Friday Full-Length: Amorphis, Tuonela

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Amorphis, Tuonela (1999)

I’m not even gonna feign impartiality on this one. I love this album, and that’s why we’re ending the week with it. Finland’s Amorphis released Tuonela in 1999 on Relapse Records. It was their fourth full-length, and like the preceding 1996 outing, Elegy — which was a landmark in a discography that continues to grow — it stepped away from the deathly beginnings of their earliest works in 1992’s debut LP, The Karelian Isthmus, 1993’s Privilege of Evil EP and 1994’s sophomore outing, Tales from the Thousand Lakes, which for many is the standard by which the rest of their catalog is measured. Many, but not me. I love Tuonela like I’ve loved few records in my life. It’s my ultimate springtime album, and as we move this coming week into May, I can’t help but return to it once again to pay seasonal homage.

The last decade or so — really since 2006’s Eclipse; we’ll get there — has found Amorphis settled into a blend of nuanced folk-informed progressive rock and death metal, and while in large part the model they’ve been following has been based on Elegy, from where I sit, Tuonela hit the stylistic meld better. It doesn’t go as far into melodic heavy rock as either of the two subsequent albums, 2001’s also-stellar Am Universum and 2003’s somewhat meandering Far from the Sun — the highlight of which was an acoustic bonus track of the title-cut — but Tuonela songs like opener “The Way,” “Divinity,” “Morning Star,” wistful-but-still-rocking closer “Summer’s End” and the one-into-the-next pair of “Tuonela” and “Greed” at the heart of the offering are absolute standouts in their energy and execution, driven by memorable songwriting and what was then a course of progression that proceeded across everything Amorphis released. If inclined, one could chart Amorphis‘ growth from one record into the following with little trouble; from their raw beginnings, they became a band of wide melodic range and progressive mentality. The classic heavy rock organ added to “Morning Star” and “Shining” for example, or the nuanced push of the riff to “Nightfall” and the later choppy swirl of “Withered” — all of these feed into a linear, very-much-of-the-CD-era 46-minute flow that, for me, distinguishes Tuonela not only as a collection of great songs, but also a fluid and complete work best appreciated in its front-to-back entirety.

I’m not sure I can emphasize how much of an impact Tuonela had on me personally when I first heard it. I was recently asked by Sander van den Driesche of the site Echoes and Dust to list three of the records that most affected me, and I put Tuonela on that list. A teenager at the time, I’d never heard anything like “Greed” — so heavy, so extreme with its death growls, and yet still psychedelic, traditional in its songwriting, and, perhaps most pivotal, it had that sitar. That sitar. It was the moment at which the Beatles fan and the headbanger in me reconciled, found the middle ground between them, and wanted to explore it further. I won’t take anything away from what Amorphis — at the time comprised of vocalist Pasi Koskinen, guitarists Esa Holopainen (lead) and Tomi Koivusaari (rhythm, also sitar), bassist Olli-Pekka Laine and drummer Pekka Kasari, plus keys from Santeri Kallio — accomplished on cuts like “Rusty Moon,” with the guest flute from Sakari Kukko, whose sax also adds to “Nightfall” and the title-track earlier, or on the moody “Summer’s End” at the finish, but I still get chills when I hear “Greed” in spring. At this point, I don’t even remember where that association comes from. I just know the season has arrived when it’s time to put on Amorphis. And so it is.

Amorphis had a dramatic shift alluded to above that led to 2006’s Eclipse, which marked the end of the tenure of Pasi Koskinen — who was also in heavy rockers Mannhai and can currently be found in extremists Ajattara, whose new album, Lupaus, is out next month on Svart Records — as they brought in new frontman Tomi Joutsen in 2004. Joutsen has been with them ever since, and his arrival would seem to have coincided with a decision on the part of HolopainenKoivusaari and company to develop along the clearer path of melodic and progressive death metal. In revisiting Tuonela, I also took the opportunity to dig into — and purchase the tour edition of — the latest Amorphis full-length, 2015’s Under the Red Cloud (they’re currently on Nuclear Blast and have been since Far from the Sun), and after 2013’s Circle, 2011’s The Beginning of Times, 2009’s Skyforger and 2007’s Silent Waters, plus a steady stream of compilations, EPs, splits and live albums, they’ve pretty much nailed it. They just finished a US tour with fellow Finns Swallow the Sun. I wish I’d gone to see them. It’s been more than a decade since I caught their show at B.B. King’s in New York, when Joutsen was new to the lineup. It was a Sunday. I’d flown back from SXSW in Texas the same day. They opened with “Greed.” It was glorious.

Truth is, I could go on. About this band, about this record. I haven’t written much about them on this site in years past, but they’re a group who’ve greatly influenced the direction of my musical taste and for that I’ll always be happy to return to Tuonela as we move out of the winter dread and into the time of new life that invariably follows.

As ever, I hope you enjoy.

jj and falk-hagen at roadburn 2017 (photo jens wassmuth)While we’re reminiscing, the photo of me just to the right here was taken last weekend by Jens Wassmuth at this year’s Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands. If you missed the coverage of the fest, it’s all here and thanks if you did get to check any of it out or if you decide to do so.

Now, if you’re someone who’s followed this site for any amount of time you’ll know I’m loathe to post pictures of myself. It simply doesn’t happen. I could tell you the exact last time I did it, but I don’t want to, because that’s how much I don’t like to see pics of me around this place. I’ll take all the album covers in the world (preferably those sans cartoon tits) before a shot of my ugly mug. Just how it goes.

I’m on the left there, watching Warning on the Main Stage, and you can also see the esteemed Falk-Hagen Bernshausen on the right. The reason I’ve put this picture here is because of the t-shirt I’m wearing. He didn’t know it at the time, but Jens captured a special moment for me in taking this shot. I wore that Brant Bjork and the Bros. shirt on my honeymoon in 2005 to Rome, and there are all kinds of proto-selfies of The Patient Mrs. and I to prove it.

As time passed, the shirt no longer fit me and I basically haven’t been able to wear it since until recently. It was one of several special shirts — an Anathema shirt for A Fine Day to Exit that I’ve had since college, a Neurosis shirt for The Eye of Every Storm that I bought at their 2004 Philly show that never fit me until now — that I brought with me to Roadburn this year, sort of as a personal landmark.

I’ve struggled with weight issues my entire life and I expect I’ll continue to for as long as I live. Even putting it in those terms undersells my past and current history of body dysmorphia, disordered eating, persistent self-loathing, and so on. However, since Dec. 2015, I’ve lost 168 pounds (as of this morning’s weigh-in) — more than half my body weight when I started out — and bringing these shirts to Roadburn was my small way of celebrating that effort with myself.

It’s not the kind of allowance I often let myself make. I’ve no doubt that at some point I’ll gain every single one of the pounds I’ve lost back, which is why I get sad when people say things like, “You look awesome now,” or get uncomfortable when someone wants to talk about it, but wearing these shirts was a rare kind of celebration for me, and I’m honored to have that moment captured by someone so talented and kind as Jens, even if he was just responding to Andy from Clamfight on Thee Facebooks being a smartass and saying someone should take my picture in the photo pit. So thanks to Jens for that. That’s what’s up with that picture.

Crazy times this week, getting back to work and back into the swing of life in general post-Roadburn. Still a lot to catch up on at work, which if I’m 100 percent honest, I’m somewhat less motivated toward since finding out the job ends in June. As a temp/contract worker, I’ve basically been on a year-long job interview. Bummer to know that, in the end, I flubbed it. So it goes.

Still, one presses on with tasks at hand. Speaking of, here’s what’s in my notes for around these parts next week, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Sun Blood Stories review, Soldati video premiere & big announcement from Bison Machine.
Tue.: L.M.I. review/track premiere, new-ish Ides of Gemini video and Lords of Beacon House announcement.
Wed.: Blackout review/track premiere, maybe a video premiere for The Riven.
Thu.: Samsara Blues Experiment review.
Fri.: Six Dumb Questions and album stream of the new From Oceans to Autumn.

Busy enough, I think. I’ve gotten a few kind comments on bringing back the Six Dumb Questions features, and I think I’m going to continue that at least for the time being, so look out for more in the weeks and months ahead.

I’ve also started slating releases for the next Quarterly Review, which will be in June. It’ll be here before you (or I) know it, to be sure.

In the meantime, I’d like to wrap up this week by saying thank you again for reading. Last weekend being Roadburn, this is a special time of year for me and if you’ve been a part of it at all, I cannot properly express how deeply I appreciate that. Thank you. There are days where I feel like I have nothing else to offer but this. Really. So to have you be involved is humbling in a way that I find continually dumbfounding and humbling.

Much love. All the love.

Have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Tad Doyle to Release New Solo Album Incineration Ceremony

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Whatever you’re thinking a solo record from Thomas Andrew Doyle — aka Tad Doyle of TAD, Hog Molly and the megacrushing Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — is going to be, stop. Cast off your preconceived notions, all who’d enter into Incineration Ceremony, as the first preview of the album in the streaming track “Silent Incineration” is more classical-via-cinema-score than whatever it is you’re probably expecting. You thought maybe he’d go folk-country? Not that he couldn’t pull it off. Full-on experimentalist noise? Yeah, he could probably do that too. Instead, he’s thrown an even bigger curve and gone orchestral. If that doesn’t spin your head, congrats, you’re the hardest-to-surprise motherfucker in the world. A trophy will be sent to you in the mail from a warehouse in Ohio. Keep an eye out for the package.

Incineration Ceremony is out May 16 via Yuggoth Records (see also AnechoicSky Shadow Obelisk), and is available to preorder now. Info follows from the internets:

thomas-andrew-doyle-incineration-ceremony

Thomas Andrew Doyle new album “Incineration Ceremony”

We are proud to announce a totally new release by multi-instrumentalist, song writer, audio engineer Tad Doyle.“Incineration Ceremony,” slated for release on June 1, 2017 on Yuggoth Records is the new work by Thomas Andrew Doyle (TAD, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Hog Molly) and is a return to roots of sorts.

Spending his formative years in music playing in Jazz clubs while attending school studying classical and jazz music at Boise State University, Doyle comes forth with a symphonic take on what is going on in his head. Spawned from the dark and dreary recesses of Doyle’s psyche comes an immense sound of textures, rhythms and material suitable for film and stand alone listening, disquieting all who are within an earshot. People who are familiar with his music should expect the unexpected. Doyle’s entry into the world of symphonic composition is no novice beginner’s attempt. Incineration Ceremony is a musical journeyman’s expression that is genuine, heartfelt, honest, uncompromising and authoritative.

Doyle started working on this new project last year and as the work continued he became obsessed with writing and making the work come together. About the songs Doyle shares, “It has been a very organic process of putting this all together and I have had so much fun in the process.”

Guest musician friend and composer Peter Scartabello adds additional percussion on two of the songs. Cover artwork and layout by friend Demian Johnston puts the mood of the record into a visual representation of some of the musical content.

Thomas Andrew Doyle – vocals, piano, acoustic instruments, soft instruments, analog synthesizers

Peter Scartabello – additional wood and metal percussion on ‘Asleep in Arrhythmia’ and ‘Bio-illogical Functions’

Artwork and layout – Demian Johnston

Track Listing:

Silent Incineration
Lost in Abysmal Waters
Desire
Asleep in Arrhythmia
Bio-illogical Functions
Nurtured in Grief
Meditations in Null
Born into Sorrow
Prognati ignis ignis

Pre-order the CD now at this location!
$10.00
Official release date is Tuesday May 16, 2017

https://www.taddoyle.com/
https://twitter.com/TadDoyle_Tad
https://www.facebook.com/WitchApeStudios/
https://www.instagram.com/sonicbrethren/
http://peterscartabello.com/yuggoth-records/

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Aseethe Announce Summer Tour Dates; Playing 71Grind and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Supporting their new crusher Hopes of Failure on Thrill Jockey, Iowan doomers Aseethe will hit the road this summer following an appearance at the 71Grind fest in Colorado. They’ll be joined in the Midwestern and East-Coastal endeavor by Cobalt, and it’s basically a major-market run, they’re playing some cool spots, among them the Great Scott in Boston — get it before it’s condos! — and of course Brooklyn’s famed Saint Vitus Bar. Those two shows are framed around the July 4 holiday, so one assumes they’ll be partying in between somewhere cool as well, because, you know, that’s what you do when you get into town like that. Good for them.

If you haven’t heard it, Hopes of Failure is the heavy’s heavy. I’ve posted the album trailer below, but Thrill Jockey has it up in various places, digital outlets and whatnot, as well, for digging into. Just saying.

From the PR wire:

aseethe

Aseethe bringing their mammoth riffs to North American Midwest and East Coast this Summer with Cobalt

Aseethe’s immense Hopes of Failure out now

As part of their relentless touring regimen in 2017, masters of mammoth riffs Aseethe will be embarking on a tour throughout the Midwest and East Coast this Summer with black metal duo Cobalt (Profound Lore). This follows Aseethe’s tours throughout the U.S. with Bereft, and Hell, as well as the release of their acclaimed album Hopes of Failure, and will include a set at 71 Grind Fest with Conan, Barghest, and many more.

Aseethe’s unrelenting slow-doom is often compared to drone music because of its core repetitions. This distinctly non-metal approach combined with harsh vocals and unusual samples gives Aseethe a unique voice among metal’s boundary pushers. On Hopes of Failure, the Iowa band’s primary influences of doom and drone share a similar ethos, but rarely do they converge with as much restraint, and patience, drawing on inventive sound sources and distorted, just enough, to add some sludge. Aseethe is the direction that heavy music is moving in.

Aseethe Summer tour
Jun. 2 – Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep: 71 Grind Volume II #
Jun. 27 – Kansas Ciy, MO – Riot Room *
Jun. 28 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street *
Jun. 29 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean *
Jun. 30 – Deroit, MI – El Club *
Jul. 1 – Toronto, ON – Coalition *
Jul. 2 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz *
Jul. 3 – Boston, MA – Great Scott *
Jul. 5 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus *
Jul. 6 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie *
Jul. 7 – Washington, DC – DC9 *
Jul. 8 – Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn *
Jul. 9 – Memphis, TN – Growlers *
Jul. 11 – Austin, TX – Lost Well *
Jul. 12 – Dallas, TX – Three Links *
# w/ Conan, Hell, Barghest
* w/ Cobalt

Aseethe is:
Brian Barr – Guitar / Vox
Danny Barr – Bass / Vox
Eric Diercks – Drums / Samples

http://www.facebook.com/aseethecreation/
https://www.instagram.com/aseethedoom/
http://www.thrilljockey.com/artists/aseethe
http://www.thrilljockey.com/products/hopes-of-failure

Aseethe, Hopes of Failure album trailer

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Five Horse Johnson to Release Jake Leg Boogie June 30; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Some bands, you just know they’re out to make trouble. That’s been Five Horse Johnson‘s game all along. The Midwestern heavy blues rock outfit haven’t had a record out since 2013’s The Taking of Black Heart (review here), and though four years isn’t the longest stretch in the world, it’s certainly been long enough. Jake Leg Boogie is set to hit June 30 via Small Stone, and with preorders up and a new song streaming now, it’s bound to land with some fervent anticipation. I’m not gonna say I’ve heard it yet or anything — actually, I guess I’ll say that I have because I wrote the bio on which the press release below is based — but it smokes. Dudes are long-since established as ace songwriters but they still sound they just bang out tunes for the hell of it to play in dive bars while they get loaded. Call it the best of both worlds.

With the hope that I’ll have more to come before the album’s actually out, here’s the announcement off the PR wire and the stream of the title-track:

five-horse-johnson-jake-leg-boogie

FIVE HORSE JOHNSON: Toledo Blues Riffers To Release Jake Leg Boogie This June Via Small Stone; New Track Streaming + Preorders Available

When FIVE HORSE JOHNSON formed back in 1995, referring to themselves as a “blues band,” a few brows might well have been furrowed. But this is a band that has always understood that the blues isn’t a formula – it’s a way of looking at the world. Their take on the “blooze” is as a dirty, sensual thing, enhanced with a healthy dose of humor.

Now some two decades and seven albums into their career – with eighth Jake Leg Boogie, set to drop late this June on Small Stone – FIVE HORSE JOHNSON has dug out a niche of their own, a genuine love and respect for traditional blues and classic rock leading them to likewise become one of the most loved and respected bands in the heavy rock underground. Always a freight train live, they’ve toured the US (with Clutch and Halfway To Gone) and Europe extensively (including the festival circuit), gathering fans, friends, and drinking partners all over the Western World.

Jake Leg Boogie sees FIVE HORSE JOHNSON going back to its recording roots. Original drummer Tim Gahagan has rejoined, and the results are powerful. Brad Coffin’s guitar has never sounded heavier, his voice never stronger. Eric Oblander’s harp, meanwhile, is as sharp as a tailfin, and his gravelly vocal delivery a growling, howlin’ counterpoint to Coffin’s gruff style. Steve Smith’s bass is a strong backbone, while Phil Dürr’s guitar complements that of Coffin, adding extra edge for good measure. From the slow, bluesy stomp of the title-track, to the dirge vibe of “Daddy Was A Gun” – a story of some weird goings-on in a strange parish – Jake Leg Boogie is pure old-school FIVE HORSE JOHNSON, recorded live, everyone in the same room, with as little overdubbing as possible. Accordingly, it feels lively and loud in the MC5-come-Hendrix vibe of “Hard Times,” the hard-rocking “Magic Man” (a tale of depravity set in the town of Springfield, Missouri), and the near-Texan boogie of “Smoke Show.”

Elaborates Oblander of the release, “Having original drummer Tim back in the band made writing Jake Leg Boogie so much damn fun. It feels like we’re back to Fat Black Pussycat form. This time around we channeled a little more Hendrix and Funkadelic as much as the usual bluesy Aerosmith insanity. All the songs are a bit more stripped down, and have a deep-pocket groove thanks in part to Tim locking it down. Brad had a lot to do with the overall creation of this record. He came up with the concept for the title, and sings more than half the songs this time around. We can’t wait to hit the road with thing and flex these new songs live!”

Jake Leg Boogie was recorded at Rustbelt Studios, with longtime producer Al Sutton (Big Chief, Novadriver, Halfway To Gone, Detroit Cobras) at the production helm, with a definitive nod to Dave Cobb (All Them Witches, Rival Sons). Artwork was provided by noted graphic artist and FIVE HORSE JOHNSON -collaborator Mark Dancey, keeping with a tradition established on 1999’s Fat Black Pussycat.

Jake Leg Boogie will see release via Small Stone Recordings June 30th on CD, limited LP, and digital formats. For preorders, visit the Small Stone Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample the opening title track.

Jake Leg Boogie Track Listing:
1. Jake Leg Boogie
2. Magic Man
3. Cryin’ Shame
4. Ropes And Chains
5. Hard Times
6. Smoke Show
7. Little Lonely
8. Overload
9. Daddy Was A Gun
10. Last Song

FIVE HORSE JOHNSON is not a band that makes apologies, and compromise is not an option. The truth is, this is hard, heavy, dirty blues rock ‘n’ roll for people who like the sound of an engine roaring or the feeling obtained by following a cold beer with a shot of good whiskey. FIVE HORSE JOHNSON will gladly kick your ass, and then wait for you to say thank you and ask for another. Which you will.

Five Horse Johnson is:
Eric Oblander: vox & harp
Brad Coffin: vox & guitar
Steve Smith: bass
Phil Dürr: guitar
Tim Gahagan: drums & percussion

http://www.facebook.com/Five-Horse-Johnson-official-band-page
http://www.fivehorsejohnson.com
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords

Five Horse Johnson, Jake Leg Boogie (2017)

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Review & Full Album Stream: Mythic Sunship, Land Between Rivers

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mythic sunship land between rivers

[Click play above to stream Mythic Sunship’s Land Between Rivers in its entirety. Album is out today on El Paraiso Records.]

It hasn’t quite been a year since Copenhagen four-piece Mythic Sunship made their debut on El Paraiso Records with the three-song full-length Ouroboros, but that album receives a quick follow-up in the next three-cut installment from the heavy psych rockers. Titled Land Between Rivers, it both expands and contracts the ideas and notions the instrumentalists put forth last time out, adding time to jams here, trimming it there — the whole offering is shorter by about 10 minutes, if you’re counting — but showing a burgeoning conceptual grasp of immersing their listeners in tonal depth and overarching sonic sprawl.

The band — Emil Thorenfeldt, F. E. Denning, Kasper Stougaard Andersen, Rasmus Cleve Christensen — reportedly recorded “Nishapur” (15:31), “High Tide” (13:16) and “Silt” (6:19) in a kind of remote cabin in central Denmark, and with a mix by Jonas Munk of Causa Sui, the group who also helm El Paraiso and artwork to fit the imprint’s long-running aesthetic vision, it presents a cohesive take in sound, atmosphere and flow while asking little of its audience in terms of self-indulgence. An exploratory vibe feels genuine — that is, when Mythic Sunship dig into a jam like that on “Nishapur,” the really dig into it — and with a complementary thickness of low end to act as a grounding force, guitars roam freely in airy post-rock howls and sunburnt krautrock progressivism. They’re not reinventing the wheel as regards heavy psychedelic transcendence, but Mythic Sunship are clearly doing the work of developing a sonic persona through these jams, and the bouts of cacophony that emerge in the meantime like that nine minutes into the opener or at the swirling apex of “High Tide” excite with the dynamic taking shape.

They earn immediate points for launching this spacecraft with “Nishapur,” the longest track clearly intended to comprise the whole of the vinyl’s side A, and of course stretched out enough to be successful in that. Resonance is the first notion proposed on Land Between Rivers, with two guitars intertwining, one unfurling patient strum and the other a humming drone of sweet-toned feedback that shifts into sweetened noodling by the time the first minute has passed. Mindset: accomplished. One thing Mythic Sunship do really well is put the listener at ease and carry them along the record’s course. A graceful flow helps that — it’s not like they’re playing math rock or something so purposefully jagged-sounding — but even so, “Nishapur” presents as a particularly hypnotic effort, with the drums subtly entering at around 2:30 on soft tom hits beneath the guitars and bass.

mythic sunship (Photo-by-Trine-Pihl-Stanley)

They’re building, of course, and low end brings a bit of foreboding to the atmosphere, but they’re past the five-minute mark before things quiet down enough to let the listener know just how far the band has brought them. “Nishapur” enters its next movement over that steady current of drums and nods into a languid groove past its halfway point, shifting ultra-fluidly into a wash of noise that stretches about as far out as Mythic Sunship go on the record — a move that makes positioning the extended track as the leadoff seem even more bold. In a telling show of purpose, they bring the madness down gradually, one measure at a time, and in the last couple minutes seem to find a middle ground that could just as easily push toward another apex instead of crashing out as it does. Maybe the tape was running out? Whatever their reason, it wouldn’t be fair to say “Nishapur” feels cut short, but no question that had they decided to keep pursuing whatever it is they’re after in the song, the momentum is there.

Instead, they let that momentum shift into “High Tide” at the start of side B. Clearly intended to be complemented by the subsequent closer “Silt,” “High Tide” earns its watery title with a due sense of drift, a serenity resulting in the early motion of the guitar that calls to mind some of what Yawning Sons were able to affect on their Ceremony to the Sunset outing before the drums kick in to add more of a push and progadelic atmosphere amid the increasingly winding central progression. West Coast-style heavy psych boogie? Not quite, but not far off. Ultimately, Mythic Sunship‘s tones are fuller and less concerned with vintage ’70s-isms, and as “High Tide” moves through its first half, it opens from this build into a post-rock flow that meets with more proggy chug, spaces out even further moving past the halfway point and finding itself in a more patient linearity the second time around. That is, the shimmering guitar, forward drum push and lower-end rumble don’t strike quite as manic in the back end of the song as in the front, and as “High Tide” oozes toward its second apex, it does so more in a manner keeping with the prior “Nishapur” than in its own first half. Not going to complain either way.

After hitting its peak, “High Tide” recedes and “Silt” is what remains, some feedback leading into a full-breadth wash and thrust of fuzz and immersive tonal reach, as though the band wanted to prove as they rounded out the album that they didn’t need to cross the 10-minute mark to entrance their listenership if they didn’t want to do so. Point taken. Because they’re instrumental and because they create so much space in their sound, there’s room for growth in Mythic Sunship‘s methods in terms of playing more toward an experimentalism of arrangement — keys, percussion, strings, etc. — or even just varying tones in their material, but that’s not to say Land Between Rivers is missing anything, because simply, it isn’t. In its atmosphere and in the poise of its execution, it basks in the organic chemistry between Thorenfeldt, Denning, Andersen and Christensen, and that proves to be more than enough to transport them and their audience through these engaging and consuming jams. May they continue to develop on this path, and if they want to get a little weird along the way, that’s fine too.

Mythic Sunship on Thee Facebooks

Mythic Sunship at El Paraiso Records

El Paraiso Records on Thee Facebooks

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Shabda Announce New Album Vishnu Sahasranama – 10 STUDI

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I still count the last Shabda record, Pharmakon / Pharmakos (review here), as one of the most pleasant surprises that hit my ears in 2015, so the news that the Italian ritual drone outfit are working on a follow-up is definitely well received. Whenever it lands, Vishnu Sahasranama – 10 STUDI — they’ve apparently got a real thing for complex names — might not have the same surprise factor this time from the Torino-based group, but if the difference is I can look forward to hearing what they’ve come up with this time, that seems like a fair trade for not being blindsided. And who knows? They’re weird enough that I might just end up blindsided anyway.

The new Shabda, like Pharmakon / Pharmakos, will be issued through Argonauta Records when it’s ready. The band and the label both posted the following on the subject, listing it as an early autumn release:

Shabda working on new album!

After the 2 tracks long celebration of Pharmakon / Pharmakos, released a year and half ago by Argonauta Records, Shabda are back in the studio recording their fourth album which will see the light in early autumn 2017. “Vishnu Sahasranama – 10 STUDI” – this is the title – is inspired by the traditional Indian Vaishnava text commented by Sankara and representing the model of the garland of a thousand names, the practice of meditation on the metaphysical qualities of god Visnu conceived as the absolute principle.

A group of exceptional musicians and friends plays the ten compositions written by Anna Airoldi and Marco Castagnetto, painting a fresco that encompasses Western classical music and kosmische musik, Eastern tradition and psychedelia, pursuing and cultivating the exploration of the link between East and West, between continuity and innovation.

An album living of contrasts among contemplation and instinct, composition and improvisation, between electronic and acoustic music, leaving it open to interpretation and diversity of listening experience. Traveling from Europe to Varanasi and back, with an ear to the legacy of Popol Vuh, Dead Can Dance and Nils Frahm.

Deep listening and repetition are the keys around which the identity of the project is built, and the channel to direct the search for timeless and spaceless dimension of being. Ideally channeling Marco Castagnetto and Anna Airoldi spiritual research, supported by a bunch of talented musicians and friends, Shabda explores the fil rouge that holds the Tradition in its Western and Eastern currents, primarily referring to Hermeticism, Vedanta, Taoism and Sufism.

https://www.facebook.com/shabdaofficial/
http://shabdahq.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/

Shabda, Pharmakon / Pharmakos (2015)

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The Melvins Announce Three Months of North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

My feelings on heavy rock legends the Melvins remain unchanged. I probably don’t ever need to see the band live again. Barring some seismic shift in their approach or my own personal taste, I probably don’t need to hear another Melvins record for as long as I live — even less a double-album, sorry. I know for a fact I don’t need to read another bloated-journo thinkpiece about how experimental or important they are or how everyone from Seattle got famous and they didn’t and therefore, integrity. These feelings are what they have been.

I also continue to respect the crap out of the fact that as they get ready to release their who-even-knows-anymore-th album, they’re doing so with 12 weeks of touring. In North America. You know they’ll be in Europe again before the end of the year as well. Sorry, but however Meh-lvins you (or I) might feel, they’re aren’t a lot of bands who either can or would be willing to break their collective ass like that on the road at this stage in their career.

So there you go. New double-album, A Walk with Love and Death, is out in July on Ipecac. Tour starts July 5 with support from Brooklyn’s Spotlights.

PR wire has it like this:

the melvins

THE MELVINS PLOT 12-WEEK NORTH AMERICAN TOUR IN SUPPORT OF FORTHCOMING DOUBLE ALBUM, A WALK WITH LOVE & DEATH (JULY 7, IPECAC RECORDINGS)

IPECAC LABELMATES, SPOTLIGHTS, OPEN ON ALL DATES

The Melvins, who release the double album A Walk With Love & Death on July 7 via Ipecac Recordings, announce their most extensive North American tour to date, with dates stretching from July 5 to Oct. 3.

Tickets for the tour, which stretches from Florida to British Columbia, from Southern California to New England, are on-sale this Friday at 10 a.m. local time.

With A Walk With Love & Death, the trio of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald showcase two distinct sides of the band’s music: Death, a proper Melvins’ release and Love, the score to the Jesse Nieminen directed, self-produced short also titled A Walk With Love & Death. A release date for the short has not been announced yet but a trailer has been made available. The albums, which include guests Joey Santiago (The Pixies), Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes/Crystal Fairy) and Anna Waronker (That Dog), were co-produced with Toshi Kosai.

A Walk With Love & Death tour dates:
July 5 San Diego, CA Casbah
July 6 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
July 7 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
July 8 Fresno, CA Strummer’s
July 9 Sacramento, CA Goldfield Trading Post
July 10 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
July 12 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
July 14 Vancouver, BC Venue Nightclub
July 17 Edmonton, AB Union Hall
July 18 Calgary, AB The Marquee
July 20 Winnipeg, MB Pyramid Cabaret
July 21 Fargo, ND The Aquarium
July 22 Minneapolis, MN Grumpy’s Bash
July 24 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
July 25 Chicago, IL The Metro
July 26 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
July 27 Detroit, MI El Club
July 28 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
July 29 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
July 31 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater
August 1 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater
August 2 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
August 3 New York, NY Irving Plaza
August 4 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
August 5 Asbury Park, NJ The Stone Pony
August 6 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
August 8 Richmond, VA The Broadberry
August 9 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
August 10 Knoxville, TN The Concourse
August 11 Louisville, KY Headliner’s Music Hall
August 12 St. Louis, MO The Ready Room
August 13 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck
August 15 Englewood, CO Gothic Theatre
August 17 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
August 18 Las Vegas, NV Psycho Fest
August 20 San Jose, CA The Ritz
August 21 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
August 22 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
September 5 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
September 6 Tucson, AX 191 Toole
September 8 Austin, TX The Mohawk
September 9 Dallas, TX Tree’s
September 10 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger
September 11 Houston, TX Warehouse Live (Studio)
September 13 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jack’s
September 14 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
September 15 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s
September 16 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
September 17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Culture Room
September 18 Orlando, FL The Social
September 20 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
September 21 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade (Hell Stage)
September 22 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
September 23 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
September 25 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
September 26 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Co.
September 27 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
September 28 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
September 30 Ft. Collins, CO Aggie Theatre
October 2 Albuquerque, NM The Launchpad
October 3 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room

Spotlights, who will release their Ipecac debut this fall, open on all dates.

The Melvins will also perform with Tool on June 24 at the Glen Helem Amphitheater in San Bernardino, Calif.

facebook.com/melvinsarmy
twitter.com/melvinsdotcom
instagram.com/melvinsdotcom

facebook.com/spotlightsband
twitter.com/spotlightsband
instagram.com/spotlightsband

ipecac.com
facebook.com/ipecac
instagram.com/ipecacrecordings

Melvins, A Walk with Love and Death album trailer

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Geezer to Release Psychoriffadelia June 9; European Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

geezer

Hey, if you’re gonna go, make an occasion of it. We’ve known for some time that New York heavy psych blues rockers Geezer were headed to Europe in 2017. They were announced in December for the lineup of Freak Valley 2017, and just a couple days after that, confirmed the appearance would coincide with a first tour on European shores.

So what’s new? What’s new is the fact that Geezer will go not only supporting their righteous 2016 self-titled full-length (review here), but a new, fourth LP as well — dubbed Psychoriffadelia and due out June 9 through Kozmik Artifactz in Europe and STB Records in the US with preorders set to start as soon as this post is live. So… now.

Comprised of five tracks that run a 39-minute gamut from the scummer boogie bliss of “Hair of the Dog” — “Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch,” and all — to the vulnerable blues of “Red Hook,” the sleaze of “Dirty Penny” and the megajams that ensue there and in the 10-minute title-track, Psychoriffadelia is the result of Geezer firing at max volume on all cylinders, expanding on the self-titled while reinforcing that album’s accomplishments with a brazen next step forward. Don’t be fooled by the quick turnaround — there’s growth here. Not that I’ve heard it yet or anything. Ahem.

Psychoriffadelia also finds Geezer working as the three-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Charles Ruggiero, the latter a former bandmate of Harrington‘s in hard rockers Slunt and stepping in for Chris Turco, who handled drums on the last album as well as the 2014 LP, Gage (review here), and their 2013 debut, Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues. Ruggiero will take part in the European tour as well, which is booked through Total Volume Agency and Snuff Lane in the UK, and the band have set up a crowdfunding campaign to help with the inevitable expenses of making the trip. Rewards include an exclusive die-hard edition of the LP.

Info on that, the release announcement for Psychoriffadelia, and of course the tour dates all follow here, courtesy of the band:

geezer psychoriffadelia

GEEZER – Psychoriffadelia

The power of the riff. The allure of the psychedelic. The intensity of the electricity. These are the things that bring us together, these are the things that create Psychoriffadelia.

Recorded mostly live at Redbird Studio on 9/10/16 in New York City, the songs of Psychoriffadelia came together over the course of that summer. It had been months since we turned in the masters for our self titled album, yet still a few months until the album was released. We had been playing shows with Charles Ruggiero on drums while Chris Turco was on a work related hiatus. During that time, riffs arose, jams happened and songs were created. We wanted to capture that moment, no matter how fleeting.

We are proud to announce that Psychoriffadelia will be released on vinyl and CD through Kozmik Artifactz Records on June 9th! For those of you in the US, STB Records will have vinyl for sale through their webstore as well. Digital versions of the album will be available through the band’s Bandcamp page.

Here are the vinyl specs:
Release date: June 9, 2017
Pre-Order: April 27, 2017
180g high quality vinyl with gatefold
100x black
200x yellow
200x red/black marbled

Geezer, Psychoriffadelia tracklisting:
1. Hair of the Dog (4:48)
2. Stressknots (4:40)
3. Psychoriffadelia (10:16)
4. Red Hook (6:02)
5. Dirty Penny (13:23)

Artwork and Design by Kim Zangrando

A special “Die Hard Edition” of the album will be released through Geezer’s European Tour crowd funding campaign. This will include a screen printed jacket with alternate artwork, multi-colored vinyl and more! (see below for more info)

Live Album Official Release

In addition, Geezer’s live album, A Flagrant Disregard For Happiness is being released on June 9th, also through STB Records and Kozmik Artifactz Records. Originally released as an add on to the Die Hard version of the self-titled album, it is now being released on it’s own on beautiful 180g gold vinyl, limited to 150 units total!

The album contains one 30 minute instrumental (mostly improvised) track, A Flagrant Disregard For Happiness, which was performed at BSP in Kingston NY on April 1, 2016 as part of the ongoing Hudson Valley Psych Fest Series.

A video of this performance can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSs0deYCU98

European Tour

To celebrate the release of Psychoriffadelia, Geezer is going to Europe! With the help of Total Volume Booking, Geezer will be doing a 3 week tour that includes our first appearance at Freak Valley Festival! Some dates are still being confirmed but here is the latest:

geezer tour poster.13 June Paris, France / Le Gibus Live
15 June Mannheim, Germany / KURZBAR
16 June Netphen, Germany / FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL
17 June Lille, France / Le Biplan
18 June Brussels, Belgium / Centre Culturel Garcia Lorca
19 June Ghent, Belgium / Kinky Star
20 June Strasbourg, France / Elastic Bar
21 June Lyon, France / La fête de la musique – Bar des Capucins
22 June Olten, Switzerland / Coq D’Or
23 June Clermont Ferrand, France / Raymond Bar
24 June Montaigu, France / Le Zinor
27 June Exeter, UK / Phoenix
28 June London, UK / The Dev
29 June Coventry, UK / The Arches
30 June Bristol, UK / The Old England
1 July TBC – UK

Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign
As mentioned above, Geezer will be doing a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to help offset some of the expenses of the trip. Exclusive perks will include a “Die Hard” Edition of Psychoriffadelia. This edition will include a screen printed jacket with alternate artwork and multi-colored vinyl. Other perks include tour posters and shirts designed by Jo Riou, CD and digital versions of the new album, never before available embroidered patches and other exclusive perks. The campaign is already up and will run until Friday, May 26th.

We need your help to make this tour a reality. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated!

Contribute to the Indiegogo campaign here: https://igg.me/at/xxo6XcM2mD4/x/16460786

Geezer is:
Pat Harrington – Guitar, Vocals
Richie Touseull – Bass
Charles Ruggiero – Drums

https://igg.me/at/xxo6XcM2mD4/x/16460786
https://www.facebook.com/geezerNY/
http://geezertown.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totalvolumebackline/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz/
https://twitter.com/kozmikartifactz
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/STB-Records/471228012921184
http://www.stbrecords.bigcartel.com/

Geezer, Geezer (2016)

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