Friday, January 6, 2017

Silverleaf- Silverleaf (Bilocation Records)

Silver Leaf is a fairly new Copenhagen band featuring Lene (Fuzz Manta, Cherry Overdrive) on bass/vocals, Morgan (Fuzz Manta) on Guitars, and Morten (Nicolai Wilhelm Tell & the Tea Company) on drums. It took the band quite a while to get this album out to the people but it was worth the wait. All recorded analog in Germany. 6 tracks between 4 and 10mins in length and starting with the politically charged Rats and Seagulls. This has a pretty cool stoner rock groove but then some nice melodic vocals and back into the groove and then a long and excellent guitar solo. A great opening number. Ocean Turquoise is the shortest track at 4:18 and again has a cool stonerish groove and nice wah solo by Morgan. Really solid bass and drums driving this one. Modern Hero is a 10min track and starts with a 90 second instrumental section. When the vocals kick in they are a bit more relaxed with the nice delay on the voice giving he track a bit more of a dreamy psychedelic feel. Really cool guitars on this one (there are several layers at times). The middle section is a bit heavier. I prefer Pepper has the heaviest guitar riff on the record and this pretty mean riff on this slow rocker. Keep Running has a really catchy groove and hook in this mid paced rock and roll number. The Protector closes out the record with a ballad like start and also features Richard Olsen on the organ with a long solo. A really nice laid back and totally different track.  What a great record. I was really surprised. Great job.

Heath Green and The Makeshifters (Alive Naturalsound ALIVE0187-2)

Apparently, Heath and the Makeshifters have been playing around for many years in the bars of the south. They hail from Birmingham, Alabama. You can tell that the band are well seasoned and I really dig Heath’s vocals. The album starts off with a 2min foot stomping rocker called Out to the City. They manage to get a short guitar and harmonica solo in. Secret Sisters is another groovy one and I wish they had jammed this one out as it was less than 3mins also. Ain’t got God is a piano driven track with just piano and voice to start off. It is a really nice track, very passionate and one of the longest at nearly 5mins with some nice guitar playing as well. but I no not need to be preached to about god and religion. Glad it is not a full on Christian rock record. Phew… Hold on Me has a really passionate vocal and another solid bluesy rock and roll number. Ain’t it a Shame is a slower blues track with a great feel and ripping solo by Jody. Living on the Good Side is one of my fave tracks with it’s really nice vibe (like classic Skynryd) but also a heavy riff that kicks in (Led Zeppelin like) but I like the piano and slide guitar parts and great vocals. Took off my Head is very much a tribute to Tom Waits. Cool song, very much like Get behind the Mule. I’m a Fool is very laid back but what a great passionate blues track, great vocals, guitar… Ain’t ever be my Baby is bluesy shuffle track that ends up rocking out for about 1min.  Sad Eyed Friend ends this album with another bluesy rock and roll number. This album took me a few listens before I really got into it, so for sure give these guys a chance as in the end, I am really loving this one but the songs are a bit too short for my taste.

Valhalla- Valhalla (WYLN-002)

This band has an interesting story. Starting off in the suburbs of Pittsburgh PA in the early 80s. They released an EP apparently to some acclaim in the media at the time. They played around a lot but wanted something bigger so they all moved to Phoenix, AZ and that was the death of the band, due homesickness, diabetes and other band offers…  There is not a lot of info about where or when this material was recorded (1982-1984). The album features 10 songs. I would say that the music is a bit of a hit or miss for me. Tracks like Looking for the light with these pad keyboards, that I hated in the 80s music, were not for me, while tracks like Night Stalker were more aggressive and the keys a bit more progress and it has a cool panned guitar solo. Valhalla is a bit spacey at times with some effects on the vocals and has some great guitar work. A very cool song. The singer has quite an impressive vocal range on side A. Side B seems to be older tracks as the sound production is a bit different and the vocals and playing not as strong as on the side A. Quite an interesting time artefact to release in 2017.. Check them out… More cool releases coming from WYLN in 2017.

Leather Nun- Take the Night (WYLN-002)

Leather Nun was a Jacksonville, FLA heavy metal band formed in 1983. This album came out originally in 1986 and sadly the bands path to glory was cut short by a car accident! WYLN has reissued it with the original artwork, a 11x17inch poster, insert with some info and lyrics, and a download card. It is pressed on red vinyl. This is a band that I never heard of even though this was the time when I had my Metal Madness Fanzine and I heard a lot of Lps and demos. 100’s….. The album features 9 tracks of pretty straight up 80s metal. Wade has a pretty cool voice, the band had the looks and some really cool nasty lead guitars by John and Jerry. A very solid, but dated sounding release today. The band was for sure big fans of Motley Crue, Leatherwolf, and others at this time. Not as heavy as stuff like Nasty Savage, Savatage, or Death. Quality and well recorded heavy metal… Check them out..

Mark Porkchop Holder- Let it Slide (Alive Naturalsound ALIVE0188-2)

Mark “Porkchop” Holder is from Chattanooga, TN. It seems he often plays or played solo and started off as a busker (street musician) but this album is recorded as a trio. The album features 9 tracks in about 30mins and starts off with the title track which is just a 30 sec solo slide guitar piece and then Disappearing kicks in with an uptempo drum beat, smooth bass and Mark singing and playing slide. My Black Name is a bit more intense track with a longer slide solo. The band does some backing vocals on this one as well. Headlights continues with the mid paced slide driven bluesy rock and roll.
38 is a Johnny Winter inspired track but with out the intense lead guitar but still a nice guitar and harmonica solo as well. Let is Slide-No Doctor is a nearly solo track with only a basic kick drum and tambourine. Sounds like a steel guitar? Great song. Stagger Lee is by far the most heavy track on the record. A much darker sound on this track, with a heavier bass line and cool harmonica giving it a eerie feeling. Great track. Stranger is sung sort of like Johnny Cash and a bit of country. The album closes with the standard Baby Please don’t Go. Mark does not have that unique of a voice or really stand out as an amazing guitar player either. Many of the songs are pretty average blues rock tracks on Side A but side B they really diversify. Check them out….