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October 8, 2007 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Profile: Retro Bloggin

As a fellow that is usually voraciously hungry for any new music, be it old or modern, rocking or subdued, good or bad, I entered a slump not long ago. Having scoured the internet for tunes (here’s to the support of illegal music downloading that destroys musician’s livelihoods!) and become lost for ideas on how to find that kickass, trailblazing, underappreciated underground band, I made a startling discovery-internet blogs! A rich and untapped source of fresh music! I’m primarily an obscure ‘60s and ‘70s rock, prog and jam band listener, so that puts me in the perfect spot for scouring music blogs. Music blogs often contain obscure and overlooked bands, and the wealth and depth of information you can gather on long lost artists and groups is actually quite astounding. Take for example one of the very best (if not the best ever) blogs out there: the Heavy Rock Spectacular –

As I should make explicitly clear, you can download the majority of albums you find. The majority of them are brilliant, undiscovered 70s gems, available I’m assuming legally because they are such unknown bands. The blog is so rich and full of finds that I’ve barely scratched the surface, having downloaded the rocking Pepper Porter Band – Invader (1980) (talk about unknown!), and the excellent, jazzy and catchy Japanese progressive rock of Mariner – One (1979), whose fine musicianship and jazzy licks make you regret they weren’t better known (check out the hard driving rocking of ‘Long Way From Home’ – very nice!). Also, I just got Piramis – 2 (1978), a crazily jammy Hungarian outfit who rock out with the best of them, and also throw in much variety with acoustic ballads and atmospheric moments, some spectacular soloing and mind-expanding jazzy rifferising that puts a smile on yer face (with vocals in Hungarian).

On the left side of the blog are categories of music you can explore, each of which contains a number of albums, with detailed backgrounds, and links to download. You can explore ‘New Zealand Psych-Prog Rock’, containing albums by Maori guitarist Billy TK’s legendary blues-rock outfit Human Instinct (Stoned Guitar is brilliant, the classic of New Zealand blues rock), or maybe ‘South African Progressive’ for the more adventurous (feat. A band called Suck with an album called Time To Suck!, who have to be good by default).

Plus, I recommend doing a search on the blog for Cyborg Assasin by Pinnacle. This wonderful 1974 album is one of the fuzziest, heaviest slices of stoner metal you’ll hear this side of Black Sabbath, with long drawn out solos and some truly catchy songs, who throw in some Doors style keyboards for some flavour. On the left are links to other blogs, and soon you’ll discover that music blogs are a deep well of resources for the aspiring music explorer.

On the heavier side, Orexis Of Death,, is dedicated to the stoner/fuzzier side of rock music and contains more contemporary bands like Trouble (a fine stoner metal group) alongside the likes of Tucky Buzzard, a 1971 heavy rock outfit that who look very staunch on their album cover- if only they invested in some shirts. One remarkable find is Vulcan – Meet Your Ghost (1978), a slab of extremely raw stoner rock that predates any existing stoner rock or doom metal (ala Pentagram, Candlemass, Kyuss) by at least six years. It’s most definately the first appearance ever of that certain ‘stoner rock’ style guitar distortion.

Whether or not you are a big explorer when it comes to music, you could quite easily spend the rest of your days building a collection from music blogs, and be able to say ‘‘HA! You haven’t heard of a SINGLE group I listen to, so there!’’, to whomever you choose to say that to. Honestly though, I have found the blogs on blog-spot best for obscure 60s and 70s groups (but you may uncover something more your style), and the search function can be quite disappointing for more individualised searches.

For well known, popular groups of today, such as Radiohead, a search results more in many pages with news and updates on their music and doings. For older music though, the albums are up and ready to be downloaded and appreciated, so get to it.

Heavy Rock Spectacular is indeed an excellent starting point, and you should test a few of the links out just to see what you come up with. Myself, I’ve just skimmed the surface so far, going to immerse myself in the most random forgotten groups I can. Happy surfing!


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