Wax On Water’s full length album ‘The Drip’ (released in June 2022) presented an interesting mix of electronica, light goth and occasional industrial sounds. With a broad but dark sonic palate linked via a strong vocal, the album’s best tracks brought back memories of a vast array of alternative music from the early 90s . With it’s most mechanical bits not too far removed from something you’d find on Trent Reznor’s vanity label Nothing Records, and a more melodic streak presenting itself as if taking a moody swipe at Garbage, it was a recording that managed to mix the arty with a surprisingly commercial edge.
At the end of September ’22, Davey Lane’s band The Pictures made a long overdue return. The release of the ‘I Can’t Hold Back’ single marked the end of a fifteen year silence for the band, but in many ways, the track played as if it’d been a mere heartbeat since their previous release.
Few bands have been more influential to the alternative scene than (the) Melvins. Since their arrival in the early eighties, the noisemakers from Washington have forged an uncompromising musical path which has inspired punk and doom metal bands alike. They’ve encouraged many to twist the elements of rock music into unfathomable shapes. Their early work laid the formations for what many consider “grunge”. Somehow, in the mid 90s, they even managed to score a recording deal with a major label, which inspired them to become even more obtuse, first releasing a single that had a lyric in a made up language (‘Hooch’) and promote a slightly later release with a track that included a drawling vocal, a sludge metal riff and an atonal jazz solo played on the trombone. Even more bizarrely, that single (‘Bar-X The Rocking M’) even had its video shown on MTV. The Melvins’ career has taken many forms, and it’s rarely been pretty, but it has never, ever been dull.
The name Davey Lane might not mean much to a huge amount of people in the UK, but the Aussie musician has been more than prolific over the years. In the 90s, he was a key member of rock band The Pictures before joining You Am I in 1999. In more recent times, he’s carved out a solo career, played on albums by Jimmy Barnes, The Saints’ Chris Bailey, and also appeared on recordings by Robyn Hitchcock. He’s worked with the legendary Todd Rundgren, and even toured with Crowded House. He’s the archetypal go-to guy; a face you don’t necessarily know, but one that has always been there.
OFF!’s self titled debut album is a punk essential. On that record, the hardcore supergroup – then featuring ex-Black Flag/Circle Jerks vocalist Keith Morris, Redd Kross bassist Steven McDonald and Burning Brides guitarist Dimitri Coates – captured a pure sound that served up the energy of Circle Jerks’ ‘Group Sex’ LP mixed with a mounting anger, packing seventeen songs into as many minutes. Hardcore was alive and well in 2012, and Morris, especially, showed how he’d lost absolutely none of the fury that powered his formative years, despite later Circle Jerks albums suggesting otherwise. That album’s follow up, 2014’s ‘Wasted Years’ stretched the formula to allow for a few extended instrumental sections without sacrificing any of the band’s genuine fire, further proving that OFF! were one of the greatest hardcore bands of their era, before they seemed to disappear. It’s unsurprising, really; a band honestly can’t present themselves so intensely for long without reaching burnout.