THE WATCHERS – High And Alive EP

Following two enjoyable studio releases, San Francisco stoner rock band The Watchers give fans a genuine treat with their third release. ‘High And Alive’ shows the band in their natural environment, in front of an enthusiastic crowd. With four tracks recorded at The House of Rock, the EP shows how much better this band sounds without the constraints of a studio and with some extra volume applied.

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THE HŸSS – Extraterrestrial EP

With five tracks of riff-heavy and fairly trashy hard rock, The Hÿss sound particularly assured on their 2020 release ‘Extraterrestrial’. Although claiming stoner rock roots, this recording shows off much less of the genre’s typically fuzzy sound, preferring instead to latch onto several crushing, concrete infused riffs. Any stoner intents are more likely to come from the disc’s lyrical content; one that drops the listener straight into a self-made world of spaceships, alien creatures and disco monsters. Although not necessarily coming from the same musical roots, in terms of concept, this is an EP that would make the Misfits and The Groovie Ghoulies proud.

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BRASS OWL – State Of Mind

Brass Owl unleashed their self-titled debut album in the summer of 2018. While that record was loaded with great riffs and showed promise, it was also fatally flawed. More than great riffs are needed to create great songs and their song writing wasn’t always the most memorable. Also, in frontman Brian Tarter, the band seemed to be hampered by a vocalist who often…overstretched himself.

Unfortunately, since Tarter also supplies those great guitar riffs and actually represents fifty percent of the band on 2020’s ‘State of Mind’, Brass Owl are sort of stuck with him. As a result, it is another album where a massive amount of promise is evident, but the genuine quality doesn’t always come through.

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STONE MACHINE ELECTRIC – Stone Machine Electric

To move forward, sometimes it’s important to take stock of the current situation and go back to the past. On this two track 7”, Texan doom duo Stone Machine Electric revisit the first songs they ever wrote together and in doing so go back as far as possible. Both tracks have been previously available, but this release marks their vinyl debut.

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YUR MUM – Ellipsis EP

A few seconds into this 2019 EP from London based two-piece rock band Yur Mum, it becomes evident that first impressions most definitely do not apply. ‘What Do You Want?’ wastes no time in cranking a huge riff – part 90s metal, part stoner rock – that makes the band sound like a cross between Godsmack and the heaviest parts of Shinedown. It’s most definitely not what you’d expect from a band who’ve decided that a moniker like Yur Mum best represents them. As the track progresses with a mid-paced, absolute crusher of a riff – something that’s brilliantly juxtaposed with Anelise Kunz’s howling and almost brattish vocal – you’ll soon realise that, despite appearances, these guys are serious. …And then, with a teeny bit more time to acclimatise to their heavy sound, you’ll then realise that the brilliant, groove laden riffs have enough force and volume to take on a full spectrum of moods. Nope, this is certainly not the work of a band whom, in name terms, might have you believe they were a teen pop-punk phenomenon.

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