We’ve reached out to our metal and hard rock brethren across the land, asking that they contribute prose to our recent series of guest columns. We ran a recent series on Five Albums That Will Change You, and the response was overwhelming.
The new topic is Three Bands You May Not Know About But Should, and we asked that each guest writer jot down a brief description of what makes each band worthy of our attention. Today, we are excited to continue this ongoing series with an entry by Black Sheep Wall’s Traevon Malone.
Balance and the Traveling Sounds
A few of the members of BTS (the acronym for a name I’d consider a little too long) happen to be close friends of mine, but that’s not why I’ve decided to highlight them in this feature. BTS classify their genre as “soulhipjafunk,” a combination of soul, hip hop, jazz, and funk. I’d say experimental hip hop, that doesn’t suck, at all. First thing to listen to here is for the outstanding musicianship. Although they’ve had some member changes, nobody in this group is anything less than inspiring and professional, but they know when to show their chops and when to let a song breathe. There’s a wide variety ranging between songs displaying their obvious broad and open minded understanding for their influences. Outstanding live band by the way, keep an eye out for them.
I first met Sir on Black Sheep Wall’s first tour in the summer of 2008 in Boise, Idaho. He then played in a band called Jument, which I proclaimed that day as the best “local band” I had ever heard. They eventually went on to gain a little more recognition but not nearly what they deserved. Their guitar player, Sir, now plays as a solo act and just released a really great album titled Two Cats. It’s not my favorite album title either, but the music truly speaks for itself. It’s emotional, original, and rhythmically engaging, pinpointing feelings that aren’t blatant or extreme, but are true and sometimes unsettling. Although the drums are clearly digitally programmed, you’d have to be well past jaded, to say that they’re not impressive. If you’re open minded and are looking for something original, this is just for you.
Yeah, I know I’m being that guy in a metal band who doesn’t recommend one metal band when given three chances to do so. Oh well. Pretend kicks ass. They’re an instrumental rock band, the kind that when one asks someone about their genre, the answerer makes a squinty face and awkwardly raises their arms… “indie?” It’s relaxing while still engaging and really ambitious for the genre. I went to high school with their drummer, Joel, who is always such a pleasure to watch live. This is how I was introduced to the band, and they soon became label mates of ours on Shelsmusic. All of them are great musicians but Joel really stands out here with a very original feel and style. Their first album, Bones in the Soil, Rust in the Oil is a challenging but very worthwhile listen. They’ve said their next album is coming out this summer, which I’m really excited for.
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