2014 Has been a good year for new rock music so I thought I’d share my favourite releases with you, which you might also like if you’re a fan of Tidal. Here goes…
10. DOWN – ‘We Knew Him Well’
When I heard Down were putting out four EPs in quick succession instead of an LP every 5+ years as they have previously, I thought “Awesome! More Down, less waiting!”… however its still taking a good 18 months between releases! Anyway, upon hearing this first single from the second EP, I really wasn’t sure it had met my high expectations but having let the southern riffs seep into my head, its won me over in big style! Turn it up loud and your house will shed all its plaster, I speak from experience… Its worth it though.
9. Foo Fighters – ‘Something From Nothing’
As with number 10, I only gave this one half a chance to begin with. I heard the song on the radio and switched it over after about a minute thinking “Davey boy isn’t putting much effort in, weak”. Having watched great ‘Sonic Highways’ documentary though, hearing the lyrics relating to the history of Chicago and its music, it carried more interest and led me to THE SECOND HALF!! It takes off like a space bound rocket and then you realise that ol’ Davey boy was saving himself for later! Even if you don’t like Foo Fighters music, I’d recommend watching the documentaries as they give a great insight into the music scenes of some of the key cities of american music.
8. Robert Plant – ‘Little Maggie’
This song brings a bit of a change in genre, Robert Plant and the Led Zeppelin have always been partial to a bit of world music (check this epic version of Kashmir out!). This fine example also represents one of rocks living legends performing at Glastonbury, the festival which has seen more dabbling in rock over the past few years with Metallica and The Rolling Stones making appearances. There just seems to be something hypnotic about this song and it reminds me a bit of Willows song from ‘The Wicker Man’ which is great British cult horror classic.
7. California Breed – ‘Midnight Oil’
From the ashes of Black Country Communion arose California Breed, with Mr Hughes and Mr Bonham keeping their rhythm partnership together but shifting to even older school fuzzy retro vibe. I love the groove, blazing hard rock vocals, the fuzz-tastic tones, the female backing singers and the bloodline Bonham drum solo at the end. There aren’t many bands like this these days so pave the way lads.
6. Black Stone Cherry – ‘Me and Mary Jane’
Memories of the summer come flooding back, feeling merry at Download Festival with the boys, going hell for leather singing along. Black Stone Cherry have a knack for writing songs you can sing along to having never heard them before, the crowd was screaming! Seeing them at the Cardiff Motorpoint in October playing a full headline show makes you realise how many classics they have for a young band, mixing chunky riffs like this one with southern ballads, they are the new Lynyrd Skynyrd.
5. Joe Bonamassa – ‘Oh Beautiful!’
Had to include Joe as he’s one of the best guitarists out there. His presence on the Download bill probably surprised a lot of people but being the Bonna-fanatic I am I had to do some backflips with excitement (in my head). He took to the stage with a faint drone behind him and he walked up to the mic and started singing this new song almost acapella…then out of the drone emerges this massive octaved riff. This song has a very unique structure and he deserves to and likely will be remembered as one of the greats.
4. Royal Blood – ‘Figure It Out’
Royal Blood have taken the world by absolute storm, from being nowhere to securing US/UK tours with the Foo Fighters…that’s good going. Again, I saw these at Download this year, sacrificing seeing Rival Sons which I’d getting excited for upon good recommendation from the boys… but I am glad I did. Seeing a band on their way up in the tent is something we probably won’t be able to do for much longer. Most of the time two pieces lack the third element but these boys pulverised everything. HUGE SOUNDS from layered octave pedals is clearly working beautifully. This song is showcases that and their song writing genius. Try putting this on in your car, it makes me feel like I own the road!
3. Slash – ‘Bent to Fly’
Slash is probably the most recognisable guitar player in the world and has a very unique style in how he loves a guitar melody and to bend to the notes he wants which, when played over beautiful chord progressions as with a multitude of G’n’R songs, it carries so much weight. Slash’s current band is the perfect match for him this with Myles Kennedy providing emotive vocals like he means every word and Todd Kerns hitting the high harmonies in his sleep. I had this song on loop for weeks and this live performance really shows off their talents.
2. Mastodon – ‘The Motherload’
These guys are the pioneers of metal at the moment. They just seem to do things that no one else does or can do. All four of them are some of the best musicians around and they never look like they are struggling with the stupidly complex music they create. This video caused a bit of a stir as well and made me laugh out loud in the psychedelic sequence. The weirdness they pursue is a breath of fresh air…in my excitement at their show in Bristol, I bought a very weird t-shirt from the merch stand…think woman from Total Recall mixed with a rattlesnake!
1. Rival Sons – ‘Open My Eyes’
At number 1 is this band who are taking over my life! Rival Sons capture Led Zeppelin vibes so well and the singer is the best thing since the wheel! This acoustic version of ‘Keep on Swinging’ from their previous album I think is the definition of perfect. He delivers a spellbinding performance on all levels. This song though is so catchy and what rock classic rock should be, in fact the whole album ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ shows light & shade, power and fragility like a don’t know anyone else can these days.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed this quick walk through some of the highlights of 2014. Has this list opened up any doors for you? Please do feel free to reply with your top songs or songs you think I’ve missed from my list. I love music and want to hear as much as I can!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year all,