Cortez, Sell The Future review (Ripple Music 2020)

Album number three from Cortez is Sell The Future and it rides a heavy wave of riff-powered demolition.

From the Boston area, Cortez has been releasing music since their 2006 demo. They have had a couple of lineup changes over the years, as most bands do. For Sell the Future, earliest members Jay Furlo (bass) and Scott O’Dowd {Scotty Fuse} (guitar) are joined by long time players Matt Harrington (vocals) and Alasdair Swan (guitar). Alexei Rodriguez (drums) is newest, dating from 2017 (if The Metal Archives has it facts straight).

Harrington’s voice is powerful and fierce when he wants it to be and yet he can attenuate it for different emotions and effects. The compositions rely on solid grooves and big riffs, with well-placed and clever lead breaks adding nuance to the work. The rippling and surprising percussion bursts that you hear from Rodriguez in unexpected places are a fundamental building block to the unique sound of the band.

“No Escape” is a banger, and the perfect choice for an up-tempo lead off song. The title track is next and sets a serious tone with a purposeful riff up front then pushes on with a heavy swagger. The tempo gets a switch in advance of the lead break, which flays the carcass of reason. “Look At You” has a driving rhythm that just won’t let you turn away, and if you are not hooked on this album by the time the third song is over, I don’t know what to say to you. I cannot pick a single favorite, but I will point to the way the songs dissimilarities enhance the set as a whole – listening to the furiously paced “Vanishing Point” right after “Sharpen The Spear,” which has a more plaintive structure, puts you off balance in just the right way for the closer, “Beyond.” This album was worth the wait. Highly recommended.

Sell the Future is out now. Bandcamp is a good place to look for the digital, and there are couple vinyl variants there, too.

Band photo by Bruce Bettis.


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Cortez, Sell The Future review (Ripple Music 2020)

Crystal Spiders, Molt review (Ripple Music 2020)

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Crystal Spiders add a new entry in the Stoner Rock ledgers with their full-length debut, Molt.

The band is Brenna Leath and Tradd Yancey, bass/vocals and drums, respectively. They released a three-song demo last year, and Molt is the rapid follow up. Leath is also in the bands Lightning Born and The Hell No, creating music there and already finishing the principal writing on the next Crystal Spiders album after Molt. She is keeping the creative fires alive in this first year of the pandemic.

The new album has a straight-forward sound and a practical approach to Stoner Doom that sits atop a solid underlying heavy rock structure. There is occasional the lead work like near the end of “C.U.N. Hell” that complements the abiding rhythm, but it is those bass lines and the assertive percussion that gets the biggest notice. And the vocals, of course. Leath’s voice is clear and soulful and vaporous all at once, in the neighborhood of Jillian Taylor (Ruby The Hatchet) but a bit lower in register and huskier tone.

A couple of the songs stood out and stuck with me even among the field of excellent music the album creates. “The Call” is a rousing, pulsing rocker, with a piercing guitar upfront and a ponderous then menacing back end. The ethereal sounds and tones in “The Fog” were absolutely hypnotizing – I was so wrapped up in listening to it I didn’t even realize when the song ended and the album was done. The title track is a crackling burst of Punk energy and “Chronic Sick” is pure doom.

Molt is out now from Ripple Music at their Big Cartel store and through Bandcamp. I just finished listening to the new album again and I am already anticipating the next one. Recommended.

Band photo by Marissa Straw.


Crystal Spiders, Molt review (Ripple Music 2020)

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.


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