Sometimes a singer can really take your band to the next level, offering up another layer of musicianship, spectacle and leadership, and sometimes you’re Polyphia and a singer would just slow you down.
The Texan based crew began as a standard band in 2010, covering classical music pieces like Bach and Mozart, on their YouTube channel. Although impressive, it wasn’t until 2012 when their singer departed from the band and the members released a play-through of their track “Impassion” from their Inspire EP. From there, Polyphia really caught fire, but their later releases really solidified their place in the evolving music scene. The relentless blend of instrumental math rock, metal, jazz, groove and hip-hop has hooked ears around the world alongside artists like Chon, Covet, Intervals and Ernie Ball artist Jason Richardson.
Polyphia released their latest album, New Levels New Devils, in 2018 with full intentions of doing things their own way while still really showing off their musical prowess. Some purists are not too excited about the band’s blend of hip hop/electronic music and shred/metal, but Polyphia aren’t interested in pleasing everyone.
We kind of just stay in the realm of music that we enjoy listening to, and recently that’s been hip-hop. When we did [2017’s] The Most Hated, we started working with Judge and Y2K. When we first wrote ‘Loud,’ it was more EDM-based, kind of like ‘LIT’ — but then Y2K fucking made it just the sickest trap-beat, hard-as-shit thing … to the point where I pulled Tim aside and was like, ‘Yo — are we doing this right now?Scott LePage to Revolver Magazine
Musical taste aside, you can’t argue talent, and Polyphia oozes with skill and talent. Keep up with them on the band’s official website and check out the tracks below to decide for yourself.
Rings of Saturn
California based metal throws genre categories out the window and sends them hurling into space for joking self proclaimed “Aliencore” band, Rings of Saturn. Melting faces is an understatement, as this team of shredders Lucas Mann and Joel Omans climb beyond our universe bringing some of the fastest melodic riffs your ears can handle.
Finding their home with Nuclear Blast Records, Rings of Saturn released in 2019 the 10 track album Gidim, enlisting some featured artists like Enterprise Earth’s vocalist Dan Watson, Buried Alive’s Charles Caswell and Japanese guitarist, Yo Onityan. When asked about the band’s motivation to push beyond, guitarist Lucas Mann stated;
We always look to raise the bar in terms of songwriting production or even just the merch… everything. We are always critiquing and trying to get to the next step and raise the bar, most of the time it happens. I’m sure a ceiling exists but we haven’t gotten there yet.Lucas Mann to The Rockpit
Never settling, Rings of Saturn continues to push the envelope for what heavy means and tests their metronomes and instrument limits. Make sure to listen to the band below and keep up with them on their Facebook page here.
As time passes artists often hear songs they have written that were time capsules for moments in their lives. Reflections of memories, who they were, and where they thought they were going. That call to nostalgia can be like visiting a former residence which sometimes forces an energy to view songs with fresh eyes. Midwesterner, farm owner, alt-pop/blues chanteuse, Lissie revisits some of her earlier songs on her latest album When I’m Alone: The Piano Retrospective, using the minimal production to give a raw, open, warm performance.
Lissie has expanded her musicality and showcased the strength of her vocals over the years. When asked about her newest rendition for her song “Everywhere I Go” Lissie stated;
I think it was a little bit more obvious because it was already kind of a lower heartfelt ballad of a song. But, as I performed it over the years, sometimes I would have the whole band play it, sometimes it would be a moment where I would just play the guitar by myself and play it.Lissie to All Access Music
To keep up with Lissie check out her official website and make sure to listen to her music below.
Lissie brings you closer with Power Slinky, Regular Slinky, Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium.
Check out Lissie in her episode of Ernie Ball String Theory here.
There aren’t a lot of “stoner rock” bands that have lasted over 30 years, but Fu Manchu is one of them, and with some 27 official releases to prove it.
The band originally formed in Southern California back in 1985 under the name ‘Virulence’ and have always had one theme, pumping out riff-heavy, fuzzed-out, hard rock that has sparked many bands in their wake. Although the lineup has changed since their inception, vocalist and guitarist Scott Hill has been leading the charge throughout their tenure. With Brad Davis on bass and backing vocals, Bob Balch on guitar, and Scott Reeder on drums, Fu Manchu really hasn’t slowed down much over the years.
The band has long been associated with the Palm Desert/desert rock music scene alongside other notable bands, Kyuss (Josh Homme/Queens of the Stone Age), Eagles of Death Metal, Sleep and more. Following a sort of heavy-rock meets fuzz meets psychedelic meets metal formula. Over the years, the band has toured with acts like Marilyn Manson, White Zombie, Monster Magnet, Sevendust and more. The band also has quite the cult following in the fuzz pedal/guitar world, constantly turning fans on to different tones for all of their fuzz-needs.
We released our first 7-inch in 1990, and we’d been listening to a lot of the Melvins. The Melvins are a huge influence, and Tad, and early, early White Zombie. The real noisy White Zombie. Laughing Hyenas, all that noisy stuff. We just wanted to do simple riffs with maybe a cool break here and there, and make it heavy and fuzzyScott Hill to Riot Fest
The band put out their twelfth official full-length album, Clone the Universe in February 2018 which launched them in to their 30-year anniversary world tour, but the new album still fit right in-line with the previous releases, filled with riffy leads, an 18-minute closing track, and even a guest appearance by Rush’s guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Check out their tracks below and catch them on the road in 2021.
Fu Manchu plays Power Slinky electric guitar strings to achieve their signature sound.
Singer/songwriter Mariel Loveland decided to give her indie pop-punk band ‘Candy Hearts’ a new name and a slight musical shift, the result is Best Ex. The new name and direction shakes off the upbeat pop-punk sensibilities and tries on a more indie-pop driven direction — still smitten with hooky choruses.
Best Ex’s first official release, Good At Feeling Bad EP, arrived on May 22nd and get this: was mainly recorded in their kitchen. The EP digs deep into Mariel’s experiences with abuse, depression, and moving forward in life, all backed by deceivingly upbeat indie pop melodies and riffs.
It’s like I’ve found a compartment somewhere in my body to just throw all the bad stuff, roll my eyes, and hope the locker still closes all the way at the end of the day.Mariel Loveland to American Songwriter
For now, Best Ex is waiting until they can tour again, but in the meantime, check out the new EP below and stay up to date on their latest news here.
**Header image credit: Travis Poston