High Tone Son of a Bitch Better You than Me

Drop-forged by former members of Cruevo, Christ On Parade and Medication Time, Oakland’s High Tone Son of a Bitch feature the guitar mastery of brothers Drew and Paul Kott, who rope in such massive chordage that three labels wanted a piece of their debut four-song EP — as did Fudge Tunnel/Theory Of Ruin’s Alex Newport as producer. Toeing the line of stoner rock, opener "Ten Mountain High” has a heavier Fireball Ministry heft to it — a tack that FM should’ve taken on their last album instead of opting for a more MTV-ish sound. Vocalist Scott Wagner sounds like a cross between John Garcia and Operator:Generator’s Mitchell French as the title track starts off like a lost Slo Burn song but quickly speeds up to a more Kyuss-friendly cadence. The latter half of "Fortunes Crown” sounds like old Roachpowder, and "Last Dance” is truly an exemplar of the band: utterly groove-based structure with guitar leads par excellence, bringing together all the ground they’re trying to cover in one song. With its deliberately doomy ending, Better You than Me predicts the grandest tuneage yet to come from this wicked outfit. (Shifty)