Sunday 27 December 2020

Marijuana Johnson - Gem City Kush (Album Review) and Exclusive Premiere Of New Song - SMOKE SIGNALS


Release date: January 15th 2021. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Gem City Kush– Tracklisting

1.This Smoke
2.Nuclear Godzilla
3.Green Means Go
6.You Don't Get Off Until You Cough
7.Endo In The Outdo
8.Smoke Signals


Ashley Ashbrook - Guitar, Vocals
Elliott Harrell - Drums, Background Vocals
Matt Clark - Bass, Background Vocals


Marijuana Johnson released their last album back in 2010 and 11 years later the band return with their new record Gem City Kush. The band have gone through various line-up changes through the years but this line-up is the heaviest and most musically diverse yet. Well according to their BandCamp Page and with the evidence with this fantastically heavy new offering.

Let’s not beat around the WEEDIAN BUSH here. Marijuana Johnson are here to make songs about the mighty WEED and don’t shy away from that fact. Look at the evidence. Marijuana is the main driving force of this band’s existence. The band name, the album name, the song titles and the whole album is about WEED. So with that out of the way lets get down to business of the reviewing the album.

The album isn’t the most groundbreaking but Marijuana Johnson do show ambition by playing homage to their musical heroes and including elements of those bands music into the record such as Black Sabbath, SLEEP, ZZ TOP and BORIS. The record is a mixture of Classic Rock, Stoner Metal, Doom Metal and Punk Rock. There is a wild vivid energy to it all and you feel that from the excellent opening song – This Smoke.

This Smoke is a hazy pot-fuelled adventure embracing the seedy side of Punk Rock with a snarling Doom/Stoner Rock attitude that has quite a raw feel to it all. The album was written and recorded during the COVID-19 Lockdown and the album is quite remarkably upbeat and good natured within the groovy riffs the band have laid down for the song. The grungy attitude is a welcome bonus as well with Marijuana Johnson never outstaying their welcome.

Second song – Nuclear Godzilla – is a stripped back song with Marijuana Johnson playing a more Doom/Stoner Metal orientated song before the heavily inspired ZZ Top vocals appear with a direct Blues Rock approach. The song does take time to fully find it’s groove but the double edged vocals that appear give the song a much needed boost for Stoner Metal heaviness and becomes one of the albums standout songs.

Third song – Green Means Go – is more of a Punk Rock song with the band playing a faster style of music with an almost Motorhead energy to it all. The lyrics are ridiculously over the top but it shows the good warm hearted nature of the band. They’re here to have fun and there’s nothing wrong with that. The riffs are the main selling point once again but the vocals do have a certain charm that leave you rocking along to the crazy madness of it all.

The band experiment with their Punk Rock fuelled WEEDIAN sound on the next part of the album with the band adding more crazier style of vocals and Stoner Metal riffs that make you wonder where will this CRAZY album go next.

Other cool songs to check out or get high to: Kush, Trees, You Don’t Get Off Till You Cough and Smoke Signals.

These are some of the other standout songs on the album and ones to leave you with a huge smile on your face. Some people may complain that the joke is wearing a little bit thin but to Marijuana Johnson’s credit they do have a real creative flair for writing highly energetic and anthemic songs that capture the rebellious nature of Punk Rock, Doom Metal and Stoner Metal in one gloriously addictive riff-fuelled package.

For an 11 year absence, Marijuana Johnson have released a superbly entertaining record that gets the World Of Doom/Stoner Metal off to a great start in 2021. What more could you possibly want…

Marijuana Johnson being the super cool guys that they are have let me premiere the new song SMOKE SIGNALS


 The band say this about the song.

"One night, after a bunch of bong rips, I fell asleep and dreamed the band was playing a show in Nepal. Ash, Elliott, and I were having a hard time finding any weed. Some local sherpas told us the only place to get any was at the peak of Mount Everest, but it was guarded by a huge dragon. So--obviously--we climbed Everest, smoked a big chalice with a dragon, and hitched a ride out with some aliens. And that's how we wrote Smoke Signals." -- Matt Clark

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Matt for the promo. Gem City Kush will be available to buy on DD from January 15th 2021.


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