The PSYATICS: Famous Monsters

The Psyatics are a three-piece garage, surf and noise band from Las Vegas, Nevada. Formed in 2012, the current lineup consists of Rob Bell (bass guitar and vocals), Jack Ball (guitar) and Mark Baertschi (drums). The band plays a mix of Rock, Punk, Garage, Noise, and Surf Rock with feeling.

With a glance at the cover, and the titles of the songs, you can see that they have a fascination for the more overt strangeness that other bands skip over: monsters, serial killers and B-movies, and for that alone, I salute them. The band mixes up all the different styles and comes up with a sound that takes your head and wraps it in craziness and power that should hurt, but feels like the hot breath of the werewolf breathing on your neck, scary and raises the hair on your body with excitement. The songs are catchy, and play with an intensity that is infectious and will get you dancing, or at least jumping around, either way, you will not be able to stand still while listening to this album. “You Killed Me First” has a great mix of funk and Two-tone ska that I really dug. “Burnt Offerings” has a great surf sound with manic vocals that really stuck with me. The songs are played with rawness and without a tongue in cheek sense of humor that makes them sound more convincing. The band isn’t a joke band, they really do like these twisted and strange things and give them the respect and love that makes for repeated listens. The band has a rawness to them that makes the album sound dangerous and creepy, but still has the ability to make you an instant fan.

Their third album is a definite anomaly in the music world nowadays, not easy to pigeon-hole and filled with more giddy strangeness than you would think most people would want to perform, but these guys love it and it shows with every lick played. The band has hit one out of the park with this album and it isn’t a baseball, it’s a severed head.

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VERENA VON HORSTEN: Alien Angel Super Death

This is the second solo album by artist Verena von Horsten from Zurich, Switzerland. It was written, produced and recorded by herself in New York and Zurich. This album is a moving and sentimental tribute to her late brother who committed suicide four years ago. The songs on the album, explore the haunting journey of despair she embarked on as she struggled to understand why her brother felt like the only option he had left was to end his own life, and the way the world treats suicide.

The album has been called “synth-pop,” but there is no “pop” here, it’s more along the lines of “synth rock” because of the edginess of it and the topic of the album. She has also been compared to Bjork and PJ Harvey, but she isn’t like them at all, except that they are all females that sing, instead let’s not lump her into a group of singers, let’s take her at face value; a singer that has an amazing voice and raw talent that stands out as soon as you start to listen to the album. Song after song is chock full of emotion that grabs your ears as well as your heart knowing the tragic way this album came to be. The songs are catchy, tightly played and infectious, something that can be played over and over again and never get boring. She has a voice that goes from being almost operatic and hitting high notes to sounding melancholy and heart-wrenching, but still beautiful. The over eight minute long “Sakrament der Büffelherde” is an amazing song that has a fantastic beat, astounding vocals and seems so much shorter than is listed. This is a song that will get stuck in my head and be played repeatedly. The production is clear, but keeps the rawness of her emotions in full view, and everything just falls into place.

As a person who has also dealt with suicide in my family, I can relate to the bleakness of it all, as well as the fight to overcome those feelings and the pain. Von Horsten has come a long way to figuring things out and has given the public something beautiful to help make sense out of the chaos of it all.

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SPiN – Dig Your Own Grave: Single

SPiN is a four-piece band from Philadelphia that brings to mind the sound of the ‘90s with their hard-hitting alternative rock sound and the images in their new single that you can get from their website for free. The main person in the video is an attractive female that other than her boots not being Doc Martins could be right from the grunge/alternative rock boom period.

The song is a fuzzed out stomper that grabs your ears right away with the catchy chorus, the scratchy/fuzzy guitar playing, the incessant drumming and the slightly rough vocals. This is a fist-punching anthem that will get the kids shouting it back to them at shows and will get people up out of their seats. It’s a rough ride that shows that you can take some sounds from the past, add some modern touches and have something that is more than the sum of its parts, a song that hits your ears and makes you fan right away.

The band seems to have found a sound that suits them and have made a song that should be played loud and often. If you get a chance to see them live, do yourself a favor and learn the words to sing along.

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TALIA – Thugs They Look Like Angels

This three-piece band from Los Angeles and Paris, France is another band that takes their sound from the ‘90s when punk, grunge and rock collided and gave us the alternative rock nation. The lucky thing is that this band takes that and runs into the present with enough energy and talent to surpass a lot of bands from back then that were just generic and boring.

The sound on this album surprised me, it was tight, angry, but not bitter and jaded or bored sounding like the ‘90s bands, instead it had the ability to take the anger and play furiously and with heart. Opener “American Bride” is a catchy and tight piece of music that instantly gets the chorus stuck in your head and was the perfect song to start the album with. The band hits the ground running and makes you look forward to the rest of the album. After the slower, but not slow song “Play Dead,” they come back with “It’s Been Oh So Long.” The song is more in the punk vein with its fast pace and gritty sound. The bass is thicker than fog in London and the energy could light up the city. The album definitely brings to mind the ‘90s, but luckily they manage to keep things interesting enough to make you want to hear more and not think that they are a bland knock-off. The energy and raw talent that is present really takes the songs up quite a few notches from the generic music that is out there passing for rock nowadays. “The Flood” is the only slow song on the album, but it’s not a bland song by any means, it’s just slow, but done really well and a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.

The album really has a lot going for it and with songs played as tightly and with the passion that you can not only hear, but feel, it makes for a great listen. This is the kind of album that you can put on when you are having a party and it will keep the vibe high and get the drinks flowing.

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The Beat are best remembered for a string of hit singles at the height of 2-Tone/ska boom started in the UK back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. These included a cover of  Smokey Robinson’s “Tears Of A Clown,” “Mirror In The Bathroom,” and “Save It for Later.” They split-up in 1983 and now there are two versions of the band, one led by Ranking Roger in the UK, and another by original vocalist/guitarist Dave Wakeling, under the name of the English Beat in North America. This version is the one founded around original vocalist/toaster Ranking Roger, who is joined by his son Ranking Junior.

“Walking On The Wrong Side,” which was the first single from Bounce has the sound and feel of their original music, just maybe not as frantic sounding as the first album, more like heading into their last one. “Busy Busy Doing Nothing” is next and it carries on with that old school vibe and makes you want to get up and dance, which is a wonderful thing. “Walking On The Wring Side” and “Fire Burn” are two songs that really show the strong lyrics and political side of the band that the Specials and the Beat never shied away from. “Talkin’ About Her” has a nice relaxed vibe that gets you swaying side to side to, then you get the upbeat “Side To Side” with a faster beat that grabs your feet and off you go skanking around the room. The album ends with “Close The Door,” a smooth track that is a more traditional ska song, a bit slower and with a sinewy groove that will surely grab you and get your head swaying from side to side. Ranking Roger’s vocals are as smooth and strong as ever on this album and you can hear the fun he is having here, you can feel it coming out of the speakers and encompassing your ears.

After all of these years, I never would have believed that I would be listening to new music from this band, but I am so happy to have the opportunity to have this release. If you would drop this into a mix of their older albums, you might have trouble picking out the new songs, and I can’t give this album better praise than that.

THE GODFATHERS: A Big Bad Beautiful Noise

Reforming at the end of the last decade, this is the first album in four years from the Godfathers, but this is their first with a brand new line up. The Godfathers were formed by Peter and Chris Coyne after the demise of The Sid Presley Experience in 1985, and co-founder Chris Coyne has since left. The current line-up has been touring and writing solidly for two years now and we get the chance to hear what they’ve been up to.

Starting with the title track, it’s immediately clear that they are not holding back the power of enthusiasm of these new songs. You can hear the band running at you like a gang trying to attack you, but they just want your ears, and dancing feet, not to hurt you. “‘Till My Heart Stops Beating” has a driving beat and although not as heavy as the first song, still manages to keep the energy going. New single “You Don’t Love Me” has a thick sound with a groove will get you moving and the fuzzed out guitar is amazing. Things mellow out a bit for “Poor Boy’s Son,” but again the guitar playing is outstanding with a yearning sound to it that is infectious. After a few songs that were a bit more mellow, the band kicks into high gear with “Defibrillator,” a wild and furious ride that hits hard and fast. “You And Me Against The World” is a mellow song, not the brash, punch you in the gut kind of song you think it’s going to be, instead it’s an anthem that grabs you and pulls you in and doesn’t let go; in a way, it’s actually a beautiful song.

The time that they took to play together and work things out has given these songs depth and raw emotions that are a joy to hear from a band that’s been going more or less for over thirty years. The new blood has really given the band a new start, not far from the old sound, but a sound that they can be proud of and hopefully continue creating more music for many more years.





Fallen Asunder is a music project between two friends since childhood, Ryan Batturs on vocals and guitar and Josh Weaver on lead guitar, who grew up playing music together. They are based out of Lancaster Pa, and have influences in the rock and metal such as Bullet for My Valentine, Killswitch, Dream Theater, HIM, and Goo Goo Dolls.

Opening track “The World and Fate” has a killer guitar intro and shows a lot of energy to start off the album. “Our Ghosts” starts off with great guitar playing that turns from gentle playing to hard rocking in a few seconds and the band just blazes on this track. “Meant For So Much More” is a blistering song that charges ahead at full power and grabs you along for the ride. “Silent Lies” is another hard rocking song that keeps the pace going strong, especially with the screamed vocals that put force so much emotion. “Lost In The Rain” is a song that is more in the hard rock / AOR vein that really stands out. Last song “Blinded Eyes” ends the album with a killer track, showing that the band will rock out till the very end.

The tight and blistering guitar playing is a definite standout, and made the greatest impression on me, so much that I grabbed my air guitar and played along with them the best that I could. This shows a lot of potential and talent and will be a band that I will be keeping my eyes and ears on in the future.