You know how it goes by now. Very few people are born into stoner rock or doom. Most come to it via some other kind of underground music, be it punk or metal. In the case of Tumbleweed Dealer founding guitarist/bassist Sébastien Painchaud, it’s the latter. Painchaud was a member of metalcore technicians Ion Dissonance and has played with The Last Felony among a host of others. Last year — so the story goes — he got high and then Tumbleweed Dealer happened. Tale as old as time: Beardy and the Riff.
Tumbleweed Dealer partners Painchaud with fellow former The Last Felony member Felix Roberge, who handles bass live, and drummer Carl Borman of respectable Quebecois stoner-doomers Dopethrone, and the resulting debut full-length plays out with some underlying semblance of technicality, but sacrifices nothing in overlying groove to get there. Painchaud adds smooth bass fills to hypnotically repetitive guitar lines, and though some turns feel jagged on the gleefully bud-reverent “How to Light a Joint with a Blowtorch,” Tumbleweed Dealer‘s entry to the sphere of capital-‘h’ Heavy is a formidable one in more than just the length of some of its track titles.
The band made their debut with last year’s Death Rides Southwards — distributed through Moshpit Tragedy Records — but as a first album, Tumbleweed Dealer finds their sound well cohesive, active but laid back, and not too insistent in its changes, but not redundant either. Shades of newer-school Southern metal twang show up in some of the post-Baroness guitar work, but Painchaud gives “March of the Dead Cowboys” a slower, moodier sensibility at the record’s center, and the context gets richer for it. Later, as “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross” and “Dark Times a’Comin'” trade off Earth drones and post-rock crescendos, respectively, I can’t help but wonder if Tumbleweed Dealer are just beginning to show their hand stylistically with these seven tracks and what sonic shifts future outings might offer.
I guess we have a while to go before we get there, since Tumbleweed Dealer‘s Tumbleweed Dealer was just released at the end of April, but for an album so brimming with potential, it’s hard not to speculate on what the future might hold.