Current Rotation – Small Stone Edition 10/18/12
There's no doubt that Small Stone Records are a big and driving force when it comes to underground and independent rock. The label's roster, past and present, is unheralded. From Gideon Smith, Lo-Pan, and Gozu to newer signing such as Asteroid, Mother of God and Wo-Fat, there's no stopping the label.
2012 has been a tremendous year for the label from all the new releases to the new bands added to the roster. 2013 is shaping up to be as big if not bigger than 2012. I've had a bunch of the newer releases stacking up in need of some write ups. Here is a few of the newer releases tom come out.
Lord Fowl was one of the many new signings in 2012. The New Haven, CT 4 piece bring out their 2nd album, Moon Queen, following 2009's Endless Dynamite. Listening to Lord Fowl, it's easy to see why they are now part of the Small Stone roster. Their blend of riff heavy and fuzzed out guitar driven rock fits in perfectly. Moon Queen is easily an easy album to get into but even harder to turn off. The melodies get stuck in your head and the riffs are addicting. There's a nice flow to this album. Even during the few “lighter” moments such as “The Queen Is Not Impressed,” this is an all round awesome album. I'm reminded of bands such as Mountain and Nazareth. If this isn't in your collection, you need to take care of that right now. Borrow, beg or steal (no, not really that), you need to own this one.
Skånska Mord return with their 2nd album, Paths To Charon. This is their followup to 2010's The Last Supper which was their debut also released through Small Stone Records. Skånska Mord's sound is heavy, fuzzed out and partially psychedelic blues and hard rock. What really sets them apart though is the vocals. The vocals are very Chris Cornell sounding adding a bit of a Soundgarden feel to it.
Paths of Charon is one of those few albums that you can put on for the first time and not question what you're listening to. No knowledge or listening of their debut is necessary to enjoy this one. However, it is recommended as well. The songs on the newest don't take off to far from their predecessor, which isn't a bad thing. One of the few things they do is add some female backing vocals on “Addicts” which sounds pretty kick ass. The little duet isn't something that you hear to often in stoner rock.
You'd be quite the party pooper to not have heard this one. Stream it below, digital copies also available. Physical copies are coming soon.
I have to admit something here. I never got into Sons of Otis before. I've listened to a few things but was never hooked on these guys. Earlier this year though, I did begin to get a taste of more doom oriented music. When Seismic was announced, I decided to give the band another try. Now it would be unfair for me to compare this album to past material. I'm not going to do that as I'm not as schooled in it as others. What I can tell you is I have a new appreciation with the band and their music.
Seismic opens with the haunting and mesmerizing “Far From Fine.” That's where the album cracks you in the skull and sucks you in. Through the doomy and even the spacey parts, this album kicks a lot of ass.
The album is massive clocking in at just under the 51 minute mark, Seismic's deep and crushing riffs and jams will put you in a state of comatose and you'll probably wet yourself. Yeah, it's that good. Oh, the band covers Mountain's “Never in My Life.” Their take on the classic song is certainly unique. They play it to their style of music but yet stay very true to the original. Very fucking cool!
When we last heard from Mother of God, it was about 2 years ago after releasing their very good EP, Forging A New Path. A song was even on The Soda Shop's very first comp album. The band has come a long way since. First off they signed with Small Stone Records to release their first full length but it seems they've also refined their sound a little bit.
Forging a New Path was very grunge sounding. the band drew comparisons to Soundgarden. In that respect, Anthropos doesn't sound like that at all. It does retain the grunge influence. Hell, “Aim For The Sun” (which is probably the best song on the album IMO) sounds a bit like “Louder Than Love” by Soundgarden. The band has added a bit more fuzz and sounds a little more retro than before. At times they do sound a little bit like Alice in Chains, most notably on “Hoenan,” “Windows” and “Something From Below” with the later adding some heavy psych, something AIC never really touched.
The album isn't officially due out until 2013, you can get the digital download now. CDs and most likely vinyl will be along before long. If you like the old grunge movement from the 90's with a bunch of retro rock, Mother of God is your band. I'm putting this one right on top of my best of list for 2013 already!
Technically not a Small Stone Release, Gandhi's Gunn has recently signed with Small Stone Records (press here) and plan on reissuing this album with them which will include bonus tracks. The band has also changed their name to ISAAK. This is the original release that came out earlier in the year.
I'll wait and do a full review on the final Small Stone release of this album but in the meantime, The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound is one heavy album. It only takes a few small stops to catch a breath then picks up right back up. The riffs are huge. It's an album that, if listened to closely, will take you away on a journey. Where to is up to you. There's plenty of hard rock,stoner rock, some heavy metal and a little psychedelic rock (just listen to “Hypothesis,” damn is it a good one).
Look for the reissue from ISAAK in the near future and a new full length towards the end of 2013.