Album Review: Electric Six – Human Zoo

Electric Six - Human ZooI remember the very first time Electric Six (E6) hit my ears.

I was working at a Borders Books, Music & Cafe in some fancy Cleveland suburb one night just minding my own business.  One of my co-workers was unpacking all of the promotional CDs for the listening booths and asked me to help him out.

Flashback Memory: As I am sure many of your remember, there was a time when CDs were the staple of the music industry and at Borders, we literally had to manually input CDs into the CD players that were locked below the CD shelves.  This was done so all you consumers could come in and check out an album prior to its release.  Duh.

Anyways, I remember seeing a copy of E6’s debut release Fire sitting out on the counter.  For whatever reason, I picked up the CD to see what it was all about and soon flipped it over to see the track titles.  I decided to sneak in a listen after I put the CD into the listening station.  I have been a fan ever since.  I just sat there on the floor of the music department loving every song on that title.  Needless to say, I snagged that CD the day it officially released and have had it in rotation for years.

I can’t say every release since Fire had as huge of an impact on me, but I have always appreciated what Dick Valentine and crew have done for 10+ years now.  Last years Mustang left a pretty good impression on me, but I just was not blown away completely.

The Detroit garage/rock/funk/disco/jam/electronica/jack-of-all-trades genre-bending act just dropped an all new album titled Human Zoo.  I am happy to say I mostly enjoyed the living hell out of it and I am pretty confident any E6 fan out there will too.

“Karate Lips” opened with an enthusiastic chant of “Electric Six” that quickly changed to “karate lips”.   The song, clearly about some tough-ass women, was heavy on the funk with an electric indie rock style that closely resembled stuff you might hear from the The Faint.

“It’s Horseshit!” was almost too much for my brain to compute yet I loved it.  It was like listening to a late 80s boy baElectric Sixnd infused with Daft Punk.  Definitely a track that people can get weird to.  The music and just overall feel of this song really resembled that vibe I first felt on Fire.

Valentine swooned beyond senselessly in “Alone With Your Body”.  I listened to this track a couple of times over because I liked it so much.  This was like the working man’s love jam.  Valentine sang as a simple man with plenty of Detroit soul backing him up.  I adored the back up singing as well as candid lyrics like “I’ll be there in a jiffy with a stiffy”.

“Satanic Wheels” grew on me after listening to it a couple of times.  I loved the synth throughout.  I felt like I was listening to typical E6 but with keyboard playing taking queues from 80s arena rock bands.  It was psychedelic yet indie if that makes sense.  I guess what I am trying to say is that this song ruled and was one of my favorites on the album.

“Gun Rights” was bizarre and unexpected.  I thought I was listening to Ween mashed with Mike Patton.  “Don’t take away my rights, my gun rights” repeated over and over with a fun Mexican folk melody.  The quick spoken-word of Valentine in the middle just kept things even more interesting.

“I Need A Restaurant” just did not do it for me.  The song seemed to just downgrade from all the craziness I previously was engulfed in.  Sadly, I skipped this track halfway into and barely made it through “Worst Movie Ever”.

“I’m the Devil” sounded more like something Tenacious D would have done one of their albums.  It was not terrible by any means but seemed more of a skit than a song.  I almost wish Dave Grohl would have jumped in on this track dressed as the devil.  I did like the Young Guns-like guitar playing style.  The best part of this track was at the very end when apparently Jesus Christ had a speaking roll.  Who knew he was such a burnout?

“The Afterlife” ended with a synth-pop tune that thankfully did not let the album end on a bad note for this listener.  I wish it were a little more sped up but for what it is worth, it was not a terrible listen by any means.

Human Zoo overall was a blast.  E6 continues to entertain but I will admit the latter portion of the album kind of fell short.   Regardless, most of the release got me all sorts of excited just like their debut did over 10 years ago.  This band in my opinion still entertains on a higher level.

Remainders Announce Debut EP Fine Exits – Out November 11th

Pittsburgh’s Remainders have a good thing going with their musical style.  It’s melodic, it’s fun, it’s just… good.

Remainders

If you like Smoke or Fire and Latterman as well as just any catchy punk rock act out there, you will adore this band.

Formed in 2014, the band consists of guitarist Dan Delucia, guitarist/vocalist Karim Akacem, vocalist/bassist Chris Feigh and drummer Tim Little.

(Note: I already adore DeLucia thanks to our ongoing instagram/social media bromance)

Just listen already:

Pretty freaking catchy huh?  I can not wait to hear the rest of it.

Remainders are slated to drop their EP debut on 11/11/2014 with Fine Exits along with a split 7″ release dropping a few weeks earlier with fellow Steel City brethren Underground Communiqué’s Barons.  Busy busy busy.

Pay attention to these guys.  You’ve been forewarned.

 

Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) Covers Guns N Roses

I am still kicking my ass for missing Rise Against when they recently played Cleveland.  I literally overlooked the show until hours before they started and had already committed to other engagements.

Ok, I am done feeling sorry for myself.

Today I was reminded of an awesome protest compilation album being released by A-F Records called This Concerns Everyone.

What does this have to do with Rise Against you ask?  Go on, keep reading…

The album will feature a ton of artists playing covers and originals including Tom Morello, Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Chris Farren (Fake Problems), Erica Freas (RVIVR), Chris Wollard & the Ship Thieves, as well as Justin Sane and Chris#2 (Anti-Flag), just to name a few.  See below for the complete track listing.

What first stated as a split between Anti-Flag’s Justin Sane and Chris #2 as well as The Homeless Gospel Choir and Chris Stowe turned into an inspirational idea.  More and more people got involved and soon the split turned into a compilation.

An undisclosed portion of proceeds will be donated to the Right To Heal Campaign.  I think this is an amazing way for artists to reach out to troops in need.

The good folk at Alternative Press are currently streaming Tim McIlrath’s rendition of a classic Guns N Roses track.  Head over to Alternative Press to check out his rendition of “Civil War”.

This Concerns Everyone

This comp drops on 11/18/2014.  Head over to A-F Records and pre-order yourself a copy now.

Side A:
01. Chris Farren (Fake Problems) – Establishment Blues (Rodriguez)
02. Erica Freas (RVIVR) – Tiny Murders
03. Chris Conley (Saves The Day) – A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
04. Chris #2 (Anti-Flag) – What Did You Learn In School Today (Pete Seeger)
05. PJ Bond – Dirty Hands
06. Anika Pyle (Chumped) – Ugly
07. Tom Morello (The Nightwatchman) – House Gone Up In Flames
08. The Homeless Gospel Choir – Some People
09. Chris Stowe – Other Peoples Guns
Side B:
10. Chris Wollard (Hot Water Music) – Selected Scenes
11. Roger Harvey – What Are You Fighting For (Phil Ochs)
12. Shawna Potter and Brooks Harlan (War On Women) – Servilia
13. Tim Mcllrath (Rise Against) – Civil War (Guns N’ Roses)
14. Justin Sane (Anti-Flag) – I Ain’t Got No Home (Woody Guthrie)
15. Thomas From The Burning Land (Strike Anywhere) – The Deep State (Field Recording)
Digital Bonus Tracks:
01. Prophet Motive – Hallowawa
02. Josh Massie – Life During War Time (Green Day)
03. Spoonboy – Last Of The Asshole (The Max Levine Ensemble)
04. Pat Thetic – Owe Us A Living (CRASS)

Check It Out: Beach Slang

Beach SlangIt’s pretty safe to say that 2014 has been the year of amazing releases by artists old and new.

Honestly I think I say that every year, but you know what?  I mean it every single time I say it.

I have a new favorite band to listen to as of late and they are called Beach Slang.  Featuring members of Weston, Ex Friends & Crybaby, this Philadelphia threesome is seriously one of the best new acts I have heard in a while.

If I had to compare them to someone out there in the music world, I would say an easy-going Jawbreaker.  This indie pop-punk act defines themselves as: “Guitar, bass, and drums. Played loudly.”  I could not agree more.

Recently, Beach Slang debuted their EP Who Would Want Anything So Broken? and I can not stop listening to it.  Check out “Punk or Lust” and “Filthy Luck” to see why exactly I am all about these guys.

I seriously can not wait until Beach Slang drops a full length.  I have the feeling it is going to be an incredible listen.  Until then, good luck finding this EP on a 7″.  I think it’s sold the hell out right now on Dead Broke Rekerds, but with good reason of course.

Check It Out: New Song By Anti-Flag

Thanks to the fine peeps over at For The Love Of Punk, everyone gets to hear the new previously unreleased Anti-Flag track titled “Close My Eyes”.

Anti-Flag 20 Years Of HellThe track was taken from the band’s final 20 Years Of Hell 7-inch split series which was only made available to those who subscribed to the  limited release through A-F Records.

I am not going to lie, I am just stoked for these Pittsburgh heroes and am thrilled to have grown up a fan of them.

I can not wait to see what they drop next.  I know it is going to rule.

Check out the track below: