Bar Bands and festival rock sometimes get a bad rap, even though it’s not entirely deserved. Granted, there’s only so much room in the world for a Skynard tribute band, but a rockin’ 4-piece that puts the time into composing and performing their own numbers is often worth taking note of. So it is with the sophomore release from Champaign outfit Decadents, Elegantly Wasted.
The album collects 11 cuts of fairly straightforward, four-on-the-floor rock music with good guitar work, good drumming, and good rhythms throughout. Track 2, “I’d Rather Be Lonely” starts off with a raucous minute plus of instrumental grind (and would have been a better leadoff track for the album, actually), and the remainder of the music mixes touches of blues rock, southern rock, and even a hint (just a hint) of country.
Some of the tracks lend themselves to a summer stage outdoor festival environment, while others would best be enjoyed in the friendly confines of a smoky bar (if such a thing still existed anymore). Specifically track 6, “One Track Mind,” would make a good street festival tune, while #3 “Bitter Pill” would be one of those cuts you’d expect to hear from a good house band in a darkened watering hole.
Arrangements could be a tad tighter, but overall if you’re looking for solid bar songs committed to recording, this’ll get you what you paid for. I’d suggest checking them out live in order to do the comparison (and get the full experience, of course). — Jason Brown
The cover art for In Heat’s self-titled debut is, well, perfect for the album. It definitely captures the essence of the album with the pictures of the kaleidoscope — because the sound of the album is actually like a whirlwind of sounds that come to make something pretty lovely. Although the music itself throughout this record is collectively very good (and refreshing, honestly, even though the instrumentaion is overwhelming from time to time) — the vocals can be a tad bit confusing. But just like a kaleidoscope’s colors come together, so does the band’s sound and mission. The album was pure fluidity simply because I didn’t realize, at first listen, when one song began and another one ended. It was quite the musical experience listening to this record. Overall, it is safe to say that the band, as well as this album, is pretty cool — like a wild musical kaleidoscope. — Taylor Polydore
One of the newest outfits in Champaign-Urbana was a side project, and now is a full-fledged stoner metal assault. Resinater released this four-track live record not too long ago, and regardless of whether or not you were in the room when it was being performed, one can gauge fairly well the mission of what they’re going after. Their vocal delivery is fairly death metal-esque to a certain extent, but when combined with a fairly stoner rock and psychedelic guitar crunch, it provides something a bit different. Sure, their delivery is much less refined than those genres I mention previously, but I think that is the point. The chaos still feels contained to a point, as the crash cymbal-heavy fills clash against the ferocious sections that mingle between them. Only a song called “stO))ned” can be pulled off in something called The Smoke Session. It’ll be interesting to see where this project moves next — and how much closer to stoner rock they move with some recording time. For now, we slowly headbang. — Patrick Singer
B-Sides is a monthly article designated for local albums released that might get overlooked for feature articles, but are definitely worth discussing. If you’re interested in your band’s record being featured on B-Sides, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: Because some albums featured in B-Sides are released at the end of the previous month, we sometimes bump them to the next month.