Destroyer of Light Announce “Smothered and Covered” Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 31st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

destroyer of light

Can’t help but feel like Destroyer of Light have the right idea. Even coming from Austin, which, you know, isn’t exactly the Antarctic, you don’t head north to tour in January. You play the South. Six dates in Florida? Yeah, that sounds about right. The riff-pummeling Texan four-piece are out in support of last year’s Endsville split LP (video premiere here) on Battleground Records with Arizona brutality merchants Godhunter, and while they may or may not have a follow-up in the works, that split is a cause worthy enough of getting back out, particularly in a friendly climate.

If you didn’t hear it, the Bandcamp stream is below, so dig in and find the catharsis your seasonally-depressed ass has been longing for, and then peruse the dates carefully. I’m pretty sure the name of the tour, “Smothered and Covered,” is a Waffle House reference, that greasiest of greasy spoon chain having supported many a hangover battle, but don’t quote me on it. Either way:

destroyer of light tour

Still waiting on the confirmations in Mississippi on January 25th and South Carolina on February 3rd, but here’s the Smothered & Covered tour of 2016. Let’s drink, eat waffle house, and get crazy!!! Flyer by Erik Bredthauer.

Destroyer of Light Smothered and Covered Tour:
01.22 Houston TX Rudyard’s
01.23 Lake Charles LA Luna
01.24 New Orleans LA Siberia
01.25 Jackson/Biloxi MS TBA
01.26 Tallahassee FL Pug’s Live
01.27 Jacksonville FL Burro Bar
01.28 Gainesville FL Loosey’s
01.29 Tampa FL Bend’s Bar
01.30 Fort Lauderdale FL The Poorhouse
01.31 Orlando FL Uncle Lou’s
02.01 Savannah GA The Jinx
02.02 Atlanta GA 529
02.03 Greenville SC TBA
02.04 Birmingham AL 412
02.05 Fayetteville AR JR’s Lightbulb Club
02.06 Tulsa OK Downtown Lounge
02.07 Lubbock TX The Depot
02.08 Austin TX The Grand

Formed in 2012 from constantly boiling musical cauldron that is Austin, TX, Destroyer of Light has taken a straight forward approach to tempering the disparate and harmonious parts of their influences into a total sum of slow motion tidal heaviness that bows to no altar but that of the riff. With the smoky flavors of hazed out doom and the stomping cadence of rock’s heyday, the band both tickles and deafens the ears with the theatrical flashes of Mercyful Fate, the ominous tones of Electric Wizard, and the ferociously feral feedback of a Sleep dirge.

Godhunter & Destroyer of Light, Endsville (2015)

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Dirty Streets, White Horse: Gotta be Plain

Posted in Reviews on December 31st, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Memphis trio Dirty Streets, who dropped a “The” from their moniker with their 2013 third album, Blades of Grass (review here), set their foundation early in a blend of classic heavy rock and blues. Since coming together with the consistent lineup of Thomas Storz (bass, percussion), Justin Toland (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Andrew Denham (drums, percussion) and issuing their 2009 debut, Portrait of a Man, and its 2011 follow-up, Movements (review here), before signing to Alive Naturalsound, the three-piece have pushed toward a style built on organic instrumental chemistry and soulful delivery of their material, put together in a songwriting process traditional in its structure but given a vibrant energy by the three-piece’s performance, rhythms and melodies.

Their latest outing, the easy-boogieing White Horse, runs a bit deeper lyrically than did Blades of Grass, dealing with issues of drugs on “Good Pills” and “White Horse,” loneliness on “Good Kind of Woman” and “Dust” and a general longing for things to be better across opening duo “Save Me” and “Looking for My Peace” and the later “When I See My Light.” None of this is new territory for blues, but it’s darker than Dirty Streets have gone before, though set up in a contrast to the band’s generally upbeat instrumental modus. Even the acoustic-led “The Voices” and “Dust” seem to find some resolve or at least catharsis in their own efficient runs, and in any case, at 11 tracks/36 minutes, White Horse hardly sticks around long enough — either in its individual songs or front-to-back course — to wallow. There’s dancing to do.

That brevity and a general forwardness of purpose — Dirty Streets have always eschewed pretense and their fourth LP is no exception — work greatly to White Horse‘s favor. Denham‘s kick sets the pace immediately on “Save Me” and Toland‘s vocals start the first of several sing-along-ready parts the record has on offer, and before the listener really knows it, the track is underway. Something the band has long excelled at is gracefully walking a fine line between heavy, motor-ready riffing and a generally laid back, good-times atmosphere, and while the Matt Qualls-produced outing pans lead guitar from left to right channels on “Looking for My Peace” and peppers arrangements there with piano and on “Dust” with harmonies and wah-soaked notes from Toland to go with Storz‘s “Freebird” bassline, the songwriting ultimately gains as much from what it holds onto from prior outings as from what it presents as growth from the last couple years and/or elements that otherwise flesh out the material and add variety to the album as a whole.

dirty streets

So, a track like “Accents” (the longest inclusion at 4:09) takes cues from psych rock circa ’68 and through a melding of acoustic, guitar, piano and gang-contributed room-vocals charts a diverse trajectory and accomplishes what it sets out to do without a wasted moment. The same could easily be said for White Horse as a whole, an 8-track-ready groove like “Think Twice” meeting head-on with a percussion jam in its second half before Toland begins “When I See My Light” on solo vocals, a gospel nod maybe, before Storz holds together a relative guitar and drum freakout en route to one of the record’s most resonant hooks.

Denham delivers a highlight performance there and it once again holds true for all of White Horse that while Dirty Streets have more to offer melodically than they ever have before, it’s the rhythm, the groove, that carries the listener across the fervent flow between tracks. To wit, the roll of “Good Kind of Woman” into the relatively minimal “The Voices” — even that has a shaker in behind the acoustic guitar — and the raucuousness following with “Good Pills.” The band covers a lot of ground in under eight minutes, tossing out catchy choruses one after another and winding up even showing a bit of cynical edge as the two-minute “Good Pills” rounds out with the lines, “Don’t forget now to take your pills/I know you won’t because you can’t stop.”

In combination with the closing title-track, a masterful groove in the band’s post-Blue Cheer tradition, the theme of drug abuse is clear — not that they were masking it, given the album’s title — but the raw-rocking “Plain” and Hendrixian-psych-meets-’70s-prog of “Dust” provide a buffer while keeping the flow steady between them. Toland‘s vocal performance on “Dust” highlights the singer he’s become, but really, there isn’t one single member of Dirty Streets you might listen to who doesn’t show progression from where they were even two years ago, and much as White Horse as an entire work benefits from the strengths of its individual tracks, so too does the band become stronger for what TolandStorz and Denham bring to the material. “Plain” tries to make it sound like this is all very easy and simple in its chorus, “Plain/Gotta be plain/I can’t hide it,” but the truth is that chemistry like Dirty Streets‘ doesn’t just happen, and they do right by making the most of it throughout.

Dirty Streets, “Good Pills”

Dirty Streets on Thee Facebooks

Dirty Streets at Alive Naturalsound

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The Obelisk Merch Update — Shirts Being Pressed

Posted in Label Stuff on December 31st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk t-shirt

The above image was posted via Instagrammophone yesterday by Made in Brooklyn Silk Screeners, and like Fidel Castro holding up a newspaper, it’s definitive proof that merch for The Obelisk is a real thing, happening right now, on this planet where we live. I wasn’t sure for a while if I believed it myself.

We wound up with over 100 orders for shirts and hoodies between the two designs by Harley and J and Alexander von Wieding, and nearly 150 items purchased in the one week that they were available. I got a sweatshirt for myself for around the house — don’t think I could really wear it out — and The Patient Mrs. got a couple shirts too.

Made in Brooklyn is doing the pressing in Brooklyn — duh — and they’ll be picked up by the aforementioned The Patient Mrs. on Jan. 7. That’s next Thursday, and my plan is to spend probably the better portion of next weekend putting orders together to go out asap. Frankly, I don’t want the stuff hanging around for any longer than it needs to be. Space is a premium as it is.

I got the invoice yesterday from the printing job, and it looks like between that and a generous holiday donation toward the cause from my mother I’ll be able to purchase a new camera, which wasn’t my goal when I started out to make merch for The Obelisk, but kind of became the obvious thing to do with whatever cash came in. I’ve had my eye on a Canon 5D Mark III long enough, and it’s my hope that getting one makes this site an all-around stronger, more quality outlet, at least as far as photography goes.

Thanks one more time to everybody who placed an order for a shirt or hoodie. I don’t know when or if I will do another run of merch. It’ll be at least two years if I do it at all, and by then who knows what the situation will be? Maybe all shirts will have circuits in them to monitor heartrate and steal your data to sell it back to you in the form of targeted advertisements and the little guy will be priced out of the market because of semiconductor costs.

I’m just saying, we don’t know what the future will bring, so I appreciate everyone who stepped in with bigtime support in the present. It means more than I can say, and I hope you’ll continue to show love to MiBKHarley and J, and Alex von Wieding.

Made in Brooklyn Silk Screeners

Harley and J Illustration and Design

Alexander von Wieding website

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The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues Post 7″ Teaser

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 31st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the sun the moon and the witchs blues logo

It’s been a quick year since Swedish outfit The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues made such an intriguing debut with an 18-minute single-song self-titled EP. Then working as the duo of Robin Hirse (also Asteroid) and Jonas Ljungkvist, they affected a heavy psych and blues atmosphere across the hypnotically-engaging track, seeming to serve notice of an arrival in the making. Even playing it back now, its organic flow and rich tonality leave a positive and encouraging impression, which is to say, it leaves me wanting more.

The band — now apparently a five-piece with Hirse on vocals or vocals and guitar, Ljungkvist on guitar as well as guitarist Tobias Eriksson, bassist Joakim Kohlscheen and drummer Jimmi Kohlscheen — will make their first physical offering in the form of a debut 7″ through Rock Freaks Records sometime sooner or later in 2016. Basically nothing about the release is known at this point in terms of what songs will be included, how many will be pressed and when it will be out, but a teaser has been posted that features a dreamy chorus and that’s enough for me to go on. After they hit the studio this Spring and Fall, I’d been wondering what would come from it. Nice to have some idea on that one.

Also curious to see how Hirse winds up splitting time between The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues and the recently-reunited Asteroid, and how the two projects will coexist going forward. I guess we’ll find out. For now, if you listen to the teaser like six times in a row, it’s almost like a whole song. Not saying I’ve tried that or anything. You know.

For your brief enjoyment:

The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, 7″ Teaser

Excerpt from the upcoming 7″ by The Sun, The Moon & The Witch’s Blues. Out 2016 on Rock Freaks Records.

The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues on Thee Facebooks

The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues on Bandcamp

Rock Freaks Records

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Larman Clamor Release The Heathland Tales EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 31st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Until today, Hamburg-based solo-project Larman Clamor had only one release under its belt for 2015 — a split with Blackwolfgoat (review here) released on H42 Records as the follow-up to 2014’s Beetle Crown and Steel Wand album (review here). That’s something of a surprise given past years’ productivity, but multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Alexander von Wieding — also a noted graphic artist with this site among his clients — isn’t quite ready to let go of 2015 yet.

As a way of seeing this year go, he’s just released The Heathland Tales, a new five-track EP of Larman Clamor material. Noteworthy for a shift away from some of the project’s past raucousness toward a moodier feel, the 10-minute release still gets down with that ol’ swamp boogie blues that von Wieding has proffered since the get-go in 2011, though of course he’s refined his methods since then as well. The subdued vibe suits his vocal delivery well, and while I’m not sure I’d want Larman Clamor to leave its drunk-on-homemade-spirits swing behind for good, for an outing so short, it adds a sort of thematic cohesion to the proceedings which, again, are over just as they seem to have begun.

A quick sampler, then, of where Larman Clamor might at least in part be headed their next time out, which, von Wieding hints, might just be in the making for the New Year:

larman clamor the heathland tales

So, 2015 is coming to its end, and I know you folks out there are waiting for a new Larman Clamor album. Well, I wasn’t able to put the thing out in 2015, and it’ll be still some time into 2016 once it’ll be ready.

In the meantime, I’ve collected some songs that won’t be on that album, and they really make a nice little EP – “The Heathland Tales”.

These are a bit more mellow and drifting rather than stompin’ and rockin’, but I still hope you enjoy! :)

For the time being, this will only available via the Larman Clamor Bandcamp, but these songs might end up on a compilation or something alike in the not-so-near future. Who knows?

Take care & Enjoy!

Larman Clamor, The Heathland Tales (2015)

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Floor Announce Florida Weekender

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Way I see it, the more Floor play, the better off the universe as a whole is, so while a couple home-state gigs might not seem like much — certainly not compared to the European and US tours they’ve already done in support of last year’s studio return, Oblation (review here), on Season of Mist — it’s better than nothing. Particularly notable for the three-night run is the fact that House of Lightning will provide support for each show, which means drummer Henry Wilson will be pulling double-duty, and while this post didn’t at all start out that way, it’s kind of become an excuse for me to post the video accompanying, which is a live set and spliced-in interview footage captured for Atlanta Public Television. If you have a minute, check it out, because it rules.

The PR wire lines on the dotted:

FLOOR announce Florida tour dates

Cult underground rock outfit FLOOR (Steve Brooks (also of TORCHE)- Guitar, Vocals, Anthony Vialon – Guitar, Henry Wilson – drums) have announced their first US shows in almost 2 years. The dates, which begin on January 7, see the band playing Miami, Gainesville, and Winter Haven. More information can be found below.

FLOOR previously released new footage shot during their most recent US tour. The footage, shot live at The Bottletree in Birmingham, AL, by regional television show “We Have Signal” is streaming now.

FLOOR are touring in support of their first new album in over ten years. ‘Oblation’. The follow-up to their ground-breaking, cult-classic, self-titled album, ‘Oblation’ delivers on the highest of expectations. From start to finish, the drop-tuned, down-tempo trio mine the power of the riff, their signature melodies, and patented “bomb-string” attack. Instant FLOOR classics like “War Party”, “Sister Sophia”, “Find Away” and the title track prove beyond doubt that ‘Oblation’ is their legacy writ large and that the band is as vital as ever.

Jan. 7 Miami, FL @ Churchill’s (w/ Wrong, AC Cobra, MQN)
Jan. 8 Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic
Jan. 9 Winter Haven, FL @ Jessie’s Lounge

Floor, Live on Atlanta Public Television

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A Tale of Three Tapes: Heavydeath, The Unquiet Grave and Jupiterian

Posted in Duuude, Tapes!, Reviews on December 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


To those who’d peruse cassettes or who believe the format has something to offer distinct from vinyl, CD or digital, the name Caligari Records shouldn’t be a strange one. The imprint has spent the last couple years committing itself fiercely to tapes and, more specifically, to bringing a level of professionalism to a medium often characterized (and not always incorrectly) as being the most amateurish among the traditional physical formats of the last half-century. Caligari‘s tapes are professionally printed as are the j-card liners — every time. As few have done, the label has adopted the cassette format not as a limitation, but as a means of enhancing aesthetic.

Caligari keeps busy with new releases on the regular — I count three since the most recent of the ones I’ll be writing about here, at least on the label’s Bandcamp — and delves into a variety of styles generally on the darker and more extreme end of the doom or metallic spectrum. Showing a significant variety between them are offerings from Swedish outfits Heavydeath and The Unquiet Grave and Brazil’s Jupiterian, about which more follows:

Heavydeath, Dark Phoenix Rising


Dark Phoenix Rising is the latest in a long string of outings issued in the last year-plus from Ljungskile-based trio Heavydeath. To wit, their Demo I – Post Mortem in Aeternum Tenebrarum arrived in a series of 100 tapes (on Caligari) in April 2014 and their discography is already past this EP with Demo XII – The Storm. Fair enough. Here working as the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Nicklas Rudolfsson, bassist Johan Bäckman and session drummer Oldfor Suns (the band has since been joined by Daniel Moilanen, also recently added to Katatonia), they lumber and gruel through five tracks of grim-hued sludge, two on side one, three on side two, and while there are flourishes of melody here and there and side two opener “The Ember of the End” finds Rudolfsson basking in some particularly effective epic-metal vocals, the prevailing impression is still of the rawness throughout. Tonally, the guitars set a blackened atmosphere, but Heavydeath aren’t as loyal sonically to any particular substyle as they are to an overarching sense of doom and mournfulness and a general extremity of presentation. To call them death-doom isn’t necessarily wrong, but it hardly tells the whole story. Closing with the title-track, they lock in a formidable riff-led groove and nod boldly at Celtic Frost in the process, but it just so happens that groove is buried six feet deep and covered in moss.

Heavydeath on Thee Facebooks

Dark Phoenix Rising at Caligari Records’ Bandcamp

The Unquiet Grave, Cosmic Dawn

Essentially a demo, but billed as an EP, The Unquiet Grave‘s Cosmic Dawn is the first release from the clean-singing raw trad doom solo-project, though its title-track traces its roots back more than a decade. The outfit is comprised of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Micael Zetterberg, whose CV boasts a wide variety of Norrköping outfits, from the black metal Aggressive Mutilator to thrashier Terrorama, among a slew of others. The Unquiet Grave is unrepentently stripped down across the three included tracks — “Cosmic Dawn,” “Mother’s Trial” and “Whispers in the Dark,” as well as the included intro and outro — but not at all void of ambience. Even as “Mother’s Trial” rolls out a highlight riff in its midsection, the lead guitar layer works to play up a sense of atmosphere. Zetterberg does well in the full-band role, and while Cosmic Dawn has an already-noted rawness to it, particularly with the compression of the tape as opposed to the digital version, that fits with the naturalism at root in the sound, something that seems counterintuitive for a solo-project invariably working in layers — I sincerely doubt Zetterberg is playing bass, guitar and drums at the same time — but across the three tracks here makes an eerie kind of sense. It seems unlikely he’ll get much more expansive with arrangements than he is here, but particularly as a first outing, Cosmic Dawn impresses with its fullness of presentation despite being the work of a solo source.

The Unquiet Grave on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Dawn at Caligari’s Bandcamp

Jupiterian, Aphotic

The 42-minute first full-length from Sao Paolo, Brazil, four-piece Jupiterian, the five-song Aphotic isn’t quite entirely true to its name, but certainly dense and opaque enough in its execution that light has trouble getting through. A deathly lurch takes hold on opener “Permanent Grey” and doesn’t let go, the band trudging through death-doom excruciations and offering precious little hope across the tape’s span, even as “Daylight” seems to hint in that direction with its early guitar melody. Vocalist/guitarist V — the entire band is one-initial only; R on bass, A on guitar, G on drums — has a growl worthy of Swallow the Sun or any number of Scandinavian practitioners, and a raspy scream that’s well at home in the dirge of centerpiece “Proclamation,” which rounds out with some of Aphotic‘s heaviest hitting, followed by a noise barrage to start the subsequent title-track (hard to know where one ends and the other begins on the tape, but the digital version makes it clear). Rounding out in a swirl of guitar and spoken word, “Aphotic” has an almost manic feel compared to some of the album’s other fare, but its ending is also the most brazenly melodic section of the tape, leading to the shorter, closing “Drag Me to My Grave,” which was previously released as a standalone single. The bonus track would be something of a comedown after the title-cut, but it proves a surprisingly catchy finale to this cohesive, engrossingly weighted debut.

Jupiterian on Thee Facebooks

Aphotic on Caligari’s Bandcamp

Thanks for reading. For more from Caligari Records, check the links below.

Caligari Records website

Caligari Records store

Caligari Records on Thee Facebooks

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Svartanatt Release New Single “Dead Mans Alley”

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


Swedish newcomers Svartanatt finished recording their debut album a whopping two days ago and are set to release it Spring 2016 through The Sign Records. The band have a newly-unveiled single called “Dead Mans Alley” that, like the prior “Demon,” showcases their catchy songcraft and general propensity toward classic methods, if not necessarily as much of a post-Graveyard retro style as one might expect. “Dead Mans Alley” — that lacking apostrophe kind of drives me nuts, I’ll be honest — was recorded earlier in 2015, and aside from winning at artwork, it presumably will feature on the long-player, which is as yet untitled.

More to come on that record as we get there, but for now, if you, like me, didn’t get to catch the “Demon” video when it came out — it worked along similar lines, perhaps with more of that heavy ’10s swing — get a sample with “Dead Mans Alley” following the PR wire info below:

svartanatt dead mans alley

SVARTANATT – DEAD MANS ALLEY Release 29th of December – Single out now!

Svartanatt is today the 29th of december releasing their second single Dead Mans Alley. The band did their debut earlier this autumn with the song and video Demon who got praised by press and got radio time in both Sweden and Germany. The 28th of december the band finished the recording of their debut album that will be out late spring 2016.

The Stockholm based Swedish bands holds a classic and timeless sound that can be tracked back in time to the 60´s and 70´s. With Jani Lehtinens sharp vocals on top of organ driven heavy guitar rock the songs come alive and tells a story of their own. Dead Mans Alley was recorded spring of 2015 at Slowbeat studio in Gävle by Jonas Strömberg and mixed by Konie Ehrencrona in Studio of Cobra. Members from Svartanatt have previously been seen in bands as the Scrags, John Duva and Beardfish.

Svartanatt, “Dead Mans Alley”

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