Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DEAD HEAD - II Demo review

Self Released
Genre: Psych Punk/Doom
Rating: 4/5

Whenever I'm at that point of feeling jaded because of writing about the same type of music day after day something will get sent in that makes me smile because it's different or reminds me of something cool from the past. This band here did it to me this time around. (then again I'm old school so demos are always cool) DEAD HEAD are a four piece act out of Olympia, Washington who could have stepped out of a time machine from 1971 or 1981 for that matter. I say that because on this their four song demo they have an aggressive psych punk sound which is paired up with elements of doom. It's like SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES meeting up with SABBATH. The band's vocalist, Caroline Motley, kinda reminds me of Siouxsie Sioux in that she has that strong vocal presence and tone to her voice which doesn't convey emotions too subtly. Everything is straight forward whether it's anger, sadness or regret. It works perfectly in this structure since the band's sound is fairly open.

You listen to opener "Dead Head" and each instrument is clearly distinct and equal as far as the sound quality. "Dead Head" is a bluesy number starting out which picks up speed and a pissed off attitude at the three quarter mark. "Dawn Patrol" is where the band's punk influences rise to the surface and collide headlong into the early 70's blues rock and psych damage courtesy of guitarist Wolf Mythrendear. The guitar tone on here is incredibly retro and on this cut is where you can really understand my use of the two name dropped bands. Motley's vocal emotion on here is comparative to a roller coaster. While listening to "Journey to a New Home" I was thinking "holy Geezer Butler I can actually hear the freakin bass" being played by Anton Sedar. (not that you can't hear if on the previous cuts because you can) While he's having fun guitarist Wolf Mythrendear is tweaking Iommi blues soloing until he kicks in with the standard power riff. Shades of SABBATH's first LP with Yiannia Bekris's drumwork playing that perfect accompaniment. The song finally gives way to a bad trip experience. (no personal anecdotes from me on that one)

On the final cut "Star Light Express" (with the riff from "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" starting it out) the SABBATH and BANSHEES collision returns but unfortunately it's the shortest cut on here. Obviously I was left wanting a whole lot more. Then again it added to the mystery behind this band. I didn't get much info in their promo e-mail other than addresses and a poem;

"Through the sodden dark nights and days of the Pacific Northwest
forest black despondent sounds caress our consciousness, like night
pressing down on our lives. Our thoughts all robbed by dimming light,
the trees they whisper winters soul, our minds all a mist of autumns
ghost. We ask you to come, alone for us to dream of you listening
under our caress of agony."

Other than that I had to find all the other info using my skills learned as a CIA operative (yeah right, I Googled their name) I don't know what the next step is for this band. If the pattern for 2011 (when female fronted doom bands came to the forefront of the genre) continues then they will put out a full length so another new interweb doom scribe can find another way to name drop JEX THOTH and BLOOD CEREMONY in a review. Trust me, even though those two acts are good, DEAD HEAD has nothing truly in common musically with them. In fact I think the DEAD HEAD have uncovered a trail that hasn't been used in a long while. I like that and I also like that they sent an actual address for people to order their demo. I haven't received an actual brick and mortar address since Scumfeast was a print zine back in the freakin nineties.



Dead Head
P.O. BOX 835
Olympia, WA 98507

Dead Head "Black Despondency" from Descend the Stairs on Vimeo.

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