We summon up Vodun, The Frights [pictured], The Molochs, The Vyrll Society, Black Belt Eagle Scout and RVG.
Summoning mighty tone
Linz Hamilton, AKA The Marassa - guitarist with London’s mystic voodoo riff-doctor’s Vodun - grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, before heading to the UK on a musical mission.
“Vodun was actually one of the first bands I saw live when I got into the country,” says Linz. “When I saw them, I thought, ‘If that guitarist ever steps down, I’m going to have to fill his shoes!’”
A stint with stoner rockers Groan saw Linz acquainted with Vodun drummer Zel Kaute and, when the band’s original guitarist stepped down shortly before the release of first album Possession, Linz got the call. Playing counterfoil to the soulful bellow of vocal powerhouse Chantal Brown (ex-Invasion, Chrome Hoof and Do Me Bad Things), and with no bassist in the line-up, Linz’s riff-heavy stoner rock and thrash style forms the backbone of the trio, but is peppered with warped blues licks and micro bursts of electrifying shred.
“My approach for Vodun? As loud as possible!” says Linz. “The first guitarist who started playing, he only used one guitar amp, so I modelled my idea off Ritchie Blackmore who used to play through a couple of different side speakers. Now I have the two guitar amps and bass amp, which make it really, really full. It’s like two guitars in one and as heavy and loud as I can make it.”
Counter intuitive as it may seem, Linz says the secret is simplicity, using a modded dual-output Gibson Zoot Suit SG and amp distortion to fill out the sound. “It’s about keeping the signal as clean as possible,” he tells us. “I use amp distortion and one octave pedal, which makes it sound bigger than hiding behind a lot of delays and reverbs, which can actually kind of squash the sound. I prefer to keep it as simple as possible - just so the guitar playing and personality shines through.”
- For fans of: Turbowolf, Royal Blood
- Gear: Gibson SG Zoot Suit, Orange OB1-500, Rockerverb, Jim Root Terror
Wrangle with the jangle
The Molochs rambling mix of psych-indie, 60s folk jam and garage rock reverberation, suggests a carefully-crafted record collection and a shambolic approach. At the core of the LA band is the duo of frontman/ founder Lucas Fitzsimons and guitarist Ryan Foster.
“It’s all about the contact between the guitar pick, or the fingers, and the strings,” Lucas tells us. “All the songs start with chords and singing and they can’t go to any further stage until they’re good enough that way.”
Recent album Flowers In The Spring is full of little flourishes combining Fitzsimons’ strums with Foster’s “clammy” fingered bends and scrappy Stones-y slide work.
“You can do a lot with just strumming or picking,” says Fitzsimons. “You can create a mood, fuck up dynamics and volume... and you don’t need electricity.”
- For fans of: The Clean, The Kinks
- Gear: Mexican Tele, Gretsch Anniversary
The Vryll Society
North West neo-psych types
Liverpool’s Vryll Society are oft compared to trippy Antipodean antelopes Tame Impala, but they also carry a strong hint of their hometown’s impeccable guitar band credentials. Guitarists Ryan Ellis and Lewis McGuinness cite the influence of Dave Gilmour and Funkadelic’s Eddie Hazel and their playing melds those cues in a rich melodic mix.
“I think my sound is pretty spacey and quite soft,” contemplates Ryan. “But I do also love to bring out a bit more bite when needed on guitar solos.”
“I try to be loud and clean and quite direct,” adds Lewis. “I love the sound of jazz guitars, how warm and natural they sound.” Discovered by the A&R ears behind The Coral and The Zutons, Alan Wills, before his untimely death in 2014, their first album Course Of The Satellite is a safe bet for psych debut of the year.
- For fans of: Tame Impala
- Gear: Ryan - Fender Hard Tail Strat, Fender Deville. Lewis - 2001 Gibson Es 335 Standard, Hiwatt
- Who: San Diegan surf punks Mikey Carnevale and Jordan Clark
- Sounds like: Addictive confessions of idiocy and neuroses in palm-muted packages
- Gear: Mikey - American Strat, 65 Twin. Jordan - Madrid Kon Tiki, Bemis Tarantula Custom
- For fans of: Pup, FIDLAR
- Hear: Crutch
Black Belt Eagle Scout
- Who: Washingtonian songster Katherine Paul
- Sounds like: A dark and dynamic tapestry, weaving whispered passages and sparse picking into grunge on a grand scale
- Gear: Music Man St Vincent, 1968 Fender Silverface Bassman
- For fans of: The Breeders, Air Waves
- Hear: Stud
- Who: Melbourne guitarists Romy Vager and Reuben Bloxham
- Sounds like: Breezy tones with an 80s goth undercurrent and serious lyrical intent
- Gear: Romy - Danelectro U2 ’56, Roland JC-30 Reuben - ‘partscaster’, Fender Deluxe ’68 Reverb
- For fans of: The Go-Betweens, The Chills
- Hear: A Quality Of Mercy