Electric Jaguar Baby, Psychic Death Safari (Rebel Waves 2022)

The new album from Electric Jaguar Baby continues the fuzzed up garage rock trance, Psychic Death Safari.

Since 2015, eclectic duo Electric Jaguar Baby from Paris, France has been creating fascinating vibes. Over the course of the intervening years, a trio of EPs and their debut album have left a trail for music lovers to follow that is wickedly diverse and endlessly entertaining. The identity of the central musical pair remains mysterious, but we do know that there are guest appearances on the album by Luca of Go!Zilla on vocals and organ, and Jed of ZigZags on guitar.

The band describes the new album as “a gangbang between Ty Segall, Josh Homme, Jack White and Ozzy Osbourne, sprinkled with retro and occult 70’s vibes”. If that doesn’t capture your imagination then you must be in a coma.

“Hitmaker” opens with a catchy 1970s rock riff then continues with similarly-styled vocals. It hooks you immediately – there is no way to not hang out and listen. “Flashlight” is a little denser, a bit trippier. It sets a cruise and rolls on down the gently winding highway. By the time we get to “Shiver River,” I had an Amboy Dukes flashback. Every song cooks, and the listening is good.

There is a lot to like on this record. One of my favorite tracks is “Hellcome” – love the lead guitar and the assertive past-central riff. And come on, “Jaguar’s Boogie” is a thing of beauty. If you are into garage rock, 1970s sensibilities, and fuzzed up trippy stoniness, there is no way you can go wrong here. Recommended.

Psychic Death Safari is out now through Ripple Music’s Rebel Waves Records on vinyl, CD, and digital. If you like what you hear, check out the band’s back catalogue at their Bandcamp page (link below).

Links.

Electric Jaguar Baby website, https://express.adobe.com/page/SarZGmiV5SG7Y/

Bandcamp, https://electricjaguarbaby.bandcamp.com/album/psychic-death-safari

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

Ripple Music, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/psychic-death-safari

© Wayne Edwards

Electric Jaguar Baby, Psychic Death Safari (Rebel Waves 2022)

Behold! The Monolith, From The Fathomless Deep (Ripple Music 2022)

Los Angeles metal band Behold! The Monolith have created a doom-laden masterpiece with their new album From The Fathomless Deep.

Behold! The Monolith have gone through some changes since their inception fifteen years ago. They have released an EP and three previous long-players prior to the latest album. The band has shifted and reshaped since the sudden loss of vocalist and bassist Kevin McDade in a car accident in 2009. Reorienting to a trio on the new album, Menno Verbaten plays bass and sings, Matt Price is on guitar, and Chase Manhattan, drums. This latest music is some of their heaviest to date.

There are six tracks on From The Fathomless Deep. “Crown/The Immeasurable Void” opens the set and establishes a weighty foundation. All instruments, including voice, hit on the first note laying out a heavy front of doom. Slow and monstrous, you can feel the behemoth getting closer as the song moves along. The tension grows throughout and, when you hear a quiet passage, it is positively ominous. “Psychlopean Dread” has a mysterious beginning and melancholy lead work. Verbaten’s gruff vocals churn primordial forces to create meaning from the mist. “Spirit Taker” picks the pace up, and then some. The stabbing guitar riff and rapid-fire percussion catch you off guard and hit all the harder for it. It’s a rager.

Side two leads with “The Wailing Blade,” a song that has a less ominous but more directly threatening tone. It is short and cracking. “The Seams of Pangaea” is a fascinating title when you think of the implications it carries, and the music delivers a full-on expression of the possibilities. The overlayed lead guitar work is exceptional, and the Pink Floydian movement is an experience. The album closes on the eleven-minute epic “Stormbreaker Suite.” This piece has some of the most progressive segments on the record, to my ear, anyway. Over the course of the song, an ambitious array of ideas is explored, and the answers are found.

The is album is very heavy, and it is one of my favorites, not just from Behold! The Monolith, but among the all the albums I have heard so far this year. Highly recommended.

From The Fathomless Deep is out now through Ripple Music. Secure your treasures at the label’s site, or at Bandcamp, like I did.

Links.

Band website, https://beholdthemonolith.com/home

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-fathomless-deep

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

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Behold! The Monolith, From The Fathomless Deep (Ripple Music 2022)

Righteous Fool, Righteous Fool (Ripple 2022)

An unearthed treasure: Righteous Fool.

I don’t usually do this, but here is the entire synopsis from the label that tells the story of this record. It is done so well that this is the best way to catch you up. 

Born in 2009 on the impulse of the late Reed Mullin (Corrosion Of Conformity) and guitarist Jason Browning, Raleigh-based rockers RIGHTEOUS FOOL came fully into being when the gang of two invited Mullin’s long-time bandmate Mike Dean (also Corrosion Of Conformity) to play bass. North Carolina legends CoC were on hiatus, and bassist Mike Dean had fallen out of touch with co-founding drummer Mullin until, after nine years, Mullin pulled into Dean’s driveway and asked if he wanted to start a new band.

RIGHTEOUS FOOL demoed and released the two-track 7-inch in 2010 via Southern Lord, and quickly hopped on support tours for Clutch, Weedeater and, later on, Corrosion Of Conformity. The eponymous “Righteous Fool” full-length was recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 in California, during the same sessions that produced CoC’s self-titled 2012 reunion LP, but was never released.

Now, in the wake of Reed Mullin passing in 2020, the remaining members decided to bring the album to light, showcasing a lava hot infusion of hard rock, heavy blues, stoner and punk, oozing soul, fury and fire from every note.

It goes without saying that Corrosion of Conformity fans probably have a leg up on liking this album. You can hear it in there for sure, but this music is different. There is more heavy blues in my ears, and the changes and shifts to me often sound more syncopated. The musicians are definitely on a tear here, channeling something special.

Every track is a treasure, and I am not saying that lightly. “Forever Flames” had me hitting repeat the most, but I have also listened to this album straight through several times on my recent cross-country jaunt and it held up state after state.

I have a special affection for the Judas Priest version of the Peter Green song “The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Prong Crown)” and there is a killer rendition of tune on this album. I don’t think this song has been appreciated enough, and here we have a new opportunity to breathe in the bluesy, psychedelic wonder of it all. “When the day goes to sleep and the full moon looks / the night is so black the darkness cooks.” O yeah.

And then there is “Heavy Is The Head” and “Edict Of Worms.” And sure, all the rest of them, too. This album is a ravager. Damn. Highly recommended.

Righteous Fool is out now through Ripple Music. Pick it up at the label’s website, Bandcamp, or any other elsewhere.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/righteous-fool

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Righteous-Fool-117163561154/

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Righteous Fool, Righteous Fool (Ripple 2022)

Cities Of Mars, Cities Of Mars (Ripple 2022)

Heavy fuzz doom trio Cities Of Mars self-title their third long-player.

Sweden’s stoner doom band Cities Of Mars began in 2014, releasing an EP, Celestial Mistress, a couple year later. The music falls squarely in the land of doom, but the subjects and trajectories of the compositions align with the stars. Joining their first two full-length albums, Temporal Rifts (2017) and The Horologist (2019), the new record continues the sure-footed journey. The band is Danne Palm (bass, vocals), Johan Kuchler (drums, vocals), and Christoffer Norén (guitar, vocals).

“Before The Storm” is a beautiful spacey opening for the album. Patient, building slowly, the song introduces an ethereal voice signaling the beginning of the journey and, importantly, the need for it. Gentleness gives way to heavy doom guitar riffs on “Towering Graves.” The vocals are still mysterious but much more menacing now. The massive riffs continue on “The Prophet,” growing tall enough to block out the dim setting sun on the red planet.

“Song of a Distant Earth” is an acoustic piece; a mood shift before the devastating “A Dawn of No Light.” The tempo picks up and the rhythm is more assertive, and the lead guitar freer in its explorations. “The Dreaming Sky” has a forlorn quality to it. Harmonizing vocals and melancholy guitar lines waken suppressed feelings. “Reflected Skyline” is an airy piece, and sad, too, in my hearing.

“The Black Shard” is the twelve-minute final word on the album. In some ways you could see it as a reinterpretation of the ideas earlier expressed. You could also see it as a furthering of those notions. It is an exceptional piece and, if nothing else, you should listen to this one. It has many powerful moments, and regular returns to altered pace, attitude, and sentiment throughout. Much like the album in its totality. Recommended.

Cities Of Mars is out now through Ripple Music. Bandcamp is always a good place to pick up the goods.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/cities-of-mars

Website, http://www.citiesofmars.se/

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

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCavaUFPTEDKYjAxJ8Qapbeg

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Cities Of Mars, Cities Of Mars (Ripple 2022)

Wo Fat, The Singularity (Ripple Music 2022)

The seventh album from Texas stoner doom band Wo Fat is a world of its own, The Singularity.

Wo Fat hit the ground running with their first album The Gathering Dark (2006). It is legendary now, and it set the stage for a blistering run of records including Psychedelonaut (2009), Noche del Chupacabra (2011), and The Black Code (2012). The band plays psychedelic stoner doom rock that sounds like it was anointed by the cosmos. The new album is another chapter of astonishing guitar-based music that beguiles the listener and holds them in its sway.

The new album has seven big tracks, with a run time averaging over ten minutes each. You can hear “Orphans of the Singe” in the distance. As the music gets closer, you bend toward it and fall in. Down the rabbit hole. This is desert groove jam music; sounds that way to me. There is magic here, the kind that coalesces from nowhere just as the sun is disappearing beyond the horizon. Incredible jams over inspired rhythm. And then some.

I don’t know how it is possible to be so engaging over such a range with this level of endurance. It just keeps getting better as you listen. Skipping ahead a couple of tracks (about twenty minutes or so), “The Unraveling” claps its sinewy hands on you and gives you a good shaking. It is an up-tempo, high energy push. “The Witching Chamber” follows and you feel enchanted but not inveigled. Riffs bigger than the Mississippi is wide form an encampment where you could live for the rest of your days if you wanted.

How could there be more? Then the title track queues up and you know that you are still in it and the journey is not over yet. “The Oracle” ends the set on a sixteen-minute parable of psychedelic swamp doom that has no peer and faces no rival. The musicians have a breathtaking command of composition, improvisation, instrumentation, and elevation. I feel bad for anyone who has not heard this album yet. Highly recommended.

The Singularity is out now through Ripple Music. Check them out on Bandcamp or the Ripple site. What you should really do is subscribe to Ripple Music on Bandcamp – if you had done that, you would have The Singularity already.

Links.

Website, https://wofat.net/

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

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

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Wo Fat, The Singularity (Ripple Music 2022)

Stone Axe, Stay Of Execution (Ripple Music 2022)

Rock preservationists Stone Axe release a collection of rarities, Stay Of Execution.

Tony Reed started Stone Axe in 2007, a band that plays with a 1970s rock sensibility. A lot of music has been released under this moniker, including two full-length studio albums to go along with the EPs, splits, and live sets. I have listened to everything I can get my hands on that has come out from Stone Axe and I have never been disappointed.

The best description of the new album comes from Tony Reed himself. “Stay of Execution is an album of unreleased recordings and tracks we like that were hidden in the grooves of vinyl that was released in very limited numbers with little or no promotion. All songs were recorded between 2008 and 2011 and cover a wide spectrum of styles in that seventies vein we were known for. The musical concepts of proto-metal, southern rock, psychedelic rock, and folk rock are well-explored in this collection. Seven of the eight tracks on the album feature the usual studio collaboration of Reed / Brinkerhoff, while the last song includes all four members of the live band. I feel like these tracks are as strong as anything on our other long players. It’s great to see them finally get released.”

The first two songs released from the album are “Fell On Deaf Ears” and “Lady Switchblade.” The former is a fast-moving getaway with piercing guitars and the fluid vocal style fans appreciate so much. “Lady Switchblade” takes a softer approach, despite the theme and lyrics – “Lady, Lady Switchblade / I feel your steel on my jugular vein.” The slower pace does not take the edge off the guitars at all. In fact, rather like Thin Lizzy used to do so well, the slower song has a deeper emotional component and delivers a big impact in the end.

And of course there is lot more. “Sweet Sweet Time” is a bluesy, soulful piece of wonderment. “Metal Damage” is an energetic affair that puts me in mind of Gillan a little it, and that is a good thing. “King Of Everything” sets you straight on the way things are, and when you hear it you know it is right. Playing this album will make any day a better day. Highly recommended.

Stay Of Execution is out now through Ripple Music. Have a look at the possibilities – links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/stay-of-execution

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/people/STONE-AXE/100063740078934/

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Stone Axe, Stay Of Execution (Ripple Music 2022)

Fostermother, The Ocean (Ripple Music 2022)

Psychedelic Texas doom band Fostermother offer their second full-length album to the expanding universe.

I liked Fostermother’s first album, the self-titled one that came out in 2020. It is an excellent stoner album and, while I wouldn’t call it light-hearted, it had a kind of buoyancy to it, a sort of groove. The new album is a bit slower in tempo and a touch dimmer in tone. Whether in a loud moment or a quiet one, you can feel the doom surround you. It will definitely appeal to the band’s fans, and will gather up a new crowd among those who had been standing around the edges. The credited musicians on The Ocean are Travis Weatherred (vocals, guitar, drums, and synth) and Stephen Griffin (bass, keys, and guitar).

“Sunday” opens the show with a tentative pulse. A better way to put that is the music makes you feel tentative and on edge when you hear it. The vocals have a mystical and somewhat unsettling tonal quality – they seem like they might be a warning. The riff is heavy, buzzing with shadows. We know at the gate, then, that this is a doom album in the stoner lane that also has a dark shade to it. “Seasons” goes even deeper in a heavy, fuzzy trudge and the next track after that, “Hedonist,” punches it up a bit in the first look before quietening down and going ethereal. The journey we are on with this music is becoming a shifting kaleidoscope of blues and reds and yellows.

Each next step puts you a little off balance with a new tilt, and while there is familiarity in every track, I did not get the feeling of being in loop. Some of the songs have a grungy feel to them, like “Dark Desires.” Others force an insistent dismalness, like “Arrival.” Each port that is visited has its dangers and its charms. Put Fostermother on your must-hear list from here on out. Highly recommended.

The Ocean is out now from Ripple Music. Bandcamp and Ripple’s website are where you can get the details.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://fostermother.bandcamp.com/album/the-ocean

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

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

Fostermother, The Ocean (Ripple Music 2022)

Obsidian Sea, Pathos (Ripple Music 2022)

Bulgarian proto-doom trio Obsidian Sea bring their fourth album into clear view: Pathos.

Obsidian Sea came together in 2010 in Sofia playing a classic rock style layered into doom horizons. Prior to the new record, the band released a demo at the beginning and three long-players since – Between Two Deserts (2012), Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions (2015), and Strangers (2019). Their musical approach relies on melodic passages and extended diversions set in sweeping idiomatic paradigms of venerable rock and roll. According to the Metal Archives, the band is Bozhidar (drums), Anton (vocals and guitar), and Delyan Karaivanov (bass).

There are seven songs on Pathos, each hovering in the five-to-six minute range. Well-worn, reliable set-ups are played as bedrock formations holding up incredibly well-executed guitar work and impressive compositional talent. You can expect fuzzy guitars on the regular and softened melodic expressions that form a low hedge for the greater guitar adventuring.

Some of the song titles are quite grim. Witness the first two tracks, “Lament the Death of Wonder” and “The Long Drowning.” The music itself, while living in the land of doom, is not depressingly-oriented and the vocalizations are more earnest and dramatic than they are dreary and dank. Dark fantasy more than horror, you might say.

My favorite tracks include “The Revenants” and “Mythos” as they both highlight the features I have just mentioned, and I appreciate the sternness of the guitar moments. The former song especially has a mystical sensibility. The final piece is “The Meaning of Shadows,” and it approaches the avant-garde in comparison to its fellows. It also has a delightful noir aroma, a sinisterness. The song builds toward the end into an urgent finale, functioning as a gleeful capstone to the set. Excellent, all the way around. The music is not what you might typically think of when doom is being discussed, but it has a legitimate place in that world. Recommended.

Pathos is out now through Ripple Music. Snap it up at the label’s website, Bandcamp, or any of all those other places you can get music.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/pathos

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

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

Obsidian Sea, Pathos (Ripple Music 2022)

Döminance and Submissiön: A Tribute to Blue Öyster Cult (Ripple 2022)

The universe has needed a new a Blue Öyster Cult tribute album for a long time. It is finally here: Döminance and Submissiön: A Tribute to Blue Öyster Cult.

The idea for this recognition and tribute to BÖC was initiated by the late Steve Hanford (Thee Slayer Hippy), in conjunction with Ian Watts of Ape Machine. The album is being released by Ripple Music, and this is how they describe the evolution of the project.

As Poison Idea’s drummer and producer, Hanford, lived the hard road of the rock veteran. He played on two highly influential hardcore records, ‘War All The Time’ and ‘Feel The Darkness,’ and worked as a producer on indie rock projects such as Heatmiser (with Elliot Smith) and punk albums for notable names like The Hard-Ons. Following struggles with addiction and a seven-year prison sentence, he turned his life around, starting work in a music program and playing drums first in The Skull and then joining Ape Machine as drummer and producer. While on the road with Ape Machine, Steve decided to produce a tribute record to one of his favorite bands, Blue Öyster Cult.

Hanford was an accomplished and respected musician, able to round up a star-studded cast of bands for the tribute. Passing away in May of 2020, he didn’t see the project’s completion, but he completed most of the recordings, leaving Watts to gather the final pieces.

The album, then, honors and remembers a classic band and the proceeds of its sales are going toward a good cause.

For fans, knowing what’s in the box is a big deal, so here it is. “ME 262” – Mondo Machine; “Flaming Telepaths” – Great Electric Quest; “Dominance and Submission” – Cosmo-Daemonic Telegraph Company; “Godzilla” – Howling Giant; “Transmaniacon MC” – Tony Reed (Mos Generator) with Thee Slayer Hippy; “Wings Wetted Down” – IT; “Tattoo Vampire” – Mondo Generator with Thee Slayer Hippy; “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” – Ape Machine; “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll” – Zeke; “Stairway to the Stars” – War Cloud; “Fireworks” – Year of the Cobra with Thee Slayer Hippy; “7 Screaming Diz-Busters” – Fetish; and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Spindrift.

I am approaching super-fan level for Blue Öyster Cult so I have a lot of opinions about hypothetical tribute albums. Which songs should be included? I can tell you. Which bands should perform the songs? Hey, just ask. When I first saw this list for this new record I had an instantaneous rush of reactions. Some of the biggest hits from the band are included, as expected. I was shocked to see a couple of my favorites songs on the album that I didn’t think would ever be included, like “Transmaniacon MC,” “Tattoo Vampire,” and “Wings Wetted Down.” Respect.

The take the bands had on the songs was typically in line with the originals. It is always a choice, isn’t it, how closely to replicate the song you are covering. Different fans will have different opinions, naturally. I liked every track. While I will always prefer the originals, it is also great to hear the well done iterations.

Döminance and Submissiön: A Tribute to Blue Öyster Cult is out now through Ripple Music. Take a look at Bandcamp or on Ripple’s site.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/d-minance-and-submissi-n-a-tribute-to-blue-yster-cult

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

Döminance and Submissiön: A Tribute to Blue Öyster Cult (Ripple 2022)

Buffalo Revisited, Volcanic Rock Live (Ripple Music 2022)

Australian metal pioneers Buffalo, performing as Buffalo Revisited, release their first live album, called Volcanic Rock Live, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the studio original.

Buffalo is a band a lot of fans today never came across but I am convinced they would be happy to hear them if they got a chance. The Australians released five full-length albums back in the 1970s, the most well-remembered being Volcanic Rock (1973). Founder and front man Dave Tice has been performing in recent years as Buffalo Revisited, playing songs from the early albums. Interestingly, Buffalo never released a live album. Until now.

Recorded on June 6, 2018 at The Bald Faced Stag Hotel in Sydney, Buffalo Revisited plays the entire Volcanic Rock album. Troy Scerri (guitar), Steve Lorkin (Bass), and Marcus Fraser (drums) joined Dave Tice to make it happen.

Some of my all-time favorite music was created in the 1970s, so I figured I was going to be on board with this one, too. I had heard Volcanic Rock before, and a couple other Buffalo albums, so I was ready.

What you realize immediately about this music is it’s a great stoner record. Laid back riffs and weathered lead guitar work seep easily into your readied head. By the second song, “Freedom,” I had settled in. I remember having a fleeting thought hoping the album was playing on a loop because I did not want to get up. Tice sounds great, and he and the other musicians celebrate the 45th anniversary of the classic album in style.

Whether you have heard of Buffalo before or not, you should listen to this album. If you are a fan of the Ripple Music catalogue, then this is for you. It fits right in. Highly recommended.

Volcanic Rock Live is out now from Ripple Music and available at Bandcamp or through the label’s on-line store.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/volcanic-rock-live

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

Ripple Music, https://www.ripple-music.com/

Buffalo Revisited, Volcanic Rock Live (Ripple Music 2022)