Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Haunted Leather - Red Road

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

You're quite possibly sick of hearing about Record Store Day already. Sure, it's great that people will flock to ailing independent shops and part with a load of cash, but records are available all year round, and the shops are there all year round too. Some of the releases will be good, but many are simply reissues of stuff you already have. Bands churning out a quick 7" single off their last album and limiting it to 50 copies. The whole thing needs a rethink and needs to be remarketed so that both shops and bands benefit more. It probably costs the bands to go to this extra effort to support the shops anyway, and the shops get one day's high trade and then everyone flogs all the stuff on eBay for inflated prices.

OK, rant over. Michigan band Haunted Leather happen to have a fairly decent release planned for that day. We'll come to the music in a sec, but what this six-piece psych-rock band are doing is making the UK release of their new mini-album available on limited red vinyl. Granted, you can download the songs now, but many people prefer physical releases, so this is no scam or fleecing fans for stuff they already have: it's a proper release. Enough about the logistics. 'Red Road' is a thick, swirling fog of psychedelia that's delivered with a certain heaviness to the rhythm section, the occasional twang and jangle of guitar and a good dose of organ. This is the sound of 60s rock and garage bands wanting to venture further; that great experimental period before they evolved too far into prog fantasy and metal drudgery.

Pick a song like 'You Shouldn't Ask'. The simple, pounding beat and deep psych is the same as that which inspired bands like Spacemen 3. Haunted Leather feel like a continuation of this, reviving the sounds for a new generation. There's an exotic side to 'Midnight Child' and 'Indian Road' that was shared by the originators, with the lyrics being as much an instrument as a voice to get a message across. They become muddled in the fug of it all. These are limitless songs too; they don't adhere to a pattern and seem to meander off wherever the sound happens to take them, something any true psychedelia should do. We could pick specific examples, but that would mean listing each and every song here. 'Red Road' borrows from the past to make a thick acid-frazzled and occasionally distorted soup of sound, and one that's worth queuing up for.

Haunted Leather's website

Stream or buy the album

Catch them live:

Apr 18 Mulligan's, Grand Rapids, MI
May 10 Be Here Now, Muncie, IN
May 11 Mayday, Cincinnati, OH
May 15 The Milestone Club, Charlotte, NC

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