High Voltage Magazine

The Hounds Below - 12.10.09

posted by jade.amey | Thursday, January 21, 2010 | 6:17 PM
The Hounds Below
Beat Kitchen (Chicago, IL)
photography: Jade Amey

Recognize The Hounds Below lead man? He is also the front man for the Detroit rock outfit, the Von Bondies. Are they just as good? Oh yes, of course. I wouldn't say this band is as energetic and electrifying live as the Von Bondies are, but that's really not a bad thing. I'm sure not a lot of people would know this from listening to the Von Bondies, but if you happen to see a Hounds Below show, I bet the first comparison for Jason Stollsteimer's voice will be Roy Orbison. Not only is there a very clear presence of Orbison in his voice, but there is also a distinct presence of early rock 'n' roll in the music with a tinge of a jumpy blues-folk-soul mix. However you want to describe it, 'it' is good. And they even win without a drummer (which was the case at this Chicago show). Besides this band being so damn great live, it also shows how versatile of a musician Stollsteimer can be. I have a feeling this won't be a short lived project, so keep your eye on this band.


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The Sights - 12.10.09

posted by jade.amey | Sunday, January 17, 2010 | 9:39 AM
The Sights
Beat Kitchen (Chicago, IL)
photography: Jade Amey

Before I get to the photos, I would just like to say that if I had to pick a band for a "Most Exciting Comeback" for 2009, it would definitely be The Sights. After taking a bit of a break from touring and recording, front Sights man Eddie Baranek reformed The Sights into a new band, but they kick just as much ass as before (on stage and on record).

This was the second time I saw The Sights this year; the first was in Grand Rapids, MI in November. After seeing that Michigan show, I jumped at the chance to see them when I found out they were playing in Chicago. Now, I'm all about Michigan music (well known fact) but I honestly didn't get in to this band until late this past summer. I've known of them since 2005 but never listened to them despite all of the recommendations people had given me. It wasn't until this Chicago show that I had started to kick myself for not listening to them almost five years ago . . . seeing them play at Beat Kitchen made me think of all the times I could have seen them when I lived in Michigan and how great they were back then, too (the band has albums dating back to 1999). It was a pretty energetic set despite it being cold and icky outside; concert-goers were still arriving as their set progressed. Though the band that played was in its newest form, with the only original member being Baranek, the rest of the band flew through the old tunes like champs; as if they had been in the band since its conception and then some. The newer songs were in top form, as well. I had bought the band's new 12" Silver and Gold after their set and later that night I was chatting with the band's drummer about it (he goes by the name Skip). He was telling me that he hopes people really like The Sights' new songs because its not quite like the old stuff. He's right. Its not so much the sound of the bands past. The new songs have a bit more to it - definitely a lot of soul and more emphasis on the vocals in the songs - but when one hears the songs, they still have an air of the sound that the band is known for: straight up 'in your face' garage rock.

You will be seeing more and more of The Sights in 2010 with a few shows already set in stone and a new LP, entitled Most of What Follows Is True, to be released within the next year. And now, on to the photos!

MySpace | Official Site

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Top 5 of 2009, Part Three

posted by High Voltage Staff | Tuesday, January 5, 2010 | 6:19 PM
And last but certainly not least we come to Chelsea's Top 5 list.

Chelsea's Top 5 band discoveries of 2009.
In no particular order...

1. Crash Kings
2. I Will Never Be The Same
3. Hot Leg
4. White Rabbits
5. Eureka Machines

Top 5 of 2009, Part Two

posted by High Voltage Staff | Monday, January 4, 2010 | 9:38 PM
Lost internet for a couple days, so Izzy & Chelsea's Top 5 lists got delayed. Without further ado, here's Izzy Cihak's Top 5 albums of 2009:

5. Sex SlavesWasted Angel
Wasted Angel is the sound of the Sex Slaves emerging from the glittered
grime of the NYC underground to infect the masses. After traveling through
every corner of America, the band seems to have picked up a thing or two
from every kind of local, from the zombie-fied Goth rockers to the
synthetically-inclined scenesters and the retro sleaze rockers.

4. The CoathangersScramble (Suicide Squeeze Records)
…And with the release of The Coathangers’ Scramble, the term “Post Riot
Grrrl” must be fully recognized as a genre… and a genre that is as
wonderfully brassy and sassy as that which birthed it.

3. Elizabeth & The CatapultTaller Children (Verve Forecast)
The year’s most fashionably endearing album. The almost twee “Race You”
is the sound of Brooklyn’s hippest embracing their playfullness, the
heartwrenching “Apathy” is as elegant as it is painful, and “The Hang Up”
is a cheerfully enjoyable breakup song suited for topping VH1 charts.

2. MorrisseyYears of Refusal (Attack)
Being raised on Pasolini and ‘Personality Crisis’ clearly came
full-circle for this charming man.

1. Jemina PearlBreak it Up (Ecstatic Peace!)
Shockingly versatile (accessibly playful and credibly crass), the album
may be competing for both the pop and punk albums of the year. Pearl finds
herself under the mirrorball (“Ecstatic Appeal”), on the New Wave scene
(“Retrograde”), and even at the sock hop, alongside Iggy Pop, with the
most endearing song ever written about hatred (“I Hate People”).