Imagine what Melvins might sound like if they played in a huge aircraft hanger, its empty space echoing each note and increasing the overall intensity. Or perhaps you took Cathedral and Down LPs and played them back at about 15rpm. That’s kind of the effect that you’ll get from hearing this five tracker from Portland sludge merchants Spacebeast for the first time.
2016 has been an interesting year. We’ve heard hundreds of albums and we’ve heard lots of good ones, but in comparison to the previous couple of years there has been a paucity of great ones. Nevertheless, there’s always gold to be mined and here are Real Gone’s top ten albums of the year.
[As always, in the interest of fairness, the choices are limited to those actually reviewed on the website]
“Breathe out, breathe in…it’s time for the circus to reel you all in” exclaims King Colobus frontman Stewart MacPherson during ‘Tits & Teeth’ – very much a contender the most interesting track on the Devon-based band’s self titled EP release. Acting as part of the main hook, his unsettling request seems at odds with the old stage maxim at first, but it’s that unflinching contrast that makes the track so appealing. There’s nothing flippant about this performance; no greasepaint masking the true emotions. Nor is there anything nothing disposable about the surrounding heavy riffs or swathes of fuzz that drive the band’s sound. Here, perhaps more than ever, the band put across their musical intents with the most clarity. With a combination of stoner rock grooves, dark vocals and alt-rock leanings, these guys have solid foundations.
Few musicians hope they will be in the spotlight for fifty years and even fewer expect to spend that long with the same band. For guitarist Rick Parfitt, of course, this was pretty much the case. The young Richard Parfitt joined the fledgling Status Quo (previously called The Spectres) in 1967. His friendship with Francis Rossi now more than cemented, they both became committed to the band, which from 1967 scored hits across the bulk of the next five decades.
No lions, no tigers, just bears…and judging by their use of punctuation, the proximity of said bears would seem to be a matter of some urgency for this Rhode Island ska punk troupe. Having expanded their horn section since the release of 2015’s ‘Bad News Bears! Bears! Bears!’, their second EP carries on where the previous release left off and, yes, urgency is very much the watchword here. The six tracks on ‘Every Piece Counts’ owe a huge debt to the works of Less Than Jake but, in terms of general enthusiasm, Bears sound much more appealing than Chris, Roger and Vinny have since the days of ‘Hello Rockview!’…and it’s somewhat frightening to note that at the time of this EP’s release, that LTJ album is almost two decades old.