The Devils – Iron Butt

The Devils
Iron Butt
Voodoo Rhythm
Street: 12.15.17
The Devils = Das Clamps + Brain Bagz + Guitar Wolf

The Devils embody the definitive sound of desolation and chaos. Theirs is a style that is nothing short of a symphony meant for utter human annihilation. Their new album is called Iron Butt, and there’s plenty of sex, sin and rock n’ roll. Charming name aside, the absolute primitive noise within these grooves reveal nothing less than a nod toward a sure mental collapse. This is thanks to a chainsaw massacre guitar, death-stomping drum beats and blood-curtailing vocals. For the unaware, The Devils are from Naples, Italy, and they descend from blues-driven, wall-of-fuzz punk rock madness and Ken Russell’s 1971 B-movie of the same name. Think of them as the face-melting garage punk demon offspring of The Cramps’ incestuous relations with The Gories.

Dig the full album review published by SLUG Magazine!!

 

THE DEVILS – SIN, YOU SINNERS!

THE DEVILS
SIN, YOU SINNERS!
Voodoo Rhythm Records
Street: 06.24
The Devils = The Jackets + The Monsters

If you like The Cramps or The Gories, then The Devils would be good company to add to your record collection. Imagine a sound that totally devastates in its raw deliverance of absolute damnation. If your mind’s eye allows you to contemplate this scene, then your attention should be on The Devils. Hailing from Napoli, Italy, this group takes its name from the 1971 movie of the same name, directed by Ken Russel and starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave. The film was said to be so controversial that it was subject to remain in cult-like obscurity for years after release. In some countries, the film even faced total banishment. There is no doubt that this is a hard reputation to live up to. After subjecting myself to the fury that is Sin, You Sinners!, I am confident to say that The Devils do just that. Sin, You Sinners!, came out June 24, and would be the perfect album to instill anarchy all the way from the downtown hipster bars to the quiet and complacent suburban boroughs. This is an album that is meant to fully enjoy as you pop it into the boombox and proceed to crash the local hipster or neo–new waver’s party. In doing so, you might even make some friends, or more likely, loads of trendy enemies.

Dig the full The Devils Sin, You Sinners! album review published @ SLUG Magazine!!

Preaching The Gospel of Blues Trash with Reverend Beat-Man

Reverend Beat-Man

For over 30 years Reverend Beat-Man has practiced and preached the gospel of blues trash.  His gospel is not limited by the decadence of sex and drugs; rather it’s a philosophy that celebrates rock n’ roll and how it bridges cultural divides to connect people in a worldwide community. For Beat-Man, rock n’ roll music provides the same power of belonging that helped break down walls for American black and white teenagers in the mid-20th century. Furthermore, he believes that rock n’ roll is not just for the fashion rockers or mods. It’s for people who see that rock n roll was and still is a relevant, worldwide music revolution. Beat-Man says, “It’s a music for old and young, for black and white, for everybody and it’s not polka or Mozart. It’s now music.”

Throughout his life, Beat-Man has been a lifelong devotee to the musical world.  As a musician his relentless touring and out of this world performances leave a mark on all who witness them. Not only that, but he also runs his own label for like-minded music fanatics.   Beat-Man founded Voodoo Rhythm Records in 1992 and has since then provided a home for the strange and risky music not likely to air on the pop-centric controlled radio stations of the world.  Some impressive and unique acts to be found on Voodoo Rhythm Records include The Jackets, The Sex Organs, ET Explore Me, The Giant Robots ,and The Devils.

His passion for the weird and obscure also fuels his record collecting. Armed with a storied library of records, Beat-Man occasionally DJ;s at bars and venues.  His sets vary from Rhythm & Blues groovers to music more on the eclectic side. He hopes that his selections of music will introduce inspiring sounds to patrons looking to explore music through another dimension.  “I know people want to party and they want to dance, drink and get wasted, fuck on the toilette.” Beat-Man says, ““I’ve had that so many times I want something different.  So, I make strange music DJ sets.” During these DJ nights, one can hear bands such as The Shags, Yoko Ono, Free Jazz or even Talk records from the 1920’s. When not DJing venues, Beat-Man posts his sets on his Mixcloud.

Beat-Man’s talents for music really shines when he performs, such as playing as a solo artist, with the Monsters, collaborating with Nicole Isobel Garcia and more recently recording with the one-time project Reverend Beat-Man and The New Wave. With The New Wave, Beat-Man released the one time album Blues Trash in 2018 through Voodoo Rhythm Records.

Blues Trash combines many different sounds and genres within its grooves. Some tracks betray recognizable notions of primitive garage punk.  Other songs carry styles invoking a distinct layering of darkness with the emotional heaviness of the real folk-blues. 

The process for recording the new record provided a challenge for the musicians involved. Prior to recording, Beat-Man had all the songs written and ready to go.  All he needed to complete the project was a backing band.  To complete this album, he assembled a group comprised of some of his favorite musicians. They were Mario Batkovic, a classically trained accordionist, the drummer Julian Sartrius, and the multi-instrumentalist Resli Burri

The rest of the band were not privy to the material before recording.  Beat-Man wanted them to feel it out as they went along.  “I wanted to see what they do with what I give them,” Beat-Man says, “I gave ourselves two or three takes, but first I played it with my guitar only. I explained them what’s going on in this song and told them the feeling that you have to get if you hear that song.”

Songs like “I’ve Had Enough” and “Then We All Gonna Die” stand out on the album. “I’ve Had Enough” is a kind of political song.  Beat-Man was influenced by being fed up with the constant bombarded of ads from politicians and insurance companies trying to sell him something. Beat-Man says, “One day I just had enough. After over 53 years living in such a profit-oriented community as we are living in, one day you just see this is all a big lie.”

“Then We All Gonna Die” is a song Beat-Man spent 15 years writing and re-writing. It’s meant to be a kind of hymn sung from the perspective of Sensenmann. In the song, Sensenmann sings about what their victims did wrong in their lives. The mood of the song is heavy, with a kind of apocalyptic tone , mixing with a folk-blues trash feel.

To promote Blues Trash and Baile Bruja Muertoan album he worked on with Nicole Isobel Garcia—Beat-Man embarked on several tours between 2018 and 2019. Beat-Man is no stranger to hitting the road to perform. His dedication to his music has taken him beyond the snowy mountains of Switzerland and all over the word.  He says, “I want to explore, I want to see the world and the connections we all people have with each other.” Historically the Swiss are known for remaining isolated; however Beat-Man seeks to move past the limitations of national borders and meet others who are like-minded.

In April 2018, Beat-Man played Slovenly Recordings Debauch-A-Reno, as well as touring the United States. On April 22nd, 2018 Beat-Man and Isabel Nicole Garcia graced Salt Lake City, Utah. Beat-Man appreciated that Salt Lake City was kind of familiar to his home country. “I first thought, ‘I’m in Switzerland.’ It’s all very clean and people are pretty organized—even the homeless looked kinda healthy.” He says, “It’s small and probably everybody knows everybody. I like that. It opens your own horizon in your musical taste if you know people from the electro or hardcore or art scene.”

The show itself was a welcome surprise. The Garage On Beck had a pleasant feel of authenticity for Beat-Man. He says, “It was a club what the European American Fans try to rebuild in Europe but mostly fail.”  However, what struck him most about the show was the opening acts, Jacob T. Skeen and Los YaYaz.  “There were two opening bands. First there was a One Man band, that was fucking amazing— very unique sound and great songs” says Beat-Man. “Then the garage fuck ups from Los YaYaz . They were super cool. Just like garage punk has to be. They are terrible on the instruments and they love rock n’ roll.”

The remainder of 2018 was busy with gigs and touring. This constant playing extended into 2019 when Beat-Man found himself playing with psychobilly outfit The Monsters for another Slovenly Recordings event. This time for the We’re Loud Festival in Vietnam. The Monsters are bit different from the New Wave or his collaboration with Nicole Isobel Garcia. They are a trash rock n’ roll band, with a primitive-bluesy, yet with sonic-splitting abrasive sound. Think of them boasting a wild, caveman stomp psychobilly style, but with definitive blues trash flair.

The festival was a hit. Although rock n’ roll was admittedly not as popular in Vietnam, there were many local acts to play the festival. They included hardcore and metal bands from Vietnam and Indonesia.  “This was a blast.” Beat-Man says, “Pete from Slovenly tried to attract as many local persons as possible.”

After a brief tour in Japan with The Cavemen, Beat-Man was back in Switzerland. Not long after, the Covid 19 pandemic began occurring worldwide and lockdowns began happening in cities all over.  Keenly aware of the worsening pandemic in Italy, the Swiss government quickly acknowledged that without a cure for the virus, measures needed to be taken. On March 19, 2020, a lockdown order was issued for the Swiss population.

 While the population was ordered to be sheltered, the Swiss National TV began reaching out to local musicians to participate in the Living Room Showcase series.  Beat-Man says, “It was a job from the Swiss National TV, they told me and many other Pop Starlets and mainstream Artists in Switzerland to contribute 15-minute showcases from the living room.” What the Swiss National TV did not quite appreciate was that Beat-Man isn’t necessarily cut from the same cloth as his mainstream counterparts.

Prior to the Beat-Man man’s performance played on air, he caught the interviewer by surprise. He suggested that the lockdowns caused by a virus could give humanity a chance to slow down and think about its collective future.  “I had a live interview in front of my clip and I said that the virus is more a blessing that a punishment,” says Beat-Man. “Anyway the interviewer —I heard he is very famous in Switzerland— was very upset and as well the guy who placed me in the show.”

Beat-Man’s clip was allowed to play on National TV, but was then stopped after two minutes.  Not to be deterred, Beat-Man then released the full clip online. That way everyone could see it. In the clip, Beat-Man performs in his living room, changes into various outfits and plays unique renditions of his material, including “I’ve Had Enough.” 

Beat-Man, being fully aware of the wider implications of the pandemic, sees that Covid 19 is an extreme virus that can severely affect the elderly and those with health conditions. Unfortunately, the economic consequences of the shelter in place means businesses ,like Voodoo Rhythm Records brick and mortar shop, have to temporarily close their doors and musicians like Beat-Man’s performances are currently on hold. Needing to pay rent, Beat-Man’s ability to bring income is challenged. He says, “For me its financially very bad.  I play about 200 shows a year, 70% of my income is because of my shows, and 30% is from the label.”

During the lockdown, there are ways to support the label, which include ordering records and merchandise online, through the Voodoo Rhythm Records Facebook Page, or donating here: https://voodoorhythm.ch/.  Speaking of the support he has experienced from the wider rock n’ roll community, Beat-Man says, “Everywhere I go on this planet I see those people. It’s a good virus and it’s that virus we need at the moment.”

Not to be deterred by the setbacks caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic, Beat-Man remains busy with his label. When things open up again, Voodoo Rhythm Records is expecting to release records by Bad Mojo’s, The Sex Organs and Trixie and The Trainwrecks.  On May 14th, Voodoo Rhythm Records will cautiously open their doors. The idea is to start allowing a limited number of people at a time into to shop. For him, this is a hopeful sign that things will begin to return to a sense of normality.


Jacob T Skeen — Death, Thou Shalt Die

Jacob T Skeen

Death Thou Shall Die

Self-Released

Release:  April 6, 2020

From beneath the murky smog enveloping the now empty streets of Salt Lake City comes the haunting sounds of Jacob T Skeen.  As a one man band, Jacob T Skeen blends swampy blues induced garage rock with heaviness of metal into distorted doom-like concoction of psychedelia. Listening to his new record Death, Thou Shalt Die is akin to hearing music transmitted from the airwaves of the damned. It’s an intoxicating sensation, as though one is hearing the long lost preaching of the lord of the underworld them-self.

Listeners of this record ought to be warned that it is not uncommon to feel a staggering malevolence, as though the cold hand of death has drifted over your heart and into your soul.  The first track, “Elizabeth Felt Payne” captures this essence by luring the unwary listening into the depths of the demented. It’s defined by the wailing razor sharp riffs and Skeen’s booming vocals. This is distorted doom blues at its finest.

The second track, “When They Lay Me Down,” follows along with the previous song’s musical style.  This song carries a sound that lures the eager listener into voodoo-like trance. This is due to Skeen’s hypnotic vocals and freight train heavy beat. Not only that, but there is something delightfully primitive about this track that captures the raw energy of delightfully sinful garage rock.  This is the track that was meant to invite the dead back from the grave. 

 The third track, “Working Ministry Blues, is by contrast slower in tempo and much heavier in tone. This is the kind of tune that ought to envelop the mind and cause it to drift away with certain madness. With “Working Ministry Blues,” Skeen shows that he can capture the one’s wayward mind under his signature rock n’ roll spell. This is helped along with the introduction of an organ to give this track a being in a Sunday service-like feel. 

“Mourn with those that Mourn” carries on with the same kind of heaviness as “Working Ministry Blues.” Produced with a brain bashing beat, this song boasts definable dread. It’s the perfect music for recently dead. This is music to feel the dread and empty totality of death with.

 “Desolate Home” has some of the similarities of the former tracks. However, this song produces an infectious instrumental swagger. Vocally, Skeen sings as through he is drowning with the devils juice in his lungs. The effect is disturbing. So, naturally it’s perfect for the demented bluesy garage rock that Skeen is known for.

Other tracks like “Storehouse of Souls” are upbeat and rock n’ rolling. This is the music to stomp your feet and jump around to. Stylistically, it’s in line with Bloodshot Bill’s contemporary brand of rockabilly raucous.

The track that stands out on this album is “Ecclesiasticus 21:10.” This song retains Skeen’s demonic vocals. The difference though, is the very metal influenced instrumentals.  Cue some Black Sabbath with some swampland-like sound and you’ve got “Ecclesiasticus 21:10.”

Waste no time on this record. Be sure to pick up Death Thou, Shalt Die wherever available . This is an album of fine gothic scripture and sermon-esque reverence. This new record betrays a psychedelic sound unlike anything else currently reverberating in the city of salt. This kind of rock n’ roll testament is exercised similarly by the likes of Reverend Beat-Man, Bloodshot Bill, and even Daddy Longlegs.  Fans of these artists will find Death, Thou Shalt Die is the much needed deliverance molding apocalyptic notions with an appealingly wicked nature.  Now, go forth and dig this tunes.

DESTINATION LONELY – DEATH OF AN ANGEL

DESTINATION LONELY
DEATH OF AN ANGEL
Voodoo Rhythm Records
Street: 04.14
Destination Lonely= Brain Bagz + The Devils

Destination Lonely’s Death Of An Angel is swampy garage punk at its boggiest. Hailing from Toulouse/Bordeaux, this group delivers sounds infused with heavy guitar distortions and groove moods. It’s a style that’s been heard before, but not with this group’s approach. This is not surprising, given that this album is named after the Donald Woods & Vel-Aires soulful 1955 track of the same name.

The opening track, “Dirt Preacher,” is a cover by the 1980s Memphis-based rockabilly outfit, The Gibson Bros. It’s a sort of chaotic, bluesy, psych-punk tune from the inner depths of the smoke-filled garage. Its swirling distortion effects are enough to make the head spin—given the right additives. Listening to this sober might invite headache or bits of enlightenment.

Dig the full album review published by SLUG Magazine!!

VARIOUS ARTISTS – THE MONSTERS: BURN IN HELL

VARIOUS ARTISTS THE MONSTERS: BURN IN HELL Voodoo Rhythm Records Street: 11.11 The Monsters: Burn In Hell = The Devils + The Failed Teacher + Sudden Infant + The Seniles

VARIOUS ARTISTS
THE MONSTERS: BURN IN HELL
Voodoo Rhythm Records
Street: 11.11
The Monsters: Burn In Hell = The Devils + The Failed Teacher + Sudden Infant + The Seniles

To play for The Monsters, each group performs a song that they would consider their favorite by the legendary group. In doing so, each band draws on their respective talents for this compilation. It is also of note that each band has a personal connection to The Monsters and are held in high regard and treated like family. It is therefore not surprising that these groups carry on a sound that emphasizes the beauty that defines Reverend Beat Man’s label Voodoo Rhythm Records. To be fair, there are probably many who may read this in Utah and the surrounding region who have yet to bear witness to this labels’ unique sounds, much less anything by The Monsters. So lets say that what is on this compilation is unlike anything that has yet to assault your ears—with maybe an exception for anything from the Memphis, Tennessee—based label Goner Records.

Check out the full album review published @ SLUG Magazine!!