Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned
30 Weight

Band on Facebook Band on MySpace

Genre: Stoner Goth & Roll

Release Date: out now!

Label: Small Stone Records

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 chocolate starfish

North Carolina rocker, Gideon Smith, is back with his long awaited 3rd album and it’s definitely one of his best efforts to date. Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned were formed in 1997 from the ashes of Polygram Records Act, Animal Bag. I would say the band sounds like the bastard child of  The Cult and Black Sabbath… Slightly Danzig-esque minus the kitty litter and tour rider. The overall tone of the music is swampy, dark, and seductive. The cohesiveness of the songs certainly make the lp a solid “front-to-back”  recording. While Smith isn’t a pumping out two albums a year, the music always seems to be worth the wait.

The album starts off with one of  Smith’s trademark mid-tempo blues-laced rockers, “Black Fire”. Like so many songs on this record, it is accentuated with Smith’s deep baritone voice, slithering melodic guitar meshed over big riffs  and a rich chorus chalked full of hooky goodness. Other highlights on this record include “Bleed Black” (a Saint Vitus cover), “Ride With Me”, “Born to the Highway”, and  “Do Me Wrong”.

This album managed to sneak right onto my TOP 10 of 2011 list. From the songwriting to the production, Gideon Smith managed to connect the hammer and the nail. If you like dark music that doesn’t make you want to slit your wrists (yes, it’s a fine line), give this one a whirl.

Track listing:

  1. Black Fire
  2. Ride With Me
  3. South
  4. Love of the Vampire
  5. Bleed Black
  6. Do Me Wrong
  7. Born to the Highway
  8. Feel Alive
  9. Shining Star
  10. When I Die
  11. Come and Howl


-Melvin McMichaels


El Pathos

Band Web Page Band on Facebook Band on MySpace

Genre: Unadulterated Rock N’ Roll

Release Date: 2011

Label: Independent Release

Rating: 9 out of 10 chocolate starfish

If I had one word to describe this record, it would be “craftsmanship”. What we have here is a band who has taken their time to to craft a collection of unique songs without straying from the overall theme of the lyrics and music. A rather impressive feat.  Austin-based band, El Pathos, may have nailed their very own “Exile to Mainstreet” on the first try. El Pathos is fronted by David Duet who has been around the rock block a time or two (Cat Butt and Girl Trouble to name a few). Imagine Tom Waits singing for the Stooges…Duet writes some pretty killer lyrics. Nothing mindless here, Duet takes advantage of the musical canvass. I can only assume he had his heart-stomped on a few times in relationships gone awry. As a frontman, the guy brings the danger to the table. The ability to make a listener uncomfortable while luring them in closer is a quality that is just few and far between.  His vocals captured my attention from the start of the record and retained that attention throughout the final track.

Once you start this record, it will probably take you about 20 seconds to discover why I made the Stones comparison. The first track, “Election Day”, is a mid-tempo (84 bpm) bluesy rocker complete with harp, slide guitar, and mega-hook. Duet’s vocal track sits nicely on top of the mix like icing on a cupcake. Kudos to the production team (Engineered by Stuart Laurence and Mastered by Chris Burns)…not too raw and not too slick. After setting the tone of the record record with the first track, El Pathos tear into “Straight into the Sun”, an uptempo Pretenders-esque rocker, followed by “End Of the World”, one of the darker songs on the record where Duet professes his indifference toward a certain special someone by declaring, “It’s not the end of the world, It’s just the end of the girl”. Track four, “Eyes”, a bluesy slow-and-low number, could just as well appeared on Morrison Motel, minus the mega-shred face-melting guitar solo in the middle that beckons a tip of the top hat. The album picks up the pace again on “Ghost”, a song somewhat Social-D’ish, but cooler. The guitar hook and walking bass line exist in this song to assure that you find yourself humming this number for the remainder of the day. “Little Black Drops”, perhaps the biggest balls-to-the-wall-rocker on this record, may have been co-written by Lemmy Kilmister and Fast Eddie Clarke, although I’m not finding them credited on the inner cover.

While there is nothing mainstream about this record, I firmly believe it has the potential for mass appeal. It’s one of those records that has a little something for everyone without being a ‘cookie cutter’. Have you wondered why your ‘metal friend’ loves the first B-52′s record, why your ‘indie friend’ constantly spins Reign in Blood, or why your 60 year-0ld mother is bobbing her head to Too Much Too Soon? Great records can translate well to a wide variety of people despite how the genre tag reads. It’s tough to do a straight forward rock n’ roll album that doesn’t sound generic or a sound like a blatant ripoff. El Pathos has managed to pull from the finest of influences and infuse them in their sound without crossing that fine line. Count your blessings, Austin.

Band Members: David Duet, Vocals -Rich Wiley – Guitar – Rob Huford – Guitar -Buxf Parrot – Bass/Slide Guitar – Mark Kenyon – Slide Guitar -Pat Doyle ; Drums



-Melvin McMichaels




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