Miss Lava, Doom Machine (Small Stone Records 2021)

Lisbon psychedelic rockers Miss Lava release their first full-length album in five years, Doom Machine.

Miss Lava has been lighting up stages in Portugal and across Europe for almost fifteen years. They play a feisty blend of heavy psychedelic rock with broad appeal and crossover atomism. The new one is their fourth LP, and they have released a couple of EPs as well. The band is: Johnny Lee (vocals), J. Garcia (drums), K. Raffah (guitar), and Ricardo Ferreira (bass, vocals).

Doom Machine has twelve tracks with eight primaries connected by brief interstitial elements. There are also three bonus tracks on the CD and digital versions. The opener is the rousing “Fourth Dimension” that lays down a super fuzzy high energy riff supported by pelting percussion. It has a catchy pop sensibility that labels this one a single for sure. “The Mire” follows and has a more solemn, mystical feel to it and psychedelic desert flavors. “Magma” is a tantalizing bridge guitar bit leading to the second movement of three songs, each working a different angle and conveying an alternate perspective.

The second set of six tracks have a somewhat different feel to my ears, more exploratory with a deeper kind of emotional venting. I am especially drawn to “The Fall” and the title track for these reasons, with the latter going full-on spaced-out at its end, warping the set into infinity. The bonus tracks are great, too – not leftovers or throwaways, they are up-tempo and surging songs that exist in their own space and at the same time enhance the album as a vital part of the whole. Recommended.

The CD and digital versions of Doom Machine come from Small Stone Records and there is vinyl at Kozmik Artifactz.

Band photo by José Dinis.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/doom-machine

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MissLavaOfficial

Small Stone Records, https://smallstone.com/artist/miss-lava/

Kozmic Artifactz, http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

Miss Lava, Doom Machine (Small Stone Records 2021)

The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines (Kozmik Artifactz, 2020)

Veteran stoner/fuzz bluesists deliver the goods on their latest, Love Like Machines.

On their Bandcamp page, the band describes their music this way: psychedelic blues rock from the delta that sounds similar to a skeleton driving a speed boat on a flaming Mississippi River headed back to 1969. I can buy it. I have a tendency to think of anything remotely doomy as desert music, but I can hear the river in this, and I can smell the swamp from here. Love Like Machines is the band’s fourth full-length studio album, and they get stronger with every new set.

The album starts off with the beautiful, poetic “Anabasis” – a quiet acoustic intro and exit together hold in a rumbling thunder of softly growling guitars. It is an aperitif. The next song, “Made for the Age,” launches with a piercing, probing rhythm shot that rolls into a steady hard-driving rocker with a convincing lead break. And there is no looking back after that – next is my favorite song of the set, “Hand of Bear.” It has a Clutch catchiness with a heavier vibe and with more distortion and fuzz. The title of the album comes from the song, “Late Night,” where we find out what love like machines means (I’ll let you discover that on your own). Another stand out track is “God Damn Wolf Man” with even more hooky guitars, raw lead work, and memorable lyrics:

Well god damn the Wolf Man/look what you made me do/I guess your hatred and your vitriol/finally got the best of you

Well fuck yeah Dr. Frankenstein/that what you want me to say?/’cause you are so much worse in your heart of hearts/than the monsters you create

Well calm down Count Dracula/and get your money all made/and I’ll do my best not to let you down/but I can’t work for free

The back catalogue of the band is excellent, and you should take a streaming dive into it at your earliest opportunity. I have favorites reaching back to their first album, but I have to say I do like this new one best overall. It is a heavy dose of the Cure For What Ails You all the way through. Recommended.

Love Like Machines is out March 27, 2020 at all the usual places, plus a limited CD and vinyl release from Kozmik Artifactz (link below). The band has a few live dates listed on their Facebook page, notably Stoned and Dusted at Pappy & Harriet’s in May (assuming we are all back in the world again by then).

Links.

Band, https://www.theheavyeyes.com/

Bandcamp, https://theheavyeyesmemphis.bandcamp.com/

Twitter, https://twitter.com/TheHeavyEyes

Kozmik Artifactz, https://kozmik-artifactz.com/

The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines (Kozmik Artifactz, 2020)