Gozu Post “They Probably Know Karate” Video; Join Metal Alliance Tour This Weekend

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

gozu

This fucking band rocks, man. I don’t know how else to put it or really what more you could ask from Gozu at this point that they haven’t delivered. Dudes have locked in their lineup and realized the potential of their sound in a hard-hitting, soulful, ace-songwriting execution that’s only grown more intense with time. They’re a decade removed from their first, self-titled offering (someday, in some Boston record shop, I’ll find that CD), and this year’s Equilibrium (review here) is both their nastiest boogie yet and their highest-profile release yet, issued through Metal Blade subsidiary Blacklight Media after stints on essential US underground imprints Ripple Music and Small Stone Records. Gozu have done nothing but kill it, constantly. And really, since Gaff and Doug nailed down the lineup with Joe Grotto on bass and Mike Hubbard on drums, they’ve been the best Boston has to offer in heavy rock and roll. If there’s a tour coming through and they’re not the local support, it’s mostly because they’re busy that night doing something else.

They’ve already been back and forth to Europe in the last couple years and I’m hearing murmurs in that direction again for 2019, but this week the four-piece hook up with the Metal Alliance Tour — and if you’ve never tried High River Sauces, the presenter of the run, you should probably get on that; I’ve jazzed up many a roasted chicken thereby — for a stint that takes them to the end of the month and through the Midwest and into Canada. They’ll be on the road with Black Tusk, Goatwhore, The Casualties and Great American Ghost, so it’s a little bit of something for everybody, and it’s easy enough to expect packed houses along the way. The more aggressive edge of the material on Equilibrium and 2016’s Revival (review here) will suit them well on the tour, and to mark the occasion, they’ve got a new video for “They Probably Know Karate,” which, if you’re familiar with the band, you already know has nothing to do with karate or whatever delightful obscurity the title is referencing. Instead, it’s a somewhat apocalyptic imagery the lyrics evoke — “In the end a pale horse will ride,” etc. — and I’m not really sure what’s going on with the plague beaks and Ouija-board conjuration in the video, but hey folks, it’s heavy metal, so you know. Plague beaks and Ouija boards. It’s part of the culture of thing.

If they’re hitting somewhere you’re going to be, go see Gozu and tell them I said hi. It’s been a while since I last caught them and I miss these cats.

Dig:

Gozu, “They Probably Know Karate” official video

Boston’s rock/metal outfit Gozu will join the Metal Alliance tour, featuring Goatwhore, The Casualties, Black Tusk, and Great American Ghost. In anticipation of these upcoming shows, the band has now launched a new video for “They Probably Know Karate” (directed by Tony Simone at Zenbeast Media).

Gozu comments: “We are super excited about our new video! Tony is a super talented up and coming video director and knocked this out the park! This is also a great jump off point to the Metal Alliance Tour coming up next week!! Goatwhore, The Casualties, Black Tusk, Great American Ghost…What’s not to like?? We get to tour with bands we’re actually fans of!”

See below for all dates!

Metal Alliance Tour w/ Gozu
Featuring Goatwhore, The Casualties, Black Tusk, Great American Ghost
Nov. 18 – Aftershock – Merriam, KS
Nov. 20 – Turf Club – St. Paul, MN
Nov. 21 – Reggie’s Rock Club – Chicago, IL
Nov. 23 – Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
Nov. 24 – Overtime Sports Bar – Kingston, ON
Nov. 25 – Salle Multi Du Complex Meduse – Quebec City, QC
Nov. 26 – Les Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC
Nov. 28 – Gramercy Theater – New York, NY
Nov. 29 – Montage Music Hall – Rochester, NY
Nov. 30 – One Centre Square – Easton, PA

Gozu line-up:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Mike Hubbard – drums
Doug Sherman – lead guitar and sounds

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Friday Full-Length: Yawning Man, Rock Formations

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

 

Consider the timing. Yawning Man formed in 1986 with guitarist Gary Arce, guitarist Mario Lalli, bassist Larry Lalli and drummer Alfredo Hernandez, and for a long time were something of a historical footnote in the development of Californian desert rock. Along with Across the River and the Lallis’ other concurrent band, Fatso Jetson, they were crucial to the development of the style, but Yawning Man were never able to reap the same kind of acclaim as some of the others from their region/local scene, in no small part because they never had a record out. They never signed to SST like Fatso Jetson, or hooked up with Elektra Records like their more accessible acolytes in Kyuss.

In fact, until 19 years after they first got together, the closest thing Yawning Man to a proper document of their sprawling jams was a series of demos that would later be collected into The Birth of Sol (discussed here), which was released on vinyl through Cobraside Distribution in 2009 and on double-cassette earlier this year through Solid 7 Records in an edition of 100 copies. Yes, I bought one. Just now. While writing this post. It’s called multitasking.

So think about that: Yawning Man went 19 years before they put out a record. And when they did? Rock Formations was ahead of its time.

Issuing through Alone Records, the instrumentalists would catch the ears of an elite few in the burgeoning milieu of internet message boards, but what Rock Formations communicates even 13 years after its first release in 2005 is a sense of pastoral spaciousness. In Arce‘s signature guitar tone — which, not to take away from Mario Lalli‘s bass or Hernandez‘s drumming, which are of course essential to the proceedings — Yawning Man finds its center and emanates outward from there across 10 songs and 43 minutes that aren’t inactive, but seem to resonate a stillness all the same. It remains a gorgeous record.

But it’s not aggressive. And for a heavy underground who knew Yawning Man largely through the Kyuss cover of “Catamaran” — a song Yawning Man wrote but wouldn’t actually put on an album until 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) — it was an unexpected turn of aesthetic despite ultimately being true to the band’s style, which has never been outwardly angry. Even in the more forward low end of “Advanced Darkness” or the surge in the final minute of “Stoney Lonesome,” which is the longest track at 6:03, Rock Formations holds to a laid back vibe that might have punk roots, but certainly draws from other sources as well.

In 2010, during an interview to talk about that year’s follow-up to Rock Formations, the still-excellent Nomadic Pursuits (review here), I somewhat sheepishly came right out and asked Arce about the development of his guitar tone. yawning man rock formationsCouldn’t help myself. He was kind enough not to call me a dunce and gave a somewhat unexpected answer about his early inspirations:

I’m really into Bauhaus. Seriously. I grew up in the early ‘80s, listening to bands like Bauhaus and I’ve always loved the way that band has their thing, so I’ve always modeled my sound after them. I don’t know if you can hear it. The guitar player is Daniel Ash who later formed Love and Rockets. That guy’s an awesome guitar player, and he’s always had this tone that I’ve loved since I was a kid. When I finally got a guitar, I experimented around a lot with different effects and pedals, and I came near to what he does. I don’t want to sound just like him (laughs), but that’s one of my biggest influences, actually, is Bauhaus… If you listen to Yawning Man and you listen to Bauhaus, Southern Death Cult, Lords of the New Church, you’ll hear it.

Goth rock. A secondary tag for Yawning Man has always been surf because of the echo surrounding Arce‘s guitar and the general rhythmic insistence of songs like “Airport Boulevard” and “Perpetual Oyster,” both highlights of Rock Formations, but I’ve always kept that connection to Bauhaus in mind when it comes to Arce‘s work in sundry projects, and he’s right. You can hear it. It’s part of what makes Rock Formations harder to place within a style like heavy rock. And 2005 was a moment of generational shift as well. The stoner rock wave of the late ’90s and early ’00s had crested, and Yawning Man didn’t really fit with that either.

As the ensuing years and the boom of a mobilized social media landscape would expand the definition of “heavy” to encompass a range of atmospheres, Yawning Man would find their place eventually. But it took people that amount of time to catch up to them, and so in its initial release, Rock Formations was nothing if not under-appreciated. To hear it now, the Western jangle of “Split Tooth Thunder” and closer “Buffalo Chips” and the exploratory ambience of “She Scares Me” are quintessential Yawning ManNomadic Pursuits was more a right-album-right-time situation and though they’d continue having trouble getting on the road for a variety of reasons, by the time they got around to 2015’s Historical Graffiti (review here), which was recorded in South America, they were more apt to get out and tour.

Europe, as it will, has been a focal point, and to coincide with The Revolt Against Tired NoisesYawning Man headed abroad for a massive stint to promote it. One could argue the last half-decade has seen the band get some measure of the respect they’ve long deserved, but Rock Formations was still well in advance of that. Imagine if it had come out in 1995 instead. The mind boggles.

Maybe it was as early as it was late, but somehow being out of its time, standing utterly apart, suits Rock Formations. Yawning Man have never been about setting themselves to an expectation of what heavy is, and while ‘heavy’ has caught up to them in the years since, it’s always been a question of them working on their own terms. More then a decade after the fact, with Yawning Man having taken their place among the most pivotal architects of desert rock, they still are.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

So here’s how it’s gonna go. This weekend is my sister’s birthday. We’re driving down to New Jersey to see her for the occasion. Great. I like New Jersey, I like my family. It all works out. At the same time, The Patient Mrs. has some thing in Boston this morning/afternoon. We have one car.

It goes that I’ll drive with her to Boston with The Pecan in tow, then he and I will go futz around town for a bit while she does her thing — I’m planning on picking up a proper USB microphone so I don’t sound like complete ass (at least in terms of sound quality) during Gimme Radio voice breaks — then go back and pick her up. The drive to Boston can be about 90 minutes in the morning. Any time of day, it is viscerally unpleasant.

After that, we’re supposed to go drive to Connecticut for the night to split up the ride between Massachusetts and New Jersey. We’re not packed. I have no idea what time it will be by then, but I know that the baby — who’s 1 now; Mr. Bigshot Pecan climbing the furniture — will have already been in the car for at least two hours. Then it’s two more from Boston to CT, at least, depending on how long it takes to get out of town, traffic on I-95 or the Masspike, etc.

We’ll end up back here tonight, then rolling down to NJ directly tomorrow morning first thing. There’s no escaping the brutality either way. Then Monday we’re going to hightail it back north at least to Connecticut because The Patient Mrs. has work back here in MA at some point whenever. That’s at least a three-‘u’ fuuuck.

One more thing that, were I 20-25 years old, wouldn’t be a problem. Now? I can’t make it through Rhode Island without falling asleep at the wheel.

This, basically to spend one day in New Jersey. I’m not even sure it’ll be a full 24 hours. One overnight. Woof.

Next Friday, when I’m bitching about how tired I’ve been all week, please someone remind me why. Also feel free to call me fat and tell me I’m a shitty parent. I’ll hear it either way.

Then buy a t-shirt. Thanks.

Here are the notes for next week, subject to change without prior notice:

Mon.: Little Jimi review/stream; maybe that new Greenleaf video.
Tue.: Godmaker/Somnuri split review; Yatra track premiere; Juniper Grave video premiere.
Wed.: Sundecay review/track premiere.
Thu.: Goliathan review/album stream.
Fri.: Arcadian Child review/track premiere.

Wherever possible and in situations where I’m cool enough to do so as deemed by labels, PR, management and the bands themselves — sundry gatekeepers — I’ve been trying to line up reviews and premieres. Gives people a little something more to dig into than my endless fucking blathering. It’s better when there’s a song there at the top of the post. Makes it more exciting for me too.

It’s not all premieres, but I’ve got reviews booked from now through the second week of December. Nothing like thinking ahead.

Pop pop pop. — That’s my brain in my skull.

Okay.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for reading. Thanks for reading. Thanks for reading. Tattoo it on my forearm. Thanks for reading.

Great and safe weekend. Forum and radio.

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The Soulbreaker Company Premiere “Arrhythmia” Video; Sewed with Light out Nov. 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the soulbreaker company 2018

Basque Country progressive heavy rockers The Soulbreaker Company release their sixth LP, Sewed with Light, Nov. 30 on Underground Legends Records. It is their first outing through the label after serving as a longtime staple act for Alone Records, but regardless of who’s putting it out, the band’s sound remains unmistakably their own. In their more than 13 years together, the band has been through a number of lineup changes and have undertaken a persistent sonic evolution, and as the latest manifestation of that, the 11-track/48-minute Sewed with Light brings an overarching pastoral feel to still-weighted grooves and tones. With vocalist Jony Moreno out front surrounded by his fellow founders in guitarists Asier Fernandez (also vocals) and Dani Triñanes, melody runs central throughout the proceedings while Javi Free makes an impression on synth in “Together” and piano in “You Guess but You Don’t Understand,” and the drums of Andoni Ortiz and bass of Illan Arribas tie together a vision of progressive heavy informed by the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin that nonetheless seeks to repeat the work of neither of them. Beginning with its longest track (immediate points) in the seven-minute “Inner Dark,” Sewed with Light offers a balance between a rich, textured sound and a graceful live execution that’s emblematic of their sonic maturity but still exciting to hear.

Acoustics, fuzzed electrics, a variety of keys and malleable vocals all come together to create the tapestry evoked in the material, which is peaceful even at its heaviest moments the soulbreaker company sewed with lightand has precious little time for needless aggression. Even as “The Word, the Blade” picks up into its chorus, the feel remains easy and accessible, and as they cap with the electronics-and-drone piece “In the Beginning,” the vibe remains more experimentalist than angry. Though it’s relatively short at 2:57, “Arrhythmia” represents Sewed with Light well. Preceded by the keyboard/Mellotron-laced “Avoid the Crash,” it’s more uptempo than some of what surrounds, but set as the penultimate inclusion on the tracklist, it’s obviously meant as a last-minute kick to get listeners on board for the far-out closer that follows. Like the best of the classics from which they take influence, The Soulbreaker Company are able to distill a grand or epic feel down into a song that’s tight in its structure and doesn’t need to hit the 10-minute mark to make its impression emotionally. Centerpiece “Persephone” brings together Free‘s spacey synth and the lead guitars in a one-into-the-next trade of solos and still has room in its five minutes for a memorable hook and an engaging melody. With the early prog-out of the quick “I am the Void” and the breadth of the subsequent “The End of the Day” and “Together,” there’s much for listeners to dig into, but whether one sits and parses through every move, shift in tone and groove, every part change and chorus, or if one simply goes along for the ride, The Soulbreaker Company offer an enticing invite to take its component songs on and live with them for a while. Some records you hear and that’s it. Sewed with Light feels more like a multi-sensory experience.

I’m thrilled today to host the premiere of the video for “Arrhythmia” with my thanks to Underground Legends for letting me do so. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by some info and links as always.

Please enjoy:

The Soulbreaker Company, “Arrhythmia” official video premiere

THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY’s official video for Arrhythmia from the album “Sewed With Light” available on November 30th.

Written and Directed by Elba Berganzo

The Soulbreaker Company is:
Jony Moreno: vox
Asier Fernandez: Guitars, vox
Andoni Ortiz: Drums
Illan Arribas: Bass
Dani Triñanes: Guitars
Javi Free: Synths, Piano, organ

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Elephant Rifle Premiere “I’m Bad at Driving” Video

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

elephant rifle

Reno’s Elephant Rifle aren’t three songs into their 2018 album, Hunk, before they’re advocating punching nazis, so yeah, I’m down. Rooted in punk, but thick in tone and groove, the four-piece keep both a political edge and a hellraising post-hardcore aspect to the 12-tracker, but there’s room among cuts like “Fuck My Name” and “Mass Strangling” and “Current Wars” and opener “Hunk’s America” with the drunkard’s-poetics lyricism of “Frat Poison,” “Big Milk” and “I’m Bad at Driving,” all of which offer no shortage of instrumental shenanigans to coincide. Intensity varies but tension is largely universal, and left, right or center, everyone seems to wind up taking a hit by the time the album is done. “Frat Poison” and “Sorority Row” would seem to cover both bases, for example, and likewise, the jangly West Coast noise rock of “Broomrider” complements the crashing and percussive drive of “Cowboy Poetry” earlier. They push, they pummel, and indeed, the punch, but the frenetic energy they bring to bear isn’t without consideration behind it — there are adults in the room.

Fair enough. The band — Brad Bynum, Mike MayhallClint Neuerburg and Mike Young — tracked with Tim Green (The Fucking Champs) — and Hunk carries the raw clarity of his work, but personality abounds on the band’s part, to put it mildly, and though by the time they engage Dr. Seuss on “Hit the Showers,” the onslaught of commentary seems to be somewhat less pointed than it was at the outset, there’s little arguing with the fact that the American age of media saturation, information saturation, and a willfully blurred line between truth and fiction accommodates all of the above and still has space in its infinite data servers for a song like “I’m Bad at Driving,” which, in terms of subject matter, is pretty much what the title would have you believe. There’s a video for the track premiering below — that’s why we’re here; keep up — and in addition to highlighting the song itself, it’s a good look at the persona driving the band throughout Hunk. Chicanery abounds. I hope their next album has a song about incels, because fuck that shit too.

I’ve included an embed of the full album from Elephant Rifle‘s Bandcamp, because in my imaginary world in which I have any grasp of how media works, you’re more likely to check out the record if I do that. Anyway, it’s there, so dig in as you will, but have some fun with the video first. It’s like every Uber driver’s worst nightmare come to life.

For those in the area or who can head that way, Elephant Rifle play Off Beat Music Festival in Reno this weekend with Big BusinessEaldor BealuDeath Valley Girls and others. Info is here.

Enjoy:

Elephant Rifle, “I’m Bad at Driving” official video premiere

The video for “I’m Bad at Driving,” a song from Elephant Rifle’s new album Hunk, features a hard-partying women’s softball team, joint-rolling heshers, magical black metal priests, and … goats?

Order here now: http://elephantrifle.bandcamp.com

Elephant Rifle is from Reno, Nevada. The band’s music is a mix of ’90s noise rock, ’80s hardcore, and ’70s classic rock, with strains of metal, psychedelia, post-punk, and more. The band has earned a solid rep for its sweaty, visceral live shows. This new LP, Hunk, is the band’s third full-length album.

“I’m Bad at Driving” is about behind-the-wheel anxiety. The song sounds a bit like the Jesus Lizard covering the Knack or something. In the video, ER vocalist Brad Bynum drives around at night, shuttling the aforementioned colourful cast of characters to who know where. Things start strange and get stranger.

Hunk features 12 slabs of savory sonic meat recorded with the great Tim Green at Louder Studios. (He was a member of Nation of Ulysses and the Fucking Champs, and he’s recorded a bunch of great albums by people like the Melvins, Comets on Fire, and other bands you probably already love.)

The “I’m Bad at Driving” video was directed by artist, illustrator, musician, and filmmaker Jeff Rogers, a.k.a. “Metal Jeff.” He also directed the 2014 Elephant Rifle video “I Can’t Believe You’re Still Alive.”

Elephant Rifle, Hunk (2018)

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John Garcia and the Band of Gold Post “Chicken Delight” Lyric Video; Playing Planet Desert Rock Weekend Nov. 29

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

john garcia and the band of gold

Later this month, John Garcia and the Band of Gold take the stage headlining the first night of the inaugural Planet Desert Rock Weekend. Put together by Vegas Rock Revolution, it’s an impeccably curated evening celebrating what’s a rare onstage US appearance for Garcia, with performances by Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol which features Hermano‘s Dave Angstrom, and Death in Pretty Wrapping, which has Arthur Seay also from Unida (and House of Broken Promises) on guitar. The idea is everyone kind of gets together and rocks out at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel in Vegas, joining Garcia onstage to play tracks from his past outfits and so on.

There’s also a whole weekend of insanity planned (info here), but no question that for US concertgoers, seeing Garcia these days isn’t something that happens all that often. Since Vista Chino went their separate ways, he’s focused heavily on Europe with acoustic tours and festival appearances, and fair enough given that market.

So far as he’s said, this will be his only US show for the upcoming John Garcia and the Band of Gold album.

That album, self-titled, is due out Jan. 4, 2019, via Napalm Records, and they’ve newly unveiled a lyric video — kind of standard procedure at this point — to introduce one of the tracks. Dubbed “Chicken Delight,” the song is not one of the several redux’ed from Garcia‘s last outing, which was 2017’s mostly-unplugged The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here), but instead is all-new and thus far exclusive to this album. Though it’d work acoustic as well. Those curious as to how the reunion might sound between Garcia and producer Chris Goss, who once upon a time produced genre-defining LPs for Garcia‘s band Kyuss, go ahead and take note, because that’s what’s happening here.

A month-long stretch of European tour dates has been announced to follow shortly after the album’s release. You might recall that tour was initially supposed to happen this Fall but was rescheduled to allow for the recording to be done, because, well, let’s face it. If you’re going on tour for a month and you’re about to finish a new record, you probably want to be able to take it along with you. The Jan.-Feb. stint will allow for that.

Those dates as well as more info follow the clip here, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

John Garcia and the Band of Gold, “Chicken Delight” official lyric video

Desert Rock frontman extraordinaire, JOHN GARCIA, has just released”Chicken Delight”, the first single of the new album John Garcia And The Band Of Gold. Today the Kyuss legend unveils the official lyric video for the relaxed groover straight out of the desert!

“Chicken Delight”is the perfect beginning of your California desert trip that opens out to a new album that melts down the whole subgenre to the core! It’s the perfect mix of his trademarked voice and the groovy, laid back and dusty sound that lies within every chord that makes your mind fly away. Over the last almost three decades, JOHN GARCIA’s voice has set the standard for the sound of the California desert and “Chicken Delight” takes it one step further.

Pre-order “John Garcia And The Band Of Gold” here: http://smarturl.it/JGATBOG

Out January 4th

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold Live:
After having a meeting between his musical past and present, by playing on one stage with Nick Oliveri (ex-Kyuss), Dave Angstrom (ex-Hermano) and Arthur Seay (ex-Unida) on November 29 in Las Vegas, JOHN GARCIA will return to an extensive tour through Europe with his Band Of Gold:

Special Show w/ Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol, Death in Pretty Wrapping
29.11.18 US – Las Vegas / Vinyl

European Tour 2019
w/ Dead Quiet
23.01.19 FR – Paris / Le Trabendo
24.01.19 FR – Bordeaux / Le Krakatoa
25.01.19 ES – Madrid / Caracol
26.01.19 ES – Barcelona / Razzamatazz 2
28.01.19 FR – Lyon / Le Kao
29.01.19 CH – Zurich / Bogen F.
30.01.19 IT – Milan / Santeria Club
31.01.19 DE – Munich / Backstage Halle
02.02.19 AT – Graz / Explosiv
03.02.19 HU – Budapest / A38
04.02.19 CZ – Prague / Rock Café
05.02.19 DE – Nuremberg / Hirsch
07.02.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
08.02.19 DE – Berlin / SO36
09.02.19 DK – Copenhagen / Loppen
10.02.19 NO – Oslo / John Dee
12.02.19 FI – Helsinki / Tavastia
14.02.19 SE – Stockholm / Debaser Strand
15.02.19 SE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers
16.02.19 DE – Hamburg / Gruenspan
17.02.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
19.02.19 BE – Leuven / Het Depot
20.02.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Sal
21.02.19 DE – Essen / Turock
22.02.19 NL – Tilburg / 013
23.02.19 UK – London / O2 Academy Islington

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold are:
John Garcia – vocals
Ehren Groban – guitar
Mike Pygmie – bass
Greg Saenz – drums

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Pale Heart Premiere “Flying High” Video; Jungleland Due Dec. 7

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Pale Heart (Photo by Heiko Herrmann)

German heavy blues rockers Pale Heart release their debut album, Jungleland, on Dec. 7 through StoneFree Records/Broken Silence. It’s their first record with the name, but the history of the three-piece who made it — often-chapeau’ed guitarist/vocalist Marc Bauer, organist Nico Bauer and drummer Sebastian Neumeier (since replaced by Marvin Schaber) — goes back a decade to their teenage beginnings as the band White Daze. Also, in the case of Marc and Nico being brothers, you know, childhood and all that. But Pale Heart, who derive the new name from a critique of the ravages of capitalist greed on the human soul — Marx would groove — are a different animal altogether, with the varied keys and synth taking the place of bass in covering low end with the guitar while furthering the melody and Marc‘s vocals as a steady focal point over the swinging, adaptable drums of Neumeier. Whether they’re chilling out slow on “Little World” or  dug into the heavier push in the second half of seven-minute opener “Time to Love” — immediately contrasted by “Evil Man” — or basking in the psychedelia and well-earned organ/synth solo in the 12-minute “Transcendence,” Jungleland isn’t by any means a minor journey at nine songs and 50 minutes, but it stands itself out via songcraft and naturalist, smooth performances.

And if their new video for “Flying High” makes you want to get down by getting all dragged up and putting on a show, pale heart junglelandfucking a. Seems to work pretty well for my man with the cigarettes on his pizza, so all the better. The song, like much of the record it represents, is a hookfest, catchy to its core and given nuance in the sonic space where bass might otherwise reside by Nico‘s Rhodesing and Moogery. As the penultimate cut on Jungleland, it’s somewhat buried behind the aforementioned “Transcendence,” but it’s an uptempo kick right when the album needs it and provides a bridge to the easy-rolling closer “Cry of Desperation” that follows. No complaints, in other words. The production is organic but not strictly retro, and across the record the band flesh out sundry moods and funky nods while holding to the central bluesy feel. It’s a vibe album. It vibes. It wants you to vibe with it. And it makes a convincing case for doing so.

In that, “Flying High” is a more than worthy representation, and even if you don’t have nailpolish handy (why not?), the clip is also fully enjoyable with a cup of coffee, or maybe a slice of cigarette-free pizza if that’s your thing. I’m happy to host the premiere.

PR wire info on the band follows the video itself, which is right down there in that box that looks like a video. Go figure.

Please enjoy:

Pale Heart, “Flying High” official video premiere

Founded in 2008 under the moniker WHITE DAZE, the trio, consisting of brothers Marc and Nico Bauer, and Sebastian Neumeier, found its home within the soulful Blues Rock-spheres of the olden days. And without exaggeration: It’s this baseline feeling that makes the 70ies come alive right in front of you. Forged from the present and fed by the past, their sound isn’t just a combination of those two worlds. It’s an elegant amalgamation that also evokes something new. Sebastian Neumeier isn’t a member of PALE HEART anymore, but it’s him playing the drums on “Jungleland”.

Under the name PALE HEART the band reforms as a trio, this time with Marvin Schaber as the drummer. And good times are ahead: Their new material sounds full, earthy, and gritty, felt to the bone by each member and performed with maximum authenticity. Blues, Rock, Soul, Prog sounds and faintly psychedelic melodies, never too serious despite its depth, never too easy despite its groove. PALE HEART don’t make music to be cool, to get girls, or to be celebrated on hipster blogs. PALE HEART strive to make music because it’s fulfilling. And have adopted an even more free, passionate, and uninhibited sound in 2018.

PALE HEART ON TOUR
11/10/2018 Weil der Stadt – Groove Tonight
11/24/2018 Memmingen – Kaminwerk
11/30/2018 Regensburg – Alte Mälzerei
12/07/2018 Stuttgart – Merlin
12/11/2018 Aachen – TBA
12/12/2018 Köln – Blue Shell
12/13/2018 Bayreuth – TBA
12/22/2018 Stuttgart – Waagenhallen
12/26/2018 Erfurt – Museumskeller
01/05/2019 Ulm – Hexenhaus
01/07/2019 Bamberg – Live Club
01/19/2019 Winnenden – Juze

Pale Heart is:
Marc Bauer (Guitar, Vocals)
Nico Bauer (Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes Piano, Moog Synthesizer, Moog Bass)
Marvin Schaber (Drums, but former drummer Sebastian Neumeier plays on “Jungleland”)

Pale Heart on Thee Facebooks

Pale Heart on Instagram

Pale Heart on Bandcamp

StoneFree Records website

StoneFree Records on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records on Spotify

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Friday Full-Length: Mühr, Messiah

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

If you have headphones handy, go ahead and put them on. I’ll wait.

I’ve now false-started this post three times. That’s a lot. Usually, one, two at the outside. Three false starts — a sentence or two deep, then scrap, start over — means I’m having legitimate trouble framing a discussion of something, and when it comes to Messiah (review here), the lone full-length by Amsterdam-based cosmic doomers Mühr, I take it as a sign of how continually affecting I find the record. I’m closing out this week with it in part because it’s November, which means that we’re officially in the wind-down on 2018 (whew) and somehow I couldn’t let the year pass without marking a half-decade since this album’s release. Comprised of just a single track running 47 minutes, it was released on vinyl through Canardian Records and is as close to a perfect execution of weighted-soul psychedelia as I’ve heard. From the opening bassline to its many drones and swirls and explorations, the song “Messiah” operates on its own level entirely and five years later I’ve yet to hear a piece that captures a sense of majesty in the same way. I know it’s not the highest-profile outing that’s ever closed out a week around here, but I really do consider this one of the best records of the decade.

If you’ve never heard it before, the best advice I can give you is to be patient. Mühr certainly are. It’s nearly five minutes into the total stretch before one realizes the song has started, and longer still before the build that’s underway is really processed. Think of it as a stellar object in rotation. It’s moving, but that motion isn’t immediately apparent to the naked eye. Mühr‘s initials-only lineup included guitarists IJV and GW, drummer HH and bassist/vocalist ZALX also adds vocals to “Messiah” and FA keys, and there’s apparently a three-note sample of Ornette Coleman somewhere in there, but I won’t pretend to know where — and the flow they’re able to hone throughout the piece is graceful to the point of being balletic. Vocals arrive gently ahead of the first of two surges of volume. I won’t spoil it by giving the time stamp, but there’s a soft tension being build in the early going of the track and much teasing before it actually happens, flourish of harmonized Mühr, Messiahvocals somehow only adding to that. Knowing it’s coming makes it somewhat easier, but when that hugeness of tone finally takes hold it’s absolutely gotta-make-it-louder glorious; a consuming wash the likes of which I’ve rarely heard. Yes, I mean it. Listen for the little bit of feedback. That’s your clue that it’s arrived. And as the drums crash out a slow procession and one guitar scorches while the other holds together the rhythm with the bass — neither of them separate from the rest of the proceedings melodically, by the way — the space created is vast and expands the context of the rest of the outing that follows. About 10 and a half minutes total have passed before the drums cease their march for now, and the residual noise recedes gradually in a chaotic flurry of noise that somehow becomes lost-time hypnotic, the rumble of the low end, the melee of effects and the sort of swelling drones continuing the bear the heft of the volume that came before. It’s an aftermath, and one well earned, but it also becomes its own movement, and something I said about Messiah at the time and very much stand by is that these stretches and especially the long movement of noise at the end of the track are pivotal to its overall success.

There’s a second push no less gorgeously executed. At 15 minutes or so, the drums return to bring everything back to ground, and the bass progression locks step almost immediately to begin the next stage of the march. Again, it’s subtle, and so fluid, and so easy to get lost in, but it’s happening, and over the next few minutes, the vocals come back as an ethereal presence and soon lead the way into a bit of foreboding circa 20:30, and shortly thereafter the guitars lurch back and unleash the next voluminous cascade. Feedback and effects noise play out to accompany the central riff over the slowly churning drums and as it passes its halfway point, “Messiah” moves into a next stage of its loudest, most active manifestation. Then the real fun starts. At 27 minutes, things are quiet again, but the drums and bass are still holding the same pattern. The most affecting stretch of vocals happens almost a minute and a half later. Two quick (in the grand scheme of the piece itself), soulful verses obviously intended as a showcase work their way into a slow-motion guitar solo, and while it’s not nearly as loud as either of the bigger surges, that’s the actual apex of “Messiah.” The moment where the band seems to lay it all out and leave everything there for the listener to digest. What follows in the remaining 17 minutes is a trace of psychedelic drone and noise, working across different, improvised-sounding stages to build on the atmosphere thus-far conjured, as though they left the tape running after the song itself had finished and then — boldly, I’d argue — realized how necessary that last stretch is to the spirit of creation that so much abounds through the entire work.

Mühr had released the Shepherd / Blood EP (discussed here) in 2010, but Messiah was another level entirely. To date, it’s one of the best examples I’ve ever heard of a band absolutely putting everything into one offering and apparently obliterating themselves in the process. Mühr played three shows. Three. I was so fortunate to be there for one of them, at the Cul de Sac in Tilburg at Roadburn 2014 (review here), and watching them onstage lit by candles playing as a five-piece is still an experience for which I’m incredibly grateful. They played “Messiah” in its entirety. It was amazing. I get a chill thinking about it.

ZA, aka Dennis Duijnhouwer, played bass concurrently in the up-and-coming Death Alley, and would appear on the first of their full-lengths but depart before the second. He and guitarist Jevin de Groot, who appeared in Mühr as GW, have a new band together called Temple Fang, who’ve played a couple shows and seem to be just getting going. Needless to say, one eagerly anticipates finding out what the future holds there.

Either way, Mühr‘s sole long-player remains an entity unto itself, and as curious as I was to know how they might follow it up, the fact that it stands alone somehow makes its place even more special. It’s not just another album or just a first album. It’s a monument.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Is this the part where I go on and on about how tired I am? Oh, okay, good. I’m glad. We made it. I’ve had the same headache for five days.

People come and go from your life. That’s what people do. That is the nature of things. A day doesn’t last. People usually don’t last. I know a lot of people, I’m fortunate to have a wife and a son, but I don’t have a lot of friends. That’s all I want to say.

Sunday at 7PM Eastern, episode three of “The Obelisk Show” airs on Gimme Radio. It’s a special recorded at the Høstsabbat Fest I went to in Oslo earlier this month and I’ve got interviews with Ole and Jens, who run the event, as well as Elephant Tree and Asteroid, and it’s all pretty awesome. You should listen. Thanks.

And thanks too to everyone who’s bought a shirt. If that’s not you, I get it, but if it is, your support of this endeavor is massively appreciated. More than a quarter of them are gone, and they’re available here: https://dropoutmerch.com/the-obelisk

Let’s do some notes and then I’m gonna try to crash out before the baby wakes up. Subject to change blah blah here we go:

Mon.: Hibrido track premiere/review; Pale Heart video premiere.
Tue.: Sadhus review/album stream; Sergio Ch. video.
Wed.: Causa Sui review; Maybe an Elephant Rifle video premiere.
Thu.: Vinnum Sabbathi/Cegvera review/premiere; maybe Birnam Wood video.
Fri. Belzebong review.

Busy, as ever.

The Patient Mrs. has been sick all week. It’s been a lot of me and The Pecan, and while she usually has minimal work obligations on Fridays, she’s gotta be there from like 1PM until god knows when. After bedtime. It’s a lot, but he’s a good kid, so that helps. We’ll play or go to Costco or read books or whatever this afternoon and he’ll be fine. I worry about poisoning him with my own wretchedness. My shitty posture. My frowny face. I suck. Ugh.

Okay, enough of that.

Please have a great and safe weekend. I’ll stay up all the way until 9PM on Sunday to be in the Gimme Radio chat while the show is on, so thanks if you get to check that out, and please don’t forget the forum and the radio stream here as well.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Dun Ringill Post “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dun ringill

If the title sounds completely over the top, it is. I think that’s the idea. Apart from a studio snippet posted on the social medias, this is the first audio made public from Dun Ringill‘s impending debut album, Welcome, and it’s a rousing start. That’s probably the idea too. “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine.” What’s in a name, right?

Well, this name brings along nine-plus minutes of classic doom from members of Doomdogs and The Order of Israfel, among others — six dudes; plenty of pedigree to go around — and calls upon the masters of Scandinavian doom in order to cast its sound. Yes, I’m talking about Candlemass, but also some of Lord Vicar and Reverend Bizarre‘s ultra-schooled worship of Saint Vitus and Black Sabbath, doom that wants to get to the roots of when it and metal came together to become something dark and encompassing. I don’t know if horror themes will persist throughout Dun Ringill‘s recently-tracked LP, which Argonauta will release early next year, but they make an impression here with nod-ready riffs and vocals that swap between cleaner, Ozzy-style vocals and a throaty delivery of the titular hook that, yeah, it’s a little silly, but is also bound to get stuck in your head.

That is, get ready to spend the rest of your day welcoming various and sundry other people to the fun fair horror time machine. If only in your inner monologue.

I won’t claim to know what the rest of the album has in store, but “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” is a more than solid execution of unpretentious traditional doom, and it bodes well for what might follow. The personnel already had me looking forward to the record. It’s fortunate to have the first glimpse at the material itself live up to that.

Enjoy:

Dun Ringill, “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” official video

We are so proud and happy to finally release our debut video!

The single is also out on all digital platforms.

It was easy for us to pick the track “Welcome to the Fun Fair Horror Time Machine” as the first video and single” the band explains. “It shows the variety of the band that has their roots in doom but paints them with nordic folk music. The lyric idea behind is to explore the evil and dark side of our minds and this song and video shows it pretty well.“

Filmed & Directed by Robert Hellström
Make up Marianne Stepperud Antonsen
Actors Tomas Olsson, Ozzy Grammann, Eddie Grammann
Special thanks to Nalles Tivoli

Dun Ringill on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Thee Facebooks

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