Friday Full-Length: Astra, The Weirding

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Astra, The Weirding (2009)

In hindsight, Astra were at least as much ahead of their time as they were behind it. I won’t speak for everyone, but I know that when in 2009 the San Diego heavy progressive-psychedelic rockers released their debut album, The Weirding (review here), on Rise Above Records, I didn’t really have the context for understanding where they were coming from. I saw the five-piece live that year at the one-time-only Planet Caravan festival in Asheville, North Carolina, and even then I feel like I didn’t properly appreciate the fluidity and the richness of what they were doing or the effect it would have on the then-nascent scene around them. But though few around them would come close to touching on the same kind of Mellotron-soaked artistry of extended pieces like “Beyond to Slight the Maze” and the earlier key-worship and Moog textures of “Silent Sleep,” Astra and The Weirding in particular would have a significant impact on the overall mindset of what we now think of as the West Coast psych boom, still very much in progress. If nothing else, the title of the album seems to have given the entire process of dudes picking up guitars and shredding with SoCal gnarl and abandon a name: What else would you call it if not a weirding of the wicked world?

When I hear The Weirding on my mental jukebox, as I still do from time to time these eight years after the fact, that line from the early-appearing 15-minute title-track remains a standout, in part because it’s catchy — and it is, despite the extended runtime — but also because of the willful sense of defiance in it. These are the freaks talking to the norms, and if you look at the Arik Roper cover art and listen to the eight tracks/78 minutes of The Weirding as a whole, it’s happening all across the record. What I called “pastoral” at the time I might call otherworldly today, but the work of Richard Vaughan (guitar, vocals, Mellotron, synth), Conor Riley (guitar, vocals, Mellotron, synth, piano and other keys), Brian Ellis (guitar and Moog), Stuart Sclater (bass) and David Hurley (drums, percussion and flute) hits like a dream either way, and as a debut, The Weirding is all the more of a stunner. The patience and sure hands that guide the currents of “The River Under,” or the sweet folkishness of “Broken Glass” — which is like a piece of buried treasure after the hypnotic 17-minute “Ouroboros” before it — land with such a resonant feeling of their own direction and confidence behind them, that it’s nearly impossible not to be swept up in it. Lush in its melodies and unremittingly graceful in the flow between its tracks, The Weirding remains a joyous update of classic progressive rock, reveling in joy at what King Crimson seemed to take almost too seriously in their formative work and thereby establishing Astra‘s own sonic persona as one bright and brimming with life despite being so thoughtful in its presentation.

That blend of concept and poise in execution has proven a precious rarity in the years since The Weirding arrived, and accordingly, it’s only become easier to appreciate what Astra brought to their first offering — which is to say nothing of the ultra-trustworthy getting-it on the part of Rise Above, who over the years have proven able time and again to meet bands’ visions on their own levels, whether it’s a group like this or Orange GoblinUncle Acid, earliest Witchcraft, and so on. The same imprint would stand behind the second Astra full-length, The Black Chord (review here), in 2012, and having played to support the debut in 2010, the group returned to the Netherlands for an appearance at the Roadburn festival in 2013 (review here), where they brought both records to the stage with due energy and molten kosmiche. Sadly, The Black Chord remains the final Astra album to-date. Ellis has continued to make contributions to the West Coast aesthetic through producing and the crafting of solo/side-projects on El Paraiso Records, and Vaughan has a graphic design company, but half a decade after their sophomore long-player, there’s been little sign of a third installment from the band either in the writing or recording stages. Never say never in rock and roll — that is, it could still very much happen — but to the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing currently in progress.

Still, one doesn’t need the promise of a new record to grasp the importance or immersiveness of The Weirding, which is fortunate, and whether you’re listening to it for the hundredth time or the first time, it’s very much the kind of album in which one can always find something new. I hope you do, anyhow, and I hope, as always, that you enjoy.

Thanks for reading and listening.

You’ll forgive me if I don’t really think of this week as being “over” in the true sense of the word, since for me it isn’t. Yeah, I’m gonna check out of Obelisk stuff for a day or so as much as I ever do — I don’t — but after being on the road since leaving Pawtucket, Rhode Island, last Friday following my last day at work, I’ve yet to return home to Massachusetts.

To recap: The Patient Mrs. and I headed on Friday from my work to York, Pennsylvania, for a wedding on Saturday. Sunday night and Monday we stayed with family in Sparks, Maryland. Tuesday we made the eight-hour trip to Statesville, North Carolina, to see my father. We stayed there through Wednesday, saw my aunt and uncle and cousins whom I hadn’t seen in at least 20 years, and then left Thursday morning — yesterday morning — to arrive back in MD as kind of a waypoint/crash-spot. Shortly, we’ll get back in the car and make a break north for New Jersey, where my mother and sister and her family are celebrating my grandmother’s 102nd birthday. Dinner with them tonight, then we stay with my other cousin nearby — still in North Jersey — before seeing friends tomorrow morning quickly, grabbing my mother (who will be staying with us for the next week) and heading back north at least as far as Connecticut, where I think we’ll probably stay until Sunday, if only because it’s less driving than heading directly back home to MA. What’s one more day away at this point?

It’s been a long trip already, I don’t mind saying. And it hasn’t all been pleasant, I also don’t mind saying. But The Patient Mrs. and I went to bed at around 9PM last night and I slept an extra hour this morning, getting up at 5:45AM instead of 4:45, and I had a mug of coffee for breakfast with cinnamon-flavored protein powder in it, and it’s been quiet as I had time to write about the Astra record above, so I can’t really argue with the moment’s setting. One has to steal minutes where one can sometimes. I feel like I’ve managed to do that somewhat effectively this morning. It’s just before 9AM now. We want to be on the road by 1PM.

The elephant in the room here is Maryland Doom Fest, which I’m missing this weekend. I wouldn’t be were it not for the legitimacy of the family occasion — Earthride are fucking great, but how many times does one of your relatives turn 102? — and perhaps even in my younger days I would’ve blown off the celebration in favor of the riffs. I don’t know if it’s a product of being an adult or what, but the can’t-miss factor seems to have shifted my priorities. That lineup is incredible, and if you’re going, I hope you have a great time, but yeah, from where I sit, my presence seems more crucial at the birthday. Getting old is strange.

Whether you’re in Frederick for that fest or not — you should be — I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Here’s what’s in the notes for next week, subject to change as usual:

Mon.: Sasquatch review; Robustfellow giveaway.
Tue.: Tuna de Tierra review/track premiere; Bones of Minerva video premiere.
Wed.: Shroud Eater review/track premiere; The Great Beyond video.
Thu.: Fat Dukes of Fuck video premiere; Six Dumb Questions with Stoned Jesus.
Fri.: Bible of the Devil/Leeches of Lore split review/stream; Atala video.

So that’s what I’ve got as of this moment. Week after (yes, the week of July 4) will be the Quarterly Review. Busy times as always. Once again, have a great couple days, whatever you’re up to. Thanks for reading, listening, watching, sharing, commenting, and so on, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Pyreship Premiere Video for “Die/Sect”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

pyreship

Houston four-piece Pyreship made their debut this Spring with The Liars Bend Low on Black Bow Records. It’s a release that brings together sludge tones and groove with post-metallic atmospheres, and as you can see in the video for “Die/Sect” from the album, the Texan outfit keep a mindful approach toward live presentation as well as crafting a moody impression. Starting off with a clip from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me — or at least one from the show that says the name of the movie; I haven’t watched the new episodes yet, so no spoilers please, as much as anything might ever possibly be explained — and featuring imagery of strafing bombs and other apocalyptic this-and-that as well as footage of the band on stage.

Here’s a fun fact: First time I watched the “Die/Sect” video, I was sitting on the couch with my lovely and loving wife, The Patient Mrs., and I pointed to a guy in the front of the stage and I said, “Hey, there I am.” I told her it was a little while ago, when I was still bearded, and you know what? She believed it was me. It’s not me. I don’t know who it is, but I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Pyreship live. They make a good case for doing so with this song and this video, but still. I haven’t gotten there. It was hilarious though, because, yeah. Dudes all look alike.

If you missed where it was mentioned above, The Liars Bend Low came out on Black Bow Records, which is the label helmed by Jon Davis, guitarist/vocalist of UK demolition experts Conan. Not a minor endorsement to have, and Pyreship recently shared the stage with Conan and Forming the Void as well as part of supporting the album, so all the more of a connection there. One can hear some influence in the roll of “Die/Sect,” which if you haven’t already skipped to it, follows immediately here.

I’ve also included the full stream of the record at the bottom of the post, because why the hell not.

Enjoy:

Pyreship, “Die/Sect” official video

Official music video for Die/Sect from Pyreship’s album “The Liars Bend Low”. Released 5/26/2017 on Black Bow Records.

You can find all the latest Pyreship news and links to our music and merch at https://pyreship.com/ check it out!

Pyreship is:
Sam -Guitar and screaming
Jason – Guitar and singing
George – Bass
Steve – Drums

Pyreship, The Liars Bend Low (2017)

Pyreship on Thee Facebooks

Pyreship on Twitter

Pyreship on Instagram

Pyreship website

Pyreship at Black Bow Records Bandcamp

Black Bow Records website

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Sons of Morpheus Premiere Live-in-Studio Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sons of morpheus

Swiss heavy rockers Sons of Morpheus are currently on a tour of the Iberian Peninsula, running through Portugal and Spain for the rest of this week as they support the March 2017 Deepdive Records issue of their second album, Nemesis. You might recall back in early 2015, the Basel-based trio did a video premiere here for a Snakehill Productions-filmed clip of three songs performed live in a single take (posted here). Well, as they hit the road for the new record, they’re back with a new three-song presentation, bringing one-take live versions of “Cage,” “Riding the Wave” and “Amanita Muscaria” from Studio Stübio in Lucerne and showing off what the last couple years have brought them in terms of forward growth.

That’s no small amount, as it happens. All three cuts come from Nemesis and between them, the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Manuel Bissig, bassist Lukas Kurmann and drummer Rudy Kink demonstrate pointed riff-led structures blended with a heavy psychedelic flow. To wit, the departure in the midsection of “Cage,” ironically enough, finds them more or less completely uncaged and free to explore the aural spaces around them. Likewise, “Riding the Wave” finds itself on either side of driving forward propulsion and blown-out spacey noise and “Amanita Muscaria” drifts into laid-back flow topped with spoken vocals before opening into a solo-topped roll that serves as a suitable closer here and provides a highlight on Nemesis as well. Each song tops six minutes and has a distinctive personality, but as you can see in the clip, Sons of Morpheus have no trouble tying it all together with fluidity in a live setting, even live-in-studio.

Sons of Morpheus were recently confirmed to take part in Up in Smoke 2017 (info here) this October in Pratteln, where they’ll perform alongside GraveyardOrange GoblinWindhandRadio Moscow and many more. That live date, the remaining shows for the current tour, and others can be found under the three-song video, which you’ll find below, followed by credits and other info as well.

Hope you enjoy:

Sons of Morpheus, “Cage,” “Riding the Wave” and “Amanita Muscaria” live at Studio Stübio

“One-Take” live recording by Switzerland based SONS OF MORPHEUS performing “Cage”, “Riding The Wave” and “Amanita Muscaria” live.

Recorded Feb. 2017 in Luzern, Switzerland @ Studio Stübio by Stübi. Video and editing by Snakehill Productions, Switzerland: snakehillproductions@gmx.ch.

All songs and lyrics written by Sons of Morpheus, SUISA. © & ? 2017 Sons of Morpheus & deepdive records. Published by deepdive publishing. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying, reproducing, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited.

Sons of Morpheus live:
Jun 21 Daba Daba Donostia, Spain
Jun 22 Forum Celticum Culleredo, Spain
Jun 23 Cave Avenida Viana Do Castelo, Portugal
Jun 24 Stairway Club Cascais, Portugal
Jun 25 El Zagal Aldeamayor De San Martín, Spain
Jul 15 L’Unique Foodtruck Basel, Switzerland
Oct 07 Z7 Konzertfabrik at Up in Smoke 2017 Pratteln, Switzerland
Oct 13 Schüxenhaus Ins, Switzerland

Sons of Morpheus are:
Manuel Bissig – Guitars and Vocals
Lukas Kurmann – Bass
Rudy Kink – Drums

Sons of Morpheus website

Sons of Morpheus on Thee Facebooks

Sons of Morpheus on Bandcamp

Snakehill Productions on YouTube

Snakehill Productions on Thee Facebooks

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Skraeckoedlan Sign to Fuzzorama Records; Premiere Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

skraeckoedlan

It’s rare you’ll find a band and a label as made for each other as Skraeckoedlan and Fuzzorama Records. Even putting aside the fact that since their Transubstans-released first album, 2011’s Äppelträdet (review here), the Norrköping-based outfit have had a strong influence from the methods of Truckfighters — who, if it needs to be said, are at the helm of Fuzzorama, and whose bassist/vocalist, Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, recorded that debut — with their ongoing commitment to progressive songcraft, richness of tone, crisp presentation and energetic live performance kind of makes this the match that one has been waiting for. It just makes sense all the way around. They’ve been a Fuzzorama band all along, one way or the other.

Their second album, 2015’s Sagor (review here), was released via Razzia Records, which is an imprint overseen by Anders Fridén, vocalist of In Flames. That record found their processes even weightier and more refined than one found on Äppelträdet, and set a high standard that an impending third full-length and Fuzzorama debut will seek to surpass. As part of celebrating their signing, the four-piece of vocalist/guitarist Robert Lamu, guitarist/vocalist Henrik Grüttner, bassist/backing vocalist Tim Ångström and drummer Martin Larsson have posted a new video filmed live at Studio Underjord in their hometown that very cleverly captures material both new and old. One track from Äppelträdet, one from Sagor, and a sneak peak of a new song from the third long-player, the title and release date for which remain to be announced at this time.

Underneath the clip, which premieres today and which you can see below, you’ll find the announcement from Fuzzorama welcoming the band to the label, as well as their upcoming live dates for the next few months. Kudos to Skraeckoedlan and to Fuzzorama on getting together, and here’s looking forward to what materializes when the album arrives.

Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, Live at Studio Underjord

Skraeckoedlan came to life in 2009 in Norrköping Sweden. The ambition was to create heavy psychedelic music with lyrics in Swedish and to explore themes connected to nordic folklore, sci-fi and to create a mysterious world with their songs. The name translates to what you could call Godzilla in Swedish.

The band recorded and released their two first EPs during 2009 and 2010. They got a lot of attention and toured a lot. In the summer of 2011 they released their first album called Äppelträdet (the apple tree), recorded and produced in Studio Bombshelter by Oskar Ozo Cedermalm of Truckfighters.

Äppelträdet got to a lot of “best of lists” that year and quickly sold out. The band did over 300 live shows the coming years and shared stage with bands like Orange Goblin, Kylesa, Truckfighters, Greenleaf and other giants of the genre.

In 2015 the album Sagor (Tales) was released. This time Skraeckoedlan worked with a few producers, like Niklas Berglöf (Ghost, Den Svenska björnstammen) and Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, In flames, El caco) but it was when they met producer and technician Erik Berglund that they really found what was missing. The album really took the band to a new level musically and they really explored the world that they have created over the years. It reached number two on the Swedish vinyl sales the month it was released.

Now the quest for the next album has started. And what could be better than to work with the guys that got them in to this genre to start with.

“Signing with Fuzzorama records really connects the dots and is the missing link that Skraeckoedlan has been searching for all these years. We really feel like we have found our home.” –Skraeckoedlan.

To celebrate this, the band has recorded a live video that features a little bit of everything from their world of music. In “Skraeckoedlan Levande at Studio Underjord” you get to experience one song from their first album, one from their second album, the latest song they worked with Erik Berglund on and bit of a song that will be featured on their upcoming third album. The live video was recorded and produced by Joona Hassinen in Studio Underjord, mixed and mastered by Erik Berglund and filmed by Marcus Jehrlander.

Skraeckoedlan:
Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Tim Ångström – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

Tour Dates:
Jul 08 Midnight Light Festival, Vilhelmina, Sweden
Jul 22 Noisenäsfestivalen, Nusnäs, Sweden
July 27 Copenhagen, Lygtens Kro, Denmark
Jul 29 Rock Im Wald, Michelau, Germany
Aug 10 Krökbacken Festival, Leksand, Sweden
Aug 26 Eksjö Stadsfest, Eksjö, Sweden
Oct 27 En lokal, Avesta, Sweden
Oct 28 Broken dreams, Borlänge, Sweden

Skraeckoedlan website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Thee Facebooks

Skraeckoedlan on Twitter

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Twitter

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Friday Full-Length: November, En Ny Tid Är Här…

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

November, En Ny Tid Är Här… (1970)

Eons from now, when rock archaeologists — rockaeologists? — unearth the ruins of our civilization in search of righteous tunes, some lucky muck will dust off a copy of November‘s 1970 debut, En Ny Tid Är Här…, and wind up crediting them with inventing heavy groove itself. They didn’t, of course, but there’s little doubt the Stockholm outfit were ahead of the curve in the post-hippie, post-psych movement of what was coming next in guitar-led fare. Informed by the blues much as were Cream, Sabbath, Hendrix, Zeppelin and Purple before them, November nonetheless preceded an entire wave of bands in taking the rock-via-blues licks and beefing them up with significant thrust of tone and rhythmic nod, so that songs like “En Annan Värld” and “Sekunder (Fövandlas Till År)” didn’t just shuffle, they nodded. Bands like Atomic Rooster and Bloodrock were still about a year off from figuring this out, but soon enough there would be an explosion of heavy rock and roll in their wake, and November — who released En Ny Tid Är Här… in the summer of ’70 with leadoff track “Mount Everest” as a single — seem to have got in just under the wire as an early adopter of the style.

Maybe that’s no less a narrative than someone saying they invented the whole thing, but at least it’s more realistic. November formed in 1969 with the lineup of bassist/vocalist Christer Stålbrandt, drummer/vocalist Björn Inge and guitarist Rickard Rolf, coming together around various other incarnations from Stålbrandt and Inge, and during their time together, they’d offer three full-lengths, gradually becoming more progressive over time. One might then think of the bounce in “Varje Gång Jag Ser Dej Känns Det Lika Skönt” as formative, but if that’s the case, the freshness of its energy remains steady even these 47 years later. Ditto that for the stomping “Gröna Blad,” which seems in direct conversation instrumentally with Leaf Hound‘s “Growers of Mushroom” — until one considers that it would be another year before that track and album surfaced from the British band. In terms of that conversation, however, it’s worth noting the use by November of Swedish-language lyrics and titles throughout the record. The notion of mass-marketing a project through the adoption of singing in English is something bands still grapple with, and while November are certainly well remembered thanks in part to reissues of En Ny Tid Är Här… both legitimate and bootleg, one can’t help but wonder if their legend would be even more widespread if they’d called the album A New Time is Here… instead.

Whatever the rockaeologists ultimately decide on that one, En Ny Tid Är Här… stands among the stronger offerings of its era in English or any language. In 1971, it would be followed by 2:a November and in 1972 by 6:e November, rounding out a trilogy of releases after which the group had run its course, members moving on to different projects in progressive rock and jazz. They’d get back together in the early ’90s and release a live album in 1993 via Mellotronen Records that was recorded in 1971, and have played periodic reunion shows since 2007, but they have remained underrated even among their entirely underrated epoch, and particularly En Ny Tid Är Här… seems ripe for a revisit, whether that’s through a deluxe vinyl reissue, new album from the band, whatever it might be. Some stuff is just too good to leave alone.

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

final fantasy viii bannerWell, today’s it. My last day at work. For the last year, I’ve been employed on a contract basis for Hasbro and that contract has expired. I was hoping said contract would get picked up for full-time employment, but I suck and am awful at everything and am too weird and off-putting as a human being for that to happen, apparently. People here have been nice enough about it, but yeah. I pretty much blew this one. Story of my professional life, to some degree or other.

On the right is a picture of one of my few cubicle decorations: a wall scroll for Final Fantasy VIII that I bought at the comic book store Pegasus Enterprises in Boonton, NJ (since closed), around the time the game came out. I was in high school, working at KB Toys #1051 in Morris Plains, and I also bought myself a new television for the sole purpose of playing that game on it. I still like Final Fantasy IV best of the bunch — VI or VII are the wider consensus picks; they’re both great — but VIII was a special time. 1999 had its ups and downs, I suppose.

Anyway, I don’t get to hang that thing up at home, so after I took that picture I rolled it up and it’s in the closet upstairs at home, already tucked away until who knows when. Bye Hasbro. The last thing to be taken out of the cube was the box of protein bars that I’ve been rotating through for lunch for the last however long and my water bottle. I met my replacement yesterday and I’m sure she’ll be better at this job than I was. I don’t know if she runs a music blog on the side. Somehow it didn’t come up. Ha.

If you know of anyone who needs a freelance editor or writer, I’m available.

Just not really for the next two weeks. Starting today, The Patient Mrs. (and thus the Pecan), the Little Dog Dio and I are hitting the road. The trajectory is Maryland this weekend for a family wedding. That’s Saturday. Sunday, we (minus the dog) are going to an Orioles game, and hanging out on Monday before heading to North Carolina on Tuesday to see my father. In North Carolina from Tuesday through Thursday, then back north. Stopping in Maryland again for Thursday night because seven hours of driving is enough for one day. Might hang in MD for the early part of Friday, but it’s really just a stop-over (I do feel guilty for missing Maryland Doom Fest), because up in Jersey my family will be celebrating my grandmother’s 102nd birthday. She’s the oldest lady. Very old. So you show up. That’s what you do. After that, next Saturday, we’ll hang out in NJ and see friends, then bring my mother back north probably to CT for the night and then eventually back up to Massachusetts to spend a week hanging out and doing baby-prep stuff.

It’s a lot of trip, but I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t been to New Jersey since Xmas and there’s a part of me that I suspect will always think of it as home, so yeah. Will be tiring, but good. I enjoy writing on the road as well and hope to hit a record shop or two along the way.

And in the meantime, the notes for next week are of course packed. Here’s what’s in store, subject to change:

Mon.: Mouth album stream/review; Skraeckoedlan announcement/video debut.
Tue.: Abronia album stream/review; new Sons of Morpheus video.
Wed.: Serpents of Secrecy track(s) premiere; Pyreship video premiere.
Thu.: Streaming the Burnout split from Tee Pee Records; Six Dumb Questions with Esben from Monolord.
Fri.: Greenbeard album stream/review.

Like I said. Jammed. The week after was supposed to be the Quarterly Review, but I’ve decided to push it back to the week after. That’s the 4th of July here in the States, but whatever. Maybe I’ll make that day all European bands or something just for fun. Most of that is planned out, but I figure with being on the road and the above-noted posts, plus any of a given day’s news that comes along, I’ll have plenty enough happening without worrying about gathering images and putting together the back end of those posts — let alone writing them — which is always time consuming.

But anyway, adventure begins. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re on the I-95 or I-81 corridors, I’ll see you there, and if you know of any record stores I should hit in Asheville, North Carolina, please let me know, as I’m thinking we might make a quick run over that way in the middle of next week, since I have fond memories of when I was there in 2009.

And while I’m asking for favors, please check out the forum and radio stream. Thanks for reading and listening.

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BardSpec Post “Bone” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

bardspec-Photo-Christian-Misje

If you’re not sensitive to flashing lights and you’ve got 12 spare minutes to get weird in your day — and I think we all know you do, even if you think you don’t; one has to set priorities for these things sometimes — then Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson would like to invite you to a droning dance party. And no, that’s not a rave where little robot helicopters fly overhead, though I’m sure that exists somewhere on this planet. It’s a video for the track “Bone” from Bjørnson‘s upcoming BardSpec debut, which trips out in electronic psychedelia even as it pulsates light and beats across an extended runtime atop a bed of longform guitar effects. Drone and dance. Dance and drone.

Whichever order you want to present those two, they serve as the core of “Bone,” and Bjørnson, along with Today is the Day guitarist/weirdo noise legend Steve Austin, gracefully plays to one side or the other of the balance between them throughout. The song, such as it is, is an undertaking to be sure, but in its place serving as the post-intro opener of BardSpec‘s forthcoming debut album, Hydrogen — out June 23 on ByNorse Music — its hypnotic effect proves well suited in drawing the listener in closer and readying them for the true voyage still to come. In other words, yeah, it’s gonna get stranger. That’s the whole idea.

And yet, “Bone” makes its own kind of sense, sets its own context. You can hear the linear build in the midsection, or the fluidity as one part leads into the next. You might need to make your way through it a couple times to get a sense of what is happening, but exploratory as it is in style, there is a sense of direction at work. Bjørnson is by no means flailing as he crafts the movement-filled wash at the apex. He’s poised. Just poised in another dimension. Go ahead and see for yourself. Take a chance on it.

Video is by David Hall, and is followed by more info off the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

BardSpec, “Bone” official video

Hydrogen, is the forthcoming debut from BardSpec, an experimental project featuring Enslaved’s Ivar Bjørnson and Today Is The Day’s Steve Austin.

BardSpec offer up a stunning fusion of stirring, hallucinatory synth-sounds with mercurial guitar effects and hypnotic rhythms that navigate illusory landscapes. Field recordings and other found-sounds also drift and evaporate into the ether. Working intuitively with these elements and with sharpened senses, attuned to inner impulses, this is immersive music, that can exist anywhere, and anytime within the minds of the listener.

BardSpec is inspired by the German masters Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schultze, and Conrad Schnitzler in addition to contemporary ambient music like Norwegian one-man-band Biosphere and abstract modern electronic music like When, as well as the electronic/industrial-driven metal like Godflesh.

BardSpec website

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BardSpec on Instagram

ByNorse Music

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Wren Post “The Herd” Video

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

wren

Preorders are up now for Wren‘s debut album, Auburn Rule, which is out July 14 via Holy Roar Records. How’s that old song go? To everything, churn, churn churn? Something like that. The post-sludging UK four-piece seem to have taken that ethic to heart either way, if “The Herd” is anything to go by. It’s the first audio to be made public from Auburn Rule, which follows Wren‘s 2016 EP, Host (review here), a 2015 split with Irk (review here) and their 2014 self-titled debut EP (review here), and it would seem to be the next logical step forward in their sonic development, which has proven equal parts menacingly heavy and markedly progressive.

Like the song itself, the video for “The Herd” wants little for atmosphere. In fact, that’s kind of the whole thing. Black and white nature shots, hooded figure, dark grayscale kaleidoscopic imagery — all of it is appropriately suited to Wren‘s aggressive but spacious aural crux. The band has pointedly evolved with each new offering, and “The Herd” seems to take its cues from where they were with Host in its cerebral flow from one movement to the next as Wren evoke bleak pastures akin to the clip’s visual depictions. Hardcore roots shine through in starts and stops and the buried-beneath-tone shouted vocals, lending even more bite strength to the track’s sharpened-tooth assault.

Auburn Rule is out in less than a month, and I have my doubts “The Herd” will be the last sneak preview given to listeners before it arrives, so keep an eye out. I’ve been looking forward to finding out what Wren can do in the context of a first full-length since I heard the EP three years ago, and I continue to be excited at the prospect after getting to know this track better. I’ll hope to have more to come soon.

Till then, dig in and enjoy:

Wren, “The Herd” official video

Taken from their debut album ‘Auburn Rule’.

Out 14.07.17 on Holy Roar Records, preorder now: www.holyroarrecords.com

Directed by: www.gardenback.com

Following on from the release of their ‘Host’ EP last year, London-based progressive sludge/noise-rock four-piece Wren, have announced details of their new album ‘Auburn Rule’, which is due out 14th July 2017 via Holy Roar Records.

To coincide with the release of ‘Auburn Rule’ Wren have also announced a short UK release tour with Fvnerals, they will be playing the following dates:

30th June – London – Birthdays
1st July – Birmingham – The Flapper
2nd July – Bristol – The Cube
3rd July – Cardiff – The Full Moon
4th July – Brighton – The Prince Albert

Wren on Thee Facebooks

Wren on Bandcamp

Wren on Twitter

Wren website

Holy Roar Records website

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Queens of the Stone Age Announce New Album Villains

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

queens of the stone age

Yesterday, Queens of the Stone Age started the process of teasing the release of their next album by putting up a minute-long YouTube clip in which a manipulated version of frontman Josh Homme‘s voice said the word ‘gold’ over and over again. Today, they follow by announcing the title of their seventh full-length will be Villains and that to record it, the five-piece has teamed with producer Mark Ronson, whose credits include the pop-superstar likes of Paul McCartneyAmy Winehouse Adele, and many, many others who sell a lot, a lot, a lot of records to a lot, a lot, a lot of people. In the video below, among the other names, one will find Duran Duran. So there’s that.

Playing to mass-market pop is nothing new for Queens of the Stone Age, of course. 11 years after breaking through to mainstream consciousness with what’s now a heavy rock landmark in 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, the band issued their most recent outing, 2013’s …Like Clockwork (review here) — they also had two records in between in 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze and 2007’s Era Vulgaris — and songs like “If I Had a Tail” and “Smooth Sailing” still don’t need much more than the recitation of the title to get stuck in the head of anyone who heard them. In announcing Villains in the skit below directed by Liam Lynch (Tenacious D) they give a snippet preview of a track called “Feet Don’t Fail Me” that would seem to work toward a similar danceability as the latter. Again, fair territory for them at this point.

More as I hear/see it. For now, here’s the clip and the band’s upcoming tour dates:

Queens of the Stone Age, Villains announcement

Directed by: Liam Lynch

Queens of the Stone Age on tour:
06/22-25 – Montebello, QC Amnesia Rockfest
07/13 – Auckland, NZ Logan Campbell
07/16 – Darwin, AU Convention Center
07/19 – Sydney, AU Horden Pavilion
07/20 – Melbourne, AU Festival Hall
07/22 – Byron Bay, AU Splendour in the Grass
07/28-30 – Naeba, JP Fuji Rock Festival
08/11-13 – San Francisco, CA Outside Lands Festival
09/15-17 – Chicago, IL Riot Fest

Queens of the Stone Age on Thee Facebooks

Queens of the Stone Age on Twitter

Queens of the Stone Age on Instagram

Queens of the Stone Age website

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