They’ve built a loyal following on the live circuit and have put in some hard yards at festivals. They can count ex-Clash drummer Nicky “Topper” Headon and sometime AC/DC tub-thumper Chris Slade among their fans. However, in the grand scheme of things, UK rockers Salvation Jayne aren’t so well known at the time of their EP release ‘Moves That Make The Record Skip’. This probably says something about the huge amount of music we now have at our disposal rather than the band’s actual talent, since had this EP been released back in the early 90s when The Black Crowes and Kiss of The Gypsy were making waves, you certainly would’ve heard Tommy Vance and Fluff Freeman talking about these guys on a Friday and Saturday night in radioland.
Having made waves on the underground UK folk scene and gained positive press claiming them “exquisite songwriters”, the arrival of Ferris and Sylvester’s recorded debut is cause for celebration. ‘The Yellow Line’ might only feature four songs, but each one shows off just enough subtle differences to be a great showcase for the duo’s talents. Between Archie Sylvester’s guitar work – often heavy on Americana styles, but also making time for a little blues and a teeny smidgeon of rockabilly – and Issy Ferris’s full but also soft, almost ghostly vocal tones, the performers are a perfect match for each other. Their songwriting gifts, too, have a near timeless appeal, weaving narratives that should appeal to ninety percent of an Americana loving audience.
Towards the end of 2016, Canadian doom merchants The White Swan unleashed their debut EP. Although just offering the discerning riff-junkie just three tracks, on ‘Anubis’, Mercedes Lander and her crew of heavyweight sludge lovers proved that quality always wins out over quality. Between the band’s own ‘Blood’ – a perfect fusion of heaviness and an odd, treacly psychedelia – and the heaviest version of Wings’ ‘Jet’ ever – hearing is believing – the release was an instant classic. Several months on, their eagerly awaited follow up doesn’t so much pick up where the previous tracks left off, but tries its utmost to smash the previous efforts into smithereens [in this case, meaning a thousand pieces; at no point do The White Swan attempt to put their heaviest stamp upon anything written by Pat DiNizio, but it might be a fun idea…]
Roger Waters, ex-Pink Floyd bassist, songwriter and heavy-handed social commentator, released his third solo album, the rather grand ‘Amused To Death’ in 1992. A concept piece about media propaganda and news coverage, the album was one of the best sounding records of the year. It blended a few familiar Floydian motifs with the more atmospheric elements of his own ‘Pros & Cons of Hitch-Hiking’ and resulted in a cult classic. From then on, very little was heard from Waters with regard to studio material. It was perhaps wise to take some time out, of course, for to follow such a near-perfect record (at least for the style) would have been a fools errand.
Belgium’s Missiles of October have been cranking out their own brand of post-hardcore/noise rock since 2012. Approximately five years on from that time, the self-proclaimed “three old guys” are still very much an underground act, gleefully making listeners’ ears bleed whilst recycling various familiar influences. Their 2017 release ‘Better Days’ really drives home their love of retro hardcore, Jesus Lizard-esque angular art rock and more, in a package that some will find hard to swallow and yet others will lap up with twisted merriment.