Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Mike Milan Dedic - Take Me To Technodrome Shredder

Since being fortunate enough to listen to the sublime Gravel Drag, I have been on a bit of an instrumental binge. So I was very pleased when Mike Milan Dedic contacted me to see if I'd like to hear his completely self composed and performed self titled EP.

The Artist

Mike is from Toronto, Canada. He is a self taught, (yes self taught, not classically trained, not Van Halen's evil twin, and believe me when I say, when you hear him you might call me a liar!)

He started playing guitar at the age of 12 and his influences are far and wide but include Randy Rhodes, Van Halen and Ritchie Blackmore, elements of all can be heard here.


Put simply, the guy is a shredder and I mean this in a guitar sense not a super villain fighting mutants turtles, but I bet he could.

He incorporates melody, more speed and attack than Usain Bolt on steroids, technical excellence and moments of relative simplicity underlining the skill, and as my step dad always told me "when writing songs, sometimes less is more".

The E.P - Mike Milan Dedic

The 5 track E.P opens with Energy, a grandiose opening that develops into a tune with speed and melody that would suit an Iron Maiden album nicely. This leads into Zoom, a more laid back affair, still with elements of speed but an easy listening rhythm line that keeps it plodding along nicely.

Run has a machine gun intro and quickly becomes a comfortable melody driven sound and Launch is my favourite track with it's epic soundscape. Both include stunning solos but Epic has changing timings that really peak the interest, a great track.

The last song, Shall We Dance, warmingly reminds me of Gary Moore's "Still Got The Blues" era with it's bluesy tones and solo work. It's a lovely way to finish this release. He doesn't site Gary Moore as an influence but it is impossible not to draw these comparisons on this song.

The album is a grower,  it improves with every listen and I feel the quality of compositions improve as the album goes on with the last two being standout. It is a thoroughly enjoyable listen for fans of technical guitar work, shredding and or a classic metal sound. Some of the guitar work is simply draw dropping.

The album is available from most outlets including Google PlayiTunes and Amazon ans it's only a few quid.

If you would like to follow Mike then check out his Facebook page.

I'll leave you with a little taster of what you will experience on this release....

Monday, 13 June 2016

Slumlord Radio - To Pretty For This Blog!

Slumlord Radio - To Pretty For This Blog!

When I posted a picture on Instagram inviting bands to sendme some music, I got plenty of "likes" from plenty of bands. However, as usual it was lots of people fishing for follows rather than having the balls to say, "yeah here's my music listen and write about it".

That is, apart from Slumlord Radio. What they didn't know was I'd previously checked out a video of them on YouTube and really enjoyed it, so was very pleased when they came knocking with an album for me to listen to.

Who are they?

Slumlord Radio are made up of Tommy "Capt. Hollywood" Erickson on vocals and guitar, Matt "Rattlesnake" Claucherty on drums and Mike "Ace" Todd on bass and hail from Grand Rapids Michigan.


They blend various styles from hard rock, grunge, metal and stoner with a sprinkling of some pop hooks for added audible pleasure.

The vocal delivery is at times Cobain-esque with the addition of some happy gas and a more positive outlook on life. There is plenty of vocal input from the bassist with lots of chant style choruses that will envoke audience and in my case listener participation.

As a band they are musically astute throughout. Although there is a comedy element within the bands' output, they clearly take their playing very seriously and thusly produce some great musical moments.

The Album - Too Pretty for Tijuana

The intro to the album really sets the tone with the first of three insights from the albums Cowboy narrator! This is going to be fun.

First up, the single "Bullwhip". The genius thing about this song is the mixture of the poppy hooks and tunefulness musically, that leads into an out and out heavy riff driven musical interlude. It's a mixture that transcends genre's, but in a way that works (let's face it, it doesn't usually work). Plus the video is balls out fun!

Debonaire Dolomite, has a stoner riffing lead guitar line. It plods along nicely while informing us "hustling is harder than it looks, gotta know how to cook the books". An important lesson to all aspiring business entrepreneurs!

Southpaw with it's intro that feels like you've been left in the desert, licking sand, breaks into a foot thumping, head banging stormer. It's driving force is the brilliant drum work, which is hard hitting and takes many different twists and turns. The solo and breakdown just top off this brilliant track.

Choke 66 has one of the most infectious riffs I've heard in a while. I keep finding myself tapping my foot and doing my rendition of it. It sounds great to me but I've been getting funny looks while in the supermarket looking at vegetables, especially as reproducing it requires a lot of tongue work.

This leads into the faster paced and brilliant Fort Knox. Full of great riffs and energy throughout, only slowing down briefly to let you catch you breath before starting up again. A great close before the proclamations of moistness from our Cowboy narrator. And I have to agree with him!

Pay Attention!

This is an extremely strong release throughout with such a great mix of styles executed brilliantly. Slumlord Radio are deserving of more attention and coverage. In a rock world where massive bands are getting away with recording the same songs over and over and getting hailed as genius (I'm looking at you Foo's and Chilli Peppers) here is a band blending styles successfully, writing good music and having a laugh with us all while doing it.

This album is available, along with their entire back catalogue, from bandcamp, and you can NAME YOUR PRICE, so I'd suggest you get along and download the lot, put it on, drink some beer and have a party (naming a price if you can).

Follow them: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Gravel Drag - Dirty Dawgs

Who are they?
Gravel Drag are 3 piece instrumental riffing band from Bedford Virginia. They are made up of  Steve McKinney on Guitar, Ben McKinney on Drums and Chris Bower on Bass.

They create heavy rockin' southern groove inspired tunes that will stick in the brain of any lover of riffs.

Are They Any Good?
Fuck Yes!

Sometimes thinking is hard, especially when you have the brain capacity of a fart. This is why I am so happy I when I find instrumental music I like. No lyrics with clever hidden meanings to try and decipher is sometimes a blessing. This is music that needs no words, it speaks for itself, out and out Rock 'n' Roll that you can listen to deeply and take it all in or have in the background while you go about your daily business.

It is also a blessing to find an instrumental band who tick all the boxes in terms of your favourite genres of metal, mine being groove and stoner. Fortunately for me (and you) these guys do all of this, and they do it very well.

The Album: Sly Fox

Sly Fox is a head banger from start to finish. One thing that caught me immediately is the snare drum resonance which makes it stand out and the which in turn accentuates the groove feeling. Also the use of the crash symbols, at times even more so that the hi hat, give you the constant feeling of satisfaction that only a crash symbol can.

The bass and guitar parts are solid, well written and performed, without ever being flashy and irritating. They provide plenty of teeth gritting, snarling, head nodding moments.

Throughout this album there is no filler, every track is a good stand alone piece of work although I will talk about a couple of tracks that particularly resonated with me. They touch on psychedelic, groove metal, hard rock and doom metal sounds at points giving enough variation for it to keep you completely hypnotised throughout.

"Warbeast" stands out as a very strong track on the album. One reason for this is because it shares it's name with the band Warbeast, who have to be seen to be believed! Secondly because the opening riff reminds me of a song I wrote back in the day of trying to be a rock star in a band with my mates. But it stands out mainly because it's one of those tracks you hear and think, "fuck me I wish I'd written this". It moves from between different riffs and each one you hear is a pleasant addition to the song.

"The Legend of Sly Fox" has some  groove parts that are simply joyous. When I sat parked up in the car listening to this track, the car was rocking so much I got reported for dogging!

"Knockout King" is a brillaint closer. Short, punchy with some of the best drum work on the album. I've listened through this record 6 or more times now and everytime this song ends a have a feeling of disappointment that the album has finished! Surely that is a sure sign of some great work?

The album has a raw, live feel which is always a bonus on recorded output for me.  The feeling that these guys are just in a room together jamming, having fun, really comes across and adds to the listening enjoyment.

You can buy this album on bandcamp for $3. Yes just $3. Or in English money £2.08! So why haven't you bought it yet? It's a small investment for a great quality listen.

Other Music

Since releasing the album they have released this video for a song called "We're on Kill". It's a great tune and the perfect visual representation o their sound.

Gravel Drag are a band that I dare say fans of every genre from straight out Rock to Thrash Metal would appreciate in some way. I've not come across many instrumental bands, especially in rock and heavy music that manage to deliver, so far, consistently quality song writing. So if you enjoyed the songs included please invest, follow and support this band.

Find Them