The New Plague
The New Plague is the most traditional metal band in the Hard Rock/Metal category this year, complete with Cookie Monster vocalist Adam Whitley; a drummer who sounds as though he has four arms, and wrist-snapping, carpal-tunnel inducing guitar riffs and solos. The music recalls the early days of Megadeth and Slayer, but those bands are as intimidating as yogurt after hearing The New Plague. Warning: May cause nightmares and feelings of impending Armageddon and apocalypse.
SN&R contributor Cary Rodda says of Hot Pistol, “It’s awesome to see a group of young guys who understand how to make rockin’ music.” And they rock something fierce, taking their lead from acts like Jet and AC/DC. Hot Pistol may look like the Mars Volta, but its music is more T. Rex (right down to a cover of “20th Century Boy”). This is the sexy rock ’n’ roll that’s been missing from the scene for years, a style that would make the rock gods proud. Tera Melos
Tera Melos is certainly the love child of Hella and Primus, and the godchild of Frank Zappa. And Billy Corgan’s nephew. And the Kinsella Brothers’ cousin. And Rob Crow’s long-lost high-school sweetheart. Tera Melos perpetuates beautiful musical abuse, like being run over by a herd of donkeys followed by a flock of ducks wearing silk slippers. “The music is so much more than metal,” says Clayton Nutting of Concerts4Charity, “It’s jazz, maniacal and methodical. Just brilliant.” Red Tape
Red Tape has two speeds: “fast” and “this might kill you.” The band fits the punk/screamo template, but its music is clean and clear, featuring ’80s-style guitar instead of the typical screamo guitars tuned down to “H.” The band’s guitar solos channel Metallica’s Kirk Hammett before he turned 30. To borrow a favorite phrase from a local fitness guru, the music is like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the head. Brand X Savior
Reminiscent of Tool and Korn, and specializing in all things black and disturbing, this band is sure to please the metal base. Crunching guitars, cavernous drums and angry but melodic vocals, delivered by Jason Fralish, dictate the power of the music. Check the band’s Myspace page at www.myspace.com/brandxsavior for the impressive music video “No Apologies”—a dark, crisp vision of a woman in a tattered red dress chasing a priest with a meat hook. That’s good metal.
Country/BluegrassThe Devil Makes Three
This acoustic trio, which cites such influences as Steve Earle, the Memphis Jug Band and Django Reinhardt, has been playing to capacity crowds since its self-titled debut album was released in 2002. It’s no wonder, given that the band describes itself as “the best band ever. Really. That’s the only way to describe it.” Lucia Turino (stand-up bass), Pete Bernhard (guitar, banjo and harmonica) and Cooper McBean (guitar, banjo and musical saw) all hail from the East Coast, but as luck would have it, they’ve migrated to our fair state—Turino and Bernhard live in Sac, and McBean resides in Santa Cruz. Despite the three-hour commute, the band still manages to stay together, churning out the unusual blend of ragtime and country songs that local audiences have come to know and love. Richard March
Richard March is arguably the reigning king of the local Americana scene. First, March (along with buddy Scott McChane) held court for “Nashville Nights,” a now defunct showcase of Americana acts held at the Blue Lamp. Nowadays, he presides over the “Americana Ramble,” a similarly themed concert series that takes place Wednesday evenings at Marilyn’s on K Street. SN&R contributing writer Christian Kiefer had this to say about the consummate leader and performer: “Among singer-songwriters in this town, he has the most professional stage presence, hands down—so much so that local musicians of any genre would be well-served watching a Richard March show and studying how the man performs his songs.” Amee Chapman and the Big Finish
Amee Chapman, backed by her band the Big Finish, is currently putting the finishing touches on the follow-up to 2004’s Still Life, which SN&R contributing writer Jason Roberts described as “a collection of beautiful, intimate sketches that tell tales of the lonely and wounded.” While we’ve yet to hear any of Chapman’s new material, we suspect that Grace Is Hell to Keep will be a bundle of whiskey-soaked country tunes and folk-infused ballads. The Haints
“The Haints are not even necessarily a country band,” remarked SN&R contributing writer Keith Lowell Jensen. “Their clever and catchy melodies, and Kepi’s sweet and highly emotive voice, bring to mind the Rolling Stones’ first few albums more than anything by George Jones or Hank Williams Sr.” So, you may be wondering why the band (which includes all three members of local punk outfit the Groovie Ghoulies) is nominated in the country category. Well, despite their rock ’n’ roll and punk roots, there’s no denying the band’s country-infused sound. Their debut album, Hurt & Alone, released in November of 2004, consists of eight upbeat country tracks that will have you begging for more. The Alkali Flats
“When I saw [the Alkali Flats] at Old Ironsides with Devil Makes Three, their old-timey melodies stole the show,” explained SN&R contributing writer Jimmy Calanchini. The band owes its traditional country-western sound to the various instrumentation enlisted (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, banjo and accordion), and to Tim White and Chris Harvey’s twangy vocals. The band occasionally takes the stage at local clubs but admits that it’s more likely to be spotted playing a small rural bar in Nevada. If you can’t make it to a local show, we suggest that you gas up your tank and head to the Silver State—this band is well worth the time and money.
When all live performances carry the disclaimer “Beware of large inflatable ‘appendages’ crowd-surfing the audience,” you know you’ve found a true punk band. Coming together to form the Secretions are Mickie Rat, Danny Secretion and Paul Filthy—a trio with obviously biblical last names who create a sound reminiscent of the Ramones, the Germs and Motörhead after a 12-pack of java. If 15 years in the Sacramento punk scene, the new album Coming To Save The World and large appendages are not enough for you, the Secretions also have a battle cry: “We secrete and you suck!” The Walking Dead
Currently the house band at Shady Brady’s in Roseville, the Walking Dead are a sonic assault on the Sacramento music scene. Only a year old, the band produces raucous live music, mixing early-Rancid-style street anthems with the swingin’ sophistication that band members Andy Christ, Tony Dead and Zack B. Hectic simply ooze. The band’s original “Graveyard” show happens the first Saturday of every month at Shady Brady’s. Whiskey Rebels
As if whiskey could nurture anything but rebellion. Frontman Big Chuck’s lyrics focus on personal tales of life on the street and the hardships of surviving “the bullshit of daily life.” Mixing old-school oi! with a hardcore pace and aggression, the music aims to inspire anyone who faces troubles similar to those the Rebels have confronted.
Featuring Jayson and Nate A. on guitar, Nate D. on drums and Jimmy on bass, the Whiskey Rebels have been together for six years and recorded five albums, and are currently on a nationwide tour.Pressure Point
Conflict. From its conspiracy-ridden formation out of another local punk band, Deep Six, to its nonracist skinhead anthems, Pressure Point is aptly named; it’s here to push your buttons. Since 1994, the band has scrambled politics, oi! and a loud, hard, fast punk sound that, love it or hate it, always stirs emotions in the audience—occasionally to the point of all-out brawls. Helper Monkeys
How many punk bands do you know that started when their members were 12 years old? The Panda Bear Greens—who added one member to become the Helper Monkeys—did. Somewhere between NOFX and AC/DC, the group says they’re just “too dumb to quit.” Blaming not only their love of “wicked sick” music, but also their poor social skills and desire for “smokeables,” Jaz Brown, Jeffrey Valentine, Mac Ryan and Craig Hancock have been satisfying their primordial urges onstage for over a decade now.