CD Review: One Hundred Hurricanes "60 Years Under The Stars"

CD: "60 Years Under The Stars"
ARTIST: One Hundred Hurricanes

The simplest jumping off point is to say that, if you like The Strokes, you'll like or maybe even fall head over heels in love with One Hundred Hurricanes.

Formerly known as The Getaway, this Morgantown-based four-piece compiles 15 super catchy Brit-pop influenced rock songs on their debut effort "60 Years Under The Stars," a CD we'd initially describe in the good-to-great category. We'll admit; the jpeg of the CD cover we uploaded above pretty much sucks, but the CD, well, pretty much rocks.

The band (Michael Withrow: guitar/vocals; Denny Dingus: lead guitar; Kyle Williams: bass, vocals; Nick Kirk: drums) kicks the CD off with the high-energy rump shaker "Duke Hat" -- a heavy nod to The Strokes. There's another Mike Withrow? Apparently, and he's been drinking the water up there. Withrow's faux English accent is of course one of the first things that jump out at you, with lyrics about typical young rocker lifestyles; being on the outs when it comes to life, love, and being in a band.

"Lookout" is bouncy Brit-rock that has Withrow lamenting he "...didn't know exactly how to stand out in a place that just wants trends." Like most of the songs, it's catchy, with a cool solo thrown in for good measure. "Back On Your Own" is one of the real gems on the CD; a mellow, downbeat number that would serve nicely as the last song on what, in an earlier day, could've been the last song on the front side of the record and/or tape. You can surely remember those days.

"Snake" is a slower changeup with very cool solos and shredding, with Withrow asking rehtorically "Is it radio friendly?" Yes, your band is getting airplay on WVU's radio station and WCLG, man!

The CD closes with Withrow on piano on the mellow, near-power ballad "When The Pictures Fade," a song that dutifully changes things up at the end. Withrow sings introspectively "You'll see everything, when you're old and gray. You'll see everything as the pictures fade." A nice way to end things.

Recorded aptly (as most are up there, it seems) at Mark Poole's Zone 8 Studios in Granville, the CD would easily make it into our "top 10" of 2009, if that means anything, or if we make it that far.

From the songwriting to the recording to the sleek, artful, neato packaging (done DIY-style by Williams), this is a CD that you wouldn't be surprised to find on the shelves at some mega-chain, or hear on some cool radio station, like U92, maybe (AHEM!). Lyrics would've been nice, just because it seems like Withrow comes up with some good ones. ("Do you think that god is really one of us? You know she'd like to say so, and I think she does." he sings on "Back On Your Own")

Overall, "60 Years Under The Stars" is a nice reminder of what we've already known about Magic Town; great bands up that way. A very cool CD and a great way to kick off 2009.

--- One Hundred Hurricanes releases "60 Years Under The Stars" Friday @ 123 Pleasant St. with Pittsburgh's Omega Love and Morgantown's own Daniel Conway.


Clutch comes to Huntington

Although Clutch is based in Maryland, they're no strangers to local fans and venues. The band is slated to play the V Club in Huntintgon February 11th, kicking off a near show-per-day mini-tour that runs through February.
The band recently set up their own label, Weathermaker Music, and released their live DVD/CD "Full Fathom Five" in the fall of '08. That was just late last year, but it seems like a long time ago.
Even though this is a rare Wednesday night show, and tickets are $25 in advance, Clutch has too wide of a following for this show to not make the local fire marshal worry; it will be packed. Clutch will bring their side project, The Bakerton Group (which will release "El Rojo" 2.17), Alabama's Willem Maker and Portland, Oregon's Red Fang.
We wouldn't be surprised to see them in some newspaper, in an article about the band coming to town. If you're interested in pre-ordering tickets for the show, click here, or just show up on the 11th.


H-D Tri-State Music Scene showcase show comes to V Club

The Demon Beat (above) is one of the many rockin' bands that will play the Huntington Herald-Dispatch Tri-State Music Scene local music showcase show at the V Club next Saturday.

There are shows where you may be able to catch two or three cool area rock bands; not uncommon. Saturday, January 24th, at the V Club in Huntington, more than a dozen local and regional bands will play the Huntington Herald-Dispatch Tri-State Music Scene's local music showcase show. Starting around five in the afternoon and running into the wee hours, the show features some of our personal Huntington faves.

The H-D TSMS blog, up for a few months, is the brainchild of 22-year old Moorefield native and someone no stranger to covering local bands -- writer, photographer, (videographer?) and now blogger Taylor Kuykendall. Pulling his various talents together at the Dispatch, Kuykendall now has a platform to cover what he sees as the best area bands; some more established, and some you may not have heard of.

“My reason for starting the blog was to keep my music skills sharpened, but also to improve the paper based on my skill sets,” Kuykendall said over e-mail.

“Blogging…is an amazing way to throw out new bands. My only real responsibility is to expose people to the band. I don’t have to do much convincing, because I can provide sound clips where the reader can hear the band. I don’t ask them to do much, so the case is pretty simple to make. My job in any case is to bring audiences to bands that deserve it.”

In addition to studying Journalism at Marshall and serving as an intern at the paper, helping cover the local crime beat (which would keep him busy enough in Huntington), he’s now pulled off the Herculean effort of booking a killer show, with a newspaper and a bar collaborating on said show.

“When I got a job at the Herald-Dispatch, I was afraid I would be committed to hard news and features. I was at first, but they let me have more responsibility as I proved I could handle it.” We'll say.

Kuykendall sounded almost as surprised as we are that the show, which, thanks to Route 60 Music will benefit charity, came together so smoothly.

“It was much easier than I ever imagined,” he admitted. “I went to Patrick Guthrie at the V Club first. He was ecstatic. That whole scene at the V is just bubbling with love for local music. Bill Galloway and Patrick were both really supportive and helpful of the whole situation.”

“The Herald-Dispatch was very supportive. Dave [Lavender] helped a lot with suggestions on what I needed to do to go about everything. Ed Dawson, our executive editor, loved the idea. He is a big supporter of arts in the area. I basically told him what I wanted to do and he took care of everything else. The only thing I had to do was schedule and select the bands.”

Kuykendall, who had previously covered local bands as a radio show host at WMUL and in Graffiti Magazine, said his involvement with the blog came about just as smoothly, with some help. “Dave Lavender, who I think is somewhat of a journalistic celebrity around here, really took me in and helped get me into the entertainment reporting side of things.”

The bands booked to play would arguably rival the best "Loud and Local" second stages. Jeff Ellis, The Red Velvet, Attack Flamingo and Bad Employees -- a few of Huntington’s best area bands, will be joined by The Demon Beat (Shepherdstown), Extragrump (formerly fistfightwithgretchen), a new band from Huntington called Alamo Royale (aka The Stops!) and some other, maybe not-always-heard solo artists, including Red Velvet frontman Jordan Andrew Jefferson, Charleston's Benji Taylor, and Huntington's own Paul Callicoat.

It’s being able to literally showcase these acts at the show and on the blog that appeals to Kuykendall.

“Cory Jackson is one of the guys that most people haven’t heard. He’s a friend of mine that I thinks deserves a little attention, but until now he has only played a few open mic nights. A lot of the acts are established in the area, and they are going to draw a crowd, others however, are smaller groups that I think deserve just as much attention.”

Kuykendall, who admitted to dabbling on guitar, said he appreciates the passion of the bands, what it takes to perform, and the excitement they showed about the show.

“Every band booked is genuine and honest with their songwriting. Some of the groups are pure artists, others are pure rockers and a few are a good blend of the two. There is a lot of real love, talent and passion in this group…Every single one of the artists jumped at the opportunity to help out. A few wanted gas money and a few requested some free pictures from the event, but most just wanted the chance to play in front of a crowd.”

“I have played guitar a little bit and I write songs to impress people every once in a while. I am always admiring people around me who can muster the determination to create something as complex and beautiful as a good song. I would have loved to be a rock star, but I am trying to live the closest thing to it by interviewing people more successful than me.”

Kuykendall rightfully expresses excitement about his H-D blog, and seems to place it in a nice context of the area.

“Well, the blog is definitely going to be gaining steam. I am adding more frequent posts and content…With the economy down, I think it’s important to escape life every once in a while. If I can do that for a few Tri-State citizens before I move on to something else, I have succeeded, even if I never become a rock star.”

--- The H-D Tri-State Music Scene showcase show starts at 5p.m. Saturday, January 24th at the V Club in Huntington. See above flier for band info, cover is $8 at the door and $5 in advance. Click here to see about pre-ordering tickets. Demon Beat pic by Melissa Rogers


Cool new Magic Town CDs

A few Morgantown area bands are set to release new CDs in the early parts of 2009, and we're lookin' forward to 'em. Roundup? WHOOPESSH!

One Hundred Hurricanes will release their 15-song debut effort “60 Years Under The Stars” Friday, January 30th at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown. You can hear some recently uploaded tracks off the new CD on their MySpace profile. The band, with catchy, quirky retro-rock numbers like the opener on the CD, "Duke Hat," may most immediately remind you of The Strokes, maybe. "Be That Way" may evoke At The Drive-In for some reason. The nicely packaged CD was recorded at Mark Poole's Zone 8 Studios, where a lot of bands from up that way seem to go, with impressive results. Check the band out.

West By God will release their new CD "For Glory or for Flames" February 7th at 123. The band recorded the CD at Zone 8 back in August '08, and is about to get 'em in the mail last we heard. We got hooked up with their first EP and would definitely look forward to hearing the sophomore effort from the Clutch-esque five-piece.

Fairmont/Morgantown area punk band DangerKat is set to release "Dangerkat Collection I: The Search for the Yeti," recorded, yes, at Zone 8 studios, very very soon from what it sounds like on their MySpace blog. Hey, we like punk rock!

And we also hear that our good friends in Thred will be releasing something called “Quadbanger” in the near term future. At least that’s what Thred's artistic genius Brian Pickens, who kindly (and freely) designed the WVRockscene page header you see above, told us.

Look for these CDs soon and look for us to maybe put something together on any combination of these bands and their recording efforts.


Mark Bates' new band Lonely Town

L-R: Frank Miller, Aaron Fisher, Jonathan Wood, Bill Dean and Mark Bates of Lonely Town

We just got word about a new Charleston-area five-piece band called Lonely Town. Fronted by the hugely talented Mark Bates (of Mark Bates and the Vacancies) and featuring, among others, Aaron Fisher of 101 Productions on drums, the band is set to play a gig at The Blue Parrot Saturday night.

Bates told us over e-mail that the band has just finished work on their debut CD in Athens, Georgia, and it will be set for release in the very near-term future. We got to catch Bates and his Vacancies at the Glass back in like February, and judging by their eponymous track "Lonely Town" on their MySpace profile, Lonely Town should be quite rockin' as well.

Take a second to listen to the tunes, and maybe catch 'em out somewhere around here if you can. It's great to write about a cool new band here in Charleston. Check 'em out.


New Larry Keel & Natural Bridge CD

The new Larry Keel & Natural Bridge CD “Backwoods” -- produced by Keller Williams, whom you may have already heard of in his own right, or, collaborating with Keel and crew on the “Keller & The Keels” CD “Grass” -- is now available. Seriously, we’d heard someone call pot “grass” recently and we literally almost died laughing.

“Grass” is worth picking up though; we got one a lifetime ago when Keel came to The Sound Factory; we actually met up with him and his band at the show, and he was quite a cool and accomodating customer. Remember shows at The Sound Factory? And if yer a fan of the flatpicking master, swing by his MySpace or larrykeel.com and check it out.