Friday Full-Length: Katatonia, Last Fair Deal Gone Down

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Katatonia, Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)

Primarily in my mind, 2001’s Last Fair Deal Gone Down is a winter album. Not at all Katatonia‘s first outing that one might think of as geared toward colder climes — their debut, after all, was 1993’s Dance of December Souls — but from the lachrymose unfolding of opener “Dispossession” and the weepy backing lines of e-bow guitar to Jonas Renkse‘s depressive vocal melodicism, the Stockholm group’s fifth long-player has always carried a chilly association. So of course it was released in May.

Issued via Peaceville Records, it’s not a record history looks back on with any particular favor, but it’s one I’d consider vastly underrated for the quality of its songs and atmosphere. More than a decade into their tenure around the core founding duo of Renkse and guitarist Anders Nyström at that point, Katatonia, like British cohorts Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride — the so-called “Peaceville three,” of which one might think of Katatonia as the fourth but for the fact that they’re not from the UK — had cast off their earlier death/doom sound in favor of said focus on atmospheric approach. Last Fair Deal Gone Down, comprised of a CD-era swath of 11 songs spread over 50 minutes, marked the first time Nyström and Renkse joined forces with brothers Fredrik Norrman (guitar) and Mattias Norrman (bass), as well as drummer Daniel Liljekvist, and as a five-piece, they continued to flesh out the stylistic progression of 1999’s Tonight’s Decision, nestling into the unabashed emotionalism and hooks of songs like “We Must Bury You,” “Teargas,” “Tonight’s Music,” “The Future of Speech” and “Passing Bird” while referencing what was then modern alternative rock in a piece like “Sweet Nurse,” which carries echoes of Failure‘s “The Nurse Who Loved Me” from 1996’s Fantastic Planet and foreshadowing future delving into progressive doom on “I Transpire” and closer “Don’t Tell a Soul.” These pieces, as well as “Chrome” and the later “Clean Today,” arrive with a consistency of character thanks to a fluid and at times lush-sounding production, giving Last Fair Deal Gone Down a somewhat gentle touch despite being weighted in tone and at times strikingly aggressive, but it’s ultimately the songwriting that most stands the work out from Katatonia‘s vast discography and the output that their aforementioned peers were releasing at the turn of the century.

All formed roughly in the late ’80s and earliest ’90s, KatatoniaParadise LostAnathema and My Dying Bride helped greatly to establish what would become death/doom, but none of them would stay put entirely within that sphere. Paradise Lost went gothic and by 2001 were on their way toward trying their hand at radio-friendliness (because in 2001 that was a thing), and Anathema were in full-on depressive mode with A Fine Day to Exit, brooding and sad but not at all metal. My Dying Bride, who put out The Dreadful Hours the same year, arguably stayed closest to what one might think of as their core sound, but Katatonia‘s progression was particularly striking because rather than present its changes in flashes, it all carried such a sense of presentation. To listen to Last Fair Deal Gone Down, they’re clearly trying new things and working out ideas as they’d never done before, and yet the footing beneath them is so sure that there’s never any doubt they’ll pull it off in the end. And of course they do. There’s nothing angular about it. Nothing pokes you in the eye and says, “Hey, this is us doing something we haven’t done,” but the tracks are undeniably coming from a place beyond Tonight’s Decision or anything that preceded it. A strong focus on keyboard textures provide a hallmark of its era, but where others of their ilk clumsily made their way into the unknown, Katatonia on Last Fair Deal Gone Down move with a gracefulness that speaks not only to their maturity as artists, but to the idea of their having thoroughly worked on this material in fleshing it out to where they wanted it to be, refusing to make any album other than that which they wanted to make, and knowing how to realize their own vision in the actual recording process.

Katatonia have put out five-arguably-six records since Last Fair Deal Gone Down, and as it was their fifth album, it’s fair to think of it at this point as being part of a middle-period for the band. Emotional dramas — sometimes, admittedly, melodramas — would continue to persist in their sound from 2003’s Viva Emptiness across 2006’s triumphant The Great Cold Distance, 2009’s Night is the New Day (discussed here), 2012’s Dead End Kings and last year’s The Fall of Hearts (review here), and there are trace elements across all their offerings that one can follow all the way back to 1993 if one is willing to embark on such a winding path, but most importantly, they’ve never failed to on some level push themselves forward from album to album, whether it’s a matter of tightening songwriting around a new lineup or finding new modes of expression for the melancholy that seems to have taken up permanent residence in their souls. Not to wish anyone ill, but long may it reign.

As we move toward the darkest days of the year, this one seemed all the more fitting. I hope you agree, and as always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and listening.

Rougher start to the week than finish, and little question I have The Patient Mrs. to thank for that. I was kind of a wreck on Monday and Tuesday and a redirect Tuesday night involving more cloud bread and leftover pesto helped situate me for the last couple days. I’ve been in therapy for two weeks now, going Monday mornings, and this week was hard. My therapist wants me to see my primary care doctor to get an electrolyte panel and and EKG done because I have an eating disorder and I guess the concern is I could be doing damage to my heart. Fair enough. That appointment is next Thursday. I don’t anticipate there being any problems, but one never knows. Sometimes life is interesting.

In the meantime, I didn’t stay there long, and that was on purpose, but in my daily weigh-ins, I hit 150 pounds for the first time this week. When I started this whole low-carb thing about two years ago right around this time, I was 330 pounds, which means I’ve lost upwards of 180. It is utter fucking madness to see those numbers typed out.

Oh, I’m also five years sober as of last week. I didn’t even remember the date had passed. I think it was the ninth? Might’ve been the fifth. I don’t know. Either way though, that was Dec. 2012 that I “took a weekend off” drinking.

The Pecan continues his now-seven-week-long process of becoming a human being. Lots of poop, lots of puke, lots of laundry to be done. Blah blah blah, knee deep in baby stuff. He’s cute. The Patient Mrs. likes him. I like him. The Little Dog Dio isn’t so sure, but she’ll get on board eventually.

This is usually the part where I’d post my notes for next week. Well, at some point I’m going to review the next part of The Second Coming of Heavy and at some point I’m going to put up my top albums of the year, but I’m not sure when all that’s going to happen yet, so I’m keeping it vague for the moment. I’ve got a premiere slated for Bible Black Tyrant next Thursday, new videos for King Witch and Black Space Riders early in the week, and if I can I’d like to review the new C.O.C. too, but that might be the week after. Up in the air.

So there you have it. Ups and downs. Music. Life.

From my daze and days of semi-conscious infant fatigue, I wish you all the best as ever. The Patient Mrs. mom is coming north this weekend to watch The Pecan for a couple hours so we can go see the new Star Wars and I’m looking forward to that, and I’m doing a radio interview on Sunday, but other than that, some reading and work on year-end list stuff shall persist. You’ll probably see it coming, but it’ll be January before I know it.

Have a great and safe weekend, and once again, thanks for reading. Please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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The Obelisk Presents: 1000mods Announce First-Ever US Tour Dates

Posted in The Obelisk Presents, Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

1000mods

I think it’s fair to consider the first US tour from Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods the most significant arrival on North American shores of a European underground band since Truckfighters‘ first tour in 2011. I could not possibly be more thrilled to have The Obelisk have a hand in presenting this run with Tone Deaf Touring and Action PR. “Stoked” simply does not begin to describe it.

Why? Because, simply put, 1000mods are ready. It’s going to be a big change for them from what they’re used to from being on the road in Europe, the level they’re at and so on, but I honestly don’t think they’d hit the States at all if they weren’t looking to make a habit of it. Anything’s possible and this could be a one-time thing, but either way, as they support their strongest work yet on 2016’s Repeated Exposure To… (review here), they seem primed for the embrace of a new audience. Also just announced for Hellfest Open Air in France next June, they’re already veterans multiple times over of the Desertfests and have crisscrossed Europe in admirable fashion for years now. It’s great to imagine them doing the same thing in America and once again building their audience from the ground up as organically as they have elsewhere.

Kudos to the band for taking on the task, and thanks to them as well as to Tone Deaf and Action for letting this site be involved in any way at all. Support on the run comes alternately from Sierra and Telekinetic Yeti. The official announcement for the tour follows here, as seen on the PR wire, with ticket links (more to go on sale this Monday):

1000mods tour

Grecian Stoner Rock Heroes 1000mods Announce North American Headlining Tour

Celebrated Heavy Psych Group to Bring Electric Live Set to Western Hemisphere for First Time in Decade-Plus Career

Esteemed Greek heavy rockers 1000mods have announced their first-ever North American tour dates in the form of a winter, 2018 headlining tour. Set to launch on February 2 in Mexico City, the 29 city major market trek will run through March 5 in Brooklyn, NY, showcasing a group with a worldwide fan base that is hailed for its astute professionalism, resounding hooks and highly energetic live performances. 1000mods will visit North America as part of its current world tour and in support of its most recent album, ‘Repeated Exposure To…’ Support on the 1000mods tour will be provided by Canada’s Sierra and Iowa’s Telekinetic Yeti.

“We feel more than excited to visit America for first time in our career. We have been looking for this for many years and after having amazing connection with our american fans through social media and music platforms, now it’s time to catch us live – the best way to enjoy our music,” says drummer Labros G. We feel also really glad having two amazing up-coming bands with us in order to spread the fuzz!”

1000mods tour dates:
Presented by TheObelisk.net
2/2/2018 Mexico City ME Foro Indie Rocks
2/3/2018 Toluca ME Foro Lando
2/6/2018 Montreal QC Bar Le Ritz^ http://bit.ly/2Aqpgqk
2/7/2018 Ottawa ON Mavericks^ http://bit.ly/2j4JOxy
2/8/2018 Toronto ON Hard Luck^ http://ticketf.ly/2CiUdxM
2/9/2018 Cleveland OH Grog Shop^ http://ticketf.ly/2C9dDEx
2/10/2018 Chicago IL Reggies Rock Club* http://ticketf.ly/2Aqcbgq
2/11/2018 Des Moines IA Vaudeville Mews* http://bit.ly/2jUFx0t
2/12/2018 Minneapolis MN 7th St Entry* http://bit.ly/2j2S0y8
2/13/2018 Kansas City MO Record Bar* http://bit.ly/2AHxJtl
2/14/2018 Denver CO Globe Hall* http://ticketf.ly/2nULHlw
2/15/2018 Salt Lake City UT Metro Music Hall* http://ticketf.ly/2kw6h6G
2/16/2018 Boise ID Shredder* http://bit.ly/2j493zZ
2/17/2018 Seattle WA El Corazon* http://ticketf.ly/2o7bmrl
2/18/2018 Vancouver BC Astoria* http://ticketf.ly/2BnOn0x
2/19/2018 Portland OR Tonic Lounge*
2/20/2018 San Francisco CA Brick and Mortar Music Hall* http://bit.ly/2ktqYjK
2/21/2018 Los Angeles CA Resident DTLA*
2/22/2018 San Diego CA Space* http://ticketf.ly/2CjQoIF
2/23/2018 Phoenix AZ The Rogue* http://ticketf.ly/2AITEAt
2/25/2018 Ft Worth TX Ridglea Theater* http://bit.ly/2yuL56i
2/26/2018 Austin TX Come And Take It Live* http://bit.ly/2zcAlNe
2/27/2018 New Orleans LA Santos Bar* http://bit.ly/2BpvnPf
2/28/2018 Orlando FL Will’s Pub* http://ticketf.ly/2CkWcl9
3/1/2018 Atlanta GA 529* http://bit.ly/2ksY7fu
3/2/2018 Charlottesville VA Champion Brewing* FREE SHOW
3/3/2018 Washington DC Black Cat*
3/4/2018 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie* http://bit.ly/2CiJ4wW
3/5/2018 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus* http://bit.ly/2zdihml
^ = w/ Sierra
* = w/ Telekinetic Yeti

100mods is:
Dani G. / Bass & Vox
Giannis S. / Guitars
George T. / Guitars
Labros G. / Drums

https://www.facebook.com/1000mods/
https://1000mods.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/1000mods

1000mods, Repeated Exposure To… (2016)

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Borracho, Riffography: March of Time (and Riffs)

Posted in Reviews on December 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

borracho riffography

Full disclosure, this past summer I was asked by Borracho to write the liner notes for this release. If you think that means there’s a conflict of interest in my covering Riffography on an editorial level, two things: First, I took no payment. Second, it’s more of an alignment of interest than a conflict, since if I wasn’t interested in them in the first place, I probably wouldn’t have done the liner notes and I wouldn’t be writing about Riffography again now. Still, if you think that means I can’t be impartial, well, impartiality is a myth and I write about the records I feel like writing about. Get over it.

I’ll admit I didn’t think much of Borracho around the time of the Washington, D.C.-based heavy rockers’ 2011 debut, Splitting Sky (review here). I’d heard significant hype about the then-four-piece (always a turnoff) and I found the album in need of a deeper-sounding mix and an editorial impulse. Promising “Repetitive Heavy Grooves” as a slogan, it delivered, but didn’t seem to have the dynamic behind it to stave off redundancy while riding its formidable grooves. Part of my issue as well was the gruff vocal approach of guitarist Noah Greenberg, who was too far forward ahead of his and Steve Fisher‘s guitars. I mention this only to emphasize the most underappreciated and undermentioned aspect of everything Borracho have done since Splitting Sky: their growth.

Now the trio of Fisher, bassist/backing vocalist Tim Martin and drummer Mario Trubiano, they’ve never put out a release that did not showcase marked progression from the one before it, and it’s precisely that story that Riffography (on Ripple Music) is telling as it marks a decade since their first outing, a split 7″ with Adam West the featured track from which, “Rectify,” opens here in suitably raw and rudimentary fashion. Cuts from Borracho‘s three to-date LPs — Splitting Sky, 2013’s Oculus (review here) and 2016’s Atacama (review here) — aren’t featured (one exception), but the narrative arc of Borracho‘s ongoing creative development is clearly represented nonetheless across a packed-in 13 tracks and 75 minutes of weighted riffs, nodding rollout and periodically driving thrust.

Key moments of transition — most notably the departure of Greenberg from the band following Splitting Sky and Fisher taking hold of the frontman role — are depicted, and between “Rectify” and early off-album pieces like “Mob Gathering,” “Circulos Concentricos,” and “Short Ride (When it’s Over),” the collection effectively sets up a timeline that ends with the three songs from Borracho‘s portion of the first installment of Ripple‘s The Second Coming of Heavy (review here) split series — a pivotal moment of arrival in 2015 — and their latest single, “Border Crossing” (premiered here).

The very nature of a release like Riffography is such that, in order to work, it needs to be honest on the level of “warts and all.” It’s true that in the years since Splitting Sky, Borracho have built and worked hard to maintain significant momentum when it comes to their stylistic maturation, the chemistry between Fisher, Martin and Trubiano and amassing an audience. As far as narratives go, theirs is cleaner than most.

borracho

But still, Riffography tells the story from all sides, and while largely consistent on the basic level of their sound — the band has worked over the years on multiple occasions with producer Frank “The Punisher” Marchand — these songs aren’t without their bumps and/or bruises. Of particular note is a version of “Stockpile” with Greenberg still in the lineup. That track would appear on Oculus with Fisher on vocals, but it speaks directly to that essential transition in the group and to their trying to make it work as a foursome despite their original singer moving away.

And for what it’s worth, they seem to have learned lessons from their first LP in terms of finding a balanced approach. By the time they get into “Know My Name” from their 2014 split with Boston’s Cortez (review here), however, it’s Fisher up front, getting his footing as a singer and setting in motion a process still happening in building his confidence at the mic while also holding down the fuzz riffing that has helped earn the band such wide distinction throughout their time together.

“King’s Disease” from the 2015 split with Brooklyn’s Eggnogg (review here) follows and seems to return to an earlier rawness of approach with dry-sounding vocals, drums and guitar and bass tones, but works well to emphasize the classic-style swing Borracho honed as a three-piece and the way in which their “Repetitive Heavy Grooves” learned at that point to add engaging subtleties to go along with the forward march at their core.

And while I won’t take away from Oculus at all or the role that album played in establishing Borracho as the band they are today, it was their appearance on The Second Coming of Heavy that really solidified their presence and let listeners know who they were going to be. “Fight the Prophets,” “Superego” and “Shark Tank” remain a thick, rolling and satisfying listen — an EP unto themselves — and in light of the band’s to-date high-water mark in Atacama, one can hear the jammy aspects of that record taking shape in the solo sections of “Superego” and in the first half of “Shark Tank” as a precursor to the thrust that follows later.

It would be fair enough to leave the story there, but “Border Crossing,” which is shorter at 4:10, and a cover of Scorpions‘ “Animal Magnetism” originally intended for use on an unmaterialized tribute CD cap Riffography with perhaps a look forward at how Borracho will keep combining the various personality aspects that have emerged in their sound over time. No question Atacama was their greatest triumph to this point — and well it should be — but Riffography makes its point unarguably that Borracho are not now and have never been a band to hold still in their sonic take and not push themselves forward each time out. Accordingly, I’d no more expect their next long-player to rest on Atacama‘s laurels than I expected Atacama to stay in the realm of Oculus.

Further, if one wants to examine Riffography on a meta-level, in addition to summarizing Borracho‘s first decade together, it also serves to hold the momentum until that proverbial “next album” arrives, which again, is something they’ve always done so well. It might seem like a curio or a piece for fans more than casual listeners, but in both its exclusives and its gathered inclusions, Riffography puts due emphasis on how special a band Borracho have become over the last 10 years and reminds that their evolution is ongoing. For that, it is ultimately about their future nearly as much as their past.

Borracho, Riffography (2017)

Borracho on Thee Facebooks

Borracho on Twitter

Borracho on Bandcamp

Borracho website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Twitter

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website/

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Across Tundras Release New Single Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Somehow, no matter how many times I sign up for the email updates and no matter how regularly I check in, I perpetually feel like I’m playing catch-up with the Across Tundras/ T.G. Olson Bandcamp page. Releases tend to show up unannounced, and by the time they’re there, well, you’re already late. There’s been a flurry of activity of late as the prolific-as-ever Tanner Olson has made a number of offerings available as limited CDRs with handmade packaging in addition to posting new outings from his drone projects Inget Namn and Funeral Electrical — lest we forget it’s only been two months since his latest solo album, Searching for the Ur-Plant (review here), surfaced as well — and yeah, it’s a lot to keep up with.

Nonetheless, any new Across Tundras is good news as far as I’m concerned. Their next full-length has been in progress on one level or another for a couple years now, and in 2015, they issued the stopgap Home Free EP (discussed here) that was said at the time to feature tracks that would be on the record. I don’t know if the same applies to the just-issued two-songer Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain, but for a recently-recorded sampling of the band’s trademark heavy rambling style and a more acoustic-based complementary piece, I’m not about to complain. 10 minutes of new Across Tundras; today was a good day.

As ever, the release is available as a name-your-price download via the Bandcamp page linked below, so go and get it before the next offering shows up and you’re already behind. Trust me, it can happen. In thinking of the delay on the new Across Tundras LP though, note that Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain was recorded between Olson and bassist/drummer Matt Shively in Nebraska and Virginia. That’s one hell of a geographic divide to overcome for a writing/recording session. Might explain some of what’s taking so long, even if they’re just working as a two-piece rather than the band’s traditional trio incarnation.

Alright, here’s the goods:

Across Tundras Blood for the Sun Hearts for the Rain

Across Tundras – Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Matt Shively and Tanner Olson in Plattsmouth, NE and Roanoke, VA in the Summer of 2017.

1. Blood for the Sun 05:32
2. Hearts for the Rain 05:28

Tanner Olson – Guitar, Vocals
Matt Shively – Bass, Drums

Released December 8, 2017.

https://www.facebook.com/AcrossTundrasBand/
https://acrosstundras.bandcamp.com/

Across Tundras, Blood for the Sun / Hearts for the Rain (2017)

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The Hazytones Announce Jan./Feb. Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the-hazytones-photo-brooke-dee

Quebecois neo-psych rockers The Hazytones will play from Jan. 6 through Feb. 20 on their upcoming tour — shows all across the US as well as in Mexico and Canada — with a total of three days off. Three days in 46. There is a word for that kind of tour:

“Significant.”

It’s the kind of tour with three shows in Michigan. The kind of tour that hits Manhattan and Brooklyn on consecutive nights after Jersey, Boston and Upstate NY. The kind of tour that does Tempe and Flagstaff and then circles back around to Yuma before heading south of the border. You get the idea. I think “significant” covers it.

They go supporting their self-titled album, out on Ripple Music and Oak Island Records and streaming at the bottom of this post. Supporting the crap out of it, I would say.

Here are the dates:

the hazytones tour

THE HAZYTONES ANNOUNCE HUGE WINTER TOUR

Here’s the tour dates for our next tour! Mainly in the USA but also in Mexico and Canada. A total of 43 shows in 46 days this will be the ride of our lives. We can’t wait to see you all on the road! Art by DK13 Design.

The Hazytones on tour:
01.06 Albany NY The Low Beat
01.07 Boston MA O’Brien’s Pub
01.08 Asbury Park NJ The Saint
01.09 Manhattan NY The Shrine
01.10 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus
01.11 Philadelphia PA The Pharmacy
01.12 Pittsburgh PA Smiling Moose
01.13 Indianapolis IN Black Circle
01.14 Nashville TN The Crying Wolf
01.15 Memphis TN The Hi Tone
01.16 New Orleans LA Santos
01.18 Houston TX Acadia Bar and Grill
01.19 Austin TX The Spider House Chapel
01.20 Lawton OK Railroad Saloon
01.21 Albuquerque NM Burt Tiki Lounge
01.22 Santa Fe NM Boxcar
01.23 El Paso TX Rockhouse Bar and Grill
01.24 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room
01.25 Flagstaff AZ The Green Room
01.26 Las Vegas NV The Dive Bar
01.27 Yuma AZ Maverick Bar
01.28 Mexicali MX-BCN Taberna Lebaron
01.30 Tijuana MX-BCN Mous Tache
01.31 San Diego CA The Merrow
02.01 Los Angeles CA Viper Room
02.02 San Jose CA Caravan Lounge
02.03 San Francisco CA Thee Parkside
02.04 Sacramento CA Blue Lamp
02.06 Santa Cruz CA Subrosa
02.07 Reno NV Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor
02.08 Salt Lake City UT Urban Lounge
02.09 Denver CO Bar Bar
02.10 Lawrence KS Replay Lounge
02.11 Kansas City KS The Riot Room
02.12 Omaha NE The Lookout Lounge
02.13 Minneapolis MN Kitty Kat Club
02.14 Milwaukee WI Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall
02.15 Chicago IL Reggies
02.16 Detroit MI PJ’s Lager House
02.17 Lansing MI The Avenue Cafe
02.18 Ypsilanti MI West Cross Station

The Hazytones are:
Mick Martel – guitar/vocals
Adam Gilbert – bass/backing vocals
Antoine St-Germain – drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheHazytones/
http://www.twitter.com/TheHazytones/
https://www.instagram.com/thehazytones/
https://thehazytones.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/oakislandrecords/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=1072&lang=eng

The Hazytones, The Hazytones (2016)

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Woodsplitter Releases New Album May all Your Post Rock Dreams Come True

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Clearly, guitarist Ben McLeod has a will to explore varying textures with his instrument. Anyone who’s listened to any of the four full-lengths he’s put out with his main project, Nashville’s All Them Witches — up to and including this year’s Sleeping Through the War (review here) — can confirm this, but it very obviously goes beyond that as well. A year ago, McLeod debuted his instrumental solo-project, Woodsplitter, with a full-length titled Inflamed (review here), and surprised with a stark departure from the psych-blues fare of All Them Witches toward sharp-edged and progressive metal, angular and precise in a way that the jammy rockers have never shown the slightest interest of being.

May all Your Post Rock Dreams Come True follows behind two subsequent 2017 long-players, April’s Egyptian Overload and June’s Journey into Krautrock, and like those, it clues into its self-awareness via the title. McLeod echoes out spacious lines of guitar and even finds room for a Mogwai cover as the album’s centerpiece, as if to underscore the point. Elsewhere, “MAYPRDCT” offers minimalist impulses a chance to highlight technical nuance and a bit of corresponding soul, while opener “World Series” culls a sample of the Blue Jays taking home the trophy in 1993. One wonders at the significance of that moment, but hey, maybe McLeod is just a fan and it’s an early baseball memory. Weirder things have happened.

It’s an outfit of few — mostly no — words, so the announcement that follows isn’t even really so much of an announcement as the info from the Woodsplitter Bandcamp page cut and pasted with the artwork and the streaming player. You work with what you got sometimes.

Either way, what matters is that you enjoy. So do that:

woodsplitter may all your post rock dreams come true

Woodsplitter – May All Your Post Rock Dreams Come True

My name is Ben McLeod and this is my instrumental project.

Tracklisting:
1. World Series 04:38
2. Siamese 06:34
3. Heart Of It All 04:47
4. Rano Pano (Mogwai Cover) 07:04
5. MAYPRDCT 06:26
6. Deaf 05:37
7. Spillover 06:05

Produced, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Ben McLeod

Cover Photo by Elliott Fuerniss
www.elliottfuerniss.com

Layout by Ben McLeod

https://listentowoodsplitter.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches/

Woodsplitter, May all Your Post-Rock Dreams Come True (2017)

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Comacozer, Kalos Eidos Skopeo: Lines Across Spectra

Posted in Reviews on December 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Comacozer Kalos Eidos Skopeo

Sydney-based trio Comacozer aren’t exactly keeping secrets when it comes to what they’re going for with their sound. Among the four extended tracks of Kalos Eidos Skopeo, which is ostensibly their third album — their first having been comprised of two prior EPs; their second being 2016’s Astra Planeta (review here) — the band blend cosmic expanse and earthbound heft to immersion-geared instrumentalism across nearly an hour’s runtime. Their ambition is to entrance more than pummel, but that doesn’t mean a song like “Mystagmus” or the preceding opener “Axis Mundi” don’t have stretches within them that come across Sleep-derived enough to make one wish Al Cisneros would enter with a ritualistically-patterned verse, just that there’s more going on within the 52 minutes of the Headspin Records release than the rolling of riffs.

Some of the album’s most effective moments are its most cosmic, and with the additional flourish provided by the synth of Frank Attard — who also engineered and mixed the recording and drums in psych-improv specialists Frozen Planet….1969 — alongside the guitars of Rick Burke, the bass of Rich Elliott and Andrew Panagopoulos‘ drums, a sense of progression is palpable from the last record to this one. All the more, perhaps, because the songs themselves have grown bigger in keeping with the overall sound, and become longer and more immersive, and when one considers that Attard has helmed each of Comacozer‘s records to-date, it argues all the more that the progression the band has undertaken is willful. That is to say, they’ve settled into a process of craft and know what they want to do aesthetically, so what’s happening with Kalos Eidos Skopeo is the next stage of that process being realized.

It’s also hypnotic as hell. There is not one among the four inclusions — “Axis Mundi” (13:39), “Nystagmus” (12:25), “Hylonomus” (13:43) and “Enuma Elish” (12:58) — that doesn’t lull the listener away from what one generally thinks of as consciousness, and in terms of the overarching breadth of the thing, it’s telling that Comacozer begin with a track that references the tree connecting earth and the ethereal and end with one that calls out the ancient Babylonian myth of creation. If one keeps in mind the early instrumental meanderings of My Sleeping Karma, then before “Axis Mundi” swells in volume just before the 10-minute mark, the track seems to spread itself out in a similar fashion, but it’s really just the first stage of the larger submersion that plays out, and “Nystagmus” — the title of which derives from a medical condition in which one’s eye makes rapid and uncontrolled movements — runs perhaps even deeper.

comacozer

Again with Attard‘s synth work as a major factor, “Nystagmus” executes a long-form linear build, setting itself forward, but seeming to plateau for a while, look around itself, and mindfully drift. The effect on the audience is utterly serene. It gets denser, louder and more actively rolling in the back half as it begins to come to a head, but there are a few minutes there where Comacozer actually make it seem like time has jumped. Burke and Elliott offer such warmth of tone and Panagopoulos such care in his percussive flow, that it’s almost impossible not to get lost in the progression of the resulting work. I am somebody who listens to a lot of psychedelic rock. A lot. I listen to a lot of heavy jams. Very few seem to pull one away from their own brain in the way “Nystagmus” does. It’s a triumph of chill.

Comacozer only increase their overall reach from that point. “Hylonomus” — named for one of the earliest or perhaps even the first of the reptiles — begins with Eastern-inflected strum and moves in its first minute to guitar drift joined soon by the bass and drums, carrying an early tension but holding it until seemingly the last possible minute. As a build, it is more linear but perhaps not as subtle as “Nystagmus” before it, but once again, the fluidity with which the band brings it to life resounds with its liquidity. This doesn’t sound like a compliment but it is one in context because I think it’s what they’re going for: It might actually put you to sleep.

And when it wants you to wake up — the escalating drums leading a forward charge that starts at 11:22 — it’s the most active Comacozer get at any point on Kalos Eidos Skopeo, with a genuine surge in tempo that neither “Nystagmus” nor “Axis Mundi” brought to bear, and from which “Enuma Elish” soon enough departs again to reset the base from which it will embark on one last excursion into the outer edges of the atmosphere. It is encouraging to hear the way in which heft and ambient spaces coexist throughout Kalos Eidos Skopeo — which trims down its 52-minute runtime for the vinyl edition — and the sheer patience of the work as a whole, but worth emphasizing that while the three-maybe-four-piece have established a place for themselves within this sphere, there’s still room for them to progress in how they function structurally and in how their songs are framed, whether that’s achieved through bringing a sense of variety to the proceedings by further expanding arrangements or simply changing up when they get louder in a given piece.

It’s also important to remember they’re still only a year out from what was essentially their first record, so there’s plenty of time for that development to happen, and the commitment to all things molten they show throughout this colorful offering bodes significantly well for their longer-term prospects. One hopes they keep exploring with the vigor and obvious passion they do here.

Comacozer, Kalos Eidos Skopeo (2017)

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Roadburn 2018 Announces Boris Playing Absolutego, Godflesh Playing Selfless, Hooded Menace Playing Fulfill the Curse, Commissioned Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising Collaboration, and Much More

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Well, here’s Roadburn 2018 wishing you happy holidays as pretty much only Roadburn can. With Boris and Stephen O’Malley playing Absolutego in full, a one-off collaboration between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising kicking off the festival, additional whole-record performances from Godflesh and Hooded Menace, a European debut from Khemmis, plus the likes of Thou & The Body, Motorpsycho, Fuoco Fatuo, Forgotten Tomb, Wolfbrigade and of course a completely overwhelming ton of others. So yeah, happy holidays from Roadburn, I guess. Probably even happier if you already have your tickets for next April.

If you don’t, gadzooks, I hear it’s the holidays.

From the PR wire:

roadburn 2018 new flyer

Further artists confirmed for 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival; including details of specially commissioned performance

– Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu collaborate on commissioned project, Waste of Space Orchestra
– Boris join forces with Stephen O’Malley for Absolutego performance
– Jacob Bannon adds Godflesh, Motorpsycho, Thou x The Body and Forgotten Tomb to his curation
– Justin K Broadrick and Kevin Martin unite as Zonal, with Moor Mother
– Hooded Menace to play Fulfill The Curse in its entirety

COMMISSIONED PROJECT: WASTE OF SPACE ORCHESTRA

Artistic Director Walter Hoeijmakers commented:

“Roadburn has always been about bringing people together, creating a network where the line between friend, fan, performer and artist is blurred. The very foundation of Roadburn is the community that it is built upon, around, and within. Alongside this, Roadburn has always sought to push the boundaries of creativity and expression.

These two defining facets of Roadburn have been brought together for a brand new project – or rather, two brand new projects – for 2018. For the first time, we have commissioned a two groups of entirely separate musicians to create music to be performed specifically at Roadburn. Today we’re thrilled to announce the first of those groups of musicians.”

Familiar to most Roadburners, Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu are combining their forces to write and perform a new concept piece especially for Roadburn 2018. The collaboration will be titled the Waste of Space Orchestra.

The performance will include ten musicians onstage plus an original video accompaniment, designed to tell a parallel story with the music. The ten-part, one hour piece is a dive into the consciousnesses of three beings – all of whom are on a search for deeper truths in comprehending reality.

The Waste of Space Orchestra performance will open the main stage on the first day of Roadburn 2018 – Thursday, April 19.

BORIS AND STEPHEN O’MALLEY PERFORMING ABSOLUTEGO

It was Absolutego that kickstarted everything for Boris in 1996 and put that strange little band from Tokyo named after a Melvins song on the map. If you further exercise your memory, you will surely recall that Absolutego was – above everything – a drone album, one single track that took the listener on a strange, intense and very dark trip.

We’ve invited Boris to come and perform that whole Absolutego giant of sound, and they said yes. Joining them for this exclusive, one off performance is none other than Stephen O’Malley.

Boris with Stephen O’Malley will play Absolutego on Saturday, April 21 at the 013 venue, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

JACOB BANNON’S CURATION

MOTORPSYCHO

“When discussing with Walter potential artists that fit the experimental spirit of Roadburn Festival, we both landed on the idea of Motorpsycho. I was first exposed to the band through their Demon Box album and have attempted to follow their unique twists and turns since. Their output is legendary and their need for experimentation has been inspiring to follow over the years. It is a true honor to help bring this diverse voice to the Roadburn audience.”

– Jacob Bannon.

GODFLESH

As part of Jacob Bannon’s curation, Godflesh will perform their groundbreaking album Selfless at Roadburn Festival 2018.

“I first experienced Godflesh when I picked up the Grindcrusher compilation from Earache Records as a teenager. The otherworldly power of Streetcleaner effected me in a way that I still find hard to describe. Since then I have been an avid follower of all music that Justin creates. Though I celebrate the expansive Broadrick catalog as a whole, it is his forays into melody under the Godflesh name I really connect with. Selfless as is an album that has everything for me. Punishing heaviness, incredible hooks, and limitless emotional depth. It is a true honor that they have agreed to play this album in its entirety at Roadburn 2018.”

– Jacob Bannon.

CURATION: THOU X THE BODY

“Since their inception I’ve been following Thou. Their restlessness and drive for experimentation has been inspiring to follow. The same goes for The Body. They’ve been such an incredible band to watch evolve from release to release. When they joined together on their Released From Love and You Whom I Have Always Hated collaborations I was floored. Together, they amplify the best parts of each band’s individual output. Making some of the heaviest and most intense music of the last few years. This collaboration is a must listen and perfect fit for Roadburn Festival.”

– Jacob Bannon

CURATION: FORGOTTEN TOMB

“I was first exposed to Forgotten Tomb through their incredible Springtime Depression album. To me, Herr Morbid’s vision was immediately appealing. Carrying a relatable sadness and inescapable darkness unequaled by other artists of the time. Since then I’ve been following his growth as an artist and the evolution of the band. I feel that artistically Forgotten Tomb are a perfect fit for the core Roadburn audience. They are a musical black hole that claims everything around it. I can’t wait to experience their set at Roadburn Festival 2018.”

– Jacob Bannon

ZONAL WITH MOOR MOTHER

Justin K. Broadrick is such an integral part of the Roadburn backbone by now that he needs little introduction. When it was announced that Justin and Kevin Martin, aka The Bug – who already made himself part of Roadburn with a staggering show alongside Dylan Carlson of Earth this year – would reunite under the name Zonal (a spiritual continuation from their iconic Techno Animal duo) it registered on our always-on radar. They will be joined by Camae Ayewa, the musician, activist and poet from Philadelphia who also goes by the name Moor Mother.

HOODED MENACE

Since their earliest rumblings, Finnish cult doomsters Hooded Menace have held an astonishingly high profile in the underground realms. Their uniquely energetic take on the classic hybrid of doom and death metal has been invigorating audience since the release of their 2008 classic, Fulfill the Curse. We’re thrilled to announce that the band will perform this classic album in full at Roadburn 2018.

ALSO CONFIRMED

Classic heavy doom from Khemmis

Move or be moved by Wolfbrigade 

Tribulation’s Jonathan Hultén will haunt Het Patronaat

Worship will perform Last Tape Before Doomsday in its entirety

Get sucked into a cold, dark void by Fuoco Fatuo 

Welcome the wild and unrestrained spirit of Alda

Zuriaake will be the first Chinese band to perform at Roadburn Festival.

Some nightmares take us towards Vampillia

VMO will prove they are more than “just” a side project

Head out on an exhilarating ride with Watter

Allow yourself to shape shift with Hail Spirit Noir

Watch Kairon; Irse! defy time and space

Dive headfirst into Hortes dreamy slumber

Old Tower make their live debut at Roadburn 2018.

TICKET ONSALE INFORMATION
Roadburn 2018 tickets are on sale now. 3 and 4 day tickets are currently available, with day tickets going on sale at a later date.

4-day-tickets €198,40 (including €3,40 service fees)
3-day-tickets €175,40 (including €3,40 service fees)

Camping tickets are also available to purchase, with additional options (such as Festipis and camper vans) also possible. This year the urban campsite will be in a new location – but still within walking distance to the 013 venue – providing a comfortable and affordable option for Roadburn attendees.

Click here for more information on tickets and the campsite

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Roadburn 2018 Fourth Announcement Video

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