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RATING: 9/10 – TOP TRASH

It can be disheartening, sifting through release after release of 3rd-rate Black Lips ripoffs – all scuzzy vocals and tinny trebled guitar; not that this is categorically intolerable (though it’s not always good), but that some of these poor little punkers forget that there’s a whole other side to the tone knob. Fortunately, we’ve got bands like San Francisco’s Buffalo Tooth, who bring out the bass like Karl Rove in the Bible Belt. The band offers up this bandcamp 7″, and for the love of god, someone should put this out on wax. It’s an analog wet dream – booming, lurching groove rock. This is the kind of shit that demands a sweaty, beer-soaked basement when played live. “Only Son” is a ferocious rumbler of a track, featuring drums carrying a groove the size of the Mississippi, which bounces and surges all at once, noodly fuzzed out guitar and rock-solid bass keeping the whole thing moving – BLUE CHEER, DEEP PURPLE – all your favorite color-band comparisons are welcome (Editor’s note: not Green Day). “Head Trip’s” ‘got a hold on you,’ and by ‘you’ he means ‘your face’, which he then melts with torrential blues lickery and howling vocals. It’s positively funky – putting the ‘roll’ back in ‘rock’n’roll.’ It’s slower, but no less energetic – dare I say ZEPPELIN-esque? I think I do. Point is, Buffalo Tooth have made a big splash with two slabs of no-genre-bullshit-attached rock – expect good things to come.

LISTEN/FREE DOWNLOAD: Bandcamp

BUY: the record label on facebook is ‘???.’ this is a grave injustice.

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RATING: 6.5/10

The UK’s Dead Man’s Tree practice an earnest, straight-forward brand of rock and roll. This 4 song EP kicks off with “Run Away,” a mid-tempo tune that recalls BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB in its directness, and in its swaggering solo. The vocals may have less sneer, but the guitars are brash, and the song moves ahead like a freshly waxed Cadillac. This song gives way to the slower, more sinister and creeping “Evil Eye” – a slinky vibe feeling like NICK CAVE in his less abrasive moments. The song is competent, but passes by without leaving much of an impression.

“Cold Night Blues” rides on a somewhat stiff drum groove and a nice bluesy solo, but runs on a bit too long. “Nothing to Do” is the highlight here – it’s a meat-and-potatoes blues-rock number that jettisons the rockier emphasis that DMT (heh heh) seem slightly uncomfortable with and embraces most fully the blues base. The solos are again, pretty good, but the drums oddly stiff – I’m starting to think they might be programmed, or just strangely mechanical. Overall, Dead Man’s Tree are good musicians doing a simple, yet timeless style pretty well. I can’t seem to find much information on these guys – which leads me to think they’re still fairly green. Some of the material is a bit faceless, but with time, it’s easy to see how a more unique style could emerge. I certainly don’t discourage them.

LISTEN/DOWNLOAD: http://deadmanstree.bandcamp.com/

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