Category Archives: Single/EP Reviews
Ah, to be young and reckless. The New Jersey ensemble’s self-titled debut sounds like it was written and recorded in about six hours, with one set of eyes on the clock and the other on the wallet. This isn’t a criticism. In fact, if anything, it’s a positive. The band’s effortless execution of ragged guitar-punk stays true to the genre’s off-the-cuff aesthetic, not to mention their youthful exuberance.
Anyone who has seen Hombre Lobo Internactional in the flesh will know that this isn’t your average garage band. Firstly, there is no band. What you’re greeted with is a charismatic individual who has pilfered from David Bowie’s dressing up-box, and wacked on a Halloween mask for good measure; its creepy, bizarre and intriguing. Now for the music: If you’re into shock and sleaze and over-the-top bravado, this forlorn brand of trashy, voodoo rockabilly is for you. If not, you may want to move along.
Costa Rica isn’t exactly known for its thriving rock scene. However, this San José four-piece are looking to start a revolution. Having quietly released a series of EP’s since 2012, Of Crows and Storks is their strongest work to date; it’s a record packed with fabulous leads and funky rhythms from a collective filled with soul.
The song remains the same: Every chord and drum roll harkens back to an Aquarian age, when paisley and platforms were the norm, and leather and denim ruled supreme. 1886’s debut EP is nothing that you haven’t heard before, and while this is clear proof that everything old is new again, there are few bands armed with the passion and the talent to create something worth revisiting.
The opening seconds of ‘You & I’ – a howling, barroom guitar swoon – spell out Black Fruit’s manifesto perfectly. Clinging to the back of Dan Auerbach’s El Camino, the Spaniard’s slidin’-and-a-jammin’ energy elevates them above their peers.
Accomplished Chicago-based musician, Benjamin Gates, is the mastermind behind Mariposa, and his debut EP aims to “help people [to] love Mother Earth, and each other, in a more positive way.” Throw in a few Fire and Water licks alongside altruism values and you’ve got one of the most uplifting releases of the year so far.
Forest of Beards are a Galliac trio whose roots lie in loud, raucous rock, which is all very well – many have built a career on testotorone-fuelled anguish. However, this one-dimensional approach often obsures their songwriting nous: The brooding swoon of ‘Desert’ is beautiful and haunting in equal measure. Maybe the Beards should rethink their schtick?
For such a macho-sounding band, Women are the last thing that spring to mind. The Black Country trio’s tectonic rumble is fused by half-stoned, full-on boogies that comprise the most abrasive elements of punk and metal; its organic and monstrous music, devoid of bullshit.
Despite Bloody Reef’s bummer-in-the-summer vibe, there’s a darker side to Nosurfatu. The drawn-out howls that reverberate through ‘Who Killed the Surfer at Midnight?’ hint at sadistic foreplay that has yet to be fully explored.
The first listen to Gardens, the latest output by Madam Robot and the Lust Brigade, brings with it an eerie sense of familiarity: You’ve heard these songs before, but you simply can’t place them. ‘Gardens’ is a flower-punk stomp that reeks of the Seeds, while ‘Dear Mind’ borrows from Jarvis Cocker and Hunky Dory-era David Bowie, to create a brooding slab of modern-day Britpop. Despite the references, this is one of the best-sounding records in quite a while, redolent of a time when production came before the posturing.
There’s something very familiar about a lot of the musical themes here. You know you’ve heard them before. Not that this debut release is a retro work, but there’s a warm, comforting air about its five tracks – not to mention the circa 1990 cover art. Complete with groove-laden riffs, lumbering drums and punk catharsis, Brilliant Machine create loud and abrasive music that acts as the mid-point between stoner and grunge.
Remember when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal reigned supreme? Well, so do Australia’s Dracula. Released through Heavy Chains Records, Open Graves at Midnight contains extremely high-pitched vocals; bluesy riffs; high-energy drums and plenty of devil worshipping.