2006--we hardly knew ye, but what better way to lead off the New Year than with a CD release?
Coming off a fall and early winter season that saw Tulsa's local artists release a number of solid discs, 2007 promises to be even stronger and see even more new music make it into the hands of local music fans.
The first band to step up with a new disc is Blue Eyed Boy Death Machine (BEBDM), with a CD release party for 2121EP at the Pinkeye on Sat., Jan. 6.
Blue Eyed Boy Death Machine? At the Pinkeye? Doesn't that sound a little heavy, you might ask? Damn straight! These kids may be young (All are freshman and sophomores in college), but they don't pull any punches. And in a music scene that's flooded with hardcore bands that are sloppy and unoriginal, BEBDM is doing its best to separate itself from the rest of the pack.
Granted, upon first listen, these guys may sound like just another growling post-hardcore band, but if you set aside your presumptions and listen again, they've got a lot more going on that you may initially catch. BEBDM throws the rulebook out the window with rhythmic time changes, intricate guitar work and an incredibly tight rhythm section.
The seeds for BEBDM were actually laid roughly five years ago in lead guitarist Kirk Horton's bedroom with "Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses" and a primitive recording set-up, according to vocalist Casey Ross. Eventually they decided to start a band and picked up bassist, Jesse Eakin and rhythm guitarist Cory Conrady. The group began to get more serious when Tyler Jackson (who had previously been in Makeshift) joined the band, replacing the group's original drummer.
From there the band started cranking out songs and playing gigs regularly, at any small club that would have them. (Drummer Tyler Jackson openly admits that the band loves to play little clubs and feeds off of the energy of a small room and cramped stage.)
BEBDM even played a benefit show in the hallway of The OtherSide on one occasion when they couldn't afford to book the whole club.
All agree, however, that their best show was an unplanned house party that eventually got shut down. The band was originally booked to play an all-ages show with Failsafe at Venue 216 (now The Hive) that night, but when they arrived the venue had changed it to an over-21 show. (This was also the show that lives in infamy as security got heavy-handed and even maced the father of Failsafe guitarist Jonden Jackson and BEBDM drummer Tyler Jackson.)
The Back Story
Since the band had already sold a stack of tickets to friends, they waited for everyone and carpooled to a house in Broken Arrow for an impromptu make-up show for anyone and everyone who could get there. After playing one set, the group strapped in and started a second before police arrived to shut down the party, which had grown to over 100 kids. How's that for DIY ethic?
Ross, Conrady and Jackson admit that they draw inspiration from the hardcore bands that they started listening to five or six years ago: August Burns Red, Flattery (which later spawned the Chariot) and Enlow, but they also try to stay away from labels and being lumped into the post-hardcore and metalcore categories.
While the group does often lean in that direction, there are also elements of current hard-rock as well as classic and progressive metal bubbling under the surface, due largely to guitarist Kirk Horton's songwriting. Mesh the aforementioned hardcore bands with a little Black Sabbath and a touch of early Metallica and you've got glimpse of what BEBDM has going on in the background.
As a result, BEBDM hasn't just played on repeated six-band bills at The Pinkeye (don't get me wrong, they've done plenty of those shows, as well); they've also drawn enough attention to garner spots on showcases like Dirty Carny Sideshow and DFest Extreme while continuing to build their small but loyal following.
BEBDM released a self-titled, seven-song debut CD in October of 2005, so it's not like this new release is their first shot at recording. That first disc was recorded at Paradise studios, but when the band felt ready to go back in this time and record, they went into Armstrong Studios to work with Ryan Wallace on three songs.
I know that Wallace can be something of a task-master, especially when working with bands that aren't tight and prepared, so I asked how the recording process worked out for them.
Band members agreed it was a quick, smooth experience working with Wallace, no doubt fueled by the band's focus and predetermined direction for the primarily self-produced effort.
The resulting disc, 2121EP, is an appropriately tight-wound package of explosive guitars, frenetic drumming and rage. "How Quickly Things Can Change" is obviously the anchor of the disc (and unanimous favorite of Jackson, Ross, and Conrady), a song that vocalist Ross put the most time and effort into, lyrically.
The most complex of the three songs, it details the struggle to take control of your life and how the choices you make can affect others around you as well as yourself.
I'll admit that I'm not particularly drawn to most hardcore bands with guttural, growling vocals like these, but Casey Ross pulls it off with a power and depth that belies his young age. When he tears into "RIVKIN" you can hear the venom behind his words as he exorcises the demons of a relationship gone wrong.
Perhaps most appropriate on the disc, however, is a single line from "A.L.O.T.F. (Another Life on the Flatline)". "Light the match and run away" isn't just a line in the song, it's also the best warning for the group's powderkeg of a live show when they hit a small stage. The band harnesses an explosive energy and prefers to keep its set short, tight and to the point: make an impact and leave the audience (hopefully) wanting more. That's also what they do with the new EP.
Now that the disc is ready (it has actually been available at the band's shows for a few weeks), it's time for a proper release party. Planned for Sat., Jan.6, at the Pinkeye, the ensuing show is loaded with some of T-Town's tightest heavy bands.
Besides Blue Eyed Boy Death Machine, who will be using the night to officially launch the new EP, other bands on the bill will be Aesthetic, Seperation From All, River City Ransom (whom Casey says must perform as Makeshift for this show), Hospice, and Drive Thru Drive By.
Tickets are $7 with doors open at 7pm and the show starting at 7:30. Of course, it's a release party, so make sure and bring a little extra to pick up your copy of 2121EP (for $5) and maybe even a new shirt to support BEBDM and the other bands playing that night.
Also on the Horizon...
BEBDM isn't the only band with a new CD coming out; they're just the first ones out of the gate this year. There are a few more coming up quickly that I'm already aware of and surely more that I haven't heard about yet.
In the near future, we've got a PDA's latest, Act III: A Different Victim, and Vito Ninefingers' debut CD, both just around the corner.
There are also a number of local discs still in the process of being recorded. Randy Patton has been hard at work on the sophomore outing by RedEcco. He's just a few songs in, but hopefully we'll see it emerge by the end of summer as this is one of my most eagerly awaited local releases of the year.
Admiral Twin have also been long at work on their next pop-opus, the follow up to 2003's Creatures of Bread and Wine. No promises as to when it will actually see the light of day, but A/T and pop music fans will undoubtedly be justly rewarded for their patience.
Rewake has also allegedly been in the studio in the past year. Will we finally see a new studio disc from Tulsa's longstanding favorite? Sometime before Guns 'n' Roses releases the infamous Chinese Democracy? If not, how about another Malan Darras solo disc, or even a release by his other project, Manic State? Surely, we'll get something from at least one of them this year, right?
Also in the pipeline are CD's from Nick Gibson, Andy Callis (still in progress), and the still on hold Low-Fi Dreams in Stereo: Part 2, which Tony Romanello promises will finally see the light of day in 2007.
I'm sure I'm missing something obvious as well. If you're aware of any other local releases coming up, feel free to let me know by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other shows around town...
Things are still relatively quiet this weekend. Apparently the bands (and fans) did a little too much celebrating over New Year's and are still trying to sleep off the hangover.
Nevertheless, there are a few shows going on around town this weekend. I'll let you settle into your regular haunts and track down you favorite bands this weekend, but here are a couple of highlights.
Most of the action this weekend is on Saturday. Besides the aforementioned CD release, Mercury Lounge is hosting Gaslights and Rockhill. If you head downtown, the Continental is giving Red Dirt a spin with Hosty Duo and The Soundpony hosts a free show with PMB.
Friday night's main even is Chris Botti at the PAC. (See preview, Page 37.) Tickets prices range from $15-$45 per seat for a night of pop and jazz.
On Wednesday night, Brian Parton takes up residence at Mercury Lounge and The Pearls return to The Continental after a little break over the holidays.
Have fun and check back in next week as our local music scene wakes up and starts coming back to life.
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