Craig Riggs: Vocals
Ian Ross: Guitars
Jeremy Hemond: Drums
Tim Catz: Bass
Produced by Sean Slade.
Engineered and Mixed by Benny Grotto.
Second Engineer J. Saliba.
Recorded at Mad Oak Studios, Allston, MA.
Mastered by Dave Collins at Collins Audio, Los Angeles , CA.
Photos by Gail Rush.
Artwork/ Layout by Ian Adams.
All songs written by Roadsaw / BMI Shot From A Cannon Music 2011.
Roadsaw’s self-titled album begins with ("Dead and Buried") a gritty guitar riff that is reminiscent of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” and immediately has my attention. The following track (“Weight in Gold”) has a fast-paced tempo which I likened to Motorhead's "Ace of Spades". These are the first two Roadsaw songs I have had the pleasure of listening to, and they play the essence of classic hard rock with precision. “Motel Shoot Out” has a slightly different feel than the previously mentioned tracks, but what it reminds me of is Nirvana’s Bleach, which was, in its own way as a genre, what hard rock and heavy metal were branching out to become.
The music is hard and heavy and brings to music fans a taste of what popular music once was, and still is. Not only are the riffs raunchy and ripping, but the drums are heavy and the vocals have a fantastic range. In fact there were times listening to this album where I thought of Chris Cornell, and indeed the album has a Badmotorfinger sound to it. Keeping up with the nitty-gritty riffs, powerful bass, and resonant drumming, the lyrics are very metal/hard-rock and combine science and mythology, and include death, destruction, murder, and mayhem. Also depicted in the lyrics are songs of, perhaps, love and hate, as well as a song about an aging rocker ("Long in the Tooth").
Roadsaw is a great rock album that fans of all rock genres and of all ages can enjoy. "It’s good!"
- Jay Powers
Grizzled Boston squad Roadsaw make their sixth album an eponymous affair crammed with a hearty helping of an enjoyable retread of meat and potatoes hard rock that shoots first and ask questions later (“Long in the Tooth”). This veteran unit sticks to the template they set nearly two decades ago by packing a powerful punch with simple yet effective guitar crunch (“Thinking of Me”), rarely straying from a tried and true linear design proudly echoing the FM radio grooves from the days of yore (“The Thrill is Waiting”). Roadsaw predominantly doles out four on the floor tunes that get the blood pumping (“Weight in Gold”), yet songs like “Electric Heaven” find the band taking a detour into doomier territory while “Too Much is Not Enough” pounds out with punk brevity, showcasing touches of variation that make this album a solid offering from top to bottom.
Rating: 4 out 5
- Mike SOS
Are you still searching for your current heavy rock album for summer 2011? If so, I would thoroughly recommend the new ROADSAW, released by Small Stone Records in 2011. This record almost seems to have been recorded specifically for long nights, but it also works fine in cars, preferably those having more than 6 cylinders. As already mentioned in another review, I was never a huge fan of ROADSAW's early releases but since 'Rawk N' Roll' I like these cats more and more. Just three years ago I thought that 'See You In Hell!' was their best album, but this one is even better. In the meantime Darryl Shepard has left the band, but I don't miss him because Ian Ross (the new guitarist while at the same time the old one) is doing a very fine job.
But the true star of the show is vocalist Craig Riggs. Without him, ROADSAW most likely would have been just half as good. I also get the impression that he is getting better and better with each new album. His charismatic and soulful vocal style is truly a perfect fit. From the first sounds of 'Dead And Buried' one knows this ride is going to be exciting. It's like a declaration of power and endurance.
There's no pretentious prog stuff, no experimental noodlings and no whiny boy waxing boring indie poetry about his lousy life. Here we have just straight up, honest to goodness, classic heavy groove-ridden rock 'n' roll. We all need it at some point in our life, because that is just what the doctor ordered. This album goes through a number of highlights, including the swaggering funky groove of 'So Low Down' or the anthemic riff-rocker 'The Getaway' and so on. ROADSAW's new self-titled record is a towering, bluesy, kick-ass statement. It's the kind of album that, once you slip it into your CD player, you'll have to listen to it three, four, five times in a row. At least, that is what I was doing because it's really that good. Don't let this one pass you by and play it loud after you purchased it!
Sometimes a band needs over twenty years to release a superb, groundshaking album and that is what happened with the latest achievement of the Boston rocking ensemble, Roadsaw. Perhaps it comes from the magic that happens when a band names an album after itself, I don’t know, but in their 18-year-long career, they could produce several bigger waves with albums such as Rawk N’ Roll and See You in Hell. Signing for Small Stone Records apparently revived the band.
That production really makes a difference and Roadsaw is the best indicator for it. Lending his production skills, Sean Slade (who also worked with Radiohead and Dinosaur Jr.), together with Benny Grotto (Mad Oak studio) seals Roadsaw’s heftiest record out to date. Ian Ross, taking a lead throughout the album’s entirety with his outstanding guitar work, is not the only who enters the competition for winning a prize. On a side, the vocalist Craig Riggs absolutely crystallizes this album with his sometimes sensitive, sometimes rough voice.
There are few interesting details concerning this album and Lo-Pan’s latest achievement called Salvador (see review here). Namely, both of these two records appeared in 2011, both of them are released on Small Stone Records, both bands (albums) enjoy highly prolific stoner/riff rock and these are some of the facts that create a bond between these two recordings. Now, it’s not a smart decision to compare albums of two different bands, which as far as I know are not in any significant relationship besides being on the same label, but I couldn’t resist to set few parallels between these particular albums. At least, get the albums and find out for yourself.
Like Lo-Pan’s Salvador, Roadsaw’s self-titled presents an overwhelming soundscape, filled with energy at every turn. These guys do not calculate a lot, from the opening Dead and Buried to the closing The Thrill is Waiting, Roadsaw serves uncompromising melodic riff-led rock. The cliché formula of a classic rock approach is skillfully avoided, the songs come in a line without any feeling of fatigue, and everything goes smoothly. The album is heavily spiced by 70’s hard rock, but still sounds very fresh and modern. What appears to be one of the highlights of the recording is its radio friendliness.
2011 should certainly bring a good profit to Small Stone Records. Having three of several more albums released up to now that I have heard, reviewed and, more importantly, enjoyed (Lo-Pan’s Salvador, Tia Carrera’s Cosmic Priestess and Roadsaw’s self-titled) the label is living a golden moment in their 15 years long existence. Concerning Roadsaw, they showed that even with almost two decades in the business they can come back around and create something amazing. Hopefully, we will not wait another 18 years to hear more of Roadsaw’s magic.
- Nikola Savic
So I dropped this number into the CD changer of my bitchin’ cherry-red ‘73 Camero and cranked it full volume heading down ‘95 from Philly to Richmond. The road-trip is usually a double-reefer ride with a stop at Uncle Tonys pizza outside Baltimore. Due to dense traffic, there’s lots of time to absorb the new ROADSAW. No doubt about it, this mother’s a ball buster. When Timmy Catz plugs in the bass and J. Hemond lays into the drums – it’s pure bliss. Then there’s Ross’ guitar - wooly, heavy and groove-laden, perfect for Craig Riggs’ cosmic howl. This is the fourth record by Boston’s own bastard sons and hits ya with that same feeling ya get listening to Sabbath IV or Blue Cheer’s Outsideinside – a complete guttural reaction as it ‘s coming through the speakers. Gotta be the best record these guys have put out yet. The whole thing starts with a tuned down riff in “Dead and Buried” setting a new level for heavy guitar, pounding drum and rumbin’ bass. The chorus fires up with such a memorable hook that ya sing it louder each time around.
The same wall of fuzz follows through with the southern rocker “Long In The Tooth” that gives off this Monster Magnet vibe - part stoner, part hip-shakin’ groove. The song’s lyric “Too old to rock and roll and to young to die / Too late to save my soul so don’t even try” is my current mantra as a fat guy with thinning hair and aging beard. Another song called “Motel Shoot Out” tells the story of a dude locked up in a hotel room ready to take on the law. The narration is sung over a wicked-ass chord that drives through the song with that Sabbath-like Neanderthal dirge. Riggs’ lyrics are so visual it’s like watching a movie – with your ears. The longest track, “Electric Heaven” has this real slow, quite start as the band build up the verse with Riggs moaning, “I’m gonna climb into the spotlight and come alive ‘cause I’m amplified.” Boom! Then the band kick in and the song thunders along like a herd of stampeding elephants. When it’s all over ya realize it’s about celebrating life on the stage and pulling the listener into the sensation of playing live. Killer lyrics, too.
You can hear the band using different pedal sounds and subtle pacing, which give the whole record a wide, dynamic range. There’s the headbangin’ “So Low Down” and the twisted “Thinking Of Me” that gives a whole new meaning to heavy. The fuming “Weight In Gold” has this wooly riff that consumer you. The song is turbo-charged picking up a tone that’s echoes back to old school Soundgarden and a solo that’s a fret fest ripping through the cosmos with the brilliance of a blazing comet. Personal favorite is the bass-monster “Too Much Is Not Enough” moving Catz and his four strings right to the front. The track moves along with a wave of sonic fury as a blazing solo runs over a sludgy rhythmic hook. It’s volatile with a caterwaul sting. After being around for nearly fifteen years these guys know when to ease back on the gas and just let the rhythm sink down deep. “Song X” is one of those dark, brooding, sledgehammer tracks where the drums crash against the guitars in a roaring sea of feedback. Closing the 11-track disc is the chugging “The Thrill Is Waiting” where stoner meets riff rock on the highway to the sun. Amazingly brilliant!
- Todd K. Smith
To say a band gets better with every album is not only a bold statement, but it can have multiple meanings. Is it because the group breaks new ground or strikes out in a bold new direction? Or is it because the band simply just keeps refining what it already does until its vision can’t be denied? In the case of Boston’s long-running hard rock powerhouse Roadsaw, it’s definitely the latter. Picking up where 2008’s See You in Hell! left off, the Beantown quartet doesn’t do anything different than it’s ever done – it continues to blast out gritty, teeth-grinding riff rock, like a veteran biker gang that traded Harleys and speed for Les Pauls and Marshall stacks. The difference is simply this: burly, catchy, nitro-burning tunes like Long in the Tooth, Weight in Gold and The Getaway are simply leaner, meaner and more potent than any track the band has jammed before. The Saws have finally gained a truly firm grasp on slow songs as well – the luscious Electric Heaven flows like chocolate lava down a strawberry mountainside. Guitarist Ian Ross massages a variety of tones and textures from his brawny licks, drummer Jeremy Hemond drives the songs relentlessly forward and bassist Tim Catz calmly anchors it all. Frontdude Craig Riggs has turned into a world-class rock & roll singer, soulful and savage by turns – the band needs to watch it or he’ll be poached by some cash-waving, big-name has-beens who need fresh blood. But Riggs should be able to resist temptation – after, all with this record, Roadsaw proves itself the equal to its famous forebears and more celebrated peers.
- Michael Toland
If there is such a thing as a bar in the smokey world of stoner rock then Roadsaw have grabbed it in their calloused hands, lifted it onto their denim clad shoulders and raised it up high and out of reach of most of their contemporaries!!!
Roadsaw's career has seen them churn out a slew of great hard rocking stoner albums but in naming this new release after themselves they almost seem to be saying "fuck everything else, this is where it begins" as this takes their fuzzy goodness to new levels.
I'm not going to lie and say this is the most innovative album ever recorded...it simply doesn't have to be. It is, however, destined to become a landmark album in the stoner genre where riffs and tunes collide to make a beautiful whole. At its heart this is a stoner rock album through and through albeit peppered with tasty references to 70's FM rock and even a touch of punk. From the rolling opener of "Dead and Buried", through the breakneck charge of "Weight In Gold" to the expansive grooves of "Thinking of Me" to the looping riff that drives one of the album highlights "Motel Shoot Out" this album is 11 nuggets of perfectly formed rock and roll gold. Each riff is precious and nothing gets wasted, particularly on "So Low Down" which could easily become a drive time classic.
Possibly the most impressive facet of this album is the one and only Mr Craig Riggs. Riggs has always proved himself to be a strong vocalist but here he seems to have reached deeper into his bag of tricks to produce an exemplary performance that lifts him to the top of the tree. His voice is at once ravaged by nicotine yet soothed by fine bourbon...edgier than a Bowie knife yet smoother than an 18 year old's titties!!!! It's not just his voice that sets him aside, the guy has an ear for a melody and a well placed harmony that comes from the tradition of the big 70's classics lending this record an almost pop appeal that most stoner bands seem to lack.
Recorded at Mad Oak studios, which is rapidly achieving legendary status in the stoner world, and produced by Sean Slade with Benny Grotto engineering, the band have achieved a sound that is thick with tone yet punchier than a drunk with a chip on his shoulder. The guitars are thick with fuzz...warmer than a Thai hooker's cooze and catchier than any diseases you might find there!!! The drums push from behind like a rugby scrum and the bass grunts like a porno actor on the vinegar strokes!!!
Small Stone Recordings seem to riding a wave at the moment with a truck load of exceptional releases in the bag in the last year and just as many on the horizon but with this album they have set the benchmark. Beg, steal or borrow this album...or maybe do that old fashioned thing and go and buy it. In fact do that latter as, not only do you get an incredible rock and roll ride of an album, the cover has a picture of a monkey dressed like a spaceman, and everyone needs one of those!!!
- Ollie Stygall
Roadsaw has been reliving the 70’s rock scene for the past 18 years with their brand of rock-n-roll blues and sleazy fuzzed guitars. The sixth effort, a self-titled album, from the Boston band is large and in charge. The album kicks off with a catchy tune, “Dead and Buried”, with crunchy guitars that burst into badass solos and bluesy cries. The beat is thick and dominated by the skins of the drum and a chorus that’s a clash of beautiful and growly rock. “Weight of Gold” skips in much quicker and showcases some impressive shredding. The next track, “Thinking of Me” is a head nodding tune that is groovy as hell while kissing me with sweetened rock guitar moments throughout.
“Long in the Tooth” is bluesy with a purpose. Again, just like the previous track, the track is groovy. I mean to say that it has the booty shaking bass. This track lends itself nicely to some psychedelic guitar playing that gravitates itself around my head in a way best experienced with your fat ass padded headphones. [if you don’t own some padded earphones…get some…screw those “ear buds”. Serious.] “Low Down” is another catchy chorus with classic rock supporting it on all fronts that I dare you to try to keep out of your head. Some of my favorite lyrics this year. I can relate.
The next track matches the title well, “The Getaway.” The pace makes your heart race. You feel like you doing 120 to get away from something. A little quicker pace than some of the other tracks but it fits nicely. I dig the lyrics on this track too. We return to a slower pace with a killer beat, “Motel Shoot Out.” A real catchy tune. The longest track is next, “Electric Heaven”, which is tuned out and covered with the biggest cannabis trichomes ever. [look it up if your confused] This song really puts the band into the stoner rock section.
“Too Much Is Not Enough” rocks out with…you know. A tune that highlights more of the bands influences from punk and/or British rock. The time is even punk at 2:18. They fit it within the album well because the musicians and producers understand how rock has evolved and respect it. “Song X” is another catchy sumbitch that keeps creeping into my mind whilst doing mindless tasks. “The Thrill is Waiting” is a great way to finish this album because its goes to the albums roots of the guitar and bass dance between groove and rock.
The newest effort from Roadsaw is damn good rock-n-roll. In my humble opinion, the band pushes themselves into some great areas of rock and music. I hope we see more from this happy marriage of Small Stone Records and Roadsaw. Stoner rock needs guys like this that continue to endure and subtly push the genre into other areas. Love to see you tour up this way too. Bet it’s a hell of a show.
This is an album that had to be made, and Roadsaw was just the band to do it.
Let me explain. Every week it seems, around the Ripple HQ, Pope and I get into a fevered conversation about how America is poised to embrace real rock again. With the schmaltz producers running out of retreads to retreads, it seems that there’s just a burning for something honest, something raw, something real. Along those lines, Small Stone, with its stellar line-up of bands like Lo-Pan, Sun Gods in Exile, and Suplecs, leads the way, and others like Hydro-Phonics, Tee-Pee, and even our own label, Ripple Music, with bands like Stone Axe, Grifter, Mighty High and Iron Claw, are poised and ready to pounce at a moment’s notice to unleash a fury of real rock onto the world. Satisfying the hunger, feeding the craving.
But before that can happen, we need a bridge album. An album fully steeped in the heaviness, grittiness, and muscle of real rock, but crafted with such a perfect eye for melody and--dare I say it—pop hooks, that it can capture the general public’s ears. Threatening and, oh so violent, but deep in its melody, refined in its choruses, and smooth as an iced road in a Boston winter. Dirty, but clean enough to actually break onto the airwaves.
Roadsaw have delivered such an album, and it’s a corker.
I was a big fan of See You In Hell, their 2008 album which I immediately placed on to my best of list for that year. Expect to find the self-titled Roadsaw on this year’s list.
Don’t let any mention of that awful P-word (pop) dissuade you from spinning this beast. And I do mean beast. Roadsaw hangs deep in the water of heavy like an overburdened barge weighed down under the immensity of its riffs. Fuzz, power, gruff, it’s all here. But so is something else. I don't mean "pop" in the sense of sell-out. Heaven forbid! I mean "pop" in the sense of a killer accessibility, pop in the sense that you could play this album for someone who isn't already addicted to heavy rock and within moments you could get his head doing the man nod and her ass doing the feminine groove.
Since their last album, the cats of Roadsaw (founding members, Tim Catz (bass) and Craig Riggs (vocals), and guitarist Ian Ross and drummer Jeremy Hemond (also of Cortez and Black Thai) have matured as straight-forward songwriters in some sort of exponential way, allowing space to creep into their songs, passages of subtlety, even moments of jazzy breeziness, all layer upon some seriously catchy riffs and H1N1-infectious melodies. The whole package just screams "we’re still heavy folks, fuck we’re heavy, but we’re so much more than that."
With rock radio caught in a chasing-their-own-tailspin, salivating at the return of Velvet Revolver, or AudioslaveCreedAlterBridgeNickleBoringSomething, this is the album that should creep into the playlists. Like a midnight stalker, sneaking into the bedroom of the unsuspecting, Roadsaw should insinuate itself onto the airwaves. Get the nation rocking again.
From the first cut, we’re off and running. “Dead and Buried,” features a simply filthy guitar tone with its edges totally obscured by fuzz. Yet, somehow, it’s still clean at its heart. The riff repeats and builds on itself in a fashion not too dissimilar from “Daytripper,” by the Beatles . . . er . . . that is if the Beatles never shaved, tattooed skulls on their deltoids, and draped their brass-knuckled fingers around the handles of a Harley. Still, the point is there. As heavy as that riff is, it’s still totally accessible. Add to that a thick, but melodic vocal performance by Riggs, and a chorus that should have every trucker singing as they head out I-10 and we got ourselves a candidate for our first heavy radio hit. “Weight in Gold,” fuzzes the tone even more and ups the adrenaline a thousand fold, coming at you like some Feurezeug attack. This is a fuzz-punk assault all the way through the impossibly scuzzed Ross guitar solo to its defining moment, 2:36 in. Sudden tempo change, bass and drum lock into a groove that wouldn’t be out of place in a late night underground beat club, while the guitar squeaks through a tastefully frenetic flurry. Then the riff heaviness comes back, leading right into the monster blitz of “Thinking of Me,” and again, we’re off and running. Heavy? Oh, yeah. But clear enough that this cut should appeal to anyone listening to The Boneyard on XM and wanting to hear something new. Once again, Riggs outdoes himself on the vocal here, keeping it thick-throated, but accessible.
“Long in the Tooth,” follows suit, marrying devastatingly heavy riffs, panzer-division bass, and Stuka attack drumming with a melody sweet enough to suck in the ears of the uninitiated. Add a cool southern swagger to the vocal and we got radio hit number 2. My choice for number 3 is “The Getaway,” which rides a frenetic riff straight down the throat of its knock-em-out chorus.
Sure, some fans of only the heaviest and skuzziest history of Roadsaw might feel that the album is a touch too polished. The impossibly slow and epic, “Electric Heaven,” may appease them a touch, with its Clutch-meets Sabbath bad trip vibe. But this album isn’t about appeasing the old fans. It’s about breaking ground with the new ones. Keeping the past alive while screaming and kicking the masses in the teeth. It’s about breaking new ground in the acceptance of the heavy and tilting the planetary axis a bit towards the equator of real rock.
It’s an album that had to be made, and Roadsaw was just the band to do it.
Released in 2011, the cleverly named S/T is Roadsaw's first album in three years, sixth overall over the course of an off-and-on 18-year career, and yet little has changed about the group's penchant for injecting classic hard rock sounds with millennium-straddling power. What has changed in all that time is the way that Roadsaw's creative process was gradually transformed (possibly without them even realizing it) from combining a mountain of riffs into workable songs, to composing well-constructed songs out of excellent riffs. If you know what that means. If not, just crank up the volume on surprisingly "sticky" new offerings like "Dead and Buried" (with its surprisingly shoutable chorus), "Long in the Tooth" (with its woozy wah-wah midsection), and "The Thrill Is Waiting" (simply a perfect blend of harmonious crunch, reminiscent of sadly defunct Canadians stoners the Illuminati). Yes, mountainous riffage still overwhelms everything else on some of the remaining cuts (e.g., "Thinking of Me" and "Too Much Is Not Enough"), while another few suffer from a certain doom-like dullness that isn't terminal, but far from riveting either (see "Electric Heaven," "Song X"). In other words, S/T ain't perfect, but it still easily ranks among Roadsaw's best efforts, and provides a hearty reminder that classic rockers can actually stick to their guns and manage to age gracefully nonetheless, vitality intact.
- Eduardo Rivadavia
For the better part of 18 years (there was a lengthy break in there), Boston outfit Roadsaw have produced some of the most definitively American heavy rock the world has ever heard. Their songs are like cars with unrepentantly inefficient engines: loaded with swagger and volume and ready to run your ass over if you get in their way. The latest installment in their discography is Roadsaw, on Small Stone, and it’s an album that’s probably going to surprise some longtime listeners of the band with its maturity. Figuratively and literally, the days of scumbag rock that permeated albums like 1995’s 1,000,000 and 1997’s Nationwide are long gone. There are traces of that kind of thing on Roadsaw’s Roadsaw, but the band, who took a seven year break between their 2001 Rawk ‘n’ Roll and 2008 See You in Hell releases (they also put out the Takin’ out the Trash compilation in 2007), are different people in 2011 than they were then. Founding members Tim Catz (bass) and Craig Riggs (vocals), along with guitarist Ian Ross and drummer Jeremy Hemond (also of Cortez and Black Thai) now present a smooth and intricately-constructed 11-track collection of songs, viciously catchy and tighter than your emo cousin’s pants.
Opener “Dead and Buried” features just one of Roadsaw’s several landmark choruses. I liked See You in Hell well enough, but to be fair, the bulk of my excitement about it was just that there was a new Roadsaw album. With the self-titled, it’s all about the songwriting. Ross’ riffing is prime, and Catz and Hemond prove absolutely lethal when it comes to setting the pace and grounding the tracks, the latter with the kind of taut snare sound that has become one of the trademarks of a Benny Grotto/Mad Oak engineering job (Sean Slade was also brought in to produce), but if any single member of Roadsaw is giving a standout performance on these songs, it has to be Riggs. His vocals maintain the gruff, throaty Southern feel of some of the band’s earlier work, but across “Thinking of Me,” “Long in the Tooth” and late-arriving barn-burner “Too Much is Not Enough,” Riggs counterweighs the rougher approach with several seriously accomplished melodies. “Song X” (you’ll never guess where it appears on the tracklisting) is a heavy pop number that pulls off precisely what the last Fireball Ministry album couldn’t, blending radio-ready accessibility with an underlying heaviness and not sacrificing one in service to the other.
Most of the tracks rely on straightforward structures and songwriting techniques – if you can write choruses like this, you do it – but subtle changes like the darker turn of “Motel Shoot Out” provide variety and keep Roadsaw from sounding too formulaic. Also of great assistance in this regard is “Electric Heaven,” which slows the pace by nearly half and is the longest song at 6:10. A Clutch-feel in the vocals and tradeoffs between heavy breaks and quiet verses lead to bright and open-ringing guitar notes in the choruses. Roadsaw never quite get psychedelic, but if they were going to, this is where they’d do it. Riggs leads the charge well, and Hemond in particular does an excellent job of not letting the song get too carried away. Contrasted with the bare-knuckle songwriting methodology at play on the aptly-named uptempo “The Getaway” (highlight solo from Ross), though, “Electric Heaven” is still a change of both pace and tactic for Roadsaw. Like just about everything else on their self-titled, it works well.
Earlier cut “Weight in Gold” would be a misstep in the album’s sequencing were it not for the unbelievable tone Ross gets in his guitar; the perfect balance of fuzz and clarity of notes. There are probably some for whom Roadsaw’s latest might be too clean, too crisp, too grown-up, but honestly, their loss is in the standout tracks making up the album. It’s not like Roadsaw is doing some cash grab after 18 years together – frankly, there’s no cash to grab – but they’ve clearly come of age as a band and these songs show that. Small Stone had an exceptional year in 2010 with releases by Gozu, Sasquatch and Solace, and as the label has started off 2011 with Suplecs, The Might Could and will follow with Roadsaw and Tia Carrera, it looks like that momentum is going to carry through the Spring and beyond. All the better for lovers of real rock and roll. It seems early to call this kind of thing in January, but no doubt Roadsaw’s Roadsaw is going to be one of the year’s best riff-rock releases. The band was right to name it after themselves.
- H.P. Taskmaster
Formed in the mid-‘90’s by Craig Riggs and Tim Catz, they raised the bar for riff loving hard rock, proving that the West Coast didn’t have a lock on what most considered “stoner rock”. They released five albums (“$1,000,000", “Nationwide”, “Rawk N' Roll”, "Takin' Out the Trash", and "See You in Hell!"), a bunch of singles and compilation contributions, toured the hell out of the US and Europe with the likes of Nebula, Orange Goblin and Scissorfight, and then, like all good bands and unlike too many shitty ones, went on the dreaded “indefinite hiatus”.
From the smoldering ashes sprung a handful of notable groups - the rootsy, Southern lovin’ Antler, the cock rock of Quitter, among others - but while those acts made distinct marks, they never filled the void left by Roadsaw. Other bands that attempted to capture that unique Roadsaw magic fell woefully short. There was attitude or there were riffs, but the two never blended together in that awesome Roadsaw way. For the faithful, the best thing to do was to replay those classic albums and hope for a miracle.
Crack open a cold one and get ready to rock the fuck out, because Roadsaw is back.
The new and long awaited Roadsaw self titled record, which will be released on the Small Stone label, is around the corner and what can I say - it was worth the wait. The new album is absolutely fuzzalicious! Call it stoner rock, fuzz-rock, seventies inspired retro rock - it doesn't matter. These old stagers know exactly how to write awesome songs, which are bursting with energy until the Marshall boxes are sizzling hot. Massive, fuzzed up guitar riffs caterwaul, the bass pumps like a oil rig, the drums are punched like a knocked-out boxer, and the vocals tower above, rough, soulful and melodic. If you are into stoner rock with a massive 70's touch and a bluesy tone, you will dig this record like hell.
I owe a lot to my many years spent as a revolutionary in Sleazegrinder’s army, including my love for all things rock n’ roll in Boston. Early into this millennium I developed an unchecked focus on such bands as Cocked n’ Loaded, Cracktorch, Rock City Crimewave, Milligram, Coke Dealer, and The Humanoids. If only my town had a scene like that, man. And that’s saying nothing of Wild Zero, Noble Rot, and the legendary (in my mind, anyway) Kari Nations. But the king daddy of ‘em all was — and is — Roadsaw (a nod to their off-shoots, Antler and Quitter, as well), the one band who preceded and survived all others. Led by the godfather’s of Boston rock, Ian Ross (guitar), Tim Catz (bass), and Craig Riggs (vocals), Roadsaw have been hammering out Southern-dipped fuzz n’ roll songs for about 18 years now, publishing consistently punishing albums that seem to get a tad slicker and sleazier every time out, to the point now where Roadsaw just can’t help but exude a rock star God confidence larger than the sun. The proof on Roadsaw, their sixth full-length release, is Riggs’ vocal harmonies, which elevate thick-riffed songs like “Dead and Buried,” “Thinking of Me,” “Motel Shoot Out,” and “Song X” into searing arena hits, and any one of Ross’ petulant solos, which attack like a lust-hungry fiend, feverishly and often. Stoner rock rarely contains this kind of excitement, my friends. The band can still play quick and deadly, too, as evidenced by the mean n’ tasty rawk of “Weight in Gold,” “The Getaway” and “Too Much is Not Enough,” and what would a Roadsaw album be without its quintessential ballad, “Electric Heaven,” which stays plugged in but meanders about in a psych-haze of doom-like opulence before delivering the catchiest chorus on the entire album. No doubt about it; the bar has been set…and it’s really fucking high.
- Jeff Warren