Six Mile Station: Audiobiography

Social Media: Website, facebook, reverbnation, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram

Favorite Tracks: Hey There Kid, Pray Like Hell, Nothing Better to Do, Visions of Eternity, Heavy, Gasoline

Six Mile Station is powerful bluegrass band here in Reno Nevada. There sound is rich with instrumentation and the embodiment of the working class America. No seriously, when listening to their music, I just want to grab a pick axe and start building a house with it. A pick axe may not be the right tool at the beginning stages, but once I get Six Mile Station’s new album into my walkman, I’ll know it feels right.

The band consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Spike McGuire, bassist and backing vocalist, Tyson Schroeder, multi-instrumentalist, John Underwood, and drummer Jeffrey Knight of Handsome Vultures notoriety. Their first album is very well produced with a wide variety of sounds thanks to John Underwood who plays the banjo, trumpet, trombone, and the 12 string guitar.

This album also contains an accordion on the track, “Dreamcatcher” which also contains a tangible 3/4 time signature. The song “Nothing Better To Do” also includes one of the most illustrious instruments known to man. I am of course talking about the singing saw! There are also chains rattling throughout the song and a vibraslap which sounds like a rattlesnake. It’s got a nice heavy beat.

Speaking of heavy, their song “Heavy” is a powerful song also with accordion instrumentation and a vibraslap and some sick drum fills. The song is also in reference to the idiom, “heavy lies the crown.”

There is a ton going on in this album and a lot of fun little sounds to catch on your second or third time through each track like the swinging slide guitar in “Hey There Kid,” giving Audiobiography a strong replay value and worth careful contemplation, or as accompaniment to building a house.

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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.

Last to Leave: Fare Thee Well

Social Media: Facebook, Reverbnation, bandcamp

Favorite Songs: Go, Anasazi, One of Those Long Name Traveling Songs, Never Say Goodbye

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Last to Leave has been playing in Reno for about 8 years now, and their  music resembles the feel of this town very well. There music is a combination of folk, country, Americana, and punk music.

Knowing about the players backgrounds, I approached their music with a bit of wonderment and many a-ha moments where their musical and lyrical choices made much sense. Their saxophone player, Dalton Cason, adds a tranquil, if not almost anthemy vibe to their music, especially in the song, “One of Those Long Name Traveling Songs.” It reminded me a bit of the music of the ska band, Streetlight Manifesto, which me and Patrick used to listen to back in high school.

Their Accordion Player, Melissa McMorran helps to add to the earthy vibe of their tracks, especially in the song, “Go.” Her whole notes help to ground the often fast paced chords of Skye Evans’ guitar strumming and Patrick Kelley banjo plucking. Luke Knudsen is their drummer, whose reserved drumming style and use of brush sticks complements their style very well. He also briefly opens their last song, “Never Say Goodbye,” on his recorder with the melody of “The Shire Song” from the movie, “Lord of the Rings.”

Visceral, driven, and relenting; the soothing melodies of this vagabond band will surely resonate through Reno for many more years to come.

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!

Peace.

Brendan Aguiar aka Reno’s Biggest Little Music Nerd

The Biggest Little Music Nerd’s Reviewing Platform

Hey everyone!

So here’s the deal, although I am here to review local music, it is not in the snobby cynical context that you’d think which would makes us all want to throw critics off a 20 story building.

But mainly this guy.

I am not interested in talking informal smack about the local musicians of Reno. I am here to support y’all, so I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid snarking criticisms. So, in order to be positive and informative,  and  I will be starting up this review blog in order to show my support for local musicians who have released albums. I will not be giving ratings on any scale whatsoever. How the hell can those things be scientific anyways?

I will also do anything in my power to avoid negative comments. I understand the fact that not all music tastes are the same and I am certainly no exception to the rule, but I will do everything in my power to understand what it is about certain music, namely death metal, edm/techno, and country (which are my least favorite genres) that so many people find appealing. Honestly though, if I do not like a certain album, I will be far less likely to review it. Instead, I will be listing some of the songs I liked and giving a list of details that make the album or artist unique. I will also include photos of the bands and the albums in addition to other media such as accompanying videos and tracks to listen to.

I will also review any local band (and just about any band, actually) that is recommended to me. Just send me an email at aguiarbk@yahoo.com and include the artist name and album in the subject or message and I will get right on it! I also plan on reviewing local music shows as well, so stay tuned for what’s in store.

Peace,

Brendan Aguiar: Reno’s Biggest Little Music Nerd