Archive for the ‘Recommended Music’ Category

Steph Up To the Mic: Vault Dweller – Messenger of Doom

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

by Stephanie Vossekuil

With bands such as Job for a Cowboy, The Devil Wears Prada, The Black Dahlia Murder and countless others of that breed standing right in the way of what we should really be paying attention to in the realm of heavy music, it’s no wonder so many groups worthy of our whipping hair and thrusting horns fade into obscurity only to be enjoyed by those dedicated to sifting through the mounds of garbage to get to the goods. Lucky for us, the few and the proud are still out there somewhere, building an impenetrable wall of sound designed to keep the spit-shined melodies and glamorous images out of our line of sight. It’s comforting to discover that fun and the “big fuck you” are still a priority for many up and coming bands.

One such band, Vault Dweller, hailing from Salem, Oregon, graced our comfortable Santa Cruz with their presence back in 2009 when they played a supremely badass house show on 3rd street with our local ambient black metal warriors, Fell Voices. Out in that tiny garage, steam billowing out with the licking of the cool night air against our sweating, stinking flesh, people swinging from the rafters, they conquered. The energy was raw and captivating with the entire crowd feeding into the thrash.

I was pleased to have obtained their recording they had for sale, entitled Messenger of Doom, and it quickly became my favorite album of 2009. Thus, I feel obligated to do my part to communicate the good news to as many thirsty metallians as I possibly can: True heavy, fun music didn’t die with 80’s thrash!

Vault Dweller’s Messenger of Doom is a deliciously grimey slab of crusty groove metal that blends a generous amount of that ol’ Sabbath worship with the quick ‘n’ dirty thrust of crust punk. Upon the first listen, the raw energy of the lo-fi, oftentimes simple, yet effective riffs is apparent. The vocals range from high-pitched shrieking cries to a more guttural grunting. We also get a taste for the band’s dedication to pure, ass-kicking fun with tracks like “Thunderdome”, which lends itself to a drunken thrashing good time and primarily consists of a group chanting of the lyrics “Two men enter, one man leaves!”

Another prominent characteristic of this recording is the thick, sludgy, and wholly sexy bass lines that give a sense of fullness to this otherwise delightfully distorted tone of the drums and guitar. The riffs are extremely catchy especially in songs such as “Eat and Learn” as well as the title track “Messenger of Doom” and tend to alternate between a more mid-tempo then crushing punk speed. On certain releases of this album, the final track is composed of a 22:58 long live recording which is notably fuzzed-out, but makes for a interesting little bonus to the release.

This album comes at a high recommendation for those of you looking for a good old fashioned thrill, a record that beckons you to crack open your cheap beer and fucking mosh.

Bands of honorable mention: Coffinworm, Winterfylleth, At Dusk, Idolater, Cough, Funebrarum. For more suggestions from fellow fiends of the loud such as yourself, check the blogs! (,


Wanna Hear the New Decemberists Album?

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

You’re in luck. The wonderful people in NPR’s music department have hooked it up and are featuring the Decemberists forthcoming album, The King is Dead as part of their First Listen series.

Check it out: Decemberists – The King is Dead on NPR

Top 10 Albums of the Decade

December 26, 2010 Leave a comment

by Raul

So we’ve come to the end of a decade. Seems like just yesterday people were freaking out about Y2K. Here we are 10 years later so full of Facebook and iPhones that we’ve forgotten that it was the same technology that brought us these things that had us afraid of the turn of the century. Anyway, I’ll stop there and give you my top 10 releases of the past decade. Mind you this was not an easy list to compile and they are in no particular order.

DIRTBOMBS - Ultraglide In Black

OUTKAST - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

MAYER HAWTHORNE - A Strange Arrangement


TURBONEGRO - Scandanavian Leather

V/A - Zulu Stomp!! South African Garage Beats!!

COLD CAVE - Love Comes Close

DARONDO - Let My People Go

DEATH - For The Whole World To See

NUGGETS II - Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond

Our Favorite Releases From 2010

December 18, 2010 1 comment

Roger (In no particular order)
01. Black Keys – Brothers
02. Sly Johnson – Complete Mythology
03. Aloe Blacc – Good Things
04. Mavis Staples – You’re Not Alone
05. Billy Bang – Prayer for Peace
06. Bruce Springsteen – Promise
07. Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate – Ali & Toumani
08. Holmes Brothers – Feed My Soul
09. Paul Weller – Wake Up the Nation
10. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned the Hard Way

01. Jaill – That’s How We Burn
02. Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be
03. Dwight Twilley – Green Blimp
04. Soft Pack – Soft Pack
05. Gonjasufi – A Sufi & a Killer
06. Personal & the Pizzas – Raw Pie
07. No Age – Everything In Between
08. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus
09. Off! – First 4 EPs (Box Set)
10. Purling Hiss – Public Service Announcement

01. Flamin’ Groovies – Flamingo & Teenage Head
02. Iggy Pop & James Williamson – Kill City
03. Syl Johnson – Complete Mythology
04. Jim Sullivan – U.F.O.
05. Black Tambourine – Black Tambourine
06. Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
07. Los Saicos – Demolicion
08. Rationals – Fan Club Album & Out On The Floor
09. Zombies – Set of 6 7″s: R & B, at The BBC, A Go Go, At Work ‘n’ Play, 66, Time Of The Season
10. Chromatics – Night Drive

Cat (In no particular order)
01. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
02. Black Angels – Phosphene Dream
03. National – High Violet
04. Florence & the Machine – Lungs
05. Black Keys – Brothers
06. Mavis Staples – You’re Not Alone
07. Beach House – Teen Dream
08. Album Leaf – Chorus of Storytellers
09. Midlake – Courage of Others
10. John Mellencamp – No Better Than This

01. The National – High Violet
02. Arcade Fire – Suburbs
03. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
04. Immolation – Majesty & Decay
05. Blood of Kingu – Sun in the House of the Scorpion
06. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
07. Salem – King Night
08. Gonjasufi – A Sufi & a Killer
09. Watain – Lawless Darkness
10. Death in June – Peaceful Snow

01. OMD – History of Modern
02. The Orb & David Gilmore – Metallic Spheres
03. Vampire Weekend – Contra
04. OK GO – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
05. Underworld – Barking
06. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned the Hard Way
07. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
08. Bonobo – Black Sands

01. Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune
02. Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
03. Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
04. Fitz & the Tantrums – Pickin’ Up the Pieces
05. Flamin’ Groovies – Baby Scratch My Back
06. Eli “Paperboy” Reed – Come and Get It
07. Brandon Flowers – Flamingo
08. Arcade Fire – Suburbs
09. Gaslight Anthem – Tumblin’ Dice 7″
10. Tom Petty – Mojo

Dan (In no particular order)
1. Low Threat Profile 7″ (Deep Six)
2. GLAM – GLAM 7″ (La Vida Es Un Mus)
3. Willful Neglect – Both LP’s on 1 (Havoc)
4. Cülo – Military Trend 7″ (Deranged)
5. Varaus – 1/1 LP (Feral Ward)
6. Much Worse – Proper Execute 7″ (Pass Judgement)
7. Direct Control – Bucktown Hardcore LP (Tankcrimes)
8. Big Soda – Paper Route 7″ (Evil Weevil)
9. Chronic Sick – Cutest Band In Hardcore LP (No Way)
10. Final Conflict – In the Family 7″ (Havoc)

Stephanie (In No Particular Order)
01. Cough/Wounded Kings Split) – An Introduction to the Black Arts
Crushing, evil doom for fans of trudging black rituals.
02. Iskra – Bureval
A perfect blend of black metal and crust punk that will have you praising the dark lord and casting down “the man.”
03. Watain – Lawless Darkness
A transcendent follow-up to Sworn to the Dark. Relentless black metal from start to finish
04. Cough – Ritual Abuse
A more doomy release from Cough reminiscent of Electric Wizard circa Come My Fanatics. A solid record!
05. At Dusk/Idolator (split) – At Dusk/Idolator
Local black metal split that is a must for any fiend of the heavy and distorted. Idolator slays you blind while At Dusk leaves you entranced within the void.
06. Winterfylleth – Mercian Sphere
Folk black metal from England done right
07. Salem – King Night
Dark. Odd.

01. Salem – King Night
02. Health – Disco 2
03. Thee Oh Sees – Warm Slime
04. Tobacco – Maniac Meat
05. Liars – Sisterworld
06. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned the Hard Way
07. Dave Holland Octet – Pathways
08. The National – High Violet
09. The Walkmen – Lisbon
10. Ganjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer

Number One Reissue That’s Got Me Stoked: Fourtet – Rounds Vinyl Rerelease

Number One Album I Came To Love In 2010 That I Never Thought I Would- Doobie Brothers Minute By Minute (It was a shock to me too)

Number One Use of Music in a Film- Inception (so the score wasn’t fantastic, but dammit, you could measure that tension with a football field.)

Number One Guilty Pleasure- Lady Gaga’s music videos (shut up)

01. Death in June – Peaceful Snow
02. Electric Wizard – Black Masses
03. Crocodiles – Sleep Forever
04. Black Angels – Phosphene Dream

1. Frank Turner – Rock & Roll EP
2. Murder by Death – Good Morning, Magpie
3. The Sword – Warp Riders
4. The Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever
5. Evelyn Evelyn – Evelyn Evelyn

1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
2. Toy Story 3
3. Cop Out
4. How to Train Your Dragon
5. Iron Man 2

Grinderman – Grinderman 2
Watain – Lawless Darkness
Salem – King Night
Bruce Springstein – The Promise
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street (re- issue) Deluxe Edition

Andrew (In no particular order)
01. Roots Manuva – Duppy Writer
02. Lazer Sword – Lazer Sword
03. Henry “Junjo” Lawes – Volcano Eruption
04. Tipper – Broken Soul Jamboree
05. E-40 – Revenue Retrievin’: Day Shift/ and Night Shift
06. Gappy Ranks – Put the Stereo On
07. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
08. Shlohmo – Shlomoshun
09. Grateful Dead – Crimson, White and Indigo
10. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned the Hard Way

Salem – King Night
Dream Boat – Visions
Mater Susperia Vision – Second Coming
Balam Acab – See Birds EP
oOoOO – EP
†‡† – Untitled CDr
GR†LLGR†LL – Untitled CDr
///▲▲▲\\\ – Untitled CDr
Fostercare – Sunfreeze
▲NGST – Still Grim Up North
Shlohmo – Shlomoshun Redux
LA Vampires & Zola Jesus – LA Vampires Meets Zola Jesus
Forest Swords – Dagger Paths
Baths – Cerulean
Teebs – Ardour
Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers
Ikonika – Contact, Want, Love, Have
Shed – The Traveller
Lorn – Nothing Else
Sleigh Bells – Treats
Shacklton – Fabric 55
Marcel Dettmann – Dettmann
Emeralds – Does it Look Like I’m Here?
Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Robyn – Body Talk Pt. 2
Lazer Sword – Lazer Sword
Shigeto – Full Circle
Flying Lotus – Pattern + Grid World
Various Artists – Worth the Weight: Bristol Dubstep Classics

Okay listen up you primitive screw-heads, here’s my “Best of Entertainment 2010” list. No, I’m not limiting myself to one format since I deal with all of them every day. That’s like asking me to pick amongst which of my friends is best (the one who brings me the most cookies! Duh!)
In no particular order:
01. Iron Man 2
This movie ripped! I really, really like having Mickey Rourke play a bitter ex-girlfriend, er I mean bad guy/bitter son of a forgotten Russian super-scientist? I think he’s found his niche market!
02. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
TOTALLY RULING! This movie is a video game/comic book geek’s wishful thinking come to life on the big screen. Plus the Xbox live game that followed the movie release was great fun as well.
03. Kick Ass
This movie was AWESOME! Good ol’ Nick Cage finally picked a good role! As far as I’m concerned he hasn’t picked a good role since 2002…and the movie lived up to (well as much as it could have) the comic book very nicely. Do not miss this movie!
04. MicMacs
MicMacs, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet is probably one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. It’s cinematography and delightful story really left me feel totally satiated after watching it. Rarely has a movie left me like that.
05. The Black Keys – Brothers
With their moody garage rock sound, you’d think they were some mopey kids but no, these guys inject you with some heavy rock blues sounds that make you get up off your ass and move your feet! If you can’t get down to this, you best check your pulse my friend, cause you are DOA!
06. Cee Lo Green – Lady Killer
This is one funky church-trained vocalist. I can’t get enough of this album. He captures the Motown sound, living up to his self-proclaimed title “The Soul Machine”.
07. Fable 3 for the Xbox 360
While I don’t care for the new menu screen war room, I do love how streamlined combat is now. Plus the backgrounds are simply gorgeous!
08. Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360
Really wraps up the series in a grand manner with great cut scenes, a beautiful score, and awesome gun play. I really like this game!
09. Fallout: New Vegas for the Xbox 360
There. I said it. Yes, in my best of. This game rules despite all the glitches (which many have already been patched). It’s not really a new game but it is more of what I like which is the V.A.T.S. system and exploding bodies! Even the ending upset me a little which is GREAT. To get me riled up over something not real is definitely a sign of a good game.
10. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine: 2010 Remaster
Duh. You think anything else is going to take this last spot? I’ve waited 20 years for the stupid album to get remastered so it didn’t sound like it was playing on one of those old cassette players that only had one speaker in it. I love this album and it definitely benefited from new technology.

So there you have it. Take it or leave it. There was definitely some great stuff that didn’t make the list but they’ll always have a place in my heart anyway.

Jim Sullivan – U.F.O.

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

by Raul

Once again, Light in the Attic Records digs deep and brings us another treasure—this time by west coast folk-rock artist, Jim Sullivan.

In the mid-sixties Sullivan was performing nightly for locals in a Malibu bar. He was known to rub elbows with all the right people in the movie and music business; Harry Dean Stanton to name one. He had a cameo role in Easy Rider and even had the help of Phil Spector’s session musicians in the making of his record.

His seminal record, entitled U.F.O. was much different then his singer/songwriter performances in Malibu. Thanks to Spector’s crew he added a full sound to accent his songs of sorrow that at times drifted to the stars, as the title suggests. With the lack of distribution the record went unnoticed.

In the mid-seventies, another disregarded album and a broken marriage led Sullivan to pack up and head to Nashville in hope of success as a Country and Western session musician. Unfortunately, Sullivan never made it to Nashville. He was last seen in Santa Rosa, New Mexico by local authorities after they pulled him over for swerving on the highway. He was also spotted by a local family trespassing on their ranch. Some of his belongings were found in the the La Mesa Hotel and his abandoned car a few miles down the road from the ranch.

Some say he got lost in the desert, others say the ranch owners had mafia ties and their confrontation was unpleasant, and there is even talk of alien abduction. To this day, no one knows the whereabouts of Sullivan.

Luckily for us, he won’t be forgotten thanks to Light in the Attic and Sullivan’s love for music.

Come in to Streetlight and check this album out in our listening post. It’s available on both cd and lp, and for more info, check out the short film, the Jim Sullivan Story.

Grinderman 2

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

by Mat Weir

In an age of niche subgenres, folk revival and dance club hits, lovers of visceral, untamed rock are finding it harder to get their fix. Thankfully, the boys in Grinderman are back and ready to rip apart everything the digital age has to offer. Consisting of members from Nick Cave’s main project, The Bad Seeds; Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos’ sophomore album delivers everything that is missing from modern rock.

Completed within the walls of the Seedy Underbelly in Los Angeles, and produced by Nick Launay, the producer who brought us the first Grinderman album, 2 opens the door to a diverse psychedelic journey that possesses the part of us which clings to the past while looking straight into the eyes of what is to become.

While the first album was more of a loose jam session, 2 attacks the listener full-force, pulling no punches and connects with a grip of tightly knit songs. Heavy distortion and screeching guitars are offset with Ellis’ wailing violin pushing the album through the skies and sewers of the human spirit (“Heathen Child”), taking only slight pauses for oases of true beauty and love (“Palaces of Montezuma,” “When My Baby Comes”). On “Evil” (a personal favorite) Cave painfully bails to his lover, “Who needs the stars, you are my star” while the No Wave music sonically swoons with the faint cry of “evil rising” echoing from the rest of the band.

Lyrically, the album is everything and more that any Nick Cave fan has come to expect from his extensive career. Issues of religion and sex are neatly intertwined (“Mickey Mouse and The Goodbye Man”) with witty banter like in “Kitchenette,” a song about MILF love; “What’s this husband of yours ever given to you. . .the ugliest fucking kids I’ve ever seen.” Or take the second song, “Worm Tamer,” with lyrics like “My baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster, two great big humps then I’m gone.” It’s important to keep in mind that all the members of Grinderman are well into middle-age because 2 is harder and hornier than anything else to come out this year, hands down.

The guys themselves perfectly sum up the record, and Grinderman’s place in music, with the album art. Keeping with the animal theme that graced the first record, 2 features a lone wolf in a sterile room of white; bare teeth in a snarl, ready to fight a world of complacency devoid of the raw blood and guts of life.

I was lucky enough to catch them play to a sold-out crowd in Times Square last month and their energy blew me away. Cave’s voice was perfect as he ran from side to side on the stage and standing on the shoulders of the crowd in an Iggy Pop moment. Ellis’ wild, scraggly appearance only added to his intensity, flashing wild glances at the audience in between switching instruments throughout songs to a background of melodic distortion. Dare I say it, seeing them live was even better than listening to the record. But if you’ve missed your chance this time around, go pick up 2 and get yourself prepared for the next time around. If you’re disappointed in either, it’s time to reevaluate your life.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Just making sure that you’re in-the-know.