Anyone who misses high-energy rock being on top needs to open their ears and join the mayhem that is Generation. Off of their debut EP is I Like It, a track that doesn’t waste time letting you know what you’re in for and pulls you into a wild ride of quick, sloppy rock that sounds fresh out of your neighborhood’s finest garage. With some socio-political overtones borrowed from punk ancestry and just enough transduction on the vocals to add a lo-fi tinge, Generation doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to know how to get it turning.
I Like It sounds like a leather jacket, and if that description alone doesn’t make you want to listen, you should be looking somewhere else for your music. This isn’t something meant for arenas or ballrooms, but ballroom bashes have made it further from more humble beginnings. It’s always wonderful to know that no matter how much technology changes and the industry evolves, there are always groups like Generation to remind us how fun music can be if we just remember to rock out once in a while. In other words…I like it.
Luddy Mussy is a talented and creative group with a very special approach to musical composition. The recent track, “Is A Sound”, is a stunning piece that clocks in at 13 minutes. Throughout the length of the song, Luddy experiments with various genres and patterns, flirting with pop, rock, jazz and many other styles. The song opens up with lush and embracing piano tones, only to follow with some stunning drum arrangements. The electric guitars, however, truly takes the spotlight.
What I find really amazing is that the guitar is certainly not the loudest or most upfront element in the mix, yet it definitely leads the songs, helping it move forward with some really cool effects. From stunning slide phrases to amazing old school fuzz tones and stunning noise breaks, the guitar really adds something special to the mix, going for a rock edge with an atmospheric feel. I love how the vocals come in at about 5 minutes into the song, when you least expect them to surface. The song makes me think of bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins or The Goo Goo Dolls, but with a more progressive and experimental feel.
Post grunge? Is that a thing? Well, if it is then The Night Suns fit right into such a category. You can hear the last dissonant chords of the end of the grunge era drift through their music, as well as the muscular and more polished alt-rock sound of the modern era and between the two The Night Suns find their own singular voice.
But it is cleverer than the simple meeting and re-matching of those two genres. There is a clever dynamic at work in their approach to composition, one that often feels as if they are going to head off into more progressive rock territories but which stops short of any unnecessary noodling or sounds aping. Instead they prove to be masters of taking all the classic sounds from across a number of heavier genres, blend them with melody and deft atmospherics and produce a sound all of their own.
It might be quite obvious where they come from musically but where they are going is a far more interesting prospect.
If some would make the distinction between rock’n’roll a being a retro, back beat driven guitar jive and rock as being the evolution of stolen blues riffs which became the core of a whole new world of music, The High Gallery may just be one of the missing links between the two definitions.
This San Diego outfit manage to blend whole chapters from the musical record, from the aforementioned jive beat to the 50’s surf guitar twang but they also reference melancholic 60’s pop and early 70’s psych. Throw in some brass for drama, bluesy slide guitar breaks, swelling Hammond washes and pulsing bass lines not to mention a vocal which would stand out in any era and you have less of a band and more of a music rollercoaster ride through the sonic history of the western hemisphere.
Nature/Nurture, the album that Crawl comes from, is a poignant and timely reminder of a very serious subject. Written against a life long backdrop of depression and the related fall out, the recent loss to the rock community of a couple of its key players adds even more weight to the subject matter here. But Crawl and its parent album doesn’t dwell in the darker depths but instead attempts to bring the conversation into the light, and for all the weight of its subject matter it offers hope and positivity to a debate which we should be more and more willing to be part of.
Musically it is the perfect blend of melodicism and technicality, power and deftness, it blends the hard edge of the likes of Tool, the soaring majesty of Queensryche and the hook and immediacy of more accessible classic acts such as Def Leppard. This combination of poignancy and power makes for a great sound.
If you try to unpack Banzai.Giant stoner-alt rock sound you soon find that it is built from some surprisingly deft textures. Rather than just the usual grunge grunt and heavy riffs, there are layers of electronic wash, chiming, jangle pop guitars, progressive passages and dramatic symphonic rock theatre. All of which is rather pleasing. It is good to come across a band that understand that making an impact isn’t merely the business of volume control, but is more about dynamics and the building of layers to contour the sound.
Post-grunge? Is that a thing? If it is it suits Melancholia which proves great at capturing all of the power of the intent and delivery of the rawest of grunge bands and doing it by drawing the deftest of lines and leaving behind the “I hate by mum because she made me tidy my room” parochialism which was often at the heart of the scene.
It a world driven by often-unnecessary glitz and false glamour, Kev Howell is a musical voice of reason. Whilst Kamikaze blends the same pop and rock threads as much of the music around him there is something in the way he deconstructs and rebuilds it to make his own signature sound which is a real art.
This alternative take pulls some interesting ideas into the music but it is the restraint and a perfect understanding of just where the lines blur that is a joy to behold. The delivery heads towards world-weary but stops short of indifference, it tugs at some darker gothic threads but offers melancholy rather than misery, it swerves the bombast of alt-rock and replies with a more measured response. An alternative to alternative rock? Why not?
Anyone who loves rock music is probably familiar with this scene: a band is playing whilst fans are moshing. A fight starts and beer is flying everywhere. In other words: it’s a great time. This scene is made audible by A Weekend Away’s track Haze.
Haze is comprised of verses that give you just enough to keep wanting more. With basslines that will keep you moving and guitars that lurk around ready to strike, you’ll be on the edge of your seat if you aren’t being knocked off your feat. Powerful vocals that stay crystal clear are a major bonus and drums that ooze rock aesthetic set a foundation that can’t be beat. This song’s got everything but the alcohol.
If harder rock isn’t your scene, it’s important to note that this song never leaves pop palatable territory. It’s got hooks and distortion that’s tamed back by production just enough to keep it from being distracting while maintaining its strong presence. A Weekend Away walks a line between sensibilities that so many artists can’t seem to balance and this might be one of the reasons Haze is such a great track. This is accessible music whether you’re a softer person looking for danger or a harder person trying to cool down from something more egregious.
Masses is a musical outfit hailing from California. This song instantly appeals to fans of dark experimental alternative rock music, with a penchant for post punk melodies and a love for industrial landscapes.
The massive riffs and wide-open melodies of this track make me think of the music of artists as diverse as Thursday, Taking Back Sunday or At-The-Drive-In, just to mention a few. The guitar tone is monolith, and the bass and drums lock in together perfectly, to form the backbone of a powerful rhythm section. However, what makes the band stand out is definitely the backdrop of unique ambient sounds and drones, adding a lush, dream-like and sometimes dark atmosphere to contrast with the band’s alternative rock energy.
The song, clocking in at 3.35, is a perfect example of what this band stands for in a nutshell. This track has everything you would expect from a great post-punk band: melody, energy, darkness and light.
Find out more and listen to “Masses” directly through their official page on Bandcamp:
There is a wonderful understatement to No Secrets, one that is unusual in this world of bravado and bombast, glitz and glitter. Whilst their peers are writing anthem ready pop in the name of indie, Nobodies Birthday are the masters of the slow burning, brooding meander, never giving away the goods too quickly, never falling for gimmickry or losing site of the song in the name of a quick buck.
Even when the choruses do kick in it is more a series of musical plateaus rather than the mountain peak meaning that as the song crescendos its way to the finish it gradually pays off as it goes along rather than having one music punch line which is often followed by an anti-climax. Nobodies Birthday are the masters of restraint, slow unravelling and heightened anticipation, which means that whilst others may be described as anthemic, they manage to be majestic.