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Michael Toland: October 7, 2012

Ketchup Pt. 7

Another 10 records I can’t dig into in detail, but are definitely worth your time. Alpha by artist.

  1. Aqua Nebula OscillatorThird (Tee Pee)

    Paris isn’t the city I’d first visit for quality stoner rock, but this acid-soaked quartet shows how wrong I’d be. The band’s third LP wallows in droning feedback, grungy riffs, rubbery rhythms and just enough melody to (barely) control the chaos, like a cross between Hawkwind and Loop. Picks to click: “Kill Yourself,” “Lucifer”

  2. Buffalo KillersDig.Sow.Love.Grow. (Alive)

    The Gabbard brothers continue their odyssey through the guitar rock of the early 70s on their latest LP. As the band matures it’s arguably become more comfortable with the harmony-driven folk rock side of its personality, rather than the boogie, but Buffalo Killers deliver reliable pleasures either way. Picks to click: “Hey Girl,” “Graffiti Eggplant”

  3. The CringeHiding in Plain Sight (Listen/BDG)

    Nowadays the dubious term “post-grunge” brings to mind horrible hair metal acts disguised as alternative rock and in need of anger management classes. The Cringe, however, is more about timeless rock melodies than warmed-over metal licks – not to mention dynamics, tunefulness and a singer that sounds like a dude expressing himself, rather than screaming at his ex-girlfriend. Picks to click: “Make Me Something,” “String You Along So Long”

  4. FontanelleVitamin F (Southern Lord)

    Rex Ritter and Andy Brown may be best known for the band Jessamine, but from the sound of this repetitive, psychedelic jazz rock they’re big fans of Miles Davis circa 1974. This mélange of horns, guitars and droning keyboards maybe be derivative of the master, but considering how few fusioneers tread these distinctive boards, I ain’t gonna complain. Picks to click: “Vitamin F,” “Traumaturge”

  5. Young HinesGive Me My Change (Readymade)

    Singer/songwriter Hines has the patronage of Brendan Benson and definitely fits under the pop umbrella, but he doesn’t sound much like his producer/label owner. With tunes ranging from catchy folk rock to grungy blues rock (occasionally) to sweet pop, but always putting melody first, Hines would be at home on stage with Neil Finn, Emitt Rhodes or even Paul McCartney. Picks to click: “Rainy Day,” “Keep Me Goin’”

  6. John the Conquerors/t (Alive)

    Every time I think, “Grungy blues rock, again? C’mon, people!” a band like this Philly power trio comes along and makes me think twice. Leader Pierre Moore has a matter-of-fact singing voice, tasteful six-string skills and a tuneful writing style that balances licks and melody and avoids classic rock overload. Picks to click: “Time to Go,” “All Alone”

  7. The LifeAlone (Green Monkey)

    Seattle’s Life was one of many underground rock bands that never made it out of its region into the national spotlight – not an uncommon story. Maybe it’s because the band’s widescreen, lightly rootsy rock was too bombastic for college radio and too jangly for AOR. Regardless, the two LPs collected here should bring a smile to the face of anyone who misses the sound of big guitars and open emotion. Picks to click: “Here We Go Again,” “A Broken Man”

  8. Lord FowlMoon Queen (Small Stone)

    This New Haven, Connecticut crew looks young, but clearly they grew up in the 70s, at least spiritually. The quartet’s debut applies punk rock aggression and a touch of acid twinkle to masterfully played licks in the Sabbath/*Zeppelin*/*Dee Purple* tradition, and makes ‘em sound like they were invented yesterday. Picks to click: “Quicksand,” “Mutate”

  9. Skyline DriveTopanga Ranch Motel (self-released)

    Cailfornia country rock keeps on keepin’ on even in the ‘aughties; songwriter Derek Thomas is merely the latest to fly the banner. What sets Skyline Drive apart from its revivalist peers is Thomas’ way with a ballad, sensitive without being sentimental. Picks to click: “Battering Line,” “Lemon Tree”

  10. Andre WilliamsLife (Alive)

    Backed by a Detroit crew led by Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry, the 76-year-old R&B reprobate shows no signs of mellowing on his umpteenth LP. The satirical “Blame It On Obama” (“When your wife is on the run/And she won’t give you none/We’ll just blame it on Obama”) will get the most attention, but it’s the tougher, bluesier cuts like “Shake a Tail Feather,” which Williams wrote in the 50s, that stick out. Picks to click: “Stuck in the Middle,” “Shake a Tail Feather”