'85 Flood w/The Greens @ 123 this Friday

One of the band's we've been keeping a close eye on recently is Magic Town's '85 Flood.

The Flood's Aaron Hawley recently hooked us up with advance mp3s from their upcoming release Junkbone, set for release in mid-October, which isn't as far off as it was a few weeks ago.

Hawley, over email, admitted to being excited to help ring in the new WVU school year (and football season) with their friends Andy Tuck and The Greens this Friday at 123 Pleasant Street.

"We've done a back to school show with them for a number of semesters now, and it's just awesome. They really are our brothers in arms."

Hawley was also not reticent to note the progress the Flood has made since they released Toolshed Shangri-La early in 2008.

"...this is a better album," he said. "We feel like way more of a band than on the first record. And our songwriting and arranging has gotten much better." Junkbone features two songs written and sung by guitarist Adam Van Scoy (whom you may have seen in Thred) and one by bassist Dusty Hays.

Not only has the Flood expanded their version of "high octane lo-fi" rock, they've expanded their online presence with a Facebook page, which features a few songs from the upcoming release, and video clips of the first two songs from Junkbone, "Florentine Memory" and "Sex, Drugs & Rock n' Roll," the tune Hays wrote and sung.

So, check out the Flood, and look for us to do more on 'em in the weeks leading up to the release for Junkbone. And look for the Mountaineers to beat Liberty U by, say, at least a field goal.

mp3: "Some Things" by '85 Flood
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The "Last Day of Summer" is here

Not the literal last day of summer, the 11-song split release from our friends in Treasure Cat and England's Sons of Alpha Centauri, released just a few days ago.

It all started with Will Mecum and Roy Brewer skipping across the pond to merry old Kent, England to record and collaborate with the guys from SOAC.

Their Last Day of Summer is basically a few songs from each band with three songs from what they're calling "Alpha Cat" -- the successful merger of two-thirds of Treasure Cat with SOAC for a few songs on the release.

You can see a trailer of the release on Treasure Cat's MySpace blog, hear a few tracks on SOAC's page, and order the release off Underdogma Records website.

You'll notice the killer artwork for the CD and flyer, most ably done by Barboursville's Jimbo Valentine, who's done previous art for TC (which should have a new CD out by summer of 2010, we're told) and whom we featured in our recent "Focus on the Flyers" series; good show lad!

Mecum, when reached for comment, said "The streets will run red with the blood of the non-believers of Treasure Cat." So check out the split release and whatever you do, do not doubt Treasure Cat.

-- Treasure Cat plays their Last Day of Summer release show at 123 Pleasant St. Friday night w/Motorpsychos


The Gentlemen go "Back To School"

One of our favorite bands period helps ring in the new WVU school year up in Morgantown Thursday night, as The Gentlemen join Donora and Megatouch at 123 Pleasant Street, as you can clearly see from the conveniently placed flyer above.

But what you cannot see, is that The Gentlemen have been looking for a new fiddle player to help round out their polished, richly textured Celt-punk sound. Well, you can see it if you visit their page.

Think you've got what it takes? Join up with The freaking Gentlemen, one of the best bands around, from what we've heard, and while yer at it, check out our review of their CD Stick To Your Guns; the CD is even better than what our review says.


Get Re-animated w/The Renfields!

We recently heard that our favorite Transylvania-based pogo-punk outfit lost their bassist The Fiend, to what was likely a horrific, bloody incident involving a lawnmower, axe, or chainsaw.

You could say he likely "lost his head" -- again!

If you're up near Fairmont, play bass, love horror movies, have heard The Night THEY Came Home, Bastard Sons of Ed Wood, Stalk and Slash Splatterama, or, just love The Ramones, contact our friend Vincent Renfield about playing bass for The Renfields.

Oh, we forgot to mention you have to be totally open-minded to being un-dead for an undisclosed amount of time.

But check out The Renfields, and check out our all-time favorite Renfields track "Prom Night" on the perfectly functional pull-out player conveniently located at the bottom left hand side of the blog here.

-- Related: "A Night Out With The Renfields" and "A Visit With Vincent"


WBG rock show @ 123 8.22

Check out this far out flyer from Rob Summers for this Saturday's show at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown. And while yer here, check out our segment on Summers as part of our "Focus on the Flyers" series we did recently.


New '85 Flood CD "Junkbone" out Oct. 16

Sometimes we're glad we signed up on MySpace. Really.

And this is a good example of why; just got advance word on the new CD from Magic Town's '85 Flood called Junkbone. It's not anything you wouldn't know about if you were friends with the Flood on MySpace, the platform that makes us mad more than is good for us.

But sometimes we're able to find out about cool stuff on there; look for the CD soon, and why not check out our chat with Flood frontman Aaron Hawley from back around his birthday in May?

That's a question, so we put a question mark at the end, but it's not a rhetorical question. Check out the post, find out where the Flood recorded at (where most Morgantown bands do) and look for us to hopefully snag a copy of this here CD.


Bud Carroll: Legendary (Guitar) Hero

You’ll have to forgive fans of Bud Carroll for being excited about any new music he’s putting out. And you’ll have to forgive those that cover local bands if they get a bit confused about any new lineup the 27-year old Huntington resident has unveiled in recent weeks.

For a recent show at Shamrock’s in Huntington advertised as The Legendary Heroes, Carroll, who is set to release a new Southern Souls CD in the coming weeks, threw a name out there, just to shake things up a little.

“Legendary Heroes was going to be a different project,” Carroll explained over email. “And I originally put it out there because people were bugging me about a name, and there was a mix-up as to what band was supposed to be booked. Man it’s hard enough to get people out to shows with my history and all of the things I’ve done, let alone go and slug it out under a different name. It keeps me from having to start from scratch every time I want to do something new.”

“I decided it was stupid, and by then everyone had run with it. What can you do, you scamps in the press?”

Any news organization is only as good as the info they get. But with Carroll, whether it’s on a new Southern Souls record, or a new Bud Carroll band (with a different drummer, whatever the name) you can forgive area rock fans for being excited. We recently read Herald-Dispatch writer Dave Lavender rave about the new Carroll release, and that just made us more excited to hear the new stuff.

Carroll and the Souls again made the short drive to Athens, Ohio to record with Eddie Ashworth, who they’ve worked with a few times at this point, as the Souls and with Jeff Ellis. Carroll said recording with Ashworth -- who’s worked with Pennywise and Sublime -- brings out the best in him.

“It was fucking great, he is an awesome dude with a lifetime’s worth of experience making records…we’re lucky to have him in this area, that’s the only situation as in personnel and place, in my opinion, within a few hundred miles where an up and coming artist can make a record that will put them on even footing with someone who is funded by a major record label. He is an avid listener and true fan of music. He definitely pushed me.”

“I feel like the CD is quite a departure, insofar as the sounds and directions the songs took. When I’m at the helm production-wise I have a definite sound and feel that I generally end up with, and Eddie helped me find my way to new places.”

Carroll said we can expect the Southern Souls CD/DVD released locally on Caustic Eye “…by the time school is back in…with some special packaging,” so again, Carroll fans, it’s okay; go ahead and get excited.

Speaking of excitement, back in April Carroll added his talents to a few tracks on the upcoming Black Knots release None More Fresh, helping out longtime friend and Knots frontman Jerry Lee Queen.

“Oh man, it was hilarious. With all respect due to the Knots and Jerry in particular, it was pretty much the complete opposite of working with Eddie. We did it in Jerry’s kitchen, on the oldest Pro Tools set up I’ve ever seen. The recording monitors were like some old JVC home stereo speakers that your dad would have had in like 1984. I think they were stolen from a sorority house.”

“It was like a bunch of people hanging out drinking and partying, and me laying down my tracks was just part of the whole thing. I think Jerry would occasionally kind of rock out super hard when I did something he liked, or offer some direction about being more full on, just going for it, or something really cryptic, but other than that it was like pretty much wide open. Brian Myers was mixing it that night, and they had to have it done that night. He passed out blackout drunk like right after I was done recording my parts. There’s a video of it on YouTube.”

So, it’s obvious to anyone who’s seen Carroll jam live or heard a Souls CD that he’s hugely talented. It’s not up to the press to get someone on a national label, or turn them into some kind of superstar. Carroll’s music will do that on its own.

Even though, Carroll said that he’d love to get his music out on a national stage.

“I’m devoting most of my time to this new band right now, and building a studio, so there will be a release locally, and hopefully a national one. Labels? No one really in particular that I can talk about; I fucking hate getting asked about that shit, cause you always have to explain why this or that didn’t work out.”

“But I still have all of the connections from the Minor days, and so far the responses have been very positive. So, we shall see.”


Jeff Ellis posts songs from "The Forgetting Place"

Huntington's Jeff Ellis recently uploaded a few songs off his upcoming release The Forgetting Place on his MySpace profile.

Even though he's going back overseas as part of his duties in the Army Reserves, and he just played his last show at the V Club last night before heading out, we'll look forward to hearing the new release when he gets back safely.

If for some reason you've been living in a cave with your fingers in your ears and you haven't heard of him, take the time to check his music out; he's one of our favorite area artists.


A Search For Hope (and a new name) -- the Attack Flamingo story

God. Life. Hope. Despair. Atonement. Space.

These are some of the many transcendent influences Huntington electro-rock band Attack Flamingo lists on their MySpace page. But like so many great bands, you don’t need to read too much into what they’re trying to get across; it’s all in their music.

After hearing their debut CD No Star Could Be As Large, we picked up on what these five guys were trying to get across. Not just rocking out in the vein of bands like Radiohead or Muse, but, lyrically, trying to get at something deeper, in a spiritual sense, isn’t surprising considering the band pretty much came together through a Christian ministry at Marshall University.

The band has been staying busy recently; working on their sophomore effort, recording in frontman Sean Knisely’s home studio and floating a few test balloons in the form of potential new band names.

A few of the band members clued us into how the new CD is coming along, how the band came together, and exactly what’s in a band name.

“I get obsessive about music sometimes,” Knisely admitted, “so having control over our own stuff suits us well. If we recorded somewhere else, I’d end up with a huge list of things I would want to change but it would be too late or really expensive…We can experiment all we want. That in itself is a lot of fun, in fact, in its own way the recording process might be just as much fun as playing live.”

“We are extremely excited about the new album,” synth guy Joseph Spurgeon said. “We have been recording and writing pretty heavy. For us the recording process and writing process go hand in hand.”

The band, with a half dozen or so new originals down, plans to release something approaching a full-length before the end of the year.

Sam Hodge, a producer, programmer, and former center snare in MU’s drumline who goes by the moniker Sir-Boy, said recording at Knisely’s home studio isn’t just convenient, but cost effective.

“Financially, recording at Sean’s is a huge plus,” Hodge said, adding that if the band ever got around to actually needing to record live drums they may have to look around but “…because we do have a heavy electronic influence in our music, electronic drums are often used in much of the album work.”

Spurgeon seconded that, noting the creativity that ensues.

“We’re able to experiment and try things that you just don’t have the time or budget for in a studio you have to book.”

“Sean is definitely great at putting tracks together,” Hodge added, pointing out the band’s songwriting chemistry. “Each of us in the band has a different ear and it really helps when we’re trying to tweak the overall sound.”

Tweaking is something you may have heard the band do with some of their songs online, as Hodge remixed a few songs off the debut CD. For a rock band with heavy electronic tendencies, Hodge is a true asset to the team.

“He just gets it, it’s in his bones,” Knisely said of Hodge. “And he really holds us together, running the electronic backing tracks live from his computer and playing drums just explosively…He has an ideal understanding of both the rock and electronic elements of what we’re trying to do, and he has a great feel for balancing the two.”

Spurgeon said Attack Flamingo formed organically out of the member’s ministry work at Marshall.

“Phil (Smith), Marty (Brown), Sean and myself actually met through a ministry at Marshall University called Revolution. We all were leaders in that group and actually played in the worship band there.” Knisely, who had jammed with fellow guitarist Brown for a long time, knew Hodge from their high school days at Cabell Midland.

Regardless of what name they may take, Attack Flamingo wouldn’t have been if not for that elevator to space.

“Attack Flamingo first started as goofy electronic Nintendo-sounding stuff Sean worked on on his computer,” Spurgeon said. “But then we came across a news article about a scientist trying to build an elevator to space.” That article, about a very real (theoretical) project, led to AF’s rockin’ song “The Earth Grows Small Below” on No Star Could Be As Large.

Okay, so why change the band’s name? Spurgeon gave us something approaching a scoop on that.

“So the name was chosen for a goofy video game-like sound. The reason we want to change the name is purely so we can have something that represents our sound. We take our music serious and want a name that is just a little better. The problem in changing a name in a band with five people is that it is hard to agree on anything. We’ve been close several times but just haven’t nailed down the name.”

Spurgeon told us what the new name will not be. Awesome.

“Some close runner-ups have been Cloud City Control and The Ancient Future, but neither are it. What usually happens is we starting kicking around names and before long it breaks down into some of the goofiest and funniest names. I’m partial to Nickel Blimp -- just kidding! But yeah, finding a name is so hard.”

“We don’t have any top contenders,” Knisely added, “because the moment two of us agree that we like a name, invariably the next person will say they hate it. One time we had three people (Marty, Joey and I) briefly agree on Cloud City Control, which I still like, but then Sam and Phil hated it, and Joey quickly changed his mind and decided he hated it too.”

“We’ll find one, it just takes time. We need something that is more representative of what we sound like. Attack Flamingo is a fun name, but it can’t be taken seriously at all, and as a first impression I think it’s pretty deceptive as far as implying what we’ll actually sound like. I’m not saying we need a name that’s 100% serious, just something in the middle that fits our sound better.”

One thing that isn’t hard for these guys is making awesome music, whatever they call themselves.

“Actually the new CD will be a lot different then the first album,” Spurgeon said. “I mean it will still be us but I would say this is going to be much better…this CD will be more accessible. It’s at times more electronic and at times acoustic. In fact, so far there is not a song without the acoustic guitar on it. The album should keep our epic sound but also add even some psychedelic elements.”

“I would like to think that the new stuff will be a bit more rockin’,” Knisely said. ““No Parachute” is another new one that’s almost completely electronic, so that’s a bit of a change, but there will be other songs that are more earthy than usual as well; a couple of acoustic guitar-based songs, for example.”

“This album is not a concept album per se,” Spurgeon added. “It’s not a space theme or story. It does, however have the concept of despair and hope, but each song can stand on its own.”

“One of the songs is called “Nothing” and it’s a feeling we all have experienced in life. The feeling of just being worthless and nothing. If the first album was a search for purpose, this album is a search for hope. We just hope that our music might spark someone to begin their own search.”

Hodge summed up the subtle religious metaphors that permeate AF’s lyrics.

“I would say God is probably responsible for the band being what it is. I can’t speak for the lyrics because that is Sean’s unbelievable talent; he writes songs that have profound meaning but don’t necessarily have to be about God, but can be applied to any person with the mind to interpret them.”

“I think when you’re writing songs, whatever your hope is in is going to show through,” Knisely said. “I want to be genuine and honest in songwriting, and I want to say something significant. However, I don’t want to turn people off by saying ‘Watch out, this is Christian music here; are you sure you still want to listen to it?’”

“That doesn’t mean hiding what I believe, but it does mean thinking hard about how to present it in a fresh, attractive and creative way. I want it to be enjoyable for anyone to listen to, but I also want to make an impact on anyone who really analyzes the lyrics. I want it to be extremely real.”

Regardless of what they call themselves, Knisely said they have their priorities in order and know what they want to do.

“The next steps are to get this CD finished, play way more shows, and see what happens.”