King Buffalo, The Burden Of Restlessness (2021)

Rochester New York’s King Buffalo return with their third album, The Burden Of Restlessness.

Not quite ten years ago, heavy psych rock band King Buffalo formed as a three-piece unit. The band is Sean McVay (guitar and vocals), Dan Reynolds (bass), and Scott Donaldson (drums). In these few years the band has released a number of EPs and two previous long-players. The plan is to record three full-length albums this year. Quite an impressive feat, that is.

“Heavy psych” is a broad category, but you get the idea. You expect friendly riffs and extended, laid-back passages. You do get that here, along with the band’s exclusive approach to composition. There is a set-up for each song, a solid rhythm platform, and often a piercing corollary line. These elements frame the steady vocals and lead guitar work, and the rambler bass lines as well. The effect is mesmerizing.

I am especially enthralled by “Grifter.” The heavy riffs overtake the punching line and soak your mind. “The Knocks” is another favorite with a great lead work, and also “Loam,” which is soulful and ambitious with a rapturous center. I find the entire album enthralling, I must say, and I will be gathering up the back catalogue immediately while I eagerly anticipate those two more albums this year. Right now we have this new one. Highly recommended.

The Burden Of Restlessness is out now. You can get CDs, vinyl, digital, and merch in the US at the band’s links below and in Europe from Stickman Records. King Buffalo is on tour in the Fall, crisscrossing the US and then doing a few shows in Canada in the new year. Judging from the new album, you don’t want to miss the live shows. Tour details are on the band’s website.

Links.

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

King Buffalo store, https://kingbuffalo.bigcartel.com/

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

King Buffalo website, https://kingbuffalo.com/

Stickman Records, https://www.stickman-records.com/shop/king-buffalo-the-burden-of-restlessness/

King Buffalo, The Burden Of Restlessness (2021)

Monster Magnet, A Better Dystopia (Napalm Records 2021)

Monster Magnet comes out with a cover album of psychedelic songs you have probably never heard before.

The legendary Monster Magnet was formed in New Jersey on the cusp of the nineties. Creating an innovative fuzzy sound that sparked memories of the psychedelic past, Spine Of God (1991) and Superjudge (1993) are now classics that set the stage for the popular success of Dopes To Infinity (1995) with the radio hit “Negasonic Teenage Warhead.” Best remembered in the mind of society afterwards for Powertrip (1998) and Mastermind (2010), Monster Magnet has always created music on their own terms. The band is founder Dave Wyndorf (vocals) along with Phil Caivano (guitar), Garret Sweeny (guitar), Alec Morton (bass), and Bob Pantella (drums).

You never know for sure what the next Monster Magnet album is going to be like. The Last Patrol came out in 2013 and then the very next year the band released a “re-imagining” of that album, Milking The Stars, with substantially altered arrangements. Then in 2015 Mastermind got a make-over with Cobras And Fire in a similar fashion. Mindfucker (2018) was tailored for the wild turn the world took in 2016 and now we have A Better Dystopia, a collection of covers that many fans will be entirely unfamiliar with. Consider this: Is it a cover tune to the listener if they never heard the original?

An odd choice, this album, but a bold and brilliant one. Drawing mainly from psychedelic-styled work from a by-gone era, the songs chosen by Wyndorf and crew have a contemporary resonance. Some of these were new to me and are genuine deep pulls. Here is the track list to marvel at: “The Diamond Mine” (Dave Diamond), “Born to Go” (Hawkwind), “Epitaph for a Head” (J. D. Blackfoot), “Solid Gold Hell” (The Scientists), “Be Forewarned” (The Macabre), “Mr. Destroyer” (Poo-Bah), “When the Wolf Sits” (Jerusalem), “Death” (Pretty Things), “Situation” (Josephus), “It’s Trash” (The Cave Men), “Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)” (Table Scraps), “Learning to Die” (Dust), and “Welcome to the Void” (Morgen).

The song that interested me most was Dust’s “Learning To Die.” I love Dust and this song in particular has always been one of my favorites. Like all the music on this album – and every album by Monster Magnet – energy and passion blazes through no matter the tempo or perspective. Expect fuzzed-up heavy psychedelic stoner rock. First listen to this album all the way through, then go out and dig up the originals. It is a trip comparing the new versions with the way-back-whens. Highly recommended.

A Better Dystopia is out now in myriad forms to please each and every one of the people of the Earth.

Links.

Napalm Records, https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/monstermagnet

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

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

Monster Magnet, A Better Dystopia (Napalm Records 2021)

Jakethehawk, Hinterlands (Ripple Music 2021)

Pittsburgh psychedelic metal band Jakethehawk deliver a new entry into their evolving canon of self-styled Appalachian Desert Rock with the trippy Hinterlands.

I saw Jakethehawk on a livestream sponsored by their record label a few weeks back. There were four bands on the bill and they were all great, but it is Jakethehawk that I remember most because their performance was fluid and expressive despite the claustrophobic nature of livestreams. I hadn’t heard them before and that preview got me excited for Hinterlands.

In 2018 the band released an EP, Year Of The Hawk, and a long-player, To Build A Fire. The music is a steady, cosmic, psychedelic effluence with hearty riffs, smooth vocals, and mesmerizing lead guitar breaks.

Hinterlands has six tracks, mostly in the six minute range. They tend to have gentle openings about half the time and languid movements into heavier lands. The other half have heavier gates with the mysticism on the inside. There is an ethereal ambience surrounding it all like a heavy mist, and sometimes the music and voice function like incantations, or even mantras, and they draw you all the way in to a place where the edges blur. The edges of everything blur.

The music is a brand of stoner rock you could say, and it is non-aggressive after that fashion, but it is not frivolous – the music has something important to show that comes through on every piece. The lead guitar is especially fervent, teed up as it is by the other instruments. I could pick as favorite any song on the album and be telling the truth, never regretting the declaration.

Hinterlands fulfilled my every expectation; it actually over-delivered. Highly recommended.

The album dropped today on Ripple Music, and you can pick it up at the label link below in digital, CD, or vinyl. For the previous albums, hit the first link for the band’s Bandcamp link.

Links,

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

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

Ripple, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/hinterlands

Jakethehawk, Hinterlands (Ripple Music 2021)

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)

Kimono Drag Queens, Songs of Worship review (Copper Feast Records 2020)

The debut album from Kimono Drag Queens establishes a principle of sound that lends a lesson easy to take in.

This Australian psychedelic band is comprised of Harry Webber (vocals and guitar), Kellie Banyai (vocals and keys), Will Coleman (vocals and guitar), Zeppelin Hamilton (guitar), Amy Yoshiko (percussion), Billy Minett (drums), and William Wood (bass). It is almost a troop instead of a band. If it takes this many musicians then that’s how many it takes – it is the results that matter and here they’re hitting all the right spots.

The music does remind me a little of King Gizzard but with more 60s in there, a little more on the folky side amidst the smoke and desert groove. Also more melody, and a greater intention toward the aural consumability of the final creation. So, maybe not so much like King Gizzard after all.

“Songs of Worship” is a beautiful meditation in a seemingly barren place that is actually full of life. Gentle musicianship and hypnotic vocals are the Pied Piper’s song for the first half leading you into a deeper groove of psychedelic jam. “Hunters In The Snow” goes the other way around having a pulsing rhythm up front with a whispering spell behind it. “Delilah” brings super fuzzy guitars out and “Wild Animals” hones the echo into contemporary art as the spirit of the trance really starts to kick in.

And then there is “Evil Desires” which I heard as a warning about walking too far away from camp late at night. The dual guitar right at the end is as memorable as it is brief. The set closes on “Willy’s World.” This song creates a pleasant warble in your cortex and a lasting gentle throb deeper down, where meaning swims in the ink of delusion. I am going to be hearing this album again, over and over. Recommended.

The digital is out now with vinyl to follow soon. You can scoop it all up at Bandcamp or through the label’s Big Cartel digital storefront.

Links.

Band Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/kimonodragqueens

Album Bandcamp, https://copperfeastrecords.bandcamp.com/album/songs-of-worship

Label Bandcamp, https://copperfeastrecords.bandcamp.com

Label Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/copperfeastrecords

Label shop, https://copperfeastrecords.bigcartel.com

Kimono Drag Queens, Songs of Worship review (Copper Feast Records 2020)