Category: heavy psych

New Audio: Los Angeles-based Quintet Ancestors Release a Slow-buring Shoegazer Take on Doom Metal

Currently comprised of founding duo Justin Maranga (guitar, vocals) and Nick Long (bass, vocals) along with Jason Watkins (organ, piano, electric piano, mellotron, vocals), Matt Barks (modular synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, guitar, vocals) and Daniel Pouliot (drums), the Los Angeles-based metal/doom metal/psych rock/stoner rock quintet Ancestors can trace their origins back to 2006 when Maranga, Long, and Brandon Pierce began the band as a trio; Englishman Chico Foley, who had met Pierce shortly after relocating to Los Angeles joined the band. Jason Watkins joined to complete the band’s initial line up. Their full-length debut was released in 2008 through North Atlantic Sound Records in Europe and Tee Pee Records in the States — and the album featured artwork by Arik Roper, who has done artwork of the likes of Sleep, High on Fire, and Earth. Their 2009 sophomore Of Sound Mind was produced by the band and Pete Lyman and featured collaborations with Melvins’, Unwound and Slug’s David Scott Stone, Black Math Horseman’s Sera Timms and cellist Ramiro Zapata.

2010 saw the first of several lineup changes as Chico Foley left the band and was replaced by Matt Barks and with a new lineup, they went into the studio to write and record the Kenny Woods-produced Invisible White EP.  And despite, a series of lineup changes, the band’s sound generally draws from prog rock, psych rock, stoner rock and doom metal — but they’ve also at points increasingly incorporated elements of experimental rock and musique concrete among others.  The Los Angeles-based rock quintet’s forthcoming album Suspended In Reflections is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Pelagic Records, and from the album’s latest single “Gone,” the new single and the album itself reportedly reflects a different take on their sound and approach as the single is a slow-burning dirge that manages to bridge shoegaze and doom metal as it features enormous power chords, played through tons of effects pedals, soaring and ethereal synths within an expansive yet moody song structure that nods a bit at prog rock.

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New Audio: Electric Citizen Returns with an Anthemic, Classic Rock-Inspired Single

With the release of 2014’s full-length debut Sateen, the Cincinnati, OH-based quartet Electric Citizen, currently comprised of husband and wife duo, Laura Dolan (vocals) and Ross Dolan (guitar), along with Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums), received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a sound that owes a debt to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, early 70s Rush and others. Building upon a growing profile, the band went on a busy schedule of touring both nationally and internationally with several renowned acts, including Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, The Budos Band, and Pentagram.

The Cincinnati heavy psych rock/heavy metal quartet’s sophomore effort, 2016’s sophomore effort Higher Time found the band expanding upon their sound, as they were crafting muscular and anthemic hooks around prog rock-like structures — within concise songs that typically clocked in at around 3 minutes or so. Additionally, the album found the band’s Lauran Dolan stepping up into more of a frontperson role, which was reflected in their live shows to support their sophomore effort, as she strutted, stomped and swaggered with a larger-than-life confidence. And unsurprisingly, the album was released to massive critical applause from the likes of Consequence of Sound, who placed it on their 20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2016.

Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, Electric Citizen’s forthcoming, third full-length effort Helltown derives its name from the neighborhood in which the members of the band live, practices and where the album was written recorded and mixed. Although now more prosaically known as Northside, Helltown earned its name in the early 1800s. thanks to a reputation for the rowdy taverns frequented by the neighborhood’s factory workers and immigrants. And while being an ode to the band’s neighborhood and its buried past, the album reportedly is a sonic return to form with the band employing a grittier sound along the lines of their 2014 debut. Adding upon the overall homecoming theme, the band returns to their original lineup. As the band’s Laura Dolan says in press notes, “In many ways this album is a realignment to the first,” Laura says. “We experimented a lot on the second album, some of which we learned we didn’t like.”

“Hide It In The Night,” Helltown’s first single is centered around Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chords, thundering drumming, arena rock friendly hooks and Laura Dolan’s rock star belter vocals — and while heavily indebted to its influences, the track will further cement the Cincinnati-based band’s reputation for tough, gritty, power chord rippers with an anthemic, larger-than-life feel.

New Audio: SVVAMP Returns with a Bluesy Single that Brings Thin Lizzy and Grand Funk Railroad to Mind

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the  Jönköping, Sweden-based trio SVVAMP, and the band which is comprised of longtime friends Adam Johansson,  Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren can trace their origins to a mutually shared love of rock, folk and the blues — and the band since its formation has received praise for a classic rock-inspired, heavy psych sound that has drawn comparisons to Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse but with an unpretentious, uncontrived vibe. Or in other words, while clearly drawing from the sounds of the late 60s and early 70s, the Swedish rockers aren’t in it for irony-fueled shits and giggles, there’s real soul and heart in what they do and how they do it. And as a result, the Swedish trio’s self-titled debut landed in the Top 20 Albums of 2016 in the Doom Charts consortium of music journalists, critics and radio stations.

SVVAMP 2, the Swedish trio’s highly-anticipated sophomore, full-length effort is slated for a June 8, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band making the massive, technological jump from self-recording on a 4-track tape deck to a 6-track tape deck, which allows the band to expand upon their overall sound while improving its fidelity. Interestingly, SVVAMP’s move from 4-track to 6-track recording follows the development of early psych rock bands moving towards increasingly state-of-the-art studio equipment (for their day), going from 4, then 6, then 8 and eventually 16 tracks and onward; however, as the band’s Adam Johansson explains, their sophomore effort finds the band stripping some elements of their sound down with all of the instruments being treated equally. “They all have their place in a song,” he says. “Obvious with 6-tracks now available, we’ve had a bit of fun with that.”

Earlier this year,  I wrote about “Queen,”SVVAMP 2‘s swaggering and self-assured first single, a track that finds the band crafting a sound that sounded as though it could have been released in 1968, thanks in part to its enormous, power chord-based riff, and arena rock friendly hooks that immediately bring Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” The Allman Brothers Band and Neil Young and Crazy Horse to mind but within a rather expansive, jam-like song structure. “Hillside,” the album’s second single may remind some listeners of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen,” with an effortless balance of the cool, self-assuredness of old pros and the immediacy of three musicians with an incredible simpatico, who are honored into the exact same frequency. SVVAMP 2’s latest single “Alligator” is a  full-throttle, swampy and bluesy affair that nods at Thin Lizzy and Grand Funk Railroad.  

New Audio: Sweden’s SVVAMP Returns with a Classic Rock Inspired, Power Chord-based, Arena Rocker

Comprised of three long-time friends, Adam Johansson,  Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren, who all share vocal duties, the Jönköping, Sweden-based trio SVVAMP can trace their origins to a mutual love of rock, folk and blues, and unsurprisingly, the band has received quite a bit of praise for a classic rock-inspired heavy psych rock/rock ‘n’ roll sound that draws Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse — but with an unpretentious, genuine and downright uicontrvibed sound and vibe. And as a result, the Swedish trio’s self-titled debut landed in the Top 20 Albums of 2016 in the Doom Charts consortium of music journalists, critics and radio stations.

SVVAMP 2, the Swedish trio’s highly-anticipated sophomore, full-length effort is slated for a June 8, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band making the massive, technological jump from self-recording on a 4-track tape deck to a 6-track tape deck, which allows the band to expand upon their overall sound while improving its fidelity. Interestingly, SVVAMP’s move from 4-track to 6-track recording follows the development of early psych rock bands moving towards increasingly state-of-the-art studio equipment (for their day), going from 4, then 6, then 8 and eventually 16 tracks and onward; however, as the band’s Adam Johansson explains, their sophomore effort finds the band stripping some elements of their sound down with all of the instruments being treated equally. “They all have their place in a song,” he says. “Obvious with 6-tracks now available, we’ve had a bit of fun with that.”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about “Queen,”SVVAMP 2’s swaggering and self-assured first single, a track that finds the band crafting a sound that sounded as though it could have been released in 1968, thanks in part to its enormous, power chord-based riff, and arena rock friendly hooks that immediately bring Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” The Allman Brothers Band and Neil Young and Crazy Horse but within a rather expansive, jam-like song structure. “Hillside,” the album’s second single will further the Swedish trio’s growing reputation for crafting 60s and early 70s inspired hard psych and rock — and while the song may remind some listeners of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen,” the song has the band managing to balance the cool, self-assured of old pros, who know what they’re doing and how to go about it, and an immediacy of three musicians in a room, quickly honing in on the same frequency. 

New Audio: Portland’s Blackwater Holylight Returns with a Trippy and Expansive Take on 60s Psych Rock

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight, and as you may recall, the band comprised of founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass),  Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth), the band, which can trace its origins to when one of Faris’ previous bands broke up, and she wanted to begin experiment what her own version of what “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally with the primary aim to celebrate vulnerability all of its forms. But along with that, as Faris explains in in press notes, because she was the only female in her previous band, she wanted to see how her “songwriting and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat, and working with women.” 

RidingEasy Records will be releasing Blackwater Holylight’s self-titled review on April 6, 2018 and from the Breeders-like alt rock meets shoegaze “Sunrise,” and the Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath heavy, power chord dirge and strident, feminist anthem “Wave of Conscience,” the Portland-based quartet have shown that their material draws from a wide array of sources with a piss and vinegar-fueled, kick ass and take names sort of self-assuredness. And unsurprisingly, the album’s latest single “Willow” continues in a similar vein while being their most expansive and most 60s psych rock-inspired song they’ve released from the album to date, as the band shifts tempo and mood while centered around some explosive guitar pyrotechnics and ethereal harmonies. 

New Video: Acclaimed Instrumental Canadian Act Shooting Guns Release Gorgeous Visuals for Atmospheric Album Single “Vampires of Industry”

With the release of their six full-length albums, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada-based instrumental psych rock/heavy psych/heavy metal act Shooting Guns have developed a reputation as a critically applauded, multi-award nominated act, known for work that’s largely inspired by Black Sabbath, Spacemen 3, Pink Floyd and others — and for touring over 60,000 miles across their native Canada without international touring.

While their previously released material was the sort of heavy and saturated sounds that was well-suited for horror-comedy files, Flavour Country, the Saskatoon-based instrumental act’s sixth and latest album  which was produced and recorded but the members of the band at their own Pre-Rock Studios features arguably some of the band’s fastest, heaviest and most visceral material they’ve written, recorded and released, as well as some of their most atmospheric; in fact, the album’s latest single “Vampires of Industry” consists of a slow-burning and moody drone paired with twangy and shimmering guitar chords that immediately bring to mind Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan,” Directions to See a Ghost-era The Black Angels, and the Silber Records catalog — but with a cinematic, sweep.

Directed by Parker Thiessen, the recently released video for “Vampires of Industry” features a flowing and shimmering, metallic piece of cloth, overtaking  the surrounding forest in a way that evokes the creeping of industrialization over nature in a way that’s gorgeous, surreal and unsettling.

New Audio: The Death Wheelers Release a Sleazy and Ass Kicking Single

Comprised of Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “The Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi, the members of  Canadian band The Death Wheelers have been largely inspired by the aesthetics and ethos of bikesploitation movies such as The Wild Angels, Werewolves on Wheels and Psychomania, as well as Davie Allen, The Cramps, Motorhead, The Stooges and Grand Funk Railroad — with the result being sleazy, primal and bruising, jam-based instrumental rock ‘n’ roll.  

Slated for a May 11, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, the band’s forthcoming I Tread On Your Grave is an album devised to serve as the soundtrack for an imaginary B-movie with an incredible plot: Decimated in 1972 by local authorities, all members of The Death Wheelers, a notorious motorcycle club, have been buried at the Surrey cemetery. But the time has come and they have risen for their last ride. They’re back from the grave and they’re hungry for blood! Nothing can stop this gang of living dead from recruiting new members as they travel coast to coast to find the filthiest, nastiest, trashiest individuals to join their ranks. Their goal, assemble a legion of 13 “discycles” (disciples+cycles) to seek revenge on the pigs that dismantled the club and send them to their graves. The cycle of violence continues . . . ”

 
I Tread On Your Grave’s latest single “Black Crack” is a raw, swampy, bluesy track that sounds as though it were inspired by ZZ Top, Howlin’ Wolf and Portland’s R.I.P. as it features enormous power chords with some boozy guitar pyrotechnics, thundering drumming paired with a jam-band “you-are-there-in-the-room” immediacy and swagger, while evoking a sense of primal lust and danger — and holy shit, does it kick ass.

New Audio: The 60s-Inspired Heavy Psych Sounds of Sweden’s SVVAMP

Comprised of three long-time friends, Adam Johansson,  Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren, who all share vocal duties, the Jönköping, Sweden-based trio Svvamp can trace their origins to a mutual love of rock, folk and blues; in fact, the band has received praise for a classic rock-like heavy psych sound that draws influence from Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Neil Young and Crazy Horse — but with an unpretentious, genuine and downright uicontrvibed sound and vibe. And as a result, the Swedish trio’s self-titled debut landed in the Top 20 Albums of 2016 in the Doom Charts consortium of music journalists, critics and radio stations.

The Jönköping, Sweden-based trio’s highly anticipated sophomore effort SVVAMP 2 is slated for a June 8, 2018 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album finds the band making the massive jump from self-recording on a 4-track tape deck to a comparably expansive 6-track tape deck, allowing the band to expand upon their sound while improving the overall fidelity of their sound. Interestingly enough, there can be a comparison to when many psych rock bands began recording with increasingly state-of-the-art studio equipment (for their day), moving from 4 to 8 and eventually 16 tracks; however, as the band’s Adam Johansson explains, their sophomore effort finds the band stripping some elements of their sound down with all of the instruments being treated equally. “They all have their place in a song,” he says. “Obvious with 6-tracks now available, we’ve had a bit of fun with that.”

“Queen,” Svvamp 2’s swaggering and self-assured first single finds the band crafting a sound that deceptively sounds as though it were released in 1968 or so, thanks to its enormous power chord-based riff, and arena friendly hooks — nodding at Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” The Allman Brothers Band and Neil Young and Crazy Horse within a rather expansive, jam-like song structure while capturing a “you-are-there” immediacy.
 

New Audio: RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records Release Bluesy, Anthemic, Fist Pumping, Second Single from Sixth Brown Acid Compilation

Over the past few years, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records have collaborated on an increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations, Brown Acid. Now, as you may recall, each individual edition of the series is based on RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recored together in 30 or 40 years, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes regarding the previous editions of the compilations “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Naturally, by having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation process, it can give the artists and their songs, a real, second chance at the attention and success that they originally missed. Additionally, these songs can help fill in the larger picture of what was going on in and around the underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Following the critical and commercial success of its first five volumes, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ sixth volume of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip is slated for an April 20, 2018 continuing what I hope will be an annual rite of passage. And much like the previous five editions, the sixth edition continues on Barressi’s and Hall’s exhaustive, painstaking research and curation with the duo continuing to discover that the well of hard rock, psych rock and proto-metal 45s from the period is incredibly deep — with the sixth edition featuring 9 deep cuts from bands based in Continental USA and one Canadian act.

Each edition of Brown Acid has begun with an barn burner of a track and the sixth edition also continues that honored tradition with a swaggering yet frenetic, mind-melting, guitar pyrotechnic-fueled track from San Francisco, CA-based act Gold, “No Parking” recorded circa 1970. Reportedly, the band used to open their sets with the song — and as soon as you hear it, you’ll hear why: it captures a band that’s completely unafraid to kick ass and take names. Interestingly, The Sixth Trip’s latest single is Flight’s “Luvin’, Huggin’ & More,” a single that to my ears sounds like a fist-pumping, beer chugging and beer raising, anthemic, amalgamation of Quadrophrenia-era The Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business” but featuring a narrator, who gives his new lover a list of relationship requirements/demands, including the prerequisite luvin’ and huggin’ — with an emphasis on more. 

New Audio: Blackwater Holylight Return with a Heavy Psych Rock Dirge

Comprised of founding member, Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), Laura Hopkins (guitar, vocals), Cat Hoch (drums) and Sarah McKenna (synth), the Portland, OR-based rock act Blackwater Holylight began as an experiment of what Faris’ own version of what “heavy” should be both sonically and emotionally. “I also wanted a band in which vulnerability of any form could be celebrated.” But interestingly, as Faris explains in press notes, her current band can trace its origins to when Faris’ longtime band split up. “In my last band, I was the only female in a group of 6, so I wanted to see how my songwriting and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat and working with women.”

Last month, I wrote about “Sunrise,” off the band’s self-titled debut, a single that struck me as meshing elements of Breeders-like alt rock, garage rock and swirling, towering shoegaze — but with soaring hooks, bringing to mind classic, 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock, while eschewing familiar song structures. The album’s latest single “Wave of Conscience” is an enormous power chord-based heavy psych dirge that sounds indebted to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath — and sonically speaking, could have easily been mistaken for a track off the incredible Brown Acid compilation series but while being a strident feminist anthem.