Stuff I'm Digging

Stuff I'm Digging: Crow Black Chicken

To be fair, I’ve been digging Crow Black Chicken for a while now. I caught them by accident, one day in Whelan’s, ages ago and have been loving their dirty blues-rock noises ever since.

Now seems an apt time to mention them, through, as they’ve got a new album, Pariah Brothers, about to drop. The boys recently did a Kickstarter to help fund the album and, for those that chipped in, there’s an early download available.

And it’s great. I’ve only had a chance to listen through a couple of times so far but I’m pretty sure it’ll make the regular rotation here in Haze HQ.

Track-wise, I’m loving The Prophet. It chugs along beautifully, John Lee Hooker-feeling guitar and great rail-riding percussion carrying us to some great choppy slide licks. It’s got a slightly more laid-back feel than other tracks but, at the moment, this might be my favourite track.

Not to say the rest of the album’s any slouch. It’s full of punchy bass and greasy slide guitar and fantastic fuzz. This is the sound I want when I think of power-trio blues rock.

Fans of Irish rock might like that there’s a track called Pat McManus. To my ear, it’s the least CBC-sounding track on the album (which may well be deliberate). It’s a cracker, though. Rocktastic.

The title track, Pariah Brothers, is definitely Crow Black Chicken, though. Possibly a slightly more polished CBC, but it’s got what you’d expect to hear.

Crow Black Chicken are evolving. There’s a bit more spit and polish on Pariah Brothers but I think it’s still got that rawness underneath. I’ve no idea of their studio habits, but these songs don’t feel like they’re played by musicians, jaded after thirty takes. There’s energy and looseness (and even an almost-flub here and there). I hope they never lose that because there’s a lot to love in the grit and dirt and drive that makes CBC.

Pariah Brothers launches in Whelan’s, on the 16th of July. I’m very bummed that I can’t go (DAMMIT!) but, if you can, you really should go see them.

Seriously, go see them.

Or buy an album (physical / iTunes / Bandcamp).

Or do both.

Crow Black Chicken: Pariah Brothers

Crow Black Chicken: Pariah Brothers

Stuff I'm Digging: Wicklow Wolf Beer

Stuff I’m Digging is just a way to talk to you guys about something I’m enjoying at the moment. This might be guitar-related, or music-related, or it might just something cool that I like and want to share.

Wicklow Wolf

You know those taster guys that can tell you all about the myriad aromas and palate-stimulating impressions of a wine, or beer, or whatever? Yeah, I’m not one of those. I only have the vaguest idea what ‘mouthfeel’ is (and I’m not sure I like the sound if it).

I am an experienced drinker of beer, however, and I knows what I likes.

And I likes this.

Wicklow Wolf is an Irish microbrewery (sorry non-locals—I’ll try for something more international another time). They’re relatively new and they’re really good.

They've released a number of different brews and I’ve liked everything they’ve done (you may have seen me tweet a photo or two as I relaxed, with one Wolf or an other, on a Saturday evening). This new one, however, has already become a staple at Haze HQ.

Yum, yum.

Yum, yum.

Elevation Pale Ale is fantastic. Nicely hoppy, a little bit malty, and a lot of fruitiness. Splendid. 

Oh, and if and you prefer your pale ales with a more Indian leaning, the Wolf's IPA is delicious too. It's got a properly hoppy bitterness and a lovely sharp grapefruity thing going on (yeah, I know what I said about 'tasting' but even I can figure this out). Refreshing and tasty. What more do you want in a beer?

I dig me a Wolf.

You won’t find them everywhere but they seem to be spreading out. Most of the good off-licence chains seem to have ‘em. Oh and remember to drink responsibly. Don’t get hammered and start fights, or drive cars, or puke in my garden. 

Stuff I'm Digging: Hannibal

Stuff I’m Digging is just a way to talk to you guys about something I’m enjoying at the moment. This might be guitar-related, or music-related, or it might just something cool that I like and want to share.

Hannibal

I’m really late to the Hannibal party. I admit, I was a bit of a snob about it: “Pah! Hannibal as a TV show. What’s the point?” That sort of thing.

I was very wrong.

Hannibal is fantastic.

Of course you’re familiar with the films (maybe even the rubbish prequel). You may be familiar with the books (the good one, the other good one that’s much the same as the first good one, and the rubbish ones).

The TV show is different. And yet seems very true to the spirit of Hannibal Lecter.

The series showrunner, Bryan Fuller, famously said, “Every director who comes to the show gets the same lecture: We are not making television. We are making a pretentious art film from the 80s.”

And it’s beautiful to look at. And to follow. The lines between dream and reality are brilliantly blurred and you’re never sure if something’s real or just some bizarre nightmare.

Apparently, my patronage comes too late, though. It’s cancelled. There are only three series of Hannibal (I’m just at the end of the first). I’m too late to make a difference but I can, at least, urge you to go check it out on DVD or streaming.

If a horrifyingly surreal, aesthetically beautiful, wildly disturbing, police procedural show with psychological scheming and deception sounds like your cup of tea, go. Go now.

Hat-tip to my brother for getting me in. 

Stuff I'm Digging: Windhand

I'm starting a new thing. Stuff I’m Digging is just a way to talk to you guys about something I’m enjoying at the moment. This might be guitar-related, or music-related, or it might just something cool that I like and want to share.

Windhand

I don’t remember how I found Windhand but, sometime in the last year or two, I came across their album Soma on Bandcamp.

Hooked.

Wonderful, fat, doom riffs—oh the noises. Great, big old doom bass and drums pumping things forward like a marching army of monsters.

And over it all, drifting—barely—above the brilliant doomy din is vocalist, Dorthia Cottrell’s voice. And that’s the differentiator here. I love a good doom-laden riff-fest as much as the next guy but the vocals let Windhand stand a little clear of the pack.

Soma got quite a few plays here in Haze Towers.

And now there’s a new album.

Grief’s Infernal Flower is Windhand’s latest release. It’s true to their roots (I’m happy that I can still hear some Sabbath creeping out) but there seems to be some evolution too. Despite the fact that there are two quarter-hour long tracks here, this album feels a little less indulgent. I sniff some production guidance.

Cottrell’s vocals are a little more forward too. They’ve still got a bit of distance to give them that ethereal thing but they don’t get lost here.

To sum up: Windhand. Check ‘em out.

I bought both Soma and Grief’s Infernal Flower from Bandcamp but they’re available elsewhere too.