Ghosts in Pocket, Banana Daiquiris, and the “Barberton” Mountains

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By Mark Simpson

Barberton is the name of a unique and small town located in South Africa. The town was a gold mining town in the 1800’s and is surrounded by some of the oldest exposed mountains in the world. This improbable town also provides the name for the newest album by local Inland Empire indie rock band Ghost in Pocket. “Barberton” is the five-track stroke of genius that, with the help of kick starter and their fans, Ghosts in Pocket gave birth to on October 9th, 2015.

” It was important to us that we try to make “Barberton” feel like progress, because that’s also what the songs strive to do musically and lyrically.” – Keith

The album was produced, mixed, and mastered with the help of up-and-comer John Kunkel, who is a Los Angeles Native who owns Division 87 Records and performs with the group New Division. With influences such as Burt Reynolds and Carrot Top laying heavy on the band’s mind, they could go into the studio and lay down what may be, in my opinion, the best sounding local album I have heard in the last 5 years. The first track on the album is the title track “Barberton” which has an amazing video that gives you a look at the band and the lengthy recording process that goes with releasing an album.

From bandannas, to Nick cutting a good rug, to empty Rolling Rock on the floor, you can get a sense of how much this album met to the group. As someone who has found myself in padded room for hours on end listening to the same song over and over, I can tell you that the studio process, though amazing, can be quite lengthy.

“I think I speak for the group in saying it took us a lot longer to finish this project than we would have hoped. I suppose it’s all a part of the learning process.” – Zach

The group’s song that is a personal favorite of mine is “Make it Break” which shows off Chris’ unique drumming style. As a fellow drummer, I love that the song consistently keeps it’s energy and drive while Keith sings moving lyrics that, by the end of the track, have us all saying “Lovers, Lovers, Lovers”. When asked about the track Keith gave us some interesting perspective on what makes it such a hit with fans:

“My music interest has always been guided by meaningful and intentional lyrics, regardless of genre or style, and so, especially with the EP, I wanted the songs to resonate with a theme. I think the song that does it best is “Make It Break,” which I also think is one of the more basic songs structurally.” – Keith

I pictured myself sitting with the group listening to “Make it Break” and sipping on a Banana Daiquiri a favorite of my main man Nick… you read that right, a Banana Daiquiri. As I listened, I couldn’t help but wonder about the group that got its start from playing a pancake dinner for elementary children. As Keith put it, the song has a mood to it that is quite hypnotic and, as you can see from the video, the song may have a darker meaning than one might expect.

As I listened to moving songs like “Separated by Ice” I got a feeling that this album is much darker than their first album Shadowbox. I could see where a bit of studio magic had happened on the track; originally the track was slated to be electric but at the last-minute John Kunkel asked Keith if he might try it with the acoustic. As Nick put it, he is forever grateful for John’s quick decision and went on to say that, to this day, the track still gives him chills.

“Keep the Heat Coming” may be something of a dark horse on the album as it fits in perfect with the album but, on it’s own, shows a much different side of the group. It is a song that shows the most pressing of steady, high energy and ends with Zach playing a very powerful solo while the group seems to explode in different directions that work together simultaneously.

The album comes to close with what may be their most powerful song to date, “Statues Pulse,” which features a cool assortment of horns courtesy of Zach’s good friend Sean Portanova. The band, who gets their name from the haunting work of Dave Eggers, really shows their strengths in this song as singer Keith lays down one of my favorite lyrical lines:

” There’s nothing to prescribe I’ll trade my nerves to help you feel alive.”

As I finished the album, I could see why the group has been so successful and able to open for groups like We are Scientists. It is, to me, the way that the group can write such moving music while staying objective about their art. The group is a tight-knit group who can be a lot of fun to hang out with. They are bit witty and comical, but when they take the stage, much like Shaq when he hits the court, they rise to the occasion. If you would like to see these guys rock the desert make sure to come out to their show at Frogee’s on April 14th. As a closing, for this album review Id like to leave you with some information on the group as well as Nick’s 3 things that will help you conquer the world. Cheers!

“First, chip clips are poor substitutes for nipple clamps. Second, a tri-tip should rest for at least 10 minutes after you pull it off the grill. And finally, if California marijuana farmers aren’t called “ganjapreneuers,” they should be.” – Nick

Buy an Album $5 right Here –> https://ghostsinpocket.bandcamp.com/album/barberton-ep

Website: https://www.ghostsinpocket.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ticket2ridepromotions

GhostinPocket

Catch their next show at Frogee’s Apple Valley with Rustic Wild and Heavy Door on Friday, April 14th 2017 at 8pm.

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Delta Shade, Mojito’s, and A Hell of A Journey

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“Our biggest goal is really just to sound like ourselves. We don’t strive to imitate another band or artist because we don’t see the point in that – it’s already been done.”

By Mark Simpson

Delta Shade is a group that you might have seen rocking in the desert and thought man these guys are great but I wanted to know what makes these guys tick. Turns out that Delta shade is a group, that much like their name may suggest, enjoys listening to the blues.

“We have a deep appreciation for the blues and that was something we bonded over from the beginning.” – Travis

With the band sighting influences like Gary Clark Jr. and Gillian Welch you can tell that these are not guys who will be listening to alternative radio anytime soon. This is a group that is looking to go against the grain and after releasing their new album they have people as far as England wearing Delta Shade T-Shirts and bumping their new self title album. After packing out the religious rock and roll hangout and local watering hole conveniently named Frogee’s I wanted to know what the group thought about their big release show.

“We were so happy to see so many friends and family out there supporting us. It was such a good vibe all-around. Definitely a night we won’t forget.”

I think the one thing that I immediately liked and noticed about this group in my time hanging out with them at various shows is the fact that considering the groups talent they haven’t turned into that group that we all hate in the desert. We all know the type, its the group that shows up late and leaves early while all the while plays the longest set of the night. The group is slowly branching out of the desert with plans to do a short tour soon and currently has a gig scheduled in West Hollywood at the State Social House on Thursday March 30th . As an old Los Angeles Native I can tell you that this gig is one to attend as its just steps outside the famous clubs of the Sunset Strip and offers the coolest small room to groove to your favorite band.

With the group being only a few short miles from where the old Tower Records use to sit I wanted to know if these guys had their own turntable and if so what records they might be playing late after a gig while sipping a beer.

“ Rage Against The Machine’s self-titled. I love the riffs and attitude on that album – Andy

I found this to be interesting choice as it explains why Andy plays with the drums with a sense of urgency and as a drummer myself I love the choice of album. Chad on the other hand is someone who loves to sit down and trance out with one of the greatest song writers of our generation in Conor Oberst who is best known for fronting the talented group Bright Eyes.

As I learned more about each member in this interview I could see how each member had their own unique flavor. This was not three guys working in perfect motion as it may seem but instead three musicians pushing each other to bring out the best in each member. As I closed my interview with this uniquely interesting group and said my usual Cheers sipping on a Mojito (The Groups Favorite Drink) I wondered what the future may hold for this group. I can tell you I have no clue and I don’t think they do right now either but the great thing about uncertainty is that it makes for a hell of a journey. As a closing for this article Id like to leave you with some information on the group as well as their message for all that have support their amazing talents. Cheers!

“We’d like to thank all our family and friends for their support. It’s been a really fun ride so far and it’s been amazing to see the response to our music. It really fills us with gratitude to know and play shows with so many great people.”

Back on our Feet Live at Frogee’s Apple Valley “Melancholy March”

Back on our Feet played at Frogee’s Apple Valley on March 17th 2017.  Below is video footage of their song “Melancholy March” from that night.

“Melancholy March” is dedicated to the bands friend who passed away on March 20th 2012. May he R.I.P.

You may find more from Back on our Feet at the following links:

https://soundcloud.com/backonourfeet
https://www.facebook.com/backonourfeet
https://twitter.com/backonourfeet
https://www.instagram.com/backonourfeet

Frogee’s Apple Valley – https://www.facebook.com/FrogeesCocktail

 

Red Relic announcement and EP review

Red Relic is an alternative rock band residing in Victorville, CA that popped up in 2015. They quickly became a favorite among the high desert locals playing at popular venues in the area such as Frogees, Hilltop Tavern and the Desert Rocks Film and Music Event festival located in Hesperia, CA. We are sad, however, to announce we were recently notified of the bands departure. The band members have moved on to pursue their own life passions. We will update our readers as we are notified of new bands the members may join. Derek McEntire has joined the local Inland Empire punk metal band, Dead Reckoning.

With the departure comes Red Relic’s first EP release available for listening for free on SoundCloud. It brings you a mid-nineties alternative punk sound along with today’s alternative rock vibe. Their main single release, “Pump Up The Volume” makes you want to jump up and down while wearing your vans sneakers in a MTV Spring Break video in hopes they might be playing with Green Day. It’s a fun EP to get people moving at any event. I personally enjoy it and enjoyed watching them live. Their tunes will be missed. Please check their Red Relic SoundCloud profile to listen to their EP and past songs.
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