SAIL – Emotional Motion Ocean EP

British sludge/doom/alternative outfit Sail aren’t the most prolific band, but they’re one of those acts that seem to offer something of genuine interest whenever new music arrives. In August 2021, their two track single ‘Flood’ showcased their knack for massive riffs, but also showed how they could make an almost unmovable sound seem more atmospheric than some of their peers. An accompanying remix actually gave the material a further lift when demonstrating how the original recording had an almost mechanical, semi-industrial feel beneath the riff, and further suggested that Sail’s best material presented far more than a heavy vibe.

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GRAMMA VEDETTA – Hum Of The Machine

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.

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PYRE FYRE – Rinky Dink Town / Slow Cookin’

Formed over a love of lo-fi noise and trash aesthetics, New Jersey’s Pyre Fyre began making their own brand of stoner/sludge music in 2019. A pair of digital singles emerged in 2021, with each cementing the band’s commitment to a DIY brand of riffs and distortion. Despite not having the most original sound, there was plenty about the unavoidable influence from ‘Houdini’ era Melvins cutting through the heart of ‘Lobotomy’, especially, that suggested this project came with a great potential.

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WHITE TUNDRA – Honningfella EP

After spending a couple of years perfecting their riffs and honing a heavy, retro sound, Norwegian stoner rockers White Tundra unveiled their debut EP ‘Graveyard Blues’ in the middle of the 2020 global pandemic. Their weighty Monster Magnet/COC influenced sounds were a perfect compliment to a troubled time, and proved yet again that a tried and tested heavy psych/stoner sound could still impress when delivered with a lot of confidence and a few massive hooks. The title cut, in particular, with its chugging riff, gravelly vocals and rattling bassline – at times sounding as if a direct descendant of ‘Children of The Grave’ – set White Tundra on the road to stoner greatness, but ‘Freedom Fighter’ with its heavy and lurching anger suggested they’d have more to give than your bog standard stoner copyists.

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