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Friday, March 27, 2015

Quick Hit: COMACOZER


A new band out of Sydney, Australia is about to storm your mind. The band I am talking about is Comacozer. On the band's 3-song debut EP "Deloun" you will be awestruck by the band's stunning build-ups and chest crushing heaviness along with their psychedelic mind warp and ripping guitar solos. This band is sure to satisfy any fan of instrumental stoner/psych spaced out riffage. Favorite track, the 9 minute plus mindfuck "Flamens of the Highest Order".



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Black Pussy - "MagicMustache"


Whether adopting the band name as an homage to the original title to the Rolling Stones "Brown Sugar" (and thus by extension as a linguistic insurrection to the affront of corporate intrusion on artistic integrity) or merely as a provocative joke sure to incite the giggle fits at the thought of all the people Googling the band and ending up in BangBros pornoland, the titilatingly monikored Black Pussy can be assured that the stereophonic offerings of these Portland-based stoner pop empresarios will not go unnoticed. On their seminal debut, On Blonde, the music was created almost exclusively by Dustin Hill, resulting in a wonderfully claustrophobic feel. Now fortified with a full armament of musicians (guitarist Ryan McIntire, drummer Deann Carroll, bassist Aaron Poplin, and keyboardist Chief O'Dell) Black Pussy have returned with the full frontal musical assault of Magic Mustache

The invasion of this newly enhanced and more fleshed out incarnation begins on "Let's Start a War". With its oscillating interstellar intro, reminiscent of an old Outer Limits episode, the song transports the listener to another dimension. "Let's start a fuckin' war, let's burn this planet down" chant the invaders over the cosmic debris of notes sailing past. It all segues perfectly into "Into Your Cosmic", a fuzzed out manifesto of insistent cadence and ethereal design that highlight what is evident on the album as a whole and in this song in particular, that Black Pussy is content to let other bands duke it out for the title of being the next Black Sabbath while they instead aspire to be the Hawkwind for the new millennium. Reinforcing the left of center vibe is "Protopipe", a hippie freakout of a tune wherein a blistering solo holds center stage before stuttering to a stop and surrendering to monolithic riffing that heralds a jam by the band of almost orgiastic proportions.

Hawkwind comparisons notwithstanding, other clearly discernable influences include Monster Magnet circa Spine of God as well as vintage Queens of the Stone Age, most evident on the quirky and poppy "For the Sake of Argument". Easily the coolest track on the album is "On Top of the World", which is propelled by a chugging riff shrouded in a hallucinogenic cloud so thick it sounds almost on the verge of stumbling over itself at all times, adding a sense of subliminal danger to the festivities. That off-kilter nature continues throughout on tracks like "Butterfly", the song most reminiscent of the lackadasical On Blonde, that is until it startles you with a note-for-note recital of the coda from Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast". Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, as Black Pussy laments on the the title track with the laconic refrain of "let' roll the hell out of here, let's get the fuck out of Dodge". However, as the song builds to its space rock jam session climax, the melancholia gives way to aspirations for immortality, with an overture of "let's never die, let's live forever on the edge of time".



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

LP Review: 'Gravitron' by The Atomic Bitchwax

The tight, punchy riff of “Sexecutioner” kicks off Gravitron, the new record from The Atomic Bitchwax. The boys from New Jersey are back with the same fuzzed out goodness they’ve been delivering for years and Gravitron is no exception. Chris Kosnik, Finn Ryan and Bob Pantella continue to crank out “…a combination of 60s psychedelic rock, and 70s riff rock filtered through the progressive rock influences of today.”

The new record delivers a nice mix of short, tight songs along with several instrumentals, the most traditional TAB jam being “Fuck Face.” The opening bass line and melodic vocal harmony make “No Way Man” one of my favorite cuts and “War Claw” is reminiscent of early Bitchwax riffs. The album closes with an anthem that had me clapping and singing along. “Ice Age Hey Baby” is part Monster Magnet and part early Queens of the Stone Age.

The production is stellar because it gets out of the way of the music. Gravitron is aggressive, tight and sweet enough to crank to 10.

The album drops on April 21st but Gravitron is worth the wait. For now, you’ll just have to bow before the “Sexecutioner.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

LP Review 'Ecate' by Ufomammut




The Italian trio are back with their seventh studio album ‘Ecate’ which takes its name from the Greek Goddess associated with all things darkness – nice. As expected among the noise saturation and dissonant crushing doom, Uffomammut throw out some rib-cage rattling riffs and the occasional dissonant hateful gem ‘Plouton’.

The band have nailed their space-doom formula by now, but refreshingly after the lighter 2012’s ‘Oro: Opus Primum’ which treaded a more prog rock terrain and was heavily laden with distorted chants, ‘Ecate’ is a heavier beast altogether. Expectant wails and feedback are accompanied by Swans-esque bass lines and slow builds giving the album an unsettling tone. ‘Chaosecret’ in particularly sounds like it was dreamed up by Michael Gira ‘Filth’ era. ‘Ecate’ however utilise the heaviness with refrained precision, the album segues effortlessly between the heaviest of doom similar to Neurosis and lighter sequences – which are terrifying in an altogether different way.

This time the band have held back on the space rock special effects opting for a more straight up less flashy album. Brittle and circular Uffomammut are self-descriptive. Seven albums in and the band are nothing if not authentic. The album showcases influences from as far afield as Pink Floyd and Hawkwind on the classic spectrum to more obvious counterparts like Electric Wizard and Om the next.

At this stage it is expected that the band deliver – and once again they have done just that – a crushing masterstroke.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

LP Review: 'Ultraluminal' by City of Ships


Playing on the post-hardcore tradition with added feeling, expansive sounds and harmonic explorations – City of Ships have always had their own coherent identity. Reaching out to the world with this, their third full length, the band’s unadorned sound is more of the same, arresting, melodic and when heavy it’s a shock to the ears in the best possible way.

Opting for fewer quirky guitar signatures than 2011’s ‘Minor World’ the band strip back on songs like ‘Alarm’ and ‘Metadata Blues’ – while still textured, the songs are slow building affairs that burn with intelligence. Eric Jernigan’s impassioned vocals rasp darkly on tracks like ‘Lost It’ And ‘The Old Man’ which are more reminiscent of the screaming found on 2009’s ‘Look What God Did To Us’ but there are notable exceptions here (‘Illawarra Escarpment’ and ‘Alarm’) where vocals surge and play out similarly to Dustin Kensrue’s in Vheissu era Thrice.

Tagging City of Ships with the arbitrary post-hardcore title is a discredit to the band in some ways who are both heartfelt and dramatic. Rather than be confined by genre parameters the band are akin to Cave In or Thrice with their sprawling-beautiful-ugly sounds and you don’t need to delve any further than 20 seconds into opener ‘The Light You Stole’ to hear the magic within.

Some of ‘Ultraluminal’ is punkier than their last two records ‘Private Party’ where Eric’s screaming has all the acrid taste of vomit – and the full-on aural assault and feedback-laden intensity of ‘Hardwired’ which treads the best of grunge. It’s the perfect blend of emotion and chaos and their strongest offering yet.



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Friday, March 20, 2015

New Band To Burn One To: HUNNO



There’s often a debate about whether you can fully enjoy the experience of listening to music when you don’t understand the lyrics, if for instance they’re in a foreign language to you. The argument might carry some legs for lesser bands that don’t trap you into their sound, making you appreciate the vocals as another instrument, but thank God for bands such as HUNNO that manage to unite the world with the simple love of heavy-ass rock music, despite singing in a language alien to this guy’s ears (it would be a crying shame if every band/artist felt the need to sing in an American/English accent, so much identity would be lost, fuck the masses and the colonisation of the world music scene!)

HUNNO are a Spanish three-piece who rock seriously hard. Their debut, self-produced record, Desde el Fuego (meaning ‘From the Fire’) is packed to the rafters with fuzzy stoner grunge grooves that keeps a warm fuzzy glow over your thrashing body as each glacial riff blows your mind, popping brain cells with ease.

There’s not a great deal else that needs to be said here,  it’s all about the music now, just make sure you take a chance on these talented Spanish musicians and allow yourself to become embroiled in the sound of the music, even if you can’t understand the words. Bands like HUNNO will unite this world, one massive riff at a time.
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

LP Review: 'Satori Junk' by Satori Junk



The debut full-length record from Milan, Italy’s, newest purveyors of heavy fuzz-stoner-metal-doom hybrid, Satori Junk, is a record to make you stop in your tracks, and become embroiled in the vibrations. The band says that their idea is to trap the listener in their “rabid and uncomfortable distorted world” and they pull this off with aplomb as one psychedelic doom-laden track after the next tightens its grip around your neck, making each breath more valuable than the last.

With eight tracks spanning an average of nine minutes each, it’s not a record for the faint-hearted. Combining their love of riffs and drawn out doom darkness, Satori Junk is a record which can be suffocating to the point of an asthma attack as opening tracks ‘T.T.D.’ and ‘Spooky Boogie’ wrap riffs and muffled barely-there vocals tight around the thorax, keeping you fixed in their grasp, drawing you into their cacophony of doom. It’s with ‘Spooky Boogie’ that they begin to venture into 60’s psychedelic tendencies layered over their bass-heavy doom riffs, and it makes for an other worldly mix, at times quite mesmerizing, until ‘Monsters’ firmly straps the stomping foot of doom back onto the effects pedal.

The eerie movie samples provide a chilling respite from the layered onslaught of the band’s doom meanderings while offering a glimpse into the distorted world that the band want you to enter, as ‘Shamaniac’ tells a tale of buying a hot dog with the sense of impending horror associated with the unknown entities of 1950s sci-fi films, but it’s not long before the UFO psychedelic doom re-enters the frame with 9 minutes of relentless riffs.

Satori Junk is an exceptional record, full of heavy riffs that entrap you, and making the psychedelic doom genre one to get seriously excited about again.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New Band To Burn One To: Doormats




When everything is stripped away, all the shine, polish, layered falsities of the things that are shown to us, all that is left is raw, unadulterated aggression; art in its truest form. At first it can be something which is harsh to experience, a truth which we have been “protected” from without our knowledge, therefore it can be an alien sound when first heard, but it is something which is always lingering, there at the start as at the end. Such a sound of purism is a rare thing to find, but with sludge experimentalists Doormats, it’s essential nuts and bolts kind of stuff.

The three-piece from Bainbridge Island, Washington (US) carry a sound in its earliest stages of passion and originality. The raw unfiltered out-pouring of the vocals on their debut Mounds teeter on the verge of spoken word earthly sounds filled with gut wrenching passion, not too dissimilar from post-hardcore group The Saddest Landscape. It’s a construct of stripped down brutality that is echoed throughout the record hidden in the depths of the riffs, the heavy suffocating bass lines and the death-knocking-at-your-door drumming.

The title track for instance begins with nightmarish experimentalist vocals that clear the room before the sludge/doom covering of riffs cut you like a blunt spade, before ripping into stoner jams. It raises the hair on the back of your spine. Doormats is a band that keep you guessing at all times, never letting you settle into a sense of comfort with their songs, filling every void with a sense of meaning, pouring their sludge into every orifice.

Doormats could turn into influential players in the sludge field, but for now, they’re taking us all back to the prehistoric days of noise; time to drag your knuckles and grunt along with them.


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Seven Inches o' Red Wizard


I'm no fidelity purist. Really, I'm not. As my vinyl stacks expand, I'm regularly comforted by that crackle, the persistent "pop and hiss" vinyl produces. And those assholes that say it's just a myth, that digital actually sounds better than the coziest of sonic vehicles because no sound is lost or interrupted... Who knows, maybe they're right. But I know what I hear. And perhaps the pops and hisses only result from nicks and scratches, dusted from ages of sitting at sixty degrees when your old man decided he was tired of your shit and wanted high school out of his memory. I don't care.

I can't argue for or against vinyl or digital. When one sounds mossy and organic, the other sounds crisp and modern. Test convenience versus nostalgia, and it's a matter of preference. But when San Diego's Red Wizard dealt three tracks on seven inches of white wax, I knew digital was getting kicked at its knees. Some tracks, some bands simply can't reach their full scope through a pair of headphones. They need to blast from speakers, beyond greasy beards, between lusterless locks and into your hazy minds. The experience only comes full circle with a velvet sidecar; only vinyl's gonna suffice, brother. So about those seven inches...

On these three tracks o' cock-'n-roll, complete with guitar stutter and thunderous drums cascading under a torrid bass clip, Red Wizard wanna make your panties drip through just a bit more. I've been to San Diego, and the glamorous pussy could inspire any stoner rocker to thrust up a bit. Piledriver is that steadily-driven guitar cruise glazed over with slick plucks. All you need is a barroom drawl and some hard repetition under the guise of throwback, and confidence bulges through tight, beer-soaked denim. Shitbrainz is fuzzier, hastier, shiftier... Guitars sway through decades past as Baucum's pipes let themselves go. Blending classic nods with contemporary middle-finger swagger comes all-too-easily for these dudes, tickling clouds with guitar-tongues and cruising toward a sticky, delicious closing putsch.

But fucking hell, Red Wizard had to pull out their dicks and tackle one of Sabbath's finest. Their slower, more distant homage to Birmingham's pioneers sticks to The Wizard's bare bones, but it also has no problem letting itself drift. There's more space, more expanse, and ultimately more mind-melt. This is just gruff fun, and to do it without losing any edge off the original is no small feat. And oh... that harmonica! Flesh and tendon are all but stripped and draped, but the gaps haven't been merely filled; they've been flattened.

Good luck prying this from your old man's clutches once he gets a taste. In fact, just leave him in the dark for this one. His blood pressure's high enough already. Check out STB Records at noon on March 28th to snag this in red or white.

7" EP editions:

Not So Standard Edition (Opaque Solid White Vinyl) - 125 pieces
Die Hard Edition (Opaque Red Vinyl) - 75 pieces



Friday, March 6, 2015

Quick Hit: Borracho​/​Eggnogg Split


Borracho/Eggnogg 7" Split

Back in October of 2012 these two fine bands shared the stage as a part of the CMJ Festival sponsored by yours truly. Now the pair unite on the first release in Palaver Records’ new “Sludgy Erna Bastard” series,  pairing up some of the best heavy underground acts today. The limited edition of 300 copies will be available March 19th on black vinyl, with original artwork by Eggnogg’s very own Justin Karol.


Borracho's contribution to the EP is the meaty, bare bones stoner rocker "King's Disease". Signature fuzzed-out riffing, and a tight as hell rhythm section highlight this groove-heavy track.




Bulldozer riffs and frenetic drumming highlight Eggnogg's spectacular offering "Slugworth". Great to hear something new from these dudes if only one song.



Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thursday's Triple Threat: RIFFLORD, XII Boar, Shellfin



RIFFLORD26 Mean and Heavy

Those of you waiting to enter into the world of RIFFLORD’s 26 Mean and Heavy should be prepared for two things: your bones to be crushed, and for the powder to be snorted by the God of hellfire! RIFFLORD are heavy, like, really damn heavy!

Mixing their influences from 70’s heavy rock with stoner fuzz, the guys have created one of the most devastatingly infectiously groove heavy records of the year, a record which matches their statement of a band name. As the southern twang of ‘Heavy Queen’ kicks the record off properly, RIFFLORD lull you into a sense of safety with their thick blues riffs driving your fist up into the smoke filled air, and Wyatt Bartlett’s vocals droning over an organ driven percussion, you think you know where the band are going, but hell, stamping on your chest with their powerhouse of stoner/classic rock riffs is not necessarily what you were expecting, and when ‘Olde Fashion Black Magik’ kicks in, you’re entwined in RIFFLORD’s grasp, while at the same time frightened for your life.

The vocals become more vibrant, and the guitar riffs sharper, as the record progresses, with ‘Huge Whiff Heavy Riff’ cutting you open with a jackhammer. Did we say that RIFFLORD were heavy? If we didn’t, then let the psychedelic wrecking ball of ‘Black Holy Dog’ introduce itself to your cranium by way of 70’s bong rippers.  

The band are big lovers of the equipment they use, they appreciate each vibrating sonic blast that fires out of their speakers, at just the right frequency, through the perfect decibel. They are craftsmen with passion, and they’ve channelled this into their music, so as you’d expect, the results are superb. It’s no wonder the equally awesome STB records snapped them up. 

Introduce your face to 26 Mean and Heavy, you deserve it. 

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XII BoarPitworthy

It’s hard to believe that, having been mainstays of the underground sludge/stoner scene in the UK for the past five years, XII Boar (pronounced Twelve Boar if you’ve been struggling like me) are just getting round to releasing their debut full length record, but it’s one that is worth the wait as all the years of trudging the toilet circuit, shitty bars, broken vans, all the experiences and regrets have culminated in one clusterfuck of an album.

Pitworthy starts as it means to go on, FULL THROTTLE like a shiv to the head. From the moment the first razor riffs of ‘Sharpshooter’ set their groove-laden bluesy claws into your throat, the Aldershot trio keep things at a steady 100 miles per hour pace that is sheer relentless assaults on your senses. Tommy Hardrocks’ vocals teeter on the edge of sludge and death metal, but always reined in by their love of the blues and rock’n’roll. The boogie shake of ‘Young Man’ sees the band align with contemporaries Grifter in the heavy-ass “Metal’n’Roll” stakes, and it’s a sound that isn’t easy to stand still to. Whether you prefer your music to be brutal (‘Battle Boar’) contain thrash elements (‘Chicken Hawk’) or be heavy on the groove (‘Rock City’), there’s something for every deprived soul.

XII Boar are heavy, they’re angry, and best of all they’re superb musicians and songsmiths as riffs after riffs are piled sky high as they power through their debut with explosive precision. Imagine a southern swamp sludgey Motorhead, and you’re somewhere along the right track with these guys, and if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, check your pulse. Pitworthy is a record which will finally bring XII Boar to the masses where they’ve been destined to land for some time now; prepare yourselves.


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ShellfinCities Without Names

The second album from Brisbane, Australia’s downtuned stoner rockers Shellfin is a statement of intent: this is how stoner rock is done! Torche are often referred to as “stoner-pop”, but the real crossover of the genre is found within these five Aussies and their penchant for slaying riffs and laid back grooves, as they basically wrap their ability to write catchy songs through their stoner rock attitude, and it’s something which is refreshing to hear.

Opening with doom-esque vibes on ‘Poisoned Heart’, carrying you into a direction of psychedelic Monster Magnet type rocking, you think you know where the rest of the album will be headed, before the stoner gem of ‘Get On’ wraps itself around your central nervous system, and begins to gyrate.

The band aren’t afraid to play with the boundaries of what makes a traditional song, heard majorly on ‘The Earth is an Egg’ as the driving stoner rock carries some tongue-in-cheek lyrics before descending into bizarre almost spoken word southern blues jangles: it’s weird, but it works. Shellfin don’t like to stray too far for long and they’re immediately back on the heavy rock trail again with ‘Down To Zero’ packing some real swagger.

Standout track ‘She Is A Robot’ has everything you’d need in a Shellfin song: Heavy down-tempo riffs, southern groove, a structure that’s as catchy as VD, tongue-in-cheek lyrics (“She is a Robot but she don’t know it, She is bionic, she brings me Gin and tonic.”), dalliances into spaced out psychedelic jams, all encompassed in almost soothing vocals, all of which turns on a knifes edge. Shellfin say that they want to be the love-child of Kyuss and Monster Magnet, well, job well done guys!


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