Our ears bleed due to most mainstream music that is unapologetically being shoved down our throats…
In the metaphoric minefield of lost music groups, there have been many artists with talent to burn that never received their proper due. A few that come to mind are Big Star of Memphis, Townes Van Zandt of Texas, and the mainly unknown guitarist Danny Gatton of Washington D.C. Another would be the improperly labeled proto-punk group Death of Detroit. Fortunately for them, and music fans, they were granted a fortuitous second chance at glory due to a chance listening from one of the group member’s own son. He happened to recognize his father’s voice at a listening party in San Francisco (Go watch the documentary A Band Called Death. It’s an amazing and unbelievable story!).
Many of us desperately seek quality music from anywhere we can. Our ears bleed due to most mainstream music that is unapologetically being shoved down our throats and forced up our asses by a music industry without so much as a courtesy reach around. This disgruntled chagrin that many music fans throughout the world are experiencing has driven many of us to search the far dark corners of the internet in search of great music.
Looking for new artists can be beyond challenging. The time element alone of clicking on band links, YouTube videos, or one digital sample after another can be time consuming, frustrating, and most of the time, futile. All of this in an effort to find that next group who gets you excited, puts a smile on your face, makes you want to buy their music, and spread the word to those few friends that will listen.
I generally try to look forward for music than look to the past. That’s not to say that I don’t love the music of my youth or past; but, you can only listen to things you used to but so often or it becomes stale and overplayed. So, why did I write that explanation above for you all?
While watching an interview with Duff McKagan, formerly of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, he mentioned other projects that he is associated with; such as Loaded, Jane’s Addiction, and Walking Papers. I normally do not like the side projects of most performers. They rarely compete with many of the artists’ past projects that made them well known in the first place. That’s not to say that they’re terrible, only that they sometimes fall into one of two categories. One is a watered down version of their original group. Two is something so different than what you are used to that it is either personally distasteful, or, it is so abstract that you don’t get it.
The sexy, nasty, and gritty serpentine groove alone with the instruments grabbed my attention.
So, who are Walking Papers? I’ve come to find out that Walking Papers are comprised of McKagan, former Screaming Trees/Skin Yard/Mad Season drummer Barrett Martin, and The Missionary Position’s Jeff Angell and Benjamin Anderson. The first song I heard was “The Whole World’s Watching”. In less than 10 seconds, I was in hard blues/rock glee. It has gritty guitars, a bass/drum battery that is solidly in the pocket, and an organ that kicks. The sexy, nasty, and gritty serpentine groove alone with the instruments grabbed my attention. Then Jeff Angell opened his mouth. A scratchy, suave, hypnotic bluesy voice pours out into my ear buds. Listening intently, the lyrics tell a poetic story in a style that is urgent, passionate, and unique in a way that I’ve not heard in a while. Next was “Two Tickets”. Barrett’s drumming is brutal, tight, and infectious. Angell weaves a story with both his guitar and voice. It is an anxious tempo with bite. You lean in to hear what happens next within the story.
It shocks and sizzles in a way that makes you wonder why no one has been able to make this sound work before?
Other worthy songs from this album; “Red Envelopes”, “Capital T”, “Leave Me in the Dark”, and “The Butcher” a soft bass/keys/xylophone horror story of a song that just works. Another favorite is “A Place like This” a song about all the guys you see in a bar that think they are all that and really aren’t. This song has an enchanting Latin drumming, old-movie-feel organ, and Angell sings with an aching disconnected style that paints a great picture. Song after song, I did not hear a bad one…not once.
This just should not happen to a band that is by far one of the best groups I’ve heard in years…years!!!
Who is this Jeff Angell and why have we never heard of him before? Bang! This is a fresh voice! I continued searching and found more, loved more, and looked for more and got it. Other projects that Jeff Angell were/are involved in are Post Stardom Depression and, the aforementioned The Missionary Position. It’s a mix of blues and classic rock, infused with ambient overtones and intertwined brass horns. Reading about it may make you think how does that work? It seems like it shouldn’t? Trust me, it more than works. It shocks and sizzles in a way that makes you wonder why no one has been able to make this sound work before? I mean, that’s what makes it special and unique…and very, very good! I listened to the whole album Consequences. It was fifty minutes of total bliss. Screw ninety-nine cent downloads when you can buy a whole album that sounds this fantastic. It’s worth the search. Angell is a lyrist worthy of more listens in everything that he’s been associated. Rare indeed is the great skill Mr. Angell has as both lyrist and singer. That is why I was shocked that I’d never heard of him.
So there it is. Here is the exposé of Walking Papers. Buy this album! Tell your friends. Spread the word. This is a group that people should know and hear about. They should not end up in the minefield of lost rock groups that had so much talent and yet no one listened. This just should not happen to a band that is by far one of the best groups I’ve heard in years…years!!! That is not hyperbole. Just listen for yourself; and I challenge you to say that I’m wrong.
Want more from Walking Papers? Of course you do! Check them out here:
Special kilScene Contributor
• Hunter MacLeod