Why Catfish & The Bottlemen Might Be The Best Band In A Long, Long Time

Go back two years with me to 2014. A strangely named band emerges from seemingly out of nowhere with a humorous album artwork. Their name: Catfish And The Bottlemen. With such a title, what would they sound like?

Their debut album The Balcony released a long 7 years after the band originally formed and caused waves among music listeners. This isn’t an article about a band who didn’t make it but deserved it, it’s an article on a band that made it and stayed there – all deservedly so.

The Balcony had so many singles I thought they had used the entire album up. Each song told a story of love in light-hearted and sometimes funny ways. Every 3-4 minutes the listener is treated upon a mini-movie that lyricist and singer Ryan “Van” McCann has created. The songs are relatable.

Their new album The Ride came out on May 27 and I had my doubts. When a band puts out an incendiary debut effort, the term “sophomore slump” was born for examples like this. At the very least, bands can almost never top it, so it’s disappointing on some level. Well, despite reservations and worries, Catfish have put out something that stands with their debut in a triumphant fashion.

The differences with this album is noticeable mostly with the lyrical content. While there are the same fun songs like “Soundcheck,” “7,” and “Oxygen,” the album features a more angsty mood that triggers a different reaction. The top and prime example of this is “Red.”

As clever as ever with his words, Van sings lines like “Does he take you the Liquid Rooms after work/Just to unwind you but then goes and makes it worse/Can he do what I do for you?/I’ve not stopped thinking this shit since I come away.” The song has an infectious chorus of anger but don’t let it discourage you from listening to it. It still has that “!!” factor that makes Catfish what they are.

The last song is one to remember as well as it’s probably the heaviest we’ve seen from them. In addition, the album closes in the same way their former did – mid beat and cuts out. I’m not sure why they do it, it can be a little frustrating because I feel like we’re missing the latter part of each closing song, but either way – The Outside proves Catfish & The Bottlemen are here to stay and will to continue to produce music that should be the soundtrack of every experience in life.

Check them out,

Zac Zinn

The Hipster Level Is Strong With This One

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I can’t be the only one who loves records?
There’s something to be said about records, actual records, not MP3’s, not Spotify, not even CDs.
Music has become so immaterial and soulless, not only in quality but how we care for it.
You can’t damage an MP3. You can’t break iTunes, unless you’re some master hacker with a purpose.
The amount of care you have to put into a record can be time consuming but it’s also so worth it.
Think of an album that really means something to you. For me, it’s After The Gold Rush by Neil Young.

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Do you want to just look at the artwork on a screen and listen to a sub par quality version? Or do you want to hold it in your hands, a fragile piece of art of the highest quality. Do you want to make the music that already meant something to you mean so much more that you have to physically keep it safe.
Drop the needle on a record and listen to music birth to life.

Music Review – Stonerider – Hologram

Score – 4.5 outta 5

Rock ‘n’ roll is coming back, but it won’t be heard on the radio – not yet at least.

One of the bands bringing the blues infused rock back is a hidden gem named Stonerider. The boys in the Georgia based band have evolved from many different types of rock. Coming to the scene in 2008, they released Three Legs Of Trouble, which was a AC/DC – Jet inspired cock rock. Four years later they released the timeless Fountains Left To Wake which rekindled early 70’s – late 60’s rock. It’s classic tone and rock piano let listeners know they weren’t just a group with rock in them. They were a band with deep substance and roots into the soul.

What would they do next? Would they even put out another album? Surviving as an independent band is so difficult.

Another four years later, Hologram is released.

Stonerider has gone from cock rock, to soulful rock, to now, Pink Floyd-esque, organ blairing, vocal harmonizing rock. They’re proving again that whatever they set their minds to, they do it right.

Make no mistake that these guys are a rip off of whoever they are inspired by.

The title song is an awakening to what rock was intended to be. It’s not about sounding as heavy as possible, having tough guy vibes. It’s soul, it’s something you feel inside your chest when you hear that organ or guitar rip around, not for the sake of doing so, but stirring something inside. Drive around open roads in the middle of the night and listen to this album.

Highlight songs are War, Traffic, And Blind Faith, Your Chains, The Great Divide, and Undertow.

They play cock rock better than Jet, early rock to match bands like Kadavar or Horisont, and they released an album unrivaled by modern rock.

I can only hope the world is gifted by another album in the future.

Check this one out on their bandcamp and buy the CD.

What’s It Matter To You?

To anyone reading this, tell me what’s it matter to you?

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What does it matter to you?
It’s the stare from a beautiful girl’s eyes that leaves me frozen in a chaotic heaven
It’s the embrace from a faraway brother that makes me want something more than life
It’s the searing guitar strings that penetrate the caverns of my soul
It’s the words that hide inside my heart that evade my attempts to find them
It’s the love I have to give but no one to receive it
It’s waiting for the stars to align and leave me speechless

So tell me, what’s it matter to you?

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

Half Passed Ten

I walked away again
I thought of you half passed ten
They say to me you’ll come around
But tell me, tell me when

I can’t wait too much longer
I won’t run too much farther
I’m running out of steam
In this never ending dream

I saw your face on my phone
I waited for the dial tone
They tell me to find the next girl
When each one takes a piece out of me

I came to find you alone
I wrapped my arms around you
You told me what I meant to you
Now tell me is that enough

I came to find your door closed tight
I saw it coming, I suppose
Still it hurts, this I know
What I’m saying s’I have to go

The Revival of Rock N Roll

To the next person that says rock n roll is dead, please stay away from me.
When Gene Simmons said it months ago, people freaked out, celebrities argued and everyone tweeted their faces off about it.
I decided to wait and gather my thoughts on the whole matter since I love rock n roll so much, I have the phrase tattooed on my arm.
The beginning of rock n roll can be traced back decade after decade and it begins at different places for different people.
For me, it began in 1968 with Led Zeppelin. It was the birth if blues played loud and heavy. There were slews of other bands that came out of the woodwork and proved that Zeppelin wasn’t the only band that had licks to kill. The Who, Deep Purple, ACDC,  The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, Golden Earring, Mountain, The Doors and never forget the gods of metal, the forerunners – Black Sabbath.
Please allow me to tell you, all of you ROCK N ROLL IS NOT DEAD. Rarely will you hear it on the radio. The radio is a static noise frequency playing a rip off of a rip off. Rock n roll is an art that requires love and longing. You have to search for it.
If you want a Zeppelin/Free influenced band, search no further than Rival Sons.
Maybe Heart is your style. Then look up Blues Pills and be reborn in the 70’s.
A hybrid of bluesy rock n roll and Sabbath – Graveyard

I’m not here to promote bands that I love, I’m here to say that rock n roll is alive and well and it needs to be heard by more people. It lives in the local bars all over the country.
If you’re a fan of rock n roll, please don’t pass off these bands saying they’re just redoing what the masters did in the 60’s and 70’s. Yes – it’s true that the masters and origins lie in that period but we have innovators now just like we then.
When you listen to these bands, you have bands that are influenced by retro rock but it’s a brand of its own. It’s modern rock n roll. It’s a blend and brand of its own.

If you’re interested in finding more, here are some good starters
Stonerider – hard bluesy rock
Irene & The Sleepers – Light hearted rock n roll
Vidunder – blues infused chilled rock n roll
The Stone Foxes – If The Black Keys still played bluesy rock, this is what it would be
Kadavar – heavy 70’s rock with killer leads
The Sword – mixture of rock n roll and doom
Rival Sons – rock n roll in a pure form – features the best vocalist of this decade
Blues Pills – think Heart. Bluesy, female fronted rock n roll sure to get a few things moving
Witchcraft – Clean guitar driven rock n roll doom.

Guess what? A lot of these are from US.
Irene, Rival Sons, Stonerider, Stone Foxes, Sword all from the States.

That’s a good start.

Have anything to say? Maybe suggestions of your own? Comment it up!

The Guide To Scamming Musicians

Full disclaimer, this is not about my usual topic of writing. This page is called Writing &  Art so I will be covering an issue within the other side of art called MUSIC.

So starts my: Pay to play rant.

Any musician in a band knows that so many times,  if you want to play a show you have to pay to play. It’s not just as simple as “here’s fifty bucks”  and then you take the stage.
Anyone who doesn’t know what this is,  please read the next few words because it will enlighten you as to what musicians have to do JUST to play in front of a few people.

A local band will get booked to play at a show with a regional/national headlining band that can’t bring in enough people to make the venue profit. This is the beginning of why this is killing the music industry.
So in order for promoters and venues to make money,  they book 4 local bands,  give them fifty tickets and tell them sell 20. After…. Or if they sell 20, when the day of the show comes,  they hand over $200 (20 tix @ 10 each)  and then the remaining 30 tickets left over.

But many times, a band will not be able to sell 20. It may not have to do with how bad or good they are. It’s that bands play many shows,  and if you were family or a friend of one of the members,  would you want to be bothered to buy a ticket every time they play a show?

So what happens when a band can’t sell enough? What if they sold 15? They hand over the $150 they sold,  the 35 tickets left over, and $50 out of pocket.
In either event  the band DOES NOT GET PAID. And they play their 30 minute set,  sell a cd and a t shirt,  and lose money for said show.

This makes me pose one simple question.
WHY ARE LOCAL BANDS IN CHARGE OF FILLING VENUES?

The headliner is the headliner for a reason! You know why the biggest bands play last at shows? It’s so all the people that go out and see the Chevelle or the Foo Fighters have to listen to lesser known bands. It’s the way bands get bigger.

Do you want to know why bands in your town seem to play the same few hole-in-the-wall venues for 2 years and then quit with no real following? It’s because they had to bug the hell out of everyone just to come out.

The end result here is for musicians to stop catering to this style of promotion that is so sleazy it might as well be a scam.
And for promoters to get headliners that can actually fill a venue. They’re called PROMOTER because they PROMOTE. Making the kids who just worked their asses off for years learning their instrument and finding 4 other guys who share the same passion to do your dirty work is a scam.

We all understand that venues need to make profit just as much or even more than a band does.  But there are much better ways to go about it than killing your local music scene.

So if you are in the audience,  take a little time, check out that local music scene of yours. I promise that it is not all loud metal. Rock,  acoustic, rap,  it ALL exists in each town. Maybe you have a Friday night open,  spend $5 and go support a band. Have a beer at the bar down the street and support local music. Don’t like this post. Go do it.

If your a musician like myself,  I know it’s hard not to cater to this style of promotion because it’s everywhere. Resist,  resist, and have productive conversations with people and “promoters”  about this topic. No throwing of feces as I’ve seen too many times online.

Thanks for reading my rant,
Zac