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.
‘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.
‘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»
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’.
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.
‘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.
«Because it’s bong backwards.»
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.
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.
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.»
That’s all for now, kids. Play ’em loads and play ’em loud.