Friday Evening Happy Hour (or at Least Four Minutes)

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

So another week of chasing the dragon comes to an end, and as I make ready to drive my ass down to that (re-)birthplace of prideful ignorance in pop culture, Asbury Park, to have my mind expanded by Earthless and Witch — or maybe just groove out, whatever’s easy — here’s a killer clip to round out the week: Clutch live at the Trocadero in Philly playing “Never be Moved” from Robot Hive/Exodus. Dig that echo effect on Neil‘s vocals and have a great weekend.

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Karma to Burn Box Set: Heard it from Your Mama

Posted in Reviews on February 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Behold the rider.Fact is, when Metal Mind reissues something, they do it up right — albums remastered on golden discs, digipaks, liner notes, limited runs, bonus tracks out the ass, sometimes redone art and sometimes not, and when they acquire a property, they consider the best way of getting it out there to the people. They’re not all great, because in the Polish imprint’s quest to mine the back catalogs of the likes of Nuclear Blast and Roadrunner there are duds a-plenty, but in the case of Mountain Mama’s, the triple CD box set combining West Virginian recently-reunited, mostly-instrumental riff-mongers Karma to Burn‘s three full-lengths — Karma to Burn (1997), Wild Wonderful Purgatory (1999) and Almost Heathen (2002) — they nailed it.

I’d liken it to the box treatment Warner International gave to KyussBlues for the Red Sun, Welcome to Sky Valley and …And the Circus Leaves Town in 2000, but where that was essentially the three albums wrapped in cardboard, Metal Mind gives us these remastered three Karma to Burn discs in a custom digipak with striking artwork by Elizabeth Duebell biting the head off the Wild Wonderful Purgatory cover; redder and without the lady patriot. Hard to lose when you’ve got a Satanic goat dressed in Native American garb riding a horse carring the West Virginia state flag.

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Nature Gets all Colour Hazed

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Hello next album cover.Lucy Williamson in Jakarta filed this report on the BBC News site:

Research published in the US scientific journal Copeia says the fish was spotted by scuba divers off the island of Ambon in eastern Indonesia.

It belongs to the frogfish family, but its looks are unique even among its peers, the journal reported.

The question with this new discovery is how it went unnoticed for so long.

The new psychedelica frogfish is completely covered in swirling concentric stripes — white and blue on a peach background — radiating out from its aqua-coloured eyes.

It has a broad flat face, thick fleshy cheeks and chin, and eyes that look forward like a human’s.

It’s the next evolutionary step! Look out for the scientific classification Kingdom Psychedelica! If I don’t see some blue and orange squirrels running past my window soon, and if there isn’t a band named Psychedelica Frogfish by the end of next week, I’m going to be very, very disappointed.

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Monoliths and Dimensions: A Brutal First Exposure to SunnO)))’s New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Robes and amps.When I pulled up to the driveway of the house way back up on the top of the hill, none of the lights were on. I got out of my car and before I could press the button on the remote to lock it, I was hit with the chloroform and out in a matter of seconds. The last thing I remember before waking up was the feeling of the February air coming through that cloth as I sucked in the chilled chemicals.

It was a punch to the back of my already aching head that brought consciousness with it, though I might as well have still been out, for all the light there was to see. None, in other words. The room was pitch black and I could feel the zip line tight around my wrists and ankles before I even tried to move them. Ball gag in my mouth. I tried to scoot my chair in one direction or another, forward, wherever that was, and met with another fist, this one from the side, at my jaw. No one spoke. I started to cry.

Then I heard it.

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Three Speeds, Six Cylinders

Posted in Reviews on February 26th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

What's the name of this album again?Though the DVD side of Holland power trio 3Speed Automatic‘s dual disc (that’s CD on one side, DVD on the other), Villa Rocka (Freebird Records) is set up for 5.1 Surround and my television is wired for numbers nowhere near that high, I still got down with the live video for “Do it Again,” which is the only song included in any form on the DVD for which the audio can’t be found on the opposite side of the disc. Those who’d track down audio of that song need to look up 3SA‘s 2006 demo. Or their MySpace page. Whatever’s easier.

As regards the songs on the CD side of Villa Rocka, the disc starts out like sitar-infused Queens of the Stone Age circa Songs for the Deaf, which is not necessarily a bad thing. And though the story of how this album came to be is kind of confusing, I think I’ve just about nailed it down.

No Man’s Land was self-released by the band in 2004. An outlet for that which generally qualifies for psychedelic and awesome, Nasoni Records signed on to put it out on vinyl that same year. Now, apart from the aforementioned demo in 2006, 3Speed Automatic haven’t been up to much, recording-wise, in the meantime. What we have with Villa Rocka is a CD reissue of No Man’s Land accompanied (on the same disc) by a bonus DVD featuring a video of the cumbersomely and referentially titled “Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men…the Shadow Knows,” that live clip, the 5.1 mix of the record and a still-photo slideshow from a run through Europe the band did at some point along the line. Villa Rocka is No Man’s Land-plus.

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Kylesa: Fusing the Static

Posted in Features on February 26th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Proving yet again that a mirrored ceiling is always the right choice.About half an hour after our interview yesterday, Kylesa guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants called me back and left a message on my answering machine (old school), asking me which riff in “Running Red,” the centerpiece track of her band’s new album, Static Tensions (Prosthetic), I was referring to in my review when I said the song was, “drawing a pagan circle around a riff that, if it was on a Hatebreed record, I?d probably call retarded.”

Slightly unnerved, because in earnest that’s my favorite song on the album and that riff — which first kicks in at 1:21 and makes a triumphant return at 3:52 — is a big part of the reason why, I rang her up and within a minute or so we Headbanging away the laws of physics. Trails, man. (photo by Anthony)were laughing, her acknowledging that she knew the riff in question was simple when she wrote it and I relieved that I hadn’t offended in my review. Her band of artsy sludge slingers recently back from a run in Japan with Birushanah and on the precipice of playing the unfortunately corporate Scion Rock Fest before heading out on yet another tour, this time of the Southern US, the last thing she needed was crap from the likes of me, sitting in my pajamas all day reviewing records.

Static Tensions is Kylesa‘s third album since 2005, fourth overall, and it boasts a fuller sound than anything the band has released before. Pleasants‘ vocal approach has diversified and matured notably since 2006’s the band’s last effort, Time Will Fuse its Worth. In the interview that follows the jump, the singer/guitarist offers her opinions as to how that became possible, what it was like working with guitarist/vocalist Phillip Cope as a producer for the second time, and why, after having two guitarists, two vocalists and two drummers — Carl McGinley and Eric Hernandez — finding another bassist to partner up with Javier Villegas just seemed like too much.

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Late Night Review: Isole, “Silent Ruins”

Posted in Reviews on February 26th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

There's Redemption in here somewhere...It’s 2:00AM and the cops, as ever, are sitting in the parking lot of the firehouse across the street, waiting for nobody. Practically no one drives past this late — even the drunks are home by now on a Wednesday night. Something died outside and I can smell it comingling with the farts and sleepy dog stink in this room through the open window. Like Orange Goblin says, “Some you win, some you lose.” I promised myself I’d write this review before I went to bed today, so let’s do this thing:

Pop the top on Isole‘s fourth album in as many years (they had a seven inch in ’06 as well), Silent Ruins (Napalm Records), and the first word to appear in your mind is bound to be, “Sweden.” No other country in the EU or anywhere else for that matter could produce a band to successfully harness this kind of epic doom. Oh, there’s acts from elsewhere who’ll try, but usually they fall on their ass. Even if you hadn’t traced the four-piece through the first two albums they put out on I Hate Records, you’d know it right away.

So, Sweden it is, with fingers pointing vaguely in the classic direction of countrymen Candlemass (the track “Nightfall” could have been on the album of the same name) and the Viking-inspired days of black metal pioneers Bathory (pieces of opener “From the Dark” and follow-up “Forlorn” apply the style, admittedly without laying it on as thick as Ereb Altor), Isole lurches forth to leave a grandiose footprint in the international traditional doom marketplace, bringing in some Solitude Aeturnus-style riff and vocal power on “Soulscarred.” They do alright in pulling it off without sounding like a band totally copycatting their influences.

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Another Release Date Cross Dover…

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

…Or “Cross Doubt,” more appropriately.MIA

It seems that while my back was turned (blink and you’ll miss it), Mascot Records went ahead and pushed back the release date for the new Masters of Reality album, Pine/Cross Dover. Again.

I remember being so psyched last year around this time when the press release came in that Chris Goss was done recording and the CD would be out in July. Hell, I couldn’t wait. Then it was October, then December, then March, now it’s August. “24/08/2009” to quote the Mascot site. Here’s the rest of what they had to say for themselves:

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