The Electric Mud, Burn The Ships review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Florida Heavy Blues instigators The Electric Mud return with more high voltage swamp metal on Burn The Ships.

The debut album of The Electric Mud came out two years ago, Bull Gator. It is bluesy, guitar-driven Southern stoner rock. Listening to it does bring up thoughts of that first Molly Hatchet album, but The Electric Mud is heavier and presses the lurking power of their music harder. The title track tells us “I’m the mighty jaws of an ancient god,” and a little later in the same song, “I’m the crooked old hand of death itself.” The songs are smooth and muscular. A very impressive debut.

The band is Constantine Grim (guitar), Pierson Whicker (drums), Peter Kolter (vocals and guitar), and Tommy Scott (bass). All four are from Florida, and have an abiding respect for the rock music tradition from the South (Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the like) as well as the classic metal roots of icons like the origin band, Black Sabbath. Their music is not a simple combination of latent elements of famous bands, however. They have taken their influences and inspirations and melded them with their abilities and art to fashion a lasting instrument of collective resonance.

The new album cranks up the speed and depth a notch, creating an even bigger wake than the earlier release. “The First Murder On Mars” is the opener (and the single you can hear now). It starts the set out fast and sharp, with stabbing guitars and crisp drumming. “Stone Hands” switches to a heavier hammer, and “Reptile” swings them both at the same time. “A Greater Evil” is a the cool evening breeze that blows through your open car window  and then darkens as the sun goes down. The triplet of “Call The Judge,” “Priestess,” and “Good Monster” is thirteen minutes of trouncing bliss – it takes you away from whatever was in your head before. I keep hitting these three over and over. “Ledbelly” is an amazing display of percussion, and “Terrestrial Birds” starts out as a lullaby until the guitar starts singing the blues and telling you a story that won’t let you sleep. This in an incredible album that will reach across to a wide array of heavy music fans. Highly recommended.

Burn The Ships CDs, vinyl, and downloads are available from Small Stone Records through Bandcamp (and elsewhere) beginning this Friday, September 25. You know how it works: the download is there forever but the hardcopies can go fast, especially the vinyl. Listen to Bull Gator on Spotify now. If you like it, consider a preorder if you want some of that orange vinyl.

Links.

http://www.theelectricmud.com

https://theelectricmud1.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.facebook.com/TheElectricMud

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/burn-the-ships

The Electric Mud, Burn The Ships review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Black Elephant, Seven Swords review (Small Stone Records 2020)

The fuzzed-out Italian metal blues stoner band Black Elephant comes thundering back with Seven Swords.

The new album is a follow-up to 2018’s Cosmic Blues, which established the band’s bone fides. There is a clear theme for Seven Swords but not a consistent one. Maybe the way to put it is there is a strong theme running through the album. References to Japan appear in nearly every song, ranging from sumo with Yokozuna to art with Yayoi Kusama to solemnity with seppuku. But then there are other apparently entirely unrelated pieces, too, setting the listener on the path of jovial tongue-in-cheekedness which fits in with a stoner perspective quite well. The musicians are Alessio Caravelli (guitar and vocals), Massimiliano Giacosa (guitar), Marcello Destefanis (bass), and Simone Brunzu (drums) – a power rock set-up that delivers heavy desert blues and some sideways surprises.

The albums opens with a soft, spacey blues insinuation title “Berta’s Flame” that drops a heavy foot a couple times between whispers before a guitar lead rips the reality wide open halfway through. “The Last March of Yokozuna” begins life at first as a vacation on a South Pacific island, takes a big stomp, then quietens down again. And then the set really starts to rip. “Yayoi Kusama” has an opening groove that is almost boogie and the fuzziness verily surrounds you, rubbing your ears until you tingle. “Mihara” is a warbling space journey and, while the space journey continues throughout, guitars do rise from the lower decks and take over. “Red Sun and Blues Sun” is a rollicking good time promenade through a summer psychedelic garden with gentle musical shifts at every new blossom. “Seppuku” is heavy blues and deadly serious in its grinding waves, as the title suggest it would be. “Govinda” wraps everything up, and listens like a nine minute guided meditation that swells and shrinks and reveals.

Seven Swords is out Friday, August 28. If you preorder it on Bandcamp, you get “Berta’s Flame” right now and the rest at the end of next week. There are also CD and LP choices that all include digital downloads, too. Get your fuzz on. Recommended.

Links.

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/seven-swords

http://www.smallstone.com

Black Elephant, Seven Swords review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Tia Carrera, Tried and True review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Instrumental metal blues groove psychedelic masterminds Tia Carrera release another stream of altered consciousness with Tried and True.

Tia Carrera is a band best experienced live in the same way you want to hear Sleep or Earthless in person. The strong improvisational element to the performances make the experience more personal – it could very well be that what you are listening to was never played that way before and won’t ever be played just that way again. You can record it and listen to it later, but if you were there I bet you’ll hear that recording differently than people who listen to it and weren’t.

The Texas trio has been creating acid-soaked renderings for more than fifteen years. The current lineup includes founders Jason Morales and Erik Conn, joined by Curt Christenson who appears to be there to stay. The rumor is the band has a massive treasure trove of recorded material, both in-studio and live, that they have yet to release. They curate what goes public very carefully, only letting out small bits here and there. Any new release is big news, and with Tried and True they have broken off a big chunk instrumental wonderment for the eager public.

All the musical stylings on this album have an urgency and an explosive originality. You can hear the bass line and the drums clearly at all times alongside the guitar. Each part is distinct and at the same time fit together in a fierce synergy rivaled only by perhaps Frank Zappa at his most berserk. The music is very bluesy with an extra helping of chimerical phantasmagoria. There are five principal tracks, the anchor being the 14 minute title expansion that is, in the words of Poe, a dream within a dream. The CD has two bonus entries that together are more than 30 minutes so give that serious consideration – they are “Visitors” and “Early Purple,” previously released last year on vinyl. It is an experience.

Out tomorrow, Friday June 12, from Small Stone Records, drop Tried and True into your brain as soon as you can.You want as much Tia Carrera as you can get.

Links.

http://www.facebook.com/tiacarreraofficial

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/tried-and-true

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

Tia Carrera, Tried and True review (Small Stone Records 2020)

Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon review (Small Stone Records, 2020)

The third album from Lord Fowl has a classic rock sensibility with extra fuzz on top for good measure. Glorious Babylon is a great summer jam that is right on time.

The band is Jon Conine, Vechel Jaynes, Mike Pellegrino, and Michael Petrucci (now Van Hartley). They popped into existence in New Haven, Connecticut in 2007. Their first release, Endless Dynamite, came out two years later to the sheer delight of the locals. Moon Queen followed three years later with a similar sound of good time rock and roll. The first impression that enters my head when one of their songs starts to play is a burbling 1970s nostalgia, an earnest this-is-how-I-am-feeling-right-now vibe with the amp on overdrive and the soft fuzz engaged.

This new one continues along similar lines, harkening to the earlier work and taking a step ahead as well. The footing is surer on Glorious Babylon, the compositions a bit tighter. The flavor has matured a little and they do sometimes twinkle of Thin Lizzy (like the press release reads) if TL got an update into the contemporary psychedelic stonerish situation we often find ourselves in these days. Some songs, like “Glorious Babylon,” are kick ass rockers, and others, like “The Wraith,” are more serious and ponderous. “In Search Of” goes full space boogie and “Fire Discipline” is full of punchy guitar riffs augmented by echoing lead breaks. The band takes you on a tour of what they like to play, and it is a good ride to be on. They are a little bit like contemporary bands such as Black Coffee and maybe even Dirty Honey, but while you can detect a nuanced ecliptic of these bands, you wouldn’t mistake Lord Fowl for anyone else. Their third album is the best one so far and it is a good sign of things to come. Recommended.

Band photo by Meg Herlihy.

Glorious Babylon is out now. You can get CDs and vinyl from Small Stone Records through Bandcamp; downloads and streams in the usual places. Do it up and get your buzz on.

Links.

Lord Fowl

https://www.facebook.com/LORD-FOWL-260582122862

https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/glorious-babylon

Small Stone Records

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

http://www.smallstone.bandcamp.com

Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon review (Small Stone Records, 2020)

Review of Seven Planets New Release, Explorer (Small Stone, 2020)

Heavy groovists Seven Planets have a February release that will help you rise above the winter gloom: Explorer.

With roots in West Virginia, the band’s music is guitar-driven instrumental groove, loaded with boogie, blues, and funk, all wrapped up in a heavy desert vibe. The two guitarists, Leonard Hanks and Jim Way, are joined on the album by bassist Mike Williams and the steady and clever drumming of Ben Pitt. No vocals. With this music, you do not miss the physiological voice because the instruments do all the art, leaving no gaps. Even with the proliferation of instrumental bands in doom and heavy music in recent years, Seven Planets stands out with its spacey construction, its cohesiveness, and flavorful riffs that are all its own.

Following Flight of the Ostrich (2008) and their self-titled 2012 release, Explorer is the third full-length set from Seven Planets. The shorter songs pop, giving off a Bakerton Group glimmer – “206,” “Vanguard,” and “The Buzzard” especially. The longer pieces have more of a nebulous doom presence, in some ways ethereal, and reminiscent of the sound Seven Planets established in their earlier albums. The warbling “Seven Seas” is the perfect example of this second type, where a bed of solid floating groove carries you along while exploring guitar fingers spark and reach out into the unknown. In “Great Attractor,” the two guitars even go off and explore in different directions at the same time, bringing a broader environment of sound into a greater inclusive whole. The album closes with “The Buzzard,” a sharp, insisting punch wearing melodic robes. Taken together, it is like experiencing eight separate micro-doses that ebb and flow and blend into a gaining collective that outpaces the sum of its parts.

There are no tour dates listed on their socials, so keep an eye out for Seven Planets because you want to see them whenever you can. Christopher Berry is now playing bass after the departure of Mike Williams, and the transition has been seamless, by all accounts. The album Explorer will be released on February 7, 2020, and it is available for preorder now at Bandcamp (link below) in digital and many solid forms. After you preorder the new one and while you are waiting for it to drop, listen to the first two on Spotify or wherever you stream. It’ll put you in the mood and give you some idea of what is coming. The new album is in the same cosmos as the first two, but it is also an evolution. Recommended.

Band photo by Holly Pittman.

Links.

http://www.sevenplanetsband.com

http://www.facebook.com/Seven-Planets

http://www.instagram.com/sevenplanetsrock

http://www.smallstone.com

http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

http://www.instagram.com/smallstonerecords

Review of Seven Planets New Release, Explorer (Small Stone, 2020)