Chump Change



Chorus of Giants/EP/2011

Reprise Records

This four piece ensemble hails from the mighty and oft overlooked South Wales. From my brief look into the South Wales’ music scene, I see some promising prospects. But just like any region,  it is plagued with cover bands and “wedding bands”. As far as I can tell, these lads are  based out of Cardiff, South Wales.  And though they are finding gigs with other like-minded bands, there is something different about Thorun. Firstly, they are a four piece instrumental band. In their own words, they either haven’t found a singer that melds with what Thorun is throwin’ down, or maybe they have found what they are looking for in an instrumental offering. This 2011 release is a follow-up to their self-titled 2010 EP release, also on Reprise. Breaking free from the mainstream bands around them, Thorun brings an interesting formula to the table: deep, driving and sometimes hypnotic riffs and beats.  Other times the music, it’s doesn’t feel right to call them “songs”, grabs you and pulls you through a landscape of  intense and powerful codas and bridges that rise and fall like the craggy peaks and valleys of a forgotten mountain range. Each of the six “pieces” (not songs, remember?) onChorus of Giants is a heavy trip through whatever panorama your own mind takes you when you are truly moved by music. And this record moves me.  Since I am a child of the J.R.R Tolkien tomes and the old Celtic and Viking sagas, Chorus of Giants is a kick-ass backdrop to my imagination running wild !  Each song takes me on a doomed quest, or puts me on a raging battlefield. I would imagine it would be great music to forge weapons and shields to. I think if Thorun played the music to inspire Vikings rowing through the fjords and seas, the Vikings might have taken over the entire world. I have read other reviews that try to define Thorun with a an accepted adjective (doom, sludge,stoner etc…), I can’t seem to “pigeon hole” them with a quaint label. No, the more I listen to Thorun, the more I think they are assembling their influences and producing a sound that is unique to them.  And as a former music promoter, I can say there are bands that would fit well with Thorun, but what they are doing stands alone and rises above a musical sea of mediocrity. Cheers to Thorun, I will continue to follow these guys. Hopefully they will make it to Texas so I can check ’em out live!!!! Wielding their “axes” and drums, Thorun is a four man army waging war on any foe that is content to settle for the “ho-hum”, middle of the road boring music around them! To Thorun I say: “Sally forth!!!”          —- Justin Buzzcrusher——


This compilation is a collection of covers from such diverse creators as Bob Dylan and The Who. And though most are done true to form, there are a couple of curve balls. One of these is the cover of the Who’sSlip Kid” done by metal veterans Anvil. The Lions offer a cover of Dylan’sGirl From the North Country” , that draws more from Jane’s Addiction or Porno for Pyros than Bob Dylan. Definitely in the vocal stylings of Scary Ferret (Perry Ferrel). This record is mostly mellow and I highly recommend it for a Sunday morning coming down…. It winds and turns and rises and falls, emoting all kinds of emotion. The FX series that the music comes from is an intense, volatile and emotional show about 1% bikers (it is said that 99% of motorcycle riders live within the law, the other 1% are outlaws) loosely based on Shakespeare’s  Hamlet and set in the fictional Northern California town of Charming.    As you can imagine , Outlaw Bikers and Shakespeare are a strange coupling, but creator and writer Kurt Sutter and his production crew make it happen. This comp CD, like the show it comes from, is very introspective and though often soothing, it will take you on a roller coaster ride of thoughts and feelings. It is in some ways much like the soundtrack to the Cohen brothers’ movie “Oh Brother… Where Art Thou” which is supposedly a take on Homer’s epic “The Odysee“; it goes from traditionals like ” John the Revelator” to the Rolling Stones‘ “Gimme Shelter”,  and the production is amazing. I know it is hard to shut off the outside world and put on a pair of headphones ( ear buds are o.k. , but I am old school) , but if you ever get that chance, DO IT!!

Actress Katey Sagal plays the matriarch of the Club and sings amazing leads and backing vocals on the CD

Katey Sagal ( Married w/ Children, Futurama and S.O.A.) , who has been singing longer than she has been acting, rocks the role of the matriarch “Gemma Teller“. And she absolutely nails such covers such as “Son of A Preacher Man” , Leonard Cohen’sBird On A Wire” and the chillingly and poignant “Strange Fruit” written by Abel Meeropol and originally song by Billie Holiday.

Actor Charlie Hunnam plays the role of Jackson “Jax” Teller. He is at the center of deceit, murder and manipulation

The shows’ story is about Jax Teller, played by Charlie Hunnam, a twenty-something VP of the biker “Club” the Sons of Anarchy. He is Hamlet , trying to weave his way through the outlaw world torn between his immediate family and his biker family, despite the deception, intrigue, murder and mayhem that surround him. Though he is one of  the youngest “patched” members of S.O.A , he is the VP because his deceased father, John Teller was the Prez and one of the founding 9 members. He finds out through the recently unearthed writings of his father, John Teller, that John didn’t like the direction the Sons were taking.  Like all good tragedies… Jax is surrounded by friends and foes that change and surprise the viewer with every plot twist. This CD is the musical back drop for the journey of life, warts and all. A life that can go from a soothing instrumental version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’sFortunate Son” (done w/ nylon string acoustic guitars) to the punch in your face Anvil version of “Slip Kid” by the Who. You may not mosh to this record , but it will soothe what ails ya. I strongly recommend the show (for complete enjoyment, start from season 1, episode 1) , and the CD for those times when you wanna surf the mellower waves. It is more like a peaceful ride through the countryside , than a high speed trip on a flat track. Take it in, take it easy and enjoy the ride!!!

” Is there anything you love…so much… that you would do ANYTHING to protect it?”

Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam)




Ask the Dusk

Lorn aka Marcos Ortega is an electronic musician from Milwaukee, Wisconsin that has just released his second full length LP entitled Ask The Dusk.  This new album is a huge step forward by combining numerous styles of music in an effective structure that emotes both energy and creativity while building a driving beat deep in your soul.  There is warmth to the sound that reminds me of the Art Of Noise during the quiet moments, DJ Shadow with some of the drum patterns and thoughtful orchestration and Amon Tobin with the patchwork layers that are built on his non-organic wavelengths.  There is a feel of experimentation to Lorn’s sonic delivery that touches on Dub-Step while keeping knowledge of former electronic genres.  This thoroughly enjoyable mind vibe fills your gray matter while throwing down and delivering the beats that make your butt go boom.  If you enjoy the sounds of the new Ask The Dusk LP then track down Drugs a fantastic mastermix by Lorn & Dolor.

Shawn Truitt 7/17/12


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This entry was posted in Reviews
tagged Cardiff, Celtic sagas, Chorus of Giants, J.R.R Tolkien, Reprise Records, South Wales, Thorun, Viking sagas.