Exes is a new four-piece LA-based rock and roll band about to release their debut three song EP called Massive Nights. Birthed in a bedroom studio after a lifetime of screaming the choruses of songs like Weezer’s “El Scorcho” and The Hold Steady’s “Your Little Hoodrat Friend,” Exes are a band that thrives on honesty and their audience’s passion for music.

Oecist is a band that the vast majority of you haven’t heard of before today. Not your fault though, the post-metal solo project is quite underground and only the true savants know of Oecist. At least, until now. Founded by San Antonio, Texas-based multinstrumentalist BJ Dierkes, Oecist is a solo project of epic proportions. Read on below to see what gear BJ uses and to learn more about the pending September 1, 2014 release of the debut album XVIII LIII (Crowquill Records).

Simply called Self-Titled, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based trio Secret Cutter (guitarist Evan Morey, drummer Jared Stimpfl, and vocalist Ekim), released their 10-song slab of dirty-ass metal on February 10, 2014. Loaded with a lethal concoction of sludge, doom, grind, and more, Self-Titled has an incredibly rich sound considering this is the work of a three piece band. As such, we hit up Evan Morey to better understand how these guys conjure up their wicked, thick tones and music.

Swedish folk power metal quintet, Falconer, released their acclaimed new recording, Black Moon Rising, on June 10th, 2014 via Metal Blade Records. The new album, the band’s eighth to date, contains 11 original songs led by the soaring opener and lead single, “Locust Swarm.” Rather than bore you with other facts, we managed to score some time with guitarist Jimmy Hedlund who, in discussing some of his gear, helped us to better understand how the album came together.

Led by the twin guitar attack of shredders Rory Heikkila and Jon Liedtke, the Milwaukee, WI-based black metal band Shroud of Despondency are one heck of a pummeling powerhouse of percussive loud music. Released on February 12th of 2014, the group’s new album, Tied To A Dying Animal, features 2 parts and 17 tracks, all of which come at you with a dizzying amount of either velocity or intricacy. Recently we grabbed time with the axemen to learn more about their key gear.

Their new album titled Barefoot and Pregnant is out now via Arrested Youth Records and the alternative rock/punk duo of Kelly Ogden (vox, bass) and Luis Cabezas (guitar, vox) couldn’t be happier. So as to learn more about the intricacies of the band’s sound and recording of the new album, we asked guitarist Luis Cabezas about some of his go-to gear.

The Raskins is an alternative rock band composed of twins Logan and Roger Raskin. Born and raised in New York City, the brothers began playing music at a very young age and now, on May 13th, 2014, are set to release their debut self-titled album via MIRAL Records/BDG/RED, LLC division of Sony Music Entertainment. We grabbed some time with guitarist Roger Raskin and asked some gear-related questions in order to learn more about his Custom GMP guitars and Marshall 900 Dual Channel amplifiers.

Dude… you need to hear this group; they’re hilarious but also fucking rad! Adelaide, Australia is home to Love Cream, a gnarly rock band inspired by the sweet sounds of the 70’s, 80’s, glam and blues rock. This quartet of young musicians waste no time winning you over with their sexually-charged lyrics and music. Sure it lean way from “serious” towards the fun side, but after all, isn’t that what rock music is supposed to be, fun? We chatted with lead guitarist Nick Robinson to discern what gear was key when recording the band’s debut, First Taste.

Guitarist Jeff Wiggins of the Blues-influenced hard rock act Stone Soul Foundation chatted with me recently about the special gear setup he uses to create his crunchy and unique tone. The band is currently on the road supporting their newest release, Electric Valley so be sure to catch them live! Here is how the conversation went.