In the 1994 film "Airheads", the local radio station KPPX secretly plans to change their programming from alternative rock to the "mellow sounds of the rain", much to the dismay of thousands of rock fans.
Fast forward over twenty years and such events have occurred in Budapest, Hungary. Ozone Mama, a self proclaimed classic rock/grunge fused ball of energy have felt the effects of a once favourite son of the airwaves turn to the dark side.
But as senseless and often dumber, for lack of a better word, compositions flood the airwaves of the world, perhaps it's not a bad thing that rock goes underground. Ozone Mama have a foot in both camps. An instantly recognisable sound of 1970's classic rock and the undeniable wail of Seattle's finest, they unashamedly tip their musical hats to the past greats. They are on the front line, busting their guts in the name of rock and roll authenticity. But they are also successful, winning Hungary's Fonogram Award (Hungary's version of the Grammys) for Best Rock/Metal album of 2016 (Sonic Glory).
In this episode Andy (Ozone Mama's songwriter and guitarist) and I discussed things like; The decline in modern music, having the best boss in the world and accepting that everyone sounds like someone.
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Name: Ozone Mama
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Generic Genre Classic Rock, Grunge, Alternative Rock
Forced Comparison: Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Led Zeppelin
Croatia's groove, stoner rock band "She Loves Pablo" have a song from one of their previous releases entitled "Impassive, Massive and Aggressive". If we replace the initial adjective with "Impressive", we have a fairly accurate description of what is in store when you listen to these guys. Oh, and add in angry, peaceful, articulate and melodic too!
Having just released a spectacular and somewhat multi-genred album, "Try Mandarin", earlier this year, the band continue to push ahead with their crushing, yet message laden mission.
The band has the formula down. Huge riffs with crunching guitars and bass, pounding drums, scorching vocals....but they also have a great sense of push and pull, ebb and flow and with a self professed "harmony nazi" within the band, vocal harmonies and well crafted melodies, it is no wonder that they are drawing a crowd.
Despite chasing each other for months and some issue with our audio, She Loves Pablo and I covered all sorts of topics, like; Improvising back stories, playing the same song over 20 times in a row, attractive bass players, the problem with the chinese (not really....) and the question of if art is becoming cheap in this day and age.
Just because a band doesn't take themselves 100% seriously, it does not mean that they cannot be seriously good. Boyjazz are no novelty band and whilst on first taste it could be easy to dismiss them as an 80's glam rock/metal band with sexed up lyrics (and sexed up nicknames), this is all part of the show that makes them work so damned well.
One of the core issues bands of Boyjazz's style seemed to have back in the 1980's was that many of them seemed to actually be serious and believe the excessive, sexessive rock and roll lifestyle and inherently they ended up looking like dicks (pardon the pun).
Boyjazz nails the music of the era but with their own modern take and whilst Axl Rose is often viewed as a bit of a wanker, the guy can really sing. Boyjazz's vocalist, Adam Hobbs, has a similar set of pipes - this is a good thing...a REALLY good thing. But the thing that Boyjazz has going for them is the fact that they were born unintentionally out of a musical screw around, an experiment if you will, and the band has always maintained the ethos that fun comes before anything else.
This approach saw Boyjazz reach a decent level of success in the the early/mid 2000's before they (sort of) disbanded.
Whatever the case, these guys rock! It helps all the more that they are decent, humble and passionate fellas who work on their craft and keep fun and passion at the forefront!
Sometimes I'm not sure why I like a song, a band or an album. Sometimes it's an immediate and obvious light bulb reaction. Other times there's just a 'thing', something that is not apparent from the get go but is worth investing time to have another listen or three.
It's never based on the artwork or album title! And thank god for that, as I may have completely overlooked the catchy Beatles-esque synth pop of Uncle Sugar (Greg Warns). His/their latest release "Hourglass" was initially entitled "Don't Listen, Yet!". I thought it was a clever name. Turns out it was more of an instruction as these versions of the soon to be released songs were merely meant for friends to provide feedback before the final mixes commenced. Throw in his penchant for creating album covers on Microsoft Paint (I'm not supposed to mention that!) and I had every reason to pass his music by.
But I didn't and I am glad. Uncle Sugar has a knack for balance - experimental elements woven throughout finally crafted songs that whilst extremely poppy and catchy, never cross the line to novelty of (pardon the pun) saccharine flavoured throwaways.
To make things even better, Greg is only twenty years old, not that that should really matter, but he is also quit prolific with new material being released several times a year.
So check out Uncle Sugar's sugary yet nutrient filled musical goodness! It's a balanced diet for the ears!
The guys from Dead Poet Society were a blast to speak to and they really took the Rock and Goal segment seriously. Their banter and debate over who should be selected was a joy to watch and was equally entertaining as it was insightful. The main show had an edited version of this discussion to keep the main show length down - a mini show of that full length discussion can be heard right here in this bonus short episode.
People who know me are acutely aware I like a good, heavy riff. They also know I love harmonised vocals and a well thought out melody. They will also know I am a fan of production values and recordings that contain unique layers and sounds. Boston band, Dead Poet Society, ticks all of these boxes and then some. In fact, their 2015 EP AXIOM was one of my favourite pick-ups of the year! These guys are going places....seizing the day, if you will (ok, no more DPS movie references...)
This group have a collective unity and drive that is rarely seen - to the point that they actually live together! Each member contributes to all aspects of the band - they weren't sure how to record and mix their music, so they learnt. They weren't able to make their own top quality film clips, so they learnt. What these guys put their minds to, they achieve and it and their growing success is a true testament to the benefits of hard work and commitment. Mr Keating would be proud! (Oops!)
"It would be nice if something made sense for a change." ~ Lewis Carol (Alice in Wonderland)
At risk of throwing too many surreal pop culture references into the soup, I've a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore. And if you still choose to taste the soup, please remember... there is no spoon!
In all honesty, Los Angeles based quartet Little Red Lung are not that weird. But they are unique and it's their meticulous attention to detail, be it in the form of song writing or post production, that sets them apart from their peers. There's strange and interesting for strange and interesting's sake - and bands like that are as empty as the tin man's chest.
But Little Red Lung are as genuine as they come and you can hear it. Songs are laced with trauma, hope, frustration and and an underlying tension that seeps out of the cracks and runs down the walls. And you can't help but watch.
Their music will take some time to fully appreciate. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but should you get to the tea party, you will have one hell of a time... real or otherwise. *Spin totem now.
In this interview, Little Red Lung members Zoe-Ruth Erwin and Ali Nikou chatted about their new album Beware, scathing reviews, popcorn, living on a deserted island and much much more!