This past weekend, Michigan four-piece Bison Machine wrapped up their “Mind over Mountain” tour with New York blues rockers Geezer, supporting their debut full-length release, Hoarfrost. Following up a 2013 self-titled EP, Hoarfrost was initially released in Jan. 2015 digitally and has been picked up for a vinyl issue on Bilocation Records/Kozmik Artifactz next month. That it would be a European imprint(s) picking up the release makes particular sense given the Hamtramck outfit’s breadth of sound, which is as classically-minded as it is modern, ultimately, but more in line with a Euro-style focus on tone and shuffle, post-Graveyard boogie delivered with post-Queens of the Stone Age fuzz. It makes for an engaging blend over the course of Hoarfrost‘s 36 minute/six tracks, but ultimately it’s the band’s vitality that sells it.
Without that, songs like “Speed of Darkness” and “Cosmic Ark” might still have their motoring side, but no way it would carry over as well as it does. Vocalist Tom Stec moves smoothly between a croon and falsetto in easy-sounding command from the start, and guitarist John de Vries, bassist Anthony Franchina and drummer Breck Crandell tie together full-toned fuzz and rhythmic shifts either as beds for chorus hooks or, on longer cuts, explorations of their own. “Old Moon,” the second of the three songs on side A, has a bit of both working — perhaps more than “Speed of Darkness,” which is its side B counterpart — but each half of Hoarfrost caps with a longer cut and it’s clearly the intent of the album that one side should be in conversation with the other.
And so they are. “Cosmic Ark” and “Old Moon” set the stage for “Gamekeeper’s Thumb,” and “Viking Hand” and “Speed of Darkness” do likewise for “Giant’s Coffin.” The two finales are the most extended pieces on Bison Machine have on offer, and while neither is an all-out jam to the exclusion of structure, they both certainly carry that sensibility in their root. “Gamekeeper’s Thumb” moves from an initial bass intro to the album’s most satisfying heavy psych roll, while “Giant’s Coffin” develops its progressions into a balance between push and sprawl, managing to offer plenty of both and, in summarizing the record as whole, remains catchy and focused even as it plunges into the solo-topped reaches of its second half.
It’s the closer that I have the pleasure of streaming today ahead of Hoarfrost‘s release on Bilocation/Kozmik Artifactz. Please find it on the player below, followed by some PR wire background on Bison Machine, dig in and enjoy:
Burning bright with lysergic energy Bison Machine’s Hoarfrost – the band’s debut album originally self-released to notable acclaim among the stoner rock community earlier this year – will get an official release this July through Germany’s Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation Records, Europe’s leading purveyor of heavy psych, blues and stoner rock.
Worshippers of volume, Bison Machine have gained a reputation for their frenzied, high velocity live shows, welding Graveyard and Pentagram influenced shuffles onto the back of 70s Motor City rock and 90s stoner grooves. If you’re a fan of pounding, colossal blues and heavy Zep-driven riffs then the Hamtramck four-piece’s gnarled and muscular guitar and vocal work on tracks like ‘Cosmic Ark’, ‘Gamekeeper’s Thumb’ and ‘Viking Hand’ will leave you floored, broken and bloodied.
Hoarfrost by Bison Machine will be released on CD and limited, high performance 180g vinyl on 10th July via Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation Records.
Vocals: Tom Stec
Guitar: John deVries
Bass: Anthony Franchina
Drums: Breck Crandell