Montana’s Idaho Green are a band not so much shrouded in mystery as cloaked within the obsurd. Their list of band members is obviously fabricated and their band bio partly lifted from the legend of Lynyrd Skynrd. Scraping below the surface, though, they’re not related to Steve Gaines or Ronnie Van Zant; they’re still very much alive and have been active in one form or another since 2008. They’ve been releasing material since 2012 and the ‘Rancher Bones’ EP is their sixth release and despite only being short, it shows more scope and invention than before and is certainly more varied than 2016’s ‘Fuck Yeah…We’re Idaho Green’.
Brooklyn’s Darkwing make a huge sound. It isn’t one that’s easily pigeonholed: some of the vocals draw influence from 80s goth bands like Bauhaus with their echoing presence, but they aren’t a goth band. The drums rattle at speed like they’re driving a solid piece of garage rock, but if you’re looking for something along the lines of The Hives or a DIY band signed to Brooklyn’s own King Pizza Records…just forget it.
Founded in 2017, Brass Owl is an Ohio based power trio delivering a hefty dose of blues rock, often with a very southern twang. Their choice of sound often falls somewhere between Black Stone Cherry, something featuring Zakk Wylde and the more tuneful bits of Corrosion of Conformity (circa their John Custer produced millennial masterpiece ‘America’s Volume Dealer). Those influences alone should guarantee them a fan following. However, it’s what a band does with their influences that really counts and it’s probably fair to say that Brass Owl’s debut is a mixed bag.
Formed in 2014 somewhere in deepest Somerset, Magpie hatched a plan to create “grown up guitar pop”. Their 2017 EP, ‘Picasso On A Log’ almost casts them as serial thieves, since their collective influences are very obvious. Still, nobody ever said that grown up pop had to be original; it’s more likely to be sounds recycled with love…and based on this recording, these black and white popsters absolutely love the sounds they serve, pilfered or otherwise.
Exploring a variety of extreme metal traits and breaking up the intensities with elements inspired by soundtracks and world music, this 2018 release from Akhenaten is very interesting. It certainly isn’t your run of the mill death metal release. But then, you should expect nothing less than a sense of adventure and a progressive attitude from an album that “explores the forgotten paths of history” and is “steeped in the mythology of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia”.