1/1/2019 The Cold Stares will release the 2nd single from their album Mountain, “The Great Unknown”. The track is featured in Spotify’s playlist “Heavy, Funky, Bluesy”, and Joe Bonamassa’s playlist “Getting Through”. Hear the single here- The Great Unknown
And yet another great review on “Mountain”- Happy Monday, now let’s get to the rock and roll…
“In “Way Gets Dark,” one of the more homespun acoustic tracks to behold on The Cold Stares’ awesome new alternative blues juggernaut Mountain, the band doesn’t rely on imagistic lyrics alone to create a visual experience to accompany the music. The eerie echo of the lightly plucked strings sends a chilling sense of danger in our direction, and the lack of emotion in lead singer Chris Tapp’s voice kills any comfortability that his warm southern drawl may have provided. It’s like the path in front of us is literally getting darker; we’re trapped in this dry but sharply tuned mix next to the guitar, our minds left to wander after the crisp melody that could be waiting just beyond the horizon.
Mountain is driven by its evocative soundscapes, which appear when we’re least expecting them. At fifteen tracks, this is a monstrous LP that offers plenty of intriguing moments for newcomers to The Cold Stares’ sound to get acquainted with their style, but its cohesive, somewhat progressive qualities are what will satisfy the group’s longtime fans more than anything else. As incredibly different in rhythm as “Cold Black Water” and “The Plan” are, they play together in this record flawlessly, as if they were two sides of the same coin. What they have in common is the jarring, neo-noir soundscape that we’re greeted with in track one, “The Great Unknown,” and unable shake for the duration of the record.
I found myself taken aback when I discovered that The Cold Stares are comprised only of singer/guitarist Chris Tapp and drummer Brian Mullins. The abrasive “Stickemup” gets started with a colorful little guitar tizzy that sounds like an amalgamation of several string instruments layered on top of each other, while Mullins’ drum kit sounds twice the size of any other I’ve heard lately. “Wade In The Darkness,” “Gone Not Dead,” and really any of the heavier tracks on the record feel so much more mechanical in their execution than what I was expecting, and yet they’re so far removed from the digitalized sound of robotic pop/rock that even the most subtle differences between their melodies and that of their contemporaries is hard to ignore in these songs.
The most somber moment in Mountain ironically might also be The Cold Stares’ most triumphantly reverent so far – “Under His Command,” a Gothic folk ballad that brands us with a smoky vocal by Tapp that plays more like an epitaph than it does a rock song. His words stick to the paper thin strings like glue, and wherever his prose takes them, they melodically respond – in the gauntest of minor keys. This is my favorite song on the record, not because of any machismo-fueled rock luster, but because of its dark, witty minimalism.
I think that the best way to experience Mountain is to listen to its fifteen songs from beginning to end in the chronological order that The Cold Stares’ arranged them. In what can only be described as an operatic approach to making a bluesy garage rock record, this album starts off with a sonic beat down (“The Great Unknown” and more modest “Friend of Mine”), escalates to more methodical, emotional grounds (“Under His Command,” and “Stickemup”) before letting the harmonies go off the rails (“Gone Not Dead,” “Wade in the Darkness,” and the bone-rattling “Child of God”) and giving into this duo’s penchant for fusing nimbly wound rock songs into analogue-style blues rants (“Cold Black Water,” “Two Keys and a Good Book” and “Killing Machine” just to name some highlights). There’s a lot for music enthusiasts to ponder in this album, but there’s just as much excitement for casual fans to discover in its intricately stylized songs as well.”
Please check out our Kickstarter for “Mountain”, share and tag your friends. And thank you very much for playing a role in Cold Stares history- TCS
A tale of two records, publishing rights, and the struggles of a roots rock band in 2018.
As we began to discuss our next record which would have been titled “Ways” we decided together to pass on the record label offers we had and try to self fund the album in an attempt keep our music publishing this time. For those of you that don’t know when you see our music on a Monster Energy commercial, ESPN or a show on TNT, the money made from those performances actually go back to the record company instead of the artist.
Every record deal offer out there for us at the moment had the record label holding our publishing. Our last record deal the record label held our publishing. At this point in our career we were no longer willing to give that up, and artists shouldn’t have to. It’s hard enough to be a rock band out there right now, and for us to sustain our career we have to hold our licensing. So we decided to try to fund our record with our fans.
Here’s the dilemma. To properly record, produce, and promote “WAYS” we needed to raise around 20k. We have been really struggling on asking our fans to contribute that kind of money. We are a working class band, and we know a lot of our fans are blue collar working folks and to be honest it just felt a bit heavy to us. We built a kickstarter and then mulled for weeks over a discussion on what to do. We lost a lot of sleep, but through a lot of prayer and meditation we came to an answer.
What we decided. We decided we wanted to try to pay for the “WAYS” album ourselves. But how could we do that? Release “MOUNTAIN”.
Backstory- In the beginning of 2016 I was a bit over 2 years out cancer free. At that point I wasn’t for sure what life held ahead, but I knew my goal was to just live and make it to the goal we set with my doctors, five years. I also knew a lot of my friends that had gone through treatment with me had lost their battles. Not knowing exactly what we might have to deal with in the near future, we wanted to write and record everything I could so that if something happened to me I would leave a musical legacy behind for The Cold Stares. So we went in the studio with Greg Pearce and recorded “Dark Dark Blue”, and then “The Southern”. Both of these EP’s were released in 2016 with ZERO PR budget, zero buzz behind them. We also released some singles “Stickemup”, “Sleeping with Lions” and our version of the Allman’s classic “Whipping Post”. What we thought at the time, was that later when we got more well known our new fans would find these older EP’s. What we didn’t understand and what we have learned over the years is that without some PR budget behind ANY release- no one will hear or find it. No one is exactly pushing rock music onto the front page of Spotify or iTunes these days to be seen if you haven’t noticed. Those EP’s were very difficult to find online and most of these songs have never been heard outside of our close immediate fan base. So what we decided to do was take that group of songs, along with a few others our fans had never heard, remix and master them together and release as one album “Mountain”.
This group of 15 songs, all written around the same time, share a common theme and feel and we have always felt that they are just too important not to be presented correctly. Releasing “Mountain” will do a couple things, it will give these songs an opportunity to be heard, give our old fans a few new songs and remasters, and it will also give us an avenue to raise money for our February release “Ways”. We felt much better about raising the money with our fans in this fashion and we think it’s the proper way to move forward.
With your help we can meet or exceed our goal of 5k that will allow us to release “Mountain” and have a reasonable PR budget to get “Mountain” heard. Sales from “Mountain” and any additional money that might be possibly raised from this campaign will go to the funding of “Ways”. Any money we might be short of for “Ways” we will be funding ourselves. We honestly feel that “Mountain” will be our best album release to date, and when we look at the song listing I can’t say any other release comes close to summing up who we are musically. “Mountain” symbolically means so many different things to us, but more than anything what we’ve overcome, on our terms to be here with you. Thank you for your support in getting us here, and beyond. God Bless-
THE COLD STARES
NEED YOUR SUGGESTIONS- AND GOOD NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT-
Ok folks. A bit of a heads up on the WAYS album project and our Kickstarter fund raiser. When we posted about the project a couple of weeks ago we got an outpouring of support and interest in the project. Lucky enough for us, one person that we caught the interest of was our friend Mark Needham (Fleetwood Mac, Imagine Dragons, The Killers). Can’t tell you what how much Mark has done to try to help get us where we are. We spoke to Mark after the announcement and to our surprise he has offered to engineer and help us produce the album. He knows how important this record is, and is determined to help us make “THE” record we need to make. Mark obviously brings a ton of validity into the project. This part of the project is moving from Memphis to Marks Studio in Nashville. The acoustic work will be done in Sante Fe, New Mexico as planned. We are shooting to launch the Kickstarter May 15th, our goal is 20k. This will allow us to record the album, master it, produce the physical cd/vinyl, and our first actual budget to promote the album. Everything we’ve done so far in our career has been 100% word of mouth, part of the project will allocate some money towards PR so that people can actually hear about our new album. Amazing right? This still leaves part of the budget to be covered by the band, but this will give us enough steam to compete with the labels and actually get a rock and roll album in front of some people again.
Questions for our fans. Here’s a list of SOME of the items we are including in the kickstarter campaign that will last 30 days. IS there something else you guys would like to see offered that would help raise the money?
1-Obviously signed cds, vinyl, t-shirts, posters.
2-House concerts anywhere in the continental US. YES we are actually doing this as part of it, and yes if you meet the contribution we’ll bring the rock and roll.
3-Naming a song on the album. (We are reserving one song, and yes- one lucky fan contributor will name it.)
4-Naming our record label. (ONE fan contributor will actually be the one to name our label that our first release will be on, and hopefully some other great albums to come.)
5-Framed WAYS vinyl album presentation boxes for wall art.
6-WAYS coffee table book with images from the making of the album
7-Liner note mentions of some of our contributors
What else? Before we launch this, which is really for the fans, by the fans, we’d love to hear your feedback. Nothing is off the table if you guys are willing to contribute to helping us do this without outside help. Love to hear your suggestions- Reach us by email – firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook – The Cold Stares
“Neighbor Blues” from our new album Head Bent seems to be one of the most popular songs on the album. Another dive into a #southerngothic drama set in the 30’s. Definitely the heaviest tune on the album. 102.9 The Buzz, Nashville’s Rock Station – WBUZ fm, SiriusXM Octane 105.3, The Point
The Cold Stares 2018 – Snippet of things to come
Ok. So many things we have to share with you guys for 2018. We have to keep the lid on the details of a lot of these things until they are finalized- but I have to say we are super stoked about the upcoming year.
Can’t go without giving our fans a little sneak peak at least-
Details will come out about all these things by December 1st.
1- There will be a limited edition new Cold Stares CD released in January that will be FREE- and only available in Evansville at all Azzip locations. We are super stoked to be teaming up with Azzip Pizza and trust me you are going to be seeing, hearing and reading about this one a lot… coinciding with the promotion will be gigs in Jan/Feb/March at various Evansville locations that you may not have seen us before. We had 68,000 streams in the last week from cities around the world- Evansville was not in the top 20, we are about to change that. And yes WE LIVE HERE. First show is at Backstage Jan 5th, and you don’t want to miss it. Other dates announcing soon-
2- We are doing a residency EVERY month of 2018 at our favorite venue Lafayette’s in Memphis. We are also doing a FREE Cold Stares CD that will be available in Memphis for our fans available at the club only. Memphis you’ve shown us some love, and we are returning it. This is DEFINITELY worth a road trip. We’ve played at the best venues in the country, and this is one of the best. If you have friends or family in Memphis, please help us spread the word….
3- There will be a live full length Cold Stares album released in 2018.
4- There will be a new full length follow up to “Head Bent” album released late summer/fall 2018 of 12 new Cold Stares songs.
5- There will be a national tour and European dates, as well as some other possible international shows.
6- You will be hearing more Cold Stares music on your favorite television shows.
7- There will be a host of Cold Stares giveaways including an huge Turntable/stereo giveaway partnering with our label Small Stone Records and a soon to be disclosed company.
8- Tour dates with another well known National act.
Stay tuned and please help us continue to spread the word about our album Head Bent with your friends. Please save our music into your playlists and libraries on Spotify and iTunes music as well. And please continue to email Bluesville and Octane and request our music! We thank you for your support and hope we can give it all back to you guys in 2018. Here we come……. TCS
Title Track Premiere- you can now stream the first single “Head Bent” from the upcoming June 16th Cold Stares release in the article below. Please share!