Tag Archives: Black Keys

You’ll be surprised by Butchers of Sky Valley

Trust me, Butchers of Sky Valley is not what you are expecting. With a band name that already commands a precedence, it’s easy to think that this New York based group is going to melt some faces. But what their music actually does is melt the barriers of psychedelic rock.

According to lead singer Mike Mokotow, a band name shifts once you get to know the music. (Which couldn’t be more true — after all, most of us worship a band called The Beatles). Diving into the repertoire of Butchers of Sky Valley is no exception to this rule. With a bluesy attitude, relaxed and cool 70s inspired vocals, and guitar riffs for days, these guys create a nostalgic feel to their music that sings out to the listener from beginning to end.

Their end goal is to join many elements into one album, not just reciting the same lyrics and recycling the same riffs over and over, but instead transcending above the expected and tossing their listeners a curve ball every once in a while. And though there is a very particular sound across most of their songs, the multiple influences of Butchers of Sky Valley can still be heard.

At times, the music overpowers the vocals – guitars are shredding and drums are beating out movable cadences, while the vocals lazily croon over the top, creating an interesting lesson in contrast. But at the end of the day, lovers of throwback rockers like The Black Keys and Gary Clark Jr, and legends such as Fleetwood Mac, will enjoy Butchers of Sky Valley.

Speaking of Fleetwood Mac, Mokotow cites the iconic group as being a heavy influence for him. (Most notably their third studio album, Then Play On.) He also unabashedly discusses the beauty of jazz and blues, and even states that the band’s self-titled album cover is an homage to the “cool, sweet, gritty look” of old jazz records.

More Bluesy Soulful Rock: Caught a Ghost is reviving the spirits of soul

Words can only describe the music so much, so take a listen and let me know what you think. Though this group is based in New York, they have exciting tour plans in the works for 2014. Let’s cross our fingers for some west coast dates!

Butchers of Sky Valley have released their self-titled album, and it’s available via iTunes and all other digital media outlets.

Little Hurricane, Big Sound

little_hurrican_the_indie_sd_pressThey say word of mouth is an amazing marketing tool. That could be proven true for Little Hurricane, since I knew about this group well before I ever heard a sound. San Diego’s bluesy indie darling has been making waves since 2010, and in that short time they’ve managed to carry out the near impossible: they’ve forged a path for their band that turned Little Hurricane into a large force to be admired.

Some people in the San Diego music scene might say that finding musicians on Craigslist just doesn’t work. Try and tell that to lead singer Anthony Catalano and drummer C.C. Spina. According to their Wikipedia page, that’s exactly how the duo got its humble beginnings, and just by taking a listen to the result, one could argue that it was fate. Fans of The Black Keys, The Dead Weather, and The Lumineers will absolutely adore the edgy, almost angsty approach to blues and folk that Little Hurricane has become synonymous for. Catalano pours his heart out in lyrics and style alike, with a voice that has mastered just the right amount of rasp. Spina is the perfect piece of the puzzle, and her eerily soothing vocals shine in duet style tracks like “Crocodile Tears” and “Give Em Hell”.

Related: Another San Diego star, Social Club

Their 2012 album Homewrecker lives up to its dramatic title, as it has the kind of music that will dilate your pupils and send goosebumps across your skin in the best way possible! Full of energy, intrigue, and even a little seduction, the songs are all unique enough to keep you entertained from beginning to end, yet can be intertwined into one mesmerizing bluesy story. Don’t believe me? I dare you to take the Little Hurricane challenge and listen (if you haven’t already), to see if a storm hasn’t grown inside of you by the last track. “Give Em Hell” is the perfect melodramatic conclusion to the album; the song is ominously uplifting, like the perfect villain’s soundtrack. Spina croons behind Anthony Catalano like the little voice in your ear or the little devil on your shoulder. This final track seems to wrap up the consciousness of the entire album with perfection.

I haven’t seen this band live — yet — but if their fan base is a testament to how amazing they are, then I’d bet money that Little Hurricane delivers when they’re on stage, as well. They’re now on tour, so check them out at the Belly Up this Friday May 31st in San Diego, or at any of their other tour dates.

Also at the Belly Up this Week: Trouble in the Wind

As an added treat, you can download a free mp3 via their website. Check out the video for “Haunted Heart” below.