VARIOUS ARTISTS – A Future Of Bad Men: A Melvins Tribute

Few bands have been more influential to the alternative scene than (the) Melvins. Since their arrival in the early eighties, the noisemakers from Washington have forged an uncompromising musical path which has inspired punk and doom metal bands alike. They’ve encouraged many to twist the elements of rock music into unfathomable shapes. Their early work laid the formations for what many consider “grunge”. Somehow, in the mid 90s, they even managed to score a recording deal with a major label, which inspired them to become even more obtuse, first releasing a single that had a lyric in a made up language (‘Hooch’) and promote a slightly later release with a track that included a drawling vocal, a sludge metal riff and an atonal jazz solo played on the trombone. Even more bizarrely, that single (‘Bar-X The Rocking M’) even had its video shown on MTV. The Melvins’ career has taken many forms, and it’s rarely been pretty, but it has never, ever been dull.

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THE PICTURES – I Can’t Hold It Back / Ground Control (4 Track Demo)

The name Davey Lane might not mean much to a huge amount of people in the UK, but the Aussie musician has been more than prolific over the years. In the 90s, he was a key member of rock band The Pictures before joining You Am I in 1999. In more recent times, he’s carved out a solo career, played on albums by Jimmy Barnes, The Saints’ Chris Bailey, and also appeared on recordings by Robyn Hitchcock. He’s worked with the legendary Todd Rundgren, and even toured with Crowded House. He’s the archetypal go-to guy; a face you don’t necessarily know, but one that has always been there.

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SUNNYDALES – The Puppet Show EP

For a band that essentially formed themselves around a novelty idea – to perform punk songs based on plot points from Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Sunnydales have a surprising amount of staying power. On this fourth EP, the Fresno punks sound better than ever. Granted, their lyrical schtick ploughs a similar furrow to before, and they display their love for Ramones’ past works so proudly, the influence isn’t ever subtle, but all of its predictability, ‘The Puppet Show’ EP shows them in a more confident way than ever before.

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RivetSkull cover Aerosmith classic on reworked version of ‘Trail of Souls’

In their own words, RivetSkull are a band committed to “bringing classic heavy metal into the future”, but their range of influences often sets them apart from being yet another leather trousered band of blokes recycling traditional sounds.

Their ‘Trail of Souls’ album was recorded in 2020 in less than ideal conditions, as a global pandemic took hold. The album’s production obviously showed these limitations, especially through a slightly muddy guitar tone and flat drum sound, but the best songs shone through the murk, often suggesting the work of a band who understood the importance of melody.

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