Ghost Friends LTD: Acoustic Demos

Social Media: Facebook, bandcamp, soundcloud

Favorite Songs: Loser (demo), BUMMER (demo), Something About A Bear (demo), Back In Your Head (Demo (Cover)), Muscles the Ghost

Ghost Friends LTD have been around for almost a year now. They are a two piece comprised of Chris Monzon on guitar and vocals and Masie Allen on Drums and vocals. They do a lot of local shows around Reno at places like Holland Project. Their demo album are all acoustic (hence the name) while their live performances are accompanied by electric guitars with distortion effects and drums.

Although the songs are the same live as they are in the acoustic demos, the translation into electric music adds a ferocity to it while the acoustic demos are peaceful yet sullen. The listener may view the songs as a reflection of their own uncertainty. For example, on the song, Bummer, Chris sings about death being a bummer and how he is equally a bummer. Many times, our confidence lowers while our inhibitions get the better of us and we find ourselves making foolish mistakes. This is especially present in the opening lyrics to the lyrics to the track, “didn’t think I had the strength to dig my own grave.”

This album definitely has its happy moments like on the song Muscles the Holy Ghost. Before beginning the song, Chris and Masie are laughing together about narwhals and the song is very folky and sincere, talking about how you only need one important friend in your life. I look forward to future recordings from this band.


In A Dream I saw A City Invincible: Attacks of the Whole of the Rest of the Earth

Social Media: Facebook, bandcamp

Favorite Songs: Star of Mons, Injury at Epson Derby, For Sandi, Clowns Fucking, Hushka and Carison

What I admire about In A Dream I saw A City Invincible is their willingness to push the limits with all of the songs they deliver. They shed new light on Reno’s Local music scene with post rock influences from Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and Explosions in the Sky.

The band members are comprised of Josh Regalado and TJ Mertikas on guitars, Ray Mueller on Bass, and Quinton Bunk on drums. Ray also lives at Fort Ryland, which is a jam house that was culminated by the local indie and DIY scene.

The song, For Sandi is beckoning with the bliss and the radiance of June flowers that ascend like a vicious wind into their next song, Clowns Fucking. Don’t take the name of the song too seriously. It doesn’t sound too much like clowns fucking to me at least. It does have a bit of dreary tone that is also hauntingly soothing. Again, not clowns fucking.

Anyways.. their next song,  Hushka and Carison, is the kind of song that you would have to sway your hips to because of its casual edginess that makes you want to grind. Soon the overdrive guitar comes in to turn the notch of tensity up to 11.

Another instinctive flair to the album is all of their interlude songs, numbered I through IV and each of this interludes helps to settle the listener down after the climactic end of the previous track.

Rigorous Proof: Perspective

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, website, bandcamp, YouTube, Reverbnation, soundcloud

Favorite Tracks: All Time is Now, Perspective, Battles, Songs of Triumph, Going Home

So far Rigorous Proof have won the award for most social media sites and probably the most staying power of the bands I’ve reviewed so far during my time as a music reviewer. I don’t have trophies for them or anything, but it’s an honorable mention that doesnt come along very often. But that’s just like my opinion man. Anyways, now on to even more of what I think.

The album opens with the sound of raindrops and a guitar intro to the song, “All Time is Now,” setting the mood for the rest of the album. The second song, “Perspective” is very funky in it’s approach but the lyrics come across as a folk song telling the stories of people who are struggling in life, whether it be drug addiction or people who cannot get over their grievances with each other. The song is very reminiscent of the peace movement of the 1960’s with lyircs like, “we can’t get what we want or what we need
Until the power of love overcomes the power of greed and we learn how to see.” The song goes through a swirling metamorphosis into a 3/4 time signature between a solo and outro break that sound lush and deep.

There style ranges from alt rock, to psyhcedelic, to even more classic rock vibes like in the song “Going Home” which is reminscent of bands like The Who and Foghat. The song “Chameleon” has some awesome sounding synths in it’s chorus. “Battles” has a smooth drum beat over its somber tone, to wrap the album up nicely. The members are Johnny Bailey, Wesley Forster, Jesse Gaddis, and Adam Landis, but I do not know what they play, but I’ll be damned if they don’t know how to play their instruments well.

So far I have reviewed, 7 local bands in Reno, but there are probably hundreds of thousands of bands in the world that have gone unnoticed. Do you know any good bands outside of Reno worth reviewing that no one knows about? Let me know in the comments section or on facebook and I will write up a review of an album of theirs.

The Bonfire Set: On The Road

Social Media: YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud, Twitter, Instagram, Reverbnation, bandcamp

Favorite Tracks: Red Rose, Few Years, City Lights, Nuclear Love

The Bonfire band is eloquent alternative band from Reno. This debut album of theirs combines the soulful indie sparks you’d get from bands like ‘The Lumineers’ with heavy guitar riffs reminiscent of classic rock bands like ‘The Cars’ and and psychedelic bands like ‘The Guess Who.’ A good example of that would be on the song, “Nuclear Love” where they sing about that perfect moment between two lovebirds forever frozen in time where everything about their lives is explosive and perfect. The song ends with a kickass guitar solo. This album of theirs is loaded with plenty of those, which I absolutely love. Another great example of a song of theirs with a guitar solo packing heat would be “City Lights” which is packed with a grandiose amount of that early psychedelia flair with just a hint of pop. That’s not to say that their guitar riffs are all that is to be enjoyed by this band.

They have three lead singers, two male and one female that harmonize beautifully together. There are also two interchangeable lead guitarists, one acoustic guitarist, a bassist, a keyboardist, and a drummer. Altogether there are seven members and although I’m not sure who plays what, I can tell you that their names, which are are Jamil Apostol, Kirsten Crom, Casey Frasca, Luke Fuller, Denise Julian, Ryan Widmer, Patrick Zbella. Give them a listen and see what you think!

 What does everyone think of the blog so far? Let me know and share one of my blog posts on facebook if you like the local band I reviewed.

Up is the Down is the: Mantra

Social Media: Facebookbandcamp, soundcloud, Youtube

Favorite Tracks: Time Will Tell, Oh Me Oh My, Again and Again

“Up is the Down is the” is such an incomplete phrase to use as a band phrase, especially considering the resolving sound of their songs, but maybe it was intentional. I just desperately want to fill in the blanks with “sky” and “ground” to satisfy my OCD for complete sentences. By I digress, I think it’s kind of a catchy band name, and their music, even more so.

Andrew Martin is the artist at hand for his one man project. He describes his music as alternative indie, neo-soul, and experimental. He takes a minimal approach, however, to his album, “Mantra,” as solo artists usually do, accompanied by his loop station to have full control of his sounds. Many of the tracks coincide together like the instrumental “Pastiche,” followed by “Let it Go” which definitely reminiscent in experimental and progressive rock albums.

Nick Ramirez flipping off the camera while Andrew Martin smiles

His music also has jazz elements as present in “Ghost,” “Oh Me Oh My,” and “Unraveling.” There is even a bit of folk influence in these songs with the subtle guitar slides and walk down resolves. His sound is very peaceful with a sense of longing, and at some moments slightly eeriy as in his song, “Oh Me Oh My.”

Each song comes with a steady rhythm brought on by rim tapping on the drums. Martin also uses a loop station in order to maintain and play all the guitar parts himself. He would loop a basic progression and then play over it with his own airy and folk fills. He’s well paced musical aesthetic is great for setting the mood of coffee shop or quiet atmosphere. I look forward to Martin’s future releases.

Actors Killed Lincoln: The Land is Unfamiliar

Social Media: Facebook, YouTube, bandcamp

Favorite Songs: Back of a Turtle, Chewy Chewy, Jump the Gun, Head of John The Baptist, Poseidon

If I were to take a train ride along the upper west coast, I would probably include Actors killed Lincoln in my playlist. They’re folk music has a real western American vibe to it, which is very fitting for a Nevada band. Their cover art even has a picture of a mountain desertesque landscape.They credit their sound as being a mix (or a typhoon swell if you will) of folk, punk, rock, and gypsy. All of these elements are present in their full sound.

Their members are comprised of Alan Lyons on violin, his brother Daniel  on accordion, Jenkins Robinson on drums, Matthew Kaminski playing cello and bass, Zachary Rees playing horn and sax, and vocalist/guitarist Kent Irwin.

Many of their songs are reminiscent of anthems with a quick steady beat accompanied by with plenty of woah-oh-oh sounds from backing vocals. The violin cello constantly hammer away at notes by the virtuosic Lyons and Kaminski, often going between fast paced triplets or sixteenth notes. This is the kind of music that classics such as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” we’re built upon.

Irwin’s lyrics are often very visceral and profound, ranging from a tattered relationship where a couple constantly threatens each other with guns in the song, “Jump the Gun.” Other lyrics are very punky as in the song “Head of John the Baptist,” with lyrics like, “I saw god in the corner of the temple selling weed and eating poison apples, so I went to the king who was a real pastor and said how much will you pay me for the head of john the Baptist?” It is then followed by an explosive and climactic finish and screams from all of the band members before it’s finish. It only takes 1 minute and 57 seconds to deliver the intensity of the song before the big finish.

Each song on this record is brought forth by esteem and relentless energy from all of its members. I have had the opportunity to see these guys a couple of times and chose not to but I only wish I could’ve made it to one of their shows to see the amount of ferocity and stage presence that is encompassed in their tracks. They are an explosive American band, with their own punk applied taste to American music and are one of the many great bands in Reno that shouldn’t go by unnoticed.

Stabby Unicorn: Licking the Magic Castle

Social Media: facebook, bandcamp, twitter

Favorite Songs: Capacity, Camaro, I ❤ You Mr. Smith.

Stabby Unicorn is a really fun and unique band. They’re sound is reminiscent of the 1980’s with a sound the ranges from new wave to the more punky style known as dark wave. Bands that come to mind when listening to these guys include The New Order, Talking Heads, and The B-52’s. Stabby Unicorn is comprised of singer/guitarist Eric Foreman, his wife Daisy Foreman on drums, and their close friend Rhiannon Box, who plays keyboards and also provides vocals.

One of the great things about this band is that there sound can change dramatically from song to song. Some of their songs, like Brush the Face have a more somber tone, while other songs like Capacity are really upbeat and have that feel of surf punk. There song Camaro  starts off with some dark and wavy tones accompanied by Eric Foreman’s low pitched guitar wailing before he starts singing. The song is reminiscent of a couple that have a hard time communicating. “I don’t want to be on a different page. I don’t want to be the rage.” The drums then steadily increase as Eric Foreman’s guitar wailing because more sporadic and tantalizing.  Some of there other songs have a very familiar indie pop sound like “I ❤ You Mr. Smith” with fast and heavy guitar chords that sound like Arctic Monkeys or The Strokes.

Stabby Unicorn is definitely worth checking out if you get the chance!


Brendan Aguiar aka Reno’s Biggest Little Music Nerd