Julien Méret: lead guitar, vocals
Jessy Ensenat: drums
Nicolas Baud: rythm guitar, keyboard, background vocals
Vincent Melay: bass
Recorded & mixed by Raphaël Cartellier at Studio Cartellier, France.
Assisted by Romain Gayral.
Mastered by Christopher Goosman at Baseline Studio - Ann Arbor, MI.
Artwork & layout by Arrache-toi un oeil.
Photography by Anne-Laure Etienne.
Lyrics by Julien Méret.
All songs written by The Socks.
Published by Small Stone Records (ASCAP)
Lords of Illusion, the first song on the first full length album from The Socks, starts off with the playful bounce of Primus but slides into a darker, moodier place. This disc is full of tunes that have all the fire of a protest movement and encourage us to pierce the gloom in order to witness the beauty that resides within. Truly a musical journey, this self titled masterpiece combines all the elements of 70’s rock and sculpts them into something new yet it still makes us nostalgic for the old days when our hair was longer, our waistlines were slimmer and a good day was not measured by the number of bills we were able to pay. I have yet to find a band on Small Stone’s list of artists that I haven’t enjoyed and The Socks are definitely not going to break my lucky streak.
- Jim Dodge
So ya, Small Stone Records is on a rampage in 2014. If you haven’t heard of Small Stone, you probably live under a large one. I'd challenge any fan of stoner metal to say they aren't one of the most consistent labels in the genre. One of their newest members ‘The Socks’ are about to release their Small Stone self-titled debut on March 18, 2014. That's right folks, ‘The Socks’. As I read in an early review, and agree to an extent, The Socks isn't the most enticing band name. Or you can look at it as being the MOST questionably genius band name? Who knows, it screams for sarcastic comparisons and puns but the main thing is they are on a trusted label and the music rhymes with socks (it ROCKS).
First off, we can't ignore it but how about that cover artwork? What the fuck is that? We can't really let it go. It really stares you down. I see beaks and feathers, roots and leaves, and those goddamn colors are magnificent. The cover art is a fantastic display that overcomes the mediocre title to say the least.
The Socks represent a New Wave of Retro Heavy Metal. That's right why don't we just start it now, NWORHM? Maybe it's already out there, maybe we can just leave it at a joke? But there's enough bands out there successfully producing that throwback sound but utilizing the modern day tools to increase the flavor to warrant some kind of cult tag. The Socks are no joke; the record possesses 70's inspired hooks laced with the almighty organ, and vocals that beg for attention.
One can't help but make comparisons to NWORHM giants Graveyard and late era Witchcraft pop with the overall tone and style. Adding a bit of flair to the attire The Socks combine not only the flooded retro sensibility but craft a trippy, yet completely competent and seriously invigorating display of rock and roll. Chock full not only of guitar solos galore, but bits of bluesy fuzz-o-rama and hints of psychedelia, which add warmth and comfort, not unlike a great pair of socks…
The album is a full course meal by all means. Guitars, bass, drums, organ, and superb vocals combine in harmony throughout each and every track. At this stage it's hard to tell who the Small Stone band of the year is, but The Socks are in the running. I personally have to say the only Small Stone album ahead of The Socks currently is Dwellers who come out in May. Either way you look at it, The Socks will..... wait for it...... KNOCK YOU SOCKS OFF!!!!
You can stream the song Some Kind of Sorcery for a taste, and pre-order the album from bandcamp link below. Keep in mind physical orders are arriving well before release date on the bandcamp site.
Words by : Bucky Brown
We should all know by now where metal gets it’s lineage from. The well-documented tales of the likes of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Cheer, Rainbow and a host of others are aplenty. But the tales of those who carry the proto-metal, psych rock torch are still being written year by year. One band sure to write their own chapter in this hopefully never-ending musical tome is France’s The Socks.
The fairly new band with the ever so curious moniker has re-exploded onto the stoner rock scene with a self-titled debut album that’s sure to make more than a few people think they’ve uncovered some long, lost gem from the early 70′s or perhaps time traveled altogether. In 2010 The Socks released their debut EP to much acclaim, but to be frank, as good as that EP was, it was also lacking a certain unexplainable element that would separate them from the pack. In the corresponding years since, they’ve seemed to discover the magical formula for making music that will simply embarrass the pretenders in a scene that’s unfortunately been chock full of them for quite awhile now.
The album opens with the trippy “Lord of Illusion” with it’s thumping rhythm and surreal vocal elements that empty into a full blown riff machine that powers forward through eight more tracks of similar ilk. Tracks like “Some Kind Of Sorcery” and “New Kings” shows off their penchant for heavy blues wares that made the aforementioned Sabbath and Deep Purple such important forefathers of our current metal state. Meanwhile tracks like the epic “Holy Sons” cast a strong spotlight on the bands ability to write vivid, mind-altering, psychedelic rock that expands the chromatic aesthetics of a long lost age where acid was a musical generation’s version of the morning cup of coffee.
The stoner rock scene saw a huge explosion of talent in the 1990′s led by bands such as Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Nebula. Unfortunately, like all scenes, an explosion in popularity would lead to a glut of sub par talent getting scooped up by every label imaginable trying to find the ‘next big band’. Over the last few years thought there has been a resurgence of quality stoner rock popping up in some unexpected places. The Socks are at the top of that list of a new wave of stoner rock bands that are more focused on writing robust and powerful music than worrying whether or not commercial rock radio is paying attention to them. If this album is any indication then you should be expecting to hear a lot more from The Socks. That’s a good thing.
- Chip McCabe
Psych rock never really went anywhere, but it seems like over the past few years the number of bands in the genre that have gotten some promotional push from record labels has increased significantly. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as there are plenty of acts out there able to capture the 60s and 70s retro vibe while adding their own spin on things. One of the latest to do so is France’s The Socks, who will be releasing their self-titled debut full length via Small Stone Recordings. Like many of their peers, these guys have gone for a fully analog recording and balance edgy rock grooves with spaced out psychedelic melodies, but do they have what it takes to stand out?
Having gone through the album plenty of times now, the answer to that question seems to be kind of. What’s clear from the first listen is that the instrumentalists are very capable and have good chemistry together, as each of the elements flows together naturally and are performed with precision. The rawer production values also work in The Socks’ favor, as they give the recording that crunchiness that was common throughout 60s/70s rock while also allowing the keyboard and guitar melodies some breathing room. With this sound in place, the instrumentalists move between traditional rock grooves and sprawling psychedelic arrangements that stretch things out a bit and create a hazy atmosphere. There are moments where the material comes into its own and blends its fuzzed out guitar and room filling keyboards in a way that feels different. But at the same time, there are also some songs on this album that came off seeming just a bit too similar to some of the other psych rock bands that I’ve spent a good deal of time listening to in recent months. That’s not to say that The Socks appear to be cloning any one particular act, but they don’t always manage to be truly distinguishable, particularly during some of the shorter numbers.
The vocals are performed by two members of the band and they have they deliver a performance that stands out on each song. What works really well is the way that The Socks is able to move between higher pitched, high energy pitches and more subdued ones that seem to hover over the instrumentals like smoke. There’s an emphasis on dynamics that isn’t always present in this generation of psych rock, as sometimes bands like their instrumental work and vocals to crank the energy level up to their maximum level the entire time. But instead of doing that The Socks ramp things up to be in your face when they want to add extra emphasis and scale things back in a way that makes listeners want to dive in further and pay attention to the mellower moments as well.
If you’re a fan of hazy psych rock and retro grooves done well, The Socks’ debut should be an album you will find enjoyable. But I’m not quite sure just yet if they’re a group that listeners will find truly distinguishable from some of the others in the genre in the coming months. With this debut under their belt these guys can still begin to establish themselves though and if they continue to branch out and really try to make this genre their own I think they’ll come back with even better results.
- Chris Dahlberg
Small Stone Records has been expanding their roster of bands as of late. The Socks were one of the bands that were signed last year. At the time. they were only about a year removed from releasing their 2012 EP Bedrock. It was a very good EP that I held in high regard. Now their self titled and Small Stone Records debut is about to be released. This is one that everyone will be talking about for quite awhile. The album is retro rocker at heart. There are elements of proto-metal, psychedelic blues and hard rock infused throughout. This album is a thrill seeker. Fans of Graveyard and Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are going to eat this one right up. This is going to be at the top of a lot of year end lists, I guarantee it.
- Bill Goodman
The Socks are from France and play a 70′s-style Stoner Rock.
The album art immediately drew me in, although I must confess that it is slightly marred by what is, for me, a really awful band name. Still, personal taste and all that.
But onto the important stuff – the music. The Socks, (ugh), play good, old-fashioned Rock in a retro style with a liberal dashing of era-appropriate keyboards that add to the feeling of having just stepped out of a time machine. Well almost anyway, as the production has a good modern sound to it. Rather than coming across incongruous though it allows the songs to sound much more alive than if they had gone with a usually-muted 70′s style “authentic” production.
They have songs that are upbeat and joyful, with groove, energy and vigour, while also having songs that are more laid back and introspective. Holy Sons is one of my favourite of this latter type.
The album has a good deal of variety across the 9 tracks, with even some contemporary influences sneaking in occasionally, (Next To The Light contains parts that sound almost Alice In Chains-y, for example).
The singer has a good set of lungs; relaxed and soulful. He makes his mark over well-played and written songs that are both catchy and involving.
This is only their début album but the band display a knowledge and experience of songwriting well beyond what other bands might have acquired by this point.
Despite my reservations about the name; the band acquit themselves nicely and this is a solid album of really enjoyable retro-style Rock. If you’re partial to a bit of this then you can do a lot worse.
The Socks are a band from France that plays a very psychedelic sounding form of stoner rock and this is a review of their self titled 2014 album which was released by Small Stone Recordings.
The album starts out with psychedelic sound effects before adding in a heavy 70's rock sound along with melodic vocals as well as all of the musical instruments having a very powerful sound to them as well as adding in classic rock style solos which also leads to more metal influences being added in.As the album continues it sticks to more of a 70s metal/rock sound while also bringing in grunge and stoner rock elements to update the music for 2014 as well as bringing in 60's psychedelic influences as well as a great amount of fuzzy sounding guitar solos and leads which also leads yp to traces of doom metal when it comes to the heavier sections of their music as well as the singer having a similar sound to the singer of 'Trouble'.
With this album The Socks show they know the roots of 60s and 70s rock very well with their psychedelic elements sounding like the originals while also having the heaviness of doom metal as well as the catchy structures of 90's grunge.
Song lyrics cover dark and metaphysical themes, while the production has a very strong, powerful, heavy and professional sound where you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this recording.
In my opinion The Socks are a very great sounding psychedelic rock band with the heaviness of doom metal and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Some Kind of Sorcery" "Holy Sons" "Gypsy lady" adn "The last Dragon". 8 out of 10.
There are two ways to approach the self-titled debut from French four-piece The Socks. You can say, “Oh, it’s retro,” and immediately make your comparisons to Kadavar, to Graveyard, etc., and either write it off or dig in as you will based on your opinions on those bands and heavy ’70s devotees in general. Or you can listen to the thing. Life is short, and frankly, either is a valid-enough way to go, but I’ve found the latter to be the more satisfying route. There’s no taking away from the fact that songs like “Some Kind of Sorcery” and “The Last Dragon” have a strong earlier Graveyard influence, but “Next to the Light” goes right to the Sabbathian source to bounce vocalist Julien Méret‘s lead guitar off of “War Pigs,” and throughout the album, on that track, on “Gypsy Lady,” closer “The Last Dragon” and on “Holy Sons,” The Socks distinguish themselves through the keyboard work of rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist Nicolas Baud, who adds Mellotron and organ sounds to add melodic depth to the fluid rhythms of bassist Vincent Melay and drummer Jessy Ensenat. When they boogie — and they do — there’s plenty familiar about it, and if that were all The Socks had to offer, the album would be almost entirely redundant, but there are more than a few turns between parts, cuts in tempo or launches into speedy shuffle, that serve to showcase The Socks as a dynamic songwriting act in their own right.
Couple that with a production more modern than either of the aforementioned touchstones of the style, and the Lyon foursome seem to be headed somewhere else within the classic heavy framework. In both their speedier material — the rush of “Some Kind of Sorcery,” though met with an impressive slowdown in its middle third, is immediate and indicative of The Socks at their fastest here — and in the more languid grooves of songs like “Holy Sons,” on which Ensenat effectively propels the build with organic-sounding kick, the band is confident, well assured of where they want pieces to go. Structurally traditional, songs have their hooks, but don’t come across as being written solely to get stuck in the audience’s head. “Electric War” finds Méret and Baud working well together on vocals in what sounds like a dynamic that will continue to develop as The Socks progress, but catchy as that track’s chorus is, the more lasting impression is leaves comes from the stomp in its midsection and the ease with which the band plays one rhythm off the other. They’ve been a band for half a decade (if you’re interested in reading their bio, I wrote it), and a grip on time changes like theirs doesn’t develop without considerable stage time, but it still feels like early mastery of pitting slowdowns and speedups against each other — that is, something they brought to the table initially instead of something that evolved over the course of their two prior EPs, 2011′s Side A and 2012′s Bedrock, and the songwriting for the self-titled. Either way, it’s there, and it’s a big part of the album’s appeal.
To that appeal, one must add the overarching flow between the songs. The Socks have obviously had an awareness of vinyl structuring since their first EP — the title is a big clue — and at 43 minutes long, The Socks is still vinyl-ready, but taken in digital or CD form, the nine tracks move remarkably smoothly one to the next. There are a few solid breaks, as between “Gypsy Lady” and the righteously thickened groove of “We Live,” but even there the changes make sense, and earlier in the album, opener “Lords of Illusion” holds its last note to feed right into the vocals that start “Some Kind of Sorcery,” which in turn holds its last note to bring in “Next to the Light,” into “New Kings” and so on. Side B, as it were, is less concerned with that, but more dynamic sonically, with the organ-driven classic heavy rock bounce of “Gypsy Lady” and the more dramatic build of “The Last Dragon” to finish out the album on a particularly cinematic note. The closer’s second half is especially reliant on the keys to fill out the sound, as guitars step back, the bass halts and even the snare roll fades out. With about a minute and a half to go, however, The Socks burst back to life (this is where the Mellotron comes into play) at full volume and give their debut a proper apex that earns its place as the finale. It’s short, obviously, but a suitable end to an album that has moved with striking ease through rhythmic complexities that would boggle many bands, and one that more and more on repeat listens distinguishes The Socks from their contemporaries taking influence both from generations past and present in heavy rock.
- H.p. Taskmaster
I'm not going to lie to you, loyal reader. It's generally a pretty big deal for me when a new release from Small Stone Records shows up in my inbox. Say what you want about the name of this band (it is pretty generic), but this album lived up to the expectations I had as soon as I saw a new album from Small Stone.
The album kicks off with "Lords of Illusion." This is a psychedelic aural feast. The beat will get you nodding your head and the melody will remind you of bands from the early 70s that knew how to throw a little freakout into their rock songs. With about two minutes left in the song, it erupts into a crescendo that pretty much grabs you by the earhole and smacks you around. It's a great attention grabber and an excellent way to kick off the album.
If anything, the opener is followed by a song that has an even more furious energy. The sound is similar to The Blue Van: healthy doses of garage rock and psychedelia. This one also builds to a crescendo that makes you wonder why so many bands waste their time singing about feelings when they could be rocking out like The Socks. And make no mistake: from the first notes to the last, this band rocks out with a sound that's a little Sabbath, a lot garage, and all loud.
Let's get one thing straight. This album is not for the faint of heart...or for those who actually care about the Grammys. This is proof that rock ain't dead, baby! Not by a long shot. And if anyone tells you it is, spring this album on the person. If anyone can listen to this album and still say that rock is dead, that person is a soulless automaton and you should probably notify the Men in Black that you have someone for them to round up.
- Gary Schwind