Buckstone @ FestivALL

Got to catch a little bit of Buckstone at FestivALL Saturday. No, we didn't get a copy of their new EP, but Tom, Jamie and Diana definitely rock...

Buckstone 6.28 @ FestivALL


REVIEW: Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls

CD: Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls
ARTIST: Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls

On their new EP Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls pull together seven songs of highly charged rump shakin' southern rock, blues, and soul, with a little reggae and some country and western thrown in at the end. Carroll hasn't exactly snuck up on anybody with his talent (having been in a relatively successful band) but after catching this three-piece live and hearing the CD, we were doubly impressed.

"Hell Raisin' Kind" kicks the CD off with a swaggering nod to the ol' WV and the effects the water and/or dusk might have on said hell raisin'. Like most of the songs, there are cool solos and nice tempo changes in the song. Having grown up rockin' out The Black Crowes, I can easily get into what Carroll and crew (Jimmy Lykens and Steve Barker) are going for; it's like Dr. Mindbender cloned all the talent of the Robinson brothers into one diminutive stature in the form of Carroll, who coincidentally enough looks like Chris Robinson, or, depending on your perspective, Jesus.

The high-energy southern rock standard "Time Don't Wait Around" is pretty much our favorite track; all the ingredients for a great story are here -- summers spent "runnin' with the dead end crowd," and a deal going bad and red & blue lights. Carroll finds himself thrown in jail, "lookin' for Jesus through a gridiron view," and espousing the golden rule.

"Stand Up And Be Counted" is a genre-skipping call to arms, mixing mellow reggae/dancehall verses with powerful organ-soaked rock choruses. Choppy organ over dub bass and Carroll's riffage is a tantalizing taste of a style that you won't hear much in the WV. Carroll's lyrics border on the radical, as he sings emotively "There is no revolution in our hearts anymore/Everybody's fighting for something, but what are we fighting for?" One of the best lines on the CD:
"When the hour of judgment places its hand on your shoulder, do not step aside/until you can stand up tall and speak out loud, do not ever be satisfied"
This song is really the jewel of the CD, but one drawback -- don't get used to hearing the organ and any layered guitar in the live act -- they're only a three-piece. Unless Carroll secretly has four arms or something, they'll have more of a stripped-down sound than what you hear on the CD, but that's cool.

"It's Been A Minute" is a somber, dreamy lovelorn ditty that, with its clear bluesy riffage to open, at first reminds me of an old Pearl Jam song. Carroll sings "It only takes a minute for a love to go astray" over cool organ.

"I Don't Believe You" has been an anti-authority favorite of ours for a while now. With "Stand Up" it forms a kind of bookend of the most high-minded idealism Carroll offers, as he opines "Don't let anybody tell you, that theirs is the only way/If anybody tries to sell you the truth, just stand right up and say I don't believe you," as they roll into the chorus. Very cool solo and bridge on this bluesy rock number.

The first few bars of "When It All Hits You" at first reminded me of a song off the movie Goodfellas or something. But it grew on us as we listened to it "over and over" again, thinking about how things may have been different when we were younger.

The CD closes with "If You Don't Want Me," a bluesy country western number that, in a pinch, Carroll and the Fraternal Order of the Souls could play in case they were ever playing in place of the real Good Ole Boys from Nashville.

Throughout the CD, Carroll's talent for musicianship and songwriting are on display. This is a good start for these guys, and yeah, our only thing is that we'd like to see the band with a keyboard player for their live act; the songs on this CD are way deeper than what you'd hear live.

But we're reviewing the CD, not the live act. Carroll is obviously hugely talented and we'll be interested in what he and the Souls do from this point on.


Smoking ban comes to town July 1st

It's finally here: the smoking ban in area bars. Some towns and cities have already put laws like this in place, some patrons of said bars have taken up acting like bar patrons and turning the bar into a "theater" so they can smoke, getting around the law on a technicality.

No, having talked with the public about this before specifically as it relates to going to shows and "the bar scene" etc., we know how passionate people are about being called drug addicts, having the consumption of a legal product criminalized or, from the perspective of the venue, having the state tell them how to run their place.

It's jack-booted nannyism, as Christopher Hitchens himself called it.

People also know that, for those who don't smoke, it sucks going to shows and ending up smelling like the absorbed odors of a thousand cigarettes. They may have always been tying one on anyway, drinking you know, and never thought about the basic assumption underlying the ban; that second hand smoke is harmful.

It's been a relatively peaceful coexistence, until July 1st.

No more smoking in your favorite bars, like The Empty Glass or The Blue Parrot. Area rock group Quick & Dirty is holding a "Smokefest" June 30th at the Parrot; free smokes and whiskey for you if you show up. What kind of whiskey?

Threefold Theory recently did a Raze benefit -- the lines are drawn! Of course the Glass has the patio so that should work fine for them.

So what's going to happen is the people who don't smoke are going to make a pill to get people off nicotine and when they don't take the pill (or take too much) they'll be thrown in jail. Public safety.

And cigarettes will still be legal.

But no, we wonder how this will affect going to shows. Most business owners say it will hurt business but there are examples of smoke-free rock venues, right?


CD REVIEW: The Emergency "EMC"

ARTIST: The Emergency

Eight is not enough on The Emergency's newest and final (?) CD. Compared to their previous releases, the CD is more of the same quirky power-pop meets richly textured psychadelic brit rock that we've come to love out of this Magic Town three-piece, only shorter.

The CD opens with the backhanded "Soaking Up The Scene" and "Friends At The Factory" with singer-guitarist Rob Wehrle bemoaning the social life up there, it seems. "Scene" opens with guitar feedback over a galloping beat laid down by drummer Kevin Post. Wehrle says he hates the scene and that he wants to "stare at the lyric sheet all day."

"Factory" is a swaggering number with a not so subtle message tucked inside. Just want to know which factory they're talking about, it's not good; backs scratch each other, and little mafias are established to keep the good times going.

Of course with The Emergency you still get bassist Aaron Crothers laying down the walking bass lines and filling in with oohs and aahs and other backing vocals. Wehrle and Crothers together form a veritable dynamic duo of rock.

The "Where's Waldo" standout song is "Wicked Witch" because it doesn't sound like anything off any previous Emergency CD. Most fall into a kind of power-pop garage rock or experimental brit rock type thing, but this song is unique in its driving velocity. With Wehrle's faux-brit accent sounding like Liam Gallagher at times, it sounds like Oasis joined Pink Floyd, with the Dark Side of the Moon sounding choruses, where Wehrle exhorts listeners to "be who you are," a cool song indeed.

The guys in the Emergency seemingly have a bittersweet view of their time as a band up there in Morgantown, and that's clearly stated on the pull-no-punches songs on the CD.

Our favorite track is a depressing love song, "Not This Time" that nicely encapsulates The Emergency's two-minute catchy powerpop side. A deep breath and cool riffage opens the song, with Wehrle singing about some chick:

"I get high off the scraps that you leave behind/I get high off the scent of the pillow you left behind"
You can hear "Church of the Chix" in the fills, and Crothers singing "Everything will work out fine" as Wehrle sings "Not this time" over and over is a good example of their chemistry together. Cool change at the end of the track will have your air guitars out.

"1234" is basically a breakup manual set to catchy music and numbers. "Up Is On (Breathe In/Out)" and "Misunderstood (Goddamn!)" are more bittersweet numbers, with Wehrle asking "Don't you have anything nice to say?" and pretty chord progressions on "Misunderstood" as they sing "On and on" over and over again.

The guys close with the mellow "Bring On The Good Times," opening with a cool bass intro before going into a slow tempo build with cool Moog-sounding synth filling in. The band seemingly feels the end is near, as they seek "happy days" before ending in a big rock finish. The song ends just like the CD starts, with feedback.

The CD was ably produced by Ryan Hizer and Trey Curtis of Morgantown's Librarians. You'd like to say that the guys in The Emergency have grew and matured as a band since the appropriately titled "How Can You Move?" but listening to songs like "All Over Town" with its cool samples and the expansive acoustic "Matt Won't Come Back" prove that The Emergency have had the rock thing pretty much sewed up for a few years now. It also ties in with "Doo-Lang Doo-Lang" which was more experimental, it seemed.

No, The Emergency is one of our favorite bands we've came across. To put it into words, they rock. On the liner notes in the CD sleeve they number the CD 3 out of 3 (?) with a question mark, so maybe they're not really done; this is all a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt or something. It sucks that the guys would feel so bitter, that it would dominate their songwriting, but it's on all their other CDs, so nothing much has changed -- The Emergency rocks.

MP3: "Not This Time"

Pawnshop Skateboards Summer Slam

A pretty cool thing Saturday, with Pawnshop Skateboards over there in Marmet hosting this Summer Slam demo-contest thing at the Community Center across the river.

We would've liked to have done more on this, and we still plan on making the short drive over there this weekend, but it sounds cool and there are cool sposnors involved. Look for more cool things out of these guys; their skate team just took a trip down south and they're making specialty decks and putting together cool stuff, so check these guys out.

Skatopia Bowl Bash XIII

We came across some pretty cool pics from Bowl Bash XIII at Skatopia. Apparently there was cool skating and rockin' bands, two things we wholeheartedly support.

We would love to live near something like this, but this is actually in Ohio. You know -- the people who drive slow in the fast lane then merge into the slow lane and speed up like maniacs!

Seriously, we love Ohio. No other state has chosen more presidents, and no other state has Skatopia. Check out the pics at their MySpace profile.


Q&A w/Tucker Riggleman (pt. 2)

In part dos of our Q&A with Shepherdstown-based rocker Tucker Riggleman, we talk to him about The Demon Beat, his writing career, and how he came across Joey Fuckup and Whiskey Brian...

Rockscene: What is up with new Demon Beat stuff?
TR: Our newest EP (still untitled for now) is being mastered in Chicago at Saff Mastering. It will have most of the newer soul-type songs that we've been playing on it, so we are really excited.

Rockscene: How has the band changed since forming?
TR: Well they started out as a two-piece. It was just drums and guitar/vocals, so everything was pretty stripped down. I remember the first time I saw them they had this one 40 minute song that was really amazing. They really blew me away. They were probably the loudest band I had ever heard live and there were just two of them.

Eventually they asked me to play bass at a couple of open mics with them and it just kind of happened. We had great chemistry from the start, and after years of trying to play with other people I instantly knew that this was the band for me.

As far as how the band has changed musically, we have definitely developed our own style over the past couple of years. Once I joined, Adam had the freedom to write more ambitiously and do a lot of really interesting guitar work. Before, they kind of just had these really awesome riffs and drum beats and they would just play the hell out of things and it was awesome, but now we have a fuller sound and it's a lot of fun to mess around with. As far as style goes, we have definitely gone in a more soul-type direction. We all got really into old Stax Records stuff and began writing more dynamically. Soul music is all about building dynamics - quiet/loud, soft/hard, it's all in the tension. I'd like to think that nowadays we have taken the older blue stuff and the soul stuff and really developed our own style.

Rockscene: How did you meet/know those guys at Whiskey&Waterbeds?
TR: We knew of Brian through a mutual friend in the Fox Hunt, but I think they just kind of messaged us one day and dug our music. What those guys are doing is really cool. I think podcasts are a great way for people to discover new music.

Rockscene: Are you still involved with Hard Rain Magazine?
TR: You know, I was and assume I still am, but those guys have kind of went under the radar. They are based out of Huntington, so I have always been slightly out of the loop, but yeah, I don't really know what happened. I'd love to keep contributing and helping out because I think what they do is also really cool and important.

Rockscene: What bands West of Shepherdstown (in WV) do you particularly dig?
TR: The only other bands I've really listened to consistently are the Morgantown indie bands like Dave Bello and His God-Given Right, It's Birds, and Librarians. I think everybody should check those guys out, because what they're doing out there is awesome. 123 Pleasant St. is a great venue to have as a home base. I'd love to get into some more WV music, I just haven't really been exposed to much outside of our scene and the one up in Morgantown.

Rockscene: Will The Demon Beat ever get to play in Charleston?
TR: That's the million dollar question isn't it? We'd love to and we talk about it a lot, but we'd need at least two shows back to back to make it worth our drive, especially with these awful gas prices. We are starving musicians too, so we would definitely need at least two shows in a row. We've heard really good things about The Empty Glass and would love to get down there at some point and rock in the capital.

photo: Sara Chroussis


Get Headlessness online!

Just found out that Caustic Eye has made the Maximum Headlessness CD "Songs To Sleep To" available for sale online! Click here to buy...

This is a rockin' development, as we hear that Caustic will be trying to do more of this in the future...and check out our review of "Songs To Sleep To" here.


New music from Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls

Bud Carroll and the Southern Souls just uploaded "Hell Raisin' Kind" on their MySpace page. It's a rockin' tune that we got to catch them doing at the Glass back in February. Check out the footage on their profile. You can download that and some other songs off their page, just like we did with "I Don't Believe You" a few months back.

They're set to release their EP this weekend @ Marley's in Huntington, so check that out if you're out there. This conveniently placed flyer only serves to reinforce what we've been writing about here.


Q&A w/Tucker Riggleman (pt. 1)

We wanted to find out more about what's going on with Tucker Riggleman way out in Shepherdstown. For those that don't know, Shepherdstown is basically in Maryland. But whether with The Demon Beat, as a solo performer, or now with his label Big Bullet, Riggleman looks like he stays busy out there. We decided to pick his brain in a special two-part series...

Rockscene: What made you want to start a label?
TR: Living in Shepherdstown and being surrounded by so much musical talent made me want to start a label. There are so many great bands in our area that I believe could greatly benefit from the unity and networking that an independent label offers. Also, I love music and can't imagine having a real job one day that does not revolve around music, so why not start my own label right?

Rockscene: What bands or artists made you want to play music?
TR: When I was younger I was into heavier stuff and eventually went through the typical Nirvana/Green Day phase. Now that I'm older I draw from a lot of different places and types of music. It's actually pretty strange because nobody in my family was a musician, so I guess I just fell in love with music on my own. These days I tend to be inspired by a lot of older country and folk like John Prine, as well as newer alt-country singers like Ryan Adams.

Rockscene: What excatly does your role @ BBR entail?
TR: As manager/president I am pretty much in charge of everything. Being that we are just starting out, there isn't much to do until we can establish our home base and recording studio in July/August. Once we get that all straightened out we can begin a cycle of recording records, pressing and promoting those records, and getting our artists some shows.

Right now what we are doing for artists is almost entirely on the promotional level. We have sent label songs to an area internet radio station, we have established an online presence that keeps people up-to-date on what our artists are doing, and we are helping Greg Loftus promote his album and get shows for his tour.

Along with myself, we also have Leah Seager on board who is in charge of our DVDs and live show footage. We also have Adam Meisterhans from The Demon Beat on board as our recording engineer.

Rockscene: What do you like about the acts involved with BBR?
TR: I think my favorite thing about our artists is that they all believe in what they are doing. Integrity and passion are a big part of what we do and we want our artists to represent that accordingly. When you have musicians who are really passionate about what they are doing the rest will naturally fall in line.

I also love the diversity of our label. We cover so many genres such as rock, folk, alternative, pop, minimalist, and experimental.

Rockscene: Do you know who will be on this BBR Vol. 1 compilation?
TR: As of right now we will be putting one track from every label artist on the compilation, but we also have a couple other possibilities such as using a live track of the West Virginia-renowned one man band J Marinelli playing at a famous Shepherdstown venue from a couple years ago.

We are also planning a DVD compilation that will probably take a little longer to get finished. We have around a year's worth of footage from area bands that we are compiling along with some cool behind the scenes stuff, so be on the look out for that too.

Rockscene: You do a lot of solo shows out there, where are some of your favorite spots? Jumpin' Java?
TR: Yeah, I try to make sure that I don't let my solo material fall to the wayside while I get caught up in label stuff or stuff with The Demon Beat. It's really important for me to have my solo work as a creative outlet. Playing in bands is great, but sometimes we need something entirely our own, and I think Jordan, Adam and I have found a really cool balance between The Demon Beat and our respective solo work.

As for my favorite spots, Java is cool, but I'd have to say that my favorite place is On What Grounds? Coffee Shop in Chambersburg, PA. When I started playing there, the crowd was pretty small, but as I kept playing the crowds have really turned out and people there are really receptive. It's great because there's no stage or anything, so the setting is really intimate between the artist and the audience.

-- In part two we'll talk to Tucker about The Demon Beat, Shepherdstown bands, Whiskey & Waterbeds, and more...

Photo: Sara Chroussis