My feature story “Down With Classic Rock?” takes a look at bands like Down, who look and sound like your favorite long-haired rockers from the '70s but aren’t on classic-rock radio for one reason or another. It’s available now in this week’s Scene, or click here to read it.
If you need a break from "Baba O'Reilly" and "Gimme Three Steps," try these newer bands that sound just right next to your longtime favorites. Just click the pic, and it’ll be like the World Series of Rock all over again — but fresh.
Down — “Stone the Crow”
One of the great classic-rock anthems of its generation, a monster worthy of Skynyrd. It's a haymaker of a song with a mournful southern-rock riff, haunted vocals from a tortured soul and guitar harmonies that'll give you goosebumps. From Nola (Elektra)
COC — “Stare Too Long”
If "Stone the Crow" isn't the best new-school classic-rock song, then the honor certainly belongs to COC's "Stare Too Long.” Down guitarist Pepper Keenan is this band’s main songwriter. WNCX fans take note: This tune features stand-and-salute slide guitar by Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule. From America’s Volume Dealer (Sanctuary)
Coheed and Cambria — “Welcome Home”
Frontman Claudio Sanchez wields a double-necked Gibson like Jimmy Page, rocks a giant afro and leads his band through space-opera concept albums. On this menacing six-minute march, he sings like Rush's Geddy Lee. From Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness (Columbia)
Fu Manchu — “Knew It All Along”
Known for songs about pinball, women and weed, this long-running California quartet is the quintessential stoner-rock band. This jam's resonant riff has all the attitude of UFO at its baddest. If you don't like the tune, you don't like rock and roll. From We Must Obey (Century Media)
Yearlong Disaster — “Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu”
Singer-guitarist Daniel Davies is the son of the Kinks' Dave Davies, but his band plays like the offspring of Zeppelin. This song's central riff is thunder on four hooves. From Year Long Disaster (Volcom)
Mastodon — “Divinations”
This Atlanta quartet has sharper chops than a butcher, and this track storms like a heavy metal cover of Pink Floyd's "Sheep." They're known for elementally themed concept albums, and their latest, Crack the Skye, makes hard-hitting nods to King Crimson and Zappa. From Crack the Skye (Reprise)
Clutch — “The Mob Goes Wild”
This jamming, jazz-influenced band's high-RPM political screed connects the dots between Iraq and Vietnam with lyrics like "Condoleezza Rice is nice/But I prefer A Roni" and "Everybody move to Canada/Smoke lots of pot." RIYD: Nugent. From Blast Tyrant (DRT Entertainment)
Kyuss — “Hurricane”
These Californians are considered the fathers of the stoner-rock movement, and pundit Chuck Klosterman once accurately observed that they sound more like Black Sabbath than Black Sabbath does. From ... And The Circus Leaves Town (Rhino/Elektra)
Wolfmother — “Dimension”
Wolfmother spit out references to purple haze and white unicorns between mercifully brief flute riffs and songs that climax in Styx-style keyboard workouts. But mostly, the band flies like Zeppelin, and big-beat songs like "Dimension" will leave a dent in your stereo. From Wolfmother (Interscope)
Suede Brothers — “Jolly Rodger”
This Cleveland trio has an average age of 20, and they've spent every one of their young years eating album rock for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tasty riffs make seven-minute rockers like "Lady Luck" feel half as long. RIYD: the James Gang. From Suede Brothers (Bad Breaker)
Clutch & Five Horse Johnson — “Red Hot Mama”
A who's-who of indie/stoner rawk cover dozens of AOR warhorses on these two-disc collections. Clevelanders Disengage nail "Communication Breakdown," and Red Giant sets fire to "Saturday Night Special." Other rock-solid renditions include "Cross Eyed Mary," "Walk Away" and "Working Man." Recommended if you dig radio staples. From Sucking the 70s 2: Back In the Saddle (Small Stone) —D.X. Ferris
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