They’re back. I’ll never eat bananas again.
Prog and Psych Rock veterans Motorpsycho are back with their new studio album Still Life With Eggplant. After a huge double album project in 2012, including cooperation with an orchestra and Ståle Storløkken, this release again is more like a back to basic or classic Motorpsycho album, although this kind of vocabulary doesn’t do justice to the Norwegians variety of styles.
Still Life With Eggplant is a very diversified and, for Motorpsycho standards, even a pretty accessible LP that reminds a litte of the 2010 release Heavy Metal Fruit. But unlike the space odyssey that was built back then, it seems that the band takes us to the countryside this time, producing even a kind of acoustic summer song with The Afterglow in the end. Let’s start with the beginning however. Hell, Part 1-3 is what I would call a typical Motorpsycho song (but be careful, I missed around two decades of this band’s history): progressive and strong riffs compared with hypnotizing vocals, not to forget a jazzy outro to end this nearly 10 minutes opener.
August starts threatening before the clouds are thrusted aside and a 60s Woodstock song made in Norway takes over. The thunderstorm takes over again however, and before you realise it the song is over and you’re left behind with wet clothes. Barleycorn again stands for the band’s talent to mix deep melancholic moments with moments of hope and awakening. This duo permanently goes hand in hand, musically and lyrically.
Ratcatcher is the obligatory 17 minute odyssey, trying to hypnotise you right from the beginning before taking you on a journey through dizzying drums, psychedelic vocals and capricious guitars. There aren’t many bands anymore that design so diverting 17 minutes songs.
Still Life With Eggplant is not as strong as the comparable Heavy Metal Fruit , but if you liked the 2010 release then this is surely something for you! Also very recommendable for Motorpsycho beginners.
“I’m an EARTH! ROCKER! Everybody get the message?!” Well if you don’t you’re probably a little deaf. After more than 20 years, Clutch have released one of their best albums, and many people say that it probably is the best one of the Maryland stoner quartet.
Earth rocker is, although it keeps like every existing cliché about the genre alive, a hard, authentic and bad ass road trip through the desert. “If you’re gonna do it, do it live on stage, or don’t do it at all!” The opener relentlessly stamps through the sand, leaving the stage for Crucial Velocity, which does exactly the same. Stoner, garage rock, Southern rock and riff rock permanently shake hands, leaving no space for boredom at all, which is a difficult task to undertake nowadays, given that stoner rock often hasn’t really progressed since the 90s.
Clutch obviously had fun recording this LP and juggling around with harmonicas and near cross-over songs like DC Sound Attack! Unto the Breach even offers an excursion into punk rock, underlining the variety of Earth Rocker once more, and we haven’t even reached the middle of the record yet. The bluesy Southern rock track Gone Cold offers a short break to the muscle car engine, or gives the driver the opportunity to have a glass of whisky before hitting the road again.
It is needless to say that lady groove is omnipresent, too. Points of criticism? More cowbell please!
This is an album which doesn’t take itself too serious, and so shouldn’t you. Just nod your head (you certainly will) and have some fun on the next road trip, even if it’s just to the next mall around the corner with your mini van.
Recommendations: Earth Rocker, DC Sound Attack!, Gone Cold
It’s time to show you one of the worst videos that Luxembourg has seen. With its terrible acting, horrendous music, and atrocious directing…this one surely takes the throne of worst music video EVER! The El Gore team assures that it will never promote such low quality in any form.
Alternative “indie” music has become as interesting as a super cool guy bungee jumping because a known energy drink company is sponsoring it. Just face it. Or don’t accept this opinion.
So what’s the problem with all you Beady Eyes and Kings of Leons and all you super-nice-but-officially-total-bad-ass-guys-Billboard rock bands? Well, if you ask me, you just don’t have enough nuts anymore. Not enough nuts to sound dirty, to be imperfect, in short to be like California X. The four Americans deliver an easy-going, fresh, rocking and authentic debut, that just makes you say “yes!” at any moment.
“Yes” to messy sounds, “yes” to jarring lyrics and “yes” to more distortion. Dinosaur Jr. will be proud, that’s for sure. Some people may call it grunge, others a heavier or even a sludge version of The Offspring’s Americana. I just call it a refreshing debut with nothing but fun having priority. And when the fun is over we can take care of superficialities, or of how we could diss another band because their music isn’t as cool as ours. Stay young enough to behave adultly seems to have become the only way to bring out albums that sound like music that was wanted to be done, and not that had to be done.
Even though monotony seems to slip in from time to time, the record length of 34 minutes is just perfect, and the sun loving rhythm doesn’t give a reason to be unsatisfied in the end. If you can’t reinvent the wheel, then you have to make it sound like you don’t care anyways, and that’s just what California X do. Less is more these days. You don’t need Armani sunglasses to contribute to someone’s personal favourite soundtrack of the coming summer.
Recommendations: Sucker, Spider X, Spirit World.
The Carps’ are a Luxembourgish alternative rock trio. Or a postrock trio. Or a psychedelic jam band. Or just all of it. In fact, Gaia just does what comes to its mind from song to song, starting off with a postrock-like instrumental song, followed by a powerful alternative track, followed by an epic jam session called Maskerade (pretty fitting name, don’t you think?), and you’re going to be curious about what will hit your ears next.
Maybe a black metal outburst of hell? Well, this is a step which The Carps’ didn’t take in the end and we won’t be miffed about that. Talking about steps, one sometimes has the feeling that the boys could move even more freely than they do in the end. The jam-like fundament seems like it wants to break out way more often. Maybe this feeling is just due to the general desire for more new stuff in this monotone music world of the 21st century. And then, Gaia just casts a spell over the listener in those little corners of every song, that sometimes remind you of the playfulness of Motorpsycho. Everything is forgiven.
Also, there is that other lady which you always want to have on albums like these. What’s her name again? Groove! And those moments where groove meets progressive and experimental lands are the strongest on this 9 track LP recorded in 2010 and 2011, especially when the roaring bass guitar comes in. Yet, songs like Machine really make you curious about what would happen if the dog was fully unleashed.
We’re really looking forward to the coming creative output that this filigree band will present in the future.
It shouldn’t be necessary to mention that The Carps’ are always a worthy live experience too. Go grab their album and let’s hope they will show up again soon.
Recommendations: Maskerade, Machine, Hidden Path
It seems like there used to be a serious problem of drug abuse on the Enterprise back in time. I doubt that this will be part of the new Hobbit trilogy soundtrack.
If one had to find a suitable common theme in order to write a review about an album, then this one’s would be a puffing, steaming and stamping locomotive, which is not rushing at all, but which puts everything out of its way. Don’t think too much of AC/DC’s Rock’n’Roll Train, because The Heavy Eyes’ blues rock is surely heavier and often something for real headbangers.
This train is not willing to take a stop throughout the 11 track long journey combining riffs, old bluesy sound and a stoner hearted engineman who relentlessly feeds the engine with hard wood. In other words: just give Tom Morello a guitar and tell him to sound like crashing a campfire party; this would be the result. The production is old fashioned and focuses on highlighting the guitars as scratchy as possible, not to forget the ever-present bass. Unfortunately the drums clearly have to take a step back, which, in the end, is forgivable. The overall appearance leaves the listener behind with one big question in his thoughts: what’s the live sound of all this? (European tour guys, maybe sometime?)
For the rest, the groove and the thoroughgoingness just makes this album one of the coolest bad ass things you lovers of the genre may have ever heard, which brings me to the vocalist, who sounds like a winching and squeaking hillbilly-like dude. He serves a performance which in the same time is damn annoying but still you can’t really complaint about, facing such sovereignty, and he just doesn’t seem to give damn – just take it or leave it. At the end of the day one could say that also the vocals are a piece of the psychedelic puzzle that casts a spell over fans of Maera. Drink some whiskey or wine and enjoy the riffs and the landscape rushing past your window.
Recommendations: Levantado, These Men Are Wolves, Abbé Faria
“In all of our songs, we’re looking for a kind of beauty, and every beauty has a certain melancholy and gloom inside.” Plankton Waves pretty much knew into which direction the output for their debut EP would go when we had the pleasure to interview them last summer. Listening to Songs of Endings in this light, endings may be the beginning of something new. The musical experience throughout these 20 minutes of electronic music made in Luxembourg is hypnotic and leaves enough space for the listener to define what endings, beauty and melancholy could mean.
The overall repertoire has been broadened, the vocals still have that Indian-like feeling, nature merges into electronic worlds, sometimes dark, sometimes lucid, sometimes both and nothing at all.
Synthesizers and beats often leave place for experimentation and psychedelic parts, but they always just appear for a very short flash before arranging into straight forward and progressing tracks. A kind of 80s sound is still very present, even though not that obvious compared to their appetiser single Cloud Caravan, released last year. French and German lyrics are missing on Songs Of Endings, the mysterious vocals were chosen to be in English only this time. The overall psychedelic feeling rounds up the nature of the EP; it could be described as a poppish and experimental electro experience in the end, for those listeners who choose to put music into words. The rest may just want to give it a try and hear if the electronic Armageddon takes place or not.
The EP will officially be released on February 22nd (click here), accompanied with the release of a new video.
Fights and Fires remain true to themselves, not without refining their rock soup with some nice little ingredients. If spring won’t come in the next months then this will melt the snow just at the right time to start the festival season.
Starting with what remained the same, let’s talk about the very beginning of We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow, or should I say with the first few songs that again won’t give you any chance to breathe? Just like on the debut album Proof That Ghosts Exist, the four Britons tackle you out of nothing, and don’t you expect any pity: 11 powerful punches right into your face, all tracks rarely longer than 3 minutes, yum-yum! Admirers of the dirtier post-core sound of the debut will find a cleaner production, but fortunately not overproduced.
Pop punk as well as a few 90s metalish head banger parts are a bit more present, pushing the rough hardcore air of the debut a bit aside, but those are just bits and bobs. In the end, Fights and Fires have taken one more step forward, sounding more mature overall, which isn’t a bad thing as long as the lightheartedness won’t get lost. Thankfully, there’s no reason to worry about that, given that the boys still take you to corners of the dance floor you probably have never seen. The darker side of the typical Fights and Fires sound also found its place on We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow, arranged in a very powerful trilogy (If I’m The Forrest Then You’re Jenny, Rats and Vultures and Cat’s Lives) towards the middle of the album before it’s fast-tracking again after a nice transition to Mother’s Advice.
We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow surely is a very strong and worthy successor of the 2011 debut. Put on your dancing shoes!
Recommendations: Chase The Blues, Back Bone, If I’m The Forrest Then You’re Jenny, Bff… For Now
The LP will be out on February 22nd, you can pre-order it in the format of your choice or immediately download the digital album here.