Bl’ast

Bl’ast
‘For Those Who Graced The Fire’ EP
Rise Records

blast_photo

In the mid-eighties, iconic Californian hardcore demons Bl’ast took Black Flag’s menacing heavy-fusion template created on their ‘My War’ album and ran with it, unleashing three albums from 85-89 on SST Records that blew minds, and the genre, apart. In 2013, with Southern Lord having just reissued the bands back-catalogue, Bl’ast took to the road again with original vocalist Clifford Dinsmore and guitarist Mike Neider playing alongside Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo from Queens Of The Stoneage and the results, unsurprisingly, were devastating.

Re-inspired by the power of the music, the band hit the studio and have now recruited Dave Grohl and ex-Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski to fill in for Nick and Joey who had touring commitments, to record two new tracks for a new 7” EP. Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that that little combination can only be one thing, utterly explosive!

Sure enough, when first track ‘For Those Who Graced The Fire’ kicks in, Grohl’s unmistakable pounding drums detonate into life and the band lurch through a weird, contorted time signature that jars and splutters, uncomfortable and unsettling but powerful and addictive. ‘The Pulse’ is next, igniting with a churning signature Dukowski bass run before kicking into 60 seconds of prime nasty hardcore. Perfect.

It’s so good to hear Grohl back behind the drum kit and in good company, rather than the mainstream pap he churns out in his day job. His involvement will shine a lot of light upon this release. It’s deserved. The world needs to hear Bl’ast.

James Sherry

Pre-order the 7″ here or on iTunes.

The Parrots

parrots_cover2_copyThe Parrots
‘Weed for The Parrots’
Luv Luv Luv Records

The fact that the sound of the 60s still resonates with teenagers to this very day can only be testament to the mighty garage genre. It’s a steady diet of lo-fi psych that seems to keep giving and rightly so.

The Parrots here are no strangers to this musical phenomenon. Brought up on small plates of the good stuff, these Spanish amigos have not only masterminded the fuzzed out, reverbed, laid-back sounds we associate with the classic nuggets of yesteryear, they also know how to smash it out live. Proof of this has been witnessed by many willing to dance like they are stuck in an earthquake at their own weekly parties, whatever country they choose to squat. Including us.

Live is where it’s at for this trio and ‘Weed For The Parrots’ feels like it’s been recorded straight to tape in your dad’s shed. It kicks off with the jangling riffs and upbeat tremors of ‘Terror’, closing sharply following a minute’s worth of garage gold that leaves you feeling like you have been cheated. This craving is made better with the stomping bass lines of ‘White Fang’ that jams into a frenzy fronted by Diego García’s wails, which leads superbly into a psychedelic riff akin to a valium rush from their flagship tune ‘To The People…’.

This come down doesn’t last long though, their cover version of the Almighty Defenders’ ‘All My Loving’ tips the scales as the most upbeat track on this EP. It’s one of the highlights in their live show and a closer at that. Pushed to 11, this party choon could make a room full of people explode and that is exactly what is does. As an incendiary tool, it’s their most potent track on the album in comparison to the ‘I’m Not Alone’ – a track that feels like school just ended, or the campfire sounds of ‘Wild’ that sees bassist Alex de Lucas take the mic in a stripped down, marshmallow dripping lo-fi ender.

As far as debut’s go, this is a rock n’ roll peach. We can’t wait to see what they have in store next.

Harry Palms

GNOB

gnob_temple_of_sinners
Gnob
Temple Of Sinners EP

It’s not often that you stumble across a band that love sludge, and space cakes, so much they launched a KickStarter to fund a trip into orbit as the first stoner rock trio to jam in outer space. Gnob are that band, and thank green we’ve found them, and their new EP, Temple Of Sinners – a mind-melting home brew of cosmic dirge that is guaranteed to blow your ears clean off.

Sadly, KickStarter denied their proposed £498,000 space ritual fund-raiser, but this bunch plough on to higher realms regardless. Opening track ‘Curse Of The Jester’ takes a treacherous plunge into some seriously evil aural gloop, before coming up for air to breath the kind of vocal you’d expect to find on Master Of Reality. Bridging the gap between this filthy offering, and the bold psychedelic dimensions that lay ahead, though, is ‘Ceremony’. Five minutes of what’s only describable as shamanic, almost recalling the sitar-like noodling prowess you’d expect to hear hailing from the mystic Goat commune.

As if your ears weren’t smouldering already, ‘Temple Of Sinners’ morphs into a ten-minute psychedelic close, building Sleep-indebted riffs to monolithic heights before hurling into a wonderful haze of warped eastern jams.

Hit play below and let Gnob’s sludge ooze (careful) from your speakers. There’s nothing short of a masterclass in the dark arts of sludge, doom and psych to be found here.

Dave Palmer

Drug Church

swell_drugchurchDrug Church
Swell
(No Sleep Records)

A great deal has happened since 90s alt influenced punks Drug Church‘s debut LP, Paul Walker. Vocalist Patrick Kindlon has released a number of records with his “main” outfit, Self Defense Family, the band have toured the USA multiple times, and have an upcoming European tour with Title Fight and Gnarwolves planned. It’s not only a struggle to imagine how the band found time to release this EP, but also what’s arguably their best record to date by quite a stretch.

Opening with their most experimental cut yet, ‘But Does it Work?’, this deeply cynical list sets the tone of the entire EP. Kindlon’s almost Morrissey-esque repetition of the phrase “nothing works”, coupled with heavily monotonous rhythms, makes this easily one of the most interesting and engaging songs in Drug Church’s discography, let alone this record.

Kindlon’s song writing prowess extends with EP closer ‘Zero Zero’s lyrics horrifically relatable for anyone with an over-active brain. The opening line of “I care an unhealthy amount about things I can’t at all help / I care a bit too much for those who choose to stay out of touch” sums up the song perfectly before he appears at his most biting with the lyrics, “gas station food and bus station people, a moment to share, surrounded by equals”.

Musically, Drug Church clearly take cues from bands like Quicksand and Seaweed (though I’d argue DC are far more interesting than either). Buzzsaw post-hardcore guitars with moments of shoegaze riffs (again, see the brilliant ‘Zero Zero’), if you were a fan at all of the debut LP it is vital that you pick this up. If you’re unfamiliar, then start with this record, five brilliant songs clocking in at just 16 minutes, it is the perfect length. Perhaps too many bands take influence from the 90s but it’s unlikely you’ll find it done much better than on Swell.

Tim Lewis

Swell is out now on No Sleep Records.

Dropout Dan

Dropout Dan
‘FOREVER, INSTEAD’
Anchor Music
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Forever, InsteadOne man and his guitar can have a lot of effect lately. With new and upcoming acts who are constantly being compared to the likes of Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran, there are very few that can actually live up to some peoples expectations. Dropout-Dan, real name Daniel O’Dell, delivers a new sound that throws a soft, unique voice at you.

Claiming to be acoustic rock “with a twist” – his new E.P ‘Forever, Instead’ does not disappoint. It has a bit of a sappy sound to the lyrics as it’s an emotional story of Dan’s past. The fact that it is being released on Valentine’s Day is truly ironic.

Dan’s emotional vocals of aggression, regret and happiness are all timed perfectly, especially in ‘Puppy Fat’, where some true aggression comes out. The structure of Dan’s songs seem to be rather unpredictable, and aren’t like your usual verse, bridge, chorus. It is a breath of fresh air to hear an acoustic act that isn’t going to be constantly referred to Ben Howard or Frank Turner.

Some soothing piano work made its way in to ‘The Sound of Faking’, which is upbeat and simple but the lyrics completely contradict it as Dan tells a story of sorrow.

Real name Daniel O’Dell, he was raised in the outskirts of Cambridgeshire, saying he knew from an early age that music would “become one of the most important parts of his life.

Dan said, “I’ve tried to steer away from the songs and stereotypes that tend to please my friends, family and loved ones. I came into this process with an open mind and wanted to write songs from my heart and about my surroundings at the time. This EP is a collection of just that and I couldn’t be more proud of what it’s turned into.”

Dropout-Dan is an upcoming act and providing he keeps up the beautiful song writing, then no doubt you’ll see him about more in the future.

Dropout Dan’s new E.P ‘Forever, Instead’ will be released 14 February. You can pre-order it here. You can also download ‘Sentimental’ which is being offered as a free download here!

Upcoming tour dates:

Feb 16 – York – The Black Swan
Feb 17 – Nottingham – The Maze
Feb 18 – Peterborough – Key Theatre
Feb 19 – London – Brixton Windmill
Feb 22 – Birmingham – The Brighthouse
Feb 24 – Brighton – The White Rabbit
Feb 27 – Manchester – The Tiger Lounge
Feb 28 – Cardiff – Gwdihŵ Cafe Bar
Mar 1 – Bristol – Kingsdown Wine Vaults

Check out the first single off ‘Oh, Little Red’ below.