Six Dumb Questions with All Souls

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on February 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

all souls photo Memo Villasenor

There is an entire league of brutally underrated crafters of heavy rock and roll whose greatest misfortune, perhaps, was being active before the ascendancy of social media made ‘word of mouth’ as simple as cutting and pasting a link to a news feed, and it is to this number that Tony Aguilar belongs. Together with Meg Castellanos, Aguilar stood at the helm of the raw, bold and deeply individualized outfit Totimoshi for more than a decade before their 2011 outing, Avenger (review here), served as their final triumph and swansong, and after a few years of exploring flamenco and folk influences together in Alma Sangre as well as tour managing for the likes of Sleep and the Melvins, the urge to reestablish a footing in heavy music asserted itself, and All Souls began to take shape.

Of course, no story is ever quite that simple, but as All Souls issued their self-titled debut (review here) on Feb. 9 through Sunyata Records and quickly took off on a UK tour alongside Fatso Jetson, that footing sure seems to have been found. Comprised of Aguilar on guitar/vocals, Castellanos on bass/vocals, Erik Trammell of Black Elk on guitar and backing vocals, and Tony Tornay, also of Fatso Jetson, on drums, All Souls offer nine songs of varied moods but universal impact on the self-titled, reminding of the strength that was in Aguilar and Castellanos‘ songwriting process during the Totimoshi days but building outward as well and covering new ground thanks to the contributions of Trammell and Tornay to the mix. A production job by Toshi Kasai blends weighted crunch with fluid layering on songs like “Money Man” and “Sadist/Servant,” the latter of which trades between open stretches of melancholia and some of the record’s most forceful percussive impact, making the entire experience more engaging, cohesive and sincere.

I’ve already reviewed the album, so I’ll spare you any further blah blah blah about how I think it’s worth your time and the effort of an active listen and just get to the interview. As All Souls just wrapped that tour with Fatso Jetson — Tornay pulling double-duty at his kit — it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the story behind the band’s origins, how they came together after the slow dissolution of Totimoshi, and where they might be headed after this initial collection. Fresh from the road, Aguilar was kind enough to accommodate.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

all souls all souls

Six Dumb Questions with All Souls

Tell me about getting All Souls together. How did Erik Trammell and Tony Tornay get involved? Was there a specific impetus behind forming a new rock-style project, and when it came to it, what was behind the decision to not simply bring back Totimoshi? What are the differences between the two bands for you?

The rock music community is a small world, especially if you’re in a touring band. All the members of All Souls have been friends for years. Before the forming of our band, Meg and I had known Erik Trammell and Tony Tornay for probably 20 years. We met Erik back in the ’90s when he was in the band Wadsworth. Later his band Black Elk used to play shows with Totimoshi. Meg and I met Tony Tornay back in the ’90s as well when Fatso Jetson opened for Kyuss at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.

When Meg and I moved to L.A., I got a job working for the Melvins, which turned into working for Neurosis and Sleep, which led to me being on road for nine months out of the year. I really believe that cost me Totimoshi. Being absent is not good for a band. Eventually, Chris Fugitt, the drummer in Totimoshi ended up moving back to Kansas City because of a job offer. Totimoshi tried to continue with new drummers but it just didn’t feel right. After Totimoshi ended, Meg and I started an acoustic band called Alma Sangre that incorporates Spanish guitar with flamenco dance. It was sort of a venture into a completely different type of songwriting and singing (I sing in Spanish with sort of a Chavela Vargas-type of delivery).

As that went on I got the itch to be in a rock band again, which eventually led me to starting a band called Last Days of Ancient Sunlight with my friend Ferdie [Cudia] from the band 400 Blows. We were a band for about a year and a half — even recorded a full length that never came out because of in-fighting. All this time, Tony Tornay and I would see each other occasionally and throw around the idea of starting a band. We even jammed a few times. About the time Last Days broke up Erik Trammell moved back to Los Angeles from Austin. I had set Erik up with a friend of mine that rented a room to him. Erik and I talked one day and the idea of writing together came up. Which is how All Souls basically started. Erik Trammell and I sitting in my spare room — him playing guitar and me mostly singing. Over the course of a few weeks we came up with the bare structure for three songs which I sent to Tony Tornay. Tony liked it; then TornayErik and I talked and decided on Meg for bass because we liked her playing and felt a female vocal would add something special. That’s how All Souls was born.

Personally, the difference between All Souls and Totimoshi is All Souls is way more developed. It’s 10 times the visual, 10 times the feel and strength of Totimoshi. It’s literally the band I always dreamed of being in. It is also more art by committee that Totimoshi ever was. I tended to be a bit of a dictator in Totimoshi. With All Souls, the I has turned into we. We all write, we all write well, we all trust. All Souls involved.

When were the songs for the self-titled written, and were they written with any specific goals in mind? Was there something in particular you wanted the album to express?

Before the band ever played together we sat at a table and discussed how we were going to proceed. This was Tony Tornay‘s idea and I still think back with fondness to that evening. We drank wine and discussed music… more importantly we discussed what we wanted All Souls to be. From what I remember we wanted female/male energy (no overly macho bullshit). We wanted the songs to decide the length of the song — not some ridiculous formula. We wanted dark music that illuminates, and we wanted deep complex melody. We talked about bands that we loved, but that’s a secret. Over the course of about a year we made this all come to fruition.

Tell me about being back in the studio with Toshi Kasai. How long were you there? What was the recording process like? You worked with him of course with Totimoshi, but how was it different this time and what did he bring to the table as a producer? What was it about him that let you know he was the guy for the job?

Meg, Erik, and myself had all worked with Toshi Kasai prior to All Souls. Tony Tornay listened to his work and agreed that Toshi was the guy. We are all friends with him, know and love him and respect his vision as a producer. Toshi has a very specific way of recording and mixing that we love. Personally, I feel that because we have worked so much together — we understand and trust each other. We recorded with Toshi in three different sessions. The goal was to write three songs, rehearse the shit out of the three songs, record the three songs, then move on to the next three. Over the course of about a year all nine songs were recorded at Toshi‘s Sound of Sirens Studio.

Is it any different working with Meg in All Souls as opposed to Totimoshi or in Alma Sangre? Not looking to pry, but how do you view the interaction between the personal relationship and the creative one? How interrelated are they?

Meg and I have been in a relationship for 27 years. That is 27 years of dreaming, writing, traveling and working together, and I don’t see us slowing down. We understand each other very well as people and as artists. That dynamic plays very similarly in each artistic endeavor that we have been a part of but I do feel that All Souls is our first real and true collaboration with other people. I feel like for the most part Totimoshi and Alma Sangre was basically Meg and I doing most of the major work and allowing input from other people that were involved. All Souls is a real and true circle of collaboration. Not only do we all write, but we all work on the forward movement of the band. I’ve never really been in a band until now that literally has every member of the band networking, setting up shows, tours, and dealing with PR. Namely, the business side of things. Before All Souls it seemed that it was always up to Meg and myself. It is truly a great thing to see, but I’m not surprised — we all sat at the table and drew this thing up. That is the strength of this project.

How was touring the UK with Fatso Jetson? How did Tony handle pulling double-duty on drums, and how much road Eme do you ulEmately think All Souls will do in the US and abroad?

The tour was amazing. There is nothing like playing and touring with not only friends but a band you consider a true inspiration. Tony Tornay was powerhouse on this tour — and he did it while fighting the flu!! He’s part man, part machine. We were well received everywhere we went, we got to see some incredible towns and meet some great people. One of the most amazing things we saw was people traveling from great distances to come see the show, some flying in from other countries. Some fans came to multiple shows. I think I can speak for all the members when I say we are hoping to tour as much as humanly possible. What better thing is there in life?

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Our first album is done and we are already writing for the next. All Souls forever!

All Souls on Thee Facebooks

All Souls on Twitter

All Souls on Instagram

All Souls on Bandcamp

All Souls website

Sunyata Records on Thee Facebooks

Sunyata Records website

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Woodhawk Announce ‘Magnetic North Tour’ Canadian Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

woodhawk (photo Mario Montes)

Canadian heavy rockers Woodhawk seem to have a thing for Star Wars-themed tour posters. I can’t really argue with either the aesthetic or the concept, it’s just always kind of fun to see what they come up with for their next stretch on the road. This time around it’s a Millennium Falcon with a trailer full of gear. Get it? Last time it was Darth Vader looming over the dates. I assume if we wait long enough, some of those adorable little porgs might show up. Or BB-8. Or Force-Hologram Luke. Cute as a button, the whole lot of ’em.

Since you asked, yes indeed, Woodhawk are still out supporting last year’s Beyond the Sun (review here), which had its own Star Wars connections. If you’ve got a daily quota for hooks to get stuck in your head, I suggest you stream the album on the player at the bottom of this post, and should you happen to be in the Great White North this March/April, here are those dates:

woodhawk magnetic north tour

WOODHAWK Announce Canadian “Magnetic North Tour” (AB/SK/MB/ON/QC)

Calgary, AB’s masters of straight ahead riff-rock wizardry WOODHAWK announce their 2018 Canadian “Magnetic North Tour” in support of their latest full length album “Beyond The Sun” released April last year. The tour will see the trio trek across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba plus performing for the first time in Ontario and Quebec (dates listed below).

The band comments: “We’re excited to be hitting the road again and heading out East this time. We haven’t played past Winnipeg yet and we’re stoked to finally make it out there.”

WOODHAWK’s debut album “Beyond The Sun” was produced by the band with Jesse Gander (Bison, Japandroids) to follow their 2014 self-titled EP. Made of equal parts 1970’s Birmingham and a myriad of 21st century heavy who’s who, WOODHAWK are purveyors of riff-centric rock and roll. Capable and original, the band is able to craft anthemic fist-pumping songs while forgoing tired stoner rock clichés. With time travel tested themes of science fiction, swords and sorcery, the band’s lyrics are born from snowy winters, hot practice spaces and pages of dog-eared paperbacks. While the musicianship reinforces recollections of Black Sabbath, modern influences that have helped you smash air drums or highway speed limits are undeniably present.

‘Beyond The Sun’ album stream available on Bandcamp at https://woodhawk.bandcamp.com.

The album is available on digital, vinyl and CD.

WOODHAWK “Magnetic North Tour” (AB/SK/MB/ON/QC)

March 21 – Calgary, AB – Ship and Anchor
March 22 – Edmonton, AB – Brixx Bar
March 23 – Saskatoon, SK – Vangelis Tavern
March 24 – Winnipeg, MB – The Handsome Daughter
March 27 – London, ON – Call The Office
March 28 – Hamilton, ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
March 29 – Ottawa, ON – House of TARG
March 30 – Toronto, ON – The Bovine
March 31 – Montreal, QC – Quai des Brumes
April 2 – Oshawa, ON – TBA
April 5 – Thunder Bay, ON – Black Pirates Pub
April 6 – Brandon, MB – North Hill Inn
April 7 – Regina, SK – The German Club

Woodhawk is:
Turner Midzain – Vocals/Guitar
Mike Badmington – Bass/Vocals
Kevin Nelson – Drums

http://www.woodhawkriffs.com
http://facebook.com/woodhawkriffs
http://twitter.com/woodhawkriffs
http://instagram.com/woodhawkriffs
https://woodhawk.bandcamp.com

Woodhawk, Beyond the Sun (2017)

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Mark Deutrom to Reissue The Value of Decay April 6

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mark deutrom

Originally released in 2011, The Value of Decay is the second reissue from Mark Deutrom to come down the line this year via Season of Mist. The first was 2001’s The Silent Treatment, his solo debut, so in essence we’re fast forwarding a decade. During that stretch, Deutrom had a couple self-presses out but so far as I can tell not an actual album under his own name, so that 10-year leap might actually put him at his second outing, which, you know, would make sense being the second reissue and all. Yeah, that’s me, doing the hard math. You’re welcome.

Of course, one still awaits word of Deutrom‘s next studio offering, which would follow 2013’s Brief Sensuality and Western Violence (review here), as well as news from his band Bellringer, whose 2016 debut full-length, Jettison (review here), was rife with weirdo joys, but presumably we’ll get there sooner or later. Plenty to chew on in the meantime.

The PR wire has info on The Value of Decay, which you can also stream at the bottom of this post:

mark deutrom the value of decay

MARK DEUTROM announces “The Value of Decay” reissue

MARK DEUTROM, former MELVINS bassist and prolific musician from Texas has announced the second in the series of reissues coming this year. The reissue, for ‘Value of Decay’ (2011) will be released worldwide on April 6 as an expanded edition featuring a bonus track. ‘The Value of Decay’ is available for pre-order here. The album is streaming here.

The cover art and track list for ‘The Value of Decay’ can be found below.

Track list:
1. From the Deepest Well
2. Darksider
3. Dim Candle
4. Au Printemps
5. Love Story Pt. 1
6. Making a Killing
7. Love Story Pt. 2
8. Buried in the Jewel
9. Victor’s Closet
10. Love Story Pt. 3
11. Cities of Gold
12. Blood Fairies
13. Perish the Thought
14. Curtains
15. Love Story Pt. 4
16. Empire Sands

MARK DEUTROM just released ‘The Silent Treatment’. The critically acclaimed album is available as an expanded edition, featuring artwork and a bonus track. ‘The Silent Treatment’ is available now at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

MARK DEUTROM will release his 6th solo album via Season of Mist. More information about this new album will be available in the weeks and months to come.

https://www.facebook.com/markdeutrom
https://www.instagram.com/markdeutrom/
http://www.markdeutrom.com/
http://smarturl.it/MDeutromSilent
https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/band/mark-deutrom
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
https://www.instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial/

Mark Deutrom, The Value of Decay (2011/2018)

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Besvärjelsen Premiere “Under en Svart Himmel” Video; Vallmo out March 27

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

besvarjelsen

It makes a lot of sense that so much of the new Besvärjelsen video happens in split screen, since the band seems to spend so much time inhabiting multiple worlds. The Stockholm five-piece will issue their debut album, Vallmo, on March 27 via Suicide Records in conjunction with DalaPop (again, multiple worlds), and its sound is a deeply varied wash of progressive heavy post-rock atmospherics, moody soul-searching melodicism and weighted groove. Lyrics switch back and forth between Swedish and English depending on the song — prior single “Return of No Return” (video premiere here) was in English, the latest sampling premiering below, “Under en Svart Himmel,” is in Swedish — and with vocal duties shared among multiple members between frontwoman Lea Amling Alazam and guitarists Andreas Baier and Staffan Winroth, there’s an obvious commitment to a varied approach that comes through on Vallmo‘s eight tracks/51 minutes and, in kind with the depth of the mix and the richness of tones and melodies, makes the album an all-the-more-satisfying listening experience.

Of course, being driven by the rhythm section of bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall doesn’t hurt either. Both players have roots in Dozer, but Rockner played in Greenleaf as well, and one can find a touch of influence from that band’s more dramatic latter-day output on Vallmo in songs like “Öken,” which blends heavy rock Besvarjelsen Vallmogroove with a spacious sensibility thanks to a healthy dose of reverb on Alazam‘s vocals and the weight in the guitars and drive of the rhythm overall, and the penultimate “Falsarium,” which builds toward a linear peak topped by righteous soloing and push from the bass and drums. Ultimately though, Besvärjelsen are on their own wavelength, as the doom-meets-prog rollout of “Röda Rummet” and the organ-laced graces in the second half of ‘I Skuggen Av Ditt Morker” so readily demonstrate. Conceptually and in practice, the album is an undertaking, and it requires active participation on the part of its audience, but the reward for fuller engagement is a memorable release that, especially as a debut, is striking in its cohesion and sense of purpose. Besvärjelsen are a relatively new band, started in 2014, but there’s never a wavering moment throughout Vallmo where they seem to be in anything less than complete control of where their songs are heading and what they’re seeking to express.

And again, since the record is so varied between pieces like the swaying opener “Mara” residing in a kind of minor-key proggy riffism somewhat reminiscent in its breadth of sound to the later work of Parisians Abrahma and the patient sprawl that ensues across 10-minute finale “Alone,” the midsection of which veers into a stretch of psychedelic minimalism one hopes the band takes as a model to employ again in future composition, the accomplishment on Besvärjelsen‘s part in keeping it all together as fluidly and decisively as they do, and with such a clear conveying of intent, is not a feat to be understated. If nothing else, they’ve set a high standard from which to progress as they move forward, but thinking in the shorter term — i.e. of Vallmo itself, rather than the potential it signifies — there’s little doubt that the Swedes have culled together what will serve as one of the finer debut long-players of 2018. As “Alone” jumps from that quiet midsection back through its chorus en route to the album’s final crescendo and payoff, the emotional and aural resonance of what Besvärjelsen do could hardly be clearer, and it’s something that both demands and well earns the attention it’s due.

Below you’ll find the video for the melancholy and soulful “Under en Svart Himmel” (“under a black cloud,” in English), followed by a quote from the band about its making and more info on Besvärjelsen‘s Vallmo, courtesy of the PR wire:

Besvärjelsen, “Under en Svart Himmel” video premiere

Besvärjelsen on “Under en Svart Himmel”:

It was the last song that was written for Vallmo. We had discussed that we needed one more song for the album and luckily Andreas had been sitting on this one for a while. He had almost the whole song ready, both guitars and vocals. So the rest of the band just added some spices. Like Leas vocals, the small guitar flourishes on the second verse and the drum beat on the second part of the verses which came to be after listening to The Doors on the car stereo.

The vibe of the song was inspired by the song ”Vintersaga” (“A winters tale”) performed by the Swedish singer Monica Törnell. The lyrics can be interpreted in many ways but the main theme was the metamorphosis that takes place after a forest fire. In particularly the great forest fire that swept over middle of Sweden in 2014 came to mind.

The video was shot the morning of February 17th in Andreas’ home village of Nås, and edited in the afternoon by Erik Bäckwall.

BESVÄRJELSEN – Swedish for “conjuring” – was forged in 2014. The band released their debut EP Villfarelser in 2015 which was followed by 2016’s Exil EP. Much of 2017 found BESVÄRJELSEN composing the the audio alchemy found on their ?rst full-length studio offering Vallmo (Swedish for “poppy”). Vallmo more than ever showcases the band’s enormous potential, the eight-track offering seamlessly wandering from crushing doom riffs to catchy vocals and melodies, deep lyrical content, and storming drum work, all topped by stunning guitar solos and, for the first time since the band’s formation, songs in English as well as their native Swedish.

BESVÄRJELSEN’s Vallmo was captured at Studio Glashuset and Midlake Studios by guitarist/vocalist Andreas Baier and comes sheathed in the cover art of Blodpest with design by drummer Erik Bäckwall.

Vallmo will see release on vinyl and digital formats via by Suicide Records in cooperation with DalaPop on March 27th.

BESVÄRJELSEN:
Lea Amling Alazam – vocals
Andreas Baier – guitar, vocals
Staffan Winroth – guitar, vocals
Erik Bäckwall – drums
Johan Rockner – bass

Besvärjelsen on Thee Facebooks

Besvärjelsen on Twitter

Besvärjelsen on Bandcamp

Besvärjelsen website

Suicide Records on Thee Facebooks

Suicide Records on Bandcamp

Suicide Records website

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Abramis Brama to Release Tusen År April 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Abramis Brama photo Linda Pettersson

I’ll probably post it first, because of the time zone differences and all that, but you should know that I’ve waited until the end of my day to write about the new Abramis Brama album because I knew it would make me happy to think about it coming out and I wanted to finish the afternoon of putting posts together on a particularly high note. And yeah, the long-running Swedish outfit are good for that kind of thing. Tusen År will be their seventh long-player and first on Black Lodge Records, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get some advanced coverage going for it — you know, beyond this — and maybe interview the band, who remain way, way underappreciated for their contributions to heavy rock both retro and modern.

Yeah, see? I knew that would feel good to think about. New Abramis Brama. What’s not awesome about that? It’s out in April.

From the PR wire:

abramis brama tusen ar

Abramis Brama – Tusen År – Black Lodge Records

Abramis Brama returns with their seventh studio album in 2018, which also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut on the Swedish heavy rock scene and national radio airwaves with their signature song “Mamma talar”.

At the time, however, heavy rock with strong 60’s and 70’s roots, sung in their native Swedish tongue, was hardly in fashion. Still, Abramis Brama persevered, and aside from one album (by request of the record label at the time), the band has not swayed, nor betrayed their initial ideals of fusing the doomy thunder of Black Sabbath with the deep groove of Mountain and the lyrical tradition that started with Swedish cult band November in the late 60’s – also adding a Swedish folk influence and some psychedelic touches.

This has garnered them international praise and recognition from listeners and press alike, and by their solid, high energy live performances all over Sweden they’ve created a strong grassroots fan base, that stretch far outside the main cities.

“Tusen år”, the band’s debut for Black Lodge Records, is a very focused rock album that stays true to band’s ideals, and digs deeper with thoughtful, mature, and poetic lyrics – which both celebrate and lament our existence as humans on earth and beyond.

TRACKLIST:
01. Löpeld
02. Vem är du?
03. Tusen år
04. Slutet av tunneln
05. Fel kvinna
06. Vägen ut
07. Hav av lögner
08. Ta mig tillbaka

LINE-UP:
Ulf Torkelsson – lead vocals, harmonica
Per-Olof Andersson – electric and acoustic guitars
Fredrik Liefvendahl – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Mats Rydström – bass, backing vocals

www.abramisbrama.com
www.facebook.com/abramisbrama
www.instagram.com/abramisbramaofficial
http://smarturl.it/tusen-ar
https://www.facebook.com/blacklodgerecords/

Abramis Brama, “Lång Tripp” official video

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The Mound Builders Announce Trio of Upcoming Releases

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the mound builders

I’ve you’re thinking it’s been a while since the last time we heard from Indiana heavy rockers The Mound Builders, you’re right. Their last standalone offering was 2014’s Wabash War Machine (review here), though they also had a split with Pale Horseman out in 2016. Still, it’s been a minute. 2018 looks to be packed for the four-piece, however, as they’ll have three new releases on the docket.

The first is a reissue of Wabash War Machine that seems to include new art. Fair enough. The second is a split through Failure Records and Tapes with The Lurking Corpses, Hailshot and No Breaks.And the third is a to-be-recorded self-titled full-length that they band will hope to release later in the year. Details on that one are obviously pretty sparse — it doesn’t quite exist yet, you see — but it’s cool to know they’re at the point where they’re ready to get to work on it. Hopefully it’s out before 2018 is done.

They sent the news down the PR wire:

The Mound Builders plan 3 releases for 2018!

Lafayette, IN Sludge Rockers The Mound Builders plan 2 releases for 2018 leading up to a brand new full length for late Fall/early Winter.

The first release slated for April 21st (Record Store Day) will be a re-release of the now out of print EP Wabash War Machine. The re-issue features new art work by Clayton Jarvis of Abom design and will include The Mound Builders 2 newest songs Black Drink Ritual and Hashashin previously only available on the 12″ split with Pale Horseman. These songs were originally intended to be on Wabash War Machine but were abandoned due to lack of funding and time. Wabash War Machine 2.0 is how we intended to originally release it and we are excited to finally share this complete version with our fans!

The 2nd release, scheduled to drop Memorial Weekend (May 25th) will be the 3rd installment of Failure Records and Tapes 7″ series “Split Hits the Fans”. This 4 way split features a new, punk’d out version of our song Sun God as well as new music from Midwest favorites, The Lurking Corpses, Hailshot, and No Breaks. Pre-sales available now through the link below.

http://failurerecordstapes.bigcartel.com/product/the-mound-builders-hailshot-the-lurking-corpses-no-breaks

Finally we will be in the Studio late March to track our first full length release in 7 years! The Mound Builders self-title will feature 8 brand new songs of all original material and will be released on Failure Records and Tapes! We hope to complete mixing and mastering and pick up our show schedule in April to support and promote our plans!

http://themoundbuilders.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themoundbuilders
https://twitter.com/themoundbuilder
http://themoundbuilders.com/SITE/

The Mound Builders, Wabash War Machine (2014)

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420 Music & Arts Festival 2018: Sasquatch, Brant Bjork, Great Electric Quest, La Chinga, Dopethrone and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

My understanding there’s a whole lot more that goes on at Calgary’s 420 Music and Arts Festival than just bands playing, but golly, there sure are a lot of bands playing. I just hope someone keeps a running tally of what’s on the playlist for Brant Bjork‘s DJ set, because you know that dude is going to both out-funk and out-punk the entire room and I’d pretty much take each track as a recommendation for an album I needed to check out. Oh yeah, DopethroneSasquatchLa ChingaMendozza, and about 20-odd other bands playing are pretty cool too. Not taking anything away from that. Just saying someone needs to write that shit down for me.

The PR wire has all the info:

420 music and arts festival

CALGARY’S 420 MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2018 LINE-UP W/ DOPETHRONE, BRANT BJORK, SASQUATCH, LA CHINGA – TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Official Festival Poster Artwork by Mike Calhoun / Sketchy Intuitions, Austin, TX

Calgary, AB’s 420 Music & Arts Festival presented by METALHEADS UNITED announces their 2018 line-up for April 19th, 20th, and 21st featuring headliners Dopethrone, Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Vista Chino) (special guest DJ set on 420), Sasquatch and La Chinga along with over 20 other acts ranging from stoner rock/stoner metal, doom, psychedelic and heavy blues.

420 Music & Arts Festival 2018 Line-Up

Thursday April 19

Sasquatch (Los Angeles, CA)
Great Electric Quest (San Diego, CA)
Electric Owl (Calgary, AB)
Gin Lahey (members of Chron Goblin and Witchstone) (Calgary, AB)
RAW (Calgary, AB)
Set and Stoned (Calgary, AB)
Solid Brown (Calgary, AB)

Friday April 20

Brant Bjork (Palm Desert, CA) (DJ sets between bands, spinning rare vinyl and closing the festival night)
La Chinga (Vancouver, BC)
Buffalo Bud Buster (Calgary, AB)
Mendozza (Vancouver, BC)
Bazaraba (Calgary, AB)
Chronobot (Sask)
Black Hell Oil (Saskatoon, SK)
The Mothercraft (Edmonton, AB)

Saturday April 21

Dopethrone (Montreal, QC)
Buzzard (Victoria, BC)
Orbital Express (Regina. SK)
The Electric Revival (Calgary, AB)
Chunkasaurus (Nanaimo, BC)
Heron (Vancouver, BC)
Ogimaa (Winnipeg, MB)
Haaze (Calgary, AB)
Pelican Death Squad (Calgary, AB)

Ticket Info:

Advance festival 3 day passes are now available for $69 CAD (plus applicable service charges) until April 1st then will increase to regular price of $89 (plus applicable service charges).

Limited quantities of individual day tickets will be available beginning March 1st.

Festival passes available online only at the festival store at the following link: http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca/store-2/

Festival passes give fans entry to Distortion on April 19, 20 and 21 and additional 420 Music and Arts Festival Events to be announced at a later date.

Passes are not transferable between attendees during the event. Passes will be exchanged for wrist bands, which must be worn for entrance to the events.

All passes purchased online will be available for pick up at venue or shipped to choice of mailing address. Physical passes will be mailed out in early February. Any passes purchased for shipping by February 15th, are scheduled to arrive by March 1st. If you do not receive your passes by the listed date, please contact the festival at http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca/contact/. A shipping confirmation will be sent when passes are mailed.

All ticket sales are final. No refunds will be issued unless full festival cancellation. 420 Music & Arts Festival reserve the right to change the line up as required due to band scheduling and / or other circumstances beyond their control.

http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca
http://www.facebook.com/420MusicAndArtsFestival
http://twitter.com/420FestivalYYC

Dopethrone, 1312 (2016)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

[Click play above to stream Apostle of Solitude’s From Gold to Ash in its entirety. Album is out this week on Cruz Del Sur Music.]

Understand: I had reasonably high expectations for Apostle of Solitude‘s fourth album. No reason not to, frankly. Since making a splash a decade ago with their debut full-length, Sincerest Misery (discussed here), they’ve never failed to move forward either in their approach or overall quality of output. That was the case as 2010’s Last Sunrise (review here) followed and set the stage for its own follow-up, Of Woe and Wounds (review here), in 2014. Now, between those two records a pivotal change was made in the band that saw founding guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown and drummer Corey Webb bring aboard guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak, also of Ripple Music heavy rockers Devil to Pay, to add complement to Brown‘s emotional delivery and thickness and volume to the sound overall. The short version is it worked.

The long version is it worked splendidly. And while it would be rational to imagine that a band whose output across three records has always been geared toward a healthy amount of progression would continue to progress, the fourth Apostle of Solitude, titled From Gold to Ash and issued as their second for knows-its-metal-imprint Cruz Del Sur, surpasses any and all expectations one might’ve placed on it. To be blunt, it is the kind of album that bands go their entire careers trying to make. And I fully recognize that sounds like hyperbole, but as executions of American doom metal go, there’s really nothing more one could ask of these seven tracks, which have weight in their atmosphere and emotion as much as their riffs, huge grooves cut through by melancholic harmonies between Janiak and Brown, and a continued development in songcraft that has produced some of the most memorable Apostle of Solitude material to-date.

In several important ways, From Gold to Ash is a direct follow-up to Of Woe and Wounds, and I think even the construction of the two titles hints at that. Now rounded out by bassist Mike Naish, the band returned to Mike Bridavsky to helm the recording, with whom they’ve worked since Last SunriseBridavsky brought a notable shift in clarity to Of Woe and Wounds, and that’s something From Gold to Ash continues. Apostle of Solitude sound unabashedly melodic, and though they’re distorted, rumbling, crashing and heavy, tracks like “Ruination be Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here” prove spacious enough to allow for dynamic changes in volume and tempo and overall feel, and across the 43-minute offering, the band creates a mire that’s as much heart-rending as it is headbang-worthy, their plod worthy of earliest Trouble even as they call out Pentagram‘s Be Forewarned on the penultimate “Monochrome (Discontent)” en route to rolling closer “Grey Farewell.”

The interaction between Brown and Janiak on vocals and guitar, frankly, is the most outward point of growth on the part of the band — that is, the easiest to perceive — and this makes sense. It would have to be. Either proves capable of taking the frontman position for a given song — Janiak plays that role in Devil to Pay — but it’s in cuts like centerpiece highlight “Keeping the Lighthouse” (video posted here) and in the chorus of “Ruination by Thy Name,” which arrives following the extended intro “Overlord” and delivers both an irresistible swaying groove and much of the lyrical perspective in the line, “To be wounded, and to be maimed, is to exist,” in a midsection break following the second and not-at-all final runthrough of one of From Gold to Ash‘s most resonant hooks.

Apostle of Solitude

It’s telling that the band would separate “Ruination by Thy Name” and “Keeping the Lighthouse” by the quiet 90-second guitar interlude “Autumn Moon,,” allowing the listener to properly recover from the one before moving onto the next, but they do no such favors when it comes to From Gold to Ash‘s final three tracks — a salvo that begins with the 10-minute “My Heart is Leaving here” and continues with “Monochrome (Discontent)” and the finale “Grey Farewell),” both of which top seven minutes and thus are longer than either “Ruination by Thy Name” (6:37) and “Keeping the Lighthouse” (a tidy 6:23). The reason that matters is because after “Keeping the Lighthouse” crashes to its end, “My Heart is Leaving Here” picks up with quiet, echoing guitar and seems to move the album into a different section entirely — it’s the moment where the listener enters “the thick of it.”

Slower, more depressive, more regret-filled, the calls and responses of “My Heart is Leaving Here” are a point at which From Gold to Ash reaches a new stage of expressiveness, and likewise becomes more immersive. It is doomed revelry of the highest order, building toward a guitar solo and huge lumbering finish in which a cymbal wash gives way to the drum fill at the beginning of “Monochrome (Discontent),” on which Janiak seems to take the forward vocal position as he did on “Luna” from Of Woe and Wounds, with results no less successful. Another sorrowful lyric and rolling riff gives way to a stretch of minimal guitar and punching bass after the halfway point — a bridge, essentially, and not a long one — but the peaceful moment is effective in conveying Apostle of Solitude‘s overarching dynamic and the various means through which they’re able to convey a forlorn spirit.

“Monocrhome (Discontent)” drags itself to its ending without another word and “Grey Farewell” crashes in with a suitable largesse of plod before settling into a middle-paced push through one last trade between verse and hook that seems to summarize the various aspects of From Gold to Ash that have worked so well across both sides of the release. There might be a flourish of hope in the dual-layered/dual-channel guitar solo about three-quarters of the way through, but as one recalls the line, “No time can cure the rising anguish” from “My Heart is Leaving Here” and the shouted delivery of “anguish” as a part of that, the impression overall of From Gold to Ash is long since set. Its depressiveness is resonant throughout, but there’s nothing theatrical or overblown about Apostle of Solitude‘s delivery throughout. No drama, no pretense, no wasted time. The sincerity with which From Gold to Ash is executed is one of its great strengths, and while that’s been a key factor to the band’s aesthetic since their beginning, they’ve simply never reached the level they do here.

Let me be blunt: When 2018 is over, From Gold to Ash will have been one of its finest doom releases. Despite its downer sensibility, it is an utter triumph of form, and it should put Apostle of Solitude in a new echelon of consideration as one of the US’ finest purveyors of modern doom. It is a significant accomplishment, and one that should not be ignored or passed over for any reason. Recommended.

Apostle of Solitude, “Keeping the Lighthouse” official video

Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music website

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