Arcadian Child Post “The March” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

Burgess Meredith, an actor known for his work in everything from the 1960s Batman show and The Twilight Zone to Rocky, only apparently ever directed one feature film on his own and it was the 1978 B-movie The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go. Needless to say, I’ve never seen it — and you probably haven’t either — but some footage from it appears in the new Arcadian Child video for “The March” from their late-2018 offering, Superfonica (review here), and at very least it does well there in helping set a mood. And mood is pretty crucial when it comes the Cyprus-based heavy psych rockers and their second full-length on Ripple-offshoot Rogue Wave Records, as the band conjures an overarching fluidity in their approach that draws songs together even as those like “The March” itself stand out with languid and engaging hooks.

Most records, I’m sad to say, get shelved once I review them, either figuratively or literally. I don’t listen to them again. No time. Tomorrow is another review (or two) and there’s just too much to go back, even to albums I dig. Superfonica came out on Nov. 23, at a time when most reviewer-types are either looking back on the year that was or looking ahead to the year that will be. Even so, Arcadian Child‘s work has continued to stand out, and I’ve got back to it more than a few times over the last couple months, even despite the ever-present onslaught of other offerings to be considered. It’s become one of those albums I reach for, and the wash that the band craft across its span makes it certainly welcome whenever I get the chance to put it on again. Which, incidentally now, and sure enough, the record’s holding up.

Enjoy “The March” below, then feel free to hit play on the Bandcamp embed at the bottom of the post with the whole record on it, because really, even if you know the record, I don’t think you’re going to regret spending the time.

Here’s to Burgess Meredith:

Arcadian Child, “The March” official video

From sophomore album “Superfonica,, Get it: https://arcadianchildband.bandcamp.com/
Out via Ripple Music and Rogue Wave Records

Produced by Andreas Trachonitis and Arcadian Child
Recorded and Mixed by Andreas Trachonitis
at studio eleven63 in Nicosia
Additional recordings by Mikaela Tsangari
Mastered by Yiannis Christodoulatos at sweetspot productions in Athens

Video edited by Iam Nothe
https://www.facebook.com/IamNotheMMXI/
Features scenes from “The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go”, a film by Burgess Meredith (1978), “Messiah of Evil”, a film by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (1973) and various educational films.

Music by Arcadian Child
Lyrics by Panagiotis I.G

Arcadian Child, Superfonica (2018)

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

Arcadian Child on Spotify

Rogue Wave Records on Thee Facebooks

Rogue Wave Records BigCartel store

Ripple Music website

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The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2018

Posted in Features on December 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the-top-30-of-2018

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2018 to that, please do.

It just wouldn’t be a year if it wasn’t completely overwhelming, right?

2018 has certainly met that standard and then some. The swath of output, whether it’s a new generation adopting and adapting established methods or out and out reinventing the stylistic wheel and then pushing it uphill on a seemingly endless barrage of tours, has been staggering, and it’s still happening. There’s a little more than a week to go in the year. You think a band isn’t putting something out today? Of course they are. It’s every day. It’s all the time.

But this year wasn’t just about quantity either. I think one of my biggest struggles in writing about albums in 2018 — and with the last Quarterly Review and various premieres and video posts that were basically album reviews in disguise, let’s estimate we’re somewhere past 300 records reviewed one way or another — was in conveying just how killer so much of the stuff coming through was. How many times can you say the word “awesome?” Well, I’m sure we’ll see it a few more times before this list is over, so there you go.

I say something like this every time I do a list, but please keep in mind these are my picks and I’m one person. But I am a person. I know there’s the whole internet-anonymity thing, but I assure you, I’m a human being (more of a cave troll, really) typing these words. I’m all for everyone sharing their own picks in the comments, and all for passionate advocating, but please, let’s keep it civil and respectful. These things can spiral out of control quickly, but let’s remember that we’re all human beings and worth of basic courtesy, even if some of us are dead wrong about a good many things. You should definitely punch nazis, though.

Thanks in advance for reading. Here we go:

[UPDATE: You’ll notice the inclusion of an ’18a.’ I had Stoned Jesus in my notes as number 18 initially and they got dropped as I was adjusting things along the way. I’ve added them back in, but it didn’t seem fair to bump everyone else down after the post had already been published. That was the best I could come up with for a solution. If you’re pissed about one more killer record being added, please feel free to email me and tell me all about it.]

30. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark

The Skull The Endless Road Turns Dark

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Chicago’s The Skull had no small task before them in following up their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) — let alone living up to their pedigree — but their second album demonstrated a creative growth that sacrificed nothing of memorability when it came to songs like “Breathing Underwater” and “All that Remains (Is True).” They got down to work and got the job done, which is what a working band does. 2018 was by any measure a fantastic year for doom, and The Skull were a big part of why.

29. Foghound, Awaken to Destroy

foghound awaken to destroy

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 21.

The Dec. 2017 murder of Rev. Jim Forrester was tragic. No other way to say it. Foghound, who were in the midst of making Awaken to Destroy at the time, put together an album that not only features Forrester‘s last recorded performance, but pays respect to his memory while the wound is still raw and manages to kick ass all the while. It’s a record that can’t ever be divorced from its circumstances — just can’t — and so it can be a heavy listen in more than just its tones, but it’s basically Foghound proving they’re unstoppable. And so they are.

28. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back

orange goblin the wolf bites back

Released by Spinefarm Records. Reviewed June 13.

Who among us here today is not a sucker for Orange Goblin? Come forward an be judged. I mean, really. Nine records deep, the London sceneforgers are nothing less than an institution, beloved by boozehounds, riffhounds, doomhounds, and really, a wide variety of hounds the world over. Also dudes. With its essential title-track hook and highlight cuts in “Ghosts of the Primitives” and “Burn the Ships” — or, you know, any of them — they added to one of heavy’s most unshakable legacies with an album as furious as it is welcoming to its generations-spanning fanbase.

27. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe

fu manchu clone of the universe
Released by At the Dojo Records. Reviewed Feb. 15.

There are two kinds of people in this world, and they’re both Fu Manchu fans. Clone of the Universe turned heads with a guest appearance from Rush‘s Alex Lifeson on the 18-minute side-B-consuming “Il Mostro Atomico,” but really to focus on that instead of “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” etc., is only seeing half the point of the album in the first place. The long-running lords of fuzz hit a new stride with 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), and Clone of the Universe was in every way a worthy successor.

26. Witch Mountain, Witch Mountain

Witch-Mountain-Witch-Mountain
Released by Svart Records. Reviewed May 16.

It was an unenviable task before Witch Mountain in replacing vocalist Uta Plotkin, but founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson found the right voice in Kayla Dixon and solidified the lineup with her and bassist Justin Brown enough to make a declarative statement in Witch Mountain‘s self-titled LP. That’s the story of it. They pulled it off. Met with what was unquestionably a bummer circumstance, they pushed through and moved their sound forward through a new beginning — and not their first one. Watch out when their next record hits.

25. Windhand, Eternal Return

windhand eternal return

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Oct. 3.

Richmond, Virginia, doomers Windhand‘s second collaboration with producer Jack Endino produced a marked and purposeful expansion of their sound, encompassing classic grunge influences and a heavy psychedelic swirl that added color their previously-greyscale sonic haze. Resonant in tone and emotionalism, Eternal Return readjusted Windhand‘s trajectory in such a manner that, where one might’ve thought they knew where the band were headed in terms of their progression, they’ve made themselves a less predictable outfit on the whole. For that alone, it’s a triumph. Then you have the songs.

24. Sun Voyager, Seismic Vibes

Sun Voyager Seismic Vibes

Released by King Pizza Records. Reviewed April 18.

I don’t even want to admit how long I was waiting for Sun Voyager‘s first long-player to show up, but when it finally did, the New York trio did not disappoint. Catchy, energetic, fuzzed-out tunes with driving rhythms and a heavy psych flourish, they tapped into shoegaze and desert vibes without losing any sense of themselves in the process, and if the extra wait was so they could be so remarkably coherent in their expression on their full-length, then I wouldn’t want it to have shown up any sooner. An easy pick to stand among 2018’s best debut albums. Now to wait for the next one.

23. Forming the Void, Rift

forming the void rift

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed July 27.

It should tell you something that after working quickly to produce three albums, Louisiana’s Forming the Void are still defined by their potential. If I had my druthers, I’d put the recent Ripple signees on tour for the bulk of 2019, across the US and in Europe for festivals and support-slot club shows, really give them an opportunity to hammer out who they are as a band and then hit the studio for LP four. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but they’d only be doing the universe a favor by kicking into that gear. As it stands, their progression is palpable in their material and they stand absolutely ready for whatever the next level might be for them.

22. Spaceslug, Eye the Tide

spaceslug eye the tide

Released by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed June 29.

Aside from the speed at which Spaceslug have turned around offerings — with Eye the Tide following 2017’s Mountains and Reminiscence EP (review here) and Time Travel Dilemma (review here) full-length and their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here) — the Polish outfit have undertaken significant progression in their sound, moving from pure heavy psychedelic warmth to incorporating elements out of extreme metal as they did on Eye the Tide. Adding to the latest record’s accomplishment is the smoothness with which they brought seemingly opposing sides together, only adding depth to an approach already worthy of oceanic comparison.

21. Conan, Existential Void Guardian

Conan Existential Void Guardian
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 14.

Conan‘s reign of terror has been unfolding for more than a decade now, and each of their albums has become a kind of step along a path of incremental growth. Consider the melody creeping into the shouts of founding guitarist Jon Davis, or the emergence of bassist Chris Fielding as a vocal presence alongside, the two sharing a frontman role more than ever before while welcoming drummer Johnny King to the fold of destructive tonality and doomly extremism. Existential Void Guardian may end up just being another stomp-print on their way to the next thing, but it affirmed the fact that as much as Conan grow each time out, their central violence continues to hold sway.

20. Pale Divine, Pale Divine

PALE DIVINE S/T
Released by Shadow Kingdom Records. Reviewed Nov. 21.

Look. A new Pale Divine record doesn’t come along every day, so yeah, their self-titled was probably going to be on my list one way or the other, but it definitely helps that not only was it their first outing in six years since 2012’s Painted Windows Black (review here), but it had the songs to live up to a half-decade-plus of anticipation. It marked the first studio appearance from bassist/backing vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis alongside guitarist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey — now both of Beelzefuzz as well — and made a strong argument for how much Pale Divine deserve more than 20 years on from their initial demo to be considered classic American doom.

19. Mos Generator, Shadowlands

mos generator shadowlands
Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed May 11.

The return and rise to prominence of Washington pure heavy rockers Mos Generator might be the underground’s feelgood story of the decade, but it hasn’t by any means been easily won. In addition to rebuilding the band however many albums ago, guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed has put in innumerable hours on tour and worked to actually develop the group creatively in addition to in terms of stage presence. This is shown throughout some of the classic prog elements making their way onto Shadowlands, and perhaps some of the collection’s moodier aspects are born of the aforementioned road time as well. Hard for that kind of thing not to be a slog after a while, but at least they have killer tunes to play.

18a. Stoned Jesus, Pilgrims

STONED JESUS PILGRIMS

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 5.

The only safe bet about Stoned Jesus‘ fourth long-player, Pilgrims, was that it was going to sound different than the third. That 2015 outing, The Harvest (review here), preceded the band touring to celebrate the fifth anniversary and after-the-fact success of 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), but Pilgrims defied narrative in that instead of incorporating elements from the second record in more of a heavy psych or jam sound, Stoned Jesus instead showcased a tighter, more sureheaded sense of craft than they’ve ever displayed before, and arrived on Napalm Records with a collection of songs that demonstrated the growth and sense of creative will that drives them. While one can take a look at their moniker and think immediately they know what’s coming, Stoned Jesus have made themselves one of the least predictable bands in heavy rock.

18. Backwoods Payback, Future Slum

backwoods payback future slum

Self-released. Reviewed Aug. 15.

“Pirate Smile.” “Lines.” “Whatever.” “It Ain’t Right.” “Threes.” “Cinderella.” “Generals.” “Big Enough.” “Alone.” “Lucky. Mike Cummings, Jessica Baker, Erik Larson. Every player, every song, every minute. If you want to know what heart-on-sleeve sounds like, it fucking sounds like Backwoods Payback. In their line from hardcore punk to grunge to heavy rock, they encompass experiences and emotionalism that are both shown in raw form throughout Future Slum, and build all the while on the chemistry they set out in developing with 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), when they welcomed Larson to the lineup on drums and revitalized their mission. Also worth noting, they were the best live band I saw this year. Anywhere.

17. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Jan. 3

No question the excitement of C.O.C. putting out their first record with frontman Pepper Keenan involved since 2005’s In the Arms of God was one of this year’s top stories in heavy. And No Cross No Crown tapped directly into the spirit of 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) and 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) in terms of direction, while updating the band’s style with a four-part 2LP in mind. In some ways, it’ll be their next album that really gives listeners a sense of where they’re at and where they might be headed, but as welcome returns go, having Keenan alongside Mike DeanWoody Weatherman and Reed Mullin is in no way to be understated, and neither is the quality of their output together, then and now.

16. Naxatras, III

naxatras iii

Self-released. Reviewed Feb. 14.

It is no simple feat to hypnotize an audience and convey serenity while at the same time holding attention with songcraft, so that the listener isn’t actually so much unconscious as malleable of mood and spirit in such a direction as the band suggests. Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to become experts at this, and their third full-length fosters tonal warmth and jammy progressions with an overarching naturalism that finds them so committed to analog recording that one can buy direct transfers of the tape master of III. Some acts take classic-style practices as an aesthetic choice. With Naxatras, it seems to be the stuff of life, yet their sound is only vibrant and human in a way that, at least one hopes, is even more representative of the future than the past.

15. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions

clutch book of bad decisions

Released by Weathermaker Music. Reviewed Aug. 27.

It was time for Clutch to make a change in producers, and the Maryland overlords of groove seemed to know it. Known as a live band, they went with Vance Powell, who’s known a live band producer. The results on Book of Bad Decisions might not have been so earth-shatteringly different from 2015’s Psychic Warfare (review here), which was the too-soon follow-up to 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) — both helmed by Machine — but the inimitable four-piece indeed succeeded in capturing the electricity of their stage performance and, as ever, treated fans to a collection of songs bearing Clutch‘s unmistakable hallmarks of quirky lyrics, funky rhythms and heavy roll. They may always be a live band, but Clutch‘s studio work is in no way to be discounted, ever, as this record reaffirmed. Plus, crab cakes.

14. Ancestors, Suspended in Reflections

Ancestors Suspended in Reflections

Released by Pelagic Records. Reviewed Aug. 3.

After 2012’s In Dreams and Time (review here), I wasn’t sure Ancestors were going to put out another record. They kicked around word of one for a while, but it wasn’t until the end of last year that it really seemed to congeal into a possibility. And by then, who the hell knew what they might get up to on a full-length? With Suspended in Reflections, in some says, they picked up where they left off in terms of finding a niche for themselves in progressive and melodic heavy, but I think the time showed in the poise of their execution and the control of the material. Suspended in Reflections can’t help but be six years more mature than its predecessor, and that suits its contemplative feel. In tracks like “Gone,” and “The Warm Glow,” they tempered their expansive sound with an efficiency that can only be had with time.

13. High on Fire, Electric Messiah

high on fire electric messiah

Released by eOne Heavy. Reviewed Sept. 28.

The narrative here was hard to beat. Matt Pike spending an album cycle talking about Lemmy Kilmister and paying homage to his dirt-rock forebear and the gods of old? It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. Electric Messiah was the third collaboration between High on Fire and producer Kurt Ballou behind 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), and while it seemed after the last record that the formula might be getting stale, the band only sounded more and more lethal throughout the latest offering. Even putting aside their contributions to underground heavy, they’ve become one of the most essential metal bands of their generation. Metal, period. Doesn’t matter what subgenre you’re talking about it. If you’re listening to High on Fire, you know it. Usually because you’ve just been decapitated.

12. Yawning Man, The Revolt Against Tired Noises

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed July 2.

You know, if you take the time to separate Yawning Man from their 30-plus-year history and their legacy as one of the foundational acts of what later became desert rock, and you listen to The Revolt Against Tired Noises, you’re still left with basically a dream of an album. Mostly instrumental, as is their wont, they nonetheless had bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso Jetson) sing this time around on a version of the previously-unreleased “Catamaran,” which Kyuss covered once upon a whenever although Yawning Man had never officially put it to tape. But really, that and all other novelty aside, guitarist Gary Arce, Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson are a chemistry unto themselves. I don’t know if they’ll ever be as huge as they should be, but every bit of acclaim they get, they’ve earned, and if The Revolt Against Tired Noises helps them get it, all the more so.

11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers

greenleaf hear the rivers

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Nov. 26.

Swedish heavy rock mavens Greenleaf have become an entirely different band than they once were. No longer a Dozer side-project from guitarist Tommi Holappa with a rotating cast of players, they’re a solidified, road-tested, powerhouse unit, and Hear the Rivers bleeds soul as a result. Holappa, frontman Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Fröhlich and drummer Sebastian Olsson sound like they’re absolutely on fire in the album’s tracks, and far from being staid or formulaic as one might expect a sixth long-player to be, Hear the Rivers built on what the band accomplished with 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) and came across as all the more vital and nearly frenetic in their energy. I won’t say Greenleaf has seen their last lineup change, because one never knows, but the band as they are today is the realization of potential I don’t think even Greenleaf knew was there.

10. Gozu, Equilibrium

gozu equilibrium

Released by Blacklight Media / Metal Blade Records. Reviewed April 4.

Five records deep into a career into its second decade, Gozu haven’t had a miss yet. Admittedly, some of their early work can seem formative considering where they are now, but still. And after the 2016 rager, Revival (review here), to have the band return to the same studio — Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where strides producer Dean Baltulonis — for the follow-up allows for the four-piece to directly show how their sound has grown more encompassing in the last couple years. And it has. Equilibrium is a rich and varied listen that holds true to Gozu‘s well-established penchant for soulful vibes and crunching, hard-hitting riffs and groove, but while it shares the directness of approach with Revival, it makes moves that a band could only make moving from one record to the next. I expect nothing less their next time out as well, because a decade later, that’s Gozu‘s proven track record.

9. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker

monster magnet mindfucker
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 23.

The battle for the best album title of 2018 ended early when New Jersey everything-rockers Monster Magnet announced the release of Mindfucker. And what else to call a Monster Magnet LP at this point? They’ve stopped writing to genre. They’re driven by the creative mania of frontman/founder Dave Wyndorf, and they’ve seen psychedelic expanses and commercial success the likes of which would serve the tenure of four lesser bands. What’s left to do but whatever the hell you want? So that’s what Monster Magnet are doing. It just so happens that while they’re doing it, they’re still basically outclassing the entirety of the former planet earth as songwriters. As Monster Magnet fan in 2018, there was nothing more I could’ve asked than what Mindfucker delivered. And if you’re still trying to get your brain around it however many months later, you’re not alone. I think that’s the idea.

8. Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Feb. 20.

Best doom album of 2018. The combination of craft and passion behind the delivery. The way the dark tones fed into the emotions so clearly on display and sheer presence of it in listening to songs like “Keeping the Lighthouse,” “Ruination by Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here.” Apostle of Solitude never seem to be the highest profile band out there, but their work seems never to be anything less than outstanding, and I refuse to accept them as anything less than among the most pivotal American acts out there making traditional doom. And not just making it, but making it their own, with a sense of new pursuits and individualism that extends to playing style as well as atmosphere. I know doom isn’t exactly in short supply these days — figuratively or literally — but if you miss out on what Apostle of Solitude are doing with it, you’ll only regret it later. I’ll say it one more time: Best doom album of 2018.

7. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II

holy grove ii
Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 31.

Every now and again, anticipating the crap of an album really pays off, and such was the case with Holy Grove II, the Ripple Music debut from the Portland outfit whose 2016 self-titled (review here) seemed like such a herald of excellence to come while also, you know, being killer. Holy Grove II brought the four-piece of vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis to entirely new levels of composition and execution. In songs like “Blade Born,” the shorter, sharper “Aurora,” the patiently rolling “Valley of the Mystics,” “Solaris” and closer “Cosmos,” which boasted a not-really-necessary-but-definitely-welcome guest vocal appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, — and oh wait, that’s all of the tracks — Holy Grove entered a different echelon. Anticipation will likewise be high for Holy Grove III, but it’ll be hard to complain with this record to keep company in the meantime.

6. All Them Witches, ATW

all them witches atw
Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 18.

Over five All Them Witches albums, the Nashville four-piece have gone from a nascent heavy Americana jam band to one of the most distinct acts in the US underground. Their development in sound is chemistry-driven, so it was a risk when the founding trio of bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod (who also produced) and drummer Robby Staebler welcomed new keyboardist Jonathan Draper into the lineup to take the place of Allan van Cleave. Amid a more naturalist production than that of 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here), the revamped four-piece flourished in terms of songwriting and conveying their stage-born sonic personae. From the gleeful fuckery of opener “Fishbelly 86 Onions” to the memorable moodiness of “Diamond” and the back-end jam “Harvest Feast” en route to the stretched-out end of “Rob’s Dream,” All Them Witches essentially confirmed they could do whatever they wanted and make it work.

5. YOB, Our Raw Heart

yob our raw heart
Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed June 7.

Actually, if you want a sample of YOB‘s raw heart, the place to go is probably 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), but whatever the Eugene, Oregon, shapers of cosmic doom might’ve lacked in titular accuracy on their eighth long-player, they made up for in a new, statesman-like posture. Their approach was mature, hammered out to a professionalism working completely on its own terms, and they never sounded so sure of who they are as a band or as confident of their direction. In extended cuts “Beauty in Falling Leaves” and “Our Raw Heart,” they explored new and progressive textures and melodies, and managed to reaffirm their core aspects while finding room for conveying emotion that came across as nothing but ultimately sincere. They have been and still are one of a kind, and as they continue to move forward, they remain a band that makes one feel lucky to be alive to witness their work. Our Raw Heart was perhaps more refined than it let on, but the heart was there for sure, as always.

4. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman

brant bjork mankind woman

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 13.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t a fan of the (relatively) harder-hitting approach Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punk Band took on 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), but Mankind Woman brought in some more of his soul influences, and whether it was the subtly subversive funk of “Chocolatize” and “Brand New Old Times” or the callout “1968” and laid back vibes of the title-track and “Swagger and Sway,” Bjork — working with guitarist Bubba DuPree on songwriting and production — offered a definitive look at what has made his 20-year solo career so special and demonstrates not only his longevity and his legacy, but his will to continue to progress as an artist honing his craft. His discography is well populated by now to be sure, but Mankind Woman represents a turn from the last couple records, and if it’s in any way portentous of things to come, it bodes well. Bjork is right at home nestled into classic-style grooves, and his legacy as one of the principal architects of desert rock is continually reaffirmed.

3. Earthless, Black Heaven

earthless black heaven

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed March 15.

They’ve been great, not just good, for a long time now, and as forerunners of the San Diego heavy scene, they’re godfathers to an up and coming generation of bands taking their influence — let alone acts from the rest of the world — but Black Heaven is a special moment for them because of its departure. No, it wasn’t not the first time guitarist Isaiah Mitchell sang on an Earthless recording, but it did represent a tip of the balance in that direction for the band on a studio full-length, and that resulted in a special moment. Album opener “Gifted by the Wind” was one of the best songs I heard this year, and while “End to End” and the all-thrust “Volt Rush” affirmed that more traditional songwriting was well within the grasp of Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba, they still found space for a sprawling jam or two, keeping their claim on the instrumentalism that’s (largely) fueled their tenure to date. Earthless don’t want for acclaim, but every bit of it is earned, and while their primary impact has always been live, Black Heaven saw them construct a traditional-style LP that still bore the hallmarks of their collective personality. It was the best of all worlds.

2. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain

king buffalo longing to be the mountain
Self-released/released by Stickman Records. Reviewed Sept. 27.

In the dark early hours of 2018, the Rochester, New York, trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson issued the Repeater EP (review here) as a follow-up to their 2016 debut, Orion (review here), so Longing to Be the Mountain didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but even with Repeater preceding its arrival, I don’t think anyone necessary expected King Buffalo‘s second album to have such a scope or to be so engrossing with it. In its melody, patience, atmosphere and heft, it was an absolute joy to behold. Its songs were memorable at the same time they were far-reaching, and while Orion was already my pick for the best debut of 2016, Longing to Be the Mountain realized even more potential than that record had hinted toward. It could be intimate or majestic at its whim, and its dynamic set an individual characterization of heavy psychedelia and blues-style sprawl that the band wholly owned. With production by Ben McLeod of All Them Witches behind them, they worked to serve notice of a progression undertaken the results of which are already staggering and still seem to be looking ahead to the next stage, literally and figuratively. One of the principal standards I use in constructing this list every year is what I listen to most. That’s this record.

1. Sleep, The Sciences

sleep the sciences

Released by Third Man Records. Reviewed May 1.

Obviously, right? To some extent, when Sleep surprise-announced on April 19 they’d release their first album in 15 years the next day, and then did, they took ownership of 2018. Even with records still to come at that point from YOB and Sleep guitarist Matt Pike‘s own High on Fire, there was no way that when the end of the year came around, it wasn’t going to be defined by the advent of a new Sleep record. And even if it sucked, it would probably still be Album of the Year, but fortunately, as Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also Om) and drummer Jason Roeder (also Neurosis) took their long-running stage reunion to the studio, they brought material that highlighted the best elements from all players. Pike‘s wild soloing, Cisneros‘ meditative vocals and Roeder‘s intricate but smooth style of roll all came together in older pieces like “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Sonic Titan” and newer highlights “Giza Butler” and “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” and aside from the excitement at their existence, they showed the mastery of form that Sleep had been demonstrating live since 2009 and which they hinted toward in the 2014 single, The Clarity (review here). A new Sleep full-length was something long-discussed, long-rumored and long-considered, but when it finally happened, I think the results vaporized expectation in a way no one could’ve anticipated. There’s a reason Sleep are Sleep. Having The Sciences as a reminder of that brought about the defining moment of 2018.

The Next 20

Indeed, it wouldn’t be much of a Top 30 at all if it didn’t go to 50. Don’t try to make sense of it, just look at the records.

31. Atavismo, Valdeinfierno
32. Grayceon, IV
33. Clamfight, III
34. Seedy Jeezus, Polaris Oblique
35. Megaton Leviathan, Mage
36. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland
37. Arcadian Child, Superfonica
38. Freedom Hawk, Beast Remains
39. The Machine, Faceshift
40. Messa, Feast for Water
41. Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium
42. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Science Fiction
43. Domkraft, Flood
44. Träden, Träden
45. Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music
46. Samavayo, Vatan
47. Foehammer, Second Sight
48. Bongripper, Terminal
49. Mansion, First Death of the Lutheran
50. Sunnata, Outlands
51. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Come and Chutney

Believe me when I tell you, I sweated over this section more than I did the actual top 30. Mansion should be higher. So should Chubby Thunderous, though something in me thought they might like being #50 on a list of 30. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Clamfight, Black Rainbows, Foehammer, Seedy Jeezus, Messa, Domkraft. All of these were fucking awesome. And there are more (we’ll get there). Eventually numbers add up. I won’t say a bad word about any of these. That’s it.

Honorable Mention

This section always winds up expanded as other people point out things I missed and so on, but here’s what I’ve got in the immediate, alphabetically:

  • Alms, Act One
  • Ape Machine, Darker Seas
  • Belzebong, Light the Dankness
  • Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord
  • Blackwater Holylight, Blackwater Holylight
  • Bong, Thought and Existence
  • Carpet, About Rooms and Elephants
  • Churchburn, None Shall Live… The Hymns of Misery
  • Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree
  • Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need
  • Death Alley, Superbia
  • Drug Cult, Drug Cult
  • Dunbarrow, II
  • Electric Citizen, Helltown
  • Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard: Songs of Hoof and Horn
  • Evoken, Hypnagogia
  • Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning
  • Fuzz Evil, High on You
  • Graven, Heirs of Discord
  • Graveyard, Peace
  • Green Dragon, Green Dragon
  • Green Druid, Ashen Blood
  • Here Lies Man, You Will Know Nothing
  • High Priestess, High Priestess
  • Horehound, Holocene
  • IAH, II
  • JIRM, Surge ex Monumentis
  • Killer Boogie, Acid Cream
  • Lonely Kamel, Death’s Head Hawkmoth
  • MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure
  • Moab, Trough
  • Mountain Dust, Seven Storms
  • Mouth, Floating
  • Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence
  • T.G. Olson, Earthen Pyramid
  • Onségen Ensemble, Duel
  • Orango, Evergreen
  • Owl, Nights in Distortion
  • Pushy, Hard Wish
  • Rifflord, 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
  • River Cult, Halcyon Daze
  • Rotor, Sechs
  • Somali Yacht Club, The Sea
  • Sumac, Love in Shadow
  • Sundrifter, Visitations
  • Svvamp, Svvamp II
  • Thou, Magus
  • Thunder Horse, Thunder Horse
  • Weedpecker, III

Special Note

Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to include these in the list proper because they’re not really underground releases, but there were two more records I especially wanted to highlight for their quality:

  • Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog
  • Judas Priest, Firepower

Best Short Release of the Year

Normally I’d do this as a separate post, but as a result of being robbed earlier this year, I feel like my list is woefully incomplete. If you have any demos, EPs, splits, singles, etc., to add to it, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Still, the top pick was clear:

  • Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems Split

Rarely do two bands work in such coherent tandem to their mutual benefit. Here are a few other essential short releases for 2018, alphabetically:

  • All Them Witches, Lost and Found
  • Alunah, Amber & Gold
  • Canyon, Mk II
  • Demon Head, The Resistence
  • Destroyer of Light, Hopeless
  • Ecstatic Vision, Under the Influence
  • Godmaker & Somnuri, Split
  • Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul
  • King Buffalo, Repeater
  • Minsk & Zatokrev, Split
  • Sleep, Leagues Beneath
  • Stonus, Lunar Eclipse
  • Sundecay, Gale

Looking Forward

A good many albums have already been announced or hinted at for 2019. I in no way claim this to be a complete roundup of what’s coming, but here’s what I have in my notes so far, in absolutely no order:

Kings Destroy, Lo-Pan, Cities of Mars, Heavy Temple, Mr. Peter Hayden, Curse the Son, High Fighter, Destroyer of Light, Year of the Cobra, Buffalo Fuzz, Zaum, The Sonic Dawn, Alunah, Candlemass, Elepharmers, Grandier, Dorre, Abrahma, Mars Red Sky, Eternal Black, Elephant Tree, Atala, No Man’s Valley, Sun Blood Stories, Crypt Sermon, The Riven, Hibrido, Snail, Red Beard Wall, 11Paranoias, Dead Witches, Monte Luna, Captain Caravan (LP), Swallow the Sun, Oreyeon, Motorpsycho, Vokonis, Hexvessel, Saint Vitus, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Kind, Mastiff, Shadow Witch, Om.

Okay, That’s It

Yeah, no, I’m serious. List is done. Everybody go back to your lives. Your families miss you.

Really though, while this is by no means my last post of 2018, I can’t let it pass without saying thank you so much to everyone for checking out the site this year, or for just digging into this, or for sending me music, or hitting me up on social media, sharing a link, anything. Thank you. Thank you. I could never have imagined when it started out where it would be now. Or that I’d still be doing it. Your support means more to me than I can say, and I thank you so much for being a part of this with me.

So thanks.

If you have something to add to the list, please do so by leaving a comment below, but keep in mind as well the above note requesting civility. Please don’t make me feel stupid because I forgot your favorite record. I forgot a lot of people’s favorite records. I’m one dude. I’m doing my best.

And please keep in mind if you’ve got a list together that the Year-End Poll is open and results will be out Jan. 1.

Everybody have a great and safe 2019.

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Review & Track Premiere: Arcadian Child, Superfonica

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child superfonica

[Click play above to stream the official premiere of ‘Bain Marie’ from Arcadian Child’s Superfonica. Album is out Nov. 23 on Rogue Wave/Ripple Music.]

The sense of drift is so graceful and the flow of the material is so natural that, in listening to Arcadian Child‘s Superfonica, I actually went and looked up the climate of Cyprus. Eight months of temperate summer on an island in the Eastern Mediterranean could hardly be a more fitting backdrop for the eight-track/38-minute offering — the band’s first new release for Rogue Wave Records/Ripple Music following a reissue of their 2017 debut, Afterglow (review here), earlier this year — which hones a peaceful spirit in songs like “Brothers” and the opening fuzz of “Bain Marie” while still retaining tonal presence and a sense of energy in the delivery. Leaving behind some of the Queens of the Stone Agery of their initial outing, the first-name-basis four-piece of Panagiotis, Andreas, Stathis and Christos find themselves nestled comfortably into a balance between spacey grunge rock and psychedelic impulses.

“She Flows” comes alive with a warm-toned push in its back half, but that’s not to say there’s stillness earlier in the song, or necessarily anywhere else on Superfonica that it’s not intended to be, as the Limassol-based outfit inject life even into their most minimalist spaces, as in the wide-open effects reaches of the penultimate “Before We Die” or the subdued, patient unfolding of closer “The March,” that follows, or even the midsection of the otherwise bouncing “Constellations” — arguably the most active piece on the record — which finds soft vocals half-whispering over like-minded guitar for a stretch that soon picks up again with a cue from the snare drum. The band cites The Black Angels as an influence and I’m not inclined to argue, as they seem to skirt the line between Dead Meadow-style shoegaze and ’90s alternative shove. Yet there’s a heavy rock root in their approach as well, and in a hidden treasure like “She Flows” on side B, which follows the 6:44 “Painting” (premiered here), they’re able to enact a heavier roll as they hold consistent with the mood of the album overall.

This is thanks in no small part to the vocals, which bring a steady humanity to what might otherwise be perceived as an otherworldly listen, but if one is mining Superfonica for highlights, it’s a relatively quick operation. The first three seconds of “Bain Marie” — and I suspect that’s how it got to open the record — tell the tale of one of the record’s greatest assets, and that’s the fuzz tone of the guitars. Arcadian Child prove adept at complementing the warm, inviting fuzz with airier, post-rock-style effects, and the vocals suit that well too, but while they don’t use riffs as an okay-we-have-a-riff-so-that’s-a-track-done kind of crutch in their songwriting, when they lock in around one, as on “Bain Marie” or the subsequent, relatively uptempo and hooky “Twist Your Spirit,” the bulk of “Constellations” or “She Flows,” the results are nothing but enticing. Again, though, that’s just one aspect of Arcadian Child‘s style, and the post-midpoint guitar meander of “Brothers” would have Gary Arce himself blushing, while the crash cymbal in “The March” is as much a highlight in its creation of a wash as anything done elsewhere by bass or guitar.

arcadian child

It’s a rare level of attention to sonic detail that makes Superfonica so ultimately effective. Their craft itself — the raw songwriting — is there as a foundation. And it’s absolutely necessary, since without it the more rocking side A salvo of “Bain Marie,” “Twist Your Spirit” and “Brothers” would fall flat en route to the expansion that takes place in “Constellations” as a preface to the more patient psychedelia that “Painting” unfurls at the outset of side B with “She Flows” as a quick touch to ground ahead of the stratospheric departure that is the capper duo “Before We Die” and “The March.” But the production, the arrangement of the tracklisting, and the vibe within the individual cuts themselves all work to feed into the central presentation of Superfonica as a cohesive entirety. It’s not just about this or that track, this or that chorus, this or that jam — but instead what these things can do in conversation with each other.

And I won’t take away either from what “Bain Marie” or “Brothers” or even “She Flows” does in terms of establishing a subtle underlying momentum to carry the audience through the material as a whole, but “Painting” and “The March” make a distinct impression as accomplishments of another degree. The former is the longest inclusion and an immediate high point in terms of its serene, oceanic motion to its apex, and it’s hypnotic enough to warrant multiple visits, but still finds itself on solid footing by its end, while “The March” is indeed something of a percussive showcase and in that it creates a tension that’s something of a standout from the rest of Superfonica, showing a restlessness that comes to a fervent head before it’s done and seems to speak to further exploration to follow on the part of the band as a whole. More power to it in that — forward potential is always welcome — but neither is the impact of “The March” on the record that precedes it to be overlooked. Like “Bain Marie” at the launch, it feels purposefully positioned as the finale, and it works no less efficiently to resonate the band’s intention for it.

Outwardly gorgeous, strident in its construction and with enough cast of adventure in sound that it not only takes a significant step from their debut but leads one to believe further such steps are to come on this path, Superfonica is the kind of record that speaks to the soul. It’s not a get-up-and-party, booze-your-face whatever record. It’s a good time, to be sure, but its motion is more wistful and quieter than it is brash, however active some parts might be, and the prevailing engagement is owed to Arcadian Child‘s ability to affect the mindset of their audience and so righteously convey the calmness that in no small part defines this material. Its details are there for those who want to hear them or are willing to go deeper, but even if you just put it on and find yourself following its easy, eight-month-summer fluidity, I don’t think you miss out. Not hearing it would be missing out.

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

Arcadian Child on Spotify

Rogue Wave Records on Thee Facebooks

Rogue Wave Records BigCartel store

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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Arcadian Child Set Nov. 23 Release for Superfonica

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

You might recall Cypriot psychedelic rockers Arcadian Child premiered ‘Painting’ in a visualizer here over the summer. Details at the time were pretty scarce for the follow-up to 2017’s Afterglow (review here), but a Nov. 23 release date has been set through Ripple Music offshoot Rougue Wave Records, and preorders are up now. I’m not saying I’ve heard it and it’s awesome or anything, but I’ve heard it and it’s awesome, so okay, yes, that is what I’m saying. You win this round.

Since I’d really like to drive that point home — the part about “awesome,” not about the part where you win, though you have my congratulations — “Painting” and the video for “She Flows” are both at the bottom of this post. The PR wire sent the artwork and track details for Superfonica accordingly:

arcadian child superfonica

Arcadian Child to Release New LP, ‘Superfonica’, November 23

Fast-Rising Neo-Psych Group Blends and Bends Genres to Create Singular Sound of its Own; New Songs “Painting” and “She Flows” Premiere

Greek neo-psych band Arcadian Child will release its new LP, Superfonica, on November 23 via Ripple Music / Rogue Wave Records. Hailing from Limassol, Cyprus, Arcadian Child formed in 2013 and soon made a name for itself via a cool and coherent sound that combines hypnotic psychedelia, stoner rock riffage, and indie rock groove. Potent and intoxicating, Arcadian Child delivers guitar-orientated psych rock blended with ambient elements, hallucinogenic patterns and kaleidoscopic, headphone-friendly swirl.

To advance the release of Superfonica, Arcadian Child has released the new singles, “Painting” and “She Flows”. “Painting” is released via a cool visualizer video and “She Flows” makes its debut via music video. Arcadian Child’s unapologetic references to music of earlier eras infused forge a transcendent maze of heady resonance and drones.

Superfonica is the follow-up to Arcadian Child’s celebrated 2017 debut, Afterglow, a record that immediately established the unit as a buzzworthy band to watch.

Arcadian Child’s beautiful songs lure you slowly and smoothly into a sort of soothing numbness; the group’s use of 60s/70s pop style progressive theatrics call up a web of guitars, keyboards, and drums that thunder and ooze at the same time, and the melodies walk steadily more than they lurch. Arcadian Child are masters at sounding simultaneously cool as a block of ice and hot as hellfire, but the unshakeable pop melodies are the real key to this album’s success.

Track listing:

1.) Bain Marie
2.) Twist Your Spirit
3.) Brothers
4.) Constellations
5.) Painting
6.) She Flows
7.) Before We Die
8.) The March

Pre-order Superfonica at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/arcadianchildband/
https://arcadianchildband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Roguewaverecords/
http://roguewaverecords.bigcartel.com/

Arcadian Child, “Painting” official video

Arcadian Child, “She Flows” official video

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Arcadian Child Premiere “Painting” in New Video; Superfonica Coming Soon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

True to form in classic psychedelia, the new Arcadian Child single doesn’t shy away from its poppier elements. “Painting,” which is the lead track from the band’s upcoming album, Superfonica, is the first taste of that follow-up to 2017’s debut, Afterglow (review here), which was picked up for release earlier this year by Ripple Music offshoot Rogue Wave Records, an imprint focused on exploring outside-the-box vibes in psych, classic heavy rock, and beyond. Arcadian Child fit that bill easily. Especially the part about “beyond.”

“Painting,” which is evocative unto its title — painting of what? painting with sound? a specific painting? etc. — begins with a peaceful stretch of guitar before introducing its arcadian child superfonicagentle and straightforward drum progression. There’s a tonal presence and resonance from the outset that builds along the song’s near-seven-minutes, and when the vocals arrive circa 1:50, the trance effect of the intro comes into focus smoothly with a shift into more weighted fare as the chorus takes hold. Melodically sound as was the debut, “Painting” nonetheless demonstrates growth in its patient rollout and its meld of accessibility with atmosphere. An airy guitar lead takes hold backed by subtle swirling noise prior to the next verse, passing the four-minute mark with headphone-ready volume swells in the background, a serene version of space rock unfolding not so different from what Quest for Fire might bring to bear, if a little less folk-infused in its rhythm.

It is a graceful execution that wraps with a last-minute push continuing to hold firm to the established vibe: nothing overdone, but nothing too perfect to pass the uncanny valley of believability. The accompanying visuals in the clip below are colorful enough to be appropriate, and only bolster the song’s soothing affect. I don’t know the exact release date for Superfonica as yet, but it’ll be worth keeping an eye out as we get closer, and news should be coming down the PR wire any minute. In the meantime, there’s some preliminary info about the impending record under the video below.

As always, I hope you enjoy:

Arcadian Child, “Painting” official video premiere

Psyched, potent and and intoxicating, Arcadian Child deliver resonating psychedelia blended with ambience, hallucinogenic patterns and cathartic eruptions. With sounds rivaling the squealing sirens of the Mediterranean up to the dark bellows of the West, Arcadian Child convey their psychedelic ritual in their jam-filled live shows where they spread their hypnotic vibrations. Their critically acclaimed debut, “Afterglow” came to light on the 29th of October, 2017 and received raving support from the growing neopsych audience.

“Painting” becomes the first release to see the light from Arcadian Child’s sophomore studio set “Superfonica” and represents a spiritual portraiture of human interaction and conflict. Arcadian Child’s unapologetic references to music of earlier eras infused in “Painting” forge a transcendent maze of heady resonance and drones.

Produced by Andreas Trachonitis and Arcadian Child
Recorded and Mixed by Andreas Trachonitis at studio eleven63 in Nicosia
Additional recordings by Mikaela Tsangari
Mastered by Yiannis Christodoulatos at sweetspot productions in Athens

Music by Arcadian Child
Lyrics by Panagiotis I.G
Additional vocals by Mikaela Tsangari

Album art by Iam Nothe. Video by Iam Nothe: https://www.facebook.com/IamNotheMMXI/

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

Arcadian Child on Spotify

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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Arcadian Child Release Afterglow May 18 on Rogue Wave Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

Greek heavy psych rockers Arcadian Child have announced a May 18 release through Rogue Wave Records for their debut album. The record, Afterglow (review here), was initially put out by the band itself in 2017, and so far as I know it’s done nothing but garner more and more acclaim since. Reasonably so for its classic psych influences and unashamed pop structures and accessibility, offset by tonal weight and an undercurrent of desert rock. With a fervent melodicism tying varied songs together, it’s a more than solid debut album, and I guess my only question about it is whether I should consider this an official release or a reissue, because if it’s an official release, it definitely goes in the notes as one of the best debuts of 2018. Doesn’t kick any less ass if it’s a reissue; really just a matter of bookkeeping. Maybe I’ll flip a coin.

Rogue Wave is, of course, an offshoot of Ripple Music intended to focus on psychedelia and material that doesn’t otherwise fit the regular sphere of the parent impint.

You can hear the album in full at the bottom of this post and check out the band’s video for the sunshine-grunge of “Irresistible.” More info follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

arcadian child afterglow

Arcadian Child to Release Debut LP, ‘Afterglow’, May 18

Greek Neo-Psych Group Releases Video for New Song “Irresistible”

Fast-rising neo-psych band Arcadian Child will release its debut LP, Afterglow, on May 18 via Rogue Wave Records. Hailing from Limassol, Cyprus, Arcadian Child formed in 2013 and soon made a name for itself via a cool and coherent sound that combines hypnotic psychedelia, stoner rock riffage, and indie rock groove

Potent and intoxicating, Arcadian Child delivers daunting guitar-orientated psych rock blended with ambient elements, hallucinogenic patterns and kaleidoscopic, headphone-friendly swirl. With sounds rivaling the squealing sirens of the Mediterranean and the dark bellows of the West, Arcadian Child showcases its uniquely trippy anthems and hypnotic vibrations via jam-filled live shows which have met to wide acclaim from the growing neo-psych audience.

Arcadian Child’s beautiful songs lure you slowly and smoothly into a sort of soothing numbness; the group’s use of 60s/70s pop style progressive theatrics call up a web of guitars, keyboards, and drums that thunder and ooze at the same time, and the melodies walk steadily more than they lurch. Arcadian Child are masters at sounding simultaneously cool as a block of ice and hot as hellfire, but the unshakeable pop melodies are the real key to this album’s success.

A taste of Arcadian Child’s cunning songwriting can be sampled now as the band has released a music video for the song “Irresistible”.

Track listing:
1.) She’s On My Mind
2.) Little Late for Love
3.) Rabbit Hole
4.) Electric Red
5.) Irresistible
6.) Run
7.) Afterglow
8.) Used

Pre-order Afterglow at this location.

Arcadian Child features Panayiotis Georgiou (vocals/guitar), Stathis Hadjicharalambous (guitars), Andreas Kerveros (bass/backing vocals) and Christos Dimou (drums).

https://www.facebook.com/arcadianchildband/
https://open.spotify.com/album/7nu1dqJfMkZ4u0yz8vg6dG
https://arcadianchildband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Roguewaverecords/
http://roguewaverecords.bigcartel.com/

Arcadian Child, “Irresistible” official video

Arcadian Child, Afterglow (2017)

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Arcadian Child Post “Irresistible” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

Granted, it’s only three minutes long, but in that time, Arcadian Child‘s new video does well in summarizing a key appealing aspect of the band’s debut album from whence it comes. The track in question is called “Irresistible” and the hook thereof just about meets that lofty standard in its unabashed pop catchiness, but like much of 2017’s Afterglow (review here), it also has a sense of expanse to it, a far-out vibe that extends to the heavy psych effects at root in its tones and the subtle-but-definitely-present rhythmic push that takes such care to keep it on  its efficient and serene course.

Where “Irresistible” doesn’t necessarily represent Afterglow is in the fact that it couldn’t possibly capture the full diversity of sound on the record without giving up that efficiency. Complemented by the post-desert heavy of opener “She’s on My Mind” or the cool Bowie-ism of “Little Late for Love” and the relative sprawl of the Queens of the Stone Age-style moodiness of “Run,” “Irresistible” can inherently only be part of the whole story when it comes to Afterglow, but in terms of the faces Arcadian Child show throughout, it’s one that well earns the focus that the video invariably brings to it.

And about that video — hey, look down: there it is! Its manipulated footage is duly atmospheric and duly colorful to do justice to Arcadian Child‘s style and sonic depth, while still showcasing the human core beneath in much the same way the tracks throughout Afterglow hold firm to traditionalist structures even as the explore various the textures being skillfully laid over top of them in songs like the fuzzy, semi-garage penultimate title-cut or the smooth, drifting and patient “Rabbit Hole” earlier. You can view the clip here, followed by more info about its making, and then check out the full stream of Afterglow from Arcadian Child‘s Bandcamp page to get a better sense of the context from which it arises.

Please enjoy:

Arcadian Child, “Irresistible” official video

Produced by Andreas Trachonitis and Arcadian Child
Mixed, Engineered by Andreas Trachonitis
Recorded at studio eleven63 in Nicosia
Additional recordings by Mikaela Tsangkari
Mastered by Yiannis Christodoulatos in Sweetspot Productions
in Athens

Video created by Iam Nothe https://www.facebook.com/IamNotheDesign

Live footage by Stephanos Charalambous

Psyched, potent and intoxicating, Arcadian Child deliver daunting guitar-orientated psychedelia blended with ambient elements, hallucinogenic patterns and cathartic outbursts.

Arcadian Child is:
Panayiotis Georgiou
Stathis Hadjicharalambous
Andreas Kerveros
Christos Dimou

Arcadian Child, Afterglow (2017)

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Spotify

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Godflesh, Serpents of Secrecy, Vymaanika, Zong, Vitriol, Pillars, Lamp of the Universe & Kanoi, Azonic, Thousand Vision Mist, Arcadian Child

Posted in Reviews on January 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

Today is the last day of The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review, and it’s kind of hard to believe it’s gone so fast. Before I put the Big Boot to the proceedings like Hulk Hogan getting ready to call it a day with an elbow drop at Wrestlemania — yup, just like that — I have to take a special moment to thank The Patient Mrs. for allowing me the time this week to bang out all of these reviews and get everything sorted on the back end, etc., for these posts. She, of course, as always, perpetually, has been unbelievable, and especially with The Pecan to manage, she’s earned her title more than ever. It is thoroughly, deeply, appreciated. Much love, baby. Thank you.

Okay, Big Boot time. Let’s do this thing.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Godflesh, Post Self

godflesh post self

Guitarist/vocalist/programmer Justin K. Broadrick and bassist BC Green return with Post Self, their second post-reunion full-length behind 2014’s A World Lit Only by Fire (review here) and a collection of churning electro-noise hymnals that work in a sphere that should by now be well familiar to their multi-generational fanbase. The groundbreaking industrial pioneers sound decidedly led by the guitar on the chugging “Parasite” and the airy, almost Jesu-style wash of “The Cyclic End,” but the intensity of the beat behind “No Body,” bass and noise onslaught of “Be God” and synth-driven soundscaping of “Mortality Sorrow” recall the sonic diversity that’s always been as much a part of Godflesh’s approach as their signature cyclical rhythmic style. More perhaps than ever, Broadrick and Green seem to be aware of what defines Godflesh as a band in terms of sound, and as they make the crucial move from a “reunion” band to a working one, they seem as glad as ever to push those boundaries once more.

Justin K. Broadrick on Thee Facebooks

Avalanche Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Serpents of Secrecy, Uncoiled: The Singles

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This two-song single may end up bring the only offering Serpents of Secrecy ever make public, and it was years in coming together. In December, the Chesapeake region group with members of Foghound, Borracho and King Giant suffered the loss of bassist Jim Forrester, who was murdered in Baltimore, and while a debut long-player was in discussion, to-date the five-piece have only issued “Warbird’s Song” and “The Cheat” as Uncoiled – The Singles, and obviously now any kind of follow-up is in question. Whether it’s the raucous burl of “Warbird’s Song” or the bluesy, organ-topped fluidity of “The Cheat,” the J. Robbins-produced tracks demonstrate the potential at heart from the lineup of vocalist Mark Lorenzo – who wound up in the role after members of Alabama Thunderpussy and Mister Bones vacated – guitarists Steve Fisher and Todd Ingram, Forrester and his former Sixty Watt Shaman bandmate Chuck Dukehart III. The only question at this point is whether that potential will ever see further realization. Right on as these songs are, I’m torn on the idea, to be honest.

Serpents of Secrecy on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records website

 

Vymaanika, Spectroscope

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Multinational space rockers Vymaanika debut with the 20-minute two-songer Spectroscope EP, comprised of its 10-minute opening title-track and the subsequent “Golden Void,” which may or may not be named in honor of the side-project of Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell. I’d believe it either way. The band comprises members from Catalan – guitarist/vocalist/synthesis Carles Esteban and bassist Andrés Paniagua, Chile in drummer/synthesist Jose Jünemann, and the US in guitarist/vocalist/synthesis Benjamin Mahoney, but they all seem to have come together to record in Barcelona, and the breadth of “Spectroscope” and serene psychedelic mantra-making of “Golden Void” benefit from that band-in-the-room vibe. Especially so the latter, which touches early on vocal harmonies over drifting guitar strum, steady synth drone and percussive pulsations before building to a more active apex in its second half. After the cacophony taking hold in the back end of “Spectroscope,” it’s a clear demarcation of a varied sonic persona, and while I don’t know how often Vymaanika will be able to get everyone together with the geographic spread, it’s easy to be glad they did it for this first EP.

Vymaanika on Thee Facebooks

Vymaanika on Bandcamp

 

Zong, Zong

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Flowing arrangements abound on Zong’s self-titled four-track debut full-length. The Brisbane, Australia-based heavy psych three-piece are well within their genre sphere, but from opener and longest track (immediate points) “Cosmic Embryo” (13:00) through “Arcane Sand” (8:10), the perhaps-Zardoz-referential “Giant Floating Head” (11:48) and closer “Return of the Alien King” (10:32), they demonstrate a natural chemistry, patience and warmth of tone that is no less comfortable in the march and lurch of its penultimate cut than in dug-in repetition-born hypnosis of the leadoff. Deceptively weighted from almost its beginning point with the low end of Michael Grinstead’s bass and the rolling drums of Henry Bennett, there’s also a balance of airiness from guitarist Adam Anderson that adds nuance when called upon to do so, though there are plenty of moments where Zong’s Zong seems perfectly content to cave-jam its far-out atmospheric fluidity. Not an ethic and not a result you’re going to hear me complain about.

Zong on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz Records webstore

Praying Mantis Records on Bandcamp

 

Vitriol, Pain Will Define Their Death

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Brutal tech-death pervades Vitriol’s first EP, Pain Will Define Their Death – a three-song onslaught the violence of which is writ large over every minute of its total 12. Sharing a penchant for opening to bigger-sounding choruses like that of its opening title-cut with peak-era Hate Eternal, the pummel factor, ultra-tense push and unmitigated viciousness eschews some of the more machine-like aspects of such technically-minded fare, and while Vitriol’s overarching groove, gutturalist execution and hammer-swing breakdowns are casting out their own assault on the aforementioned opener as well as the subsequent blast-laden “Victim” and “Violence, a Worthy Truth,” they’re working in service to songcraft much more than to an indulgent showcase of prowess, and that makes all the difference in terms of the material’s ultimate impact. That impact? When was the last time you were actually kicked in the face? Nothing if not aptly named, Vitriol’s death metal seethes and rages in kind and bodes remarkably well for future manifest devastation.

Vitriol on Thee Facebooks

Vitriol on Bandcamp

 

Pillars, Pyres and Gallows

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Hailing classic doom and darker atmospheres, French four-piece Pillars debut on Seeing Red Records via the Pyres and Gallows EP. Its four songs run a gamut of traditional grooves, but lumber with a balance between their rawness and a spirit of underlying riffy nuance that adds texture beneath the gruff, dudely vocals of frontman Klem, the tones of guitarist Djé and bassist Disaster well suited to the plodding companionship of drummer JJ on a song like the problematically-titled second cut “Dirty Whoreshippers” or the 10-minute title-track that rounds out. At 33 minutes, I’m not sure what’s stopping Pyres and Gallows from being a full-length, but if that’s a hint that Pillars have more to say going forward, then fair enough. They may be preaching to the converted in these tracks, but they’re doing so in righteous fashion and with a sense of their own identity under development. Doom on? Yeah, totally doom on. By all means. Please do.

Pillars on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Lamp of the Universe & Kanoi, Split

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Among the fascinating factors at work on this cross-continental Clostridium Records split release between long-running New Zealand acid folk outfit Lamp of the Universe and Austrian psychedelic fuzz purveyor Kanoi is the fact that both parties involved are solo-projects. For Lamp of the Universe’s Craig Williamson (also Arc of Ascent), he brings three tracks of his signature drenched-wet lysergism in “In the Beginning,” “The Cosmic Body Track,” “Father” and “Space Chant,” while Kanoi’s Benjamin Kantschieder revisits two cuts from 2016’s Mountains of the Sun full-length in the extended “I’m Gone (I’m Gone)” and “Mountains of the Sun” itself. The novelty of having two single parties match wits on such fluid arrangements – my head always begs for collaboration in these instances – is offset by the quality of their work itself. Neither is new to their sphere, but both seem keen to continue to experiment and explore, and it’s from that commonality that the split most benefits.

Lamp of the Universe on Bandcamp

Kanoi on Bandcamp

Clostridium Records website

 

Azonic, Prospect of the Deep Volume One

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The first Azonic offering since the mid-‘90s finds Brooklyn-based experimentalist Andy Hawkins reviving the project alongside his Blind Idiot God bandmate Tim Wyskida as a melding of drone/noise and percussive ideas. Released through Hawkins’ own Indivisible Music, Prospect of the Deep Volume One – pretty ambitious to put a “volume one” in the title of your first record in 20-plus years – presents two expansive works in “Oblivion of the Deep” (18:53) and “The Argonauts Reckoning” (18:42) as well as the CD bonus track “Voices of the Drowned” (10:12) that brim with atmospheric intent and have an underlying sense of control on the part of Hawkins that speaks to some measure of steering what might in other hands simply feel like sonic chaos. You can hear it early into “The Argonauts Reckoning,” as the layered wash seems to want to fly off the rails and swell and Hawkins’ guitar simply doesn’t let it go, but it’s true elsewhere on Prospect of the Deep Volume One as well, and in listening, it’s the difference between the album being a joy in the immersion, which it is, and a self-indulgent misfire, which it very much is not.

Azonic on Thee Facebooks

Indivisible Music website

 

Thousand Vision Mist, Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow

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Named for the lone 2002 full-length from Maryland doomers Life Beyond, in which guitarist/vocalist Danny Kenyon also featured, newcomer trio Thousand Vision Mist debut with the progressive-leaning edge of Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow, a 52-minute 10-tracker. Yes, Rush are a factor in terms of influence. However, propelled by the drumming of Chris Sebastian, whose frenetic snare adds a Mastodonic feel to “Headstones Throw,” the otherwise classic-vibing “Final Flight of Fall” and the later “Darklight,” among others, the cumbersomely-titled offering sets its balance between modern prog metal, doom and classic heavy rock, with bassist Tony Comulada adding vocal harmonies alongside Kenyon and providing a needed anchor to keep songs like the penultimate “Skybound and Beyond” from actually taking off and leaving their audience behind. Reportedly long in the works, Journey to Ascension and the Loss of Tomorrow isn’t a minor digestion process at its busy and extended runtime, but while the recording is raw, there’s no shortage of fodder for engagement throughout its swath of choruses and head-spinning turns.

Thousand Vision Mist on Thee Facebooks

Thousand Vision Mist on Bandcamp

 

Arcadian Child, Afterglow

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Though not at all without its more driving aspects, some of the most satisfying moments on Arcadian Child’s debut album, Afterglow, come from a soothing hook like that of “Rabbit Hole,” which finds the Cypriot four-piece more fully embodying a laid back desert rock atmosphere that underpins the Fatso Jetson-esque opener “She’s on My Mind” and subsequent “Little Late for Love.” As the feels-short-at-29-minutes record unfolds, “Electric Red” blends fuzz and Mediterranean rhythmic push, “Irresistible” toys with layered swirl beneath a solidly-weighted verse and chorus, “Run” makes itself a highlight around a post-Lullabies to Paralyze atmospheric lead and start-stop riff, and the title-track casts momentum in melody and groove into closer “Used,” which pays one more welcome visit to the more serene side of their personality before they’re done. It might be a sleeper, but I’d be surprised if someone didn’t pick Afterglow up for a vinyl release sooner or later; the songwriting, performance, presentation and potential for future growth are all there waiting to be found by the right ears.

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

 

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