June 2021 sees the return of the beardos in Crobot with their latest EP Rat Child (Mascot Label Group), a mix of pieces that could have appeared on Motherbrain in an alternate universe and products of the pandemic and long distance friendships. You’re lucky if I bother to actually put on pants, much less try to engage in any kind of creative endeavor over Zoom/Skype/smoke signal so I have to give credit where credit is due.
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.
Southern Rock maestros Blackberry Smoke are back with their seventh album You Hear Georgia (3 Legged Records/Thirty Tiger). The Georgian septet are deep in their groove by now and as the title suggests this new record pays homage to their home state, with Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Europe) on production duties.
From the moment of Royal Blood’s self-titled debut seven years ago, the Bristolian duo’s rise was meteoric. Their music is simple, brutal, and effective – taking inspiration from Queens of the Stone Age and The White Stripes and combining big hooks, tasty riffs, and volume to full effect. This beefed-up take on indie rock can only take you so far though, so on the new album Typhoons (Warner Records), they looked toward Dance and Disco to broaden their sound. Continue reading
With no less than twenty-two studio albums behind them, NWOBHM legends Saxon are back again but with something a little different this time. Instead of just rummaging around in the attic for an old live recording, or throwing together a contractually obliged “Best Of…”, Barnsley’s finest have taken their time during lockdown to produce something a little more imaginative. Looking to the past, the band has recorded Inspirations (Silver Lining Music/Militia Guard), a collection of songs by artists who made an impact on them at the start of their musical journey. Continue reading
Since leaving Black Star Riders, Damon Johnson (ex-Alice Cooper, Brother Cane) has focused on his solo career, with his new album Battle Lessons (Double Dragon Records, Straight 8 Entertainment) with The Get Ready his second solo album in three years. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Mastodon) and joined by drummer Jarred Pope (Tom Keifer) and bassist Robbie Harrington (Steve Vai), Battle Lessons is a hook-filled slab of melodic Hard Rock.
Motivational speaker John C. Maxwell once said Change is inevitable, growth is optional. In the world of Rock and Roll, an artist must embrace change and allow their music to evolve. Case in point, The Pretty Reckless released their fourth studio album this month, Death By Rock And Roll (Fearless Records) and it is glaringly apparent the band is not just embracing change but giving it a big ole bear hug. The twelve-track album is tinged with the ghosts of the tragic events that the band has experienced since their last studio album, 2016’s Who You Selling for (Razor & Tie). Continue reading
Despite being initially judged as a Xerox frontman when he joined Queensrÿche nearly a decade ago, Todd La Torre has proven to be so much more than a great Geoff Tate impression. Far from being a hired gun, La Torre has been a heavy player in the band’s creative process and even put his talents as a drummer to use on 2018’s The Verdict while also contributing guest vocals to other projects. Considering the recent pandemic-induced schedule opening, it was only inevitable for him to finish up his long-awaited debut as a solo artist.
A new album and a new singer. The Dead Daisies’ latest album Holy Ground (SPV Steamhammer) is their first with the “voice of rock” Glenn Hughes, and his powerful pipes are a perfect match for the band’s well-honed classic rock. Having been in Deep Purple and more recently Black Country Communion Glenn is no stranger to famous bandmates and supergroups. The lead single ‘Unspoken’ shows that despite the ever-revolving door of bandmates, the music is as thunderous, hooky and rocking as ever.
After months of rumours fuelled by glimpsed sightings and blurry photographs taken outside recording studios, the worst kept secret in rock was finally confirmed at the end of September this year. With a sudden flurry of activity on their website, the announcement was clear. AC/DC was back.