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April 14, 2014
MAMMOTH STORMPlodding, tar-lathered metal-fed groove doom from Sweden.
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April 8, 2014
LADY FLINT Explosive stoner blues rock duo from Marselle, France.
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April 7, 2014
KING DEAD Doomy psyche-tinged spaghetti western sludge from PA.
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April 2, 2014
GROGGYBlues-obsessed fuzzy garage rock duo from Omsk, Russia.
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March 31, 2014
THE SILENT LOWMelodic, hard-hitting, attitude-driven stoner rock from Denmark.
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March 25, 2014
GRAILPsychedelic punk with a southern demonic desert groove out of Texas.
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March 24, 2014
LORD OF GIANTSincere, lumbering, 70's influenced heavy rock from Germany.
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March 19, 2014
WOVOKA Intense yet melodic, brutal gut-twisting post-metal sludge from LA.
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March 16, 2014
HEAVY VOODOO
Torpedo riffs, hazy grooves and cosmic stoner sleaze from Portland.
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March 13, 2014
SPIRITUAL VOID
Toxic, heavy southern groove metal attitude from Brazil.
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March 11, 2014
SOUTHERN STATE
Somber, shoegazing post-metal sludge from Columbus, Ohio.
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March 10, 2014
HYPERGIANT
Cosmic, gravity-defying stoner fuzziness from Sydney, Australia
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March 6, 2014
KHEMMIS
Fuzz-filled, snail-paced riff-praising doom from Denver, CO.
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March 5, 2014
BITCHCRAFT
Polish doom band with female vocals is a fuzz worshippers dream
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March 4, 2014
DRUG MOTHER
Sleazy, fat and dirty stoner metal riffs from down under.
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March 2, 2014
SPIRAL GURU
Newly formed 70's inspired stoner doom band from Brazil.
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Feb. 27, 2014
TIMESTONE
Expansive psychedelics and dusty grooves from Austria.
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Feb. 25, 2014
RHINO
Fuzzed-out heavy desert grooves from Catania, Italy.
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Feb. 24, 2014
SOLAIRE
Get stuck in some sludgey stoner groove from South Carolina. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 20, 2014
HADDOCK
Heavy lightning in a bottle stoner boogie groove from Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 19, 2014
VALFADER
Stirring progressive ambient doom from Bath, UK
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Feb. 17, 2014
BRUNT
Intense instrumental sludgefuzz from these Guernsey blokes. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 15, 2014
MATUSHKA
Swirling hypnotic heavy psychedelic rock from St. Petersburg, Russia. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 10, 2014
MOPE
Sultry and somber jazz-laden ambient doom from Genoa, Italy.
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Feb. 8, 2014
LANDSKAP
Late 60's early 70's influenced heavy psychedelic rock from London.
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Feb. 5, 2014
TOMBSEALER
Death/Doom/Thrash from the mean streets of Adelaide, Australia.
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Feb. 4, 2014
SLUG SALT LAVA
Doomy apocalyptic instrumental Sludge from Istanbul, Turkey.
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Feb. 2, 2014
MIST
Spell-binding all-female occult doom from Ljubljana,Slovenia.
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Feb. 1, 2014
GRIT
Heavy heartfelt psychedelic jams from Heidelberg, Germany.
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Jan. 30, 2014
9OZ OF NOTHING
Riff Heavy Stoner Doom with Southern grit from Athens, Greece
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Jan. 27, 2014
BRILLIANT MACHINE
Chest collapsing progressive heaviness from Ventura, CA
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Jan. 25, 2014
OUTWAILED
Genre-defying atmospheric mood music from Tampere, Finland. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 23, 2014
YURI GAGARIN
Freaked-out psychedelic space rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 22, 2014
BLACK SNAKE
Swamp-infested grooves and fuzzy desert riffs from Portland,Oregon.
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Jan. 21, 2014
BORDEL INFERNO Gritty heavy rock, solid riffs from Rio de Janiero.
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Jan. 20, 2014
OVERLORD Melodic groove-oriented Heavy Rock from Oxford.
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Jan. 19, 2014
A DAY AS WOLVES Garage-rock inspired bluesy fuzz and roll from Alberta, Canada. Eh! facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 18,2014
NAKED BROWN Hard-hitting Polish heavy rock in the vein of Clutch and Motorhead.
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Jan. 17, 2014
OMEGA SUN
Smoke obsessed Stoner Doom from Slovenia. Free demo.
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Friday, January 11, 2013

In Case You Missed It: The Heavy Eyes - Maera


So it’s the beginning of a new year and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been scouring everyone’s “best of 2012” lists to find all the bands and albums that you either overlooked, forgot about or just flat out missed last year. It’s a great time for any music lover because the best of the best have been laid out like a buffet for you to pick and choose from as you wish. In fact, the inspiration for this write-up came from perusing my good buddy Zac’s list of preferred EPs of 2012 which included a demo for The Heavy Eyes’ upcoming full length Maera.

As it turns out there’s nothing “upcoming” about it. While we were all busy drinking cheap champagne, making resolutions we have no intentions of keeping and looking back at the haze of the past twelve months, this Tennessee trio quietly slipped their sophomore LP into the abundant pool of excellent albums that were released in 2012. Like a kid who finds a forgotten present buried deep in the closet well after the holidays have passed, I immediately knew this was a job for my new campaign to leave no album behind. So just in case you may have missed it like I did, I give you The Heavy Eyes. 

Now from beginning to end, Maera is either a bluesy take on psychedelic rock or a psychedelic take on the blues, depending on your perspective. You’ll know it right from the start as “Levantado” opens with vocalist/guitarist Tripp Shumake laying down a fuzz-fueled lead that bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia waste no time latching onto as the trio embark on their quest to shake your ass. Tripp’s trippy vocals emerge as if from nowhere like a smoke ring…”I feel death, out the corner of my eye…he keeps watching, but I don’t pay no mind”…and like that, The Heavy Eyes have their hooks in you.

With “One Hand on the Buffalo”, the band takes a darker approach that sounds like Buddy Guy jamming on a de-tuned Tony Iommi riff. Vocals continue to swirl through the mix as the plodding rhythm section bears the weight of the song’s elephantine groove. “Maggie” mixes the sweet sustain of Mississippi delta blues with the overdriven gain of Electric Ladyland. And as good as all of that may sound, none of it compares to the ominous tone of “These Men are Wolves” wherein The Heavy Eyes merge all of their influences to perfection. Garcia’s militaristic drum roll and Anderson’s driving bass combine to carry the song like a forsaken burden, while Shumake’s feedback laden guitar hovers just above his vocals as he sings “This ain’t about forgiveness, this ain’t about the rules…but talk is cheap, you better watch your step, out here with these fools, cuz these men are wolves.” If you sample only one song from Maera, make it this one.

On the middle third of the album, the bluesy backbone of The Heavy Eyes is even more accentuated, and this is perhaps most noticeable on the guitar driven, garage rock anthem “Mind”. Or check out “Parado”, as Shumaker plays a funky on-beat/offbeat guitar part right along with Anderson’s bass thump, which is the centerpiece of the song, as he sings “I’ve been through hell, and back again…gained some enemies, and lost some friends.” And it’s impossible to mistake the Southern rock, slide technique the guitarist employs on “The Times”, which is guaranteed to make rock clubs everywhere feel like arenas when these guys roll it out in a live setting. Then, with barely a gap between songs, “Abbé Faria” rolls in on a wave of feedback, hypnotic echoed vocal effects (appropriate since the song is named after one of the founders of hypnotism) and possibly the most impressive showcase of Garcia’s drumming to be found on Maera.

The Heavy Eyes reach their final act with two songs that flow together so well, both musically and lyrically, that they actually work as a companion piece. “Lately” plays like a heavier version of The Black Crowes as Shumaker attempts to come to terms with a love lost, “I’ve been drinking a lot lately…I guess it’s cuz I miss you baby”. And the song’s final riff is literally the opening riff in "Goodnight", a raw garage rocker in the vein of the White Stripes.  If the vocalist missed his girl before, he's seemingly fed up with her now...“I can’t take back the things I said or the shit you put me through, so goodnight to you.” Finally, The Heavy Eyes do what all good stoner bands must...closing Maera with an extended instrumental jam. “Aplomado” is built around another steady bass line from Anderson that provides plenty of leeway for Garcia and Shumaker to improvise with their drums and guitar throughout its seven minute run time (not counting the three minute fuck-off session tacked on at the end with what sounds like an accordion).

People, this is an album chock full of fuzzed out tones, echoed vocals and stop/start beats that likely would have been on quite a few “best of” lists had it not been released at the ass end of 2012. Listening to The Heavy Eyes is like a hallucination for the ears. You can take my word for it…the psychedelic blues of this Memphis trio will send you from Beale Street to oblivion…and that’s an experience that is not to be missed.

2 comments:

  1. Yes!!! So well written, thanks Toby! You've done this trio justice and nailed it with "These Men Are Wolves".

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am very glad to see your article, pictures are great to encrouge me to love my life.

    ReplyDelete

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