Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last heard from in April, Los Angeles heavy post-rockers Ides of Gemini had shifted their lineup and were setting out on a quick West Coast tour to hammer out new material. I guess they got there, because the band has now announced that they’ve signed with Rise Above Records for the follow-up to 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), which they’ll record with Sanford Parker and release early next year.
So for Ides of Gemini, that’s two records on Neurot and one forthcoming on Rise Above. That’s a pretty impressive CV as far as label associations go. You’d think the band was really good or something. Oh wait, they are. Well, that’s another mystery solved.
From the PR wire:
IDES OF GEMINI Sign With Rise Above Records
Rise Above Records is delighted to announce the signing of Los Angeles based lampblack rock quartet, IDES OF GEMINI. Says label boss Lee Dorrian: “Having been a fan of theirs since the beginning and following them through all of their macabre twists and turns, it feels so great to have them joining the Rise Above family. It’s going to be a supreme association!”
IDES guitarist J Bennett adds: “We’re dying to hit the studio to record with our new lineup. This will absolutely be our best album by leaps and bounds – it’s got some of the heaviest tunes we’ve ever written, some of the least-heavy tunes we’ve ever written, and definitely some of the catchiest tunes we’ve ever written. There might even be a theme that links the songs together, but we’ll fill you in on all that later. Til then, stay tuned…”
The band will commence recording their third full-length album in LA with Sanford Parker and is scheduled for a Spring 2017 release. IDES OF GEMINI are also set to appear Psycho Vegas this weekend. In summary, Bennett concludes: “”We couldn’t be more thrilled to join Rise Above and their absolutely top-notch stable of artists. Lee obviously has impeccable taste, and our signing proves it!”
[Click play above to stream Darsombra’s Polyvision in full. Album is out Sept. 9 on Translation Loss.]
Last year, Baltimorean experimentalist duo Darsombra went on tour. Pretty much for the whole year. They played well over 100 shows on what they dubbed the “Three Legged Monster” tour — it took place over the course of three separate legs — and they played plenty of other shows besides. That nomadic existence seems to feed into the sense of revelry and freedom that one finds in listening to Polyvision, the two-piece’s latest studio full-length for Translation Loss Records and first since 2012’s Climax Community. Or at least that’s easy enough to read into the outing’s two extended, multi-movement component tracks, “Underworld” (21:45) and “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” (22:31).
Guitarist/keyboardist Brian Daniloski and keyboardist/vocalist/visual effects creator Ann Everton bring a clear sense of composition to both pieces, but there’s an undercurrent of improvisation atop which the building layers of samples, loops, synth and effects create their swirl, and where so much of drone/noise is hell-bent on post-apocalyptic desolation, the creation of all-gray spaces, Darsombra offer a full spectrum of sonic color across Polyvision. Moreover, there are moments where they sound truly and genuinely playful in what they do, Daniloski‘s guitar or the keys winding around celebratory figures in one track or the other, bringing about a spontaneous feeling moment of arrival — “We’re here now and isn’t it great here?” — that also would seem to fit with the presented-as-being-completely-on-a-whim turn to nomadic living that the band made in 2015. Have drone, will travel, will be glad to end up wherever.
That’s a simplification of the mindset, obviously, but the underlying point is that Polyvision feels unafraid to embrace joy as it moves through its complex and ritualized-feeling soundscapes. Not that it doesn’t also have its foreboding stretches, as any even vaguely drone release with a low tone will — soundtracks have conditioned us to hear things a certain way, even subconsciously — but though its two titles are somewhat dark in their themes, with the creepy vibe and strangeness of the construction of “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” and an “Underworld” traditionally being a place not known for its pleasant afternoons, it’s not long into Polyvision before Daniloski and Everton are exploring colorful, rich textures.
It’s still fair to call Darsombra instrumental, but vocals do play a large role in setting the vibe, and that happens relatively quickly in the first movement of “Underworld”; voices almost choral loop in with undulating volume swells, fading in and out again, moving toward an end just before the five-minute mark where all goes quiet before the next wave starts with what seems to be both their voices leading to the establishing of a slow, patient rhythmic guitar figure around which the keys and a brightly progressive and extended guitar lead unfold. It’s here, making its way toward and past the midpoint of “Underworld” that Polyvision first and perhaps most effectively conveys the joy at root in its creation. It finds itself in a bouncing, almost child-like section of fuzzed-out keys and guitar — still with that original rhythm beneath; it doesn’t leave just yet — that receives due exploration before giving way to rolling waves, which is how “Underworld” ends. At the ocean. I’d assume that’s a field recording from the band, rather than a keyboard sample, but never fully knows. In either case, it’s hypnotic and signifies the kind of perpetualness Darsombra are looking to convey in their material as well as a peaceful moment to collect oneself before moving onto the second, longer track.
“From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” finds itself building layers of proggy guitar, more active, more intense, with washes of cymbal added for effect in the first couple minutes. A swirling solo takes hold and winds its way into another seemingly simplistic progression around eight minutes in, but it gives way to lower rumbling undertones, if only momentarily before the guitar surges forward again. Though only part of Darsombra‘s broad approach, Daniloski‘s lead work isn’t to be undervalued. Aside from being technically proficient, it brings a rare spontaneity to what might commonly be thought of as a drone or noise record, neither of which is a style known for working off the cuff, adding to the atmosphere of positivity and basking in the spirit of an apparently ceaseless creative drive. Just past 15 minutes, Everton begins a vocal loop that is ultimately the introduction to the final movement of “From Insects… to Aliens (The Worms Turn)” and after a final crash of guitar, she’s backed by noise that indeed sounds like and may or may not be bugs, like crickets at night something from the forest.
That Darsombra would choose to end both of Polyvision‘s cuts with nature sounds — granted in the closer the human voice is still more prominent in its long fadeout — and one can’t help but wonder in light of the album’s title if the band isn’t trying to see multiple sides, and trying to show their audience multiple sides, of how humans interact with the world around them. Of course that’s speculation on my part, but if you take anything from it, take it as a sign of the depth of the evocation that the duo enact over the course of the album’s 44 minutes. If what they gleaned from those 100-plus days on the road together are the lessons they seem to be teaching here, then their time was well spent.
About two months ago, Danish psych-garage institution Baby Woodrose made public the first audio from their seventh album, Freedom (review here) — out Sept. 16 on Bad Afro Records — in the form of a video for the track “Open Doors” (posted here). That song, maddeningly catchy as one would expect, featured Baby Woodrose‘s frontman, Lorenzo Woodrose, reciting the lyrics in a subdued manner on a swirling psychedelic green-screen backdrop, all tripped-out, expanded-mind and so on. Not groundbreaking, but a cool way to introduce the track to fans of the band with something of a personal spin.
The clip you’ll find below for “21st Century Slave” seems to get more at the core mood of the record. It works in washed out tones of blue, dark in the way of gritty modern dramas set in major cities. Once again we see Woodrose himself as the focus, but this time instead of alone, he’s absolutely smothered by the humanity around him, a largely faceless crowd of people coming and going about their lives. Woodrose, deadpan, once again delivers the lyrics to “21st Century Slave,” which are rife with cultural critique directed at the general malaise of what what middle class existence has become — wake up, go to work, go home, eat, sleep, shit, etc. — and the question of what is real and unreal in these processes. It seems only fair to call the results brooding, despite the enduring crispness of Woodrose‘s songcraft and shimmering tonality.
When taken together, “21st Century Slave” and “Open Doors,” the two videos, perfectly represent the two sides at work across Freedom — one trying to show a way to a better existence and the other showing why we as a species need it. Baby Woodrose will headline Bad Afro Records‘ 20th anniversary party on Nov. 5 in Copenhagen with Telstar Sound Drone and Narcosatanicos. For more on that, check out the postedinfo here.
Enjoy “21st Century Slave” below:
Baby Woodrose, “21st Century Slave” official video
Shot & cut & color by Palle Demant // Fuzz Cake Film. Taken from the Baby Woodrose album Freedom due out September 16th, 2016 on Bad Afro Records.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Roadsaw news is good news. The Boston heavy rock magnates have announced that they’ll hit Mad Oak Studio to work with producer Benny Grotto next month in order to record their eighth album, the awaited follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here), which will be released — and here comes the twist — on Ripple Music. Formerly the quintessential Small Stone band, Roadsaw will work with Ripple for their new one, the label having already released material from heavy punkers White Dynomite, whose lineup features Roadsaw‘s Tim Catz and Craig Riggs.
Ripple continues its upswing and will have the new Roadsaw album out early next year, as the PR wire informs:
Boston Riff-Masters, Roadsaw, Sign World-Wide Deal with Ripple Music – New Album out Early 2017
Ripple Music is proud to announce the signing of legendary riff-masters, ROADSAW to the label’s hard and heavy roster. The veteran Boston motor-stoner act still consists of the decade-long classic line up and will be heading into the illustrious Mad Oak Studios with producer Benny Grotto to lay down a potent new batch of songs, due out early 2017, that are sure to please old fans and turn on new ones.
For the unfamiliar ROADSAW invite you to climb inside their jaded jalopy and careen headlong into their amplified analog landscape. From the shores of British electric blues, across the pond to America’s sonic 70s stomp; down to the Southern swamps, thru the New York groove, straight into heart of California’s psychedelic desert. ROADSAW’s long strange trip is a virtual history of heavy riffs.
ROADSAW’s often turbulent career includes 7 albums , numerous compilations, and a smattering of hard-to-find singles. The band has shared stages big and small on both sides of the Atlantic with comrades like Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nebula, Scissorfight, Karma To Burn, Black Label Society and many others. Together with Ripple, the band looks forward to adding a big bold exclamation point to this already impressive resume. US and European tours are being booked for spring 2017, including an appearance at London’s Desert Fest. Spirits are high for the much anticipated return of one of riff rocks most loyal disciples.
Like cockroaches in a post apocalyptic fall out, ROADSAW rise once again. Having survived every storm, war, trend and taste, ROADSAW simply refuses to die. Now, they’re signed to one of the world’s leading heavy rock, stoner, doom and heavy psych label’s, Ripple Music, and it’s a certainty that mayhem will follow. Look for limited edition vinyl, CD’s and digital to be spread around the world in Spring 2017.
So there you have it. New year. New music. New label. The ‘Saw remains the same.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
With five dates, it’s more than a weekender — one even tends to think of a long-weekender as three or four shows — but still under the full-week tour, but Nomad and Mower will head out together either way from their home-base in Manchester, England, playing in London, Nottingham, Coventry and Sheffield as well as finishing with a gig in their native city. Both go supporting EP releases — Nomad‘s latest having come out last year and Mower‘s debut earlier in 2016 — and both promise one thing for which the UK scene is becoming increasingly known: Riffs. It’s a pretty riffy time over there. Bands gots riffs. Only fair to spread that love around a bit.
Also, this is the press release that taught me the word “Mancunian,” which apparently means “of or related to the city of Manchester, England.” I’ve had plenty of conversations about Manchester — Lee from The Sleeping Shaman comes from there — and never heard that word before. Thanks, the PR wire. I learned something today.
Sludgers Nomad announce UK tour with fellow Mancunians Mower
Mancunian underground heroes Nomad have announced a UK tour for this September and are taking relative newcomers Mower with them. Since forming in 2012, Mancunian sludge four-piece Nomad have shared stages with the likes of EyeHateGod, Conan and Bongripper. Metalheads in the north west of England are under no illusions as to the ferocity of their live shows.
Frontman Drian Nash is known for tempering his confrontational performances with a self-deprecating Manc sense of humour, firmly establishing Nomad at the heart of Manchester’s burgeoning stoner/doom scene. This tour will be an opportunity for rifflovers from across the UK to see how Nomad have achieved their unrivalled reputation within such a competitive scene in England’s north west.
Their debut EP (released in 2014 by renowned underground label When Planets Collide) was followed by a split EP with Wort released by Red Valley Records the following year. Nomad frontman Drian: “It’s always a blast playing with the Mower guys so this tour should have enough planet-sized riffs and carnage to be lasting us. We are sharing the stage with some of our favourite bands along the way? Elephant tree, Iron Swan and Kurokuma. Also Stoked to get to finish it all off with a huge party in our hometown. That’s if we don’t crash into a mountain in a big ball of fire blasting Toto and sipping cocktails.”
Relative newcomers Mower are a doom/noise trio from nearby Wigan whose debut EP “Meathead”, released at the start of this year, is already turning heads. As a live presence they’ll be known by attendees of MammothFest, Tombstones all-dayer and RiffFest as a band not to miss on what will be their first gigs in a number of cities outside of Manchester.
Vocalist Jay says of the tour: “This will be our first tour, and what a way to pop the cherry, making this fine pilgrimage around the U.K, with Nomad! We’re all buzzin’ to go make some Mower-flavoured noise in other parts of the country. We also get to play some new venues with some other amazing bands, a proper privilege indeed. We shall be providing the White Russians and obscene sexual favours as thanks. Riffs await.”
With such a strong stoner/doom scene in Manchester, this tour will be an opportunity for rifflovers from across the UK to see how this scene’s stalwarts have achieved their unrivalled reputation alongside with one of the area’s most exciting new prospects.
14th September The Unicorn London 15th September The Chameleon Arts Cafe Nottingham 16th September The Phoenix Coventry 17th September Mulberry Underground Sheffield 18th September Rebellion Manchester
Participating in The Blackout Cookout has become something of a tradition for Lo-Pan. I don’t know if they play every year at the Kent, Ohio-based fest put together by Kenny Royer, also of The Ravenna Arsenal, but they’ve done it multiple times over and have always spoken highly of the experience. This year was The Blackout Cookout 7, and Lo-Pan, from Columbus, OH, headlined — topping a bill that also included Sofa King Killer, The Ravenna Arsenal, Bridesmaid, Horseburner and others. It looked like a pretty good show. It always does.
There’s some added intrigue to seeing live footage of Lo-Pan from The Blackout Cookout 7 in that, held on Aug. 13, it was also their first show with guitarist Chris Thompson, who joined the band last month. They’ve since embarked on a tour alongside The Atomic Bitchwax and Dirty Streets, put together by Tone Deaf, that will lead them to Psycho Las Vegas this weekend, where they join the lineup of everyone and their mother at the Hard RockHotel and Casino. Not a minor introduction for a new member of the group. Probably closer to trial by fire, particularly when you factor in the desert heat.
But Thompson, who’s joined in Lo-Pan by bassist Scott Thompson (no relation), drummer Jesse Bartz and vocalist Jeff Martin, has clearly held his own so far, as you can see in the clip below for “Pathfinder.” The footage comes courtesy of Pittsburgh native and all-around top-notch individual Randy Blood, and if you’ve seen Lo-Pan in the last year, you probably recall the song. Last time I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure was in March and though it was my first time seeing or hearing “Pathfinder,” the immediate impression from it was that it’s one of the best things Lo-Pan has ever written, and I think that holds up here as well.
And it looks like Thompson is gonna be just fine on guitar, in case you were worried.
Enjoy the “Pathfinder” clip below, followed by Lo-Pan‘s remaining live dates:
Lo-Pan, “Pathfinder” live at The Blackout Cookout 7, Aug. 13, 2016
Lo-Pan with The Atomic Bitchwax & Dirty Streets: 8/24/2016 Grizzly Hall – Austin, TX 8/25/2016 Rail Club – Ft. Worth, TX 8/26/2016 Ned’s Bar – Albuquerque, NM 8/27/2016 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ 8/28/2016 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
You think you’re weird and that’s adorable, but Seremonia are working on a completely different scale when it comes to the bizarre. The Finnish cult-psych troupe will issue their fourth long-player, Pahuuden Äänet, on Sept. 30 through respected purveyor Svart Records, and it just so happens that the label has preorders up now. Svart is also streaming the closing track of the album, “Uusi Aamu Sarastaa,” which you can hear below. It seems to shift the vibe somewhat from where the band was their last time out, on 2015’s Kristalliarkki (review here), but I would not at all expect any single song from a Seremonia record to speak for the entirety of the release at this point, and neither should you.
Still, as a sampling, it speaks to some of the darker spirit that the PR wire refers to in the info that follows, as well as the cover art, which you can see here:
SEREMONIA set release date for new SVART album, reveal first track
Seremonia, Finland’s finest heavy psych outfit, travels to the outer limits and beyond with their fourth full-length album, Pahuuden äänet. Set for international release on September 30th via Svart Records, Pahuuden äänet (“Voices of evil” in English) boldly goes and explores previously unknown dark corners of the heavy psych universe.
It takes the lyrical story of Seremonia’s previous album, Kristalliarkki (“The Crystal Ark” in English), and shoots it across space and time into a feverish dystopian nightmare. This time, the apocalyptic visions have cosmic proportions, and lyrically, it’s the band’s gloomiest & doomiest album to date.
Musically, it’s even more diverse and adventurous than the band’s previous acid rock experiments. It’s Seremonia’s signature “’60s metal” sound, but the colossal doom-prog parts are more colossal and the passages of melancholic beauty more beautiful than ever before. There’s classic pop songwriting, spacey synthesizer freak-outs, dystopian dirges, victorious twin-lead guitars, out-of-control space-punk blasts, and plenty of glorious hard rock riffage to accompany the stories of cosmic horror.
And yes, Noora Federley’s vocal delivery is still blood-chillingly cool, Erno Taipale’s drumming still a pure force of nature, and the stringed instruments out-of-controlled by Teemu Markkula, Ville Pirinen, and Ilkka Vekka still make up an electric storm of fuzz. Here for yourself at Svart’s Soundcloud HERE with the new track “Uusi aamu sarastaa.”
Tracklisting for Seremonia’s Pahuuden äänet 1. Orjat 2. Sielun kuolema 3. Pahuuden äänet 4. Sä?hko?lintu 5. Ne ovat jo täällä 6. Me kutsumme sitaä 7. Riivatut 8. Kuoleman planeetta 9. Riudut ja kuolet 10. Uusi aamu sarastaa
Seremonia: Noora Federley – vocals Teemu Markkula – guitar Ville Pirinen – guitar Erno Taipale – drums, flute Ilkka Vekka – bass
Posted in Reviews on August 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The odd dichotomy that has taken hold in the output of T.G. Olson is that he’s just about completely reliable but you never quite know what you’re going to get. We’re now three years removed from Electric Relics (review here), the last full-length from Olson‘s main outfit, Across Tundras, but in that time the guitarist, vocalist, auteur and DIY packaging specialist has hardly kept still. To wit, he’s put forth no fewer than six solo offerings, including 2013’s The Bad Lands to Cross (discussed here) and Hell’s Half Acre (discussed here), 2014’s The Rough Embrace (review here; vinyl review here), 2015’s The Wandering Protagonist (review here) and The Boom and Bust (discussed here), and 2016’s Quicksilver Sound (discussed here), along with a 2016 Across Tundras EP, Home Free (discussed here).
These all arrived in much the same way as his latest outing, The Broken End of the Deal — via Bandcamp, name-your-price download with a possible follow-up physical pressing on tape, CD or vinyl, usually in a limited, dirt-cheap handcrafted package, tossed into the great digital ether almost completely sans fanfare. Perhaps the underlying truth of Olson‘s work is that he’s too busy writing new releases to promote the ones he’s already finished, but either way, the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, by way of Nashville, Tennessee, by way of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, native brings out some of his richest and most complex soundscaping on The Broken End of the Deal, effectively marrying two sides of his prior solo material that have grown together over time so that cinematic drone and barebones Americana almost impossibly coexist and flow in parallel across eight tracks/28 minutes that nonetheless keep a strong current of improvisation at their core.
In addition to helming the recording, Olson played all the instruments — some I wouldn’t even guess what they are — on The Broken End of the Deal, and he’s worked in this form enough times by now that it’s clear he knows what he’s going for sound-wise, though his process is still well open enough to let happy accidents happen when they will. Organ adds a gospel inflection to the end of the drone-folk opener “Tough Break” and the following “Hope Slivers,” as well as the closing duo of “Always Turning Away” and “Walk the Lonesome Valley,” and while one doubts that bookend is coincidental, it’s hardly the full tale when it comes to the scope of the album. And at 28 minutes, it is an album. In its construction, flow and ambient depth, The Broken End of the Deal builds a fluid full-length momentum, and though some tracks are barely more than on either side of a minute long, like “Green Sahara” (more organ there as well), the string-infused “Hum” or the aforementioned “Always Turning Away,” they add to what longer pieces like “Tough Break” and eight-minute album highlight “Blisslessness” accomplish in atmosphere and overall breadth.
Tied together by a spirit of persistent twang, Olson‘s vocals, and overriding melancholy, as well as background drones that fill spaces that otherwise might give way to minimalism, The Broken End of the Deal allows its arrangements to wander, “Hope Slivers” blending acoustic and electric guitar, organs, drones, harmonica and voice, as well presumably as two or three other things Olson had in the room at that time. It’s the fact that nothing feels out of place or like it pushes too far that makes the songwriting such a standout. “Green Sahara” gives way to open-country psychedelia, an ethereal pastoralism that one wishes were more than 1:21, but “Blisslessness” hums in on guitar noise and flute and keys, and unfolds a full experimentalist dronescape almost completely departed sonically from “Tough Break” or even “Hope Slivers,” but still of the same spirit and among the most evocative of Olson‘s individual solo pieces.
The transition into “Hum” comes with a fade out and back in, and the briefest cut on The Broken End of the Deal at just 55 seconds long digging quickly into a foreboding swirl before the more immediate guitar/drone/vocal start of “Distilled to Nothing” begins, Olson‘s verse delivered quietly and still with plenty of effects, but nonetheless forward in the mix in a way it isn’t on earlier tracks. Repetitions of the title line, “Distilled down to nothing,” seem to hint at the root message of the record, but that this dirge should come with such a complex wash of sound is a contrast that shouldn’t be overlooked. Olson‘s done barebones before — though written and recorded completely on his own, this isn’t necessarily it. At 1:12, “Always Turning Away” breaks in half and plays out first forward and then apparently again backward as though to underline the experimentalist heart in the work overall, and closer “Walk the Lonesome Valley” brings prominent guitar strums, organ, far-back voice, drone and percussion, which I think might be a first since “Tough Break.”
Like its predecessors, “Walk the Lonesome Valley” is both familiar and captivating in being so out of place in this universe, an oddity that you already seem to know, like when you’re dreaming you have a hole in your head and that’s just always the way life has been. It makes its own sense. I’m not sure I’d call it an apex in the traditional sense, but the soulful kind of falsetto comes to a head later in the track with guitar and organ backing, and the end of The Broken End of the Deal comes with a quick fade, which no doubt is the result of Olson needing to get to work on the next album. All kidding aside, these tracks mark a pivotal next step in continuing to bridge the various facets of Olson‘s songwriting modus, and in so doing prove themselves to be anything but broken. I would not venture to guess what might come next for him as a songwriter, and I don’t think he would either, but whatever it might be, he never fails to move forward with each outing. Reliable, even if you don’t know what you’re going to get.