Help! Help! I’m Being Repressed!

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 31st, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Please! Alert the authorities! I’ve been kidnapped by four or five glam-deathcore bands (there’s at least 35 people — hard to tell how many bands that actually divides out to be). I overheard between shitty breakdowns that it’s going to be at least until Monday before they all need to reapply their eyeliner, so it looks like I’m stuck for the weekend as far as opportunities to make my escape. Please, let someone know what happened to me so my misfortune won’t have been in vein!

By way of providing myself with some much-needed inspiration and pumping-up, here’s a live Grand Magus video. These guys could lead just about anyone into triumph. Hopefully they’ll be able to do the same for me.

See you Montag.

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Ponamero Sundown: I’m Your Boogie Van

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

Rock on.Waving out the open windows of a speeding supercharged boogie van fueled by riffs and secondhand smoke, Swedish stoner rockers Ponamero Sundown don’t care if it’s grass, gas or ass — everyone rides for free. As they issue their first full-length following several demos, the aptly-titled Stonerized (Transubstans), this fuzzsome foursome emit 12 tracks of classic ’90s-style stoner groove brought into the 21st Century with modern production and slick tones.

There’s a little bit of everything within the genre of stone, and even some elements drawn from without — the chorus riff of “Curtain Call,” for example, seems to be culled from Annie Lennox‘s “Sweet Dreams” — but mostly one can point to a riff or a segment and place it somewhere within the canon. “Rotten Religion” is a little darker, but “Live the Lie” sparks a bowl of And the Circus Left Town-era Kyuss and “Doctor of Evil” resonates old Dozer and Truckfighters‘ thoughtful neo-fuzz. It’s a balance of what you’d expect and what you’d probably expect a little less. Some Colour Haze-style guitar leads the way for “Intermission (Heartbreak Disease),” which ultimately warps into a The Awesome Machine-style build. Ponamero Sundown mix it all well enough to come out with an individual sound, if one well in place within its scene.

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New SubArachnoid Space Due in September

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

Even their press shot is atmospheric. (Photo by Orange Eyes Photography)

Set your calendars for the heart of the sun, because blissful Oregonian psych trippers SubArachnoid Space (MySpace here) have a new album due out Sept. 22 on Crucial Blast. Here’s the news from the ol’ PR wire:

SubArachnoid Space shall return with Eight Bells on September 22, 2009, via Crucial Blast. The band’s first new release since 2005’s The Red Veil,? Eight Bells is the newest chapter in their continually evolving vision of music as ecstatic ritual. The recording features a new lineup of Daniel Barone, Melynda Jackson, Lauren K. Newman and Daniel Osborne and was produced by Steven Wray Lobdell who also performs on the album. Eight Bells continues in a similar heavy lysergic vein as their last couple of post-Relapse albums, fusing wicked metallic crunch with celebratory sky-streaking guitar freak-outs and some of the band’s most narcotized jamming yet. The album features five songs and bears stunning new artwork from Stephen Kasner.

A full US tour is currently being locked down and will be announced shortly!

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Flood: Over the Water Line

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

Not easy to track down this art.It?s strange in considering the generally watery concepts behind San Franciscan epic stoner doomers Flood that the first and longest track on their MeteorCity debut, Native, would be called ?Aphelion.? The furthest point from the sun. The sun which is made of fire. Literally the opposite of water, which the other three songs, ?Dam,? ?Atlantis? and ?Water,? more or less have covered to complete the album. But, if there are thematic discrepancies to be noted along the way, one can hardly blame the burrito-friendly trio (four piece if you count Scott, who handles the fog machine). Judging by the riffs on Native, these dudes are baked like grandma?s cookies.

Although it?s only Flood?s first release, Native epitomizes everything that works about its specific brand of jammed out droning. I call it ?brown metal,? because it?s so heavy you?ll shit your pants. The guitars lead the way, of course, and are more distorted than fuzzy, but the massive pounding of Fink?s drums is not to be missed, and Eli?s bass lays a vast rumbling foundation that hooks the album into the stoner pantheon (see ?Aphelion? at 11:04). Sporadic vocals are transmissions from planet 11 that couple well with the occasional echoplexed sample and readily step back to let the riffs take charge.

?Dam? and ?Atlantis,? being the two shortest tracks at 6:19 and 7:36, respectively, follow less grandiose Live.patterns than ?Aphelion? (18:29) or ?Water? (10:38), but have no smaller amount of breathing room. ?Dam? is a two-riffer from guitarist Amir the simplicity of which is contrasted by the amount of effects on the vocals and the sheer hypnotic power of repetition. It?s dive-in stoner groove set against a backdrop of trembling, dirty psych doom. Imagine your head, nodding. There you go.

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When Saint Vitus Comes Marching In

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

Wino preaching the good doom.No, the fact that Saint Vitus has announced three dates on the East Coast in no way makes me regret flying to The Netherlands specifically to see them. If anything, it makes me even gladder I did. Now I know the kind of kickassitude I’m getting into by buying my tickets for the Brooklyn show. See you there.

Saint Vitus tour dates:
Oct. 16: Brooklyn, NY Club Europa
Oct. 17: Worcester, MAPalladium, with The Misfits, Type O Negative
Oct. 18: Baltimore, MDSonar

Fucking rule.

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A Space-Bound Interview with Nebula Guitarist/Vocalist Eddie Glass

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

Black lines, white lines.With its release earlier this month, the full-length Heavy Psych — as opposed to the EP of the same name, artwork and most of the track list put out last year — long running and vastly influential Californian psychedelic rockers Nebula once again join forces with Tee Pee Records, the label that issued their debut, Let it Burn, back in 1997. Back then, the trio consisted of guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass and drummer Ruben Romano (both having recently left Fu Manchu), with Mark Abshire on bass, and though it’s been Glass who’s proven to be the central figure after all this time, the sound of Heavy Psych reflects — maybe closer than anything they’ve released this decade — the original mission of the band.

Call it stoner rock and you’d be right, but Nebula could fart into a microphone and it would be stoner rock. As they’ve grown, they’ve brought the genre with them, and now, with this seemingly full circle completed, one can only wonder where they can go from here. For Heavy Psych, Glass is joined by bassist Tom Davies and drummer Rob Oswald (Karma to Burn). This being the lineup’s first recorded output, Nebula sounds reinvigorated, but like their best, most together work is yet ahead of them. Still, the album they’ve just semi-re-released is an impressive start, notably in the three newest tracks added to the back end. They bode especially well for things to come.

After much rescheduling (and a special thanks goes out to Tee Pee‘s Steve Dolcemaschio for his diligence in making this happen), Glass and I hooked up for a brief phoner to discuss the band and how his attitudes toward Nebula have changed over the years. As always, the resulting interview can be found after the jump. Enjoy.

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Ogre: Fall of the Proto-Man

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

He's got his arms crossed because he's disappointed in you.Hell, I never even got to hear Shadow Kingdom‘s reissue of Ogre‘s second album, Plague of the Planet, and here today I read the news that their Sept. 12 10th anniversary show in their hometown of Portland, Maine, is also their farewell. Quite a bummer. Ogre were one of New England‘s finest traditional doom outfits. Shame to see them go, but at least they’re doing it in style. Here’s the story from

After much band deliberation and discussion, Ogre has decided that our 10th anniversary show (September 12 at Geno?s in Portland) is going to be our final US gig and, essentially, the end of the band. This decision to dissolve the He's also disappointed, but he's disappointed about the band breaking up. So far as I know, you're cool by was not an easy one to come by, but we feel it is the right call. At this point, there is too much going on in each of our lives to sustain Ogre at the level of quality that our fans expect and deserve.

And, before people decide to jump to conclusions (as is often the case when these things happen), we want to make clear that this decision was entirely mutual, all three of us agreeing that this was the right time to bring things to an appropriate conclusion. We have accomplished a lot of great things during our 10-year run, playing with too many amazing bands to mention, recording three well-received albums, and of course, touring Japan last year. We are proud of what the three of us have been able to do (especially considering how little we started with!), and we thought it would be better to end things on a high note, rather than fizzling out, as so many bands do.

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The Ocean in Flux

Posted in Reviews on July 28th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

New art and all.Despite both bands playing a modern and often staggeringly heavy form of progressive metal, I?ve always compared Germany?s The Ocean and Chicago?s Yakuza in terms of situation more than style. Basically, the deal is both bands offer parts that are ball-rattlingly heavy and few songs that are actually memorable the whole way through. Likewise, both bands have developed cult followings who would say I?ve got my head up my ass for thinking that. Maybe I do.

Regardless, my pre-listening impression (read: prejudice) of Pelagic/Metal Blade?s reissue of The Ocean?s 2004 full-length debut turned out to be pretty accurate. ?Gee, I bet this?ll sound kind of like The Ocean does now, but less fleshed out and more intense.? Sure enough, anyone who got bored or whose mind wandered during the ambient parts of 2007?s conceptually weighty sleeper hit Precambrian might have an easier time connection to the Fluxion material. It?s still some pretty heady post-metal, but not in the NeuroIsis sense, and hearing the hunger in the songwriting of guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/percussionist/Pelagic label owner/sampler specialist Robin Staps gives the songs a perceptible immediacy that some of their latter material, while much grander in scope, could never replicate.

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