Two debuts and a comeback.
Memphis is a town with an abundance of high-quality, hard-working independent rock labels, from Goner to Good For Nothing to Fat Sandwich (just to name a few). And now it's time to add Soul Patch Music to the mix.
In October, the Flyer featured Soul Patch's flagship band, the Dirty Streets, in advance of the group's album-release show. What we failed to mention was that the show was also an unveiling of new albums from the label's other two emerging local acts, William Stull and Heavy Eyes.
Heavy Eyes is an up-and-coming power trio that fits right in with the Dirty Streets in terms of reverence for late-'60s/early-'70s hard rock, metal, and proto-punk.
But where the Dirty Streets veer more toward Led Zeppelin and MC5, Heavy Eyes comes off as a cross between Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age. In the end, Heavy Eyes suffer a bit by comparison to their more seasoned labelmates but still show undeniable promise that they can get there with their new release.
The true revelation of the Soul Patch stable is William Stull, whose one-man-band effort Self Titled Record is exhilarating.
Stull announces his presence on the record with a howl so powerful that it immediately hearkens back to the likes of Roky Erickson or, more recently, Kurt Cobain. (And I don't toss those comparisons around lightly.) His scream is nothing short of incendiary.
And for the most part, Stull maintains the fever-pitch intensity of that opening moment throughout Self Titled Record. Stull's original songs are simple and, at times, a dead-ringer for other rock-and-roll compositions, which is not a bad thing. Yes, his style does get self-indulgent at times (see "I'm a Faggot"), but he still comes off as immensely likable. After all, he is a one-man-band. One can only imagine how good Stull's garage-y pop gems like "Tiger Claw" and "Crying" might sound with other musicians contributing.
That said, rumor has it Stull might be working with a full band in the near future. I, for one, can't wait to hear the results.
Grades: Self Titled Record, A-; Heavy Eyes, B