Godhunter Post Video for “Walking with a Ghost” from Codex Narco

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

godhunter

Take a second now and just get ready to have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. “Walking with a Ghost” serves as a surprise and a highlight from Godhunter‘s latest outing, the Battleground– and Baby Tooth Records-released Codex Narco EP (review here), and emphasizes the vast range that manifests in the band’s sound across the still-only-21-minutes. Known for a vicious blend of sludge, metal and hardcore, Godhunter veer deeper than they ever have into atmospherics, dark psychedelic wash, and even synth-laden pop heft.

It’s that latter that comes into focus on the Tegan and Sara cover “Walking with a Ghost.” Placed as the second-to-last track on Codex Narco and featuring guest vocals from Nick Genitals of Methra, it’s a definitive turn from what one might have previously expected of Godhunter‘s sound, taking the poppy hook of the original and blowing out the post-punk riff tonally while keeping the chorus central to the song itself and staying loyal to structure. It’s short at two and a half minutes long, but in that time Godhunter channel Ramones-style simplicity and a deceptively rich tonal stew over which the lyrics are laid. In an alternate universe, there’s an entire league of bands who sound like this and they’re all huge.

In this universe, Godhunter hit with “Walking with a Ghost” on something that’s entirely their own despite it being a cover and not actually their song at its root. Perhaps that duality is part of the appeal as well, but either way, “Walking with a Ghost” more than earns the attention it’s being paid via the band’s new video, which brings its theme of depression to life visually with a narrative embodying the central metaphor: a ghost. You’ll note the inclusion at the end of the text/phone info for the National Suicide Hotline — text 741741 or call 800-273-8255 — as further representation of the underlying purpose of the track and of Codex Narco as a whole. Nothing Godhunter do is an accident.

Enjoy the clip below:

Godhunter, “Walking with a Ghost” official video

Directed by: Mitch Wells (Thou)

Video presented by: DGRK Records, Baby Tooth Records and Battleground Records

“Walking With A Ghost” written by Sara Quin & Tegan Quin (originally performed by Tegan And Sara). All rights reserved by Warner Music Group.

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The Myrrors Release Hasta la Victoria June 30; Track Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the myrrors

The Myrrors‘ new album, Hasta la Victoria, is due out June 30 via Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records, and its venerable, purpose-driven psychedelia would seem to exist on that horizon line where the flat desert earth meets the nighttime sky indistinguishable from outer space itself. Can you see it? If not, you might want to check out the winding krautjazz of “Organ Mantra” when the time comes or simply dig into on “Somos la Resistencia” below. The track is streaming ahead of the release and has been for some time, but if you haven’t caught it yet, its neo-psych intensity speaks to some of the urgency of the themes the Tucson-based outfit are tackling with the record while still holding onto the vastness of the landscape that surrounds them. Vibe? Yeah, they got vibe.

Info and audio follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

the-myrrors-hasta-la-victoria

Tucson psych band The Myrrors – new album ‘Hasta La Victoria’ out 6/30 on Beyond Beyond is Beyond

If you turn your eyes to gaze even momentarily at the current state of our shared human environment, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it may be an unusual time to spend much time in consideration of “victory.” The forces that seek to stall progress and the forces that seek to pollute progress are intertwined, the path to progress choked, gasping for the breath of new ideas. It’s against this backdrop that we reconnect with the The Myrrors, and their beautiful, bewildering new album, “Hasta La Victoria.

Of course, you’ll also be forgiven if you’ve not been privy to pay attention to the path of progress pursued by these largely indefinable desert defenders—though it’s not that The Myrrors haven’t given listeners plenty of chances to reflect. “Hasta La Victoria” comes just one year after the band’s previous “Entranced Earth,” and serves as more than an enthralling companion piece. In scope and sound, this group of Arizona arhats has developed their own, altered and all-encompassing definition of “victory.”

On “Hasta La Victoria,” The Myrrors win the fight by largely giving up, so to speak. By almost completely abandoning traditional electric guitar sounds, the band lives to fight another day and sounds all the stronger for it. Minimalist influences perfume the surroundings of the album as a whole, transforming the proceedings into a transformative platter in which sun-soaked dervishes ascend and descend, informed by interlocking influences, and instruments as well. “Hasta La Victoria,” in name and deed, embraces and is endowed by the potency of this unbounded approach, merging the sounds of Arizonan and Afghani heads into a single, satisfying whole.

And yet, not a moment of the album’s thirty-seven minutes ever feels anything short of natural, or even remotely rushed. Indeed, in the best possible way, “Hasta La Victoria” sounds like The Myrrors couldn’t be doing anything else—and by continuing to forge their own path, it’s further proof that the band has never done anything less. Perhaps it’s not the word “victory” in the album’s title that should focus our attention; perhaps it’s the persistent, propulsive “until.”

“Organ Mantra” opens the album in an appropriately mystical manner, ten minutes of The Myrrors shining at their brightest, somehow exhibiting the grace and power of a freely flowing river. “Somos La Resistencia” follows at a fraction of the length, but with no reduction in impact, its declaration that “we are the lost that want truth” understandable in any language. “Tea House Music” and “El Aleph” follow, sister-songs in solidarity with the solidly transcendental terrain traveled on the album. The title track, at nearly fifteen minutes in length, ends the album on a high note – if by “high” you’re referring to the daily waking consciousness of, say, Neem Karoli Baba. Because it brings the album to a close, it’s unfair to call the song the album’s “centerpiece.” But it certainly stands as the album’s emotional and musical core – unrefined, unrestrained and unforgettable.

Throughout “Hasta La Victoria,” the band sounds utterly propelled by an invisible force, by the indelible impression that their actions – as a band, as artists, as people. Be here now or be here later, but there’s little doubt that The Myrrors will be continuing to pursue the path at whatever time you arrive. – Ryan Muldoon

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: High Brian, Arduini/Balich, Audion, Grey Gallows, Smoke Mountain

Posted in Radio on June 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

If you’re a regular denizen of The Obelisk Radio, you’ve probably already guessed by the massively expanded playlist that we’re back on the main server at this point. It’s been months on the backup, and while anyone is still reading, let me just say out loud how much I owe to the hard work Slevin has put into the back end of making this thing happen. From a huge file-recovery operation to yesterday turning the thing back on after I moved a bunch of files and screwed it up yet again, the dude is just unbelievable. Seriously. This site is coming up on nine years old, and Slevin has made it happen every step of the way from a technical standpoint. I am in awe of his prowess and generosity of spirit.

So now that we’re back up and running at full capacity, the only thing to do is to keep building it going forward. And here we are.

The Obelisk Radio adds for June 13, 2017:

High Brian, Hi Brain

high-brian-hi-brain

Though they start out with the post-Queens of the Stone Age shuffle of “Liquid Sweet,” the crux of Austrian rockers High Brian‘s playfully titled debut long-player, Hi Brain, lies in classic psychedelia, unafraid to directly make a Beatles reference or two in “Aquanautic Smoke” or name a track after Jefferson Airplane‘s Surrealistic Pillow. That song, “Surrealistic Pillow,” turns out to be one of Hi Brain‘s catchiest, but hooks about throughout the nodding “All but Certainty” and the later, Stubb-style raucousness of the pair “The Conversion” and “Blood Money” as well, while centerpiece “All the Other Faces” and the aforementioned “Aquanautic Smoke” engage effects-laden drift and poised fluidity, resulting in an overarching sense of within-genre aesthetic variety that moves easily throughout the vinyl-ready 44-minute offering. They close with the molten roll of “Time,” their longest cut at 5:52 and a bolder melodic take, as if to signal a potential direction of their growth on their way out. There are plenty of encouraging signs before they get there, certainly, but hey, one more never hurt. An impressive introduction to a project that one hopes continues to develop and expand its approach.

High Brian website

Stone Free Records website

Mountain Range Creative Factory

 

Arduini/Balich, Dawn of Ages

ARDUINI BALICH DAWN OF AGES

Words like “powerhouse” are invented for releases like Arduini/Balich‘s Dawn of Ages. The Cruz del Sur release brings together Fates Warning guitarist Victor Arduini (who also produced) and Argus vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich, and while I’ll confess that on first listen I went right to their cover of Sabbath‘s “After All (The Dead)” — fucking righteous; and there aren’t a lot of people I’d trust to take on that song or anything from the Dio era — extended pieces like “Beyond the Barricade” (17:27) and “The Wraith” (13:44) offer listeners a deep push into a heavy metal that’s progressive, powerful and doomed all at the same time, executed with a clarity and a purpose that shimmers with class and just the right balance of patience and aggression. Rest easy, traveler, for you are in the hands of masters. Rounded out by drummer Chris Judge, Arduini/Balich is what happens when heavy metal goes right, and from the doomly unfolding of opener “The Fallen” through the 2LP’s three concluding covers of Beau Brummels‘ “Wolf of Velvet Fortune,” Uriah Heep‘s “Sunrise” and the already noted Dehumanizer highlight, there isn’t one moment where they relinquish their hold on either their craft or their audience’s attention. It’s the kind of outing that might cause a last-minute revision to best-of-the-year-so-far list, to say the least of it. Not to be greedy, but I’ll take a follow-up as soon as possible. Thanks.

Arduini/Balich on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music website

 

Audión, La Historia de Abraham

audion-la-historia-de-abraham

If the driving Motörhead-onic thrust of the title-track to Audión‘s La Historia de Abraham rings familiar, it might be because the rhythm section of the Buenos Aires trio consists of bassist Gonzalo Villagra (also vocals) and drummer Walter Broide (also backing vocals), both formerly of Los Natas. Honestly, that pedigree would probably be enough for me to get on board with the 10-track/49-minute self-released full-length, but then you get into the roll and drift of the subsequent “Llegaron Sordos” and the fluid cascade of “Colmillo Blanco,” and guitarist Dizzy Espeche makes his presence felt tonally and vocally throughout to add a new personality to whatever familiar aspects might persist. “Lesbotrans” dives into a ’70s-style swing and the blown-out “Diablo vs. Dios” follows it with the age-old question of what might happen if The Who went garage punk, but there’s flourish of psychedelia on the interlude “Para Rosita” before “El Carancho” and “Queruzalem” round out with some of La Historia de Abraham‘s weightiest impacts. I think it’s fair to say Audión have some tinge of Los Natas‘ style to them, but their first outing shows them working toward building something new from that as well, and that makes their arrival all the more welcome.

Audion on Thee Facebooks

Audion on Bandcamp

 

Grey Gallows, Underlord

grey-gallows-underlord

Not that it isn’t plenty malevolent on its surface, but there’s an even more extreme threat lurking beneath “Underlord,” the nine-minute opener, titular and longest track (immediate points) on the debut full-length from Phoenix, Arizona’s Grey Gallows. It doesn’t take long for that sense of extremity to manifest in a blackened sensibility that pervades both in the riffs of a song like “Belladonna” — the middle cut of the five included — or the overarching spaciousness that finds its way into the grime-coated “West of Hell,” which follows. With a depth of guitar worthy of filling one’s lungs, “West of Hell” churns in a manner faster and somewhat sludgier than the alternately nodding and atmospheric “Priestess” showed the Opoponax Records outing to be earlier, six-stringers Joe Distic and Cat weaving noted lines and crunch riffs around each other for seven densely grooved minutes amid low-end push from bassist Lee, adaptable and creative drumming from Shane and Zue Byrd‘s vocals, which hit in form no less distorted in the back half of “Priestess” than they are punker drawled in closer “Buzzard Dust.” Nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty. That’s basically what the math works out to on the 35-minute outing, but it’s worth noting that even on their first album, Grey Gallows demonstrate a ready willingness to balance various stylistic impulses off each other in such a way that’s only going to make their sound richer as they proceed. Richer, and even nastier. So be it.

Grey Gallows on Thee Facebooks

Opoponax Records webstore

 

Smoke Mountain, Smoke Mountain

smoke-mountain-smoke-mountain

The first EP from this Floridian three-piece does precisely what it’s supposed to do: introduces a newcomer band with three unpretentious tracks of dirt-fuzz riffing. The immediate vibe of opener “Demon” is early Acid King as the vocals follow the riff in classic stonery fashion, but the three songs get longer as they go and “Violent Night” proves immediately more spacious en route to the eponymous march of “Smoke Mountain.” What would probably be called a demo in a prior age, Smoke Mountain‘s Smoke Mountain makes its primary impression tonally but shows potential in its songwriting as well, and as a quick sampling of what the band are getting up to in their first stages, there’s little more one could reasonably ask of it, particularly as “Smoke Mountain” hammers home its chorus in a balance of clean vocal melody and absolutely filthy guitar, bass and drum crash. That duality, should they maintain it as they move forward into whatever might come next, can only serve them well. One to keep an eye on.

Smoke Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Smoke Mountain on Bandcamp

 

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Six Dumb Questions with Godhunter

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on June 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

godhunter codex narco lineup

As a basic matter of course, I respect the hell out of Godhunter guitarist David Rodgers. Originally based in Tucson, Arizona, and relocated to Washington, the six-stringer does admirable, passionate work not only in his own band, but in promoting the output of others like CHRCH, Methra, Rozamov and Fuzz Evil (among others) through his label, Battleground Records, and has helmed impossibly righteous festivals in the form of the Southwest Terror Fest, the Austin Terror Fest at SXSW and the Northwest Terror Fest, which is next week in Seattle with Coven and Cephalic Carnage at the top of the bill. He’s someone who pulls no punches in letting you know what he thinks and someone who backs up his beliefs with genuine, real-world effort. The only reason I’ve never interviewed him before in this space is because I was kind of worried he’d tell me to fuck off and call me a lightweight, as he’d be well within his rights to do to at least 90 percent of everybody.

The occasion this time, however, was too much to let slip. Last month, through Battleground and Baby Tooth Records, Godhunter released their latest EP, Codex Narco (review here), a bold and ranging piece of stylistic experimentation and atmospheric post-sludge that it basically took the group falling apart after a 2015 tour alongside Destroyer of Light (live review here) to come up with. With Rodgers, guitarist/keyboardist Matthew Davis and drummer Andy Kratzenberg bringing in an array of guests including CHRCH vocalist Eva RoseJosh Thorne of Thorne on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” and “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams,” and Methra‘s Nick GenitalsDemon Lung‘s Adam Sage and Mountaineer‘s Clayton Bartholomew on the Tegan and Sara cover “Walking with a Ghost,” Godhunter construct a sound distinct from anything they’ve done before, whether it was on the 2015 Endsville split with Destroyer of Light (discussed here) or their 2014 LP, City of Dust (review here).

In the Q&A below, Rodgers describes the circumstances that brought Codex Narco to fruition and what the EP’s shift in sound may or may not mean for Godhunter going forward, as well as the possibility of future touring and the complexities of coordinating so many contributions outside the core members of the band. Thanks to him for taking the time when he’s no doubt swamped in Northwest Terror Fest business, and double-thanks for not telling me to fuck off, which again, he very easily could’ve done.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

godhunter codex narco

Six Dumb Questions with Godhunter

What happened to the band after the tour with Destroyer of Light in 2015? What was the lineup situation and how did you come to realize you wanted Godhunter to continue and in this form?

Well, the simplest explanation is that life happened. Life is never that simple though. So Matt had moved to Georgia before Endsville even came out, because he works for a huge tech company so they moved him out there and set him up with a house and such, so with his family that was a no-brainer for him. The Endsville sessions was the last time Matt was actually in the same studio or jam room with us. I moved to Washington State before Endsville was released as well, so things were already splintering before we left for that tour. We basically put together a tour set of songs that we could do without Matt, which was harder than it sounds because he plays on every song we’ve ever released except the very first Methra split.

When we got home from tour, both Dick and Jake had family stuff staring them in the face. Dick had a new baby, so it was time to get serious about being a dad and Jake got engaged and got a real job and just decided that touring wasn’t in the picture for him anymore. Let’s be serious here, touring is expensive as fuck and it breaks bands all the time. I can’t blame anyone for wanting to keep their life on track. So we all amicably decided that was the end of that formation of Godhunter.

A couple of months go by, and we (Matt and myself, but mostly Matt) had started working on a couple songs for Josh Thorne. Originally they were going to be Thorne releases, with us doing the programming and such. Matt is a fucking wizard at computers and has done remixes (he did an amazing one for Lament Cityscape) and such before, so it was right up his alley. Once the songs started developing though, we kind of fell in love with them. We started tweaking them here and there. More guitars here. More bass here. It got to a point where they started sounding like electronic Godhunter songs, which is when the proverbial lights came on and we realized we were writing Codex Narco.

It seems like the interludes could have come from studio experiments, but in terms of “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” and “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams,” how were those pieced together?

The writing process was very long, for us, because this was the first time we weren’t all in the same room writing together. We’ve never been a band that sends stuff to each other on the internet and shit. Always been more of a hands-on thing. But once we had a stable foundation for those two songs, we just started adding layers and depth using electronic drums and such until we had a “demo” version of them. That’s what we took to the studio and replaced everything electronic with real instruments. We re-amped all the guitars and bass as well.

Then while we were in the studio working on those two, we added all the other stuff around those two main songs. Andy (our drummer) is also in Methra with Nick, and they wrote the intro and outro songs and “Unarmed Combat” and recorded those parts while we were doing the drums and guitars on the other songs. We went into it with the idea of just recording a bunch of stuff we had and then piecing it together afterwards into the EP. I can’t say that we went into this recording process knowing exactly how everything would go. We really wanted to experiment and ignore a lot of the methods we had used on every release before this.

Tell me about assembling the lineup for Codex Narco, bringing in Josh Thorne and Nick Genitals and all the guest spots. When was the decision made to reach outside the core lineup of the band for contributions, what brought it on, and what went into it logistically in terms of making it happen?

This is where it gets really funny. At some point in the recording process, I picked up a serious Steely Dan habit. I have always loved that band, but for some reason I got reinterested and really dove into the band and some of their processes and was reading old interviews and such where they described how they would write the songs, but then get better musicians to play the parts on the album. Neither myself, Matt or Andy can sing like Eva or Josh can. And none of us can play bass anything like Adam does. We don’t have that ear to find those chimey post-rock chords and accents that Clay does. But what we can do is send each of them the songs and ask them to play on them, which is exactly what we did.

Reaching out was easy, as I’ve known Josh since he was a teenager, I grew up with Adam back in New York, Clay is one of my good friends and obviously Eva is on my record label. Nick was the first on board though, as he had already stepped into the bass position in the band, as at the time we were planning on doing some touring (more on that later though…) after the album release. Nick‘s always up for whatever crazy idea I give him anyway. From there it was just a matter of sending the individuals their parts and letting them record in their studios of choice. They sent us back the tracks, and we mixed them in. Pretty simple, all in all, just a timely process.

Where did the Tegan and Sara cover come from? Was there a particular reason that you picked “Walking with a Ghost” to take on?

We’ve always loved cover songs. We’ve covered The Beastie Boys and Nirvana in the past. Once we had the skeletons of this EP built, we needed one more song to round it out, so we figured a cover song would be good for that. For the longest time it was going to be “You Keep Me Hanging On” by The Supremes. That song just has an amazing downbeat push to it that we felt would translate really well to our style and we may still do it one day for the fuck of it. I was just driving down to work one day listening to Tegan and Sara, and I was playing So Jealous, which is one of their older albums, and “Walking with a Ghost” came on and it was like lightning striking. I knew that was going to be the cover song.

I sent it to Matt, who was building all the sound beds in Georgia and I honestly thought he would veto it since we were already elbow deep in the Supremes song but he totally agreed and said it was the right choice so we went with it. It’s a goddamn perfect pop song and so incredibly catchy, so the guitar parts are done in our tunings, but played in the actual key of the song, so it still has a super poppy feel to it. Kinda pop-punkish. We actually had no idea who was going to do the vocals until really late in the game when the Methra album came out and when I heard Nick do the clean vocals on that album, I knew he had to do the vocals on “Walking with a Ghost.” Again, I thought he would say no, but he was totally into it. I love it when my band does whatever silly shit I come up with. Usually turns out fucking great, like this cover.

Codex Narco as a whole represents a pretty significant shift in sound for Godhunter. Do you see the band continuing down this path, or will future releases head elsewhere? Can you talk about what drove you to explore different textures in sound with this material, what inspired you emotionally and sonically?

You know, I have no idea at all what we will do next, to be honest. We’ve never really stuck to a script. Each release is somewhat different than the previous one and we’ve done some really out there stuff before. I know what we are working on right now, and it’s nothing like Codex Narco and nothing like anything previous to that. I think at this point in the band’s evolution, it’s really turned into a vanity project if you will. We’re going to write a lot of weird shit that we’ve always wanted to do and put it out under the Godhunter name because we’re such a small band that it’s not like we’re going to lose a huge fanbase. We’re going to put out stuff that we like. We hope people like it too. If not, cool, there are a lot of other bands out there.

As far as what drives us to explore new sounds, well, that’s just us. At every point of Godhunter it’s always been filled with people with wildly varying likes and tastes as far as music. The more influences you mix up, the weirder shit you end up with. Does the world really need another band trying to sound like Master of Reality or Blues for the Red Sun? In my opinion, the answer to that is fuck no. What we do need is more bands willing to stretch some boundaries and wear their musical heart on their sleeve and show us what they really care about. I know way too many dudes with huge beards and full sleeves and leather vests that love Carly Rae Jepsen. It’s okay, boys. Come to the dork side.

But to the point at hand, Codex Narco is FFO: Jan Hammer soundtracks, Killing Joke, Late-‘90s/early-2000s alt-pop.

Will Godhunter tour again in any form? Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

I really doubt Godhunter will tour again. We had a bunch of stuff lined up for this year, including a US tour and a couple festival appearances, but once we started adding up the costs of flying people to Tucson for rehearsals and extended absences from good jobs, reality struck and we all realized that this band is probably never going to make enough money for us to slog it out in a van anymore. We’re all really comfortable with where we are in life now too. So in that regard, Codex Narco is sort of an experiment for us. Can we release an album without touring and will people care? Jury is still out on that, but overall people seem stoked about the album so we’re not really feeling any pull to go back to old methods right now.

On a personal level, I run Battleground Records and because of that my outlook on touring has drastically changed over the last few years. I used to think that bands could release a good album, hit the road with it, and win the country over. I think that method is outdated now. The digital world has really changed everything. Now, I think you can release an album, then wait and see if it hits. If it does, and the money is there, then go out on tour without losing your ass on a whim. I think the days of bands coming home broke from tour should be over and if anyone is still doing that, you’re wasting your precious fucking time. Throw that shit on Bandcamp and send it to some blogs and if it’s worth it, you’ll know soon enough. If it doesn’t hit, go back and write something better. Does this mean less bands might be on tour? Yes, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing either.

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Battleground Records on Bandcamp

Battleground Records website

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Baby Tooth Records on Bandcamp

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Stinkeye Release Llantera June 15; West Coast Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Phoenix, Arizona, three-piece Stinkeye have finished work on their debut album, Llantera and are wasting no time in getting it out to the public. After catching the ear with the four-track Llantera Demos (review here) last year, the band will issue the completed seven-song record on June 15. All four songs from the demo — “Orange Man,” “Pink Clam,” “Llantera” and “Fink Ployd” — will appear on the full-length, and upon the release, Stinkeye will turn around and quickly hit the road the next night to begin supporting it on the West Coast, heading up to Oregon and back south again.

A few shows on that stint are still coming together, so if you’re in a position to help out the band with a gig or put them up for the night or give them food or whatever it is you can do, I doubt they’d argue with you. It’s the right thing to do, in any case.

I’ll hope to have more on this to come, but here are the album announcement and tour dates to start with, as sent over by the band:

stinkeye

60’s psychedelic Hash Rock trio from the scorching pavements of Phoenix, Arizona, STINKEYE release their debut album “LLANTERA” June 15th. The drums for the album were recorded at Deep Roots Studios in Tempe, AZ, but most of the record was done at Savage Tactic Studios.

Tracklisting:
1. The Calm
2. Orange Man
3. Pink Clam
4. Llantera
5. Bringer of Grief
6. No Spoon
7. Feed

The album release will followed immediately by a two-week tour through the West Coast starting June 16th. Several dates still TBA.

Stinkeye on tour:
Friday June 16 Bancroft San Diego CA*
Saturday June 17 Gnar Burger Los Angeles CA*
Sunday June 18 Black Light Long Beach CA
Monday June 19 TBA Los Angeles CA
Tuesday June 20 TBA CA
Wednesday June 21 TBA San Francisco CA
Thursday June 22 Johnny B’s Medford OR
Friday June 23 House Show Redmond OR
Saturday June 24 TBA Portland OR
Sunday June 25 TBA Eugene OR
Monday June 26 TBA Medford OR
Tuesday June 27 Winters Tavern San Francisco CA
Wednesday June 28 TBA Los Angeles CA
Thursday June 29 TBA San Diego CA
* with Colour TV

https://www.facebook.com/stinkeyeblows/
https://stinkeye666.bandcamp.com/releases

Stinkeye, Llantera Demos (2016)

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Review & Full EP Stream: Godhunter, Codex Narco

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

godhunter codex narco

[Click play above to stream Godhunter’s Codex Narco EP in full. It’s out this Friday, May 19, on Battleground Records and Baby Tooth Records with sale proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.]

Tucson, Arizona’s Godhunter have always had a violent and/or aggressive edge to their approach, but most of what they’re demolishing on their latest EP, Codex Narco, are the expectations listeners might have of them. Delivered through Battleground Records and Baby Tooth Records with cover art by Bailey Illustration as the result of a few tumultuous years on the part of the once-sludge metallers, Codex Narco only tops out at about 21 minutes, and as it moves between the intro “A Dread of Some Strange Impending Doom” and outro “Distant Fading Screams of a Dying World,” rest assured, the fare is still suitably dark, but the band nonetheless hugely expand their sonic palette even from what it was two years ago on their Endsville split with Destroyer of Light (discussed here), let alone on their prior 2014 full-length, City of Dust (review here), which remains their only long-player to-date. They were a six-piece at that time and have since pared back to a core trio of guitarist/sampler David Rodgers, guitarist/keyboardist Matthew Davis and drummer Andy Kratzenberg, all of whom are spread out geographically.

The fact that Codex Narco‘s tracks were written via internet exchange between these three might ultimately be a factor in the aesthetic outcome of the EP, but that’s not to discount guest appearances from CHRCH vocalist Eva Rose on the aforementioned opening/closing pair, or Josh Thorne of Thorne on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” and centerpiece “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams,” or Methra‘s Nick Genitals on the penultimate Tegan and Sara cover, “Walking with a Ghost,” which here becomes a blown-out vision of doomwave with additional guitar from Clayton Bartholomew (Mountaineer) and bass from Demon Lung‘s Adam Sage. Nick Genitals contributes bass and guitar as well to the opener and closer and to the ambient “Unarmed Combat,” and Sage handles low end on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails,” “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams” and “Walking with a Ghost” while Bartholomew also plays guitar on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails,” “Our Blood is Poison” and “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams.”

One imagines it was quite a chain of emails by the time these songs actually started coming together, or at very least a barrage of Dropbox notifications, but however it was done, the wash that Codex Narco creates ties together this dizzying interchange of personnel, and with a headphone-ready depth of mix unlike anything Godhunter have produced before, these tracks offer atmospheric weight to coincide with their sheer tonal density. Interplay between shorter pieces like the intro and outro, the sample-topped rumble and feedback of “Our Blood is Poison” and the bass-and-drum “Unarmed Combat,” which seems to recount for 100 seconds a military experiment drugging soldiers and finding them refusing to train, the two longer tracks “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” (5:53) and “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams” (5:45), and the unabashedly poppy “Walking with a Ghost” (2:31) ensure a steady flow from one piece to the next, and but for its runtime, Codex Narco could just as easily pass as an LP as an EP in terms of how its component pieces feed into and off of each other.

godhunter codex narco lineup

Davis‘ work on synth and keys becomes a huge factor in tying the release together as a whole, whether he’s playing to the post-punk chug and hook of “Walking with a Ghost” or adding electronica-style tension beneath the massive and blasted buzz tones of “Cocaine Witches and Lysergic Dreams.” No doubt a mastering job by the esteemed Brad Boatright had something to do with bringing the various tracks in line as well, but the handling of the synth and keys in the mix alongside the guitar and bass casts a scope behind the trades between screams and clean vocals on “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” that proves as immersive as it is aggressive, and where in the past Godhunter have been driven to confront, to attack, Codex Narco feels more inwardly-directed as an examination, more personal, and thus more likely to draw listeners along with it on its brief but substantial path.

It’s the kind of release for which reviewers might generally fall over themselves to invent descriptors — which is an impulse that “doomwave” above notwithstanding I’m going to try to resist — but when one sees vague-eries like “post-sludge,” “sludgegaze,” “doomtronic” and so on, it’s a sign that at very least Godhunter are doing something of their own and something original, which on Codex Narco more than ever, they definitely are. RodgersDavis and Kratzenberg haven’t by any means abandoned their aggro tendencies or their underlying sense of purpose in creation — sales of the EP benefit Planned Parenthood and an anti-suicide video for “Walking with a Ghost” is reportedly in production — but they’ve successfully achieved a stylistic turn that even for those who’ve experienced their various experiments on collaborations with Secrets of the Sky (review here) and Amigo the Devil will no doubt prove a surprise. Still, even if one approaches Codex Narco anticipating the band Godhunter were on City of Dust, they’ve always warranted and encouraged a kind of open-mindedness that should make it relatively easy for listeners to get on board with the moves they have made and may or may not continue to make.

When it comes to the aftermath of this EP, that’s really the big question: whether Codex Narco, with its slew of guests and lung-collapsing soundscapes, is a sign of the future direction for Godhunter or a one-off experiment. Given the accomplishment and the fluidity of these songs, I’m inclined to hope for the former, but less than ever does it seem reasonable to predict what the band might do doing forward. Codex Narco is a quick listen, but it presents a huge shift in method and practice for Godhunter, and that’s as much palpable in the audio as it is in the context in which the EP arrives. What has remained most constant about them, however, is the boldness with which they’ve undertaken these changes, and that seems to be the thread that unites all of their work: They’re going to do what they’re going to do, on their own terms, without compromise. Whatever else might swirl around it, righteousness persists.

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Fuzz Evil Post “Black Dread” Video; Tour with Dandy Brown Starts this Weekend

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

fuzz evil

Ah, the public domain. Someday the greedy, soulless, oligarchical bastards who run our lives will take away that most human of notions — that something created and put into a public sphere belongs, after a time, to that sphere more than to its creator — because royalty checks, but while we’ve still got it, it’s nice to see it being put to good use. “Black Dread” is the second DIY video from Fuzz Evil‘s 2016 Battleground Records self-titled debut (review here) to cull its footage from such sources behind a lyric clip that surfaced in Nov. for “Killing the Sun” (posted here), and it uses creative editing to give a psychedelic impression from old educational cartoons filled with gloriously outdated science about atoms, space and the threat of nuclear annihilation. My mother tells stories about being told to “duck and cover” if the bomb got dropped. I’d say it was a horrifying time to be alive, but when wasn’t?

Anyhoozle, the song “Black Dread,” the title of which refers to one of Aegon Targaryen’s dragons in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire — Balerion, if you’re wondering — may or may not have anything to do with the structure of atoms or humanity’s thanatos drive, but it was one of my favorite tracks on Fuzz Evil‘s Fuzz Evil, so I’m happy for the chance to revisit it. More laid back than the bulk of the record, which found the trio of guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell, bassist Joseph Rudell and drummer Marlin Tuttle (the latter since replaced by Daniel Graves) dug into the crisp execution of sans-frills fuzz rockers like “Good Medicine” and “My Fuzz,” it was both the longest track at nearly seven minutes and the finale of that sub-half-hour outing, leaving the audience with a dreamier impression and perhaps a sign of sonic expansion and progression to come from the Arizona-based three-piece, whose desert vibes were writ large one way or another over each groove and the laid back, unpretentious atmosphere of the record as a whole.

Fuzz Evil, it just so happens, head out this coming weekend on a run to support the self-titled, going alongside Hermano‘s Dandy Brown and his band for shows in the Southern Californian desert and in Phoenix and their hometown of Sierra Vista, AZ. You can find those dates included under the video for “Black Dread” below, which it’s my pleasure to host for your streaming enjoyment.

So please, enjoy:

Fuzz Evil, “Black Dread” official video

Music by: Fuzz Evil
Edited by: Joseph Rudell of Fuzz evil

Music written, recorded, and owned by Fuzz Evil
All Footage from The archive.org and in the public domain.

Footage from:
–“Principles of Electricity” – Published 1945 – Usage Public Domain
–“Duck and Cover” by Archer Productions, Inc. – Published 1951 – Usage Public Domain
— “Drug Addiction” by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Inc. – Published 1951 – Usage Public Domain
— “A is for Atom” by Sutherland (John) Productions – Published 1953 – Usage Public Domain

Fuzz Evil live w/ Dandy Brown:
Saturday – 4/15 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
Monday – 4/17 – Riverside, CA
Tuesday – 4/18 – Joshua Tree, CA – The Beatnik Lounge
Wednesday – 4/19 – Palm Desert, CA – The Red Barn
Thursday – 4/20 – Pheonix, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
Friday – 4/21 – Sierra Vista, AZ – The Horned Toad

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Quarterly Review: Grails, Expo Seventy, Coltsblood, Rhino, Cruthu, Spacetrucker, Black Habit, Stone Angels, The Black Willows, Lamagaia

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

quarterly-review-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Arrival. Welcome to the final day of The Obelisk’s Spring 2017 Quarterly Review. After today, I clean off my desktop and start over with a mind toward the next round, which in my head I’ve already scheduled for late June. You know, at the end of the next quarter. I do try to make these things make sense on some level. Anyway, before we get to the last 10 albums, let me please reiterate my thanks to you for reading and say once again that I hope you’ve found something this week that really speaks to you, as I know I have and continue to today. We finish the Quarterly Review out strong to be sure, so even if you’re thinking you’re done and you’ve had enough, you might be surprised by the time you’re through the below.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Grails, Chalice Hymnal

grails chalice hymnal

Even if one counts the 2013 collection culled from GrailsBlack Tar Prophecies ongoing series of short releases that showed up via Temporary Residence, it’s been a long while since their last proper outing. Deep Politics (review here) was issued in 2011, but it seems the intervening time and members’ participation in other projects – among them Om and Holy Sons in the case of Emil Amos – disappear for Grails on Chalice Hymnal, which speaks directly to its predecessor in sequel pieces like “Deeper Politics,” “Deep Snow II” and “Thorns II,” taking the prog-via-TangerineDream cinematics of Deep Politics to vibrant and continually experimental places on the surprisingly vocalized “Empty Chamber,” the soundscaping “Rebecca” and the imaginative, evocative jazz homage “After the Funeral,” the album’s 10-minute closer. Hearing the John Carpenter keyboard line underpinning “Pelham,” I’m not sure I’d call Chalice Hymnal limitless in its aesthetic – Grails have definitive intentions here, as they always have – but they continue to reside in a space of their own making, and one that has yet to stop expanding its reach.

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Grails at Temporary Residence Ltd.

 

Expo Seventy, America Here and Now Sessions

expo seventy america here and now sessions

Yes. Yes. This. With extended two tracks – “First Movement” (22:17) and “Second Movement” (27:04) – unfolding one massive longform immersion that drones pastoral, delves into hypnotic bliss and fills the soul in that way that only raw exploration can, the America Here and Now Sessions from Kansas City (by way of the moon) outfit Expo Seventy is an utter joy to experience. Purposeful and patient in its execution, graceful in the instrumental chemistry – even with a second drummer sitting in amid the core trio led by guitarist Justin Wright – the album well fits the deep matte tones and nostalgic feel of its accompanying artwork, and is fluid in its movement from drone to push especially on “Second Movement,” which sandwiches a resonant cacophony around soundscapes that spread as far as the mind of the listener is willing to let them. Whether you want to sit and parse the execution over every its every subtle motion and waveform or put it on and go into full-brain-shutdown, America Here and Now Sessions delivers. Flat out. It delivers.

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Coltsblood, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness

coltsblood ascending into shimmering darkness

After surviving the acquisition of Candlelight Records by Spinefarm, UK doom extremists Coltsblood return with their second album, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness, and follow-up 2014’s Into the Unfathomable Abyss (review here) with 54 minutes of concrete-thick atmospheric bleakness spread across five tracks. The headfuckery isn’t quite as unremitting as it was on the debut – a blend of airy and thick guitar in the intro of the opening title-cut (also the longest inclusion; immediate points) reminds of Pallbearer – but the three-piece thrive in this more-cohesive-overall context, and their lumbering miseries remain dark and triumphant in kind. A closing duo of “Ever Decreasing Circles” and “The Final Winter” also both top 12 and 13 minutes, respectively, but the shorter second track “Mortal Wound” brings blackened tendencies to the fore and centerpiece “The Legend of Abhartach” effectively leads the way from one side to the other. Still, the most complete victory here for bassist/vocalist John McNulty, guitarist Jemma McNulty and drummer Jay Plested might be “The Final Winter,” which melds its grueling, excruciatingly slow crash to overarching keyboard drama and becomes a work of cinematic depth as well as skull-crushing wretchedness. Such ambient growth fascinates and shows marked progression from their first offering, and even if the primary impression remains one from which no light escapes, don’t be fooled: Coltsblood are growing and are all the more dangerous for that.

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Candlelight Records website

 

Rhino, The Law of Purity

rhino the law of purity

Once they get past the aptly-titled minute-long “Intro,” Rhino keep their foot heavy on the gas for the vast majority of The Law of Purity, their Argonauta Records debut album. The 10 included tracks veer into and out of pure desert rock loyalism – “Eat My Dust” comes across as particularly post-Kyuss, perhaps melded with some of the burl of C.O.C.’s “Shake Like You” – and the throttle of “Nuclear Space,” “Nine Months,” “A. & B. Brown” and “Cock of Dog” later on come to define the impression of straightforward push that puts the riffs forward even more than earlier inclusions like the post-“Intro” title-track or the more mid-paced “Bursting Out,” which hints at psychedelia without really ever fully diving into it. Capping with the roll of “I See the Monsters,” The Law of Purity reminds at times of earlier Astrosoniq – particularly in the vocals – but finds the Sicilian five-piece crafting solid heavy rock tunes that seem more concerned with having a couple beers and a good time than changing the world or remaking the genre. Nothing wrong with that.

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Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity

cruthu the angle of eternity

As it happens, I wrote the bio and release announcement for Cruthu’s debut album, The Angle of Eternity (posted here), and I count guitarist “Postman Dan” McCormick as a personal friend, so if you’re looking for impartiality as regards the self-released six-tracker, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for primo trad doom and classic metal vibes, the Michigan-based four-piece offer touches of progressive flourish amid the shuffle of opener “Bog of Kildare,” a grueling post-“Crystal Ball” nod in “From the Sea” and a bit of ‘70s proto-metallurgy in the closing title-track, which finds vocalist Ryan Evans at his most commanding while McCormick, bassist Erik Hemingsen (Scott Lehman appears as well) and drummer Matt Fry hold together the fluid and patient groove of weighted downer metal. The sense of Cruthu as an outfit schooled in the style is palpable through the creep of “Lady in the Lake” and the post-Trouble chug of “Séance,” but they’re beginning to cast their own identity from their influences – even the penultimate interlude “Separated from the Herd” is part of it – and the dividends of that process are immediate in these tracks.

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Spacetrucker, Launch Sequence

spacetrucker launch sequence

From the Kozik-style artwork of their cover to the blown-out vocals on opener “New Pubes” of guitarist Matt Owen, St. Louis three-piece Spacetrucker – how was there not already a band with this name? – make no bones about their intentions on their late-2016, 26-minute Launch Sequence seven-track EP. Owen, bassist Patrick Mulvaney and drummer Del Toro push into a realm of noise-infused stoner grunge loyal to the ‘90s execution of “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” in the stops of the instrumental “Giza” even as they thicken and dirty up their tonality beyond what Kyuss laid forth. The cowbell-inclusive “Science of Us” rests easily on Mulvaney’s tone and nods toward burl without going over the top, and cuts like “Old Flower,” the penultimate roller “Trenchfoot” and the closing post-Nirvana punker blast of “Ain’t Gonna be Me” reimagine a past in which the language of heavy rock was there to explain where grunge was coming from all along. Not looking to reinvent stylistic parameters in their image at this point, Spacetrucker is nonetheless the kind of band one might’ve run into at SXSW a decade and a half ago and been made a fan for life. As it stands, the charm is not at all lost.

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Black Habit, Black Habit

black habit self titled

Clocking in at half an hour, the self-titled debut release from viola-infused Arizona two-piece Black Habit could probably qualify as an EP or an LP. I’m inclined to consider it the latter considering the depths vocalist/guitarist/bassist Trey Edwin and violist/drummer Emily Jean plunge in the five included tracks, starting with the longest of the bunch (immediate points) in the slow-moving “Escape into Infinity” before shifting the tempo upward for “Suffer and Succumb” and digging into deep-toned sludge marked out by consistently harsh vocals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Black Habit became more melodic or at least moved into cleaner shots over time, as the doomly centerpiece “South Beach” and more fuzz-rocking “Travel Across the Ocean” seem to want to head in that direction, but it’s hard to argue with the echoing rasp that accompanies the rumble and hairy tones of finale “Lust in the Dust,” as Black Habit’s Black Habit rounds out with an especially righteous nod. An intriguing, disaffected, and raw but potential-loaded opening salvo from a two-piece discovering where their sound might take them.

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Stone Angels, Patterns in the Ashes

stone angels patterns in the ashes

Massive. Patterns in the Ashes is a malevolent, tectonic three-song EP following up on New Zealand trio Stone Angels’ 2011 debut, Within the Witch, as well as a few shorter live/demo offerings between, and it’s an absolute beast. Launching with the seven-minute instrumental “White Light, White Noise II” – indeed the sequel to a cut from the first album – it conjures a vicious nod and bleeds one song into the next to let “Signed in Blood” further unfold the grim atmospherics underscoring and enriching all that tonal heft. Sludge is the core style, but the Christchurch three-piece’s broader intentions come through with due volume on the grueling “Signed in Blood” and when “For the Glory of None” kicks in after its sample intro, the blasts and growls that it brings push the release to new levels of extremity entirely. As a bonus, the digital edition includes all three tracks put together as one longer, 21-minute piece, so the consuming flow between them can be experienced without any interruption, as it was seemingly meant to be.

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Black Willows, Samsara

the black willows samsara

If Switzerland-based resonance rockers Black Willows had only released the final two tracks, “Jewel in the Lotus” and “Morning Star,” of their late-2016 second full-length, Samsara, one would still have to call it a complete album – and not just because those songs run 15 and 25 minutes long, respectively. Throughout those extended pieces and the four shorter cuts that appear before them, a palpable meditative sensibility emerges, and Black Willows follow-up the promise of 2013’s Haze (review here) by casting an even more immersive, deeper-toned vibe in the post-Om nod of “Sin” (8:08) and the more percussive complement, “Rise” (9:28), keeping a ritualized feel prevailing but not defining. From the lead-in title-track and the spacious psych trip-out of “Mountain” that gives way to the aforementioned extended closing duo, Black Willows find their key purpose in encompassing tonality and languid grooving. Nothing is overdone, nothing loses its patience, and when they get to the linear trajectory of “Morning Star,” the sense is they’re pushing as far out as far out will go. It’s a joy to follow them on that path.

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Lamagaia, Lamagaia

lamagaia lamagaia

Anytime you’re at all ready to quit your job and explore the recesses of your mind via the ingestion of psychedelics, rituals and meditation, Sweden’s Lamagaia would seem to stand prepared to accompany. The Gothenburg four-piece offer two extended tracks of encouragement in that direction on their self-titled 12” (released through Cardinal Fuzz and Sunrise Ocean Bender), and both “Aurora” and “Paronama Vju” carry a heady spirit of kosmiche improvisation and classically progressive willfulness. They go, go, go. Far, far, far. Vocals echo out obscure but definitely there in post-The Heads fashion, but there’s Hawkwindian thrust in the fuzzed bass and drums driving the rhythm behind the howling guitar in “Aurora,” and that only sets up the peaceful stretch that the drones and expansive spaciousness of “Paronama Vju” finds across its 18:55 as all the more of an arrival. Immersive, hypnotic, all that stuff that means gloriously psychedelic, Lamagaia’s Lamagaia offers instrumental chemistry and range for anyone willing to follow along its resonant and ultra-flowing path. Count me in. I never liked working anyway.

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