Tia Carrera, Tried and True review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Instrumental metal blues groove psychedelic masterminds Tia Carrera release another stream of altered consciousness with Tried and True.

Tia Carrera is a band best experienced live in the same way you want to hear Sleep or Earthless in person. The strong improvisational element to the performances make the experience more personal – it could very well be that what you are listening to was never played that way before and won’t ever be played just that way again. You can record it and listen to it later, but if you were there I bet you’ll hear that recording differently than people who listen to it and weren’t.

The Texas trio has been creating acid-soaked renderings for more than fifteen years. The current lineup includes founders Jason Morales and Erik Conn, joined by Curt Christenson who appears to be there to stay. The rumor is the band has a massive treasure trove of recorded material, both in-studio and live, that they have yet to release. They curate what goes public very carefully, only letting out small bits here and there. Any new release is big news, and with Tried and True they have broken off a big chunk instrumental wonderment for the eager public.

All the musical stylings on this album have an urgency and an explosive originality. You can hear the bass line and the drums clearly at all times alongside the guitar. Each part is distinct and at the same time fit together in a fierce synergy rivaled only by perhaps Frank Zappa at his most berserk. The music is very bluesy with an extra helping of chimerical phantasmagoria. There are five principal tracks, the anchor being the 14 minute title expansion that is, in the words of Poe, a dream within a dream. The CD has two bonus entries that together are more than 30 minutes so give that serious consideration – they are “Visitors” and “Early Purple,” previously released last year on vinyl. It is an experience.

Out tomorrow, Friday June 12, from Small Stone Records, drop Tried and True into your brain as soon as you can.You want as much Tia Carrera as you can get.

Links.

http://www.facebook.com/tiacarreraofficial

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/tried-and-true

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

Tia Carrera, Tried and True review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon review (Small Stone Records, 2020)

The third album from Lord Fowl has a classic rock sensibility with extra fuzz on top for good measure. Glorious Babylon is a great summer jam that is right on time.

The band is Jon Conine, Vechel Jaynes, Mike Pellegrino, and Michael Petrucci (now Van Hartley). They popped into existence in New Haven, Connecticut in 2007. Their first release, Endless Dynamite, came out two years later to the sheer delight of the locals. Moon Queen followed three years later with a similar sound of good time rock and roll. The first impression that enters my head when one of their songs starts to play is a burbling 1970s nostalgia, an earnest this-is-how-I-am-feeling-right-now vibe with the amp on overdrive and the soft fuzz engaged.

This new one continues along similar lines, harkening to the earlier work and taking a step ahead as well. The footing is surer on Glorious Babylon, the compositions a bit tighter. The flavor has matured a little and they do sometimes twinkle of Thin Lizzy (like the press release reads) if TL got an update into the contemporary psychedelic stonerish situation we often find ourselves in these days. Some songs, like “Glorious Babylon,” are kick ass rockers, and others, like “The Wraith,” are more serious and ponderous. “In Search Of” goes full space boogie and “Fire Discipline” is full of punchy guitar riffs augmented by echoing lead breaks. The band takes you on a tour of what they like to play, and it is a good ride to be on. They are a little bit like contemporary bands such as Black Coffee and maybe even Dirty Honey, but while you can detect a nuanced ecliptic of these bands, you wouldn’t mistake Lord Fowl for anyone else. Their third album is the best one so far and it is a good sign of things to come. Recommended.

Band photo by Meg Herlihy.

Glorious Babylon is out now. You can get CDs and vinyl from Small Stone Records through Bandcamp; downloads and streams in the usual places. Do it up and get your buzz on.

Links.

Lord Fowl

https://www.facebook.com/LORD-FOWL-260582122862

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/glorious-babylon

Small Stone Records

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

http://www.smallstone.bandcamp.com

Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon review (Small Stone Records, 2020)

Review of Seven Planets New Release, Explorer (Small Stone, 2020)

Heavy groovists Seven Planets have a February release that will help you rise above the winter gloom: Explorer.

With roots in West Virginia, the band’s music is guitar-driven instrumental groove, loaded with boogie, blues, and funk, all wrapped up in a heavy desert vibe. The two guitarists, Leonard Hanks and Jim Way, are joined on the album by bassist Mike Williams and the steady and clever drumming of Ben Pitt. No vocals. With this music, you do not miss the physiological voice because the instruments do all the art, leaving no gaps. Even with the proliferation of instrumental bands in doom and heavy music in recent years, Seven Planets stands out with its spacey construction, its cohesiveness, and flavorful riffs that are all its own.

Following Flight of the Ostrich (2008) and their self-titled 2012 release, Explorer is the third full-length set from Seven Planets. The shorter songs pop, giving off a Bakerton Group glimmer – “206,” “Vanguard,” and “The Buzzard” especially. The longer pieces have more of a nebulous doom presence, in some ways ethereal, and reminiscent of the sound Seven Planets established in their earlier albums. The warbling “Seven Seas” is the perfect example of this second type, where a bed of solid floating groove carries you along while exploring guitar fingers spark and reach out into the unknown. In “Great Attractor,” the two guitars even go off and explore in different directions at the same time, bringing a broader environment of sound into a greater inclusive whole. The album closes with “The Buzzard,” a sharp, insisting punch wearing melodic robes. Taken together, it is like experiencing eight separate micro-doses that ebb and flow and blend into a gaining collective that outpaces the sum of its parts.

There are no tour dates listed on their socials, so keep an eye out for Seven Planets because you want to see them whenever you can. Christopher Berry is now playing bass after the departure of Mike Williams, and the transition has been seamless, by all accounts. The album Explorer will be released on February 7, 2020, and it is available for preorder now at Bandcamp (link below) in digital and many solid forms. After you preorder the new one and while you are waiting for it to drop, listen to the first two on Spotify or wherever you stream. It’ll put you in the mood and give you some idea of what is coming. The new album is in the same cosmos as the first two, but it is also an evolution. Recommended.

Band photo by Holly Pittman.

Links.

http://www.sevenplanetsband.com

http://www.facebook.com/Seven-Planets

http://www.instagram.com/sevenplanetsrock

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

http://www.instagram.com/smallstonerecords

Review of Seven Planets New Release, Explorer (Small Stone, 2020)