Over the years, the ever-talented J Mascis has been creating powerful impacts on the underground music scene by being involved in a myriad of projects. He is best known for being the frontman of the legendary three-piece alternative rock act Dinosaur Jr., but there are also plenty of other projects that he has left marks on. Some of them being the short-lived hardcore punk quartet Deep Wound, the Sabbath-influenced stoner/doom act Witch, and the rather underrated sludge/doom act Upsidedown Cross, to name some.
Monster Magnet probably needs no introduction to anyone who has paid any degree of attention to the alternative rock scene over the last 25 years or more. The band has always been unashamedly and unapologetically rockist in their approach. Largely ignoring scenes such as grunge as they have come and gone, Monster Magnet have managed to pump out album after album of classic heavy rock, and they continue to play to huge audiences. Somehow they have always stood out from the crowd of rock revivalists and “stoner” bands. Whilst the music of many of these retro bands so often feels tired and trite when compared to the 60s or 70s bands they try to copy, they always exuded a special kind of conviction, authenticity and raw power that sets them apart. Maybe this has something to do with (singer, guitar player and only original member) Dave Wyndorf having been born in 1956 and so having actually lived through the 60s and 70s. Either way, the music has always felt just as legitimate and classy as records by Motörhead or Deep Purple.
As indicated by the title, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s seventeenth full-length essentially serves as the second half of 2020’s K.G. and picks up where it left off stylistically. L.W. (Flightless Records) sees the completion of the microtone trilogy that started with 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana, emphasizing a similar mix of Middle Eastern scales, rhythmic percussion, and loosely flowing song structures. ‘Static Electricity’ and ‘See Me’ do the best job of dialing that vibe with their upbeat pacing while the grandiose chugs and life-affirming chants make the closing ‘K.G.L.W.’ one of the band’s most over the top Doom Metal dives to date.Continue reading →
The opening discordant, overdriven stabs of ‘Hello Cruel World’ set the tone for The Primals debut album All Love Is True Love (Southern Lord), a tone that summons the spirit of the fuzziest, poppiest and dirtiest moments of Nirvana’sIn Utero (Geffen) jamming with The Pixies and that is every bit as gorgeously sincere as that sounds. So it may come as a surprise to learn that this grunged explosion comes courtesy of John Henry of Metalcore savages Darkest Hour, accompanied by Chad Fjerstad (Dead To Fall) and Andrew Black (The Explosion), a project you’d, like me, have been forgiven to have expected to be churning something more crusty or Hardcore based.Continue reading →
Milwaukee rockers Devils Teeth have teamed up with Ghost Cult to drop their new single today, and the action is go! Known for their eclectic musical approach, loud volumes, proto-punk rock energy, feeling catchy tunes, and a lot of fun, ‘Sakuraba’ takes its inspiration from the Japanese MMA fighter and wrestler known for taking and receiving heavy beatings in his matches. Turn this one up to 11 and listen here. Continue reading →
According to the business website Quartz, the guitar industry is suffering because rock music is falling out of favour, especially in the mainstream. Lucky then for bands like Royal Blood. The Brighton (UK) rock duo’s 2014 self-titled début album was very well received, and with their second effort, How Did We Get So Dark? (both Warner Bros), they’ve crafted another neat piece of simple but effective radio-friendly rock.Continue reading →
Predictability is underrated. Eighth album in, eighth time that Canadian power-trio Danko Jones have pulled out of the bag (sic) a selection of energetic garage-tinged Hard Rocking songs with swagger and enthusiasm. This time around it is a Wild Cat (AFM) that has been let out, and while there are no surprises, hell, (this) ain’t a bad place to be.Continue reading →
Gütersloh may be a long way from the Louisiana swamps, but German two-piece The Picturebooks sound like they were born and raised on nothing but the Blues along the Mississippi. The band’s sophomore release and début for Another Century, Home Is A Heartache, is raw Blues Rock stripped to the bare essentials; a fuzzy guitar, stomping drums, and soulful vocals.Continue reading →
The Melvins new album starts off with a rather ominous question: “What was that shit you sold me?”, from the song the ‘Bride of Crankenstein’. Indeed, it is the question every fan of the long running act can ask freely. Those who love their music heavy, heady, obtuse and downright confounding for over over 30 years can attest that every new album from this band brings different flavors to table. They have never made the same album, or song twice. Buzz Osborne and his first officer on the Federation Starship Melvins NCC 1701-X, Dale Crover have influenced many more bands than admit it. They have evolved from the creative outliers of a budding scene (Seattle, in the 80s), into the elder statesmen of sorts for bands of their ilk. No wonder Hold It In comes from Ipecac Records, a label full of like-minded, talented crazies. Joining Buzz and Dale for this outing are Paul Leary and JD Pinkus from Butthole Surfers. The pairs of musicians are a match in every conceivable way chemistry-wise, creating some unsettling and special tunes.
As you would imagine when these guys get together to create, things get weird, and in a good way. Odd riffs, whimsical songcraft and brave arrangements dot the tracks. From the dismal heaviness and driving riffage of ‘Bride…’, to the bright garage pop of ‘You Can Make Me Wait’, the trippy-proggy ‘Barcelonian Horseshoe Pit’, to the twangy stomp of ‘I Get Along (Hollow Moon)’; the inventiveness of each band is heard. It is definitely a sound and a feel of a Melvins album, with contributions from Paul and JD. You can discern a “Paul riff” here and “a Buzz lick” there and imagine the energy in the room when these four came together. Some of the touchstones here are sick amounts of feed-backing amp fuzz, phantom interludes, a few amazeballs solos traded, Floyd-ian space-rock tone-poems, and a rhythm section like a terrifying monstrous beast at times. All the propensity for weird-assed lyrics, and bizarro vocal deliveries (including ungodly shrieks from JD) all come to the fore as well. A little bit of something for everyone.
When it aims to be heavy, this is one of the heavier albums the band has put out of late, which says a lot considering the Big Business collaborations. ‘Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad’ and ‘Sesame Street Meat’ (two of the better titles this year) are gnarly as hell; true rockers. Another great cut, ‘Piss Pistoferson’ reeks of glam rock greatness, way down to the production value. They are getting their classic Kiss jones out, and frankly a Kiss song hasn’t been this good since 1991 anyway. The angular album closer ‘House of Gasoline’ sounds like it was more fun than should be legally allowed to have when it was birthed. A jam among jams.
The only shame is Leary’s distaste for the road means this lineup will only tour as a trio with Buzz, Dale and JD. Still, in reference to the opening line of the album, whatever shit they were sold, I want to buy some right now and I suspect you will too.