'Major Label Rejects' showcases Native life

By Noel Lyn Smith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, March 29, 2012

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The new album from Kandy Records features bands from the Four Corners region, southern New Mexico and Colorado, and one band from Minnesota.


ajor Label Rejects Vol. 2" offers a taste of rock, heavy metal, industrial and punk rock by way of the Four Corners.

The 18-track album, released in January by Kandy Records, features music from Signal 99, Obsolete, Chemical Overload, 1000 Rogues, Muthsera, Morbid Justice, Upon Darkness, Paranormal Slaughter, Burning Sunday, Crepitus, Sleeping With Sorrow and Wretched Hive.

Chuck Haven is the man behind Kandy Records and is the vocalist/guitarist for Signal 99.

Haven developed "Major Label Rejects Vol. 2" to showcase the music created by independent musicians in the Four Corners.

It was a collaborative effort between the featured bands and local sponsors, Haven said.

Besides exposing these bands to audiences, the album also helps build a community among the musicians that could lead to sharing concert bills and touring opportunities, he said.

"That's the whole purpose with these compilation CDs, for everyone to help one another," Haven said in a telephone interview. "At the same time, the fans benefit because they get exposed to different kinds of music, different bands."

While most of the bands are based in Shiprock, Farmington or Bloomfield, N.M., southern New Mexico and Colorado are represented as well. And Wretched Hive is from Cloquet, Minn.

The bands' music similarly is a mixture of style and sound. Some tracks hint of KORN, Pantera, Tool, Deftones and the punk rock sound once offered by Lookout Records.

"Believe it or not, but you can hear a difference in regions," Haven said.

Bands from Farmington have a hardcore metal sound, he said, while Colorado bands tend to be melodic. And the two bands from southern New Mexico - Chemical Overload and Burning Sunday - have a dirtier sound.

Signal 99 kicks off the compilation with two songs, "Zombie Star" and "Jealousy Breeds."

Haven started Signal 99 as a solo project in 2005 in Farmington but it now includes Krave on bass and Mark Curley on drums.

The band was nominated for two Native American Music Awards last year, appeared at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, and has opened for bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Powerman 5000 and Wayne Static.

Like most bands, Signal 99 dreamed of signing a record contract with a major label.

Through the years, several independent labels have approached them but Haven said the band declined the offers because either the band did not agree with the contracts or the labels wanted the band to pay them, as in so-called "vanity publishing."

As for getting picked up by a major record label, Haven said, "You have a better chance at being struck by lightning."

Instead of waiting for the majors to court, Haven started Kandy Records in 2008.

Kandy Records launched its website recently and offers individual tracks from the compilation as 99-cent digital downloads.

It also offers a free download of Drazil's "Party People" from the "Major Label Rejects Vol. 1," released in 2009 and featured Drazil, Signal 99 and Columbyne.

So far response to Vol. 2 has been positive, Haven said, including airtime on "Native Voltage," a radio show that plays Native metal, rock, punk and powwow music each Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on KSJD 91.5 FM in Cortez, Colo.

The show's host, Lloyd Arrive, is a supporter of local music and launched "Native Voltage" six years ago.

Arrive said "Major Label Rejects Vol. 2" earned a spot on his playlist because it gives listeners the opportunity to hear local music and provides a different view on music being created by Native musicians.

"They sing about a lot of things happening on the rez, their families, and Native life," Arrive said. "It's another way for Native people to express themselves."

Information: www.kandyrecords.com or www.facebook.com/kandyrecords.