Bandcamp Artists: Discover, Support, Share – Volume 30 0 408

Bandcamp Artists: Discover, Support, Share – Volume 30 0 409

It is still cold out but 2016 is rolling. Rolling so much that our February Bandcamp edition features some of last years missed gems, metal from Oakland, a great voice out of Seattle, and a singer/songwriter you should get to know down South. We shouldn’t have to remind you but here you go – Discover, Support & Share!

distractor Distractor
Costa Mesa, California

Devotion is a fun album to dig into. At first, I thought it was just a joke and was so bad that it was good. A month later, I am still listening to it. It burrows into brain and lays its eggs there. Distractor have a sound similar to Devo’s brand of synth-pop (especially on the opening track, “Dig Dug”), but as the album goes on, Distractor reminds of a bizarre blend of Devo covering Wesley Willis tunes with Ween and Tiny Tim on guest vocals. It is odd, but I found it to be refreshing and fell in love with it.

Distractor Bandcamp

alex-calder Alex Calder
Montreal, Canada

Mold Boy is a woozy and trippy lo-fi rock delight. Fans of Ween, Mac DeMarco, Jackson Scott, and Youth Lagoon will enjoy this album immensely. Alex Calder creates some wonderful psychedelic moments on Mold Boy. Tracks like “Disease Freak” and “Carlito” just jump into your ears and beg you to spend some time with them. If you need an album to go with your THC and headphones, look no further. Pick this one up now.

Alex Calder Bandcamp

kbc Kansas Bible Company
Nashville, Tennessee

Not something that you see every day and it couldn’t be more exciting. Kansas Bible Company is an interesting, seven-piece collective that drives for funk, rock, psych, soul, and surf. What’s their secret? The band has a brass section that brings a new layer of intrigue. From what I’ve head, there’s no reason not to be excited for their upcoming record, Paper Moon.

Kansas Bible Company Bandcamp

mondo-drag Mondo Drag
Oakland, California

I’ve criticized a lot of band for being too on the nose lately. But with Oakland’s Mondo Drag it’s a familiarity that I can get behind. Drawing from psychedelics and 70’s metal- particularly close to the Deep Purple and King Crimson vein- Mondo Drag has a driving energy and heavy hooks that might just give you a contact high. Their new LP The Occultation Of Light drops on Friday, I’ll be sure to give you my opinion.

Mondo Drag Bandcamp

gills The Gills
Nashville, Tennessee

Frontman Jesse Wheeler beats cancer and decides that he’d always wanted to chase his dream of having a rock n’ roll band-of course I’m shortening it a bit. The rest as they say is history and The Gills are now tearing up the Nashville music scene. “Lemonade” is an infectious tune that’s not comfortable with convention. While it has a punk attitude with a Strokes filter, it has the pop sensibilities of Phoenix, and something different all together. The Gills first full length will be hitting sometime this year.

The Gills Bandcamp

clearance Clearance
Chicago, Illinois

Hearing this band for the first time this month really pissed me off because their album, Rapid Rewards, would have made my top 20 last year for sure. That is why I am taking the time to make sure you don’t miss them. To the musical and vocal note there is no hiding that Clearance is Pavement through and through. They would be the perfect cover band if that was their thing but lucky for us it is not. Their songs are fresh slacker rock that is a win-win from start to finish – check them out!

Clearance Bandcamp

deep-sea-diver Deep Sea Diver
Seattle, Washington

Deep Sea Diver deliberately move you from rock experimentation to dreamy soundscapes with the driving force being Jessica Dobson’s voice. What makes Secrets a strong record is its ability to switch and turn on a beat, drum or groove while still remaining completely cohesive. If you are over at their Bandcamp page and want more from the band the vinyl includes their Always Waiting EP on side D. Deep Sea Diver has many moving parts but once you are hooked on Dobson’s vocals there is no turning back.

Deep Sea Diver Bandcamp

wanderwild WANDERWILD
Athens, Georgia

WANDERWILD is the project of singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Matt Martin. An Athens, GA music veteran, he has played and produced for numerous Athens bands such as Dana Swimmer, Uncle Dad, and White Violet. His debut EP, Fleeting, lets him spread his own wings that has a Death Cab meets Bon Iver vibe going on that works. The EP is out March 25th and there is only one track on Bandcamp but you can find another new song at his Facebook page HERE.


sam-beam-jesca-hoop Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop
North Carolina

Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam has found a perfect voice in Jesca Hoop to counter his soft folk. Can this album really be bad? Probably not. Love Letter for Fire is out on Sub Pop April 15th but you can jump right into the project on Beam and Hoop’s Bandcamp page. If you are a Beam fan this recording will be a no-brainer.

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop Bandcamp

gozilla Go!Zilla
Firenze, Italy

This Italian band is hitting US shores for a tour starting in March. Their record, Sinking In Your Sea came out almost a year ago but after you hear a little bit of Go!Zilla’s combination of ’90s grunge, garage and surf tunes from the ’60s, with a large punk attitude that tops it off – you won’t care. The grinding rock will take you back but also fits in with much of the garage revival that has been going on now making Go!Zilla a perfect fit for today.

Go!Zilla Bandcamp

-Feature by Christopher Tahy, Thomas Wilde, Daniel Taylor and Christopher Anthony

Fire Note Staff

Fire Note Staff

Online Music Magazine: Independent Music Reviews, Vinyl Spotlights, Music News, Videos, 7-inch record features + more!
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Bill Mallonee & The Big Sky Ramblers: Forest Full Of Wolves [Album Review] 1 892

Bill Mallonee & The Big Sky Ramblers
Forest Full of Wolves
Self-Released [2018]

Fire Note Says: Bill Mallonee is one of those best-kept secrets you really want to share with the rest of the music loving world.

Album Review: No one is ever going to call singer/songwriter Bill Mallonee an under-achiever. His latest release, a 10 song full-length effort, Forest Full of Wolves is his 78th album by his own count. Mallonee spent the 1990s fronting the Athens, GA-band Vigilantes of Love, shuffling from one label to the next, driving a van from coast-to-coast playing every alternative rock/Americana friendly venue who would let them. Hometown friend, Peter Buck (R.E.M.) co-produced one of the band’s early more-acoustic albums, the Killing Floor. The band’s 1999 album, released on three different labels of the course of 18 months, Audible Sigh was produced by Nashville’s favorite side-man Buddy Miller, and includes a guest vocal by Emmylou Harris, as well as some of Mallonee’s best loved songs. Paste Magazine has named him one of the 100 greatest living songwriters.

A rough count, say there were 10 songs per release (usually there were more), puts Mallonee’s songwriting output at nearly 8000, and those are the one’s he’s recorded. Now basic logic would suggest that they can’t all be good, and surely not all of them are memorable, but Mallonee’s work, his actual raison d’’etre, has proven especially consistent over the decades, and in the 2010’s he’s delivered a solid album’s worth of tunes each year, with a noticeable uptick in production values starting with 2011’s The Power & The Glory. Last year’s excellent The Rags of Absence was a case in point, with Mallonee especially attentive to his lead guitar parts.

Forest Full of Wolves continues to chronicle the challenges to working class people and even songwriters, as if Mallonee is creating his own musical version of John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” for what he calls this “new dark age.” “Greed and fear (have) gained the upper hand,” he sings in “Changing of the Guard,” so he’s “grabbed a guitar & a notebook or two… became a phantom with some conjuring ‘neath the moon.”

Musically, Wolves takes the energy of Rags to the next level, with bigger, noiser guitar tones. Mallonee captures a Neil Young jamming with Crazy Horse in the garage vibe throughout, which is likely a lot harder to pull off since Mallonee’s playing all the instruments. Mid-tempo alternative country rock at it’s most earnest and relevant, and against all odds, Mallonee manages to offer a word of hope. “In the New Dark Age” he sings, borrowing the title from a different song that he recording on 2014’s The Winnowing, “the best thing you can do is fall in love.” Of course, “Love Is Always Risky Currency,” but it’s the best chance any of us have of surviving in this “Forest Full of Wolves.”

Like many artists scrambling to make art in the challenging digital marketplace and survive financially Mallonee has struggled to reach out and connect with Americana fans, break ground with new audiences, even though he’s stayed off the road in recent years. As a fan who first heard the singer songwriter live in the early 90’s, and many times over the years, Bill Mallonee is one of those best-kept secrets you really want to share with the rest of the music loving world. It’s artists who wear their passion on their sleeves, who keep pouring out their hearts in songs, that make the music that matters. (One reason to order the hard CD copy of this one, is the cover art produced by another singer songwriter, Chris Taylor, from San Antonio, TX.).

Key Tracks: “In the New Dark Age” / “Voodoo Ink” / “Trimmed & Burning”

Artists With Similar Fire: Neil Young / Bob Dylan / John Prine

Bill Mallonee Website
Bill Mallonee Facebook

– Reviewed by Brian Q. Newcomb

Fire Note Staff

Fire Note Staff

Online Music Magazine: Independent Music Reviews, Vinyl Spotlights, Music News, Videos, 7-inch record features + more!
Fire Note Staff

Stars: There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light [Album Review] 0 442

There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light
Last Gang Records [2017]


Who: Veteran indie pop band from Canada.

Sound: Indie pop with a heart and a head.

TFN Final Take: Stars is like a well-worn glove that is comfortable, reliable, but lacking in surprise or unpredictability. There is nothing wrong with that; they are still great at what they do. And what they do is construct a song, engage you, and give you space to reflect on what you’re hearing. My standout track is “Alone,” which has a chorus that stuck with me. The song takes its time to unfold and then slowly recedes into silence. “Real Thing” is another good one that throws an off-speed pitch for a chorus. Per usual, established fans will find a lot to like in the latest album and new fans will hopefully take advantage of Stars’ great catalog.

Stars Website
Stars Facebook
Last Gang Records

– Reviewed by Matthew Heiner

Fire Note Staff

Fire Note Staff

Online Music Magazine: Independent Music Reviews, Vinyl Spotlights, Music News, Videos, 7-inch record features + more!
Fire Note Staff

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