Somewhere near the end of 2015, Tom Baker (of Boston band Dirty Truckers) rallied round the troops and formed a side project, Tom Baker and The Snakes. A filthy and sloppy three guitar assault, The Snakes featured another face from the Truckers and the guitarist from Watts (albeit switching to drums!), alongside members of Gymnasium and Family Township. The resultant ‘4 Stars‘ EP flaunted a love of the Stones and The Replacments throughout and band’s shamelessly gritty sound represented the musical equivalent of diesel and dirt.
Sex should never be an issue when it comes to musical abilities. As Vixen’s Share Pedersen once put it many years ago: “[being a good musician] has nothing to do with whether you have a dick – that’s not what you play your instrument with!”, but even so, from The Runaways in the 70s, Girlschool, Femme Fatale and Vixen in the 80s, not to mention countless others throughout the 90s and beyond, the all-female band seems to have (over)excited many a rock fan – and not necessarily for the right reasons.
Since their formation in 2010, Thundermother – five denim clad Swedes armed with ample amplification and an obsession with AC/DC – showed themselves to be truly committed to their chosen style. They quickly attracted a cult audience across Europe and in the lead up to their third full length LP ‘Road Fever’ worked really hard to expand their audiences on the live circuit, a place where their old style rock is (understandably) at its best.
Blending classic hard rock with a little 70s trashiness, The Bad Flowers come across as black-hearted retro souls on their self-released debut EP. From the dirt in their boots to the electricity pulsing through their veins, the amped up trio pull influence from classic hard rock of the past, creating a sound that’s tailor made for the classic rock fan. The first fruits of their studio work are loud and brash without being unnecessarily confrontational; the song writing tried and tested, but – thankfully – rarely slips into wanton cliché.
If you imagine the sounds of proto-punk from 1975 transferred via Sweden, you’ll know almost instinctively how this release from Nightmen sounds. This Scandinavian quartet dish up some really honest and authentic music on this audio love letter to the days of New York Dolls and the Ramones’ debut; the twelve tracks crammed into under half an hour showcases the sounds of leather and sweat, with a little camp trash thrown in for good measure. In short, ‘Fifteen Minutes of Pain’ might be heavy on the recycling, but the energy combined with a knack for hooks and riffs makes it an essential listen.
Never shy of their love for The Stones and various garage rock bands, Boston’s Watts get better with age. Their second album ‘On The Dial’ was home to a few great tracks and some filler; it’s successor ‘Flash of White Light’ had far more sparkle and set the band on a higher pedestal, suggesting that their fourth release could be a classic. Here it is…and this time, the band draws from an even broader selection of influences. In their own words, ‘The Black Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ finds them “diving deep into their record collections for inspiration”. The result can often lead to a game of “spot the influence” for those fans who’ve surely treasured similar collections themselves, but there’s little doubt that ‘The Black Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ really gets the blood pumping and is a largely fun listen.