By Brendan Joel Kelley Burning Brides
I'm still nursing a hangover from last night's adventures out: Violet Wild acoustic at Last Exit, then watching Jason Devore of Authority Zero play at the Yucca's open mic night. Nonetheless, this hangover will probably pale in comparison to what I'll suffer after Friday's installment of New Times' Summer of Sound series. This is the hard rock/metal edition, with Burning Brides headlining along with locals Jack Ripper, Greenhaven, Blessedbethyname, the Iris, Blackmarket, and Giant Killer. This one's at the Clubhouse, and like always, it's only three bucks. Read more about the bands after the jump...
Giantkiller If you’re playing the six degrees of separation game with local heavy rock, you’re about six degrees surplus whenever the talk turns to Larry Elyea. No kidding, he’s the inescapable Kevin Bacon -- anything that’s local, loud, has tats and a Marshall stack, Elyea had a hand in it, producing it from his renowned studio, Mind’s Eye Digital. That’s why Giantkiller, the first word from Elyea as a recording artist and performer since his days in Bionic Jive, was hotly anticipated. And Giantkiller does not disappoint, delivering the kind of expansive atmospheric rock you get from The Deftones, an all-encompassing sound that often feels as if a truly impressive black cloud is hovering over you and feeding off your energy. To achieve these difficult physics, he’s stitched together a Frankenstein of a supergroup, handpicked from all the various bands he’s recorded -- players like former Fivespeed lead singer Jared Woosley (Resist the Embrace), Brian Smyth (The Gift), and drummer Chris Alvarez, who has kept time for everyone from Sons of Serro to Soul Grind to Bombshelter Djs to The Buddy Rich Big Band to Vic Masters. A band with two Kevin Bacons? Even the Bacon Brothers don’t boast that kind of omnipresence! -- Serene Dominic
Greenhaven Hard rock in the ´70s was a bunch of joyless brutes complaining about bad lovin’ women -- except for Alice Cooper, the Stooges, the Tubes and the Dictators. All the fun they generated gradually dissipated in the hairspray metal of the ´80s, with only Lemmy Kilmister and David Lee Roth providing stadium rock’s intentional laughs. Once grunge put the girlymen to bed for good, we were again left with grousing grumblers, only now complaining about how time-consuming speedballing heroin is. But now, you’ve got bands like Greenhaven that knows all this shit and puts it to good use -- that is, combining classic rock, hardcore, punk and humor. Singer Matt Strangewayes knows you can get a laugh just by saying “Foghat,” while guitarist Jay Hofer demonstrates how funny it is to whip out a technically perfect and pointlessly fast Ten Years After solo that leaves you feeling like you’ve been firebombed with Silly String. The muscular rhythm section of Bill Schumann and Uncle Dave always has their backs, acting like the band’s rational nervous system, although that’s probably the only context in which Uncle Dave can be construed as rational -- once he unstraps his bass and resumes free agent status, hide your women and livestock. The band’s debut CD, The Last Powerful Second, is hard rock as it should be: it’s always fun, it’s never ponderous, and it leaves the audience feeling empowered, like it could maybe watch ten Joe Don Baker films in a row. What, that’s not a good thing? -- Serene Dominic
The Iris Local industrial metal band The Iris has the formula down pat: fuzzy, sprawling guitars; creepy programming; singing that alternates between sick, low mumbling and screeching; and beats fit to bang your head or shake your booty to. And the band members -- singer Brandon Dooley, guitarists Kasey Kautenburger and Aeron Bailey, and drummer Tim Klever -- are all relatively good-looking, something they capitalized on by making a video for their first single, “Assfist,” shot in Los Angeles by director Kevin McVey. The video intersperses some bare-chested footage of the band with some weird hospital scenes that culminate in a doctor and a nurse having sex in the hospital morgue, and a patient leaping to his death from the top of the building. The band’s debut album, The Vanity Fair, brims with similar surreal doom, from stalker ballads like “Hush and Abide” to raging metal mashups like “Lucky Sevens,” all supported by song lyrics like “I want to fuck her upside down.” With frequent piano interludes and oft-whispered vocals, some of The Iris’ songs could almost be mistaken for love songs -- if typical love songs were about murderous sex, that is. -- Niki D’Andrea
Blessedbethyname “We are the hymns of whores and heretics…we are the apocalypse orgy…we are the Divine Blasphemy.” So goes the self-description of local industrial metal band Blessedbethyname, a quintet whose stage show rivals anything GWAR ever conjured. The band members -- Jesse, Madio, Eddie, Sage, and Miah -- wear ghoulish makeup and outfits reminiscent of something out of the movie Hellraiser, while all sorts of sideshows take place around them, from dancing gimps to a man with his eyes sewn shut hanging from a coccoon. The band’s music is equally intense, combining lyrical torment with creepy keyboards, raging guitars, and battering-ram beats. After ten years together, Blessedbethyname’s released three albums -- a self-titled debut, 2002’s The Divine Blasphemy and 2004’s Phallus In Viscera, all blistering bombs of dark metal that could almost make Marilyn Manson sound like Jessica Simpson. The band’s third and latest album is a chaotic concept record that follows the path of damnation and redemption in love through five acts, which should make for an interesting -- and certainly theatric -- live show. -- Niki D’Andrea
Jack Ripper Don't bother asking 10 year-old Jack Ripper what he wants to be when he grows up. Spend five minutes watching the youngster shred out solos on his six-string, and the answer is obvious: Jack Ripper wants to be a metal guitar god, just like his idols -- Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darrell, and Ted Nugent. The long-haired rocker has been playing shows around the Valley for the past year, usually covering songs by bands like Black Sabbath and Van Halen. But Ripper recently got his own band together -- nabbing drummer Ron Field, bassists Chad MacDonald and Paul "PC" Cardone, and vocalist Brandon Wisely -- to create some scorching original songs that sound straight out of the hard rocking ´70s. Ripper's in-demand by other local bands, too -- he recently recorded his first record as an ax man for local metalheads Kraised, which makes him like, the coolest 5th grader ever. -- Niki D’Andrea
Burning Brides How many members of hard rock/metal bands can say they graduated from the prestigious Julliard School of Music? Burning Brides founders Dmitri Coach and his wife Melanie Campbell can -- that’s where they met in the late ´90s. After graduation, the pair hooked up with drummer Mike Ambs, who provided a rhythmic backbone for Coach’s dizzying guitars and Campbell’s fat bass lines. Originally labeled a garage band with hard rock leanings, Burning Brides’ debut album, Fall of the Plastic Empire, did little to dispel the label, and although critics raved about the record, Burning Brides’ label (File Thirteen) dropped the band in the wake of dismal sales. Ambs also abandoned ship, and was replaced by Pete Beeman prior to the band recording its second disc, Leave No Ashes, for the V2 label in 2004. The second album was much heavier and denser than the band’s first, and spawned a single called “Heart Full of Black,” which actually got some radio airplay and was featured in the video games Guitar Hero and Burnout 3. The thunderous trio’s third release, Hang Love, hits stores this month. -- Niki D’Andrea