Tag Archives: local

Orphans of Doom Rocks It Live

Next up on the showcase is Orphans of Doom. As some of my secret fans will recall I reviewed their latest album a few months back. Seeing them live wasn’t too much of a difference musically and there are some variants performance-wise, but that’s about it.

I suspected Orphans of Doom was opening as some of the music sounded familiar, so I do need to rescind some of my earlier comments about their music being indistinguishable from other stoner metal songs in the genre. However it seemed like some of the songs they played live were songs I mentioned as being their standout songs, so that’s why I only partially rescind. That said there’s not much I can add that I haven’t already said about the band’s music before. Those who are into stoner metal will enjoy their music as they are mostly standard with some songs where they explore slow tempos and prog elements to create a stoner-prog fusion. To this end, however, it’s explored in a separate way.

Orphans of Doom love to put on a light show, and in this case there were strobe lights at the most intense parts of the songs (thank you, Granada, for posting warnings). It certainly intensified and added to the extra energy and tenacity that wasn’t captured on the album. While I wasn’t able to observe how the audience reacted specifically to the light show there were people enjoying it, and as the set went on the audience’s adoration grew, albeit not as intense as it could have been. I can only assume it was effective even in a small amount.

Orphans of Doom bring an intensity that wasn’t observed in the album. Other people enjoyed it as the band allowed it to be extreme tempered with slow tempos. I feel like if the band didn’t try to hide their intensity they will give a more genuine performance onstage and on the album.

Technique-2.5

Presentation-2

Audience Interaction-2

Brownie Points-0.5

Total-7

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Stone Grower Ramps Up the Crowd During the Showcase

Wow, I really got walloped by the showcase put on by The Company! I have some thoughts on it as a whole, but that will come after I put up all the reviews. Since I’ve got seven of them it’s gonna be a minute.

First up was the band Stone Grower. My amateur behind managed to be late, so I’m giving them some leeway. Despite my tardiness I am able to glean something from the band.

Stone Grower offered up a mix of psychedelic music and dynamic tempos. At times with the dynamic tempo and long drawn-out notes with some atonal singing were reminiscent of Iron Butterfly or Jefferson Airplane. There are lots of stoner metal elements too, but it mostly complimented the psychedelic themes in the music. This was further complimented by a mostly on key falsetto, though I’m not convinced that when the lead was off key if that was accidental. It was at least a throwback to earlier eras of psychedelic music.

If the music didn’t charm people the lead singer’s goofy antics certainly did. His enthusiasm is a welcome change with psychedelic music brought something with its off kilter antics that was at times enjoyable and at times made me question the lead singer’s sobriety. This was further questioned when it seemed like most of the time it was only the lead singer that enthusiastic and the others were either concentrating or seemingly elsewhere. I’m not certain the stage performance hindered it, based on how the audience responded.

Stone Grower took a minute to grow on the audience, but it did happen. Oddly enough it doesn’t seem to be releated to enthusiasm. It actually seems like the more about the music line up than anything else. There were a few more songs closer to the end of the set that seemed less psychedelic inspired than the rest, which seemed to work in their favor.

I think people who are in to psychedelic and stoner music will find Stoner Grower fun to watch and enjoy the music. They provide some entertaining stunts on stage for those not into that type of music so they can enjoy it too. With that said here’s the rating:

Technique-2.5

Presentation-2.5

Audience Interaction-2

Brownie Points-0.5

Total-7.5

Cassettes and Vinyl: Who Benefits?

It’s Record Store Day, and like others I feel a need to share my thoughts on one particular matter. I will probably repeat what others have said on the topic, but I don’t really express my opinion on these issues. I think we’re all aware of the intention of the day: to support local record stores and the last bastions of purchasing physical copies of music. I don’t think anyone will deny the good intentions behind this. For some indie and local musicians this one of few ways to get their music out there. In an effort to continue to support music stores it feels noble, but I also feel it’s somewhat misguided, namely in supporting local artists by purchasing outmoded forms of music.

One of the arguments I hear is how something like vinyl has overall a better sound quality when compared to something like an mp4 format. I don’t understand the demonizing of newer formats when the evidence is not strong for the comparison. What’s more is these same people will buy an album that was recorded digitally for people to buy as mp4’s. I feel like the chances of the album being of the sound quality those blessed with golden ears ramble about is compromised by the recording process. I also love to point out that when they purchase a re-release of an older album it was most likely digitally restored to bring back that crisp sound they love to describe. Moreover record formats, even for retro formats, isn’t the best way to listen to music. It only beat out hard plastic cylinders –a format which is equal and possible superior to record sound quality –due to better marketing and storage capabilities. I don’t think I’ll see a revival in hard plastic cylinders anytime soon, though, even if it would benefit possibly digitally archiving music from the earlier part of the 20th century.

Then again, the revival of older formats has surprised me and demonstrated how it’s not about the actual sound quality, but the perceived quality. I’m talking about the revival of cassette tapes. When I was younger I did prefer them over CD’s. Now that I’m older and had the pleasure of experiencing different formats I understand why its obsolescence was imminent since its inception. Like wax cylinders it was difficult to store without compromising the quality of the sound, it was easily destroyed, you could record over it without too much difficulty, the listening experience was limited to the quality of the player and quality of the musical product itself. Anyone who dealt with trying to listen to a cassette with a damaged tape knows what I mean. Nonetheless indie artists are selling cassettes of their music. Even some of my former bandmates sell their music on cassette. The fact it’s seeing a revival indicates it’s met with some welcome reception.

In some ways having a hard copy of an independent artist’s work is still helping. For some it’s still a viable way of getting their music out to world and fund their tour or future work. I often see out of town musicians selling CD’s and the occasional cassette. People do buy them at the shows. They’re selling, even if I don’t know to what extent. It’s supporting indie artists in some way.

I believe this is the pivotal issue of stuff like Record Store Day. When I started off in the mid 00’s reviewing music there was a revival in vinyl records. At the time it was hard to find a record player, especially one that worked and was affordable. Folks still purchased the albums with the same dubious arguments of sound quality were made. Those who purchased were supporting indie artists. As the revival continued mainstream labels re-released albums previously on vinyl or they converted previously CD-only formats to vinyl. There was a resurgence is producing record players, but I saw where folks were purchasing more vinyl by mainstream artists than indie ones. Now I’m more likely to see vinyl albums by mainstream artists than indie ones. I’m sure there are other reasons, especially with the cost of producing a hard copy of an album involved. I think, though, if we are buying records to support local record stores we need to also consider buying vinyl of local and indie music. If we’re so willing to support a physical format to create a day for it, we need to also remember the artists who support them.

A bit of an epilogue: in case anyone was wondering I now own a record player. It also has a cassette deck and an 8-track player. You know, just in case.