Author page: Brandon Bout

Black Mountain’s IV – Reminding Me Why I Love Space Rock


Per recommendation from a friend, I recently decided to check out Black Mountain and, more specifically, the band’s fourth studio album, aptly titled IV. Released on Jagjaguwar, the Canadian band’s fourth album truly reminds me why I fell in love with space rock back in high school. The album is jam-filled, spaced-out, and altogether trippy at times, but it also has some really great in-your-face guitar riffs worth mentioning.

Yo La Tengo Returns to Nashville


Last Tuesday marked Yo La Tengo’s triumphant return to Nashville at Exit/In with a concert that was likely one of the biggest genre-rollercoasters of a set I’ve ever seen. Through the band’s decades of genre-bending with their largely varied discography, I couldn’t expect the show to be any different, and it didn’t disappoint.

Mac Sabbath Drives Thru Nashville


Before I even start reviewing Mac Sabbath’s appearance at Exit/In, let me just say this – there are some things that you can’t just make up.  This entire show was one of those things.  For those not familiar with Mac Sabbath, the parody metal band was formed in 2014 in Los Angeles by people whom I can only imagine are really interesting underneath their costumes.  Formed as a way to protest a certain fast food chain (and fast food in general), the band takes Black Sabbath songs and changes the lyrics to center around this certain chain’s food and imagery.  According to the band, they are from a “delicate part of the space time continuum,” and the group consists of Ronald Osbourne (vocals), Slayer McCheeze (guitar), Grimalice (bass), and the Catburglar (drums).  Again, I just can’t make this stuff up.

Merchandise Frontman Brings Out Hardcore Sensibilities in New Project

Carson Cox of Merchandise recently formed Death Index, a side project that seems to unleash the musician’s inner hardcore sensibilities.  The project’s debut album, released on February 26th, uses a post-punk template that one would expect from Cox, but adds plenty of hardcore punk elements to the music.  With all of the vocals done by Cox, the album certainly reminds listeners of modern post-punk outfits such as Viet Cong, but several of the tracks contain hardcore and noise-rock tendencies that I embrace with open arms.

Tool and Primus Bring Psychedelic Bliss to Bridgestone

I’ll the first to admit that I’m a bit of a fanboy of Tool, and I was definitely a pretty big Primus fan back in the day (I mean, with a bass style like Les Claypool’s, how could I not?), so when I read that the two bands were going to be playing Bridgestone Arena, I did the logical thing and set a reminder on my phone for when to stop paying attention in stats class to buy tickets as they went on sale.  I was a little excited.

From No-Wave to Indie Rock: A Sonic Youth Primer

via The Quietus
via The Quietus

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been coincidentally talking to several different people about some of my favorite bands.  Whenever I bring up the name “Sonic Youth” as one of those bands, people usually know the name, but have reduced their knowledge of the group to “oh yeah, aren’t they the weird band that had a song on Guitar Hero?”  I’ve even talked to a few people at WRVU about Sonic Youth, and, surprisingly, some of their reactions have been similar.

Solidifying Their Signature Sound: Deafheaven’s New Bermuda

In 2013, Deafheaven rose to the top of many “best album” lists with their sophomore album, Sunbather, and much of that success came from their ability to connect in an emotional way with their audience in a way similar to that of post-rock.  From brilliant major-key peaks in distorted guitar bliss to ambient, shoegaze-influenced segments, Sunbather kind of made metal cool again.  Many people who never imagined themselves being into metal loved that album.  And now, after a few years, Deafheaven are releasing their third full-length, New Bermuda, with much anticipation.  You can listen to the stream of the album on NPR here.  The album is officially released on October 2nd.


Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress” Is Sweet Indeed

On March 31st, Godspeed You! Black Emperor finally released their much-awaited followup to 2012’s ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, and, after having a few weeks to digest the band’s first album of completely new material since their reforming in 2010, I’ve made up my mind about Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress: it is sweet indeed.

Cover for "Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress"
Cover for “Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress”

Jazzmaster Jams

I’m a guitarist.  Like most guitarists, I have a favorite model of guitar: the Fender Jazzmaster.  First, just a little history about the guitar.  Fender first released the Jazzmaster in the late 1950s as a mode of reaching out to jazz musicians.  However, most jazz musicians ended up still using the other brands due to the Jazzmaster’s innate ability to produce feedback, something that jazz doesn’t really call for.  But the model gained a huge following among surf rock bands of the 1960s, the first place where the instrument came to prominence.  Still, with a warm tone and a lack of sustain, most 70s rock guitarists favored the mighty Gibson Les Paul, while Fender purists went back to the Stratocaster.  That left Jazzmasters as pawn shop guitars, cheap yet high quality.  So, many notable bands have picked Jazzmasters up since the 1950s, and many guitarists use primarily Jazzmasters.  Below are some of my favorite songs recorded using the model.

Spending Spring Break with Viet Cong at The Echoplex

Recently, a friend of mine has gotten me into Viet Cong, the Canadian post-punk band that just released their self-titled debut album in January.  So when I stayed with that same friend in Los Angeles over Spring Break, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the band while they were in town at one of LA’s fine venues, The Echoplex, last Friday night.  And what a show it was.  I decided to spontaneously purchase my ticket the same day as the show, and I couldn’t have made a better decision on how to spend my last night in LA.

The Legend of the Seagullmen: First Impressions

Fans of metal are most likely very familiar with Mastodon and Tool, two bands that have created loyal fan bases centered around rather unique sounds and styles.  Just today, Brent Hinds, lead guitarist for Mastodon, and Danny Carey, drummer for Tool, have made their new project, The Legend of the Seagullmen, known.  After releasing two songs via their website (, immediately music news sources began to speculate as to the long term goals of the new supergroup.  The band is nautically-themed, as evident by their name and the names of the first two released tracks by the band, and they also include OFF! frontman Dimitri Coats in the lineup.

Brent Hinds of Mastodon
Brent Hinds of Mastodon

Tame Impala’s Weird Cousin: WRVU Reviews Pond’s “Man It Feels Like Space Again”

Many fans of old 60’s music and psychedelia will know names like Tame Impala and Foxygen due to their neo-psychedelic sound and influences, but also because of the critical acclaim and publicity that they’ve received in recent years.  Even more music-oriented people will know The Flaming Lips as they’ve been around for 30+ years and have managed to keep themselves in the public eye with tricks, gimmicks, and, most importantly, a steady stream of music (while it sometimes seems hit or miss).  But many people aren’t aware of Pond, or at least haven’t heard any of their material.  Some are far too quick to judge and claim Pond as simply a “Tame Impala offshoot” when the truth is that they have been around since the time of Tame Impala’s inception.  With a similar style to those aforementioned psychedelia-influenced groups, Pond have managed to come a long way since their debut, Psychedelic Mango.

Unmasking Zappa: A Primer to the Music of Frank Zappa

When talking about weird, avant-garde musicians, Frank Zappa’s name is usually thrown around.  I say “thrown around” because I feel like not many people who know his name really known much about his music.  Too many times I’ve heard someone say something like, “Oh, Zappa?  Yeah, his music is kind of weird, I’m not really a fan.”  There’s some truth to this statement; his music is, generally speaking, weird, but I feel as though many people don’t understand the spread of genres that Zappa incorporated into his own music.  Truthfully, I think that there’s at least one Zappa album for almost everyone.

A Tale of Two Whales: Mastodon and Gojira Melt Faces at Marathon Music Works

The great metal band Mastodon finally return to Nashville after recording and releasing their sixth studio album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, in nearby Franklin, Tennessee, and this time around they’ve brought some friends, Norwegian metal band Kvelertak and, a band that I’ve really been getting into in the past several months, the French band Gojira.  When I was looking at going to the concert, I actually hadn’t heard of Kvelertak, but a friend of mine described them to me as “blackened hard rock” before the show started.  However, I was excited just to see Mastodon and Gojira on the same bill, and I was not disappointed in the least.

Atlanta-based proggy-sluddgy-gritty metal band Mastodon
Atlanta-based proggy-sluddgy-gritty metal band Mastodon

Fulfilling Your Lack of Foxygen: WRVU Reviews “…And Star Power”


Album cover for Foxygen's latest album, "...And Star Power"
Album cover for Foxygen’s latest album, “…And Star Power”


California natives Foxygen recently released their third full-length album, “…And Star Power”, and I couldn’t have been more hyped for the release date.  Knowing Foxygen, I expected to get a blissful mix of neo-psychedelia and 60’s revival, and what I got was so much more.  Their third album marks the first double album from the duo, and with their first double album comes some new elements to their sound.  Even before listening to the album, I noticed a bunch of small tracks in between the longer ones, eventually turning out to be mainly segues between the songs.  Segues are new to Foxygen’s music, and they manage to pull them off incredibly well.  

The Great Unknowns


Everyone knows the big influential names in music: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Radiohead, yada yada yada… Their influence is undisputed, and any sort of music fan knows their music.  But there’s a whole plethora of influential artists out there that were your favorite bands’ favorite bands, and you may have never known that they existed!  Some artists, no matter how ahead of their time, never seemed to hit it big.  Whether it was due to their lack of popularity, stage fright, or just plain lack of a top-selling single, they never sold out stadiums like The Who or Nirvana.  This list goes through some of my personal favorite influential artists that fit that exact mold (not necessarily the least popular or anything pretentious like that).  If you’ve ever wondered where the revolution of electronic music was started, where so many singer-songwriters got their inspiration (besides Bob Dylan and the like), and who helped to start the post-rock genre that you listen to during late-night studying sessions, read on.

Progressive or Regressive Rock?: Opeth’s “Pale Communion” Reviewed


Anyone familiar with the name Opeth most likely knows the Swedish band for being innovators in the progressive metal genre.  Their extremely unique sound has led them to worldwide acclaim in the metal community, and the band has had much praise from the modern progressive rock community as well.  Albums such as Blackwater Park and Still Life have become some of the most heavily-praised metal albums of the modern era.  Many fans, myself included, love Opeth for their ability to change from an extremely heavy metal riff to a beautiful acoustic guitar with the creativity and skill that few bands can even manage to pull off a few times, let alone as consistently as the band has proved.