Quick Review: “Vol II: El Desborde y El Ocaso” by Neoyka

Listening to the new album released from a well-established formation is generally something nice to do: thanks to their qualities, these kinds of bands have already emerged from the mass of mediocre publications and therefore we can expect to listen to something interesting and enjoyable. But when there is a new band that arrives and impresses for originality and value, the pleasure is really incomparable with anything else. Especially because the idea of discovering good underground formations is definitely more exciting than writing a couple of paragraphs for the fifteenth disc published by a well-known group, for which there are hundreds of reviews already available on the web.

In recent times I had the pleasure to discover an interesting band arriving from Chile, called Neoyka. And it was love at first sight. I was truly excited to enjoy a fresh and lively approach to stoner music, something which emanates since the first riffs all the passion and the efforts that were spent by the band in the recording studio. These guys come from a city called “La Serena”, which stands for “A Serene City”, and perhaps it’s not a coincidence that their intriguing version of stoner rock produces such a feeling of positivity and universal energy.


Neoyka’s new album is named Vol II: El Desborde y El Ocaso and it follows their debut LP, named Vol. I, which was released in late December 2013. With respect to their first release, the band has now incorporated a keyboardist/synth player as a permanent member, and this gives a hint about how the group is progressively incorporating psychedelic and progressive sounds into their sound. Their latest publication, in fact, oscillates between what we could define a rather conventional stoner rock, with reminiscences from groups such as Kyuss and Fu Manchu, and a variant of that psycho-stoner that’s played today by bands like All Them Witches.

The collection of songs that we find in their new record moves with good naturalness between these two versions of stoner, and in both cases, we can appreciate a remarkable quality of songwriting together with warm and engaging sounds.


This is an album which will be appreciated by all lovers of stoner rock and stoner metal. There is no real innovation in the music of Neoyka, but they know what they do, and they do it very well. I’m going to track them with more attention from now on, there is really good potential in this band.

My overall rating for the album is 6.5/10. My favourite songs are 70 Rockas, which is a straight and simple stoner track in the style of Kyuss, Nuestra Marcha, which starts slow but then evolves into a catchy and quite original song, and the dreamy and fuzzy suite which concludes the LP, named Introspection.



Vol II: El Desborde y El Ocaso is available on Bandcamp and it can be streamed also from Spotify. Neoyka are now featured in DUST AND SAND, the playlist with the best of modern stoner. Check it out, listen to it and follow it, because it’s periodically updated with new songs.


THE THUNDER – The Mixtape with the Best of Contemporary Atmospheric Stoner Rock

I’m sharing with you a mixtape that I’ve created by selecting and combining together the best Atmospheric Stoner Rock songs that were released in the last few years. You’ll find in this compilation masterpieces from bands and artists of the calibre of Monster Magnet, Brant Bjork, John Garcia, Truckfighters, and many others masters of stoner rock.





The complete tracklist of the mixtape is as follows:

  • Intro / The Dream of Life, by S.B.G.
  • Diamond, by All Them Witches
  • Exordium, by Ordos
  • Sun Shivers, by King Buffalo
  • What Is Human, by Palace in Thunderland
  • Calm Before The Storm, by Truckfighters
  • Night Creeper, by The Blackwater Fever
  • Tao of the Devil, by Brant Bjork
  • Drowning, by Moster Magnet
  • Catamaran, by Yawning Man
  • Rest Easy, by The Flying Eyes
  • Softer Side, by John Garcia



Most of the songs of this mixtape were taken from THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER, which is one of the playlists that I’m curating on Spotify. Check it out.



FROM THE DESERT TO THE STARS: THE BEST PSYCHEDELIC STONER ROCK OF THE YEAR

There are genres of music that seem to be born for being mixed together. Stoner rock and Psychedelic rock are two of these and it is no coincidence that there is now a specific and well populated current of artists that are specialized on this style of music.

Psychedelic stoner rock merges the warm and slightly abrasive sounds of classic stoner with the hypnotic and progressive approach to music of psychedelic rock. And the marriage is so perfect that the union between these two styles of music manages to keep all the specific characteristics of the two starting genres but, at the same time, generates something unique and new. Call it alchemy, or musical magic, this is what the psychedelic stoner artists have learned to do.

I’m presenting in this article the best psychedelic stoner albums we heard so far in 2018. Five bands, five different approaches to music, but the same impressive level of quality. Enjoy the reading and don’t forget to listen to this spectacular music.

 


 

#1) All Them Witches, “ATW”

 

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All Them Witches are an American rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. After the recent quit of keyboardist Jonathan Draper, the band today consists of drummer Robby Staebler, vocalist, bassist, guitarist Charles Michael Parks Jr. and guitarist Ben McLeod.

Less than two years after their beautiful album Sleeping Through the War, we’re gifted with new LP from All Them Witches, and it was for me one of the most beautiful surprises I had in the recent months. It’s always good when a rock band is experiencing a phase of creative inspiration, but this time I was particularly impressed because in the short lapse of a year and half these rockers from Nashville have made a gigantic step forward in their musical evolution and ATW, their new record, has the full potential to project the band into the exclusive club of the most important bands of contemporary stoner rock.

The stylistic growth experienced by All Them Witches took place through the development of an absolutely unique and personal musical language, an evident evolution of the style that they had already presented in their previous works but that only today, arrived at the fifth studio LP of their discography, seems to have found its final maturity. What happened to the band and what’s the cause of such an improvement? I don’t have many elements to make my hypotheses, but I think it’s a matter of increased confidence in their capabilities. Listening to the songs of the new record we realize in fact that All Them Witches have understood the reach of their talent, and they eventually decided to abandon the usual routes and venture into darker and unexplored meanders, which proved to be closer to their musical sensibility.

From a musical point of view, the songs in ATW seem to belong to two main categories. The first one is the group of what I like to the “apparently conventional” songs, i.e. pieces that seem to reproduce initially a very precise stylistical model but then develop into something different, and extremely intriguing. An example is given by the energetic song 1st vs 2nd that starts as a standard stoner rock tune but then, through a crescendo that you would expect to fade but which always increases in intensity, evolves into an obsessive mid-tempo thrash metal riff that would not disfigure in a song by Metallica. The second category of songs collects a series of beautifully dark, slow, hypnotic and slimy bluesy ballads. These are the songs of the album where the music really seems to came directly from the soul of the artists. The architecture of these pieces is minimal, essential and usually based on the repetition of a note, a chord, or a simple riff, with elements that are then incrementally added one on top of the others and which, one by one, increase the overall tension of the piece. In this category of songs the psychedelic element is still present but always dosed with great wisdom. The fantastic and majestic Diamond is perhaps the most representative song of this second group of tracks.

Beyond the value of individual songs, however, it’s the album in its entirety that deserves the most sincere compliments. This was really a surprise from a band that has definitely entered a new phase of its career, signed by an improved stylistic maturity and also by the full awareness of the expressive capabilities that their music have gained in the last few years.


 

#2) Weedpecker, “III”

 

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Weedpecker, from Poland, are a psycho-stoner band consisting of Wyro at guitar and vocals, Bartek at guitar and vocals, Karol on bass and Kuks on drums.

Weedpecker are a relatively new psychedelic stoner band from Poland. In the relatively short timespan of six years since their formation the band has already released three full-lenght LPs, all of them of absolute value. The last one, named III as the position that the album has in the discography of the band, is a joyful ride through desert soundscapes burned by the sun.

It’s possible to recognize many different influences in their sound, but these rockers from Warsav managed however to consolidate a unique style and direction for their music, which may be summarized as a dirty and fuzzed version of stoner rock. As correctly reported in the album release notes, III sees Weedpecker experimenting with light and colorful jams that remind the listener of bands like Tame Impala or Morgan Delt. Moving seamlessly between styles and moods organically, it’s easy to get lost, only to find yourself emerged in a different world entirely.

A couple of songs of the album (Embrace and Liquid Sky) may be considered real masterpieces of this particular style of music.


 

#3) ASG, “Survive Sunrise”

 

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ASG is an American four-piece stoner metal band originating from Wilmington, North Carolina. It consists of Jason Shi on vocals and guitar, Andy Ellis on bass, Scott Key on drums and Jonah Citty on guitar.

ASG is one of those bands that didn’t achieve the success they deserved. Active since 2001, this quartet of veteran stoner rockers have gained the status of cult band in the underground movement, but they remain fairly little known to the international audiences. Probably this is because their studio albums can’t match the reputation which they gained for their wildly energetic live shows. Anyway, for everyon who’s been lucky enough to appreciate the works of this band from North Carolina, the news of the release of a new album is always welcomed with great enthusiasm.

Survive Sunrise, their sixth full length album, is also the first in five years since their previous LP. Their newest record provides the listener with another fine selection of psychedelic stoner rock. Most of the songs have mid paced rhythms and the music conveys in general the feeling of a hot and sweaty evening, when the sun slowly gives way to the blue of the night and your face, burned by the sun rays and made harsh from the dust, can finally enjoy a breath of fresh air. Singable and delicate melodies develop over the psychedelic and southern atmospheres that are drawn by the guitars, and the scene is then completed by the incredible voice of Jason Shi.

Survive Sunrise is a really solid and valid album from a band that, despite not being very prolific, has always managed to leave its mark in the stoner world with every new work. Perhaps the stylistic choice to attenuate the most energeting aspects of stoner rock in favor of a more introspective and visionary approach to music won’t allow them to achieve heavy rotations and mainstream success. Their road, however, is signed and these guys don’t seem interested to negotiate popularity with their unique and special vision of rock music.


 

#4) Graveyard, “Peace”

 

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Graveyard is a Swedish hard rock band from Gothenburg, formed in 2006. After their reunion in 2017, the line-up today consists of Joakim Nilsson (guitar, vocals), Jonatan Larocca-Ramm (guitar, vocals), Truls Mörck (bass, vocals) and the new drummer Oskar Bergenheim, who has replaced Axel Sjöberg.

Graveyard, from Sweden, belong to the large family of contemporary revivalist formations that repropose in a modern key a style of hard rock and blues that’s deeply inspired by the music of the 70’s. Although I’ve never been one of the greatest fans of the band, I was among those who remained impressed by the fantastic album that Graveyard released in 2011, Healingen Blues, which is the LP that basically launched them in the Olympus of modern rock. Since then I’ve always followed with great interest the activity of this group, which moved somewhat erratically between publications of great value and some missteps.

This year Graveyards have released a new album, Peace, which is the fifth studio record of their discography. The genesis of this work has been somewhat troubled. The band has just come out of a tormented period in which first they suddenly broken up and then, after a streak of cancelled gigs and also a few months of inactivity, they reunited and eventually came back into the studio with a slightly varied formation. For what is my experience these are the cases in which a group typically produces the most extreme works: musical masterpieces that testify to the indomitable spirit of a band that has managed to overcome the difficulties due to the urgency of communicating the music that they had inside, or weak and inhomogeneous albums that may represent, at best, a new beginning. Peace, unfortunately, does not belong to the first category and in fact we are far from the class and the passion that emerged from their flagship record. Fortunately, however, there are many good moments and flashes of light in their new work that we can’t really say that the band is starting again from the scratch.

The good news is that the signature components of Graveyard’s music are still here: liquid guitars, exciting psychedelic sections, bluesy vocals and berautiful stoner atmospheres. We can even highlight a certain evolution of their sound towards somewhat more “metallic” regions. Among the aspects that don’t convince me completely, however, there is the fact that the riffs in Peace, in general, are not engaging and catchy as in the past, and this makes me think that the composition process wasn’t exactly spontaneous (and that’s sincerely the least we could expect given the premises). During the 42 minutes of Peace, however, there are moments of absolute beauty like the conluding song Low, the openin track It Ain’t Over Yet and the brilliant Walk On. These make us forget about everything else and which, in the end, make us grateful to the Muse of music that this exceptional band is back on the scene.


 

#5) King Buffalo, “Repeater” + “Longing to Be The Mountain”

 

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King Buffalo is a psychedelic trio in the classic format, whose music is a powerful concoction of heavy psych, blues, and stoner rock. The band consists of Sean McVay (guitar & lead vocals), Dan Reynolds (bass) and Scott Donaldson (drums & vocals)

Generally I’m not for including EPs in this kind of charts, but sometimes it’s necessary to make some exceptions and Repeater, from King Buffalo, is a work of such quality that it couldn’t be excluded from this article.

King Buffalo is a trio of extremely talended psychedelic rockers from New York. In 2013, three years after their formation, the band released their first full-lenght work, Orion, which gained in short time a relevant consideration, initially limited to the underground scene but which rapidly expanded to an international audience. These guys play in fact a beautiful kind of psychedelic rock with many elements from blues, stoner and sludge. Early in 2018 the band published a short EP with three tracks, named Repeater, that was later followed by a proper full-lenght LP, named Longing to Be the Mountain.

Both the two releases show the impressive capabilitiy of the trio to create poetical, psychedelic and dreamy atmospheres. Their songs are hypnotic and psychic anthems or epic stoner ballads which grow slowly, with no rush, reaching moments of pure beauty.


 

If you enjoyed these bands, you will appreciate the two playlists that I’m curating on Spotify for stoner. The first, DUST AND SAND, is dedicated to the more energic side of this genre of music while the second one, THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER, is more focused on the intimate and psychedelic aspects of stoner. Listen, follow and spread the word!

 


 

 

Best New Music: ATW by All Them Witches

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All Them Witches represent something special to me, if only because their beautiful 2017 record Sleeping Through the War was one of the first that I reviewed when I decided to launch this blog. And already at that time I expressed words of appreciation for the band, their sound, and their album.

Less than two years after, I found myself in front of a new LP from the band, and it was one of the most beautiful surprises I had in the recent times. First of all because it’s always good when a rock band is experiencing a phase of creative inspiration, and in this respect All Them Witches were able to compose and record a new set of beautiful songs at a relatively short distance from their previous release. But even more surprising to me was to discover that in the short lapse of a year and half these guys from Nashville have made a gigantic step forward in their musical evolution and released a record that has the full potential to project the band into the Olympus of the most important bands of contemporary stoner rock.

The stylistic growth experienced by All Them Witches took place through the development of an absolutely unique and personal musical language, an evident evolution of the style that they had already presented in their previous works but that only today, arrived at the fifth studio LP of their discography, seems to have found its final maturity. The music played today by All Them Witches no longer needs to be described in a derivative way; there is no need in fact of making comparisons and references with other bands. All Them Witches have achieved the result that many bands aspire to reach but that very few can rally get: other formations will be now associated to their style, we will find ourself saying “this bands sounds like All Them Witches”.

What happened to the band and what’s the cause of such an improvement? I don’t have many elements to make my hypotheses, but I think it’s a matter of increased confidence in their capabilities. Listening to the songs of the new record we realize in fact that All Them Witches have understood the reach of their talent, and they eventually decided to abandon the usual routes. those illuminated by the light of the masters of the rock, and venture into those darker and unexplored meanders, which are however closer and more fitting with their musical sensibility. And it’s no by chance, therefore, that the title they gave to the new album is ATW, like their name. This is All Them Witches. From now on, the others will follow their steps.

From a musical point of view, the songs in ATW seem to belong to two main categories. The first one is the group of what I like to the “apparently conventional” songs, i.e. those pieces that seem to reproduce initially a very precise stylistical model but then develop into something different, and extremely intriguing. An example is given by the energetic song 1st vs 2nd that starts as a standard stoner rock tune but then, through a crescendo that you would expect to fade but which always increases in intensity, evolves into an obsessive mid-tempo thrash metal riff that would not disfigure in a song by Metallica.

 

 

The second category of songs, which is also the one that gives the biggest surprises, collects a series of beautifully dark, slow, hypnotic and slimy bluesy ballads. These are the songs of the album where music really seems to came directly from the soul of the artists. The architecture of these pieces is minimal, essential and usually based on the repetition of a note, a chord, or a simple riff, with elements that are then incrementally added one on top of the others and which, one by one, increase the overall tension of the piece. In this category of songs the psychedelic element is still present but always dosed with great wisdom. The fantastic and majestic Diamond is perhaps the most representative song of this second group of tracks.

 

 

Beyond the value of individual songs, however, it’s the album in its entirety that deserves the most sincere compliments. This was really a surprise from a band that has definitely entered a new phase of its career, signed by an improved stylistic maturity and also by the full awareness of the expressive capabilities that their music have gained in the last few years.

ATW is available on Bandcamp and can be streamed from Spotify.

 

 


 

Songs from ATW are now included into the two stoner playlists that I manage on Spotify:

 

 

 


 

THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER: The Softer Side of Stoner Music

Stoner music is typically associated with heavily distorted guitars and mighty bass sounds. There are some rare moments, however, in which our favorite artists abandon the heavy and scratchy sounds to give us glimpses of desolate landscapes and delicate moments of poignant poetry.

I’ve collected in a Spotify playlist some of the most contemplative and intimate songs that were produced in recent years by the most famous artists of stoner music. You’ll find here musicians of the caliber of John Garcia, Brant Bjork, Truckfighters, All Them Witches, and many others.

Enjoy this collection of songs and follow the playlist because this is expected to grow with time as soon as new gems are discovered. And don’t forget to recommend new songs if you feel that I missed some major contribution to the playlist. Enjoy!

 


 

 

END OF THE YEAR CHARTS: BEST OF STONER IN 2017

For a musical genre that many say it’s too much rooted in the past, the world of stoner music gave us this year a surprising number of great records. From the retro-rock of Kadavar and Sasquatch to the modernity of new groups like Cairo Knife Fight and As They Come, we have been offered a wide range of different interpretations of this fantastic style of music. And it hasn’t been easy to decide wich groups were to be included in the final Top Ten of the year and which ones should stay out.

Differently from the previous year-end charts I didn’t prepare for this occasion a new mixtape. The reason is that there was a stoner compilation which I published a few weeks ago (Kings of the Road) that has not only got a great attention by the readers of the blog but which became, in a short time, one of the most appreciated of the year. I present it again as it can be the ideal soundtrack to accompany the reading of the Top Ten chart. Enjoy!

 


 

Number 10

MANEUVERS by Sasquatch

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Sasquatch is a trio of retro-stoners from Los Angeles, in the U.S. The band, which has already earned quite a good reputation in the stoner panorama, released this year the fifth LP of their discography, named Maneuvers, which features also the new drummer Craig Riggs, who recently joined the band.

Sasquatch like to merge modern stoner rock with influences from the 70’s, and this approach is heavily applied also in their new work. With the exception of the energetic opening track of the album, the songs of the album settle-down on slower rhythms, on top of which the guitars are free to draw their interesting melodic lines, full of reverberations and other typical stoner effects.

The album is extremely concise. In less than 40 minutes we’re provided with an enjoyable collection of dirty and dense rock and roll. Personally I believe that these guys could have reached a better result with just a little more alternation between slower and faster songs, but in any case this remains a very good and nice LP.


 

Number 9

TO THE ROAD by As They Come

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To The Road is the debut album by the motorcycle stoner rock band As They Come, from Portugal. This funny but talented quartet from São João da Madeira is active since 2012 and before this debut album they published a couple of years ago their first homonymous EP.

The songs of To The Road are characterized by an easy approach to stoner with direct and essential rhythms and lyrics, without too many conceptual frills. What you don’t miss in their songs, however, is the incredible load of adrenaline and energy that fills every second of the record. That’s a very interesting and surprising debut LP and this band is absolutely worth to be tracked in their next steps.


 

Number 8

SEVEN by Cairo Knife Fight

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Two musicians, one loop station, a synth and a couple of guitar amps”. This is Cairo Knife Fight, the rock music duo originating from New Zealand consisting of Nick Gaffaney (who’s also the founder of the band) and George Pajon.

With a musical style that that fits into an ideal meeting point between Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, the music from Cairo Knife Fight pushes the boundaries of conventional stoner and embraces inputs and elements from many additional genres.

Their new album, Seven, was written and recorded in only 8 eight days and you can feel from almost all the songs of the LP the beauty – but also the limits – of such an instinctive and spontaneous writing.


 

Number 7

THE DEPTHS BELOW by Cortez

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American rock band Cortez, from Boston, released this year their second full-lenght album, The Depths Below, which represents a peculiar version of stoner rock with many catchy elementes and evident influences from heavy rock and grunge.

The LP arrives five years after their homonymous debut album, and it somehow contains the same recipe of stoner where groovy riffs are alternated with more slower melodies. The final result is definitely interesting, mostly thanks to the impressive performance of vocalist Matt Harrington.

Cortez band has the habit of letting a lot of time passing before a new publication. As a matter of fact, until today each new album came almost five years after the previous one. In the case of the last album, however, this time frame was also used to improve the cohesion between the elements of the group as there have been many changes in the line-up after their debut LP in 2012. Because of the above, a new album by the band is by itself an important event. And given the quality of the songs of The Depths Below, in this case is definitely an enjoyable one.


 

Number 6

ROUGH TIMES by Kadavar

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Rough Times, the new album by the German band Kadavar, is another of those albums that draws heavily in that unbridgeable basin given by the music of the 70s. With respect to many other retro-rock bands, however, the music played by Kadavar has the declared objective to imitate as faithfully as possible the atmospheres ad the sounds of the glourious era of rock and roll. 

With this premise it is clear that an album like Rough Times is destined to divide the listeners. Many people will say that the concept behind this LP doesn’t find so much justification in the second decade of the new century. However, if you leave aside these kind of considerations and listen to Kadavar’s songs for what they are, i.e. beautifully crafted rock and roll tracks, at the end this is an album that is capable to transmit a wide range of sensations.

There are a few songs, in particular, that shine for their absolute quality, such as the title track of the album or the single Die Baby Die. And it’s not by chance that the album has been often contributing to the stoner mixtapes and playlists we have presented in the pages of this blog.


 

Number 5

SLEEPING THROUGH THE WAR by All Them Witches

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Sleeping Through The War by All Them Witches has been one of the first albums to be recommended this year by this blog, even if at that time it was not straightforward to imagine that at the end of the year the LP would be entering the Top 5 of its genre. This is because the songs on this record – apart from a couple of particularly catchy singles – need some time and repeated listens before revealing all of their qualities.

Starting from the very first track of the album we are drawn into the obscure and melancholy territories created by the band. The songs are full of psychedelic elements supported by a solid stoner rock implant. And among the 10 albums included in this chart, Sleeping Through The War is maybe the one more representative of that intimate and poetic side of stoner music.

This is the fourth album in the career of the band, and their sound today shows a clear sense of maturity. It looks like that the four guys have incrementally learned to balance the various influences which contributed to their music: psychedelia, stoner rock, alternative metal, blues and bit of sludge. Year after year, album after album, these guys from Nashville have now consolidate their own and unique style of music. And this is a very good one


 

Number 4

VIBRACIONES DORADAS by Causa Sui

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Causa Sui is an instrumental stoner rock quartet from Denmark which has taken the interesting habit of publishing a new album roughly every year; sometimes it’s a full-lenght release, other times it’s a live recording of one of their concerts, and in some cases it’s a collection of special recordings (sessions), more experimental and in which they are typically accompanied by other guest musicians. The last of Causa Sui’s releases is a five-chapter mini-LP named Vibraciones Doradas, which is at this point the the thirteenth official publication since their debut in 2005.

The album delivered one of the finest collections of stoner rock tunes I have heard this year. From all of their songs it’s possible to feel the pleasure that these rockers have in playing their music, both when they’re following tight rhythms or when they are free to float with their instruments over more relaxed drum rates. Vibraciones Doradas is undoubtedly one of those jewels of the underground rock that should deserves a far greater visibility of what the band has achieved so far.

As a side note, every time I’m engaged with one of their new releases, I always find myself thinking of what could have happened in their career if the band had integrated a frontman. In fact, although the music of this group develops on the fairly classic canons of psychedelic and instrumental post-rock, I still feel that there are so many of their songs that would have benefited by some evocative and engaging lyrics.


 

Number 3

EMPEROR OF SAND by Mastodon

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Emperor of Sand, by American heavy metal band Mastodon, belonged to the category of the mostly awaited albums of 2017. And from the position the album gained in the final chart, at the end it turned out as another great album from what is nowadays one of the major bands in stoner music.

The four guys from Georgia don’t need too many introductions. With Emperor of Sand the band arrived in fact at the seventh album of a career which started almost eigthteen years ago. With their unique and strong mix of progressive and stoner rock, Mastodon become one of the preeminent metal acts of the early 21st century, gaining also mainstream success with some of their most accessible songs.

Emperor of Sand looks like two albums in one single disc. The work starts with a pack of the more aggressive, direct and mainstream-oriented songs, and then proceeds in the second half with the more complex and articulated tracks. The overall quality of the album, in any case, it’s very high. The only critic that I can express about the album is that it explores extensively the legacy and background of the band without any particular innovation in their musical approach.


 

Number 2

THE COYOTE WHO SPOKE IN TONGUES by John Garcia

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As long term fan of John Garcia I tend to adore almost every single album he publishes or where he simply contributes with his wonderful voice. In his last full-lenght disc, however, he really managed to convey a tsunami of emotions and the balance between new and old tracks is definitely satisfying. The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues is an acoustic album which contains new songs and some wonderfully rearranged tunes from the Kyuss era.

Much of the beauty of this record lies in the fact that John Garcia didn’t just follow the desire to pursue the commercial success by rearranging the most famous songs of his long and glorious career. Rather, it is evident the depth of emotions which he needed to communicate and which is at the basis of such a little masterpiece.

Here in this blog, the last album by John Garcia has spent many months on top of the overall music chart. The value of the album goes in fact well beyond the pure stoner world and this is a work which clearly represents one of the best things which happened in music in 2017.


 

Number 1

FORCE FIELD by The Atomic Bitchwax

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Last in First Out. One of the last albums to be reviewed in the blog becomes the top album of the stoner chart. Since the day of its release, Force Field by American supergroup The Atomic Bitchwax was immediately noted as one of the most powerful records of 2017. And at the end it deserved the award of best stoner album of the year.

With more than 25 years of history and characterized by a special relationship with the stoner legends Monster Magnet – a band with which the Bitchwax have always shared some of the main members of the line-up – this rock project founded by Chris Kosnik has always released high-quality publications. And their last LP, released in December 2017, absolutely confirms this rule.

From the first seconds since we push the button on our music player, we are greeted by the usual sequence of thick, energetic and catchy riffs, an element that has always been one of the main characteristics of their works. And in Force Field they manage to generate the same incredible level of energy without any slowing down. This is an incredible 35 minutes ride where the pedal of the accelerator is always pushed down, a celebration of the most unleashed and sharp sides of stoner rock. A simple and effective musical assault, but played with a surgical level of precision that is quite uniqe in modern stoner world. Push the play button, and start the ride.


 

 

KINGS OF THE ROAD – Music for Stoners, a mixtape with the best Stoner Music of 2017

This year I’ve listened to hundreds of stoner albums, some beautiful, others pleasant, many without particular elements of interest. And now that 2017 is approaching its conclusion, I’ve collected a bunch of the best tracks released throughout the years and created this mixtape you can easily access from the widget. Enjoy the music and scroll down for a few additional information on the bands contributing to the playlist.


 

The first two songs of the compilation are taken from To The Road, the debut album by the motorcycle stoner rock band As They Come, from Portugal. This funny but talented quartet from São João da Madeira is active since 2012 and published a couple of years ago their first homonymous EP.  The songs of their full-lenght work are characterized by a quite easy approach to stoner, with direct and essential rhythms and texts, without too many conceptual frills. What you don’t miss in their songs, however, is the incredible load of adrenaline and energy that fills every second of the record. That’s a very interesting and surprising debut LP and this band is Worth to be traacked in their next steps.

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“Two musicians, one loop station, a synth and a couple of guitar amps”. This is Cairo Knife Fight, the rock music duo originating from New Zealand consisting of Nick Gaffaney (who’s also the founder of the band) and George Pajon. With a musical style that that fits into an ideal meeting point between Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, the music from Cairo Knife Fight pushes the boundaries of conventional stoner and embraces inputs and elements from many additional genres. Their new album, Seven, was written and recorded in only 8 eight days and in fact it summarizes in itself all the beauty (but also the limits) of an instinctive and spontaneous writing.

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Emperor of Sand, the most recent LP released by American legendary stoner band  Mastodon, is one of the best metal publications of the year and, as such, they couldn’t miss in this stoner compilation. This LP is characterized by highly heterogeneous pieces, from the most catchy and lively stoner rock of Precious Stone (included in the mix) to the more sludgy and southern atmospheres of the other songs of the album. Following the release of the LP, the band has published on last September a short and controversial 4-songs EP, named Cold Dark Place, where the rockers from Atlanta experiment with a more conceptual psychedelic rock, with results well below expectations.

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Another band which likes merging modern stoner rock with influences from the 70’s is Sasquatch, the trio of stoners from Los Angeles which released this year the fifth LP of their appreciated discography. The new album, named Maneuvers, features the work of their new drummer, Craig Riggs, and it’s also the band’s most concise work to-date. The retro-stoner of Sasquatch is catched in the mixtape with Rational Woman, the track which opens the album and also one of the most captivating songs of the new work.

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Another representative of the new generations of stoners is given by Bang Bangalow, a crazy band arriving from Milan, in Italy. This quartet of heavy metallers define themselves as a band “moulded by different musical experiences: death metal, grindcore, hardcore and post-rock” and with the objective of “playing hard, heavy and dirty rock and roll with the most genuine attitude as possible”. Their immediate and a little raw approach to music may be fully recognized in Nice Job, the second and last full-lenght album they have just released, and which can be also acquired for free on bandcamp.

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The compilation of the best stoner of the year couldn’t miss an excerpt from Rough Times, the new album by Kadavar, which is another of those groups that draws heavily in that unbridgeable basin that is given by the music of the 70s. The retro/rock played by the trio of German rockers is so absolutely pure and faithful to its model of origin that occasionally loses a bit of vigor and effectiveness. There are however some songs in this work that stand out among the best stoner songs we have heard this year, like the title track that has been included in the mixtape.

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American rock band Cortez, from Boston, released this year their second full-lenght album, The Depths Below, which represents a peculiar version of stoner rock with many catchy elementes and evident influences from heavy rock and grunge. The LP arrives five years after their homonymous debut album, and somehow repeats the same recipe of groovy riffs alternated with more slower melodies. The final result is definitely interesting, mostly thanks to the impressive performance of vocalist Matt Harrington.

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Sleeping Through The War by All Them Witches has been one of the first albums to be recommended this year. Starting from the very first track of the LP we are drawn into the obscure and melancholy territory created by the he American stoner band, full of psychedelic references grafted into the roots of catchy melodies and stoner sounds. Sleeping Through The War is representative of the more intimate and poetic side of stoner rock, as shown by Am I Going Up, which is also the song chosen to close the compilation.

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DUST & SAND, a Spotify compilation with the best of new STONER music

I’ve assembled an explosive compilation with the best of modern STONER, which features the best songs released in the last 12 months. Stoner veterans such as Mastodon, John Garcia and Sasquatch are accompanied by more recent musical realities like All Them Witches and As They Come. You’ll find here experimental and psychedelic tracks tracks played by Cairo Knife Fight and Kadavar together with more conventional stoner pieces from Brant Bjork and Cortez.

Enjoy the playlist and come back from time to time because new tracks will be added as soon as a new stoner masterpiece is released.


 

 

The Sound of the Desert: The Best Sludge & Stoner Compilations of the Year

Here in this blog, stoner and sludge are not just two musical genres, they are the expression of a cult and I’m the faithful practitioner.

I’m collecting in this post the best mixtapes that I’ve published so far in 2017. In case you share the same passion for this kind of music, you’ll find here plenty of material to be enjoyed; selected, mixed and ready to be fired from the amplifiers of your stereo.

And don’t forget to visit the stoner ection of the blog for more material, charts and other nice stuff.


 

WRITTEN IN STONE

 

An healty dose of pure stoner rock, with the best artists of the year and a few gems from the past. One hour of uninterrupted energy and passion, featuring Mammoth, Mastodon, Mammoth, Sasquatch, Cortez, All Them Witches, Royal Thunder and many others.


 

SLOW FOREVER

 

You don’t always need to be fast to be strong. This is the heaviest and strongest mix of metal you will hear in a while. A compilation with the best stoner doom and psychedelic sludge released between 2016 and 2017, featuring Conan, Cobalt, Fistula, Paradise Lost and many others.


 

THE VOICE OF THE DESERT

 

A selection of songs performed by John Garcia. Includes tracks from his solo works as well as from Vista Chino and Kyuss.


 

WRITTEN IN STONE – 1 HOUR OF PURE STONER MUSIC: A Compilation with the Best and Brand New Songs

Enjoy an healty dose of stoner rock with this compilation of the best songs released in the year and also a few gems from the past. This is an uniterrupted flow of distorted, groovy and heavy sounds, this is the music of the desert.

The list of artists featured in the mix includes a number of bands which have released their last album in the last few months, such as All Them Witches, Cortez, Lowcaster, Mammoth MammothMastodon, Royal Thunder, and Sasquatch.

The mix features also a few songs from albums released in 2016, such as Brant Bjork, Kyng, Red Fang, Truckfighters, and Wo Fat.

Finally, the mix is closed with a couple of gems from the history of stoner rock, I’ll let you discover and enjoy them at the end of the compilation.

RAIN ON THE SAND – The Best of New Stoner / Year 2017, Issue #02 (March 2017)

The Best of New Stoner Metal, selected and mixed by Guerino. This release – the second in 2017 – features songs by Brant Bjork, Lowcaster, Mastodon, All Them Witches, Red Fang, and John Garcia.