Yawning Sons are Worthy of Ceremony

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Pretty.You can make whatever sound comparisons or analogies you want, to my ears, the debut from Yawning Sons is principally two things. First: mesmerizing. Second: warm. The band is end result of a fortunate ocean-crossing collaboration between Californian desert rock legend Gary Arce of Yawning Man and the UK?s Sons of Alpha Centauri. Presumably they went with Yawning Sons because ?Arce & Sons? sounded too much like they were electricians. In any case, their debut, Ceremony to the Sunset, released by Australia?s Lexicon Devil, is seven cuts of mostly instrumental experimental post-rock psychedelic hypnosis, with guest vocal spots from Fatso Jetson?s Mario Lalli, Wendy Rae Fowler (Mark Lanegan Band) and Scott Reeder spread throughout to act as trail markers.

The story goes that Arce and the four-piece Sons of Alpha Centauri had never met before he flew to the UK to produce a record for them, but when he arrived they jammed and over the course of a week, wrote and recorded Ceremony to the Sunset instead. Not to say the narrative lacks plausibility (Arce himself recounts it in the liner notes), but if that?s how it went down, the chemistry between Arce and Sons of Alpha Centauri members Nick Hannon (bass), Marlon King (guitar), Stevie B. (drums) and Blake (textures) must have been immediate. Otherwise the project would?ve fallen flat entirely — or, more likely, it wouldn?t have happened in the first place — and the intricate melodies that permeate ?Tomahawk Watercress? and closer ?Japanese Garden? would have nowhere near as much power as they do. Ceremony to the Sunset is a patient album, but it feels fast, spontaneous and exciting, striking a rare balance.

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Wo Fat: The Riffer’s Riffers

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

This art rules.If you can?t tell what kind of chicanery Dallas fuzz worshippers Wo Fat are getting up to by the art above and track names like ?The Spheres Beyond? and ?El Culto de la Avaricia,? please check your Kyuss CDs at the door. The Orange amped, moss-covered stoner jams start and don?t stop on their Brainticket debut (second LP overall), It's called "Hawaii 5-0," kids. Look it up.Psychedelonaut, a record that begs for the warmth of vinyl like a neglected dog needs water.

The trio make haste with the Captain Beyondisms on the opening title track and offer no let up when it comes to blues riffs and lard-ass grooves. The tones will ring familiar to anyone who?s been around the genre for a while, but growing ever rarer are the American bands playing tried and true stoner music with little pretense of being anything else. It?s hard to hold the simplicity of their sound against them when they perform with such earnestness and dedication to what they do. From ?Enter the Riffian? and the drive down Fu Manchu?s highway on ?Analog Man? — which is literally an ? la Grand Funk proclamation of guitarist/vocalist/principle songwriter/recording engineer Kent Stump?s love of 2? tape — to the us vs. them, Hammond on rye last stand of ?Two the Hard Way,? Wo Fat are crystalline in their drive to make classic, thickly cut, riff-driven rock.

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Ancestors Return in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

They're Ancestors, and they just found the internet.It seems kind of quick, but as much as it exaggerates and hyperbolizes, the PR wire very rarely ever lies (except for those penis enlargement pills — what a ripoff!). Here’s the news from Tee Pee Records:

Ancestors have announced they will release the follow up their critically acclaimed debut album Neptune with Fire on October 6th. The brand new album will be titled Of Sound Mind.

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Infra Sonic Sound by Pete Lyman, known for his diverse work with Mars Volta, Qui and No Age.? Ancestors, including contributions by notable Los Angeles artists David Scott Stone (Melvins, Unwound, Slug), Sera Timms (Black Math Horsemen) and cellist Ramiro Zapata have created an album truly Of Sound Mind; a refreshing and aptly named experience of incredible proportions.

Lyrically and thematically, Of Sound Mind contemplates the quandaries of human psychology and its effect on and within the development of modern society.? Although essentially conceptual in nature, the record is a blatant transition from the allegorical and mythological framework of their debut Neptune with Fire.? The 8 part, 1-hour plus album lends meaning, while actively seeking answers, much like the work of Camus or Thoreau.? Without absolution or authority, Ancestors incite a thought crusade with meaningful intent.

Ancestors, Of Sound Mind Track listing:
1. From Nothing
2. Mother Animal
3. Not the Last Return
4. Bounty of Age
5. Friend
6. The Trial
7. Challenging
8. The Ambrose Law

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Passing the Point with Hypnos 69

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 30th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Ever since mentioning them in the Astra review the other day, I’ve had my mind on Belgian psych trippers Hypnos 69, and specifically their last album, The Eclectic Measure. Since it’s sunny in the valley for what feels like the first time in a year (though it’s not supposed to last), I thought I’d share this live clip of “The Point of No Return” filmed live in Leuven in 2007. They’re probably my second favorite act on Elektrohasch, which is saying something. Hope you dig it.

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Black Pyramid and the Beasts Without

Posted in Features on June 29th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

And here we see the angry Boston Yeti has gone to the library. They like books.Like an angry Boston Yeti, the trio Black Pyramid emerges with their recently reviewed self-titled full-length debut. Part of MeteorCity‘s ongoing effort to rejuvenate the allegedly-dormant American stoner movement, Black Pyramid are a monument built in honor of Sleep, weaving tales of monsters, legends and wildebeests that match the epic scope of their riffs and crashes. Marked by the gut-punch low end of bassist Gein, they’re the emphasis of what people mean when they talk about The Heavy.

And yet, they’re just getting started. They still have that “new band” smell. Guitarist/vocalist Andy Beresky (a colleague in writing for StonerRock.com) delivers his lyrics with a fresh sense of urgency propelled by Clay Neely‘s drumming. The response to their demo and 7″ was such that their name spread even faster than their music. A growing legend? Perhaps. If the perception of the band became like that of giant sasquatch hiding in the forest waiting to launch an attack on hapless campers, it could only be too fitting.

Beresky (the fastest gun in the east when it comes to sending back his answers) fielded some questions about his past in Palace in Thunderland, the forming of Black Pyramid, signing to MeteorCity and the stoner scene in general as it stands today. Get your read on after el jumpo (I don’t speak Spanish).

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Nebula Post US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Chances are this didn't happen in the States. It should have, though.You don’t need me to tell you to go see Nebula, and the good thing about the dates of this US run is that by the time they get going, their new album, Heavy Psych (Tee Pee Records; reviewed here), will have already been out for a couple weeks, so you can be familiar with the new songs. Nebula. So considerate. Here are the dates:

Supported by The Entrance Band:
08/04/09 Elbo Room, San Francisco CA
08/05/09 Nocturnum, Eureka CA
08/06/09 Rotture, Portland OR
08/07/09 Chop Suey, Seattle WA
08/09/09 Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City UT
08/10/09 3 Kings Tavern, Denver CO
08/11/09 Jackpot Saloon, Lawrence KS
08/12/09 Turf Club, St. Paul MN
08/13/09 Bottom Lounge, Chicago IL
08/14/09 Ravari Room, Columbus OH
08/15/08 Club Echo, Huntington WV
08/16/09 Peabody’s, Cleveland OH
08/17/09 Bug Jar, Rochester NY
08/18/09 Call The Office, London ON
08/19/09 Casbah, Hamilton ON
08/20/09 The Wreck Room, Toronto ON
08/21/09 il Motore, Montreal QC
08/22/09 Santos, New York NY
08/23/09 Johnny Brendas, Philadelphia PA
08/24/09 Ottobar, Baltimore MD
08/25/09 Black Cat, Washington DC
08/26/09 Jewish Mother, Virginia Beach VA
08/27/09 Soapbox, Wilmington NC
08/28/09 Masquerade, Atlanta GA
08/29/09 Hi Tone Cafe, Memphis TN
08/31/09 Walters on Washington, Houston TX
09/01/09 Emo’s, Austin TX
09/02/09 Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar, San Antonio TX
09/03/09 Conservatory, Oklahoma City OK
09/05/09 The Sets, Tempe AZ
TBA???????? Los Angeles CA

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Catch The Midnight Ghost Train. No, Seriously. Do it.

Posted in Reviews on June 29th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

One assumes this is Johnny Boy. Maybe, maybe not.Someone needs to sign this band. Today.

Every now and then you find an unsigned band who make it all worthwhile, and that?s how I feel about Buffalo?s The Midnight Ghost Train. Not only are they self-financing a full month-long US tour, but their bluesy, boozy, diverse six-track The Johnny Boy EP — which is actually about 50 minutes long — is pushing the stoner envelope with a sound as natural as it is brazen.

A trio featuring Steve Moss on guitar and vocals, Keith Harry-Carey on bass (since replaced by O.D. Lallo of L.O.M.F. and formerly Negative Reaction) and drummer Jake Levin (since replaced by Brandon Burghart), also on piano, The Midnight Ghost Train are one of those bands who actually deliver when you say, ?Wow, I sure hope there?s a harmonica on this song.? The Johnny Boy EP opener ?Brothers? gets moving with a driving riff and the memorable, charming lyric, ?I?m in love with a new girl every week.? Moss? vocal has a very stoner rock rough edge, and on the softer, longer, more atmospheric ?Stranger? he seems to have taken a diction cue from Eric Wagner?s later work in Trouble. Not a bad thing since it works coupled with the echoing, bluesy guitar.

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Hail to the King of Salem, Baby

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

Here be ye cover.I didn’t even know there was a Salem, Connecticut, let alone a burly heavy rock duo who’d been collectively named ruling monarch of it. King of Salem is comprised of drummer Mike Petrucci and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Simon Tuozzoli — who has played in Vestal Claret, Guerra and Earthlord — and are a sometime-studio project with three releases under their belt in their 11 year I got this image from salemct.gov. No, really, I did. I went to SalemCT.gov.existence, including the latest, the independently produced?Prophecy, which came out last month in a limited physical pressing of 100 copies each on CD and vinyl. There is a downloadable version as well.

Prophecy is more straightforward in its origins than either the doomy Vestal Claret or Earthlord, but retains an element of riff rock that comes through on tracks like the boozy “Bonny Monster.” There’s a definite ’70s influence in Tuozzoli‘s guitar, but his vocals come from somewhere more metallic. On opener “Blood of the Enemy” they might feel a little too up front in the mix, but on the semi-title track “The Prophet” (which one assumes is the start of Side B on the vinyl if the artwork gives any clue) they fit right in, so a balance is struck. Musically too, King of Salem stems from more than just one place. The short bursts of “Feudal Lord” are classic rock to be sure, but “Matter of Time” has a more modern, melodic, almost Southern feel overall.

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