LONERIDER – Attitude

LoneRider is a supergroup of sorts, as it brings together a few well known faces from the world of melodic rock. Another musical union between FM vocalist Steve Overland and Heartland guitarist Steve Morris, the band already has a great pedigree since both musicians released some fine music under the Shadowman name as well as with their main recording acts. For fans of both parties, expectations for a new project were already high, but LoneRider’s debut ‘Attitude’ exceeds everything Shadowman had released to date…and at least half of FM’s own work.

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NAT FREEDBERG – Better Late Than Never

A cult hero from Boston, Nat Freedberg has recorded with The Titanics, The Clamdiggers, The Flies…and likely lots of other acts labelled with the definitive article. Always a champion of a natural sound, his best works have a very old spirit and the best bits of 2019’s ‘Better Late Than Never’ could stand alongside Strange Majik in terms of exuding an all-round retro cool…at least on musical terms.

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DEAD SOUL ALLIANCE – Slaves To The Apocalype

With ‘Slaves To The Apocalypse’, Dead Soul Alliance pledge a firm allegiance with very old school death metal. Since its six songs have little interest in blending pure pneumatics and low end growls with anything too far away from a more palatable Slayer-ish riff or two, even in metal terms, you could even say they’ve become slaves to their own chosen genre. For those who enjoy a bit of straight death, though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since these six songs are so tautly arranged, it’s hard to find any real fault with DSA’s talents for the extreme.

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DAXMA – Ruins Upon Ruins EP

Two years on from their devastating ‘The Head Which Becomes The Skull’ Californian doomsters Daxma (pronounced Dahk-ma) unleash a career best with the ‘Ruins Upon Ruins’ EP. Their first release for Blues Funeral Records, it might look like a stop-gap since it features just two songs but the reality is somewhat different. Each of the featured pieces stretches beyond ten minutes (one even fills a full quarter of an hour), meaning that, combined, the two riff laden offerings actually have a running time that’s almost as long as various rock LPs from the late 60s.

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ANTISOCIAL SURF CLUB – Peace And Quiet EP

AntiSocial Surf Club’s 2017 debut ‘Beach Closed’ was fun record. Its final mix made it hard to ignore its DIY origins at times with its occsaionally thin sound, but in terms of songs, the band scored highly in the power pop stakes. With combination of ringing guitar melodies, light indie influences and sugary pop punk hooks, it was the kind of record that suggested better was to come. …And 2019’s three tracker ‘Peace and Quiet’ more than confirms that hunch. The band’s love of brilliant choruses and buoyant melodies is obvious – perhaps even more so than before – and this time around, the material feels so much fuller.

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