Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

25 July 09 – Mellowdrone ‘Angry Bear’

Posted by Christina on August 31, 2009

angry_bear2This was a really fun album and my first record review for L.A. Record. I’ve posted my original here but check out the link to see their edited version. They’ve posted a track on their website and you can listen to Mellowdrone’s tunes by clicking the below link to the original article as well – totally worth it!

L.A. Record: Mellowdrone ‘Angry Bear’

In the thick, melodious haze of Mellowdrone’s latest LP comes Angry Bear, an album rich and heavy with lo-fi goodness. Bandmates Jonathan Bates on vox and bass, Tony DeMatteo on guitar and Brian Borg on drums have been going strong for about a decade with a few EPs and band member changes in between. Now with their second full-length album, the trio has released their definitive rock opus.

Starting off minimalistic with vocals and backing guitar, “Where Ever You May Go” is a psychedelic rock ballad without the lighters and pretentious lovelorn emotions. A dash of keys punctuate the chorus throughout while a guitar blares through distortion. With this track, Mellowdrone establishes a woozy wall of sound for a 12-track odyssey through their vast sonic landscape.

Songs like “Elephant” and “Big Winner” are strong with thunderous bass licks, steady beats, thrashing guitars and Bates’ hollow, all-encompassing baritone. Then there are good-natured guitars, droning backing vocals and steady march of tracks like “Esmerelda” and even the druggie-infused “Sugar.” There’s a seductive waltz with “Lady in Her Underwear” and a dancey haze mixed with rock Americana in “Jumping Off the Pier.”

Mellowdrone showcases their limitless range with this record. From the grungy and gritty rock to the harmonious vocals right down to their experimental core, Angry Bear is a celebration of this Los Angeles-based band’s ability to wield all forms of rock to create a stamp on the genre’s legacy all their own.

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