Last night San Diego Harley-Davidson had their Bike Night and as advertised they provided food, beverages, live music from Wang Dang Daddies and ahem, a twerk contest. As can be expected, there was also a show in the streets with the likes of dyna riders and wheelie lovers. We’re not sure if there were more phones out for the wheelies or the twerkies but it was all love here at SD Harley-Davidson. Check the out this gallery for all the snaps and check the instagram for twerk leaks.
Camping, skateboarding, hiking, exploring and adventures are more exciting when a motorcycle is involved. I was fortunate to attend the International Press Launch held in Palm Springs, CA this December which was a tasteful experience from the initial greet to the last mile. This was the first of 4 International Press Launches for the Scrambler since their showing a few months back at INTERMOT in Germany where Ducati’s newly launched sub-brand, Scrambler Ducati, introduced 4 Scrambler models for 2015.
Inspired by simplicity and the pure joy of riding, these Scramblers have the suspension, design and performance capable of mapping out a new frontier while still practical enough for zipping around town and playing it cool at the coffee shops. The Scrambler comes from the factory with the same benchmark design and performance held by their decorated track and road motorcycles, which has been their area of focus for the last 40+ years. Ducati has now paired that experience with an affordable price tag and retro-modern styling that defines the history of the original Ducati Scrambler by where it’s been and where it stands today, leaving where it’s going completely up to the rider.
The 2015 Scrambler is impelled by an EFI 803cc L-twin air-cooled engine throwing 75 horses @ 8,250rpm and 50lbs/ft torque @ 5,750rpm. A 50mm throttle body aids greater fuel economy and the 6-speed gearbox compliments those open straight-aways. Motivated by Ducati’s proven performance line, the Scrambler’s rear suspension has 24 degrees of rake and 4.4 inches of trail while the front is embraced with an upside down Kayaba 41mm fork. During the launch we took a group ride through Silent Valley upwards to Idyllwild and around San Bernardino Park without any issues through the tight corners and climbing hills. In fact, the bike’s stock suspension was responsive enough for me to comfortably and safely take corners quicker than I had previously. I weigh 160lbs and for me the dampening throughout the corners felt great at the factory settings while the dual-channel ABS provided confidence for road hazards. I also road the entire day with my skateboard strapped to my backpack with no issues beyond a little wind resistance. The bike weighs just over 400lbs wet and the seat sits at 31.1 inches with the option for a lower seat of 30.3 inches. This makes a great desert runner or camping sled where picking up the bike from a soft sand spill might otherwise require two individuals. Other attributes include a USB port for charging accessories, ample storage underneath the seat for registration and personal items, steel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, LED odometer and lights, and Pirelli MT60 tires.
For those looking for a skate dragger to reach higher speeds in the schools yards, this will be ideal. The Scrambler is nimble enough to wrap around basketball posts and tighter corners while a responsive dual-channel ABS aids to safely slow for the skateboarder to pass. The exhaust is quiet enough to sneak up for spot checks and the profile is slim but if you split lanes, as always, keep that board vertical. In conjunction with this launch, Scrambler Ducati designed a lifestyle apparel line to match the mood of the bike. Shirts, gloves, armored outdoor jacket, cross country sneakers and leather field jacket were of the popular mentions as well as backpacks, tank and saddle storage bags. Bell and 100% collaborated for helmet and goggle options giving the rider even more room for manifestation.
The Scrambler is built for everyone, including new and returning motorcyclists who don’t wish to be categorized by any single genre of the term biker. It’s for those who live by getting out and moving forward, with appreciation for the foundations set before their time. 2015 is going to be a buon anno for Scrambler Ducati.
Q&A with Danny Martinez(DM Surfboards).
The Clearest Way Into The Universe Is Through A Forest Wilderness – John Muir
Music of the slightest tranquility will put most of us to sleep, but when it’s this cinematic, when it’s this creative and this good, sleeping is the last outcome after impression. Magic Mountain Band is the second group in a row from Melbourne, Australia who has opened our eyes to our Pacific neighbors we have over looked since Nick Cave left The Birthday Party. Their music is completely instrumental, very earthy, spatially cosmic and inspired from the expansive landscapes of Australia. This is music you will truly get lost in whether it’s a short break from work or a remedy soundtrack to heal the day. Upon first listen our designer coined them, “The Australian Headdress.” Headdress is a psychedelic-drone band from Texas encompassing camp vibes, American Indian rituals, and nature influences. Magic Mountain Band is Brett Langsford(guitar, producer), Jack Monte(guitar), Danny McKenna(drums/percussion), Joe Cope(Hammond organ, piano), and Joe Talia(bass, engineering/mixing).
‘Wilderman’ dropped last week on bandcamp.com. This is their first full album on sale to the masses online and in 12” vinyl. After listening to the first track I grazed upon, “Into The Wild,” I knew these guys had the substance that took Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed You Black Emperor! to what they are today- though widely used in cinema, they maintain a below the surface appearance for the preservation of their sound. Going back to “Into The Wind,” maracas, resonating drums, and guitars ramping complexity set mood for this Jon Muir themed track. The song builds on exhilaration of independence, just as the title implies, but there is a composition throughout that will leave chills of flawless orchestrated performance. The following track, “Vaquero,” offers less intense stimuli but compensates with peaceful western duel-themes that thread into a melody reminiscent of wind rolling over grassy knolls. The entire album is perfectly composed for its time and style, because it doesn’t sound from today; it sounds of nostalgic wilderness.
If you like the spacey vibes, rolling rhythms, and cinematic composition of instrumental rock, pick this album up. Worth every coin, ‘Wilderman’ is the perfect set of zone tracks for the out of body listening experience, or as mentioned before, a way to turn off your day and get in touch with realness. Plus, the guys of Magic Mountain Band back John Muir, winning.
Lookout For The Fuzz…Down Under.
Let us not confuse Child with the other bands of the same name or conversions of the word “child” and “band” because there are many. And they scatter from Seattle to the UK. This “Child” band is from Melbourne, Australia and formed in 2012 with Mathais Northway(guitar/vocals), Jayden Ensor(bass), and Michael Lowe(drums/percussion). Child’s anatomy is like a stoner rock skeleton with a 1960s Mississippi blues spinal cord that puts more soul into each verse and riff than we’ve ever seen in the last 30 years of Psych rock. Mathias’ 90’s-style tone brings a murky water soaked approach to rock while paying homage to bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. ‘Child’ is a completely original sound and this album doesn’t come up short of the fuzz either.
Child’s much-awaited self-titled album is heavy, hairy, and whole-hearted. There is as much soul in this album than a B.B. King record. The parallel strides of Jayden and Mathias are nothing less than extraordinary compliments of the diversity of blues rock. Their album on bandcamp starts with “Trees;” it’s a stoner blues band, of course they’re going to start with trees. Riffing right out of the box then slowing to a self-loathing blues tempo, this track exhibits the core of the band’s uniqueness in style. This is a track every blues fan can relate to and it’s too easy to get lost in both lyrics and melody. Another high point of mention is their last track, “Blue Overtone Storm/Yellow Planetary Sun.” There is a harder push and pull to this track, almost psych-rock or whiskey-rage blues. For those who like the black hole of stoner rock, this ones for you. It stands as the longest track on the album at just over ten minutes and at the halfway point things start to get real slow and spacey. ‘Child’ is already one of our favorite offerings of the year.
In sum, the whole album feels good to listen to because its sounds not of this time. I would have dated it to the 1960s right next to the pioneers of their sound if I hadn’t had proper investigation. They are refreshingly different for what we have heard in the last few decades and they have taken the foundation of rock and refurbished it for 2014 with the same nostalgic sound that turned people on fifty years ago. Some things never change, others shouldn’t change; we’re excited to say Child is living proof of that sound. Buy their album at childtheband.bandcamp.com and get lost in their long and curlys.
Dutch Band Brings Dutch Lighting Doom
Bong Breaker, one of Holland’s best doom start-ups, has released their first full-length album last month following their demo dropped in 2012. Their sound is carried by clean vocals over loose hills of thoughtful riffs and percussion. Upon first listen, I was reminded of Fu Manchu and Nebula, only Bong Breaker’s riffs are faster and slower than the fastest and slowest those two ever recorded. There is no sloppiness about these guys and I can appreciate the imaginative breakdowns that keep each track pumping past those continuously copied stoner riffs; although I love those riffs. Bong Breaker’s ‘Mountain’ is Wilmar Timmerman(vocals and bass) and Mink Koops(drums).
‘Mountain’ has 6 hefty tracks that mark the band’s territory in the world of stoner rock. The album is recklessly original when it comes to it’s creative direction. The best example of this can be heard in the track “Sins.” The track starts off with a classic riff descending to a slower and heavier rhythm that is trekked until about 06:30 when a series of pounding guitars and mellow drums followed by 9 seconds of surprising funk divot the course of the song, temporarily. I didn’t see this as a negative direction for the track, especially once the funk stopped and the slowest huskiest riff was brought in to close it out. This is done often with slow-motion video work; an editor will speed up the footage meant to play at real speed to make the slowed clips look slower in comparison. The funk had a higher mood and skittish feel but when that riff came around, the mood began to cry thunder. Ending the album, the title track leads in like a body being dragged through the desert. Then around 03:15 you’re sure to be reminded of Kerry King’s work from ‘South of Heaven’(Slayer). The songs continues with improvising and conjunctive grooves that seal off a much anticipated great album from Bong Breaker.
Every track here is unique and well composed for it’s genre. If you liked the stoner rock bands of the Palm Desert Scene in California then you’ll love these guys. The style they bring will deviate the dirt-kicking sound through today’s curve around radio imprisonment and compliance. Their bandcamp link is listed below.
Heavy Residents of Chiraq
Starting off with a personal quote from Charles Manson usually isn’t how you win over a crowd but luckily for us, a riff as heavy as his sentence follows the quote. I found myself replaying track one simply just to hear the quote. Mount Salem is a female lead Doom Rock band from Chicago, IL. Something about crisp vocals from a woman that float across heavy riffs can’t be ignored nor denied lately. With bands like Witch Mountain and Windhand already leaving deep tracks, you can be sure to hear more la femme fatal doom in the near future. Mount Salem was formed in 2012 and released their first EP in 2013. Members have not changed since forming and include Mark Hewett(bass), Cody Davidson(drums), Kyle Morrison(guitar), and Emily Kopplin(vocals/organ). Currently they are with Metal Blade Records.
Mount Salem’s ‘Endless’ is a 6 track EP with Kopplin’s chillingly soulful vocals sewn through the foundation of clean psych-rock tumbled with coarse doom. I have listened to this album numerous times and I’m still amazed at how great Hewett, Davidson, and Morrison are with their composition. Their sound is original but familiar. There are mellow bass notes through the verses of “Lucid” that I wish repeated for 20 minutes. Only great psych-doom can deliver a riff you wish never ceased but this group does not hold tracks hostage that long; they keep you thirsty for more. Another appreciated point is with Mount Salem’s build-and-rip. Alfred Hitchcock once said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” For example, the track “Full Moon” builds anxiety with light-noted riffs and soft vocals that make you scratch for the trigger and when Mount Salem pulls that trigger the bang is long, deep, and hard; salvation ramping at speeds that burn. The lyrics throughout the album are stacked slant rhymes that please in poetry but generally this is not used with doom and psych rock. Following “Full Moon” is a number called “Mescaline” which is guaranteed to calm the album just as the definition of this controlled substance is noted. In fact, the title is perfect for its position in the album and aids to set the level for “Hysteria,” another amazing riff monster right around the corner.
All in all, I think Mount Salem could have fought with Windhand for the Doom Metal Album of the Year in 2013. I urge the next chance you get to visit their bandcamp.com site (listed below) and experience this pleasure I could barely hold for words. Especially for a band hailing from one of the more dangerous cities in the United States, their attentions are focused. NativeGround is eagerly waiting for the follow up album from these Chicago-based doomers.
Tower Bar in City heights held a late premiere for Heroin’s ‘Video Nasty’ followed by Spacewax last Thursday. Spacewax is a heavy rock group from SD with members Johnny Nevada, Jordan Tirpok, and Connor Getzlaf. Nevada and Tirpok’s previous groups include Cervix, Let Em Rot, Hammerkill, and PC DeathSquad.
Weedeater played Soda Bar last Monday and f**d our ear drums ruthless. My ears rang the entire ride home and carried through to the morning. The line up has been recently altered as their drummer Keko left the band and Travis Owen (Whores.) filled in for their tour with “Dixie” Dave Collins and Dave Shepard. Despite the lineup change, the show was amazing and Owens coudn’t have been a better substitute for the tour.
Dopelord brings weighted bluesy doom in its best form.
From across the pond, Poland is making a lot of noise. In 2010, Dopelord formed in Lublin and debuted their first full-length album in 2012, Magick Rites. The northern areas of Europe are known for some of the darkest and heaviest metal to hit the underground pipe works of their genre. Books and documentaries have been written on the play and image of True Norwegian Black Metal with the likes of Mayhem, Celtic Frost, Immortal, and Darkthrone but now we have the pleasure of hearing a band with a strong blues backbone and a gurgling resonance of distortion. Dopelord is on our list of promising bands in doom and we anxiously await their next album. Members include: Miodek(Vocals/Guitars), Klusek(Bass), Xerxes(Drums), and Mroku(Guitar).
Magick Rites checks all of our boxes for proper doom metal characteristics. The songs are lengthy but don’t drag on endlessly(few bands can keep rhythm in the 15 min+ range anyway). Track names like “Unihorn” and “Ghost Hits From The Bong” are creatively funny and the lyrics hold themes of occultism, rituals and drugs. Something about these three themes makes doom what it is and losing yourself in the spliff becomes more special, whether you partake or not. I meant to say riff; my apologies. For some, its bands like these that let you feel under the influence by just falling into that groove. Magick Rites gets an added bonus as it was produced independently and I would put money down that all the members hold day jobs to front the cost of their band efforts in strive of keeping Dopelord underground.
My highlights from the album include “Ghost Hits From The Bong” and “Lucfer’s Son.” The earlier tees off with a super bluesy riff that gets accompanied in heavy unison with the other members. The lyrics are amazing; every time I hear the chorus I cant help but shake my head and smile. “Ghost Hits..”‘s bridge has a bass melody following the solo with an underlaid sample of a bong hit; it works because it is subtle. Bands like Bongzilla crank waterpipe samples up strong, which are perfect for their sound. For Dopelord, there’s no sense in trying to sound like another band; difference should be embraced. The second favorite track, “Lucifer’s Son,” starts with a sound bite from “Lumaban ka, Satanas” or The Killing of Satan, which is a Filipino-made horror fantasy from 1983. Sound bites from occult-inspired films, is their anything more fitting? Rhetorical! The weight of this track is so heavy you’ll feel the pressure from your speakers guaranteed to raise hair until its through. At $3 for this seven-track album on bandcamp.com there is no way to fault. Check the link at the bottom for their front on bandcamp and keep listening!