Dixie Witch
Let It Roll

Band on Facebook Band on MySpace

Genre: Bong ripping classic rock
Release Date: November 9th, 2011
Label: Small Stone Records
Rating: 9 out of 10 chocolate starfish

It’s been 5 years since their last record, Smoke and Mirrors (Small Stone 2006), was released. This would also be the last record that founding member, Clayton Mills, would play guitar. Generally member replacement can be overcome rather easily, unless you’re a power-trio, who has been a band for over a decade and is in the midst of putting out their fourth record. They knew with a lineup change the comparisons between the past and present were on the way. Pressure? Probably the same kind O.J. experienced when he was asked to try on the legendary "bloody glove" in front of a jury of his peers. Well, Trinidad Leal (drums/vocals) and Curt Christenson (bass/vocals) found their Johnny Cochran. Enter J.T. Smith on guitar. The Dreadlocked Red River Rocker sports ballsy tone, masterful shredding capability, and the knack to lock in with this all-star rhythm section.

It wasn’t 10 minutes after this record hit my mailbox I had the opening track, "Let It Roll", blistering from my stereo speakers. It also dawns on me as the vocals start how much Trinidad Leal sounds like ’78 era David Lee Roth. "Let It Roll" is everything an opening song should be. A high-energy ass kickin’ rock anthem that sets the speed for the entire record. The second track, "Boogie Man", sways more toward the southern-fried roots of the band. This song features the lead vocals of p-bass meister, Curt Christenson, and also features a rhythm change for the guitar solo that hasn’t been pulled off since Skynrd did it in ’76. Christenson also handles lead vocal duties on the t-tops-rocker,"Saving Grace" and punk infused "Automatic Lady", the shortest cut on the record. Christenson’s vocal-style leans a little more toward Molly Hatchet than VH, which really helps a simple style from becoming overly monotonous.

It’s still undecided whether "The High Deal" or "Sevens" wins the award for feel good hit of the summer. Everytime Leal opens his mouth and unleashes his signature vocal wail, "YEEEEEAAAAAAAH!", which there is no shortage of on this record, you’re natural inclination is to raise your fist in the air and step on the accelerator.

Unlike your typical commercial release, the album does not bottom out at the half-way point and motors at full-throttle until the end. "Red Song", "Anthem", "Second Chance", and "December" fill out the rest of the wax.

No filler, all thriller! Let it Roll is the most sincere meat and potatoes classic rocker of 2011. The only thing better than hearing the record is seeing it live.

Let it Roll was recorded with Benny Grotto (producer/engineer) from Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts. Grotto did a masterful job at capturing the band’s live sound on tape. Major bonus points. Thick, thick, thick. Big Drums, perfectly tweaked vintage bass tone and molten hot lava guitar tones.

Dixie Witch is currently on tour in Europe with label mates Sasquatch and Roadsaw.

07.10 NL – Sneek, Bollwerk
08.10. GER – Cottbus, Chekov
09.10. GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang
10.10. B – Liege, Carlo Lévi
11.10 UK – Leeds, The Cockpit
12.10 UK – London, Purple Turtle
13.10. NL – Eindhoven, Effenaar
15.10. NOR – Sandnes, Tribute
16.10. NOR – TBA
18.10. GER – Berlin, Wild At Heart
19.10. B – Antwerpen, Trix
20.10. GER – Stuttgart, ZwölfZehn
21.10. I – Milano, Lo-Fi
22.10. I – Roma, Sinister Noise


-Melvin McMichaels

What Happens in Hell, Stays in Hell

Band on Facebook  

Genre: Psychobilly
Release Date: August 2nd, 2011

Label: Hell Records

Rating: 7 out of 10 chocolate starfish

The 8th studio album from Psychobilly rockers, Nekromantix , is a monster slab of rock ní roll and a redemption from the last two releases. Formed in Copenhagen in 1989 by Kim Nekroman, this band has seen a host of lineup changes over the years. Unlike some of the forefathers of this genre, who shall remain nameless, Nekromantix are keeping it up to speed and not showing the traditional signs of band aging. There is no doubt that Nekroman has established the staple format and sound for a genre chalked full of wannabe Bobby and Bettyís alike. While this album isnít the platinum coffin that 1991ís Curse of the Coffin is, there are plenty of heaters buried within. Tracks such as "Bats in My Pants", "Monsterbait", and "Demonspeed" keep the formaldehyde flowing. The fourth tune, "Changes", take things down a notch without killing the intensity of the album. Definitely a veteran move. Oddly enough, one of the gems on this record is a morbid jab at Katy Perry, entitled "I Kissed A Ghoul". "I kissed a ghoul and I like it/I kinda liked the bitter taste of her rotten upper lip/I kissed a ghoul I wonít deny it/I hope my girlfriend wonít find out, I know she will trip." For this latest effort, Nekroman brought in guitarist Franc, who took the place of Pete Belair after the previous album Life is a grave and I Dig It, and drummer Lux, who replaced the late Andy Demize who was killed in an auto collision during 2009. Nekromantix are currently out on tour throughout August and September. Check the local obituaries for dates near you.

Nekromantix play Red 7 in Austin on August 26.


-Melvin McMichaels

The Hickoids
Kicking It With The Twits

Band Web Page Band on Facebook Band on MySpace

Genre: Rock
Release Date: March 15th, 2011

Label: Saustex
Rating: 8 out of 10 chocolate starfish

Corn-fueled Texas cowpunk pioneers, The Hickoids, have returned with a mini-lp chalked full of transatlantic covers, paying homage to the British acts that had just as much influence on their sound as Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper or the country and western they have twisted and infused into their music throughout the years. Generally when bands put out a cover record, it is strictly for the sake of meeting contractual obligations with their record label or the fact they are having writerís block but want to keep their name fresh in the press. There has NEVER been a lack of creativity with The Hickoids and given the fact that Saustex records is owned and operated by singer, Jeff Smith, I donít think he was sitting around saying, "god damnit, Jeff, I needed that record yesterday!" At first listen, my initial thought was, "It sounds like these guys had as much fun recording this record as I did listening to it". The album starts off with two songs from the original big-hitting British Invaders, The Whoís Pictures of Lilly and a rendition of The Stonesí Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing in the Shadow. This is followed up with perhaps my favorite song on the record, Brontosaurus from British psychedelic cult rockers, The Move. Next, the band pays their glam homage and rips a version of Sladeís Gudbuy Tí Jane. No piano? No problem. Scott Lutzís pedal steel fills all the gaps on Sir Eltonís Bennie & The Jets, which is nothing short of amazing. Rounding out this 8 song mini-album are Whizz Kid by Mott the Hoople, Needles In The Camelís Eye by Brian Eno, and Neat, Neat, Neat by punk originators The Damned. The Hickoids have never had a shortage of swagger and wit. They play on these strengths throughout this record. A solid effort from one of Texasí finest and a brilliant selection of songs to say the least. I would recommend a copy of this on vinyl, a turntable and a twelve-pack.


-Melvin McMichaels

FatCat Radio

Love Kiss
Magnetic Eye Records

Band on Facebook  

Best known for his metal bands, Greatdayforup and the more recent Ironweed, veteran rocker Mike Vitali is no metal one trick pony. With his band/side project Love Kiss, Vitali is pushing the sonic envelope, melding electronica, metal and atmospherics ala Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine to bring forth a sound no less aggressive than his more traditionally "metal" formula, albeit perhaps a bit more challenging.

"The Will of Illumination" is an atmospheric soundscape. The next track, "Ecstasy," is the most forceful song on the record, featuring crunching, driving guitars but backed with synths and electronic drums (the band doesn’t have a drummer; Vitali handles all the programming for the backing tracks himself). The record continues in a similar manner, and although primarily guitar-driven, then is plenty of other stuff going on here as well.
"For Those with Wings" is remarkably evocative of Trent Reznor’s recent side project with his wife, How to Destroy Angels. And it’s not because of the glaringly obvious connection to angels and wings.

Amplexus consists of only five songs and is good enough to leave the listener wanting more without the annoying filler that often accompanies a full album of 10-12 songs. It may be short, but Amplexus is a highly satisfying listen. Two thumbs and two big toes in the air!

- Trevor J Wallace


White BBQ Sauce

Band Web Page Band on Facebook

Genre: Rock
Release Date: August 16th, 2011
Label: Saustex Media
Rating: 7 out of 10 chocolate starfish

Hans Frank (formerly of 10 City Run) has returned to the scene with the third release from his most current project, Glambilly, titled White BBQ Sauce. This San Antonio trio also features legendary guitar slinger "Dangerous" Danny Aaron formerly of legendary Austin rockers Dangerous Toys and drummer Tony Gloria. This album is ultimately a collection of revved up well-crafted roots rocker anthems. Glambilly has managed to succeed at putting a unique twist on a timeless genre of music. The album opens with "City of Angels", a country-rocker that could easily have been a leftover track from Exile On Main Street and immediately leads into the album’s title track which could easily have appeared on Funhouse. Starting to see a pattern here? The third track, "So Much Better than Hans" is a bit of an exit from the rest of the album. My initial thought was "Detachable Penis" from King Missile, then ultimately decided it would have been a perfect track for the "Trainspotting" Soundtrack. During this track, Hans drops the bass and breaks out the keyboard for a go-around. Track four, "Bite The Bed", brings the "billy"energy back to the table with its raucous slide guitar, pummeling cowbell, Bo Diddley chorus, and verse guitar riff not unlike that of Too Fast For Love. "Memories", originally a song recorded by Frank’s project, 10 City Run (Universal South Records), has been re-recorded here without the constraints of major label input or production. The lyrics "I’ve got my memories/he’s got you" make this romantic roots rocker a memorable hooky sing-along. The next track, "Pablo", is not a song, but a phone message Hans leaves for the titled character wherein Hans calls his skateboarding friend and confesses to making eye-contact with Pablo’s tattooed mother, makes short note of her coke nail, and tells Pablo he does not wish to be his father. While this is a super-creepy and a WTF moment on the album, I played it at least three times and loved it. If this is the kind of thing Hans chooses to put on his band’s record, I can only imagine what kind of films he would make. Of interest, Frank does have a degree in theatre and film from Ohio University. "I Must Be The Devil" is a foot stompin’ ode to the darkside with a guitar riff that would make Billy Duffy proud. "Body in Plastic" might just get Glambilly nominated for the scariest trucker band in America (a title currently held by Deadbolt) and also features a face-melting wah-fueled guitar solo that really showcases Danny Aaron’s ability to "go off". "Apt 7902? is an honest acoustic track containing a subtle organ part that happens to be my favorite track on the record. The final song on the record, "Firefly", is a song that sounds like it was written by David Bowie for the Beatles and recorded by Hans on Tom Scholz’s (Boston) guitar rig. Confused? Don’t be. Just get the record and give it a spin.


-Melvin McMichaels


Clems Hot Diggity Dogs



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