23Jun/16

The Eagle Has Landed – Avatar

AVATAR_PRESS“Yeah, we agree, there are so many bands coming from Sweden, ever since Abba, you know.” – Henrik Sandelin, bassist Avatar

By Carl C. Sundberg

Avatar is the kind of band you just have to see and hear to fully appreciate. And even after seeing or hearing them, it takes some time to process what you just saw or heard. Imagine The Crow fronting a quintet of ancient Swedish nationalists and you’re close. Well, not even close.

To be perfectly honest, trying to pin a description to this band does it more injustice than simply saying, “You’ve got to check this band out.”

And many people are. Avatar’s popularity is right on the cusp of glory. They’re currently touring the world, hitting many of the major festivals, including Rock on the Range, where RadioContraband caught up with them for a quick interview. Their latest single, “The Eagle Has Landed” from their sixth full length album, “Feathers & Flesh” is in the top 20 on the Mediabase Active Rock Charts, being played on rock stations all over the country. (more…)

09Jun/16

Hellyeah Leaves the Party Behind to Get Down and Dirty on Their New Album “Unden!able”

Hellyeah“Now, no, it’s full on…you know musically, I want to go in to a gun fight with a fucking razor blade and win. And with Chad [Grey, vocalist] it was time for him to be Chad. ‘Who are you? There’s a lot of fucked up shit in that head of yours. Let it out’.” -Tom Maxwell, guitarist/co-founder Hellyeah

By Carl C. Sundberg

There was a time when the band Hellyeah, the supergroup of sorts featuring Vinnie Paul, drummer of Pantera and Damageplan and Chad Grey, vocalist of Mudvayne, conjured up visions of partying, getting tore up on a Saturday night, getting a little ass, a little alcohol, a little weed, hell, maybe a fight, who knows. Basic “Hell Yeah!” Behavior.

But what happens when a band sheds that good times mentality and goes a little deeper, a little darker? You get one of the most powerful albums of the band’s career. For Hellyeah that’s just what went down on their latest release, “Unden!able”. The album features, in addition to some of the most powerful songs the band has ever written, a cover of Phil Collin’s “I Don’t Care Anymore” that also happens to have the guitar work of Vinnie Paul’s brother – the late, great “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. (more…)

27May/16

The Ascent of Red Sun Rising

rsrlive“You know, it’s always better when you’re growing as a band and you’re seeing success. We’re still in it though.” – Ryan Williams, guitarist Red Sun Rising

By Carl C. Sundberg

When Red Sun Rising hit the stage at Rock on the Range 2016, the crowd was already seething and surging forward to the stage. Throughout the performance, the crowd swayed and sang along, pumped their fists, packing tighter and tighter, and some fans took crowd surfing to the next level, with a young lady literally standing on a shirtless guy, as if he were an actual surfboard, cruising over the top of the crowd toward the stage. Red Sun Rising’s live show is wild, reckless and full of passion. (more…)

12May/16

From the Darkness to the Light with Stitched Up Heart

SUH-1-15“The music takes you from a dark place to a more positive uplifting atmosphere. I would suggest the best setting for the record to listen to for the first time would be riding along the coast on a motorcycle with the wind through your hair.” – Mixi, Stitched Up Heart

By Carl C. Sundberg

Sometimes life can get you down. Sometimes things simply fall apart. The lessons that come from collapse are the lessons you take with you into the future and you can either let them dominate and destroy you or you can learn from them and start again, stronger and wiser. Stitched Up Heart, the hard-working, hard-rocking California metal band took the second path. In fact, that is how their story begins. (more…)

28Apr/16

The Dirty But Not Unclean Grooves of Holy White Hounds

HWH-Photo-1-Lindsey-Brynes-smaller-size-980x654We’re dirty but we’re not unclean. We’re mangy, but you’d still let us sleep in your bed.” -Brenton Dean, Holy White Hounds

By Carl C. Sundberg

Holy White Hounds are one of those bands you might want to look into now. If they were a stock, you’d invest. So many bands come out and get tagged with the “buzz-worthy” label, but this time…this time it’s different. Holy White Hounds deserve it. Their feral name best described in their bio by singer and guitarist Brenton Dean: “We’re dirty but we’re not unclean. We’re mangy, but you’d still let us sleep in your bed.” With their unique look, their peculiar vibe and infectious grooves, the quartet from Iowa are about to launch into the stratosphere of the rock world like a magnificent laser beam of glory. Why? Songwriting! Take a listen to their wild, quirky single, “Switchblade” from their upcoming debut album, “Sparkle Sparkle”, which has whiffs of Beck, the swagger of Beastie Boys, the fuzzy punk thunder of Queens of the Stone Age and an epic guitar solo that would turn Jimmy Page’s head. And that’s just one song. Every other song is completely different, utterly surprising, refreshing and fun and just as hard to explain. And every single song even more infectious as the last. (more…)

14Apr/16

The Gritty Thunder and Whiskey Howls of Hounds of Jezebel

Hounds+Of+Jezebel“Sometimes what happens in Vegas, makes it’s way the internet.” -John Curry, Hounds of Jezebel

By Carl C. Sundberg

When The Hounds of Jezebel get the party started, they get the party started right.

As the Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas began to fill for the Awards Ceremony on the final night of the 2016 RadioContraband Convention, something unimaginable to any other awards show was about to happen. A song was about to be played. We’re not talking some auto-tuned diva in a ball gown, no princess chart-topper squeezing out some putrid glitter hit to a bunch of suits checking their smart phones.

No. This was not how the night would proceed.

This night was for rock. And the song, well it was a song so vulgar, so off the charts profane, that it could never be played on the radio without heavy editing and near constant beeps. It was raw. Fast. Loud. And no one was prepared for it. (more…)

31Mar/16

A Spider in the Dark – Bobaflex

bobaflex“I lost my innocence, but I found the truth.” – Bobaflex

By Carl C. Sundberg

Bobaflex is not the type of band that takes it easy. With six full length albums – seven total – and relentless tour schedules that keeps them on the road more often than not, Bobaflex believes in the power of blood, sweat and tears. Formed in 1998 by brothers and guitarist/vocalists Shaun and Marty McCoy, the band is celebrating their 15th anniversary this year. For many bands, these acts alone are a feat. But the McCoy brothers come from a legacy of family honor and strength with ancestral ties to the most infamous family feud in American history between the Hatfield and McCoy families.

The notion of conflict, struggle and fury that fueled that feud remains pumping strong, generations later, in the blood of the McCoy brothers. This is also very clear in Bobaflex’s music and album artwork. Take their latest album, “Anything That Moves” their seventh release, for example. In addition to powerhouse songs that were recorded with no auto tune, no tricks and mostly live, it features an album cover of the sexiest post-apocalyptic world since “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Complete with a scantily-clad female warrior standing in the ruins of a devastated American capitol, holding a couple of wild weapons of mass destruction in each hand, it doesn’t get much more aggressive.
(more…)

10Mar/16

It’s Time to Get Weird – Sunflower Dead

sunflowerdead“It’s Time to Get Weird” – Sunflower Dead

By Carl C. Sundberg

Take everything you know about the typical rock tale and throw it away. It’s time to get weird.

We’re talking accordions and face paint. We’re talking zombie clowns. We’re talking dark, bizarre fantasy worlds. We’re talking car crashes with rich, wasted Vegas strippers. We’re talking golden showers in hotel hallways. We’re talking Jonathon Davis of Korn. We’re talking about Sunflower Dead, a band you will not forget any time soon.

(more…)

13Oct/15

Separations

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.29.44 AMStanding out from the pack isn’t always easy. However, it’s essential for some, and from the beginning, Separations’ desire has been to blaze their own trail.

The Atlanta quintet strikes a delicate balance between energetic heaviness and melodic hypnosis on its full-length debut album for Imagen Records, ‘Dream Eater,’ set to be released October 2, 2015, and produced by James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Hands Like Houses, Dashboard Confessional). (more…)

22Jun/15

“We could learn a lot from the squatch”: Interview with Shaman’s Harvest at Rocklahoma 2015

9770160_origBy Zoe Adler/music journalist, editor of TeenView Music

Hailing from Jefferson City, Missouri, Shaman’s Harvest returned from a three-year hiatus with Smokin’ Hearts and Broken Guns, released in September of 2014.

Their music fantastically combines rock with country and blues nuances, creating a distinct sound carried by the killer vocals of Nathan Hunt, whose voice varies from intense growls to clear, full-throated melodies within a matter of seconds. (more…)