Alone Time Stream Bored EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on May 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

alone time

Chaos, noise, chaos. Or is it noise, chaos, noise? Either way, Baltimore noise rock five-piece Alone Time will issue their debut EP, Bored, on May 26. Tracked, mixed, mastered and put out under the banner of Grimoire Records, the five-song outing clocks in at a vicious, feedback-soaked 14 minutes, and alternates between Black Flag-style lyrical rawness — see “Routine” — and thick-toned ’90s pummel as three three-and-a-half-minute cuts play out with two two-minute cuts between them, surprisingly orderly in its structure and flowing from one song to the next à la a live set even as Alone Time twist and turn and blow out tubes and slay and chaos, noise, chaos. Or is it noise, chaos, noise?

A sudden surge of feedback at the launch of opener “Advice” tells the tale, and all the more so because that’s actually the song starting, not just a kind of introductory formality. The lineup of Adam, Spencer, Ted, Jess and Austyn waste little time in establishing as raw a foundation as possible, and the point seems to be less about holding the material together than letting go of the impulse to try. “Advice” is house-show madness, and the invitation to “Come and See” that follows answers fire with gasoline, a more forward rhythmic drive offset by mathy fret runs and distorted shouts delivered at feverish pace, cycled through twice before “Routine” slams in with its own vaguely directed sear. A alone-time-boredhardcore punk progression emerges from the fray running at full sprint, but it’s soon enough given over to churning thrust as the wheels once again come off and the track tears itself apart.

That, of course, is the idea. Happy accident? Not so much as disaffected expression, but whatever you want to call it, Alone Time have it in spades. Their sound is restless fitting to the EP’s title, and nestled between punk, hardcore, noise and angular technicality — they are playing notes in all those unhinged squibbly parts, after all — it hits on a balance both challenging and familiar, building momentum all the while knowing there’s a brick wall up ahead. “Pills” follows “Routine” and is the shortest piece at 1:54 and the jazziest, but a lurching groove lies beneath all that Eastern Seaboard intensity and that carries through into closer “Drunk at Work,” which begins with what sounds an awful lot like Echoplex before playing intermittent blasts and open, swinging verse lines off each other on the way to an oblivion well earned. It may be the product boredom, but ultimately, the EP doesn’t last long enough to inflict that on the listener. Rather, its frenetic pulse courses through fast and is gone with little ceremony or circumstance, and it’s only afterwards that one might realize how much of the chaos, noise, chaos — or was it noise, chaos, noise? — was by design.

Grimoire has Bored out on tape May 26, limited to 100 copies, recorded, mixed and mastered by Noel Mueller. Full stream follows for the daring. Enjoy:

Alone Time is Adam, Spencer, Jess, Ted and Austyn.

“Bored” was recorded on 3/07/2015 at Hour Haus by Noel Mueller of Grimoire Records. Mixed and mastered by Noel Mueller/Grimoire Records. Cover art by William Chapman. © 2015 Grimoire Records.

Amazing audio quality from the masters of tape, at National Audio Company. B/W 2-sided j-card, white shells with black imprint, shrink wrapped with love. Edition of 100.

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Sideburn Premiere “Sea of Sins” from Evil or Divine

Posted in audiObelisk on May 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


The line that Stockholm four-piece Sideburn seem so easily content to cross between heavy rock and roll and classic heavy metal on their upcoming fifth full-length, Evil or Divine, might seem strange to American ears, coming from a place where the lines between the two are more drawn in thick, seemingly permanent marker, but the Swedish outfit are part of a long history of stylistic melding that goes back about as far as when the other sprang from the one in the first place. If that’s confusing, think about countrymen acts like Grand Magus or The Awesome Machine and the context might become clearer. Sideburn, who formed in 1997, are contemporaries of these bands, and their latest outing seamlessly pulls together epic grandiosity and heavy grooves, bolstered by strong traditional songwriting and fistpump-ready righteousness.

Evil or Divine see will North American release June 9 via Metalville Records, and it’s the foursome’s first outing for the label and first with Dimitri Keiski on vocals and guitar alongside guitarist Morgan Zocek, bassist Martin Karlsson (also Mangrove) and drummer Fredrik Haake, whose commanding forwardness makes longer pieces like “Thesideburn evil or divine Day the Sun Died” and linear-building closer “Presence” all the more engaging. Keiski is a powerful frontman in the Dioist vein, and from the start of opener “Masters and Slaves,” he takes the reins of Evil or Divine and steers the band across flowing movements touching on doom, heavy rock and metal — as much Rainbow as Sabbath, as “Sea of Sins” demonstrates, the “Gates of Babylon” looming large in the distance — finding a niche between and among them while keeping a natural atmosphere as the brooding “When Darkness Calls” and “The Seer (Angel of Death)” play out.

“Sea of Sins” stands as one of the record’s most fervent rockers, a stomping kick drum and winding riff opening into a progression somewhere between shuffle and headbang that seems to capture the vibrancy of both, and gets a late-album complement in “Evil Ways” before the acoustic guitar that starts “Presence” kicks in to set the stage for that drama to unfold. It’s my pleasure today to host the premiere of “Sea of Sins” ahead of the album’s release. You can find the track on the YouTube embed below — if you’re wondering where the Soundcloud is, that site’s weirdo copyright policy will be its undoing as the industry standard for hosting — followed by the PR wire info on the album.


Sideburn, “Sea of Sins”

Stockholm’s own SIDEBURN, featuring Dimitri Keiski (vocals, guitar), Morgan Zocek (guitar), Martin Karlsson (bass, organ), and Fredrik Haake (drums), will release their fifth full-length album titled Evil Or Divine in North America June 9 via Metalville Records.

Mixed/Produced by Jonas Edler with Morgan Zocek and SIDEBURN at B.A.S. Studio and mastered by Mats “Limpan” Lindfors (Meshuggah, Katatonia, Opeth) at Cutting Room studios in Stockholm, with a sound that as much is rooted in the past as it is heading for the future, fans can expect more of what they’ve come to know and enjoy from the band – heavy guitar attacks blended with intense solos backed by a steady rhythm section.

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Stonebirds Premiere “Burned Flesh” from Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air

Posted in audiObelisk on May 13th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


Emanating sonic largesse from their home in the west of France, three-piece outfit Stonebirds will make their full-length debut on Pink Tank Records in July with Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air, a five-song/34-minute long-player whose bent almost immediately and throughout its entire course is toward carrying across material with as big a sound as possible. Riffs are huge, vocals shout up from way back in the mix, the bass pushes air underneath a dense wall of fuzz, and the drums crash with gotta-hear-it echo for a maximum sense of space, giving the entire work an added layer of atmospheric intensity to go along with its complex turns and ever-widening sonic breadth. If you had to put a genre to it (and you don’t), you might call it post-stoner for its pervasive ambience, adventurous flourish and open-feeling structures, but what Stonebirds do is still very much rooted in following the riff. It’s just where that riff takes them that makes all the difference.

The album opens with “After the Sin,” the longest song at 8:44 (immediate points) and a track that summarizes a lot of what the entirety of Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air will offer, its rhythmic thrust of considerable force from the moment Antoine‘s drums kick in with Fañch‘s guitar and Sylvain‘s bass, which will soon enough lead the swaying “Angst Lover.” Their builds seem to bleed into each other, but the atmosphere is hypnotic right away as “After the Sin” moves into its progressive-feeling midsection, a slide or ebow lead arriving after five minutes in and somehow presaging a return to the earlier chorus. When it hits, “Angst Lover” is moodier but winds up no less forward-thinking, an airy first half giving way to wah swing, chugging and crushing shouts later on while still holding onto an eerie melodic sensibility that “Into the Fog” develops further in a more laid back setting of squibbly guitars, fuzz bass and ride-cymbal wash. stonebirds into the fog... and the filthy airThe tension comes to a head accompanied by what sounds an awful lot like a theremin and seems to expand outward until it starts to decay, leaving just the drums to hold the progression together until some surprise acapella at the end provides a transition into “Burned Flesh.”

If it’s not clear by now, momentum is a central factor working in Stonebirds‘ favor. Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air is a quick listen, but one of marked sonic depth. A headphone record not for its psychedelic aspects, though I guess it has those if you want to darken your colorful impression of the word, but for the way their audio seems so three-dimensional, it moves through with little time for reflection, and that seems to suit Stonebirds‘ purposes well as they push into “Burned Flesh” from “Into the Fog” and hit on a mid-paced roll with vocal interplay from Fañch and Sylvain that offers probably the nearest step toward post-metal that the band takes amid a deceptively catchy hook. “Burned Flesh” is the shortest song on the album at 5:36, but even with the relatively brief runtime, Stonebirds leave an atmospheric impression in a bridge topped by repetitive builds that pays off in a wash of guitar and a fading final rumble that sets up the quiet introductory stretch of “Perpetual Wasteland,” almost Deftones-esque for its brooding and malevolent melodicism, but holding firm to the underlying tension as it crashes toward Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air‘s last stomp, an epilogue of melodic wash and drum thud finishing cold to end the album.

It’s an impressive debut for what Stonebirds accomplish across its span and the lack of pretense with which they do it, and today I have the pleasure of hosting “Burned Flesh” for streaming ahead of the July 14 Pink Tank vinyl release of Into the Fog… and the Filthy Air. Please find it on the player below, followed by info on the LP release courtesy of the label, and enjoy:

STONEBIRDS trio emerged in 2008 from the desolated landscapes of central Brittany (France) from which they draw inspiration to write crushing and misty songs. After the self-release of a demo CD, a split album with Stangala and a digital Ep, STONEBIRDS is now fully matured and release the “Into the fog… and the filthy air” Lp through Pink Tank Records (Ger). A psychedelic and massive disc recorded in a full-analog studio which wraps the songs in a vintage and raw sound. On stage, STONEBIRDS crushes the audience like a dark fog hammer and riffs to break the spine!


– 500 copies total
– 75 copies red/black marbled incl. poster & download code (exclusive Pink Tank edition)
– 25 copies red/black marbled standard edition (wholesale)
– 100 deep grey marbled incl. poster & download code (exclusive band edition)
– 300 copies standard black


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Closet Disco Queen Premiere “Hey Sunshine!” from Self-Titled Debut

Posted in audiObelisk on May 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

closet disco queen

The key is movement, except of course when it isn’t. It’s kind of hard to explain, but that seems to be the idea behind the upcoming self-titled debut LP from Closet Disco Queen, the newly arrived duo of guitarist Jona Nido and drummer Luc Hess, the latter also of Red Kunz and formerly the Ocean Collective. From Fatso Jetson-style jazzy spaciousness in “Hey Sunshine!” to the grand post-rock heft of “Black Saber,” they seem bent on sharp turns, on-a-dime twists and in songs like “Catch You on the Flip Side,” go, go, go. Even a droner like “What’s Your 20?” seems to want you to hurry up and wait, a tension underlying that finds its release in the nod-ready angular riffing of “Caposhi,” which follows and leads the way into the aforementioned “Catch You on the Flip Side,” the first of two extended cuts positioned to close their respective vinyl halves.

And one can tell from the moniker under which Nido and Hess operate, their song titles and the ain’t-nuthin’-but-a-party vibe they put out that it’s all supposed to be taken very lightly, like the two just got together and tossed this stuff in a pot to see how it boiled down. It’s a classic misdirect. Closet Disco Queen are waving party rock in your face and meanwhile, up their other sleeve is a textured progressive rollout, so that “What’s Your 20?” or side B’s more contemplative “IYD (In Your Dreams)” and 12-minute closer “Black closet disco queen closet disco queenSaber” push into ambience rare for a duo but engaging through layers of keys, drone wash and of course a feverish bout of distortion. Granted, that turn comes after “The Shag Wag,” which seems to be the name of the central riff as much as the song itself and is missing only a Chubby Checker-type hook to turn it into the dance craze of some alternate dimension, but that’s just the misdirection at work. Nido and Hess are offering a richer experience than they let on, and while it’s got plenty of boogie to match the stated intent, there’s a hidden door behind which one finds a whole other kind of party.

In the end, that only makes the album a more fascinating listen, because since the whole idea of the band is Closet Disco Queen, which as they put it is telling the story of a good girl who’s secretly bad, they’re essentially masking their own purposes in the same way. Granted, Closet Progressive Heavy Rock Duo would be nowhere near as catchy a name, but with the flow they enact between their self-titled’s seven tracks and the range they show in the process, it would fit all the same. Yeah, it’s a good time, but if you just take it as fluff, you’re missing out on the solid foundation beneath.

Closet Disco Queen will release Closet Disco Queen on June 12 through Hummus RecordsDivision Records and This Charming Man Records, with the promise of a European tour to come. Today I have the pleasure of hosting “Hey Sunshine!” for streaming, and you’ll find it on the player below, followed by more info on the album, and a special drum cam video of Hess during the recording. Please enjoy:

CLOSET DISCO QUEEN announces the release of their self-titled debut album due to be released on June 12th

via Hummus Records, Division Records, and This Charming Man Records

Jona Nido and Luc Hess (Coilguns, KUNZ, The Ocean, The Fawn, Schwarz, etc.) have a new hot friend. She came out of her auntie’s closet and will ruin your teenage disco. The loudest cheerleader you’ve ever seen – barely dressed and roughly combed, queue jumping everyone at the entrance of the club. Here she comes, out of nowhere and without warning, carried around by two of the sexiest bodyguards – like she always belonged. Fact is that girl can dance. She dares. She rocks. Odd and weird, charming enough to turn any of her nights into a freak show. We all knew these two guys were party animals, but this band will bring them to a whole new level of frenzy. That CLOSET DISCO QUEEN delivers 70’s instrumental psycheledic kraut rock’n’roll progressive beats for your ass to shake and your shoes to burn. Huuuh, you nasty girl.

Guitar players are sissies and Jona Nido is a dancing queen. A fairly secret one though, who hides his riffs like we all do with W’s in our granny scrabble bag. “Nah, this can’t be a serious tune. Nah, I have a hyperactive record label to run almost by myself. Nah, I already have three awesome bands to tour with. Nah, I would really need to be too drunk to play it live. Nah. Pink leggings would shrink my lovely booty ass.” Any reason was good to keep all of this six strings epicness in its closet. But then came Luc Hess, the undestructible rock beats and vodka shots machine, and he said : dude, we need a trick to party more. This trick, don’t call it a band, became CLOSET DISCO QUEEN and by the way all of their sounds are excellent, truely experimental and one-of-a-kind classics. Also, if proof was needed, Jona Nido is the freakiest guitar player in town

The band will also embark on a European tour from June 19th to July 6th. Full list of shows to be announced soon.

01 Hey Sunshine!
02 What’s Your 20?
03 Caposhi
04 Catch You On The Flip Side
05 The Shag Wag
06 IYD (In Your Dreams)
07 Black Saber

Engineered by Boris Gerber and Raphaël Bovey
Recorded live at Bikini Test, La Chaux-de-Fonds, CH by Jona Nido and Luc Hess
Mixed by Raphale Bovey at MyRoom Studio, Lausanne, CH
Mastered by Magnus Lindberg at Magnus Lindberg Productions, Stockholm, SWE
Artwork by David Haldimann (
Photographs by Stan Of Persia (
Videos by Camille de Pietro

Closet Disco Queen, “Hey Sunshine!” Drum Cam

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Insect Ark Premiere “The Collector” from Portal/Well

Posted in audiObelisk on May 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

insect ark

Insect Ark‘s debut album, Portal/Well, is the kind of record that, when it’s over, makes you notice sounds around you that you might otherwise have missed. Birds somewhere across a yard. A car driving past. People talking in the distance. Running water. The nuance that drives Portal/Well — out June 8 on Autumnsongs Records — seems to bleed into the real world, the atmospheres and foreboding rumble captured by bassist/programmer/lap steel guitarist Dana Schechter (ex-Angels of Light, Bee and Flower) playing out in ethereal drones, volume swells and an at times crushing ambience.

Whether it’s a steady roller like the opening title-track, which seems to cast out guitar chords and feedback hum over a kind of slower-Godflesh beat, or the cinematic soundscaping of the later “Parallel Twin” and its minimalist counterpart, the closer “Low Moon,” Portal/Well retains a central focus on ambience. Since its recording, Schechter has brought West Coast-based drummer Ashley Spungin (Taurus) into the lineup, making what was once a solo-project into a duo, but the album carries across its solitary insect-ark-portal-wellspirit in a lonely undercurrent of malevolence, as though something is just around the next corner of “Octavia,” or the horror-style synth work of “The Collector,” waiting to be bumped into in the dark. “The Collector” also arguably boasts Portal/Well‘s most fervent crash, setting up the droning spaciousness of “Lowlands” and “Octavia”‘s encompassing, doomed push.

An entirely instrumental 42 minutes, there’s plenty of Insect Ark‘s dense ambience to get lost in, but even though she’s working here by herself, Schechter dynamically plays minimal spaces off sonic fullness and heft, and the result across Portal/Well‘s span is an album that’s tense at times but never fails to bring the listener along its periodically grueling path. The fluidity with which Schechter constructs layers one on top of the other and the natural ease with which the mix presents them allow even more for someone taking it on to be consumed by its diverse approach and consistent and pervasive gloom.

I’m thrilled today to host the churning “The Collector” for streaming ahead of the June 8 album release. More background on the record follows the song, which you can find on the player below and which I hope you enjoy:

Insect Ark’s debut full-length album, Portal/Well is the result of one years’ work in composer/multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter’s Brooklyn studio. Exploring themes of corruption of the natural world and facing oblivion, Portal/Well continues the wordless existential narratives already established on 2013’s Long Arms EP and 2012’s “Collapsar” 7″ single. Autumnsongs Records will Portal/Well, on CD on June 8, 2015.

Portal/Well finds its voice in the sound of elements burning and crushing into each other: in the haunting groans and swells of the lap steel guitar, the stalking bass, the insistent drum programming, and the deep oscillations of synthesizers. From this morass songs are born, deeply melodic, dense, austere, and wildly unhinged. Creating a personal soundtrack to the underbelly of the human psyche, Insect Ark weaves a brooding, textural landscape–a starless night spiked with light and flash. The music braids together delay-drenched lap steel, programmed and real drums, distorted bass, and synths to create a sonic mural both uncomfortably intimate and icy cold. To say that Portal/Well is a dark album would be a grave understatement – Insect Ark is often called “Experimental/Doom” – but there are moments infused with bright shards of light and respite to breathe clear air, before submerging the listener once again into a deep cavern of lustrous shadow.

Over the course of a year, Schechter wrote and recorded all these tracks alone, at all hours of the day and night. The album was built with careful attention to immaculate detail, but also takes chances, pushing beyond personal barriers. Without the external influence of collaborators, it is the product of a journey into composition and sonic exploration using a small but dynamic palette of instruments and a singular compositional voice.

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Mos Generator Premiere “As Above So Below” from Split LP with Stubb

Posted in audiObelisk on May 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


If time has proven aything at all, it’s that Tony Reed likes to keep busy. With his band Mos Generator having already released the live album In Concert: 2007-2014 (track stream here) on Listenable Records and just last week confirmed a new 7″ through Stickman Records to coincide with their upcoming European tour with Elder, Reed and bassist Sean Booth next join forces with HeviSike Records, who will issue a split LP called The Theory of Light and Matter that boasts three new tracks from Mos Generator and three from UK trio Stubb, whose albums Reed has mixed and mastered in the past.

That level of output shouldn’t really be news to anyone who’s followed Reed‘s work for just about any length of time at all, but the difference is now Mos Generator is ready to take the show on the road. They’ll tour the East Coast for the second time this year early next month, and then they take off for the aforementioned European jaunt, and that’s another full month gone mobile. Not only that, but with Reed working in his own studio and putting together material at an ever-more prolific clip, there’s no sign whatsoever that this swath of mos-generator-stubb-the-theory-of-light-and-matter-harley-and-jproductivity is anything but the beginning, which of course is just fine so long as you’re into things like choice riffs and quality songwriting. The split with Stubb includes “As Above So Below,” “Catspaw” and “There’s No Return from Nowhere,” and will be released by HeviSike in an edition of 400 copies with artwork by Harley & J.

Launching the release with a chunky riff topped with a near-immediate verse from Reed, who also drums on the split — oh yeah, did I mention that in addition to putting all this stuff together in the last year, the band has also completely revamped its lineup? — one finds many of the recognizable elements of Mos Gen‘s approach intact. The track is heavy but clearheaded, and builds on some of the melodic progression the band showed on their last full-length, 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty (review here), but still remains essentially true to their classic form, a spacious break in the middle setting up a finish that is, like the song itself, quintessentially their own. As the first cut of the included six, it’s a memorable start to side A, and quickly affirms that The Theory of Light and Matter offers plenty of both.

I’m thrilled today to host the premiere of “As Above So Below,” which you can find on the player here, followed by info from HeviSike on the release and Mos Generator‘s upcoming tour dates, starting with their East Coast run in June. Please enjoy:

MOS GENERATOR // STUBB – The Theory of Light & Matter (LP) HVSK-1207

Two of the most exciting power trios combine forces to deliver a split album on HeviSike Records. Washington, USA stoner rock titans MOS GENERATOR explore a more progressive territory akin to their 2005 album ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’. London, England three-piece STUBB who are well known for their high-energy blues-rock demonstrate their more experimental side.

MOS GENERATOR have built a dedicated following through a heavy touring schedule and releasing consistently top quality music. The band’s 2015 schedule includes tours of both West Coast and East Coast, USA before visiting Europe on a 33 date European summer tour in support of ELDER. 2014 saw the Port Orchard trio release their opus ‘Electric Mountain Majesty’ (Listenable Records).

STUBB are familiar to the European touring circuit having made numerous appearances at events such as Freak Valley and Desertfest and have shared a stage alongside heavyweight contemporaries such as Earthless, Gentlemans Pistols, Sungrazer and The Machine. The London trio recently released their second LP ‘Cry of The Ocean’ (2014, Ripple Music) to critical acclaim.

Available as a strictly limited edition vinyl LP and digital download, THE THEORY OF LIGHT & MATTER is an essential purchase for fans of heavy psychedelic rock. Mastered specifically for vinyl. Cover art by Harley & J. 150 copies Red/Black Marbled (HeviSike Exclusive), 250 White (Band and Distribution)

with Wounded Giant
6/5/15 Millcreek Tavern- Philadelphia, PA w/ Wasted Theory, Righteous Bloom
6/6/15 Sidebar Tavern- Baltimore, MD w/ Wasted Theory, Borracho, Foghound, Mountainwolf
6/7/15 The Pinch- Washington, DC w/ Wasted Theory, Borracho
6/9/15 Three Sheets – New Haven, CT w/ Bedroom Rehab Corporation
6/10/15 TT The Bear’s Place- Cambridge, MA w/ Elder, Worshipper
6/11/15 Dover Brickhouse – Dover, NH w/ Gozu, Iron Chin
6/12/15 Empire- Portland, ME w/ Murcielago
6/13/15 Amityville Music hall- Long Island, NY “Eye of the Stoned Goat 5 Festival” w/ Weed is Weed, Gozu, Brimstone Coven, Doctor Smoke, Curse The Son, Ol’ Time Moonshine, John Wilkes Booth

ELDER / MOS GENERATOR – Live in Europe 2015
20.06.2015 F – Clisson, Hellfest 2015, (only ELDER)
22.06.2015 ESP – Madrid, Wurlitzer Ballroom
23.06.2015 ESP – Barcelona, Riff Ritual Fest Sala Boveda
25.06.2015 CH – Luzern, Sedel
26.06.2015 GER – Kloster Weil, JH
27.06.2015 GER – Siegen, Vortex
29.06.2015 UK – Cardiff, Moon Club
01.07.2015 UK – Edinburgh, Bannermans
02.07.2015 UK – London, Garage,
03.07.2015 UK – Bristol, The Louisiana
05.07.2015 B – Leuven, Sojo
08.07.2015 GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang
10.07.2015 GER – Erfurt, Stoned From The Underground Festival 2015
11.07.2015 A – Nikolsdorf, Stick & Stone Festival 2015
12.07.2015 HUN – Budapest, Dürer Kert
13.07.2015 A – Vienna, Arena
15.07.2015 ROM – Bucarest, Fabrica Club
16.07.2015 I – Milano, Lo fi Club
17.07.2015 I – Prato, No Cage
20.07.2015 F – Paris, Glazart
21.07.2015 F – Nantes, Club tba
23.07.2015 A – Salzburg, Rockhouse
24.07.2015 GER – Beelen, Krach Am Bach Festival 2015
25.07.2015 GER – Dresden. Chemiefabrik
26.07.2015 GER – Nürnberg, Zentralcafe
27.07.2015 GER – Munich, Backstage, Free & Easy Festival
29.07.2015 GER – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
31.07.2015 B – Waarshoot, Roadkill Festival 2015
01.08.2015 GER – Bielefeld, Forum, Stickman Records showcase
02.08.2015 GR – Drama, Fuzztastic Planet Fest 2015, (only ELDER)
04.08.2015 NOR – Oslo, Pokalen
05.08.2015 DK – Copenhagen, Pumpehuset
06.08.2015 GER – Berlin, Cassiopeia
08.08.2015 A – Nepomukteich Waldhausen, Lake on Fire Festival 2015

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Stream & Download Mondo Drag’s “Plumajilla” from Self-Titled LP

Posted in audiObelisk on May 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

mondo drag

Though the album from which it stems is rife with organically captured progressive wash, “Plumajilla” is a singularly resonant stretch on Mondo Drag‘s self-titled sophomore full-length. Based at the time it was recorded in Iowa and currently in Oakland, California, the trio recorded Mondo Drag (review here) in 2012 as the one-time-only lineup of vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino, guitarists Nolan Girard and Jake Sheley, bassist Zack Anderson and drummer Cory Berry, shortly after the latter two moved home to the Midwest following their departure from Radio Moscow. They’d leave soon for Europe to launch Blues Pills and GaminoGirard and Sheley would make for the coast, where they’d hook up with bassist Andrew O’Neil and drummer Ventura Garcia in the current incarnation of the band, but the recordings for the self-titled remained, and RidingEasy Records has stepped in to release the album on CD and vinyl on May 12.

Which brings us to “Plumajilla.” The centerpiece of the seven-song outing, it gets underway with a straightforward enough organ-laced swing, but soon shifts into psychedelic guitar layering and begins to build to a head as it moves toward the midsection. Now pay attention, because the three-minute mark is where it all turns. Keys take centerstage and set the foundation for a gorgeously melodic progression that, almost in a mirror of the beginning mondo drag mondo dragof the song, start a build of their own, gradually incorporating guitar, bass and drums along a subtle but immersive course. Again, Mondo Drag‘s Mondo Drag isn’t short on krautrock-minded exploration, but “Plumajilla” is one of those songs that lets you know just how special a record actually is. And I won’t take anything away from the swagger of the opening section either just because the second half is so glorious. Later cuts like “Pillars of the Sky” and attitude-heavy closer “Snakeskin” have their own sense of classic heavy proggery, but the marriage of both sides in “Plumajilla” is one that simply begs to be experienced.

And like the record itself, it’s a there-and-gone moment. For Mondo Drag, the album represents a fleeting time in the band’s existence after their 2010 debut, New Rituals (review here), and before whatever they do next, but it’s given a landmark feel for the lineup it boasts and for the material itself. It will reportedly be the first of three Mondo Drag releases through RidingEasy — worth noting Kozmik Artifactz also had a European issue in January — and I’d be hard pressed to think of a better way for the band to kick off a series than with this as their first installment.

Dig into “Plumajilla” below with volume aplenty and an open mind. PR wire info follows:

Mondo Drag recently signed to L.A. label RidingEasy Records to release the band’s sophomore album, a culmination of many journeys: sonic, physical and temporal.

The creatures known as Mondo Drag originally hailed from deep along the banks of the wild Mississippi River where they created ominous, spiritual, savage psychedelic revival sounds. Under the spiritual guidance of the forefathers of heavy psych, prog, and proto-metal, Mondo Drag has created an amalgamation of sounds the likes of which have not been heard for decades. The band’s unique sound, and rare cohesion probably stems from the fact that core members John Gamino (keyboards, vocals), Nolan Girard, (guitar, synth) and Jake Sheley (guitar) grew up together and have been playing music with each other for 15 years.

Their debut, New Rituals was released by Alive Records in 2010 and for the next fourteen months the band hit the road hard, headlining a half a dozen tours in the US and appearing at numerous psych fests along the way. In the Winter of 2011-2012, the band returned to the studio with new rhythm section, Zack Anderson and Cory Berry, also intermittently involved with popular Swedish band Blues Pills. Shortly after the album’s completion, the pair left to pursue Blues Pills, which was taking off in Europe. Mondo Drag soon replaced them with current drummer Ventura Garcia and bassist Andrew O’Neil upon relocating to Oakland.

Now settled in Oakland, CA the ensemble continues to create cosmically proportioned, churning jams evocative of a rainbow of inspirations such as Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Can, Atomic Rooster, Hawkwind, Budgie, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Italian prog, Krautrock in general, and heavy space-outs.

Mondo Drag will be available on LP, CD and download via RidingEasy Records on May 12th, 2015.

05/21 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall w/ Mammatus

Mondo Drag on Thee Facebooks

Mondo Drag on Bandcamp

Mondo Drag on Twitter

Mondo Drag at RidingEasy Records

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Seremonia Premiere “Vapauden polku” from New Album Kristalliarkki

Posted in audiObelisk on May 1st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster


The Finnish title of opener “Vihkimys” on Seremonia‘s third album, Kristalliarkki (review here) — due out May 8 on Svart Records — translates to “initiation,” and for anyone who hasn’t yet gotten on board with the five-piece’s blend of classic garage, buzztone cult rock and psychedelic weirdness, no doubt its chanting incantations will be just that. The follow-up to 2013’s Ihminen and 2012’s Seremonia debut (track stream here) is more fluid and comfortable in its boogie than the band have ever been, and that seems only to allow them to be even stranger in their conjurings, the album making odd turns as it moves (mostly) at a shuffling clip toward its sprawling title-track through cuts like “Musta liekki,” “Alpha ja Omega” and the wah-drenched “Lusiferin lapset,” the Finnish cadence of the lyrics as delivered by vocalist Noora Federley — joined in the band by guitarists Teemu Markkula and Ville Pirinen, bassist Ilkka Vekka and drummer Erno Taipale — only adding to the late-’60s-made-heavy psychedelic otherworldliness of the overarching vibe.

As they have on their past two full-lengths, Seremonia craft a proto-metal all their own, not retro in the sense of simply copying methods of songwriting and production, but taking those methods and creating an individual identity from the focus on natural tones, weighted grooves and eerie melodicism. More “forest power” than “flower power,” the five-piece add flourish of strange shooting sounds, Echoplex and fuzzy organ tones to “Vapauden polku,” which is the longest track on Kristalliarkki save for the 14-minute first part of the seremonia kristalliarkkitwo-part title-track finale (the second part of which, it’s worth noting, is 1:14), resulting in an almost animalian effect between the rolling verses. That scratching organ gets a solo in the second half where the guitars otherwise might stand on their own, and in the last minute, the track launches from a final verse into an airy final chorus that would seem to indicate their having found the “path to freedom” referenced in the title.

From there, Kristalliarkki launches some of its most insistent boogie in “Kuolema voitta” en route to the more lumbering, flute-laden groove of “Jokainen askel” and the aforementioned two-part closer, but we’ll pause at “Vapauden polku” for the time being since that’s the track I have pleasure today of hosting as a premiere ahead of the album’s arrival in a week’s time. The last couple years have made Seremonia something of a well-kept secret, and though there’s little doubt part of that is linguistic, I’ll say because I feel like it needs to be said that while I don’t speak Finnish — I wish I did, and not just so I’d be more likely to know what Seremonia were talking about — the atmosphere of Kristalliarkki, its warmth of tone and presence, its grooving push, its carefully executed flow, carry over despite any barrier language might present. There. It’s said.

I hope you take a listen to “Vapauden polku” on the player below, and I hope you enjoy:

Finnish heavy psych rockers Seremonia dive deeper than ever into the dark psychedelic abyss with their third album Kristalliarkki (The Crystal Ark). With lyrics (still all in their native tongue) revolving around the spiritual cult practices and teachings of a mysterious doomsday cult, the album also explores the cultist mindset musically.

The heavy riffing, the psychedelic solos, the out-of-control drum fills, the blood-chilling vocal delivery and the collective free rock freak-outs all go way beyond just playing good ol’ heavy rock. Seremonia is a band on a sacred mission, possessed by the black flame of rock’n’roll.

Kristalliarkki bears their trademark garage doom sound and catchy riffage, and adds an abundance of acid rock experimentalism, proto punk anger, sacred music bliss and even some cosmic jazz flawors in the 15-minute namepiece of the album. It’s a hard rocking hard rock record, but a wonderfully weird one. Even by Seremonia’s weirdo standards.

Noora Federley – vocals
Teemu Markkula – guitar
Ville Pirinen – guitar
Erno Taipale – drums, flute
Ilkka Vekka – bass

Seremonia on Thee Facebooks

Seremonia at Svart Records

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