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.
Italian stoner rockers Oreyeon are back with their psyched-out with the single “Trudging to Vacuity”. Since 2014, Oreyeon (formerly known as Orion) has brought their Sabbath-worship front and center. The release of 2016’s Builders of Cosmos showed promise of heavy riffs and strong rhythm. After 2 years of experimental sessions at their studio between the mountains and the sea, they bring us a new heavier sound.
The new single, “Trudging to Vacuity” is a colorful cosmic journey full of dark vocals that envelope a psychedelic rhythm section. A nihilistic space adventure awaits us full of monoliths and guys named Dave. “Trudging to Vacuity is the most nihilist song of the entire album. It’s about the existence’s paradoxical passing of time in an ephemeral period of time in which the process of the end begins. We are born from vacuity and we will end up in vacuity. Musically the song is built on old grindcore riffs that were reshaped into slow and doom atmospheres.” says the band. This is what stoner rock is supposed to sound like.
2. Trudging to Vacuity
3. Ode to Oblivion
4. Big Surprise
5. The Ones
6. Starship Pusher
With Ode To Oblivion, the band’s sophomore release, Oreyeon try to stay away from the stoner rock clichés with a “more elaborate and melodic style”. With more complex vocal structures and harmonizations, the tracks will also find a heavier path. The album will be available in a multitude of formats including: 25 test press, 250 transparent background splatter red / pink fluo / blue / black vinyl, 500 green fluo vinyl, black vinyl, Digipak (6 panels), and digital. Ode to Oblivion is out March 15 via Heavy Psych Sounds. To preorder follow this link. To keep up to date on Oreyeon follow them on Facebook, Heavy Psych Sounds website, and bandcamp.
Desert rock legend John Garcia is back with and he brought some sand-covered riffs for your ears. Garcia is a founding member and former vocalist of the now disbanded Kyuss. Since their split Garcia has not stopped working on project after project, often bringing on old bandmates like Scott Reeder and Brant Bjork. After forming Slo Burn, Unida, and Vista Chino Garcia released two solo albums. Some of these included original material or different takes on old Kyuss tunes. Since his last recording, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, John Garcia and the band have found a new energy that is palpable from the first note.
John Garcia And The Band Of Gold begins with the introductory track, “Space Vato”. As tiring as introduction tracks have become, this ramped up an energy that prepared you for the coming tide of the album. Garcia’s identifiable and unique voice is as strong as ever. With the small bite-sized tracks the album does not exhaust or lose momentum; One track moves on to the next without one staying for too long. Tracks like “Chicken Delight” and “Popcorn (Hit Me When You Can)” are groovy tracks rooted in old acid rock with modern aggression and style to them. “Lilliana” is riff powered desert rock, something that can only be born from sand. My favorite track on the record “Apache Junction” is pure Sabbath-worship that channels the energy of a song like “Hand of Doom”. After spending a day in the desert, you sit and stare at the stars with “Softer Side”. This ends the album on a soft and euphoric note.
John Garcia And the Band Of Gold is out via Napalm Records January 4 with a European tour happening shortly after its release (dates below). To keep up with John Garcia and his band, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Live: JOHN GARCIA And The Band Of Gold Special Show w/ Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol, Death in Pretty Wrapping 29.11.18 US – Las Vegas / Vinyl
w/ Dead Quiet 23.01.19 FR – Paris / Le Trabendo 24.01.19 FR – Bordeaux / Le Krakatoa 25.01.19 ES – Madrid / Caracol 26.01.19 ES – Barcelona / Razzamatazz 2 28.01.19 FR – Lyon / Le Kao 29.01.19 CH – Zurich / Bogen F. 30.01.19 IT – Milan / Santeria Club 31.01.19 DE – Munich / Backstage Halle 02.02.19 AT – Graz / Explosiv 03.02.19 HU – Budapest / A38 04.02.19 CZ – Prague / Rock Cafe 05.02.19 DE – Nürnberg / Hirsch 07.02.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus 08.02.19 DE – Berlin / SO36 09.02.19 DK – Copenhagen / Loppen 10.02.19 NO – Oslo / John Dee 12.02.19 FI – Helsinki / Tavastia 14.02.19 SE – Stockholm / Debaser Strand 15.02.19 SE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers 16.02.19 DE – Hamburg / Gruenspan 17.02.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37 19.02.19 BE – Leuven / Het Depot 20.02.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Saal 21.02.19 DE – Essen / Turock 22.02.19 NL – Tilburg / 013 23.02.19 UK – London / O2 Academy Islington
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Wisconsin.*
Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, HighGallows brings bluesy stoner rock with a guitar tone filthier than month-old bong water. Consisting of Shawn (vocals), Tim (guitar), Louie (guitar), Josh (bass), and Jon (drums), the underground quintet just finished up their stint on the BlackMagicFlowerPower tour with BlackPussy and released their debut album, ‘Hymns in the House of Son’ earlier this year. The album takes the listener on a sonic trip through the murky swamps of the psyche while channeling a similar doom and smoke-filled haze of BlackSabbath and ElectricWizard. It’s mostly a slow to mid-tempo, riff-heavy ride with vocals reminiscent of a more soulful, grittier Buzz Osbourne (Melvins). Continue reading →
Since forming in 2012, AllThemWitches has been bringing their awesome brand of psychedelic/stoner rock via prolific studio time and live performances. They have four full-length studio albums available – with their recently reviewed self-titled LP just released – plus multiple EP’s, live albums, and singles for fans to check out. Their sound often has a retro quality and rawness that allows the music to breathe organically without the filter of flashy studio polish. Continue reading →
Stoner rock fans across North America will have reason to rejoice in March 2019, when English horror-psych mavens Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats join forces with Swedish retro-rockers Graveyard for a co-headlining jaunt dubbed the “Peace Across the Wasteland” tour. Ticket pre-sales for the nineteen-date tour, which kicks off at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer on March 6 and runs through March 30 at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, begin October 24, with the general on-sale beginning two days later.
In addition to having a keenly honed knack for riff-driven/pop-tinged sugar-and-sludge psychedelia, Kevin Starrs does atmosphere better than anybody working in heavy music today. As creative force and sole constant member of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, his albums play like 70mm cult horror classics bootlegged onto well-worn VHS cassettes, casting their cathode ray glow over otherwise darkened bedrooms. The colors are vibrant but washed-out, it’s warbly and more than a little distorted, the on-screen movements leave tracers, and the whole thing has just enough fuzz and static on it to seem genuinely creepy. Acid-steeped, with a heavy dose of psychopaths, brainwashers, and a ready steady flow of that red red kroovy, the Uncle Acid canon is a grindhouse marathon for the mind’s eye. The latest opus from Starrs and Co., Wasteland, brings the “post-apocalyptic dystopia” genre into the oeuvre, a tale of walled cities, mindless masses, piped-in propaganda, and hidden computer discs filled with long-forgotten memories and perhaps the keys to freedom. The premise may sound prog, but the execution is blessedly pure classic rock hesh.
*This is part of our “Aftershock Festival 2018 Spotlight” where we branch out and focus on some of the up-and-coming bands that fans can see at this year’s Aftershock Festival on October 13th & 14th. This week, we’re checking out ALL THEM WITCHES.*
Bringing their awesome brand of psychedelic/stoner rock to the stage at this year’s Aftershock Festival is Nashville’s own AllThemWitches. Since forming in 2012, the band has been quite prolific with recording. They have four full-length studio albums released – with their recently reviewed self-titled LP set to drop later this month – plus multiple EP’s, live albums, and singles for fans to check out. Their sound often has a retro quality and rawness that allows the music to breathe organically without the filter of flashy studio polish. The stony vibe will have you reaching to turn on your lava lamp and blacklight as you trip out to The Doors-esque, groovy keyboard jams on tracks such as “Fishbelly 86 Onions” from the band’s upcoming album. Continue reading →
Maryland stoner rock band Clutch are releasing a preorder for their upcoming record Book of Bad Decisions. This “Limited Edition Collectors Bundle” includes a rare picture disc LP, flask, flag, shirt, long sleeve and a hatchet with autograph box. That’s right, I said a mother fucking hatchet! These gnarly bundles will be delivered on or before the albums September 7th release date. This bundle can be found on the band’s site. Continue reading →
*This is a part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state*
This month’s state is Alabama!
Hey! It’s ‘State Of The Art’ day again, and it’s been a while I have been developing an affinity for stoner metal and rock music lately. Last month, I brought to you Louisiana’s absolute bonkers band MARSand today I continue my spree of stoner metal bands. This month we have Alabama as the SOTA state and I present to you STONED COBRA, arguably the best stoner metal/rock band from the Yellowhammer state. Emancipate yourself from all of the Monday blues stress, sit back, hit a joint and start medicating yourself with some good, heavy and raw STONED COBRA.