Ruby The Hatchet – Valley Of The Snake (Tee Pee)

Ruby The Hatchet - Valley Of The Snake (Tee Pee, 2015)I got this from Bandcamp back in February, and has been a heavy presence on my 2015 playlist ever since. The actual CD came in the mail just yesterday and reminded me that I hadn’t properly written about it yet.  I really hate to lead off “female fronted.” Yes, I did write a feature focusing on bands lead by women back in 2012, and I did so simply because they were great bands that mostly were not getting enough attention and respect at the time. Since then, many of the bands have grown in stature and popularity. But I wouldn’t say the selling point should be solely because they’re lead by women. It’s just as stupid as saying, “hey, you’re a dude, I bet you’d like this band cuz they’re lead by a dude.” A lot of the better heavy psych bands lately do feature women, like Purson, Blood Ceremony, Jess & the Ancient Ones, Mansion and The Oath, but gender is not the key factor to their greatness. Ruby The Hatchet’s Jillian Taylor is an accomplished singer, and her abilities have matured since their 2012 debut Ouroboros.  Harmonies provided sometimes from drummer Owen Stewart, other times multi-tracked with herself, bring to mind Fleetwood Mac along the lines with Royal Thunder. However their biggest influence of late sounds like the garage psych of Britain’s Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, to the point where “Vast Acid” might be a direct tribute.  It might be hard to tell from the muddy sound and the hair in their faces, but there are no women in that band. Continue reading

Posted in Bandcamp, New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Comments

Torche – Restarter (Relapse)

Torche - Restarter (Relapse, 2015)Steve Brook’s love affair with heavy fuzz and E-bombs goes way back to 1992 when he formed Floor. He formed Torche in 2004, and had solidified a bona fide cult following by their second album, Meanderthal (2008). Harmonicraft (2012) took a more precise and overtly melodic approach with extra-abbreviated song lengths. It raised some eyebrows, with some comparing it to Baroness‘ foray into indie rock. I loved it. It was still heavy as hell, and the procession of hooky songs seemed to gain momentum as if it were winding up to start up a cyclone, Tasmanian Devil style. Continue reading

Posted in Bandcamp, New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews | Tagged , , | Comments

The Lucid Dream – The Lucid Dream (Holy Are You? Recordings)

The Lucid Dream - The Lucid Dream (Holy How Are You?, 2015)While there’s no shortage of bands practicing feedback-drenched psych rock, The Lucid Dream have been perfecting their own distinct recipe since their first EP in 2010 involving ingredients like garage noir, shoegaze, German kosmische/space rock, pre and post-NYC no-wave noise, and the pop melodicism that links early Echo & the Bunnymen with The Stone Roses. The result is a pretty badass, cohesive modern psychedelic sound that I imagine catching fire with a pretty big audience. That it hasn’t yet is probably due to the massive number of bands dabbling in the sub-genre lately, and the fact that their small label (Holy Are You? Recordings) has only so much reach and marketing muscle. Continue reading

Posted in Bandcamp, New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews, Videos/Singles | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments

Wand – Golem (In The Red)

Wand - Golem (In The Red, 2015)Just a few months ago, I was unaware of a band called Wand. Then I belatedly discovered their debut album Ganglion Reef on Drag City imprint God?, which made the #10 slot of my favorite psych albums of last year. Now there’s two albums, with the latest even more impressive than the debut, and they just blew my face off live last night. Instant favorite garage psych band!

There’s no shortage of psychedelic bands these days, and while extremely promising, it was unclear how Wand would stack up with other favorites based on their debut. It was fairly eclectic, ranging from super melodic, 60′s style psych pop of “Broken Candle” to more spastic, loose garage rock, and some pretty impressive guitar chops from leader Cory Hanson. It was a really excellent start, but not completely mind blowing. But just seven months later, the band re-emerges fully formed and full of swagger with Golem. They apparently had been listening to some Electric Wizard and wanted there to be no mistaking them from some of the more twee sounding bands in the genre. It’s not just that it’s  so much heavier as much as the songwriting is so confident and captivating, and showing off a new, elevated level of musicianship. Mind blown. Continue reading

Posted in New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews, Videos/Singles | Tagged , , , | Comments

Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Relapse)

Royal Thunder - Crooked Doors (Relapse, 2015)Since discovering their first EP in 2010, it seems things moved very quickly for Royal Thunder. One moment they were an intriguing, promising band, then they came out with their epic full-length debut CVI (2012), and I saw them live, and saw them again, and again. When some bands can’t be bothered to even tour once *coughChristianMistress*, Royal Thunder are a prime example of why touring is important. Every performance illuminated why they deserved to be one of my favorite bands of the decade, adding layers of meaning and understanding of their intense, transfixing hard rock. Starting out as an instrumental sludge/doom band influenced by fellow Atlanta, GA mates Zoroaster (guitarist Will Fiore has since joined the band),  vocalist/bassist Mlny Parsons helped both expand their universe while also focusing their style. Elements of blues, prog, psych, doom, folk, even grunge can be found in their DNA, but they’re all blended so gracefully, often gorgeously, that they have sounded fully formed from the beginning. Continue reading

Posted in Bandcamp, New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews, Videos/Singles | Tagged , , , | Comments

New Albums of the Week, March 31

albums-week-2015-03-31It’s a good day for heavy and trippy today.

Ufomammut – Ecate (Neurot) - Italian cosmic doom sludge psych lays down their heaviest album (their 7th ) in years like the intergalactic space lord bosses they are. | Full Fast ‘n’ Bulbous Review | Spotify | Buy

The Lucid Dream – The Lucid Dream (Holy How Are You?) – Second album from UK psych rockers, this is going to be popular, and for good reason. Songs Of Lies And Deceit (2013) was a hidden psych treasure, and folks will want to make up for being late comers and fully embrace this dark but super accessible second album. | Full Fast ‘n’ Bulbous ReviewSpotify Continue reading

Posted in Bandcamp, New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews, Videos/Singles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments

Ufomammut – Ecate (Neurot)

Ufomammut - Ecate (Neurot, 2015)I’ve raved so much about Tortona, Italy’s intergalactic psychedelic cosmic sludge doom space travelers, most know that Ufomammut are one of my all-time favorite heavy bands. Despite nailing it from the beginning with their debut Godlike Snake (2000) and topping it with the classic Snailking (2004), the band were still a somewhat unknown quantity at least in North America until third full-length album Idolum (2008).  As far as anyone with ears, a brain and good taste are concerned, they cemented their status as legends with the perfect Eve (2010) and sprawling two-part Oro: Opus Primum & Opus Alter (2012). Confusingly, Oro is two albums, but also make up one long, long-ass song. Continue reading

Posted in New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews, Videos/Singles | Tagged , , | Comments

Elder – Lore (Armageddon)

Elder - Lore (Armageddon, 2015)Elder are a difficult band to describe with just one genre. My immediate reaction to hearing their self-titled debut from 2008 was “Oh my god, this is what music is supposed to sound like.” That’s not to say everyone needs to sound like Elder, but music would certainly be better if more of it did follow their lead. They were often tagged “stoner doom” in the beginning thanks to the slightly bluesy tint of Sabbath-rooted metal, but with some of the thickest, wickedest psychedelic guitar tones heard outside of Kyuss, Sleep and Colour Haze. Dead Roots Stirring (2011) took another bold step into more cosmic territory inhabited by the likes of Ufomammut, but with an even more gauzy, fuzzed-out sound. The magnificent Spires Burn EP (2012) feature two more expansive tracks just under the 12:00 mark that hinted at more progressive explorations to come. They laid low for a few years, with guitarist Nick DiSalvo releasing a proggy psych side project EP, Gold And SilverAzurite and Malachite (2014). Continue reading

Posted in Bandcamp, New Album(s) of the Week, Reviews | Tagged | Comments

UFOMAMMUT Finally Tours North America

Italian stoner/doom/sludge/psych pioneers UFOMAMMUT celebrated their 15th anniversary as a band last year by releasing a retrospective XV DVD and Magickal Mastery live album. Incredibly, they have never before toured North America. They played a couple dates in L.A. and San Francisco back in 2009, and that’s it. With a string of incredible albums, each topping the last — Idolum (2008), Eve (2010), and the double album Oro (2012), the band clearly has a substantial audience patiently waiting for them to tour the states. Labelmates Neurosis and YOB receive rapturous responses and acclaim with each tour and album, and I keep thinking, but what about Ufomammut? Before the final headliners were announced for Psycho California fest, I was positive Ufomammut would be announced. It makes zero sense to me that they would play Maryland Death Fest rather than that. But all is forgiven, with new album Ecate set for a March 31 release, and a real honest to goodness tour, kicking off at my favorite metal club, Reggie’s on May 13 and ending at the Metal Grill in Milwaukee, site of last year’s final Days of the Doomed Fest. Continue reading

Posted in News, Reposts, Videos/Singles | Tagged , , | Comments

Psycho California Announces Headliners: Sleep, Pentagram and Cult Of Luna

For a number of years, it’s been frustrating for us North American stoner/doom/psych fans to see our favorite bands almost exclusively play festivals in Europe, but rarely cross the pond. The best lineups over the past several years were consistently found at festivals like Roadburn in the Netherlands, Desertfest in Germany, England and Belgium, Freak Valley Festival and Stoned From the Underground in Germany, and Up in Smoke in Switzerland. While the U.S. sporadically had some festivals, the Stoner Hands of Doom Festivals ended after the one in Richmond in 2013. Scion Rock Fest has been evolving and changing locations over the year, and their installment in Pomona, CA last year on May 17 was promising, with High On Fire, Jex Thoth, Windhand, All Them Witches, Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Hot Lunch, Pins Of Light, Big Business, Red Fang, Orchid and Moab. However they have yet to announce anything for 2015. And that’s about it, other than a few token heavy bands at the quickly growing Austin Psych Fest. Continue reading

Posted in News, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments