Epic hard rockers ASHBURY have been enjoying renewed popularity in recent times, thanks to the rediscovery of their private-press LP from ’83, ‘ENDLESS SKIES’; a true lost-classic of melodic hard rock which marries the melody of Wishbone Ash with the delicate vocal lines of James Taylor and the grandiose scope of heavy metal. In light of this much-deserved renaissance, the band has regrouped for several successful appearances at metal festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, this weekend will see Ashbury tread the boards at Frost & Fire II Festival in Ventura, California. JAMES BLACKFORD caught up with band-leading brothers, ROB and RANDY DAVIS to revisit ‘Endless Skies’ and survey the band’s long history…
ON DISCOVERING MUSIC… Rob: “Our Dad was in the Army, so we moved around a lot, living in France for three years, as well as in Oklahoma and Georgia. Dad played guitar and loved Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Elvis and Fats Domino. He owned a state-of-the-art Telefunken stereo and bought records every week, so growing up we didn’t watch TV, we just listened to music. Music and family were Dad’s passions in life, although his first attempts to get us to play guitar were useless! We had no interest, … Read More
Providing the hazy, laid-back, psychedelic rock anthems of the summer, Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass have been on the road since the release of April’s ‘Coming Back Again’ (Listenable Records). Desperate to know what was on their stereo when recording their second full-length (they even told us which songs in particular each song inspired!) and what’s been playing in their van on those long road trips between gigs, the band made us the perfect mix-tape for summer nights.
1. The Move – ‘Lookin On’ 1970 “It’s amazing how HEAVY The Move were! They were one of our main influences when we formed the group and are a constant inspiration to us. ‘Lookin On’ is filled with monstrous riffs, killer guitar harmonies and soaring powerful vocals, not to mention the Eastern-tinged psychedelic odyssey in 5/4 that closes out the tune.” Song of relevance: See It Through
2. Jefferson Airplane – ‘Today’ 1967 “It’s just a love song – which this group was surprisingly adept at – that is both gentle and powerful, with wonderful vocal harmonies and chord passages, particularly on the chorus and at the coda. But the clincher for me is that atmospheric two-note modal flourish that Jorma Kaukonen provides – so simple … Read More
With The Golden Grass playing in London tonight and their new album ‘Coming Back Again’ recently released via Listenable Records, we revisited the time we put them in our Into Battle section way back in Iron Fist #10
Adam Kriney is the epitome of the modern and urban bohemian. A proud NYC-born and bred artist with a zillion ideas yet, first and foremost, a drummer he nevertheless has an extremely versatile musical pedigree that saw him hijacking free jazz, heavy rock, stoner, psychedelic rock, electro and everything in between. Until last November, his ticket that connected all those dots was La Otracina, whose career culminated in 2012 with their first, and so far only, DIY 46 date European tour and a storming Roadburn appearance.
However, upon their return another addition to their already long list of line-up overhauls knocked the wind out of Kriney. So despite being seated on a stack of unreleased recordings that could fill up “something like five albums” according to him, he put the band on hiatus and chose to focus on his other two musical activities, the instrumental kraut-rock inspired Zoned Out and Grateful Dead tribute band, the Dead Tapes. Only when those two also ran into … Read More
One of our favourite feel-good hard rock boogie bands, The Golden Grass (previously on psychedelic powerhouse Svart Records) have partnered up with France’s Listenable Records, home to NWOBHM masters Satan, dark doom band Saturnalia Temple and stoner lords Saviours.
As well as working on a new album, which will be out in Spring, the Brooklyn-nased band will be touring Europe again in May 2016, including a spot at Freak Valley Festival.
The label have said “Their sound majestically encapsulates the timeless feel of ’60s/’70s influence. Taking a nod from legends like James Gang, Allman Brothers & Grand Funk, the soulful British psych/mod of The Move, The Pretty Things & The Action, and the heavy umph of Budgie, Blue Cheer and Blackfoot to seal the deal, The Golden Grass synthesise these influences into a seamless, memorable, and high-energy performance that screams from the past but is a welcome and much needed presence in the now! Hard rock lives! Keep on grass in’!”
Forming in 2006, six years after the dissolution of the Swedish hard rock band, Norrsken (who also featured Magnus Pelander of Witchcraft), Graveyard have been on the forefront of the classic rock revival. Four albums in – with the most recent entitled ‘Innocence & Decadence’, perhaps a titular nod to the era of music they heartily worship – the band made up of Joakim Nilsson (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Ramm (guitar), Truls Mörck (bass) and Axel Sjöberg (drums) may have been part of the force behind the current resurgence in rock roots but, as Joakim tells us over a pint, there’s no chance of them slowing down. “We have a lot to do still,” he insists, getting riled at the idea that the band may have lost some of that innocence bands have when they form. “When we started out, we were naive and didn’t know what we were doing, and that can be a really good thing. That’s why there are so many great first records but at the same time, you can get that feeling back.”
That’s what the band have done on their latest album but there is one stand-out track, ‘The Apple & The Tree’, that deviates from their … Read More
Initially a part of the Crusher Records (Spiders, Dead Man, Troubled Horse) roster, Horisont were originally perceived as another of those retro-rockers from Sweden, seemingly happy to surf on the nostalgia wave and have an excuse to wear bell-bottomed jeans. Except that there’s always been something a tad weirder and out-there with them and not just due to their occasional Swedish lyrics. Still, many will be surprised by their fourth full-length ‘Odyssey’, a 65-minute tour-de-force that sees them coming out of their shell and heading for the stars with space rock and classic prog influences abound and a solid dose of vintage synthesizers. Blasphemy? No, a simple and very human longing for evolution says their frontman Axel Söderberg.
Two years ago when you promoted your third full-length ‘Time Warriors’, you made no secret that it was style-wise very close to its predecessor and your Rise Above debut, ‘Second Assault’. Yet ‘Odyssey’ doesn’t follows the same pattern does it? “Indeed as the previous two full-lengths were kind of made in a rush. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great as they are but after ‘Time Warriors’ we knew right away that we would need more time for the next one so we could do the … Read More
“I lost my job in Sweden and I decided to just go and try to find myself.” Blues Pills singer Elin Larsson was 21 when she made that decision. She packed a bag, left her hometown and followed the trail to Laurel Canyon, a journey taken by many in the ’60s, heading West to where music was at the heart of LA’s counter-culture. But this wasn’t 1967, this was 2011. When Joni Mitchell sung the words “I am on a lonely road, and I am travelling. Looking for the key to set me free” she had no idea how decades later voiceless girls with songs in their hearts would head down the same road, with the same yearning to be heard.
“I had this picture of California,” Elin says, sitting in a London pub, in awe of the opportunities given to her since that fateful trip. “I liked all the awesome bands that once were there; like Janis Joplin. The ’60s there were so cool. I thought I always wanted to go there. I always wanted to see California.”
Once in LA it wouldn’t take long for Elin to meet drummer Cory Berry and bassist Zack Anderson, although the shy Swede won’t admit … Read More
Even if yours truly’s once reliable mind was largely intoxicated and thus not fully functioning, I was still taken by surprise when, back in 2010 while visiting Stockholm, Nifelheim’s Tyrant revealed that he, David Blömqvist and Fred Estby (from the then recently deceased Dismember) had just formed a “classic sounding hard rock band à la Rainbow” and were already penning some tunes while looking for a singer. Three years later, with sadly Tyrant now out of the picture due to lack of time, but now with an actual name (Dagger, suggested by former Entombed mainman Nicke Andersson, who also designed their logo) and a first EP (‘Mainline Riders’), that unlikely prospect has become reality. And yes, it couldn’t further from the HM-2 empowered brute force of Swedish ancient dödsmetal, as if after two decades of playing ‘Skin Her Alive’ at full speed those boys had needed a break.
“Yeah, it was something like that,” confirms drummer and ringleader Estby. “After Dismember went on hiatus before breaking up for good, I did the Necronaut album with me playing most of the instruments and friends like Tompa from At The Gates or Dread from Tormented doing the vocals, but I think it was … Read More
“Twin guitar harmonies,” is what Hakim, lead vocalist and guitarist replies when asked what prompted the foundation of Dead Lord, a new revelation in hard rock from Stockholm only founded in January of this year and currently entrenched in Sun Studios in Dublin recording their debut album, slated for an early 2013 release through Germany’s High Roller Records. Stylistically Dead Lord have it down, completely, bringing into the 21st Century all that made classic rock so interesting, vital and vibrant with a slick amalgamation of Thin Lizzy, Scorpions and Kiss as well as The Hellacopters, who upon further prodding certainly come out as being somewhat of a standard bearer and ‘go to’ reference point for a whole younger generation of Swedish hard rockers. “Yeah, Nicke Anderson would certainly be a big influence on us when it comes to exploring deeper into music and he has generally been a measure for good music,” is Dead Lord drummer Adam’s view on the matter, which is reinforced by a collective of nodding heads.
So what then of the emergence of a whole new wave of bands rooting deeper into the recesses of rock’s turbulent history, particularly in Sweden? “There’s a much better situation now … Read More
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