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 pressure to make a Black Keys comparison is unbearable, so here it goes: Both bands consist of male duos brazenly rehashing American blues with minimal fuss. Ok, comparison over.
Whereas the Keys’ learn more towards the thicker-sounding end of the spectrum, the Farmhounds’ are closer in spirit to the likes of Muddy Waters; it’s a soulful record that has a Midwestern bar-band approach. The result is a collection of simple, riff-based numbers where the subject matter is as important as the guitar tone.
Sons of the Stone Empire may have a moniker that sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s their ability to coax maximum power out of ‘70s proto-metal riffage, while mimicking their Californian cousins, that will attract the plaudits.
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.
Wild Rocket’s motto is simple: “You have to be good to yourself,” however, what this has to do with the cosmos is a mystery. Together since 2011, this Dublin quartet’s early output is an even balance between heaviness and ethereality. If you like space-rock, you’ll like this.
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.
Handmade Heavy Blues sets its stall out early: austerely nostalgic, crunching guitar-and-drums-in-a-rundown-bar blues-rock. The resurgence of “the blues” in recent years has made it difficult for up-and-coming bands to be taken seriously, however, there’s an authenticity about Geezer that instantly puts them above their peers; the whiskey-soaked growl of Pat Harrington will take you down the Midwestern delta once more, while Harrington’s heartfelt, gut-level grooves are reminiscent of ZZ Top circa 1973.
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.
Through no fault of their own, Invadür were born in the wrong era. According to the band’s biography, this Bedford, Massachusetts ensemble bonded over their love of “classic heavy metal” – a generic reason, but one that’s entirely justified.
Here we have the spirit of the NWOBHM scene in all its leather-clad, over-the-top glory: galloping toms, twined guitars, and a rough-and-ready growler in Joe Bastek. There may be no ‘Phantom of the Opera’ or ‘Running Free,’ but these raw, revved-up velocities will invoke nostalgic smugness in older listeners, and seething envy in younger fans.