YOB to Release The Unreal Never Lived Live at Roadburn 2012 Vinyl at Roadburn 2014

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Fucking hell, Roadburn. That’s not even fair. To take YOB‘s front to back performance of 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived from the 2012 fest and put it out as a 2014-fest-exclusive, limited-to-500 copies 2LP? You know I just lost my fucking job, right?

In all seriousness (which the last paragraph wasn’t, except for that part about being unemployed), I remember quite clearly having my chest cavity caved in by this set — one of two the Eugene, Oregon, trio would perform at Roadburn that weekend; they played Catharsis in full for the other, which felt like the universe was doing me a personal favor by making happen — and it was one of very few ultra-heavy experiences I can say in all seriousness hit me on a spiritual level. Which is why I’m going to start saving my pennies now so that hopefully in a couple weeks I’ve got enough to pickup a copy.

Having been there, I suggest if you’re going you do the same.

Info follows:

Roadburn to Release Yob’s The Unreal Never Lived – Live at RB 2012 On Vinyl Only at This Year’s Festival On Thursday, April 10th

The Roadburn only vinyl releases have become a tradition the last few years. Proceedings started in 2012 with the Voivod – Live At Roadburn 2011 LP and the Ulver Roadburn EP, followed last year by Dread Sovereign’s Pray To The Devil In Man EP and the Godflesh live Streetcleaner set.

This year is no exception , and we once more present a special release for you: In conjunction with their much anticipated Roadburn 2014 performances, we will release YOB’s The Unreal Never Lived – Live At Roadburn 2012 (2LP) at this year’s festival on Thursday, April 10th.

The tracklist is as follows:
A ‘Quantum Mystic’
B ‘Grasping Air’
C ‘Kosmos’
D ‘The Mental Tyrant’

Mixed by Marcel van de Vondervoort

Mastered by James Plotkin

YOB‘s The Unreal Never Lived Live at RB 2012 (2LP) is limited to 500 copies, only to be sold at the Roadburn Festival 2014.


YOB, “Quantum Mystic” Live at Roadburn 2012

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Live Review: Small Stone Boston Showcase with Mellow Bravo, Wo Fat, Lo-Pan, Gozu, Roadsaw and Neon Warship, 03.28.14

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I’ve had some pretty landmark good times at Small Stone showcases over the last 10 or so years. Some of them — admittedly, the more recent ones — I’ve even remembered. The last one in Massachusetts was 2012 at Radio in Somerville (review here) was a monster, and as my first time in the upstairs room at the Middle East in Cambridge, I can’t imagine a more fitting occasion. A six-band bill with a shared love of riffs and a record label in common, it was a front-to-back night of volume, distortion, and groove, and from Neon Warship through Roadsaw, Gozu, Lo-Pan, Wo Fat and Mellow Bravo, there was no letup. No moment when you’d want to go outside and smoke or get some air. No moment when the place to be wasn’t in front of the stage.

That’s rare enough when three acts are playing, let alone twice as many. The same lineup minus Mellow Bravo and plus Geezer would play the next night at St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn, but as I had family coming north Saturday and zero dollars for gas, this was my fix. Parking in Cambridge on a Friday night is a singular joy between what’s campus housing for this or that elite-perpetuation factory and other sundry restrictions, but I found a spot and made it into the Middle East well enough in advance of Neon Warship starting off the night. Here’s how it went down from there:

Neon Warship

Of all the acts who’d take stage Friday night, Neon Warship were the most recent addition to the label’s roster. Picked up late in 2013, the Dayton, Ohio, three-piece gave a taste of Small Stone to come with their steady rolling riffs and the post-The Sword vocal stylings of guitarist Kevin Schindel, who when he hit into his higher register made up for some of Freedom Hawk‘s absence from the bill. It was my first exposure to them live, though their 2013 self-titled debut had made an impression, and though they’ve been a band for three years, they came across initially as still getting their feet under them on stage. They were well received by what was rightly a friendly crowd, however, and flourished as their set progressed, getting more comfortable as they went on. It was short sets for everybody, however, so just as Neon Warship were hitting their stride, they were also wrapping up. I doubt it’ll be my last encounter with them, and I’d be interested to see them go longer and have more of a chance to engage the audience. They seemed to be headed in that direction.


I knew when I left the house that it was going to be an evening of top-notch guitar work. What I didn’t realize was that Ian Ross of Roadsaw was going to meet the quota on his own. Don’t get me wrong — situated as early headliners no doubt to bring in the local crowd early and get them drinking; a nefarious plot that worked wonders — all of Roadsaw was on fire, including new drummer Kyle Rasmussen (Phantom Glue) who recently came aboard to replace Jeremy Hemond for reasons yet undisclosed, but Ross seemed particularly to rise to the occasion that the night presented, and whether he was tearing ass through “The Finger” from 2001’s Rawk ‘n’ Roll or leading the way through the undulating stonerism of “Black Flower,” if it wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen him play, it was certainly close. They finished out with two from their 2011 self-titled (review here) — which at this point is begging for a follow-up — “Long in the Tooth” and “Weight in Gold,” and were nothing if not in headliner form, frontman Craig Riggs sharing a mic with bassist Tim Catz after swinging his enough to dislodge its cable and all four bringing their still-too-short set to a monstrously noisy finish. Sometimes earplugs just don’t matter.


Never say never in rock and roll, but at least for the time being this night marked the end of Gozu‘s three-guitar experiment. Lead player Jeff Fultz, who’d pull double-duty with Mellow Bravo, is reportedly on the move out of the area, so there goes that. And while his farewell with Mellow Bravo would be drunker/more emotional later on — he’d been in Mellow Bravo five years, a few months playing with Gozu — it was nonetheless a stellar sendoff. For me, they seemed to affirm the potential for Gozu as a five-piece they showed when I saw this lineup make its debut at the Great Scott back in January (review here), songs like “Irish Dart Fight” and “Meth Cowboy” benefiting both from the extra heft and and still nascent dynamic between Fultz and Doug Sherman‘s soloing. Guitarist/vocalist Marc Gaffney brought his own edge via a Gretsch hollow-body guitar — I don’t play, but if I had the money to spend I’d buy one just to look at it — and Joe Grotto, his foot up on the monitor, was duly animated holding down the low end, while still-relatively-new drummer Mike Hubbard made himself comfortable in the slower, more swinging terrain of “Alone,” the closer from 2010’s Locust Season (review hereand a rare enough inclusion in the set that I don’t think I’d ever seen them play it before. Certainly not since 2013’s The Fury of a Patient Man (review here) was released, anyway. They didn’t get to “Meat Charger,” but “Ghost Wipe” had been a raucous enough opener that all was well. They’re ready to hit Europe next month.


Oh, it had been too long. Too long. Not quite a year since they headlined the third Eye of the Stoned Goat fest in Brooklyn (review here), but still, that’s too long to go without seeing Lo-Pan. They played a set comprised almost entirely of new material, songs from the fourth album, Colossus, they’re recording with Andrew Schneider in Brooklyn this week, some I’d heard — “Colossus,” “The Duke” — others that were completely new. Hearing a runthrough of something once live is no way to judge how it will sound on record, but as guitarist Brian Fristoe nestled into the open, winding grooves of his own riffs backed by bassist Scott Thompson and drummer Jesse Bartz while vocalist Jeff Martin soul-man crooned behind, Lo-Pan sounded like Lo-Pan, and yes, I mean that as a compliment. It means the Ohio four-piece have established their sound and know what sides of what they do they want to develop and they’ve set to the work of that. I pulled my earplugs about halfway out for “El Dorado” from 2011’s Salvador (review here), but even the stuff I hadn’t heard before was easy to appreciate. As the hardest-touring band on Small Stone, Lo-Pan lack nothing for presence on stage, and though I almost got cracked in the head by Thompson‘s bass once or twice and when the night was over, I’m pretty sure it was Bartz‘s crash cymbal ringing in my ears, they silver-plattered a reminder of how vital an act they are. It would be premature to say their best days are ahead of them since Colossus is just now in progress, but they showed the room at the Middle East that anything’s possible, even topping Salvador.

Wo Fat

Getting to see Texas trio Wo Fat play a packed room was one of the highlights of my Roadburn 2013 (review here), and with their second Small Stone outing (fifth overall), The Conjuring, on the way, brief as it was, their set was no less enjoyable here. At the same time they’re probably the best advertisement for Texan tourism I can think of, it’s probably also a good thing they’re from so far away, otherwise I’d probably wind up saying something like, “Oh, it’s only 10 hours. That’s not too far to drive to see Wo Fat again.” The TSA had rifled through guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump‘s gear, so they had to set everything up from scratch before they got going, but once they did, it was a weekend’s worth of fuzz condensed and served in a three-song can. Bassist Tim Wilson was dug in deep for “The Conjuring,” which took hold following a noisy transition from “Nameless Cults” from their 2013 Cyclopean Riffs split LP with Egypt (review here) and in turn shifted via jam into “Sleep of the Black Lotus” from 2012’s The Black Code (review here), the whole set coming across as one consistent riff and fuzz fest, grounded by the plod of drummer Michael Walter. Wo Fat are masters of getting the most out of a slow stoner groove and pushing it into or out of a faster rush (“The Conjuring” does this really well), and the swamp-voodoo lyrical themes they’ve paired with their Fu Manchu-worthy tonality fits perfectly. They don’t have Lo-Pan‘s road experience, but like their Ohio compatriots, Wo Fat clearly know what works in their approach. They wrapped up with a big rock finish — no other way to do it, really — and suddenly the night seemed too short…

Mellow Bravo

…But the fact of the matter is when you want to round out a party in Boston, Mellow Bravo are the way to go. As noted, it was guitarist Jeff Fultz‘s last show with the band, and they were in top form to say goodbye. Irrepressibly outspoken frontman Keith Pierce warned the audience that they were going long in his honor, and while the local six-piece left the room thoroughly entertained — aside from borrowing my camera to take a house-lights-up shot of the crowd, I also saw Pierce at the bar at one point, and he finished the set in the audience — it was readily apparent that for them this was more than just another show or even a label showcase. For Pierce, keyboardist/vocalist Jess Collins, guitarist Andrew Doherty, bassist/vocalist Seager Tennis and drummer Dave Jarvis, they were losing a bandmate and a friend and paying him bittersweet tribute. That’s how it felt watching, anyhow. I’ve seen Mellow Bravo a few times at this point, as well as Collins and Pierce in their acoustic side-project, Tastefulnudes (live review here), and while this was hardly the tightest, crispest set I’ve watched from them, they gave the night a suitable finale, more or less starting an afterparty while they were still playing. To say the very least of it, it was worth sticking around for.

Other bands had started to pack up, but there was still a good deal of milling about, drinking, band-bonding, etc. going on. It was just hitting two in the morning, which had the bar in get-the-fuck-out mode, so I hiked the several blocks back to my car made my way home, more than a little bummed to know what I’d be missing the next night in Brooklyn but feeling fortunate to have been able to see the show I did.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

Read more »

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Satan’s Satyrs Tour Starts this Week; New 7″ Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Available as of today through Trash King Productions in North America and Bad Omen Records in Europe, the new Black Souls b/w There’s No Escapin’ (The Power of Satan) 7″ from Virginian scum rockers Satan’s Satyrs is that trio’s first release since the arrival of their 2012 debut, Wild Beyond Belief!, a record that — true to the band’s biker-cult aesthetic — earned fervent underground appreciation. Their catchy, blown-out, raw doom punk is well intact on “Black Souls,” and the three-piece hit the road this week to start a tour mostly on the East Coast to mark the single’s release, with clear orange vinyl and art from Adam Burke that fits almost too well.

Dates, info and the track “Black Souls” follow, courtesy of the PR wire:


Satan’s Satyrs return with their first studio release since 2012’s “Wild Beyond Belief” and it is nothing short of electrifying. “Black Souls” the lead-off single from their upcoming “Die Screaming” LP is a wild ride out of the dungeon that spawned them into a three-dimensional orgy of forbidden delights. Swirling guitars, grinding bass, and thundering drums propel their sound to new heights of rock and roll abandon. Never has their potent blend of psychedelic-hard-blooze-rock-a-punk-a-rolla sounded so crystal clear, and yet so earthshakingly heavy. This release marks their first recordings as a full band, with none other than Don Zientara (Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Fugazi) of Inner Ear Studios at the board. Recorded 100% analog, with real instruments- this young power trio lays waste to bands twice their age. Backed with a USA exclusive instrumental b-side that brings to mind the classic soundtracks of yore, this record is released in an extremely limited edition. Don’t delay, order today, and whet your appetite for the rock and roll experience of 2014: “DIE SCREAMING”- THE LP!

We’ve got a batch of US tour dates this April to coincide with the release of our new 7″ single “Black Souls.”

4/3 Philadelphia, PA @ Millcreek Tavern
4/4 Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron
4/5 Wallingford, CT @ Knuckleheads
4/6 Providence, RI @ Dusk
4/7 Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
4/8 Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
4/9 Lakewood, OH @ The Foundry
4/10 Indianapolis, IN @ Satellite Distribution & Wholesale
4/18 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter w/ MIDNIGHT
4/19 Washington, D.C. @ Mary Graydon Center w/ PENTAGRAM


Satan’s Satyrs, “Black Souls” (2014)

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Causa Sui, Live at Freak Valley: Sacred Blood in the Garden (PLUS Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 31st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Generally speaking, one of the problems with a live album is that save for rare exceptions, unless you happened to be at the show where it was recorded, it’s that much harder to make a connection to the experience of actually seeing the band on stage. I wasn’t so fortunate to be in Netphen, Germany, when Danish heavy psych masters Causa Sui played at Freak Valley 2013, but listening to the El Paraiso Records 2CD/2LP document of their set — fittingly titled Live at Freak Valley and available for preorder now ahead of an April 7 ship date — the audio easily gives a sense of the warmth and vibrancy of the four-piece’s performance. The material is culled from their 2005 self-titled debut (the inimitable “El Paraiso”) all the way to and through 2013’s hyperbole-worthy Euporie Tide, touching on the expansive jams taken from their Summer Sessions and Pewt’r Sessions along the way for a steady flow that, as the lineup of guitarist Jonas Munk, bassist Jess Kahr, drummer Jakob Skøtt and keyboardist Rasmus Rasmussen progress through their own catalog in swells of volume and stretches of subdued exploration, never subsides throughout the two-disc entirety of the release. Live at Freak Valley is Causa Sui‘s first official live album, and it’s not difficult to tell from listening why they’d want it made public. Especially in the longer-form cuts like “Red Valley” (10:19), the “Lonesome Traveller” medley that also includes pieces of “Santa Sangre” and “Garden of Forking Paths” (14:07), “El Paraiso” (12:36), “Euporie” (12:02) and “Homage” (9:56), Causa Sui are as engaging on their live incarnation as they are in their studio output.

Part of that has to be because Causa Sui‘s albums are closely tied to live performance. That sense was certainly true on Euporie Tide, where the mood was spontaneous, like the band could take their laid back grooving and tonal warmth anywhere they wanted to do go, places alternately lush and expansive or driving in their heavy riffs. Live at Freak Valley doesn’t allow for quite the same level of production value as a studio album, but it’s not far off, either. Munk handled the mixing and mastering himself, so the band’s touch is on every level of the release, and that’s clearly made a difference in the atmosphere of the audio. Each disc — or each platter, if you get the vinyl version — holds just under 45 minutes of runtime, so Live at Freak Valley comes across not as a live album sloppily assembled, lazily mixed and tossed out to capitalize on a willing fanbase, but as something that not only recounts Causa Sui‘s work in the past but actually adds something new to their oeuvre as well because of how well the spirit behind their material is carried through these songs and how plain to hear is the chemistry between the band members. Both the first disc (red) and second disc (blue) position Causa Sui not just as a group hitting their stride on stage, but pushing themselves past where they’ve been before to new places that are captured here. As “The Juice” and “Boozehound” from Euporie Tide flesh out into “Lonesome Traveller”-plus, the band elicit a hypnotized response that shows their command of their form and presentation and is only interrupted when the disc ends and it’s time to put on the other one. If anything interrupts the flow on Live at Freak Valley, it’s the constrictions of media.

That’s inevitable, however, and the tradeoff — aside from the positive, atmosphere-enhancing presence of physical media as a whole in comparison to the digital alternative — is that each half of Live at Freak Valley can be read as having a personality of its own, the first plenty immersive but more varied, with more songs included, the pieces worked into “Lonesome Traveller,” the jazzy jumps in “Mireille” and the thoroughly nailed build of “Red Valley” from Summer Sessions Vol. 3 marking the transition point to the second half’s come-get-lost-in-here sprawl. Those four songs alone — “El Paraiso,” “Euporie,” “Homage” and closer “Soledad” — make for what I have no doubt will prove one of 2014’s most satisfying in heavy psychedelia, but to have them coupled immediately with the preceding five tracks and to think of the entirety being presented whole, as one free-flowing set performed live, well, it’s one of the best live albums I’ve heard in a very long time and makes a solid argument for the live album as being able to capture the essence of a band on stage while also giving those who weren’t there a closer look at what they might have missed. Listening back to Munk‘s guitar and Rasmussen‘s keys lead the way over the steady progression of Kahr and Skøtt toward that song’s payoff, it’s clear that Causa Sui‘s creativity extends to how they conduct themselves live. It’s also clear that I need to see these guys play as soon as humanly possible, because whether it’s the initial wall of fuzz that “The Juice” builds or the serenity that bleeds through “Soledad,” Live at Freak Valley showcases some of the finest heavy psych that Europe has to offer. It’s a release the success of which exceeds even the considerable ambition that birthed it. Recommended.

PLEASE NOTE: I’ve been given permission to host the premiere of the full stream of Live at Freak Valley with this review. Please find it on the YouTube player below and enjoy!

Causa Sui, Live at Freak Valley (2014)

El Paraiso Records’ website

El Paraiso Records on Thee Facebooks

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Friday Full-Length: Colour Haze, Colour Haze

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Colour Haze, Colour Haze (2004)

My understanding is that the version of Colour Haze‘s 2004 self-titled seventh full-length album is the 2007 reissue. I figured any Colour Haze‘s Colour Haze was the right choice. The difference is that the original CD edition was about 55 minutes long. Too much for a single LP, obviously, so the CD closer, “Flowers” is gone, as is “Mountain,” from side A. I’ll miss the latter more than the former, but as the album that’s come in a big way to define Colour Haze‘s sound as one of the most distinct in the European underground over the 10 years since its release, this clip — which was also the best quality available — wasn’t a loss either way. I don’t have this on vinyl. Maybe I should. I’d be lying if I said putting it on full-screen and watching the record spin with the cover propped up behind wasn’t a good sell.

It’s hard to pick a winner between Colour Haze and its 2006 follow-up, Tempel, also released through Elektrohasch. Usually I’ll abdicate the responsibility. I’ll say that I remember when I got the CD of the self-titled and put it on, it was one of those moments where you can feel your blood get warmer. Particularly for arriving so soon after 2003’s Los Sounds de Krauts, it was a different vibe than that 2CD, fuzzier, more assured, jammier. Again, I don’t really have a favorite from Colour Haze, but this one is as  essential as any you might want to put next to it. One interesting thing the vinyl seems to do is keep “Peace, Brothers and Sisters!” intact, timing-wise. A 22-minute B-side is nothing to scoff at, and every nuance leading to it is a joy. For “Love” alone, it’s one of the best heavy psych records ever made.


Tonight is the Small Stone Records showcase at the Middle East in Boston, and I’ll be hitting that up. I didn’t anticipate having the energy to close out the week afterwards, so it seemed prudent to do so beforehand. Monday I’ll have a review of that showcase and a full-stream of the new Causa Sui live album, Live at Freak Valley, with an accompanying review. Probably not the smartest thing I ever did to book both of those on the same day, but hell, not like I have a job, right? If I spend my afternoon furiously typing alternate descriptors for “heavy,” well at least I wasn’t in bed with my head buried under pillows dwelling on what a spectacular failure my decade in the music industry was. Gotta stay busy!

Also next week, look for a full-album stream from Hotel Wrecking City Traders, whose new one is killer. I’m in the process of working out a premiere for Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus too, because I think that’s worth hearing for people who may not be familiar with the band — I also didn’t really appreciate what they were doing until I heard it for myself and sat with it a while — but I’m not sure if it’ll be next week or sometime thereafter. I’ll figure it out one way or another.

You might notice an awful lot of Kyuss and Black Sabbath (also Colour Haze, and Grails and a bunch of Small Stone stuff) on the radio stream. It’s the backup server. The main server was at my now-former office in Jersey, and this week I asked Slevin to run by and pick it up, which he was kind enough to do. It’s being brought north by my family, who are coming up tomorrow for a visit (“uh, hey guys, can you bring this computer and also a bunch of food?” — classy), and I’ll hope to have it running at some point over the weekend. Until then, Kyuss and Sabbath hardly seems like a downer.

Have a great and safe couple of days and I’ll catch you back here Monday for more wild adventures. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Crobot to Release Self-Titled EP on May 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Fresh off a tour alongside Truckfighters that took them through SXSW before heading out west, Pennsylvania’s Crobot have announced they’ll release their new, self-titled EP through Wind-Up Records on May 13. The four-tracker was recorded by Machine, whose largesse-capturing handiwork one might remember from Clutch‘s 2013 outing, Earth Rocker, and after a gig in Texas tonight — one of two this week; I’ve been lagging in keeping up with the news — they’ll meet up with Kyng and Kill Devil Hill at the end of next month, presumably to explore where the line between heavy rock and roll and something remotely viable to a wider audience exists. Intrepid work, gents. Best of luck.

As ever, the PR wire asks the hard-hitting questions:




Central Pennsylvania band Crobot will release their self-titled four-song EP on Wind-up Records May 13, 2014. Tracks include “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer,” “Nowhere to Hide,” “La Mano de Lucifer” and “Skull of Geronimo” and were produced by famed producer Machine (Clutch, Lamb of God, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes). Machine and the band are finishing up their debut album which will be released later this year. “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer” will be available April 1 for download and streaming but fans can go to crobotband.com now and unlock #TheLegend to get a free version of the song. “Nowhere to Hide” is going to rock radio on Cinco de Mayo – May 5.

So who the f**k is Crobot?

The band embodies a mixture of groove-heavy riff-rock that will want to make you bang your head and shake your ass. Think of them as Wolfmother’s American cousins who smell like leather (they make leather-scented air fresheners!) and whose music scorches your ears like hot sauce to the taste (yes, they even have their own hot sauce!). You can’t help but feel that you are taken into another dimension and back again with the songs of Crobot.

Crobot will be on tour in select cities across the United States in 2014 doing solo shows, touring with Kyng and Kill Devil Hill and at Rock on the Range (dates below). More dates will be announced soon.

Crobot is Brandon Yeagley (Lead Vocals, Harmonica), Chris Bishop (Guitar, Vocals), Jake Figuroa (Bass) and Paul Figuroa (Drums).

“Legend of the Spaceborne Killer”
“Nowhere to Hide”
“La Mano de Lucifer”
“Skull of Geronimo”

Mar 28 Corpus Christi TX Zeros Hardrock Club
Apr 28 Atlanta GA The Masquerade With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
Apr 29 Wilmington NC Ziggy’s By The Sea With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
May 2 Winston-Salem, NC Ziggy’s With Kill Devil Hill
May 6 New York NY Marlin Room @ Webster Hall With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
May 7 Springfield VA Empire With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
May 9 Syracuse NY Lost Horizon With Kill Devil Hill
May 10 Lancaster PA Chameleon Club With Kill Devil Hill
May 11 Worcester MA The Palladium (upstairs) With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
May 15 Flint MI The Machine Shop With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
May 17 Columbus OH Rock on the Range
May 20 Joliet IL Mojoes With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
May 21 St. Louis MO The Firebird With Kyng and Kill Devil Hill
May 25 Lubbock TX Lonestar Amphitheater FMX Big Purple Party


Crobot EPK

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Duuude, Tapes! Keefshovel, Demo ’13

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on March 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

When drummer Matt Couto handed me what I was told was the last remaining copy of Keefshovel‘s demo tape from Nomadic Behavior Records the other night, Ichabod frontman John Fadden, who was standing nearby, succinctly (and jokingly) asked, ” A demo tape? What the fuck is this? 1983?” That’s pretty much the root critique of the “tape revival” as a whole. Unlike vinyl, which enjoyed some level of reverence even as CDs came up in the ’80s and ’90s and digital media took hold in the late ’90s and 2000s, tapes were left to the stuff of homegrown noisemakers. Their central usefulness — that is, the ability to be recorded on and recorded over — was undone by CD-Rs and file trading. Romanticism for analog warmth and nostalgia aside, there’s little a tape can offer beyond physical presence that I can’t get from a zip file. It seems a reasonable argument to make that tapes went further away than vinyl did because other formats offered the same appeal in a better form. Vinyl broke songs into sides and sounded better. CDs were later made recordable, and digital files were more convenient. You might as well put out an 8-track. It’s an understandable position.

Yet, in revisiting Keefshovel‘s three-song Demo ’13 (first reviewed here), the cassette does sound different, rougher, meaner than the digital version. Part of that is undoubtedly due to the stereo to which my tape deck is hooked up — call it a mid-fi — but whatever it is, the New Bedford sludgers’ rawness makes yet another case for the validity of tapes as a format. They’re cheap and they sound harsh. What part of that doesn’t work? The label on Keefshovel‘s tape is clearly a sticker, and mine has bends in it. The “demo tape” is a classic medium, and in a time when so much of the focus of aesthetic is on celebrating the past while updating its influence into a modern sphere — so many of the criticisms of tapes could also be made about vinyl as well, and that’s before you even get to bands recording analog, vintage sound and style, private presses, etc. — I guess I just don’t see how tapes are any different. They don’t offer vinyl’s clarity. Big deal. Listening to Keefshovel‘s mp3s again, I prefer the nastiness of “Christmas in Brockton” with the tape’s compression. It’s royal viciousness either way, and only gets more so when the vocals kick in on “A Seed in the Rough,” but as far as I’m concerned, the more format the merrier. At least they got to put it out.

I’ve gone through the tracks before — link above — so I’ll spare you that, but with the black and white art, one-sided J-card and already-gone availability, Keefshovel‘s Demo ’13 taps into a valid and elsewhere-honored tradition that shows itself as vital simply through the reaction its existence can provoke on both ends. Put into two sides, “Christmas in Brockton” and “A Seed in the Rough” face off well with the 10-minute “Germ,” and while I don’t know what the future holds for the band, they were able to situate these three songs in an established modus that, while the continued subject of discussion in itself, has obviously stood the test of time. I’m happy to have gotten a copy.

Keefshovel, Demo ’13

Nomadic Behavior Records on Thee Facebooks

Keefshovel on Thee Facebooks

Keefshovel on Bandcamp

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Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus to Release Spirit Knife April

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

As the old idiom goes, the world’s all yours when you’re a young band with a funny name. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth reiterating that Sweden’s Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus are one to watch out for this year. After reissuing their prior outing, Bloom, on Small Stone late last year, the four-piece will debut proper on the label with Spirit Knife next month. They’ve also got European touring throughout April and May booked to mark the occasion, so one way or another, they’ll be around. The track “Wind Seized” from Spirit Knife is available to stream now and gives a pretty solid example of their spaced-out approach to writing songs that get stuck in your head almost without your realizing it.

The PR wire wants to be your friend. Won’t you open your heart?

JEREMY IRONS & THE RATGANG MALIBUS: Swedish Psychedelic Space Rockers To Release New Full-Length Via Small Stone This April

According to ancient lore, and cult of the antediluvian pagan deity, Ginsu the Magnificently Pointy, a Spirit Knife consists of a bone blade bonded to the souls of the Mud People. He or she that defended oneself or took the life of an enemy with the Spirit Knife became magically bonded to the blade and, thus, the only person who could touch or wield it in future battle. Spirit Knife is also the title of the new album by JEREMY IRON & THE RATGANG MALIBUS – aka JIRM – and we have it on good authority that every musical warrior brave and proud enough to wield it upon release this April through Small Stone Recordings will find him or herself spiritually and eternally bound to its preternatural musical goodness – just like the Mud People of yore.

Imagine, if you will, Jeff Buckley jamming with Can, and you’ll have a fair gist of the fantastic voyage that awaits the armies of the Spirit Knife; an album that finds JIRM rekindling their time-traveling communion with vintage psychedelia and Krautrock, while expanding on the sonic palette revealed by the ensemble’s past full-lengths, Elefanta and Bloom.

Once again, but more powerfully than ever before, JIRM, deliver imposing passages of torrential guitars that rattle and roll, shimmy and soar with oceanic reverb and sweaty rock and roll, partnering with thrumming keys and mesmerizing Motorik drums to incite cyclical hypnosis for protracted song-suites,ever teetering between tight instrumental control and loose vibes to achieve optimal tantric tension and release through music.

All this from a group founded in 2004, in the town of Eskilstuna, Sweden, before relocating to Stockholm three years later, where and whence vocalist/guitarist Karl Apelmo, guitarist Micke Pettersson, bassist Viktor Källgren and drummer Henke Persson have since produced the aforementioned two albums and, now, the impending Spirit Knife.

Elaborates Pettersson, “The result of Spirit Knife is, by its lion’s share, an overgrown and large album where the quartet certainly isn’t making any further compromising of the epic.”

Spirit Knife was recorded at Puch Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, mixed by Viktor Källgren, produced by the JIRM collective and mastered by Chris Goosman (Early Man, Sasquatch, Dixie Witch, Solace et al) at Baseline Audio Labs in Ann Arbor, Michigan and features the striking cover art of Sebastian Thomsson.

Spirit Knife Track Listing:
1. Fog by the Steep
2. Wind Seized
3. Sworn Collision
4. Once Levitated
5. Clang
6. Deep Hardened Woods
7. Point Growth
8. Spirit Knife

So remember the legends of the ancients as you file into record stores (or wherever it is people get their music in these modern, troubled and godless times) to pick up your copy of Spirit Knife – on CD, digital formats, or just maybe some crazy colored LP version that could happen down the line – and shout “Hail to the Mud People!” They knew how to rock out with their bad pre-historic selves.

Spirit Knife will be released via Small Stone Records on April 29th, 2014. Preorder your copy today at THIS LOCATION where you can also check out second track, “Wind Seized.”


Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, “Wind Seized” from Spirit Knife (2014)

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