Ony’s Bands — Cazador releases new album “Can I Leave?”


Local power violence band, Cazador, released a new album on October 1 entitled Can I Leave?, their second release since their debut at the beginning of this year. This album gives us more power and more agony-drenched heaviness. With a few re-recordings from their first demo, which was released in January, Can I Leave? makes the heavy guitars and seething vocals more prominent. Brandon Johnson, both the vocalist and drummer of the group, with splintering snarls, presents images of suffering, isolation, and disintegration within a society. Overall, the sound and the musicianship are tighter and more thought-out, as their sound has evolved, just from playing and writing more.

The use of sound bites moves the album along and sets the tone for the anguish to come. One of the album’s heaviest and most eminent songs, “Backyard Tomb,” opens with a sound clip of a man threatening to remove someone’s flesh with a cheese grater (for all the True Detective fans). “Drawing Strings,” the album’s single, starts off with a catchier riff and moves toward a darker and more dismal breakdown shouting “Hang the fake, die in chains.” Alex Strickland, vocalist of local aggressive bands, Bathe and Abacus, appears on this song doing guest vocals.

My favorite track is “Imprisoned,” which showcases more of the spirited nature in Cazador’s song structures. “We try to incorporate a heavy noise rock influence, while speeding it up a bit with a touch of power violence,” Johnson says, citing his main influences as Infest, Crossed Out, and Unsane. It’s clear that the group shares an array of musical influences, leaving them not only limited to one strict genre description. There’s a little something for everyone on this album, which is heavy, raging, and dense.


Posted in General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Columbia native Jeff Miller to screen new horror film “Clowntown” at the Nickelodeon Theater

 Baseball Clown from Jeff Miller's film Clowntown

Baseball Clown from Jeff Miller’s film Clowntown



“If you’re terrified of clowns, don’t see this movie.” Jeff Miller says. Miller adds that his new film Clowntown has nothing to do with the South Carolina clowns that have been popping up in news reports around the state lately.


It is a bit of a coincidence though. Miller is a graduate of Brookland-Cayce high school and the University of South Carolina Media Arts program. His first steps in producing horror films came in and around Columbia with credits on Paul Talbot’s film Hellblock 13 and his own directorial debut Head Cheerleader, Dead Cheerleader.


In 2001 Miller made the move to Los Angeles and continued producing several features, mostly horror, such as Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (which aired on the Syfy channel).


Clowntown is receiving heavily positive reviews around the country from many standard bearing horror film outlets. The film is inspired by the clown who terrorized Bakersfield, CA in 2014. Miller wrote the script and produced the film. The film also features music from Columbia metal stalwarts Isabelle’s Gift and South Carolina native Hick’ry Hawkins.


“I’d love to come back to South Carolina and make another movie” says Miller. But in the meantime he has his hands full as Executive Producer on the action film Kill ‘Em All starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, currently filming in Mississippi.


CLOWNTOWN screens at the Nickelodeon Theater on Main St. on Friday, October 21st at 11pm. Tickets available at nickelodeon.org

— Wade Sellers

Posted in General | Leave a comment

REVIEW: Jason Isbell @ The Township Auditorium


By: Kyle Petersen

When Jason Isbell took the stage at the Township Auditorium this past Sunday, I wanted to tell you that it felt a little weird, mixed with a little sense of triumph. As if this was the apotheosis of the hard-touring rock ‘n’ roll musician done good, a story that countless musicians toiling in tour vans day in and day out could look up to and aspire to. I wish I could say that.

But the reality is, over the last few years Isbell seems to have matured seamlessly from seedy 300-person rock clubs to stately 3,000 seater auditoriums, and it felt surprisingly inevitable. Four years into sobriety and three years removed from the breakthrough success of 2013’s Southeastern, Isbell looked trim and dapper on stage, carrying himself with the air of a consummate, perhaps even slightly bored, professional. That’s not to say that the performance wasn’t amazing—after all, he is undisputedly one of the preeminent songwriters of his generation, with the kind of hotshot guitar skills and booming, soulful voice that would allow him to get away with songs as tenth as good. As he generally does these days, Isbell opened with a salvo of electric rock songs (including the old Drive-by Trucker Southern rock staple “Decoration Day” and the 2016 Americana Music Awards “Song of the Year” winner “24 Frames”) before switching to acoustic guitar and diving deep into his last two more songwriting-oriented efforts. The fact that the set is loaded with stunners (“Speed Trap Town,” “Cover Me Up,” “Alabama Pines”) helps, along with the fact that Isbell is at this point adept at balancing the more somber acoustic tunes with more sprightly ones like “Codeine” or “If It Takes a Lifetime.”


Still, there were relatively few moments or features that genuinely stuck out thanks to the unerring professional consistency. One notable element for sure, though, was the elegant, top-notch staging and lighting, a new feature for longtime Isbell fans. Backed by pseudo-stained glass windows and often bathed in multiple spotlights when he stepped out to take a solo, there was an element of grandeur to the proceedings which felt wholly new. Another great moment was the knowing inclusion of “Palmetto Rose,” a welcome nod to the audience with its South Carolina subject matter. And, ever so slightly, the genuine joy the bandleader seemed to take in the ostentatious stage interplay he had briefly with keyboard/accordionist Derry DeBorja on “Codeine” and then, later, with guitarist (and SC native) Sadler Vaden during a staged-but-electrifying guitar duel. That latter moment, which took place during an extended take on the gnarly and riveting “Never Gonna Change,” felt like the most significant addition to the band’s live show and allowed them to end the regular set with a bang.

Perhaps the most telling moment, though, was when Isbell brought opener (and contemporary) Josh Ritter out during the encore to cover John Prine’s “Storm Windows.” Isbell briefly mentioned that he used to pay to go to Ritter’s show rather than bringing him on tour, an oblique reference to his newfound stature, but really it was the cover choice itself, along with the “Prine/Isbell” campaign ticket shirts at the merch table, that suggested the songwriter’s intended route in the coming decades. Having arrived at the upper echelon of the music world on his own terms and on the strength of his artistry, Isbell clearly intends to stay on that level with the consistency and persistence of his 70-year-old forbear.

And, judging by Sunday night’s show, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment