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Quick Picks: Indie Rock releases for October 2019

Indie album releases from Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Planchettes, Joseph Tholl, and The Whiffs stand out as worthwhile rockers

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell
Very Uncertain Times
(Rise Above Records)

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Mix in the influences of Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Hendrix’s Experience to define the hard-riding rock music on the album Uncertain Times by the strangely named Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. Since Admiral's formation in 2008, they have been called proto-metal, a sonic boom of eccentricity, and that classification passes with flying colors. But it's the tone of existential uneasiness that is built in perfectly. “These are very uncertain times! But it's always that way,” frontman Johnny Gorilla observes. “When you think you’re on Easy Street, that’s when the rug gets pulled from under you!"

Choice tracks: "No Man’s Land," "Iceberg"

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The Truth
(Rise Above Records)

Planchettes’ album The Truth captures the studio sound of ‘60s garage psych (think 13th Floor Elevators) with a new wave approach via vocalist/guitarist Kevan's vocal delivery. “The Planchettes sound is very deliberate and unique,” says Kevan. “We try to capture a certain dramatic feeling, much like a period piece film or a play tries to immerse its viewers in a world of its own." The title track and a gritty gem called "La Fin Du Monde" are especially good with their chaotic, skippy rock rhythms.

Choice tracks: "The Truth," "La Fin Du Monde"

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Joseph Tholl
Devil’s Drum
(High Roller Records)

Tholl's Devil’s Drum starts off with the moody “It’s Just Rock ’n’ Roll,” the album apparently alternative-rock bound, but then it ups the intensity as tracks play on, culminating with the fantastic “Black Birds,” comprised of a whirling monster riff which gives off a fierce Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) vibe. The title track’s retro Joe Walsh-ish guitar rock deserves a mention, too.

Choice Tracks: "Black Birds," "Devil’s Drum"

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The Whiffs
Another Whiff
(Dig! Records)

The Nick Lowe-esque power pop of “Shakin All Over” kicks off Another Whiff, and represents a bright start—it’s a symbol of where The Whiffs sound excels. The songs are energetic and often up-tempo (think of an amped-up Beatles in Hamburg, if you must) and the choruses aren’t slick and overdone (thankfully). For instance, "What Do You Want Me To Do" has at a "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" bounce, whereas the wonderful opening guitar stomp of "My Vision of Love" brings in a (kind of) Tom Petty vocal delivery which hooks you immediately. To this listener, Another Whiff is a whiff of what power pop is really about.

Choice tracks: "Shakin All Over," "What Do You Want Me To Do," "My Vision of Love"