It’s been quite a while since I last wrote up an album review, but when I was asked to review Beard’s latest effort, I couldn’t resist. I’ve championed this local Albuquerque, NM band since my first exposure to them in Summer 2012, and have watched them win over music fans since then with their always entertaining live shows. So, blah blah blah…enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get down to the business at hand, shall we?
Beard explores a darker and more personal place on their latest EP release, The Twin and The Beast. The first line from opener, “Fever”, pretty much sets the mood for what’s to come, proclaiming, “This goes out to all the times you broke my heart in two…”. From the overall vibe I get, the material on this band’s sophomore effort speaks from a Beard that is not quite as peppy and happy-go-lucky as they were on 2012′s Black Unicorn album. It’s as if the band has become jaded with the world in some way, and spurned to a point where it’s not about “Superculture” or “Amp Whore” anymore, yet, the “fuck you” message remains intact in a much more direct and intimate way. I find the songwriting on this release to be much more mature in its sound and fury, while still unmistakably stamped with the familiar space echo texturing, slow intros/sonic choruses, and bottom-heavy riffing Beard does so well. In fact, that is exactly what is served up in the first 4 of the 6 tracks, along with a healthy heaping of brooding angst in your face. Songs, such as “Savage Like” and “Healing Rooms”, along with the aforementioned “Fever”, will definitely satisfy the Beard faithful who have been waiting for new material from the band to wrap their hungry ears around. The EP winds down with the alt-blues epic, “Where The Hens Roost” (which the band has included in their live sets since last year or so) and the title track, “The Twin and The Beast”, which is a lengthy instrumental jam session that provides an appropriately somber way to close out this 35-minute rollercoaster ride.
In a nutshell, Beard’s The Twin and The Beast EP is sure to please the band’s ever-growing fan base, and represents a big musical leap forward for Mauricio, Karie, Dave, and Kirk. Where they take it from here is what I’m looking forward to most.
Wow…where to start with this CD!? Well, for those of you not in the know about this band, they hail from right here in lovely Albuquerque, NM, although, by the sound in their songs, you would think something more like Detroit, MI, New York City, or the gutters of L.A.! Call me late to the party on this band, but I’ve been digging the shit out of the videos that can be found on You Tube for these guys, including a full show on video if you look really hard! I’m like…what am I seeing here? Is this Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Is that singer the long lost son of Iggy Pop? So, I recently obtained a copy of Glitter Dick’s debut album, Sparkling Richard, to find out for myself and have been at it non-stop! Ten of the trashiest, glammiest, and downright cockiest songs I’ve heard in a long time, let alone from any local bands here in ABQ! The motto on their Facebook page says: “Play like Berry, Act like Iggy. Look like Bowie.” I think I can see those influences, and more, in this beautifully bold piece of art. Forget the recent hype brought on by local media about the supposedly questionable flyers they posted at UNM for their CD release show…forget all that crap. Just put on this album, crank up the volume knob, and lose yourself in all the fun this album gives!
Right out of the gates with the crazy intro “Shirtcockin’” and then into the just plain awesome “Audiophile”, with its infectious shout-a-long chorus, you know this album is going to be one wild ride! While the band sports a few early 70′s-style punk influences (Iggy Pop/Stooges, Ramones, Dead Boys, et al) in their sound, I’m also hearing other Detroit influence in “Audiophile”, with its almost Von Bondies-like swagger in the verses. I may be way off in saying that, but it’s what I was reminded of. But, that’s only a tinge of the various things going on with this album…I’m hearing early 70′s Detroit in it, late 70′s NYC, early 80′s punk. I mean, throughout, you have a predominantly reverb/fuzz-heavy surf tone going on from guitarist Magnum P. Nye that is bashing out relentless Chuck Berry-on-crack, bluesy punk riffs all over the place. You’ve got the brilliance of vocalist Kendal Killjoy leading the glitzy party that this album is! To top it off, you’ve got the rhythm section of bassist Dee Dee Ramen and drummer Suzi de Sade holding it all together. On ass-kicking songs such as “Tea Leaf Shuffle” (balls in your face anyone? lol), “Johnny T’s OD”, and blistering album closer, “Last Call”, the four members in this band deliver some greatness that will have heads bopping for a long time to come!
Look…don’t take my word for it. Go download a copy of Sparkling Richard for yourself from the webstore link on Glitter Dick’s Facebook page and prepare to be pantsed, roofied, and just plain entertained for 30 minutes out of your mundane, merry-go-normal day! This album is going to do all of that and more! Check out the vids on You Tube, and by all means, catch their next show…they’re just a damn good time in our sleepy little city that you won’t soon forget!CD REVIEW BY THE ONE AND ONLY WALTDAWG.
RECORD REVIEW: In The End – Take Control
Local rockers, In The End, have released quite an ambitious album recently in the form of the aptly titled Take Control. This long-time New Mexico band attempts to do just that with a blistering display of progressive rock/metal not too many musicians are quite able to accomplish. behind an array of consistently exciting live shows, In the End has unleashed their latest album for your eager consumption! And consume it, many of you will! Ten tracks of aural adventures await your hungry senses, and overload them, this album will!
From the opening notes of album opener, “Haze”, to the operatic wailings and intricate thrash of “In and Out” and “Possession”, In the End is letting you know the gauntlet is being thrown down, and only the metal thrashing mad are Rock enough to hang with them! What I find cool about this band and their songs is they incorporate many different styles in one CD, it’s great to see that true talent hasn’t been totally lost in the modern metal universe. Even in one song, you could be in store for some crazy time changes that start with Megadeth-style riffs, which then segue into somber melodic movements, and then finish off with more metal in your face! The quiet and beautifully acoustic “Adagio” is a great interlude into one of the band’s signature tunes, “Tempted By Sorcery.” Throughout, the twin guitar attack of Bardo Trujillo and Lloyd Romero intertwine and traverse landscapes of sonically distorted grandeur, sometimes, you just get willfully lost with the rollercoaster ride they take you on in some of these great tracks! In fact, with the tight rhythm section of Bob Pacheco and Ron Brown providing hard driving backbeats, you can’t help but hear hints of this band’s listed influences, including the likes of Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, and Rush. In the End displays heavy progressive chops along the lines of some of the aforementioned bands, and projects them boldly and proudly as evidenced in the sheerly awesome title track, “Take Control.” The album closes on the instrumental, “El Diablo En Carne”, the prog metal Voi Vod-meets-Yes track, “Technological Deception”, and the final over-the-top barrage of “Ron Rum”.
All in all, if you like your music heavy, loud, and intensely intricate, then Take Control is the CD for you! To witness In The End do what they do best live, be sure to catch them the next time they play in your area! They play shows all over New Mexico and regionally, so you have plenty of chances to catch their amazing live show! Great CD from a great bunch of guys. Check them out for yourselves and be rocked!
ALBUM REVIEW: Beard – Black Unicorn
If you live in the Albuquerque, NM area and have had the opportunity to
catch a Beard show, you know it’s an experience you won’t forget, as they
have been lighting up the local stages with their electrifying live
performances, and the local music fans have been eating it up like
sweetly-poisoned milk & honey! So, now we can all take home a piece
of this goodness in the form of the band’s debut album, Black Unicorn,
which will be unleashed upon the world on October 26, when Beard will
headline their own CD release show at Hooligan’s Tavern in the Northeast
Heights of ABQ. According to the band’s brief bio, Beard is “loud guitar
driven rock with subtle layers of classic punk tones and psychedelic mood
swings…Beard has been billed as the three-way love child of Foo Fighters,
Queens of The Stone Age and Pink Floyd.” While all of this is certainly true,
listening to Black Unicorn also reminded me of classic names like Smashing
Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, and Jane’s Addiction, which are bands well out of their
heyday anymore, really. Beard has taken up the ball dropped by these types of
bands and brought it into the modern day with their own brand of hard-assed
fuzz & wah, raw & bold attitude, and sludge-like euphoria. Lucky me, I’ve been
living with a copy of this album for a week now, and I’ve really listened to nothing
else but this awesome 9-song set, fully cranked in my ears! Is it good? Do I like it?
Well, as you’re about to read, this album has taken me beyond such
From the gradual build-up of album opener, “Rabbit Test”, with its
instrumental opening and majestic vocals, to the closing track, the great,
prodding “Cold Steal”, you know you’re in store for a 38-minute listening
experience of sonic candy proportions. Standout tracks for me include the
first single, “Amp Whore”, with edgy vocals & riffs, and blunt lyrics, as well as
the catchy, uptempo bliss of “Riot”, which is a song I know many will be
hitting the replay button on after the first listen! Other killer tracks include
the smokingly aggressive sing-a-long brilliance of “Superculture” (“Superculture,
I wanna be you…Superculture, I want to f*ck you!”). I especially loved when K. Beard
took her turn on a verse and kicked its ass across the room, just like she does live!
Another favorite is “Sourpuss”, with it’s lush textured landscape and Jane’s-like wah,
not to mention the passionate & powerful vocals of M. Beard all over this, and all
the rest of the songs for that matter! Beyond what I’ve already mentioned, there are
a few deeper forays on this album too, just to give you a breather after the KO punch
you’ll take from the first half of this bad ass disc! This includes the broodiness
found in the stomp-fest, “Larry”, the interestingly-titled “BosBosBos”, and the
spaced-out jamminess of “Castles On Fire”, where the rhythm section of
bassist D. Beard and drummer K. Beard display well-honed chops and tight
bottom-end that shine well throughout the instrumental, up through its delicate
When it’s all said and done, I believe this album will be at the top of
most year-end favorites lists because, quite frankly, it’s THAT damn good!
This band could explode huge at any moment if this album takes the right
paths out of Albuquerque, as I consider it to be an outright juggernaut of
post-indie greatness brought into the modern age I haven’t really heard in
any similar genre in the past several years! Go buy yourself a copy, and
pick up some for your friends who will enjoy this too! In the band’s own
words, Beard is bullshit…but it’s the best bullshit I’ve heard in a very
long time! The year of the Black Unicorn has definitely arrived, and the
world is Beard’s oyster from here on out!
9.5/10 REVIEW BY WALTDAWG