Category Archives: Single/EP Reviews
The award for the most honest band of 2013 goes to Cambrian Explosion. While most bands will promote their work with archetypal brashness, this Portland four-piece simply want a van. They’re not fussy. As long as it enables them to share their crystalline brand of articulately structured psychedelia with the rest of the planet, they’re simply not fussed – a sliver machine, perhaps?
Leading off with the heavy, guitar-drenched stomp of ‘Healing Fountain,’ it’s clear that this Finland trio are in tune with their stoner-rock tendencies, while the weary wistfulness of ‘Let Me Go’ evokes memories of psych-grunge underdogs, the Screaming Trees, in their mid-90s pomp. Highly impressive.
It would be really easy to reel off the classic rock giants that have influenced this self-titled debut, but, in truth, there really wouldn’t be much point. What’s more interesting, however, is that the band is managed by Big Daddy Shag Music – one can only imagine what their logo would look like. Nevertheless, Levee’s bluesy blasts and bar-room howls are best enjoyed with a cold beer. Sit back and enjoy.
Swedish bands have always offered a pretty fresh take on the grand traditions of ‘70s rock. Opting for the mellower end of the scale, the Örebro trio’s softheaded philosophical musings merge faraway harmonies with the spirit and drive of early progressive rock – you wouldn’t be surprised if Ian Anderson turned up to play a live set with them, they’re that convincing. I’m Stratusfied, are you?
In a world full of hipsters, denim-clad rock is so passé: The idea that young musicians are learning their trade from Fire and Water and Wheels of Fire is unthinkable. In reality, it’s happening all over, none more so than in Scandinavia, where long-hair and vinyl is almost as common as flat pack furniture.
Like Brutus and Graveyard before them, Dunbarrow’s brand of beer-dripping blues works incredible well due to their attention to detail; it’s one thing to imitate, but to be able to create your own identity is a different matter entirely. Crammed with subtle, under-the-radar bass grooves and tasteful guitar work, this is a brilliant opening gambit.
For a new band, the Kinkades are very cocksure: Anti-Social Superstar is a title could come back to haunt them. Fusing the best elements of classic hard-rock and soulful blues, this Chicago four-piece know how to mould and hold a gutsy groove, without it sounding like a recreation. What they are yet to master, however, is their mixing desk – the lack of sharpness is an issue. Despite this minor flaw, there’s much to admire.
Despite presenting themselves as a “cosmic rock band,” this South Carolina four-piece don’t stray far from the classic, hard-rock template: They understand that the riffs need to be fuzzy and bluesy. As a result, this self-titled EP should – in theory – be bought by headbangers everywhere.
High Arrow, Detroit’s latest garage-rock wailers, cite Roky Erickson as an integral part of their DNA: A man whose quest for spiritual freedom inspired a generation of would-be rockers. Unsurprisingly, this self-titled effort is awash with same narcotic philosophy: Dark, gnarly guitars and a banshee who cackles and snarls with harrowing intent.
Originally a cover band, Walkin’ 47 are indebted to the joyous, country-tinged palette of Creedence Clearwater Revival et al. While not entirely original, Deep Roots Is a tour de force of hooks and harmonies, reminding the listener why that vintage period between 1968 and the mid-70s will always be remembered so fondly.
The New Regulars’ four-track debut was mastered by Brian Lucey: A man who contributed to the Black Keys’ most acclaimed albums: Brothers and El Camino. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the Australian duo share the same penchant for garage-y slashing and nasty body-rocking grooves. A ballsy opening statement that shows there’s a deep well of creativity just waiting to be exploited.
Basement Jams and Cosmic Noodling is more or less what you’d expect from a band with the moniker Spacefarer; its raw and quirky psych-rock that floats along with dark, introspective structures reminiscent of an early Pink Floyd jam session.
Introducing Kapitan Bongo: A band whose brand of no frills, amplified fuzz is tight, consistent, and unbelievably catchy. Together for less than a year – most of it has been spent bludgeoning the eardrums of fans in dingy clubs – this Polish trio have bought rock ‘n’ roll back to its seedy roots in a rip-roaring fashion. Good stuff.