There are those that give up, end what they’re doing and either start something fresh & new or, sit on their proverbial laurels and simply wait to die. Doesn’t seem to be the case with Bongzilla, who called it quits back in 2009, only to find a new life back in 2015, reinventing itself, again… and again. After beginning anew striking out with new bass players filling an open slot, the band opted to continue as a trio, beginning with 2021’s Weedsconsin. Fortunately for the group, it worked. The band has just released its second full-length album as a trio, Dab City (Heavy Psych Sounds), another droning wonder. The psych rock stoner outfit drenches the album with a wide array of thick sludgy rhythms that are hypnotic. Sure it’s repetitive but the songs are far from being repetitious. Yeah, this is what you want from tracks like “American Pot,” “Cannonbong,” and “King Of Weed,” some clocking in at over 10 minutes. Sit back and just fucking enjoy.
RANCID – TOMORROW NEVER COMES
Hate. Some groups are born to receive it, some from conception and others through time and by just being who they are. There’s no balance, rhyme, or reason regarding it but for a lot of groups, they don’t always seem to get a fair shake. This is Rancid. Almost since the group’s inception, the band has received backlash with accusations of coopting a sound and style that mimicked others. True fans would disagree, as would I.
20 years after releasing its self-titled debut, the band returns with its 10th album, Tomorrow Never Comes (Epitaph Records), a frenetic shocker that rolls through from one track to the next at lightspeed. But what about the songs? Well, we find Rancid at its peak, shooting through these numbers with instruments attached to their hips as if they were born with them. Honestly, if this album was a repetitive version of the title track 10-times over, it would still be worth its weight in gold. It’s harsh, angry, and abrasive, filled with chaos. Instruments deliver singular notes and the band is in unison and fully in control. Fuck yes! “Devil In Disguise” comes with a warning as Rancid’s punk delivery lets the track be the mosh-pit rocker it was born to be. Yes, it is.
The band has capitalized on a formula but guess what, they do it better than most! There are 16 tracks here but one thing you may want is an additional 16. I myself was hoping for lengthier numbers but man, fuck it. Rancid lets the songs move of their own accord. Clocking in at less than a minute, “Don’t Make Me Do It” wraps up all the hate, love, anger, and peace into one swift motion. The band knows what it’s doing.
At this point in its career, Rancid has established itself with integrity and its capability to create mind-staggering songs that always have fans clamoring for more. Tomorrow Never Comes is that album that may make you nostalgic and have you listening to the band’s entire catalog again. That my friends is a beautiful thing.
BULLY – LUCKY FOR YOU
There are those artists that just don’t do it for you. Initially, it seems like you’re grasping for straws trying to find something you can sink your teeth in because well, everyone else seems to like them so there must be something there, right? Discerning tastes though are subjective, and a lot of people don’t always get it right. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense but eventually things do and there’s clarity at the end of the tunnel.
Bully, the brainchild of Alicia Bognanno, returns with its latest and fourth full-length release Lucky For You (Sub Pop) which follows 2020’s remarkable SUGAREGG. This time around, it seems Bully is taking a no-holds-barred approach which may just equate to a no-fucks given. Song structures are loose but confident, free but conforming together with technical prowess. Throughout the album, we see different sides of Bully and on “All I Do,” a rough vocal delivery with definitive pop inflictions, abrasive distortion, and a driving rhythm sets the tone. The band surprises with “Days Move Slow,” filled with dynamic shifts, cooing vocals, with guitars drenched in distortion. It’s a banger that slaps hard. The band switches off to “A Wonderful Life,” a dragging rocker with an evocative melody. Although it’s “Change Your Mind,” the bottom-end rocker with lyricism that has Bognanno searching for more. But it’s on “A Love Profound” where Bully moves at a mid-tempo as Bognanno waxes poetically about love. The deep-end fuzzed-out guitars storm throughout it. The band closes with “All This Noise,” which allows Bognanno to release all of the frustration she’s held onto, exhausted of all the political rhetoric spewed by all sides. It’s probably what tires us all.
Lucky For You is a change of pace for Bully. While 2017’s Losing was a disappointment, SUGGEREGG made me a believer. With the new album Bognanno and Bully delivers a loose affair, completely controlled, and full of energy. It doesn’t get any better than this!
FACTOR CHANDELIER – MOVING LIKE A PLANET
Consistency is key, it always is. That’s not always the only factor though. We move forward to find inspiration and motivation in many things but that alone is never enough. We also need discipline to do what we need to do. Without it, we’d probably stop in our tracks and live on couches and easy chairs.
Factor Chandelier never surprises anymore as fans always look forward to hearing something new that’s always going to be filled with intensity. Today the Canadian producer/musician/beatmaker follows up last year’s over-the-top Time Invested II releasing his fifteenth solo album, Moving Like A Planet (Fake Four Inc.). Factor also has over 40 collaborative full-length releases under his belt as well.
For Moving Like A Planet, Factor follows the approach he’s taken with some of his other releases, loading it with instrumentals and guest appearances. There are those Factor moments where the effects of his music are hypnotic with the capability of forcing listeners to lose themselves within a song, again and again. The opening title track circles around consistently, layered with keys, howling guitar notes, haunting vocals, and ethereal tones over straight-shot rhythms. It’s enticing but it’s “Spinning” that just might have you reeling, separated from reality, living within the confines of this majestic piece. It’s signed, sealed, & delivered with Factor Chandelier’s signature – those that know, just know – with a drum beat that slaps heavily while leaving room to catch a breath. If you’re like me, you’ll keep hitting that repeat button until it becomes your favorite track off the album.
If there’s something Factor Chandelier does is move directly against the grain and “Sky High,” featuring Ceschi, does exactly that. Both take the track into unknown territory, pouring concrete down to create new pathways. Ceschi’s odd melodies alongside Factor’s quirked-laden beat is a match made in heaven, and when Ceschi sings “Touched what I’ve never touched before/seen what I’ve never seen before” the song offers a sense of newness, foreshadowing a new road to travel. Ceschi waxes poetically painting his words on the Factor Chandelier’s musical canvas. With “Mothers,” Living Legends’ Eligh makes the song his own, or it could just be that both producer and rapper complement one another so much, there’s nary a discrepancy between the two. Two become one while always holding onto each one’s identity. The track is just a banger, Eligh offering the most of his vocal range with both verse & chorus. Factor does what he does and we see/hear how they both complement one another.
AJ Suede makes his mark on “Me and Mine.” His distinctive vocal delivery and cadence fit perfectly here on Factor’s laid-back composition that moves at a mid-tempo pace. Both are inviting as Suede hollers out Factor’s name allowing listeners to know it’s not just about him as he focuses his lyrics around his own accomplishments without need of braggadocio. This is the equivalent of being caught in a rainstorm but enjoying every moment of it.
Throughout Moving Like A Planet, Factor Chandelier finds those that can complement his musical style while also allowing instrumental tracks to manifest themselves into the grandiose epics that they actually are. Fans will be pleased with the release because it offers more than just one side of the artist himself.