Pure, bluesy Rock music has undergone somewhat of a revival of fortune in recent years. Not only have the old guard of legends remained strong and as popular as ever, but a slew of younger talent has held the flag of that sound flying high through an earnest passion and solid songwriting. In amongst this ever-widening crowd, Boston act Kings Destroy can easily find themselves a part of that bracket on latest effort Fantasma Nera (Svart Records) and yet simultaneously offer something vastly different. Continue reading →
Finnish Prog Rock merchants Superfjord have the kind of name that should cement immediate status as cult legends. Somewhat marvelously, they also sound as if the last forty-five years have never happened. The powerful resonance of the music they produce has, incredibly, seen the band embraced by BBC Music, and second album All Will Be Golden (Svart) could leave the average rocker wondering if this is finally an avenue into awards that have previously excluded our genres. Continue reading →
Throat’s Bareback (Svart) is the type of album you used to notice getting high marks in magazines like Pitchfork or NME. You know, the types of magazines that you got into for a brief while in college right around the time you started drinking lagers and attempting to smoke cigarettes. You didn’t particularly care for most of the articles, but reading these musical journals sure raised the right flags. You are cultured. You are no longer the rube with the cheap shoes. Continue reading →
On their fifth and self-titled LP (Svart), Witch Mountain are trying to decide if they’re the most melodic Doom Metal act or the heaviest Blues band currently on the planet. Blues informed riffage has always been a part of Doom, and we dearly thank Black Sabbath for that contribution, but many a modern practitioner have ditched tradition in favor of harsher noise. Witch Mountain is not about modern convention, but about sticking with tried and true basics. Continue reading →
I just listened to Death Toll 80K’s new album and overall second full length, Step Down (Svart Records) and my first instinct was to search the floor for my glasses and any missing teeth. Not to worry, gentle reader, my teeth are still firmly attached, and no physical harm has been visited upon my Ray-Ban’s, but Step Down is bound to leave some scars on my psyche. Continue reading →
The snowy vistas and verdant forests of Finland are more often associated with the grimmest of black metal pandas than the out-there world of psychedelia but it seems no-one told Riihimäki natives Death Hawks, for they have just released their third album in the short space of four years and sound as if they have just stepped off a Californian freeway, so breezy and sun-kissed is their third album Sun Future Moon (Svart).
Employing elements from a variety of disparate genres including blues and world music, DeathHawks clearly have no musical boundaries and like all good psych, aim to transport the listener to a different world altogether. Opening track ‘Hey Ya Sun Ra’ is a languid, trippy opener you might hear at a hippy yoga retreat as thoughtful keys intermingle with heavy-lidded vocals and skittish yet gentle drums. The pace quickens on the engaging ‘Ripe Fruits’; an upbeat hip-shaking little number where trumpet, jangling piano and spacy keyboard swells co-exist gracefully. ‘Dream Machine’ follows with its engaging vocal hooks, instantly hummable guitar licks and those ever-present bubbling sound effects in the background to remind you that Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
Unfortunately, the middle and second part of the record fail to maintain the levels of intrigue and beguiling wonder that the first part set so well. ‘Behind Thyme’ is a deadly boring stroll through pastoral acoustic folk that you half suspect will segue into ‘Kum ba yah’ at any minute, ‘Seaweed’ is the kind of elevator muzak meets whale-song that plays in shops that sell dreamcatchers and crystal skulls, while the lazy synths of ‘Wing Wah’ are what you’ll hear at a psy-trance rave at 5am when the DJ decides to make stuff up on the hoof.
Truly a record of two halves, Sun Future Moon has some treats for those who enjoy quirky psychedelic rock but far too much quasi-mystic fooling about for this embittered scribe.