THE ALCOHOLLYS – Happy Days Goes To Hell

By Carl Begai

Their name sounds like the house band at Arnold’s Drive-In on an updated adult version of the iconic ’70s / ’80s sitcom Happy Days. The music sounds like a mix of The Go-Go’s, The Cars and The Ramones. Yes, the quartet out of London, Ontario known as The Alcohollys are something special. Seriously something special, and definitely different. For the moment they have a small but loyal group of followers and, as of today (February 12th), one official independent release (The Flashback EP) under their belt. The Alcohollys also boast Kittie drummer Mercedes Lander and original Kittie bassist Tanya Candler as part of the line-up; a completely unexpected partnership when you put songs like ‘Flashback To ’93’ and ’27 Death Riot / Demolition In Speed City’ against the Kittie debut from 1999, Spit.

Alcohollys 2

Mercedes: “I’ve only been in The Alcohollys since 2011, but the band has been around since 2009. Dana started the band with some girls that aren’t in the band anymore, and Tanya joined in 2010. When they lost their drummer, I’m pretty much the only female drummer they know in town (laughs). They asked me if I wanted to join and I wasn’t doing anything, so I said ‘Fuck yeah.’ I’ve known Dana (Hartman / vocals, keyboards) for something like 17 years, and I know Tanya of course from playing in Kittie. And we have out new guitar player, Bri (Lue-Kim), so since 2011 we’ve gotten serious about this band.”

Take the above description of the band’s sound for what it’s worth – in this office, that’s a lot – or check it out here. Bottom line is The Alcohollys stick out like a sore thumb on today’s rock scene and are better for it, right down to their stage names: Kimber Heart, Scarlet Fever, Ruby Pubey and Maiden China. Kittie fans and metalheads in general with narrow minds would do well to buy a can opener.

Mercedes: “I don’t think we have a particular sound compared to other bands where people can say ‘Oh, that band is death metal…’ or whatever. The closest thing that I think we fit into is the ‘70s power pop movement. It’s weird, though, because we play a lot of metal shows, so we’re obviously the odd man out. For instance, the last time we played Windsor it was us and three metal bands, but we had the biggest crowd of the night. I think the appeal of The Alcohollys to the metal crowd is the musicianship in the band.”

According to Dana, in spite of The Alcohollys’ modern day ‘70s sound – something one would assume most musicians on the low side of 30 would shy away from in favour of mindless pop pap or trendy death / black / oh-so-evil metal – she hasn’t had a problem finding musicians to keep the band moving forward.

Dana: “I find that girls are more open to playing this kind of music, something that’s more pop-oriented. Nobody’s had any complaints (laughs). I’ve always wanted to have an all- girl band but I could never find enough girls to make a full band, so now I’m living my dream (laughs).” Continue reading THE ALCOHOLLYS – Happy Days Goes To Hell

KITTIE – I’ve Failed You

By Carl Begai

Kittie threw down the gauntlet in 2007 with Funeral For Yesterday, an album that earned them a truckload of credibility amongst the metal masses for nailing the coffin shut on the alterna-nu-metalcore sound that yanked the spotlight in their direction in the late ‘90s. The highly anticipated 2009 follow-up, In The Black, cemented Kittie’s place at the table occupied by old school metal purists and a younger generation with its collective head in the right place. No surprise, then, that I’ve Failed You stomps even deeper into the realms of metal, crushing any lingering thoughts of the foursome as nothing more than an all-female novelty act. The level of musicianship and song dynamics on the album, on the other hand, is a bloody revelation.

Not that Kittie didn’t have the chops before, but if “maturity” is a dirty word the ladies have been mud-bathing for the last year and come out all guns blazing. Continue reading KITTIE – I’ve Failed You

KITTIE – In The Name Of The Father

By Carl Begai

Once upon a time, Kittie irritated the hell out of me.

It didn’t matter that I was a huge believer in and supporter of Canadian metal and assorted aggressive offshoots; the hype that surrounded their 1999 debut album Spit rubbed me the wrong way. It blew my mind that a band featuring a singer with zero vocal control was able to sell a song like ‘Brackish’, Kittie’s teen angst calling card featuring one of the most annoyingly memorable choruses known to man, woman and pub crawling beast. Any attention I paid to the band after that record was out of masochistic curiosity, and fleeting at best.

Fast forward to 2007 and a four song EP entitled Never Again dumped in my lap by management via BW&BK HQ. I couldn’t believe my ears even after repeated listens, and I was left wondering what the four women masquerading as Kittie had done with the Lander sisters. They were, after all, the creative core of the band and had proven limited in that capacity as far as I was concerned. This new material, this was music. Hell, it was fucking metal.

And singer Morgan? She’d picked up control, shred-ability, and a Flying V along the way.

Calls were made, emails were sent, and I learned that Kittie was a family affair, with Morgan (vocals/guitars) and Mercedes’ (drums) parents taking care of most of the band’s legal and promotional affairs. The interview with the sisters that followed, for the Funeral For Yesterday album, proved to me that the ladies could stand on their own feet rather than needing to rely on mommy and daddy. They were also real musicians with a clear view of where they came from and a vision of where they wanted to take their music. They turned me into a Kittie fanboy. Continue reading KITTIE – In The Name Of The Father

KITTIE – Black Enough For Ya?

KittieGroup2By Carl Begai

It was only a matter of time until Kittie got their ducks in a row and began tearing the heads off ‘em one by one.

The band’s new outing, In The Black, is a metal album. Raw and uncomplicated, eerily reminiscent of Carcass (listen through a few times and the similarities are a shot in the arm), it’s the last thing anyone expected from a band considered nothing more than teenage nu-metal aggression junkies when they made their debut 10 years ago. To their credit, sisters Morgan (vocals, guitars) and Mercedes Lander (drums) have yanked Kittie a little further out of that hole with every new album, finally getting away from their early one-dimensional sound entirely in 2007 on Funeral For Yesterday. Fans may argue the point, some certainly favour the band’s old sound over the new, but the haters will be forced to concede that In The Black has a solid steel backbone and gives Kittie a truckload of credibility on today’s metal scene.

“This is the album we always wanted to make,” states Mercedes. “With the last record, I think the songs were there but the production wasn’t. It was pretty fucking bad production. Every album we’ve done we’ve used analog tape, but it wasn’t the analog that was the problem on Funeral For Yesterday; it was the way we recorded it. We didn’t have a lot of say in it and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. This new album, we did it blind with nobody sticking their fingers in it. We did it by ourselves.”
Continue reading KITTIE – Black Enough For Ya?

EX DEO, Metallus Maximus, BW&BK, KITTIE… And Bee Vomit


Just a quick heads up to keep your weekend more interesting.

For starters, I have an EX DEO story up on a brand new metal site called Metallus Maximus. In case you’ve been living under a rock, EX DEO is a concept-based project kicked-off by KATAKLYSM frontman Maurizio Iacono based on the Roman Empire. The debut album, Romulus, has been getting rave reviews across the board, this site included (check out my review here). My interview with Iacono is worth the read, if I do say so myself 😉 Click here to check it out.
Continue reading EX DEO, Metallus Maximus, BW&BK, KITTIE… And Bee Vomit