Tweak Bird – Any Ol’ Way

pic BryanRichardMartin

pic BryanRichardMartin

Having been seduced and exhilarated by the band’s previous EP Undercover Crops, it is fair to say anticipation of getting the senses into Any Ol’ Way the new album from Tweak Bird, was acute and swiftly more than satisfied as the eleven track exotic haze of psychedelically enhanced rock unveiled its acidic and generous charms. Whereas the previous release could be said to be more stoner bred at its core, the duo of brothers Caleb Benjamin and Ashton Leech seed their new full-length more in the seventies psychedelic rock side of their creativity which in turn breeds their finest, most potent hour yet. It is a glorious evocative aural summer of fresh melodic weaves and sonic winds all caught in the inventively unpredictable psych pop kissed adventure that is Tweak Bird.

Formed in 2006, the Los Angeles based brother’s musical cv together goes back years before, as kids writing and recording music after growing up on a diet of Black Sabbath, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd. Jumping forward to 2005 with Ashton putting together his own drum kit and Caleb experimenting on the way to purchasing his first baritone guitar, the pair made their live debut as Tweak Bird within a year which led them to the attention of Melvins whose drummer Dale Crover subsequently passed a drum kit down to the duo. The bigbonesnakebite 7” came next followed by the Reservations EP in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Their acclaimed Crover produced self-titled debut album two years later was the spark to greater attention and spotlight upon the band, which Undercover Crops pushed on yet again in sound and responses, a success matched by their live shows which has seen the band stand alongside the likes of Tool, Melvins, Big Business, Black Mountain, Best Coast, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists whilst driving their own headline tours in the US and across Europe. As stated though Any Ol’ Way is another kettle of fish thrusting Tweak Bird to the highest captivating perch within imagination reeking sonic rock ‘n’ roll.

As soon as the throaty voice of the guitar embraces and resonates through the ears as opener Weird Oasis sets joy in motion there is a AOW5x5sense of something seduction lurking, a feeling soon realised as the guitar expands its slow coaxing alongside similarly urgent and gripping rhythms. It is an immediately captivating enticement which the vocals soon climb all over with strained melodic hues and irresistible expression as small hooks and hinted grooves entwine their welcome fingers around thoughts and a rapidly emerging appetite. It is hard not to think of Melvins with the song but to that slithers of Hot Hot Heat and The Mai Shi offers their suggestions also but as mere spices in something primarily belonging to Tweak Bird.

The enthralling start is soon lifted up a level by Greens, the warm soak of seventies psychedelic sun of its predecessor seamlessly given an injection of gnarly riffs and heavy stoner-esque virulence speared by Sabbath-esque rhythmic stabs and sonic groans. The gait of the song is a prowl and its air an oppressive breath but with harmonious vocals and sonic flames carving out searing grooves, the track is an invigorating fascination whose bruising is only welcomed wholeheartedly.

The first major pinnacle on the album comes next in the aural temptress that is She Preach, a song which from a seducing mist of sound launches into a ravenous almost wanton persuasion of melodically teased grooves and crisply jabbing beats reined by the again impressive individual vocals. The song SOON adds catchy claws to its salacious dance of sound and lyrical enticing, hooks and infectious bait almost deviously infesting the senses and passions as the song spreads its erotic charms, wiles enhanced by the excellent discordant blessed sax croons which brings thoughts of eighties UK band Essential Logic to the fore. It is a magnificent provocation which leaves the following A Sign of Badness a little pale in comparison, but with its wispy vocals and muscular beats the track glides resourcefully across senses and imagination to add another twinge of hunger for the release.

The great alignment of raw aggression and melodic elegance makes Peace Walker a riveting encounter next, its sixties pop lure within a slightly cantankerous punk spawned sonic voracity insatiably magnetic. If you wondered what a mix of The Doors, The Beach Boys, and Corrosion of Conformity might sound like then this song is a good hint. It is another potent entrapment for thoughts and emotions but soon passed over for the ridiculously addictive Builder with is post punk repetition and gentle but imposing sonic nagging. The instrumental seeks out and consumes every pore and synapse with delicious chilled toxicity before flowing into the vibrantly smouldering arms of A Sign of Positivity. With almost griping deep toned grooves and a rhythmic shuffle which defies feet not to join its dance, the song as the vocals soars majestically and almost melancholically evolving into a thoroughly riveting and thrilling sway of aural hypnosis.

Both the niggling contagion of the brilliant Mild Manor and the summer soirée of Inspiration Point keep album and listener entwined, the first providing five minutes plus of the kind of rhythmic and sonic transfixing bands such as Gang Of Four and Joy Division conjured so decisively. Complete with short but deeply penetrating hooks and spatial toxins, the track works its way towards a rich and fully packed stoner rock fuelled fire as a finale. Its successor is a narrative locking intrigue and surf party suasion into a psychedelic rock sculpted sway of melodies and shadows, a song not as potent as the last but full of drama and invention to enslave attention and satisfaction.

The album is completed by the outstanding Burn On, a feisty and raw surfaced rock pop proposition which simply chains and romances with the passions like a high school teenager, even if one clad in stalker like intent, and a humid reprise on the bewitching opener called Sunshine (slight return). The pair makes a mesmeric conclusion to a spellbinding adventure and pleasure.

The David Allen produced Any Ol’ Way according to the Bird brothers “…voice our opinions and feel comfortable. We hired our dear old friend, to engineer and co-produce, which helped us explore new sounds and develop unfinished ideas. We believe in peace, marijuana, individual freedoms and not taking ourselves too seriously. This just happened to be what came out.” It is all there to be heard within the album where freedom seeps from every note and syllable.

Any Ol’ Way is available now from http://tweakbird.bandcamp.com/releases and on vinyl via Let’s Pretend Records now!

http://www.tweakbird.com

9/10

RingMaster 22/05/2014

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Melvins – Tres Cabrones

melvins tres cabrones

Since day one there has been a magnetic charm, flair, genius, whatever you wish to call it about Melvins and their unique releases. It is a potency or schizophrenic mastery which has seduced and fulfilled an ever growing legion throughout their thirty year inventive assault. Whatever the success and heights individual releases have found the band has never left anyone wanting for quality and the distinctive essence which is pure Melvins, and new persuasion Tres Cabrones is no exception. Whether it is one of their finest moments to date can and will be discussed no doubt but certainly this mischievous temptation is prime Melvins, a riveting, and exceedingly satisfying provocation which feeds expectations whilst stretching areas of their sound just that little bit more.

The twelve track Ipecac Recordings released album sees two thirds of the first band line-up in place, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover linking up with original drummer Mike Dillard who left the band in 1984, and with diversity and unpredictability set in the familiar Melvins cast style Tres Cabrones makes for an irresistible rampage through the imagination. It is an instant instigator for the passions from the very start with opener Dr. Mule with its addictive blaze of crisply laid rhythms and fiery grooves within a sonic web of enterprise, making a compelling introduction to the release. The song unleashes an almost sirenesque lure through its seductive sonic tempting, an element of Pere Ubu spicing its presence with the vocals especially recalling the bedlamic delivery of David Thomas. It is an outstanding entrance into the album immediately backed up by the just as impressive City Dump.

The second track is a dirty growl of rock ‘n’ roll, carnivorous riffs snarling persistently whilst sonic flames scorch the air with an equally needy rabidity which leaves a hunger rife within the emotions, this fired up appetite soon given plenty to chew upon with American Cow and Dogs and Cattle Prods. The first of the pair is a stalking intimidation, its predacious riffery a deliciously worrisome confrontation skirted by dark throated basslines and sonic manipulations of guitar. There is a grizzled contempt to the vocals throughout too though nicely tempered by the cleaner delivery both adding impressive bait within the cantankerous prowl. The second of the two is a festering of grimy hard rock and sonic teasing which makes a straightforward bruising narrative for its first stretch before exuding the band’s finest stoner imagination and fire as it evolves its striking presence with a sultry breath, acoustic caresses, and crawling, searing dynamics.

The song is followed by the second of three fun filled interludes; Tie My Pecker to a Tree, 99 Bottles of Beer, and You’re In The Army Now all delivered in the inimitable Melvins style to leave grins wide and providing a respite from an intensity built in other tracks, such as the synapse tantalising Psychodelic Haze, a song which sizzles whilst leering greedily at and putting pressure upon the senses through a sonic infused concussive smog. If that enthralling mental trip was not enough the threesome take it further with the excellent I Told You I Was Crazy. The discord fuelled, brain addling treat is swamp gas seeping sonic devilry at its best, a presence which soaks and tempts the imagination into a shadow drenched slice of asylum courted majesty, its sinister cradling of the ears a cross between Th’ Legendary Shack Shackers and  Buzzov•en, but all Melvins.

Both Stump Farmer and Walter’s Lips provide riff sculpted temptation which is impossible to resist, the first a brief and forceful acquaintance which though reined for the main still has a ferocity which is commanding and insatiable whilst the other track is a gnarly mix of punk and heavy rock which abrases with its raw causticity and seduces with wanton melodic flames.

The closing of the album is left to Stick em’ Up Bitch, a glam rock inspired riot which opens with a lure straight out of Ballroom Blitz and continues to rattle nostalgia cages with its lascivious offering. It concludes Tres Cabrones in fine style, completing what is a deeply satisfying and thrilling release. The album is pure Melvins, an encounter which arguably does not challenge expectations too rigorously but definitely gives them food for thought and exciting adventures to find unpredictability within, without question another must investigate album from a continually inspiring band.

http://www.themelvins.net

9/10

RingMaster 05/11/2013

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No fear just imaginative provocation: an interview with Dale Crover of Melvins

melvins

Any real rock fan knows that the legendary Melvins never shy away from invention, exploration, and mischief within their continually impressive creativity and releases. Three decades have seen the Washington band ignite the senses and imagination as well as music itself with their one of a kind ingenuity, and the release of Everybody Loves Sausages presented yet another album to lift the emotions and provoke the senses. Consisting of cover songs from bands which the members of Melvins have a passion for themselves and featuring an array of guest vocalists the album is one of the biggest sparks to strike 2013. Intriguing to find out more about the album and its creation we had the pleasure of asking drummer Dale Crover about the release, particular songs, and some of those additional friends helping bring the album to life.

Hi Dale and many thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

You have just released your excellent album Everybody Loves Sausages, a collection of cover tracks. Did the fact that the songs were not yours originally bring a different emotion and feeling compared to your previous releases as it’s unveiling to the world loomed?

We started recording cover song with the idea of releasing them as singles. It wasn’t until we had a bunch of songs done that we realized we had a decent albums worth of material. We didn’t treat this record any differently than any other release.

Did its recording also offer up a different type of fun just because they were songs which you had no involvement in the writing of?

We’ve always done cover songs since day one and we’ve always liked playing covers. Almost every record we’ve ever done has a cover song on it. If we’re going to do a cover, we try to own it like we wrote it. We either try to improve it or at least do it justice.

The time and attention given to each track and your interpretation suggests the songs and bands were ones which had a strong impact upon yourselves, is that the case and the reason for their choosing?

Well yeah, these are all songs by bands that we really dig!

Was there an extended debate within the band over chooses or the songs were relatively unanimously agreed on from the start?

No! We’re all in agreement here. We have pretty much the same musical tastes. I don’t know if Coady and Jared knew much about The Fugs, but they seemed like they were into it. That’s a band that has a pretty big influence on us. Listen to that song, and then our song Black Bock and maybe you’ll hear it.

In the choice of tracks was there any element of mischief, making choices to catch people off guard maybe?16315_10151432583720939_1671142432_n

We thought going from Venom’s War Head into Queen’s Best Friend would throw people for a loop. From totally aggro to I love you! It works perfectly! We weren’t trying to be ironic doing either of those songs though. We really do love the Queen song! It’s a great tune!

You are no strangers to doing cover songs as you said but how big a step did it feel making a full length album of them and did it offer experience or problems which your own compositions do not inspire?

In case you haven’t noticed by now, there’s nothing we’re afraid of doing. I’ve read reviewers say that we did a covers record because we have nothing left to say. Obviously these people haven’t been paying attention to what we’ve been doing. In a space of a year we put three releases by three different versions of the band, toured across Canada, did a record setting tour of the US, released a series of split 12″, toured Europe twice and now put this record out. I’m sure I’m probably forgetting about something as well.

The album also sees a wealth of your friends vocally adding their individual touch to many of the tracks, was it a concentrated decision before the start who you would bring in for what or did the tracks almost invite obvious choices for you?

Some of them we’re well planned. Mark Arm from Mudhoney doing Scientists for example, or Jello Biafra doing Roxy Music. I think we had a few different ideas for Jim Thirwell. He chose Bowie.

Did you give them precise directions to approach the songs especially vocally or let them run with the idea and ball? I ask as our favourite track on the album In Every Dream Home A Heartache, which sees Jello Biafra transforming the Bryan Ferry bred shadows in an organic almost improv like evolution before the ear.

We worked with these different people because we like what they do. We wouldn’t dare tell anyone what to do, or how to sing. I did however tell Clem Burke from Blondie that he was going to do a drum solo. He asked what type of solo to play. My only instructions were to “freak out”!

How long did the album take to make and was it all recorded in one studio or across varied stages with all the guests involved?

We did most of the tracking the winter before last, mostly at Sound Of Sirens studio. A few things were recorded elsewhere.

Is there any particular song or moment which lit your personal fires a little more intensely on the album than most?

Hmm, that’s hard to say. I like hearing the songs when they start to gel. Usually that happens in the overdub process, after I’m done with the basic structure of a song. That’s when I start to get ideas or hear parts in my head. That’s the moment for me where I feel the most creative and exited.

I have to ask about The Jam track Art School which features Tom Hazelmeyer on vocals with a great tongue in cheek cockney accent to song and the following skit end. Was it coincidental that his closing fun felt like a mischievous pop at the middle class background of the great band riding the supposed anarchy of the punk movement in their early days?

Less coincidental and more whiskey fuelled. The English are an easy to target to poke fun of.

180178_496925000938_3202216_nIs the album something you would look at doing again, have already ideas of songs to cover prompted thoughts in that direction?

We recorded way more than what’s on the record. For the vinyl we’re going to release each song as a single with unreleased B sides.

Melvins is an iconic band who has inspired so many bands across your influential years, what inspires your creativity most potently?

Everything that surrounds us.

Will you be taking the album or tracks on tour and if so will your friends on Everybody Loves Sausages be lured to make their part too?

I doubt it, but I would like to play some of those songs live.

What is next on your horizons as a band and individually?

We’re doing our 30 year anniversary tour of the US this summer. After that I’m not sure. Probably more of the same. Hopefully I’ll get to produce more records. Our engineer Toshi Kasai and myself produce bands under the name Deaf Nephews. We recently worked with the bands Qui and Federation X. Toshi has a studio now and we’re for hire to produce and perform on projects.

Once more a big thank you for sparing time for us, any last thoughts or temptations for the readers?

Yes, I know what the real meaning of life is, and its…

Read the review of Everybody Loves Sausages @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/melvins-everybody-loves-sausages/

http://themelvins.net/

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2013

 

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