The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 06

Posted in Radio on December 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

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Okay, so I guess the first thing you should know if you don’t know is I sort of have a radio show. It’s called The Obelisk Show. I’ve been in league with the good peoples at Gimme Radio for a couple months now, and it seems like it’s sticking, which is nice. They’ve been kind enough to give me a forum through which to share music, and I’m happy for the opportunity. I’ve guested with Diane Farris (also now on Gimme) on WFMU a few times over the years, but haven’t hosted a show since I was in college at WSOU in New Jersey, so it’s been a thrill to do so again. I had missed it more than I realized.

Since it doesn’t look like I’m about to be immediately shitcanned by Gimme on account of general suckdom — can’t help but feel like I’m getting away with something there — I wanted to get an archive going of playlists on here, basically so I can refer to it later and know what I’ve already played and when. Otherwise, I’ll just do the same stuff all the time, because I’m kind of a doof generally. So here we are.

The latest episode — the sixth — was a wrap-up of what I thought were some of the best tracks from 2018. You can see the playlist below in the kind oldschool-looking spreadsheet form. Ignore the asterisks by the album titles; they just mean something that came out this year. Which, in the case of this episode, was everything.

If you didn’t get to hear it the first time around or want to dig into other episodes, Gimme has an archive available on the cheap, and they reair the show as well. Thanks either way if you get to check it out.

I thought this was a decent one. Here’s the playlist:

The Obelisk Show Ep. 06 – 12.16.18

Gozu Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat Equilibrium* 0:06:24
Mos Generator The Destroyer Shadowlands* 0:04:27
BREAK
Traden Hymn Traden* 0:07:20
Sandrider Hollowed Armada* 0:06:06
Grayceon Let it Go IV* 0:06:22
Sunnata Outlands Outlands* 0:07:37
BREAK
Monster Magnet When the Hammer Comes Down Mindfucker* 0:05:42
Fu Manchu Don’t Panic Clone of the Universe* 0:02:04
Foghound Known Wolves Awaken to Destroy* 0:03:59
Naxatras You Won’t be Left Alone III* 0:11:17
King Buffalo Morning Song Longing to be the Mountain* 0:09:49
Weedpecker Liquid Sky III* 0:06:33
Black Rainbows Riding Fast Till the End of Time Pandaemonium* 0:04:07
Witch Mountain Burn You Down Witch Mountain* 0:07:40
BREAK
Sleep Sonic Titan The Sciences* 0:12:27
YOB Ablaze Our Raw Heart* 0:10:13

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is Jan. 13. Thanks for listening if you do.

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Mount Saturn Premiere “Salt”; Debut EP Kiss the Ring out Jan. 4

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mount saturn (Photo by Tommy Calderon)

Bellingham, Washington, heavy rockers Mount Saturn will release their debut EP, Kiss the Ring, on Jan. 4. The 25-minute four-tracker comes preceded only by the digital single “Dwell,” which also shows up as the leadoff cut on the forthcoming release and makes for a right-on seven-minute leadoff, the echoing vocals of Violet Vasquez following the riffs of Ray Blum on an outwardly-directed astral plane of reverb and grooving heft. Got that bass punch tho from Cody Barton and the drums of Tanner Scinocco, whose snare cuts through the tonal density surrounding in order to give ground to what otherwise would surely take flight, some double-kick coinciding with second-half squibblies in “Dwell” that, in another context and from another WA -state band, would be black metal. Mount Saturn are up to a different kind of business.

The nod is pervasive throughout Kiss the Ring, as the 4:12 shortest cut “Idol Hands” demonstrates despite a somewhat faster tempo and more rocking swing ahead of the brash Mount Saturn Kiss the Ringgarage intro to the penultimate “Salt.” The overarching feel of the release is very much in the debut EP vein, as Mount Saturn began their exploration just last year, but a drive toward aesthetic can be heard in the tracks all the same, whether it’s the already-noted cavernousness of Vasquez‘s voice throughout or the depth of Blum‘s guitar tone, which lends immediate character to the songs and is suited to the feeling of space as well as that of the earthier groove supported by Barton and Scinocco. “Salt” echoes through a slowdown to cut out before the closing title-track, which again leads off with Blum‘s guitar as the focal point — a task to which it stands up well. Barton‘s bass kicks in at around 40 seconds and is a thick, distinct presence, while Scinocco holds town a straightforward beat still portentous of change to come. They drop back to a more spacious progression to give Vasquez room in the mix and find a new balance between molten and solidified impulses. An all-out psychedelic finish would be a decent enough fit, but Mount Saturn don’t quite get there, opting instead to stick to the hook in “Kiss the Ring” and trade back and forth from that to a solo, capping with both.

It’s the band’s first outing, so take “Salt” with the appropriate grain if you need to in order to dive into the premiere below — which I’m thrilled to host — but if you can’t hear the potential in its run, then you’re missing out. Tracks were recorded by Erik Wallace. Again, it’s out Jan. 4.

Please enjoy:

Mount Saturn rises from the damp soil of the Pacific Northwest to forge a heavy sound that worships riffs, dabbles in psychedelia and takes no shit. Formed in 2017, the heavy quartet has had the pleasure of sharing a stage with some of the West Coast’s best, including Holy Grove, Castle, and Mos Generator.

‘Kiss the Ring’ is their debut EP, recorded at The Unknown in Anacortes, and engineered and mastered by Erik Wallace of Shibusa Sounds, which the band will self-release on January 4th, 2019.

Mount Saturn is:
Cody Barton on Bass
Ray Blum on Guitar
Violet Vasquez on Vox; and on this recording,
Tanner Scinocco on Drums

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Thunderbird Divine Premiere “Qualified”; Magnasonic Preorders Available

Posted in audiObelisk on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Thunderbird Divine (Photo by Dante Torrieri)

Philadelphia’s Thunderbird Divine make a much-anticipated debut on Jan. 11 with Magnasonic through Salt of the Earth Records. All along the way since the band came into being in 2017, they’ve released material in drips and drabs, a rehearsal clip here, a video there. Songs like “Quaalude Thunder” (posted here), “Madras Blue” (posted here) and “Djinn au Jus” (posted here) have made their way to public ears and eyes, but every cut that’s come out so far has one thing in common: it’s not on the record. Less than a month to go before the release date and Thunderbird Divine haven’t put so much as a riff out there for mass consumption that features on Magnasonic.

You know where this is going.

Enter “Qualified.” The seven-point-five-minute opener of Magnasonic in all its funk-riffed, swaggering, oh-wait-did-we-just-get-to-outer-space-and-was-that-Thunderbird Divine Magnasonica-piano-oh-okay-I-guess-the-riff-is-back-wow-that-was-awesome glory. A song that sets its rhythm early and holds its welcome late, “Qualified” boasts a hook begging for a barroom singalong as guitarist/vocalist/etc.-ist Erik Caplan (ex-Wizard Eye) leads the nod with Skeleton Hands veterans Adam Scott (bass), Flynn Lawrence (guitar, more etc.) and Mike Stuart (drums) further the take-your-favorite-muscle-car-and-stick-it-in-orbit vibe. Think new-classic stoner riffage — Monster Magnet shortly before the commercial boom — and you might have the right timeframe, but Thunderbird Divine are for sure telling the squares to get their hats regardless of the decade to which you want to draw parallels. And “Qualified” is one of four slabs on the half-hour stack, so, you know, more to come, chief.

I’ll get a proper, way-too-wordy-but-probably-less-hyphenated review up sometime after the New Year, but I’m honor’d to host the first Thunderbird Divine track to actually come from Magnasonic, which you’ll find on the player below, followed by a few words from Caplan and the preorder link to get your copy of the album.

Please enjoy:

Thunderbird Divine, “Qualified” official premiere

Erik Caplan on “Qualified”:

“Qualified” is the first song we wrote together. The repeated riff in the beginning and at the chorus is based on something I found compelling during my home practice sessions before I joined the band. When I showed it to the other guys, we agreed it could be the basis of something cool. That riff set the stage for the rest of the song.

As an early collaboration, we were still feeling each other out as a band during the writing process, and, in particular, it was the first opportunity for Flynn (Lawrence, guitar) and I to figure out how our guitar sounds would mesh. Since neither of us had worked with another guitarist in a long time, it fortuitously happened that our styles were complementary. Flynn is an extremely accurate, concise player with a passion for riffs and a somewhat metallic tone, whereas I’m basically a fuzzy, guitar-soloing mess, so we don’t step on each other’s toes. You can hear him nailing down some massive chord sounds while I play a wonky fuzz melody in various parts of the song. Mike (Stuart, drums) and Adam (Scott, bass) have a very natural interplay after having played together for several years.

The basic structure came together fairly quickly, but, as with most collaborations, the devil was in the details, especially when it came to recording. We were ambitious. For example, the psychedelic section in the middle is usually a theremin and bass-feedback freakout in the live arena, but we wanted to do something with more class and refinement on the studio recording. We layered electric sitar, piano, theremin, water drum and other oddities on top of the usual band arrangement. We wanted it loose and trippy, but not random and sloppy, with interesting layers of sound to bear repeated plays and reveal more of itself to the listener each time.

The entire song was given that level of attention, with synth drones and percussion throughout. It’s truly a testament to the skills of Ted (Richardson, engineer, TedAudio) and Charles (Newman, mixing engineer, Cottage Sounds Unlimited) for cleanly tracking and mixing so many layers of sound together in such a cohesive way.

Vocally, this is a departure from my past efforts in that I used a clearer sound with less grime. It was different and a little daunting, but I was ready to try something new, so I just went for it. It’s a pretty clean take – the main vocal is single-tracked to keep it sounding natural. You’ll hear some lovely backing vocals from Brittany Marie (Mike’s partner) and Avy (my ex-wife) in the pre-chorus, with equally lovely gang vocals from our Mike, Andy Martin (Clamfight) and Kermit Lyman III (Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds) on the choruses.

The lyrical concept comes from Jamaican street slang. This kind of slang is ever-changing, and there was a recent time where folks referred to anything bad-ass or really excellent as “qualified.” It could apply to anything from mangoes to movies to beautiful women, and I thought it was an evocative way to write our own version of something like ZZ Top’s “Nationwide.” I would never claim to be as cool as the little band from Texas, but we did our thing with it. I’m proud of the result.

Philly’s psychedelic space hippy enclave, Thunderbird Divine, has set an official domestic release date of January 11, 2019 for its debut album, Magnasonic, with Salt of the Earth Records (https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/). The offering, a 30-plus-minute exploration of riffs and psychedelia, features custom art design by the band’s bassist, Adam Scott.

Produced by the band and recorded at both Ted Richardson at TedAudio in Philadelphia (www.facebook.com/TedAudio) and Charles Newman (who also mixed the album) at Cottage Sounds Unlimited in Brooklyn (https://www.facebook.com/cottagesounds/), Magnasonic shows the quartet, which coalesced in March of 2017, is not willing to be pigeonholed as a strictly stoner/doom rock band. Featuring Scott on bass and guitars, Flynn Lawrence on guitars and additional instrumentation, Mike Stuart on drums and percussion and Erik Caplan on guitars and various instruments,Thunderbird Divine went for an unexpectedly broad tonal variety with Magnasonic.

Preorder at: https://saltoftheearthrecords.com/product/295609

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Deathchant Premiere “Hex”; Self-Titled Debut out Jan. 10

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

deathchant

Los Angeles four-piece Deathchant issue their self-titled debut on Jan. 10 through King Volume Records (LP) and Dune Altar (tape), and there’s some weird shit afoot. So, get this: Seven tracks/29 minutes. On the shorter end of an LP, but whatever. All the songs have one-word titles, so you’d think maybe pretty stripped down, right? And it’s Southern California, so you’d think maybe some boogie involved or some jams, right? Not really. Deathchant, led by guitarist/vocalist TJ Lemieux, make short work of expectation and offer a feedback-drenched take on darker heavy rock, so that even the strut of opener “Pessimist” can just absolutely collapse into biting noise at a moment’s notice — which it does — and then resume its course like nothing happened. There are “hey wait!” moments like that all over the album, and to add to that, Lemiuex‘s vocals are coated in reverb — he did similarly his band Child (who are not to be confused with the Australian blues rockers of the same name) — in such a way that in context of some of the severity surrounding feels like a tip of the hat to Wovenhand that immediately gives the songs a distinguishing element. There’s no shortage of groove to go around in “Pessimist” or elsewhere, and as the album unfolds with “Control” and “Ritual” — which as I understand it was going to be the title-track at one point — there is a linear character to the transitions that the noise-factor only helps further.

deathchant deathchant

Side A of the LP is those three songs: “Pessimist,” “Control” and “Ritual,” and the momentum factor isn’t to be understated. While Deathchant is short, and was recorded live obviously in an effort to capture an energetic vibe (easy to argue success there), the material doesn’t sound any more rushed than they want it to, and they’re in control the whole time of the thrust, which particularly as the drifting centerpiece “Eulogy” takes hold on side B and turns its wash over to the unbridled push of “Breathe,” “Hex” and closer “Trigger,” is key. Every song on the second half of the record is shorter than anything on the first, and it’s almost as though the band swapped out what would be the usual tack for an A/B long-player, putting the up-front rockers in back and the more ranging material up front, “Eulogy” notwithstanding. Either way, even at their most driving, in the forward pummel and tonal crush of “Breathe” or the chugga-shuffle of “Hex,” they hold firm to the atmosphere created by the earlier cuts, so that the most rocking of tracks is still imbued with a darker underlying spirit. As “Trigger” surges outward in go-go-go fashion before cutting to a closing minute-plus of eerie sampled noise and far-away guitar, the core blend of Deathchant‘s aesthetic is maintained — it is volatile, exciting and unpredictable. These are not words I use lightly.

Lemieux, who’s responsible for the songwriting and joined in the band by John Bolino, Colin Fahrner and George Camacho, also helped to mix the recording which was engineered by Stephen Schroeder (who also mastered it), has been and is involved in a number of projects, but Deathchant find their footing quickly on their self-titled, and potential abounds for further exploration, and the lean nature of Deathchant itself only furthers interest in how their ethic will develop over the longer term.

Want the short version? Cool track. Give it a listen:

Recorded live over a 2 day period at a secluded cabin in Big Bear, California. Mixed by TJ Lemieux and Stephen Schroeder. Engineered and Mastered by Stephen Schroeder. All Songs & words by TJ Lemieux. Copyright 2018 RAGWEED.

DEATHCHANT is the brainchild of TJ Lemieux (CHILD, Psychedelic speed freaks, Mainline ladies, Babylon) formed in 2018 in Los Angeles, CA. They have been dubbed Psychedelic rock, proto-metal, doom, stoner metal, noise-punk, hard rock, and everything in between, but if you ask them it’s “rock and roll with psychedelic influences.” Their imagery and sound seem to fluctuate rapidly between a peaceful meditative eastern-tinged message of unity and all out warcry with an underlying message of love and peace-through-violence.

Driven by Thomas (TJ) Lemieux’s brooding aesthetic and signature psychedelic guitar character, DEATHCHANT echoes through the darker side of Proto-metal and hard rock. Reflections of past endeavors from TJ Lemieux, John Bolino, Colin Fahrner, and George Camacho (Roast, psychedelic speed freaks, high rise, Babylon) cascade into an immersive wall of noise-induced heavy metal mania, equal parts paranoia and transcendental harmony. These four create a sound that is loud, massive, and about as melodic as a sonic assault of this magnitude can be. They resonate with wherever or whoever you are and deliver an excitingly raw and catchy brand of rock and roll. Ask a freak!!

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Medicina Announce New LP Turboacido; Premiere “Pirotecnias”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on December 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

medicina

Grunge meets heavy psychedelia and straight-ahead rock in the expanses of Medicina‘s first long-player, Turboacido. Arriving Feb. 22 through Mei Lei Bel (say it out loud), the 10-track/45-minute LP is lush in tone and patient in delivery, but ultimately clearheaded about what it’s looking to accomplish in terms of songwriting. As the Algeciras-based trio features two former members of the defunct Viaje a 800, there’s an immediate level of interest, but Medicina — who have three EPs out dating back to 2015 — are quick to distinguish themselves in moments of all-out ’90s reimagining and the occasional bit of footgaze, which is like shoegaze, but with x-ray vision.

They’re not cosmic-averse either, which is fortunate since that’s where closer “Histimina” seems to be heading at full impulse speed. That track caps side B, but if you want to hear the one that does likewise on side A, you can stream the clap-along-worthy “Pirotecnias” on the player at the bottom of this post. Mei Lei Bel has preorders starting on my mom’s birthday (it’s what every mother wants), and you can find more background on the band and their noble mission below, courtesy of the PR wire.

It’s right under the art, which is looking directly at you.

Thusly:

medicina turboacido

Medicina – Turboacido

Release Date: 22/02/2019 (Pre-Orders will be available January 4, 2019) (Mai Lei Bel, Austria) (https://maileibel.bandcamp.com).

– Recording Info: Recorded and Mastered by Curro “Snortil” Ureba at Trafalgar Estudios (El Palmar-Vejer) during August/October 2018. Produced by Medicina & Curro “Snortil” Ureba.

Medicina is a trio formed at the beginning by Alberto and David, veteran musicians of the local scene in South Spain (They’ve playing together since the early 90´s in several bands like Ballet Violencia, Xudor Barato, among others).

David Ruiz was the drummer in the well known stoner rock band Viaje a 800 (from 1996 to 2008), and also in Buenamuerte Trío (From 2010 to 2013); After multiple line-up changes, Jose “Pot” (Viaje a 800, Atavismo…) finally joins the band as bass player in 2018.

Medicina began playing in 2012, performing a mix of genres like Shoegaze, Grunge, Post Punk and Space Rock, but anyway they prefer to call it Expansive Rock. Their main influences are bands like: Loop, Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Spacemen 3, Suicide, Telescopes, The Stooges, Lagartija Nick or Nirvana, among others…

They have 3 EPs (self-released), the last one called: #3 includes new incursions in another music genres not previously explored as Ambient and Dub. They have announced a LP called “Turboacido” that will be released by the Austrian label Mai Lei Bel Records next year 2019.

Talking about live shows, they´ve been playing in several places of their country with bands such as Atavismo, Cowboy Lovers, and many others ; also played at festivals such as the Picnic Intestelar in Seville among others.
Nowadays they´re preparing themselves for a next Tour during 2018/2019, due to the presentation of their new upcoming LP.

Meanwhile….they keep experimenting in their laboratory.

Band members:
Alberto Ruiz Gonzalez (Guitar and Vocals)
David Ruiz Donoso (Drums)
Jose “Pot” Moreno (Bass)

Discography :
– Mlp – 2015 (Self Release)
– Soluble – Ep – 2016 (Self Release)
– 3 # – Ep – 2017 (Self Release)
– Turboacido – Lp – 2019 (Mai Lei Bel Records)

medicina.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/medicalnoise
facebook.com/medicina1977
https://maileibel.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/maileibel/

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Review & Full Album Stream: Lucifer’s Fall, Tales from the Crypt

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lucifer's fall tales from the crypt

[Click play above to stream Lucifer’s Fall’s Tales from the Crypt in its entirety. It’s out Dec. 17 through Sun and Moon Records.]

If you want to get a sense of where Lucifer’s Fall are coming from, you don’t have to look far. They have a song called “(Fuck You) We’re Lucifer’s Fall,” and that basically sums it up. The Adelaide, Australia, five-piece of vocalist Philip “Deceiver” Howlett, guitarists Kieran “The Invocator” Provis and Blake “Heretic” Stephens, bassist Jessica “Cursed Priestess” Erceg and drummer Ben “Unknown and Unnamed” Dodunski, more than live up to that basic ethos, and their sound seems to put it in constant emphasis along with their raw take on traditionalist doom. Their roots lie in acts like Puritan and Rote Mare, and in their five years, they’ve issued two long-players in a 2014 self-titled and 2016’s II: Cursed and Damned (review here), but the impetus for their new Sun and Moon Records collection, Tales from the Crypt, lies in the smattering of singles, demos, one-offs and Bandcamp tracks they’ve issued aside from those records.

There is some overlap, as there would be with demos and live tracks included — “(Fuck You) We’re Lucifer’s Fall” also appeared on the second LP and I’m not sure how they’ll ever be able to release an album without it included; it’s their slogan and calling card — but with rehearsal tracks, studio songs and live cuts, there’s no want of variety between cuts like opener “Trapped in Satan’s Chains” or “Die Witch Die” as the compilation moves from raw to rawer, stripping doom down to its essential components and adding a lethal dose of fuckall in the spirit of the finest black ‘n’ roller primitivists. Doom worship. Metal worship. Tag on partial, “barely rehearsed” and/or live covers of Reverend BizarreExciter and Angel Witch, and you get over an hour of doomly scathe that’s drenched in attitude and unrelenting in its drive, songs like “Dirty Shits Dirty Music” and the rehearsal tape “Damnation” offering little by way of letup in a barebones sensibility that’s as punk as it is metal.

Are there tapes? There should be. Are there patches? Oh yes.

Some of the included material has been previously released — the already-noted salvo of covers that closes out Tales from the Crypt, for example, was on the limited CD-R Cursed Visions – Dungeon Demos III in 2016, which indeed was the third in a series of demos going back to the beginnings of the band in 2013 (though the “Angel Witch” here comes from 2017’s digital offering Live & Raw at Three?-?D Radio’s Sound Lounge). But I think even if you managed to snag one of the 30 CDs or 20 tapes that were pressed up at the time — long gone, of course — you might be fan enough to appreciate their appearance here as well. And if they’re new to you, or if the band is new to you, it’s hard to argue they do anything but shine in these tracks. Since so much of the point in what they do is to strip away what they might consider the excess from traditional doom and metal, their sound is remarkably well suited to the rehearsal-room feel of “Cursed Priestess,” which ends with a “yeah” from Deceiver that’s only appropriate, “Damnation,” “The Mountains of Madness” and this version of “(Fuck You) We’re Lucifer’s Fall.”

lucifer's fall

By extension, the bootleg-style recordings of “Deceiver,” “Die Witch Die” and “Death of the Mother” capture the band at their outwardly nastiest and thus most righteous. Having heard their proper studio output and the three “cleaner” inclusions here at the outset in “Trapped in Satan’s Chains,” “Dirty Shits” and “Unknown Unnamed,” I wouldn’t necessarily advocate for Lucifer’s Fall to abandon all production in the spirit of ever-more-rudimentary black metal-style tape-hiss cavernousness, but in combination with their actual albums, Tales from the Crypt helps to present a fuller picture of who they are to listeners. And granted, we know who they are — they’re Lucifer’s Fall, and you know the rest — but by culling these varied sources together, not only is more of the band’s personality put on display, which is not a minor consideration when it comes to Lucifer’s Fall, but also they get the chance to feature their work in a kind of anti-greatest-hits portrayal. This too is only fitting the band’s aesthetic. Couldn’t afford the leather, stuck with the denim.

So I guess this is the part where I sat that maybe the 13-track/61-minute assault of drunken doombashing isn’t for everybody. Fine. There’s your disclaimer. And it might be true in terms of the general brashness of the thing, but on another level, Tales from the Crypt embodies some of the best aspects not just of doom, but of being a band. It brims with fist-pumping, headbanging vitality. It taps into the spirit of collaborative creation — five individuals coming together to work toward a singular purpose and expression — and while it’s not by any means a quick listen, the band works quickly in both tempo and craft to bring the listener into their framework, so that as “Unknown Unnamed” gives way to “Deceiver” or “Death of the Mother” leads into the crawling “Cursed Priestess,” the jump in sound is easy enough to make because the whole thing isn’t necessarily about a a full album flow as much as it is about letting the audience into the rehearsal space — one imagines a basement-smelling dungeon, or crypt, or, you know, basement — or into the barroom with the shitty P.A., or just simply into their creative process.

There isn’t much ground being broken here — again, this is mostly material that’s surfaced elsewhere, and even if it wasn’t, that’s not really the point of what Lucifer’s Fall‘s approach. This is a celebration of the most basic tenets of doom and the deviant subculture around it. Call them born too late. Call them consumed with the wickedness of man. Say they’re hurling themselves face-first into the void. However you want to put it, Tales from the Crypt succeeds in bringing to light an essential facet of who Lucifer’s Fall are as a band, and with their penchant for putting out live sets, singles and demos and other sundry whatnot, it’s easy to think that the first such collection won’t by any means be the last. So be it.

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Nebula Premiere “Whalefinger” from Demos & Outtakes 98-02; Preorders up Now

Posted in audiObelisk on November 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

nebula

Nebula will issue Demos and Outtakes 98-02 two months from today, and to mark the occasion of preorders going live through Heavy Psych Sounds, the band are premiering the previously-unreleased track “Whalefinger.” Recorded in 2002, it’s one of the later inclusions on the compilation, with “You Got It” and a faithful live cover of Black Flag‘s “Nervous Breakdown” stemming from the same era. That same year, the Californian heavy psych rockers would release their collection Dos EPs (discussed here) as their final outing with the original lineup of guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, bassist Mark Abshire and drummer Ruben Romano, as by the time 2003’s Atomic Ritual was released, Abshire had moved on. In familiar cuts like “Sun Creature,” “Humbucker,” “To the Center,” “Smokin’ Woman” and “Synthetic Dream,” Demos and Outtakes 98-02 isn’t necessarily as raw sounding as the name would imply, and while it’s inherently true that these most of tracks aren’t the “finished” versions, they also find the band working with producers like Jack Endino on “Humbucker” or John Agnello (Screaming Trees, many others) on the opening Leaf Hound cover “Stagnant Pool,” and with new mixes on “Smokin’ Woman” and “Sun Creature” by Matt Lynch of Snail, the band sounds vital even at their most barebones, which might be “You Got It,” though the Glass-only fuzz-blowout take on The Creation‘s “How Does it Feel to Feel” comes close.

The impact of this era of Nebula‘s work speaks for itself in the influence they continue to have on psychedelia, desert rock, and acts from any number of other intertwining heavy subgenres. Heavy Psych Sounds this year already issued Dos EPs along with Nebula Demos Outtakes 98-021998’s Let it Burn EP (discussed here) and 1999’s To the Center (discussed here) — both landmarks — and though it’s just over two minutes long, “Whalefinger” stands testament to the punk undercurrent running through the band’s sound. Stripped-down lyrics, sharp transitions and a momentum driven by Romano‘s drumming position the track structurally not so far off from “Nervous Breakdown,” though admittedly the latter is faster. And of course that matters to the overall intensity factor, but the point is that Nebula were taking various sonic perspectives from punk, garage rock, psych, stoner, whatever, and bringing them into their own approach. By 2002, they were an established touring act. They’d been across the US and abroad to Europe, and they weren’t exactly rookies when they started either, with Glass and Romano having broken off from Fu Manchu in ’97 and reunited with Abshire, who was that band’s original bassist, shortly thereafter. Still, I’m not sure I’d call Nebula “mature” by the time 2002 rolled around. Certainly they were experienced and seasoned — and toasted — but as Demos and Outtakes 98-02 shows in “Whalefinger” and “You Got It,” there was still a lot of exploring being done in terms of songcraft and aesthetic, and a kind of restlessness propelled them forward.

That works until you hit a wall, which Glass eventually did in 2010, but a revamped version of the band is pressing forward again with Glass, longtime bassist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster and working toward the prospect of the band’s first album since Heavy Psych (review here) in 2009. As to what Nebula might conjure after a decade out of the studio, I don’t know, but Demos and Outtakes 98-02 offers listeners a chance to revisit their original lineup in a way that stands apart from the lineage of their discography. It’s not the first “early works” compilation by any means, but given the fact that the Glass/Abshire/Romano incarnation of the band only had two LPs and a couple EPs and singles out — not nothing, but not exactly a glut of material — and given the nigh-legendary status of the trio as they were, it’s a question of taking all you can get. And from the covers to the unreleased tracks to the working versions of some of their most classic material, fans of the band should be ready to do precisely that.

More PR wire info follows “Whalefinger,” which you’ll find on the player below.

Please enjoy:

Mark Abshire on “Whalefinger”:

“Whalefinger” – not only is this song rad, but it’s the first song Eddie ever wrote. The original version was recorded and released by Olivelawn as a 7” B-side (Eddie played drums in Olivelawn).”

Set for a release on January 25th 2019, the ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’ will include 5 tracks that have never seen the light of day before, alongside rare demos as well as cover songs such as a special live version of Black Flag’s ‘Nervous Breakdown’! Beside these never published demos to date, the known tracks on this album are different to what NEBULA originally released on their previous records like on their pathbreaking ‘Charged’ or ‘To The Center’. Some tracks were written and recorded in these sessions, some never made it on any of them or were used for B-sides and singles. And then we get songs such as ‘Whalefinger’ which was the first song Eddie Glass ever wrote and which originally made it on a 7” B-side by Olivelawn, where Eddie played drums.

The tracklist of NEBULA’s ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’ will read as follows:

1. Stagnant Pool ( ’00/01 demo, Leaf Hound cover )
2. Whalefinger ( ’02 demo )
3. Humbucker ( ’99 demo )
4. Smokin’ Woman ( ’98 demo )
5. Sun Creature ( ’98 demo )
6. You Got It ( ’02 demo )
7. To The Center ( ’99 demo )
8. Synthetic Dream ( ’99 demo )
9. How Does It Feel To Feel? ( ’99 demo, The Creation cover )
10. Nervous Breakdown ( Live ’02, Black Flag cover )

Preorder: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS088

Nebula lineup on “Whalefinger”:
Eddie Glass: Guitar/Vocals
Ruben Romano: Drums
Mark Abshire: Bass

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Wolves in Haze Premiere “All or Nothing”; New Single out Dec. 13

Posted in audiObelisk on November 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

wolves in haze (Photo by Emma Johansson)

Swedish grit-worshipers Wolves in Haze release their new single, All or Nothing, on Dec. 13. Comprised of two tracks, the 10-minute offering taps into a vibe that directly calls out the Sunlight Studio sound of nearly 30 years ago, as bands like Entombed, Grave and Dismember brought a new and raw shape to death metal with a strong influence from rock and roll as an undercurrent. Wolves in Haze tip that balance the other way, and while the guitar tones of Manne Olander and Olle Hansson carry some no shortage of severity in their distortion, the Gothenburg four-piece completed by bassist Vicke Crusner and drummer Kalle Lilja (also of Långfinger) are still definitively working from a heavy rock foundation. “All or Nothing” and “Leave Your Head” follow behind the band’s 2016 self-titled debut full-length — which they recorded and mixed themselves and Esben Willems of Monolord mastered — and find the band with a clearheaded approach to what they want their sound to do, starting with the compressed riff that begins “All or Nothing” and unfolding through the hook and darker exploration of “Leave Your Head.”

The first song is the shorter of the two at 4:09, and its presentation bears the hallmark crispness of sound that added such a lurking cavernousness to the classic Sunlight records, and the jabbing impact of that riff in “All or Nothing” wolves in haze all or nothingseems to draw a direct line to Entombed‘s To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth from 1997, as that band began to move out of the death metal style and into their “rock period” before ultimately circling back. Wolves in Haze to well with the marked influence, peppering the forward intensity with dual vocals from Olander and Hansson and a headbang-ready pounding chorus leading to a chugging verse before a post-midsection break of creeper bass leads to a minor-key lead line, the capstone solo and chug that seems to round out before a quick return to the central riff. A sample begins “Leave Your Head,” which thrashes harder initially but still has the same root in filthy low end despite a cleaner vocal in its aforementioned hook. Piano accompanies the break around the halfway point to add an eerie vibe and as they did with the prior track, they pick back up into an instrumental finish, this time with a bookending sample at the close.

For those who, like me, didn’t catch the first album when it was released, All or Nothing makes a quick opportunity to sample Wolves in Haze‘s wares while also showcasing the progression they’ve undertaken since that debut came out. They are working their way into a niche that, frankly, is right there waiting for them, and finding a stylistic blend that not only speaks to some of the most essential extreme records Sweden has ever produced, but still allows the band room to grow into their own take on it as well. It’s a fucking cool single. That’s what it comes down to. And Wolves in Haze bend that Sunlight sound to their will with a natural-sounding ease that only makes me look forward all the more to what they do next.

Enjoy “All or Nothing” followed by some words from the band below:

Wolves in Haze, “All or Nothing” official track premiere

Wolves in Haze on “All or Nothing”:

“All or Nothing” draws inspiration from actual events involving a serial killer in a small southern suburb of Gothenburg, Sweden. As there were many restless nights for the inhabitants of the area, these malicious acts dated to the summer of 2018 when Wolves in Haze started working with new material.

Wolves in Haze is:
Manne Olander – Voice, Guitar, Bass
Olle Hansson – Guitar, Bass, Voice
Victor Crusner – Bass, Grand Piano, Organs
Kalle Lilja – Drums, Moog, Organs, Bass, Guitar

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