VARIOUS ARTISTS – Burn On The Bayou: A Heavy Underground Tribute To Creedence Clearwater Revival

Unless you happen to be Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices or Buckethead and have a blatant disregard for quality control, recording and releasing eight studio albums over a five year period is probably really difficult, if not impossible. Creedence Clearwater Revival not only managed that task between 1968-1972, but in ‘Green River’, ‘Willy & The Poorboys’, and ‘Cosmo’s Factory’, they managed to deliver a trio of cast iron classics. The latter is an album still beloved by millions; a soundtrack to a generation.

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AAWKS – Luna EP

When it comes to riffs, power trio Aawks really don’t mess about. A cut above your average stoner rock band, their debut album ‘(Heavy On The Cosmic)’ did exactly what it said on the tin. Its eight tracks fused Sabbath, Kyuss and classic Monster Magnet riffs with a whole world of phased effects – applied to both the guitars and vocals – to leave the listener with the ultimate in fuzzy, buzzy, mind-bending wonderment. On tunes like ‘The Woods’ which combined driving stoner riffs with slower breakdowns and heavily treated lead guitars, and ‘All Is Fine’ which latched onto a rhythm that sounded like a distant cousin of ‘Silver Machine’, it was even possible to hear a huge influence from early Hawkwind bleeding through the slightly echoey vocals and head nodding riffs. With a touch of doom fleshing out ‘Peeling Away’, it was clear that these guys could do incredible heaviness too. Since almost every moment brought something exciting to Aawks’ chosen style, ‘(Heavy On The Cosmic)’ was potentially one of the finest heavy psych discs since Monster Magnet foisted ‘Dopes To Infinity’ upon an unsuspecting world in the mid 90s.

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THE HOLY NOTHING – Vol. 1: A Profound And Nameless Fear

On this debut EP, The Holy Nothing wield some genuinely enormous riffs. Creating a sound that takes a huge influence from stoner metal and mixes that with a few grungy influences and a pinch of hardcore, their sound shifts between crunchy, sludgy and the groove laden, ensuring this musical trio are often more interesting than your average Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu and Kyuss wannabes.

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DEAD FEATHERS – Full Circle

The first Dead Feathers album – 2019’s ‘All Is Lost’ – introduced the world to a solid blues rock/heavy psych band. With a sound indebted to the last gasps of the 60s and steeped in a classic riffs, the record’s ten songs explored a darker tone and shared arrangements which sometimes sounded like Jefferson Airplane’s moody cousin (‘At The Edge’), as well as hinting at an admiration for the slow and vaguely psychedelic blues of Savoy Brown (‘Smoking Gun’). It even wheeled out some brilliant fuzzy fare (‘Horse And Sands’) and a heavier riff or two in a nod to the mighty Black Sabbath (‘Cordova’). Although never as lavish sounding as the best Ruby The Hatchet works, it was one of those records that guaranteed enjoyment for fans of the style, wherever they chose to drop the metaphorical needle.

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YAWNING BALCH – Volume Two

Yawning Balch – the collaborative project shared between the members of desert rock band Yawning Man and Fu Manchu’s Bob Balch – unleashed a sprawling giant with their debut release. ‘Volume One’ shared three lengthy instrumentals where the musicians absorbed themselves in a stoner friendly, wavering landscape; it’s improvised riffs going deeper into the desert rock world than many had gone in a long time. It was the perfect record for late night listening, and suggested that, if and when a second volume should arrive, Yawning Balch had the potential to be one of the greatest deep psych/stoner bands ever.

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