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I’ve been a bit late to the record game – pretty damn late to be honest, but there’s a reason behind it all. My dad was a massive record collector in the 70s, 80’s and early 90s, and had an impressive collection showcasing everything from Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Slade, KISS, Ramones, Uriah Heep and Aerosmith, to pretty much every other great guitar based band released during those decades. Some records he’d even get two copies off, one for listening, and one for safe keeping. He’d play them to my mum and make her guess which band it was, which has led to her having a somewhat knowledge about music, but also making statements like ‘It’s like Woodstock upstairs every time you’re back home!’ when I listen to Sex Pistols in my room, and describing Jimi Hendrix like ‘the guy with the big hair.’ Sure mum, the guy with the big, uhm, hair…

Then, the 90s happened and CDs emerged – vinyls were taking up a lot of space, and let’s be honest, made it a b*tch to move house, so my dad, as oh-so many others, gave away his record collection. Early versions and first editions of pretty much all the bands I’ve been obsessing over since forever – gone. This is obviously something that’s been on my mind for a long time, which led  to me refusing to buy records, for the sole reason that I knew it would drive me insane that pretty much every record I’d ever want from the 70s or 80s, my dad had, and gave to someone else but me. A few years back he dug out the ones that he’d managed to keep, and gave them to me – the most precious ones of them all, his entire Ramones collection, all early editions. At this point, I still didn’t have a record player so I brought them home and kept them as some sort of shrine for my dad’s youth and his musical influence on me, and a constant reminder about my childhood and growing up listening to them. Also a reminder that they could have been accompanied by about 1500 more records or so, GOD DAMN IT.

Anyway, I spent quite a while tossing and turning regarding the whole record player issue, and after acquiring a few more records here and there from friends and touring bands staying at mine, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and just god damn go get one. After doing so, I spent my first evening and pretty much all of that first night listening through the records I did have, alphabetising them repeatedly for my own satisfaction, signed up and got a Discogs account and adding a bunch to my ‘Want’ list, all while slowly coming to terms with the fact that I had 100% f*cked myself over financially and that I’d never have any money ever again, cause if there’s one thing I’ve always managed to justify spending money on it’s music and gigs, and if buying records to put in alphabetical order before listening to them ceremonially isn’t an investment in my own happiness, then I don’t know what is – the ritual of flipping the record and dropping the needle while gently caressing the sleeve…  Ah, oh my god. Is this how crack feels like? Anyway, i’m gonna stop this 700-or-so word intro and get to the point before this turn into some semi erotic article about my love for my vinyls; Since acquiring a record player five months or so ago I’ve added a fair amount of records to my ever so growing collection (with the latest one being Rainbow’s ‘Rising’ for only £3 yesterday at Reckless Records in Soho, London – how?!), and in honour or this year’s record store day, which is today, I decided pick my current, and I cant emphasise this enough, current top 10 vinyls in my collection – all in completely random order as god knows it’d kill me to have to pick a favourite. So, without further ado, my thoroughly thought through, non chronological current top 10 vinyls in my collection:

Hällas – Excerpts From a Future Past
Year: 2017
Acquired: Crypt of the Wizard

I first heard Hällas three years or so ago, but it wasn’t until last year I really gave them the time a day after randomly coming across an article about their newly released debut album ‘Excerpts From a Future Past’ – I checked out the album online, and I was sold – two seconds later I scroll through Instagram because I’m a slave to social media like most people in this sad society, and saw that heavy metal record store ‘Crypt of the Wizard’ had a few first pressings in stock – I rushed over, and managed to get my hands on a copy. This album, which I absolutely love, will take you on a cosmic journey through the middle ages, floating through time and space surrounded by Thin Lizzy guitar harmonies, Uriah Heep organ and sometimes even 80s synth. An absolute banger, and almost guaranteed that your dad will love it – mine did.

 

Motorpsycho – Behind the Sun
Year: 2014
Acquired: Amazon

Aah, sweet, sweet Motorpsycho, fellow Norwegian countrymen and connoisseurs of psychedelic jams so intense it nearly crosses the border between pain and pleasure. Despite Motorpsycho being around since before I was even born, it wasn’t until later in life I managed to wrap my head around this band, which I dare say is one of Norway’s finest exports alongside Kvelertak, Turbonegro, oil and Black Metal, and I wouldn’t have discovered them without Shaman Elephant guitarist Eirik, who couldn’t bare the thought of me living my life without the pleasure Motorpsycho provides, so thank you, Eirik. As soon as I heard this album, I knew I needed it, and I needed it straight away, so when my local record stores failed me I turned to Amazon and their next day delivery, sat camp by the door and waited impatiently. This record really sweeps you off your feet, starting out sweet before all of a sudden emerging mellowed out tunes with explosive psychedelic jams, so intense you forget to breathe – my personal favourite on the record being closing track ‘Hell, Part 7: Victim of Rock’, which is very much the latter; a song that keeps building until you can’t take it anymore, before it drops into the most beautiful and chaotic organised mess you can even think of, leaving you gasping cause you haven’t exhaled for six minutes.

 

Robin Trower – Twice Removed from Yesterday
Released: 1973
Acquired: Sister Ray Records

‘We all thought this guy would be the next big thing after Hendrix died.’ My dad told me when he first played me Robin Trower, who after the 60’s Procol Harum heydays formed a three piece and started releasing and performing music under his own name, ‘Twice Removed from Yesterday’ being the debut. After buying the album and listening through it, it didn’t take long to get the Hendrix comparison, as the similarity in their sound and way of playing is uncanny. This album starts out slow but beautiful, with three incredibly strong ballads showcasing Trower’s phenomenal guitar playing, before it kicks off and gets funky in ‘Man of the world’, later followed by the sleaziest version of ‘Rock me baby’ I have ever heard – this record is timeless. I had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Robin Trower a few months ago and it was astonishing, being able to watch one of the greatest guitarists from a time when giants walked the earth, someone along the lines of Hendrix himself, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.

 

GNOB – Electric Dream Demon
Year: 2018
Acquired: Gifted by the band

Since first coming across GNOB at The Bird’s Nest in South London two years ago they have swiftly risen to become one of my favourite bands in the underground music scene in London, as well as all very good friends of mine. Their eastern inspired psychedelia is a breath of fresh air on the scene, which for a long time was fronted predominately by heavier stoner bands. This album ‘Electric Dream Demon’ is their debut and an absolute gem of an album – the perfect mix of heavy and melodic, all while at the same time incredibly mellow and trippy, with beautiful, eerie and fuzzy vocals as well as a bunch of instrumental jams, which I’m a sucker for.

 

Motörhead – Overkill
Released: 1979

Acquired: Gifted

1979, Lemmy had been kicked out of Hawkwind and his trippy space days were over – he had at this point successfully formed the loudest band in the world and managed to follow up their 1977 self titled debut album with what might just be the greatest Motörhead record to be ever made; Overkill. I wish I was there in 1979 when it was released, to be able to put it on my turntable not knowing what to expect, to then be hit with the most explosive opening track in the history of time. Rock ’n’ roll had come a long way from Elvis was for sure, and there you’ve got ‘Overkill’ coming at you at 150 miles per hour, fuelled by Jack Daniels and speed. In my eyes, this album is one hit after another, showcasing the very best of Motörhead. Picking a favourite track of the album ain’t easy, but let’s face it, ‘Stay Clean’ is pretty damn sweet, not often Lemmy would solo but when he did he did it spectacularly. An incredible album from beginning to end, play it loud as hell surrounded by friends and cheers to three of the finest hell raisers and rock ’n’ rollers the world ever saw – Lemmy, Fast Eddie Clarke and Phil ‘Philty Animal’ Taylor.


Deep Purple – Machine Head
Released: 1972
Acquired: Christmas present from my dad

I’ve been a fan of Deep Purple for as long as I can remember, and I dare say the Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover era was nothing but sensational – I mean have you heard their Made in Japan album from 1972?! It’s simply astonishing, both political, funky and sleazy. They were kings of their time, there’s no doubt about it. One of my personal favourites from that lineup is 1972’s Machine Head, another album that’s just filled with one banger after another – ‘Pictures of Home’ one of my personal favourites offers all the solos your heart may desire; bass, guitar and even keys. Ah, don’t even get me started on the keys on this album, Jon Lord’s got ya covered from A-Z. The key intro to ‘Lazy’? Holy shit, epic. Thank you Jon Lord for that sweet Hammond beat.

 

Earthless – Black Heaven
Released: 2018
Acquired: Gig in Islington Assembly Hall, London

Oh Earthless, where do I begin? Despite having created a whole wave of a new generation psych bands emerging from San Diego, there really is no other bands like Earthless. Musically they’re on a different level from any band I’ve ever seen, and they cease to amaze me with everything they do, whether it’s 20 minute long instrumental psych jams, or as on ‘Black Heaven’, structured songs with incredible vocals, where none of them crosses the nine minute mark. This album, despite being very different to former Earthless releases, is still very much an Earthless album, showcasing the skills of some of the best musicians of our generation. As far as seeing Earthless live goes, these guys are probably the closes you’ll ever get to see something along the lines of The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

 

Neil Merryweaher – Space Rangers
Released: 1974
Acquired: Discogs

Canadian bassist Neil Merryweather’s been around for decades playing with artists such as Steve Miller, Rick James and Wilson Pickett, but it’s his 1974 solo album ‘Space Rangers’ that stole my heart. My first encounter with Merryweather was through other people’s songs, covering The Byrds’ 1966 single ‘Eight Miles High’, and might I add, doing so spectacularly, and Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’, also originally released in 1966, where he brings the funk like few Canadians dudes have done before him. With Merryweather being a bassist by heart, there is big focus on the bass for melody and not just rhythm, almost taking the place as a second guitar branching out onto solo-like territory. ‘Space Rangers’ touches base within a few different genres, with opening track ‘Hollywood Blvd’ bordering to a pop song, before venturing onto space rock, funk and psychedelia, and it has swiftly become a favourite in my record collection ever since I got my hands on it.

 

Truth & Janey – Topeka Jam
Released: 2018, recorded 1974
Acquired: Rockadrome


This explosive three piece took their name from Jeff Beck’s ‘Truth’ album and guitarist Billy Lee Janey, and they might just be one of 70’s Iowa’s best hidden treasures. Inspired by the great blues guitarists of the 60s, they were heavy like Pentagram, had the funk of Grand Funk, and the rawness of the stooges. Topeka Jam consists of a bunch of previously unreleased songs recorded over several nights in Topeka, Kansas in 1974, and sees the band venture on into endless fuzzy harmonies and jams, with the opening track (and might I add, only track on side one) ‘Midnight Horsemen’ (originally released as a 3 minute long single in 1972) being jammed out into the abyss for a whole psyched out 22 minutes. It’s a bold choice for an opening track indeed, but sets the bar high for the rest of the record, which only gets better and better.

 

Ramones – Ramones
Released: 1976
Acquired: From my dad’s old record collection

When my dad gave away most of his record collection, he did keep a few for himself, his most precious possessions that he kept safe until passing them onto me a few years ago; His Ramones records. I grew up listening to the Ramones religiously, loving the simplicity, energy, but also vulnerability. I loved Joey the most, he was the tall space case and I liked to think I could relate to that. Ramones broke so much ground with what they did, despite how ‘simple’ it was compared to a lot of the other bands of the time – they invented punk and created the whole CBGBs scene, and toured and gigged relentlessly until the very end. Their self titled debut is a perfect example of what the Ramones were about, fast, catchy and short songs, some about what they wanna do, some about what they don’t wanna do, and some, quite a few actually, about love.

The first ever Jonesing Jams took place 20th of April at London’s 93 Feet East, and saw Matt Reynolds (guitar and vocals in HECK & HCBP), Ben Kenobi-Marflar (bassist in GNOB), Jonny Halifax (lapsteel and harmonica in Honkeyfinger and The Howling Truth) and Marco Ninni (drummer in Swedish Death Candy) get together on stage for a heavy improv psych jam in front of an audience, all supported by Norwegian psych connoisseurs Shaman Elephant. Now, how did this go down? Check out the video above, or have a look here to read a full review.

Matt Reynolds and Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Ben Kenobi-Marflar by Emily Power

Matt Reynolds and Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Matt Reynolds by Emily Power

Marco Ninni by Simon Shoulders

Ben Kenobi-Marflaf by Simon Shoulders

Jonny Halifax by Simon Shoulders

Matt Reynolds by Emily Power

Matt Reynolds by Simon Shoulders

Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Shaman Elephant / Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen by Emily Power

Shaman Elephant by Emily Power

Shaman Elephant / Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen by Simon Shoulders

Shaman Elephant by Simon Shoulders

We’re excited to be teaming up with The Jonesing Jams, a new live music concept in London where musicians are hand picked from different bands to form a ‘one night only supergroup’ for a heavy 70’s psych rock jam – guitarist from one band, drummer from another – that whole shebang, ya know?

The first Jonesing Jams will take place at London’s 93 Feet East this upcoming Thursday 20th of April, and features guitarist Matt Reynolds of ‘general extreme noise’ band HECK and rock ‘n’ roll two piece HCBP, bassist Ben Kenobi-Marflar of eastern inspired psych band GNOB and psychedelic doom band Sonic Mass, Jonny Halifax of greasy noise and distorted blues bands Honkeyfinger and Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth on lapsteel and harmonica, and powerhouse drummer Marco Ninni of psychedelic experimental rock band Swedish Death Candy. Together they’ll bring a whole specter of genres and influences, which resulted in the night being called ‘Worlds Collide.’

The idea behind’ The Jonesing Jams’ came from late nights spent at friends rehearsal spaces where everyone would tune in and jam, and all this amazing music would come out of it – all this amazing music that no one ever got to hear, so now we’re taking the jams out of the studio and onto a stage in front of an audience, and who know’s what’ll happen? To get in the mood for the jam, each artist as well as support band Shaman Elephant picked ten of their favourite tunes which has resulted in a gooey and great mix of genres and generations;

So, if you’re in London and fancy coming down for a free gig, heavy riffs and psychedelic jamming, doors open at 7pm, and things kick off at 8 – see you there!

great-eight

There are oh-so many awesome bands out there and nothing pleases me more than finding new ones. Here I’ve shared some of my current favourites, eight great bands that might be tucked away in smaller or DIY venues, dingy dive bars, dead end towns or whatever. Hidden gems that shouldn’t be hidden, as they’re all en route to greatness in my opinion. Heavy rock / psych rock / hillbilly blues and stoner rock, here’s a bit of guitar goodness for everyone in their right mind, and for those out of theirs.


Sacri Monti

Photo via the bands Facebook page / Dana Trippe

Photo via the bands Facebook page / Dana Trippe

Sensational’ isn’t a word I use lightly, but while describing ‘Sacri Monti‘ I feel it’s pretty damn spot on. Based in San Diego, which seems to be the mekka for music within this genre, the 70’s psychedelic rock five piece are signed to Tee Pee records alongside fellow San Diegans and psych rock connoisseurs ‘Earthless‘ (among others), and released their self titled debut album in 2015. The album is, needless to say, an absolute killer – sensational, even.

Facebook / Bandcamp


The Devil and the Almighty Blues

Photo via the bands Facebook page / Julia Marie Naglestad

Photo via the bands Facebook page / Julia Marie Naglestad

The Devil and the Almighty Blues‘ is living proof that Norway is a hell of a lot more than black metal and church burnings. With a profound love for the good ol’ heroes of blues combined with a passion for punk, rock, country and metal, ‘The Devil and the Almighty Blues‘ recorded their debut album live in studio to preserve that raw, natural energy, and they’ve created, as they say it themselves, «A new take on blues-based rock, heavy without becoming metal, slow without being doom, bluesy without being straight up and boring, and all this without losing the almighty blues without of sight»

Facebook / Bandcamp

 


Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth

Photo via the artists Facebook page

Photo via the artists Facebook page

While at it on the blues, here’s another one for you – ‘Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth‘, heavy hillbilly blues with distorted vocals and a lot of lap steel. That said, some of the Howling Truth songs becomes so heavy that they almost stop by stoner or doom town, a perfect example of this is ‘In the realms of noble savagery’ from 2013’s ‘The Bestial Floor’.

Faceboook / Bandcamp

 


Shaman Elephant

Photo by Peter Tubaas / @visualsofsound

Photo by Peter Tubaas / @visualsofsound

A dark and gloomy Saturday night in 2015, I was lucky enough to stumble upon Norwegian band ‘Shaman Elephant‘, as I caught the last of their set at legendary Bergen venue Garage while spending the weekend in Norway. At the time they barely had any online presence and no music to be found either online or on record, but the name stuck, and by summer 2015 they graced us with the presence of an EP, ’More’, and I’m stoked to say they’ll be releasing their debut album next month, which I’m sure will be absolutely killer if the EP is anything to go by; Progressive psychedelic rock with elements of jazz and heavy riffs.

Facebook / Soundcloud

 


Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters

Photo via the bands Facebook page

Photo via the bands Facebook page

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters‘ – rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? I’ll admit it took a while before I actually managed to learn this name by heart, but my god it’s a good one – 10/10. Dressed in tie dye t-shirts, black metal corpse paint and bandanas, you dont really know what to expect when these guys takes the stage in a cloud of smoke and bubbles, but they’ll hit you in the face with a wall of stoner fuzz, beefy bass and the occasional cowbell.

Facebook / Bandcamp

 


GNOB

Photo via the bands Facebook page

Photo via the bands Facebook page

«Why GNOB
«Because it’s bong backwards.»
«Fair enough.»
Another psychedelic one, this time it’s London based trio GNOB which sounds like an eastern acid trip gone great. During their intense live performances they play heavy psych rock you can kinda dance to.

Facebook / Bandcamp

 


HCBP / Haggard Cat Bothday Present

Photo via the bands Facebook page

Photo via the bands Facebook page

HCBP consists of singer/screamer/guitarist Matt Reynolds and drummer Tom Marsh (both of HECK), and may or may not have been a result of the rest of the band being late for practice, I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m glad it happened. While moving away from the road of ‘general noise’ they’re on with HECK, they’re still sticking to their guns of loud and energetic live performances, with their dirty blues and hillbilly hardcore. Their second album is due to launch early next year, and having had a few cheeky listens I can assure you it’ll be a banger.

Facebook / Bandcamp


Oak

Photo via the bands Facebook page

Photo via the bands Facebook page

Oak‘s another case of me randomly stumbling across a band in a bar as I found them nearly naked at East London venue The Birds Nest, and I dont know if it was the smell of sweat and beer, the shirtless, longhaired, hairy men, the heavy riffs, the energetic live performance or all of the above, but they pretty much had me straight away. As they say it themselves, they «Take retro blues rock riffs influenced by the likes of Cream, make it filthy and down tuned and then get an actual mad man to yell over the top of it. For fans of: Cream, Mountain, Kyuss, Black Sabbath, and being shouted at.»

Facebook / Bandcamp


 

That’s all for now, kids. Play ’em loads and play ’em loud.