THE MOUND BUILDERS - "The Mound Builders"


The Mound Builders - “The Mound Builders”

(Failure Records & Tapes)

Growing straight out of the Indiana soil, The Mound Builders, release their self titled full length of psychedelic rock infused metal. The album opens with Torchbearer, an epic seven minute riff-worship dug from the very foundations of crunchy, heavy doom-and-gloom metal. Just as the listener expects to hear a nasal vocal about witches and generals, frontman Jim Voelz steps in and begins hurling his trademark howl into the wind. His whiskey burned growl sears the track like a dirt-encrusted, acid-rusted bucket full of red hot coals.

With the introductions out of the way, The Mound Builders climb into other, more fast paced numbers, such as Hair of the Dogma that piles up a cathartic thrash, giving Jim an opportunity to showcase a blistering screech straight from the muddy pits of Hell. The aptly titled track Acid Sludge leads in with a smoldering dirge built from plenty of dirty low end buzz and demonic screams, and a solid, repeating riff that builds in geological layers before kicking into a faster, and more violent earthquake anthem.

The closing of this release, Vanished, is a durable rock journey that shovels together the many elements The Mound Builders draw from to forge their unique sound. Throughout the release, guitarist Brian Boszor, drummer Jason "Dinger" Brookhart, and bassist Ryan Strawsma exert precise control over varied style and rhythm shifts, while consistently delivering a viciously chaotic feel, creating a dynamic listening experience for metal devotees. The Mound Builders plan to unload this new release on Jan 18th.

Gray Lee

Preorder the LP:


FROG - "Whatever, We Probably Already Had It"


Frog - “Whatever, We Probably Already Had It”

(Audio Antihero)

Solid rock and roll with pop inflection, melodic infection, and sing-along perfection greets us in this stellar release from Queens, New York duo, Frog. Whatever… is a precision delivery of high-energy alternative garage rock with sweeping, anthemic choruses, and snarky intimate lyrics full of sarcasm and promise.

After the fun intro track, Frog dons a thick southern accent for the track entitled American, which takes a raucous jab at the stereotypical USA creature. Something to HIde begins as a sardonic breakup song with a soaring chorus with a killer climb, while God Once Loved a Woman is an artistic ballad that slowly builds an enormous power underneath its tender surface.

The immediate driving jam of Journey to the Restroom makes a great contrast for a campfire song, Bones which gives us that great chorus that begins with:

Do you know that you are/

The guardian of a part of my life/

That I had forgotten?

Don’t Tell Me Where You’re Going hits hard with a strong rhythm and a harmonized chorus and closes out the album nicely.

A word that gets overused in the music industry and in music reviewing is “essential”, but in this case, the word applies. Whatever, We Probably Already Had it is a short, but detailed look at life with all the joy, sorrow, and wry humor that comes with it. Each track has its own way of being both familiar and memorable, and the release overall feels like something you should have known about before.

Gray Lee

BRANE - "Brane"


BRANE - “Brane”

Rock heads, join me in jamming this self-titled release from Seattle-based band, Brane. Combining shadowy moods with aggressively sweeping vocal passages, Brane balances tension build and release to create durable hard rock tracks that invoke the ancient gods of metal without treading on their memories.

Brane’s debut EP opens with a track titled Research Vessel that forms from a moody guitar line that is joined by dynamically shifting metal guitar and drums that lend to the brooding atmosphere. The second track Oyster Knife, introduces a faster tempo, some entertaining harmonics and gravely reverb-heavy vocals that display Brane’s ability to rotate their music-making methods for powerful shifts in variety and texture. Each selection seems to center on a different riff or rhythm that the band has collected from their years of rock and roll fandom. Indeed, it could be said that the voice of this music springs forth from they who have first listened to many other voices.

Throughout these five tracks, Brane delivers riff-laden chunks of thoroughly entertaining rock that leaves the listener looking for more. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on them in the near future to see what they come up with.

DOT DASH - "Proto Retro"


Dot Dash - "Proto Retro"

(The Beautiful Music)

Clean edge harmonies and jangly irreverence characterize this sixth album from Washington, D.C. band Dot Dash. Proto Retro is a fitting title, as this is a now band, pulling from then sounds to create an anachronistic new work that celebrates life, love, and bad boy sugar nonsense in an almost cherubic, innocent way.

Electric guitars jangle through each chord change to create progressions that could easily be the theme music for any 90s sitcom. Overstylized lyrics that always go for the obvious rhyme, backed by ooohs and aaahs lend to the classic feel. The band stays in character throughout the release, slinging background keyboards and fuzzy lead guitars at the listener with a powerful consistency that never drops the veil.

Proto Retro is perfect for mild rebellion, slight disobedience, and youthful excursions to the mall with friends, delivering a polished, east coast rendition of that intangible Burger Records sound. This collection of anthemic two-minute gems can effortlessly fill out any feel good playlist or party mixtape.

Gray Lee

[Album of the Month] RECLUSE RACCOON - "Recluse Racoon"


Recluse Raccoon - "Recluse Racoon"

(Citrus City Records) 

Richmond, VA band Recluse Raccoon brings together classic styling, modern sensibilities, and jazzy outsider art rock to create deeply satisfying Americana folk pop in their self-titled debut release.

Catchy bass lines underscore clever writing on tracks like  On a Wire, where a swelling bridge gives way to the picked out guitar, piano and tight harmonies of What You Are - a song that is so beautiful that it betrays the bring-you-down lyrics hidden in soaring harmonized bliss and orchestrated asides.

"You've got me bored/ 

No matter what you are/ 

I'm gonna let you down/ 

You're gonna let me down/

Lay on the ground"

Each track is a quick vignette of life delicately rendered with vocalist Timmy Peele's iconic voice, tight rhythms from percussionist Austin Tekamp and memorable lines from bassist Andrew Murray. Auxillary musicians on this recording help to flesh out the sound adding occasional horn sections and bits of orchestration.

The real strength of this record is the beautiful sense of continuity the artists have built into the release. While each song is powerful on its own, Recluse Raccoon makes an ardent strive here to create a release that begs to be listened to in its entirety. Tracks flow into each other and play against each other to create a larger composition.

Go ahead and add this one to your list of must haves. Recluse Raccoon certainly leaves an indelible impression, earning it a spot in the 'best of'  category. 

Gray Lee


FINDING FREEDOM-"Genre is a Social Construct" [Video Included!]


Finding Freedom - "Genre is a Social Construct" 

A few months have passed since the release of Finding Freedom’s debut EP, Genre is a Social Construct. Three months, two drummers, and one vasectomy later, they are in the planning stages for a full length record, but their April 2018 release remains strong and is appropriately titled.

From the country-tinged Nowhere I Belong, to heavy modern rock numbers like God of Your Own World and Wasted, the band lives up to its name; the EP freely explores diverse sounds, showcasing the band members’ talent and skill. Each track, while unique, still manages to sound like the same artist. The album delves into both musical concepts and lyrical ideas, treating the listener to honest introspection blended with lighthearted storytelling; the perfect garnishes for a meaty musical entrée.

I dig this record and this band. They are some of the kindest people I have ever met, and they pretty much ooze creativity and DIY spirit from every one of their orifices. That statement is probably a bit gross, but… #sorrynotsorry. They won’t be tied down by a genre and I won’t be tied down by decency.

Mark H. Jones 

Visit the band's official website for more information on this exquisite EP.

Watch Finding Freedom perform the tantalizing track Waiting on the Wizard from their EP Genre is a Social Construct!!!

P.S. Catch a special interview and live performance by Finding Freedom with The Hoodoo Music Podcast.


POOL KIDS-"Music to Practice Safe Sex to" [Video Included!!!]

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Pool Kids-"Music to Practice Safe Sex to" 

Tallahassee two-hand-tapping troubadours Pool Kids break the genre mold and grind it into dust with their stunning full-length debut Music to Practice Safe Sex to.

This girl-fronted rock band possesses the heart-on-your-sleeve genuineness of good lo-fi indie combined with a technical prowess and precision rare to the genre. In addition, the vocals and overall performance bear a passionate emotiveness that showcases the best of emo.

In a nutshell, indie, math rock, emo and a touch of post-rock intersect and meld together to form a sound that is all Pool Kids and no one else’s.

Case in point, $5 Subtweet kicks off with a start-stop math-rock riff of intertwining dual guitars. A thundering rhythmic accompaniment of drums and bass fuel the tune with pure, crystalline vocals riding high atop the sonic fray. Before you know it, the intricate but frantic melodic melee cuts to a dreamy half-time outro.  A nice steady drum beat and bass line supports a soft, picked out guitar line with gentle, soothing vocals carrying the song into oblivion.

See Pool Kids perform $5 Subtweet in an exclusive live performance!!!

$5 Subtweet clocks in at under two-and-a-half minutes but packs a hell of a punch with energy and variety.

This fantastic little ditty represents the album as a whole; tight and punchy with no frills. Just good, unique music played by a young band with a cohesion and maturity well beyond their years.

Click the link and check out Music to Practice Safe Sex to with no fear of viruses or communicable diseases. The only thing contagious about this release is its catchy songs!

Theron Willis

PS. Catch a special interview and live performance by Pool Kids with The Hoodoo Music Podcast.

[Video] Hot new band pulverizes practice space with pounding punk fury!!!

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High-energy punk band In Case of Emergency will flat-out assault your ears on the latest video from The Hoodoo Music Podcast.

Click play, crank up the volume and get to fist pumping!!!

And be sure to subscribe on YouTube so you don’t miss video #2 when it drops next week.

Theron Willis

P.S. Hoodoo Music Podcast is well, a podcast, so don’t forget to subscribe by clicking or searching Hoodoo Music Podcast on your podcast catcher. It’s just too damn good to pass up.