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RIDING EASY

Holy Serpent

Endless

    The forthcoming third album by Melbourne, Australia’s Holy Serpent could likely be its defining moment. Seemingly bottomless in its relentless heft, with billowing and suffocating riffs leading glistening melodies, it’s the sound of a band that has locked on to something unique. Endless is fully conceptualized throughout, encapsulating an oceanic theme from the lyrics and art, even to the very structure of the sounds themselves.

    “Lyrically, it’s heavily influenced by the ocean,” explains vocalist/guitarist Scott Penberthy. “Lots of ocean metaphors and imagery was used. Also the title of the album Endless, is an homage to the ocean: Its mystery, power and its ability to give and take life.” The album loosely follows the lyrical theme of two lovers, oceans apart, waiting for each other on the shores of eternity. Their love is so strong, they eventually walk into the water, ending their lives to be together in the afterlife.

    Fitting to these themes, the band experiments with sound throughout the album, such as layering in a wobbly synth sound reminiscent of tape push and pull, mixed just loud enough to blend with the instruments. “It’s sort of a haunting sound which gives the album an ebb and flow, much like an ocean’s current or tide,” Penberthy says.

    The 6-song, 40-minute album finds Penberthy, guitarist Nick Donoughue, bassist Dave Bartlett and drummer Lance Leembruggen expanding their melodic hooks while simultaneously taking listeners on a rigorous journey. It was written over the course of 2 months, then recorded in seclusion at Beveridge Road Recording Studios near Australia’s beautiful Dandenong Ranges with head engineer Marc Russo and mixed by Mike Deslandes. Surrounding themselves with nature and no distractions allowed the band to focus on every detail of the album as a coherent whole.

    In the time since their self-titled RidingEasy debut in mid-2015, Melbourne, Australia’s Holy Serpent have gained a lot of attention for their rather punk version of heavy psych and metal. Their 2016 skate-metal leaning album Temples further defined their more experimental blend of early Soundgarden, Saint Vitus and Kyuss that eschews simplistic 70s-worship in favor of shimmering sonics and uncommon production techniques. Nonetheless, Endless is like all of the band’s earliest visions fully realized and honed into an album beyond easy classification.

    Starting with the slow, exaggeratedly compressed 4/4 drum lead in to “Lord Deceptor” — something of a hi-dive anticipation before we plunge headlong into the ensuing depths — crushing and crackling guitars burst in as Penberthy sings in low baritone, “ocean grave, carry me upon a wave / I'm hypnotized in prophecy, what Is left for you and me?” Harmonies drift in and out of the main motif as it sways along into the tempest of “Into The Fire.” Here, a churning riff gathers intensity as the rhythm section builds to a lurching 3/4 time. Reverb-soaked vocals sing, “where the ocean meets the sand, I'll be waiting, I'll be waiting there.” Elsewhere, on “For No One,” impossibly low droptuned guitars slink along as the music swells with space rock abandon. Album closer, “Marijuana Trench” is a play on the Mariana trench, the deepest place on earth. Appropriately, the song plunges from gently strummed acoustic guitar into a tsunami crest that pulls the listener under the dark and enveloping weight of sound as Penberthy’s soothing vocals seem to ease us into the end, subsumed in the album’s powerful allure.

    Various Artists

    Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip

      The ninth edition of the popular compilation series featuring long-lost vintage 60s-70s proto-metal and stoner rock singles. 

      Some of the best thrills of the Internet music revolution is the ability to find extremely rare music with great ease. But even with such vast archives to draw from, quite a lot of great songs have gone undiscovered for nearly half a century -- particularly in genres that lacked hifalutin arty pretense. Previously, only the most extremely dedicated and passionate record collectors had the stamina and prowess to hunt down long forgotten wonders in dusty record bins -- often hoarding them in private collections, or selling at ridiculous collector's prices. Legendary compilations like Nuggets, Pebbles, ad nauseum, have exhausted the mines of early garage rock and proto-punk, keeping alive a large cross-section of underground ephemera. However, few have delved into and expertly archived the wealth of proto-metal, pre-stoner rock tracks collected on Brown Acid.

      Lance Barresi, co-owner of L.A./Chicago retailer Permanent Records has shown incredible persistence in tracking down a stellar collection of rare singles from the 60s and 70s for the growing compilation series. Partnered with Daniel Hall of RidingEasy Records, the two have assembled a selection of songs that's hard to believe have remained unheard for so long.

      "I essentially go through hell and high water just to find these records," Barresi says. "Once I find a record worthy of tracking, I begin the (sometimes) extremely arduous process of contacting the band members and encouraging them to take part. Daniel and I agree that licensing all the tracks we're using for Brown Acid is best for everyone involved," rather than simply bootlegging the tracks. When all of the bands and labels haven't existed for 30-40 years or more, tracking down the creators gives all of these tunes a real second chance at success.

      "There's a long list of songs that we'd love to include," Barresi says. "But we just can't track the bands down. I like the idea that Brown Acid is getting so much attention, so people might reach out to us."

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Exclusive avocado green coloured vinyl.

      Monolord

      Empress Rising - Coloured Vinyl Repress

        Sweden's psychedelic doom band, Monolord, is set to release their First full length LP "Empress Rising" via Easy Rider Records in April 2014. The five song album comes in at almost 50 minutes of skull crushing heavy grooves and heavy guitars that summon the spirits of Norse gods when played at loud volumes. Monolord is far more than just doom-metal fanatics - this is an epic record for all fans of guitar driven rock and roll, stoner rock, and heavy riffs. As a free gift from Monolord and EasyRider Records you can download the title song "Empress Rising" here. The song is a 12 minute long opus that will leave you wanting more, but you will have to wait until April 1 2014 for the rest of the record that will be making headlines for next year. 'Empress Rising' has all of the flavors of an iconic doom record and follows in the footsteps of Sleep - "Holy Mountain", Pallbearer - "Sorrow and Extinction", Electric Wizard - "Witchcult Today" with melodic vocals and harmonies that are super psychedelic and easy to sing along with.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xColoured LP Info: Green and black coloured vinyl. Limited to 400 copies.

        Blackwater Holylight

        Veils Of Winter

          Blackwater Holylight, as the name suggests, is all about contrasts. It’s a fluid convergence of sound that’s heavy, psychedelic, melodic, terrifying and beautiful all at once.

          As a heavy band, their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in waves that surface throughout the band’s meditative, entrancing songs. It’s a hypnotic sound, with orchestral structures that often build tension and intrigue before turning the song on its head — not by simply getting louder or heavier, nor by just layering elements. They expertly subvert the implied heaviness of a part, dissecting it and splaying the song's guts out to seep across the sonic spectrum.

          Now, having toured together extensively following the band’s wildly-successful breakout self-titled debut in 2018, Blackwater Holylight has honed their sound and identity to a powerfully captivating beast. Their live set is all about the slow build, seeming to combine the melodic tension of early Sonic Youth crossed with the laconic fever-dream blues of the first Black Sabbath album, and wiry experimentation of post-punk and krautrock.

          The lineup on this album is Allison (Sunny) Faris (bass/vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths), with new guitarist Mikayla Mayhew and drummer Eliese Dorsay fleshing out their sound in exciting ways.

          “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

          “One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn't compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

          Veils of Winter opens with fuzzed-drenched, drop-tuned bass and baritone guitar leading a dirge riff on “Seeping Secrets.” Faris’ lilting and funereal vocals drop in, adding to the mournful atmosphere until a short turnaround progression hints at changes to come, as Faris and Hopkins harmonize eerily and the tune suddenly turns into a krautrock charge. “Motorcycle” kicks off deceptively with a heavy grunge riff building up for about 40-seconds before the song abruptly shifts gears into a synth-led post-punk harmony, sounding something like Lush meets Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. “Death Realms” is perhaps the poppiest track, based around soaring shoegaze guitars and interwoven light vocal harmonies. Soft piano notes, occasional woozy whammy bar dives and a driving tom-tom beat solidify its hooks. “Spiders” is a creepy-crawly guitar riff and counterpoint keys, while “Moonlit” explores prog-structures with a shredding guitar solo crescendo. The penultimate track, “Lullaby” is exactly that, a lulling, expansive tune exemplifying Blackwater Holylight’s genre smashing sound as it subtly moves across a vast sonic landscape atop a hypnotic 6/8 beat and repetitive 3-note motif. Throughout the album, their songs shirk traditional verse-chorus-verse structure in favor of fluid, serpentine compositions that move with commanding grace.

          Firebreather

          Under A Blood Moon

            Fire is what happens when a carbon based object is consumed by oxygen. That chemical reaction is fitting to the sound of Firebreather: The riffs are suffocating, the rhythms fast moving and all-consuming. It’s so blindingly and deafeningly monolithic, don’t be surprised to find yourself gasping for air while listening.

            The Gothenburg, Sweden trio has a streamlined focus on driving, symphonic riffs in the vein of High on Fire, Inter Arma and their tour- and label-mates Monolord. The guitar and bass tones are, quite simply, entrancing. Like watching flames engulf a forest, the billowing guitar tones are simultaneously beautiful and destructive, while the rhythms sway and lunge with vicious precision.

            “It’s riff based, heavy as fuck, but with a groove to it,” explains vocalist/guitarist Mattias Nööjd, formerly of popular Swedish doom merchants Galvano. “We had gotten off a tour with Monolord in February of 2018 and by that time we had the song ‘Firebreather’ done,” but soon thereafter new drummer Axel Wittbeck joined the fold.

            “Once Axel had joined, it was like the flood gates opened,” says bassist Kyle Pitcher. “The rest of the album just came together.” Under a Blood Moon was recorded at Elementstudion in Gothenburg with engineer Oskar Karlsson, who also recorded the band’s lauded 2017 self-titled debut on Suicide Records.

            Album opener “Dancing Flames” sets the stage for the onslaught to come with a slinking, serpentine riff over slow churning rhythms. Nööjd’s hushed, gravelly vocals sink into the mix, more like a baritone guitar than a human voice. “Our Souls, They Burn” nicely exemplifies the band’s furious grind that makes even faster tempo songs sound impossibly heavy, like a slow motion stampede. Elsewhere, “We Bleed” perfectly sums up the band’s focus on the riff and groove, honing in on the power of hypnotic attrition. Closing epic, “The Siren” opens with lugubrious, slightly swinging drums and rumbling bass building tension over delay- and phaser-soaked guitar harmonics, until a massive, sliding riff crashes headlong into the proceedings. The song seems to cleverly shape shift across several harmonic and rhythmic parts, without losing the core groove underneath. A short pause for breath, then it’s off to the races with a galloping crescendo for succinct closure. 

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Like the bastard child of Sleep and Converge, Firebreather has raw stoner groove, sliced through with a crisp, modern production aesthetic and ridiculously heavy thrash-influenced riffage. Perfect for those who like a few more BPM on their mathy sludge. Heavy AF, and in no way staid, Firebreather absolutely have my attention.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            2xLtd LP Info: Double LP, Gatefold, D Side Etching.

            Monolord

            Vaenir - Coloured Vinyl Repress

              MONOLORD just cut a doom-swathe throughout the UK and Europe on tour with labelmates Salems Pot, they blew minds…this is the new heavy sound for now!.. their long awaited new album is finally upon us. Monolord wipe the grime of mediocrity from the tomb of doom and crank out some serious donw tuned and down tempo riffage, praise Iommi / praise Pike, this is wht we want! Over two slabs of vinyl, or on one CD.. this ;looks to be one of the heavy albums of the year! 


              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Coloured LP Info: White with black swirl coloured vinyl. Limited to 400 copies.

              Warish

              Down In Flames

                Imagine if Incesticide-era Nirvana were crossed with Static Age-era garage-punk Misfits—a sinister low-budget horror rock with a visceral, twisted weirdness and bludgeoning riffs. Some might call it nightmarish, Riding Easy call it Warish. Warish is a very newly-minted SoCal trio formed in early 2018 that has wasted no time making its presence known. The band formed when guitarist / vocalist and pro-skater Riley Hawk (son of skating legend Tony Hawk) and drummer Bruce McDonnell decided they wanted to try their hand at something more distinct than they’d done previously. “We wanted to do simpler riffs and a fun live show,” Riley explains. “A little more punk, a little bit of grunge... a little evil-ish.”Their sound takes cues from a variety of cool underground sounds and twists it all into an energetic and exciting fist-to-the-face of dark fury. Hawk’s effect-laden vocals hearken to early Butthole Surfers and David Yow’s tortured caterwaul in Scratch Acid. The guitars are heavy and powerful, though decidedly not straightforward cookie cutter punk; more like Cobain’s and Buzz Osbourne’s wiry contortions. The rhythms bash and pummel right through it all with aggressive force ensuring that nothing gets overly complicated and the horrors keep coming throughout the band’s warlike assault.

                “Remember when indie rock sounded all grimy, corroded and metal-sludgy-the last thing you’d hear in a commercial or being played at an arena show? Warish do. It’s music to the ears of anyone who wants to damage their ears.” - Rolling Stone.

                “Warish totally rules... An awesome mixture of punk energy, biker rock fuzz, and grunge growl.” —Kerrang!

                Acid King

                Busse Woods

                  Every small town encompasses that one long stretch of forest where kids run to get high, jam out, and just escape. For San Francisco-based stoner metal trio, Acid King vocalist, guitarist, frontwoman, and mastermind Lori Woods, Busse Woods offered such a retreat in her native Illinois as a teenager in the ’70s. This 3,700-acre section of the Cook County Forest Preserve system beckoned her during high school with its buffet of dope, frisbee challenges, and Black Sabbath blaring from numerous trunks well past sundown. Those days left such an imprint on Lori she titled Acid King’s second full-length released in 1999 Busse Woods. Celebrating its 20th year with a special reissue on Riding Easy Records and tour in 2019, it represents the heart and soul of the band.The album still exudes the same sense of mysticism it did upon release in 1999. As the story goes, Lori and bandmates Joey Osbourne(drums) and Brian Hill (bass) entered a practice space to write the full-length follow-up to their debut Down With The Crown.

                  Organically, they jammed out five originals and a take on “39 Lashes” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.As everything gelled, they recorded with legendary engineer Billy Anderson. Prominent Bay Area artist Frank Kozik initially released the CD on his Man’s Ruin record label. Then “everything fell apart.” Behind the scenes, personal and professional relationships crumbled. Marriages ended. Lineups shifted. In the face of such tumult, the music of Busse Woods rarely got its due on stage in the aftermath, even though the aesthetic would prove influential.In the middle of various reissues and re-releases, Acid King kept touring internationally throughout Europe and Japan from 2005-2015.

                  In between this time they jammed on riffs and started to craft songs but ultimately didn’t kick it into high gear to finish the release until 2015. They reawakened in the studio with the 2015 opus, Middle Of Nowhere, Center Of Everywhere. While the new music caught critical acclaim and fan approval, a funny thing happened, and Busse Woodsalso came back to life. Its songs would generate the most streams on Spotify. They’d generate loud responses in concert and became their most critically acclaimed release to date. The stars aligned. Twenty years down the line, it felt only right for Lori and Co. to revisit this landmark and give it the proper tour it deserves.


                  Monolord

                  Rust - Coloured Vinyl Repress

                    Gothenburg, Sweden trio Monolord is a rare breed: A band both encompassing and transcending genre; a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Their thunderous, tuneful heft has built a rabid international fanbase in short order since their 2014 debut. But Rust, the band’s third full length, truly exemplifies why some refer to them as the Nirvana of doom.

                    Monolord’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, it’s a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that’s more total environment than collection of songs. Together, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as its fourth member.
                    “We've always been inspired by great band musicians — as opposed to technical solo peacocks,” Willems says. “Because that force of a band really playing together as one single unit is incomparable. At its best, it's just unstoppable.” And, Monolord is truly unstoppable, on record and on stage. “A heavy groove that contains both bombastic overkill and a lot of dynamics is what we always aim for in Monolord; in playing, in song writing and arranging, in recording,” Willems says.

                    Album opener “Where Death Meets the Sea” perfectly exemplifies their mastery of dynamics and hooks with a driving, infectious buzzsaw riff that lesser bands would ride off into the sunset, but Monolord uses subtly to spur the song’s skull rattling rhythmic core ever onward. Jäger’s watery vocals glide over ominously building verses that erupt with the song’s insistent refrain. Being such a tight rhythmic unit, it sounds almost like an early ZZ Top record played at half speed. “Dear Lucifer” squeals and hums with slow deliberation as Willems summons Dale Crover pummel with chasm like low-tuned toms and syncopated cymbal crashes. The album’s title track is also its centerpiece, opening with a dramatic, shimmering Hammond organ intro as Jäger sings, “you are the reason that I lied/ You are the reason that I cried/ Please don’t wait until tomorrow/ There’s only pain and grief and sorrow.” Suddenly, the band kicks in with a downtuned open-C line that nosedives down the guitar neck as the drums hammer down for the kill. Elsewhere, tastefully understated guitar harmonies elevate the behemoth churn of “Wormland” and apocalyptic album closer “At Niceae” simmers in a slow build of rumbling guitars and rolling drum triplets.

                    Monolord formed in 2013, quickly recording their 2xLP debut Empress Rising, which RidingEasy Records released in April 1st, 2014. The second album, Vænir, followed April 28th, 2015. The 2-song Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP was issued in late 2016 amid the band’s relentless touring schedule in order to tide fans over until the next full length.

                    Noisey calls Monolord "universally beloved" and "Swedish doom royalty”, while Consequence of Sound deems them, “a truly modern sound: recognizably doom, but with glistening production values and adventurous songcraft.” Vænir landed on countless Album of the Year lists in 2015, and Rust is poised to open an entirely new range of possibilities for Monolord. 

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    2xColoured LP Info: White and brown speckle coloured vinyl. Limited to 400 copies.

                    Here Lies Man took the music world by storm in 2017 with their self-titled debut positing the intriguing hypothesis: What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?

                    Since that time, Here Lies Man has expanded and expounded upon their sound and ideas of heavy riff rock and psych within the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave. The L.A. based band comprised of Antibalas members have toured relentlessly over the past 2 years, while also releasing a second album, You Will Know Nothing and an EP, Animal Noises, both in 2018.

                    No Ground to Walk Upon is their third album, and continues with an ongoing concept of HLM playing the soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. The lead single “Clad in Silver” is the soundtrack snippet of a journey to the imaginary place called home, which can never be arrived at. With every step, the character imagines getting closer, but it is a hallucination that fades in and out of perception.

                    Their debut album Here Lies Man was very well reviewed and featured in loads of end of year polls. BBC 6 & Classic Rock Magazine deemed it among the year’s best, as well as countless other press outlets singing its praises. 2018’s You Will Know Nothing furthered the band’s reputation for genre-smashing rhythmic experimentation, topping many year-end lists as well as earning features from countless metal and indie rock outlets, plus cover stories in weekly papers. No Ground to Walk Upon is the next step in the band’s rapid ascent to what is bound to be influential upon riff based rock.

                    “We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” explains founder and vocalist/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Marcos Garcia (who also plays guitar in Antibalas) of the band’s sound. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”

                    No Ground To Walk Upon also includes an interesting conceptual mathematics to the entire proceedings, a theme begun on the prior album. “There are interludes between each song that are 2/3 to 3/4 of the tempo of the previous song,” Garcia says. “The reason it breaks down to 2 over 3 or 3 over 4 is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave. The clave is an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa.”

                    Garcia and cofounder/drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) recorded the album much like they did their previous releases, at their own L.A. studio on a Tascam 388 8-track tape machine. Additional layers were recorded with former Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod and other contributors in various other locations, all while the band continued its rigorous touring schedule. 


                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: it's pretty impossible not to nod your head along to Here Lies Man, as alluring as the best funk and the most playful rock groove all mixed into one package. Fiery distorted guitar, rhythmic syncopation and hazy, chunky riffage. The Perfect combination.

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Dinked Edition LP Info: *** ONE COPY FOUND ***

                    Exclusive colour pressing (purple with orange swirl).
                    Custom Tote Bag with Band / Dinked / Label Logo On it.
                    Custom Here Lies Man Patch.
                    Signed Band Photo.
                    Hand-numbered.

                    Warish

                    Runnin' Scared / Their Demise

                      Woah! 2nd limited 7” release from Warish, debut full length due later in the year.. this is furious punk laden grunge with razor sharp pop edges. The first 7” EP, now nearly sold out at source caused some big waves out there in Riding Easy world.. time to catch a hold and see where it takes you.

                      The Well

                      Death And Consolation

                        Death and Consolation is without a doubt a weighty album title. And, Austin, TX trio The Well is among the heaviest heavy psych bands in existence. So when we say that there’s even more darkness and intensity to the band’s third album than previous efforts, take heed. It’s a deep sea diving bell of enveloping heaviness and longing. “This one is a little more personal,” says guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham. “2018 was a strange, dark year. A lot of change going on in my life, there was a lot of depression and coming out of it over the last year. I wanted to call this Death and Consolation, because in life that’s a constant.” While The Well continue to walk an intriguing line between authentic early 70s doom/heavy psych and frayed weirdness of dark folk — especially with their haunting unison male/female vocals — the new album also adds the stark vibe of post-punk acts like Joy Division and early The Cure. “I feel like this album is almost more gothic. We’re big fans of post-punk,” Graham says. There’s also much less jamming, the songs are tight and concise. And, did we mention, heavy? The band tuned down a full step to C-standard tuning for this album, which gives the proceedings its monstrous sound. Sonically, Death and Consolation picks up where The Well — Graham, bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley and drummer Jason Sullivan — left off with their widely heralded 2016 RidingEasy album Pagan Science. The band once again recorded with longtime producer/engineer Chico Jones at Estuary Studio in 2018, who has turned the knobs for all three of their albums (Jones engineered the band’s debut album Samsara with producer Mark Deutrom [Melvins, Sunn0)))] in 2013.) Samsara, released late September 2014 was ranked the #1 debut album of 2014 by The Obelisk and Pagan Science among the Best of 2016 from the Doom Charts collective. Likewise, the band’s intense — some even say “possessed” — live performances have earned them featured slots at Austin’s Levitation Fest, as well as tours with Kadavar, All Them Witches, Black Tusk and more. “This album might be a little less produced, because I didn’t want to push technical stuff as much,” Graham says. “I’m so scared of getting too complicated when getting better at guitar. This is still kind of punk rock.”

                        Zig Zags

                        They'll Never Take Us Alive

                          AMAZING new album from LA’s Zig Zags..honing their skills to create a fierce brew of US hardcore skate punk and UK Nwobhm ..like the first wve of US thrash from 83.. get on it!! “Everyone puts photos of Sid Vicious up on Instagram. The other night I watched ‘D.O.A’, the documentary about The Sex Pistols, first and only U.S. tour. In it - Sid's a mess, he and his annoying girlfriend. And they're the only ones who get interviewed! Maybe John Lydon and Steve Jones (not to mention the drummer) didn't want to participate. Maybe Nancy made Sid do it. But it whatever the case, I didn't wanna watch it. The rest of the band is crushing! They sound just like the record! As a musician in a touring band, I can't stand Sid Vicious.

                          He’s cartoon character with a Swastika shirt, nodding off while everyone else loads the gear. I don't care if it's punk - you still gotta be able to play.” - J. Maheu, lead vocals and guitar for Zig Zags 8 years, 7 singles, 3 albums, 3 bass players, 2 drummers and God knows how many shows later - Zig Zags has continually evolved, mutated, transitioned and transformed, rising again and again, like a phoenix emerging from the flame. The addition of the newest member of our triumvirate - multi-instrumentalist, designated bassist (and longtime Zig Zags sound engineer) Sean Hoffman - recalls those golden moments past, when destiny stepped in...like when Neil Peart joined Rush or Bob Rock teamed up with Metallica. In short - the circle is now complete, the cornerstone has been set and the winged serpent rises - once again. Some say it’s luck, but really, it’s about patience.

                          A band is like a relationship. You have to know when to push, and when to hold back. You gotta listen and you gotta learn. We look to the masters. Like Henry and Glenn, we’ve gone from drinking hooch to pumpin’ iron. We quit smoking. Two of us are married, for chrissakes! After 2017’s brutal European tour, which left us coughing blood and taking names, we sought out Lemmy’s Doctor (Feel Good), who diagnosed us with,”Rock’n’roll Pneumonia”. Like Lemmy, we were pushing too hard. And if you push too hard you’ll end up in an apartment above The Rainbow Room, playing video poker on Christmas Eve (which is also your birthday)...but that’s another story.

                          Various Artists

                          Brown Acid: The Eighth Trip

                            Brand new edition of the Brown Acid series release this time out to coincide with RSD. All the first pressings of this series sell out on release day. Some super rare and firesome private press heavy rock and psych from the underground rock scene of the 1970's. Essential for all stoner rock rans and heavy sike wig out enthusiasts.

                            Bus

                            Never Decide

                              From the opening notes of Never Decide, the RidingEasy Records debut album by Athens, Greece quartet Bus The Unknown Secretary (aka B.U.S.), you’ll know it's going to be a wild funhouse ride. It doesn't sound like just four people, it sounds like a mob of wild-eyed lunatics on the expressway to your skull. And, you're not gonna know what the band's name means, don't worry about it.  Never Decide is a multifaceted album in the vein of classic hitters like The Hellacopters, Alice Cooper Band, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Orange Goblin.

                              "The story of the album expresses the psyche of a person in a dead end and his life is introduced into obsessive rhythms, more personal and random," explains vocalist/guitarist Bill Politis. "There is no happy end here, but the questions remain: Door A or Door B? Time to change or time to die, Never Decide!"

                              The album opens as if we're in the studio with the band listening to playback for the first time. There's a chirping test tone and someone starts counting in, "one, two, three..." before it suddenly grinds to a halt. Then suddenly the swirling guitar riff of the pummeling anthem "You Better Come In, You Better Calm Down" launches everything into the stratosphere. The guitars march in lockstep as swinging drums keep it all rolling at furious pace as the vocal chant of the song's title grows into a massive group chant in harmony. Think Uriah Heep's "Easy Livin'" meets Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Night" -- here's another big, blazing anthem for the ages. "I Buried Paul" is the sort of fun, theatrical album track no one makes anymore, not since the days of the Alice Cooper Band. "Lucifer" takes things several shades darker, turning in a dramatic ballad launched by haunting piano chords and led by sinister, sneering vocals sounding something like Ozzy meets Johnny Rotten slowly building to its epic conclusion in double time with ringing harmony guitar leads. "Evil Eyes" and "Moonchild" return the proceedings to the anthemic, pop-laced vibe, replete with major-minor chord shifts and vocal/guitar harmonies galore.

                              Never Decide was recorded in just 5 days in February 2018 with multitalented engineer and band's beloved friend John Vulgaris at Electric Highway Studios in Athens, Greece. The entire band -- drummer Aris Fasoulis, bassist Spiros Papadatos, and guitarists Fotis Kolokithas and Politis --recorded the instrumental tracks live in 3 days, reserving the last 2 for vocals. Over the 2 months that followed Vulgaris and the band fine-tuned the mix into the subtle and clever masterwork you have before you. BUS formed in Athens in 2011, releasing two EPs and a full length The Impious Tapes, followed by The Cross EP (2014), and The Unknown Secretary LP in 2016. During that time the band has toured extensively throughout Greece and in neighboring nations. The release of Never Decide will see them expanding that touring radius considerably.

                              Hell Fire

                              Mania

                                The free-wheelin’ creativity and infectious vitality of the 80s Bay Area thrash scene is a moment forever locked in time, but its spirit lives on in the galloping guitar picks, soaring harmonies and blistering rhythms of San Francisco quartet Hell Fire. The band’s perfect hybrid of NWOBHM theatrics and American thrash attitude delivers a rousing and genuine expansion on sounds long lost to pointless battles over who can be the most “extreme.”

                                Mania, Hell Fire’s third album and proper debut on RidingEasy Records (the label also reissued the band’s sophomore album, Free Again for the first time on vinyl in January 2019) warmly condenses elements of influences like Angel Witch, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Exodus, Metallica, Riot, Virtue and Diamond Head into 10 tracks of headbanging MUYA anthems.
                                “Thematically, everything on the album comes from personal experiences,” says vocalist/guitarist Jake Nunn. “From the highs of partying together out here in Oakland, or the nostalgia of being a kid learning Zeppelin on a beat up guitar, to the extreme lows of isolation, personal trauma, and mental illness. Sonically we want our records to sound like you're standing in front of the stage at a show. The power of Marshall stacks in front of your face, drums at your ear level, thunder of the bass and feeling the presence of the room.”

                                Hell Fire achieves just that — and then some — on Mania. The album was recorded in Grass Valley, California at engineer Tim Green’s Louder Studios. Having also recorded their previous album with Green, the sessions proved highly productive for the band since they were already familiar with the setting and able to expand upon ideas they hadn’t been able to explore previously.
                                “We’re more excited about Mania then anything we’ve ever done,” Nunn says. “We were able to spend a bit more time arranging the songs and writing from a more personal perspective lyrically. We came out of this recording feeling much more accomplished with our performances and couldn't be more happy for this to be our first release with RidingEasy Records.”
                                Hell Fire began when bass player Herman Bandala moved to San Francisco from Tijuana, Mexico with the hopes of forming a heavy metal band. Herman posted an ad to Craigslist which caught the attention of guitarist Tony Campos. They bonded over a mutual love of 80s thrash and NWOBHM, which was a hard thing to find in the Bay Area scene at the time. The lineup slowly morphed over time, finally solidifying with vocalist Jake Nunn also taking up second guitar duties and drummer Mike Smith joining prior to 2017’s Free Again.

                                Warish

                                Warish

                                  Imagine if Incesticide-era Nirvana were crossed with Static Age-era Misfits— sinister low budget horror-rock with a visceral, twisted weirdness and bludgeoning riffs. Some might call it nightmarish, we call it Warish . Warish is a very newly-minted SoCal trio formed in early 2018 that has wasted no time making its presence known. The band formed when guitarist / vocalist Riley Hawk and drummer Bruce McDonnell decided they wanted to try their hand at something more distinct than they’d done previously. “We wanted to do simpler riffs and a fun live show,” Riley ex-plains. “A little more punk, a little bit of grunge... a little evil-ish.”

                                  Their sound takes cues from a variety of cool underground sounds and twists it all into an energetic and exciting fist to the face of dark fury. Hawk’s effect-laden vocals hearken to early Butthole Surfers and David Yow’s tortured caterwaul in Scratch Acid. The guitars are heavy and powerful, though decidedly not straightforward cookie-cutter punk; more like Cobain’s and Buzz Osbourne’s wiry contortions. The rhythms bash and pummel right through it all with aggressive force ensuring that nothing gets overly complicated and the horrors keep coming throughout this five track, eleven minute debut.

                                  Hell Fire

                                  Free Again

                                    Formed in recent years in San Francisco, though it may seem more likely that they hatched fresh out of a time travel portal from the mid-80s Bay Area thrash scene, Hell Fire have the classic look and sound of modern metal’s halcyon days. Hell Fire’s sonic assault warmly condenses elements of influences like Angel Witch, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Exodus, Metallica, Riot, Virtue and Diamond Head into 8 tracks of headbanging MUYA anthems.

                                    The free-wheelin’ creativity and infectious vitality of Bay Area thrash is a moment forever locked in time, but its spirit lives on in Hell Fire’s galloping guitar picks, soaring harmonies and blistering rhythms. The band’s perfect hybrid of NWOBHM theatrics and American thrash attitude delivers a rousing and genuine expansion on sounds long lost to pointless battles over who can be the most “extreme.”

                                    Hell Fire began when bass player Herman Bandala moved to San Francisco from Tijuana, Mexico with the hopes of forming a heavy metal band. Herman posted an ad to Craigslist which caught the attention of guitarist Tony Campos. They bonded over a mutual love of 80s thrash and NWOBHM, which was a hard thing to find in the Bay Area scene at the time. Just before Hell Fire entered the studio to record their debut album Metal Masses, Jake Nunn joined on vocals. The lineup continued to develop over time, finally solidifying with Nunn also taking up second guitar duties and drummer Mike Smith joining prior to recording Free Again.

                                    Hell Fire’s 2017 sophomore album, Free Again is being released for the first time on vinyl and remastered for CD and download in January 2019. it was recorded over 5 days in Grass Valley, California at engineer Tim Green’s Louder Studios (The Fucking Champs, Melvins.) Where Metal Masses showcased aesthetic nods to Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All album (as well as a cover photo brilliantly depicting a blurry hand speedily playing a Flying-V guitar), Free Again finds the band coming into their own with emphasis upon grooves, a beefier sound and tighter songs that expertly shift into new parts at the drop of a hat.

                                    Opener “Free Again” kicks things right off with a galloping riff forming out of a haze of feedback as the tape machine comes up to speed. The anthemic chorus showcases Nunn’s powerful voice as twin guitar harmonies lead into a thundering double-time coda reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s “Aces High.” Elsewhere, a marching snare drum beat and totemic blasts set up dueling guitar leads of “City Ablaze” while dizzying, chugging 16th-note guitars drive the blistering “Live Forever” into oblivion. “Wheels of Fate” and “The Dealer” echo the groove based tunes and harmonies of Rainbow and Gary Moore era Thin Lizzy. Album closer “End of Days” is a chorus effect drenched ballad that builds into a crushing lament over the constant beckoning of depression and the struggle for freedom and clarity. It’s a touching and powerful closing to an album that traverses many moods and packs in more great parts into a single song than most thrash bands do on an entire album. 

                                    Bewitcher

                                    Bewitcher

                                      Bewitcher is a Satanic speed metal band from Portland, Oregon. Here is their manifesto: “Rock ’n’ roll is the devil’s music, and heavy metal is it’s bastard child. In the 1980s, the radical fundamentalist Christian right-wing in America waged a war against this music, bringing it’s practitioners and it’s unholy muse to the forefront of the public consciousness. Over a quarter-century later, the devil’s rock ’n’ roll is still alive and well, but the war is far from over. And so it came to pass...

                                      “In the year of Thirteen of Satan’s third millennium, a new force rises to defend the ways of old. Bewitcher is the ancient black flame of magic, mayhem, freedom and liberation, burning in blatant opposition to the laughable norms of this modern age . Instead they look to that bygone era, before it’s pollution by imitators of a lesser intention, when heavy metal in all it’s glory truly represented the tenets it was founded upon .

                                      “May your children be corrupted, may your foundations be shaken, may your mundane existences be forever altered, for this spell cannot be broken. Fall and obey! And beware the curse of the Bewitcher!” “Throw a dart at the track list and come up with a winner no matter where the needle lands. As perfect a summoning of hellish rock ’n’ roll traditions as you’re likely to come across in 2016.”

                                      Alastor

                                      Slave To The Grave

                                        Alastor hearken to the days when heavy rock was the music of the rebel, the occult adherent and lurker in the shadows, not hipster bros. Theirs is the doom sound for those who discovered it on the edge of town, in the cold rain, perhaps, as an escape from the squares who’ll never understand.
                                        Alastor is heavy doom rock for the wicked and depraved. Drenched in heavy, distorted darkness and steeped in occult horror that will make your skin crawl and ears cry sweet tears of blood, Slave To The Grave pulls no punches in the Swedish band’s unabashedly bleak themes.
                                        "It’s an album that circles around the concept of death,” explains lead guitarist Lucy Ferian. “It’s about death in both its spiritual and personal meaning — how death is a part of our everyday life. How it affects our thoughts and actions. How some of us spend our entire life in fear of death, while some seek it. But no matter how you live your life and no matter what you achieve here on this earth. You are still just a slave to the grave."
                                        Alastor formed under a bad moon in 2016, consisting of Dharma Gheddon (vocals, bass, acoustic guitar and organ), Lucy Ferian on lead & acoustic guitar and organ, Terry Fying on guitar and Levi Athan on drums. Yes, those are their given birth names, why do you ask?

                                        The quartet released its epic 3-song debut album Black Magic in early 2017 via Twin Earth Records, followed by the 2-track “Blood On Satan’s Claw” EP on Halloween the same year. Joining forces with RidingEasy Records in 2018, Alastor hunkered down to summon the 7-track hateful gospel Slave To The Grave with engineer Magnus Sörensen.

                                        The album opens with the dramatic spoken intro “I döden är vi alla lika” (In death we are all equal) backed by rolling thunder and a clanging church bell to set the stage for the rumbling dirge “Your Lives Are Worthless.” Forlorn vocals and drop-tuned guitars seep like murky syrup as the song slowly morphs through varying riffs across the nearly 10-minute song as it builds to an epic crescendo of squealing guitar notes and pummeling half-tempo drums. “Drawn To The Abyss” is a swinging anthem punctuated by haunting backing vocals and scraping wah-wah guitar sounds leading into a powerful double-time outro. “N.W. 588” is the hook-laden melodic centerpiece sounding like an apparent nod to Technical Ecstasy leading into the flamenco-themed acoustic ballad “Gone.” The anthemic album title track rings out with pliant lead guitar notes countering the dark lyrics and behemoth, propulsive rhythms that can only foreshadow the heft of 17-minute album closer “Spider of My Love” which brings the album to a fittingly massive and funereal close. Perfect. 


                                        Everybody’s favorite source for the hard stuff is back in business, with ten more lethal doses of rare hard rock, heavy psych and proto-metal! Hard to believe we’re eight Trips in and we haven’t lost any steam since the get-go. As usual, we’re laying the heaviness on you in the most legit way possible. These obscure tracks have all been licensed, the bands have been paid, and the sources are all analog. The quality of tracks seems increase along with the number of Trips and this cohesive collection comes outta the gate with both guns blazing!

                                        Pegasus recorded one single in Baltimore in 1972 and they made it count. “The Sorcerer” is a throbbing ripper that prior to this was basically unknown. However, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to speculate that Black Flag lifted the riff for “No Values” from this track eight years later. Unlikely, but possible, especially considering how big a Black Sabbath fan Greg Ginn is. Pegasus was lauded back in the day for “how much they delivered that Black Sabbath feel.”

                                        You may read the track title for the Nobody’s Children 45 and start thinking, OH NO, the guys behind Brown Acid have given up on bad trips. Fret not, “Good Times” was originally written as a joke, but when Ron Chapman of the Sump’N Else TV show heard it he passed it along to the folks behind GPC records and they quickly pressed 100 copies. Unfortunately, the evening it was slated to be played on the local Dallas radio station KLIF, Robert Kennedy was murdered and premier was pre-empted by a Classical music tribute to him. The song has since been bootlegged numerous times and even covered by the Butthole Surfers, but this is the first time it’s been fully licensed.

                                        Youngstown, Ohio is the most commonly referred to city of the entire Brown Acid series. This town of just under 150,000 people may’ve had the highest (literally and figuratively) per capita output of heavy 45s. Blue Amber recorded this in 1971 at Gary Rhamy’s analog Mecca, Peppermint Recording Studios. This two-riff boneheaded banger sounds like a caveman protest song with an extraordinary amount of delay on the vocals. No wonder this 45 fetches three-figures on the rare occasion it comes up for sale.

                                        Batting clean-up, we have Negative Space, the only LP sourced track on this album. This crunchy jam comes off the band’s 1970 record entitled Hard, Heavy, Mean, & Evil. At over six and a half minutes, “The Calm After the Storm” is the longest track included on this volume, but it never gets dull. Fun fact: before changing the name to Negative Space, Rob Russen called his band Snow and released the “Sunflower” 45 in 1969 — you might recall that groover from the First Trip.

                                        We generally stick with American artists for this series, but every now and again something foreign grabs us and shakes us to the core. One example is this Swedish 45 by Zane. These crazy Swedes did one incredibly damaged (hence the title) record on the MM label in 1976. These proto-punkers relied heavily on synth for this tune and mixed the drums so obnoxiously loud, you might think the kit is in the room with you. This is a weird one that somehow sounds like Zolar X covering Wicked Lady. Brown Acid material all the way!

                                        B must be short for Bangers, ‘cuz this Side is full of ‘em! The flip of this Trip begins with a virtually unknown Oklahoma record from 1973. Blizzard was Rod McClure’s high school band, but you couldn’t possibly guess that teenagers recorded this heavy slab on the Token (should’ve been Toking) label. It’s one of the best we’ve comped and it sounds like a hypothetical MC5/Hendrix collaboration.The “Under the Ice” level drum fills will knock your socks off if the heavy shred doesn’t first.

                                        OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain and apparently where the fuzz goes seepin’ in your brain! Third World is the second Okie inclusion on this Trip and we couldn’t be more stOOOOOked to be sharing this very obscure single with y’all. If the heavily distorted two-note riff doesn’t grab ya, the apocalyptic Grand Funk vibes will. Once they get their mitts on ya, Third World will take you back to 1971 and leave ya there. Can we hitch a ride too?

                                        Ever heard of Virginia, Minnesota? We hadn't either until we got in touch with Calvin Haluptzok and got the back story on his band Sweet Wine. This bitchin' one-off 45 must've melted the snow off the roofs of the households brave enough to play it when it came out in 1970 and it's still red hot nearly 50 years later. This vino may be sugary, but it packs an incendiary punch! Sadly, Calvin passed before we could get his music re-released, but it was nice to have reached him before it was too late. The Sweet Wine legacy lives on thanks to the Brown Acid archivists.

                                        C.T. Pilferhogg wins the award for most puzzling band name in our series. What’s not puzzling is how righteous both sides of their self-released 1973 single are! Featured here is the A-side “You Haul” which is one of the best examples of a poor man’s Deep Heep (Deep Purple meets Uriah Heep) we’ve ever heard and the demonic Echoplex-laden laughs mixed into this track are out of control. The band was touted as “Southwest Virginia’s Finest Boogie Band”, but don’t let that fool ya. They could bang heads with the best of ‘em.

                                        The closer on the Seventh Trip is one we hold very near and dear. Not only is this record the one that’s taken us the longest to secure the rights to, it’s also one of the very best examples of heavy psych you’ll ever hear. The track rings your bell (literally) straight out of the gate and the dank psychedelic vibes kick in immediately. “The Darkness” was recorded in a basement studio in Kansas City in 1969 when the lead guitarist was only 16. The band was from a rural Missouri town, played only one impromptu gig in Clinton, and pressed only 125 copies of this, their only single. It should come as no surprise that it sells for hundreds of dollars when it’s offered. That’s a small price to pay for such greatness

                                        Dunbarrow

                                        Dunbarrow II

                                          There’s a hauntingly classic feel to Dunbarrow’s sound that gives it, in the band’s own words, “an eerie rawness.” It’s not raw in a lo-fi or distorted sense — far from it, the production is exceptionally clean and powerful. It’s the vibe to the music that has a dreamlike and ghostly quality, like a mysterious recording imprinted onto an old cassette tape.

                                          Dunbarrow’s pristine, unadorned sound shares the unpretentious brilliance of classic heavy progenitors jamming in basements and barns, before the big budgets and bloated habits diluted hard rock records into an echo chamber awash in reverb and layered in distant, screeching hobbits. “It’s a heavy sounding record without being just tons of over-distorted guitar tracks,” says guitarist Kenneth Lønning. “We’ve never been fascinated by that, and we’re trying to push in the other direction.” Its heft comes from the band’s use of space in their songs.

                                          Without the Haugesund, Norway quintet’s exceptional musicianship, such an intimate sound would be impossible. Drummer Pål Gunnar Dale sets the skeletal core with driving urgency and tastefully punctuating triplet fills, Bassist Sondre Berge Engedal slinks throughout with the limber bounce of John Paul Jones, while Lønning’s and Eirik Øvregård’s guitars weave dark, bluesy tapestries with emphasis on melodic chord structures without burying them in distortion or other effects. Vocalist Espen Andersen ties it all together with his warm, folky delivery that gives it all the feel of a bygone era of storytelling in song.

                                          “Maybe more than the previous record, this one is more vocal driven,” Lønning says. “But it still has those quirky transitions, eerie build ups, folk-inspired parts and the haunting solos.” Many of the album’s poetic lyrics were written by former bassist/vocalist Richard Chappell, whose writing personifies the group. Along with the album’s running theme of love and despair, is that of recognizing one’s own dark sides and developing your shadows into something you can control, inspired of the work by Carl Jung.

                                          Key to the band’s impressive sound is that the singer is also the recording and mixing engineer. Andersen also recorded the band’s excellent 2016 debut (formally released wordlwide by RidingEasy in late 2017), now with more studio experience for both Andersen and the band, Dunbarrow II is a truly refined experience. To further perfect their sound, the group teamed up with one of the most prominent producers in Norway, Christer Cederberg (Anathema, Tristania) for the first few days in order to get the sound just right. Then, Espen did the rest. The result is as eponymous and definitive as its title. 

                                          Micks Jaguwar

                                          Fame And Fortune

                                            Rock and roll is dead in New York City. Long live New York City rock and roll. Mick's Jaguar is bringing noisy, wild, unafraid big rock back to NYC. Crazy rents, corporatized venues, and kids listening to DJ's: it's hard being a band in this town.

                                            This isn't LA and Mick's Jaguar is a product of their environment: a windowless dungeon practice space 20 feet below the trash covered sidewalk of the Lower East Side. Rats, grime, the sounds of the city; Mick's Jaguar gleefully pillages the history of rock music to create thoroughly modern, but classic rock and roll. Not quite punk, but not metal either, this is hard rock and roll that's been put through the brain blenders of 6 musicians who pair their Judas Priest shirts with Steely Dan hats. They claim no musical lineage to New York - they just live there. If you need to compare them to something, the night AC/DC played CBGB's would be about as close as you can get.

                                            The group formed as a drunken Rolling Stones cover band, and after a few years of mainlining Stones songs and playing sporadic shows marred by violence and sprayed by beer, they started writing originals that attracted the attention of RidingEasy Records. And their new album, Fame and Fortune, sounds absolutely nothing like the Stones. The three guitarists — yes three guitars — open the album with a riff of buzzsaw intensity that would make a Ramoneproud. But then like Jim Morrison sashaying into a wine shop, it drunkenly careens into a big sounding rock and roll album somewhere in between Van Halen and Tres Hombres. Guitar solos abound, Thin Lizzy harmonies soar, the bass and drums make a groove that will shake the asses on the dance floor and put a rumble in your loins. Songs about life, death, cars, blood, murder, sex, drugs and booze are the world of Mick's Jaguar. Don't forget - this is what rock and roll is all about. Listen close and you'll hear hat tips to your bands, Mick's Jag knows their history and likes to rip it apart.

                                            Recorded in Brooklyn at Figure 8 Recording by engineering wizard Philip Weinrobe, and fueled by a steady diet of Allen’s Coffee Brandy, the Fame And Fortune sessions resulted in only one hospital visit and it just might be your favorite album of 1978, 1988, or 2018. This is music that's made for listening to while driving fast in your car, and while relaxing at the local strip club. It's okay to have fun. Cute indie bands make everyone puke. That shit stops now. Let there be rock.

                                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                                            Coloured LP Info: Limited colour vinyl on the first pressing.

                                            Svvamp

                                            Svvamp 2

                                              Swedish trio Svvamp’s self-titled debut was a breath of fresh air — unpretentious and free, primordial homespun classic rock that landed in the Top 20 Albums of 2016 in the Doom Charts consortium of writers and radio. The most common remark being just how genuine and uncontrived it sounded, unlike most bands that posture and mimic the sounds of yesteryear.

                                              So, it may be hard to grasp how fully realized the band sounds on Svvamp 2, while still sounding as laid back as their debut. Perhaps it can be partly attributed to Svvamp’s jump from self-recording on a 4-channel cassette deck to self-recording on a comparatively expansive SIX-channel system. That’s two whole more tracks to fill up, folks! The obvious comparison to the groundbreaking psychedelic albums of the late 60s, when artists began experimenting with studios moving from 4, to 8 to 16 tracks, is fitting here too.

                                              “On Svvamp 2 the sound is more raw in the sense that it’s stripped,” vocalist/drummer Adam Johansson explains. “So the music is more bare. We make sure all of the instruments are treated equally, they all have their place in a song. Obviously, with 6-tracks now available we’ve had a bit of fun with that.”

                                              Svvamp is three friends — Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren, all of whom share lead vocal duties — drawn together for the sake of jamming and a love of rock, folk and blues. Their resulting heavy psych sound bears hints of Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, CCR and Crazy Horse.

                                              Svvamp 2 opens with a lightly plucked electric guitar line that Clapton would be proud to claim his own, before quickly launching into the heavy riff anthem “Queen”, echoing the bare chested bravado of Grand Funk Railroad. “Sunshine Street” is charmingly unapologetic garage pop reminiscent of Big Star. “The Wheel” is a hook-loaded bluesy rocker, while “How Sweet It Would Be” hearkens to the glazed zombie drive of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again.” Elsewhere, “Alligator” brings on a showstopping stomp of dueling guitars, syncopated drums and wailing, distorted vocal howls to close out the proceedings with fitting aplomb.

                                              “We definitely wanted to mix styles and genres, so the music stays interesting for the band, like the first record,” Johansson says. “Our approach is still fairly straightforward and live. And, all of us sharing lead vocal duties solidifies that the band consists of three equal members.”

                                              Various Artists

                                              Brown Acid: The Sixth Trip

                                                The forthcoming latest edition of the popular compilation series of long-lost vintage 60s-70s proto-metal and stoner rock singles. The series is curated by L.A. label RidingEasy Records and retailer/label Permanent Records. If you’d told us when we started this epic journey that we’d have six volumes worth of licensed tracks released in just three years, we would’ve laughed in your face! Doing the Dark Lord’s work isn’t an easy job, but somebody’s gotta do it, so here we are with six Trips under our belt and more lined up. You heads just can’t get enough obscure hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal from the late-60s & 70s! And for that, we’re grateful for the opportunity to keep laying these slabs in your lap.

                                                This isn’t just a random mixtape we threw together off the Internet. We find the records, track the bands and transfer the tapes, so you don’t have to. The bands did their job back in the day by writing, recording and releasing this material, most times against all odds, and you’ve squandered your hard earned scratch on this record, so I guess the least we can do is continue to compile quality Rock’n’Roll cuts from the golden age of heaviness. This time around we have 10 deep cuts from across the continental US of A and one from our neighbors up North. This Trip kicks off with an outrageous number from Gold out of San Francisco circa 1970. The band used to open their sets with this over-the-top frantic jammer which is absolutely mind-blowing and also leads one to believe that the only band that could’ve held a candle to Gold back in the day would’ve been the mighty Blue Cheer. As we delve deeper into the depths, Canadians continue to prove that they could bang heads with the best of ‘em! Heat Exchange from Toronto released the rollicking ripper “Inferno” on the Yorkville label way back in 1968 and it’s still thumping almost 50 years later! Missouri isn’t a state that brought us a lot of heavy 45s, but there are a handful of outstanding tracks from the Show Me State, one of which is the funk-laced anthem “Give Me Time” by Backwood Memory from Kansas City. Speaking of Show Me, many thanks to our KC pal Jeffrey Harvey for turning us on to this one and helping put us in touch with the band.

                                                The longer we do this, the more we begin to believe that Youngstown, Ohio was the Hard Rock Mecca back in the day. Travis is yet another Youngstown group that aimed to get asses out of seats and out in the streets. “Lovin’ You” is a groovy banger with a sultry riff originally released on the prolific Starshine Productions imprint. Six years prior to his Arcadian synth-funk novelty hit “Space Invaders” from 1980, Victor “Uncle Vic” Blecman took Flight into the studio with a list of relationship requirements. Amongst which are his need for “Luvin’, Huggin’, & More”, with emphasis on the “More” part if we’re to believe the urgency with which he delivers this fist-pumper. If you don’t immediately recognize the Truth & Janey moniker, you need to get with it and familiarize yourself with their incredible 1976 LP “No Rest For The Wicked”. It’s a protometal masterpiece that’s been reissued on Rockadrome. Released four years earlier than their debut LP, “Midnight Horseman” is a 45-only track backed with a cover of “Under My Thumb”. Dennis Bergeron from Rockadrome was crucial in helping us obtain the rights to this Iowa burner.

                                                Another Iowan group, West Minist’r, self-released three 45s between 1969 and 1975. They’re all great in their own way, but “My Life” hit the crunchy sweet spot in ’71 with vocals sounding like a fresh from primal scream therapy John Lennon over a zonked-out Hendrix groove. You can count on hearing more from West Minist’r on future Trips. It’s nearly impossible that Dayton, Ohio’s Purgatory didn’t seize the “Strange Days” and join “The Soft Parade” while “Waiting for the Sun”. And although “Polar Expedition” wears its influences on its sleeve, 1969 would have been at least a little worse off if the band hadn’t self released this single.

                                                Johnny Barnes was definitely “smokin’ that reefer” and “drinkin’ that wine” when he released “Steel Rail Blues” in 1976. The label states that you could order a copy of this 45 for by sending $1 to a PO Box in Boston and it’s the only record on the Brown Acid series that seems to be obtainable currently for about the same amount it was sold for over three decades ago. That said, it’s doubtful that it will remain so cheap for much longer. With a track as heavy as “Is There No Peace” it’s easy to let the name of the label on this 45 slide. In Chicago in 1970 PSLHRTZ seemed like as good a label name as any for the guys in Zendik to release this insane recording on. Halfway through the track you might be wondering to yourself, “How was this not a hit?”, and then you hear the lyrics to the last bit of the song and understand. Thank Christ for Zendik, even if he is dead. Well, there ya have it. Months worth of record digging and detective work for about 40 minutes worth of music. Some people might think this is a waste of time, but we don’t and we hope you don’t either. This is the stuff that makes life worth living, at least until the next Trip…

                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                Coloured LP Info: Limited green vinyl edition.

                                                Blackwater Holylight

                                                Blackwater Holylight

                                                  The notion of 'heavy music' is continuing to expand of late, with many intrepid artists finding new ways to incorporate the power of traditional metal into new music, but without all of its trappings. Enter Portland, OR quartet BlackWater HolyLight to further swirl musical elements into a captivating hybrid of emotional intensity. Heavy psych riffs, gothic drama, folk-rock vibes, garage-sludge and soaring melodies all collide into a satisfying whole with as much contrast as the band’s name itself.

                                                  'I wanted to experiment with my own version of what felt ‘heavy’ both sonically and emotionally,' says founder and vocalist/bassist Allison Faris. 'I also wanted a band in which vulnerability of any form could be celebrated.' BlackWater HolyLight — Faris, guitarist/vocalist Laura Hopkins, drummer Cat Hoch and synth player Sarah Mckenna — formed upon the breakup of Faris’ longtime band and she sought a fresh start. 'In my last band I was the only female in a group of 6, so I wanted to see how my song writing and vulnerability could glow taking the drivers seat and working with women.'

                                                  The band’s self-titled debut begins with a simple, almost grunge-like riff as a chorus of voices introduce a melodic line in call-and-response until the band kicks in, slowly building into crescendo like a lost outtake from Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. Elsewhere, “Sunrise” begins with a chorus-drenched post-punk groove until a sonic boom of heavily distorted guitar skree erupts out of nowhere. Nearly as suddenly, the song returns to its lulling core, subtly building the tension until it ruptures completely in a blast of noise. Likewise, “Carry Her” establishes a dark, sparse melody and distinctly thin sounding drums not far removed from early work of The Cure. However, BlackWater HolyLight’s penchant for surprise attack finds a sudden shift into a doom-like dirge, colored with eerie synth notes and pounding shards of fuzz. Throughout the album, their songs shirk traditional verse-chorus-verse structure in favor of fluid, serpentine compositions that move with commanding grace. The band expertly, yet subconsciously, incorporates hints of Chelsea Wolfe, Celebration, Captain Beefheart, The Raincoats, The Stooges, Pink Floyd, Jane’s Addiction and more to form their unique brand of dark’n’heavy transcendence.

                                                  BlackWater HolyLight was recorded by Cameron Speice at Gold Brick Studios and The Greenhouse, and with Eric Crespo at Touch Tourcher Recording in Portland. 

                                                  Spiny Normen

                                                  Spiny Normen

                                                    Spiny Normen were an incredible mid-’70s Houston hard rock, progressive, psychedelic rock band that featured mellotron, Vox Jaguar, crunchy, heavy guitars, flute with echo effects, and lots more. A totally lost relic, this self-titled album was recorded at a community college and never released. The recording is very English, dark, mysterious and proggy, but also very acid-drenched.

                                                    “Circa 1976, Gerry [Diaz] and I would skip class, smoke whatever scrap of contraband we could scrape together and meet in the high school auditorium where there was a piano and bang out crunchy rhythms. Gerry was playing guitar, listening to Alice Cooper, hair down to his back and about the only MexicanAmerican in a white bread school. He was cool! So when he said one day, ‘Hey man we should jam some time,’ I was stoked. I found an ancient Vox Jaguar that had belonged to Fever Tree and a Kustom amp that I blew out just right, that made the most beautiful distortion, accompanied by a beloved phase shifter. Over the next three years we began to experiment, spending months penning intense, bizarre, surreal and mind-affecting pieces influenced by King Crimson, Pink Floyd, film soundtracks, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the like. I was collecting keyboards: a mellotron, a single-key-play Moog... Gerry was adding echos, early guitar, synth and tons of pedals. I learned the flute. In we went with a hired stand-up bass player and little engineering knowledge to the community college 8-track recording studio and just played like psychedelic Mozarts. Timpani, live effects, sound effect records, backward echo, violin bow on guitar and plenty of echo. Gerry and I on vocals. What came out was still, to this day, in my humble opinion, some very complex, untouched territory, holy-what-the stuff. We were all about 19.” - Steve Brudniak (cofounder of Spiny Normen).

                                                    Various Artists

                                                    Brown Acid : The Fifth Trip

                                                      The hits just keep coming—for this fifth lysergic journey, Riding Easy assembles ten heavy slabs of obscure rock the likes of which have never been seen before… not in this form, anyhow. And as usual, the tracks from these impossibly rare records have all been fully cleared through the artists themselves. Great lengths were gone to in order to get the best possible master sources, the worst case scenario being an original 45. The legendary Captain Foam kicks off this trip like an anvil to your skull with a rollicking stomper sounding like The Who with Matt Pike’s thunderous guitar tone. “No Reason” wasn’t easy to find, but lo and behold, the super sleuths located him and got his blessing to include the A-side of his sole single. Good luck finding an original copy of the record. It’s rarer than raw beef—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

                                                      The other nine tracks continue the onslaught in typical Brown Acid form: George Brigman’s charmingly disjointed bedroom-fi production of “Blowin’ Smoke,” Finch’s way out of time and place grungeadelic anthem “Nothing In The Sun,” Cybernaut’s heavy prog, Fargo’s hallucinogenic BBQ-sauce soaked “Abaddon,” Mammoth’s fittingly beefy eponymous riff-monger, Flasher’s “Icky Bicky” boogie, Ohio-based screamers Lance, Zebra’s gritty rendition of “Helter Skelter” and finally, the mysterious and previously unheard Thor appears here exclusively and for the first time ever with their unknown 45 track “Lick It.” 

                                                      R.I.P.

                                                      Street Reaper

                                                        When R.I.P. came crawling out of the sewers of Portland, Oregon, last year, their grimy, sleazy street doom was already a fully formed monstrosity, quickly infecting the minds of everyone it encountered. Now, borne from the band’s declining mental health and an increased focus on songwriting, Street Reaper is even more unhinged and menacing than their debut In The Wind. Borrowing equally from ’80s Rick Rubin productions and Murder Dog magazine aesthetics, this latest album is a streamlined yet brutally raw manifesto of heavy metal ferocity hearkening to the era when both metal and hip hop were reviled as the work of street thugs intent on destroying America’s youth.

                                                        Throughout, Angel Martinez’s guitar and John Mullett’s bass are inextricably interlocked like a massive sonic steamroller, while drummer Willie D keeps the beat solid and simple for the most powerful impact. Plus, the band’s extensive touring and excessive virgin sacrifices have provided singer Fuzz evermore agile vocal chords to drive it all home with extreme precision. Operating on the belief that doom is not tied to a tuning or a time signature, but rather a raw and terrified feeling, R.I.P. eschews well-trodden fantasy and mysticism tropes of the genre and focuses on conveying the horror and chaos inherent in the everyday reality of the human mind.

                                                        Spelljammer

                                                        Inches From The Sun

                                                          Riding Easy Records presents a domestic reissue on CD and first time vinyl pressing of this celebrated Swedish trio’s 2010 debut album Inches From The Sun —a groove based hybrid of classic Desert Rock and rumbling European doom that launched the band to international acclaim! “Spelljammer is some sort of hybrid between Acid King and a balls-kicking machine that has been buried in the sand outside Kyuss’ rehearsal ‘space’ just waiting to be unbleached.” — PlanetFuzz “Here is yet another pretty amazing Stoner Rock band from / Sweden, and man do these guys really deliver the goods. Slow, bass-heavy, and insanely fuzzed-out stoner doom jams are what this band is all about.” — Heavy Planet “This is for fans of Sleep, Lowrider, Kyuss, Slo-Burn and Acid King, but if this is a debut, one can foresee only great things for this band, including the overcoming of the masters!” —Sludge Swamp

                                                          Shooting Guns

                                                          Flavour Country

                                                            Canadian sextet Shooting Guns is known (and oft-nominated) for their film soundtrack work, but Flavour Country is more like a collection of anthems for your jettison from this universe into the multiverse.

                                                            While they’re known for heavy and saturated sounds befitting crazed horror-comedy flicks like Netflix hit WolfCop, Flavour Country features some of the band’s fastest, heaviest and most visceral material to date. Yet, it also features some of the band’s most atmospheric sounds as well.

                                                            At times there are slight hints of Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti Western twang amidst the looping Meddle-era Pink Floyd heavy psych and driving drone reminiscent of Bobby Beausoleil’s belladonna laced soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. But for the most part here, Shooting Guns is out for blood, regardless of tempo.

                                                            Album opener “Ride Free” kicks off with a blistering wall of guitars blaring and rattling out of the gate like mutant progeny to fellow Canadian biker-rock heroes Steppenwolf having duly fired all of the guns, exploded into space and returned to hunt down every last one of us. It accelerates from there: “French Safe” sounds like an unhinged battalion of musicians driving full throttle like a scene from a George Miller Road Warrior movie. Biting, lengthier tracks like “Simian Shelf” and the title track occupy the heavy end of the psychedelic spectrum, haunting the foggy moor between early, bluesy Sabbath-styled doom riffery and heavy pulse-riding kraut-rock.

                                                            Flavour Country is the first album recorded by the band themselves at their own Pre-Rock Studios in Saskatoon, SK, located in the middle of the Canadian prairies. The album title’s spelling is itself a nod to the band’s Great White North homeland. The album was mastered by John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet, Carlton Melton), who also mastered the band’s previous RidingEasy releases.

                                                            Shooting Guns have toured over 60,000 miles across Canada over the past 7 years but have yet to tour Internationally, which will be a big focus for them after this release. They are touring their live score to F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu across Canada throughout 2017 and also just finished scoring the soundtrack to Another WolfCop (sequel to WolfCop), which is slated for a US theatrical release in Sept 2017. Their sophomore LP, Brotherhood of the Ram, released in 2013 through RidingEasy Records was nominated for the 2015 JUNO Metal/Hard Album of the Year as well as the Polaris Music Prize. Their debut LP, Born To Deal in Magic: 1952-1976, was also nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2012.

                                                            Dunbarrow

                                                            Dunbarrow

                                                              Summoned to play it the old way in a new age, Trondheim, Norway quintet Dunbarrow draws inspiration from freezing winter nights, unpolished demo tapes from the 70’s and the Swedish throwback rock from the beginning of the 21st century. The result is Norwegian proto-doom with a back-to-basics sound, from Pentagram and Witchfinder General to Quicksilver Messenger Service.

                                                              Dunbarrow’s clean, unadorned sound shares the unpretentious brilliance of classic heavy progenitors playing basements and barns, before the big budgets and bloated habits diluted hard rock into an echo chamber awash in reverb and layered in distant, screeching hobbits. The band’s 9-track self-titled album is a classic in the sense that every song becomes instantly recognizable after just one listen.

                                                              With lyrics like the clever paean to a young witch mother’s birth of “Lucifer’s Child”, Dunbarrow has a wealth of gloomy sentiments: “Can you understand my young mother’s plight / Away from the comforts that burn at the stake / She gave birth to a venomous snake / On her great pyre she smiled / For she carried Lucifer’s child.”

                                                              Dunbarrow is based in the far northern Norwegian city Trondheim, but is originally from Haugesund on the west coast of Norway. The band has been playing together for over 8 years through different band names and genres. In 2014, vocalist Espen Andersen joined the band upon the departure of original singer/bassist Richard Chappell. Sondre Berge went from playing drums to playing bass. Kenneth Lønning and Eirik Øvregård are still on the guitars, with Pål Gunnar Dale taking over the drums permanently in 2016. Espen Andersen recorded and mixed the debut album at Stoy Studios. Dunbarrow is hitting the studio for their second album this summer. 

                                                              Ask any New Yorker what makes them special and they’ll all tell you something different. But there’s something very particular about a city so condensed with a vast range of humanity all facing myriad daily challenges that gives its rock music a brash, direct aggression unlike other places. Case in point, NYC trio Blackout’s take on doom and stoner rock is filled with a gritty, mechanistic heft unlike bands of their ilk from anywhere else.

                                                              Subsumed within the greasy grooves of The Horse there are echoes of NYC heavy legends like Helmet, Cro-Mags, Judge, Prong and others — not as intentional homage, but rather a vibe that permeates and inadvertently gives its bands a unique power that few can match.

                                                              After a brief hiatus between the March 2015 release of their self-titled sophomore album on RidingEasy Records, Blackout has regrouped and (ahem) gotten back on The Horse for an 8-song blast of riffs that does not fuck around.

                                                              On one fateful day in July 2016, with a handful of mushrooms and a bottle of tequila, vocalist/guitarist Christian Gordy set out to write an entire new Blackout record. Following the departure of original drummer Taryn Waldman earlier that year, the band’s fate was uncertain. But, Gordy’s writing forray resulted in a wellspring of inspiration and by happenstance he contacted drummer Adam Taylor who had just parted with his band Ghost Punch. Within two months of banging out riffs with bassist Justin Sherrell, Blackout was back in action.

                                                              The Horse was recorded over 4 days in September 2016 at Spaceman Sound in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, which the band describes as “a whirlwind session laced with loads of buds, Petey’s burgers and lipstick.”

                                                              Or, described by blackout themselves: “What you have before you now is a messy plate of meat, slathered in weird sauces. A haunted steak from from Centaurus A to sink your tingling fangs into. Sit back, crack a semi cold one, maybe get some snacks… and turn this motherfucker up to 8.”

                                                              Various Artists

                                                              Brown Acid : The Fourth Trip

                                                                If you thought we were getting close to the end of the Brown Acid series with our last Trip, you were dead wrong…we’re only just getting rolling. The well of privately released hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal 45s is deep and we are nowhere near tapped out. Most of these records were barely released and never properly distributed so they ain’t easy to find, but they’re out there if you’re willing to dig…and we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. Hard calluses have formed from handling the shovel and we’ve sifted through a lot of dirt, but we’ve dug up another ten tremendous records to share with all the heavy heads out there. This volume brings together eight insanely rare and skull-crushingly heavy 45s as well as two previously unreleased bangers. You may remember the Zekes’ jaw dropper “Box” from the First Trip. If you don’t, you better go back and refresh your memory, you stoner.

                                                                That song rips! And so does this previously unheard recording we legally obtained from the Beverly Hills records vaults. “Comin Back” is the longest tune we’ve yet to include on this series and it’s a full-on rager! The only surviving copy of this recording came to us on the original 1/4” master tape from Hollywood’s long-defunct Demars & Duffy Music. We did our best to preserve the recording and we think you’ll appreciate the rawness. There have been numerous groups named Bad Axe over the years, but the one you hear here is the baddest.

                                                                This five-piece fresh outta high school kicked out this jam (and a few others) in a Chicago studio in 1973 just for the hell of it. As a garage band, they were previously named The Burlington Express and they went on to be known as Bitch, but these dudes hit their stride as Bad Axe and “Coachman” is their crowning achievement. It went completely unreleased until 2014 when Permanent Records issued it and “Poor Man, Run” as a limited edition 45 with a killer picture sleeve. It’s long out-of-print and only obtainable now on Brown Acid. The rest of the records included on this volume vary in rarity, but at least two of them were virtually unknown until we discovered them. You’ll win the lottery before you find copies of all of the original 45s in even the best record stores. Many of the records included in this volume are owned only by the members of the bands and some of the band members don’t even have personal copies.

                                                                That’s just how hard these guys hit it back in the day! We’re lucky some of these guys are still alive and well enough to give us permission to use their masters. And for that, we thank them. And you, for all your support. Brown Acid is here to stay…as long as you’ll have us. Plug in, turn up, and freak out…this is what RocknRoll is all about.

                                                                What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat? In short, that’s the underlying vibe to the self-titled debut by Here Lies Man. The L.A. based quintet is founded and conceptualized by Marcos Garcia of Antibalas, bringing his erudite experience of West African rhythms and music to the more riff-based foundations of heavy rock. The results are an incredibly catchy and refreshing twist on classic forms, without sounding forced and trite like some sort of mash-up attempt. Here Lies Man merges and expands musical traditions organically, utilizing the talents of drummer Geoff Mann (son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) and a host of skilled musicians to make Garcia’s vision a reality.

                                                                “The repetitive guitar figures that happen in Afrobeat music are
                                                                very close to heavy rock guitar riffs,” Garcia explains. “ This music is based on the clave. It’s the musical algorithm that the rhythms revolve around. It's what gives it integrity and provides the basis for the musical conversation that's happening. I knew I wanted it to be psychedelic and heavy, and I wanted to be expanding on a musical tradition rather than pretending to be creating something new.”

                                                                And that expansion is the brilliant, hazy, psychedelic, hook-laden 8-song masterwork Here Lies Man, available on LP, CD and download on April 7th, 2017 via RidingEasy Records. (Written by Dave Clifford).

                                                                “Screaming out of the gate, here’s the third volume of the critically acclaimed Brown Acid series! We curate these heavy compilations so the heads can hear the best songs they’ve never heard. As usual, this batch of tracks is off the rails. It’s an absolute tragedy that these cuts aren’t in heavy rotation on classic rock radio…yet.

                                                                “We continue down the wormhole of hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal here on The Third Trip with a set of tunes so obscure they can’t be seen without a third eye. Most of these tracks were recorded in shack-sized studios, privately pressed for promotional purposes, and tossed out like last night’s half empties only to later be discovered to be half-full, if not overflowing with greatness. The majority of these tracks are from the good ol’ US of A with two exceptions, Ash-labelmate New Zealanders,Chook, and the mighty Limeys, Factory.

                                                                “We won’t take full credit for it, but we’re sorry to say that these types of 45s have skyrocketed in value over the last little while and some of the records included in this volume have only changed hands a handful of times on the collector market. Although it’s a bummer for the pocketbook, we say “Hell Yeah!” it’s about time these rarities have become recognized as the priceless artifacts that they are.

                                                                “Unlike many labels doing compilations of rare dusties, we’ve actually gone to the trouble to contact the bands included here for permission to use their material. It was a long and arduous task to say the least, but it’s the way it should be done. And we paid ’em! So sleep easy knowing that no one was ripped off in the making of this record.

                                                                “As they say, first is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the hairy chest. So take a shot of whiskey, shotgun a beer, and put some fuzz in between your nipples with the hairiest Trip you’ve taken yet. You won’t be sorry you did.”


                                                                The impressive crux of Pagan Science, the sophomore album by Austin trio The Well, is that It’s a multiplicity of itself. From the band’s dual male/female vocals to their transcendently timeless sounds and erudite lyrical themes, Pagan Science is crystalline in its complexity and clarity at the same time.
                                                                The Well walk an intriguing line between authentic early 70s doom/heavy psych and the more frayed-edge-of-sanity weirdness of their hometown’s legendary noise rock scene, whilst also splicing in shades of chamber choir vocals, occult rock and dark folk.

                                                                Sonically, Pagan Science picks up where The Well — bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley, guitarist/ vocalist Ian Graham and drummer Jason Sullivan — left off with their widely heralded 2014 RidingEasy debut Samsara. Here, the band’s heavy psych, proto-metal sound growing evermore vast, yet more focused on hooks, and their lyrics more conceptually intricate. Part of a running thread throughout the album’s introspective lyrics is the notion that the world outside of one’s own mind is also a creation and reflection of the interior world of that mind. And, just like the band’s sound is one thing (undeniably heavy) and simultaneously another (dark folk, blues... there’s even a Crosby, Stills & Nash cover, “Guinnevere”), it’s this multiplicity that makes Pagan Science such a captivating record.

                                                                Pagan Science was recorded with producer/engineer Chico Jones at Micro Mega Studio in 2016. Jones also previously engineered the band’s debut album Samsara with producer Mark Deutrom [Melvins, Sunn0)))] in 2013. Samsara, released late September 2014 was ranked the #1 debut album of 2014 by The Obelisk and widely praised in the press. Likewise, the band’s intense — some even say “possessed” — live performances have earned them featured slots at Austin’s Levitation Fest in 2015 & 2016, as well as tours with Kadavar, All Them Witches, Black Tusk and more.

                                                                The album kicks off with a looped vocal harmony launching a slithering guitar riff and thunderous drums on “Black Eyed Gods” in which the band’s dual vocalists sing in unison throughout like Byzantine monks. “Skybound” starts with a fast churning riff with vocals run through heavy delay and reverb until the drums cut out briefly, then, dropping to half- time the song becomes a massive psychedelic throb as the vocals continue to loop onto themselves above the proceedings. “A Pilgrimage” takes a slower groove, accented by pulsing congas and single note Middle Eastern sounding guitar progression. “Byzantine” begins with monk-like chants, swelling cymbals and droning guitars building up to pounding toms until it all coalesces in a massive eruption. “Choir of the Stars” slowly builds over a lugubrious bass line as a snarling slide guitar weaves throughout, while haunting sounds of yelping coyotes echo in the background. The song ends in a pig-like guitar squeal as “Brambles” begins beneath. Syrupy guitars merge with Alley’s and Graham’s unison vocals to form a slowly building monolithic sound describing a paranoid chant. Throughout, Pagan Science channels the supercharged no-frills hard blues of Blue Cheer and Deep Purple while adding multiple layers of effects, entrancing vocals and the dark thrill of a funhouse hall of mirrors. 

                                                                Swedish trio Svvamp is the real deal. Countless bands today strive to sound genuine -- whether faking their way through a ProTools pastiche of carefully assembled takes, painstakingly tarnishing tracks to give them a “live feel” or simply copying the style of their favourite band. And, usually, their posturing is entirely transparent. Every once in a while though, you find a band without self-conscious pretence that truly echoes the mood and vibe of an era when the rulebooks were burned with the draft cards and the act of playing rock’n’roll was simultaneously defiant and inherently casual. Svvamp is just that type of primordial beauty captured on a perfect 11-song debut. Svvamp was created by three friends - Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren - drawn together for the sake of jamming and a love of rock, folk and blues. Their resulting heavy psych sound is immediately gripping in its homespun feel and hints of Cream, Eric Bell-era Thin Lizzy, CCR and Crazy Horse.

                                                                “Serpent in the Sky” kicks things off with a syncopated bluesy riff romp, while “Burning Down” echoes the stomping freeform feel of the New Yardbirds’ “How Many More Times.” Once things settle in to the laid back shuffle of “Free At Last”, Svvamp really finds its groove and lets loose like Axis: Bold As Love Jimi Hendrix . “Time” sounds almost like Ziggy Stardust era Bowie with a boogie swagger and cheeky vocals. “Set My Foot and Leave” sounds as earnest and unpretentious as The Faces (and at times like Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”, without all that shaggy, smug Rodness). Elsewhere, “Blue In the Face” slips into a heavy groove while “Oh, Girl” bashes out stop ’n’ go riffs with the Marshall stack dramatics of Blue Cheer . Chiming mandolin and acoustic guitars lead the charming closing anthem, “Down By The River" (not the Neil Young song).

                                                                Contrary to the band's name, downtime is a rarity for Slow Season. Sandwiched between summer 2015's extensive tour with their RidingEasy labelmates Mondo Drag and Electric Citizen, plus several short west coast jaunts, the hard-working quartet also found time to hammer out its most powerful and ambitious album yet. Written, engineered, produced and mixed themselves on their own equipment, entirely on analog tape, Westing is a hard-hitting and powerful reminder of how at one time a rock 'n' roll band could be a transcendent experience.

                                                                While Slow Season's sound continues to effortlessly nod to the great bands of the 60s-70s, Westing is truly the sound of a band coming into their own. The songwriting is tight, howling and hypnotic. The sound is classic, yet refreshingly new.

                                                                "It's a different album," says drummer and primary recording engineer Cody Tarbell. "But we never have wanted to find a particular sound or any one thing and be attached to it permanently. A big part of our records is experimenting." The Visalia, CA band -- Daniel Rice (vocals, guitar), David Kent (guitar), Hayden Doyel (bass), and Cody Tarbell (drums) -- has recorded all of their albums on reel-to-reel at Tarbell's home studio in a cornfield. This affords them the time to experiment getting sounds, while maintaining focus on the most important notion that performance is key. As with previous albums, recording was pretty immediate, tracked between January 15th and the beginning of February 2016 to 16-track tape and mixed to 2-track tape.

                                                                Equally as ambitious as the band's self-sufficient production is the sprawling lyrical theme to the album. Thematically picking up where the Slow Season's previous full length Mountains left off, Westing tackles some heady issues.

                                                                "Westing follows a loose narrative about our nation's loss of innocence as it explores its frontiers," vocalist Daniel Rice explains. "Re-contextualized in a story about an unnamed protagonist faced with choosing between different ideological allegiances and his own social identity." From song to song, the album follows what Rice explains as, "the unholy trinity of greed+power+violence, the injustice wrought from this, persisting in willful ignorance, and reaping what is sown." A deep conceptual arc, for sure, and one that adds further weight to the Slow Season's intensity.

                                                                Album opener "Y'Wanna" erupts from the speakers as if the band couldn't even wait for the tape to start recording. it's a full-throttle rocker reminiscent of Zep's "Immigrant Song" with sly reference to "Four Sticks", all groove and pummel. "Flag" keeps things rolling along with its bouncing, stop-n-go guitar riff. The 6/8-time blues sway of "The Jackal" echoes early Sabbath malefic boogie, while "Saurekonig" is a cavernous and volcanic mass driven by huge drums, ringing slide guitar and ominous drone. "Damascus" is a rollicking anthem driven by Tarbell's syncopated hi-hat/snare interplay and Rice's explosive wail proving just how much of a dynamic powerhouse Slow Season has become. Throughout, Westing is a smart and snarling rocker that sounds like rock 'n' roll records should: massive, infectious and inviting repeat listens.

                                                                After bursting to the American heavy rock forefront with their 2014 debut album, Sateen, Cincinnati four-piece Electric Citizen are ready for a Higher Time. Their second album for RidingEasy, it is a breakout moment for the band as a whole and for vocalist Laura Dolan, who stands tall in the spotlight throughout “Evil,” “Misery Keeper” and the rest of Higher Time, rising to the occasion of a fuller, bigger sound and meeting the memorable riffing of husband/guitarist Ross Dolan head on with already-stuck-in-your-head hooks and a fiery, passionate delivery.

                                                                Like its predecessor, Higher Time was recorded at The Diamonds studio in Cincinnati by Brian Olive (The Greenhornes, Dan Auerbach, Dr. John, etc.), and in search of an even more expansive feel, Laura, Ross and Brian traveled to mix the album alongside Black Keys engineer Collin Dupuis at Easy Eye in Nashville, TN. The results speak for themselves. In Laura’s performance and in the multi-faceted approach of Ross alongside bassist Randy Proctor and drummer Nate Wagner, Electric Citizen branch out with stage-born assurance across a collection of definitive rock ‘n’ roll. It is a bold, complete sound that sacrifices nothing of the band’s on-stage energy and clearly demonstrates that while their progression has been quick, it’s been hard won the traditional way: They worked their collective ass off.

                                                                “We chose producer Brian Olive because he's an excellent musician with a great ear for rock ‘n’ roll, and a good friend that we trust,” notes Laura. The dividends of that trust can be heard in “Ghost of Me,” the rolling “Natural Law” or “Devils in the Passing Time,” as Electric Citizen brazenly refuse to be pigeonholed and craft a style that, like every stage they step onto, is completely their own.

                                                                Electric Citizen spread their name far and wide on tours with Fu Manchu, Wolfmother, Budos Band and Pentagram for Sateen. Look for them to support Higher Time on the road in North America and Europe throughout 2016 and beyond.

                                                                Various Artists

                                                                Brown Acid: The Second Trip

                                                                Some of the best thrills of the Internet music revolution is the ability to find extremely rare music with great ease. But even with such vast archives to draw from, quite a lot of great songs have gone undiscovered for nearly half a century — particularly in genres that lacked hifalutin arty pretense. Previously, only the most extremely dedicated and passionate record collectors had the stamina and prowess to hunt down long forgotten wonders in dusty record bins – often hoarding them in private collections, or selling at ridiculous collector’s prices. Legendary compilations like Nuggets, Pebbles, ad nauseum, have exhausted the mines of early garage rock and proto-punk, keeping alive a large cross-section of underground ephemera. However, few have delved into and expertly archived the wealth of proto-metal, pre-stoner rock tracks collected on Brown Acid: The Second Trip.

                                                                Lance Barresi, co-owner of L.A./Chicago retailer Permanent Records has shown incredible persistence in tracking down a stellar collection of rare singles from the 60s and 70s for the growing compilation series. Partnered with Daniel Hall of RidingEasy Records, the two have assembled a selection of songs that’s hard to believe have remained unheard for so long. “I essentially go through hell and high water just to find these records,” Barresi says. “Once I find a record worthy of tracking, I begin the (sometimes) extremely arduous process of contacting the band members and encouraging them to take part. Daniel and I agree that licensing all the tracks we’re using for Brown Acid is best for everyone involved,” rather than simply bootlegging the tracks. When all of the bands and labels haven’t existed for 30-40 years or more, tracking down the creators gives all of these tunes a real second chance at success.

                                                                “There’s a long list of songs that we’d love to include,” Barresi says. “But we just can’t track the bands down. I like the idea that Brown Acid is getting so much attention, so people might reach out to us.”

                                                                One song on The Second Trip actually never even saw light of day, until now. “Bell Park Loon” by Spiny Norman – sounding like Jethro Tull on more acid and heavier cider – languished in a collector’s archives, unreleased for 38 years until Barresi and Hall arranged to license some of the collector’s goldmine.

                                                                Brown Acid: The Second Trip opens with the squealing guitar harmonies and Sabbath plod of Ash‘s “Midnight Wish.” Sweet Crystal‘s “Warlords” is a fuzzy and fierce Deep Purple/Arthur Brown inspired organ-led anthem. Raving Maniac‘s ‘Rock and Roll Man” is a tight and brash glam-meets-metal tune proving the true potential of a genre later squandered on Sunset Strip poodleheads. “Silence of the Morning” by Glass Sun serves grungy psych while the Volt Rush Band merges MC5 frantic energy with razor-sharp guitar leads. And, Iron Knowledge‘s aptly titled “Show Stopper” features a breakbeat and incredibly infectious detuned bass warble motif that DJs would kill for – had anyone been able to find the tune back in the day. Throughout, The Second Trip is yet another wall-to-wall set of blazing tracks that feels like you’ve uncovered a holy grail. And, in a way, you have.

                                                                Central California quartet Slow Season have a revamped version of their 2012 self-titled debut album to be released on RidingEasy Records.

                                                                The band's sound effortlessly nods to greats of the 60s-70s like Led Zeppelin, The Who, Black Sabbath, et al, without sounding like a caricature. Rather, as one can immediately hear, this is hypnotic, heavy, and howling rock 'n' roll that defies both musical and temporal categorization.

                                                                The Visalia, CA band - Daniel Rice (vocals, guitar), David Kent (guitar), Hayden Doyel (bass), and Cody Tarbell (drums) - scale new heights, while recognising where it all began. Having recorded both of their albums live on reel-to-reel at Tarbell's home studio, the band eschews the digital trappings of music today to give their analog sound its crackling, kinetic energy.

                                                                "Working with the limitations of tape really pushed us to play our best," Rice says. "You have to prioritize your ideas. You can't layer too much on there. You also have to nail the takes. You don't get to go back and cut 'n' paste. You have to feel it when you're playing it. When everything comes together, it really shines because we're all playing together on tape."

                                                                “We like things on a grand scale,” says Spelljammer bassist/vocalist Niklas Olsson. That’s a bit of an understatement considering the Stockholm, Sweden trio’s penchant for massive, slow-burning sludge riffs intercut with dramatic melodic interludes. There’s the pummeling heft of detuned guitars rumbling across the rugged expanse of unwieldy drums counterbalanced with moments of Master of Reality-era Sabbath’s introspective acoustic breaks and Pink Floyd’s Meddle-era psychedelia. These extreme shifts in dynamic give the band’s third album a sense of epic depth unlike most of Spelljammer’s peers.

                                                                “The vastness of everything is something that I seem to think about a lot,” Olsson says, “and I guess that shows in the lyrics.” Some of Ancient of Days’ words were inspired by the epic poem Aniara by Swedish author and Nobel laureate Harry Martinson in which a spaceship leaving an uninhabitable Earth is hurtled off course, sending its thousands of passengers on a steady course in the wrong direction and there is nothing they can do about it. They will all slowly die as the ship continues from the solar system, forever into nothingness. This type of apocalyptic woe permeates throughout the 5-song, 40-minute album in perfect bond with the vastness of the music.

                                                                Ancient of Days is not just the band’s third release, but in many ways, a rebirth. It’s Spelljammer’s first recording as a trio — with Olsson taking over bass duties and new drummer Jonatan Rimsbo battering the skins — and the culmination of a progressive move toward a heavier, doom-laden sound, away from the desert rock leanings of their 2010 debut Inches From the Sun. Vol II saw the band spreading out into darker territories. After writing sessions fell apart in 2013 for a followup to Vol II (reissued in early 2015 by RidingEasy Records) Olsson and guitarist Robert Sorling scrapped nearly everything following the departure of half of the band. The two began to build from the ground up as a duo with new ideas that resulted in the invigorated Ancient of Days. It’s the band’s most focused and deliberate in both its complexities and simplicities.

                                                                “Having recorded the previous two albums in a more patchwork kind of way,” Olsson says, “we were very set on going into one studio and doing the entire thing.” In so doing, they banged it all out over a weekend in January 2015 at Ingrid Studio in Stockholm, with engineer Christoffer Zakrisson at the helm. Here, syrupy guitars ooze from the speakers, the drums sound like they’re perched atop a giant barge and howling vocals float throughout the proceedings. Ancient of Days very effectively embodies the boundless, otherworldly essence of its inspiration.

                                                                Formed just over a year ago by guitarist Ross Dolan, vocalist Laura Dolan, Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums) Electric Citizen have had a busy year turning heads and ears onto their dark and esoteric style of haunting and unhallowed ’60s West Coast rock, and decidedly British-influenced heavy psychedelia.

                                                                Like records by similarly late 60s/early ’70s-possessed anti-modernists Blood Ceremony, Wolf People and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, over nine tracks Sateen provides a blueprint for long term appreciation. Recorded and produced by fellow Ohioan and local stalwart Brian Olive (The Greenhornes, Soledad Brothers) the album draws on sounds synonymous with the roots of early ’70s proto-metal from groups such as Sir Lord Baltimore, Pentagram, Cream and the daemonic spirit of Amon Düül. Not to mention the comparisons it draws with the rock ‘n’ roll ceremony of forgotten acts like Frumpy and Shocking Blue when held up against the spellbinding light of high priestess Laura Dolan’s enigmatic voice and live presence.

                                                                From the cloudy and mystical swirl of ‘Hawk Nightingale’ to the shades of folk metal on ‘Shallow Water’, Electric Citizen pitch scholarly interpretations of the old guard in new and electrifying ways and not always from the vaults of forgotten masters. Take new single ‘Light Years Beyond’ with it’s swirling and ferocious concoction of guitars and drums or ‘Magnetic Man’ with its unabashed nod to Heart and classic Black Sabbath. Just a handful of many songs here that showcases just how good the band is at dropping sonic needles into the grooves of records that all serious rock ’n’ roll lovers hold dear.

                                                                After performing recent shows with Dead Meadow, Spirit Caravan and The Sword the band are currently on the road as official support to stoner rock Gods Fu Manchu on their North American tour.

 ‘Light Years Beyond’ is released on 20 May 2014 and paves the way for Sateen which will be officially released via RidingEasy Records on 1 July 2014.
 The artwork for the album has been created by acclaimed artist Neil Krug who has previously worked with The Horrors, Lana Del Ray and Boards Of Canada). This is the 2014 album by ELECTRIC CITIZEN. Taking its name from a song by the legendary Edgar Broughton Band, this outfit is the brainchild of guitarist Ross Dolan, enigmatic vocalist Laura Dolan, Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums). The music is powerful hardrock, with a '70s retro sound and influences from late '60s psych rock. Fans of Satan's Satyrs / Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats take note, this ones for you!

                                                                “Electric Citizen have barely been together a year and this gnarly cut [‘Burning In Hell’] melds 60s organ-stoked psychedelia with a fuzzed up 70s stomp. Meanwhile singer Laura Dolan’s witchily layered vocals set Electric Citizen apart from other retro-revivalists.” VICE Noisey

                                                                “They take cultish cues from European acts like The Devil’s Blood and Mansion, but strip away the religious iconography to leave behind an earthy psychedelic swirl. The retro-style production, especially one so ably done, is a rarity among American acts, who usually bring such influences to bear with a modern feel, but Electric Citizen sound like old pros on their first outing.” The Obelisk

                                                                This is the 2014 album by ELECTRIC CITIZEN. Taking its name from a song by the legendary Edgar Broughton Band, this outfit is the brainchild of guitarist Ross Dolan, enigmatic vocalist Laura Dolan, Nick Vogelpohl (bass) and Nate Wagner (drums). The music is powerful hardrock, with a '70s retro sound and influences from late '60s psych rock. Fans of Satan's Satyrs / Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats take note, this ones for you!

                                                                The Picturebooks

                                                                Imaginary Horse

                                                                  On their new release, Imaginary Horse. the German duo kick out thumping, muscular riffs. At their core, the duo takes cues from the blues-based sledgehammering of Scott Asheton. But then, on the even nastier cuts like "Your kisses burn like fire," the band gets grimey and wallows in low, rumbling reverberations that would make any Amphetamine Reptile band proud. This is vicious, modern rock and roll. Like Royal Blood if they recorded for Am Rep in 1989. Heavy two piece rock action!


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