Avid readers of The Daily Rind may recall a recent post on the virtues of Psychedelic Rock in which the author hinted at a future exploration of the Stoner Rock genre. And those readers would be forgiven if they assumed that this exploration would be endlessly procrastinated. But that is not the case, and the day is now at hand.
Stoner Rock and its related cousins like Doom Metal and Desert Rock have its origins in the music your weird uncle used to listen to back in the 1970’s. Bands like Blue Cheer, Mountain and Black Sabbath created a sludgy, heavy sound that ruled the rec rooms and muscle car sound systems of the day. But that sound fell out of favor in the 80’s. One of the few bands keeping the torch lit during this period was Saint Vitus, the only metal band on the seminal punk label SST Records. I don’t think I was alone in thinking at the time that perhaps this particular band was stuck in some sort of space-time loop, and that otherwise the sound I loved was dead. That was not to be the case however.
In the early 90’s, a strange wind was blowing across Palm Desert in Southern California carrying the sounds of a new generation of rockers. Kyuss, arguably the first true stoner rock band, sprang from this scene as did other acts that would later go on to wider success such as Fu Manchu, Nebula and Queens of the Stone Age. Those bands and others like them created a genre that, while rooted in the retro sounds of a past era, has gone on to influence countless bands around the world and continues to be active and interesting today. And many of those folks have found a home at The Orchard.
One label that is killing it right now is Tee Pee Records, whose bands hail from all parts of the globe (and maybe even some from parts of Middle-Earth). These include Germany’s Kadavar, whose self-titled debut is available now, or Sweden’s Truckfighters, whose most recent album is Mania. Speaking of Sweden, there are two new releases from the Doom Metal scene there that can’t go unmentioned. Available on Nuclear Blast, they are Witchcraft’s Legend and the upcoming Graveyard album Lights Out. Even indie rocker J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. has gotten in on the fun with his two side projects Heavy Blanket and Sweet Apple, both on Outer Battery Records.
Whatever happened to that band Saint Vitus you may ask? Are they still trapped in time? Well, fret not because chrononaut, guitarist, and singer Scott “Wino” Weinrich continues to put out releases under various guises to this day. These include Premonition 13 and a couple of solo projects on Volcom Entertainment, as well as a limited edition colored vinyl release from his band The Obsessed (available on October 23rd at your local independent record store).