Six Dumb Questions with Telekinetic Yeti

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on May 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

telekinetic yeti

Iowan guitarist/vocalist Alex Baumann and drummer Anthony Dreyer — who together go by Telekinetic Yeti and have the beards to prove it — stomped their way into the hearts and minds of the converted this past March with the Sump Pump Records release of Abominable (review here). Their debut album and in fact their first offering of any kind, it telegraphs lumbering intent in massive lumber and the shouts of Baumann, playing to the duo-intensity of Black Cobra on its leadoff title-track while later opting for a fuller-fuzzed groove on “Lightbearer” and jamming into more spacious terrain on “Colossus.”

A purposeful sense of variety offered tone that could bring to mind Conan just as easily as Truckfighters or fellow Midwesterners Valley of the Sun, and Baumann and Dreyer proved no less comfortable as songwriters in either context. Working with Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios, the pair harness a sound that is just as likely to impress with its detail as with its overarching impact; ambient transitions between songs tying them together and subtle changes in rhythm, structure and intensity go a long way in making Abominable feel like a complete album rather than an initial batch of material from a new band getting their feet under them.

This June will find Telekinetic Yeti on the road throughout the Midwest for their most extensive tour to-date, and they’ve already begun writing songs for a follow-up to Abominable, which could come together for a possible 2018 release, depending on pressing schedule, recording times, further tour plans, and any number of other variables that crop up along the way. Still, it’s in progress, so all the more reason to chase down the busy twosome and get further introduced to their ways and methods.

Baumann and Dreyer opted to answer as a collective, so please consider them speaking on behalf of each other, and please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

telekinetic yeti abominable

Six Dumb Questions with Telekinetic Yeti

What’s Telekinetic Yeti’s origin story? How did you guys get together and how did the band start to take shape with the two of you? At what point did you know you wanted to remain a duo, and what was behind that decision?

Anthony and I had known each other for years from playing in some different bands years before. After that last band broke up in early 2010, Anthony had moved out west. When he moved back to the Midwest in 2014 we tried to revive the old band. When that didn’t work out with the other members we decided to see what we could do as just two people. We got together for a jam session and the first song we wrote was what ended up being the first song on our new album. We were stoked about how things were sounding so we kept with it. Once we were playing out a lot and people loved it so much just as two people, we kind of figured there was no reason to add a third person if its working so well as two.

Tell me about recording Abominable. How long were you in the studio and what was your time there like? The tones seem to vary so much between songs like “Stoned and Feathered” and “Himalayan Hymn,” between doom-thick and more rocker-fuzz. How were these captured?

We started recording in January, ironically enough during a blizzard. We recorded at Flat Black Studios which is a barn in Lone Tree, Iowa, that was converted into a really nice studio by Luke Tweedy. We were in the studio for approximately 14 days. Luke refers to it as his “recording resort,” which is accurate. We were able to sleep and shower and have everything we needed out there, which was really nice. Luke is amazing to work with. He really understands how to get a band to sound as natural yet raw as possible. Sonically each song has its own character whether that’s due to using a lot of whammy in certain songs or using specific fuzz pedals… also a lot of the songs are in different keys which sometimes responds a little differently with the amps and depending on where on the fretboard I’m playing stuff. We also used a wide array of amps to record with from different little combo amps to micing up the rigs we use live. We tried to leave no stone unturned.

How do you feel the results on Abominable represent where you want to go as a band? Are there lessons you’ll take into your next studio session, and if so, what will you be keeping in mind as you move forward from here?

As far as lessons learned, we have a better idea of how long it will take for us to record an album now. We had no idea how long it would take and initially didn’t book enough time. We ended up spending about 100 hours between recording and mixing in the studio, which is something we can plan for a little better for our next full length.

We are really happy with how Abominable turned out and feel it’s a great launching pad for us to show people what we are about. Originally when we were writing most of those songs, we were just trying to round up enough songs to play our first show. Once we had that we started focusing more on writing specific songs that we thought the album needed. Especially like “Himalayan Hymn,” we wrote that specifically as a song we wanted to end the album with. Even “Electronaut” and “Colossus,” those songs we played at our first show but they initially were much shorter songs (probably because we wrote our first set so fast) which had different endings.

We went back and added a lot of cool new parts and revamped them. We thought the songs turned out much better than they were originally. Also when we started creating layers of ambience for between songs it started to feel more like an album. As far as where we will go with our next album, we already have some new songs finished for it, which we think are a continuation of what we did before but in their own way better and different. We aren’t going to drastically change our sound, but we also try to not write the same song twice.

Where did the transitions at the ends of the songs come from and what do you feel they add to Abominable overall?

We’ve always been inspired by concept albums, whether that’s albums by the Mars Volta, or a band like Rosetta. We’ve always liked music that had more drama and depth to it, we feel like transitions in between songs can make an album feel deeper and more interesting. We feel like bands that add extra layers in between songs leaves you hearing something new every time you listen to it, which adds to replay value. Also when you listen to records like that, you can listen to the album from front to back and it feels more like an experience then just a collection of songs.

Will you tour to support the album?

Yes. We did a handful of Midwest dates as our album release, and this June we are going out for 19 days touring the Rust Belt. Here are those dates:

June 14 Dubuque IA  @ The Smokestack
June 15  Dekalb IL  @ The House Cafe
June 16 Grand Rapids MI @ The Workshop
June 17 Kalamazoo MI @ Shakespears
June 18 Wyandotte MI  @ The Rockery
June 19 Toledo OH @ The Ottawa Tavern
June 20 Cleveland OH @ Mahall’s
June 21 Kent OH @ The Stone Tavern
June 22 Pittsburgh PA @ Mr Roboto
June 23 Altoona PA @ Mcgarveys
June 24 Philadelphia PA @ Pharmacy
June 25 Baltimore MD @ The Depot
June 26 Morgantown WV @ 123 Pleasant St
June 27 Columbus OH @ No Culture (House)
June 28 Fort Wayne IN @ The Brass Rail
June 29 Indianapolis IN @ Kuma’s Corner
June 30 Joliet IL @ Drunken Donut
July 1 Peoria IL @ Rail II
July 2 Rock Island IL @ The Arena

We are also playing the Stoned Meadow of Doom Fest in Omaha on Friday, Sept. 29, and are doing a West Coast tour this Fall, which starts in September and ends around the second week of November.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Thanks to The Obelisk for doing this interview. We look forward to hopefully meeting many of you on the road this year!

Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable (2017)

Telekinetic Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Telekinetic Yeti on Bandcamp

Sump Pump Records

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audiObelisk Transmission 061

Posted in Podcasts on May 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 61

Click Here to Download

 

Yes! A new podcast! Are you stoked? I’m stoked. If you’re not, you will be when you look at the list of bands included. In any case, let’s be stoked together, because rock and roll, and heavy psych and good music and, well, yeah. That’s pretty much stuff to be stoked about. It’s been absurdly long since the last time we did one of these. Too long. I don’t really have an excuse other than… gainful employment? Don’t worry, though. That’ll be over soon enough. Then it’ll be podcasts out the ass.

There’s some killer goods here though. Yeah, I decided to do a “Yeti” double-shot with Green Yeti into Telekinetic Yeti. That’s my version of me being clever. But both bands are righteous, and if you haven’t heard the Savanah record, or that new Tia Carrera jam, or the Cachemira or Big Kizz or Yagow or Vokonis or the Elder — oh hell, frickin’ all of it — it’s worth your time. That Emil Amos track just premiered the other day and I think will surprise a lot of people, and I liked the way it paired with the dark neofolk of Hermitess. And of course we get trippy in the second hour, as is the custom around here. But first a moment of prog clarity from the aforementioned Elder. That’s a good time as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Vokonis, “The Sunken Djinn” from The Sunken Djinn
0:06:47 Tia Carrera, “Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)” from Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)
0:16:33 Supersonic Blues, “Supersonic Blues Theme” from Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul
0:19:28 Emil Amos, “Elements Cycling” from Filmmusik
0:22:28 Hermitess, “Blood Moon” from Hermitess
0:26:24 Savanah, “Mind” from The Healer
0:34:22 Yagow, “Non-Contractual” from Yagow
0:42:35 Big Kizz, “Eye on You” from Eye on You
0:45:53 Cachemira, “Jungla” from Jungla
0:52:05 Green Yeti, “Black Planets (Part 2)” from Desert Show
0:58:02 Telekinetic Yeti, “Stoned and Feathered” from Abominable

Second Hour:

1:02:10 Elder, “The Falling Veil” from Reflections of a Floating World
1:13:20 Riff Fist, “King Tide” from King Tide
1:24:15 Cavra, “Montaña” from Cavra
1:39:18 Causa Sui, “A Love Supreme” from Live in Copenhagen

Total running time: 1:55:53

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 061

 

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Tia Carrera, Humulus, King Buffalo, Telekinetic Yeti, High Plains

Posted in Radio on April 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

You may or may not be overly concerned to find out, but we’re still running on the backup server for The Obelisk Radio while the data is transferred to the new hard drive. Judging by the number of listeners at any given point, you’re not. The numbers are still pretty good. Nonetheless, I cannot express the depth of my appreciation to Slevin for sorting out this mess. I had no idea when I hit him up on a Sunday to be like, “Uh, the stream is down” that it would be a project requiring more than a month of his valuable time. Dude is a godsend. I should send him a cheese basket.

Instead, he gets a zip file with the following releases to add to that temporary stream (they’ll go on the new server as well when that’s operational). Because I am a shitty friend, and because cheese baskets are expensive as hell. Let’s do this.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for April 10, 2017:

Tia Carrera, Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)

tia-carrera-laid-back-front-side-rock-and-roll

It’s been a hot minute since last we heard from Austin, Texas, three-piece instrumentalists Tia Carrera. The last offering the heavy psych jammers had out with a 2013 vinyl edition (review here) of their 2011 full-length, Cosmic Priestess (review here). So upwards of six years, if you want to go by the original release date of what was their second album for Small Stone Records. They reportedly have a new one coming this Fall, so one might think of the nine-and-half-minute single “Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll),” which was recorded live this past January with the lineup of guitarist Jason Morales, bassist Curt Christiansen and drummer Erik Conn, as a lead-in for that. True, Tia Carrera haven’t been completely absent — they played Psycho Las Vegas in 2016 and one sees their name on various SXSW bills each year — but either way, it’s a welcome studio return from a band who were ahead of the post-Earthless curve that has swelled further out West, and who, despite a kind of raw, garage-style recording here, nonetheless showcase the chemistry and fluidity that separated them from the pack to start with. As the title promises, the jam is laid back, rife with swirling guitar, winding basslines and drumming that, while propulsive doesn’t take away from the languid overarching vibe. They’ve made the song a name-your-price download, so all the better should you be inclined to dig in. And you should be.

Tia Carrera on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records website

 

Humulus,Reverently Heading into Nowhere

humulus-reverently-heading-into-nowhere

With nodding groove, fuzzed tonality and, for good measure, flourish of psychedelia, Brescia, Italy, trio Humulus may be working amid familiar elements on their second long-player, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (on Taxi Driver and Oak Island Records), but the results are impeccably constructed. The album, which follows their 2015 Electric Warlrus EP (review here) and 2012 self-titled debut, offers six tracks that carefully balance atmosphere and heft, cuts like “Catskull” digging into classic desert rock sensibilities via the modern European approach of a band like 1000mods while longer pieces like opener “Distant Deeps or Skies,” “Anachronaut” and the 11-minute finale “Rama Kushna” save room for increasingly expansive jamming, the latter the most spacious of all with floating guitar over a satisfyingly warm bass in its midsection leading to an instrumental apex that, while predictable, is no less engaging for that upon its arrival. Even shorter pieces like “The Gold Rush” and “The Great Hunt” find a balance between rolling rhythm and broader psychedelic consciousness, and when guitarist/vocalist Andrea Van Cleef, bassist Giorgio Bonacorsi and drummer Massimiliano Boventi lock into a slowdown, as at the end of “The Great Hunt” or in the Snail-esque “Anachronaut” earlier, the effect is duly massive to fit with the rhinoceros on the album’s cover. Their reverence is palpable, and throughout the 43-minute outing, Humulus make it plain that wherever they’re actually heading, they welcome their audience to come along for the trip.

Humulus on Thee Facebooks

Taxi Driver Records webstore

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

King Buffalo, Live at Wicked Squid Studios (6.16.16)

king-buffalo-live-at-wicked-squid-studios

It’s nothing more or less than a live set, but as King Buffalo have already wrapped a round of US touring and were recently announced as support for Stickman Records labelmates Elder on their next European run, it seems only fair to grab the name-your-price Live at Wicked Squid Studios (6.16.16) while the grabbing’s good and consider the four-track/29-minute release a document of their chemistry as a live band as they marked the release of their debut album, Orion (review here), last summer. Not everything they play comes from that record — “New Time” was featured on their 2015 STB Records split with Lé Betre (review here) — but in their tone, breadth and expanse, they represent the full-length all the same. The psychedelic wash of “New Time” leads the way out of opener “Orion” and into a one-two medley of “Kerosene / Goliath Pt. 2,” and they finish by setting the controls for the heart of a nine-minute rendition of “Drinking from the River Rising,” which also closed Orion and proves no less immersive in this setting than it did on the studio offering. I’ve made no secret of the potential that I think resides in the Rochester, NY, three-piece, and as they move further into becoming a touring band, they’re only doing the work of bringing that potential to life. It may be that at some point we’ll look back on Live at Wicked Squid Studios as a kind of primitive beginning — I don’t want to predict where they’ll go or how their sound will continue to develop — but even so, it’s fortunate that we’ll have it to look back on at all.

King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

 

Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable

telekinetic yeti abominable

This shit is like catnip for riff-hounds. Iowan two-piece Telekinetic Yetstoner-march their way into the hearts and minds of the converted and onto the list of 2017’s best debuts with Abominable (on Sump Pump Records), a clean eight-track/41-minute long-player marked out by its tonal thickness and shifts between using it for Sleep-style roll and fuzzier fare, perhaps most directly and efficiently summarized on the single “Stoned and Feathered,” but in fluid proportion throughout cuts like the lumbering “Lightbearer” and the neo-stoner-delic chug of “Beneath the Black Sun” as well. Comprised just of guitarist/vocalist Alex Baumann and drummer Anthony Dreyer — though I’ll be damned if somebody isn’t playing bass on “Electronaut” — Telekinetic Yeti seem to burst out of the gate with a solid idea of who their audience is and what their audience wants, and to their credit, they deliver just that and have been met with a flurry of hyperbole for their efforts. I can’t really argue with the heft or cohesion of the material on Abominable, and the willingness on the part of Baumann and Dreyer to inject some atmospheric depth into the aptly-named nine-minute tour de force “Colossus” and closer “Himalayan Hymn” bodes well for their chances of leaving a mark over the longer term, even if there’s growing to be done before they get there. Still, as their first time out, Telekinetic Yeti‘s Abominable signals a righteousness of intent and wholly succeeds in capturing the attention it plainly seeks. The next few years will write their story, but if these guys take this show on the road, they could indeed turn into a monster.

Telekinetic Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Sump Pump Records on Bandcamp

 

High Plains, Cinderland

high plains cinderland

The story goes that Cinderland was recorded in Wyoming in a refurbished schoolhouse by the duo of ambient multi-instrumentalist Scott Morgan and classical cellist Mark Bridges — working together under the moniker High Plains — and composed very much with that high-altitude, utterly empty landscape in mind. Represented in a pervasive minimalism that makes every swell of volume on “The Dusk Pines” stand out and shifts between piano, cello, guitar, drone and electronics cinematic in their drama like the soundtrack to one of those foreboding Westerns where nobody talks because they’re afraid that if the earth hears them speak it will open up and swallow them whole — which it might — it is an immersive, resolutely melancholy execution across nine tracks and 36 minutes that is likewise stark and beautiful. “A White Truck” and “Hypoxia” carry some nuance of the paranoid, but there’s resolution in “Blood that Ran the Rapids” and “Song for a Last Night” that, like the high desert itself, teems with life while giving the impression of being a void for the lack of human presence. Mood-affecting in its atmospherics, Cinderland draws the listener into this world that is both gorgeous and threatening, and fits itself to the narrative that birthed it with resonance and depth. One hopes it is not a one-off collaboration between the Canadian Morgan and Wisconsin-based Bridges and that wherever their next trip together takes them — go to New Mexico! — they’re able to likewise capture the setting in such evocative fashion.

High Plains on Thee Facebooks

Kranky Records on Bandcamp

 

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