Plying their trade in London and South East England, roots rock band Rowsie spent a long time perfecting their direct musical approach and a core sound. In their case, “perfecting” doesn’t necessarily mean “perfect”, as Rowsie often revel in clinging onto a ragged musical heart. Armed with overdriven guitars that take influence from the noisier aspects of Uncle Tupelo, Grant Lee Buffalo and Crazy Horse and mixing that with a melodic streak that blends roots rock with folk and pop, it creates a full blooded very natural experience. On their ‘Searching’ EP (released in June 2022), they finally make good on the sounds and influences that peppered their earlier single releases.
Canadian rockers Rebel Priest made their first breakthrough in 2015 with a self titled album that introduced listeners to their world of sleazy riffs, combining elements of old school metal, bluesy rock and no-nonsense grubbiness. The following years saw the band sharing stages with Lordi and Diamond Head, and their work likened to AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue, despite not always sounding too obviously like some of those legendary acts.
Their 2022 release ‘Lesson In Love’ continues their unashamed voyage through a world of dirty riffs, sleazy lyrics and – as you might suspect from a release with an arse on the cover, painted blue or otherwise – old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll attitudes. For those who loved them previously, the short four song assault will bring plenty to love; for those not enamoured with the retro rock sound and attitude, obviously, the chances of being won over are slim to none.
Coming out of a pandemic lockdown and determined to make some noise, five guys from Europe hit upon a new musical idea. Members of punk band Suicide Generation teamed up with guys from Desperate Fun and Lysergics and took a musical detour. Hard Times was born with the idea of casting aside their punky pasts, and instead paying homage to glam rock, sleaze rock, and even the proto-glam rock ‘n’ roll of New York Dolls. It is a job that their debut EP ‘Little Satan’ does brilliantly in its own no-frills and semi lo-fi way.
The release this album in 2022 marks the end of a decade long silence from Boston rockers The Dirty Truckers. It’s not that the band members have been absent in that time, of course: frontman Tom Baker has released enjoyable works, both solo and with his other band, The Snakes (also featuring the Truckers’ John Brookhouse); guitarist Tad Overbaugh released a solo album in 2015, and drummer John Lynch released a truckload of material with his “other” band, Watts. In addition, an excellent digital compilation, ‘Second Dose’, also provided potential new fans with a handy recap. Whichever way you approach it, the Truckers left their fans with plenty to enjoy during the lengthy sabbatical.
Latvian rockers Bloody Heels began carving themselves a niche within the hard rock scene in 2012, but it was only with the release of their third record ‘Ignite The Sky’ that they really attracted wider attention. That album, their first for Frontiers, potentially placed them in the hard rock ranks alongside Hell In The Club, and really upped the ante with regards to their chorus writing. It was all very old fashioned, but that, in many ways, was the whole point. Their celebration of all things big haired and carefree actually created a great tribute to the hard rock glory days of 1987-1991, and as such, attracted a keen audience who still wanted to hear old school rock churned out with a real enthusiasm.