Friday Full-Length: Earthride, Vampire Circus

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Earthride, Vampire Circus (2005)

Like any long-lived scene, Maryland doom has watched ’em come and go. Bands get together, bands fall apart, mix members, grow into something else, etc. Lifers in anything are fewer and farther between. About 30 seconds into watching Dave Sherman front Earthride and there’s no imagining he’s anything else.

Sherman has fronted Earthride for over 20 years. The band got their start while he was still playing bass in the original incarnation of Spirit Caravan and released their self-titled debut EP in 2000 that was a clarion to the converted. Even more than the deeply weighted grooves and tonal low end thick enough to feel it in your chest, Earthride‘s Earthride was marked by a pervasive grit that would become a hallmark of the band along with classic-style hooks and a self-awareness of their place within the sphere of American doom. Over time, that place would only become more their own as they signed to Southern Lord Recordings for the release of their 2002 full-length debut, Taming of the Demons and its 2005 follow-up, Vampire Circus.

Both albums are nothing short of essential stoner doom. Earthride offer such a specific vision of what heavy is and should be, and on Vampire Circus, sometimes that’s aggressive, as with “Understand” and all its talk of coffin nails, and sometimes it’s just about following the riff, as on the bouncing title-track or the leadoff cut “Fighting the Devils Inside You,” which would become a hallmark of the band’s approach and the start of an opening salvo that by the time it’s done winds up comprising the entire first half of the record through the organ-laced “Dirtnap” and up to the aptly-titled “Interlude,” although quite frankly it’s not like there’s any dip in quality as “God’s Own Medicine” layers screams into its chorus and finds drummer Eric Little thudding out on his toms through verses telling tales of addiction horrors and igniting a chase with Kyle van Steinburg‘s guitar and Rob Hampshire‘s bass. Or anywhere, for that matter. The laid back fuzzer “Loss” follows with a mellow opening of drift that holds for nearly a minute and a half of its near-six-minute stretch. It’s a departure from the more straightforward material before it, but the character of the song is consistent to be sure, and even when it gets heavy — which, yes, it most certainly does — “Loss” retains that semi-psychedelic mood enough that it’s no surprise when it dips down again after the initial hook. Blues. Psychedelic blues. The chugging riff that emerges is quintessential Earthride in its nod, and van Steinburg makes a highlight of the solo just before the four-minute mark.

“Loss” is also a departure in its finish in that it jams out. As loose as Earthride sometimes sound in their ultra-swinging, cauldron-stirring rhythms on Vampire Circus, the structures of their songs are generally pretty straightforward. Cuts like “Fighting the Devils Inside You” and “Understand” and even “God’s Own Medicine” take a relatively traditional approach to craft: verses, choruses, bridges, solos, and so on. Identifiable parts making up the pieces that when put together make for memorable tracks. The ideal scenario, and an essential facet of Earthride‘s sound in terms of a deceptive simplicity that unfolds its true depths on repeated listens. Where “Loss” leaves that behind is after the aforementioned solo, as it moves back through a heavy chorus and into a spontaneous-sounding ending that makes one realize just how tight everything up to that point has been. It won’t belong before the speedy and winding “For Wrath and Ruin” is offering the advice to “Rip your head off and smoke your brain,” but even the context in which song appears is changed because of the breadth that “Loss” adds to entire album. And again, it’s subtle. It’s not something immediate. But it’s crucial to the overall impression the record makes.

Likewise, as much as “Fighting the Devils Inside You,” “Understand,” “Vampire Circus” and “Dirtnap” marked out their place at the start of Vampire Circus, so too does “For Wrath and Ruin” begin an ending salvo that’s quicker than just about anything before it. A reference to Black Sabbath‘s “Heaven and Hell” in the penultimate “The World I Live” is continually appreciated, and though it’s not as motoring as “For Wrath and Ruin” before it — some residual Spirit Caravan stylization there, perhaps; one can hear it too in “God’s Own Medicine,” and fair enough given Sherman‘s contributions to that band — the mood is still more uptempo than on the earlier material or even “Loss” after which the shift into the higher gear is made. “Swamp Witch” finishes and brings back the organ from “Dirtnap” — played by Mick Shauer, then also of Clutch — and finds itself capping Vampire Circus locked once more into a classic heavy midtempo groove, more Mountain than Sabbath, but with obvious Deep Purple overtones thanks to Shauer‘s guest spot.

Earthride are in conversation there and throughout with Southern metal and heavy blues — an engineering job from Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity is never going to hurt in that regard — but the real success of Vampire Circus lies in taking what Earthride were feeling out through the Earthride EP and Taming of the Demons and telling their audience, “this is ours,” owning their sound and truly making it their own. The album ends its 10-track/43-minute run cold with a sweep of organ keys and a sudden cutoff of the riff, as if to mark out the inevitability of more to come. It’d be five years before Earthride would answer Vampire Circus with 2010’s Something Wicked (review here) on Doomentia Records, and though the years subsequent would be a tumult, with Sherman taking part in the reunion of Spirit Caravan, that band’s becoming a revived The Obsessed and an eventual split there that found him going back to Earthride to release last year’s Witch Gun single (discussed here) through Salt of the Earth Records, the extended time between full-length outings has found Earthride nonetheless increasing their profile among Maryland’s always prolific doom underground. As I type this, they’re wrapping a tour with The Skull that finds Sherman joined by a new lineup that includes When the Deadbolt Breaks‘ Aaron Lewis on bass, and they’ll be making an appearance at Maryland Doom Fest 2018 next week in Frederick, where no doubt they’ll be greeted with the respect and admiration they’ve long deserved and reaped by a scene that considers them one of its own. I can’t wait to see it.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Coffee’s good this morning. It’s a little past 4:20 in the morning now and I’ve been up for about two hours. Enough time to make my way through a first pot off the Chemex with my lighter roast that I call The Obelisk Heavy Psych Blend, because I fantasize about someday having my own coffee in a way more than just filling out bean proportions on a web form through Dean’s Beans. There were talks for a minute there, but nothing seems to have come of it to-date. Oh well. In any case, coffee’s good. I’m on the last cup and I’d grind more but don’t want to wake the baby and thereby also The Patient Mrs., thus making myself Dickweed of the Morning, which is a role I’ve played too many times already.

We’ve been down in Jersey all week, staying at a house in Parsippany that used to belong to my grandmother, who passed away last September. I grew up about two minutes up the road, at a house in a neighborhood called Glacier Hills on a street called Forum Ct. where my mother still lives with my sister, her husband and their two sons. They just got a new kitten. It showed up in their driveway and they named it Solo, because Han, and Star Wars.

Saw them a lot this week, and it was great to be with my family. I’ve missed out on a lot with my nephews living in Massachusetts and it’s a little sad to see, but I’m happy for the time I’ve had with them. It’s not over, necessarily. The Patient Mrs. and I will be back here, but the next two weeks are more running around. We’re back up to Connecticut later today, then to Massachusetts on Monday until probably Wednesday. Wednesday we’re back to Connecticut because we’re hitting the Yankee game on Thursday — day game; bringing the baby to his first baseball game; so stoked — and I’m picking up my new camera at B&H in Manhattan, then it’s back here for the night and on to Maryland on Friday morning in time for the start of the aforementioned Maryland Doom Fest, which will be the first test of that camera. Going to be a crazy, packed weekend, but my goal is to see all of it. A couple late nights ahead. None of that going-to-sleep-at-8:30 stuff I’ve been doing for the last however long. Kind of bit me in the ass last night (earlier tonight?), I guess. I’ve always liked some me time on the overnights though. Music and coffee and the clacky of the keyboard. Mark it a win.

No doubt by this afternoon I’ll be saying something else.

I miss New Jersey. This is my home. I speak the way people here speak. The food here tastes right. The trees look the way I see trees when I close my eyes. Not that I have money to hit them, but I know where the record stores are and the fastest way to get to each. I know where to buy the pesto that it’s worth the 25 minutes to drive to buy.

Anyway.

Before all the shenanigans next weekend — I won’t close out next week because I’ll be writing over those days — next week is packed full. Subject to change, of course, but here’s what’s in the notes:

Mon.: Lord review/track premiere; Captain Caravan video; announcement from Ripple Music.
Tue.: Pushy review/track premiere; Death Hawks video.
Wed.: War Cloud video premiere. Maybe a review of the new Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters or something else.
Thu.: Mountain of Smoke review/track premiere.
Fri.: Announcement from Cursed Tongue Records. Review of something or other.

I lost a lot of stuff for the Quarterly Review when my laptop was stolen in the UK, including my notes for what would be included. I’ve built some of that back up, but am still down on a bunch of things I know are just gone. There may be reviews I promised to people that won’t happen now. I don’t even know. In any case, I should be good to go on it by the start of next month, the week of July 4, I think. It’s in the planning stage now, and behind schedule, obviously.

Not gonna leave on that bummer note though, but rather relish the opportunity to get to know a whole new crop of albums, EPs, and so on. I also confirmed this week that I’ll be attending SonicBlast Moledo in Portugal in August. More on that to come, but obviously I’m very much looking forward to it.

Thanks for reading this week, and if you’re at Maryland Doom Fest next weekend, I’ll hope to see you there. Fingers crossed that new camera happens/works. I’d feel like a dope standing there taking photos on my phone all weekend. Ha.

Please have a great and safe weekend. Forum and radio.

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The Machine Post “Crack You” Video; Faceshift Preorders Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the machine

Based on what I read in the band’s announcement for their new video and first public audio from their sixth full-length, I’m going to guess that ‘Crack You’ doesn’t necessarily speak for the entirety of The Machine‘s Faceshift from whence it comes. Because they say it doesn’t, and six records in, one can generally trust a band to know the difference. The Netherlands-based three-piece are set to release Faceshift next month through new imprint Awe Records — they were formerly on Elektrohasch — and though “Crack You” features a warm, heavy/desert rock tonality, The Machine over the years have moved beyond their initial post-Colour Haze jammy beginnings and, while still retaining some of that in their sound, have pushed into a more noise-rocking direction. Certainly that was the case on their fifth LP, 2015’s Offblast! (review here), and 2012’s Calmer than You Are (review here) might be the root of that change, coming as it did just a year after 2011’s Drie (review here). Each of their records, from 2007’s debut Shadow of the Machine and 2009’s Solar Corona onward, has been a clear step in their growth. No doubt the same holds true of Faceshift as well.

And though one would hardly listen to Shadow of the Machine and guess where the band would wind up 11 years later, The Machine have yet to release an outing that doesn’t make sense to their progressive arc. That is, especially with songs like “Crack You” at their disposal, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist/engineer David Eering, bassist Hans van Heemst — since out of the band and replaced for shows by Sander Haagmans, formerly of Sungrazer, who out out a split with The Machine in 2013 (review here) — and drummer Davy Boogaard are able to tie their noisier proclivities to the naturalist psychedelia of their earlier days. Offblast! did so with tracks like “Coda Sun” and “Dry End” and the stretched-out “Chrysalis (J.A.M.).” And while in their album announcement they said it would be their noisiest and harshest offering yet, “Crack You” features an accessible groove and little of the punk-derived duderism that one might expect. Presumably, they get there later on.

Preorders for Faceshift are up now — right now — via Awe Records ahead of the July 13 release date. CD and limited vinyl. The video for “Crack You” features footage in the studio and out, some of it new, with Haagmans on bass, some of it older, with van Heemst, who appears on the record. I’ll hope to have more to come ahead of the release, but you can check out the “Crack You” clip below, followed by the band’s announcement of it and the preorder link courtesy of the social medias.

Dig it:

The Machine, “Crack You” official video

We present you Crack You, the first track of our sixth album Faceshift. The album will be released on July 13 on CD and LP (180gr black and limited transparent magenta). To warm you up we’re starting out with the most easy listening and catchy track on the album.

Pre sale just started, the store is open. Go to www.awe-records.com and visit the shop to make a reservation.

Faceshift will be available on CD and 180gr vinyl (black/transparent magenta).

Orders will be shipped out starting from Monday July 16.

First gigs will be at ‘t Keldertje (event The Machine & Walden & Junkfood Lunchbox) on July 13 (release day) and Stoned From The Underground 2018 on July 14.

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Dust Lovers Premiere “End Title: Film Noir” Video; Announce Name Change & Album Reissue

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dust lovers

Somehow, it seems appropriate that The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers would do some chopping. What the cinema-obsessed aggro heavy rocking Parisian four-piece have lobbed off, however, is a goodly portion of their moniker. On June 24, they’ll issue their 2017 album — their third — Film Noir, on vinyl through Besta Records, and presumably that will make the name change official: they’re just Dust Lovers now. Doesn’t matter if it comes from a Texas chainsaw or anywhere else.

Why the change? Why not? Plus, it seems like Dust Lovers — the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Clément Collot, guitarist Nagui Méhany, drummer Christophe Hogommat and bassist Étienne Collot — are looking to be taken a little more seriously, and the long moniker was a little goofy. In addition to the forthcoming LP of Film Noir, they’ll head out to play Hellfest in their home country later this month, so it’s easy to argue it’s already working, and with Ennio Morricone, Elvis, Kyuss and other influences in dust lovers film noirtheir material, there’s nothing to pull the listener out of the moment when listening. Dust Lovers is a pretty cool name. You can see why they’d want to roll with it.

And as for Film Noir, it originally came out last October and runs a pretty wide stylistic gamut while featuring a central plotline just the same. There’s the spiritual “Come by the River” and the ringing tones of and big hooks of “Let it Bleed” as well as the surf-gone-heavy party rock — finger snaps and all — of “Martyr with a Plan” ahead of the Queens of the Stone Age-style push in “California sur Marne,” but at the finale, Film Noir closes with its title-track, “End Title: Film Noir,” and takes a more brooding approach, grinning through a lounge-style subdued groove while holding a tension of something more fiendish beneath.

The video — copping stylistic influence from Tarantino, Italian horror, and, yes, classic film noir — for the song does likewise. Directed by Collot, it’s a murderous tale of maybe-revenge with deep-hued colors and enough faux blood to officially qualify as at least one bucket, if not multiple buckets. Looks like a good time was had during its making.

You can see the premiere of “End Title: Film Noir” below and once again, that Film Noir reissue is out June 24. Wait a minute! That’s the same day they’re at Hellfest! You’d almost swear these things were planned out ahead of time.

Take yourself to film school:

Dust Lovers, “Film Noir” official video premiere

Dust Lovers on “End Title: Film Noir”:

The song “End Title: Film Noir” was thought and crafted like a movie’s end credits. Like at the end of a flick, when the audience take their breath again, while digesting what they just saw. We did this video like we make a video, it was crafted like a short movie. As usual, our vocalist Clément Collot directed the whole thing alongside a proper video team for two days. (French director) Godard once said “to make a movie, you need a woman and a gun.” That’s what we did, taking our cue from giallo movies and Italian horror movies à la Dario Argento.

DUST LOVERS (new name!) – New video « Film Noir » taken off their third album « Film Noir » released Oct. 20th, 2017. The album is reissued on vinyl via Besta Records on June 24th. The band will be playing at Hellfest on the Valley Stage, Sunday 24th June.

FILM NOIR-
Directed by Clem Colt
Music by Dust Lovers
Recorded by Sylvain Biguet and Chris Hogommat
Mix by Chris Hogommat
Mastering by Brent Asbury
2018 / HUURG!! FILMS / BESTA RECORDS

Dust Lovers are:
Clément Collot – Guitar & Vocals
Nagui Méhany – Guitar & Harmonica
Christophe Hogommat – Drums
Étienne Collot – Bass

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Kal-El Celebrate Fifth Anniversary in New Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kal-el

Seems only fair that, as they marked five years of existence as a group earlier this Spring, Norway’s Kal-El should return to the place where it all began for a special show. The Stavenger outfit, who issued their third album, Astrodoomeda (review here), played their first gig in their hometown of Stavenger at a spot called The Martinique, and sure enough, they celebrated half a decade in the same spot, the four-piece of vocalist Captain Ulven, guitarist Roffe, bassist Liz and drummer Bjudas hitting into a special set that ran over an hour and seemed to really be an effort of love in the making. Captured by Blackie Davidson in its entirety, the video features Astrodoomeda cuts like “Atmosphere,” “Code of the Ancient and “Starlight Shade” among others like “7th Sun” and “Starmist” from 2015’s sophomore outing Echosphere,”Mothership” from that same year’s Cosmic Void EP, and “Fire Machine” from their 2013 debut LP, Pakal, covering its bases as regards their catalog and saving room at the end for a grand finale of three covers.

The first of those is Kyuss‘ “Green Machine,” which received a similar treatment on Astrodoomeda; more spaced out and slowed down than the original, stretching that signature riff’s punker edge into a distinct nod. Following that, Kal-El bring up Sindre Johnsen to play guitar alongside Roffe and dig into two Black Sabbath classics with “War Pigs” and “Hole in the Sky.” The latter was previously recorded and featured as a bonus track on Ecosphere, but I’m not sure they ever put out a version of “War Pigs.” Maybe on the first record. Either way, they’re obviously well familiar with one of doom and heavy rock’s formative staples, and Captain Ulven even goes so far to sing along to the riff near the end à la Ozzy on stage. Good fun the whole way around, and with as much time dedicated to their own material as there is leading up to the finish, one could hardly accuse Kal-El of shorting themselves in terms of focusing on their own songs.

Bottom line is it’s a special moment in the life of the band and they’re fortunate to have it recorded for posterity, nostalgia, or any other reason one might think of. Live album? Digital live album? Like I said, any reason they might think of. Kal-El aren’t necessarily due for a new record yet — Astrodoomeda will have been out for a year as of later this summer, and the band seem to have a pattern for odd-numbered years — but my understanding is they’ve started to put stuff together with an eye toward making a fourth full-length and no doubt something like stopping and taking even just a single evening to reflect on where they’ve been and what they’ve done as a band will play into what they do next, so that’s all the more reason to look forward to what’s coming next, but again, that’s a while off. For the moment, the Martinique show is available to check out for anyone who’d care to dig in, and you can find it below streaming in its entirety, followed by some comment from the band.

Please enjoy:

Kal-El, Live at The Martinique, May 19, 2018

Captain Ulven on Martinique show:

February 9th, 2013, was the date Kal-El played our first show after becoming a band. That happened just a few weeks before at Martinique Bar in Stavanger, Norway. We all came together after rehearsals and decided to give it our best and give the band a shot. So it was quite natural for us to have an intimate show for friends, fans and family. We have been doing tours all over the world, played all over the world, met our heroes, played with our heroes and been praised by our heroes met loads and loads of cool bands and guys, and all that in just five years. We have truly been blessed in a lot of ways, but still we can’t cracked the code on how to get the attention of the DesertFest guys so we could play on that festival (all of them!).

The show itself was amazing, even if extremely intimate and hot, we had a good crowd, friend on stage, friends offstage, loads of beer and only smiles and good times all the way to the promise land.

Kal-El are:
Cpt Ulven – Vocals
Roffe – Guitars
Liz – Bass
Bjudas – Drums

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Friday Full-Length: Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners (1997)

21 years ago, Roadrunner Records gathered together 15 bands on one compact disc, slapped a picture of an 18-wheeler truck in the desert on the front of it, and called it Burn One Up: Music for Stoners. It’s not easy to find a copy of it these days — I looked for a while before finally getting it in London in 2010 — but with bands like Queen of the Stone Age, Karma to Burn, Sleep, The Heads, Cathedral and Fu Manchu on board, it’s worth the search. Dig the full tracklisting:

1. Queens of the Stone Age, 18 A.D.
2. Karma to Burn, Ma Petit Mort
3. Fu Manchu, Asphalt Risin’
4. The Heads, GNU
5. Spiritual Beggars, Monster Astronauts
6. Floodgate, Feel You Burn
7. Slaprocket, Holy Mother Sunshine
8. Leadfoot, Soul Full of Lies
9. Celestial Season, Wallaroo
10. Cathedral, You Know
11. Acrimony, Bud Song
12. Blind Dog, Lose
13. Sleep, Aquarian
14. Hideous Sun Demons, Icarus Dream
15. Beaver, Green

It’s easy to argue that, as far as “stoner rock” goes, these are some of the bands who would most shape it. Yeah, Slaprocket never got an album out, but the New Jersey-based outfit divided into Solace and The Atomic Bitchwax, and both of them continue to make their mark to this day. Europe is represented through Dutch outfits Celestial Season, Hideous Sun Demons and Beaver, Sweden’s Spiritual Beggars and Blind Dog, and the UK shows off some of its best in The Heads, Cathedral and Acrimony. The aforementioned Slaprocket speak for the Northeast, while Floodgate hail from Louisiana, Karma to Burn from West Virginia and Leadfoot from North Carolina, so the Southeast is accounted for as well.

And of course we wouldn’t even be talking about the genre if it weren’t for California, which brings Fu Manchu, Sleep and an early incarnation of Josh Homme‘s then-new, on-the-rebound-from-Kyuss outfit, Queens of the Stone Age, which featured a frontman known only as “The Kid”. That’s a particular point of fascination unto itself, but with a first-album-era vocalized Karma to Burn as well and an off-album track from Cathedral, there’s plenty of fodder to make Burn One Up worth seeking for anyone who’d do so, but while the comp wouldn’t serve as a debut for Cathedral, or Celestial Season — who followed a similar path from doom to stoner rock and didn’t stick around long enough to make the turn back before reuniting in 2011 — or Acrimony or Sleep, etc., it’s still amazing to look at it and think of the legacy many of these bands cast. Shit, Sleep just put out their first record in 15 years and took over the world. Would instrumental heavy rock be where it is today without Karma to Burn? And Slaprocket through their already noted ties and Floodgate‘s vocalist, Kyle Thomas (also Exhorder) is currently fronting a little band called Troublem so you know, not exactly minor shakes there.

Blind Dog put out two records through MeteorCity before splitting up, closers Beaver would soon have a split out with openers Queens of the Stone Age via Man’s Ruin Records, and this would be the final appearance for Hideous Sun Demons, who released their only album, Twisted, in 1995. Spiritual Beggars gave an early look at their third album 1998’s Mantra III, with “Monster Astronauts,” while The Heads showcased how far out aural weedism could go with “GNU,” inarguably the trippiest cut on the release.

And The Heads are just one of the several bands who continue to make an impact. Fu Manchu. QOTSA. Karma to Burn. Sleep. Spiritual Beggars. One could argue the only dude missing here is Wino, and he would’ve been coming off The Obsessed and just getting going with Shine — later Spirit Caravan — so that could just as easily be a question of timing as anything else. Okay, maybe a bit of Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard would’ve been cool. You can’t have everything.

As with most compilations, the sound is somewhat disjointed, as the material was recorded by different players in different studios often enough in different countries, but Burn One Up gives an amazing summary of where the genre was in the wake of Kyuss‘ breakup and as it looked forward to developing in the 21st century into the multi-headed beast it is now. You can hear the crunching influence of grunge in Beaver, Floodgate and Slaprocket, but clearly these bands and the rest were on their own wavelength already, and whether new or old, whether they went on to lead the aesthetic or folded soon after — that reminds me, I need to break out those old Leadfoot discs — Burn One Up: Music for Stoners shows an admirable prescience in its picks and is a true piece of treasure for anyone who’d seek it out in its summary of what heavy rock and roll was at the time and what it would go on to be.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Went to bed last night around 8PM. I’d been up since one in the morning, so somehow it made sense, plus The Patient Mrs. was having trouble getting The Pecan to go to sleep and she had half a cocktail to finish, so it seemed only fair to tag in. I’d woken up early on account of said Pecan as well, his sort of nighttime mumblings varying between actual fuss, crying and a kind of sleepy coo, and decided to spend the extra hours organizing stuff on my new laptop, which I’ve dubbed The Silver Fox. Because it’s silver, you see. Yes, we’re all very clever over here.

Anyhoozle, kind of another rough night with the baby last night had me up at three. He was in the bed — something I swore up and down I wouldn’t let happen and then of course did — and had rolled toward me in such a way that I was against the wall pretty much pinned. By a kid who, at seven months, weighs about 18.5 pounds. Life does funny things to you. I woke up, enjoyed the snuggle-time for a bit, and then got up to work on the above post. Circa 5:30, The Patient Mrs. came out of the bedroom carrying the again-complaining baby — whose diaper I’d already changed at some point — and kind of at a loss for what to do. I went back to bed with both of them and sort of rocked him while standing up, a gentle bounce with his head on my shoulder and swayed back and forth until he was falling asleep, then got into bed while holding him basically the same way and he went out. We all caught a solid two hours of rest in that position and it’s early yet to call it (a little after 8 as I type this), but I think that might be the difference-maker on the day.

We’ll get in the car soon enough and head south from Connecticut, where we drove to yesterday for two magical hours of screaming-baby-in-the-car fun, to New Jersey, where once again we’re basically setting up shop for the summer. We’ll be back and forth between there and CT to hit the beach probably on weekends and/or various other times, and there’s still stuff that will need tending to in Massachusetts — The Patient Mrs.’ work commitments and the like — but it’ll be a lot of good family time over the summer with my people and her people and I’m looking forward to being in the New York area for probably the greatest amount of time in the half-decade since we moved away.

Around here, things will likely proceed as normal, if there is such a thing. Notes for next week look like this currently, but these things can and do change as you well know by now:

Mon: Demande a la Poussiere review/track premiere; Dust Lovers video premiere maybe.
Tue. Oresund Space collective review; Kal-El live video.
Wed. Orange Goblin review.
Thu.: Currently open. Maybe Astrosoniq review.
Fri.: King Heavy review/album stream.

Plus plenty of news and whatever else happens my way.

Ups and downs this week as ever, but I’m getting through. That’s the story from here.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading and stick around as there’s more good stuff to come. All the best. Forum and Radio.

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Just in Case You Thought You Heard All the New Sleep, There’s More New Sleep

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sleep

So in case you didn’t feel the universe caving in on itself at the time, it’s now been nearly two months since Sleep released The Sciences (review here), their first album in 15 years and first since getting back together to play shows starting in 2009. Dropped with mere hours of notice beforehand, it was an event that for many will define the soundscape of 2018, not just for the sheer existence of the record as something that was rumored for so long and finally realized, but for the quality of the material itself, songs like “Sonic Titan,” “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Giza Butler” providing all the march to the riff-filled land Sleep‘s generations-spanning audience could hope for while at last giving representation to the band as they are today, both in the lineup of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike and drummer Jason Roeder, and in terms of their actual sound.

About two weeks ago, Sleep offered something of another shocker — a new track called Leagues Beneath — through the ongoing Adult Swim Singles Program. A bit of symmetry there, since that’s how Sleep issued their first post-reunion studio recording in the 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), which was also a surprise when it came out, but 16 more new minutes of Sleep just the same. It doesn’t seem outlandish to imagine it was recorded during the same sessions as The Sciences — though I suppose Sleep could’ve gotten together at some point since the album was done and put it to tape; anything’s possible — and though its arrival might be seen as anticlimactic in comparison to the full-length LP, if you’re the type of person to complain about things like all that new music Sleep are putting out simply being too much to bear, you should probably sit down and take an honest look at your perspective on life. I’m just trying to help. I’m your friend out here.

Okay, so “Leagues Beneath” itself. 16:45 of hypnotic groove, pickled-liver tone and pointedly Iommic worship. Pretty much what you get on The Sciences, right down to the sense of PikeCisneros and Roeder playing together in a room riding the warbles from their speaker cabinets. It’s five minutes before Cisneros‘ vocals kick in, and when they do, it’s kind of a reminder that there are humans at work behind the proceedings at all, let alone a songwriting process. At 53 minutes, The Sciences is a pretty air-tight 2LP. It doesn’t overstay its welcome — would be a challenge — and at the same time, it offers a far-out glimpse at stonerized space as seen through the eyes of the band. “Leagues Beneath,” as its lumbering forward motion continues, is held together by its drums and seems to range even further. Including it would’ve pushed the album over 70 minutes long, and even Dopesmoker (discussed here) was only 63, so I get why they left it off. It has a flow of its own as it veers into pulled-string weirdness after 10 minutes in and swirls forward its multi-layered lead before hitting minute 12 and embarking from there on its drifting finish, and as much as the material on The Sciences is fluid one song into the next, “Leagues Beneath” stands on its own. In other words, it makes a fitting single.

When Sleep put out The Clarity, it was a little while before vinyl surfaced, so I have to wonder if they’ll do a physical pressing of Leagues Beneath at some point — this is me casting my vote for a live version of “Giza Butler” as a B-side unless there’s yet more unheard studio stuff sitting around; by the way, I don’t get a vote — but for now it’s available digitally through Adult Swim and streaming on the usual webular haunts, and I’ve included it for the purposes of instant gratification. I’m sure you’ve already heard it, but somehow I doubt a revisit is going to bring many complaints.

Dig:

Sleep, “Leagues Beneath”

Listen to a new song by metal behemoth Sleep, courtesy of Adult Swim Singles. Available now @ http://adultswim.com/singles.

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Thronehammer Post Teaser for Upcoming Split with Lord of Solitude

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

thronehammer

Good news for the doomed. No, you’re still doomed — as we all are — but guitarist Stuart “Bootsy” West, formerly of the woefully-under-reviewed-by-me-but-nonetheless-righteous Obelyskkh, has unveiled the first snippet of audio from his new project, Thronehammer. The song is called “Hammer, Stake and Cross,” and it comes from a split 10″ with New Zealand’s Lord of Solitude soon to be released by the ultra-trustworthy The Church Within Records.

Naturally, they don’t give a ton to go on — it’s a teaser! — but in the sampling of “Hammer, Stake and Cross,” the swaying riffs and massive tones West and bassist Tim Schmidt emit over top of a nodding groove. There’s a fist-raising sense of classic doom to the proceedings, to be sure, but something in “Hammer, Stake and Cross” seems to have a wider berth as well. Its echo gives a sense of something broader and almost psychedelic beneath. And since it was put to tape, West and Schmidt have filled out the complete lineup for the band, with vocalist Kat “Shevil” Gillham and drummer Olli “The Sludgist, so it seems like whatever they do next will invariably be a step forward from here.

Even so, how this recording of their basic formative moments will manifest in, you know, the whole song, I’ve no idea, let alone how it might factor into anything Thronehammer might have in store following their split with Lord of Solitude. Still, the release of their first public audio is an occasion worth marking, and as I hear more about what seems to be called Vampire Bites Vol. 1 in perhaps an ongoing series from The Church Within, I’ll surely keep you posted.

In the meantime, dig it:

Teaser for our first musical output. “Hammer, Stake and Cross” will appear on a 10″ split EP (w Lord of Solitude) via Church Within Records. take a bite. . .have a listen. . .taste the blood!!!

Caveman Ultradoom Feat. Members of Ex-Obelyskkh, Seamount, Naked Star, Blessed Realm (UK), Uncoffined (UK), Winds Of Genocide (UK), Grimwolv, Scythian Fall

Thronehammer is:
Kat Shevil Gillham – Vokills
Stuart Bootsy West – Guitars | Synth | Fx
Tim Schmidt – Bass
O))i “the Sludgist” – Drums

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Demon Lung Post “How the Gods Kill” Lyric Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

demon lung photo red flame photo

Tomorrow night, Las Vegas doomers Demon Lung will share the stage at Beauty Bar with The Atlas Moth and Mustard Gas and Roses. The Chicago post-metallers and the after-Isis project of guitarist Mike Gallagher are but the latest to hit the desert outpost with support from Demon Lung, who’ve made themselves regulars on bills alongside the likes of Saint VitusPentagram, Royal Thunder and Candlemass, among others and and appearances at Southwest Terror Fest in 2015 and at Psycho Las Vegas in 2016. Fronted by vocalist Shanda Fredrick, they’ve become a staple of Vegas’ heavy underground.

In February, the band oversaw a reissue of their 2012 debut EP, Pareidolia (review here), released on vinyl by M-Theory Audio. The limited platter features and original bonus track and three covers: one by Wounded Giant, with whom Demon Lung previously toured; one by Twisted Sister; and one by Danzig. It’s the latter for which they’ve newly posted a lyric video.

If that seems odd — a lyric video for a cover of one of the greatest metal songs of all time; surely if you’re still reading this, you already know the words, right? — just go with it. It’s basically a way for Demon Lung to feature the track from their reissue, and as you can hear making your way through, their version of the classic title-track from Danzig III: How the Gods Kill is well worth featuring. And by pleasant coincidence, it just so happens to be the record that Danzig will play in full at Psycho this August. I doubt Demon Lung knew that when they recorded the cover, but hey, sometimes serendipity happens, even in doom.

So as they’ve made it easy to dig into “How the Gods Kill” — just in case it isn’t already stuck in your head, which there’s about a 43 percent chance it is no matter what else is happening at any given moment — I’d suggest you do just that. If you can make it to the Beauty Bar gig tomorrow, tell them I said hi.

PR wire info follows the clip below.

Please enjoy:

Demon Lung, “How the Gods Kill” official lyric video

“Those early Danzig albums are obviously a major influence on us. ‘How the Gods Kill’ has a certain evilness to it that always set it apart, and we tried our best to do it justice,” explains drummer Jeremy Brenton. “We spent a lot of time recording the song because it means so much and we wanted to pay tribute respectfully. Hopefully everyone can hear the love that we put into it!”

“How The Gods Kill” appears on the recently-released expanded vinyl and digital reissues of DEMON LUNG’s 2012 debut EP, Pareidolia. Initially released as a four-track CD, Pareidolia now features an additional three songs on top of the Danzig cover – the original song “Pray For Rain,” which dates back to the original Pareidolia recording sessions, as well as covers of Wounded Giant’s “The Road To Middian” and Twisted Sister’s “Captain Howdy.”

The limited-edition vinyl edition (only 300 copies) of Pareidolia is available in green-and-black marbled wax and includes a color lyric sheet and a download card. It can be ordered at www.m-theoryaudio.com/store.

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