Somewhere around the peak of the first UK pandemic lockdown, Gramma Vedetta released their second EP. More than just another short collection of rock tracks, the London based outfit’s ‘A.C.I.D. Compliant’ actually acted as a snapshot in time, with the brilliant ‘Lucid Dream’ providing a musical diary of those tumultuous days in a very direct fashion. Backing up that obvious highlight, listeners were also reminded of their psychedelic and stoner influences, leading to a short but very effective listen.
For a band once considered to be the epitome of counter culture and not in it for “the bread, man”, it sometimes seems as if the twenty first century Hawkwind are just a machine churning out new products. December 2021 brought the career spanning, anthology ‘Dust of Time’ – their fourth release in under two years. Although it was beautifully put together, it didn’t give hardcore fans much they wouldn’t already own. However, it successfully covered a lot of musical ground, and for the keen eared and eagle eyed, a couple of rarer BBC recordings could be found within its sprawling eighty one tracks. It’s hard to please everyone, but the six disc box set had a really good go.
Over the years, the market has been flooded with Hawkwind compilations, reissues and retrospectives. From the comprehensive and brilliant (‘This Is Your Captain’, a huge set pulling together the United Artists albums), to the interesting (box sets of Flicknife and Emergency Broadcast era albums aimed more at the completist), to the perfunctory (various cheap “best of” type sets, thrown together by budget labels with no thought), it seems as if no stone has been left unturned in terms of anthologies celebrating the legendary space lords.
Every once in a while, a band comes along that sounds almost exactly like their logo and album artwork. This is one of those times. With a sound that falls somewhere between heavy psych and stoner rock, Perth’s Giant Dwarf deliver a world of fantastic riffs on this debut album. These guys have so obviously realised that it can be more effective to take influence from others and do that well, as opposed to presenting an odd mish-mash of more original sounds but end up with a record that’s going to be perhaps quite marginal. It’s resulted in a release that’s full of belters that fall somewhere between classic ‘Dopes’ era Monster Magnet and the more focused Queens of The Stone Age – pretty much guaranteed to please most listeners who loved stoner and space rock in the late 90s…and still find themselves craving some deep fuzz.
At the beginning of 2016, London based doom/sludge quartet Morag Tong released their debut EP ‘Through Clouded Time’. It received some very enthusiastic responses online and in it’s wake, the band were able to increase their profile through extensive live work. A follow up wasn’t especially quick in coming, but just one listen to 2018’s ‘Last Knell of Om’ reveals why. The band seemingly weren’t intent on just hacking out more of the same when it came to making a full length release. The album really delivers on previous musical ideas, but also takes the longer playing time to experiment with a few more progressive and space rock tendencies than before.