Ulver – Flowers of Evil

This is not an overall great pop rock record. I had to check a few times while listening that I’m still listening to Ulver—this style and sound feels alien for me coming from them. That said, Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers is a flawless pop rock song.

Reigns – The Walled Garden

As the first notes started playing on this record I thought Reigns turned to a lighter mood since I fell in love with them with The House on the Causeway. I starts that way. Then they quickly delve into their home territory of eerie land where rock and electronic holds no real meanings—this music is not defined by its instruments but its super heavy atmosphere. It’s a beautiful wondering in a haunted garden with dark crimson roses, piercing thorns, and an ominous yet not at all depressing constant dusk.

Mother’s Cake – Cyberfunk!

This was the biggest wow moment towards the end of 2020. Huuuge funk and psychedelic rock mixed up, like putting Rage Against The Machine and The Mars Volta in a blender, and occasionally spicing it up with some space disco vibe.

After around the time of Black Angel’s Phosphene Dream I started to get weary of a lot of psychedelic rock records sounding all the same—there was a canon that so many new bands could only follow but show nothing new there. It’s also telling that in the funk rock area one of the best new things I’ve heard in the past decade was Shobaleader One playing live, which is basically IDM played with a different instrumentation. Overall, I rarely hear something that feels new and fresh in these genres nowadays, and Mother’s Cake has definitely one of those moments.

Girlschool – Hit and Run

This has been at the top of my Play Later list for three months now. This happens to a few albums that I keep relistening and I know after removing from there I’ll get back more rarely to them, so I want to give them more time to sink in my brain. I feel now that this record has sank its rock and roll girl power fangs well enough, the name Girlschool will stay with me all right.

They are usually referenced as contemporaries with Motörhead, but I can even say that they are good to be called the women version of Motörhead. This is powerful hard rock and heavy metal at its best. I would love to see a full movie using only this album for a soundtrack.

MOLYBARON – MOLYBARON

Leading up to the new album when the first single, Lucifer appeared did I come across MOLYBARON and it was an instant hit for me. The new track got me hooked with its extremely satisfying hard rock flow crossed over with the totally heavy metal riffs and vocals of the chorus. I also love in a rock song when there’s a post-chorus bridge that’s just totally outside the normal flow of the track and takes you on a little trip of its own. That’s also very strong in this song.

So, after listening to Lucifer a mere fifty-something times did I realize maybe this band is not coming from out of nowhere and that’s how I ended up with their debut record. It’s an awesome introduction, I get many more of that above described song structure, and there are surprisingly few tracks that I’d call fillers. It’s a proper hard rock ride. I can imagine a MOLYBARON live concert as a steam-filled two hours long train ride without breaks, I hope that’s true. Anyhow, just based on the two new tracks the evolution and perfectioning of their voice is unmistakeable, so looking forward to the new album quite a bit.

Only Child Tyrant – Time to Run

Funny story, I haven’t known this is an Amon Tobin alias up until the point I got to writing this post and looked up info about this album. And already having listened to the full thing a couple of times. And I was already amazed. And now I’m double amazed. If I listen to the track Long Down now, I have this “what were you thinking” moment, like, of course it’s him.

It’s a super massive, amazing record. All the best of Tobin’s smart mid-tempo electronics spiced up with this rock and roll attitude, dragging heavy beats, all coming together for some heist movie chase scene atmosphere. And full-on surf rock in King of Kong – whaaat? I love this so much. It’s a silly ride and all over the place but sounds fresh for him and feels like a free spirit. Very well done.

Footnote: another artist who chose to be someone else for a bit to be able to work freely, like what I mentioned before.

Me And That Man – New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.1

After their epic debut filled with wonderful voodoo blues the new album experiments on a way wider spectrum. I still like the first record better but this one has a few good songs, too, although not necessarily in the same genre. The occult American folk is now swapped with more of an outlaw country style, the only one that’s dark enough for my taste is Man of the Cross. And then there are the odd ones out, which are great just for another album, like Run with the Devil (a full-on party rock and roll track) or How Come? (can neve resist a Corey Taylor cameo).