Yes, the lead singer of the metal band In This Moment is a woman, which the media love to point out every chance they get, and yes, she is tragically beautiful — if you took the badass attitude of Lara Croft, mixed it with the curves of a Playboy Playmate and threw in a Living Dead Doll, you might come close to recreating her essence — but more importantly, she is one part of a quintet that is quickly going straight to the top.
In two short years, the members of In This Moment went from playing the clubs of Los Angeles to performing at the 2007 Ozzfest. Now, they’re on tour with Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie. Not bad for a band that got its big break on MySpace and has a singer who never intended to become a screamer. But thankfully, lead singer Maria Brink found that fire within, and it billows out on the band’s new CD, Beautiful Tragedy, with an intensity that only a person who has loved, lost and lived through it all can express.
Not every female, or male for that matter, can pull off the unmistakable roar that is ubiquitous in metal rock today (believe me, I’ve tried); many end up sounding more like horror movie scream queens than rockers. The fierceness and maturity of Brink’s vocals on tracks like “Prayers” and “Next Life” transcend gender, and the songs showcase the band’s infusion of classic metal and industrial rock. But Brink reminds us once again that she is a woman through and through with melody-heavy tracks reminiscent of Björk, like the hauntingly sung “The Legacy of Odio” and the bittersweet final track, “When the Storm Subsides.”
In This Moment performs with Grynch, Fluid, In Her Memory, Pinkzilla and a guest appearance by Enigma (the heavily tattooed guy, not the ’90s band) as part of a live filming TV pilot event for The Chronicles of Rock at 8 pm Thursday, Nov. 15, at Indigo District. $15 adv., $20 door or $18 with two cans of dog or cat food for the Oregon Humane Society. 21+ show. — Deanna Uutela
Quick, Raw and Punchy
“I love the raw feel of the record. Everything was done in seven hours. We recorded two songs while waiting for a pizza to be delivered. It’s also the first time I’ve been involved with a record that I think represents the band accurately; the record sounds like when we perform live,” says Rob Jacobs, the lead vocalist and guitarist for Long, Tall and Ugly. And he’s right: The band’s new album sounds more like live concert recordings than an overly produced full length album. The fourteen tracks on Valentine pack a big guitar sound and straightforward lyrics that you can remember after a few beers. Jacobs combines some overenunciated words that are reminiscent of Neil Young with, surprisingly, the quick “oohs” and “uhhs” of a young Ric Ocasek from The Cars. The band as a whole plays like a well-disciplined jam band. During guitar solos, Jacobs gives you just enough licks to think he’s going to pull the dreaded “Free Bird” when suddenly the band launches back into a full retro rock ‘n’ roll sound equipped with booming bass and commanding drums.
The one problem with Long, Tall and Ugly’s music is that it’s hard to imagine listening to it anywhere other than at the bar. On the record, the band announces “Here we go!” on each track, as if interacting with its live audience; the songs’ simple rhymes make it easy to sing along during shows. It’s hard to picture finding much mystique in the music sans visual accompaniment — the middle-aged woman relishing a weird groupie past as she vibes by herself during guitar solos, some bro spilling his drink when he tries to fist pump in rhythm with the drums or the band executing some onstage instrumental improvising. Then again, maybe those imagined details are all you need when it comes to good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. Long, Tall and Ugly plays with Know Go No and Los Burbanks at 10 pm Friday, Nov. 16, at Diablo’s Downtown Lounge. 21+ show. $4. — Katie Cornell
Songs of Bare Life
Ryan Bingham‘s backstory is so good, it’s almost too perfect. The Texas border town upbringing, the mariachi-playing neighbor who taught him guitar, the bullriding lifestyle he turned to for stability when his parents’ finances spiraled out of control — Townes Van Zandt was practically a Manhattan socialite compared to this guy. But one listen to his debut album, Mescalito, makes it obvious that whoever is doing the promotions for Bingham needn’t be quite so anxious about stressing his authenticity. Yeah, he’s a real life rodeo boy who drank and fought and slept in the back of trucks; we get it. But he’s also a natural and soulful vocalist with an incredible ear for melody and a lyrical gift most artists twice his age would sell their daddy’s Fender to posses. This is the kind of country Hank III could endorse.
Like fellow Lost Highway labelmates Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams, Bingham strips down the elements of a life lived in the raw and builds upon the bones of his modern story with tools his musical forefathers and mothers left behind. The insistent rhythms and mournful slide guitar on “Sunshine” illuminate the desperate, poetic musings of a man stumbling away from a recent act of violence. “Hard Times” reminds listeners of life’s terrible inevitability with its rolling, crashing chorus and references to someone’s daddy waking up in the liquor store. While Mescalito may contain an overabundance of references to cowboy boots and getting lost in the desert, Bingham more than makes up for a few easy lyrical choices with tracks like album closer “For What It’s Worth,” which contains enough stories to fill a Texas barroom. And since we know he probably does wear cowboy boots and get lost in the desert, it’s fair to cut him some slack for playing a comfortable hand now and again in an extended game of really spectacular ones.
Bingham’s debut effort features a kick-ass backing band and a host of notable guest supporters, including former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford (who also produces) throughout and country legend Terry Allen on “Ghost of Travelin’ Jones.” Opening for the Ryan Montbleau Band along with Marcus Eaton, Ryan Bingham will break hearts at 9 pm Monday, Nov. 19, at John Henry’s. 21+ show. $10. — Adrienne van der Valk