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Women: Sleepin’ Blues [EP]


For such a macho-sounding band, Women are the last thing that spring to mind. The Black Country trio’s tectonic rumble is fused by half-stoned, full-on boogies that comprise the most abrasive elements of punk and metal; its organic and monstrous music, devoid of bullshit.

Marblewood: Marblewood [Independent]


Theologians and numerologists alike will harp on about the significance of the number three, but anyone with an interest in music knows that three symbolises greatness.

Step forward, Marblewood: Three Zürich-based musicians who pilfer and blend the almighty God-given talents of Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Yes to create the ultimate modern-day bible of monolithic riffs, acid-prog diversions and soulful passages. It’s no coincidence that the white smoke emulating from Marblewood towers signals the arrival of a new dawn.

Nosurfatu: Bloody Reef [EP]


Despite Bloody Reef’s bummer-in-the-summer vibe, there’s a darker side to Nosurfatu. The drawn-out howls that reverberate through ‘Who Killed the Surfer at Midnight?’ hint at sadistic foreplay that has yet to be fully explored.

Madam Robot and the Lust Brigade: Gardens [EP]



The first listen to Gardens, the latest output by Madam Robot and the Lust Brigade, brings with it an eerie sense of familiarity: You’ve heard these songs before, but you simply can’t place them. ‘Gardens’ is a flower-punk stomp that reeks of the Seeds, while ‘Dear Mind’ borrows from Jarvis Cocker and Hunky Dory-era David Bowie, to create a brooding slab of modern-day Britpop. Despite the references, this is one of the best-sounding records in quite a while, redolent of a time when production came before the posturing.

Matushka: Mestopolozhenie [Self-Release]


For a band conceived in the 21st century, Matushka sound so out of sync with all things post-millennial. Swept away on a magic carpet ride, the Russian duo are able to evoke a psychotomimetic-induced state through careful layering and feedback. This isn’t a release to expand musical horizons, as much as it might expand a few minds.

Brilliant Machine: Brilliant Machine [EP]


There’s something very familiar about a lot of the musical themes here. You know you’ve heard them before. Not that this debut release is a retro work, but there’s a warm, comforting air about its five tracks – not to mention the circa 1990 cover art. Complete with groove-laden riffs, lumbering drums and punk catharsis, Brilliant Machine create loud and abrasive music that acts as the mid-point between stoner and grunge.

Holyphant [Demo]


If you want to know what makes Italy’s doomy Holyphant tick, then look no further than the West Midlands: Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, and to a less extent, early Judas Priest – ok, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but you get the idea. The good stuff.

Dracula: Open Graves at Midnight [EP]


Remember when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal reigned supreme? Well, so do Australia’s Dracula. Released through Heavy Chains Records, Open Graves at Midnight contains extremely high-pitched vocals; bluesy riffs; high-energy drums and plenty of devil worshipping.

Taman Shud: Taman Shud [EP]


Taman Shud make burly music; that’s the only thing you can really call it. The French quartet’s thundering barrage powers through multiple riffs and rhythmic movements without compromising their brutality. Their basic format, of course, has been repeated many times over. However, despite the lack of originally, it doesn’t make their debut any less compelling.

Red Wizard [Demo]


Thank the lord for bands like Red Wizard. Operating in their own corner of the musical universe, the blues-rock bruisers rattle off groove-heavy anthems to anyone with a penchant for ballsy, no-frills rock. More please.

Memphys: Memphys [EP]


Thanks to the rise of Partai Records, Indonesia is currently in the midst of a guitar-driven serge. Memphys is the latest band to embrace Patrai’s “work and have fun with your music” mantra; the instrumental trio dabble with high-octave grooves and rhythmic surges just as well as their American cousins.

Vega [Demo]


Only two tracks into their career, Vega are already making an impact: Eight days into their free downloads offer, and the band are almost out of freebies. Not that this revelation is surprising. Vega’s devotion to rock’n’roll of the intergalactic, jam-orientated variety is fuelled by the urgency of ritual abandon – ‘Ouroboros’ clocks in at just under 18 minutes. There’s also a hefty nod in the direction of all things doomy and dark, which will appeal to many Sabbath devotees.