Acid FM's "Justified American Music," & "Electric No. 3" albums review:
Acid FM - "Justified American Music" (Monsterfuzz
Records, 2012 CD, JAM-01-500) & "Electric No. 3" (Monsterfuzz Records,
2013 CD, EN3-01-25)
This Stoner//Detroit/Metal crossover Power trio who are
called Acid FM hail from North Carolina and their main ringleader and
possibly sole remaining founder is named Sparky Simmons. They have been
around for nearly a decade already, lurking in the shadows of small
labels and appearing on obscure local compilation releases. I think i
saw even a mention on the first Spaceseed album with Nik Turner along
with some other familiar names, even. Sparky should be known to some
readers of Aural Innovations as the newly welcomed current guitarist for
the international space-metal collective-project based in Moscow, and
led by the ever talented and sultry Alisa Coral, the band we call the
mighty "Space Mirrors"! Acid FM and Space Mirrors even put out a great
split 7" single on red transparent vinyl a couple of years back on
Sparky's own Monsterfuzz Records label, with Acid FM and Space Mirrors
sharing each side of their own on the record, which in turn was housed
in a nice Kevin Sommers sleeve, the artist who does all the jazzy
photowork and eye candy for the current Space Mirrors releases, as well
as all the art for ex-Hawkwind bass Assassin #2, Alan Davey's various
bands and solo projects, and, lest we forget, the ever chaotic festival
spacerockers Pre-Med's product as well, always being adorned with
Kevin's unmistakable "Golden touch".
The latest incarnation of the Acid FM we find on these
two CD releases consists of Sparky Simmons on vocals / guitars / synths,
longstanding Doc Obergefell on bass / synths, and newest recruit
Jeremiah Johnson on drums / percussion. The "Justified American Music"
CD has 12 tracks, and the opener is called "In The Blink Of An Eye" and
sets the tone throughout the CD, with monster thrashy riffs, solid
songs, hard rockin' right through to the closing piece, being a cover of
Black Sabbath's ur-classic "War Pigs", which they pull off with more
than a little amount of doom-delivered panache. The CD clocks in at just
under 59 minutes and is a heavy testimony to blissed out stoned and
heavy thrash influenced metallic rock'n'roll they crank up without
getting noisy or droney or rubbish like alot of other "stoner" bands get
(i mean, Electric Wizard are the reason i forgot doing any real drugs
anymore...). The format is basically metal measured by a lager of 4x4
liquid tonne Oxygen tanks of explosive nitroglyserin aboard a rickety
freight train about to derail at 300 mph. down a mountainside into the
Great Wall of China. Sparky's Monsterfuzz label has also been
responsible for a limited and quite mindblowing admitted labour of love,
an ever so tiny and poorly distributed Monster Magnet tribute CD called
"Kiss To The Right Side Of Your Brain", a release which i am glad i got
hold of back then when it was out on mail order from Monsterfuzz
Records' website in 2011, as i am sure the run was pretty small, making
it more than scarce by now, and it is really an effort for such a small
label to come out of the blue with something dedicated like that,
considering Monster Magnet are pretty corporate these days and probably
shit on the small guys who are all trampled underfoot by them, for all
we know, in their lumbering pot-addled Fascismo Warthog & The
Exploited-fallout mastodon wake Wyndorf and his Truncheon-henchmen
parade the the pigsty of the Atomic Age record industry with these days,
God's Appointed Stoneage Drug Retards in Rehab, The Refurbished War Pigs
of The Holy Roman Empire, so to speak.
So anyway, it was only last year on Facebook, that Sparky
held an informal poll on what the name of the upcoming Acid FM album
should be, and the best answer was, in the end, handpicked from many
entries, and decided to be "Justified American Music". This first and
latest Acid FM full length release, which comes in a nice digipack with
lots of dodgy photos of the longhaired rocker-blokes in the band
standing around brick walls and abandoned lots, looking mean, the silver
Disc carefully digitally encoded with sounds being very much in their
hairy staple diet style of forefathers like Kyuss and Fu Manchu infused
straight ahead, no-holds barred vein of pedal-hopping 'revolution rockin'
stoner rock with abit of fast thrashmetal and anarchic motor city
Detroit chaos thrown in the mix, it culminates in what a Justified
American hard rock power trio look and sound like. They do possess some
great heavy riffs and never run dry on blitzkrieg fury and Motörhead
infused energy, the "JAM" CD and the "Electronic No. 3" CD are both very
consistent records, hard and heavy and fast paced. Most of the songs are
bursting with vitality to rock out to the max. Acid FM do indeed take
their multivitamins every day.
Following hot on the heels of "Justified American Music"
is a 2013 release housed in a jewel case, a 45 minute extended play
spread across 9 songs, called "Electric No. 3". It consists of a mix of
live and studio tracks which further cement the band's metallic stoner
onslaught with more live Detroit-style hellraiser leanings. Some of the
live tracks are different versions of songs on "JAM", and there are a
few new songs as well. Its really blistering stuff that can be
described, as a mad-dog power Trio out to conquer the heavier side of
Spacerock-as-we-know-it, without the psychedelic trappings of the genre.
Hawkwind and Monster Magnet are thus named as big influences, according
to Sparky's liner notes on the "JAM" album, though i would not class
Acid FM in any way even overtly psychedelic, even though they DO blow
minds, and not at all orchestral, definetly not pastoral, never mellow,
not dreamy, in no way at all "prog" or peddling to the experimental,
even, no it's just straight ahead riff-O-rama hardrock, feet squarely
planted in metal and stoner, no extended freakouts, no drug addled
jamming, no bullshit, unless you count the nearly 8 minute long Black
Sabbath cover, its as close to a jam as they get. In that sense they
brutalize the listener much like the aforemented bands like Fu Manchu do
when tha'Fu are at their best with Fu Man-numbers like "Urethane" or
"Hell On Wheels" for example, in other words like a loaded jackhammer
pummeling at your metal brain, making old men in the know, like Lemmy,
very proud of the proceedings.
I am myself currently in the midst of negotiation over
creating front cover art for the next Acid FM platter due out in 2014,
so we shall see what time and ideas will bring forth on the graphic side
once we "Trip the Switch" and "Brainstorm" on a dream dollar deal, and
cater for the bands wishes and developments and needs on that end,
reaching an end, seeing something coming into fruition. We have nearly
settled on images of deep space and shadowy figures, maybe, we are still
in the early stage of heady metal "metalmorphosis". Time will tell for
2014 for these three dudes if they ever break into the mainstream. This
band is the essence of skill, and obviously a hard working group at what
they do, it really shows, you hear they are playing their damn
instruments like no tomorrow. They might as well be superstars if they
ever get a break from some bigshot label or big-name producer of some
sort. They aim high and produce.
Check out the links below this review, as Sparky @
Monsterfuzz is offering limited $25 discount bundles with both the
"Justified American Music" and "Electric No. 3" CD's with the split 7"
Space Mirrors/Acid FM vinyl, also including a bonus Acid FM poster, and
you won't regret it as the transparent red vinyl item will become quite
collectible as of the near future... It's all Approved by the Healthy
Trip Advisor in your Head, they are giants, and they are hardcore! Born
to win! They lay down the Law! Totally! Support these three Justified
American 30-something hard rockin' pasty looking stoned white chaps...
- Christian Eric Mumford
Aural Innovations Review Link
Justified American Music:
There’s quite an intriguing blend of sounds here. Progressive rock with
space rock overtones merges with old school metal, psychedelic and even
punk rock. There is some awesome guitar work on this and at times the
bass guitar really stands out. The main thing that would keep these guys
from breaking mainstream is the vocals. They tend to be on the “off key”
side, leaning them into the punk/alternative/DIY category. I wondered if
it was a lack of skill, but then came the bonus track. When that song, a
cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” came around, the vocals were on key.
So, that means the sound on the other tunes is by design. All in all,
this is quite a cool set that never really seems to get tired or
redundant. It’s clearly not for everyone, but fans of the DIY sound with
some cool prog and space rock mixed in will love this. It’s kind of like
stoner rock, but still has a different edge, too. Look for great things
from this act.
Track By Track Review:
In The Blink Of An Eye
There’s a quick bit of vocals at the opening of this cut. Then it pounds
into a jam that has a real NWOBHM sound to it. This is quite metallic.
There is quite a cool prog meets space rock instrumental section later
in the piece. The guitar solo that follows is very tasty.
Here we get another pounding tune. Again, NWOBHM is a fair comparison,
but the vocals seem more in keeping with a DIY, almost punk element.
The bass opens this and then the guitar joins, bringing a real old
school punk rock sound to the table. This is meaty, the kind of punk
that has a lot of metal in the mix. Those vocals are easier to take on
this tune, but still have that DIY approach. Some of the layers that are
woven over the top lend a space rock edge to the piece. The guitar solo
on this is pretty awesome.
Indie rock meets punk on this screamer. Somehow this is combined with a
NWOBHM sound and the music reminds me a bit of Judas Priest in some
ways. The vocals are more in that DIY meets punk mode.
This powers in very heavy and very metallic. There are some cool melodic
lines that weave over the top of this heavy duty backdrop. There are
some space rock layers over the top and the vocals here are easier to
more mainstream than those on some of the other tunes. The instrumental
section on this is particularly tasty and the guitar solo really stands
The bass starts this cut and as the guitar tentatively joins there’s a
space rock meets NWOBHM feeling to it. The whole group jump in from
there and that kind of mode is added to by more of those DIY/punk
vocals. There are some more space rock moments on this tune. In fact,
the instrumental section later in the piece feels a bit like Hawkwind at
This starts off mellow and rather like alternative rock meets space
rock. The vocals come across bringing that DIY sound in full bloom.
There is definitely a garage band vibe here, but the vocals are such a
prominent part of this particular music puzzle that this cut will have
the most limited audience of anything here. Also, while this does
represent a bit of a change in terms of sound and volume level, the cut
is a bit too stripped back and simplistic to really stand as tall as the
other music here. If there’s a tune to skip, this is it.
Bass guitar begins this out and they launch out into one of the coolest
jams of the whole disc. The sound of the guitar and the riffing just go
to create something like a more metallic Led Zeppelin with some
Aerosmith thrown in for good measure. The guitar solos like crazy early
on and they take us through a few shifts and changes. When the vocals
come in, they bring that garage band sound again, but this holds up
better than some of the stuff in that regard. In fact, this is one of
the highlights of the disc. The slower jam later in the piece is clearly
more garage oriented, feeling a bit like spacey punk rock.
News At 11:00
This cut is really well crafted in an underground metal, NWOBHM style.
It’s one of the most accessible pieces here and one of the real
standouts. There are some great instrumental sections on this thing.
Acoustic guitar opens this. As it grows out we get sort of a folk rock
motif. This feels rather like progressive rock. It’s essentially a
balladic cut that remains ballad-like. There is an air of psychedelia
here and that DIY vibe is less prominent here. This is another highlight
and presents some nice variety.
Coming in particularly heavy, this one is very much heavy metal with a
real DIY edge.
War Pigs [Black Sabbath Cover]
Here we get a cover of the Black Sabbath song. They power this one out
in a nice fashion and I love the bass sound on this beast. The music
here is pretty much on the money. The vocals are quite cool. I like the
modern sort of variant to the vocals. The thing is, the vocals here are
pretty much spot on in terms of key, making it clear that the off key
wanderings in other tunes is intentional. I really like this rendition
quite a bit. The instrumental breaks are almost progressive rock at
-G. W. Hill
Music Street Journal
(Jan. 28, 2013)