Tag Archive: “Cricketbows”

Photo by Kyle Sweeney

Dayton, Ohio’s Cricketbows are set to release an inspired EP of new material this fall. Produced by Buffalo Killers’ Zachary Gabbard, this six-track effort,  titled Communion, is the band’s first release since their 2015 debut album, Diamonds (produced by Grammy Award recipient Brian Olive). The EP will also coincide with the release of a full-length film titled “Where The Ocean Meets The Sky,” that will feature behind-the-scenes footage and videos for all of the songs from Communion.

The band is often categorized as a psychedelic band and though that subgenre of rock is an ingredient in Cricketbows’ musical recipe. Communion finds the band climbing out of the psych tunnel and into a more refined style of rural indie rock that borrows equally from ’60s and ’70s inspirations like The Beatles, The Byrds, Little Feat, The Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac and The Grateful Dead, as well as ’80s and ’90s college radio and indie stalwarts like R.E.M., The Replacements, X, Uncle Tupelo and Lollapalooza generation giants like Jane’s Addiction, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and the band’s hometown heroes, Guided By Voices and The Breeders.

Cricketbows’ Communion will be available September 8 on CD, digital and streaming formats via Mosquito Hawk Exquisite Records. Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering “Summer Festival Sky,” a meandering mid-tempo rocker, which prominently features the vocals of Cricketbows’ Aarika Watson and brings to mind legends like Grace Slick. Watson had this to say about the song.

“She is my favorite song to sing. This song tells a story about Summertime romance, heartbreak and true friendship. She truly embodies those nostalgic memories from my youth that seemed so dramatic and experimental at the time but now are some of my greatest memories.”

(Visit Cricketbows here:

website: http://www.cricketbows.com

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cricketbows)

Cricketbows
Cricketbows

Dayton’s psychedelically-tinged songsters Cricketbows will release Diamonds, the fourthcollection to bear the band’s name, but the first release to feature the full live band on June 19 via Mosquito Hawk Exquisite Recordings. With the new band came a shift toward a more cohesive, classic rock sound brought to life by vocalist/guitarist Chad Wells, female co-lead vocalist, flutist and multi-Instrumentalist Aarika Watson, lead guitarist Michael Bisig, bassist Christopher Corn and drummer Jim Ingram.

Diamonds, produced and engineered by Brian Olive, is Cricketbow’s most cohesive and linear work.  With a stronger focus on song structure, composition, guitar and vocal interplay and a return to a natural sound inspired by their predecessors, the album is pure Cricketbows, but also brings to mind the parts of Jefferson Airplane, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Fleetwood Mac, X, early Jane’s Addiction, Nirvana, Mother Love Bone and sits nicely alongside modern-era psych-centric acts like Black Mountain, Sleepy Sun, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Buffalo Killers and The Black Keys.

Diamonds isn’t a concept album but it’s a conceptual album. It talks about duality, non-duality, alchemy, psychology, psychopharmacology, metaphysics and growing up in Ohio in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Real guitars and drums and real live vocal performances, played by real people with real emotion on real instruments into a real reel to reel tape machine.

Today Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing their cover of The Rolling Stones controversial classic “Sympathy For The Devil,” which is appropriate as The Rolling Stones are on tour right now. The cover is an epic reimagining of the classic Stones tune, which you can enjoy below:

(Visit Cricketbows here: http://www.cricketbows.com/.)

Cricketbows
Cricketbows

Earlier this year, Dayton, Ohio’s Cricketbows completed their latest LP, Diamonds, which is scheduled for release in 2015. The album was recorded in the spring of 2014 at The Diamonds in Cincinnati, Ohio, and produced by Grammy-winning producer Brian Olive (formerly of Soledad Brothers and The Greenhornes). It was mastered by Dave Davis.

Diamonds is the first Cricketbows album to feature a full band, consisting of Chad Wells (vocals, guitar), Aarika Watson (vocals, flute), Michael Bisig (guitar, backing vocals), Christopher Corn (bass, backing vocals), and Jim Ingram (drums). It showcases a psychedellic, classic rock-leaning band who is at the top of their game. Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Wells (also of horror punk band The Jackalopes) to discuss some of the 2014 release that showed other bands at the top of their game.

10. Eyehategod – Eyehategod

This doesn’t need much of a statement as to why this album ruled other than to state the fact that I’m amazed that we got a new Eyehategod album in 2015 and if you don’t understand that, you don’t understand Eyehategod. First new album from this 20 something year old band in 14 years. Always essential. Dark and heavy.

9. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata

Tom G. Warrior still plays dark as fuck metal. Still says “UGGH!!” just at the right moment and makes me want to shake my hair really hard. For fans of Celtic Frost.

8. First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

These girls hypnotize me. Voices so lush and harmonious and real. Great lyrics. Great playing. A perfect modern folk record.

7. Sleepy Sun – Maui Tears

Saw the band live on this tour with Buffalo Killers (more about them a little higher up the list). These guys are the purest, distilled psychedelic rock. Think Jane’s Addiction without the drag fixation filtered through early (very early) Soundgarden. Drone rock that sways. These guys kill every time.

6. Neil Young – A Letter Home

Impressive, super personal collection of songs from Father Neil. As stripped down as you can get and still be playing stringed instruments. Recorded in a booth in Jack White’s record shop. A postcard from a legendary voice.

5. Brian Olive – The Move EP

Brian Olive, solo artist, former member of The Greenhornes and Soledad Brothers delivers the groove. Sounds like it was recorded in the middle of the first wave of Motown with members of The Kinks and The Beach Boys jamming with members of Ray Charles and James Brown’s groups and then sent via psychic energy to a midwestern multi-instrumentalist who is stranded here in our current time and space. Brian produced my band Cricketbows’ new album that will someday see the light of day (aiming for 2015) and he’s one of the most down to Earth cool cats in the world. A nice handful of minutes that’ll make your head bob.

4. Cricketbows – A Congregation of One

And now, from the “then I played my own shit, it went something like this” folder… Since our aforementioned, Brian Olive produced album isn’t available to the public yet, I’ll have to go with this digital only Bandcamp release from my own band Cricketbows. It’s a collection of the best stuff from the first three albums (referred to as “The Original Trilogy”). Congregation Features myself and a little help from Andy Gabbard (Buffalo Killers) and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck) on a few tracks each.

3. Buffalo Killers – Heavy Reverie

Buffalo Killers first album of 2014 – full of insanely well crafted songs. There’s not a clunker on the whole damn platter. I put these guys up there with The Beatles, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, James Gang, Big Star and Nirvana… They get lumped in as retro revivalists but this album kicks that idea squarely in the nuts. They’re not pretending to be a “classic rock” band, they just are a classic band.

2. Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Phosphorescent Harvest

Where else can you get tumbleweed guitar boogie laced with weird and otherworldly keys and words from one of rock’s finest mouths? In the freak fold that is the CRB, that’s where. Carrying a torch that is all at once Grateful Dead and Traffic, Delaney and Bonnie, Cream, Flying Burritos and The Grease Band. These guys get onstage with no bullshit – no pretense – nuthin’ fancy – and they play their asses off. These guys will pluck you up from your workaday world and drop you in the emerald triangle where you’ll await teleportation to some peyote soaked landscape that could be Joshua Tree or Mars and back out through the cosmic birth hatch into a world of fractals and far out sound. All day long, freak flags flying free!!

1. Buffalo Killers – Fireball of Sulk

When I was asked to create the artwork for this album I though Zach said “Fireball of Suck” and this record is anything but that. BuffKillsBros flex their muscles on this one and almost dig up some Zeppelin bones – like Sabbath with (a way more apparent) Beatles fetish filtered through Husker Du jamming with Blue Cheer. But way better than all of those comparisons. Go get some!!!

(Visit Cricketbows here: http://www.cricketbows.com/.)

Cricketbows (Photo by Randy Jennings)
Cricketbows (Photo by Randy Jennings)

Dayton, Ohio’s Cricketbows recently completed their latest LP, Diamonds, which is scheduled for release this fall. The album was recorded in the spring of 2014 at The Diamonds in Cincinnati, Ohio, and produced by Grammy-winning producer Brian Olive (formerly of Soledad Brothers and The Greenhornes). It was mastered by Dave Davis.

“Brian Olive was an amazing guy to work with,” said Cricketbows vocalist/guitarist Chad Wells “He didn’t try to push us to be something that we’re not and whenever we’d start to glide into a direction that felt insincere, he’d pull us back. He was more interested in getting a great, truthful performance out of us – warts and all – than trying to polish us or do a bunch of takes to achieve some manufactured perfection.”

They recorded to tape using vintage processing and analog equipment and was recorded live mostly in one or two takes per song in only two sessions. Drummer Jim Ingram had this to say about the process:

“Working analog gives the takes a rich and earthy feel. I’ve done digital and analog recordings in the past. The mood, the feel, the entire oeuvre is different. The down side is having this valuable roll of tape that you want to leave as clean and unscathed as possible. So the pressure is raised a bit in terms of nailing things in as few takes as possible. With digital, you just erase and it never happened, and all you wasted was time and sweat. Analog is a good format for this band, though I’d never rule anything else out.”

Diamonds is the first Cricketbows album to feature a full band. The band consists of Wells, Aarika Watson (vocals, flute), Michael Bisig (guitar, backing vocals), Christopher Corn (bass, backing vocals), and Ingram.

Diamonds has a more cohesive feel than previous Cricketbows releases and eschews some of the obvious trappings of ‘psychedelic rock’ by focusing first on songwriting and vocal interplay and by stripping most of the heavy layers of effects and processing – giving the recording a timeless sound that blends, folk, psychedelic, Americana and classic rock influences in a fashion that is epic and open but also very personal and introspective,” Wells said.

Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing a mini-doc/teaser produced by the band, and featuring their track, “Charcoal.” Enjoy:

HEAD
HEAD

Dayton, Ohio mind warpers Cricketbows contacted Ghettoblaster last week to announce that they’ve released two brand new songs for free via Captain SIB (Scotland) and Power Popaholic (USA).  While we were chatting we asked frontman Chad Wells about his favorite record.  On this particular day it was The Monkees HEAD.  This is what he said about it.

What is your favorite album?

That is a terrifically hard question to answer!! I might give a different answer everyday of the week – I know two of my common answers are The Beatles White Album and Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti – they’ve both been there for me since childhood – never tire of either and they’re both so stacked with different musical genres and vibes that you get a real goulash of sounds while still maintaining each band’s signature sound. But that’s not how I feel today. Today I feel like a little HEAD… One of the vastly underrated albums of the 1960’s it was The Monkees swan song, their career suicide and the soundtrack to the Jack Nicholson directed mindfuck that was their super cult like, major motion picture.

Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?

My mom was a massive Monkees fan and owned the album. It’s cover is very simple – It’s a silver mirror that when you hold it in front of your face shows you a trippy, wiggly, reflection of your own head so it really struck me as something different and special. I think I remember first listening to it when I was maybe 3 years old and it blew my mind even then. It contains some of the greatest pop psychedelic songs ever written and weird samples and sound effects from the film.

What is your favorite song on the album?

Another terribly hard question to answer. Every song on the album could be my favorite on any given day but I have to say that I think it is the Micky Dolenz voiced psychedelic, cinematic, epic song “The Porpoise Song” written by Carole King.

What is it about the song that resonates with you?

It’s otherworldly and beautiful. Mick’s voice is very feminine and soft on the track and the whole song has a quality that makes you feel like you’re flying. I feel all at once safe, warm, sad and happy when I hear it.

Have you ever covered a song from the album?

Cricketbows cover “Porpoise Song” and I used to try to play “Circle Sky” in my high school band, C.O.H.

What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?

It’s unlike anything from that time and it stands up as a single piece of work. Their other records were generally collections of singles. After their first two albums, which were produced, written and recorded with very little input from the guys, they wrestled creative control away from the record company and TV producers and they created the excellent album Headquarters, which stands up nicely on its own and gives us a bit of foreshadowing on what would come a couple years later with HEAD.  But then they slipped back into writing and recording singles oriented albums. HEAD is a masterpiece on the level of Sgt. Peppers and Pet Sounds.

Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone? What were the circumstances?

I have never gifted that record to anyone – however I took my wife’s copy along when she and I met Micky Dolenz and had it signed for her. The Monkees were something that drew us to each other and cemented our love for one another – about 25 years ago and I tattooed a guy who worked as a sound and lighting engineer at a casino where Micky was performing. I had gifted him a special tattoo to remember his mother and he gifted me VIP backstage passes and front row seats for Micky’s show!

Which of the records that you’ve performed on is your favorite?

I’m really proud of the work I’ve done in all the bands I’ve been involved in – whether producing or performing but I’d have to say my favorite recorded work is the last Cricketbows record LID and the cover of that record is a nod to The Monkees HEAD cover actually. I really felt like my songwriting hit a peak with that one and I was fortunate to be able to have one of my favorite singer/songwriter/guitar players, Andy Gabbard of Buffalo Killers, play and sing a bit on that album.

What is your favorite song on the album and why?

“A Song For the Raggedy Hillside”. I think I’m most proud of that one because it was a giant step outside of my comfort zone and was very personal and autobiographical… AND I used strings on it!

(Get the new single from Cricketbows for free here:

All The Way Down b/w Raised On Rock And Roll Digital 7″, by Cricketbows

powerpopaholicproductions.bandcamp.com)

Lid

In 2010, Chad Wells experienced a spiritual awakening while awaiting the birth of his second child. The result was his dynamic first album recorded under the Cricketbows moniker. The aural excursions executed on Home defied genre classification and illuminated psychedelic, Americana, folk, country and a variety of other sonic touchstones as influences. The very next year, Wells enlisted the help of Jellyfish and Beck keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. for a handful of tracks on sophomore effort Mycocosmic Transmission.

With two significant mind-benders under his belt, Wells again defies expectations for his output with his forthcoming LP, a record that owes significant debts to Roky Erickson and Syd Barrett, and delivers Krautrock-esque epics that are a far cry from the horror movie-inspired, four-chord bangers from his previous band, The Jackalopes. For Lid, Wells assembled an intimate cast of collaborators, including Andy Gabbard from Buffalo Killers and daughter Presley Jayne, to create a collection of songs that are hell bent on redefining the Cricketbows sound.  This is what he told Ghettoblaster about it…

When did you begin writing the material for your most recent album?

The writing for Lid began immediately, just after the last album (Mycocosmic Transmission, released 11/11/11) was released. This material came together really quickly over the last year and was recorded as it developed. Initially the Cricketbows project was all about being improvisational and had a fully stream of consciousness approach and there’s a bit of that here but for the most part I wanted to capture something very specific and so writing it all down and focusing the process was key for this album.

What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?

The song “Exodus from Orion” was probably the song that came the least naturally. I had very specific vision that I wanted to capture this sort of Zechariah Sitchin, “Ancient Aliens” kind of story all in the shape of this one song. Anyone who’s followed any of these theories and ideas knows that there’s a lot to it so I had to kind of distill the idea quite a bit. Also the music didn’t come very naturally. The last album got a lot of comparisons to the early prog movement – Amon Duul, Can, Yes, early Genesis and bands like that – which was fabulous, as I love that kind of stuff – however that’s not really the kind of player I am. I felt as though I had to try to actually live up to that vibe a bit and this was my attempt at a more structured, technical, progressive song. I think I actually landed closer to my ‘90s influences on it though. Kind of a Jane’s Addiction meets Tribe After Tribe with a sci-fi feel.

Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?

“Sugarcube Cubensis.” The original improv that led to this song had a very Pixies kind of vibe. It was very bass driven with textural guitars. It sort of landed somewhere nearer to a hybrid of ‘80s “Paisley Underground” and “Madchester” sounds. It feels a bit like a sort of male fronted Bangles meets Happy Mondays thing or something, I think.

Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?

Andy Gabbard from Buffalo Killers sings some fantastic back up harmonies and plays guitar on the first three songs on the album and my daughter, Presley Jayne plays maracas on “Sugarcube Cubensis”. I was so honored to get Andy to play on the record and so lucky that such a talented guy lives right here in our little town. I’ve been a fan of what he and his brother Zach have been doing since they were in Thee Shams and had mutual friends so I called Andy up and offered to give him a tattoo if he’d come play on the record. He and his lovely wife came and hung out at my private tattoo studio and he put down tracks in single takes sitting right in the lobby of the studio and then he got a cool little dead buffalo tattooed on his forearm afterward. He got to be the first person to record music in the tattoo studio and I got to be the first person to tattoo him!

Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

I produced it myself. My good friend Mike Day (The Stoics, Your Favorite Assassin, Floodgate Mission) has mastered every one of the albums. He and I have been collaborating on music in some form or another for around 20 years and though he hasn’t had any creative input in this project, he’s been an indispensable sounding board and cheerleader.

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

The whole Cricketbows thing in general is from a psychedelic, transcendental sort of perspective. It’s also about positivity. I spent a lot of time in my formative years in very aggressive bands who often dealt with a lot of angry and dark subject matter and though I had inner aggressions to work out at the end of the day that’s not what’s in my heart. Also, in my search to understand my own mind and all those secrets of the Universe, I’ve done a fair amount of experimentation with psychedelic substances. After a series of very heavy, sort of Earth shattering, experiences in these altered states I kind of came out of a cocoon in a way. These Cricketbows songs are kind of my way of dealing with and putting some order to some things that really sort of blew my mind. So, there’s not a very obvious concept but there is a personal awakening sort of theme that stretches across all three albums.

Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?

Cricketbows started life as just a recording project and the further along I got with it the less I could see myself going back to playing in some aggressive punk band or something like that. The albums, thus far, are me playing the lion’s share of the instruments and vocals with the exception of Andy Gabbard on this one and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. of Jellyfish (currently playing with Beck) on the last one. I’ve had a few failed starts at getting a group of people together to play the stuff due to people’s personal lives getting in the way of the music as well as just trying to get people who can take what I’ve done and honor the vision of what I’ve done but still be able to make it their own enough for it to feel organic.

So I have finally put together a phenomenal group of folks who will be helping me bring the thing to life. We haven’t put the thing on a stage yet but plan to make up for that lost time in the very near future. We’re all chomping at the bit to get the songs in front of people and see how they react. For us as a band in the rehearsal room the more driving, straight forward tunes tend to be the most fun to play but in the moments where we lock down on the droney weird stuff is where the real goosebumps occur. Friends and fans that we’ve garnered just from the recordings all have very different reactions to things and we’re really trying to stretch ourselves beyond being a band with an obvious niche or approach so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays to a bar crowd.

Cricketbows

Daytonian Chad Wells, who was at one time the frontman on Misfits-inspired punk band the Jackalopes, released Home under the moniker Cricketbows in 2010 completely defying expectations for his output.  The homegrown psych-rock owes significant debts to Roky Erickson and Syd Barrett, and delivers Krautrock-esque epics that are a fry cry from horror movie inspired, four chord bangers.  For his forthcoming full-length, Lid, Wells assembled an intimate cast of collaborators, including Andy Gabbard from Buffalo Killers and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. of Jellyfish, to create a collection of songs sure to flip the script again.

Ghettoblaster asked Wells what his favorite albums of 2012 were.  Here are the albums he kept in rotation this year.

1. Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Big Moon Ritual

I’ve always been a fan of The Black Crowes but after a massive psychedelic awakening at The Ryman in Nashville on their last tour my wife and I spent a year listening to nothing but the Crowes and a handful of their offshoot bands. This one is Chris flexing his Grateful Dead muscle in his very own special way. The track “Rosalee” alone is worth the cost of this fantastic slab of wax.

2. Buffalo Killers – Dig, Sow, Love, Grow

The brothers Gabbard do it again. If there’s anyone that carries the torch that was lit by The Beatles and their contemporaries to this very day without any silly posing or bullshit it’s these bearded Ohioans. The Dayton/Cincy corridor is damned lucky to have these fellows living in it’s pollen filled valleys.

3. Motel Beds – Dumb Gold

More Ohio love. These guys make it look and sound so easy. This is in regular rotation in my tattoo station and gets a load of compliments. Somewhere between Buddy Holly, The Beatles and The Breeders with enough snarky Ohio charm to make the most jaded listener smile.

4. Black Mountain – Year Zero Soundtrack

Black Mountain as the acid drenched soundtrack for a post apocalyptic surf movie? Yes please. All fucking day.

5. Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

We all know the stories about the Zeps selling their souls to Beelzebub for the magical power to turn blues based stompers into alchemical musical gold. It’s all true. Their combined mojo cannot be ignored. Old guys still got it.

6. Jellyfish – Bellybutton (reissue)

Oft ignored because of the Partridge Family cum Brady Bunch schtickiness – this is one of the finest albums of all time. As players and writers the Jellyfishes sit easily in the realm of Sirs Elton John and Paul McCartney. This one’s been a nonstop part of my audio pleasure center since the week it came out in 1990 and a re-release on 180 gram vinyl was long overdue. Not to mention the fact that keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. was kind enough to play on the last Cricketbows record.

7. Sabbath Assembly – Restored to One

Jex Thoth brings the Process Church of the Final Judgement’s 1960’s religious cult songbook to life… and death!

8. Redd Kross – Researching the Blues

Whether they’re playing punk rock, 70’s bellbottom arena rock or bubblegum pop the McDonald brothers give so much heart and soul that you can never count them out. These guys have been putting fantastic records, tapes and CD’s in my players since I was a little kid (and so were they).

9. KISS – The Casablanca Singles 29 7″ Vinyl Collection

I have portraits of Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons tattooed on the backs of my hands so, of course KISS are going to make it into my top 10 list for 2012. Luckily they released this AMAZING box set of their early singles so I didn’t even have to consider putting “Monster” on here. These singles take me straight back to the bosom of my youth. I can almost feel the heat from my Uncle Keith’s black light and the smell of my Mom’s reefer burning in the next room.

10. The Magnetic Fields – Love at the Bottom of the Sea

Stephin Merritt is one of those songwriters that can somehow capture the deepest melancholy and make you giggle at the same time. Wordplay that is all at once personal diary, gay bar poetry and cultural skewer. Like Cole Porter, Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Cohen and Donna Summer had a baby and gave it up for adoption to a family of chain smoking college radio DJ’s – and if you think that’s a bad thing, it’s not.

(For more on Cricketbows, visit here: http://www.facebook.com/cricketbows?fref=ts.)