Introducing Radio Moscow:
A Dose Of Psychedelic Blues Metal
By Jason Shane
Iowa-born psychedelic blues metal power trio Radio Moscow is heading out on the road again in support of their third studio album The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz, released last October on Alive Naturalsound Records. The band is supporting Swedish psychedelic blues brethren Graveyard on 18 dates from coast-to-coast, and playing two headlining shows as well.
We figure it’s a fine time to get familiar.
Radio Moscow is the brainchild of Parker Griggs, the band’s creative force, singer, and guitarist who is also credited with drums and percussion on each of their three albums – 2007’s Radio Moscow, 2009’s Brain Cycles, and now Magnafuzz. Studio and live bass, as well as live drums, have been supplied by a rotating cast of characters since Griggs began molding Radio Moscow’s throwback sound when the band was first incepted in Story City, Iowa in 2003.
The band recorded a handful of demos in the early days, demos that had a raw garage blues-punk, almost Kinks-ish feel. Griggs eventually got a demo into the hands of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who was impressed enough to offer his hand on production for their self-titled debut. The release was very raw, but expanded upon Radio Moscow’s psychedelic influences.
Brain Cycles followed two years later, more polished, but still light years ahead of so many contemporaries in terms of the warmth of the sound and improvisational, but tight feel. The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz – last year’s effort, recorded with former bassist Zach Anderson – is another gigantic step forward, a 50-minute sonic assault in the form of a fuzz and sludge-filled psychedelic blues-metal explosion.
Think of it as the illegitimate love-grandchild of Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Cream, and The Allman Brothers Band. However it’s labeled, Magnafuzz is a stirring collection of blues riffs, muddy metal bass lines, Bill Ward-esque drum fills, psychedelic explorations, and a great modern blues voice.
Check out album opener Little Eyes, a nearly five minute, muddy, bluesy jam that wears its Vol. 4-era Black Sabbath and Southern-fried rock influences on its sleeve: Radio Moscow also recently had two previously unreleased tracks featured on the Alive Naturalsound compilation Where Is Parker Griggs?, which also includes tunes from Hacienda, Buffalo Killers, Black Diamond Heavies, and more. Here’s one of those two songs, entitled The Stranger:
We should mention that, if you catch Radio Moscow in concert and you’re wondering why the bassist and drummer look different than they did, oh, two weeks ago, here’s why: New bassist Billy Ellsworth used to ply his trade with San Diego acid rock outfit Red Octopus, and new drummer Lonnie Blanton was with Red Dog Revival, a self-described “progressive psychedelic butt rock blues” band out of Heber City, Utah via Salt Lake City.