Buster Blue: Sleep Less Where the Heart Is

Favorite Songs: Intruders, Visions of Laredo, Sleeplessness, Take Montanta With You, Good Old Days

Social Media: bandcamp, Facebook, Reverbnation

Buster Blue is bittersweet and serene. Their album, Sleep Less Where the Heart Is has a great combination of light vocals with a slight raspy sound to it with folk and country undertones. I’m not sure of the members names as the description simply lists them as, “the goombas,” but the album has piano, cello, violin, backing vocals, drums,

Each of their songs have their own unique quality to them, despite being folk. For instance, the song, Hallucinations in C# minor, has a baroque feel to it, with a nice addition of piano that’s almost like a slow and eerie ragtime. It has a similarity to the music of Tom Waits. The violins and Cello add much tranquility to the tail end of the song, Sleeplessness. There are also brief songs like Take Montana with you that has some quirky lyrics to it like, “cover me in kerosene and I will always keep a light for the people and what they like to burn.”

One of their most yearning songs, Good Old Days has a quaint nostalgic feel as the singer talks about how time is slowing ticking away and how he’s been afraid to dance with a girl that he’s been wanting to for years. The song is accompanied by a sentimental sounding violin and a banjo that plucks away in the reminiscing.

Leave me in Coeur D’Alene is more orchestrated with clarinets and drums that build and crescendo. The album ends with a piano ballad in which the singer reminisces on an old house as he narrates moving away from it. The song is a good closer to this very peaceful album.

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.

Plastic Caves: Plastic Caves

Social Media: bandcamp, facebook, soundcloud

Favorite Tracks: Dispossessed, Suicide Floor, Violent Dreams, Lost Souls, Thirteen Years, No Life No Mind

Plastic Caves is a dark and fast paced band that has a lot of great wailing guitar noises and shouting vocals. It’s all very audible however as the band channels other Post Hardcore music such as Unwound and Black Eyes with a hint of post punk music like Joy Division. They personally describe their sound as punk garage, spookiness, punk pirate, and stoner rock. The band is fronted by John Ludwick on Guitar and Vocals, Shandra Rivera on Bass, and Darren Barnes on drums.

The songs have allusions to religion like in the first song, Thirteen Years talks about spending thirteen years in the rapture, which is the point of religion where God destroys the earth and carries his children to Heaven while the sinners and nay-sayers are banished. Following the damning trend of Thirteen Years is Dispossessed, with lyrics like, “burning the fires of the dispossessed, you’re thoughtless, mindless.” Other songs are more eerie with the feeling of being trapped underwater or in a thick layer of fog, like in the song, Suicide Floor.

This album has the feel of being trapped in a limbo like Silent Hill where the walls have eyes and the fires are relentless. The guitar has some powerful flange effects near the end of the song, Lost Souls, with some sick feels by the drummer. The steady bass, guitar shrills, and drum rolls all play a key part to making this album into beautiful nightmare music.

 

Bat Country: All Talk

Social Media: bandcamp, Facebook, soundcloud,

Favorite Songs: Contradictions, Marathon, Mac Dre, Oakland, Two Long Years, Vandalove

Bat Country has been around for a couple of years now. It is comprised of former Don’t Panic Members Shane Heimesinger/guitarist Shane Heimerdinger on guitar and vocals, Patrick Kelley on Ukelele, Mandolin, and Banjo, Jared on acoustic bass and trumpet whose last name I’m not familiar with. Other members include Jace on lead guitar and production and Cactus Head on drums.

This album has the peacefulness and elegance of folk music, but the gritty and abrasive undertones of post hardcore punk. In his songwriting, Shane channels the music of his hero, Pat the Bunny of Ramshackle Glory and Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains fame as well as Andrew Jackson Jihad. Bat Country even debuted this album while opening for Andrew Jackson Jihad in a show.

The songs tend to be about a dissatisfaction with the state of things whether it be loneliness in Tribute To Traina or the opposite in Contradictions, living in Reno with the song Oakland, uncertainty of self worth in the song Two Long Years, and attention whores in the song free hugs. It’s a unapologetic personal album that’s great for locals with mentions of smoking weed down by Wingfield Park and other places and instances that may seem familiar to the inhabitants of this town.

All the songs are composed well with Patrick adding nice fills on banjo, ukulele, and Mandolin, and Jared and Cactus Head providing a folk rhythm section that isn’t too heavy handed to drown out the lyrics and giving this album a full sound.

On the whole, this album reminds me of people’s attitudes toward living in Reno. Sure, it may be a let down, but its a let down we’re proud to call our own.

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.

Handsome Vultures: Scraps EP

Social Media: bandcamp, facebook, Reverbnation, Tumblr

Favorite songs: All of them.

Handsome Vultures was the perfect combination of all the trending genres that have appeared in Reno thus far. Their sound combined the ferocity of punk and metal music along with folk and rock. Under their artist page on bandcamp, they considered themselves death folk which sums up the strength of their sound pretty well.

There was a lot of talent going into the collaborative works of Handsome Vultures with a couple members coming from preceding bands in Reno. On this recording, the members consisted of Skye Evans of Last to Leave and Jeffrey Knight is the drummer of Six Mile Station. The other members are Chris Stehman and Fil Xeno of Xenophobes and Jason Ricketts who was in Buster Blue. Finally, there was Ally Reith was in Avian Orphans and Lauren Baker.

Each of their songs has its own uniqueness to it. “High Tide” starts fast and goes into a heavy half time break. It has pirate feel to it that makes you want to drink and flail around the concert house when you hear it. “Broken Record” sounds like a hangover song because too much partying commenced during “High Tide.” Its’ sloshy and groany but has some very peaceful banjo and violin accompaniments. Jeffrey Knight delivers a heavy crashing beat on “Ishua,” which ends with a pounding violin and mandolin outro. This is where the drinking starts again. The final song, “We Wait, We Drop,” is in reference to their band name as they describes themselves as vultures dropping to pick off the dead.

Handsome Vultures was a great band for people who enjoy the local band Actors Killed Lincoln or more popular bands like Tom Waits or Mountain Goats, which they have actually done covers of. Just be sure you aren’t a recovering alcoholic when you listen to them and you should be good.

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.