DEAD WOLVES

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I was a bit skeptical about Dead Wolves at first, and I think a lot of that skepticism was in regards to the hype around them. I’d first seen them at The Zoo and to be honest, all I could hear was a wall of white noise because (1). their fans were distracting me and (2). theatrics. Don’t get me wrong, I thought they were theatrics at the time, but now I understand that it’s something else entirely. I saw them play at Rics the other night, along with Dead Joe and Captives. I now have an informed opinion about them which is: THEY KICK ALL SORTS OF BUTTOCKS!!

So Dead Wolves are a foursome consisting of Tim ‘Bones’ Fogarty (vocals), Pat Shipp (guitar), Heath Shipp (bass) and Callum Deed (drums). The Wolves are sort of an offshoot from a few bands and collectively with as much determination as wolves can muster, they began their journey. Their band description on Facebook etc reads a little like a Jim Morrison journal, fantastical and kind of mysterious. But it’s also no holds barred. Can you try to “describe a sunset going down over the ocean to a blind man?” No? With sounds that range from Hard Punk to Psychadelic Rock and Classical music, I’m pretty sure their tunes could describe more than just sunsets. 

 

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Now, I think of myself as a lone wolf (it’s literally tattooed on my knuckles), but these four gents have no problem travelling in their pack, gradually amassing a following in little Brisbane that I’m sure can be attributed to their hard work. I’ve seen them play twice now and the energy and action on stage (and off stage) is brutal, and that’s a great thing. I remember standing outside Rics the night they were playing, and I ended up talking to some city slicker about venues he could check out. He asked me who Dead Wolves were and I told him to waltz in and see for himself. He did, and he was impressed, so much so that he called up his mates and told them to join him. It’s nice to be able to inform people about the good bands here, finally, but it’s more of a testament to how good the band is.

 How would I describe their music? Hmmmm. I would say, without over thinking it too much, that Dead Wolves produce gritty, fiery, core-driven, primal ROCK, possibly produced in a gin mill. They don’t require extra musicians because I’m quite sure that each musician up there is howling from their soul. And Bones is one of the greater frontmen I’ve ever seen. When his shirt comes off you know it’s time to get dirty and primal, and the added bonus is that he does this with the crowd. Rics was the perfect venue to get acquainted with them because it was up close and personal, and it was almost as if I could smell all that energy emanating from them. It’s kind of spiritual to watch them, and Bones is also a really lovely guy. It’s endearing and a little heart warming to have him remember who you are and to take interest in whether you had a good night or not. There is absolutely NO bullshit or pretentiousness  with them. At the end of a set I think you’ll understand just how much hard work and passion they put into each song. Go on, go and watch them, have a yarn and you’ll see. They are not afraid to show you.

So when one talks about the wolf analogy, don’t mistake it for some hipster fashionable logic. Dead Wolves channel the wolf sentiment by encouraging people to think for themselves, to acquire the ability to not give a shit about social expectations, to learn to be part of the pack but to also endeavour on solo journeys. Like I’ve always said to people, “Don’t be sheep, be the wolf.” Life’s better that way. Don’t take my word for it though. Go to a Dead Wolves show, and if you dig them then support them and be a part of the pack. You won’t regret it.

https://www.facebook.com/DEADWOLVES4LIFE/info

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/dead-wolves

https://deadwolvesmusic.bandcamp.com/

 

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MUDDY CHANTER

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“5 piece feed with a lot of bones” – Muddy Chanter

Excuse the poor photography skills, but that’s what you get when you’re stuck with an iphone for the night. It’s irrelevant though because that photo above is officially my favourite in the universe of band photos, or just generally. It’s also a true reflection of what these guys are like as musicians AND as people. Muddy Chanter were one of 12 bands (I think) to have played A Dime A Dozen on Saturday night. I’ve got to mention as a sidenote: IT WAS RADBALLS!!!!!! I’m quite positive that everyone is still talking about it and will be for awhile. Ah, Brisbane has aroused me somewhat.

So, who are these Muddy Chanters? Some would say they are a Brisbane supergroup of sorts, a nice little mix of Junkyard Diamonds and Minus Nine, plus other cool kids. It was confusing to me at first, and I hope I’ve got these facts right. If not, you can certainly break one of my legs. There are five gentlemen in this band; BJ (vocals), Mitch (guitar/backing vocals), Luke (bass/guitar/backing vocals) and Griff (drums/backing vocals). Can I also add that these lads are some of the nicest you’ll ever meet? So approachable and very laid back, which to me is a feat in this day and age of band cockdom. I’m quite over that. If you’ve ever been to a Muddy Chanter gig, I’m sure you’ll notice that no-one really gives a toss about image or age. Generally there’s a good mix of punters who are there for a good time, and the band delivers it. Never a shite gig, never an intimidating bunch. Not that I’m exceptionally old or anything like that, but listening to them makes me forget my age. This is probably the sort of band I would have wanted to be in when I was in high school or in my early 20’s. There’s a sort of endearing nerdiness about the guys, which you can’t detect in their music because it’s so fucking loud and it’s everything that grunge/shoegazer/rock should be. Their gig on Saturday night was so good that I don’t even know what to say. There really aren’t enough good descriptive words in the thesaurus, so rather than embellishing I’ll just stick to the facts. I adore the fact that they talk to the crowd, whether it’s a joke or just generally shooting the shit. Some bands don’t feel the need to do this and maybe it’s down to shyness or being too overly involved in the music (Mars Volta comes to mind), but Muddy Chanter makes you feel flipping appreciated and just like one of the guys. Secondly, they are awesome musicians! They make it look so effortless and every song sounds just as good as the last time I heard it. From the harmonised vocals to the awesome bass tone, the bright guitar tones and punchy drumming, it’s all there. Third, the songs are catchy as hell. I have found myself moving/swaying/shoe shuffling to every one of their songs. I prefer them over Violent Soho and a couple of other bands, anyday (I ain’t shy to say it. Much respect to those bands though). There is an aura of youth and escapism in their songs and I honestly do not feel like they are trying to be or sound like something or someone. They just are who they are, and their tunes make me feel somewhat certain that I don’t need to label myself or “act my age”. Thanks boys!!

Can someone please explain to me what a Muddy Chanter is?

Go check these lovable lads out. Attend their gigs, buy their merch and give them a kiss.

https://www.facebook.com/muddychanter?fref=ts

Q & A, YO

Preba, why don’t you write some negative reviews once in awhile?”

Since I started Lone Riot I’ve been getting a few suggestions and questions about the direction in which Lone Riot should be heading. To be honest, I’ve no idea where this little project will take me. Last night I was at Zed’s birthday bash and was shooting the shit with a musician outside, and he asked me if I would ever consider doing a negative review of bands, to showcase what is wrong with the scene in Brisbane. This isn’t the first time someone has put this to me, and I’m sure it’s coming from a good place……hopefully. Ok, so the whole premise of Lone Riot and my reason for becoming so involved again is to create awareness about what Brisbane has to offer. There are a lot of reviewers and independent labels out there doing exactly the same thing, but the difference between us is that I’m focused on the underground scene and I’m not looking for favours or money. Hell, I’m not some “reviewer for hire” who writes for street mags, nor do I want to write for big labels or Press. I don’t get paid to do this. Actually, my payment is instant gratification and happiness from being able to do this, and from seeing bands and artists perform. Yes, I have seen some fucking awful bands in Brisbane, and I could harp on about how there is a lack of good old riot girl passion. I could get on my soap box and write scathing pieces about why this band is as superficial as they come or why Brisbane is saturated with one specific sound (thanks Mr. Record Label). But why would I waste my time when the majority of my peers, friends and readers are intelligent and informed enough to already know all of this. And they do! So far I’ve been honest and bullshit-free, and if I’m not a fan of someone’s vocals etc, then I’ll say it. But Lone Riot will endeavour to show you what is awesome about this little city, to uncover and shed light on a movement and to make a small contribution to the future of the music scene. That’s really it. Keep on keepin on yo.

THE GRILLS

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The Sunday Rock n Roll BBQ was held last weekend at the Underdog Pub, Fortitude Valley. I’ve only been to one last year which was at the Mustang Bar, and it definitely did not have the same energy or vibe. On a side note, if you ever dread turning up to events like this because you have a preconceived notion that it is going to be time consuming and hit or miss, well you could be right (I used to think that) BUT you will never know if you never show.

I have heard of The Grills before and it was cool to actually place faces and the music to their name. They were one of five bands playing that afternoon, and I was quite stoked that they were up first on the bill. I’ll explain why later. I’m so used to seeing numerous members on stage and it was a pleasant little surprise to see the traditional 3-piece perform. The Grills are Nick (Guitar/Vocals), Wayne (Bass,Vocals) and Doggis (Drums). Forming in 2012, they have played venues such as the Mustang Bar, The Zoo, Tempo Hotel, Urban Humm Studios, Rics, Crowbar AND The Underdog Pub.  They describe their sound as varied with elements of punk, grunge, funk and psychadelia. I’d say there’s most definitely a mixture of these genres to be heard in their songs, and I admire musicians who can make eclecticism work. I’m not sure exactly who their influences are, although Nick does convey a kind of very early Greenday/Billie Joe Armstrong vibe. Ah, who doesn’t like old Greenday. But I digress. Besides The Grill’s music, one thing that stands out to me is their stage presence. These three lads REALLY do enjoy playing, and I absolutely enjoyed watching them have a buttload of fun. 

When I got home I had a listen to their tunes on their Facebook and Reverbnation pages, and I got the same kind of energy as I did when I saw them. I would have to say that my favourite songs are Bluesberry Jam and Silver Cuts. Bluesberry Jam opens with a really catchy bass hook that sets the tone of the song, and a lo-fi muffled vocal ensues which gives the song a nice Garage feel. It makes me think of MC5 or The Stooges, and don’t even get me started on the drumming. Perfect! The effects on the guitar give it a sort of Psychadelic feel also. Silver Cuts has this really hooky drum part and good use of the Wah pedal (even though I find that effect oh so annoying usually). The song is like a short explosion of rock in your face. Love it! I want more of it! And this is why I was happy that they played first on the bill. It’s always great to start off with a band who doles out good rock to get the blood and body going. 

I hope I get to catch them at a gig again, and if there is an album on the way I am GRABBING IT! You guys should too. Please support The Grills and keep the 3 piece band alive! You can find them here:

 

https://www.facebook.com/thegrills?ref=ts&fref=ts

http://www.reverbnation.com/thegrills

 

THE KEEPAWAYS

The Keepaways

Dogboy and Jinki met, they became a band. This is the world of Jamaican rap.” – The Keepaways

As a musician and avid fan of punk/grunge/stoner rock, I’m at a loss for words. Why? Because I’m currently listening to The Keepaways for the fifth time tonight, and I’ve not heard ANY of their tracks before. So when I was asked to give them a listen and maybe write about them, I perused their Facebook page and thought “Ok, I get it. They’re funny dudes.” You’d be forgiven (and hopefully I am too) for basing your opinion on first impressions, especially since they garner their creativity from eggs and Nando’s. Don’t forget that they have Masters degrees in Biomedical Science  and enjoy the art of sushi making.

Yes, Jake Williams (Guitar, Vocals) and James Dimick (Drums) are The Keepaways, and they do not shy away from having a laugh or taking the piss.  Their influences range from Massive Attack and At The Drive In to DZ Deathrays and Deftones. I would even say they are Brisbane’s younger and less serious version of Death From Above 1979. They produce their own music and videos and have already set their goals for 2014: 12 song mix tape AND a rendezvous in Japan.  Although they haven’t been signed to a label yet (WHY?!), The Keepaways have  recently been lucky enough to appoint Adam Bloom (of Brisbane based Ugly Baby) as their manager, and I think this partnership is going to be an eventful and exciting one.

I don’t know where to start, so I’m just going to be point blank. I am utterly smitten with The Keepaways. I’ve heard three of their songs, and each song is different from the next. We Know The Sea almost has a reggae/dub vibe to it, with good use of reverb and the perfect drum style and tempo. The vocals are crisp and clear, laid back and strong, and occasionally soars in the background which kind of gives the song an ethereal feeling. Actually, the vocals remind me of someone I know which is comforting and relatable. Rise and Shine begins with an amazing hollow drum beat, gradually joined by soft guitar notes and soaring vocals. And then you’re suddenly hit with this epic wall of sound and it’s something like Sonic Youth, only without the use of screwdrivers on guitars. It’s pure sonic pleasure.

My favourite song is one which they have also released a video for: Probs Turn Up Dead/Demon Tape #3. This song gets the adrenalin going, the heart racing and it’s the song I haven’t been able to stop playing. If there is going to be one breakthrough song for them, it’s this track. It’s a badass song that one should only listen to whilst driving a souped up Chevy. If you don’t have one of those, at least pretend. The video clip looks as though they boys are living in a game (like GTA).  There are motorcycles, fast cars and a little arse-kicking here and there, and I suppose it’s the sort of thing you’d want to be watching when you’re listening to the song. Don’t forget that they produced all of this on their own! The guitar is fuzzed out and soaring whilst the drums go hard and fast. Is it trip punk? That’s probably the best label for it, but I’m going to refrain from labelling these guys too much because, as mentioned before, each song has different attributes and styles. It’s not everyday that you can take your influences and turn them into your own. Emulation is one thing, and being inspired is another. I’d like to think that The Keepaways are definitely an inspired pair. Like a pair of badass trip punk eagles.

If you want to see them play at more venues and help them get to Japan, check out the links below and thank me later.

https://www.facebook.com/windowmanAUS

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/keepaways

http://www.uglybaby.com.au/the_keepaways.html

 

JUNIOR DANGER

 

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Junior Danger are Darren “Junior Danger” Skewes, Michael “Boss Dog” Fedrick and Tom “Fat Jesus” Meyer. Every description I have heard or read about this Brisbane based trio seems fitting. They produce dirty, fuzz driven, bluesy stoner/swamp rock, and I just can’t help but draw a small comparison to Kyuss. The only difference is that Kyuss had an awful vocalist (yep, I did go there), whereas Junior Danger’s singer is darn good. I’ll get to that in a minute. So far they have cut their teeth at venues such as Rics, Beetle Bar and the New Globe Theatre. Can’t ask for much more than that for a new-ish band. They have played with the likes of Elston Gunnn, The Bear Hunt, The Con and The Liar, as well as Nila Bonda and Blue Honey. 

 

The trio cite cult favourites like ZZ Top, Tom Waits, Kyuss and Howlin Wolf as just a few of their influences, and this is good news for people (like me) who are fans of these artists. I guess this is one of the reasons why I like Junior Danger’s sound. Listening to their songs brings about waves of nostalgia, takes me back to simpler times I think. Not too much fancy guitar work required or over the top drum fills, with a nice deep and dark (possibly slightly overdriven) bass line. That appeals to me on so many levels. This is the sort of music I can listen to on a long road trip into the country and far into the desert, the sort of music that awakens the swagger in me. Let’s be honest, I’m in my early 30’s and there is a lot of music that I just can’t and won’t relate to. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have even bothered seeking out new talent, but there seems to be a small wave of revolution hitting Brisbane now, and Junior Danger are one of the bands making it happen.

The element that really stands out for me in Junior Danger’s music are the vocals. Oh lord, the deep crooning and mysterious vocals. I have always wished for more “singers” in the current climate of music. Don’t get me wrong, I love the screaming and the shouting and the general sneer of rock, but every now and then you just want a smooth voice in your ear. Well, I’ve found it. It’s the voice of a storyteller in Dirty Secret that stirs up images of murky backwater pasts, stirs up some kind of danger embroiled in sex and lies. Or not. But that’s the power of music and the people who narrate it. That gorgeous depth of bass and overdrive, combined with drums that sound like a muffled slap to the face. Can you imagine it? I’m also a fan of the deep echoed background vocals, brooding enough to bring on the chills. And THEN you have a track like Cheap Wine, a tune that makes me think that the Junior Danger dudes have been jamming with Billy F Gibbons. There are some traditional blues chords and riffs which I always enjoy, and those crooner vocals again. You wouldn’t typically think that these vocals would suit an upbeat song, but they’re proving you wrong buddies! I’m impressed with how consistent the instrumentation is in both the songs I’ve listened to. There are no embellishments or unnecessary effects which allows Junior Danger to stay true to their roots and influences. I would like this album please!

I suggest you all go over to their Facebook and Triple J Unearthed sites to have a gander and a listen. Especially all you fellow stoner/swamp rocks fans. I promise you’ll be happy.

https://www.facebook.com/jrdangerband?fref=ts

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/junior-danger

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELSTON GUNNN

 

 

Elston Gunnn

 

I was introduced to Elston Gunnn’s music in February. They were playing the Beetle Bar with two other bands, Nila Bonda and Dead Zephyr. These days I avoid going into venues with any expectations of what I’m about to see and hear. The Beetle Bar has hosted some fantastic bands in the past, so I wasn’t thinking I’d be disappointed. You know when you find some sock money, or maybe $20 you stuffed down your bra and had forgotten all about it? I was that kind of surprised.

Mary-Lou (guitar/vocals), Dillon (guitar/vocals), Nick (drums, vocals and guitar) and new addition Brendan (bass, keys and vocals) are Elston Gunnn, from Brisbane. I was informed by Mary-Lou that they are literally a fledgling band, only having been together for a few months. But after seeing the band play that night, you wouldn’t have known it at all. Thus far they have acquired quite a few gig notches on their belts, having played at The Valve Bar in Sydney, Tempo Hotel in Fortitude Valley, Beetle Bar and Crowbar (sharing the bill with other great local bands such as Minus Nine, Muddy Chanter, The Grills and The Keepaways). Their last gig was at Rics Bar with dirty rock trio Junior Danger, so as you can see these guys have been pretty busy, and that’s a huge achievement for a fledgling band.

 

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I’m always looking for genuine passion and energy when I see bands play. Either it’s there or it never will be, and it isn’t something you can fake. I can’t stand superficiality, but Elston Gunnn are so far from that, it gave me a slight case of the chills. Watching them really is a trip, and I think it comes down to their dynamic on stage. It’s clear that there are three very different personalities on stage, with three distinct styles of playing and singing. Mary-Lou is a bit of a badass sweetheart who plays exactly what she is feeling. She has a warm honey laced voice that could kick your heart out, and her seemingly effortless playing really shows you the relationship she has with her instrument. Dillon is fiery, somewhat mysterious, very active on stage and has a voice that gifts the songs with a little voracity and a shitload of passion. Nick seems to be the balance of the two, and he adds a garage style of drumming that suits the songs really well.  I really dig these personalities a lot, and when combined it looks and sounds right, and I am transported to the deep south or somewhere grungey, maybe a little bluesy and a little bit country.

There are currently two tracks on their Facebook page; In Her Mind and Killing DreamIn Her Mind  is upbeat, based on simple but catchy guitar parts and drums. It isn’t over driven with distortion, rather relying on basic twang to deliver that blues kick. Killing Dream starts off with a slow lullaby croon, a hypnotic fuzz followed by a grungey tempo change. Both Mary-Lou and Dillon contribute husky vocals which suit the change up of the song. If you see them live, which you really MUST, you’ll be treated to a set list full of sultry vibes. Elston Gunnn are currently looking for gigs, so please support them!

For more info: http://www.facebook.com/elstongunnn3