International Music Stoner Rock

One-Album Wonders: Five Bands You Might Have Missed

We all know the feeling: You find an incredible tune new tune by a band you don’t recognize. Excited, you head to Google and run a quick search and find out the disappointing truth: They only have one album.

One single album for you to listen to, love, and cherish. 

You might find an EP tucked away or a single here or there, but there’s only that one album to enjoy on your commute or while you’re working at your computer. 

This is the folly in falling in love with Stoner Rock: Few bands carve their name into the genre for the financial gain; few enjoy mainstream pleasing the Stoner Rock fandom. Perhaps this is why so many Stoner Rock stars rise and fade into the ether so quickly. 

Whatever the reason, today we celebrate and mourn the high that comes with discovering a new, steller Stoner Rock band by sharing five who’ve only graced us with one album—so far. 

Witchrider – Unmountable Stairs

Note: This post was originally published in February 2020. Witchrider released their second album, Electrical Storm, in late 2020.

At one point, the Queens of the Stone Age disciples from Austria were one of the most exciting Stoner Rock acts of the 2010s. 

2014 saw the arrival of Witchrider EP, a stunning set of five songs, each of which were incredibly catchy. That was only a warm-up for the band’s later release that same year: Unmountable Stairs

Unmountable Stairs has a sound similar to QOTSA’s Lullabies to Paralyze or Era Vulgaris. A careful blend of Stoner Rock and catchy melodies, Unmountable Stairs delivers a surprising level of consistency throughout the album, especially with standout tracks “Black,” “Out of Breath,” and “Far From You.”

Since then, Witchrider has been relatively quiet. In 2015, the band re-released “Far From You” in a split EP with the Truckfighters, and 2016 saw a split EP with Ultima Radio. 

But since then, it’s been radio silence. 

In our recent interview with the Truckfighters and Fuzzorama founders, we heard that Witchrider nearly has its next album finished—but we’re not holding our breath. The band has been saying the same thing for the last few years. 

Red Desert – Damned by Fate

Minnesota-based rockers Red Desert have given us only a small sample of what they’re capable of over the last 15 years:

  • 2008 – 18 Wheels (EP)
  • 2012 – Damned by Fate (Album)
  • 2016 – Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Two (A split EP with Supervoid)

Although relatively sparse compared to most Stoner Rock outfits, Damned by Fate is a delight, especially under the ferocity of opening track “Older No Wiser,” perhaps one of the best Stoner Rock tracks of the 2010s. 

Astroqueen – Into Submission

Although Astroqueen was active for six years (1998-2004), the Swedish quartet only released one album in that timeframe: Into Submission

Released in 2001, Into Submission is one of the earliest examples of albums that qualify as genuine Fuzz Rock—similar to sonic cousins and fellow countrymen, Truckfighters. 

But Astroqueen goes in a different direction than Truckfighters. Instead of leaning into Prog Rock, Astroqueen harkens back to the ‘70s and ‘80s guitar heros, all of which is layered in textured fuzz. 

The result is an intoxicating collection of songs, all of each leave you wishing Astroqueen had been more prolific. 

The band gave the world a brief glimpse of hope when they resumed their jam sessions in 2014, but no new records have been released.

Acid Alice – The Road

OK, OK. Acid Alice may not belong on this list. The Road only came out last year (which means Acid is a young band), but, man. We haven’t been this excited about a band’s first release in a long, long time. Maybe ever. Acid Alice is a testament to all that was great about ‘60s and ‘70s Psychedelic Rock, updated for 2020. Most intriguing, though, is where Acid Alice calls home: Mexico City. Our favorite highlight: “In My Memory” has one of the best guitar solos outside of Greenleaf. 

Dunsmuir – Dunsmuir 

This Neil Fallon Heavy Metal album barely registered as a blip on the radar when it released in 2016. If you’re familiar with Fallon’s work, Dunsmuir sounds like a heavier version of The Company Band. If you’re unfamiliar with the Dunsmuir lineup, here’s who you get:

  • Neil Fallon (of Clutch) – Vocals
  • Dave Bone (of The Company Band) – Guitar
  • Brad Davis (of Fu Manchu and The Company Band) – Bass
  • Vinny Appice (of Dio and Black Sabbath) – Drums

The final product is a mixed bag. When Dunsmuir is on, the results are stellar. Unfortunately, the band doesn’t knock it out of the park on every track. But when it does…

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