Mighty High: Legalize Tre Bags

With enough references to and celebration of weed to make The Kottonmouth Kings appear like The Osmonds the eagerly awaited second album from Brooklyn rockers Mighty High is let loose June 12th through Ripple Music. Fully mischievous, completely fired up and an unbridled dust bowl of sonic rampage and energetic guitar infestation, Legalize Tre Bags leaves thrilled and welcomingly assaulted. It carries no pretence, it is what it is and the band does not give two flying nuns on a day trip to a candle factory what anyone thinks. Most of all it is insatiable rock n roll, a posse of exuberant songs set on senses rustling.

Legalize Tre Bags follows up 2008 debut album …In Drug City which with the following Drops A Deuce 7″ single in 2009 and a 7” split with Stone Axe gathered strong acclaim. The release also marks the tenth anniversary of Mighty High and sees the quartet of Woody (vocals, guitar), Kevin Overdose (lead guitar), LaBatts Santoro (bass, vocals), and Jesse D’Stills (drums) as able as ever to raise hell and live high and vice versa as they return with an album sure to incite further shouts and puffs of praise.

With the title referencing the once available $3 bag that could be scored at all the best dope spots in the Bronx, Legalize Tre Bags hits the sweet spot from the off with I Don’t Wanna Listen To Yes, a Ramones toned ear puncturing of punk rock. With barely enough time to take a breath it splatters the senses with attitude drenched rock n roll to wake up and ignite attention for the excellent following Mooche. With a hypnotic bassline the track roughs up the ear with a Beastie Boys meets Black Flag attack punctured with scorched veins of classic metal to add extra electrified heat to its mesmeric swagger.

The great start is continued with the stoner fuelled The Ram, its smoked cloud of scuzzed guitars and enveloping energy an all pervading mesmeric wrap lighting up more than the senses. It is a track like many on the album which in its simplicity still twists and turns to great and infectious effect. There is nothing trying to open new musical doors or set down unique markers within song and album as a whole, but Mighty High still stand relatively alone with their irrepressible and carefree sounds.

With tracks like the outstanding contagious Tokin’ N Strokin’, a song about the life and death of David Carradine, and Southern rock saunter Cheep Beer, Dirt Weed the album ignites the urge to become one with the release in any way one feels fit. Add the Dead Kennedys like Drug War and the tour of all 5 boroughs of New York City with Come On! I’m Holdin’, not to mention the slightly schizophrenic Chemical Warpigs and there is nothing but fun and good times to be have each and every minute of the release. The last of these songs brings a Motorhead, Suicidal Tendencies, and Sabbath like mesh into a psychedelic blistering of the synapses.

Legalize Tre Bags is a raucous feast of punk, weed, and middle finger attitude, most of all it is a deeply satisfying slab of rousing rock n roll. It offers nothing particularly new nor tries to inspire an unexpected awe but it is still one of the most fun and gratifying albums out this year. Mighty High are lighting up with an aural invitation to share.

RingMaster 07/06/2012

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Grifter: Self Titled

The end of last year saw many a fan and media source excited by the self titled debut from UK trio Grifter. The release slipped past us then but having finally been introduced to its enthused and energetic rock n roll we just had to share it here in case you too had escaped its initial emergence. Quite simply the release is unadulterated and straight forward rock music for the heart and aural bar room liquor to intoxicate the ear. The band do not offer up anything particularly new or groundbreaking but other than label stable mates at Ripple Music, Trucker Diablo, it is hard to bring to mind another band that does it with the same accomplished quality and passion with which this band does.

Grifter formed in 2003 as a quartet well for their debut gig anyway. The show saw the vocalist quit on stage and the band has remained a threesome of vocalist/guitarist Ollie, bassist Phil, and drummer Foz, ever since. From day one they have riled up and excited people with their honest heart borne rock sounds, big teasing riffs, and high octane rock n roll. As their music and reputation grew to draw in a wider and more eager fan base across the south west of the UK the band released their Elephantine demo in 2005. Favourable reviews rolled in and they found themselves the attention of Fury 76 Records with whom they recorded the High Unholy Mighty Rollin’ EP the following year, its actual release not coming until 2008 and again to very favourable reviews. The band were then approached to do a track for a compilation by Catacomb Records which led to their second EP The Simplicity of the Riff is Key in 2010 and again on the label. Last year saw them contribute to a split EP release with Stone Axe, Sun Gods In Exile and Mighty High on Ripple Music, a success that has seen them now release through Ripple again their first album.

Grifter the band and album encapsulate rock n roll, their sound and songs bringing the best from an obviously thick blanket of influences and turning them into their own irrepressible heart fuelled music. As the album plays you are reminded of the likes of Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Clutch, Stone Axe, Motorhead and ZZ Top as well as to a lesser but as important degree bands like Orange Goblin, and Kyuss. Classic rock, hard rock, stoner, blues and southern rock are all in the rich heady and thrilling concoction, a sound with no demands asked and no unrequited emotions taken, Grifter is full of rock music at its best given with heart, energy and fun, and made for people like themselves, rockers.

The tracks whistle by due to the way they pull one in straight away to party with the band, the likes of the southern tinged stirring opener Good Day For Bad News, Alabama Hot Pocket with its muscle flexing rhythms, and Young Blood, Old Veins with a stoner swagger and middle finger offering, leaving the pulse racing and breath looking for air to re-energise ready for more of the same insatiable, exhaustive and rampant sounds.

Every song on the album offers a bottle of double strength rock to become light headed from. It is full of sure and tight riffs leading one down to dirty deeds and rhythms that draw willing and impossible to resist contortions of limbs and energy. Some tracks do have more of the devil in them than others though like the wanton groove driven Strip Club, a song that seduces and teases with all the tricks of a bar pole dancer, the rockabilly toned Buck Tooth Woman where the band have a sure touch of The Stray Cats about them, and Bean with its classic UK hard rock flavouring. As mentioned all the tracks hit the spot perfectly and have the desired effect  of pulling one to their feet to participate to some degree even the closing bluesy acoustic lined ballad Gone Blues. Once in its stride the song has lighters, voices and bodies swaying in unity with its mesmeric groove.

Grifter is an excellent rock n roll album, no more and certainly no less. It does not have to be anything more as it and the band deliver eleven pieces of pure and delicious rock music, what could be better?

Ringmaster 20/04/2012

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