Los Natas – El Hombre Monta​ñ​a

I don’t even know what stoner rock is these days. I mean, it’s a long time since I was a stoner now, so I’m not the right person to ask anyway, but when I was it tended to be more brooding stuff like Electric Moon. Or maybe that was just my own preference. The only thing that opinions prove is the limitations of the beholder.

For what it’s worth, and in my opinion, this isn’t really stoner rock, it’s just really good rock music from Argentina. It’s quite frenetic most of the way through, a bit like, say, Nudity, but in Spanish, and then for the final track they start it off all bang-bang like, like they’re going to go out in a blaze of sonic ferocity and then about two thirds of the way through, it mellows and finishes acoustically. Works really well. I think they had a bit of an angle, these boys.

I think I rarely post frenetic rock music these days. I think it’s quite fitting that I start 2023 off this way, especially after the shit-show that was 2022. Here’s to a much better year for us all.

Heron Oblivion

herobSupergroups are usually such a bad idea. At least, they used to be back in the days the majority of music was released on major record labels. I have a suspicion that it might not be quite so straight-forward now that most of the best music is now located away from the mainstream and those oh-so-glaring lights of commercial expectation.

SO anyway, Heron Oblivion are comprised of members of Comets on Fire and Espers, amongst others, two artists who between them made 4 of my favourite albums from the first decade of this millennium, including one of the contenders for Best Tune Ever (that would be Dogwood Rust by Comets on Fire for those of you not into link-clicking and/or not got speakers available as you read this). No pressure, then. To complete the line-up, Charlie is from Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, a name I’m familiar with have never heard music by until I searched for that link.

I first read about this when it came out but for whatever reason I did not check it out. Then someone posted a performance in their year end list, and that did it for me. I immediately slapped myself a bit – though not too hard because that would just be silly and I do try my very best not to be silly – and went and added this to my wishlist. And now with payday having been and gone, I bought it. Possibly my one buy for the month.

This isn’t all that much like either of the bands that made their reputations, it has more of a laid back west coast classic rock from the seventies type of feel, the most obvious reference point being Neil Young and Crazy Horse in the Zuma-era. Having said that, though, the music is recognisably by those same players, even though Ethan is actually playing bass rather than freaky guitar and Noel is playing guitar instead of effects’n’drums. The drums are handled by Meg, obviously. The songwriting is superb, the riffs and the playing are all fantastic, and Meg Baird’s vocals are as transcendent as ever. She has to be one of the best of this generation.

But, as with so much to do with great music, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – yet another reason I don’t tend to go into detail regarding the parts. This album is best digested in a sitting, although as I rarely, if ever, do the shuffling playlist these days then the tunes may very well work in that aspect too, who knows? But do give this album a listen. It has much to offer the receptive listener.