I’ll quote Homer Simpson here, as I describe the effect that Black Cloud had on me:

“Now, when I listen to a really good song, I start nodding my head like I’m saying yes to every beat. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes, this rocks, this rocks!’ And then sometimes I switch up with ‘No! No! No, don’t stop a’ rockin!’”

Tango Alpha Tango is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. The four piece band from Portland is now giving hipsters permission to ditch the 80’s (those horrific, horizontally striped tank tops can officially die. Thank God) and go back in time to the early 70’s. Black Cloud is a loving homage to Led Zeppelin, Cream, Lynyrd Skynrd and pretty much everything that made music from the 70’s awesome. Expect aggressive blues and folk touches. Expect gritty vocals, swing beats flattened out into rock songs, guitar solos, keyboard additions. Expect…excuse me, I’m drooling on my keyboard.

“Black Cloud,” starts out with a twangy, bluesy guitar riff that instantly transports you to the deep south. The lyrics are a kick and the song bursts into a full blown rock song quickly. If you like New Orleans’ Clutch, you’ll love this track.  “The Simplest Song,” showcases the band’s versatility: simple acoustic guitar work gives way to a male/female duet. The feeling is folky but not overly so.

Finally, I have to mention Tango Alpha Tango’s cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.” Now, this listener is a huge Led Zeppelin fan and may or may not have a vinyl second pressing of IV hanging on his wall: I was really looking to zing this band for daring to cover the gods. But they did it so well I can’t fault them. Dammit. It’s freaking awesome. The mood of the song is somehow darker than the original and the structure is a little different. It’s almost like they took the mood of “No Quarter,” and transplanted into “In My Time of Dying.” It’s a creative, exceptional take on the original and I love it.

The band notes that the album is a concept one and should be listened from start to finish, but in all honesty I jumped around the first time and feel the album can be listened to either way (usually a sign of a good concept album). Obviously, this album worked very well for me, but anyone that likes well constructed music should dig this. 

I’m dying to see them live!

’Black Cloud’
’Simplest Song’

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