A Storm of Light Issue a Tempest of Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Say what you want about A Storm of Light making their name because Josh Graham handles visuals for Neurosis (the band’s first gigs were opening for them at Brooklyn Masonic Temple), countering all those arguments is a whopping list of tour dates in both the US and Europe that shows them working their collective ass off to support their second album, Forgive us Our Trespasses. And furthermore, that album kicked ass, so quit being grumpy that their friends are cooler than your friends and get with the program.

So there.

Here is the aforementioned plethora of dates, complete with comment from Graham on the work ahead, all courtesy of the PR wire:

Brooklyn kings of atmospheric doom, A Storm of Light, are gearing up for a short stint of US tour dates next week that include performances with experimental metal/noise exhibitionists Today is the Day and reunited stoner metallers Sleep before heading to Europe for a month’s worth of shows in October.

Said guitarist/vocalist John Graham of the upcoming shows: “The next couple of months are going to be a lot of fun for us. We’re lucky enough to share the stage with the legendary Sleep, brutalists Today is the Day, and then embark on our fourth European tour. Awesome!”

A Storm of Light US/Europe tour dates 2010:
08/31 31st St PubPittsburgh, PA w/ Today is the Day
09/01 OttobarBaltimore, MD w/ Today is the Day
09/03 Santos Party HouseNew York, NY w/ Today is the Day
09/04 AS220Providence, RI w/ Today is the Day
09/07 Starlight BallroomPhiladelphia, PA w/ Sleep
09/08 Brooklyn Masonic TempleBrooklyn, NY w/ Sleep, Lichens
10/01 Brudenell Social ClubLeeds, UK
10/02 WhelansDublin, Ireland w/ Stand up Guy
10/03 The Spring and AirbrakeBelfast, Ireland w/ Stand up Guy
10/04 Captain’s RestGlasgow, Scotland
10/05 The CroftBristol, UK
10/06 The UnderworldLondon, UK w/ Sedula, Sons of Alpha Centauri
10/07 Nouveau CasinoParis, France
10/08 SimplonGroningen, Netherlands
10/09 013Tilburg, Netherlands
10/10 Juha West Matinee ShowStuttgart, Germany
10/12 RhizVienna, Austria
10/13 KsetZagreb, Croatia
10/14 RandallBratislava, Slovakia
10/16 FirlejWroclaw, Poland
10/17 PowiekszenieWarsaw, Poland
10/20 NabaklabRiga, Latvia
10/21 NosturiHelsinki, Finland
10/23 GarageOslo, Norway
10/24 DebaserStockholm, Sweden
10/25 LoppenCopenhagen, Denmark
10/26 HafenklangHamburg, Germany
10/27 FeierwerkMunich, Germany
10/28 SpazioTurin, Italy
10/29 UrbanPerugia, Italy
10/30 Init ClubRome, Italy

Music Player web


Tags: , , , ,

On the Radar: Volume Death Riot

Posted in On the Radar on August 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I’m talking about unchecked aggression, dude. That’s what Midlands trio Volume Death Riot have to say about it. Theirs is a therapeutic, noisy kind of riff metal, like AmRep gone mo-dern; a little mellower than Unsane at their angriest, but aren’t we all? You might hear some Houdini, but you might not. One’s as likely as the other.

I’ve been grooving on the two tracks on Volume Death Riot‘s MySpace page for the last week or so, and the energy they emit is every bit as frantic and unchained as the paragraph above. Everything about them is choppy except the songwriting. “Buer,” at a surprisingly quick seven minutes, is riffy without being cliche, and the kind of song you’d expect to be instrumental, but for the vocals. “Hell to Pay” is shorter, crunchier and more aggressive vocally, but still basically in the noise-rock mold. Of the two I’ll take the latter, as far as personal preference goes, and though I don’t know what the three-piece’s plans are as far as more recording, I’d sure like to see them play a gig with On the Radar veterans Dopefight.

Noise is about as unpretentious a sound as you can get, and Volume Death Riot definitely make good use of that workingman feel in their two present tracks. Hopefully they’ll be able to keep that kind of atmosphere going forward, as both “Hell to Pay” and “Buer” have a sincerity to their anger that’s not easily faked. They’re not changing the world, but they’ve got a cool sound, decent production, and potential. It’s worth keeping an eye on the MySpace to see where they go from here.

Tags: , , ,

Void Generator: Grounded in Space

Posted in Reviews on August 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

If the quizzical title Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic presents a twist for your brain (do they mean “phantom” as a verb, like you could turn Hell into a ghost of some kind?), then that’s just the beginning of the puzzles Italian trio Void Generator have to offer on their third release. Following a 2004 self-titled EP and 2006’s We Have Found the Space, Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic (Phonosphera Records) is four tracks and well over an hour of anti-gravitational psychedelic rock, the finest attribute of which might be its timing. The Roman four-piece (five if you count Bob the Rich on “accumulation,” which I think means “recording”) have an impeccable sense of when to rock and when to space out.

To wit, the memorable Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic opener, “Message from the Galactic Federation,” which manages to work both a catchy chorus and hyper-extended airy parts into its 15:14 length. My first time through, I waited the full three-plus minutes (not an unreasonable amount of time given the scale of the song) for the vocals to come on and ruin it, but guitarist Gianmarco Iantaffi didn’t disappoint, his delivery maintaining a balance between rough rock and melodic crooning that’s got just enough effects behind it to cut through the guitars, synth, bass and drums. Vocals aside, what sets Void Generator apart from the space rock hordes seems to be their willingness to rein in their jams, to bring them back to the songs, and where many bands seem to plow through their verses and choruses like they’re punching a clock waiting to get to the 10-minute go-nowhere jam – not always a bad thing, mind you – Void Generator remember they’re writing songs here, not just showing off or screwing around. “Message from the Galactic Federation” repeats parts at just the right times, and manages to remain what political pundits call “on point” for its duration. No small achievement.

If the opener sets the bar high, though, the rest of Phantom Hell and Soar Angelic delivers on its promise. The shortest track on the album, a mere 13:04, is “The Morning.” It’s more open-ended feeling than was the opener, but it’s also a show-off point for the rhythm section. Bassist Sonia Caporossi and drummer Marco Cenci (who plays on the latter tracks, while Marco Ricci played on the first) carry most the song, leaving Iantaffi and synth-specialist Cristiano Lodi to add flourishes and contribute to the gradual build, which they do in subtle, confident fashion. Toward the song’s end, Lodi’s work becomes especially apparent, and adds a soft melody to the driving rock behind it in the mix. As a setup for the ostensibly “final” cut, the wonderfully-named 18:12 overture, “The Eternaut,” it works immaculately and with considerable flow.

Read more »

Tags: , , ,

Comments Work Now and So Does the Contact Form

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

If you want to get in touch, use the Contact link in the sidebar. Or, if you’re Facebook-inclined, there’s always that. Also, the comments have apparently been broken the last few days. They’re fixed now too. Wonderful thing, this internet. If you want to get in touch to tell me to review your band, please do so.


Live Review: Las Cruces and Iron Man in Philadelphia, 08.27.10

Posted in Reviews on August 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Much as I love the city of Philadelphia — and I do; it’s the Wesley Snipes to NYC‘s Stephen Dorff — it’s a long way away. Nonetheless, for a lineup like Las Cruces and Iron Man, the trip is well worth it. And hey, I didn’t drive as far as Las Cruces, who are from San Antonio, and thus know what salsa should taste like. So it could be worse.

I was in no hurry to get to the Millcreek Tavern, since it was just the two bands on the bill and I knew the show would be running late. Las Cruces went on first, playing tracks off of their latest, Dusk, as well as older material and a new song called “Egypt” that I shouted from the crowd was a keeper. And it was. There wasn’t much of an audience — apparently some fest was happening down the street — but the loyal few enjoyed what the four-piece had to offer, myself included, and when they played “Wizard” and “Cocaine Wizard Woman” back-to-back, I felt like life was doing me a personal favor. Two songs with “wizard” in the title — in a row! Doesn’t get more doomed than that, folks.

In general I consider myself a fan of a singing drummer, and Paul DeLeon of Las Cruces didn’t disappoint. While guitarists George Trevino and Mando Tovar (Pillcrusher) poured out killer riffs and solos and bassist Jimmy Bell windmilled a breeze enough to feel it from in front of the stage, DeLeon held down the rhythm and the melody of material both old and new. Dusk is the band’s first full-length in 12 years, but the band and the songs sounded fresh and they put on a righteous show despite the fact that there weren’t too many people in the crowd to see it.

A chicken cheese steak was enjoyed in between sets — no onions — and I had plenty of time to eat, as Iron Man took their time getting going. Vocalist Joe Donnelly must have been running late, or else waiting outside to make his grand entrance, since he came in just before the set started. Bassist Louis Strachan and new drummer Mike Rix (who has about four more toms in his rack-mounted kit than he needs for doom) make for a killer rhythm section, and Donnelly‘s Ozzy-style antics are well documented and always good for a laugh, but the essential component in Iron Man is Al Morris III, whose sheer presence while he plays guitar makes the whole set. I managed to get video of the opener, “I Have Returned,” which you can see below. Watch his solo and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Amazing.

Iron Man played a new song as well. I didn’t catch the name of it, but it’s good to know they’re working on material for a follow-up to I Have Returned. They were selling the recent Shadow Kingdom reissues of Generation Void, Black Night and The Passage as well, though I don’t know how many people were there who didn’t already have them. They played an 11-song set, which seemed like a bit much, but although it’s three days later and my sleep pattern is still thrown off, I’m not going to say it wasn’t worth the time or effort to get to the show. It was all the more special because of the sparse attendance, and with Las Cruces having come so far, and Iron Man having made the trip from Maryland, it seemed the least I could do to show up. I guarantee whatever else was going on in town that night wasn’t as doomed out as this show was.

Adding to the argument in favor of attendance was not knowing when Las Cruces would be back this way. Iron Man is killer, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve already seen them this year and worse comes to worst, Maryland is only three hours away. San Antonio is a little farther out from Jersey, and since I enjoyed Dusk so much (even the tracks not about wizards of any shape or form), I wanted to be there to support the band. I don’t know if it did them any good in terms of getting gas money to get to the next show, but there you go. Should have been a couple local acts on the bill to round it out and fill up the place, should have been more people there, but it was a killer gig and easily justified the ride down. No complaints out of me.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

audiObelisk Transmission 008: Small Stone Records Digital Showcase

Posted in Podcasts on August 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan


In honor of the label’s upcoming showcase in Philadelphia (info here) later in September, I’ve decided this month’s audiObelisk transmission should highlight some of the best contributions from Detroit‘s Small Stone Records. The biggest challenge in making this installment wasn’t deciding what to include in terms of bands, but where to stop. It’s about three hours long, and I probably could have gone another easily.

I wanted to include some of Small Stone‘s classic output, from bands like Acid King, The Men of Porn and Five Horse Johnson, and I had to make sure the current and new faces were represented as well: Gozu, Skanska Mord, House of Broken Promises. And just when I thought I was all set to go, I realized I’d forgotten to include Sasquatch. Don’t even ask me how. I was all converted, uploaded, labeled and live, and the next thing I knew I broke out III and ripped the opener, reconverted, re-uploaded, so on and so forth. I don’t know if that’s dedicated or dumb.

Either way, it’s worth being both, given all that Small Stone has done for the genre over the course of the last decade-plus. We start off with some love for Jersey, which the label has always been ready to show. Halfway to Gone, doing “Great American Scumbag.” It’s a song I think sums up a lot of what it means to be into this kind of music in this day and age. As always, I hope you dig it and the rest of the transmission, which is the longest yet at over three hours and featuring 35 bands. This one’s easily my favorite so far.

And if you’re wondering what the image is above, it’s the Detroit airport.

You know the drill: Full tracklist after the jump, stream the file above or download it here. As requested, I included time stamps for when each song starts.

Read more »

Tags: , , ,

Frydee Rainbow

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 27th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Fuckin’ “L.A. Connection.” This song rules, man. This was one of three videos Blabbermouth posted that were put up by former Rainbow/Ozzy bassist Bob Daisley, and damned if I could find anything better to close out the week. It doesn’t get much better than ’70s Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio kicking out a ridiculous hard rock song that has nothing to do with anything.

There’s a new podcast coming this weekend. Do you know what the theme will be? I do. I guess you’ll just have to stay on this page and click “Refresh” until it’s actually posted so you can find out.

Next week we wrap up August, and I promise I’ll finally have that Yawning Man feature up. I’m also slated to do two more interviews, and I’ve got conversations with Man’s Gin and Masters of Reality already in the can, so we should be well stocked. Next week also starts the semester, which is terrifying but a reality I was going to have to face sooner or later. Can I work, go to school and manage the most kickass stoner blog in the known multiverse? Probably not, but it’ll be fun anyway.

Tags: , , ,

First Impressions: Torche, Songs for Singles

Posted in Reviews, Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

In the spirit of the release, I’m going to try to keep this short:

Torche songs are so easy to get excited about, because they’re actually exciting. They’re upbeat, energetic, accessible, friendly-sounding even at their heaviest. I just popped their new offering, Songs for Singles in my player for the first time, and already, I want to hang out with it. I want to sit with it and have a beer and watch the bug zapper. Eight songs in under 22 minutes isn’t the kind of numbers I usually get down with, but man, Torche kick ass with twice the efficiency of most bands.

What I like most immediately about Songs for Singles is that the first six tracks comprise half the listening time, and the last two make up the final 10-plus minutes. You’re through “U.F.O.” before you know it, and “Lay Low” is only 51 seconds long, so that’s barely started before it’s done, but “Shine on My Old Ways” seems to change the pace, and by the time “Face the Wall” comes on, you feel like you just hit it. The wall, that is.

If you dug the dreamy pop aspects of Meanderthal, you’re probably also going to drool over Songs for Singles, as even on the slower “Face the Wall” and six-minute capper “Out Again,” that element of their sound is a constant. There aren’t any über-heavy guitar bombs, and as “Out Again” stretches the instrumental section that gradually fades to close the record, it’s apparent that what Torche like playing with in their sound is the sometimes massive, sometimes sweet contrast. Right now, they’re doing it better than anyone else.

Tags: , ,