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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hermitess Post “Blood Moon” Video; Debut Album out May 12

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

hermitess-photo-Blair-Russell

Despite, or maybe because of, a steady dose of harp as a central element of the arrangements on Hermitess‘ forthcoming self-titled debut — out May 12, which is apparently this week; whither thou, 2017? — I hear a bit of Hexvessel‘s earth-worship in the deceptively not-minimalist aesthetic of the Calgary outfit. Begun as the solo-project of Jennifer Crighton (ex-Devonian Gardens) and fleshed out from there with a range of guest players and harmony-providers, Hermitess does indeed offer the sense of loneliness one might expect from the moniker, but as those who’ve separated themselves from society are often considered to be imbued with a special kind of ascetic wisdom, so too does Crighton‘s “isolation” come with a particular depth of melody.

I suppose an even easier comparison point — if we’re being lazy — would be the dark goth-folk atmospheres of Chelsea Wolfe, but again, Crighton brings a nuance to the nine-trackhermitess self titled album such that songs like “Obsidian Stairs,” “Black Lake” and “The Guest,” while grim in mood, lean more toward Angels of Light-style Americana in their foreboding than the kind of dystopian emotionalism one might expect. Still, when Hermitess shifts from acoustic fare into the hey-there’s-drums-and-distortion-here of “Hush,” the droning wash is clear in its impression. One would hardly hold sonic diversity against Crighton, though, as it makes Hermitess a stronger record on the whole, and as she closes out by pairing the string-laden “Tender” with the underlying growl of “Vampires,” the ambient scope is given further reinforcement in kind with the songwriting so essential to a release like this in the first place.

The video below for the track “Blood Moon” is fairly minimal in its own right, featuring a lone figure that’s presumably Crighton herself walking toward the camera, mask held up to her face, carrying a lantern, in the gray woods. It’s kind of a creeper, but so is the song, so I’ll take it, and if it’s your introduction to the album as it was mine, you should know that while it doesn’t necessarily represent the whole of Hermitess‘ Hermitess in terms of the surrounding instrumentation, the patience in its unfolding and lushness of its melody are very much themes around which the work is built.

PR wire info follows the clip. I hope you enjoy:

Hermitess, “Blood Moon” official video

Lead track from the forthcoming album by Hermitess

Concept & Performance: Jennifer Crighton
Camera & Direction: Tatiana Losev

The Hermitess is the solo project of songwriter and harpist Jennifer Crighton, who comes by way of various other musical incarnations, including The Consonant C and Devonian Gardens. Stripping back the performance to a harp and a circle of women’s voices, the Hermitess is an inquisitive, contrary, wounded, wise and ever dreaming incantation

As the name implies, this album came about at a remove from modern life. While isolated in a cabin in northern Michigan, Jennifer Crighton began to conceive of this character (Hermitess) and a set of songs that would feel at home in the wintry knee-deep snow drifts and creaking trees. Crighton’s electric harp stands at the centre of the project. It’s an instrument that’s often associated with both the traditional and the ethereal, and Crighton makes the most of that contrast. Delicate lines loop and tangle into an intricate latticework of rhythm and melody, while unfamiliar sounds and unplaceable textures enrich the arrangements, courtesy of the Audities Foundation’s incomparable collection of instruments and equipment.

Over this sonic foundation, Crighton sings in the voice of her adopted character, the words part story and part incantation. The lyrics question and caution the listener, walking the line between sweet dreams and nightmares—a feeling that’s only enhanced by the chorus of women’s voices drifting through the album like a soft wind cutting across a frozen landscape. It’s the a sound at once eerie and inviting, traced in magic and grounded in nature. It’s the voice of the Hermitess.

Hermitess on Thee Facebooks

Hermitess on Twitter

Hermitess on Bandcamp

Hermitess website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Calgary 420 Fest Lineup: Wo Fat, Black Mastiff, Anciients, Chron Goblin, Mammoth Grove and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

wo fat necro blanca photography

Appropriately enough, the Calgary 420 Fest starts on April 20 and will feature a host of stoner and other heavy types of acts across its three-day stretch. Among the notables is Wo Fat (above), who’ll be making their debut appearance in Canada as headliners for the final evening, along with Black Mastiff and Anciients on the nights preceding, and a slew of native Canadian bands to go along with, from Mammoth Grove and Chron Goblin to the sludgy likes of Lavagoat and the classic heavy rock of La Chinga. There’s also a bunch of weedian whathaveyou going on as a part of it, as the PR wire details below, food trucks and a beard contest, so seems like a good time on any number of levels.

Details follow:

calgary 420 fest lineup

Calgary’s 420 Music & Arts Festival Announce Concert Line Up w/ Wo Fat, Anciients, Black Mastiff and more!

April 20, 21, 22 @ Distortion
3828 MacLeod Trail S., Calgary, Alberta T2G 2R2

Big Rock Brewery & METALHEADS UNITED Presents the 420 Music & Arts Festival at Distortion – Live Music Venue in Calgary, AB, Canada, April 20, 21 and 22, 2017.

The 420 Music & Arts Festival is a three day celebration featuring 22 Stoner Rock, Desert Rock, Doom & Sludge Metal and Fuzzy, Kick Ass Rock n Roll bands surrounding the culture that is 420. Headlining this inaugural year all the way from Dallas, TX for their first Canadian performance, stoner legends WO FAT, Vancouver’s ANCIIENTS and Edmonton/ Vancouver based BLACK MASTIFF.

In addition to all the rad music, festival attendees will have the opportunity to view and purchase the work of select local artists, artisans and craftsman at the 420 Expo, Saturday, April 22 at Distortion from 10am-4pm. Interspersed with vendors of interesting and eclectic wares will be information on medical marijuana and hemp products and even more 420 enthusiasts. Select vendors, artists and marijuana related companies will be available in the evenings at the festival as well. NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) will be in attendance to answer questions.

You will be able to indulge your desire for munchies with a variety delectable culinary creations from some of Southern Alberta’s best food trucks. If that isn’t enough, each night of the festival there will be an opportunity to show off your glorious facial hair in our beard contest. Celebrity judges will decide who moves onto the final round on the last night of the festival where one beard will rule them all!

* Big Rock Beer is exclusive beer for the 420 Music & Arts Festival

* 420 Music & Arts Festival will be the very first Canadian performance by Dallas, TX stoner rock legends Wo Fat

Festival Lineup:

Overall Festival Event Link (Main Link) www.facebook.com/events/226953177757584/

Wednesday, April 19 – Pre-Fest – FREE SHOW + Advance Pass Pick Up

Ten Dead Crow
Terminal Human Condition

Thursday, April 20
FB Event www.facebook.com/events/240616399708945/

Black Mastiff (Edmonton, AB/Vancouver, BC)
HighKicks (Calgary, AB)
La Chinga (Vancouver, BC)
The Electric Revival (Calgary, AB)
Buffalo Bud Buster (Calgary, AB)
Hypnopilot (Calgary, AB)
Set & Stoned (Crossfield, AB)

Friday, April 21
FB event www.facebook.com/events/1702426476734012/

Anciients (Vancouver, BC)
Dead Quiet (Vancouver, BC)
Lavagoat (Saskatoon, SK)
Orbital Express (Regina, SK)
ChronoBot (Prince Albert, SK)
Lordosis (Calgary, AB)
Hunted By Ravens (Red Deer, AB)

Saturday, April 22
FB event www.facebook.com/events/795080193963870/

Wo Fat (Dallas, Texas, USA) First ever appearance in Canada
Chron Goblin (Calgary, AB)
Cowpuncher (Calgary, AB)
Mammoth Grove (Calgary, AB)
NVGR (Nikki Valentine & Gypsy Riders) (Calgary, AB)
Black Thunder (Regina, SK)
Brown Dwarf (Red Deer, AB)
Bazaraba (Calgary, AB)

Ticket links:

Available at http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca/store-2/ and on FB page on the festival store https://store10885031.ecwid.com/.

https://www.facebook.com/events/226953177757584
http://www.420musicandartsfestival.ca/
http://www.twitter.com/420FestivalYYC
http://www.facebook.com/420MusicAndArtsFestival
http://www.instagram.com/420MusicandArtsFestival

Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (2016)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Woodhawk Premiere “Quest for Clarity”; Canadian Tour Dates Announced

Posted in audiObelisk on March 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

WOODHAWK photo-mario-a-montes

Calgary three-piece Woodhawk have set an April 7 release for their new album, Beyond the Sun. It’s their first full-length following a 2014 self-titled EP, and it’s hard to imagine that, given the cohesive songwriting, resonant fullness of tone and crisp harmonies that make up its foundation, I won’t be posting a news item in the near-ish future about this or that label picking it up for a vinyl and/or CD issue. They’re taking care of a first run on their own, of course, and have preorders available through Bandcamp, but it seems to me that once people get a grasp on the hooks of songs like “The High Priest,” “Living in the Sand,” the Star Wars paean “A New Hope” and “Quest for Clarity” that the interest won’t be there. Hell, they recently shared the stage with Truckfighters, and listening to album centerpiece “Lawless,” it seems to me they’d make excellent Fuzzorama Records labelmates for Valley of the Sun. Not trying to tell anyone — band or imprint — how to live their lives, I’m just trying to note in my cumbersome way that while Beyond the Sun is the debut long-player from the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Turner Midzain, bassist/vocalist Mike Madmington and drummer Kevin Nelson, it has a professionalism at its core that’s hard to miss as you make your way through its platter-ready 38 minutes.

You can hear it in the call and response of “Living in the Sand” to be sure, but it’s there from the start ofwoodhawk beyond the sun “Beyond the Sun” itself, which opens the record that shares its name. One is reminded at first of post-Queens of the Stone Age London rockers Crystal Head, but that kind of moodiness is only one aspect of Woodhawk‘s delivery, and the band ultimately feels much more at home dug into the active drive that emerges later in that track and continues with “The High Priest.” Later, “Magnetic North” brings an organ-laced (keys added by Jesse Gander) semi-lumber to the proceedings before “Lawless” answers in chugging verse fashion, and the bass opening of “Quest for Clarity” plays up the harmonies en route to the closing third of the nine-track outing. That final segment starts with the aforementioned “A New Hope” — kind of had me wondering if they were talking about Star Wars or StarWars-as-existential-metaphor, but yeah, it seems to just be a song about Star Wars; okay then — and continues into the drifting interlude “Foresee the Future” and the not-at-all-an-ElectricWizard-cover “Chrononaut,” which seems to expand the arrangements in all directions, instrumentally and vocally, as if to underscore the quickness and efficiency with which the journey from the title-track has been made, looking back on the formidable amount of ground covered with due purpose and clearheadedness. If they’ve been on any kind of “Quest for Clarity” at all, they’ve found it.

Woodhawk will celebrate the arrival of Beyond the Sun with two release shows next weekend and then head out on a 10-date Canadian tour in May. The dates came down in an announcement from the PR wire, and you’ll find them under the premiere of “Quest for Clarity” below, which I’m happy to host, along with some welcome perspective from Midzain on the song’s making and how it relates to the rest of the tracks around it.

Please enjoy:

Woodhawk, “Quest for Clarity” from Beyond the Sun (2017)

Turner Midzain on “Quest for Clarity”:

“‘Quest for Clarity’ was one of the last songs we wrote for the record. It’s about taking a step back and really looking around at what’s going on. Sometimes you need to step back in order to move forward. We felt this song really tied the two sides of the album together. It’s a bit of a different side of us with more harmonies and contrast than some of our previous straight-ahead riffers.”

Slathered in rock and roll riffs and dealing with a case of wanderlust, Calgary’s rock revival heroes WOODHAWK set out to unleash their debut full-length ‘Beyond The Sun’ paired with dates across Western Canada.

Their album ‘Beyond The Sun’ is produced by the band with Jesse Gander (Bison, Japandroids) and is slated for release April 7, 2017. Pre-order of Vinyl, CD or Digital with an instant download of the first single ‘The High Priest’ available via their bandcamp at https://woodhawk.bandcamp.com.

After opening for Truckfighters, Yawning Man and We Hunt Buffalo in Calgary, WOODHAWK will be hitting the road for tour of Western Canada to quell their hunger for playing shows.

Show Dates:
April 7 – Edmonton, AB – Sewing Machine Factory (CD Release Show)
April 8 – Calgary, AB – The Palomino (CD Release show)

Vagabonds of The Western Gig Tour:
May 4 – Vancouver, BC – The Cobalt
May 5 – Nanaimo, BC – The Queens
May 6 – Victoria, BC – Logan’s Pub
May 7 – Kelowna, BC – Doc Willoughby’s
May 8 – Edmonton, AB – Rendezvous Pub
May 9 – Saskatoon, SK – Vangelis Tavern
May 10 – Winnipeg, MB – The Handsome Daughter
May 11 – Regina, SK – The German Club
May 12 – Calgary, AB – Palomino
May 13 – Fernie, BC – Northern Bar

Woodhawk is:
Turner Midzain – Vocals/Guitar
Mike Badmington – Bass/Vocals
Kevin Nelson – Drums

Woodhawk on Thee Facebooks

Woodhawk on Twitter

Woodhawk on Instagram

Woodhawk on Bandcamp

Woodhawk website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Chron Goblin Announce UK and European Live Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

chron goblin

Moments ago, and probably it went on longer than it should have, I started this post talking about how the impending horrors of global climate change would eventually make Canadians of us all, and how particularly Americans would swarm to the north to escape the just-went-outside radiation burns and dried-up landscapes and turn the newly-thawed tundra into strip malls because we’d learned nothing. Shit was grim, I don’t mind saying.

Ultimately, I opted to scrap the screed, because there’s little one might talk about that’s further away from the good-times-had-by-all party vibing of Calgary’s Chron Goblin. The four-piece, who released their third album, Backwater (review here), late in 2015 on Ripple Music, are headed over to the UK and Europe for a quick run that centers around an appearance at Desertfest London 2017. You might recall Total Volume, which is involved in this run as well along with Snuff LaneRipple and Buried in Smoke, brought the band over early last summer. As I understand it, the only thing better than going is making a return trip, so safe travels and rock and roll all around.

Chron Goblin have also been demoing new material, so you know, if you’re not feeling particularly hopeful about the future, there’s a bit of reason to.

Dance, dance, dance:

chron-goblin-uk-eu-tour

Chron Goblin – UK & Euro Tour 2017

Chrome up your pipes and break out the botanicals. Chron Goblin is poised to descend upon fortress UK/Europe. Hailing from the backwaters of The Great White North, this potent four-piece invokes the smell of diesel and pot-distilled gin with their rugged, yet refined, approach. The hangover cure you have been praying for, Chron Goblin’s airtight performance will screw your head on right and prime you for yet another night — of rock ‘n’ roll revelry!

We’re stoked to return to UK/Europe this spring! Big thanks to everyone who helped to make this tour happen!

Chron Goblin UK & Europe Tour 2017:
04.28 Birmingham UK
04.29 London UK
04.30 Oxford UK
05.01 Bristol UK
05.02 Bournemouth UK
05.04 Coventry UK
05.05 Westmalle BE
05.06 Siegen DE

chrongoblin.com
facebook.com/ChronGoblin
chrongoblin.bandcamp.com

Chron Goblin, Backwater (2015)

Tags: , , , ,

Mammoth Grove Take in the Scenery in “The Storm” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

mammoth-grove

Heavy hippie trio Mammoth Grove released their debut album, Suncatcher (review here), late last year, and the Calgary natives have spent much of 2016 supporting it in one way or another, whether that’s through local shows, hitting the road or putting together a video like their new one for “The Storm.” Frankly, after watching it, I think the band would be hard-pressed to come up with a better representation of the chill vibes they elicit. It’s not that their stuff is shoegazing — or at least not shoegazing all the time — as you can hear in “The Storm,” but there’s just something serene overarching their work so that, even at its most active, it’s nods and smiles in kind.

The video plays to this by finding the band wandering through nature — it may or may not be the Canadian Badlands, where the above photo was also taken — in various settings by streams and canyons, etc., as well as rocking out on a presumably imaginary stage set up in their van, which of course is parked out in the woods. Like Suncatcher as a whole, it’s a fun trip that holds substance despite being kind of lighthearted in its presentation, and it balances psychedelia with heavy rock and blues with an ease of approach that wipes out any suspicion of the band’s material being tossed off or haphazard. Their bounce gets fairly raucous in “The Storm,” but never lose sight of that cool, languid flow that carries across the record’s entirety.

If you haven’t heard the album, it’s streaming in full on their Bandcamp page, which is linked at the bottom of this post. More info follows the video below.

Please enjoy:

Mammoth Grove, “The Storm” official video

The band’s collective musical inspiration knows no boundaries, ranging from grunge, indie, doom metal, blues and beyond. However, what really drives the trio is the beauty and brilliance found in nature. Many of their songs contain stirring recollections of time spent amongst giants of the forest. Additionally, Mammoth Grove thrives within live jam sessions, connecting to the ever powerful flow-state to fuel their creative process.

With two independently released EPs already under their belt, the Calgary-based trio is now supporting their first full length release, Suncatcher (2015), a mix of both established and fresh songs from the Mammoth Grove repertoire.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , ,

Chron Goblin Announce European Tour with Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

chron goblin

This won’t actually be Chron Goblin‘s first European incursion, since the uptempo Calgary good-time rockers hit UK shores to play Desertfest London three years ago. It will definitely, however, be the first time they cross the Atlantic (and much of the North American continent to get there, if you want to be geographically correct about it) in support of their new album, Backwater (review here), and that’s enough to make it an event. They’re joined in this endeavor by the France-based/Spanish-named thematic riffers Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, also labelmates on Ripple Music, and the run starts May 31 in their hometown of Strasbourg, near the German border.

The two groups will be back and forth between France, Germany and Switzerland through June 12, with the shows presented by Total Volume AgencyChron Goblin put the word out via the social medias, from whence the following poster by Un Sang d’Encre and info comes, followed by the band’s video for “Fuller,” ready for the digging:

chron-goblin-los-disidentes del sucio motel tour

Chron Goblin to tour Europe May 31 – June 12

We are overjoyed to announce that we’ll be playing in France, Germany and Switzerland with Ripple Music labelmates Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel this spring! This is a dream come true for us and we’ve been itching to return overseas since performing at Desertfest UK in 2013. Many thanks to Total Volume Agency for setting this up and cheers to Un Sang d’Encre for the wicked Beavers and Roosters tour poster.

Chron Goblin & Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel on tour:
May 31 – La Maison Bleue / Dirty 8 – Strasbourg (Fr)
June 1 – Rare Guitar – Münster (De)
June 2 – Immerhin Würzburg – Wurzburg (De)
June 3 – cassiopeia Berlin – Berlin (De)
June 4 – Rockpool eV – Halle (De)
June 6 – Bucéphale – Draguignan (Fr)
June 7 – Post Tenebras Rock – L’Usine – Genève (Ch)
June 8 – Gaswerk – Winterthur (Ch)
June 9 – Coq d’Or – Olten (Ch)
June 10 – Les Passagers du Zinc – Besançon (Fr)
June 11 – Warmaudio – Lyon (Fr)
June 12 – Le Klub – Paris (Fr)

https://twitter.com/ChronGoblin
http://www.chrongoblin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ChronGoblin
http://www.ripple-music.com

Chron Goblin, “Fuller” official video

Tags: , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Chron Goblin, Slabdragger, Jupiter, Izo, Cultist, Haoma, Spaceslug, Slush, Menimals, The Linus Pauling Quartet

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review spring 2016

Thus ends another successful Quarterly Review. And by successful I mean I survived. There were a few minutes there when I actually thought about spreading this out to six days, doing another batch of 10 on Monday, but then what happens? Then it’s seven days, then eight, then nine, and before I know it I’m just doing 10 reviews every day and it’s more of a daily review than a quarterly one. Next week we’ll get back to whatever passes for normality around this place, and at the end of June, I’ll have another batch to roll with. Maybe the beginning of July, depending on time. In any case, thank you for reading this week. I hope you’ve found something in all this that you’ve dug, and that this final round offers something else that resonates.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Chron Goblin, Backwater

chron goblin backwater

Calgary party rockers Chron Goblin pay homage to Seattle with a song named after the city on their third album, Backwater (on Ripple Music), but they continue to have way more in common with Portland, Oregon. The follow-up to 2013’s Life for the Living (review here) pushes into psychedelic groove early in its title-track and gets bluesy for most of the subsequent “The Wailing Sound,” but it seems even that song can’t resist the urge to throw down and have a good time by the end, and cuts like “Give Way,” the galloping opener “Fuller” and the requisite “Hard Living” reaffirm the band’s commitment to heavy riffs and positive vibes. The stylistic elephant in the room continues to be Red Fang, but as they’ve done all along, Chron Goblin work in shades of other influences in heavy rock – if they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d call it Roadsaw – and put a stamp of their own on the style.

Chron Goblin on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music

 

Slabdragger, Rise of the Dawncrusher

slabdragger rise of the dawncrusher

“Mercenary Blues” is near-immediate in telegraphing the level of heft Slabdragger will emit across their second album, Rise of the Dawncrusher, which tops an hour in five tracks (one of them four minutes long) and shifts between clean vocals, screams and growls from bassist/vocalist Yusuf Tary and guitarist/vocalist Sam Thredder as drummer Jack Newham holds together tempo shifts no less drastic. The shorter cut, “Evacuate!,” is an extreme take on heavy rock, but as Slabdragger move through the extended “Shrine of Debauchery” (12:23), “Dawncrusher Rising” (15:16) and “Implosion Rites” (17:20), their methods prove varied enough so that their material is more than just an onslaught of thickened distortion. I wouldn’t call it progressive exactly, but neither is it lunkheaded in its intention or execution, as the chanted melodies buried deep in “Shrine of Debauchery”’s lumber, derived perhaps in part from Conan and Sleep but beholden to neither so much as its own righteous purposes.

Slabdragger on Thee Facebooks

Holy Roar Records

 

Jupiter, Interstellar Chronodive

jupiter interstellar chronodive

Finnish heavy psychedelic rockers Jupiter take a decidedly naturalist position when it comes to their style. Yeah, there are some effects on the guitars throughout Interstellar Chronidive, the trio’s second album behind 2014’s Your Eccentric State of Mind, but it’s more about what the three players can accomplish with dynamic tempo and mood changes than it is creating a wash, and that gives songs like “Stonetrooper” and “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” a classic feel despite a decidedly modern production. “Premonitions” provides raucous fuzz worthy of any next-gen stoners you want to name, and the 14-minute “In Flux” answers its own initial thrust with and expansive, liquefied jam that’s all the more emblematic of the organic core to their approach, Hendrix-derived but not Hendrix-emulating. Bright guitar tone, rich bass and swinging drums aren’t necessarily unfamiliar elements, but the touches of space rock narration on “Dispersed Matter/Astral Portal” and the consuming nod of closer “Vantage Point” assure there’s no shortage of personality to go around.

Jupiter on Thee Facebooks

Jupiter on Bandcamp

 

Izo, Izo

izo izo

Also stylized as IZ? with a long accent over the ‘o,’ Izo is the self-titled debut from Italian double-guitar instrumental four-piece Izo, who bookend four flowing and densely weighted progressions with an intro and outro to add to the atmospheric breadth. Rather than choose between heaviness or ambience, Izo – guitarists Paolo Barone and Maurizio Calò, bassist Francesco de Pascali and drummer Luca Greco – play both into each other so that a song like “Hikkomori” is as engaging in its heft as it is hypnotic. That might be easier to do without vocals, but it’s essential to Izo’s approach, and something that, for their debut, sets up future expansion of post-metal and psychedelic elements. I’m not sure if there’s a theme or narrative for the album, but consistent use of Japanese language and imagery ties the material together all the same, and Izo emerge from their first album having shown a clearheadedness of purpose that can only continue to serve them well.

Izo on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records

 

Cultist, Three Candles

cultist three candles

Cultist made their introductory statement in the early hours of 2016 with Three Candles, a five-song EP from the social media-averse Cleveland, Ohio, trio featuring members of Skeletonwitch, Mockingbird and Howl. In the wall of fuzz they construct, the swing injected into their rhythms and the use of multiple vocalists, there’s a strong undercurrent of Uncle Acid to “Path of the Old One,” but “Consuming Damnation” distinguishes itself with a more aggressive take, rawer in its melodies, and the creeping closer “Eternal Dark” is up to something entirely more doomed. How this balance will play out with the more familiar riff-patterning in “Follow Me” is the central question, but for their first tracks to be made public, Cultist’s Three Candles offers fullness of sound and the realization of an aesthetic purpose. Yes, there’s room to grow, but they already have a better handle on what they want to do than a lot of bands, so it should be interesting to keep up.

Cultist on Instagram

Cultist on Bandcamp

 

Haoma, Eternal Stash

haoma eternal stash

Ultra-thick, ultra-dank, Haoma is the work of Swedish duo R (bass/vocals) and S (drums), and the three-tracker Eternal Stash is their second self-released EP. The offering takes its title from the opener and longest track (immediate points), and wastes no time with subtlety in getting down on molten Cisneros-style stoner-doom grooves. Sleep meets Om isn’t a huge divide to cross, but there’s a blown-out sensibility to the vocals as well that speaks to some element of Electric Wizard at play, and the overarching roughness suits Haoma’s tonal crunch well. Even when they break to wah bass in the second half of “Eternal Stash” to set up the ensuing jam, this underlying harshness remains, and “Unearthly Creatures” and “Orbital Flight” build on that, the latter with a march that feels more decidedly individual even if constructed on familiar ground. Heavy, raw, unpretentious celebration of groove is almost always welcome by me, and so Haoma’s Eternal Stash is likewise.

Haoma on Thee Facebooks

Haoma on Bandcamp

 

Spaceslug, Lemanis

spaceslug lemanis

Another boon to Poland’s emerging heavy rock scene, Wroclaw’s Spaceslug slime their way out of the ground with their debut long-player, Lemanis, a seven-cut paean to weighted tone and laid back roll. Vocally, the trio seem to take a cue from the Netherlands’ Sungrazer, but their riffs are far more dense and while the penultimate interlude “Quintessence” and the earlier “Galectelion” demonstrate a sense of spaciousness, the context in which that arrives is much more weighted and, particularly in the second half of “Supermassive,” feels culled from the Sleep school of Iommic idolatry. No complaints. The record clocks in at 43 minutes all told and in no way overstays its welcome, rounding out with the nine-minute title-track, an instrumental that’s probably not improvised but comes across as exploratory all the same. The CD version is out through BSFD Records, but don’t be surprised when someone picks it up for a vinyl issue, as both the front-to-back flow and the artwork seem to be made for it.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Slush, American Demons

slushies american demons

An element of twang that seems present even in the most uproarious moments of SlushAmerican Demons tape comes to the fore with the brief “Leshy,” a quick, fleetly-strummed bit of slide guitar the follows highlight cut “Bathysphere” and precedes “Death Valley,” both of which bask full-on in the garage shake, proto-punk vibe and anything goes swagger the Brooklynite trio have on offer throughout their third EP. That countrified twist plays well alongside the drawling skate rock of “In the Flesh,” which seems to take on some of The Shrine’s West Coast skate vibes with a twist of New York fuckall, and the quick crotchal thrust off “Silk Road,” which serves as Slush’ most purely punkish moment. “Death Valley” closes out with a tale of drugs and the desert, the vocals somewhere between Misfits and early Nick Cave, drenched in attitude and accompanied by fuzz that seems to be likewise. Bonus points for the silver tape and copious included art and info.

Slushies on Bandcamp

Lean on Bandcamp

 

Menimals, Menimals

menimals menimals

Strange spirits are afoot throughout MenimalsMenimals, the maybe-debut from the Italian troupe who engage wantonly in the proliferation of post-Mike Patton creepy darkjazz across five cuts of sparse, spacious weirdness. Issued through Phonosphera/Riot Season, it’s a work of high atmospheric density but ultimately more about mood than sonic impact, evoking complex shapes – dodecahedrons, tetrahedrons, octahedrons – as a mirror for its own quizzical mission. The kind of record that those who don’t spend time trying to figure it out are going to have more fun with, it makes its most effective impression on “Transitioning from a Cube to the Octahedron” on side B, evoking minimalist drone rock atmospheres as whispered vocals tie it to the rest of Menimals’ bizarre vibe. That’s not to take away from the noisy finish of closer “Bird on the Wind as a Hinge,” which follows, just to note that Menimals manage to somehow find balance in all the subdued seething and resonant experimentalism.

Menimals on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records

Phonosphera Records

 

The Linus Pauling Quartet, Ampalanche

the-linus-pauling-quartet-ampalanche

By way of a confession, I wanted to end this batch of 50 reviews with something I knew I dug, and that distinction goes to Houston rockers Linus Pauling Quartet, whose latest full-length, Ampalanche, is released via the label wing of Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum. An album that offers some of the most pretense-free rock flute I’ve ever heard on “Slave to the Die,” it’s a down-home weirdo rocker that might, at a moment’s notice, plunge full-on into psychedelia in “Sometimes” or, say, include a 49-minute echoing space-drone “Vi, de Druknede (We, the Drowned)” as a download-only bonus track, and the fact that Linus Pauling Quartet can always be relied on for something different but consistent in charm and the quality of songwriting is not to be taken for granted, whether it’s the Midwestern noise rock of “Brisket” or the fuzzy roll of dreamy album-closer “Alive.” Yeah, I was doing myself a favor by finishing with Ampalanche. I have absolutely zero regrets. Linus Pauling Quartet continue to be woefully underappreciated.

Linus Pauling Quartet on Thee Facebooks

Vincebus Eruptum webstore

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,