The Monster

“Oh darkness, I want to sing your song forever…”

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Continuously topping himself, new music from William Control never disappoints. Pouring his digital heart out with his Neuromantic boys in tow, William is once again bringing the music scene something different & original, wrapped up in blood-tinged synthesizers and savage beats.

The hook “Oh I’m ready, oh I’m ready to hurt again” is sure to get your heart racing before launching into lyrics both seductive and unsettling. Terry Matlin’s black & white videography brings the grey world of William Control to life, the chaos and macabre enticing us to come just a little bit closer. With the breakdown highlighted through red filters that I hope is brought to the stage performance, this is surely William’s most artistic video to date.

“The Monster” is our first taste of the new album, “Revelations”. Split into 4 different EPs: Pale, Black, Red and White, the Pale EP will be dropping mid-October and I’m already counting down the days. Put this one on repeat and dance my friends!!

 

 

 

Introducing : Simonne Jones

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Music is in my DNA, encoding the structure of my development, growth and has even at times, contributed to my functioning as a human being. I’ve always believed that music is the one vital component that we, as human beings, have to connect with one another on levels that know no judgment, have no rules and can create a spiritual unity that is as close to religion as you can get without having to choose a denomination. We live in a world full of so much beauty, that is so vast and full of opportunities yet we know all too well, how easy it is to get caught up in the negative space that dwells within the infiniteness of our nature. Countless times, I’ve found myself resorting to music when I needed guidance, finding inspiration through the words and stories of those who have been where I have or where I long to go, relishing in their insight and consolation.  I’ve stumbled upon a lot of my music collection by accident, usually thumbing through Rolling Stone or combing through pages of new artists online and devouring discographies of Rock Gods past. With the help of one of my favorite Youtube channels SoulPancake, finding Simonne Jones was no different.

(FYI: SoulPancake is the brainchild of actor Rainn Wilson and his 2 friends, Joshua Hamnick & Devon Gundry, launched in 2009. Its purpose is to open + challenge your mind to “big think” topics such as spirituality, arts and philosophy. It also aims to inspire + make you friggin’ happy with a HUGE variety of video “shows” including my favorites Kid President, The Science of Love and My Last Days.  Now continue on to my video encounter… )

With dark hair flowing from under a large-brimmed black hat, a simple black dress, detailed only with studs embellishing her shoulders, she held onto her guitar with a calm confidence that drew me in before she even started singing. Outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), she stares into the camera with a seemingly fearless assurance as she begins her song “Make Love to You”, an empowering song about desiring nothing but a physical connection.  Starting with a simple acoustic guitar riff, she takes her time as she wanders between a light installation toward Wilshire Boulevard, breezing through honey sweet vocals + candid lyrics. Moving to the catchy beat she creates by hitting the guitar against her palm in between riffs, it’s clearly visible she’s enjoying herself and makes the multi-tasking look quite easy, which I can assure you, is not. She would later be interviewed, speaking behind inquisitive smiles with a unique poise, explaining her curiosity to explore our infinite universe as well as her belief that music has the power to change the world. Yes, I liked this girl. (See the video here…)

Resembling an offspring that Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet forgot they had, Jones spent her teen years modeling before taking her life in a completely different direction. With an intense love for science and medicine, she studied biochemistry, devoting her studies to the HIV field, graduating with honors in Biomedical Research, as well as in Visual Arts from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Co-authoring a research paper on detecting different structures within HIV, she has been published in Science magazine and as a humanitarian, has travelled to Ghana, where she researched an adolescent HIV/AIDS program she created to raise awareness about the disease. Jones passions did not only reside in the science world but flowed over to the arts side as well, where she expressed herself through painting + visual arts before succumbing to the one passion that drove her just a bit harder than the rest.

Learning to play piano by ear, teaching herself how to read music and play guitar, Jones decided to focus on her music career, relocating from Los Angeles to Berlin. Much like one of her heroes, Leonardo Da Vinci, Simonne believes art and science are very closely related, having both problem solving + experimenting in common. Combining her passions into one outlet, she creates not only an entirely different electro-acoustic sound but a new form of expression, where she constructs the atmosphere + builds the mood. To add a new element to her art, she began building her own guitars and mini drum trigger pads, which connect to her laptop, allowing her to trigger any sound she wants. This is how Jones is able to build her own songs live, by tapping the pad coordinated with her laptop; she records each sound live, programming it right before your eyes to transform into music. It’s pretty cool to watch and something I do hope to see live one day.

Staying in full command over her art form, she also takes on the role as the producer of her music, allowing no intrusion into the creative process. Her songwriting approach is simplistic yet strong, with themes of youth + freedom, love + not-just-sex and an overall wonder, expressing a hunger for life that is quite invigorating. Also bringing a unique, raw sexuality that isn’t over-the-top thrown in your face but subtlety shown between whimsical melodies and a dash of rock and roll, Jones really is the whole package: intelligent, unusually relatable, mysterious, stunning and yes, even a little weird but really, who isn’t?

Her outlook on life is more than refreshing, emphasizing that questioning is more important than answering, that the universe is limitless and that we, as human beings, have the potential to surpass even our own dreams. Accomplishing more in her short 27 years on Earth than most do in a lifetime, Simonne Jones is currently recording and based in Berlin. Recently gaining acceptance into the Red Bull Music Academy and being recognized as a songwriter-activist by Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times, I am beyond eager to see what this amazing woman, who lives + breathes music, has in store for the world that she is in fact… changing.simonne

 

Nothing More Album Review

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One of the hardest things to do in life is to simply be who you are. From the day we’re born, everyone from our friends, family and even current Internet celebrities tell us how to dress, how to act, how to think and how to live. With the dominant rise of technology and the accessibility the media gives us to other people’s lives + opinions, our society is in a constant state of influence, forcing us to always compare ourselves, usually finding fault instead of acceptance. It’s easy to feel alone, to doubt yourself and feel unjust for the struggles + hardships you have to endure; to get lost in the negative aspects of life, wallow in anger + self-pity and see life as a burden. The hard part is to find the light in the times of darkness, however dim it may be.

Setting the bar high with their self-titled fourth full-length album, Nothing More shimmers with a profound and inspiring message that is not only revolutionary and will affect nearly everyone who listens but easily mirrors that very light we all need to survive in those dark times. With numerous standout songs, almost all being radio-friendly, the album shines as a whole with intelligent lyrics and an intense passion intertwined into every second. The many influences of this band are apparent, with sounds similar to Alice In Chains, Disturbed, Three Days Grace, S.O.A.D, The Prodigy, Rush, Megadeth, Coheed and Rage yet somehow their sound is incomparable and all their own.

The hypnotic opening sequence of the album exemplifies the stress + unhappiness we force upon ourselves on a daily basis, allowing fear + negativity to weigh us down, essentially leaving us drowning and gasping for air. “Ocean Floor” blends perfectly into the thundering drum + bass of the album’s explosive first single, “This Is The Time (Ballast)”, an extremely catchy, head banging song about letting go of whatever it is that holds you back, recognizing your own strength and finding your balance. Followed by an exquisite blend of electronic texture amongst heavy metal guitar riffs, the hard-hitting anthem of “Christ Copyright” sends a powerful message regarding religion’s role in our society; that “we are not machines” and as individuals, we need to learn to ask questions, to think for ourselves and not be faceless sheep in the herd but to indeed, have a voice.

Recurring themes of the pressure to conform are found throughout the record, as well as internal struggles with self-doubt + guilt. The sad, ugly truth of the media‘s influence on society and how it spawns robotic + materialistic shells of human beings is found in “Mr. MTV”. Tensions fly high through identifiable lyrics of always feeling judged and never being fully heard in songs like “First Punch” while the hostility found in “The Matthew Effect” is everything you’ve ever wanted to say to the spoiled + entitled hypocrites of the world. With an already clear focus of unleashing negative emotions, “I’ll Be OK” allows the album to switch gears, slow down + reveal a more emotional but not necessarily softer side of the band. Looking for forgiveness and needing to forgive, passionate, soul-crushing vocals that exude longing +hope are given the spotlight, escalating into a buildup so dynamic and strong, your breath will literally catch in your throat as this song speaks for all the times you’ve lacked faith in yourself, offering a reassurance that only music can bring.

The savage, jilted lover track “Sex and Lies”, graphically depicts the turbulence caused when cheating is involved. Words laced in anger, resentment + disbelief accommodate the energy of the pounding drums and raging guitars as the bass cuts through manically creating an all-around melee of fury. Evident in nearly every song on the album, this band is not afraid of being brutally honest, hitting on uncomfortable but easily relatable subjects, climactically shedding light when darkness seems ever enveloping.  However, it’s the two extremely personal songs saved for the end of the album that truly demonstrates the ability of Nothing More to touch a nerve and move something inside of you.

We’ve all had that one friend or relative that, despite the love shown + the numerous chances given, fail to realize their own chaotic demise, continuing their vicious cycle until hitting rock bottom becomes the only solution. “Jenny” brings to life an all-too-familiar story, representing that one person we all know and how their actions affect everyone around them, bringing to light the undoubtedly harsh truth that we are usually too afraid to speak. Beginning with a simple guitar + soft vocals to set the stage for this epic wake-up call, what was once hope slowly changes into defeat before eventually exploding into full-blown exasperation, not only told through the lyrics but through the vitality of the music itself. Heavy disappointment shines through every syllable, with the chilling pleas for change hitting like a ton of bricks as the drums slam in perfect unison with the bass + guitar to match the intensity of having to walk away from someone until they see the error of their ways. The despair + agony felt when watching someone you love spiral out of control and self-destruct is enough suffering to bear but experiencing the loss of a parent at the same time takes the pain to an all new level.

Being one of the most moving pieces I’ve heard in years, the incredibly stirring “God Went North”, a song about the loss of a mother after battling cancer, easily defines why music exists and to say this song is beautiful may be an understatement. The soothing wind chimes and rolling thunder provide an atmosphere to the symbolic calm before the storm as the words begin to paint a profoundly realistic picture. Extraordinarily illustrating a life-changing moment of having to say goodbye to the person who created you, nearly every emotion felt during the grieving process is evident in the exquisite vocals that expose the heart + soul of this band. The drums slowly heighten as the story unfolds from numb disbelief to the heartbreaking request of “if you won’t save her, please just take her”, the guitar magnifying the turmoil + distress before soaring into an upward turn of accepting the finality of what ultimately must happen. With the mortality of our parents being inevitable, anguished-wrapped lyrics like “cutting the cord from the mother who gave me everything” are sure to touch even those who haven’t experienced such a loss, while providing a therapeutic consolation when the pain is all too real for those who have.

Transcending into wind + crashing waves, the thematic use of the five elements creates a unique musical experience, adding a special, intimate approach that is felt through the album as a whole. Even though we are individuals, we are all part of the same Earth; the growing and changing we go through in life is evident through water, healing + purifying us along the way. The drive + passion of fire that can both create and destroy, heal or harm is represented by the spark inside us all that Nothing More urges to keep ignited. Concluding with the electronically stimulating “Pyre” brings everything full circle, as the wind not only carries away the last breath of life but is the expansive freedom of departing our physical body, leaving the sky to embody everything we cannot comprehend with our minds and only truly embrace with our limitless spirit.

Flowing into one last food-for-thought piece featuring the intriguingly captivating words of philosopher Alan Watts, who is also heard in the guitar-layered instrumental track “Gyre”, the theories are not ones that you need to necessarily agree with to fully enjoy the nearly ten minute final track of the album. Instead of being forced down your throat, the ideas are designed to make you think, offering a tranquil reflection while stressing that “the real you, is not a puppet which life pushes around”, a message that has easily weaved its way through Nothing More, who emphasize the importance of keeping your inner fire blazing and embracing your individuality.

With lyrics that provoke and the concept of music as therapy restored, there is a song on this album for everyone; for anyone who has ever thought they weren’t good enough, who have been wronged or have done wrong, have lost someone they loved or who just need that little nudge of courage to just simply: be. Ranging from optimism to rage and melancholy, Nothing More will for sure pull many conflicting emotions from you, all while putting things into perspective + possibly providing solace while reminding that at the end of the day, we are not alone in the fact that we are all just trying to simply… be.

“Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever.”

Something Supernatural – Crobot

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The most influential bands in the history of rock and roll all possessed two of the same traits:  love + chemistry. Evident in the music that was created, the collective chemistry of the band as a whole combined with their love of the music itself aided in the mastering of albums you wanted to listen to over + over again, where the shameless soul of rock and roll was captured in every song and lived within every note. Containing an unmatched mystique that would remain timeless and forever relevant in the hearts of rock lovers everywhere, albums like Led Zeppelin “IV”, Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced”, Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” and even Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” all became part of the rock royalty that have and will continue to inspire music for decades, setting the bar high and nearly unreachable.
 
Until now.

With their groove-heavy, full length album “Something Supernatural”, Crobot’s epic concoction of witchcraft, urban legends, wizards and of course, The Devil brings about a cultural revolution for the rebirth of the true spirit of rock and roll, providing a salvation that our generation of misguided misfits may have missed out on. Hailing from the mountains of Pottsville, Pennsylvania and sounding like a relic from an era long ago, the aesthetics + style of Crobot is unique in that it gives tribute to the past but along with that old school rock nostalgia, they combine toe-tapping funk similar to that James Brown + Mother’s Finest with a throw to 90s aggressive alternative bands like Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, displaying their love for guitar solos and bass-for-days. With their ability to meld different genres of rock into one big, bubbling cauldron of awesome to create a sound full of wild, filthy spontaneity, this album will undoubtedly appeal to the masses, drawing fans from many different generations.
 
The thundering intro into the world of Crobot begins with the head-bangingly groovy “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer”, quickly setting the stage for the ‘dirty groove rock’ this album has in store. From the powerhouse vocals channeling the almighty Chris Cornell that mix with the ebb and flow of the Zeppelin-reminiscent drum + bass to the Hendrix-esque guitar riffs, it’s obvious this band plans to leave its mark in the rock and roll stratosphere.  The catchy, toe tapping “Nowhere to Hide” has just a twang of Southern Rock charm that would make both Skynard + The Allman Brothers proud and just enough gritty up-tempo funk to justify why it’s the album’s first single, as it is a great representation of the blend that Crobot brews. Old school Black Sabbath is resurrected in “The Necromancer”, with a touch of Aerosmith found in the bluesy harmonica that dances between strong guitars and booming bass as the drums count down to one of the album’s many jams that all garage bands dream of having.

Slowing down to allow the guitar to set the mood + shine, the hypnotic tale of “La Mano de Lucifer” is unveiled, revealing a side of Crobot that is like a magic carpet ride for the soul. An exceptional display of their storytelling abilities, this wickedly epic journey begins as a grim, slow, melancholy lull with somber + captivating vocals that are curiously nostalgic as they tell one of the greatest Biblical stories ever told: the fall of Lucifer. Boldly reconstructed by the dark groove of the bass, the deep vibe in the music itself creates an overall otherworldly feel as the song explodes into a catastrophic wave of rad that turns into what surely sounds like a battle between good vs. evil, with the darkness trying to diminish the light. Causing the imagination to run rampant with lyrics depicting a dark-winged unicorn and a
collection of tormented souls, this magical, infernal ditty is without a doubt my favorite on the album, with an intensity felt + heard in every note.
 
Roaring into another fusion of rockin’ funk, you’ll feel your fists trying to pump as the opening of the “Skull of Geronimo” takes you back amongst the early days of Rage Against the Machine, the bass pulsing like a heartbeat and the drums pounding amongst vigorous guitar riffs that add just enough power + rhythm to create a dynamic hook that would make Audioslave envious.
 
One of my personal favorites is the gravity-battling, drum-heavy “Cloud Spiller”, a stand-out track full of distortion, groove-laden bass and features one of the funkiest, dirtiest and you guessed it, grooviest breakdowns that may ever grace your ears. Harmonies comparable to those of the late Layne Staley + Jerry Cantrell [Alice in Chains] can be heard throughout the bluesy “Fly On The Wall” while “Night of the Sacrifice” welcomes back the old-school rock flow with a jam about witchcraft that is indeed, spirited. Howling about death and warning that no one gets out alive, the chorus is by far one of the most addictive on the album and did I mention the SICK guitar solo? Another favorite is the eccentric, down-by-the-river, urban legend inspired “Chupacabra”, guaranteed to get you moving. The hard-hitting drums mix with the bass that just won’t quit as the nasty guitar whammy pedals away while the fervent + maniacal vocals wail about taunting the ‘monster of Mexico’ to formulate an off-the-wall myth full of energy and spunk.
 
Nearing the end of this strange, wayward odyssey is a fuzz-saturated battle between two “Wizards” where the convenience of technology rivals the spirit of magic, resulting in a tale that is sure to be every stoner rocker’s dream before descending into the final song of the album. Evoking a sense of despair + dread that some may find oddly relatable, the beautifully gloomy “Queen of the Light” easily exhibits the vocal strengths that engulf this band as well as the band’s seamless chemistry. Melodic vocals + eerie guitars blend with simple, yet intricate drum + bass that all flow together effortlessly to illustrate the story of a woman who longs to leave behind her dark, haunting past in hopes of something good and pure, complete with an illustrious stamp of ‘Je ne sais quoi’ that Zeppelin was always so notorious for. Not to be confused with being soft or mild, this ballad will have an obvious appeal to the female Crobot fans (or as I have dubbed them, ‘ladybots’) but still packs an extremely satisfying punch to the gut of awe-inspiring calamity.
 
With an energy and charisma that is reached with such ease, it’s safe to say Crobot hit the bulls eye on creating rock and roll greatness that will go hand in hand with some of the most badass rock albums to ever exist. The two components of love + chemistry that defined so many of the greats before them is undeniably present from the first song to the last, devising a near perfect compilation for rock lovers of all ages to treasure. Bringing the rock, the funk and the flava’ all while reminding how fun + spirited music can truly be, with albums like this existing in the universe, “Something Supernatural” is proof that rock and roll will never die.

The Neuromancer – William Control

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I love when an album has a standout song that can literally make me stop what I’m doing and just listen; that can give me goose bumps as well as make my heart race and almost stop breathing.  It’s rare when an album can cause this reaction more than once but William Control has bled his heart into every minute of this record, masterminding another intoxicating tale that leaves me absolutely breathless. ’The Neuromancer’ flows together so beautifully, each song intertwining with the next to create an intensely erotic, theatrical, mind jarring story that translates into one hell of an industrial dance album.

Having been a huge fan since 2010, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of his new record and what William had in store for his fans this time around. After listening to it all the way through for the first time, I lost count of how many times my jaw hit the floor as I thought, “Fuck. This is good.”  After hearing two songs from it the week prior to its release (“Illuminator” and “Revelator”), I had an idea that it would indeed be good but really could not fathom how much it would surpass his previous work. I honestly love every word in this collection; every song is worth writing about. It is evident how much William has grown as an artist, his vocals even cleaner and somehow softer; the production transcending a level of near perfection. But I had to narrow it down to the songs that literally made me stop what I was doing and just listen; the ones that gave me goose bumps as well as made my heart race and yes, almost stop breathing.

I narrowed it down to four songs.

The sixth song on the album, “The Filth and the Fetish”, is without an obvious doubt the filthiest. Renewing familiar themes from his earlier work of sex + violence complete with agonizing screams and blood-curdling cries, this is one of William’s strongest and heaviest songs yet. Mixed with drums that remain powerful throughout, the ferocity of the synthesizer and a deep, almost intrusive bass that seems to invade your every pore, this song generates an atmosphere where you can almost smell the smoke from the infamous cigarette forever in William’s hand as he tells about “a pain you can love, a hurt you can swallow”.

However, it’s the unbelievably sexy “Closure in the comfort…” chorus that I can feel in the depths of my belly that makes my toes curl. The first fifty seconds of this song (or so) takes me to a place that is so terrifyingly unknown yet so seductive that it peaks my curiosity to levels I didn’t know existed. William’s voice is so persuasive and confident, blending with the weirdly sensual background vocals, daring you to come just a little bit closer and take a deeper look. There is something so enticing about how one finds pleasure in pain and torment, making it sound like a delicious apple that one should not bite, yet absolutely cannot refuse. This song is sure to be a hit amongst the fans that have been around since day one, reassuring them that William is still as unapologetic as ever about who he is and what he wants.

Moving ahead to track eight, “Passengers” is in a word: divine.  A piano driven love letter that is so hauntingly beautiful, you hate for it to end at only a little after three minutes, making it the shortest song on the album (next to the “Introduction” of course).  Dreamy and whimsical, with a melody so modestly sweet and lovely, this song is every tortured soul’s lullaby that will undeniably make you curse yourself for having a heart.

Encompassed with forlorn passion, William’s exquisite vocals drip in agony and despair, unmasking his shattered + torn heart, veiled with a longing for just one more tryst with love.  In a constant battle between love and the darkness, this is his way of lying down his armor, all but admitting defeat against a concept he fights to fully surrender to. Every note delicately laced with both tenderness and woe, will inevitably win over every hopeless romantic listener, who will be hanging onto every word.

But before being too swept away with the notion that love has once again conquered all, William has revised this assumption a bit, deciding that love is in fact “ugly” and nothing more than fata morgana, an illusion.  “Love Is A Shadow”, track ten, is quite possibly my favorite song on the album; we’ll get to my other ‘favorite’ contender shortly.  Aggressive drum & bass infused with 80s New wave and a dash of electro-rock, this one is just too appealing to my inner Goth kid to not simply rave about.

Disguised as a nefarious Prince Charming, engulfed in melancholy fantasy, craving to break the skin and taste the iron in your blood, this anti-love anthem allows William to tempt and lure you, once again, to the dark side. Amidst another invasive bass line incorporated with dirty guitars and a breakdown so intense, you will want to dance until the sun comes up, I am especially eager to devour this particular song live. Admitting to his need + desire to “seduce forever”, with a song (hell, an album) like this, that is all-too achievable, Sir.

Yet, the real gem on this album and my other ‘favorite’ contender is the final song, “Where the Angels Burn”.  Concluding with a serene and virtually otherworldly ballad, William’s voice is so eerily haunting and somber as he effortlessly pours his heart into each poetic line. Especially captivating knowing the backstory of his relationship with Vivian (remember, it’s a concept album), which he was kind enough to share with me when I interviewed him (check it out here), the understated melody and heartbeat-esque synthesizer causes electric chills up and down my spine while goose bumps flood my arms.

Finishing with spoken word prose, similar to the album “Introduction”, this shattered man has finally realized that love is the only aid to his wound, professing a promise that will withstand time as he tries to soothe his own anguish. The romanticized lyrics, that could easily be the completion of the love letter begun in “Passengers”, are so beautifully penned, elaborating words that anyone who has ever been in love have certainly longed to hear. I once described William’s music as ”morbidly romantic poetry” and he remains true to this depiction, crafting, in my opinion, one of his most sumptuous lines yet, “I would set myself on fire a thousand times for just five more minutes of your magnificence against my skin”. Beautiful, Sir.

Without a doubt, ‘The Neuromancer’ is a thrilling, sensual and morose album, each song the perfect continuance of the last. Sublimely complimented by background vocals provided by Kenneth Fletcher + Ashley Jade and featuring an appearance by the unmistakable voice of Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides, this is William’s most promising album to date. Its mixture will indeed satisfy his current followers as well as those who are unfamiliar but find themselves being drawn into the world of a man who’s been to hell and back, all in the name of that nonsensical, soul-crushing thing called ‘love’. Whichever one you are, I invite you to come just a little bit closer, take a deeper look and relish in the enigma that is William Control…

A British Love Affair

 

I was a nerdy teenager who not only loved movies but the soundtracks that accompanied them. Some of my favorites were Titanic, The Faculty and Twister. Like I said: nerdy. But it was the soundtrack for I Know What You Did Last Summer that would introduce me to a British indie rock band that would open my mind and ignite my soul.

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On top of music from Type O Negative, The Offspring and Toad the Wet Sprocket, the soundtrack opened with a cover of Deep Purple’s “Hush”. The band was called Kula Shaker and the song easily became my favorite of the summer. Led by Crispian Mills, son of legendary actress Haley Mills, (who my mom was a HUGE fan of growing up and introduced me to all of her movies when I was little), it was the catchiness and hint of Brit-rock that caught my attention but it wasn’t until I bought their debut album K, that I discovered what the band was really all about.

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Psychedelic rock all the way immersed in 60s nostalgia intertwined with a magical Raga influence that created a soul-shaking fusion of rock and new age, K rocked my world like no album ever had. With an emphasis on Indian mysticism and instrumentation, the use of the sitar, tambura and table mix combined with wa-wa pedals + heavy guitars shaped a mystical ambiance drenched in Nag Champa. Joyfully optimistic and hopeful, praising the alchemy of life while reminding to have fun and celebrate being alive, this album without a doubt changed my universe.

In the summer of ’99, nearing the two-year mark of my love affair with Kula Shaker, the band announced a small US tour for their sophomore album Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts. My 15-year-old self was elated at the fact they would be stopping in Carrboro, NC at The Cat’s Cradle. At the time, I had only been to big concert arenas, not yet exploring the more intimate club setting. I could not wait to be in the presence of this band and experience their message live. I was counting down the days and X’ing them off my wall calendar as the time grew near. I listened to nothing but K, psyching myself up for what was surely to be a life-altering show.

Out of school for summer break, I remember sleeping in late the day of the show. I woke up especially chipper, knowing nothing could touch my mood: I was going to see Kula Shaker!!! Around 2 in the afternoon, the phone rang. It was mom, calling to ask me if I had heard the news. “What news?” I asked her. Less than 5 hours before the doors were supposed to open, the show had been cancelled.

My heart nearly stopped in my chest.
I had never (and still have never) been so disappointed by the cancellation of ANYTHING. No flashing lights. No drums. No sitar. No Crispian Mills. No life-altering show. NOTHING. I will not admit to the crying that ensued.

And to make matters worse, the band “officially” split up two months later. Thankfully they reformed in 2004, releasing 2 more full-length albums as well as a 15th anniversary edition of K, including unreleased material and a documentary.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago: the band announced the release of their fifth studio album K2.0 and premiered their new song “Infinite Sun”. The guttural shriek of glee I let out is too embarrassing to describe.

Besides the obvious excitement of new music from one of the greatest bands I’ve ever heard, the anticipation of a possible U.S. tour is overwhelming. My fingers are crossed ever so tightly and my heart is all-a-flutter. Make this silly pink-haired gal’s LIFE and get thee to NC: your biggest fan awaits!!!

 

 

.Afflicted.

I meant to post this earlier but I’ve been a bit busy this past week. But in light of the month of October being upon us, it only seems fitting to write about it now…

One-Eyed Doll‘s concept album, “Witches” is one of THE best concept albums I’ve ever heard. The story behind the Salem witch trials never sounded so good.

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Check out my full album review here and then watch the wickedly beautiful video for “Afflicted” below. It’s one of the heavier songs off the album but is a great representation of the album as a whole. I highly recommend checking out “Black in the Rye“, “A Rope for Mary“, “Stillness” and “Witch Hunt“, as well.

And I don’t even have to comment on the babeliness of Kimberly; that just goes without saying.