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.


Quick Review: “Vatan” by Samavayo

Even though I’m used to listening to industrial quantities of new music every week, there always comes the time when I come across to a record released by what I think to be a new band, but then, as soon as I check on google, it turns out that the formation is active for a long time. And when the music played by the band is as interesting as what I found in the new album by Samavayo, the pleasure of having finally filled a gap in your musical knowledge is combined with the regret of not having followed the musical growth of the band, which means not having enjoyed in full what they did in the past. In any case: better late than never.

Samavayo is a trio of German rockers based in Berlin. The band is active since 2000 and with their newest LP, called Vatan, they have published to date six full-length records. When approaches them for the first time (as I did) it’s fairly unlikely to guess that they come from the heart of Europe. The style played by Samavayo, in fact, is absolutely impregnated with the flavours of desert stoner and alternative metal, two kinds of music that usually accompany the production of American bands. Regardless of their Country of origin, however, what really impresses of Satamayo is that they play a kind of music that’s absolutely enjoyable and exciting to hear.


Vatan offers a sequence of truly amazing tracks that you will start to appreciate from the very first listening. From a musical point of view, their sound is basically what you would get by injecting heavy doses of fuzz and stoner into the music of Tool. This comparison is anything but risky, given the fact that really many passages that we hear in Vatan are clearly inspired from the songs of the legendary band from California, starting from the very first notes that we hear in Vatan‘s opening track Prevarication Nation.


The resemblance with Tool is more than just a hint, and this is at the same time a positive aspect of Vatan but also, in hindsight, the major limit of this record. It’s not by chance, thus, that most of the tracks that impressed me the most are those where the stoner and psychedelic influences become more strong, like for example in the title track, or the closing song Children of Kobane.

My final rating is a convinced 7/10. Favourite songs: Prevarication Nation, Sirens, the title-track Vatan, and Children of Kobane.



Samavayo’s new album is avilable on Bandcamp, and it can be streamed also from Spotify.


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.



Quick Review: “Awakened From the Tomb…” by Witchers Creed

Thanks to a very good recommendation from a Reddit user I came across this young Swedish band named Witchers Creed, which has just dropped its debut LP: Awakened From The Tomb… And it’s really surprising to see how these musicians manifest such impressive confidence in manipulating and re-elaborating sounds and influences from many heterogeneous and influential bands, spanning from Candlemass to Fu Manchu, generating a final result that is at the same time beautifully vintage but also fresh and lively.

Witchers Creed was founded a few years ago by three childhood friends who grew up influenced by the music of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. After a number of initial experiments, they eventually consolidated the current line-up which consists of Filip Andersson (guitar, vocals), Emil Bjällerhag (bass, vocals) and Charlie Rangstedt (drums). As said, however, despite their young age, the music played by Witcher Creed is anything but naive and superficial. And this clearly means that the three rockers have a great passion for what they do but also a remarkable talent: it must not be so easy to craft a style of rock that, although being impregnated with the legacy of the masters of doom and rock, still manages to appear fairly original and intriguing.


From a musical point of view, their sound is characterized by a few but effective features: a warm and powerful stoner-like bass, which is one of the element which impressed me the most of this LP, a guitar that churns out endless sequences of catchy and sticky riffs, a simple yet effective rhythmic session and, last but not least, a powerful and fascinating voice.


The album consists of some tracks that are basically pure and simple rock and roll songs, and another set of pieces which manifest a more evident stoner rock feeling. In both cases, there is always in the background an intriguing dark atmosphere which reflects their passion for classica doom.

Awakened From The Tomb… is a really nice and promising debut LP. I give it a convinced rating of 7/10.

My favourite songs are Raven’s Claw, the delicate Larissa, and the instrumental title-track, which closes the LP with a final rush of psychedelic stoner atmospheres.

Awakened From The Tomb… is available for streaming on Spotify.



The LP in now featured also in DUST and SAND, the playlist that I’m curating on Spotify with all the best and latests songs in stoner.



Best New Music: “John Garcia and the Band of Gold” by John Garcia

The beginning of 2019 has been particularly generous for the fans of stoner music: we have just received, just like a late Christmas present, the new album from one of the most important, influential and acclaimed figures of the stoner scene. I’m referring to John Garcia, the voice of the desert, the American vocalist and songwriter who has illuminated with his shining talent the world of stoner in the last thirty years.

John Garcia’s musical career has been marked by many important phases: he founded the legendary band Kyuss and after that experience he contributed to many other formations such as Unida, Slo Burn, Hermano and Vista Chino.

John Garcia performing live with Kyuss in 1995. You can see in the picture the band’s guitarist Josh Homme, who later founded the rock band Queens of the Stone Age.

Approximately five years ago, the singer from Arizona started a solo career which has already seen the release of three studio records: 2014’s self-titled LP John Garcia, 2017’s The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (where Garcia presented in a totally acoustic arrangement a bunch of new tracks and some of Kyuss’ legendary songs) and, finally, this year’s John Garcia And The Band Of Gold.

John Garcia’s third and latest LP: “John Garcia and the Band of Gold”

As soon as I started listening to the new record I immediately realized that this wasn’t just John Garcia’s latest LP. This album, in fact, could likely represent a turning point in the career of the American musician. John Garcia And The Band Of Gold shows a tangible shift towards hard rock and southern sounds and, in this respect, the album represents a relative departure from the classical “stoner metal” of Garcia’s previous releases. John Garcia And The Band Of Gold is therefore one of those records that you have to listen and enjoy without making continuous comparisons with the artist’s previous discography. Let me be more precise: if the operation of evaluating this new album in the overarching context of Garcia’s career is absolutely normal, especially for long-term fans (as I am), I believe that expecting from each new song written by Garcia to be the new Gardenia is wrong, and it doesn’t make any justice to the phisiological evolution of Garcia’s music, and the evolutionary process that he has undertaken in the last few years. I repeat: this has nothing to do with the overall appreciation of the new album, for which everyone is free to say whatever he wants. This is rather my humble recommendation: to approach the new LP by taking into account that, in its essence, this is basically a record of contemporary hard rock with stoner influences. And it’s no coincidence, therefore, that the part of the album that’s closer to classic stoner is the final one, in which the band reinterprets in an “electric” way the unpublished songs that were initially presented in Garcia’s fully acoustic LP The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues.

John Garcia today.

Once made the necessary recommendations, let’s now focus on the new material released by our beloved singer. The first thing to say about John Garcia And The Band Of Gold is that the record is incredibly fresh, bright and also fun. There are many positive elements about Garcia’s new effort, but the thing that impressed me since the beginning has been the stylistic coherence of the LP. The album has a compactness out of the ordinary and it emanates a sense of confidence that honestly we couldn’t find when Garcia started his solo career. Compared to the music contained in 2014’s Garcia’s debut as leader, the artist today seems to have calibrated much better his style and he’s in condition to offer a collection of songs that go straight and without any hesitation along the road he has now chosen to follow for his music. There are no drops of tension, no dramatic changes of atmosphere, nor even the usual alternation of ballads and heavy pieces that we’ve listened in Garcia’s debut. The new record is like a car that runs fast along the straight and hot roads of Arizona (I’ve never been in that part of the US, but this is how I imagine the roads there). Clearly there is the risk that in the long run the LP could suffer for a relative lack of internal dynamics, but at least in this first phase of listening the compactness of the songs seems to prevails over everything else, and it makes the album absolutely exciting and enjoyable to listen to.


The majority of the tracks of the LP are characterized by simple but extremely appealing riffs, which result at the same time accessible and engaging. The album is immediate and ready to be assimilated already from the first listenings, but it doesn’t lose brilliance even after several runs in the stereo. For sure Garcia and his loyal bandmates (who are basically the same musicians that gravitated around him in the last few years) know very well how to win the hearts of the fans, and they do it on every new album. As a matter of fact, there are artists that have the capacity to write riffs and choruses that stick into the listener’s memory just from the first times you listen to them, and John Garcia is one of those. A few songs, in particular, have all the credentials to become new classics in his vast discography and they have also the potential to excite the audiences of the singer’s future live shows.


If I had to highlight a negative aspect of the record, I would have expected something more for the vocal part. John Garcia has one of the most beautiful and recognizable voices of rock and listening to him while he sings is always one of the most rewarding experiences for a stoner enthusiast (I have seen him live three times, and I can say that in the recent years, under this point of view, he is really in great shape). Nevertheless, in this last record I feel like Garcia has put on show all of his usual repertoire, which is really much stuff, but without ever surprising us with something unique and new.


In conclusion: John Garcia and the Band of Gold is another precious entry within the discography of one of the greatest musicians of all times, and not only within the stoner scene. It provides many elements of innovation to keep alive the interest of the long-term fans of the artists, and for the same reason presumably he will disappoint a few of them. The direction of Garcia’s music as band leader is now clear and his performance as singer is solid and brilliant, despite I would have preferred something new also on this aspect. Finally, the songs of the new album have a level of accessibility and immediacy that make the LP as a good entry point even for those who aren’t familiar with the previous production from Garcia.

If I should express my rating, I would say 8/10.

The album can be streamed from Bandcamp and Spotify.

My favorite songs: Chicken Delight, Apache Junction, Jim’s Whiskers, Popcorn, Don’t Even Think About It and the opening instrumental track Space Vato.



Songs from the album John Garcia and the Band of Gold are featured in DUST AND SAND and THE DELICATE SOUND OF THUNDER, the two playlist I’m curating on Spotify with the best of new stoner music. Listen, follow and spread the word!



Quick Review: “Hear the Rivers” by Greenleaf

Greenleaf represent the umpteenth testimony of the existence of a mysterious gene that many decades ago spread in the countries of Northern Europe and that has allowed the people of these cold lands to develop an innate and incredible talent for rock music. The band created by Dozer‘s guitarist Tommi Holappa belongs in fact to that large group of talented formations from Scandinavia that have gained attention of fans and critics for good and catchy rock, spanning from the punk of Turbonegro up to the black’n’roll of Kvelertak. In a panorama that’s so rich and varied, Greenleaf have conquered a prominent place among the best representatives of Swedish stoner rock and the band consolidated through the years a special recipe of music that is spontaneous and lighthearted but always enjoyable and fascinating.

Greenleaf’s last release, named Hear the Rivers, is the seventh LP in their career and shows that these rockers, on the eve of twenty years of activity, didn’t lose the spirit and the joy of playing that was always one of the most relevant characteristics of the band.

 

 

I say “band”, but never as in this case I should treat it as a “musical project” given the fact that because of the many changes in the line-up, today Holappa is the only member of Greenleaf that played on all the seven LPs, and the only remaining member of the initial formation. By the way, regardless of how we want to tag it, what’s sure is that Greenleaf’s music has always represented a breath of fresh air in a scene that has seen too many bands lose the spontaneity and immediacy that one would expect from stoner rock. Hear the rivers confirms once again that there are still many catchy riffs to be played and many melodies to be invented by simply remaining in the perimeter of classic rock. When you launch this record on your stereo, don’t look for astonishing innovations or genre-bending sperimentations. What you’ll get here is a collection of solid stoner songs, with a genuine “rock” feeling that’s the result of good vibes, passion and an honest and clean production in the recording studio, without too many tricks or artificial embellishments.

 

 

The album flows fluid and energetic between a few songs that are destined to become new classics of the band (We Are the Pawns and Let It Out, just to mention a few) and other tracks that are maybe slightly less exciting but still absolutely enjoyable to listen. Heavy riffs, intriguing solos, incessant drums, solid bass lines and nice lyrics compose a musical offer that’s powerful and engaging as it’s accessible and catchy. That’s music which has the capacity to satisfy the longterm fans of stoner but also good for everyone approaching this genre of rock for the first time.

Hear the Rivers can be streamed from Spotify.

Standout tracks: We Are the Pawns, Let It Out, The Rumble and the Weight, and High Fever.

 


 

Greenleaf are featured in DUST AND SAND, the playlist with the best of new stoner rock and stoner metal. 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”

 

All Them Witches Trio 1300.jpg
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”

 

Weedpecker Band 1300
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”

 

ASG 1300
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”

 

Graveyarad 1300.jpg
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”

 

King Buffalo Band 1300
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

All Them Witches 1300

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:

 

 

 


 

BEST STONER ROCK AND PSYCHEDELIC STONER OF 2018: THE TOP 10 ALBUMS (Updated September 2018)

Summer proceeds relentlessy towards its conclusion and we can only to try to keep its spirit alive with through the warm and arid sounds of stoner rock. In this chart I’m presenting the list of my favorite stoner albums and EPs that have been published since the beginning of 2018, including both “conventional” stoner and its psychedelic variations.

You’ll find here both legendary bands such as Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet and Orange Goblin, but also a bunch of extremely promising formations coming from many different parts of the World.

Enjoy this list of albums and don’t forget to check if there are newest updates in the stoner section of the blog.


 

#1) Sundrifter, “Visitations”

 

sundrifter new 1300.jpg
Sundrifter is a three piece desert and stoner rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, in the U.S.A.. The band consists of Craig Peura (vocals and guitars), Patrick Queenan (drums) and Paul Gaughran (bass).

Sundrifter is a three piece stoner rock band from Boston, in the United States. Visitations, their second full-length album, makes no effort to conceal the origins of the sound of the band, which draws heavily in that inexhaustible source of inspiration that is given by the first couple of albums from Kyuss. But even where the imitation goes so far as to almost plagiarize the original (please listen to the beginning of the third track, Lightworker, just to get an idea) these guys still managed to put in their music so many elements of innovation that, in the end, they’re actually playing their own and unique version of stoner. And this album succeeds in being together a celebration of the great masters of the past and an absolutely valid and original piece of work.

 

From a musical point of view, the band shows an impressive capacity to blend together  classic stoner music with elements from psychedelic rock and space rock. The development of the songs, in most of the cases, is that typical of stoner music: an initial riff of guitar, loud and rhythmic, on which are added to follow an opulent bass and an essential – but still warm – rhythmic session. On top of that there is the fantastic voice of Craig Peura, which is in effect the winning element of this album and perhaps the real element of differentiation from the many other stoner bands we have today.

In summary: Visitations is a really valid LP from a band which managed to fuse together the celebration and the homage to the legacy of stoner rock with a number of characteristic features which make their music absolutely solid and unique.

The album is available on Bandcamp and can be also streamed from Spotify.


 

#2) Orange Goblin, “The Wolf Bites Back”

 

Orange Goblin 1300
Orange Goblin are a stoner and heavy metal band from London, England. Formed in 1995, the band’s lineup currently consists of singer Ben Ward, guitarist Joe Hoare, bassist Martyn Millard, and drummer Chris Turner.

As a long-term fan of stoner music, I must admit that I have never developed a particular affinity for the English metal band Orange Goblins. I clearly appreciated the various albums they have published in their twentythree-years long career, but without ever developing an emotional connection like the one I have for other formations playing the same genre of music. On the other hand, the emotional bond with certain bands sometimes comes (or not) independently from their absolute value.

The sensations that I had once I heard their latest work, however, were completely different and probably The Wolf Bites Back is the first album among the nine that they have released until today which made me feel an immediate sense of enjoyment and adrenaline. Maybe it’s because of the stripped-down and raw attitude that they put in the recorde, perhaps because for the first time the level of intensity of the songs remains high from the beginning to the end of the record, the fact is that Orange Goblin’s last record it remains permanently in my music player from the date on which I entered it for the first time.

Surely one of the elements which I appreciated the most of their last LP is that the bluesy rock elements are nowadays relegated to a secondary role and what you get in most of the album is a straight and fierce attack of genuine stoner, without any esitation or vacillations. The band really decided this time to ride with the accelerator pedal always pressed to the bottom, and the rare ballads that appear sporadically among the songs are short and concise breaths of fresh air rather than a signal of a more general slowing down of the machine. It’s nice when an historical band manages to keep the quality of its productions so high across the years. And it’s even better when the same band manages to surprise you with one of the most effective and direct works of their entire production.

The Wolf Bites Back can be listened on Spotify.


 

#3) Weedpecker, “III”

 

Weedpecker 1 - 1300
Weedpecker is stoner, psychedelic, and grunge band active since 2012. Weedpecker was formed in Warsaw , Poland, by the two brothers Wyro and Bartek (both playing guitars and vocals), and the line-up is nowadays completed by Karol Melak (bass) and Piotr Kuks (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.

There are many different influences in their sound but these guys from Warsav still managed to maintain a unique style and direction in 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, colorful jams that remind the listener of 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.

The new album by Weedpecker is available on Bandcamp and Spotify.


 

#4) ASG, “Survive Sunrise”

 

ASG 1300
ASG is a psychedelic stoner band from Wilmington, North Carolina, in the United States of America. The line-up consists of Jonah Citty (guitars), Jason Shi (guitars and vocals), Andy Ellis (bass), and Scott Key (drums).

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 and first new album in five years, provides the listener with another fine selection of psychedelic stoner rock. Most of the songs of this album have slow rhythms and the music conveys 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 collected during your journey, 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 not very prolific, has always managed to leave its mark in the stoner world with every new work. Perhaps the stylistic choice to contain the energy and to prefer the most introspective aspects of stoner rock will not make them achieve mainstream success, but their road is now signed and these guys do not seem willing to negotiate popularity with their unique and special vision of rock music.

The album is available on Bandcamp and it can be also streamed from Spotify.


 

#5) Akula, “Akula”

 

Akula - 1300
Akula, from Columbus, Ohio, in the United States of America, consists of Jeff Martin (vocals), Sergei Parfenov (guitars), Scott Hyatt (Bass) and Ronnie Miller (drums).

It’s not easy to find many details about Akula, this new band from Ohio, in the U.S., which dropped an intriguing album of psychedelic rock mixed with sludge, doom and post-metal. The material included in their homonymous debut LP is extremely interesting and provide the listener with an absolutely innovative approach to this kind of music. Some elements of their songs, such as the clean vocal sections, are absolutely brilliant and in some moments create a very special contrast with the hardness of the guitars. The album consists of only 4 tracks – very long – and it’s basically divided in two sections: a radio-friendly first half with the most accessible music, and a more experimental second part where the band plays with more articulated rhythms and more dissonant and atmospheric sounds.

The album is available on Bandcamp and Spotify.


 

#6) Fu Manchu, “Clone of the Universe”

 

Fu Manchu 2018 - 1300
Fu Manchu is an American stoner rock band formed in Southern California, U.S.A., in 1985. Their current line-up has been somehow stable over the last fifteen years and consists of Scott Hill (guitar and vocals), Brad Davis (bass and vocals), Bob Balch (guitar) and Scott Reeder (drums and vocals).

Fu Manchu are one of the most famous and appreciated bands in stoner rock and, as such, every new release from them is awaited by fans with great trepidation. They also managed to become one of those groups that can be recognized after only a few seconds of listening thanks to the particularity (and the beauty) of their sound and also the unique voice of Scott Hill.

Unfortunately, however, the years pass for everyone and with their recent album Clone of the Universe, this iconic quartet begins to show some signs of regression. More than 30 years have passed since the foundation of the band and that magical fluid that until today made all their songs to be vivid and fresh seems to be in short supply. It is no coincidence, then, that in this last LP these legends from Southern California seem to play with the brakes pulled, favoring the sounds and the atmospheric aspects of their music rather than that immediacy and spontaneity we were used to find in their songs.

There are still very good moments in the LP and also some clear signals from the band to accept new challenges and take new paths, as can be seen from the track “Il Mostro Atomico” (yes, in Italian) which is an epic 19-minutes tracks that reiterates almost indefinitely the same riff.

 

Clone of the Universe is available on Bandcamp and Spotify.


 

#7) King Buffalo, “Repeater”

 

King-Buffalo-1300
King Buffalo is a psychedelic trio from Rochester, New York, in the United States of America. The line-up consists of Sean McVay (guitar, vocals & synth), Dan Reynolds (bass & synth) and Scott Donaldson (drums & percussions).

King Buffalo is a trio of extremely talended psychedelic rockers from New York, in the U.S. Three years after their formation in 2013 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 in some way may be seen as an extension of the previous album. The title track, in particular, is an hypnotic and psychic anthem which grows along 13 minutes of pure musical beauty.

The album is available on Bandcamp and can be streamed also from Spotify.


 

#8) Monster Magnet, “Mindfuckers”

 

Monster Magnet 1300
Monster Magnet is an American stoner and hard rock band from New Jersey, in the United States of America. The line-up which recorded their new LP is the same of their previous record and consists of Dave Wyndorf (the only remaining founders of the band, playing vocals and rhythm guitar), Phil Caivano (rhythm and lead guitar), Bob Pantella (drums), Garrett Sweeny (lead guitar), Chris Kosnik (bass guitar)

Monster Magnet are considered among the most important and influential bands for stoner rock (the “Godfathers of Stoner” as I’ve recently read on a magazine) and indeed through their numerous publications and vigorous live performances they have really cemented their status of one of the most legendary groups in the contemporary rock universe.

Given this premises it’s easily understandable that Dave Wyndorf and his bandmates don’t feel any urge to follow the trends or to force their music to sound “modern” and catchy. As a matter of fact, their name is in itself a guarantee of quality and their fans already know what to expect when a new record from Monster Magnet arrives on the shelves.

Mindfucker is their eleventh album and, as expected, the record continues to move along the same road that has been traveled so many times by the band, with no major changes in their typical sound if not for the fact that in many parts of the LP we feel a stronger aspiration to reach the real essence of rock and roll: smooth riffs, fiercy rhythms, powerful and stunning guitars. This is pure and simple retro-rock, and the stoner elements in many songs leave the field to a more basic “hard rock” style.

The album is basically an excellent collection of new songs from a band that doesn’t want to make any surprise, they just try to improve every time what they can do best, and they actually do it. For many fans of the band, in fact, Mindfucker has all the characteristics and the potential to become a classic in the band’s discography. From such a legendary formation, however, one could also expect sometimes to see them exploring new directions, not  because of larger consensus but simply to enrich the journey, so interesting and full of inspirations, that they started now thirty years ago.

The album can be streamed on Spotify.


 

#9) Yellow Dust, “Slodge”

 

yellow dust 1300.jpg
Yellow Dust is a stoner and sludge band from Leipzig, Germany.

Yellow Dust is a German stoner band and Slodge is their new album, released in January 2018. The album sees the band engaged ith both the sound and dynamics of stoner rock and the slower and more abrasive sounds of sludge metal. In all honesty I can say that in the first case (i.e. with the stoner songs) the results are undoubtedly better. The sludge tracks in fact do not take any particular advantage from the raw and low-fi production of the album, and they don’t show neither any particularly exciting idea that can sustain and valorise the longer and relatively psychedelic songs that complete the record.

Anyway, the album is a good step forward with respect to the band’s debut LP and brings the signs of a raw talent that could give us great surprises for the years to come.

Slodge is available on Bandcamp, where it can also downloaded for free.


 

#10) Black Moth, “Anatomical Venus”

 

Black moth new 1300.jpg
Black Moth is a stoner doom and rock formation from Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Active since 2010, the band today features Harriet Bevan (vocals), Federica Gialanze (guitars), Jim Swainston (lead guitar). Dave Vachon (bass) and Dominic McCready (drums).

Black Moth, from England, is a band which is trying to find their own way into the stoner genre through the integration iof elements from psychedelic rock and doom into their music. Anatomical Venus, their last LP, brings a bunch of good ideas and a number of interesting deviations from the canons of the genre. The album, however, doesn’t always manage to match the expectations that were raised from their previous releases.

Black Moth’s music is characterized by the nice insertion of interesting and “cinematic” pieces as well as many psychedelic and doom elements. Anatomical Venus is also enriched by one of the most fantastic female voices of the modern rock panorama.

The new album by Black Moth can be streamed from 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!

 


 

 

BEST OF STONER IN 2018, the top albums so far (March 2018)

I love stoner music, at this point it should be clear to all the readers of this blog. It is a passion that stays with me since I was a teenager and this music, in some way, brings me back to that exciting phase of my life. But it is not only nostalgia, of course, there are the impressive sounds, the desert atmospheres, the exciting riffs and, very often, some of the most beautiful voices we can find in a rock band.

As a long time follower of stoner music I can tell that the musical production in this case is anything but uniform and regular: there are peaks in which two or three albums of absolute value arrive to the shelves and then, sometimes, absolute silence for long months. The first part of the year, fortunately for us, belonged to the first category and in particular we had the opportunity to listen to one specific work, Sundrifter‘s Visitations, which immediately entered the prestigious club of the Best New Music. Let’s see now the complete group of stoner publications of the first months of 2018.

When you’ll read my comments on these four albums you may notice that these are not always enthusiastic despite the fact that I’m collecting here the “best records” of this period. As far as stoner is concerned, my standards are extremely high and I’m generally not satisfied with a couple of good tracks per record. In the end, however, these remain valid and interesting albums and you will get your own opinion when listening to the songs that are proposed below.

This chart reports the best albums for the first part of the year. Everyone who landed here via a search engine could be interesed in having a look to the stoner section of the blog, you can check by yourself if there are more recent updates. Enjoy!

 


 

#1) VISITATIONS by Sundrifter

sundrifter singer 1300
Craig Peura, singer and vocalist of Sundrifter, a three piece stoner rock band from Boston, in the United States. VISITATIONS is the band second album and was released in February 2018.

I already mentioned that VISITATIONS, by Sundrifter, is by far the best stoner album of the year so far. In this LP the band from Boston shows an impressive capacity to blend together classic stoner music with elements from psychedelic and space rock. The development of the songs, in most of the cases, is that typical of stoner music: an initial riff of guitar, loud and rhythmic, on which are added an opulent bass and an essential – but still warm – rhythmic session. On top of that we enjoy the fantastic voice of Craig Peura, who’s is in effect one of the winning elements of this album and perhaps the real element of differentiation from the many other stoner bands that we have today. The full review of the album is available here.


 

#2) CLONE OF THE UNIVERSE by Fu Manchu

Fu Manchu 2018 - 1300
Fu Manchu, the legendary band formed in Southern California in 1985. Clone of the Universe is the twelfth album in their long and exciting discography.

Fu Manchu are one of the most famous and appreciated bands in stoner rock and, as such, every new release from them is awaited by fans with great trepidation. They also managed to become one of those groups that can be recognized after only a few seconds of listening thanks to the particularity (and the beauty) of their sound and, in particular, of the unique voice of Scott Hill. Unfortunately, however, the years pass for everyone and with their recent album Clone of the Universe, this iconic quartet begins to show some signs of regression. More than 30 years have passed since the foundation of the band and that magical fluid that until today made all their songs to be vivid and fresh seems to be in short supply. It is no coincidence, then, that in this last LP these legends from Southern California seem to play with the brakes pulled, favoring the sounds and the atmospheric aspects of their music rather than that immediacy and spontaneity we were used to find in their songs. There are still very good moments in the LP but, unfortunately, we also cope with less exciting and excessively slow and conceptual tracks, like an epic but somehow questionable track of almost 19 minutes that reiterates almost indefinitely the same riff.


 

#3) SLODGE by Yellow Dust

yellow dust 1300.jpg
Slodge is the second LP released by Yellow Dust, an interesting stoner and sludge band from Leipzig, in Germany.

Yellow Dust is a German stoner band and Slodge is their new album, released in January 2018. The album sees the band engaged ith both the sound and dynamics of stoner rock and the slower and more abrasive sounds of sludge metal. In all honesty I can say that in the first case (i.e. with the stoner songs) the results are undoubtedly better. The sludge tracks in fact do not take any particular advantage from the raw and low-fi production of the album, and they don’t show neither any particularly exciting idea that can sustain and valorise the longer and relatively psychedelic songs that complete the record. Anyway, the album is a good step forward with respect to the band’s debut LP and brings the signs of a raw talent that could give us great surprises for the years to come.


 

#4) ANATOMICAL VENUS by Black Moth

black moth 1300.jpg
Black Moth is a stoner band from Leeds, in England, and Anatomical Venus is their third album to date.

Black Moth, from England, is a band which is trying to find their own way into the stoner genre through the integration iof elements from psychedelic rock and doom into their music. Anatomical Venus, their last LP, brings a bunch of good ideas and a number of interesting deviations from the canons of the genre. The album, however, doesn’t manage to be always exciting and thrilling in all of the songs and when compared to their previous LPs we can feel that their creativity seems to have reached a stasis point. Although there are still some interesting and “cinematic” pieces, the problem with this record is that the loss of ferocity and aggression generated by the insertion of psychedelic and doom elements is not compensated, in the end, by an equal level of creative inspiration. The approach taken by these musicians, whose music is also enriched by one of the most fantastic female voices of the current years, remains thus interesting and intriguing, but this new step in their career is not at the same level of their first two records.


 

If you enjoyed this post, have a look at the following:

 


 

 

SIDEWINDING, a Stoner / Sludge Compilation

 

Sidewinding is a type of locomotion used by snakes to move across loose or slippery substrates such as desert sands. The method of movement is derived from lateral undulation and it’s accomplished by simply lifting all the segments with the same slope off the ground. In the resultant movement, the head of the snake seems to be “thrown” forward, and the body follows, being lifted from the prior position and moved forward to lie on the ground ahead of where it was originally. Meanwhile, the head is being thrown forward again.

 


Inspired by the song Targeted included in the recent LP by Sundrifter, I’ve crafted a new mixtape with the objective of maintaining the atmospheres, the rhythms and the sounds of the starting piece. I have selected some of the most beautiful stoner and sludge songs of the last few years, focusing on those featuring dark tones and psychedelic flashes. The result is now a mix of 40 minutes that transpire the smell and the restlness of the desert, a place where the spirit is driven to fly away without control but where you have to keep your eyes open and look around for the dangerous bite of the snake and the other wild beasts that may be around.

The tracklist of the mixtape starts with Targeted by Sundrifter, the stoner band from Boston which recently entered our prestigious club of the Best New MusicVisitations, their second full-length album, draws heavily in that inexhaustible source of inspiration that is given by the first couple of albums from Kyuss, but features a number of characteristic features which make their music absolutely solid and unique.

Sundrifter - the band - 1300
Sundrifter, from Boston (U.S.A.). The band has released in February an excellent album of pure stoner and desert rock

 

Among the newest tracks that are featured in the mix we may listen to Lethe from the recent long EP Andromeda by American progressive rockers Undercover Rabbis, and Nowhere Left to Hide, one of the many slow tracks that are included in the brand new LP by stoner legends Fu Manchu.

undercover-rabbis 1300
Undercover Rabbis, a progressive / psychedelic rock band from the U.S.A. The trio has released on early January the long EP / slow LP “Andromeda”

Fu Manchu 2018 - 1300
American legendary stoner rock band Fu Manchu has just published the new album “Clone of the Universe”, which is the twelfth of their long discography

 

Earlier this year we already introduced King Buffalo and their interesting new EP Repeater, which presents a beautiful mix of psychedelic rock with blues, stoner and sludge. The title track of the EP was featured in the mixtape PSYCHOROCK, while here we may enjoy the track called Too Little Too Late.

King-Buffalo-1300
American Rock band King Buffalo. The band has published ijn 2018 a new EP after the debut full-lenght “Orion”.

 

The mix is completed with tracks from three important albums that were released in the last few years: the excellent Slow Forever, published in 2016 by American sludge duo CobaltMidnight Cometh, the most recent LP from the psychedelic doom and stoner rock band Wo Fat, from Texas, and Tao of the Devil, which is the last studio LP from American rocker multi-instrumentalis Brant Bjork, who’s best known as the drummer and founder of the influential Californian stoner rock band Kyuss.

cobalt 1300
Cobalt, from Colorado, U.S.A. The duo released in 2016 one of the best sludge albums of all the time, “Slow Forever”

wo fat 1300
Wo Fat, from Texas, U.S.A. The latest album from the band is “Midnight Cometh”, released in 2016. 

brant bjork 1300
Brant Bjork, the former drummer of stoner legendary band Kyuss and now involved in an interesting solo career


 

If you enjoyed the mixtape, you may want to get additional information about THE TEN BEST STONER ALBUMS OF 2017 and THE TEN BEST SLUDGE ALBUMS OF 2017.

 


 

 

Best New Music: VISITATIONS by Sundrifter

 

Occasionally it may happen that you start listening to an album and suddenly, because of something you heard in the music, you find yourself projected back to the past. Many years ago, when I was a teenager or something close to it, I used to go around with my friends driving my half-broken car with the stereo playing – loudly – the songs of Kyuss, Tool, Korn, and many other masters of metal. A few weeks ago, just a few minutes after I launched in my player the new record by Sundrifter, it seemed to me to be back at that specific point in time.

Sundrifter - the band - 1300
Sundrifter, from Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Sundrifter is a three piece stoner rock band from Boston, in the United States. Visitations, their second full-length album, makes no effort to conceal the origins of the sound of the band, which draws heavily in that inexhaustible source of inspiration that is given by the first couple of albums from Kyuss. But even where the imitation goes so far as to almost plagiarize the original (please listen to the beginning of the third track, Lightworker, just to get an idea) these guys still managed to put in their music so many elements of innovation that in the end they’re actually playing their own and unique version of stoner. And this album succeeds in being together a celebration of the great masters of the past and an absolutely valid and original piece of work.

 

Among the elements that make the music of this group so special there is for sure the fantastic and hypnotic voice of Craig Peura, the singer and guitarist of the band. Peura’s singing style is truly fascinating, he’s gifted with a voice that appears absolutely free from any roughness, and capable to span with great naturalness between dark registers and more acute leaps, but always without any exaggeration and always at the service of the different moods of the songs. I want to be honest: it was really a long time since I came across to a singer that was able to get me so excited with his voice and also capable to bring interest and profundity to almost every song he plays.

sundrifter singer 1300
Craig Peura, singer and guitarist of Sundrifter

From a musical point of view, the band shows an impressive capacity to blend together  classic stoner music with elements from psychedelic rock and space rock. The development of the songs, in most of the cases, is that typical of stoner music: an initial riff of guitar, loud and rhythmic, on which are added to follow an opulent bass and an essential – but still warm – rhythmic session. On top of that, as I already said, the fantastic voice of Craig Peura, which is in effect the winning element of this album and perhaps the real element of differentiation from the many other stoner bands we have today.

Another interesting feature of Visitations is that the 9 tracks of the LP seem as interconnected elements of a single majestic and epic rock opera. The individual songs are good and solid when we listen to them separately, but they manage to produce even a stronger effect when they arrive one after the other. And the fact to have an album that’s not composed by a few quality tracks and lots of gap fillers, as it is often the case with modern music, is in itself a noteworthy result.

In summary: Visitations is a really valid LP from a band which managed to fuse together the celebration and the homage to the legacy of stoner rock with a number of characteristic features which make their music absolutely solid and unique.

The album was released on February 6th, 2018.


 

The Most Popular Mixtapes of 2017

As per today, the number of mixtapes that were published on the blog during 2017 settles just above 80, which makes an average of a new playlist every 4 or 5 days. Among these mixtapes, some of them became particularly appreciated by the readers of the blog and I’m collecting here the most popular compiliations for you to enjoy them once again. And stay tuned because a final bunch of compilations are expected in the coming days to celebrate the best music of the year!

And remember that there are many free on-line services that you can use to download these mixes and listen them off-line. Just make a search on your search engine and you’ll be provided with many alternatives.


 

Guitar Jazz, when the magic travels on six strings

Featuring Ferenc SnetbergerRalph TownerJakob Bro, John Abercrombie (R.I.P.) and Mary Halvorson.


 

Best of Piano Jazz in 2017

Featuring Tigran HamasyanMEM3Colin VallonNote ForgetOmer KleinJan LundgrenOmar SosaAdrien Chicot and Cameron Graves.


 

SKYRIM BELONGS TO THE NORDS – An Epic Metal Compilation

Featuring Jeremy SouleNightwishAmorphisMyrathOrphaned LandTherionTYRSerious BlackArthemisBattle Beast and Lacuna Coil.


 

KINGS OF THE ROAD – Music for Stoners

Featuring As They ComeCairo Knife FightMastodonSasquatchBang BangalowKadavarCortez and All Them Witches.


 

Drops of Ancient Melodies – Classical Inspired Modern Contemporary Jazz

Featuring Benedikt JahnelGwilym SimcockMichael WollnyNote ForgetIiro Rantala and Aaron Goldberg.


 

 

Best New Music: FORCE FIELD by The Atomic Bitchwax

THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX resized

One of the last major stoner publications to be released this year, Force Field by American supergroup The Atomic Bitchwax is immediately noted as one of the most powerful records of 2017. Always linked by a particular relationship with the stoner legends Monster Magnet –  a band with which they have always shared some of the main members of the line-up – this rock project founded by Chris Kosnik almost 25 years ago has always been characterized by an absolute quality in music 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 impenetrable riffs, an element that has always been one of the main characteristics of their works. And continuing along this stoner ride without leaving the accelerator pedal if only for a few moments – we will soon arrive, in little more than 35 minutes, at the conclusion of this umpteenth masterpiece in the band’s discography. To all effects this is a pure and furious musical assault, but played with a precision and a level of effectiveness that are quite uniqe in modern stoner. And somehow, precisely because of this stylistic coherence among most of the twelve songs of the LP, this work seems really to continue the path already started with the previous album.

In an age where every band seems to battle for the longest song average, and brevity is the soul of last century, The Atomic Bitchwax go refreshingly against the stream. Their mission is simple: rock out, rock hard and rock fucking fast. Force Field is a barreling barrel of fun, unpretentious stoner rock complete with ludicrous guitars and strong vocals (Angry Metal Guy)

The album was released on December 8th, 2017, via Tee Pee Records.

Recommended tracks: Shocker, CrazyHippie Speedball, Shell of a Man.