The Black Clouds – Photograph
Sometimes, even alternative-rock can be properly judged on first impression alone. Remembering that much of the alt-rock that gained popular support during the early 1990s, from Nirvana to the Smashing Pumpkins, was based on a quick attack and overpowering guitar riffs, The Black Clouds waste no time in unpacking the essentials that make up their sound.
“Photograph” is a fast, loud garage-rocker containing heavy riffs and roaring vocals not unlike the grunge bands I mentioned previously. It would only make sense that this would be the sound the group would opt to promote. After all, the tune was produced by the legendary Jack Endino, the man responsible for recording Nirvana‘s Bleach, over at Studio 606 owned by Dave Grohl, the man responsible for producing Nirvana’s often overlooked, uber-muscular backbone.
Art rock this is not. Unlike some of the grunge groups that lure a heavy metal audience towards the supply store, The Black Clouds just want to rock. It’s a task they accomplish well, permitting us to mention them here.
Local Nomad – Snakechild
It’s not just the classic rock fetishists or grunge rock revivalists borrowing from the past. Local Nomad are inspired by a sound born in the 1980s and designed to still sound modern decades later.
Part 80s new wave jam, part dirty pop-rock tune, “Snakechild” wouldn’t sound half as charming without the kind of self-belief that borders on fiction. Simply put, Local Nomad power to the dance rhythms and early Cage the Elephant quick-fire vocal delivery as if they’re the biggest band in the world. I like that kind of bravado.
Lyrically, the song is also impressive, trading sleek, sleazy rhymes that spin a Seventh son of a seventh son kind of tale. There’s humour to the braggadocio claims. It’s cheap and loud like wearing a gold chain to a fancy dress party, and for that, I like it.