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6 fresh guitar artists you need to hear in May 2019

This month we chew through Psychedelic Porn Crumpets [pictured], Madeline Kenney, Former Wrestlers, Mozes and The Firstborn, Demon Head and Grim Streaker...

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

Australian psych rock’s band most likely to succeed

What if The Beatles had had Guitar Rig? That’s the question asked by Aussie whackos Pyschedelic Porn Crumpets. The fourpiece berth in sunny Perth, but take their cues from all over the map: incorporating the Fab Four, Sabbath, Mars Volta, Tool and a fair slab of Australia’s world-leading psych-revivalists.

The guitar is a pretty magical weapon

“The guitar is a pretty magical weapon,” states frontman/guitarist Jack McEwan. “It has been in modern music for near enough a century - that says a lot about how many different approaches you can take.”

McEwan’s approach is heavy and trippy but with a colourful pop hue. Too heavy to fall into Tame Impala’s blissed-out camp, too celebratory to enter the darker-psych realms. Instead, Jack’s fizzing, ear-stretching guitar tone on the likes of new single Keen For Kick Ons washes in like a wave of sugar-dusted crunch, channeling T Rex, Queens Of The Stone Age and Supergrass all at once.

“I wanted to create an album that felt uplifting,” says Jack of their new record, due out in the summer. “There’s a progression forward in our sound that I might have been too scared to release on past albums, but experimentation is key and I feel like these tunes will get the old frontal lobe twirling.”

That’s the genius of Psychedelic Porn Crumpets: they’ll tax you with treacle, all through clever song structures, hammering fuzz and prodigious tonal manipulation. So what studio trickery is at work?

“My horrible secret is that I recorded most of our albums with iPhone headphones and $200 Logitech speakers,” says Jack. “Everyone asks me how I get a certain tone and when I say ‘Guitar Rig’ they look at me like I’ve got no idea, but it’s a great tool if you use it well. It’s no Abbey Road - but there’s a plugin for that!”

  • For fans of: King Gizzard, Wolf People 
  • Gear: Fender Jazzmaster, Guitar Rig, Vox AC30

Madeline Kenney

Haze-y hangs laden with chime and twang

San Francisco’s Madeline Kenney toured the UK with the phenomenal Wye Oak last year and she shares Jenn Wasner’s autodidactic ear for six-string melody - so it’s a happy circumstance then that Wasner produced 2018’s excellent Perfect Shapes.

“[Her] openness allowed us to explore a lot of new sounds and techniques,” recalls Kenney of working with Wasner. “She and I both approach the guitar similarly, so the usual nervousness that I feel surrounding my chops really just dissipated when I was in her presence.”

Kenney’s knack for contrastingly jerky yet beautifully soothing patterns - powered by some Frankenstein’d Fender offsets - is best represented on the track Cut Me Off, which recalls the likes of Talking Heads and Roxy Music.

  • For fans of: Lala Lala, Wye Oak 
  • Gear: Franken-Fenders

Former Wrestlers

Never mind the bruises, Dez goes solo

Were it not for the mask, you may recognise the one-man band behind Former Wrestlers as Derya ‘Dez’ Nagle - the Wirebirdwielding dynamic producer/ guitarist behind The Safety Fire and Good Tiger. FW is a bold step away from his usual progressive philandering in the form of a punk/post-hardcore tinged solo project. Dez tells us some of the tracks were made in six hours or so and the first sample, single Weekend Hobbies, showcases a noticeably more direct approach to writing and recording - and sounds all the fresher for it.

“It does feel odd,” Dez tells us, when asked how it feels to step into centre stage. “There is definitely a vulnerability [with this project], which mainly comes from the fact that I’ve done everything on the EP, so if someone doesn’t like it, it’s hard to deflect and protect my ego!”

  • For fans of: Good Tiger, At The Drive-In 
  • Gear: Wirebird Contour, Victory Kraken

Mozes and The Firstborn

  • Who: Melle Dielesen and Ernst-Jan van Doorn 
  • Sounds like: Netherlands noise-makers making power-pop go punk 
  • Gear: Melle - Blacktop Stratocaster HH, Moog LAB Series L7 Amp. Ernst-Jan - Eastwood Airline Country DLX 
  • For fans of: Broncho, Audacity 
  • Hear: Blow Up

Demon Head

  • Who: Danish enigma’s B.G.N. and T.G.N. 
  • Sounds like: Danzig treading the dotted line between classic British metal and 80s goth 
  • Gear: B.G.N. - Rickenbacker 330, Guyatone FLIP 2000. T.G.N. - Gibson Les Paul Custom Historic ’54 Reissue
  • For fans of: Graveyard, Uncle Acid 
  • Hear: The Night Is Yours

Grim Streaker

  • Who: Dan Peskin and Micah Weisberg 
  • Sounds like: the sort of scathingly frantic art-rock that’s tough on baked-on grease. 
  • Gear: ’75 Fender Mustang, Otis Amp, Death By Audio Echo Dream 2, OBNE Reflektor Chorus, MXR Phase 90 
  • For fans of: Sonic Youth, Fugazi
  • Hear: Today New York
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