Monday, January 30, 2012

Reviews: Vektor "Outer Isolation"

By: Garviel Loken

Now here is an album where the cover art doesn't do much justice for the music that accompanies it. There's too much similarity between it and so many other 80s thrash record covers; plus the Voivod like font of the band name is an eyesore, but having raged about it for exactly forty-five words, the griping budget has been practically exhausted. To use an old, but apt in this instance, cliché: don't judge a book by its cover.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Driving Force: Carlos Arzate (American Android)

By: Walter Kovacs

American Android is a very powerful hard rock band from Tucson, Arizona. They are a no-frills band that has deep commitments towards social change and self-empowerment.  They have self-released two great albums Silent Partner in 2008 & Reconciliation in 2010.

I just watched them perform at Plush, at a packed show they did with The Life and the Times and The Vases. Not only is their music infectious, I seriously believe that they have one of the best rhythm sections in the southwest, between Oscar Acedo (ex-Gat-Rot) and Matthew Shepard. Their music is very powerful and dynamic. Sort of like if you strapped a Harley-Davidson engine on an Incubus chassis, while driving down Soundgarden Boulevard, listening to Bulls On Parade by Rage Against The Machine. Their lyrical approach is so beautifully harmonized that sometimes it feels as if their songs of protest and resistance are more like ballads then anthems of discontent. 
I asked lead vocalist/guitarist Carlos Arzate to answer a few questions about his music and songwriting.

What would you say gives/gave you inspiration when you are/were writing music?

I feel like inspiration will spasm out of you involuntarily.  It's beyond your control and you essentially become a vessel for the transmission of what becomes the song and message. More generally a broad worldview also plays a role in some of our socio-political themed music. “Make Him Speak” was written about torture (water-boarding specifically) and the music is designed to paint the picture of such a brutal act.  The lyrics are the voices of justification. For example: "get that man off of his feet the doctor says he's good for more, the water's gonna make him speak."  In the end inspiration is unsustainable so making the most of it when she comes is crucial to the life of a project.

Driving Force: Kevin Ryan & Phillip Holman (Lariats)

By: Walter Kovacs

In this edition of Driving Force we have a double shot of rock for you. Representing the Tucson band Lariats we have Kevin Ryan and Phil Holman.

LARIATS consists of an indestructible line-up of rock and roll veterans. They are not afraid of defying odds and fighting the good fight, all in the name of kicking ass, breaking hearts and drinking beer. They have a great sound that I think is somewhere in-between Defeater and AC-DC. It is fun, passionate and sincere. I had to steal the following description directly from them to accurately describe them, because it is so great:

“LARIATS is comprised of rock and roll's redshirts. They've taken bumps and bruises in pursuit of their passion. Constantly coming back for more. In previous lives, the members of LARIATS have cut their teeth playing everything from house party's and basements to warped tour and world tours. They've seen trends and band-mates come and go. They've been stabbed in the back, heckled, weathered the storm of bad press and even worse reviews. In spite of time and distance, obligation and responsibility, the LARIATS boys have come together to write heartfelt, earnest rock and roll. They have stuck it out to write their swansong. The band is forged by fire and friendship. LARIATS are unstoppable. They are carefree and in love. LARIATS is made up of Kevin, Cody, Steve, William, and Philip Patrick. They've been in other bands. They've probably played with your band at some point in the past 15 years. LARIATS will soon be your favorite band.” 

Check out the two songs they just finished recording at:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Driving Force: Zack Hansen (North)

by Walter Kovacs

In this installment of Driving Force, we talk with Zack Hansen.

Zack is the drummer for the band North. North is a band who has a sound that is difficult to categorize. It might be said that the roots of their music lays somewhere in-between the atmospheric heaviness of bands like Explosions In The Sky and the metallic discord of A Storm of Light. They are a devastatingly brilliant band that has released three albums since their inception in 2005.

Their last recording, 2008’s What You Were was met with great acclaim. It was even included in Decibel Magazine's top 40 albums of the year for 2008.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview: Nate Garrett (TOAD)

Photo by Cody Walker

AoC: Today we're sitting down with Nate Garret, recently of Phoenix based TOAD, formerly of the mighty Queen Beast from Arkansas. Tell a little about you and what you do, Nate. Anything interesting besides being in a series of kickass bands?

NG: Well, I moved here from Arkansas to study audio engineering. I went to California for a couple months after I finished the program to try and get into the audio "industry" or whatever. Decided pretty quickly I didn't want to have anything to do with it. There's some cool folks involved in recording music nowadays but the vast majority of the people drawn to the business wouldn't be worth my piss if they were on fire. I basically wanted to murder everyone the whole time I was in that nightmarish place, so I came back. Serendipity/synchronicity kicked in and I happened to return to Phoenix the same day TOAD's guitar player Danny quit. I was a fan and good buds with the dudes so it just made sense to everyone that I replace him. Now I'm tryin' to figure out how to eat just like everybody else. So yeah, fuck California.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Driving Force: Jeremy Talley (The Bled)

By: Walter Kovacs

The roots of inspiration manifest themselves in so many different ways. And when it comes to songwriting that spark can ignite at just about anytime.

In order to better understand the mindset and background of a band, what better way to gain insight into that process then to ask those band members about what they find influential? I asked several members of bands with ties to Arizona about what inspires them to write music, and to share some insight into their creative process.

Over the next few weeks we will post a different interview featuring some of Arizona’s most outstanding musicians.

The first posting in this segment will be from Jeremy Tally. Jeremy has been in several amazing bands with ties to Tucson. Over the years he has been the driving force behind several amazing bands, including Scathe and Bury Me Standing. Most notably he has been the guitarist for The Bled. Over the course of a decade, they released four full-length albums, two split releases, and two EP's, and changed the face of hardcore.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Witnessed: Red Fang, Vanish Twin & Godhunter at Club Congress on 12/6/11

By: Luther Von Fuzz

On Dec 6th, I had the pleasure of witnessing a great night of metal at the infamous Club Congress. As I walked up the street to the Congress during my two block walk from my car, I could hear the distant unmistakable grungy rumble of Godhunter calling out to the passersby like a swan song as an escape from the chilling winter air. With eight dollar tickets and the advertised “truckloads of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)” it had the ingredients of a great night.