South Side Ballroom
Dec 13th San Antonio, TX Backstage Live
Dec 15th Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theatre

UNDER COVER: Doctorfunk’s “Back In Black” the prescription for good times

Not since I heard Bloomington, Indiana’s now defunct 16-piece funk outfit Flattus have I heard anything as immediately infectious as Doctorfunk, a band as comfortable dabbling in off-kilter covers as they are breaking fresh ground. I submit for your approval this funkadelic bad-assed restructuring of AC/DC’s “Back In Black,” which is as fitting a summer jam as I’ve heard in years. The jazzy funk backdrop gives the song a fresh new groove, but the vocals stick close enough to the original that this serves as a fitting homage to one of rock’s greatest tracks. For more, check out Second Opinion, the band’s exceptional sophomore album, produced by Jeff Tamalier, who formerly produced or played guitar for Tower of Power, the Strokeland Superband, Cold Blood and others over the years. And follow them on Facebook, you’ll want to definitely keep these guys on your radar screen!

WAIT TIL I GET MY HEAD ON STRAIGHT: Matthew Good’s Arrows of Desire a must-hear rock album

Forgive me for being a bit behind the curve here, but Matthew Good’s sixth solo album Arrows of Desire is good enough to be well worth the wait. Out since late September, the album follows his staggeringly good Lights of Endangered Species, bringing a serious dose of invigorating rock music to an audience starved for music of this caliber. From the opening one-two-three gut-punches of “Arrows of Desire“, “Via Dolorosa” and “Had It Coming”, this album announces itself as exactly what fans of Good have come to expect: introspective lyrics coupled with raw passionate rock arrangements which showcase Good’s always-stellar vocals.

The hooks are visceral, hitting from an emotional core no one else among his peers could mine on such a regular basis with this level of consistency. The way he stagger-holds each syllable on “Via Dolorosa” before letting loose with a guttural wail on the chorus: “Wait til I get my head on … wait til I get my head on straight!” That’s what brings us back for more, no matter how long we in the States might have to wait to ever catch him in a live setting. The raw fury comes through on the album, something ever more rare in this day of over-polished radio fodder. Check out Arrows of Desire immediately and remind yourself why rock music, in the right hands, will always be relevant.

RELEASE THE HOUNDS: Holy White Hounds’ “Switchblade” hooks like a knife to the gut

“Sometimes all you need is just a taste,” or so the chorus of “Switchblade” tells you as the brilliant single pinwheels its way through the confines of your skull. Holy White Hounds owes a great deal to the Black Keys, but their sound has a pop-fueled energy that band often lacks, fueled by the high-end production values of Brandon Darner (Imagine Dragons, Envy Corps) who helmed the band’s latest EP. There’s a real sense of “I don’t give a fuck” fun behind this one, as the video will attest on a single viewing. You’ll be singing along with this one all day while hitting repeat and trying to find out anything and everything about this enigmatic trio. With any luck Holy White Hounds will be the big rock story of 2014, as Iowa needs some serious rocking and this song seriously deserves wider appeal.

08 – Interview: Ward Hayden (Girls Guns and Glory)

This week on the “Hear! Hear!” and Now Podcast, I got the opportunity to sit and chat with Ward Hayden, lead singer for Boston’s Girls Guns and Glory. The band has spent the better part of the last decade building a name as one of America’s best undiscovered alternative country bands. For their fifth studio album, aptly titled Good Luck, the band chose to focus on promoting their more rock-oriented elements, including rockabilly and some dare I say Springsteenian touches on the album’s centerpiece, “Centralia.”

Veteran producer Eric Ambel, who produced Steve Earle and the Bottle Rockets in the past, took the helm on this release. He brings his deft touch to the rockier elements, making this the strongest Girls Guns and Glory effort yet. If you haven’t bought it yet, why not now? Ward’s interview touches on the finer details of the album, including stories behind songs like “Centralia” and “Rockin’ Chair Money” which give you a deeper look at the band’s sound and goals. You’ll also hear his favorite tracks off the album.

Enjoy, and remember to learn more about the band by visiting www.girlsgunsandglory.com.