With what passes for rock and roll nowadays, who could really blame those that say the genre is dead or dying? But if you scratch just a little bit deeper, you’ll find there is a whole new generation of artists well versed in the finer points of classic rock, penning brand new messages in fifty year old ink. Greta Van Fleet may have garnered the lion’s share of hedgerow bustling from the mainstream, but there was a bumper crop of retro-leaning acts in 2018 proving there will always be plenty of room for bands that want to wrap themselves in velvets and party like it’s 1974. It was tough to whittle the whole year down to ten releases, and even tougher to rank them. But after countless hours of analysis, these are the best things I heard this year; if you don’t think they make ‘em like they used to, you need to check this shit out.
Business is damn sure picking up for Richmond, Virginia hesher riff-kings SATAN’S SATYRS. They’re gearing up for a North American tour with fellow Cavaliers WINDHAND that’ll take up most of October and November, and their sludgy, sleazy new album The Lucky Ones will see release October 19, courtesy of Bad Omen Records and RidingEasy. To whet your appetite and catch a little contact high before the whole slab drops, you can check out the second advance track from The Lucky Ones, the T.REX-in-a-Trans Am stomper “She Beast,” now streaming via YouTube.
Recorded nearly four decades ago at a Texas community college and unreleased until now, Spiny Normen is a raw but robust chunk of primo psych-prog, a skunky blend of hard rock and krautrock caked in a hallucinogenic patina. Rescued from collector’s-shelf obscurity by RidingEasy label head Daniel Hall and Permanent Records owner Lance Barresi for inclusion in their ongoing (and highly recommended) Brown Acid anthology series, it stands up both as a fascinating relic of its era and as a kick-ass rock and roll record that’s both of and ahead of its time.
‘Rust’, the third long-player from Sweden’s Monolord, is a mountain-sized monster of an album, a great, lumbering beast with a low heartrate and a horrifyingly bad disposition. The follow-up to 2015’s breakthrough ‘Vænir’ sees the band ascend into the upper pantheon of modern doom while maintaining and further honing a sense of melody that eludes most of their contemporaries. ‘Rust’ is an exquisitely crafted truncheon designed for maximum impact, a phaser set on ‘Infinite Crush’; it’s also a moody, dynamic, emotive piece of work that stands with the finest heavy music released this year.