Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Album Review: Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race

Blood Incantation
Hidden History of the Human Race 
***and1/2 out of *****

The Denver based death metal outfit Blood Incantation's second album is a blast of outer space metal that soars among the cosmos and plunges into the darkness and mayhem with equal ease. Hidden History of the Human Race is a mind expanding metal album with flourishes of prog, psych and symphonic rock 

Opening with "Slave Species of the Gods" the band gets off to a fairly standard start as ripping guitars guttural vocals, killer drums, mix with a few psychedelic production effects to craft a damn solid opener. However it is on the rest of the record where things really take off as "The Giza Power Plant" manages to mix Cannibal Corpse ferocity with Pink Floyd-like moments. There are angular changes dynamite drumming and a mid-section which shuffles out into the black hole void of tripped out bliss.

The four piece, Isaac Faulk-Drums, Paul Riedl - Guitars, Vocals, Morris Kolontyrsky - Guitars, Jeff Barrett - Bass, are technically astute shifting and shredding their respective parts with a communal sense of purpose. Like all efforts in this genre the impenetrable vocals act more as a deterrent than a necessary artistic statement, masking lyrics behind roaring throat exercises. "Inner Paths (To Outer Space)" is the most experimental of the songs beginning as a prog sound collage instrumental, slowly rising increasing its trudging power closing with a growling vocal belch.

The culmination of the record is the eighteen minute closing opus elegantly titled "Awakening From The Dream Of Existence To The Multidimensional Nature Of Our Reality (Mirror Of The Soul)". The twisting and turning journey has the feeling of three songs segregated by spacey interludes, but the thundering low end, shape shifting squealing guitars and distorted yelling never falters as things push into the unknown.

A thrilling death metal record that will both please any fan of the genre as well as those who only dabble in the heavy morbid tunes. Blood Incantation are on the path to much larger things with the satisfying Hidden History of the Human Race. 
Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

Live Streams: Pickathon - A Concert A Day for 60 Days

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure. Also you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can.

Today we highlight: Pickathon A Concert A Day for 60 Days

The Pickathon archives have announced they will dip into their festivals archives and produce a show a day for the next 60 days. Today kicks it off at 1PM Pacific with an RtBE favorite, The Drive By Truckers.

We caught DBT a few weeks back before the Covid lock down and they were awesome. Main Trucker Patterson Hood will be live as well to discuss this set. More info regarding this from the announcement:
Each day for the next 60 days, starting April 8, Pickathon Presents A Concert A Day will premiere a full recorded concert from past festivals. Featuring renowned artists across many genres giving career-best performances, these concerts from Pickathons past will stream with unprecedented direct support from the Recording Academy, Amazon Music, and YouTube. At the A Concert A Day Facebook Event, the Recording Academy will host each concert premiere daily, joined either by the performing artist or a renowned journalist. The host will answer fan questions live and comment on the performance. Amazon Music will stream the concert through its channel on Twitch, and the concerts will also premiere on Pickathon's YouTube channel and be featured as part of YouTube's Stay Home #WithMe initiative. After reaching out for help, Pickathon was overwhelmed by the response, welcoming the support of partners like the Recording Academy, Amazon Music, BandsinTown, Bandcamp, and YouTube who collaborated in one common effort to support A Concert A Day. All donations received during the livestream will go directly to MusiCares COVID-10 Relief Fund to help musicians in need.
Pickathon presents A Concert A Day
Week 1 Schedule: 
Wed, April 8 - Drive-By Truckers (Mt. Hood Stage, 2017)
Thurs, April 9 - Ex Hex (Treeline Stage, 2015)
Fri, April 10 - Tyler Childers (Woods, 2019)
Sat, April 11 - Charles Bradley (Mt. Hood Stage, 2017)
Sun, April 12 - Tank & The Bangas (Woods Stage, 2017)
Mon, April 13 - Damien Jurado (Lucky Barn, 2019)
Tues, April 14 - People Under the Stairs (Woods Stage, 2014)
Wed, April 15 - DakhaBrakha (Mt. Hood, 2018)

Never before presented in full, these live concerts come from Pickathon's extensive vault of content. Filmed in multi-camera HD by an army of audiovisual specialists each year, they're part of Pickathon's movement from an annual festival to a year-round content creation company driven by some of the most creative minds in Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Stages at Pickathon are planned like independent films, with architects and visual artists creating one-of-a-kind experiences that drive the artists to career best performances which are rendered in multi-camera HD and subsequently released year round. 
Championing artists, fostering community, and innovating new ways of experiencing and discovering music have been the cornerstone of Pickathon's identity for over 20 years. Now is the time to band together in support of touring musicians, to spread hope, and to enjoy A Concert A Day.
Later this week more RtBE favorites like Ex Hex and Charles Bradley take the stage. This is a great project, so check it out and support all the artists.  Here is some live DBT to get ready for today's set:

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Two New Tunes from Run The Jewels

When RtBE rated our favorite albums from the previous decade, Run The Jewels second release ended up being our favorite hip hop album of the 2010's (and 9th overall). We also dug their third release and now they have previewed two new songs from their upcoming fourth album.

The two tracks, "Ooh, LaLa" and "Yankee and the Brave" are both below and show different sides of the outfit. "Ooh, LaLa" sounds more old school with DJ Premier beats and Greg Nice, while "Yankee and the Brave" feels ominous and more balls to the wall, anything can happen.

Here they both are for you to enjoy, can't wait to hear the full album:

Album Review: Pearl Jam - Gigaton

Pearl Jam
*** out of *****

What is the desire for/expectation of a new Pearl Jam album in 2020 as they approach thirty years together?

Just the fact that the band is still active should be enough for most fans of arena rock, as it will mean another tour (whenever that is possible again) from a band who are fantastic live. That aside, do the band have anything else to say from studio work or have they just moved into later day Rolling Stones territory? It has been seven years since the middle of the road Lightning Bolt and Gigaton, while taking a different path from that release, basically ends up in the same place. 

The album opens with two straight ahead rockers firmly in the Seattle bands well worn wheelhouse. "Who Ever Said" and "Superblood Wolfmoon" are uptempo rock numbers that find the full band (Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Eddie Vedder, and Matt Cameron) locked in and sounding great via production from Josh Evans.

Other familiar arena ready efforts are the punkish "Never Destination" and punchy "Take The Long Way" joining the club as tunes that are classic PJ. All of these inject enough musical distinctions, an electronic flourish here a squirrelly guitar there, to scratch the musical itch. However, it must also be stated that these tunes are conducted in areas Peal Jam have explored once (or twice, or three times) before.

The band seems to feel this way too as Gigaton shows more musical diversity than any other Pearl Jam album in decades. The albums first single is the most funky the band ever has been (but because this is PJ their light funk stems from the Talking Heads) as "Dance of the Clairvoyants" gets its groove going around Ament's bass, digital drums and keys. It is a move away from the bands safe space and much more interesting than the dull Ament penned ballad "Alright".

Vedder takes center stage on the long protest number "Seven O'Clock" which incorporates digital strings and a sense of dignified indignation in late career John Lennon fashion while his ballad "Comes Then Goes" is an acoustic journey on his soaring vocals. The band flirts with some bubbling Phish sounding jam-band styles on "Buckle Up" before Vedder brings out a pump organ for the album closer "River Cross" however it is the cinematic soaring of "Retrograde" with it's naturalistic lyrics which connects most readily to the climate change art work and overall theme of the record. 

The track that stood out the most to these ears was "Quick Escape" and it seems to sum up recent Pearl Jam best. It is a honest mix of styles that feels much longer than it's four and half minute run time, but displays flashes of brilliance along the way such as it's pummeling/rumbling low end, huge choruses and super sonic ending jam which should be drawn out even longer on the live stage. Yet for all of it's pluses the effort it never really clicks the way their all time great studio tracks do.

What is the desire/expectation of a new Pearl Jam album in 2020 as they approach thirty years together? Pretty much what the band delivers on Gigaton. 

A solid effort complete with experiments, a lot of rocking, and protesting while raging against the dying of the light. For comparison The Rolling Stones put out Voodoo Lounge thirty years in, and while not the best Stones record by a mile, it is a fairly good collection of tunes and their best late career releases. That pretty much fits for Pearl Jam and Gigaton as well, for now, time will tell how it compares to their future output.
Support the artists, buy the album, peep some video below:

Monday, April 6, 2020

Live Streams: Galactic "Mardi Gras Monday"

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic separation is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure. Also you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past. Please support the artists any which way you can.
Today we highlight: Galactic "Mardi Gras Monday"

If you are not in the metal mood this Monday, you can get funky with Galactic.  The band (who are also Tipitina's owners) will be showing their recent Mardi Gras show from the historic venue tonight 7pm CST on their Facebook page.

Support the band and club owners and to get ready for tonight's show, here is some live Galactic from 2019 at the fantastic Louisiana Music Factory with Boyfriend:

Live Streams: Metallica

With live music on lock down (like everything else currently in New York City) live streams and old concerts have become essential for live music junkies like RtBE. While this current state of pandemic is in order we will highlight various shows/streams/virtual events for your viewing and listening pleasure and you can always check out or weekly Full Show Friday series for concerts from the past.

Today we highlight: Metallica 

The metal gods are doing it proper with Metallica Mondays as they, (like Phish on Tuesdays) go into their archive and show past concerts at 8pm EST on their Youtube Channel.

They are showing a concert from Copenhagen in 2009:

To get in the mood for tonight's mayhem, here is a live "Creeping Death" from Sofia 2010:

Dylan Cover #422 Honey Island Swamp Band "Gotta Serve Somebody" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is a live cover by Honey Island Swamp Band with Alvin Youngblood Hart playing "Gotta Serve Somebody":
This month we have a special focus on artists who will be playing the 2020 Jazzfest in New Orleans. Today we highlight The Honey Island Swamp Band who play, Thursday April 23rd.

Unfortunately due to the outbreak of Covid19, Jazzfest has been rescheduled for October (no official date as of yet). Hopefully all of the scheduled acts are healthy and will be performing then, but since we crafted these posts before the outbreak, RtBE will still post them this month and will regroup/revisit things in the fall when (hopefully) things return to semi-normal.

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
This powerful call of hell-fire and brimstone rained down from the mountaintop as Dylan proclaimed his faith proudly, and this was the first song that most of the public heard confirming the fact that Bob did indeed "Go Jesus". It is point and fact with its belief and message. You gotta serve somebody... can't be simpler then that when it comes to faith can it? The original has a driving beat and a propulsion to it that sounds urgent, but not as urgent as Bob sings, reinforcing the proclamation through his powerful lyrics and leaving no man or woman on the sidelines...he brings everyone into this spiritual battle, and whatever your beliefs it is impossible not to feel Bob is committed as he runs through the verses and chorus.


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We've been doing Jazzfest for 11 years straight now and been going to New Orleans longer than that, but have yet to catch Honey Island Swamp Band.  Hopefully that changes this year as they are a solid band right in RtBE's wheelhouse.

Thoughts on Cover:
A funky, bluesy take on the classic/best tune from Dylan's "Gospel" era. The extra vamping while Hart gets his guitar ready adds to the hypnotic groove and then the players really dig into it. A great way to kick off the month of Dylan covers heading into Jazzfest as this one typifies the jamming spirit of New Orleans, the musicianship, the great sit-ins and the soul...all taking place on Tipitina's stage. Here's hoping we catch a few tunes just as good in just under a month in October.