Friday Full-Length: Volcano, 10,000 Screaming Souls

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I bought this track this morning. According to Bandcamp, the time had come to open my heart/wallet, so for a buck, I figured it was easily worth it. This is Volcano‘s late-2017 debut single, and as they move forward with their first album presumably later this year, you never know what could happen. Releases like this one have a habit of disappearing when “real records” show up. So yeah, for a dollar, “10,000 Screaming Souls” was easily worth the asking price.

The occasion is Roadburn Festival, which, holy crap, is next week. I feel like I’m in no way mentally prepared for what’s happening next week in Tilburg, and therefore I must be. Volcano are playing as one of the slew of acts on the bill. I could’ve closed out the week with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, or Earthless or whoever, but I went with Volcano for two reasons.

First, they represent the San Diego Takeover, which is one of the parts of Roadburn 2018 I’m most excited to see, with bands like Arctic, Harsh Toke — when Harsh Toke jams, you show up — Petyr, Pharlee, and others. The band, who again are new enough only to have released one single a couple months band, is comprised of Zach Oakley from Joy on guitar, Gabe Messer from Harsh Toke on keys and vocals, Billy Ellsworth of Loom on bass, Matt Oakley (brother to Zach) handling drums and Ake Arndt from Operation Mindblow holding down percussion. I’ve done a fair amount of writing about what I’ve come to abbreviate in emails as the “SDT,” and Volcano have become one of the bands I’m most looking forward to seeing thanks to “10,000 Screaming Souls.”

Second is the newness of it. Not only is it a fairly recent release, posted by the five-piece on Dec. 22 last year, but it also brings new ideas to the established stylistic tenets of San Diego’s dominant underground sphere — a penchant for classic heavy rock, touches of psychedelia, a heavy focus on tones, jamming, the word “rad,” connections to skate culture, etc. — with Messer taking on the role of a Fela Kuti-style bandleader telling the story of a jungle leading toward the shout-out hook, “Let the lava flow!” Elements of funk, classic psych, Afrobeat and boogie show themselves quickly on the track, melded into a fluid approach of keys, guitar and driving, ass-shaking rhythm.

If the band isn’t yet signed to Tee Pee Records for their debut album, they probably should be, given both sound and personnel. But the newness factor has another level of meaning as well, specifically as regards Roadburn, which never seems to fail to deliver some kind of surprise or progressive moment from its years past. I know Walter loves his Icelandic black metal, and I’m not going to take away from the maddening intensity of those performances, but something like importing a decent amount of an entire scene and basically saying, “Okay, go jam” — as he’s done with the San Diego Takeover — is pretty special and pretty forward-thinking.

On the off-chance you didn’t catch the above “holy crap,” Roadburn kind of snuck up on me this year in terms of “okay, I have to be at the airport when?” and concerns like that. Still, go ahead and count me in for watching Volcano next Saturday in the Green Room. I’ll let you know how it goes, and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the track. Let the lava flow, and so on.

Just by way of a note, at six minutes, this is probably the shortest ‘Friday Full-Length’ I’ve done. One song. The idea, of course, is to close out each week with a complete album. Well, think of this time as a full release that just happens to be one song. It’s the whole single. That’s how I got over the hump. I sincerely doubt anyone cares that much — if anyone did, it would probably be me, and I don’t — but there you go anyway.

Time’s pretty limited, so I’ll keep this short. As I write, I’m sitting on the floor in the living room with The Pecan, who’s getting pretty close to rolling over back to front, proto-crawling, etc. Mobility. A whole other animal, I suspect. We just dropped his mother, The Patient. Mrs., off at work and will have to pick her up again shortly, then off to CT for the next two days at least. Been a rough couple nights of sleep. Baby stuff. So it goes.

I leave Tuesday evening for Roadburn. Here’s what’s in the notes for the week anyhow, subject to change pending things falling through, volcanoes, whatever:

Mon.: Mordor track premiere; Willow Child video premiere.
Tue.: Svvamp track premiere; Ancient Lights album trailer premiere.
Wed.: Sun Voyager album stream.
Thu.: Roadburn
Fri.: Roadburn
Sat.: Roadburn
Sun.: Roadburn
Mon.: Travel day

Assuming all goes how it should go, that’s how it’s going to go. We’ll see how it goes. Got that?

Excellent. I wish you the best of weekends. If I’m spotty answering emails or Facebook messages more than usual, it’s because I’m traveling. As always, I’ll do my best to keep up.

Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

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