Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned 30 Weight
Backwoods Payback Momantha
Dixie Witch Let It Roll
Tia Carrera Cosmic Priestess
Freedom Hawk Holding On
All Small Stone CDs/LPs
Detroit’s Small Stone label has slowly but surely gained a reputation since its 1995 inception for quality heavy-rock across a wide variety of retro styles. After releases by such luminaries as Dozer and Acid Witch, the label’s roster has grown rapidly in the last few years to feature more quality new bands than ever – a small cross section of which are reviewed here.
Gideon Smith third full-length album (following the snappily titled South Side Of The Moon) is a strange brew of stoner, southern and dark gothic heavy-rock. Smith’s adherence to the outlaw code is writ large all over the vampiric desert sound of this album. The covers of Saint Vitus and GG Allin numbers show his clear outsider lineage while his evil croon is a pretty unique blend of Tom Waits and Jim Morrison. This whole album is a dark treat.
Backwoods Payback are from Pennsylvania and channel the dark stoner blues of Clutch and Alabama Thunderpussy. This album is mostly catchy riff-rock like the standout ‘Mr Snowflake’, though my favourite moments are the doom of ‘Velcro’ and the tortured vocal howls on ‘Timegrinder’. A real grower of an album, after several plays it had burrowed deep into my psyche.
Dixie Witch are a rough, tough Texan power trio playing super-heavy Southern rock. Perhaps a bit too metallic for the average Shindig! reader, their album is a hugely catchy quality classic rock album for all those who like that sort of thing.
Another Texan trio that will probably appeal more to Shindiggers are Tia Carrera (no relation to the Wayne’s World actress). Playing wild ’n’ heavy psychedelic space-rock that’s both instrumental and improvised the band really impress across four long tracks packed with wild wah-wah and memorable telepathic jamming. Highly recommended to all.
Last up are Freedom Hawk who have unleashed a great ’70s-influenced noisy stoner album, Holding On. What sets it apart from the pack is the really great songwriting and riffs that traverse areas of light and shade to provide a real diversity and power to every song. One of the very best super-amplified stoner albums of the last 12 months.