Here are 40+ New Releases to Look for in the Next Three Weeks

Posted in Features on September 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Starting tomorrow, the next three weeks are absolutely stupid with new albums. Over-the-top, ridiculous. An immediately-go-broke amount of music. Nothing less than an onslaught. We’re under attack.

Far be it from me to tell you how to spend your money — also far be it from me not to — but there’s some really killer stuff in here. As to why it’s all landing now? Some of it of course has to do with the timing of when it was recorded, bands hitting the studio in Spring before heading out on the road over the summer, but Fall releases also line up nicely for tours in October and November, heading into the holiday season, when the music industry basically shuts down. This is the last chance for releases to come out in 2017 and be considered for best-of-year lists.

I doubt the likes of Chelsea Wolfe or Godspeed You! Black Emperor or even Kadavar would cop to that as a motivating factor, instead pointing to the timing of Fall touring and so on, but these things are rarely coincidental. You know how there aren’t any blockbusters in January but every movie feels like it’s trying to win an Oscar? Same kind of deal.

Nonetheless, 2017 is laying it on particularly thick these next couple weeks, and as you can see in the lists below, if you’ve got cash to spend, you can pretty much choose your rock and roll adventure. I’ll add to this as need be as well, so keep an eye for changes:

Sept. 22:

Alcest, Souveinirs d’un Autre Monde (10th Anniversary Edition)
Brant Bjork, Europe ’16
Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spunthe-flying-eyes-burning-of-the-season
Epitaph, Claws
Faces of the Bog, Ego Death
The Flying Eyes, Burning of the Season
Fvzz Popvli, Fvzz Dei
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Luciferian Towers
Jarboe & Father Murphy, Jarboe & Father Murphy
Monarch, Never Forever
Nibiru, Qaal Babalon
Process of Guilt, Black Earth
Satyricon, Deep Calleth Upon Deep
Spelljammer, Inches from the Sun (Reissue)
Thonian Horde, Inconnu
Trash Titan, Welcome to the Banana Party
Ufomammut, 8
With the Dead, Love from With the Dead
Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

Sept. 29:

monolord rust
Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts
Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy
A Devil’s Din, One Hallucination Under God
Disastroid, Missiles
Jim Healey, Just a Minute More (Sept. 26)
Idylls, The Barn
Kadavar, Rough Times
Lucifer’s Chalice, The Pact
Monolord, Rust
Outsideinside, Sniff a Hot Rock
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings
Scream of the Butterfly, Ignition
Tronald, Tronald (Sept. 30)
Unsane, Sterilize
Wucan, Reap the Storm

Oct. 6:

fireball-ministry-remember-the-storyElder Druid, Carmina Satanae
Fireball Ministry, Remember the Story
Frank Sabbath, Are You Waiting? (Oct. 2)
Himmellegeme, Myth of Earth
House of Broken Promises, Twisted EP
O.R.B., Naturality
Primitive Man, Caustic
Spirit Adrift, Curse of Conception
Spotlights, Seismic
Sumokem, The Guardian of Yosemite
Torso, Limbs
White Manna, Bleeding Eyes

Also:

Oct. 13: Enslaved, Firebreather, I Klatus, R.I.P., Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats (reissue), Weird Owl, etc.

Oct. 20: Iron Monkey, Spectral Haze, Bell Witch, The Spacelords, etc.

Something I forgot?

Invariably, right? If you know of something not seen above that should be, then by all means, please leave a comment letting me know. My only ask is that you keep it civil and not call me a fucking idiot or anything like that. I write these posts very early in the day, and if something has been neglected, I assure you it’s not on purpose and I’m happy to correct any and all oversights.

Thanks for reading and happy shopping. Support local record stores.

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Alcest to Release 10th Anniversary Edition of Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde Sept. 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

What else could you call Alcest‘s Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde but the right album at the right time? On some levels it seems like a quick 10 years since the French post-black metallers made their opening and defining statement with their first full-length, but when one considers the impact that record has had since, yeah, a decade sounds about right. Respected purveyor Prophecy Productions will give Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde its due with a deluxe reissue next month and the package looks suitably lush for the groundbreaking melodic wistfulness Neige and Winterhalter brought to bear the first time around. If ever there was an album suited to nostalgia…

The PR wire has the new cover art and details for the release:

alcest-souvenirs-dun-autre-monde

Alcest to Release Deluxe 10 Year Anniversary Editions of Debut Album, ‘Souvenirs d’un autre monde’

Released in 2007, Alcest’s debut album, Souvenirs d’un autre monde, marks the starting point of the French band’s extraordinary career. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of this groundbreaking record, Prophecy Productions has unveiled plans to reissue Souvenirs d’un autre monde in two very special limited edition formats on September 22.

With the release of Souvenirs d’un autre monde (English: “Memories from another world”), Alcest mastermind Neige forged a luminous new sound that floats on the fringes of metal, yet incorporates emotions of euphoria, bliss and nostalgia. The album has become known as one of the fundamental releases of the Blackgaze / Post-Black Metal genre, and a record that continually influences countless other bands in its wake. The singer and multi-instrumentalist dedicated the album to his childhood memories of experiences in a spiritual otherworld; personal themes that would become conceptual cornerstones of subsequent Alcest albums.

Limited editions of Souvenirs d’un autre monde include:

1.) Anniversary book (CD edition, 18×18 cm, 48 pages):
Including:
– Alternate cover artwork by longtime Alcest photographer Andy Julia, originally used for the first LP pressing of the album!
– In-depth essay written by Neige. Chapters include: Back in 2007 | Genesis & concept | Recording | Musical influences | Retrospective
– Additional exclusive essays by Andy Julia (Soror Dolorosa) and Aaron Weaver (Wolves in the Throne Room)
– Lyrics with English translation
– Many rare and unpublished photos of Neige from the Souvenirs d’un autre monde era!

2.) Anniversary LP edition
Including:
– 180g vinyl (black)
– Gatefold cover featuring original LP cover artwork (Not used since the first pressings!)
– Din A2 poster with original LP cover artwork
– PVC protection sleeve

Both special editions of Souvenirs d’un autre monde will be released on September 22. Pre-order at THIS location.

Track listing:
1.) Printemps Émeraude (“Emerald Spring”)
2.) Souvenirs d’un autre monde (“Memories from another world”)
3.) Les Iris (“The Iris”)
4.) Ciel Errant (“Wandering Sky”)
5.) Sur l’autre rive je t’attendrai (“On the other shore I will wait for you”)
6.) Tir nan Og (Irish: “Land of the Young”)

Alcest features Neige (guitars, bass, synths and vocals) and Winterhalter (drums).

https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official
https://www.instagram.com/alcestofficial/
https://twitter.com/Alcestofficial
https://www.alcest-music.com/
http://us.prophecy.de/index.php?stoken=68AF156F&lang=1&cl=search&searchparam=souvenirs
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/
https://www.instagram.com/prophecypro/
https://twitter.com/ProphecyProd

Alcest, Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde (2007)

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Quarterly Review: Alcest, Galley Beggar, Pontiak, White Light Cemetery, Fever Dog, Duel, Seven Nines and Tens, Automatic Sam, The Next Appointed Hour, Blown Out

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Always a special moment in the Quarterly Review when we pass the halfway mark. That’s where today’s batch brings us, and in rocking style as well. You might say I’ve been taking it easy on myself with the selections this time out — albums there’s plenty to say on and generally good stuff — but the basic fact of the matter is even with 50 reviews in a week, this is still just a fraction of what’s out there and still just a fraction of what I’d cover if I had the time. I couldn’t in terms of my own sanity, but one could probably do 10 reviews a day every day of the year and still have room for more. I do the best I can. Picking and choosing is a part of that process. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Kodama

alcest kodama

After the bold departure presented in 2014’s Shelter (review here) toward even-airier, more indie-hued fare, French post-black metal innovators Alcest make a no-less-bold return to their core sound – screams included, as they’re quick to show on “Eclosion” – with 2016’s Kodama (on Prophecy Productions). It’s a less progressive move, and for that distinct in Alcest’s discography, but one can’t argue with their execution of a track like “Je Suis d’Ailleurs” and the immediately recognizable melodic wash they craft, as resonant emotionally as it is heavy in its tone. Most of the six cuts seem contented to have (re-)found their place, but “Onyx” finishes out with just under four minutes of layered guitar droning, and so Alcest seem to tease that perhaps they’re not completely ready to settle the issue of their aesthetic just yet. One hopes that’s the case, and in the meantime, the reorientation that Kodama brings with it should no doubt please those longtime fans who bristled at the turn they made their last time out.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Galley Beggar, Heathen Hymns

galley-beggar-heathen-hymns

Galley Beggar’s fourth offering and second for Rise Above, Heathen Hymns, brings 42-minutes of the traditional acid folk one has come to expect from them over the last half-decade plus, no less graceful in its melodies, harmonies and weaving into and out of psychedelia, Eastern inflections on the sitar-laced “The Lake” and cleverly rhythmic in the post-rocking electric flourish of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.” Knowing what to expect, however, does nothing to diminish the joy of the listening experience. Rather, the return of Galley Beggar’s fluid string and/or more rock-based arrangements, memorable songcraft and gorgeous vocal treatments is welcome, and perhaps most of all on closer “My Return,” which draws their multiple sides together in a cohesive vision of futures past that only benefits from the maturity they’ve grown into. With poise as a defining feature as much as their British folk stylistic lineage, Galley Beggar remain a special outfit doing deeply individualized and satisfying work.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Pontiak, Dialectic of Ignorance

pontiak-dialectic-of-ignorance

A steady foundation of low-end drone underpins songs like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “Hidden Prettiness” on Pontiak’s Dialectic of Ignorance (released via Thrill Jockey), and though they move away from it somewhat in the more active freakout “Dirtbags,” the patience shown by the Virginian trio forms a key part of the album’s personality. To wit, they open with “Easy Does It,” essentially telling their listener their intention for what will ensue throughout the eight-track/46-minute offering. Brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring forth willful drift in that opener and across the percussive-but-still-shoegazing “Tomorrow is Forgetting,” finding an organ-laced folkadelic middle ground later in “Youth and Age” and punctuating the dreamy harmonized gorgeousness of “Herb is My Next Door Neighbor” with fervent tom runs and ping ride before closer “We’ve Fucked this Up” starts out amid blistering chaos only to smooth itself as it goes. Serene and somewhat moody to the same degree their last outing, 2014’s Innocence, was raw, Dialectic of Ignorance carries the feel of a personal journey undertaken, but is ultimately too warm in tone and melody not to welcome its audience to be a part of that as well.

Pontiak on Thee Facebooks

Pontiak at Thrill Jockey Records

 

White Light Cemetery, Careful What You Wish For

white-light-cemetery-careful-what-you-wish-for

Nearing the mark of their first decade together, Louisiana Southern heavy four-piece White Light Cemetery issue their second full-length, Careful What You Wish For, through Ripple Music and keep a steady focus on songcraft throughout. Heavy riffs, a bit of boogie on “Sky River” and the stomping “Better Days,” boozy Southern-isms on the directly countrified “On a Dime” and a cowbell-infused finish with “Bullet to Erase” – it’s only fair to say White Light Cemetery hit all the marks. The beery post-Deliverance execution of “Looking Out (For Number One)” will likely ring familiar to many who take it on, but that’s the idea, as vocalist/guitarist Shea Bearden, guitarist Ryan Robin, bassist Tara Miller and drummer Thomas Colley are clearly less concerned with reinventing rock in their own image than honoring the pantheon of those who’ve come before them in the style. Hard to argue with the ethic preached or the dual-guitar harmonies of “Quit Work, Make Music,” though the record as a whole seems awfully “workingman’s rock” for any such bohemian aspirations.

White Light Cemetery on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Fever Dog, Mainframe

fever dog mainframe

It’s been three years since next-gen Californian desert trio Fever Dog released their last album, Second Wind (review here), which was long on potential, big on songwriting and resonant in vibe. I’d been hoping for a third long-player in 2017, but even the arrival of new single Mainframe – which of course doesn’t preclude a subsequent album release – is fine by me, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Graham, bassist Nathan Wood and drummer/organist/synthesist/vocalist Joshua Adams digging into progressive vibes on the title-track and the subsequent, talkbox-inclusive “Let Me Out.” I don’t know if they’re planning to press a 7” – somebody call H42 Records! – but the cover art certainly justifies one if the songs themselves don’t (and they do), and the name-your-price download comes with the raw 19-minute classic heavy rock jam “Alpha Waves Medley Live at Club 5,” which emits buzz like it’s a bootleg from 1973. If Mainframe is the process of Fever Dog getting weirder, it bodes well. All the more reason one might keep their fingers crossed for a new full-length.

Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks

Fever Dog on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Witchbanger

duel witchbanger

“If you see him it’s much too late/Close your eyes, girl, accept your fate.” So goes the title-track hook of Duel’s Witchbanger, the Austin-based rockers’ second album for Heavy Psych Sounds. Released on a quick turnaround from last year’s debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), the eight-track/34-minute swaggerfest delves into fantasy themes drawn from classic metal – hard not to look at six-minute closer “Tigers and Rainbows” and not think of Dio, at least thematically – but cuts like “Astro Gypsy” and “Heart of the Sun” in the record’s midsection build on the ‘70s loyalism of the first outing and find guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz clear in their intentions in that regard. Though it takes a sizable grain of salt to get over that title, Duel’s heavy rock traditionalism comes complemented by efficient songwriting and a natural-sounding recording that’s neither completely retro nor totally modern but draws strength and fullness from both sides. A worthy and rousing follow-up.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Seven Nines and Tens, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums

seven-nines-and-tens-set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-slums

If the dates are to be believed, the second full-length from Vancouver’s Seven Nines and Tens, cleverly-titled Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums, has roots going back to 2014, when basic live tracks were recorded and subsequently built on for about two years. Indeed, the four-song offering – whose tracks “I Come from Downtown,” “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” and closer “Rave Up” have been presented in the meantime as singles and/or on early 2017’s Live at the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret – has plenty of layers in its heavy post-rock wash, and it’s with depth and heft that guitarist/bassist/vocalist David Cotton and drummer Mario Nieva (the current incarnation of the band has a different lineup), make their prevailing impression, be it in the roll of 13-minute “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” or the loud/quiet trades of “Dope Simple,” which follows. With a focus on atmosphere over structure, Seven Nines and Tens offer a quick 32-minute immersion that feels less pretentious than purposeful and would seem to have been worth the time it took to construct.

Seven Nines and Tens on Thee Facebooks

Seven Nines and Tens website

 

Automatic Sam, Arcs

automatic sam arcs

With their third album, Nijmegen’s Automatic Sam bring together a straightforward and coherent collection of well-intentioned semi-psychedelic heavy rock. Their past works, 2011’s Texino and 2013’s Sonic Whip, have been conceptual or at least thematic pieces, and it may be that the 13-track/38-minute Arcs (on Goomah Music) is as well, but if so, it would seem to find that theme in a vision of post-grunge ‘90s alt rock, cleanly and clearly executed and vibrant in the performance of vocalist/guitarist Pieter Holkenborg, guitarist/vocalist Rense Slings, bassist/vocalist Erik Harbers and drummer/vocalist Lars Spijkervet, who open with the five-minute “Ukiyo” (their longest inclusion; immediate points) and then run through a varied swath of shorter pieces from the attitude-laden “City Lights” through the uptempo post-punk of “This is Not a Holiday” and the fuller push of “Parnassia.” Side B seems more flowing, with that song, “Tarantula,” a complementary reprise, the title-track and drifting acoustic closer “So Long in E Minor,” but Automatic Sam manage to hone a diverse approach across Arcs’ span while skillfully directing themselves around choppier waters.

Automatic Sam on Thee Facebooks

Automatic Sam at Goomah Music

 

The Next Appointed Hour, Not the End of the World

the-next-appointed-hour-not-the-end-of-the-world

Ambition may be the defining aspect of Not the End of the World. The 2016 self-released debut from Birmingham, Alabama’s The Next Appointed Hour willfully refuses easy categorization, basking in bright psychedelic space rock harmonies one minute and digging into folkish melancholia the next in a way that one is left with no other option but to call “progressive.” What ultimately makes songs like “Keeper’s Heart” and the ethereal pop of “Back to You back to Me” work is an underlying cure of songcraft, and whatever ground the six-piece cover on the 10-track outing, from the fuzzy rush of “Drone Riot” to the trippy shimmer of the penultimate “Red Flame,” that core is maintained, uniting the material and making Not the End of the World a work of scope rather than haphazard. It requires an open mind, but rewards open-mindedness with moments like the accordion on “Valley,” or the rhythmic drift of “Any Who but Here,” the nuance of which is no less gracefully held together than the overarching flow of the album as a whole.

The Next Appointed Hour on Thee Facebooks

The Next Appointed Hour on Bandcamp

 

Blown Out, Superior Venus

blown out superior venus

Already sold out on preorders, the vinyl edition of Superior Venus from UK cosmic jammers Blown Out features two tracks – one per side – of space-wash heavy righteousness. “Impious Oppressor” and “Superior Venus” both top 15 minutes (and are accompanied by demo versions if you get the download), and proffer the kind of progressive improvisation-based flow that, indeed, might make one inclined to get an order in while the getting’s good. Blown Out, with members of Bong and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, have put out a slew of live and studio releases over the last three years, but as planets invariably revolve in cyclical patterns, so too does the regular frequency of their work become part of the expression itself. If you’re going to jam, do it all the time. On Superior Venus, Blown Out once more bring this ethic to life, and the resulting material spreads itself wide over its still relatively brief span. A short trip to orbit, perhaps, but well worth the undertaking.

Blown Out on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

 

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Alcest Announce Australia / New Zealand Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Currently embroiled in a US run that kicked off last week in Boston, Parisian post-black metallers Alcest have announced they’ll head to Australia and New Zealand in April — spring here, fall there — as they continue to herald the return to a more aggressive style presented on their 2016 full-length, Kodama. Seems kind of strange to think of Alcest going back to their core sound as kind of a departure, but after the drifting ambient rock of 2014’s Shelter (review here), that’s kind of how it worked out. Cheers to them for being unpredictable even as they bask in the lush melodic melancholia that’s become their signature. Not every band could pull that one off.

Shows are presented by Life is Noise, and you can find the dates below, along with the remaining gigs on the North American stint happening now:

alcest

LIFE IS NOISE PRESENTS: ALCEST (FRA) AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND TOUR APRIL 2017

LIFE IS NOISE is ecstatic to announce the return of Alcest to Australian soil this April, with the band also venturing to New Zealand for the first time.

The French post-black metal masterminds will be reaching into the hearts and heads of audiences in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Alcest have always been a strangely entrancing beast. Originally serving as a solo project for Neige (Stephane Paut), the outfit evolved into a creative connection between the frontman and drummer Winterhalter (of legendary Peste Noire fame) over more than 16 years.

Transcending their early black metal ties through five very different releases, their latest effort—Kodama—sees the band meticulously reframe their origins through a kaleidoscope of rich, warm and soaring sounds that connect with the very soul of the listener.

Influenced by the gorgeous Hayao Miyasaki film, Princess Mononoke, Kodama – meaning ‘tree spirit’ or ‘echo’ in Japanese – delves into the concept of living between two worlds; of not belonging and striving to establish a sense of being through contrasting planes of existence.

Exploring the juxtaposition of nature and humanity and the perpetual struggle faced trying to achieve cohesion in a modern world, the album taps into the divide to serve as a reminder that the spiritual is often neglected in a time that embraces the physical.

Alcest live is a truly humbling experience. Their emotive power works its way through every inch of your psyche, as they effortlessly transition from darker, harsher tones to climbing, ethereal highs. This is a sonic adventure that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

Catch Alcest on the following dates:
Wellington – San Fran – April 23
Auckland – Kings Arms – April 24
Brisbane – Crowbar – April 25
Sydney – Newtown Social – April 27
Melbourne – Max Watt’s – April 28
Perth –Badlands – April 29

Alcest US tour:
01/23/2017 Cleveland OH Grog Shop
01/24/2017 Grand Rapids MI Pyramid Scheme
01/25/2017 Chicago IL Reggies Rock Club
01/26/2017 St Paul MN Turf Club
01/28/2017 St Louis MO Ready Room
01/29/2017 Kansas City MO Riot Room
01/30/2017 Denver CO Marquis Theater
01/31/2017 Salt Lake City UT Metro Music Hall
02/02/2017 Seattle WA Highline
02/03/2017 Portland OR Dantes
02/04/2017 Vancouver BC Rickshaw Theater
02/06/2017 Oakland CA Oakland Opera House
02/07/2017 Los Angeles CA Roxy Theater
02/08/2017 San Diego CA Brick By Brick
02/09/2017 Mesa AZ Club Red
02/10/2017 Albuquerque NM Sister Bar
02/11/2017 Dallas TX Curtain Club
02/12/2017 Austin TX Grizzly Hall
02/14/2017 Nashville TN The End
02/15/2017 Atlanta GA Aisle 5
02/16/2017 Richmond VA Strange Matter
02/17/2017 Baltimore MD Metro Gallery
02/18/2017 Philadelphia PA Foundry
02/19/2017 New York NY Irving Plaza

Tickets from lifeisnoise.com, the venues and undertheradar.co.nz for NZ shows.

https://www.facebook.com/events/249725725466365/
https://www.alcest-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official
https://twitter.com/Alcestofficial
https://www.instagram.com/alcestofficial/
http://en.prophecy.de/alcest/

Alcest, Kodama (2016)

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Alcest to Release Kodama Sept. 30; Preorders Available Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

alcest

I remain intrigued at the prospect of an Alcest album that even the band seems to position as a return to form, if not in such direct language, as they’ve never done anything in their career that wasn’t a move forward from where they were previously and one wonders what lessons they’ll incorporate from their last outing, 2014’s Shelter (review here), as they make their way back to the post-black metal aesthetic they — as their label, Prophecy Productions, rightly asserts — helped to pioneer in their earlier work. I dug Shelter in part for the bold step away from that that it represented, but it seemed like much of their audience was missing the lush, textured emotionalism. We’ll see where their fifth album, Kodama, ends up upon its Sept. 30 release.

The band posted the artwork and tracklisting and Prophecy has preorders up now for worldwide shipping, so if you want to get in on it, you can indeed get in on it. Here goes:

alcest kodama

We are really excited to announce that our new album “Kodama” will be out on September 30th through Prophecy Productions.

“Kodama” is the Japanese word for both “tree spirit” and “echo”. The artwork has been done by the French duo Førtifem.

Tracklist :
– Kodama
– Eclosion
– Je suis d’ailleurs
– Untouched
– Oiseaux de proie
– Onyx

Pre-order:
World: http://en.prophecy.de/artists/alcest/
US: http://us.prophecy.de/artists/alcest/

“Kodama” the fifth album from Blackgaze pioneers, Alcest, marks the French duo’s ferocious return to the stylistic maximalism of its early albums while continuing the band’s relentless pursuit for new sounds and fresh ideas.

“Kodama” is the Japanese word for ‘tree spirit’ and ‘echo’ and from the album’s structure and dynamics to its cinematic sound, “Kodama” indeed ‘echoes’ Alcest’s 2010 classic, “Écailles De Lune”. But this is no simple back-to-the-roots album: the band has more punch, rhythm and organic feel than ever before. While clearly influenced by bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Dinosaur Jr, Grimes and The Cure, “Kodama” ultimately reveals itself as Alcest’s ‘Japanese album’, drawing substantial inspiration from Japanese art and culture.

Originally triggered by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime film “Princess Mononoke”, “Kodama” picks up on the fate of its protagonist and, at its core, deals with the sensation of not belonging; of living in between worlds, be it city and nature or the physical and spiritual one. Duality is also crucial for the visual approach of the album, realized by French graphic designer duo Førtifem. Paying tribute to Japanese illustrators like Takato Yamamoto, the visuals portray contrasting elements like nature/urbanity, youth/death, femininity/animality and combine poetic elements with darker ones that were not present in Alcest’s earlier works.

By giving the album a cultural, stylistic and compositional narrative, Neige and Winterhalter keep “Kodama” from just being the latest improvement on the Alcest sound and instead make the album a most rare and exciting thing: a vital, relevant record from a pioneer that not only upholds the band’s trailblazing legacy but actually makes you want to see where they go next.

Available editions:
– CD digipak with die-cut sleeve
– LP (33rpm) on heavy-weight 180g black virgin vinyl
– 2CD hardcover book (36 pages with lyrics, elaborate liner notes by Neige, Winterhalter and Fortifem, translations of the lyrics, ca. 18x18cm) incl. bonus CD with bonus track “Notre Sang Et Nos Penseées”
– Deluxe 3LP box (45rpm) with vinyl etching, 6 art prints and lyric sheet; ltd. to 777 copies, split to: 200x black vinyl, 200x clear vinyl, 200x clear/black marble vinyl, 177x magenta/black marble vinyl (exclusive to the Prophecy online shop!)
– “Complete Kodama Box”: 4LPs (45rpm) incl. vinyl etching and bonus track “Notre Sang Et Nos Penseées”, 2CD hardcover book (36 pages with lyrics, elaborate liner notes by Neige, Winterhalter and Fortifem, translations of the lyrics, ca. 18x18cm) incl. bonus CD with bonus track “Notre Sang Et Nos Penseées”, 6 art prints and certificate; ltd. to 777 copies, split to: 200x black vinyl, 200x clear vinyl, 200x clear/black marble vinyl, 177x magenta/black marble vinyl (exclusive to the Prophecy online shop!)

https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official/
https://twitter.com/Alcestofficial
http://www.alcest-music.com/

Alcest, “Opale” Live in NYC, Sept. 22, 2015

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Alcest Recording Fifth Album; Touring Europe this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

alcest

Released in 2014, Alcest‘s fourth album, Shelter (review here), was a bold step away from the post-black metal style the French unit had proffered on its first three outings. You can see it in the video below for “Opale” — it’s practically obsessed with color. I’m not entirely surprised to read that for the yet-untitled follow-up fifth LP, Alcest are looking more toward their earlier work than continuing to build on what they accomplished with Shelter, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to come out with Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde Pt. 2 or anything like that either. Alcest has never been anything but forward thinking, and I’d imagine the lessons they learned on Shelter will be a factor in whatever the new one is called as well when it’s finished.

We’ll find out this fall, reportedly, which also happens to be when Alcest are touring Europe with Japan’s Mono. PR wire info and tour dates follow:

alcest tour dates

ALCEST Working on New Album; Band Issues Statement

Celebrated French Shoegaze Exemplars Ready Fifth Full-Length

Parisian Post-metal duo ALCEST will release its new album this fall via Prophecy Productions. The band — vocalist / multi-instrumentalist Neige and drummer Winterhalter — are currently putting the finishing touches on the record, which they have described as “intense songs full of contrasts and dynamics.” The as-yet-untitled release follows the duo’s celebrated 2014 LP, Shelter.

“For the past 3 months we have been recording our new album, and right now we are doing small adjustments on the mix,” comments Neige. “It’s coming to an end of a very long journey (the longest studio experience we’ve had so far) and we feel quite exhausted, but really happy. For each album we try to challenge ourselves, developing the songs in new directions. This time will be just as special, but also a return to the approach we had in our earlier albums; with intense songs full of contrasts and dynamics. Even if this album is quite “alien” in character, we felt the need to come back to the origins of the project. The release date is planned for Autumn 2016 and then we will embark on a 37 date European co-headlining tour with the Japanese band MONO. We are very much looking forward to this tour and to show you the work of our last couple of years.”

This summer, ALCEST will join labelmates GERM, Secrets of the Moon, Les Discrets, Helrunar, Völur and more at the 2016 Prophecy Fest, set to take place July 29-30 inside Balver Höhle, “a natural cave from old stone age” in Balve, Germany. For full details, visit this location.

Alcest & MONO on tour:
Oct 27, 2016 // Beatpol // Dresden, DE
Oct 29, 2016 // Strom // Munich, DE
Oct 30, 2016 // Gebaude 9 // Cologne, DE
Oct 31, 2016 // Jubez // Jubez, DE
Nov 1, 2016 // Salzhaus // Salzhaus, CH
Nov 2, 2016 // Circolo Magnolia // Segrate, IT
Nov 3, 2016 // Mostovna // Nova Gorica, SI
Nov 4, 2016 // Locomotiv // Bologna, IT
Nov 5, 2016 // Init // Rome, IT
Nov 6, 2016 // Spazio 211 // Turin, IT
Nov 7, 2016 // Cco Villeurbanne // Lyon, FR
Nov 8, 2016 // La Maroquinerie // Paris, FR
Nov 9, 2016 // Engine Rooms // Southampton, UK
Nov 10, 2016 // The Institute // Birmingham, UK
Nov 11, 2016 // Queens Hall // Leicester, UK
Nov 12, 2016 // Classic Grand // Glasgow, UK
Nov 13, 2016 // Brudenell Social Club // Leeds, UK
Nov 14, 2016 // Gorilla // Manchester, UK
Nov 15, 2016 // The Globe // Cardiff, UK
Nov 16, 2016 // Marble Factory // Bristol, UK
Nov 17, 2016 // Brixton Electric // London, UK
Nov 18, 2016 // VK // Brussels, BE
Nov 19, 2016 // 013 // Tilburg, NL
Nov 20, 2016 // P60 // Amstelveen, NL
Nov 21, 2016 // Uebel & Gefährlich // Hamburg, DE
Nov 22, 2016 // Lille Vega // Copenhagen, DK
Nov 23, 2016 // Pustervik // Gothenburg, SE
Nov 24, 2016 // Parkteatret // Oslo, NO
Nov 25, 2016 // Debaser Strand // Stockholm, SE
Nov 26, 2016 // KB // Malmo, SE
Nov 27, 2016 // Binuu // Berlin, DE
Nov 28, 2016 // B90 // Gdansk, PL
Nov 29, 2016 // Firlej // Wroclaw, PL
Nov 30, 2016 // Szene // Vienna, AT
Dec 1, 2016 // Durer Kert // Budapest, HU
Dec 2, 2016 // Tabacka // Kosice, SK
Dec 3, 2016 // Rockstadt // Brasov, RO

https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official
https://twitter.com/Alcestofficial
http://prophecy.de/

Alcest, “Opale” official video

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Alcest Announce North American Headlining Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

alcest

If like me you’ve been lamenting the fact that you didn’t get to see Alcest when they toured in the US with Anathema since pretty much the day after the show happened, you’ll be glad to note you’ve got another chance to catch them supporting their 2014 fourth album, Shelter (review here), which departed the post-black metal melancholia of their first three outings for altogether brighter fare — they made a good pairing for Anathema in that way; both acts boldly foraying into positivity in the face of an expectation of the morose. They’ll be out this time headlining with support from Emma Ruth Rundle and the tour begins in Mexico City on Sept. 19, picks up in Boston on Sept. 21 and rolls on from there coast to coast with dates in Canada as well, making it a true North American run.

The PR wire has details:

alcest north american tour

ALCEST Announces North American Headlining Tour

Celebrated French Shoegaze Exemplars to Perform in the U.S., Canada and Mexico this Autumn

Parisian Post-metal duo ALCEST has announced a fall North American headlining tour. The critically-lauded group, will launch the month-long trek on September 19 in Mexico City. The scheduled 23-city, major market jaunt will run through October 17 in Philadelphia, PA. Support on the ALCEST tour will come from singer-songwriter and visual artist Emma Ruth Rundle. ALCEST continues to perform globally in support of its most recent album, Shelter.

“We are very happy to announce that Alcest will tour in Mexico and North America in September and October of 2015,” comments Neige. “It’s been three years since we played in North America as headliners, so we are very excited to be back. Our support guest on this tour will be the talented Emma Ruth Rundle (Marriages, Red Sparrowes). Be sure to catch us on one of these dates!”

ALCEST tour dates:
September 19 Mexico City Billar Billy’s
September 21 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
September 22 New York, NY Highline Ballroom
September 23 Montreal, QC L’Alize
September 24 Ottawa, ON Mavericks
September 25 Toronto, ON Hard Luck Bar
September 26 Chicago, IL Subterranean
September 28 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
September 30 Boise, ID Neurolux
October 1 Vancouver, BC Venue
October 2 Seattle, WA Crocodile
October 3 Portland, OR Dante’s
October 6 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
October 7 Los Angeles, CA The Regent
October 8 Mesa, AZ Club Red
October 9 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
October 10 Dallas, TX Sons Of Hermann Hall
October 11 Austin, TX Red 7
October 13 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
October 14 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
October 15 Raleigh, NC King’s Baracde
October 16 Baltimore, MD Metro Gallery
October 17 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s

https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official
https://alcest.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/alcestofficial

Alcest, Shelter (2014)

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Revisiting 2014’s Most Anticipated Albums

Posted in Features on December 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

tomorrows-dream-REVISITED-Original-etching-by-Wenceslas-Hollar

[PLEASE NOTE: This is not my Top Albums of 2014 list. That’s coming later in the month.]

First of all, the math was wrong. The list went to 42, not 40…

I did two major “stuff is coming out” posts this year. The first was January’s Tomorrow’s Dream: 42 of 2014’s Most Anticipated Albums, and the second was July’s 30 Before ’15: Records Not to Miss Before the New Year Hits. Apparently I have thing for cumbersome titles.

At best, this stuff is a crapshoot. Until something’s just about in your hand, you never really know when or if it’s going to come out. But they’re fun, and it’s exciting to think of good music being released, so you do it anyway. On the whole, I don’t think I did that badly between the two lists. Of course there was stuff that wasn’t anticipated — Colour Haze‘s new album, To the Highest Gods We Know, walks by and waves en route to its Dec. 15 release date — but for what we got, it worked out well.

That’s the general overview, but because I hold myself to a standard of accountability more rigorous than, say, my nation’s torture-happy secret police, here’s a full rundown of the list as it was, now (as then), presented alphabetically and with the titles listed as they were at the time:

42 of 2014’s Most Anticipated Albums — REVISITED!

 

1. Acid King, TBA: Word is Acid King‘s first in 10 years was mastered last month and will be out in Feb. 2015 on Svart.
 

2. Alcest, Shelter: Was way less post-black metal than their prior stuff, and I think it threw a lot of people off. Not a bad record (review here), but worked against lofty expectations.
 

3. All Them Witches, TBA: I remember including this because they said they were going back into the studio. Turned out they were recording the Effervescent EP/jam (review here). No regrets.
 

4. Alunah, TBA: Their new one was their Napalm Records debut, Awakening the Forest (review here). It was awesome. Score one for the list.
 

5. Blackwolfgoat, Drone Maintenance: Yeah, it was cheating to include this since I was there when it was recorded. Still a killer record though.
 

6. Causa Sui, Live at Freak Valley: Ruled. Reviewed and streamed here. Made me want to see them even more.
 

7. Conan, Blood Eagle: What does complete dominance sound like? Sounds like Conan to me.
 

8. Eggnogg, You’re all Invited: Was dying to hear what the Brooklyn trio came up with. No word on it yet.
 

9. Elder, Live at Roadburn 2013: Still don’t have a copy of this. Maybe I can pick one up when I get their forthcoming third studio album, Lore, out early next year.
 

10. 40 Watt Sun, TBA: More like “MIA” than TBA. Anyone heard from these guys?
 

11. The Golden Grass, TBATheir self-titled debut (review here) was one of the finest first-albums I heard all year.
 

12. Greenleaf, Trails and Passes: Any Greenleaf is a treat. Trails and Passes (review here) was no exception.
 

13. Grifter, The Return of the Bearded Brethren: Solid follow-up (review here). Grifter‘s humor and lack of pretense serves them well.
 

14. Hull, TBA: Well, they had the Legend of the Swamp Goat single (review here) to coincide with their Euro tour. Waiting on the album.
 

15. Lowrider, TBA: I wouldn’t mind if this materialized right now. Or now. Or now. Or 2015. Or 2016.
 

16. The Machine, TBA: Might’ve jumped the gun on this. Hopefully in 2015.
 

17. Mars Red Sky, TBA: Easily one of the year’s best records. Stranded in Arcadia (review here) continues to get regular spins.
 

18. Mos Generator, Electric Mountain Majesty: A highlight of early 2014. Darker record (review here), but inarguable songwriting.
 

19. Mr. Peter Hayden, Archdimension NowFitting end to their trilogy and hopefully not their last outing.
 

20. Pallbearer, TBA: Their Foundations of Burden has topped year-end lists already. It’s still on my desktop. I’ve barely listened to it.
 

21. Papir, IIII: Very, very good. They seem to be developing, but IIII (review here) was a satisfying chronicle.
 

22. Pilgrim, TBA: Can’t say II: Void Worship (review here) wasn’t a win for the band since they did a month on the road with Spirit Caravan. Maybe overshadowed by more recent stuff, but a quality record.
 

23. Radio Moscow, Magical Dirt: Their incendiary heavy blues was in top form on Magical Dirt (review here). Glad I got to see them live once or twice (or 18 times) as well this year.
 

24. Sigiriya, Darkness Died Today: Also residing on my desktop. A vocalist switch caught me off guard and I feel like I still haven’t given it a fair shot.
 

25. Sixty Watt Shaman, TBA: Really? I had Sixty Watt on the list? That seems ambitious. No doubt they’ll have something new eventually, but that was a pretty high expectation it would be out this year.
 

26. Skraeckoedlan, Gigantos: If this came out, no one told me. Seems like not yet.
 

27. The Skull, TBA: A stunner. As much as I looked forward to it, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) exceeded the excitement.
 

28. Sleep, TBA: Included as wishful thinking. Their The Clarity single (review here) was something to celebrate.
 

29. Slough Feg, Digital Resistance: I was really looking forward to this one. Kind of fell off with Digital Resistance (review here) after a while. Hard to argue with Slough Feg though.
 

30. Snail, FeralWaiting on it for 2015.
 

31. Steak, TBAThe London four-piece followed two strong EPs with Slab City (review here), as heartfelt a showing of desert rock loyalty as I’ve heard.
 

Damn, this was a long list.
 

32. Stubb, TBA: I had my doubts it would arrive, but Stubb‘s Ripple Music debut, Cry of the Ocean (review here), found welcome when it did.
 

33. SunnO))) & Ulver, Terrestrials: One of two collaborations SunnO))) would have out in 2014. Heard a lot about it at the beginning of the year. Less now.
 

34. Tombs, Savage Gold: Good band, doing interesting stuff. I have a hard time transitioning from appreciating it to actually being a fan.
 

35. Triptykon, Melana ChasmataSorry, but when Tom G. Warrior puts out a record, you hop to. I didn’t review it to save myself having to buy a copy, but dug it anyway.
 

36. Truckfighters, Universe: I feel like this one picked up steam as the year went on. I didn’t go back to it as much as its predecessor, but Universe (review here) was a logical next step for them.
 

37. Valley of the Sun, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk: Nothing to complain about with the Ohio three-piece’s debut (review here) or the effort they put into supporting it throughout the year.
 

38. Weedeater, TBA: Nope. At least I knew it at the time.
 

39. Wolves in the Throne Room, TBA: Surprised a lot of people when Celestite (review here) was a companion piece for their last record instead of a new album proper, myself included.
 

40. The Wounded Kings, Consolamentum: 2014 was quite a year for doom, and The Wounded Kings were right there at the start. This lineup may be gone, but Consolamentum (review here) holds up.
 

41. Yawning Man, Gravity is Good for You: Rumor is guitarist Gary Arce has a few projects in the works for next year. Not sure if this is one of them or not.
 

42. YOB, TBA: We certainly know how this worked out, don’t we? If the votes in the Readers Poll are anything to go by, yes. Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) was a landmark, and this won’t be the last year-end list around here on which YOB make a showing.
 

The list from July had a few winners on it as well — Apostle of Solitude, Blues Pills, Bongripper, Brant Bjork, Earth, Lo-Pan, The Well, Witch Mountain, etc. — but I think we’ve probably got enough as it is.

With the year starting to wind down, I’ll be putting together my Top 30 Albums of 2014 in the next week or so. Please keep an eye out for that, and thanks for reading.
 

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