Category Archives: Riffs

MMOSS – “i”

Here’s another album I’ve been listening to for months but have neglected to put something up about it.

MMOSS are a long-defunct psych band from New Hampshire. I’m not sure of the history or timeline of the band but they have two albums on Bandcamp, 2012’s “Only Children” and the one I’ve been listening to, “i” from 2011.

In recent years the revival of classic hard rock has been huge, with tons of bands throwing back to an older sound of riff driven biker (stoner) rock. Long hair, denim suits, cheap beer and loud rawk.

However, while the vintage burl has been getting its time in the spotlight, what I haven’t seen is the same amount of energy being put into throwbacks to the slightly older, psychedelic sounds of the 60’s. Real hippy shit, with complicated strings, tangential jams and weird ambient interludes. I thought this style was getting ignored, that is until I found MMOSS.

Authenticity in throwback music is a tricky thing to get right, it’s easy to hit all the right sounds but if you don’t manage to get the vibe right then you just end up with a cheap copy. I am totally comfortable saying that MMOSS are one of the most legit throwback bands I’ve ever heard. Listening to their album for the first time was like finding a random album from the 60’s in the bargain bin at the record store. Give it to me blind and ask me the decade and I’d be at a loss.

Tricky melodies, charismatic instrumentals and oh so many ambient interludes. They even have a flautist. There’s legit and then there’s a damn flute. Seriously though, I love this album and it has lulled me to sleep on more than one occasion (not a bad thing). It’s a beautifully played album that perfectly captures the feeling from 50-odd years ago.

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Oh Fuck Yeah: Homewrecker – “Extinction By Design”

Had this album for a couple weeks but kept forgetting to put something up about it. Let’s fix that.

I investigated this album based only on how classically gnarly the album cover was. It looked like some unpretentious heavy shit and goddamn, did Homewrecker not disappoint. Formed in 2008 and hailing from Ohio, they released their newest EP “Extinction by Design” in October of last year.

Meaty riffs, brutal solos, biker man-shout vocals, SHREDDING. It’s all there man, everything you need to top off lead sandwhich and fuckin’ rowdy. The EP covers 4 tracks that take up the right amount of time and never stick around long enough to outstay their welcome. Burly, yet efficient.

There’s really no point to wasting more text on this. It’s heavy metal with neck-aching grooves and dope guitar noodling. Its not rocket appliances.

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Little Trouble, Big China

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Got sent to China for work in late August, got back last week and have finally finished adjusting.  Crazy country , that’s all I got to say about that.

Anyway, lets talk about what I bothered to listen to over those couple weeks on foreign soil.

PUNCH/”They Don’t Have to Believe” – Vicious hardcore punk served in efficient doses. A female-fronted powerhouse that is now sadly defunct, this album rips through you from start to finish with snarling commentary and neck-snapping riffs. Smash, flail, cry, scream.

Inter Arma/”Paradise Gallows” – Bought this one on an impulse since I vaguely knew the name and really liked the cover art. It is a dense fucking beast of an album, an intricately carved monolith of something other than obsidian. There is some supremely weird shit that goes down over these 11 tracks but damn, I had a good time.

Dot/”Erratica” – As much as I’ve grown up listening to rock and metal, a good chunk of that time has been spent behind another fence of hip-hop/electronic/etc. I’ve always had a deep love for Lebowski  instrumentals and “Erratica” is no exception. Chill, smooth backing tracks with excellent compositions and samples, this got me through more than one airport.

The Pilgrims of Weed: Sleep – “Dopesmoker”

Bandcamp really started to take off for me when I could start getting older albums from established bands, instead of having to drag myself through the muck of iTunes. For every batch of new albums I pull from Bandcamp, I always find one or two classics that I had missed out on owning. One such example; “Dopesmoke” by Sleep.

“Dopesmoker” and Sleep in general, are legendary. Their influence on stoner and doom is still felt today and their tracks are just as crushing now as they were close to twenty years ago. Any conversation involving Sleep, or Matt Pike for that matter, will eventually bring you around the the resin-bound tome that is “Dopesmoker”.

A single song, detailing the odyssey of the Weedians to the riff-filled land over an hour of advanced Sabbath worship and danky fucking riffs. It’s an album that wouldn’t be sold by their label, an album that ultimately lead to the breakup of Sleep. It’s a hash burning meditative state, dragging you through the magnificent Sandseas to the grow-room of the temple of Hasheeshian.

Drop out of life with bong in hand
Follow the Smoke toward the Riff filled Land
Drop…out of life with bong in hand
Follow the Smoke toward the Riff filled Land

Fuck, That’s Tight: Beat Cops – “Mean Streets”

Beat Cops are a now defunct Montreal band who I found through the usual random digging on Bandcamp. The title is a pretty accurate summation of my thoughts the first time I heard them, these guys are some of the tightest musicians I’ve had the pleasure of listening too.

Right from the opener “Emotional” to the closing of “Back in Time”, they are on fucking point through every single track. Everything has it place and is played to perfect, making even the most obtuse of grooves work. It’s like math rock but overlayed with the style of 70’s arena funk band.

The goddamn organ solo on “Hit it Again”. So unexpected. So good.

This album is tagged only with “rock” on Bandcamp which does a disservice to how technical these guys get. Its all such a pleasure to listen to, muscular musicality without turning into flashy wank.

It saddens me that they went belly up but I am happy that this flash was caught in the amber. $10 CAD.

Melancholy Fun: Tyrannamen S/T

I’ve been finding most of my new music by going through suggested followers on Bandcamp. I don’t know the algorithm that they are using but it has been yielding me a steady stream of new favourites.

A couple of these suggested folks are hailing from Australia, which produced that previous post about Clowns and todays post about the soulful punk of Tyrannamen. Thier self-titled album was released in November of last year and has stuck itself in my head for days at a time.

Their style is not usually the one I find myself drawn too, as I usually skip the memorable melodies for neanderthal riffs but for some reason (probably age) this album has fit home like a well-worn pair of underwear.

From the opening of “I Can’t Read Your Mind” to the simple truth in “I Don’t Want To Go To Jail”, Tyrannamen pack together loose tones and convincing vocals, wrapped together with an energetic and dance-able rhythm. This all pushed through a perfect organic mix, with an honest live feel and clarity across the band.

I dunno if I’m getting soft or old but its nice to be able use this blog as benchmark for how my listening has changed. Either way, this album rules and you can get in for 4 GBP on Bandcamp.

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Nihilism; A Systems Approach: The Sun Through a Telescope and portrayal of guilt

Time for two bands who have emailed me many, many months ago, with me letting their emails rot in my inbox like the scumbag I am. So let’s drag these carcasses out into the light and see what we got here.

portrayal of guilt – S/T

These guys are from Texas and released a self-titled EP in May. They use the mentality and brutality of grindcore but at a slower pace, which is a big plus for me. The usual adjectives apply; howling, scathing, violent and crushing but with the rare inclusion of concise and well-tailored.

In short; Angsty grindcore black-metal with tight songs and strong grooves. $1 on Bandcamp.


The Sun Through a Telescope – Black Hole Smile

This is a one-man recording project from Ottawa who does doom/drone/sludge but not black metal, which is what usually comes up. I will be completely honest in saying that I never got around to listening to the whole album and instead took a choice sampling of tracks throughout. However! Everything I sampled I did enjoy and found a good balance between the more estorotic drone elements and the neanderthal headbanging.

In short; Kinda like Old Man Gloom but different. And only one dude. $7 on Bandcamp.

Drinking for Eleven: Clowns – “Lucid Again”

See mom? Drunk Bandcamp surfing in your underwear can be productive!

Random find while digging through suggested profiles on my Bandcamp collection page. Clowns are a punk band from Australia who picked my ear due to their resemblance to some local legends, Pup.

Angular and energetic modern punk rock with a metalcore edge, I’m sure this will sound as good sober as it does now. A solid blend of classic punk charges and modern punk/indie musicality, it rips.

$10 AUD on Bandcamp, listen below.

Now excuse me, I need to piss.

Dank Tones: Steinsopp – “Steinsopp”

Steinsopp are a psychedelic rock band from Norway. I think their name is the Norwegian word for the Boletus edulis mushroom but I could be wrong. They write some dank fuckin’ riffs.

One might ask, “But what are dank riffs?” and one might answer, “I have no fucking idea, its just a word that sounds cool”. Or you might say that these dank riffs are like huffing from a bag of high-grade greenery, filling up your senses with that sweet, cloying, godly smell of sticky green bundles.

This is old-school riff worship, with huge guitarss, laid-back drums and gallons of distortion. King-ranch riffs, wafting their way out like so many heavy clouds of smoke. A lot of bands try to sound like they have patina and don’t quite make it all the way, these guys sound genuinely crunchy, like they were actually pressed in the 70’s, not just digitally altered to try and sound that way.

This whole album sounds goddamn amazing. It strikes the perfect balance of distortion and clarity, with some of the best vintage tones for miles around. These songs are textured like the best of 70’s fashion. No polyester or pleather, just rough-spun denim, heavy cotton and corduroy.

Listen below and find your own copy on Bandcamp.

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Mystery Meat: Ninjaspy – “Spüken”

Ninjaspy is a three-piece hybrid metal band from British Colombia that I was jocking in high school but had kinda faded from my memory in years past. I remember getting hooked on their music from the quick-stepping genre changes, brutal (at the time) grooves and bombastic energy filling every track. However, as my tastes changed and attentions shifted, I found them getting in the rotation less and less.

To a “traditional” listener of heavy music, these guys probably come across as odd or gimmicky. Their style borrows heavily from System of a Down and Dillinger Escape Plan, blending crazy style changes mid-song with deep breakdowns and sometimes random sounds. It’s a big ol’ pot of mystery gumbo, odd looking from afar but more than capable of taking your taste buds on a pleasant, if strange, journey.

This was their sound on the album I discovered, 2007’s “Pi Nature” and is more or less the same kind of sound you’ll find on their newest album, “Spüken”. The tap-dancing genres and nomadic grooves have become both more abstract and more polished at the same time. Stepping back and looking at the different parts of the song individually, you might think that the combination will be distasteful but once you get into the meat of the track, you can’t help but have a smile on your face through the whole song.

Tracks like “Shuriken Dance” and “What!?!?” show the band plowing through some pretty audacious combos that I can’t help but slam dance in my chair to. Purists might cringe but to an average dirt-worshipper such as myself, “Spüken” is a refreshing blast of fun and creativity.

You can find “Spüken” on Bandcamp. Listen below and see what you think.

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