The Midnight Ghost Train Calling it Quits; Final Shows Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

This was a special band. If you ever saw them live, you know what I’m talking about. The first time I saw them, I was drunk as a skunk in a Bayonne, New Jersey, firemen’s hall or VFW or whatever it was. They were playing with a buddy’s band called L.O.M.F., and they took the stage, did “John the Revelator,” and blew my addled mind. This had to be around 2008, because I’m pretty sure that’s where I picked up their The Johnny Boy EP (review here). Over the next several years, I’d come to find out that the raucous kicking of such ass was just kind of how it went for The Midnight Ghost Train. Standard procedure.

Fronted by the gravely-voiced Steve Moss, The Midnight Ghost Train would go on to tour the world and release four full-lengths: a 2009 self-titled debut (review here), 2012’s Buffalo (review here), 2015’s Cold was the Ground (review here) and 2017’s Cypress Ave. (review here). With Moss and drummer Brandon Burghart joined by a succession of bassists — Mike Boyne was the last of them and an excellent fit in the band — each record was a step forward from the last, and they never put out the same album twice. As much as their reputation rested on their live delivery, and rightly so for the madness that ensued on stage and the electrifying nature of Moss’ player-persona, they could always be counted on to showcase thoughtful creative progression in their songwriting as well.

I could go on, but the point is I’ve covered The Midnight Ghost Train for a decade. Saw them open for Truckfighters in Philly and stood close enough to the stage to get hit by Moss’ hair as he headbanged. Watched them through the door at Roadburn Festival because the room was too packed to get in. I never saw them give less than their everything on stage. Never. And while I’m glad they drop the hint that they might return at some point in the future, and while I wish them luck in whatever endeavors they might undertake, I hope they do take a few years’ break and come back stronger than ever, I’m even gladder I’ll get to see what seems to be their final performance at Maryland Doom Fest 2018 this June.

As they’d also been confirmed for Electric Funeral Fest III in Denver on June 29, I’m not entirely sure what’s happening there, but in the band’s farewell message, they list three shows, and MDDF is the last one. Here’s that note from the band, who will be missed:

the midnight ghost train

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL FANS:
It is with a heavy heart that we announce to you that The Midnight Ghost Train is hanging it up and saying goodbye. Our personal family lives have become more important to us than being on the road. We feel content and successful in what we have built in the past ten years, our amazing dedicated fan base being our greatest achievement. We respect our fans and our music, so we’ve decided it is time to say goodbye.

We will be finishing our career as The Midnight Ghost Train with three final shows. So if you want to see us perform one last time giving you every piece of our soul that’s left, here are your chances:

June 22-Topeka, KS @ J&Js Gallery
June 23- Newport, KY @ SGHR
With our final show being
June 24- @ The Maryland Doom Festival

Maybe we will come back some day down the road, and storm back to the stage better than ever, but at this time that plan is not in place for the distant future. Right now we want to focus on our family lives, and continue on with our other dreams and aspirations.

Once again, thank you to all of our devoted fans for helping us achieve our dreams. Every one of you holds a special place in our hearts. We hope that we have given you the same love that you have given us.

www.facebook.com/themidnightghosttrain
www.themidnightghosttrain.com
www.napalmrecords.com
www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

The Midnight Ghost Train, “Tonight” official video

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Morag Tong to Release Last Knell of Om May 18; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

morag tong photo isha shah

Through mostly longer-form pieces, London psychedoomic four-piece Morag Tong make their full-length debut with Last Knell of Om on May 18. Though they’re almost certainly aware of them, the title doesn’t seem to actually be a reference to the band Om, whose last knell has hopefully not been heard, and perhaps refers more to the end of a meditative state, something springing to action, say, as a band might on their first album.

But that’s me, and I almost always assume titles are self-referential on the part of the band in question, when they almost never are. So it goes. More importantly, Morag Tong have a new song streaming from Last Knell of Om called “We Answer” and it’s eight minutes of riffy murk that’s a lot of fun to get all turned around within. You can have at it at the bottom of this post.

And hey, while you’re there, why not check out some info from the PR wire, eh? Here it is:

morag tong the last knell of om

Psychedelic doom newcomers MORAG TONG announce debut LP ‘Last Knell of Om’ (May 18)

Psychedelic doom has a new voice in newcomers MORAG TONG, who are proud to announce their debut LP Last Knell of Om, to be released May 18.

To coincide with the news, the band have streamed lead track ‘We Answer’.

Unquestionably odd and instantly lovable, Last Knell of Om is ostensibly a stoner doom album but at heart an anti-doom record, the sounds of the genre taken to the nth degree. Slow, expansive, spacious sonorities meet a shared passion for musical experimentalism driven by a vocalist-drummer and a wall-of-sound approach.

Recorded in a studio at the top of a hill just south of London, Om contains the very minute traces of pick-up from the chart-topping Capital FM station. Similarly, opening track ‘Transmission’ begins and ends with recordings of birdsong – a link to lead track ‘We Answer’.

Although not strictly a concept album, there is an impressive level of cohesion to Morag Tong’s Last Knell of Om. Heavily DIY, Morag Tong embarked on March tours with Tuskar and Sail, and put on their own mini-festival called The Local Fuzz. The band have played alongside Slabdragger, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Earthmass, Monolithian, and more.

Watch the band live:
27th Apr – Plymouth, Underground
28th Apr – Tiverton, White Horse Inn
16th May – London, Black Heart [Album Launch w/ Elephant Tree, Wychhound]

moragtong.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/moragtongband
instagram.com/morag.tong
twitter.com/moragtongband

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Hellhookah Euro Tour Starts Next Week; Second LP in the Works

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

hellhookah

First word I saw of a second long-player from Lithuanian doom duo Hellhookah came way back in Sept. 2016, around the same time it was announced their debut, Endless Serpents (review here), had been picked up for a vinyl release through NoSlip Records. The two-piece will embark on a 10-date tour next week through the Czech Republic, France, Germany, and so on, and as they go on what they’ve christened the ‘Dust in the Wind’ tour — one hopes that’s a signal they’re doing a cover as part of the set — they say their sophomore outing is currently being recorded.

Call it progress. I don’t know if the next Hellhookah long-player will be out this year or next, or what the pace is like in the studio work — bang it all out in two days, record one guitar track per month, etc. — but at least it’s moving forward one way or another. It’ll show up when it shows up. Good doom takes time.

Dates and other info from the PR wire:

hellhookah tour poster

Lithuanian two-piece Doom Metal band Hellhookah announces their Dust in the Wind European Spring Tour which is starting in two weeks. The tour contains of 10 dates. During the trip band will play shows in Czech Republic, Germany, France, Austria and finish it in their hometown Vilnius, Lithuania.

Tour dates:
19/04 // ?ESKÁ 1 MUSIC CLUB, Kutná Hora (Czech Republic)
20/04 // CHEKOV, Cottbus (Germany)
21/04 // MTS LP’s & CD’s, Oldenburg (Germany)
22/04 // Dirty Dancing -OS, Osnabrück (Germany)
24/04 // Jungle Club, Köln (Germany)
25/04 // Le Midland, Lille (France)
26/04 // P8, Karlsruhe (Germany)
27/04 // Kunstverein, Nürnberg (Germany)
29/04 // Club Wakuum, Graz (Austria)
11/05 // XI20, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Hellhookah have started playing live in the beginning of 2014. In 2016 their full-length album Endless Serpents was released by independent US label NoSlip Records on CDs and 180g LPs. During 4 active years band has played dozens of shows at various gigs and festivals around Europe, including Germany, Belgium, Finland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Now Hellhookah is also working hard in studio recording their second full-length album.

https://www.facebook.com/Hellhookah/
http://www.hellhookah.com/
https://hellhookah.bandcamp.com/

Hellhookah, Endless Serpents (2015)

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Vessel of Light to Release Woodshed in Sept.; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vessel of light

Druggy heavy death rockers Vessel of Light have announced their first long-player, titled Woodshed, will be released in September by Argonauta Records. Anyone wanna guess what’s happening in that woodshed? Is it the neat organization of a host of useful tools and gardening equipment? Maybe. Is it where they keep the lawnmower? Maybe. Is there murder? Oh most definitely.

The duo of Ancient VVisdom frontman Nathan Opposition and Hades guitarist Dan Lorenzo made their debut in 2017 with their self-titled EP (review here) and worked quickly to establish a foothold in a sound fueled by Lorenzo‘s weighted riffage and Opposition‘s drug-praising murder poetry lyrics. Together, they made the hooks of songs like “Dead Flesh and Bones” almost unfortunately catchy — let’s face it, that’s not the kind of thing you want to go around singing on a crowded train; or maybe it is — and the newly unveiled song “Son of Man” would seem to have followed suit.

“Son of Man” shows an immediately more balanced mix for Vessel of Light, which is encouraging, and I’m pretty sure that footage of Strawberry Alarm Clock from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls used in the video. Hey, if you’re not gonna appear in your own clip, that’s probably the footage you want to use, so right on.

Details are pretty minimal for the moment, but I’ll hope to have more on Woodshed as we get closer to the release, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, you’ll find “Son of Man” below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Dig:

Vessel of Light, “Son of Man” official video

US doom metallers VESSEL OF LIGHT (featuring Nathan Opposition of ANCIENT VVISDOM and Dan Lorenzo of HADES) release their new single taken from the forthcoming full length.

The song “Son of Man” is an impressive step forward compared to the already highly acclaimed self-titled EP. Opposition handles both drums and vocals and Lorenzo plays guitar and bass on Son of Man.

This is the third video for the duo who also released two lyric videos off their self-titled debut on Argonauta.

“Son of Man” is taken from the forthcoming full “WOODSHED”, to be released by ARGONAUTA Records on CD/LP/DD in September 2018.

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.

Vessel of Light on Instagram

Vessel of Light on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

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Gloop Announce The Tourist Due June 1; Premiere “Samurai Birthday”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

gloop

It slices! It dices! It… has riffs! Frederick, Maryland-based noisemakers Gloop may or may not cut through a thick-skinned tomato like it’s warm butter, but there is a definite sharpness to their forthcoming The Tourist release. Due out June 1 through respected recording house/release shop Grimoire Records, the eight-track outing is only 17 minutes long, but I’m inclined to call it a full-length anyway as there’s not much more I think one might ask of it than it delivers in terms of impact, flow — such as it is for material so angular in nature — and intensity. Punk in its roots, Gloop‘s second EP overall seems way more loyal to shenanigans than to genre, and that serves them well throughout.

One is reminded of mid-’90s Midwestern noise and post-hardcore acts who captured a similar head-about-to-explode unhinged sensibility to that which Gloop bring to a song like closer “Dancing Tongues” — among the longest cuts on The Tourist at a sprawling 2:42 — and that impression is only furthered by the raw recording job of Grimoire head Noel Mueller, who captures every crack in the voice of guitarist Dominic Gianninoto (also of Rhin), as well as the deft turns of drummer Max Detrich and bassist Blake Douglas on early rocker “Skunked” or the explosive 1:23-long “Salamander.” Whatever their sonic intention, Gloop harken to an age when post-hardcore was newly grown and still finding its way, kicking and screaming. They seem to be doing likewise, and the freshness of their approach suits them.

At the bottom of this post, you can stream the official premiere of “Samurai Birthday” from The Tourist. Though especially brief at 1:15, it nonetheless represents the frenetic energy of Gloop well and gives a quick, sans-bullshit glimpse of what they’re all about on an aesthetic level.

Mueller sent along the following info to go with the track premiere, including the preorder link for the album and tour dates. Have at it:

gloop the tourist

The band is called Gloop, and the release is a ~18 minute long ripper, short, sweet and insane sounding (probably the most shamelessly dirty and roomy recording I’ve ever done).

The band features Dominic Giannotto from Rhin on vocals and guitar. They’re a 3 piece noise rock/sludge band from Frederick, MD, and this is their second release and first time working with me/Grimoire Records.

The pre-order page: https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-tourist

“The Tourist” is released on 6/1/18 on Limited Edition CD and high quality cassette, and digitally via Grimoire Records.

The band has the following dates lined up to celebrate the release:

6/07 Frederick, MD
6/07 Harrisonburg, VA
6/09 Charlottesville VA
6/10 Shepherdstown, WV
6/15 Philadelphia, PA
6/16 New York, NY
6/17 Baltimore, MD matinee with Thought Eater and Myopic
6/17 Harrisburg, PA

Credits:
Max Detrich – drums
Dominic Gianninoto – guitar/vox
Blake Douglas – bass

“The Tourist” was recorded by Noel Mueller on December 9th and 10th, 2017. Mixed and mastered by Noel Mueller for Gloop and Grimoire Records. Cover art by Mindy Sizemore, typography by Max, Blake and Dom, layout by Noel Mueller.

https://www.facebook.com/gloopband/
https://gloopmusic.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords/
https://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-tourist

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Howling Giant Announce East Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

howling giant

As they prepare to take the stage this August at Psycho Las Vegas, Nashville progressive heavy rockers Howling Giant have announced a round of tour dates for May supporting their 2017 release, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 (review here). What was, of course, a sequel to 2016’s Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1 (review here) and also followed 2015 self-titled helped the trio further their case for a more expansive sound. Still reveling in the occasional forward groove and off-kilter moment, the songs showed a growing sense of sonic persona that, contrary to what one might expect, did not make the sequel seem weak in comparison to the original.

Will there be a third installment of Black Hole Space Wizard, and if so, when? How the hell should I know. Why don’t you go to one of these gigs and ask the band yourself? Sheesh.

Tour details from the PR wire:

howling giant tour poster

HOWLING GIANT Hit the Road

Nashville riff-psych trio take their DIY sci-fi heaviness on northeast US tour in May, debut new Pink Floyd homage in advance of release alongside Melvins, Pallbearer, ASG, Mark Lanegan.

This May, Howling Giant heads back on tour in support of their latest self-released record, Black Hole Space Wizard Part 2 (August 2017), with stops throughout the northeast and a coveted slot at Psycho Las Vegas to close out the summer.

To launch this run of dates with due fanfare, Howling Giant will preview their futuristic update of early Pink Floyd obscurity Matilda Mother, which Magnetic Eye Records will include as part of its colossal The Wall [Redux] / Best of Pink Floyd release extravaganza that has been building in scope and anticipation since early 2017 and features a range of new scenesters and established heavyweights.

Formed by three self-proclaimed nerds, Howling Giant is a perfect marriage between pulpy sci-fi themes and blistering riff-prog. Fans of Mastodon’s Crack the Skye, early Baroness and Summoner will immediately latch on to Howling Giant’s spaced-out, cosmically-informed songcraft, with lyrics spanning sea voyages to space flight, not to mention androids with a bloodlust for camels (because, again, why not?).

Howling Giant on tour in May:

5.10 – Chicago IL @ Reggies
5.11 – Cincinnati OH @ Cameleon Pizza
5.12 – Pittsburgh PA @ Howler’s
5.13 – Buffalo NY @ Mohawk Place
5.14 – Off
5.15 – TBA
5.16 – Easthampton MA @The Ohm
5.17 – TBA
5.18 – Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
5.19 – York PA @ The Depot
5.20 – Frederick MD @ Guido’s
5.21 – Off
5.22 – Baltimore @ The Depot
5.23 – Washington DC @ Atlas Brew Works
5.24 – Raleigh NC @ Slim’s
5.25 – Wilmington VA @Reggies 42nd Street Tavern
5.26 – Asheville NC @ Sly Grog
August 17-19 – Psycho Last Vegas

howlinggiant.bandcamp.com
twitter.com/howlinggiant
www.facebook.com/howlinggiant/

Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 (2017)

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Ape Machine, Salem’s Bend and High Priestess to Embark on ‘The Great Northern Expedition’

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I remain a sucker for any number of things: Heavy riffs. Dark roast coffee. Cruelty-free baby duck races. Star Trek anything. Also belonging on that list is a well-named tour, and yeah, if you’re headed into Canada, calling your run ‘The Great Northern Expedition’ makes some sense to me. Ripple Music labelmates Ape Machine, Salem’s Bend and High Priestess will head out on this stint together come next month, and all three are pushing new material one way or another. Ape Machine have a new record coming this Fall. Salem’s Bend tentatively in the winter, and High Priestess‘ self-titled will be out next month, just a week before they hit the road. Golly, you’d almost think these things were coordinated ahead of time.

Details for the shows came down the PR wire and looked an awful lot like this:

ape machine salems bend high priestess tour poster

Ripple Music tour w Ape Machine, Salem’s Bend, High Priestess

The Great Northern Expedition – So named is the psychedelic, stoner-doom and rock n’ roll tour that will be tramping up the West Coast, through Canada and back through the western states, leaving a trail of good vibes and heavy harmonic frequencies in its wake. Ape Machine, Salem’s Bend and High Priestess will bring their tasty sonic goodness to all the aforementioned territories as messengers of the ever-growing Ripple Music collective.

Ape Machine’s new prog-infused LP, Darker Seas, is slated for a Ripple Music September release. Los Angeles based doom trio, High Priestess, will be powering out tunes from their self-titled Ripple release which drops May 18th. Salem’s Bend released their Ripple debut back in 2016 and it has steadily picked up steam and recognition as “the sort of rock and roll statement that comes from a time forgot but wants to push to a bold new future.” The band also is putting the finishing touches on a follow up and hopes for a late 2018 release. All three groups are well known for their searing, energy filled live performances. Dates and Cities below!

Salem’s Bend with High Priestess
Fri May 25 – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside
Sat May 26 – Grants Pass, OR – The Haul
Sun May 27 – TBA

Ape Machine, Salem’s Bend and High Priestess
Mon May 28 – Portland, OR – Tonic Lounge
Tue May 29 – Seattle, WA – Funhouse * (w Slow Season)
Wed May 30 – Vancouver, BC – Astoria * (w Slow Season)
Thu May 31 – Calgary AB – Palomino
Fri June 1 – Edmonton AB – Temple
Sat June 2 – Vantopia Festival
Sun June 3 – Siksika AB – Siksika Community Centre
Mon June 4 – Kalispell, MT – Old School Records

High Priestess
Tue June 5 – Spokane, WA – Observatory
Wed June 6 – Boise, ID – Shredder
Thu June 7 – Reno, NV – Shea’s Tavern
Fri June 8 – TBA

https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Ape Machine, Coalition of the Unwilling (2015)

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Stonebride Release Animals on Display EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

stonebride

The last offering from Croatian heavy rockers Stonebride arrived some four years ago in the form of the impressive — and impressively titled — full-length, Heavy Envelope (review here). Progressive as that outing was, it should be interesting to dig in and hear what the Zagreb four-piece has come up with for Animals on Display, which has been issued through PDV Records and is comprised of just four songs totaling 18 minutes in length. One track per year between releases? The PR wire makes the claim that Animals on Display is the band’s “most exhaustive” work yet. If each track was a year in the making, it might just be.

Details and the full EP stream came down the PR wire. Let’s all dig in together, shall we?

Indeed:

stonebride animals on display

Stonebride’s new album ‘Animals on Display’ is out

Animals on Display a new mini album by heavy rock veterans Stonebride is out after 4 years since their last full length effort Heavy Envelope. These diversely influenced musicians are on the quest to set another benchmark in the further development of their sound. The album was released this March 15th through PDV Records and is available in CD/digital forms while the vinyl release is scheduled for the upcoming Autumn release.

Animals on Display consists of 4 tracks with running time little under 18 minutes. It is by far the band’s most exhaustive work which demands undivided attention of the listener.

Stonebride remains true to their musical roots but keep implementing both musical and personal experiences and pouring it into this record. On the verge of various (sub)genres like psych, prog, doom, blues, desert/stoner or giving nod to the 90’s grunge/alternative they’re constantly pushing the envelope with each new release. Keeping in mind the band has been together for almost 13 years (with the same line-up) just adds to their credibility as an ongoing creative force that shows no signs of stopping.

The concept is rounded with the artwork from the talented Krešimir ?uk aka VAST. A visual artist that combines digital collage and vector graphics. Visually inspired by crosshatching and thematically by surrealism, his work’s main premise is comparing subjective experience of the person with objectivity and erasing the boundaries between them. Animals on Display was recorded with several people behind the desk in couple of studios in Zagreb, Croatia from April to December 2017. It was produced by Siniša Krneta (band’s vocalist/guitarist), recorded by Luka Grubiši?, Vedran Kova?i?, Hrvoje Nikši?, Vedran Rao Brle?i? and Hrvoje Štefoti?, mixed by Vedran Rao Brle?i? and mastered by Carl Saff.

STONEBRIDE – Animals on Display tracklist:
1. Animal on Display
2. Embodiment
3. Early Bird
4. Half of Me

stonebride.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/stonebrideband
youtube.com/stonebrighter
www.reverbnation.com/stonebride
http://www.pdv.com.hr/
https://www.facebook.com/PDVRecordLabel/

Stonebride, Animals on Display EP (2018)

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