Album Reviews :: Black Diamond, Grey Zine, and Doghouse Charlie

I’ve always felt both proud and privileged to have grown up in the Wilkes Barre punk scene and now, even when these kids don’t have a regular venue to call their home, they are still coming out with killer music.

This week’s reviews all come from bands who come from the Wilkes Barre scene (an area that extends a few miles and towns around the city). A scene that has persevered through so many venue closings that I can’t even keep track. Through all that though, Wilkes Barre has produced some great bands that have had international success such as Cold World, An Albatross, and Title Fight.

The Wilkes Barre scene is a scene that keeps going, keeps changing, and keeps creating music. The three bands that are reviewed this week, show just how diverse and interesting the scene has become.

Black Diamond :: Return of The Barre Split

I super dig the raw quality of Black Diamond. There is a great garage rock sound and distortion to the tracks, yet this great punk attitude. There is a definite melancholy undertone to the whole EP, the gloom that only those who grew up in a decaying coal mining town can feel.

This EP gets better with every track, Dirt has a definite groove and an alternative vibe, Post Blunt Furniture Salesman has a ton of attitude with strained vocals and a surprising screamo section. And Something Silver Lined builds in intensity through the song until it greats to a great screaming section and an awesome feedback driven ending.

It is exciting to hear music so naked and honest. Black Diamond describe themselves as the most nervous band in punk rock, in my book these guys have nothing to be nervous about, these songs are killer.

Grey Zine :: Hopesfault / Bottom Feeder EP

I was blown away by both the quality and unique sound of Grey Zine. They instantly transport you into the new wave scene of the 80s, back when it was new and experimental. Hopesfault is a bit indie, a bit trippy, a bit chaotic, and totally awesome. I especially love how menacing the veiled echo-y vocals are. Bottom Feederis new wave all the way, classic and experimental at the same time, you will get this track stuck in your head. There are only two tracks on this EP and that makes me super curious to hear more and see where they go from here.

Doghouse Charlie :: The Blood Rare: Sunroom Sessions (w. Sir Ian Newcastle) and Demonstrations

Doghouse Charlie is one of those artists who needs to make muisic and needs to experient and challenge himself at every turn. Catching up on his whole library of releases via bandcamp was like going through a musical journey. The Blood Rare: Sunroom Sessions (w. Sir Ian Newcastle) album is an experimental blues folk hybrid that constantly questions the limits and direction of a single song. Individual tracks draw influence from such varying sources as traditional middle eastern music to the electric feedback driven alternative bands. Each of these tracks seems to be screaming for an intimate setting and a small audience who will hang on every note and nuance. We, as listeners, can see the progression from The Blood Rare: Sunroom Sessions  to the next EP Demonstrations. The folk blues elements are still in tact, yet we are getting more of a 60s psychedelic vibe as well. And most importantly the experimentation is still present, these tracks do not follow any formula, they are allowed to find their own voice and sound.

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