The lockdown was tough on all of us, but especially for bands whose bread and butter is touring and selling merch. Some, like Nashville’s Howling Giant, have had to get creative in order to endure the quarantine. With regular Twitch streams as a way to connect with fans, including live jam sessions on Saturday nights, the progressive stoner rockers began creating impromptu instrumental jams to names created by audience members. Alteration, the new EP by the band, features four of these jams, crafted and refined in the studio. Look for the release on 4/20 and for now, check out their new single, Luring Alluring Rings.
With a rich psychedelic atmosphere, the track features an epic chord progressions, huge drum sound, and ethereal keyboard tones. The song has a beautifully melodic theme. In the middle of the track, listen for the soaring guitar solos and heavy chugging changeup, right before the triumphant return of the main theme in the last third of the song. Listen to Howling Giant’s new track, Luring Alluring Rings, and make sure to check out the full EP, Alteration, available for $5 on their Bandcamp page, out on 4/20.
King Buffalo has been dealing heavy psych music since 2013 and have big plans for 2021. The Rochester, NY trio, who has toured with stoner rock giants The Sword, Elder, and All Them Witches, has announced that they will be releasing three full length albums this year and have already listed dates for a fall tour. The first album, titled The Burden of Restlessness, is set for a June 4 release and the first single is out now. The second two releases are being kept under wraps, although the band has hinted that each album will be distinct and recorded with different methods.
Hebetation is the new track from The Burden of Restlessness, and expands King Buffalo’s sound into progressive new audioscapes. Although I was a fan of the heavy psych atmosphere of their first two full lengths, Orion and Longing to be the Mountain, it sometimes felt like the band was stuck in repetitive musical territory. However, with their third full-length, Dead Star, the band showed they weren’t afraid to infuse their rock with more aggressive and driving sections, giving them a more diverse and well-rounded sound. The best thing about it was that the band never changed their core style, but simply expanded it. With Hebetation, we see that evolution continuing, with an even more progressive, heavy sound, all while maintaining their own trance-inducing psychedeliscapes.
SEP 10 Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
SEP 11 Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
SEP 14 The Moroccan Lounge – Los Angeles, CA
SEP 15 Bottom Of the Hill – San Francisco, CA
SEP 17 Barboza – Seattle, WA
SEP 18 Barboza – Seattle, WA
SEP 19 Lola’s Room – Portland, OR
OCT 1 Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT
OCT 2 Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT
OCT 15 The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub – Cambridge, MA
NOV 4 DC9 – Washington, DC
NOV 5 Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
NOV 6 Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
NOV 11 Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA
NOV 12 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI
NOV 13 Hi-Fi – Indianapolis, IN
NOV 14 Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
NOV 16 The Winnebago – Madison, WI
NOV 17 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN
NOV 18 The Back Room @ Colectivo – Milwaukee, WI
NOV 19 Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
NOV 20 Beachland Ballroom & Tavern – Cleveland, OH
After a hyper-sleep spanning the eons of 2020 and slightly beyond (I changed jobs and moved and didn’t have as much time to write about my favorite music), the Sonic Sofa has returned with earsplitting, heavy metal vengeance. Stay tuned for more reviews of new stoner rock music, a series highlighting 10 heavy classic albums from bands like Sleep and Electric Wizard, and more occasional stoner rock podcasts with the Purlenaut.
King of None is a hard-rock band from Helsinki, Finland. They produce riffy hard rock, with plenty of stoner and prog-rock elements. From the remnants of previous projects, the band was formed by vocalist Miiro Kärki, guitarist Aleksi Kärkkäinen, drummer Patrick Enckell, bassist Juho Aarnio, and guitarist Juha Pääkkö. The group has produced three EPs: the self-titled King of None in 2015, 2016’s Trouble by the Score, and most recently, 2019’s Weightless Waters.
Weightless Waters, released on April 28, 2019, is composed of six heavy songs. It’s a high energy ride that is arguably their most polished, mature EP to date. The songs range from four and a half to seven minutes. Each song is crisp and tight and it’s a headbanging, hard rock ride from start to finish.. The artwork was produced by musician and artist, Petri Lampela. The album is available for sale on Bandcamp and is also available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.
Throughout the album, the vocals are melodic with aggressive, occasionally growly touches. Always on pitch, they pair well with the groovy, crunchy compositions. Thematically, the lyrics cover a number of topics. Starbirling and Desolator contain sci-fi elements as well as some hints at self-examination and perhaps absurdism. Worlds Collide and the opener, Words of Mine, seem to be more introspective, with the latter even tipping the hat to Carly Simon’s You’re so Vain. Frog Palace and Yellow Snake King contain fantasy-like lyrics, more typical to stoner rock.
Musically, the entire album is very tight. The guitars are heavy and over driven. There are some great wah pedal riffs, like on Yellow Snake King, as well as some creative double guitar leads, notably in Worlds Collide. Heavy walls of guitars will blow you away, like the fantastically slow and heavy intro to Desolator, but they prove in the same song that they are able to explore softer, more subtle moments, with psychedelic tinges.
The drums and bass are always locked together, like a tight, rhythmic force. The bass sounds heavy and chunky, and can be heard really well on the opening of Yellow Snake King. The drums are relentless, shuffling along with a constant barrage of fluid beats and drum fills, including lots of double kick-pedal work. There’s some nice use of a china cymbal and some intricate drum work on Frog Palace, as well as some really shuffly grooves throughout the album.
King of None have proven once again that they can produce some awesomely fast paced, intricate hard rock. Weightless Waters is an EP that will reward repeat listens, and should be in your music rotation. Support the group by purchasing the EP on Bandcamp today and check out their track, Desolator, below.