Friday Full-Length: Astrosoniq, Son of A.P. Lady

Astrosoniq, Son of A.P. Lady (2000)

Vastly underrated album from a wildly underrated band. First released in 2000 via Freebird Records, the quizzically-titled Son of A.P. Lady would mark the full-length debut from Netherlands heavy rockers Astrosoniq, and the band, who’d come eventually to be known as the “Wizards of Oss,” could hardly have made a more powerful opening statement. Son of A.P Lady (previously discussed here) bears some of the hallmarks of its era, with a CD-minded 50-minute runtime and its use of samples as a means of transitioning between its eight component tracks, but it’s also got classic-style drive and groove and an underlying progressivism that not only shows itself as much in the funkified “Earthquake” as in the bounding weirdness of “Afterlife Rulers” and the self-aware post-Motörhead charge of “Godly Pace.” It’s a record that brims with personality to a righteously arrogant degree, seeming to borrow some of its hell-fucking-yes-we’re-about-to-do-this snottiness from punk rock at its finest, but never failing to live up to the significant ambitions it sets forward for itself, whether questioning if it’s possible to make a record without selling your soul before even beginning opener “Fistkick” or bassist Erik de Vocht taking the fore vocally to reimagine Ronnie James Dio as a stoner rock singer on the party-time blowout “Ego Booster” later on.

That cut is one of several genuine getdowns Astrosoniq throw on Son of A.P. Lady. Already noted was “Earthquake,” which not only bounces and swings accordingly, but behind a mess of feedback and noise in its midsection actually goes so far as to sample what would seem to be Funkentelechy-era P-Funk with a speech making references to “Flash Light,” Free Your Mind… and Your Ass will FollowChocolate City, “Bop Gun” and so on (though I’ll admit I haven’t put on Funkentelechy in a while, so it could be from another source), and even the speedier penultimate “Doomrider,” something of a complement to “Godly Pace” earlier in the tracklisting, doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the band are and are supposed to be having fun. Van Bergen, guitarist Ron van Herpen, drummer/producer Marcel van de Vondervoort, de Vocht on bass (since replaced by Robert-Jan Gruijthuijzen) and keyboardist Willum Geerts, no matter where they were headed on a given track, be it the snarling attitude and nod of 13-minute closer “You Loose” (actually “You Lose,” and complete with Willy Wonka samples and the most expansive jam on Son of A.P. Lady) or the proggy and percussive swirl of “Pegasus,” it turns out to be their willingness to do whatever they want that most unites the material together across the album, creating a flow out of a consistent-sounding tonality in the recording itself and the wide-open vibe that lets Astrosoniq explore. There are moments of Son of A.P. Lady one would be tempted to relate to grunge, or to the post-Kyuss sphere of heavy/stoner rock — certainly that was booming throughout Europe circa 2000, as Freebird Records could well attest — but the edge of complexity Astrosoniq bring to “Ego Booster,” “Afterlife Rulers,” “Fistkick,” etc., makes them as much kin to the latter work of countrymen 35007 as to Swedish outfits like Dozer or Lowrider, the latter of whom made their debut the same year.

It feels almost impossible to overstate the level of achievement Son of A.P. Lady presents, especially as Astrosoniq‘s first album. Formed by van Herpen and van de Vondervoort in the wake of their prior outfit, A.P. Lady, they’d follow the 2000 Astrosoniq outing with 2002’s Soundgrenade (discussed here), the 2005 Made in Oss EP (discussed here), and 2006’s Speeder People (discussed here) before releasing their latest full-length to-date, Quadrant (review here), in 2010. Each of those releases — and let me just say that the bevvy of links there stems from a willful exploration I did their discography in 2010/2011; one of the most satisfying and least-regretted projects I’ve taken on in the eight-plus years I’ve run this site — continued to build on what Son of A.P. Lady set forth as the tenets of who Astrosoniq were as a group, and not a single one of them failed to add new elements or take a step forward from where they’d been previously. Whether you know their material or not, this is a special, special, band. 17 years later, Son of A.P. Lady still proves that was true at the outset.

Respected purveyor Ván Records did a vinyl reissue of Son of A.P. Lady last year as a deluxe boxed-set 2LP that’s gorgeous enough to say it’s the record getting its due, and though health issues have largely sidelined the band over the 2010s, I was fortunate enough to see them play at Roadburn last year (review here), where they were nothing short of jaw-dropping. I keep my fingers crossed for a new album — long said to be in the works — but the band also recently suffered the loss of manager/programmer Bidi van Drongelen, and though they paid him homage at memorial concert in June, that loss no doubt cast a pall over future plans as well. Still, one can hope.

And along those lines, I hope you listen to, absorb, and come to love Son of A.P. Lady if you already don’t. Thanks for reading.

Little bit after 5AM as I pour my first cup of coffee and get ready to close out the week. The sun isn’t up yet but it’s starting to get lighter out. I’ve been up since about four — alarm was set for 4:45, but I rolled over and was awake — but it’s taken me a while to really get myself going. Last night for dinner I overdosed on #garlicworship and made myself kind of sick. Gonna have to lay off for a week or two, maybe.

What did it, you ask? Well, the homemade pesto I was having with cloud bread was thoroughly-enough garlicked, but then I took an entire bulb and roasted it in the oven for an hour. Then I took another half-bulb of raw garlic, and another pack of store-bought roasted garlic from the salad bar at the Whole Foods down the way and I put all that in the food processor with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Blamo: garlic paste. It actually hurt to eat, but that didn’t stop me from spreading it on the bread in combination with the pesto or licking the spoon when I was done. It was awesome, and my thought at the time was if that’s how I’m going to die, at least I’m enjoying it.

Likelihood of my survival is yet to be determined. In the meantime, I have a well-earned stomach ache and garlic coming out of my pores. As I said to The Patient Mrs. when the meal was done, I’m the garlickiest garlicky who ever garlickied. She could do nothing but agree.

Needless to say, today’s a protein shake day. Going to take it easy. Have to.

On a completely different note unrelated to gastrointestinal distress, as of this week, for the first time in more than a year, I’m completely caught up on the mail. Not email (that I’ll never catch up on), but physical mail. Fun fact: I log every CD, LP, 7″, tape, etc., that comes in for this site. All of it. And I throw away nothing. The note a band sends with a disc that says, “Thanks for checking out our stuff?” Yup, I keep it. I’ve got a drawer full of press releases and notes like that — some are just post-its, some are on the backs of stickers or show flyers — going back a decade at this point.

And all the discs and so on themselves get logged in an Excel file, to keep track of what came in, when, what format it was in and from whom it came if that info is available. Sorting through everything is a time-consuming process and though I kept up as best I could with actually writing about the releases that were being sent, it had been since 2016 that the log was completely up to date. Now it is. I got four pieces of mail yesterday and logged them immediately. The box that was holding stuff is empty upstairs, just sitting there in the corner as my quiet victory. I could tell you how stoked I was to get through it all, but you likely wouldn’t believe it anyway.

To my silly, feeble and garlic-addled brain, that counts as part of baby prep, so I’ll say that’s proceeding well, despite the basket of laundry upstairs that still needs to be folded. The Patient Mrs. is tired but doing great because she’s amazing so of course she’s doing great. She’s been tired a lot, but The Pecan is getting bigger and so has all the more feet with which to be kicking her ass, so yeah, fatigue isn’t necessarily unexpected at this stage. By the end of next week we’ll be about two months away. Staggering.

I don’t usually do this, but I want to point something out before we look ahead to next week’s reviews and such. Let me put it in bold so it stands out to anyone skimming: I featured some seriously fucking awesome music this week. Seriously. I know it wasn’t all super-high-profile releases, but from the Radio Adds on Monday onward, it was excellent stuff all the way. Here are links because I think they deserve reiteration:

The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, Sólstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Eternal Black, Bleed the Days

Review & Track Premiere: Papir, V

Review & Track Premiere: Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2

Review: Zone Six, Live Spring 2017

Put those in combination with stuff like the Beastmaker Six Dumb Questions on Wednesday and yesterday’s Sergio Ch. video premiere and the Astrosoniq record above and you have the makings of one very kickass week. I don’t know how much of it you got to check out, but if the answer to that is “any,” you were only doing yourself a favor.

Next week is shaping up to be pretty choice too. Here’s what’s in the notes, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Pagan Altar track premiere/review; Argus lyric video.
Tue.: Six Dumb Questions with Demon Eye; Dead Heavens video.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions/track premiere with The Quill; Blaak Heat track premiere.
Thu.: Paradise Lost review.
Fri.: Mindkult review.

I expect some of that will shift, but yeah, more righteousness there. I put in a request to do a track premiere for the Mindkult record and wasn’t cool enough, but whatever. The whole thing’s streaming now anyway and it’s good, so I still want to get it featured. The Paradise Lost is right on too. Hell, all of it is. I don’t cover bullshit. Not enough time.

Speaking of time, I’ve taken up more than enough of yours. As I sit here and sip my coffee and continue to burp garlic, I wish you a great and safe weekend with just the right amount of moderation in whatever you do so that you don’t make yourself ill. I may be another day in recovering, but I think I’ll make it.

Thanks for reading and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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5 Responses to “Friday Full-Length: Astrosoniq, Son of A.P. Lady

  1. goAt says:

    Is the little dude still rightly described as a “pecan”? Isn’t he/she/it more of a “walnut” at this point? I’ve been keeping track.

  2. Evan Williams says:

    I read / listen to your posts daily.
    Have discovered many new bands here.
    Always xlnt!

  3. ShamanJourney says:

    Congrats on the Pecan JJ! My wife is pregnant too, we are only 5 months in but hoping all is well with your wife. Stumbled across some pretty older Obelisk Posts over the weekend which gave me some much needed fresh new tunes to check out. Thanks for all your hard work on this site!

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