Jawless are a heavy rock / stoner /doom band from Bandung, Indonesia. Their debut album, ‘Warrizer’ was self released in February 2022 via Bandcamp.
‘Warrizer’ is the central character to the eight songs on this album, the lyrics throughout reflecting the troubled situation he perceives his life and indeed the world to be in.
Musically, ‘Warrizer‘ gets off to a storming start with ‘G.O.D.’Jawless are most definitely channeling their inner Black Sabbath on this one! It’s an epic track of almost eight minutes length, typically doom laden for the first half, then exploding into a frenzied second period. The vocals are pretty distinct too,sounding quite unfiltered and totally ‘live.’ By that I mean they have the resonance of a stage performance, and I can easily imagine this having been a band from the early ’70s belting the song out from a big Festival stage.
‘War Is Come’ is again down the mid-tempo route with big, stomping riffs and pounding drums. ‘Dark Muzzling‘ is the longest track, spanning almost eight minutes. It’s more of the same, really – atmospheric and heavy, with a lighter, final minute ‘outro.’
‘Deceptive Events’ starts out a little quieter but soon develops dark undertones. There is a danger here that for the first half of the six minutes duration, it becomes just an extension oft the two preceding tracks, but fortunately the pace picks up in the second stanza.
‘Bad Excursion‘ is one of my favourite tracks This may be because it has a bit of a ’70s vibe to it, with short, snappy guitar riffs and a more upbeat tempo. ‘Metaphorical Speech‘ is again more of a ‘rocker’ and, I think, what Jawless do best.
‘Restrained‘ continues the pace, with a slower mid-section that soon rises again for the final two minutes. Final track ‘The Throne of Tramp‘ sees a return to the Sabbath-esque doom heavy, head nod inducing sound.
All in all, while ‘Warrizer’ may not be exactly ground-breaking in its substance, it is an entertaining fifty minutes, with a good mix of doom inspired and plain, good, old fashioned heavy rock.
For the best part of fifty-two minutes, the power and maelstrom that is Man In The Woods raged around me. Yes, their new album, ‘Badlands ‘ runs to around fifty-two minutes – that’s a lot of bang for your buck, and I do mean ‘BANG.’
Formed in 2016, this four-piece heavy rock band from Isle of Man released their debut EP, ‘Badlands Part 1‘ in 2018. This consisted four tracks: ‘Icarus Landing‘; ‘Speedeater‘; ‘Toxicology,’ and ‘Angel of Gasoline.’
The intention was to write more tracks that would fit the narrative and release ‘Part 2’ at a later date. But of course, The World took a bit of a wrong turning and, well …
So now, with the additional five tracks written and recorded, the decision was taken to release both parts as one complete tale. Hence the longer than normal length of the new album.
In a sense, it was darkly ironic the pandemic and ensuing worldwide lockdown should delay the project. For the inspiration behind the music of Man In The Woods, is one of desolation; of depopulation; annihilation.
I hate to use the description ‘concept album’ because I think that may create an errant perception, but it is certainly ‘themed’ around the inspiration. in their own words:
” … the album looks at the apocalypse which starts with an alien invasion documented in ‘Signals, Saucers and Satellites.’ The album is not in order of events and we chose to order the tracks in regards to the sound rather than the story. In a way we have ended up with a Pulp Fiction, Citizen Kane narrative setup where sections of the story are not in order. But both those films and the concept is quite cool.
“So once the world has been pretty much depopulated by the invasion we look at individual stories within the same universe that don’t all link into one another but set a scene. If you imagine piecing together lots of letters written during WW1 in order to build up a picture of what people experienced, ‘Badlands’ does a similar thing. ‘Trenchfoot‘ is about the soldiers going to war; ‘Iron Strider‘ is about a lone vigilante type character, like Mad Max, who seeks revenge; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is about a priest who sacrifices himself after he believes God has left him. Over all each story hopefully leaves you feeling like it’s a shit environment to live.“
Musically, Man In The Woods have been tagged with just about every ‘heavy’ music related hashtag: ‘stoner,’ ‘doom,’ ‘psych,’ ‘rock,’ ‘desert rock,’ ‘sludge,’ …. it doesn’t really matter. I’ll probably do the same at the end of this piece! Truth is, ‘Badlands‘ really encapsulates them all at various points.
In a nutshell, the music throughout is typified by Marc’s gruff, rasping and growled vocals laying over the top of a heavy and, yes, at times, doom-laden bass line. Christian’s pounding a crushing drums permeate every track, while James and David provide the powerful guitar riffs that drive, rhythm and share some intricate solos.
Album opener is ‘Icarus Landing.‘
‘Speedeater,’ to me sounds a bit like a sped-up ‘stoner’ track, if that makes any sense. ‘The Abduction of Barney Hill‘ follows. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Here’s why:
‘Philosorapture’ maintains the intensity and pace with a buzzing guitar riff, while ‘Toxicology,‘ slows things down a little as the mood seems to darken with more of a rumbling backing. ‘Trenchfoot‘ as you imagine with it being about soldiers being called to war, is angry and totally psyched up; ‘Angel of Gasoline‘ is the shortest, and I believe, the first song the band wrote together. It’s pretty straight up heavy rock, and rages from start to finish.
I’ve so far omitted tracks #5 and # 9. These are the two longest on the album. The former, ‘Iron Strider,’ breaches the ten minute mark, while closer ‘Signals, Saucers, Satellites‘ is only about thirty seconds shy of that.
I did initially wonder about having such lengthy tracks on an album of this overall duration. I needn’t have worried – they are my two favourites of the nine! (‘Iron Strider‘ just shades it, actually.)
Both, to the musically untrained ear at least,follow pretty much the same structure: with slow builds moving to heavy, steady paced mid sections, before picking up pace, bigger riffs and searing guitar towards the final two / three minutes.
I know – I say this just about every week – I’m so fickle. I’m a short-arse with even shorter attention span, but if there’s a band out there right now likely to grab my focus and lock it in a strangle-hold, then it’s Psychlona.
Formed in Bradford, England seven years ago, this is a band whose career is most definitely on a steeply upward trajectory. With two full length releases under their belt, I really don’t know how I’ve failed to hit upon their music before.
Psychlona are billed as a ‘stoner’ band, but that doesn’t do them proper justice. They have so much more in their locker. For instance, ‘Blast Off’ as you can hear, leans more to a ‘space rock’ vibe, with, I think shades of krautrock peeking through.
This track is taken from the band’s second album, ‘Venus Skytrip‘ which was released on Ripple Music / Cursed Tongue Records in 2020. On the same LP, there is the growling doom riffs on ‘10,000 volts’ and album closer, ‘The Owl’; the chugging, driving, heavy rock and infectious chorus of ‘Blow,‘ and the simple out-and-out rocker that I could envisage Motorhead playing – ‘Star.‘
And then there’s this, which just about covers all bases!
What initially attracted me to the music of Psychlona was this ability to meld various sub-genres of music, not only onto one LP, but at times within individual songs. On their debut album, ‘Mojo Rising‘ from 2018, opener ‘Stone‘ is pretty doom laden, but it also rocks along big time, mid-section. The following track though, ‘Ride‘ is much faster paced and believe it or not actually reminded me of The Damned and ‘Neat Neat Neat‘ with the throbbing bass line and vocals at the start of each verse. ( I know – I live in my own wee world sometimes.)
This though is what I’m getting at – Psychlona are not simply a ‘stoner’ band. Well,, they are … but you know what I mean. Their ability to move effortlessly between space rock, stoner, heavy rock and desert rock is certainly to be admired.
Now, having recently signed with Las Vegas label Psycho Waxx, the in-house label for the famous Psycho Las Vegas festival, Psychlona are set to embark upon a U.S. tour with other scene luminaries: Church of the Cosmic Skull; Black Box Revelation and Lord Buffalo. Dates include shows in Oakland; West Hollywood; Costa Mesa; Phoenix; San Diego, and winding up at the aforementioned festival in Las Vegas.
More! They have a new album due for release on August 19th. ‘Palo Verde‘ is their third album, and though I was fortunate enough to pre-order one of the remaining four from seven hundred Limited Edition vinyl copies, I have only yet heard the excellent ‘1975‘ which plays at the top of this post.
You know that feeling as a kid on the run-up to Christmas, or your birthday? Sometimes it never leaves you. Roll on August 19th!
I didn’t realise until now just how much the psych scene of Toronto has shaped my record collection!
Some time ago, in an earlier incarnation of Loud Horizon, I received a promo copy of and album by Canadian band Quest for Fire. I loved it, and played it more for pleasure than I did for review purposes.
A few years later, I came across an album by Nordic Nomadic. Reading the album’s sleeve notes, I noted this was side project of Quest for Fire‘s guitarist, Chad Ross, and so shelled out for a vinyl copy.
Turns out Chad produces a lot of music I like, because he later, and still does, play guitar in Toronto based psych band, Comet Control, along with fellow ex-Quest for Fire member, Andrew Moszynski.
(As an aside,Comet Control‘s drummer was at some point, Jay Anderson, also of Stonegrass and Lammping fame, albums of both which are in my collection.Toronto definitely rocks!)
And it’s this seemingly eternal connection that has led to Chad Ross’s latest project.
Initially intended as another solo acoustic project, the new album ‘Skull Creator‘ morphed into something a bit more substantial when Chad was approached with offers of involvement by Joshua Wells (drummer with Vancouver band Destroyer); Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell and Aaron Goldstein renowned and revered exponent of the pedal-steel guitar.
“I had it in my head that I was gonna make an acoustic record, with the sole purpose of making fun of myself, reflecting on a few of my past wasted lives and just generally taking the singer/songwriter thing out with the trash. The lyrics all made me laugh at one point, but when Josh and Isaiah got involved, things got elevated…. as they tend to do with musicians like that.”
The resultant eight tracks of folk-psych are a spellbinding mix of the music that connects the three of Chad’s bands / projects mentioned earlier.
Remember Venn Diagrams from our schooldays? I’ll not attempt to draw one here as I failed my Maths Higher twice and would surely get it all wrong! But think of three overlapping circles, one entitled Quest for Fire, one, Nordic Nomadic and the other, Comet Control.
‘Skull Creator‘ falls into that part shared by all three circles. The biggest contributor to that area would be Nordic Nomadic, the smallest, Comet Control.
(Is that possible, or am I still crap at Maths?)
Generally speaking, it’s a fairly downtempo album, with some tracks rising and soaring in intensity. Opener ‘Buzzin in the Bush‘ has a warm, desert-rock feel about it, while ‘Takin a Dip’ is quieter, more acoustic based with a pronounced bass-line and a lovely, harmonious and catchy chorus.
Third in is ‘Wrong Side of the Sky.’ It goes like this:
The title track lines up fourth in the order. As you’d likely expect ‘Skull Creator,‘ is a bit darker that the preceding songs, but retains a haunting warmth. If my memory serves me right, it reminds me a bit of the band Sleepy Sun from some years back.
‘The Stranger‘ has a gentle refrain, backed by an unobtrusive string section. This one quietly just seeps into your subconscious. My favourite (I think – I have changed a couple of times!) is ‘On Golden Pond.‘ I can just imagine the steam rising from a swamp-like pond as the sun starts to set. It’s another track with a lovely warmth to it, Chad’s hushed vocals sounding the perfect accompaniment.
(I cannot think of a band more polar opposite to C.Ross than Oasis, but I do hear little echoes of ‘Champagne Supernova‘ in parts. Sorry if that offends anyone – it’s just an observation. And not a bad reflection by any means.)
Of the final two tracks, ‘Way Too Nice‘ is the ‘heavier’ and more psych-rock as I like it, while ‘Tracks in the Snow‘ brings the album to a bit of a downbeat climax. I’m just not sure about this being right for the ‘closer’ but hey! What do I know?
‘Skull Creator‘ definitely sits more on the ‘folk’ side of the Psych Rock fence, but within that, there’s plenty variation to explore and with musicians the pedigree of those involved, then it has to be a winner!
** ‘Skull Creator’ can be bought through Bandcamp and streamed through various streaming services.**
During the early years of Loud Horizon, while I was also writing for Artrocker Magazine, I was lucky enough to go to a couple of gigs a week. Normally I’d be seeking bands to write about – bands playing ‘downstairs’ in the bars and art spaces in Glasgow.
There were a host of smaller venues favoured by a committed group of local promoters who, contrary to the perceptions of some, were truly in the business for the music. I would know whose shows would be worth heading out for, because of the reputation they had for booking exciting and raucous bands.
Bands like southside Glasgow’s, The Kidney Flowers would have been exactly what I was looking for.
Though they’ve been recording since 2016, and presumably playing way before then, I’m surprised I never saw them ‘live.’ I sure wish I had.
The three-piece (Grant – vocals; Abigail – drums; Grant aka TOG ‘the other Grant’ – bass) make one heck of a racket! Straight-up, in yer face, garage punk of the highest order. Their music is fast and frantic – riff heavy with thumping beats and pounding bass lines. Grant’s shouty / spoken vocal delivery is a perfect fit and reminds me a bit of Cuddly Shark who also based themselves in this parish around the mid-noughties. And a mighty fine band the were too.
The Kidney Flowers have just returned from a short (their first) UK tour. They covered venues around London, Guildford, Eastbourne, Bath and Manchester where they had enthusiastic and glowing reaction from the punters who rocked out with them.
They have also just released a ‘live’ six-track EP of this performance, recorded at Glasgow’s Bloc+ which can be purchased through their Bandcamp page – money well spent if you ask me. Check it out / buy it here.
All right, I confess I know ‘jack’ about this band other than they kick serious ass. This could be a pretty short feature!
I stumbled across Froggy & The Ringes on Bandcamp and instantly felt compelled to help spread the word. When their new full length release ‘Ringe Rock Pond Scum’ appeared on the player, little did I realise the artwork was more an actual portrait of the band.
Yes – it apears the band do perform like this – hence not very much info is readily available. Indeed, their Discogs listing makes mention of the fact that they are a ‘mysterious UK garage punk band with several releases in unbelievable small quantities. No one ever bothered to put them in the discogs database. Five labels were needed to convince the band to release their first “major” release (300 copies) in November 2020.’
The natural reaction for some, would be to instantly condemn them to ‘novelty’ status. And let’s be honest it would cost a small fortune to hire a defence lawyer and successfully argue against that assertion, given the circumstantial evidence.
But wait! Check out the sounds! This is hardcore garage punk of the highest order – yeah even if it is a sort of ‘concept’ album based on pond life!
Growled vocals, most un-frog-like, rage over the old school, late ’70s punk driving bass and pounding drums. There’s also room for some whining, Stranglers-esque organ squeezed in amongst the chaos. It’s all so frantic. And wonderful!
I dare you not to tap your foot . Or at least nod your head.
‘Growin’ Grapes‘ opens with a sort of USA evangelist rant; ‘Tadpoles’ starts with the sound of gurgling water /tadpoles ‘talking,’ and ‘Fuck You, Kermit!’ contains the fantastically image inducing line “Oi! Oi! Ribbit! Ribbit! Oi! Oi! Ribbit! Ribbit!”
It’s just so silly, especially set against the anger of the ten songs on the album. It made me laugh, anyway.
But the bottom line for me is the music and energy. And in my book, if you can successfully combine genuinely excellent punk rock with a touch of humour, then you’re onto a winner!
Methinks these guys have been hiding their talent under a pond lily way too long.
I’m usually a bit reluctant to go out on a limb and make what inevitably turn out rash and ill considered predictions:
… my team will definitely win the league this season;
… this ‘music streaming’ thing will never catch on;
… Boris Johnson is telling the truth this time.
And here I go again, but I’m absolutely confident this time I won’t be left with egg on my face. You’re going to love Manchester six-piece band HONK. In fact, given time, I reckon they’ll become the new darlings of indie-based radio stations. And festivals.
As a token of my faith, I’ve even pre-ordered their forthcoming debut EP, ‘Grand Opening‘ which is due for release on 4th August. And this on the strength of of the only track so far made available, ‘Let the Dog See The Rabbit.’
Describing themselves as a ‘trash can country’ outfit they remind me in a way of a mix between Alabama 3, The Nude Party and Glasgow band, ‘Jacob Yates & The Pearly Gate Lockpickers.’ (Yeah, it is kinda difficult on the basis of only one song, I know.)
Honk recently played The Flying Duck venue here in Glasgow. This was one of my favourite ‘alternative’ bars, with much the same vibe as The Old Hairdressers, where some years ago an unknown band with a distinctive sound graced the stage – Fat White Family.
And they didn’t do too badly, did they?
I have a similar feeling in my water!
(I struggled to find much info on the band at this point, but will post an update once the EP has been fully released.)
On occasion, though, some bands and artists stand out even above the ‘good’ music. It’s hard to define, but some just have that extra ‘something.’
This Liverpool based, psychedelic rock band may have only released three tracks to date, but I’ll stick my neck out right now and predict you’ll hear a lot more of Cothel. With band members from United States, Mexico, Korea, Norway and England, there’s a lot of diverse influences being brought to bear in their music – and it seems to be working a treat.
Latest release, ‘And You Know’ is a slow burning, psych anthem with prog tendencies, moving through different moods and levels of intensity. This is not one to be judged from listening on your phone. It really should be belted out with the benefit of at least half decent speakers for the full effect. It’s also a ‘grower,’ so don’t be too quick to judge either. It has yet another different feel to the first two tracks released by the band last year, illustrating the band’s versatility.
‘When You’re Insanely High‘ was Cothel’s second release, in November 2021. It’s an eclectic mix of rock riffs and funky beats, delivered with spiky, punk attitude. Think along the lines of a heavier version of Adequate 7 from the early noughties, and you’ve got it.
This though, contrasts with the sneering vocal delivery and more grunge feel of their first release, ‘That Feeling You Get.’ I say ‘grunge’ but there’s more – there’s also a manic sixties, psychedelic sound to this. It’s like a swirling nightmare … in a good way of course.
I’ve been writing about new music in blog and magazine form, for a long while now … from back in the days when Artrocker was a fortnightly paper magazine – remember them? Actually, Loud Horizon even predates that (@ 2004) so as you can imagine, a lot of good music has crossed my desk.
On occasion, though, some bands and artists stand out even above the ‘good’ music. It’s hard to define, but some just have that extra ‘something.’
This Liverpool based, psychedelic rock band may have only released two tracks to date, but I’ll stick my neck out right now and predict you’ll hear a lot more of Cothel.
With band members from California, Mexico, Korea, and Norway and a sound tech guy from England, there’s a lot of diverse influences being brought to bear in their music – and it seems to be working a treat.
Their second, and current release, ‘When You’re Insanely High‘ is an eclectic mix of rock riffs and funky beats, delivered with spiky, punk attitude. Think along the lines of a heavier version of Adequate 7 from the early noughties, and you’ve got it.
This track though highlights the versatility of Cothel, contrasting with the sneering vocal delivery and more grunge feel of their first release, ‘That Feeling You Get.’ I say ‘grunge’ but there’s more – there’s also a manic sixties, psychedelic sound to this. It’s like a swirling nightmare … in a good way of course.
The band have planned two more singles in the new year, before releasing their debut album around April.
There’s not much else I can say about a band so early in their development, but you read it here first – watch out for Cothel in 2022. I’m certain I won’t be the only one singing their praises.
Aaron Stafford (USA): Guitar / Vocals Emiliano Del Toro (Mexico): Lead Guitar Lee Jaeyeuk (aka Jerry) (Korea): Bass Gurkirat Singh (Norway): Drums + Rob King (England): Sound tech
Empiires are a four-piece hard rock band, playing out of Dallas, Texas. Like many bands, they put their enforced pandemic lockdown time to good use and, unable to play live, they focused on releasing a couple of new tracks.
The latest is ‘Stronger‘ which pretty much typifies their style – big, chunky, crunching guitar riffs, strong, bold lead vocals with growled backing and loud, melodic, catchy choruses. Factor in short, snappy, searing guitar solos and a pounding rhythm section and ….. well, what’s not to like?
I know it’s been difficult for all bands these past eighteen months, but I do feel that now is the time for Empiires to match their music with their presence. I can find very little info about them out in the ether, and with a few well produced ‘singles’ behind them now, I’d like to see them doing a little more shouting about it! Why keep your light under a bushel?
As you’ll see, each of the song videos available are of the ‘lyric’ nature. Tied in with my point above, I’d love to see the band feature more in them. In fact, if I’m totally honest, especially with reference to the new song ‘Stronger‘ I think the song sounds ‘stronger’ when listened to without the video as it is.
This is not a criticism, just an observation. The band have the perfect image of a hard rocking band – why not let it help them grow their music?
Anyway – back to the music. They guys kick serious ass, so hopefully their enforced additional rehearsal / recording time will pay them due dividend in the months to come now that are back out on the road.
Music: Punk, Rock, Psych, 60s Garage, Blues, Reggae & Ska..