Black9 releases “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

A metallic revival of a 1980’s classic rock staple that is as vocally brooding as it is rife with brutal riffing, Black 9’s rendition of the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (originally released on the required 1981 LP Bella Donna) is a juggernaut of a cover and a fine new single from the acclaimed trio. Black 9 play a style of melodic heavy metal that owes as much to the grimy dirge of Black Sabbath as it does Alice in Chains’ tempered style of attack, and though a number of critics will tell you that metal couldn’t be much further from the mainstream in 2019, this band finds a way to challenge that narrative with this stylishly appointed release. I’ve never been a big fan of new bands reshaping classic songs, but that’s not what this cover of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” does. Instead of trying to do something that has already been done, and essentiallyperfected over a generation ago, Black 9 dig deeper into the aesthetical makeup of the song and yield something decidedly fresh and new from a mainstay of the American rock n’ roll songbook.

There are a lot of ways that you could reinvent the simple structure of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” as is the case with most of Stevie Nicks’ best-known releases, but Black 9 are careful not to tread on any previously ventured ground. The biggest thing that they do here is filtration; they’re basically straining the compositional concept through their own unique blend of fiery riffage and evocatively woven vocals, which are never quite at the forefront of the mix yet still manage to spellbind us from the moment of their first appearance.


The same honey and vinegar dueling that we encounter in the original song is present, but it’s been refined and re-stylized around this studded rhythm, which is a lot more agile than anything I was expecting to hear in this recording. Instead of preserving the spaces and gaps between the verses, Black 9 are constantly attacking them with the crunch of the guitars and wail of the vocals, which together form a gorgeous harmony that justifies the acquisition of this single on its own.

Solidly outfitted with heavy metal grooves and a sizzling melodic twist that will bring pop fans in droves, Black 9’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” is a smart, affectual cover song that doesn’t try to patronize its listeners with a lot of cheap studio scheming nor tired and tried showmanship, but instead makes the most of its exotic combination of creative elements. Though their sonic profile could be considered at odds with that of Stevie Nicks’, the distance between the two camps doesn’t seem all that severe in this track, which seems to unite past with present in a dazzling display of carnal rock n’ roll machismo flanked with searing feminine charms. You don’t have to be familiar with their work to appreciate the highbrow nature of this cover, and I think this song will eventually serve Black 9 well in exposing their diverse and versatile skillset to a much larger audience.

Kim Muncie

The music of BLACK9 has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik Radio Promotions. Learn more – HTTPS://

Protovulcan – Life is Twigs/Psychic Pinball (EP)

Records that have a concept behind them, whether musical or poetic in nature, tend to be sprawling, drawn out affairs that have a hard time remaining contained in the space afforded to them, no matter the size. While this can be said of Protovulcan’s Life is Twigs/Psychic Pinball, it shouldn’t be said without asterisking that for as over the top-jarring as this extended play is, the band couldn’t have rendered much more endearing charm of its brooding, experimental content if they tried. Life is Twigs/Psychic Pinball is really two smaller EPs mashed into a single disc, and each show off a different angle of the band’s incredibly volatile brand of noise music, which often flirts with melodious rock n’ roll rhythms against a textured backdrop of feedback, controlled chaos and bombastic beats. We start off with Life is Twigs and the affectionate “Pine for You,” which ungracefully sets the tone for the adventure we’re embarking on. “The Force Remains the Same” follows up with a pendulous, “No Quarter”-style dissonance that slowly evolves into a crushing harmony under the command of a grizzly bassline.

“Snake Legend” tediously concludes Life is Twigs on an ominous, somewhat dooming note that isn’t carried over into the freewheeling “Soma Sutra,” which rattles and writhes at the direction of a twisted old world circus-like groove. Psychic Pinball, as its name would suggest, is like a divine game of chance that we become strapped down beside and given no choice but to bear witness to. A coupling of included remixes for “Purple Sky” and “Celestial Slingshot” offer up an electronic-tinged take on two of Life is Twigs/Psychic Pinball’s most intriguingly composed numbers, but I truly feel that they stand in the shadows of their original mixes, which are menacing and create a bleakness that is, for whatever reason, spellbinding from the very moment that it comes into focus. Nothing about this extended play falls in with what I was anticipating out of its tracks, which were advertised to me as being extreme but not as inventive or happily “outsider” as early stuff by The Velvet Underground was. I beg to differ on multiple counts; one, this lives up to the high standards set by the Velvets so long ago, and two, to say that these guys aren’t embracing their eccentric image would be absurdly inaccurate. After all, their music wouldn’t come off as confidently and seamlessly if they weren’t.

Life is Twigs/Psychic Pinball is, at its core, experimental sounds compiled together exclusively for the discriminating music buff among us who isn’t amused by the comical attempts at relevancy that are often given credence by the national media and international music-oriented television outlets. Protovulcan strike me as a band that has no problem standing on the outside looking in and making music that doesn’t fit into the pre-designed categories that help us to determine which payola-backed singer/songwriter will win what Grammy this year. This release is a respectable, original, unvarnished stab at enriching tone and music theory through the power of creative thinking alone, and if that isn’t inspiring in these electronically-faceted recording times we’re living in now, I don’t know what is.


Kim Muncie

Ronnue releases “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)”

R&B has been celebrating its third great renaissance of the last 70 years recently, and perhaps no one captures the essence of the genre’s new generation of performers and their worship of the old school better than Seattle’s Ronnue does. Popping his new single “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)” and its accompanying remix into your CD player will result in taking a step back in time to the golden age of funk, long before new jack swing, hip-hop and the second vocal age reigned supreme atop the charts. Ronnue plows through these lyrics with a muscular command of the microphone that is something to be feared if you’re in a rival crew or looking to cut in line ahead of him in the hierarchy of the Seattle music scene. From the moment we first cross paths with the sinfully addictive opening salvo and ominous vocal harmony that lines the intro in a surreal yet hostile melody, there’s no question that the music is as big and bold as it can get, and by the time we’re through it’s also clear that Ronnue himself is an artist who doesn’t need an introduction when he takes the stage – just a microphone to do his magic with.


The lyrics of this song are straight up cutting, even more so because of the sharp delivery. You could argue that in funk, vocals are never supposed to be the central point of attraction that listeners automatically gravitate towards, but then again, you could also make the argument that in 2019 making any variety of hard funk at all goes against the trajectory of the mainstream. Ronnue doesn’t have much time for anyone to call his artistry into question, and personally I don’t blame him; his sound is so brutally efficient, bluntly executed and full of a special vitality that is typically only possessed by icons of this industry. Funk has never had the dated profile that some of its more watered down subgenres (i.e. disco) have suffered from, which actually makes it a really prime candidate to receive the revival that it is experiencing right now. This single has no problems wearing its identity with pride, and if anything it stands alone as one of the only modern R&B tracks to do so in 2019.

Unstoppable beats and an enormous, melodic vocal from an artist who refuses to play by the rules are just two reasons why getting ahold of “Something About U (The Retro-Funk Mix)” is a smart idea for anyone who loves urban music that puts more stock in swing than it does blatant commercial pandering. Ronnue doesn’t weigh this song down with anything other than his trademark singing, and even though his peers have repeatedly demonstrated having no issues with artificially constructing their narratives out of terribly predictable themes and anti-cinematic admissions, he shows us that he isn’t interested in taking such a pathetically unoriginal path towards stardom. He’s the real article, and this new single solidifies his spot in the pool of must-watch artists currently dominating the underground.

Kim Muncie

Brady Novotny’s Passions Collide

A pendulous bell is warning us that the clock has struck midnight. As if awakening from a horrid nightmare, we hear a gasp cut through the abrasive wails of the bell. A bittersweet vocal clings to a tempered guitar part that slowly skulks about in the distance. A softly spoken prayer joins it, followed by an electrified guitar that seems to emerge out of the ethers like some sort of fabled magic. Without warning the guitar ignites a blaze that wraps us in melodic flames and drags us asunder, into the deep core of human emotion at its most raw and real. This is “Midnight Prayer,” just one of ten new songs that Brady Novotny’s Passions Collide brings to the table ready to slay your stereo mercilessly.


“Midnight Prayer” isn’t the only slice of sonic heaven that you’ll find when scanning through these tracks driven by the gargantuan grooves of Mr. Brady Novotny. The intensity and bombastic beats have actually slowed down quite a bit by the time we reach this part of the album; after all, early on we’re beaten into the ground with the title track, taken for a trip to the southern dessert in “Cara Bella,” through Bayou swampland in “Heart’s Fire” and into a faraway psychedelic dimension with “Soul Harmony.” Passions Collidestarts off as heavy as an elephant and gradually finds its softer side, though I will say that its definition of “soft” and that of a Delilah-anchored radio station is, unequivocally, a bit different.

Personally I found “Ancient Romance,” the title track and the pensive “Blue Rose” to be the most evocative of the record. “Ancient Romance” alone is strong enough to build an entire album around, while the more modest “Blue Rose” carries so much emotion and angst that its lyrical content almost distracts us from really understanding its deeper, unspoken narrative. For being an LP that is all about guitars, there’s a poetic feeling to the music of Passions Collide that would exist whether there were vocalists appearing on it or not. I would argue that the instrumental songs are a touch more inspired than the ones that aren’t, but to say that this album is even the slightest bit fragmented would be an unquestionable falsehood of criminal proportions.

A true master of the six string like the guitar gods of old, Brady Novotny hits it out of the park in his new record and leaves an impression that audiences won’t soon forget. I hadn’t really heard much about Novotny prior to picking up this album for the first time and becoming entranced by its hypnotic sway, never ending swagger and incalculable appeal on a lazy afternoon when there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go, but you could definitely consider me a legit fan from this point on. Novotny is a dynamic player who doesn’t necessarily strike me as someone with a big agenda on the other side of his work. He plays for the sake of playing, and that doesn’t just make him a cut above his peers, it makes him a worthy role model for any young guitarist coming up in the music industry today.


Kim Muncie

John Vento releases new music

In thirteen elegantly produced tracks, John Vento invites us into his world of Love, Lust & Other Wreckage, while offering up some brooding confessions and inspiring balladry along the way. For fans of eclectic rock, Vento needs no introduction. The Pittsburgh-based performer has made a career out of never sticking to the script, and his attitude of constantly adapting and evolving his style of play has earned him a permanent place in the music industry’s maverick sector. Regardless of the artistic politics, Vento is an unquestioned master of his medium, dispensing insightful lyricism alongside endearing melodies that make songs like “Humble Way,” “Eye Candy,” “With You” and “Well Yeah Maybe” larger than life bridges to a colorful Americana of old. For musicians like Vento, anything less than premium audio isn’t fit for release, and this album adheres to that high standard wondrously.


They say that less is more, and in the plaintive “Just Don’t Care,” “Rainbows & Lightning” and the charming “Only Love Stays Alive,” that statement couldn’t be any truer. Vento doesn’t feel the need to dress these songs, or really any of what we find on Love, Lust & Other Wreckage, in a lot of studio-generated cosmetics. Were tracks like “Baby Blues,” “I’ll Be Still” or “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You” outfitted with any sort of frills, I honestly don’t think they would be half as impactful as they are in the natural, somewhat understated form that they’re packaged and presented to us here. In an age of excess that rivals the 1980’s, it’s nice to see that some artists are investing more in their tonality than they are in bells and whistles.

Love, Lust & Other Wreckage never plays by any one set of rules; we get rolling with a harmonica-driven blues bruiser in “A Good Life Made,” swing through cerebral folk with “Let Me Down” and “Baby Blues,” wander into some sort of Nick Cave-style dirge that is unstoppably catchy in “Just Don’t Care,” and end up spacing out to the shoegaze-style sparkle of “Rainbows & Lightning” before falling into the jazzy skip of “Follow Your Heart.” Put simply, Vento wasn’t content to give up his wild man lifestyle behind the microphone just yet – I would even have to say, based on what I’ve heard here, that we’ve only just begun to see his carnal side (of which I can’t wait to experience more of).


There’s so much to breakdown in this LP that I can’t see growing tired of its suffocating echo, insulated vocals that penetrate the thickest of guitar riffs, muscular EQ and multifaceted lyrics anytime soon. With all of the experimental-minded releases that we’ve seen in and outside of rock music lately, I was initially unsure of what to expect out ofLove, Lust & Other Wreckage, but to my delight John Vento kicks out some feverish jams that stir the soul with a bone-dry sonic finish that’s hard to get out of your mind once you’ve consumed it at maximum volume. I highly recommend this album and say with confidence that if you weren’t a Vento disciple before hearing it, you most likely will be afterwards.

Kim Muncie

Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout LP

With a name like Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout, this compilation of various artists performing music written by the legendary Rick Lang promises to get you on your feet and singing along to the bittersweet melodies of old Appalachia. Dave Adkins stops by to dish out the churn of “Thinkin’ Outside the Box” and the humble “There is a Light;” Marty Raybon takes up the mic with “I See God” and the plaintive “I’ve Read the Book;” Kenny and Amanda Smith poetically share “They Were Fisherman;” The Cox Family puts some polish on the self-explanatory “There Will Be Singing;” all under the watchful production eye of Jerry Salley, who also couldn’t help but partake in the musical festivities in the majority of these tracks.


As if all of that weren’t enough, those six songs only make up half of Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout. Americana runs wild in the strings of “Henry Clayton Parker” and the song that shares a name with the album, directed by the pipes of one Claire Lynch. The intoxicating vibrancy of these tracks is hypnotizing to put it mildly, and once you get into the guts of a track like “The Back of the Church” trying to press stop before finishing the rest of the record becomes next to impossible. This isn’t FM radio-ready pop music, but it’s definitely just as hook-laden and catchy.

None of these songs devolve into overindulgence; they avoid such tragedy by sticking to a lyrical narrative that cohesively holds all of the content together, despite the surface-level differences. Cosmetically, “Sunday Morning Gospel Jubilee” and “Don’t Tune Him Out” owe a lot to the same set of influences, but it’s when we listen even closer that we see how intricately structured each are outside of their praise-giving subject matter. The music keeps us glued to our speakers, but the words are what really get us to relate with the splendor of the material.


“Heaven’s Back Yard” and “Thinkin’ Outside the Box” remind me of a country music that doesn’t quite exist anymore and has been missed by critics and audiences alike ever since its departure. High Road’s “Heaven’s Back Yard” is built on a tender melody that feels homespun and honest. The lyrics are so illustrative that they literally take us to a back porch somewhere in secluded pastureland. Its track listing predecessor transcends the boundaries of bluegrass altogether, tapping into a Nashville twang that is heartbreakingly vivid and unafraid of its own identity. There’s no two ways about it; this is thoroughly engaging gospel music from top to bottom.

Filled with high caliber performances from equally high caliber artists that represent the best of the best, Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout is one record that is virtually guaranteed to leave anyone who listens to its twelve tracks feeling even more pleasant than they did beforehand. Gospel is an evocative style of music that has never relied on flash or showmanship to touch us where it counts, but in this album it’s reimagined with a boisterousness and virtuosity that is fresh and thrilling. Check out this LP and the amazing artists it brings together – I have a feeling you won’t regret it.


Renee Cologne’s – Coverlings

Renee Cologne’s – Coverlings, is an album you’ll be talking about for a while if you get wind of the majesty to be heard on this release full of precious gems that she put her stamp on with effortless magic. Her voice isn’t exactly unknown but as an indie artist she’s making her own footprints, and she has written or performed for stage, dance and film, including M&M’s and other well-known commercials. With three independent releases and much else behind her, this fourth album is a milestone that will go the distance. The choice of music to cover was nothing short of a masterstroke and Cologne’s input is over the top.


“Jersey Girl” starts off with one of, if not the most accessible cuts on the disc, but that’s only because she makes it that way from an otherwise well-known but not extremely consumed Tom Waits piece. The track itself isn’t what you’d call a pop tune, but now you can add that tag because Cologne managed to make it her own. And it doesn’t end here, as most of the songs reach that goal, assuming it was one. And there are also a few tracks without that about them, but for the most part it’s her using them more as vehicles for her own magical voice.

“Landslide” has been done a lot, I know, but don’t gloss over it because if I were to compare it with the Fleetwood Mac original, I would at least call it as good, if not maybe even better if it lasts with due time. But it’s also worth noticing “I Believe” by Stevie Wonder for the same reason because it’s probably the most reinvented song on the album, and one of the best too. She just makes so many of these songs her own without making you forget where they came from.


“Let It be” is done with such fabulous texture and modernization that you just have to give Cologne all the credit in the world for hypnotically drawing you into another cover of a Beatles song without giving you the static norm version in the process. After hearing that I realized I was listening to one of the most mesmerizing voices I’ve heard in many years. It leaves you battered and begging for more of that beautiful whisper she weaves, it’s not a sound you hear every day. This is a premiere pop vocalist and songwriter.

“Get Here” and “Up The Junction” keep the album going with more variety and the usual share of Cologne’s re-arranged magic, which brings just as much to the release as anything else on offer. Her voice seems to cut through just about anything it touches, so a second volume of Coverings wouldn’t be a case of overkill for me because she does the business so well it’s a no-brainer to want more of this type of thing from someone who makes it sound like a soothing walk in the park. And you even get “Wichita Lineman,” the Glen Campbell classic which takes the overall prize with Cologne’s voice carrying for miles.


Project Grand Slam’s Greetings from Serbia

Project Grand Slam’s Greetings from Serbia


Fans of pure jazz fusion as it was always meant to be consumed rejoice; 2019 officially commences with the release of the Robert Miller-led Project Grand Slam’s Greetings from Serbia, the group’s first live album and virgin offering to a brand new year. We begin with the rolling grooves of “You Started Something,” which as its title implies inspires something beyond infectious inside of anyone within earshot. Big rhythm is commanded by the gilded voice of Ziarra Washington, who navigates swirling sonic waves the size of skyscrapers with an airy fragility that is spellbinding from the very instant she starts to sing.

“You Started Something” gets us dancing, but “1972”throws down a funky hammer that is almost too limber for humans to keep up with. The space aged beat sways like a thousand pound pendulum above a glassy bass and drum blend that is just itching to spill into the guitar’s studious riffing. “I’m So Glad” brings Washington back into the fold and lights up the Serbian crowd with a sloshy tonality that takes a second to get fired up, but once it does is just about impossible to contain. These songs sound so fierce and urgent, and when you factor in the grit of this live mix it’s almost as if we’re sitting in the audience with the crowd.

The crown jewel of Greetings from Serbia is “Lament,” the band’s hit single, which shimmers with an effervescence that was more understated in the studio version of the song. It’s a nice break in the pace before we’re jolted by the heavy assault of “No No No”and massaged by the rigidity of “Free,” which has a certain jam band exuberance to it but falls short of becoming the repetitive progressive nonsense that eventually brought down the mid-90’s Deadhead revivalists. Say what you will about modern jazz, but if Greetings from Serbia doesn’t stimulate your soul then I don’t know what could.


“Gorilla” hums with an off-the-cuff, whispering bass that interlocks with the drums and ushers us into the straight up cathartic oasis that is “I Can’t Explain” (which for a lot of millennial listeners might be even more affectionately crafted than The Who’s version was). The five minutes and change that “The Queen’s Carnival” runs tests the endurance of Project Grand Slam with a larger than life island-flavored session that fires on all cylinders and has the power to leave listeners exhausted. On this front, one can only imagine how the players must have felt busting out these grooves one after another with zero breaks in between.

Greetings from Serbia comes to a conclusion with a cover of “Fire,” the legendary Jimi Hendrix song that became a staple of the Experience’s live shows some half century ago and could easily serve Project Grand Slam’s sets just as well. Washington doesn’t even try to replicate Jimi’s raspy, sexual growl; she’s more than content to impart to usher own melodic daggers, and in the end her vocal in the song is what makes the track ultimately feel complete. You don’t have to be the biggest jazz aficionado in the world to fall hard for what this album provokes in the hearts of anyone who has ever loved a good beat. Robert Miller’s most recent contribution to the international pop songbook is unquestionably worth acquiring if you’re keen on great music, and a wonderful way to warm up this chilly January.

The music of Project Grand Slam has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here –

Kim Muncie

NeuFutur has covered Project Grand Slam previously; Trippin’.

“Suck You In” the newest single from Lana Blac

A crackling dissonance not dissimilar to the sound of a needle making contact with a vinyl record for the first time penetrates the silence that opens “Suck You In,” the newest single from Lana Blac’s stellar album Nocturnal. A pummeling,treble-drenched percussion interrupts the ambience of the feedback and wakes up a cantankerous guitar riff that seems bent on discord. In the distance a grinding synthesized melody that is all too reminiscent of a funeral organ blankets everything in tension. Blac starts to sing with her trademark bite,and any notion that this single is going to be anything other than a sonic venture into the melodic underworld is dashed instantly.


Blac’s lyrics are very commanding, but they aren’t campy or over the top in the least. A big issue that critics have had with heavy metal over the years has been its lack of consistency when it comes to marrying words to watershed riffage that on its own has the power to change the way we listen to rock n’ roll, but that isn’t a factor in this single. Blac spits out imagistic lyrics that paint a picture of sheer terror before our very eyes without ever appearing before us physically.Her voice softens the blow only so much; for her prose is as splendidly evocative as the mammoth chords that accompany them are.

The drumming that guides the track along is very provocative, and I would argue just as much of a draw as the metallic guitar play is. While not very high in the mix, the percussion’s equalization is much more spread out and even than the rest of the instrumentation is, allowing for it to be the sole foundation of all the shenanigans that are transpiring as we work our way from beginning to end. Blac’s witty verses are timed with the beat down of the drums, and the two actually conjure more emotion and vitality in this composition than any of the other elements do.

This mix is very sharp, but not to the point of being annoyingly translucent. The fad of tinny guitar solos giving way to hollow drumming is completely ignored by Blac int his song; if anything, she goes out of her way to keep the levels as intricately defined as possible as to make the entire track feel more like alive experience than just another studio recording. Her efforts were well worth it; thanks to this sterling production quality, we can hear every studded nuance in her voice as well as the organically harsh nature of the drums and guitar.


If you’ve been hungry for authentic heavy metal that refuses to sacrifice tonality for speed and showmanship, Lana Blac has cut a single in “Suck You In” that I can almost guarantee will hit the spot. Blac holds utilizes the full range of her skillset in this song, and while I still think that she could develop her craft a little further and be an unstoppable force in the heavy metal world, this is an abundantly satisfying addition to her discography. Boldly executed and produced with a slick polish that even her major label counterparts would envy, “Suck You In” does everything that its racy title implies it will and then some.

The music of Lana Blac has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here –

Kim Muncie

Hemhora and the Glass Band drop Helix Pattern Blues EP

Hemhora and the Glass Band deliver an exhibition in surrealist rock for the ages in their new record Helix Pattern Blues, which is available everywhere that indie music is sold and streamed this coming December 7 through Greyday Records. Endlessly eccentric and riddled with enigmatic prose that is buried beneath a smorgasbord of colorful and unforgiving textures, Helix Pattern Blues borrows only slightly from contemporary pop construction and willfully dabbles in the sort of left-field physicality normally reserved for ambient, avant-garde and experimental rock bands alone. From the moment we press play on “The Last of Them,” the enormous melodies and suffocating rhythms are impossible to escape in this EP, no matter how deceptively minute and unthreatening the compositions may appear at first glance. Continue reading “Hemhora and the Glass Band drop Helix Pattern Blues EP”