Category Archives: Single/EP Reviews
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.
“Oh, how my engine’s groan,” croons rock ‘n’ roll’s latest heroine, Bindi Masterson, through a sea of 70s-vintage emanations. Dead River, a Melbourne trio who recently supported Dead Meadow, have created an enduring surge of sound that rivals their American cohorts: From the head-swaying vertigo of ‘Burn Alive’, to the lysergic grooves of ‘Deep Love,’ this is a fantastic debut.
If you’d hurled a rock through the window of any American garage in 1970, you’d have disrupted the rehearsal of a band like Creek Don’t Rise. Maturing youngsters from Virginia Beach, they’re clearly indebted to the roots-rock charm of the Allman Brothers, as well as the testosterone-fuelled grooves of Led Zeppelin.
In time-honoured tradition, Mail Order Englishmen is, quite simply, just a name. This Nashville trio, who have no direct links to Britain, have sewn together a psychedelic patchwork that takes its fabric from rock’s golden age – There are elements of the Allman Brothers, Free and Neil Young in this hearty debut – and rather than feeling like a history lesson, this warm and woozy collection is as good as any of its obvious influences.