Ain’t No Shame, the eagerly anticipated second full-length from Norwegian trio Friendship, should be classified as a mood-enhancing substance. The first time I heard it, it pulled me out of the kind of piss-poor headspace that can only come from five hours cooped up in a car with two cranky children and an more than exasperated spouse. I was actually a little nervous to hit play that first time, for fear that my mental and physical exhaustion might negatively color my feeling toward the material. But by the end of the Monkees-and-Cream-playing-Cheap Trick opener “Are You Ready,” I was grinning ear to ear. Somewhere in the middle of the jazzy delight “Harmony Turns to Sound,” my dopey grin turned to slack-jawed awe. And within three seconds of the stomping funk-rock romp “Fire,” I actually laughed out loud from the combination of amazement and joy. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face and a sense of contentment in my heart, and I have Fredrik Skalstad (drums & lead vocals), Martin Morland (bass), and Sander Eriksen Nordahl (guitar) (along with their litany of guest musicians) to thank for that. It brought me up when I was down, and there’s not too many higher accolades than that.
Ruben Romano has a rock and roll pedigree that can stand alongside the very best. As a founding member of both Fu ManchuandNebula (let that sink in for a second, why don’tcha?), Romano helped draw up the plans and build the framework that stoner rock hangs on to this very day. He’s spent the last decade-plus as frontman and guiding force for L.A. based psych-rockers The Freeks, piloting their trips-‘n’-riffs-fueled funny car further and further into the cosmic realm; their newest dispatch Crazy World (released via the ever-reliable Heavy Psych Sounds) is the sound of the band-in-residency at the Garage at the Edge of the Universe, a jubilantly strident “Fuck You” in the face of oblivion.
Octopus began life in Detroit in 2008, largely as a recording project between vocalist Masha Marjieh and former Electric Six guitarist J Frezzato. After adding keyboardist/studio wizard Adam Cox a year later, the band recorded a few singles and cycled through a few rhythm sections before firmly securing the pocket with ex-Big Chief bassist Matt O’Brien and Seduce/Universal Temple of Divine Power drummer Todd Glass in 2012. The years of experience and familiarity clearly show through on their spellbinding debut full-length Supernatural Alliance (Rise Above); this band is locked in tight, and these ten songs are honed sharp enough to slice. It’s a slab of heavy-hitting hard rock, spiked liberally with equal doses of sci-fi and psychedelia, the perfect soundtrack to an imaginary big-budget flick about outlaw bikers in outer space.
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.
Void Generator claim they were born ten million years ago by extending the diagonal of the quadrilateral
of Pegasus up to b- Sirrah. The band is comprised of Gianmarco Iantaffi – Guitar, Sonia Caporossi – Guitar, Enrico Cosimi – Synth and Devil’s machines, and Marco Cenci – Drums. Void Generator debuted their first release in in 2004 with a self-titled EP. Then in January 2006 came ‘We Have Found The Space’ which contained 10 unique tracks. The follow up to the debut full length would take the band 4 years to release, but in 2010 they released the EP ‘Phantom Hell And Soar Angelic’. Void Generator have a sound that isn’t easy to pinpoint to a specific genre. The band draws influences from a wide variety of different musical styles across a number of genres. Their sound ranges from heavy 1970’s blues and rock to indie British rock and also to psychedelic or stoner rock. Void Generator aren’t trying to be a carbon copy of anything else that is out there. They are creative to a point that it’s hard to describe. The bands remaining discography includes 2011’s ‘Collision’ EP, the album ‘Supersound’ in 2014, and now the band has released their latest material in the form of an EP. The EP titled ‘Prodromi’ contains 4 tracks of unique appeal and it was released on September 30, 2017.
Cosmic Wool is straight from the Heartland Of America, Oklahoma City to be exact. The band formed in 2013 by brothers Nevada (Guitars/Backing Vocals) and Rado Romo (Lead Vocals/Bass) who both are formerly of the band Anti Mortem and Nevada is currently the guitarist for Texas Hippie Coalition as well. The remaining members of the band are John “Drew” Williams (Guitar/Keyboards) who met the brothers through a mutual friend, and Tom Frizzell (Drums) who responded to an ad by the band seeking a drummer. The band initially like most bands do started out as a jam band. Cosmic Wool was something for the Romo brothers to do with their breaks between tours. With the dissipation of Anti Mortem in 2014 it freed up more time and Cosmic Wool was moved up as a priority. The band first released a 3 track EP ‘Over Your Eyes’. The band tested their sound with local Okalahoma crowds and they seemed to love the direction the band was going in. The next step was to step further out of their region and see if the country was ready for the comforting sounds of Cosmic Wool. In 2016 the band released another EP titled ‘White’. The band further developed their “cosmic” psychedelic sounds and intertwined amazing melodic choruses within their newer songs creating the sound they have today. Cosmic Wool spent the spring of 2015 to the summer of 2017 writing and reworking the songs that would make up their debut full length, working with Chainsaw Kittens guitarist Trent Bell perfecting the sound they were looking for. The band has stated “We met Trent through another producer we’re friends with named Dustin “Provo” Provenzano who did the first Cosmic Wool demos as well as the Anti Mortem demos. Bell Sound is a huge facility,” points out Rado Romo, “so we took full advantage of that and recorded most of the guitar, bass and drum tracks together in the same room. We also experimented with state of the art synths and keyboards to round things out.” The bands sound has been described as various things, space rock, desert rock, psychedelic rock, groove metal, but one thing is for certain; the band has moved out of the hard rock genre and created a sound that is uniquely theirs. The bands debut self titled full length was released on December 19, 2017 and is available at most online music merchandisers. Pick up a copy on Amazon here, or check it out on spotify.
Since their inception nearly two decades ago, Italian space sludge squadron Ufomammut have carved out a singular niche for themselves in the doom community. Unlike many groups who manage to get by on brute strength alone, Ufomammut’s pulverizing yet hypnotizing sound tends to crush with pressure rather than weight; it’s a black hole, massive, swirling, and distorting, that sucks listeners in and rips them apart on a molecular level, as opposed to just beating them over the head with a great big hammer. 8, the trio’s latest offering, is an intergalactic machine of almost infinite force, a riff-hewn monolith perched on the edge of the universe.