Josefus Debut New Lineup; Confirm Recording in Progress

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

josefus

New lineup, new material and new recordings on the way — the news from reunited Texas heavy rockers Josefus would seem to be all good at this point. The four-piece have been relatively quiet since their reformation was announced back in May, but it would seem that tracking has begun on their next studio album, and the stage lineup of founders Pete Bailey (vocals) and Dave Mitchell (guitar) and newcomers Doomstress Alexis, (bass/backing vocals, also of Doomstress and Project Armageddon) and Michael Morris (drums, also of Lone Star Hippie) made their live debut on Oct. 22 as part of the End Hip End It festival at Walter’s Downtown in Houston.

Amid classics from the band’s original run — their 1970 outing Dead Man should be considered essential proto-heavy for anyone who hasn’t heard it — the band broke out at least two new songs from the yet-untitled outing that will be the first from the band since 2006’s State of the Union, and a live clip with both has been posted from the fest, with Mitchell and Bailey front and center of the cult classic outfit, proffering unbridled boogie on “Guns and Fun” while digging into a darker, bluesier and loosely Sabbathian style of riffing on the subsequent “The Shade.” Each song offers a distinct take from the other and bodes well for what the studio outing might bring.

A considerable risk with new studio offerings from groups with ’70s era bands has consistently been an incongruity between the intent of the songwriting — to capture that raw spirit and energy that fueled the early days of heavy rock — with a sometimes-too-slick, or at very least dry, modern production. This can be heard on numerous contemporary from artists at multiple echelons, from Leslie West and Cactus to Leaf Hound. An exception to the rule might be Ripple Music jammers Poobah.

Likewise, it’s something Pentagram largely avoided with their Last Rites comebacker in 2009 I think in no small part because of guitarist Victor Griffin‘s ongoing connnections to the heavy underground, and I think in Josefus, having that awareness of what the current heavy audience is looking for is the role one might find Doomstress Alexis and Morris playing (in addition to their instruments, obviously). It will be up to them to ensure the sound of the record matches not only the purpose behind the material in the first place, but the vibe that listeners will invariably crave from a band like this in the first place. Fortunately, they would seem to be readily up to the task.

To my mind, this only makes the next Josefus long-player, previewed with the stage performance at End Hip End It, all the more worth looking forward to. One assumes at this point it’ll be a 2018 arrival, but of course when I hear something, I’ll let you know.

Until then, enjoy “Guns and Fun” and “The Shade” below, as filmed by IcedRelics in Houston:

Josefus, “Guns and Fun” & “The Shade” Live at End Hip End It

Josefus performing live at Walter’s Downtown at End Hip End It Festival in Houston, Texas on Sunday, October 22, 2017. Harvey Relief Benefit. Houston Psych Fest.

Brand new Josefus tunes debuted at End Hip End It Fest on 10/22/17 marking Josefus’s return to the stage and with new recording/live lineup:

Pete Bailey-vocals/harmonica
Dave Mitchel-guitar
Doomstress Alexis-bass/backing vocals
Michael Morris-drums/backing vocals

1st song “Guns & Fun”
2nd song “The Shade”
Video credit: Iced Relics (YouTube)

New record currently in studio production being recorded by Richard Cagle @ Montrose Studios in Houston, TX.

Josefus live:
11/25 Rockefellers Houston TX w/ The Dirty Seeds, Fiddle Witch & Mr. Plow

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Friday Full-Length: Lamp of the Universe, The Cosmic Union

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Lamp of the Universe, The Cosmic Union (2001)

Whatever you’re doing, stop. Take a minute. Take an hour. Take whatever you need to take, and breathe. That seems to be the underlying message of Lamp of the Universe‘s 2001 debut album, The Cosmic Union. The ongoing psychedelic project was formed and continues to be manned solely by Craig Williamson, guitarist at the time for the underrated Datura, who in 2001 were two years removed from the release of their second and — as would turn out to be — final full-length, 1999’s Visions for the Celestial. Immediately, Lamp of the Universe presented a different direction for the Hamilton, New Zealand-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, engaging richly textured Eastern-influenced acid folk of rare potency. Sitar, tabla, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, chimes, synth, various percussive elements and a cascade of watery melodies lend The Cosmic Union an experimentalist feel, but in the years and numerous offerings since, Williamson has never deviated from the core vibe Lamp of the Universe established its first time out, despite delving into drone, full-band sounds, and other avenues of exploration.

Still, if Lamp of the Universe has always been a project with a mission, part of that mission has been not sounding like a band with a mission. That is to say, to listen to the seeping space-born pastoralism of “Born in the Rays of the Third Eye,” the sense of inner peace that comes through is nigh unmatched in psychedelic realms. Likewise the acoustic strum of the later “Give Yourself to Love,” on which Williamson offers subtle self-harmonies atop birdsong-esque guitar noise and backing swirl. Taken together, “Born in the Rays of the Third Eye,” the subsequent nine-minute highlight “Lotus of a Thousand Petals” and the late wah-soaked electrified soloing atop hand percussion of “In the Mystic Light” form an essential salvo for anyone who would seek to understand Williamson‘s methods. Core elements of Lamp of the Universe are laid as bare as the figures on The Cosmic Union‘s cover art. Key rhythms are set. Melodic progressions are established. Methods are honed. It’s by no means even close to the entirety of the scope that Wiliamson has unfurled with the project over the last 16 years, but it’s definitely the foundation, and as the theme of love as spiritual and physical entity arises in “Give Yourself to Love” and “Freedom in Your Mind” looses itself on organ-flourish and ultimate guitar drift — gorgeous, flowing, and utterly gone — the increasing complexity of the overarching approach does nothing to undercut the resonant ambience or the serenity that seems to emanate warmly from each of the album’s beautiful arrangements, so seemingly minimal and yet so spacious on “Her Cosmic Light” where only a few songs prior, “Lotus of a Thousand Petals” had seemed nearly like an entire group celebration of consciousness and mantra, universe-minded, somehow sexual and coherent despite the fact that its intricacy is the result of one person’s work. Williamson‘s skill as a craftsman is on ready display throughout the eight tracks of the original release, but there never seems to be a formula employed.

Rather, the variety seems to emerge as a result of organic processes, and a balance is struck between experimentalism and poise of songwriting. The peaceful noodling of “Her Cosmic Light” is a prime example of this, but one can hear it all throughout The Cosmic Union as well, whether it’s the uptempo, handclap-ready circle-folk of the sitar-led “What Love Can Bring,” or the immersive hypnotism brought on by “In the Mystic Light”‘s slow-moving liquefied swirl. Beauty is central to the process, and whether it’s longer tracks or shorter, freak folk or freak psych, layered or singular in delivery, Lamp of the Universe‘s debut offers a listening experience unlike anything I’ve encountered since — and make no mistake, I’ve looked. There’s purpose behind it, but the purpose is having no purpose. It oozes forward and yet keeps its feet on solid ground. Its scope is vast and diverse, but it remains deeply human and believable as the output of a lone individual. As “Tantra Asana” closes out with sitar echoing over a backing drone, building to one last consuming, gorgeous melody, keyboards emerging late to further the depth of Williamson‘s arrangement — again, without distracting from the effectiveness thereof — the shimmer of the album as a whole is reaffirmed, and though one couldn’t have known then what was being set in motion, it’s plain to hear across the 50-plus-minute outing that a world is being made, a place in which to dwell.

The Cosmic Union remains a joy to dwell in, and as the beginning point of a Lamp of the Universe discography that’s gone on to include no fewer than 10 full-lengths — the latest of which, Hidden Knowledge (review here), came out last year on Clostridium Records — it is all the more a genuinely special landmark. Williamson has at times over the last half-decade lent his focus more toward the heavy psych rock trio Arc of Ascent, whose third long-player, Realms of the Metaphysical (review here), arrived earlier in 2017, but he seems to perpetually return to Lamp of the Universe — a new split with Kanoi is currently on offer that I’m hoping I get the chance to check out — leading one to believe the project is as essential to him as it should be to anyone who’s ever sought an experience of communion with the aurally lysergic.

Note the version above comes from the Lamp of the Universe Bandcamp page and includes the bonus track “By the Grace of Love.” This is featured on the 2011 reissue that came via Williamson‘s own Astral Projection imprint. The album was originally released via Cranium Records.

Bottom line is I love this record, and I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Interesting week. I guess it started last Friday when The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and I made a daring escape from the hospital and headed home, the baby for the first time. The weekend was kind of a blur. I tried to do as much writing as I could, changed diapers, did daddy-stuff, cleaned as much as possible, made sure The Patient Mrs. was fed and so on. We listened to music. Family came up on Saturday or Sunday. I don’t remember which.

Then the power went out. That might’ve been Monday evening. There was a storm. Apparently a decent section of the Northeast was hit and because it’s 1930 and we put electric wires on poles in the air instead of in the ground where they belong, we lost power. In the three years we’ve lived in this spot, we’ve never had the power go out for more than an hour. New baby home? Two days. Solid. Bound to happen.

I thought we were going to die. I think it was Monday night. We toughed it out changing diapers and doing feedings by flashlight, but it was cold. Tuesday we decided pretty early on to get the hell out of dodge. We had an appointment in Providence on Wednesday anyway, so Tuesday afternoon I packed up the car and drove us the 45 minutes to Rhode Island. The Pecan sleeps in the car anyhow. I hear that’s a baby thing. There was a doctor’s appointment in there — the “you’ve been born” check-in for The Pecan; all is well — I think on Wednesday, and when we got back home after that, the lights had miraculously been turned back on. We damn near wept with joy. Then I made myself a protein shake for dinner. It was unbelievably good.

Yesterday was relatively quiet. A short walk, a daring half-hour of alone time for The Pecan and I while The Patient Mrs. ran an errand, and so on. Today I think we’re going to try to hit Costco, and then family comes up tomorrow, so yeah, goings on going on and whatnot. You might’ve noticed the last couple days have been lighter on posts, today included. That is not a coincidence. I’m doing the best I can and trying to support my wife as best I can.

Real quick, here’s what’s on tap so far for next week. I’m still waiting for some stuff to come together, so this will likely change:

Mon.: Uffe Lorenzen review/track premiere; Josefus live videos.
Tue.: Fireball Ministry review; Iron Monkey video.
Wed.: Maybe a review/premiere of some new Eggnogg.
Thu.: Six Dumb Questions with Great Electric Quest, I hope.
Fri.: Video premiere & album review of the new The Moth.

Pretty busy but hopefully manageable. We’ll see how it goes, and again, things might shift around pending baby stuff and whatnot. He’s been pretty cool to have around thus far though. He doesn’t have much to say at this point — though he grunts like a madman — but it’s been nice to hang out with the little guy after waiting for so long for him to show up.

Have a great and safe weekend, whatever you’re up to, and please don’t forget to check out the forum and the radio stream. Thanks again for reading.

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BongCauldron Post “Devil” Video; Binge out Nov. 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

bongcauldron

Leeds sludge beardos BongCauldron are getting ready to release their debut long-player, Binge (review here), later this month via APF Records. The album has been years in the making — it’s been half a decade since BongCauldron issued their first, self-titled EP — and though the trio have had a swath of shorter releases out in singles, 2015’s Acid Cattle two-tracker, and so on, Binge nonetheless wastes no time in getting down to the heavy, burled-up, grab-you-by-the-scruff-of-your-neck business at hand. To wit, the second cut on the thing is “Bury Your Axe in the Crania of Lesser Men.” And yeah, it’s pretty catchy.

But of course, the Chris Fielding-produced offering of rolling riffs and seething pummel has to cross paths with “Devil” before it gets to any such triumphant battling and the opener of Binge is indeed a formidable opponent. It establishes the thickness with which BongCauldron will bludgeon for most of the duration, as well as the trades between guttural growling and shoutier booziness that pervades in call and response fashion, but most importantly, it’s the first of multiple beat-you-over-the-head lumbering progressions to be found throughout Binge, and it shifts tempo so easily that the punch has landed almost before you know it. I’m not even going to tell you when it happens. But it does. Watch out for it.

Binge may have been a while in the making, but songs like “Hopeless,” the shuffling “Toxic Boglin” and the near-nine-minute Sleep-via-Dopelord stoner-sludge chicanery of the title-cut demonstrate plainly that BongCauldron haven’t been wasting their time. They’ve been spending it getting pissed off. And if that’s what it takes to get to the kind of intensity that drives the early going of “Bigfoot Reigns” — one assumes it’s the sasquatch that has also flattened the pace in the second half of the song — then so be it. Dudes should stay mad. Clearly it works for them.

You can check out the video for “Devil” below, followed by some more info from the PR wire. Like the album itself, it’s void of pretense and seems intended only to kick as many asses as are put in front of it.

So watch where you stand, and enjoy:

BongCauldron, “Devil” official video

APF Records is pleased to reveal the video for “Devil” by UK sludge band BongCauldron. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming album Binge which will be released in November.

Pre-order the album on vinyl here: http://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/product/bongcauldron-vinyl

The band commented “Devil was written on a decline into self-destructive alcoholic despair. This song envisages depression as a force that will never leave you. A disease that no one can fully see but yourself. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, every time you speak its standing right next to you ready to smash you in the teeth”

Recorded by Chris Fielding of Conan in his Skyhammer Studio, Binge will be available on limited edition green vinyl, black vinyl, limited edition digipak CD and digital formats.

BongCauldron is:
Corky – bass, vocals
Biscuit – guitar, vocals
Jay – drums

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Operators Post “Rolling Hitch” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

operators photo philip schulte

Berlin-based five-piece Operators released their third album, Revelers (review here), earlier this year and thereby reignited the dynamic rock and roll throwdown of 2013’s Contact High (review here) and 2012’s Operators (review here), with their most charged and dynamic outing yet. The band, who take elements from classic heavy but never lose themselves full-on into vintage-ism and never have, are somewhat underrated at this point as songwriters, as organ-soaked cuts like “Pusher” and “Walkin’ on Air” demonstrate, but as they demonstrate in their new video for the 10-minute LP finale “Rolling Hitch,” that’s done just about nothing to slow their party down. And especially in this video, which is their second from the record behind a clip for “Messina,” that party comes to life.

And hey, if you’re going to throw a throwdown, where better to do so than on the water? Operators get some friends together, hit the dock and let the good times and grooves alike roll as they will. The song features a guest appearance from Wight guitarist/vocalist René Hofmann, who also recorded and mixed Revelers, and though he doesn’t seem to be in the clip, the band obviously had a blast in putting it together. Seriously, is there anything better than watching a band live on a boat? Immediate awesomeness. Of the one or two times I’ve been fortunate enough to do such a thing, it’s never failed to thrill, and hey, if Operators wants to open a cruise line, they’ve got a pretty good commercial for why you should show up right here. I’d hit up that ship.

Check out “Rolling Hitch” below, followed by some more info from the band, and please enjoy:

Operators, “Rolling Hitch” official video

We are proud to present our second music video for our new album ‘Revelers’!

An ongoing journey. Settling down and moving ahead again. Tied knots and sharpened blades. ‘Rolling Hitch’ deals with making peace with yourself, with the neverending quest to find serenity.

Filmed by our dear friend Fabian Willi Simon on a magnificent boatride on the ‘Anarche’, Aug 19th 2017. Thanks to everybody who helped to make this happen.

Res ipsa loquitur. Enjoy with an open mind.

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Lizardmen Premiere “Steady Rolling Man” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

lizardmen-Photo-by-Bob-Sala

German trio Lizardmen may have had their moniker in mind when they decided to call their 2016 StoneFree Records debut release Cold Blooded Blues (review here), but the truth is there’s very little frigid about it. Instead, the full-length comes across with an immediate tonal warmth, basking in neo-heavy fuzz and a post-Truckfigthers energy to which Lizardmen — the lineup comprised of guitarist/vocalist Nikki Engelbrecht, bassist Niklas Giese (also Into the Wild) and drummer Tobias — bring their own spin in the form of a blend of thickened grunge and weighted blues rock. Opener “Dust” sets the tone in a hook that owes as much of its churn to the ’90s as to the late ’10s, and where the subsequent “Turn the Screw” feels in part derived from the post-Queens of the Stone Age quirk of “Monte Gargano” by the aforementioned Truckfighters, the way the track takes off in its second half belongs more purely to Lizardmen themselves, and offers a clear signal that they’ve begun a process of exploring and discovering their sound and set forth to distinguish themselves from their influences.

That thread holds as “Seven” introduces more of their side rooted in blues progressions, and this will come up again later in the album on the penultimate “Steady Rolling Man” as well. The six-plus-minute track builds off a Robert Johnson original, “I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man,” recorded circa 1937, a sample of which also leads off in Lizardmen‘s new video, as if to emphasize the point. From there, however, Lizardmen coat the Delta blues vibe in fuzz riffing and a hard-driven groove, turning the line “You can’t give your sweet woman everything she wants at one time” from Johnson‘s version into their own “I ain’t got what you need — fuck off” as they rock out in an open space with their tour van behind them, standing ready to carry that message forth to any and all ears willing to hear it. As they add a psychedelic break and album-highlight solo in the song’s midsection, joints are rolled, weed is smoked and what looks like good times are had, so clearly, despite their protests to the contrary, they’ve got what somebody needs.

“Steady Rolling Man” caps with a final chorus before giving way to the crashing opening of nine-minute finale “The Cannibal,” which unfolds a chaos of its own in a more fuzzy bounce, psychedelia, and a particularly aggressive march that caps with a return of its initial thrust, so while the song before is catchy, righteously and thoroughly baked and born of multiple sonic traditions, it doesn’t necessarily speak to the entirety of Cold Blooded Blues from whence it comes. Fortunately, the whole thing is streaming on Bandcamp — also at the bottom of this post — for those who’d seek a deeper dive.

And the video makes a solid argument for one. Check it out below and please enjoy:

Lizardmen, “Steady Rolling Man” official video premiere

LIZARDMEN – you can hear the social isolation of the cold-blooded, feel the scaly saurian skin that spurns all touch. Sometimes, a guitar solo cleanses you like a venomous fang, and the white-hot pain creeps through your blood vessels straight into your heart.

Beasts in disguise invite you to revel in playful melodies or driving rhythms, but as soon as frontman Nikki approaches the mic, the grimy Grunge inevitably cracks the surface. His vocals are rough and alien, like after decades of silence – but at the same time gripping in his subliminal ire. The hooks implant themselves in your lobes after the first playthrough, as stubborn as termites in a rotten tree, hollow you out, may yet wrest a tear or two from your eye – would not the bone-dry sound swallow them up in the same instant.

Lizardmen are:
Nikki – Vocals/Guitar
Tobias – Drums
Niklas – Bass

Lizardmen, Cold Blooded Blues (2016)

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Friday Full-Length: Sleep, Dopesmoker

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Sleep, Dopesmoker (2003)

In the annals of post-Sabbath riffing, Sleep‘s Dopesmoker reigns supreme. “Dopesmoker,” the single, 63-minute track that comprises the album, is the stuff of legend, and rightly so. Recorded circa 1996 by the trio of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike and drummer Chris Hakius, and backed by the formidable, inimitable production of Billy AndersonDopesmoker is a story that’s been told time and again at this point, perhaps most completely in the 2008 documentary Such Hawks, Such Hounds, and so I’m not sure how much it really needs to be recounted here, but suffice it to say that the narrative behind the record’s creation has become nearly as central to the listening experience as the clarion riffing and the weedian pilgrimage that takes place in the lyrics of the extended verses, revolving around the Bay Area three-piece having issued the now-landmark Sleep’s Holy Mountain (reissue review here) in 1992 and subsequently jumped from Earache Records to London/Sire Records, spent their recording budget on reefer and turned in a 52-minute version of what became “Dopesmoker” to the label, only to be met with the kind of horror that only a major label can express to, say, an underground band who just turned in a 52-minute single-track album of unmatched stonerly excess. No doubt there were some priceless looks on a variety of the involved faces.

Then titled “Jerusalem,” that version of the extended piece did ultimately emerge — released first by the band as a self-bootleg with a cover by Arik Roper and then as Jerusalem by Rise Above Records in the UK and The Music Cartel in the US — in 1998, but with the song broken up over six shorter segments, the effect was nowhere near the same as when Dopesmoker saw its first issue — the track itself and a live version of “Sonic Titan” included — via Tee Pee in 2003. Sleep were long done by then, of course. Pike had moved on to High on Fire and Cisneros and Hakius were on the cusp of unveiling their new meditative duo Om, but one could easily argue that the arrival of Dopesmoker nonetheless played a significant role in igniting the heavy rock boom of the post-internet age. Finally with an avenue for the word of mouth regarding their righteousness that had long been spreading, Sleep were able to connect with an audience without even actually being a band anymore, and with Sleep’s Holy Mountain and the prior 1991 debut, Volume I behind them, their back catalog seemed like relics of a lost age of stoner authenticity — a source of influence worldwide already that has only continued to spread in the years since, bolstered in part by the emergence and ongoing relevance of Om and High on Fire, as well as the 2009 reunion of Sleep proper that has resulted in copious headlining and touring appearances as well as the release of the 2014 single The Clarity (review here), amid a contract dispute with Earache and near-constant rumors of a new full-length in progress on one level or another.

As for the song itself, “Dopesmoker” — which I’ve chosen to put here without the accompanying “Sonic Titan” — remains overwhelming in its scope. Its tonal thickness presents a morass from which Cisneros‘ guttural vocals rumble upward like some ancient call to arms, and when it comes to speaking to the converted, there are few lines short of “What is this that stands before me?” that have ever resonated as thoroughly as “Drop out of life, bong in hand.” Arriving after a solid eight minutes of hypnotic establishment of “Dopesmoker”‘s central riff, it is nearly impossible to measure the impact that single line has had on underground heavy rock. From there, “Dopesmoker” unfolds the tale of a journey rife with transcendentalist THC-ism, the setting a Zion that turns weed into an object of nigh-on-dogmatic ritualism, all the while Pike‘s riffing leads the way along a march punctuated by Hakius that’s no less epic than the lyrical thread. By the time they’re halfway through, their smoke-filled haze has become a churning universe unto itself, and then the guitar solo kicks in. About seven minutes later. Though often imitated at this point, the scale at which “Dopesmoker” works remains largely its own, and like any such monument, even those who’ve come along since to sound bigger or write something longer or whatever it might be invariably exist in its shadow. Its gospel ends with the stoned deliverance of the caravan and a return to the opening lines, but the riffing goes on for a few more minutes thereafter — as it should, pretty much into perpetuity. On repeat. Forever.

Southern Lord reissued Dopesmoker with new art by Arik Roper in 2012 and has gone on to do multiple pressings since in various vinyl and CD editions, so it is readily available for those who’ve yet to chase it down, but as one of the most essential heavy rock releases of all-time, I suspect a good amount of that is geared toward collector impulse rather than filling a gap, at least at this point. Either way, Dopesmoker has been and still represents a watershed moment of riffly creation. There will never be another one that hits in exactly the same way, from Sleep or anyone else, and even if that stems in part from the story of what went into its becoming, the result of that process — everything that went into its being — speaks to the core of one of the heaviest releases of all time. It resounds.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

What else could’ve possibly been heavy enough to close out the week that saw my son brought into the world?

Born at 8:09AM on Oct. 25, 2017, The Pecan came into this world after a plodding 41 hours of labor on the part of The Patient Mrs., whose water broke on Monday afternoon and who delivered the baby via C-section after grueling her way through on Wednesday morning. It was brutal, I don’t mind telling you. I write this post from the chair of the hospital room, my son cradled sleeping in my arms (every time I type with my left hand, his head moves a bit, but he doesn’t seem disturbed by it, which bodes well). We might get to get out of here this evening — Monday to Friday in the hospital has been long and The Patient Mrs. and I are both ready to go, I think — but otherwise it’ll be tomorrow, and then begins a round of family visits that I expect will continue through at least the next couple weeks. Already our mothers and sisters were hanging out in various waiting rooms for extended periods of time, attending his delayed arrival.

So, as for fatherhood: so far so good, I guess. Obviously nothing we’ve yet faced even holds a candle to anything to come pretty much as soon as we get out of here, but we’ve managed to keep him alive for two days, and I’m willing to take that as a win in the immediate. Last night was rougher than the first night, but after a couple hours of cluster-feeding, he slept for a solid four hours and so we did as well and I think that did us all a world of good. The Patient Mrs. is napping now with a pillow over her head. I went home for a bit yesterday and made myself some good coffee to bring back in my thermos, have been sipping that this morning, so we’re holding up. We’ve had talks about being in “survival mode” basically between now and next April — from here to Roadburn, is how we put it — and that seems like a reasonable timeline. We’ll see how it goes. We’re on an adventure.

You may have noticed the last two days were light on posts. Two per day still seems pretty good to me for a dude whose wife just had their first baby, so if you’re gonna complain about that, please don’t. There’s a lot of news to catch up on though, so I’m going to dedicate early next week to that and hopefully get into some early, soon-to-change pattern establishment for morning writing, etc. Here’s what’s in my notes for the week:

Mon.: News catchup, Lizardmen video premiere.
Tue.: SubRosa Subdued review; Operators video.
Wed.: Black Moon Circle review, whatever comes.
Thu.: Electric Wizard review, whatever comes.
Fri.: Fireball Ministry review, whatever comes.

That’s me catching up on reviews a bit as well, and it’s light on premieres on purpose to let me have some flex as I need to, so yeah, bottom line is it’s subject to change as always. Also more than always.

So there you have it. The Pecan has arrived. We’re in the midst of feeling things out, which I expect we will be for, you know, the next 20-odd years. Maybe more.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

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Vessel of Light Premiere “Dead Flesh and Bones” Lyric Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vessel of light

Vessel of Light release their self-titled debut EP via Argonauta Records on Nov. 3. The six-song/21-minute offering is the first fruit borne of the collaboration between Ancient VVisdom frontman Nathan Opposition and Hades guitarist Dan Lorenzo, and as Lorenzo tells the tale below, it all started out innocently enough. A basic correspondence between two players respecting each other’s work has yielded tracks of deeply mood-fueled heavy doom rock, and finding songs like “Where My Garden Grows” and “Dead Flesh and Bones” working around murderous themes or the depressive fare offered throughout “Living Dead to the World” and the decidedly metallic “Descend into Death,” there’s a balance being struck across the songs that draws influence from the pasts of Lorenzo and Opposition alike.

Whether that comes through in the bluesy underpinning to the central riff of vessel of light vessel of light“Descend into Death” or the rolling doom that unfurls itself throughout “Meant to Be,” the consistent element tying the material together is the overarching grimness of spirit and the violent tendencies played out so vividly in the lyrics. Even the eponymous closing track, with its druggy focus and chorus, “LSD has got a hold of me,” and so on, has more than a small measure of threat behind its promise to “make your nightmares come true.” And certainly as that song proclaims in manipulated screams that the speaker is a vessel of light, one gets the sense that it’s way more a vessel of the post-Manson sense than one who might actually offer a level of peace. Unless, you know, you think of being murdered as peaceful.

Lyrics are a focus throughout Vessel of Light‘s Vessel of Light, so it seems only fitting that the duo should unveil the track “Dead Flesh and Bones” with a mind directed specifically toward them. The words may be about burying someone in the garden, but it’s also worth noting that the song is catchy as hell, and amid the red-tinted imagery and striking nature of brutalism, that aspect is not at all lost.

You can see the video below, followed by more info on the EP, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Vessel of Light, “Dead Flesh and Bones” lyric video

Dan Lorenzo (Hades, Non-Fiction, The Cursed) teamed up with Nathan Opposition (Ancient VVisdom) to form a musical project called Vessel Of Light. The duo entered Brainchild Studios in Cleveland to record their debut during Summer 2017. Lorenzo has issued the following update:

“I decided to write about the band in NJ’s Steppin’ Out magazine and I mailed Nathan Opposition (Ancient VVisdom’s singer) a magazine and I think an old Hades CD. We started communicating by email and then on the phone. I had no intentions of asking him to write with me because my musical career is long over. I’m considerably older than him and I honestly wasn’t playing guitar much, but when Nathan asked me if I wanted to write together I couldn’t say no.”

Nathan Opposition says, “Lorenzo and I became friends due to my inability to not be susceptible to flattery. Turns out he’s a really cool guy who writes awesome riffs too. Randomly one day I ask him about the band we are starting in joking fashion. I guess it was the right timing and the right person because we immediately agreed we should actually start a project. Before I knew it he was sending me CDs of riffs and I had lyrics flowing like a faucet.”

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Doomstress Premiere Video for “Bitter Plea”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

doomstress

Texas heavy doom rockers Doomstress filmed their new video on one of the several cleverly-named tours they undertook in 2016, playing as the four-piece of bassist/vocalist Doomstress Alexis, guitarists Brandon Johnson (lead) and Joe Fortunato (rhythm) and drummer Tomasz Scull. Fortunato, whose pedigree includes tenure alongside Scull in Sparrowmilk and Venomin James, also directed and edited the clip for “Bitter Plea,” and the song represents the newest work to come from the Houston-based outfit, featured on their new EP, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite, a follow-up and apparent sequel to their 2016 debut, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (video premiere here).

Aside from new mixes of “Way of the Mountain” and “Sleep Among the Dead” from the original EP, The Second Rite boasts the Uriah Heep cover “Rainbow Demon” (premiered here) and “Bitter Plea,” and indeed, it’s the latter that shows where the band is truly at in their development. I’m not sure if Fortunato is a permanent member or not at this point, but either way, the 4:26 track swings with a sense of classic metal coming through its dual guitars and finds a balance in its mix that outshines even the redux versions of the original EP cuts, as well as a confidence in presentation obviously born of the band’s significant time on the road. Even with an underlying darkness in the lyrics, Alexis and company keep a firm sense of momentum moving forward in the track as well as across the entirety of the 22-minute offering from which it comes, and though they seem to be taking their time crafting songs rather than working to try to bang out a first album simply for the sake of doing so, the results that come through on “Bitter Plea” are hard to argue with in terms of their sense of being fully realized and engaging. Proof? The hook and guitar solo. The arrangement of vocals. The return to the central riff at the end. It’s all there, waiting to be heard in “Bitter Plea.”

Also, as it happens, seen. Captured live on stage and on the shores of Lake Erie, the video gives an unpretentious representation of the song while adding in its style a sense of drama befitting to the lyrics. The underlying message is Doomstress are continuing to take shape as a band, progressing in their songwriting processes and becoming all the more capable of manifesting a style that resides someplace between doom, metal and heavy rock and makes its mark in memorable choruses and choice grooves.

Supernatural Kvlt Sounds: The Second Rite is out on CD now via NoSlip Records and will be released as a split with Sparrowmilk in November via DHU Records. More info at the links following the video below.

Please enjoy:

Doomstress, “Bitter Plea” official video premiere

Doomstress – “Bitter Plea” official video ©2017
From the ep “Supernatural Kvlt Sounds-The Second Rite”
CD on NoSlip Records (USA) available late September 2017
12″ vinyl split w/Sparrowmilk on DHU Records (Netherlands) available November 2017

Live footage filmed @ The Foundry in Cleveland, OH on the Wicked Summer Tour in August 2016.

Scenic footage filmed at the sand dunes of Lake Erie in Ohio in late August or early September 2016.

Video concept by Doomstress Alexis

Directed & edited by Joe Fortunato

Band members on this tour:
Doomstress Alexis – bass & vox
Brandon Johnson – lead guitar
Tomasz Scull – drums
Joe Fortunato – rhythm guitar

Doomstress website

Doomstress on Bandcamp

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DHU Records webstore

NoSlip Records webstore

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