Primed for a big gig in Oklahoma City later this month, Southwest Oklahoma's Southern Heretics will offer a preview of their powerhouse set Saturday night at Lawton's Railhead.
Southern Heretics Randall Phillips, vocals/guitar; Kage Holman, bass; Shane Davis, guitar; and Brett Dobbs, drums have been refining their unique sound since 2008. Formed in Stephens County, this band carries itself like its own outlaw biker gang. You rarely see these guys without their leather vests bearing the patches and colors for this brotherhood forged in rock and roll.
"I cannot express in words what Brett, Shane and Randall and this band mean to me," Holman said. "Southern Heretics is a family and we try to portray that in every event, as well as for those fans at the shows, they are Heretic family too."
Forging a sound based in the best of Black Sabbath, Black Label Society and old school Metallica, Southern Heretics put together a solid set to take home runner-up honors at last summer's Battle of the Bands at the Great Plains Coliseum. The band will take the stage Feb. 23 at Oklahoma City's Chameleon Room, 3034 N. Portland, when it opens for Texas Hippie Coalition. The 18-and-older show is $13 if tickets are purchased in advance, $16 at the door. Holman said the bill is a perfect fit for his band its third time opening for THC.
"We love these kinds of shows," Holman said. "The kinds of fans that THC brings out are always our kind of fans; they're not heavy metal, but they're not rock and roll either, and that's us."
Davis said it's not a particular style that influences him so much as the emotion it brings. That's something he feels the band is refining on its own merits.
"Music influences me. If I hear it and like it, then it becomes something of an influence to me," Davis said. " I listen to a wide range of music, and so I don't like to name just one, two or even three bands that influence me, because it isn't true."
Ready to make its mark on a wider scale, Davis said he can't wait for the band to increase its touring area. It is hoping for a summer finish to recording for its first CD with a goal of releasing it before fall.
"So far we have three songs recorded waiting to be mastered," Davis said. "My goal with the band is mainly to have fun and try and give something musically stimulating back to everyone and anyone who will enjoy it."
They'll release it when it's ready and up to Southern Heretics standards, Holman said. Unwilling to bend, compromise is not an option, he said.
"We are who we are, nonconformists, Heretics to the end," Holman said.
You can hear more from the Southern Heretics at www.SouthernHeretics.com, or their Facebook and Reverbnation pages.
Group to release album
Oklahoma's official psychedelic ambassadors of musical weirdness and magic, The Flaming Lips released its latest Warner Brothers album "The Terror" on Tuesday and it continues the magical musical journey that's two parts a trip to Oz with a heaping dash of Alice's journey down the rabbit hole.
It reminds me of a sort of sonic bookend to 1999's "Soft Bulletin" the album on which the band diverted from its formula of crazy, psychedelic guitar and noise experimentation to create a musical masterpiece of song and styling.
"The Terror" offers sonic ambience that always seems to be on the verge which, on the surface, would seem the perfect complement. However, unlike older recordings in the band's deep 28-year catalog, this newest disc feels like it spends a lot of time on the verge of a hook. The album flows beautifully, but it feels like individual songs are lost to sounds and elements of disparate pieces working together. There's an underlying industrial quality that hints at danger buried underneath the layers of sonic beauty.
From its earliest recordings through last year's mad dash of collaborations and constant recording releases, there's always been a hint of danger that comes with The Flaming Lips. The band's live show has always been filled dangers like blowing up equipment and the audience's eardrums from sheer volume remains. The way they've made that work is because, at his core, singer/songwriter Wayne Coyne's influence is pop and rock and roll. The best of these forms is tied together by a hook. That's what's missing with this newest release.
I'm not saying this won't be the CD I can't remove from my player six months from now. It's a beautiful-sounding compilation. The use of new technology to create an ambient backdrop is another step in the band's evolution. Multi-instrumentalist and former Lawton Eisenhower High School student Steven Drozd is the technician tasked with creating much of the sounds. Tracks like "Look ... The Sun Is Rising" and "You Lust" offer modern rock and roll orchestration that offers that promise. Individually, it just never seems to get there.
It takes until the next to last track, "Turning Violent," before it feels like any single song has leaped from the collection to scream its name. That said, it's one of the better songs in the band catalog. As I type this I'm playing it for the fifth repeated time because it feels like there's not enough of it. The closing track, "Always There, in Our Hearts" carries that feeling further. With its distorted, crescendo rideout, it makes me feel like the disc makes sense.
The Flaming Lips has made its career by coalescing the psychedelic experience and sharing it through their music. I think Coyne and Co. are on a path where their ultimate goal is to create their own sonic psychedelic experience. That's laudable. "The Terror" is a drug that pulls you in, a little at a time until it puts its hook in you.