Nine Circles ov…Red Lead Media & PR

red lead media

“But hey,” you ask.  “Where do all those promos come from?”

They come from PR groups, my friends.  Many, many PR groups.  Inboxes get stuffed to the gills with pleas for some kind of coverage, whether its a review, interview, profile, track premiere…and as the release date for an album gets closer and the reminders come in, it can get even more overwhelming.  But with so much music out there, having a good PR person in your corner can make the difference between selling your album to six of your friends and family, and getting exposure (any exposure) to an audience that can pick up and carry your work forward.  I’d say PR groups are a necessary evil, except my experience as both a writer and a musician has found, for the most part, these dogged flag wavers to be anything but evil.

And so I thought for this edition of Nine Circles ov… I’d highlight the music that’s come to my attention via Jadd and the folks from Red Lead Media & PR.  Focusing on punk and hard rock in a variety of styles (not to mention being the in-house PR division for Magnetic Eye Records) there’s a healthy variety of music below so keep cool and dig in.  Who knows, maybe something will take your fancy….

Nopes – Stapler:  80s influenced punk that doesn’t forget the sense of fun even as they rail and spit against the establishment and every other thing punk tends to do.  The real draw here is the snazzy, chaotic classic rock lines that recall bands like the Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, and Descendents.  It’s groovy, it’s out there, but most of all it’s a fun kick to the teeth.

Let it Breathe – Let It Breathe:  Swampy, stoner/doom metal that has a cavernous quality that can’t quite hide the groove-laden 70s rock and pop that hides behind the trio’s music.  Whether it’s the ride on opener “Bucket of Bullheads” or the suppressed Grand Funk worship in the beginning of “Fat Lip” there’s a real charm to hearing stoner doom that doesn’t lay on the doom so heavy.

Aux Era – Aux Era:  Moving a little bit farther out amongst the stars, the trio that make up New York’s Aux Era, whose self-titled debut hints at many things without succumbing to any of them.  Prog, stoner, post-rock…it’s a psychedelic space rock blend that feels at once dark and infinite.  “Shine On, Fools” is a great opening track, fluid and introspective without meandering into a corner and losing the thread.  Plus some killer drum work, so have at it.

River Cult – Halcyon Daze:  River Cult are firmly rooted in the Black Sabbath camp of doom and heavy metal…you can feel the Iommi worship all over Halcyon Daze and opening track “Likelihood of Confusion.”  The fuzz pedals are thick and the guitars sound on the verge of clipping to extinction, until the song opens up with some slamming solos and a rhythm section content to sail you away on dark waters.  This album has been a constant companion for much of the year, and I expect if you give it a chance you’ll fall for it, too.

WhiteNails – First Trip:  Hitting a balance between traditional metal and 70s doom, WhiteNails debut First Trip is simply put a fist banging, hand raising salute to everything great about hard and heavy rock and roll.  Couple that with the recently released video for new single “Shanghied” and you have a great new band going nowhere but up.  Now watch that video again and pick this thing up.

Witchskull – The Vast Electric Dark:  Originally released in 2016 but reissued on vinyl to coincide with the band’s recent new release Coven’s Will on Rise Above Records, Witchskull imbues a little more boogie in their 70s inspired stoner rock.   I’ve said it in numerous posts, but Australia has consistently been pumping out some of the best bands and music for at least the last 10-15 years, and the effortlessness with which Witchskull lays out their wicked riffing is just another fine example.

Owl – “Believe”:  The solo vehicle for bassist Chris Wyse (Ace Frehley, The Cult) “Believe” is the first new track from Owl in over a decade, and has a great alt-rock feel that recalls what little was good about the 90s.  The bass playing is of course phenomenal, but what’s really clear is how focused and driving the entire song is.  Hopefully “Believe” is just a taste of what Owl will be crafting at some point in the future.

Howling Giant – Black Hole Space Wizard Pt. 2:  Spaced out psychedelic stoner is again the name of the game here (sense a theme?) but Howling Giant hew closer to more cinematic post rock landscapes than anything like the above bands.  Even when things get a little more straight-forward such as on “The Pioneer” you never feel completely tethered to Earth.  Also am I crazy or does some of this feel like the stoner doom version of Torche?  I mean that in the best possible way…

Mountain Tamer – Godfortune Dark Matters:  The second album from the California psych-rock band has a dirty grit that was missing from their last album, and it makes for a hugely enjoyable trip into the land of smoke and sweat.  “People Problems” thrums with an agitated energy that infects the entire record.  This one doesn’t come out until the end of the month, but don’t let that stop you from jumping on the Mountain Tamer train ASAP.

Lots of stoner-y goodness to be had above, not to mention the increasingly killer punk of Nopes (seriously, the more I listen to it the more I dig it).  However you’re beating this ridiculous oppressive heat let us know and until the next edition, keep it heavy (and cool).

– Chris


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