Full-Show Monday: Zoned Out Live at Glasslands, Dec. 29, 2012

Posted in audiObelisk on December 31st, 2012 by JJ Koczan

So I guess this pretty much just happened a couple nights ago, but here is the live debut of new heavy jammers Zoned Out, and as we head into a New Year this week, a brand new band seems all the more appropriate. Diggers of Brooklyn psychedelia might recognize drummer Adam Kriney from La Otracina, who brings some of the frantic rhythmic insistence of that band to his excellent fills here in this more spaced-out trio, which also includes bassist Dan Bates and guitarist Phil Ortanez (both ex-La Otracina).

Here’s the complete tracklisting if you want to give names to the tripped out sonics:

ZONED OUT Live at Glasslands 12-29-12

A Kriney – drums / D Bates – bass / P Ortanez – guitar

1. Feathers Of The Wild Cloud 0:00-4:30
2. Eyes Within A Dream 4:30-9:50
3. Gypsy Dance 10:36-14:58
4. Bigger Fun 14:59-21:00
5. Smoke Signals 22:06-26:18
6. Woodland Blues 27:08-34:45

Rumor has it — and by “rumor,” I mean what the band actually said — Zoned Out are going to record in February or March of the coming New Year, so that’s one more to keep an eye on before we actually get there. In the meantime, I should say thanks toKriney for posting these tracks at just the right moment when I was looking for something cool to feature. Timing is everything, people.

And speaking of time, 2012 is almost out of it. Can’t say I’ll miss this year, but it could’ve been worse. I’ve spent the better part of the last week in sundry Xmas celebrations with different segments of the total population of my family, and that’s been somewhat exhausting, but last night I went and saw Clutch at Crocodile Rock in Allentown, PA, and it was great to blow off some steam. I’ll have a review of that up this week, maybe Wednesday, if I actually decide to take tomorrow off. Not sure yet.

Helping in the argument to do so is the fact that I seem to have acquired a cold from sources unknown — actually it’s a combination of kid-germs and The Patient Mrs., who had it first and thus shall absorb her portion of the blame — but it’s okay. I never much liked breathing or not feeling like my sinuses were about to explode anyway. You can go ahead and insert a Scanners reference here. I feel too crappy to handle it.

Also to come this week assuming I have enough energy to set fingers to keys are the Readers Poll results, reviews of Traveling Circle‘s new one, which is also rife with lysergic goodness, and a twofer from Electric Moon, as well as the top five albums I didn’t hear in 2012 — gonna wait for 2013 to post that one, just in case I do some last-minute listening; I won’t — and if I have time to transcribe it, that interview with Arthur Seay of Unida/House of Broken Promises. I seem to suck at getting transcriptions done lately and I also suck at putting together emailers, so kind of a late-year dearth of interviews around here as a result. Perhaps I’ll resolve to be more on top of that shit next year. I’ll see what I can do.

Whatever your New Year’s plans are, I hope you’re safe and that nobody gets hurt or arrested but otherwise that you have a great time. I think maybe I’ll just go back to bed and wait for tomorrow to come so I can say I’ve been sick for a whole year. Fortunately, I can bring my laptop with me.

Happy 2013, y’all. More to come in a bit.

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1000mods Issue New EP Valley of Sand; Release Show this Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 28th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

You probably already knew this, because you’re hip like that and/or have effectively arranged your Facebook updates so that you still get them, but Greek heavy psych unit 1000mods released a new EP last week called Valley of Sand. Comprised of four tracks but mostly centered around the 17-minute titular opener, it’s a laid back jammer’s delight complemented by three live cuts, “7 Flies,” “Navy in Alice” and “Track Me,” all of which appeared in regular ol’ studio form on the foursome’s killer 2011 outing, Super Van Vacation (review here).

The new EP comes in an edition of 500 white vinyl 12″ records, pressed on The Lab Records, and it’s available now through the 1000mods Bandcamp. In case you should happen to be in Korinthos this weekend — hey, it could happen — they’re playing a release show for it at Artichoke, the poster for which can be enlarged by clicking the image on the right. Basically, they’re a good band and I thought after listening to it that the EP was worth a plug, so if you get a second and feel like checking it out, here’s the Bandcamp stream:

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So, I Think Sleep Might Need to Release a New Album in 2013

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 28th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Okay, let me rephrase right off the bat — Sleep don’t need to put out an album at all. Sleep don’t need to do anything. With Al Cisneros in Om, Matt Pike in High on Fire and Jason Roeder in Neurosis, it’s not like the dudes in Sleep are lagging either on output or asskickery. However,  “I think Sleep should put out a new record in an attempt to capture a special moment in the creative lives of its three members” hardly makes for a catchy headline. So here we are.

I’ve got a couple different levels of argument in favor of a new Sleep album, which would be their first since the epic Dopesmoker finally saw the light of day officially in 2003. At the most basic level is the nerdy, “OMG more riffs”-type impulse — the side of me that wants to hear new Sleep just because it would be new stuff from the band who put out Sleep’s Holy Mountain 20 years ago. I’m not about to invalidate that response. Fanboyism is what it is.

More than that, however, I think when you take a look at the response to the periodic shows Sleep have played over the last two-plus years (I first saw them in Brooklyn, Sept. 2010), their continued interest in performing live, their continued influence in the sphere of stoner metal, heavy psych, etc., and — because yes, this matters — the fact that there’s more of an audience for Sleep now than there ever was before, a new studio album is a logical next step. Most of all, creatively.

Take a look at this year’s releases from Om, High on Fire and Neurosis. All three bands had a records out in 2012, and all three were incredibly different. Cisneros explored lush melodies and a wider psychedelic expanse than ever before on Advaitic Songs (review here), while Pike issued High on Fire‘s most aggressive offering to date in De Vermis Mysteriis (review here), and in Neurosis, Roeder provided creative rhythms to ground some of the pioneering Bay Area outfit’s most complex material on Honor Found in Decay (review here). Each was a triumph completely on its own terms.

And that’s why I say now is the time for new Sleep. I’m not thinking that you put Cisneros, Pike and Roeder in a jam space and out comes “From Beyond Pt. 2.” Especially since it would be their first outing with Roeder on drums, I’d hope that a new Sleep record — while obviously steeped in Iommic tradition — sounded like nothing they’ve ever done before. If I wanted to hear what Sleep sounded as they were in their original incarnation, I’d put on one of the old albums. I want to hear what Sleep can put together sound-wise today. I want to hear Sleep with Roeder‘s drum fills, or some of the warmth of tone that Cisneros has developed in Om, or with the kind of solo that Pike wouldn’t have dared attempt at the time but has been decapitating audiences with ever since.

They’ve got their blueprint to work from in terms of riffs, tones and overall approach, but with as distinct as the three personalities have proven to be over the course of this year — and especially with how well the trio works on stage at this point; their set at Roadburn 2012 was hands down one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen — it just seems like there’s an opportunity now to stand up to the challenge of bringing together something that captures the different sides of each member’s personality while also remains uniquely Sleep‘s own, adding to the breadth of their ever-expanding influence.

It seems like a ludicrous idea, right? Well, Black Sabbath have a new record in the works. Saint Vitus put out an album this year. Hell, even the dudes from Kyuss have something going at this point. So why not Sleep? I never thought I’d get to see the band live, and it’s been a couple times now. We live in a universe of infinite possibilities, and though it’s hardly the likeliest announcement to come down the PR wire, would you really have thought they’d get back together for shows in the first place? It’s been over two years now.

So yeah, they don’t need to release an album in 2013 — or ever, for that matter — but if they did, they’d be coming together at just the time when they each seemed to be most on their own path. Whatever that might result in, whether it’s another Dopesmoker or something completely different, it seems like a worthwhile endeavor no matter how you want to look at it.

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Antimatter, Fear of a Unique Identity: Overcoming Phobias

Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

The longest track on Antimatter‘s Fear of a Unique Identity, “Firewalking” tops eight minutes and uses that time to offer some glimmer of hope from the head-down melancholia in which so much of the rest of the album revels. Fear is the British project’s sixth studio outing — there’s also been a best of and two live records — and continues their relationship with Prophecy Productions, a label which has become a haven for depression conveyed via musical gorgeousness, lush melody and introspective lyrics. In the case of Antimatter‘s latest, we get all of the above.

With a total nine tracks/49 minutes, it’s also an album that was bound to be a surprise — it’s Antimatter‘s first LP in five years since 2007’s Leaving Eden and the second since Duncan Patterson left the band. The multi-instrumentalist, also ex-Anathema, was formerly a defining presence in Antimatter alongside guitarist/vocalist Mick Moss, playing a central role in the ambient/electronica vibing of the band’s earliest albums, Saviour (2001) and Lights Out (2003). With 2005’s Planetary Confinement, Antimatter began to move toward a more organic, intimate style, and Patterson went on to release material with another band, Íon, that was in a roughly similar earthy vein before getting started with the darker project Alternative 4 (named for the last Anathema album on which he appeared), who made their full-length debut with 2011’s The Brink.

Moss, meanwhile, took the reins of Antimatter and has proven he’s capable of carrying the band in terms both of songwriting and performance. On Leaving Eden, he brought in Anathema‘s Danny Cavanaugh for the sessions and subsequent touring, also sitting in with Cavanaugh‘s Leafblade side-project. You’d need a chart to note every connection between these players, but one way or another, it mostly leads back to Anathema, except in Moss‘ case as he was never a member of the band. On Fear of a Unique Identity, however, Antimatter is perhaps the most separate from the Anathema lineage that they’ve ever been. Sure, the wisping ebow guitar leads in “Wide Awake in the Concrete Asylum” bear some sonic resemblance to Anathema‘s mid-period downer glories, but Moss is firmly in control of the band’s sound and quick to distinguish and make a mark of his own within these songs.

Primarily, he does this vocally, with a stunningly emotive and melodic delivery that’s adaptable to whatever happens to be going on musically at the time, but really, it’s the music itself on Fear of a Unique Identity that’s going to surprise first-time listeners or anyone who’s followed the band since they got going. It’s heavy. From the beginnings of opener “Paranova” to the Euro-doom stomp of “The Parade” and all the distorted tonality between, Antimatter in 2012 have more in common with Katatonia than with Anathema‘s newfound progressive joys. The additional vocals of Vic Anelsmo, periodic violin of David Hall and drumming of Colin Fromont give a full-band feel to Moss‘ singing, guitar, bass, piano and programming, and yet Antimatter retains an intimate, personal sensibility through their dynamic approach, here soft and contemplative, as on closer “A Place in the Sun,” and there unremittingly dark and threatening, as on centerpiece “Here Come the Men,” which marks Moss and Anselmo‘s best duet of the record.

Read more »

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Space Mushroom Fuzz Post Video for “Trapped in the Past”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 27th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

It’s only been a little over two months since Boston-based space rockers Space Mushroom Fuzz released their second album, Something Weird’s Going On, and only about six since their first full-length, When Time Trippers Collide (review here), was unveiled, so the two-piece have set a solid course of working quickly. Yet, I can’t help but notice that the song “Trapped in the Past,” for which they just today unveiled a new video, isn’t on either of those two albums.

The natural conclusion is that Space Mushroom Fuzz — the duo of Adam Abrams (also Blue Aside/Palace in Thunderland) and John Belcastro — already have more new stuff in the offing, which is an even more impressive pace than I previously thought. Either way, the video for “Trapped in the Past” is rife with a sort of low-budget psychedelic strangeness, Wonka-esque light flashes and periodic moments of clarity. It’s a trip, and you’ll find it on the player below.

I also thought I’d include the stream of Something Weird’s Going On from the Space Mushroom Fuzz Bandcamp page in case you wanted to dig a little further. Please enjoy:

Space Mushroom Fuzz, “Trapped in the Past”

And the full-length:

Space Mushroom Fuzz, Something Weird’s Going On

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Dutch Black Metallers Nihill Added to Roadburn 2013 Afterburner

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Following the release of their third album, Verdonkermaan, earlier this year on the now-kaput Hydra Head Records, Dutch black metal three-piece Nihill have been announced as joining the lineup for the 2013 Roadburn Afterburner. Their presence marks a continuation of Roadburn‘s ongoing push into the dark and the extreme, though Neu!‘s Michael Rother was also recently announced as playing (backed by Berlin outfit Camera), so the Afterburner‘s just as all over the place as the fest itself. The one thing it isn’t is predictable.

Info follows, culled from Roadburn‘s website:

In their debut live performance, Nihill bring their brutal and unforgiving black metal to 2013 Roadburn Afterburner on Sunday, April 21st at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland.

“Netherlands-based black metal trio Nihill returned in 2012 with the harrowingly dissonant invocation Verdonkermaan, the final vile screed in a traumatic trilogy (see equally disturbing predecessors Krach and Grond). Verdonkermaan was a nerve-shredding howl of raw black metal combined with vortexes of cataclysmic noise, made all the more effective by its discomforting, unorthodox nature”

“Like fellow avant-garde black metal brutes Gnaw Their Tongues, Nihill craft corruptive suites that eschew any hooks or, at their best, any sense of predictable structure. Verdonkermaan‘s five lengthy songs buried hints of melody under waves of remorseless abrasiveness, with static-ridden riffs, frost-bitten feedback, distortion and drone smothering all. The album’s finest moments came when its raging pyres of chaos and cruelty overwhelmed with their intensity—misanthropic murderousness was heaped upon atonal annihilations till all became a singular blur of black-hearted nefariousness. The band clearly reveled in the demoniacal glee of elongated churns of depraved and discombobulating noise” — Craig Hayes / Popmatters.

Tickets for the 2013 Afterburner are still available!

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The Obelisk Radio Add of the Week: Mighty High, Live at the Grand Victory, Brooklyn, 2012

Posted in Radio on December 27th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

With the holidays there hasn’t been much time for throwing records up on the Obelisk Radio streaming server, but one thing that came along this week that I wanted to make sure got included was a complete 51-minute set from Brooklyn-based delinquents Mighty High, recorded Dec. 1, 2012, at The Grand Victory in their native borough. This was the first gig the four-piece played after losing a ton of equipment in Hurricane Sandy, and in the tradition of the finest soundboard bootlegs, the audio is raw, but clear and crisp. “Chemical Warpigs” sounds amazing, as you’d have to expect.

Here’s the full setlist:

Shooting Spree
Not Tonight
Breakin’ Shit
Tokin ‘n’ Strokin
Cheep Beer Dirt Weeed
Chemical Warpigs
Loaded Loaded
Hands Up (If You Wanna Get High)
I Don’t Wanna Listen to Yes
High on the Cross
Drug War
Cable TV Eye

Mighty High‘s 2012 Ripple Music debut LP, Legalize Tre Bags (review here), continues to reign among the year’s most charm-driven releases, and tracks like “Breakin’ Shit,” “I Don’t Wanna Listen to Yes,” “Drug War” and “Mooche” are even better live. Plus, it’s a chance to get to know Chris “Woody” MacDermott better than you might just by reading his Spine of Overkill column as he delights in asking from the stage, “Is the huge crowd coming in for the DJ gonna fuck us up?” There’s no way to lose with the dude’s banter, even if it is a little sad when he goes member by member and details the gear everyone lost, including his own Foghat speaker cabinet.

It’s in there now as part of the regular rotation, so at some point, a solid 51 minutes of Mighty High will pop up to kick your ass and smoke you out. Hope you enjoy it. In the meantime, hands up if you wanna download the show for free. It’s right here on Soundcloud:

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Hooray for New Clutch! — “Earth Rocker” Live at the Machine Shop

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 27th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

If you’re clever, you can spot me taking some pics in the video below for the title-track to Clutch‘s forthcoming album, Earth Rocker. The band recently announced the first of what I assume will be many rounds of tour dates, bringing Orange Goblin with them as they crisscross the countryside.

I’ll also be seeing them this weekend in Allentown, PA, on their New Year’s tour, so look for a review of that this week. In the meantime, here’s “Earth Rocker” filmed live at the Machine Shop studio in scenic Belleville, NJ:

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