Category Archives: Single/EP Reviews
Inspired by 1969’s Easy Rider, Pretty Odd’s debut has the inevitable stench of grease and oil – you half expect there to be a cool-as-fuck cover of ‘Born to be Wild’ on here – there isn’t – but Ballad of the Rider will still leave you feeling invincible.
The last few years have seen a renaissance in traditional-sounding rock ‘n’ roll, most of it coming out of Scandinavia. Shoraiders, like countless others before them, have modelled themselves on AC/DC, Blue Cheer, Queens of the Stone Age… You’ve heard this fuzzed-out approach before, but it’s the nicotine-fuelled pipes of Maria Morjes – a sassy, unrepentant presence – that makes this an essential purchase.
There are normally two reasons why music comes with a warning: Its contents will probably offend sensitive listeners, or it’s simply there to gain attention. Stomp, the debut EP from Baby Elephant and the Horse, conforms to the latter; these amp-squealing, low-end grooves have been heard countless times before, although the use of synthesiser does add depth to a one-dimensional formula.
Named after the house where it was recorded, the 525 Sessions is a stripped-down garage-rock record in its purist form. According to the band’s online biography, Tweed Jacket is currently “up for sale,” and it’s their DIY aesthetic– complete with muffled mixing and off-the-wall improvisation – that is the band’s most endearing asset; check your local listings, they’ll probably be headlining a friend’s basement near you.
Strasbourg doesn’t usually leap to mind as a hotbed of garage rock, but Room Service are currently heading up a healthy scene of classic-sounding bands. Kick it Old School, the band’s second release, is the perfect encapsulation of their sound: A tawdry celebration of bold riffs and chest-beating bravado in its rowdiest form.
Despite their menacing moniker, Horse Bodies are anything but; they look like the post-teen band rehearsing next door. Terror Train, a celebration of youthful exuberance, has ‘50s rock and roll at its core; for every blues-punk explosion (‘The Flying Dutchman’) there’s a driving rhythm that owes its existence to Buddy Holly.
Knights’ brand of psychedelic-pop and acid-rock interplay owes its existence to a small, but highly-influential timeframe: the ‘60s. However, like all good throwbacks, this Netherlands’ ensemble finds the ethereal atmosphere they were hoping for.
Heartbreak Hotel is the latest garage-blues band to make grown adults play air-guitar in their living rooms, and perform drum patterns on their steering wheels. Give a Try – an ironic title, perhaps, for those of us of a certain vintage – is full of surly guitars and yelps that remind us why we loved this dazzling combination in the first place.
Alice in Weedland is one of the only underground bands in existence brave enough to claim the flute as a formative influence. The Warsaw-based four-piece embraces the signature sounds of Jethro Tull, while sticking to their ground-and-pound formula – the use of pedals and loops helps bring their hallucinogenic vision into blurry abstraction.
Although this Austin ensemble is yet to record their debut full-length, the Surly Gates’ have already created a promising collection of period-perfect gems: Gorgeous harmonies and jangly chords are delivered with a bittersweet loveliness; resurrecting the ghosts of endless summers past.
Drawing from the gloomy strands of grunge, this Danish four-piece deliver straightforward, no-frills rock, while retaining their bleak, nihilistic outlook – its fuzzed-out rock with the most miserable of comedowns: numb and apathetic.
Backporch Smokers are a blood-and-tears kind of rock-and-roll band they just don’t make anymore: Tales of women and booze are told with a devil-may-care charm – Fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd may want to check out ‘Good Woman’. For a band rooted in such old-school ideals, Roam Free isn’t exactly original – nor does it need to be – it’s simply a concise demonstration of the fact that classically-rooted rock will always be good for the soul.