"Nothing That A Bullet Couldn't Cure" picks up where Antler's self titled debut left off and takes the listener on an aural trip down memory lane. The heavy has been replaced by depth and the riotous rawk of youth has given way to a more developed sense of self-aware songwriting. The eleven tracks of "Nothing That A Bullet Couldn't Cure" showcases a band that has grown up both on the road and on A.M. radio. The vagaries of what's to come are best left to professionals. But history, they say, is doomed to repeat itself. 'Til then, Antler will wander the woods at night, gun in hand, whistling a familiar tune.
Reviews for Nothing That a Bullet Couldn't Cure...
Since a long time, I wondered what happened with Roadsaw. For my taste, this group was always more interesting than all the Kyuss and Fu Manchu-worshippin bands, and especially Roadsawĺs smokinĹ live shows were extremely powerful. As I hold the new ANTLER disc in my hands, I get an answer to my question, because 2/3 of the ANTLER line-up consist of ex-Roadsaw members, including powerhouse vocalist Craig Riggs. This is their second album, but ANTLERĺs sound reminds me only temporary to old Roadsaw. Everythingĺs here more relaxed, calmer, and melancholy and the group is stronger influenced from radio-friendly bluesy hardrock. It may sounds worser than it is, although, for example, the ballad "A River Undergroundô is not far away from complete kitsch. But on the whole, this six-piece group created a very atmospheric and blues-drenched album, that grows with the help of additional instruments like hammond organ and a brass-section. The thoughtful song arrangements bring back the psychedelic Beatles at times, without losing the bluesy context. Even when ANTLER isnĹt as heavy as Roadsaw, they still capable of integrating fat riffs as in "Deep in a Holeô or "Black Eyed Strangerô. Iĺm not totally convinced, but the reason is simple ľ this is not the kind of music I really prefer. But that shouldnĺt stop you in checking out ANTLER!
(KK)January 13th, 2008www.cosmiclava.com
The Cutting Edge
You might not recognize Antler on paper, but their soulful southern rock will definitely trigger something from your whiskey-blurred past. Part country twang with the occasional big band horn section, the six-man team harness up eleven scorchers that come blaring out of your speakers. Three quarters of the ragged bunch hail from the road-warn outfit Roadsaw and equip the band with plenty of dusty stories that play out like an Eastwood western. ThereĂs the haunting opener ˘The Gentle Butcher÷ with its fat-bottom hook and sinfully stained harmonies that embrace a razor-edge guitar. They sing about ˘blood-soaked hands÷ and ˘stretching your pretty neck across the butchers block÷ before jumping into the organ-plowed groove of ˘Deep in a Hole.÷ The crash of guitars is elegantly done building the momentum then dropping in at just the right moment. There are a number of chilling moments like the wicked solo that stitches up ˘Behind the Key÷ or the honky-tonk piano in ˘They Know IĂm The One.÷
As a sextet Antler are full and grandiose - everyone has his part and knows how and when to blow it out. We get the surging organ, the metered bass, bombastic drum and the full on guitars without running over each other. The shadow of the Drive-by Truckers lingers long and loud over the recordĂs mid-section in ˘Frozen Over÷ and ˘Reminds Me of a Way.÷ By ˘Black Eyed Stranger,÷ the Š60Ăs garage sound has fully melted into southern rock, psychedelic pseudo-metal complete with over-the-top keyboards, fuzzy feedback and an extended fadeout. The record ends with the balls out ˘My Favorite Enemy÷ and the balladry, ˘A River Underground.÷ The latter wrapping itself around a whimsical Pink Floyd aura as it lazily makes its way over the five-minute mark. For fans of progressive southern rock.
Todd K SmithOctober 17th, 2006www.thecutting-edge.net
Comprised of Roadsaw and Quintaine Americana members, Antler is takin' the listener on a boozy trip to the south side of the Mason Dixie line with the release of their sophomore album.
With a machismoid moniker like Antler, coupled with a suitably heehaw title and six gun graphic one might initially be put off by all this rumpled, Zane Grey cowboy mysticism, but the music herein is thankfully more diverse than the pedestrian iconography would allow for. Those looking for instantaneous, amplified red neck catharsis should look elsewhere, since Antler are quite possibly the most eloquent and eclectic sounding of Small Stone's acts, and it has to be said they weave a considerably more emotive rock tapestry than their more boisterous label mates.
Antler Nothing That A Bullet Couldn't Cure "Nothing That A Bullet Couldn't Cure" is a fragrant peon to life's most wearing tribulations, and these eleven bruised, rhinestone odes to boozy misfortune are sung with great restraint by Craig Riggs and he is ably backed by some talented musicians who fortunately know how to rev it up when they have to.
This seemingly incongruous blend of Money Mark's evocative, rainy day keyboards and noirish, road movie angst is remarkably effective, and amongst the tarnished, whiskey smoked balladry you even get some inspired flashes of Mick Ronson guitar burn which neatly tempers the heavy velvet seam of poignancy that broils at the core of this album. The muscular Scissorfight boogie of 'Deep in a Hole' and the elegiac 'Black Eyed Stranger' are songs of considerable merit and a glowing testament to Antler's bravura song writing skills.
"Nothing That A Bullet Couldn't Cure' is gloriously redolent with bleary-eyed, dishevelled melancholia and I can only really find fault with the slight dearth of swollen riffage that made "Deep in a Hole" so compulsive a listen, and another demonstrative rocker would've leavened the woozy and introspective glare.
This is quality rock music and richly deserves to be enjoyed outside of the cloistered, hemp-fugged realms of Stoner Rock. I personally feel that it was a prescient move for Small Stone to have signed a subtler act like Antler, as evidenced here they could well record something quite magnificent next time out. Since the band wisely eschews the use of lumpen, bong rock clich? this heady music requires a few dedicated listens before the hooks begin to penetrate, but by then the discerning rock fan should be well smitten.
The Aquarian Weekly
These Tortuga Recordings alumni find an all-too appropriate home on Small Stone for the release of their debut full-length. The band's sly, subversive southern style seems to have come of age on Nothing, with songs like "The Gentle Butcher" and "See Me Hang" sounding as traditional as can be and still somehow new. Liberal use of the Hammond organ and slide guitars, coupled with solid riffing and straight forward rhythms make the record easy on the ears, and the vocals, full of soulful crooning and harmonies, sound all the more spectacular for the accompaniment. A classic, bluesy feel permeates throughout, particularly evident on "Behind The Key," and encompassing it all, Antler's intricacies have never sounded better.
JJ KoczanJune 5th, 2006
Hell Ride Music
Whether by accident or design, Small Stone has nailed us with a one-two punch across the jaw with the new releases by Antler and The Brought Low. These rekkids are built with a solid, no-nonsense, unpretentious, gutsy take on the almighty riff as first practiced by hardrockin' mofos in the 70s, then bent through the prism of subsequent heavy rock movements to create something timeless and contemporary. If ya'll have your ears on, this could be the first note in a successful movement to reinvigorate the stoner/doom musical with a fresh take on it's riffing roots.
Antler's 'Nothing that a Bullet Couldn't Cure' is a rather laid-back, hooky, melodic sleeper of an album starring 3/4ths of the classic Boston stoner band Roadsaw, as well as members of Quintaine Americana and Cracktorch. The heavy has been replaced by a mature, developed sense of songwriting and ensemble playing that's bound to appeal to a wide spectrum of music lovers, including women. Yes, women. We all know that our beloved stoner/doom genre, though blessed with a minority of females with stellar taste, is basically a cock party. A simple fact. Antler's strong sense of melody, though chock full of tasty distortion, will appeal to women who wouldn't touch Khanate with a pole of any length. And that's not a bad thing. Ya' see, I'm as elitist as the next guy, probably more, but I think we've got plenty of room for the occasional disc that might just appeal to someone besides the usual crusty music fanatics.
What we've got here is strongly reminiscent of 70s titans like Jethro Tull, Bob Seger, Neil Young, Foghat, Deep Purple, and The Eagles. Yeah, that last one makes me cringe as well, but Antler's able to pull a worthwhile element or two from all of 'em, even the likes of inhabitants of the Hotel California. But you might as well put the disc back on the rack if you're looking for a retro trip, 'cause this ain't it. All of this 70s goodness is filtered through a lens held by the grinning figures of songwriting talents like Frank Black and Kurt Cobain's ghost, so the 70s riffage is given a sense of contemporary accessibility that makes the infectious tuneage unique.
If you've visited the band's site, or read any of the reviews springing up here and there on the net like evil mushrooms, you might be forgiven for thinking that this was just another southern rock band. I don't hear it. Sure, there's a twisted Americana vibe lurking here and there in the background - kind of like if Little Feat went metal - but I think the aforementioned songsmiths hit closer to the mark. However you feel about the question, what you are unquestionably in for with Antler is superb melodic vocals from ex-Roadsaw belter Craig Riggs, excellent lead guitar solos courtesy of ex-Roadsaw/Quitter Ian Ross and short story author Tim Catz, great retro keys from Dave Unger, and a solid, unobtrusive rhythm section composed of Brian Strawn and Marc Schleicher.
OK, the word's out there. Now its time to get back in touch with your riffing roots. And don't forget to bring your lady along.....
Kevin McHughJune, 2006www.hellridemusic.com
All Music Guide
Vocalist Craig Riggs and guitarist Tim Catz didn't exactly set the world afire with their exceedingly average retro/stoner rock band, Roadsaw, but appear keen to finally leave their mark upon the music world with their more recent Southern rock-flavored outfit, Antler. The group's finely executed eponymous debut already hinted as much in 2004, and its 2006 follow-up, Nothing That a Bullet Couldn't Cure, actually confirms it, proffering what has to be some of the most earnest and authentic derivations of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd ever to emerge from the Bean Town freeze. It ain't even as simple as copy-cattin', either; Antler rarely take the obvious route with their songwriting and traverse a very wide terrain across the Southern states along their journey. Horns, for instance, weren't something you'd associate with the biggest names in Southern rock, yet they figure prominently in the first song here, "The Gentle Butcher." Likewise, Antler turn the astoundingly heavy "Black Eyed Stranger" into a forbidding funeral march that's arguably meaner than Blackfoot, and, on the gently grooving, organ-rich "Behind the Key," sound like Radiohead until they unleash a searing guitar solo that the Brit-pop creeps would never dare touch. Additional standouts like "Deep in the Hole," "Frozen Over," and "My Favorite Enemy," though less prone to such surprises, boast chunky-sweet guitar riffs Roadsaw never dreamed of rich, spot-on organ accompaniments they had no means of performing, and, in the case of "A Little Goes a Long Way," spectacular gang choruses, to boot. Throw in a couple of slow-burning blues ballads in "Reminds Me of a Way" and "A River Underground," and Antler have themselves a surefire winner here; a pleasant surprise.
Eduardo RivadaviaJune, 2006allmusic.com
These flannel-clad Bostonians play a brand of down-tempo Southern rock more indigenous to Hurricane Alley than Harvard Square, but donĂt hold that against them. The dreary Massachusetts winters have imparted a morose quality to the bandĂs previous work, and Nothing That a Bullet CouldnĂt Cure is expected to follow suit. With song titles such as ˘Frozen Over,÷ ˘Deep in a Hole÷ and ˘See Me Hang,÷ you have to wonder if vocalist Craig Riggs is suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Admittedly, the members of Antler may be handier with a snow shovel than a lawnmower, but you wouldnĂt know it by listening.
Zach HothornJune 12th, 2006www.prefixmag.com
Antler's songwriting is heavily steeped in muscular classic rock, providing a soundtrack to boozin' and brawlin' and also to drinking away sorrows of lost opportunities (I hate to crib from press releases but comparisons to Bob Seger - obliquely - are not out of line). Hard liquor guitar tones, big organ doings, poignant harmonies and big rock n roll attitude and plenty of rock old schoolness (without sounding dated) are all part of the process for the generation of Antler's music. This is good ol' manly rock but it's not afraid to reveal just a tad of the heart inside.
Kristofer UpjohnJune 7th, 2006fishcomcollective.net
Why is it so much of the best Southern rock is coming from the North? Antler hails from Boston, but there are enough cowboy hats, beards and fringed jackets adorning the songs on its second album that you'd think otherwise. In brawny rockers like "My Favorite Enemy" and "Deep in a Hole," massive guitar licks contrast with elegant piano parts, while the rhythm section keeps a subtle swing in its stomp. Singer/producer Craig Riggs is the eye of the storm; his soulful growl oozes conviction. With Riggs' pipes and the band's deft hand with melody, Antler is one of the few neo-classic rock acts that can get away with ballads like "Reminds Me of a Way," "A River Underground" and "Behind the Key." Good, chewy stuff.
Michael TolandMarch 31st,highbias.com
ItĂs the line ˘It was the middle of March/when the snow began to melt÷ that gives clue to AntlerĂs non-southern locale. Otherwise, it would be easy to mistake this Boston band for one that lives in the same area code as the Allman Brothers or Skynyrd.
Their songs are whiskey-soaked in the bluesy rock thatĂs most commonly associated with the acts mentioned above, but not in the usual retro boogie rock fashion. TheyĂre more low-key and laid back than that - besides, theyĂve already done their bit for the gods of rock in bands like Roadsaw, Quintaine Americana, and Cracktorch. Instead, they use all facets of the band ű lyrics, guitar, bass, drums, and some damn tasty keys ű as a way of telling the sort of stories you can only learn from living a hard life on the road.
What that gets you with Nothing That a Bullet CouldnĂt Cure is a collection of gritty, well-crafted songs. The slow burning rockers like ˘The Gentle Butcher,÷ ˘Deep in a Hole,÷ and ˘They Know IĂm the One÷ fit well next to slower, more introspective tracks like ˘Behind the Key÷ and ˘Reminds Me of a Way.÷ They close the album with ˘A River Underground,÷ which is a classic ballad ű melodic, morose, and with a couple of sweet solos.
Compared to their self-titled debut, this is definitely the stronger of the two. They may not get you bouncing around the room, but the depth of their songs will definitely get your attention. Nothing That a Bullet CouldnĂt Cure is fits the definition of classic rock. ItĂs timeless greatness.
John PegoraroMarch 29th, 2006www.stonerrock.com