BLACKTOP MOJO CAN TELL YOU…
The Band’s Newest Release UNDER THE SUN Drops September 13th!
Friday the 13th’s are my favorite days. They’ve predominately been “lucky” for me. And whether it’s been me just claiming that the ominous day won’t touch me is beside the point; especially September’s Friday the 13th! And the fact that one of my favorite bands will drop their third new record on this day, just confirms the above premise. If you’ve followed me for any time, you already know that my favorite number is 3 so coupled with Lucky Friday the 13th, I’m going to have to declare it the luckiest and best day under the sun…wait, aren’t most days spent under the sun? I mean the sun is above us in the day time…well, whatever!! This coming friday, September the 13th, will be a great day despite my lame attempts at puns.
As mentioned, The highly anticipated release of under the sun from blacktop mojo drops on this day, 9-13-2019 and is the third full-length record from the native Texas rock band. If you’re familiar with blacktop mojo (BTM), you already know they posses a stellar posse of rockers: MATT JAMES – VOCALS, CATT MURTIS – bASS, NATHAN GILLIS – DRUMS, RYAN KIEFER – LEAD guitar, CHUCK WEPFER – GUITARS and their release, burn the ships from 2017 gripped fans with the singles “Where The Wind Blows” and the YouTube sensation “Dream On” (currently with 12,803,516 views – ya, that’s 12 million folks)! Even though “Dream On” is a tribute to aerosmith’s hit from back in their day, BTM resurrects the song and blew it in the face of new fans all over the globe.
When I found out from the band that they were working on a new record, I knew that I would drop everything when I got the advance to listen and of course review it. And this morning, lo and behold, there it was in my inbox! Luckily, my day had just started so I didn’t have to drop anything as I pushed play on the record, UNDER THE SUN.
sO, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, HERE’S MY REVIEW OF the new one from blacktop mojo, TRACK BY TRACK:
1LAY IT ON ME – just like you want the truth from anyone to be laid on you – right out of the gate punched me in the baby-maker with a full throttle assault of bass, drums and guitar in the first few seconds of pushing play. When matt james starts singing, you instantly equate that feel good feeling of a damn good rock song with the melody and lyrics coming from his throat. There is an enormous strength in the chorus that will give you goosebumps til the guitar solo thru the rest of the track. Fan-Freakin’-Tastic!! Holy crap, if this is an indicator of the rest of the record, I might need a sedative by the end of the album.
2SET IT FREE – What is happening??? Y’all, I’m not joking when I say I’m literally bouncing in my seat right now and said after the first couple of measures, “What…is…happening right now?? OMG!” This track is synonymous with btm’s brand of song structuring that is phenomenal!! They can write a song with bends and tweaks to pull a listener out of the MK Ultra state they have been in for years. And trust me, that is simply not present in a lot of the Rock music nowadays. the subtle key change and drop in this song’s chorus are epic!
3GET YOUR COAT – look, if you want to hear where that sweet Texas guitar groove THAT IS POSSIBLY ENGRAINED IN ryan & chuck’s DNA, look no further than the third song (if it hasn’t been obvious up to this point). Look, I hear the influences of SRV, Dimebag, and some George Jones believe it or not in their playing; These two are quite shiny in this track. Along with the guitars, the bass and drums make this song sexy af and packs a girthy punch! matt’s VOCALS ARE SPOT ON AND DISPLAY AN ARRAY OF DIVERSITY MOST SINGERS CAN’T HOLD A CANDLE TO. There’s nothing sketchy about the place this song comes from, we’ve all been there…well, that’s what my friend said anyway.
4KEEP – hold onto your hats as this track starts to play, Lovelies – it gets the “led” – as in Zeppelin’s Led – out or fuses it in – either way you’ll be pleasantly pleased by the chugs of the tempo that take you down a trail of bubbling basslines and booty shakin’ drum beats. Dude, can I just say here that MATT bellows out some insane vocals with this track?? My Goodness…I swear, the meaning of life is somewhere within what he’s singing and the sound of his voice.
5IT WON’T LAST – oh. my. god. Is this song written in D minor?? As I’m wiping off the tears that are literally falling out of my face, I swear to Spinal Tap, This song came from music’s Hall of Guf. You know, where those life-changing, or soul-stirring songs come from?? This extremely powerful 12 bar blues-like offering, hand to god this song was given to those that hear it as a token of favor bestowed by the rock gods, and BTM was just chosen as the conduit for you to receive it. At marker 4:37 you’ll hear the force of how influential blues is to rock as a whole and to this band. The guitars from both players are like lasers that pry open all three of your eyes. CHUCKLES keeps the melody swinging like a pendulum in your face while RYAN plays what sounds like a second vocal that is answering Matt. Godamitall. NATHAN & CATT walk on the border of a perfect state of mind with the bass line and drums with the lower tones and pace. Don’t believe me? Just wait and you’ll hear it. Seriously, it will leave you breathless.
6ALL MINE NOW – in your face guitars at marker 1:09 and their smack’ll leave a mark almost as hard as the lyrics will. “I don’t need another moth to fly around my flame” brings meaning to those distractions that sometime hang on despite having let them go – them or the ideals of them, ya dig? Once again, BTM plasters their unique style of structuring a song to this track which lays on the unexpected nice and neat for your enjoyment.
7CAN’T SLEEP – as the lead track from the record and was released the passed June as an OMV (Watch below) the song holds one of my favorite things about BTM: the lows of the bass and how CATT tangles it up with the guitars and drums with an insane amount of energy that you can hear in a recording and see on stage. Adding MATT‘s voice as a cherry on top – you know, the kind that go on top of milkshakes and sundaes. “Cant sleep ” wields a chorus that does what any good chorus is supposed to do: loop you back to the song and then shoots you out to the end, this is solid AF.
8THE LASHING (GHOST) – Preface: ok, the parenthesis are trendy in music lately. And if you know me, punctuation in band names and song titles confuse me a little bit – like the band Panic! At the Disco…I’m forced to read the exclamation mark in that band name; screaming out Panic! when I read it. Of course this is in my head, because I don’t read out loud normally. Parenthesis hold extra information about the sentence they follow, so within songs and applying that rule, I assume that the word or words with the parenthesis apply to the title, right?
So in knowing this helps to identify what to listen for in the song for me. Which, in “The Lashing (Ghost)” makes sense – at least musically – I’ll listen more lyrically later. Suffice to say, the snare and cymbal work from NATHAN are perfect pops and hisses that attribute to this haunting groove. This track is a full-flavored Marlborough Red on the inhale and exhale; strong and burns a bit. But it swirls around the top of your head, sticking to the air for the whole time it’s playing. I dig it this song – a lot!
9THE VOID – this song starts deep in an acoustic well, and crawls up the wall to come out so you can have a conversation with MATT – and at marker 3:16 some of the sickest guitars I’ve HEARD COME FROM THESE GUYS, and if I’m not mistaken, RYAN & CHUCK BOTH SOLO BACK AND FORTH BATTLING IT OUT LIKE jEDIS PRACTICING ON NEW LIGHTSABERS. there’s NO VICTOR OF COURSE, BECAUSE THEY’RE BOTH BAD ASSES and no Jedi is going to off another Jedi, especially with a new lightsaber. Now, I love a song that throws in several of the towels that we can create for ourselves, you feel me? “The Void” fills up all your own ‘voids’ with music to mend them. #trustme
10 under the sun – THE TITLE TRACK SLAMS IT FROM THE GATE AND LIKE A JOCKEY MOVES THEIR HORSE TO THE FINISH, SO DOES THIS SONG. there IS A BACK TEMPO THAT KEEPS THE GAIT OF THE SONG CHARGING AT FULL SPEED. a GRITTY BUILD UP WITH THE GUITARS AND catt’s STEADY BASS, ALL LEAD TO THE CHORUS WHICH AGAIN HIGHLIGHTS THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF btm’S WAY OF STRUCTURING A SONG AND WHEN IT’S OVER, IT JUST MAKES YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO THE RECORD ALL OVER AGAIN…
…aND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I’m DOING RIGHT THIS MINUTE! TBH, that’s what I’ll probably do for most of the day. There is soo much to listen to and soak up on this record! BLACKTOP MOJO kills it with every aspect of this record; musicianship, tones in the instruments, additions of keyboards/organs and choir-esque parts, the mix and production are ballz perfect that make the songs that much better to gobble up (IMHO). UNDER THE SUN HAS THE MARKINGS OF A gOLD OR platinum certified rECORD ALREADY AND IT HASN’T EVEN HIT THE MARKET YET!
The third album Under The Sun from BTM, has something for everyone under the…sun, pardon the pun. This record is clutch, my Pretties, so clutch.
Watch “Can’t Sleep” Right Here:
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Til Next time – MRML – Cherri