Review: Adventure ‘World of Hurt’ LP Friday, Aug 7 2020 



Adventure has been a mainstay in Louisville for 2 decades, released 6 full length albums, appeared on countless Louisville Is For Lovers compilations and singles, and has collaborated with local artists including The Cut Family Foundation.



Adventure has put more time in the Louisville scene than most, but has long since been seen as a group with the precarious, yet somewhat coveted, label of a Band's Band; highly regarded by other artists, yet not well known to wider audiences.

I was introduced to Adventure in the mid 2000s by a woman I had a crush on, but she had a crush on someone in Adventure. By the rules of love I had every right to dismiss the band for selfish reasons, but I instead became an instant fan. My jilted heart was no match for their brand of infectious ramble and jangle alt-country roots pop. They sounded as if The Jayhawks and The Replacements got married and moved from Minneapolis to a city equally as fucked up, and I was instantly smitten.



The new album, World of Hurt, still carries the Jayhawk/Replacements jingle jangle, with slightly more worldliness; Kidz In Cagez tackles our current political minefield wrapped in a Sweet/Brian Eno glitter coat. The classic Adventure take on love is still present too; Breaking Up Is Loud! and Better Him Than Me are just as likely to cheer you up after a break up as they are to sadly remind you of those tender times now gone for good.



The album opener, Shoulda Drank, is the perfect late summer jammer we have been missing this year and shows the full tallent Adventure has to offer: musical skills, emotional insight, humor, wit, and ass shaking beats & hooks. Fang and Just Another Place I Can't Go are prime garage rock specimens with just the right amount of southern twang. If previous Adventure releases could gain the affections of Louisville's musicians, World of Hurt could easily be the album to woo everyone else.

World of Hurt is available on Spotify now here and CDs at Guestroom, Better Days, & Underground Sounds on Aug 17th.

Review: Danzig Sings Elvis Thursday, Apr 30 2020 



Twice in my life I had been faced with 2 difficult questions from music enthusiasts. The first being "Which album do people generally stop listening to the Misfits?" and other, more difficult question, was "How could one man, Glenn Danzig, be at one time the coolest man alive and at another time be the uncoolest?"

The answer to the first question, for most Misfits fans, would be American Psycho, followed by Famous Monsters (with replacement singer Michale Graves). After all the fighting and lawsuits between Danzig and Jerry Only, Danzig still graced us with reissuing early Misfits recordings that are well worth having. When the lawsuits settled and Only and his brother Doyle were given the legal clearance to release new music under the Misfits moniker, Danzig was replaced by singer Michale Graves. Die hard fans would not recognize American Psycho and Famous Monsters as true Misfits albums. It's a hard pill to swallow; Danzig was the heart and soul of the Misfits, and yet Danzig's later offerings lacked the magic that was soaked into the bones of the Misfits.



Sure, the first two Danzig albums have stood the test of time, but later albums could be labeled "For Fans Only." And, as it were, history has also largely changed its mind about American Psycho and Famous Monsters. 'Saturday Night' from Famous Monsters and 'Dig Up Her Bones' from American Psycho are considered by some as Misfits classics.



Could history change its mind about Danzig, after decades public tantrums and an infamous video of Danzig being knocked out cold after schoolyard squabble? On April 24th Danzig released Danzig Sings Elvis. It's no secret Danzig has been a lifelong Elvis fan, garnering him the label "Evil Elvis" and this project is probably way overdue, but might have grabbed more media attention if it came out in the Danzig heyday rather than 30 years after he lost relevance.  It probably would have sounded different too. Danzig's voice is worn away some, and it shows on this album (which was recorded in 2016). No longer could his voice be heard as a mirror of the King himself, as evident on the Elvis-esque Misfits song 'American Nightmare.'



The 14 track, sparsely arranged, album is mostly cheeky, with a humorous tone. 'Baby Let's Play House' is straight up corny. But there is something to be said about Danzig allowing himself to be seen in a more playful light. And some songs on the album are solid and true representations, such as 'Love Me' and 'It Is So Strange.' 'Always On my Mind' 'Pocket Full Of Rainbows' and 'Fever' are surprisingly delightful, and risk bringing new fans to the Danzig catalog.



It is probably safe to say Danzig Sings Elvis should be labeled 'For Fans Only' but for the chance to see Danzig not take himself so seriously, and possibly having fun for the first time in a long time, this 'For Fans Only' album might just help bring back some fans that stopped listening a long time ago.

Review: Drift City ‘Mercurial Mirrors’ LP Monday, Mar 2 2020 

Hot off the heels of their very impressive contribution, Make Believe, from the 2020 Louisville Is For Lovers Valentine's compilation 'Dreaming In Love City' comes the first full length LP by the band Drift City, headed by the elusive J Rivers, titled Mercurial Mirrors.


The solid 8 song LP begins like a fever dream, halfway etherial, halfway ephemeral, as if saddling the ghost of Sparklehorse.

The album's first single, Sailor, sounds as if the ghostly dreampop of David Lynch collided with Johnny Jewel's candy coated synth-pop to create a smoldering Chromatics album at the dark end of the street. J Rivers vocal work evokes a feeling of beautiful agony that resonates throughout the entire LP.


Side B starts with the hopeful, gospel anchored Show Me The Way, before drifting back into twilight with Flock of Birds featuring Louisville legend Chris Rodehoffer's haunting peddle steel, but returns to a more hopeful feeling with So Memory. Unlike side A, which is masterful in its tragic beauty, side B shows the other hand, an uplifting and hopeful -if not a little more country- side to Drift City, like Hope Sandoval wrapped in southern charm.

In all, Mercurial Mirrors is a must for anyone who has kept up with the work of Drift City, or anyone who enjoys their dreampop a little darker and dipped in Kentucky roots.

Review: Batwizard ‘Voidfiend’ EP Tuesday, Jan 21 2020 



It can be said that all things music comes back around again. Genres like punk and grunge are continually resurrected with a new twist added each time. The Misfits turned campy 50s horror rock into a respectable punk genre that has endured for decades.

In recent years both doom and thrash metal have made leaps outside of the diehard metal circles that hung in from their heyday in the 1980s to again claim their seat in popular culture. With Agent Orange on a nonstop years long tour, and Sleep awakening to commercial success. Body Count never stopped, and is set to release a new album, Carnivore, in March. And then there new players on the scene like Louisville's Total Void and Batwizard.




 Batwizard snatches the most mineable bits of California thrash and doom into their new 4 song EP, Voidfiend, released last week. In 2018 Batwizard released Medustrich in which the 8 songs largely alternated between doom and thrash, while Voidfiend blends the best of both at once, mixing the mystics of Iron Maiden with the earthly anguish of Suicidal Tendencies and more than a dash of good old fashion doom.

BATWIZARD

CAMT’s production of “Next to Normal” captivates U of L Friday, Nov 22 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

If you happened to miss the Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre’s (CAMT) production of “Next to Normal,” there’s only one thing I can say: I’m sorry for your loss.

CAMT brought to life a transfixing, mesmerizing experience that leaves the viewer feeling equally affected and connected by its brilliant writing, its nuanced, multi-faceted acting and its masterful direction.

“Next to Normal” is a story that has already achieved critical acclaim, but it’s the way in which CAMT reimagined this modern classic that makes it such a remarkable triumph.

This is a story about an abundance of heavy, complex themes like family dysfunction, mental illness, trauma and drug abuse.

These are themes explored with understanding and a steadfast conviction. Yet one of the key concepts many people seem to have missed is how meticulously “Next to Normal” dissects and analyzes the human condition, the essence of what makes so much of our lives so very absurd.

CAMT succeeded in bringing all of these themes to the light, and given the choice, it would be difficult for me to distinguish the CAMT’s version of “Next to Normal” from a Broadway production of the musical.

The performances of the central cast cannot be understated. The actors commanded the stage for three or more hours while acutely understanding their characters and what their stories have to say.

Jess Harris Stiller played the troubled and deeply depressed Diana. She elevated an already sympathetic character. Trent Everett Byers played her husband Dan. His performance provided a subtle and understated evaluation of the complex emotions of a conflicted man.

Clara Wilson and Geoffrey Barnes also delivered dense and complex performances as the couple’s children and helped further demonstrate the ramifications of deep family dysfunction and generational neuroses. Benjamin Horman provided necessary comic relief with the character of “Dr. Fine,” while Nicholas Long brought an endearing and charming touch to the age-old story of teenage romance.

It goes without saying that the music in CAMT’s “Next to Normal” was also excellent. Each of the actors in this production helped elevate the word “musical.” Sarah Thomas’ direction of this production cannot be understated. Her use of lighting strengthened and enriched the writing and performances. She helped orchestrate what can only be described as one of the greatest student productions to ever grace the University of Louisville.

Witnessing “Next to Normal” firsthand is one of those experiences that only comes around every so often, but once it does, it stays with you. Its an affecting, impactful story that has the potential to resonate with every person who sees it. If you get the chance to see it, you simply need to hear what this story has to say.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal 

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“Joker” is no laughing matter Friday, Oct 18 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

Todd Phillips’s”Joker” is out and causing controversy. In the shadow of the 2012 shooting during a “Dark Knight Rises viewing, the film about the infamous character is creating mixed reviews.

The movie gives the backstory for Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and how he evolves into the Joker. Living an unfulfilling life as a clown-for-hire and aspiring comedian, Fleck is abused by many—both verbally and physically—and is written off due to his neurological disorder for inappropriate laughing.

Fleck lives with his mother played by Frances Conroy, and obsesses over Sophie, played by Zazie Beetz, who lives down the hall in his apartment building. But despite the horrors and disappointments of his life, Fleck finds hope and laughter when watching a talk show featuring his favorite comedian Robert DeNiro’s character Murray Franklin.

The movie itself is uncomfortable. Phoenix superbly captures Fleck’s decaying and unhinged mental state, so much so it becomes hard to watch towards the end. The constant abuse that Fleck faces feels personal and painful, and after a certain point you can’t take seeing the same situation play out for Fleck over and over again.

Many critics believe the movie is too violent, but in all actuality, it’s not, or at least not more so than any other movies that have recently been made.

Fleck kills six people in total, which isn’t much compared to a “John Wick” or “Jason Bourne” movie, but the message being sent is that murder is justifiable as revenge and that the way to resolve conflict is to simply kill off your enemies.

Another theme of the movie revolves around mental illness. Fleck, who we learn was institutionalized, is severely depressed and finds happiness through killing people.

Granted, Fleck’s mental instability and history of abuse are clear culprits, but rather than try to evoke sympathy, the moments where Fleck is attacked almost urge you to take his side in rationalizing and accepting murder as the sure-fire way to solve his problems.

More than just another addition to the DC universe, “Jokergoes too far in justifying violence and brutality to an audience that might suffer from the same problems.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal

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Vibe Check: Infamous Field of Screams a let down this year Monday, Oct 14 2019 

By Joseph Garcia —

This is one of a mini-series where I review haunts around Kentucky for Halloween 2019. Keep in mind, this review is 100 percent based on my experience, so yours may differ.

My boyfriend and I had left the Kentucky Center after seeing “Dear Evan Hansen” at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 5. We were heading south towards Otter Creek Park for the infamous haunted attraction, Field of Screams. Growing up in eastern Kentucky, I always heard of this haunt, but never had the chance to experience it for myself — until now.

Every October I heard how good it was, how scared it made people feel, so going down the dark highway listening to a Halloween party playlist was making my already high exceptions grow.

When I got there, I was impressed. It was spooky at first; tall men dressed in terrifying costumes, classic horror music playing on speakers and in the distant corn field the sounds of loud bangs and screams. Expectations were being met. My friends and I purchased the $35 all access passes to experience everything FoS had to offer; the hay ride, the main corn field and the optional “Scream Tag.” There is another pass for $25 that features only the hay ride and main event.

Simply put, the hay ride was lackluster. A tractor pulled a trailer with hay bales through a course of different sets which you’ll later fully experience in the actual maze. But unlike the maze, there wasn’t much horror here. Actors hopped onto the trailer via a set of stairs on the back and “messed” with the people sitting, but they didn’t really scare anyone as their costumes weren’t as intricate as their corn field counterparts. They just got in your face and awkwardly stared you down.

Granted, there was still a lot of entertainment to be had, as they would interact and talk back to you if you said anything (one actor actually walked away with $100 from a drunk guy for doing what he said), but there wasn’t much else. The night I went two scenes weren’t up because of low staff, but we still trudged through them and it felt awkward and silent as we rode by.

After the disappointing hay ride, we walked over to the entrance of the field and were getting eager again–and then we saw the line. At this point, we didn’t mind the long line because it was to be expected on a Saturday night, so that wasn’t a problem. There was a man dressed in drag as a bearded lady who ran up and down the line keeping people dancing and laughing and a DJ played music. On the way to the front, we passed old freak show posters that looked really exciting. We believed the theme to be focused around this. And this is where the problem lays.

After waiting for an hour in the line we got to enter the corn field. We were not met by horrifying carnival freaks and a demented devil-worshipping ringleader, but instead a very plain haunted attraction just spaced out in a corn field.

The main attraction focused on different classic horror movies and creatures. Most of the time it felt like you were moving from one scene to another and there was no cohesiveness. You were just meant to walk forward. The scenes themselves weren’t frightening, a little creepy maybe, but I expected more from the hype.

Some of the actors were fun to joke with and talk to which is one of the redeeming factors of this haunt. At one point we walked into a church and a lady dressed as a demonic nun yelled at us to wipe our feet before walking inside the building. I, being so observant in dim-lighting told her, “You can’t be mad at us for not wiping our feet if you don’t have a door mat out front or inside.”

She said under her breath as we left, “Well, very true.”

It was moments like that that made the experience worthwhile (and seeing my boyfriend tense up at every sound of the many chainsaws throughout). The scares were few and far and when I did get scared, it was because of a loud noise that was directly in my face or in a small room — just mild jump scares.

By the time we finished the entire attraction it was already 3 a.m., we were too tired to try the “Scream Tag.” But we had also heard it wasn’t very fun either and at this point our options were food and sleep or something that may be good, but probably not. So we decided not to waste our time.

I wouldn’t recommend Field of Screams this year for anyone who wants to go to a true haunt. FoS is more family-friendly and we actually saw a bunch of families there. It’s still worth the experience if you’re with friends and know what you’re getting into. I would just recommend if you do choose to go, pay the $25 and skip the hay ride.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal

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Review: DJ DS ‘Vibes’ Tuesday, Jun 25 2019 



On June 10th, Louisville turntablist DJ DS (aka DJ Divine Struggle, aka Derrick Smith) released a full length album of instrumentals titled Vibes. Despite being a mainstay in the Louisville electronic scene, and working with numerous Kr8vN8vs artists including Rmllw2llz and Ralph Blacc, Vibes is his first full length release.  From the first track, Late Night Expedition, the album flows effortlessly from track to track, mixing numerous sounds from the 90s electronic world including the mischievousness of Slick Rick, the noir trip hop of Portishead, and the auditory illusion of DJ Shadow, while creating a sound that is current and all his own; which crescendos on From The Shadows, the 1st single from Vibes.  Dedicated to the memory of his nana, Gladys Warnell, who also shares a writing credit, undoubtedly in the way that the people in our lives shape how we interpret the world, the instrumental album paints a story of family and personal history; as well as personal struggle. In speaking about the construction of the album, DS explained to 37FLOOD "I ran from music out of spite for how music affected my childhood but like all things we are destined for, it called me back in many ways." And we are glad it did.



DJ DS

Review: Mattiel ‘Satis Factory’ LP Wednesday, Jun 5 2019 



In a time of mass homages to the past, especially with the immensely popular New Classic Soul movement (with solid work by artists like Curtis Harding, Leon Bridges, and Kelly Finnigan), it is no surprise that  we are seeing other genres from the time period emulated. Atlanta's Mattiel (led by Mattiel Brown) is soaked in 1960s Jangle Pop, especially their Self Titled LP on Burger Records from a couple years back.   Borrowing cues from pop greats such as Nancy Sinatra and The Monkees, as well as French Yé-yé Pop sensations like France Gall and Françoise Hardy, Mattiel's forthcoming Satis Factory is even more poppy and energetic, as represented on track Je Ne Me Connais Pas. The band clearly have had a couple years to get comfortable in the Jingle Jangle Pop shoes they first tried on in 2017 and have hit a good stride.

 

 Satis Factory hits the full stride toward the middle of the album fully embracing that California Sunshine pop. Track 6 of the solid 12 song album, Millionaire, borrows from Velvet Underground (as well as Nico,  complete with Nico's half yodel key drop vocals). Track 7, Populonia, is taken straight from Neil Diamond's I'm A Believer.

 Slightly more modern influences can also be heard, such as the CULTS-esque  Keep The Change, and the hooky Delta 72 solos on Berlin Weekend. The mixture of sun shiny 60s pop with revisited late 70s Heartland rock works well for Mattiel, possibly even better than the more straight forward lifts like Millionaire. But even those are worth spinning.

In an age of extreme revisiting and repackaging of past genres, is an album pieced together and noticeably (as well as shamelessly) borrowed from artists of the past really a bad thing?  In this case probably not as Satis Factory certainly is.

Mattiel Brown

Satis Factory will be available on June 14th from ATO Records.

Music Review: Tristen ‘Dream Within A Dream’ 7" Monday, Apr 22 2019 


Nashville's Tristen (born Tristen Gaspadarek, but releases work under her first name only, like Lissie, or Lizzo), known to most as a member of Jenny Lewis' backing band, has been steadily making her own solo work over the last decade and has recently gained broader attention thanks to praise by NPR, Spin Magazine, The A.V. Club, Paste Magazine, and others; including for her collaboration with Lewis on the song 'Glass Jar' from Tristen's 2017 'Sneaker Waves' on the Modern Outsider label.

Her newest release, the 7" single Dream Within A Dream, on the Louisville label This Man Records, will be released on May 10th, with a record release show that night at Odeon.

The title track plays out like a cross section of Lydia Loveless and St. Vincent, with slightly more teeth than her previous offerings; as if Cherry Glazerr relocated from sunny California to the Nashville metropolitan area.

Dream Within A Dream is backed with Red Lava Flows; a reverb soaked dream pop waltz that is more related to her earlier work, as represented on her 2013 album C A V E S, albeit more steeped in sentiment; leaning closer to Angel Olsen than Sharon Van Etten, but absolutely worth picking up for anyone interested in the more glossy side of current pop. 



Tristen plays at Odeon on May 10th with Ted Tyro and Howell Dawdy. More info here.