For your listening enjoyment, a pair of recently-released EPs. One from the coastal swamplands of Florida, the other from the New Mexican deserts, and with sounds that match each location well.
The Electric Mud – Black Wool (self-released, 25 September 2021)
Blue Heron – Black Blood of the Earth / A Sunken Place (self-released, 03 December 2021)
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Presumably named for the late-60s psychedelic album by Muddy Waters, Florida’s The Electric Mud recently issued forth Black Wool, consisting of a quartet of tracks, half originals and half covers of other famous bands.
Examining the latter two first, the choice of songs as well as how they are reinvented seems to perfectly represent the overall sound of the band. Corrosion of Conformity‘s “Albatross,” fairly true to original although slightly less gritty, slightly more bluesy; followed by the Allmans‘ “Whipping Post,” again fairly accurately reproduced although in this case slightly heavier, slightly more sludgy, but also in spots slightly spacier. On a continuum between these two extremes of southern rock, Mud would likely take up residence squarely in its center.
To prove that point, the EP’s opening two tracks are “Ordinary Men” sounding like a fast-tempoed mashup of the sounds of classic prog rock and southern sludge; and title track “Black Wool” coming across as a bit slower, heavier blues/sludge. Truly, a perfect blend of the two covered bands of side B.
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Shifting now nearly 2000 miles to the northwest, New Mexico is not exactly a place renowned for having a lot of water, and therefore probably not particularly famous for having a lot of water birds either — which could possibly explain why Blue Heron‘s logo seems to be shaped more like an ibis than a heron? But we won’t hold that against them because here we’re less concerned with avian accuracy than we are with checking out some hard-rocking good tunes, right? And on the band’s debut 7″ that’s exactly what’s in store.
“Black Blood of the Earth” and “A Sunken Place” are the two sides of this brand-new EP to introduce us to a brand-new band. Both come across with a rather bass-heavy mix, kind of grungy and fuzzy (fuzzy like hazy and unclear, not fuzzy like “warm and fuzzy”). Not sure if this is an necessarily an aesthetic choice, but I’ll assume it is, because it gives the record a cool vibe: it reminds me of hearing music carrying through from the next rehearsal room over, but mostly the bass frequencies, like the band’s amps are turned up to eleven with their backs up against the adjoining wall. Sludgy stoner/desert rock with some nice bluesy guitar licks, harsh and gritty, just the way it should be.