Posts Tagged ‘bastards of fate’

Bastards of Fate and Eureka California at Tuning Into The Obscure

Bastards of Fate – Vampires Are Real And Palpable – This Will Be Our Summer Records

Here is a solid and packed LP full of pure, gritty experimental rock fused with so much life that calling it “experimental rock” really doesn’t define it. Maybe I could get away with calling it indie-experimental… At any rate, the lyrics are put together well and create the glue that the foundation of this record is built on.  Add the strange, fun and sometimes noisy sound clips that bridge gaps between tracks and you have yourself one giant cohesive wall of sound.  Overall, this is a unique record, with an overhanging darkness that’s surprisingly upbeat, giving me this image of a vampire lounging with a lemon lollypop in his mouth.  The imagination and creativity here is equal to that wild sonic exploration of perhaps Yasushi Ishii but the Bastards Of Fate have a sound that is unmistakably original.Seriously, this is quite the LP.  (4.8 out of 5)

Eureka California – Crunch – Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records

The jangle pop punk indie gods return with their first LP since 2012’s “Big Cats Can Swim.” And after  having the privilege of reviewing that album when it came out, getting my paws on this LP after nearly two years of silence was awesome.  Here, the band ventures into a peppier sound that throws me headlong into a state of bliss.  Lyrically, like their last album, this is genius but a bit more on the playful side of things as far as writing goes.  There’s not a single dull moment on this LP.  I found myself loving each track, easily falling into the crazy and vibrant vibes.  Rock on!  (5 out of 5).


Bastards of Fate at Raised by Gypsies

While there are many qualities of The Bastards of Fate that make me think of both a punk band and a pop rock type of band, I am hesitant to classify this as pop punk really.   It has these undertones of a band like The B-52’s, yet it has some broader commercial appeal of something modern such as The Killers.

The songs have strings in them as well, which are just beautiful and just orchestrated as Yellowcard uses them for instance.    It could almost be a cross between Bowling for Soup (who really isn’t that bad once you get deeper into their catalog) and Modest Mouse, which needless to say sort of forms its own sound unique to Bastards of Fate.

Some of the more pure rock qualities within these melodic harmonies can remind me of Forgive Durden, but overall I thoroughly enjoy this record because though I have not heard their first one this definite has its own voice and it’s a good one.


Bastards of Fate Interview at Rebel Noise

Heya Doug, Camellia, Benji, Jason, and Doug #2!  Before I grill you with hard-hitting, hot topic, button-pushing questions, could you please introduce yourselves and comment on the differences between the two Dougs?

Doug Cheatwood. I’m Doug. I’m medium sized and the singer. As opposed to tall Doug, who plays drums and sampler.

Doug Shelor: He stands in the front. I sit in the back.

Camellia Delk: I’m Camellia, I play synth teeths. Doug Cheatwood runs around in the front like a looney tune w/ a utility light while Doug Shelor is stationary in the back and flails his arms around lots, like a mad man in distress. Same. Yet. Different.

Jason Wellz: I’m Jason. I’m in charge of bass and pure moods.

Benji Pugh: I’m Benji (Guitar) and I never move. Except when things go
horribly awry.

Camellia: Like… when you get exorcised or get pied in the face?


Bastards of Fate Video Debut and Review at Gold Flake Paint

Let’s be perfectly honest: I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. Too long a while. But then, when brilliance really strikes you – and I mean SHEER brilliance, with all the luminosity and force of a supernova just a light-year away – well, words are harder to form, see.

Who are the Bastards of Fate? Gremlins. Flutes. Flurries of quirky sounds (the old ringtone intro on ‘Chromosome‘ cracks me up EVERY TIME) and the blackest stew of beastly beat imaginable. A carnival long abandoned and left to the elements. Try sneaking on the dusty grounds of ‘One True Love‘ at nightfall and you’re likely to be eaten by a grue.

Simple labels fall short – you’ll have to compound hybrid after hybrid until, after toiling 12 hours without rest (but plenty of caffeine), you’ll have a new word to present the press. But what? What captures both the host train rattle of ’Identity Theft‘, or the dancehall ravaging ‘Own It‘, or the haunted skiffle fanfare (with its doorbell breakdown) of ‘Go No Further‘?

Oh, yes, The Bastards of Fate have precedents, but not the typical indie lineage. The baroque prog circus of Cardiacs comes to mind. And the whole Urgh! A Music War documentary, with its surreal new wave visions of the future, could be a likely launching pad, from the wired Wall of Voodoo to endearingly ridiculous (hyper-80s, I always thought) Oingo Boingo. But then where does ‘Credit‘ stand in that continuum, a dense swirling whirlpool of cyanide that sucks you deeper and deeper into its warbly depths until you’re down in the inky center –

You act like I starve you / Like I starve you / and I do

Now you’re in the thick of the labyrinth. I’m afraid we lost the compass three songs ago. An axe-wielding troll awaits somewhere in these halls. And what’s that crumbling sound behind us…? Oh snap. Run! RUN! At the closing track, ‘Optometrist‘, you’ll fly madly through the hall of mirrors, fleeing the vague shadows creeping behind you, but NO USE – phantoms will laugh in your face, from every angle, until…!

Intrigued? You better be. Besides, as all us dungeon-crawlers know, the richest treasures lie hidden by the trickiest puzzles. And this one’s a doozy. So grab your lantern. We’re going down.



Bastards of Fate at Magnet

The Bastards Of Fate are unabashedly quirky and unquestionably inventive, and they hail from Roanoke, Va. Their latest record, Vampires Are Real And Palpable(This Will Be Our Summer), walks the line between visionary and downright freaky. It’s a beautiful cacophony.


Bastards of Fate at Whisperin and Hollerin

This is the second album by The Bastards Of Fate. Hailing from Roanoke, Virginia, they were one of the last bands Marty Thau got behind before his untimely death recently. It is also a rare chance for me to review from both vinyl and digital: this luxury allows me to hear the album in more than one environment and yes the vinyl does sound better coming out of two speakers rather than the digital coming out of five.


Bastards of Fate, Tunabunny, and Muuy Biien at Pop Rock Nation

Bastards of Fate, Vampires are Real and PalpableLoud, woozy, strange, carnivalesque, racing from one idea to another, and prone to explosions — all with crooned melodic vocals.

Muuy Biien, D.Y.I. An abrasive, churning, hostile splatter of echoey 2-minute punk-rock songs, more spoken/yelled than sung, that’s very well-played for what it is and ends up striking me as lots of fun. The surf-rock influence helps.

Tunabunny, Kingdom Technology. A very strange amalgam of vocal-harmony-driven rock’n’roll, drone/ambient, and Fall/Wire-ish post-punk.


Bastards of Fate at Roanoke Times

Roanoke-based indie band The Bastards of Fate has released its second album, “Vampires Are Real And Palpable.” But don’t think for a second that the title has anything to do with pop-culture vampires from the likes of “True Blood” and “Twilight.”

“I see it as an Anton LaVey psychic vampire thing as opposed to literal blood-sucking vampires,” bassist Jason Wells said.

But the record was inspired by more than the late Satanist’s term describing those who drain one of vital energies. Dreams of “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie and of random chords and melodies fired the album as well, according to songwriter and light-swinging frontman Doug Cheatwood.

The band — Cheatwood, Wells, keyboardist/violinist Camellia Delk, drummer Doug Shelor and guitarist Benji Pugh — gathered recently at Pop’s Ice Cream & Soda Bar to talk about the new disc. Along for an evening snack of frozen treats and buttered bread was Len Neighbors, owner of North Carolina-based This Will Be Our Summer Records, the label that has released both of the Bastards’ records.

Neighbors came up with a term, “mayonnaise music,” to describe bands that he finds to be bland. Coldplay inspired the term, he said. His Roanoke friends don’t fit into that category.

“This is Sriracha,” the hot sauce, Neighbors said. “This is some skull-and-crossbones stuff.”

Underground rock critics agree.

Big Takeover magazine wrote that “The Bastards of Fate continue their uncompromising onslaught of demented pop with an incredibly strong sophomore effort … as entertaining as Space Ghost on acid. They just happen to tread in disturbing territory, a fateful reminder of the enemies that surround us every day.”

Rebel Noise magazine wrote: “Roanoke is a city of shadows and mist. The Bastards of Fate didn’t move there to become famous — they were born there, to grow up obscure. But … the band’s reputation continues to spread like a well-executed piece of vandalism.”

Dreaming and phoning

At least one song on each of the Bastards’ two albums — the band’s debut was “Who’s A Fuzzy Buddy?” — emerged from a Cheatwood dream. In it, Ernie and Bert were singing “Own It,” a cut from “Vampires.”

“I woke up and I wrote it down,” he said. “That happens a lot. Not with Bert and Ernie, but dreaming a song, waking up and writing it down in the middle of the night.”

He dreamed up the chords and melody to another “Vampires” track, “Winter of Our Discontent.”

Often, Cheatwood will come up with an idea, then call a bandmate’s voicemail to record it. Or he’ll text message lyrics.

“He’ll just call and on our voicemails leave these little sections of songs,” Wells said. “He’ll sing them, just so somebody will have them.”

Performing, then recording

If a Bastards of Fate record is entertaining to hear, a live performance by the indie freaks can be even better. As Cheatwood rambles around, swinging his ever-present hand-held work light, the band churns out dense layers of groove, melody and dissonance with huge energy. By the time the band hits the studio to record, it has the songs down cold.

“Typically before we record, we play the songs that we’re going to record for a year or more,” Cheatwood said. “Then when we’re ready to go into the studio, we just bang them out. I like that way of doing it.”

That process allows the band’s musical inside jokes to sink into the tunes.

“Our music has a lot of inside jokes in it,” Cheatwood said. “Jason will start doing something and I’ll think that’s pretty weird. Then I’ll have to respond to it in some way for it to make sense to me. Then someone will respond to me. It becomes this weird circular thing.”

Maybe it’s a bad note. Maybe it’s a funny approach to a melody. Whatever is it, if it entertains the band, it typically stays in the song, Shelor said.

“A lot of it is based on mistakes or just pure goofing off,” Shelor said. “We’ll do something and go, that’s kind of cool, that’s sort of funny. It’ll keep popping up, and then next thing you know, you just sort of do it habitually at every show.”

Avoiding the scowl

After playing the music for about a year — in the exact order in which it appears on “Vampires Are Real And Palpable” — the Bastards headed to engineer John Thompson’s Roanoke studio, The Mystic Fortress.

The band spent two days getting basic tracks, then a couple more days doing overdubs. All the while, they looked to bandmate Delk, ever wary of her scowl.

“Cam’s our quality control,” Cheatwood said. “When something doesn’t sound good, she won’t say anything. She’ll just scowl. And that’s when you know that something needs to change. But you have to guess what it is.

“It gets less and less frequent, because you learn what she will like and what she won’t like, and you head it off. Like, she’ll make me do it again, so I might as well do it [correctly] now.”

Delk said she has full confidence in her scowl, which she describes as similar to the face of her cat, Keekers, who is on the cover of “Who’s A Fuzzy Buddy?” By the way, Keekers is not on the “Vampires” cover. Instead, the back cover features Delk’s other cat, Theo, with various outfits photoshopped onto his body.

She said in an e-mail exchange later that she would have preferred fewer overdubs and a more live sound. Overall, the band is happy with how the record turned out. Guitarist Pugh’s reaction was the most inscrutable.

“It sounds like when you’re listening to a record and it skips songs and you keep listening to it,” Pugh said. “Like you’ve walked too closely to it, it sort of ‘erk,’ sort of bumps along. And that’s what happens for 40 minutes.”

That description broke up the table in laughter.

“He knows how to sell a record,” Cheatwood said.

One reviewer mentioned that the Bastards sound more like a live band on this disc, but that wasn’t necessarily Cheatwood’s goal.

“My only goal is to make everyone uncomfortable,” he said, “including my band members.”



Bastards of Fate at Get It On Vinyl

When the name Bastards of Fate was passed along to me, I assumed they were a punk band. I was positive in fact, that they were a hardcore punk band with stage antics in line with G.G. Allen’s. I pictured a front man who cut himself on stage and projectile vomited on the audience. It really sounded like my kind of band. When I actually received the record, it came with a vampire slaying kit. The kit was housed in what seemed like a red Crown Royal bag and came with a wooden stake, holy water, garlic, and a letter from the man himself, Van Morrison. That’s right, Mr. Astral Weeks was apparently a legit vampire hunter, and the only ones who knew it were the Bastards of Fate. Upon seeing this vampire slaying kit, I assumed the Bastards of Fate must be some shitty death metal band that takes itself very seriously, yet they remain a joke to everyone who hears them. Thirty seconds into the album, it became clear, The Bastards of Fate have the indie pop sensibility of The Shins and the out there feel of Fank Zappa’s Two Hundred Motels. The singer doesn’t look like the self-defacing punk I was anticipating. In reality, he looks very similar to Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, with the black horned rimmed glasses and all.

The Bastards second album, Vampires are Real and Palpable (hint the vampire slaying kit), is there first for This Will Be Our Summer recordsVampires really is an album for record collectors and music snobs. If I threw this album on during a party, it would clear the room. This isn’t because it’s a bad album. On the contrary, it’s pretty damn good, but it’s fucking weird. Again, this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s what makes the album worth your time. It takes effort and thought to get into this album. It’ll take you multiple listens to even start to appreciate Vampires, and you’ll hear something new every time you give it a listen. It’s an album you won’t be able to justify to all of your musically vanilla friends because the Bastards of Fate is some far out there Ben and Jerry’s combination that hasn’t even been dreamed up yet. I haven’t even addressed the experimental sounds that permeate the album. Sometimes it’s ambient noise that rears its head, sometimes it’s old cell phone ringtones, and sometimes it’s disembodied voices.

Vampires open with “Winter of Our Discontent,” an indie track that a torch singer would croon if they were working in a bar that catered to mental patients. From there the album quickly picks up into power pop on tracks like “Go No Further” and “Chromosome,” but it’s power pop filtered through the lens of Zappa. “Identity Theft” and “Ultimate Death” plays with the same deep foreboding backbone of early Interpol. It’s the Bastards bizarre take on these familiar sounds that make them an exceptional band. The Bastards walk a fine line between avant-garde and indie power pop. The Bastards are from left field, and you’ll want to leave the dugout and join them because while they’re edgy, there is something extremely comforting about the band. The Bastards are unknown but familiar. Frankly, if this is the direction of modern art-rock, then I’m on board. Even though it wasn’t the punk I expected, the Bastards are my kind of music.

The Vinyl

Vampires are Real and Palpable is available from the Bastards website: The cover is a fairly generic picture of a building. There is nothing telling about the cover, and there is nothing telling about the vinyl itself (it is standard black). It’s the perfect façade for a band like the Bastards. With the LP, you’ll get a digital download. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the vampire slaying kit, but I honestly can’t say that it will come with every LP. I don’t know if I would rely on it when a vampire breaks in at three in the morning, but it’ll be a definite conversation starter.


Bastards of Fate at Big Takeover

Two years after their debut, Who’s a Fuzzy Buddy?, Roanoke, VA’s The Bastards of Fate continue their uncompromising onslaught of demented pop with an incredibly strong sophomore effort.

Vampires Are Real And Palpable filters the dramatic sound of Muse andGhost & Goblin through the lens of psychedelic Ralph Bakshi cartoons and Hanna-Barbera hijinks. A raw darkness runs through the insanity, however, and, as the songs unfold, the vampires become more apparent.William S. Burroughs warned against “psychic vampires,” those who walk into a room and drain the energy. “If, after having been exposed to someone’s presence, you feel as if you’ve lost a quart of plasma, avoid that presence,” he advised. “You need it like you need pernicious anemia.” These sinister characters emerge from the songs, twisting the lives of those around them, dragging everyone into their solipsistic world of doom and despair. Bleak? Yes, very.

That’s not to say that these songs are all dreary mopers filled with ennui. Quite the contrary, they are as entertaining as Space Ghost on acid. They just happen to tread in disturbing territory, a fateful reminder of the enemies that surround us every day.

It’s interesting to note the mutual vampirism of being in a band, especially while playing live music. As the band feeds off each other, the audience feeds off the band, who in turn feeds off the audience. The Bastards of Fate know this and flaunt it unapologetically. The vampires are us.