Destroyer of Light Announce Chamber of Horrors Due July 14; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

destroyer of light

I’m digging the organ-soaked doomliness of this new Destroyer of Light track for sure. The Austin-based outfit have spent the last few years ping-ponging their way back and forth around the US supporting their Endsville split LP (video premiere here) with Arizona’s Godhunter, as well as their Bizarre Tales Vol.2014 full-length on Heavy Friends Records, but they’re or sure due for a new one, and it seems like the upcoming Chamber of Horrors is bringing about something of a shift in sound. Maybe. I wouldn’t necessarily count on the track “Prisoner of Eternity,” which you can stream below, to speak for the whole of the new record, but like I said, I’m digging it. You wouldn’t find me complaining.

The PR wire brings art (is that you, Adam Burke?), info and audio, as is its custom:

destroyer-of-light-chamber-of-horrors

DESTROYER OF LIGHT: Austin quartet to unearth Chamber of Horrors this July | Stream and share new song ‘Prisoner of Eternity’

Chamber of Horrors by Destroyer of Light is released on 14th July 2017 via Heavy Friends Records

Hailing from Austin, TX, harbingers of doom Destroyer of Light are no idlers. Within a year of forming in 2012 and with little mind to wait around, the heavy-as-hell/louder-than-war quartet released their self-titled EP themselves and in doing so kick started what would became an ongoing DIY endeavor driven by huge riffs, hallowed tales and endless road journeys.

No matter which rock you look under there’s no hiding the fact that the band is heavily indebted to the darker side of stoner metal and everything that goes along with it. Bathed in an aural haze and ominous song craft, Destroyer of Light’s music is unmistakably one of grim theatricality and crushing heavy metal dirges. Influences such as Electric Wizard, Mercyful Fate, EYEHATEGOD and Autopsy serve as striking counterpoints to the literary and filmic references they dig up in Wiccan-stalked forests and horror anthologies. Following up on their debut in 2014 with their second release Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, if anyone just so happened to be in any doubt, death and destruction is very much the order of service and confessional sermons are delivered in a constant sea of feedback and percussive right hooks.

This July however Destroyer of Light are primed to unearth their latest album, a haunting and humid foray into the realms of doom rock, aptly titled Chamber of Horrors. Dragging their music into a cavernous basement to experiment freely with underground sounds, listeners are treated to a ritual ear beating and a memorable trip into psychedelic realms unknown.

Chamber of Horrors by Destroyer of Light will be released on 14th July on Heavy Friends Records. 

Destroyer of Light:
Steve Colca – Guitar/Vocals
Jeff Klein – Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – Guitar
Penny Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/
http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/

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Bellringer Releases Vinyl-Only 4-Way Split

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

There’s little that’s more punk rock on this planet than DIY split vinyl singles. Yeah, yeah, mohawks, left-wing disaffection, etc., but seriously, there’s nothing more punk than a couple of bands getting together and pooling their utter lack of resources to put out the smallest of records, trinkets to sell in basements and so on. I’m not going to speculate as to the collective incomes of Bellringer, Toranavox, Flyin’ Lion and/or John Wesley Coleman III, but I’m going to guess their choice to combine their efforts on a new split 7″ is more about showcasing pan-Texan weirdness than not being able to afford any other option. Still, punk rock, dude.

Interesting to note that Bellringer‘s track, “A Girl Did It,” is only available on the vinyl, i.e., no streaming. You might recall Bellringer honcho Mark Deutrom did similar last year in a split with Australia’s Dead (review here). Seems like there might be a theme emerging there.

Here’s what the PR wire had to say about it:

bellringer split

BELLRINGER: Four-Way-Split EP With Other Texas Artists Available

Austin hooligan rock squad BELLRINGER — the live entity for the music of guitarist/vocalist Mark Deutrom (ex-Melvins, Clown Alley) – has released a limited four-way split 7″ EP, and has plans of releasing other new tunes in the months ahead.

The new BELLRINGER release sees the bandits uniting with three fellow Texan acts, Flyin Lion, John Wesley Coleman III, and Toranavox, each of whom provide their own spin on the record. The new single, “A Girl Did it” tells the story of what happens when girls get mad in the Lone Star State. Here, the outfit cranks up a solid, megafuzz slam-jam riff-rammer; a mostly-straightforward yet slightly off-kilter clock-cleaner that will get you fired-up for a bar-brawl-boogie in no time.

BELLRINGER’s “A Girl Did It” is available exclusively through this split on vinyl only — no digital, no 8-track. Order it while they last RIGHT HERE.

BELLRINGER ‘s most recent LP, Jettison, was released in September of last year. An expedition into dementia, exploring the back-alleys of psychedelic jazz/blues-infused rock, and the entire record backed by the feeling of chewing napalm bubble gum while tripping on peyote in a video game sequence.

Created as the live entity for the music of Deutrom, who performed bass in the Melvins’ Prick/Stoner Witch/Stag/Honky-era, preceded by Clown Alley, was a touring member of Sunn O))) and others, BELLRINGER also embodies musicians James Flores, Aaron Lack, Monique Ortiz, and Brian Ramirez. The outfit’s Jettison LP was fully written and produced by Deutrom, the album recorded in Austin earlier this year. The six expansive tracks on this new auditory trip traverse an immense volume of genre territory with nearly forty minutes of action, fusing elements of psychedelic and exploratory rock with bluesy and jazzy jam elements, all coalescing in the signature Mark D style. Outer-cosmos radioactive dust cloud soundscapes go head-to-head with lush, organic, earthling grooves, while a quirky edge stimulates hallucinations of animated characters colonizing psychedelic parallel existences.

http://www.facebook.com/BellringerTX
http://markdeutrom.com
http://markdeutrom.bandcamp.com
http://soundcloud.com/mark-deutrom
http://rockishell.bigcartel.com

Bellringer, “Cowboy Fight” official video

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

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

the obelisk radio cavum

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

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

The Obelisk Radio Adds for April 10, 2017:

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

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

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

Tia Carrera on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records website

 

Humulus,Reverently Heading into Nowhere

humulus-reverently-heading-into-nowhere

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

Humulus on Thee Facebooks

Taxi Driver Records webstore

Oak Island Records on Thee Facebooks

 

King Buffalo, Live at Wicked Squid Studios (6.16.16)

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

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

King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

 

Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable

telekinetic yeti abominable

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

Telekinetic Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Sump Pump Records on Bandcamp

 

High Plains, Cinderland

high plains cinderland

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

High Plains on Thee Facebooks

Kranky Records on Bandcamp

 

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Greenbeard Premiere “Sativa Wizardia” Video; New Album Due in June

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

greenbeard-photo-by-jay-conlon

Hey, if you’re gonna be in Seattle, you might as well stop through the studio and record an album with Matt Bayles, right? That would seem to be the message put forth by Austin, Texas, heavy rockers Greenbeard as regards their new full-length due out this June on Sailor Records. They’ve yet to unveil any audio or the title of the follow-up to 2015’s Stoned at the Throne, but the plan is to do so next month, and before they get there, they’re saying goodbye to the debut with a new video for the track “Sativa Wizardia,” which opened the record. Heads up on this one, it’s a riffer.

It makes that plain from its first measure, and the five minutes that follow only underscore the point. With heavy rock shuffle, tonal density and cut-through vocals belting through a welcome hook, Greenbeard are part post-Uncle Acid strut and part classic stonerized blowout, and in that, it set up six tracks of dug-in riffing and heavy roll. It’s little surprise that the album received acclaim enough that the band can already count themselves veterans of SXSW, Psycho Las Vegas and Electric Funeral Fest, among others. Seems likely they could walk into just about any venue with electricity enough to handle their output and start turning at least a few heads in their direction on any given night.

To support their new one, they’ve got live dates booked before and after the June release, but it’s only fair to give Stoned at the Throne its due sendoff before they start gearing up to put their focus on moving forward with that record, for which, indeed, they traveled to Seattle to record with Matt Bayles, whose reputation of recording with Isis and Mastodon, etc., precedes him. Listening back to Stoned at the Throne, I’m intrigued to hear what Bayles brings to Greenbeard‘s sound. If you want a preliminary guess, mine is more volume and more depth, as both are specialties of the house in Bayles‘ work.

Please find the Tony Moser-directed clip for “Sativa Wizardia” below, followed by more info on the impending sophomore long-player and the band’s live dates.

And enjoy:

Greenbeard, “Sativa Wizardia” official video

“Sativa Wizardia” is the newest music video from Greenbeard’s current album, “Stoned at the Throne”. Directed by Tony Moser. Vinyl for “Stoned at the Throne” available at: https://www.sailorrecords.com/product-page/greenbeard-180g-blood-red-vinyl

Greenbeard has a new record completed and ready to go. The album name and artwork will be revealed on May 1. Additionally, the band will be announcing tour dates for the summer of 2017. On their 2016 tour, Greenbeard spent time in Seattle, recording their newest album with Matt Bayles (Minus the Bear, Isis, Botch, The Sword, Mastodon, A Storm of Light, Mono, etc.). This new album will be released on Sailor Records in June of 2017.

Greenbeard live:
May 12 Dirty Dog Bar Austin, TX w/ Zed & Wasted Theory
May 27 Smokestock All-Star Rock Bar Kansas City, MO
Jun 14 Leftwoods Amarillo, TX
Jun 15 Sister Bar Albuquerque, NM
Jun 16 Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Hi-Dive Denver, CO
Jun 21 Reggie’s Chicago, IL
Jun 23 Cafe Berlin Columbia, MO
Jun 26 Blue Note Oklahoma City, OK
Jun 27 Curtain Club Dallas, TX

Greenbeard is:
Chance Parker – guitar/vocals
Dan Alvarez – bass
Buddy Hachar – drums

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Greenbeard on Bandcamp

Sailor Records website

Sailor Records on Thee Facebooks

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

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

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

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

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Kodama

alcest kodama

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

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Galley Beggar, Heathen Hymns

galley-beggar-heathen-hymns

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

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Pontiak, Dialectic of Ignorance

pontiak-dialectic-of-ignorance

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

Pontiak on Thee Facebooks

Pontiak at Thrill Jockey Records

 

White Light Cemetery, Careful What You Wish For

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

White Light Cemetery on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Fever Dog, Mainframe

fever dog mainframe

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

Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks

Fever Dog on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Witchbanger

duel witchbanger

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

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

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

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

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

Seven Nines and Tens on Thee Facebooks

Seven Nines and Tens website

 

Automatic Sam, Arcs

automatic sam arcs

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

Automatic Sam on Thee Facebooks

Automatic Sam at Goomah Music

 

The Next Appointed Hour, Not the End of the World

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

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

The Next Appointed Hour on Thee Facebooks

The Next Appointed Hour on Bandcamp

 

Blown Out, Superior Venus

blown out superior venus

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

Blown Out on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

 

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Duel Announce European Tour Dates; New Album out May 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It would seem the release date for Duel‘s forthcoming second album, Witchbanger, has been pushed back a month since it was first announced with the cover art and tracklisting about two weeks ago. Fair enough. Heavy Psych Sounds — the imprint putting it out and the booking agency responsible for booking Duel‘s European tour, the dates for which are posted below — will be running preorders starting next week, and I guess it just means that the tour will be heralding the record’s arrival rather than supporting its recent release. In any case, probably won’t be the last time Duel head to Europe this touring cycle. There’s always Fall for a return trip, with plenty of festivals to pepper in around other shows.

For now though, this run starts April 26 in Rome, and you can see the rest of the routing in and under the poster below. It’s about a month on the road, all told, which is awesome. Heavy Psych Sounds had it posted on the social medias:

duel-euro-tour-2017

Duel – European Tour 2017

NEW ALBUM “WITCHBANGER” OUT MAY 28TH
PRE SALE MARCH 17TH

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is proud to announce Eu tour dates for DUEL

Sex, drugs, the occult and buckets of blood. Austin, Texas tripped out heavies DUEL release their second album “Witchbanger”. Eight hard hitting new tracks of deep grooves and blistering riffs paying tribute to the darker breed of early 70’s proto-metal and classic old school early 80’s heavy metal pioneers. Growling desperate vocals and angry fuzzed out guitars telling tales of horror and hallucination. Hard Rock as it should be totally pure and unpretentious.

Produced and engineered by lead guitarist Jeff Henson at his new studio Red Nova Ranch in the wastelands of Texas not far from the historic Texas Chainsaw Massacre house. Prepare for Hell or Valhalla, from start to finish this carefully crafted album WILL KILL YOU!

Duel Euro Tour 2017:
26.04.2017 IT Roma-Traffic
27.04.2017 IT Parma-Titty Twister
28.04.2017 CH Oberentfelden-Borom Pom Pom
29.04.2017 DE Berlin-Desert Fest
30.04.2017 DK Tba
01.05.2017 DK Copenhagen
02.05.2017 DK Secret Show
03.05.2017 SE Malmoe-Plan B
04.05.2017 DE Erfurt-AZJ
05.05.2017 DE Dresden-Chemiefabrik
06.05.2017 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk
07.05.2017 IT Varedo-Crazy Driver
08.05.2017 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
09.05.2017 SL Izola-Hangar Bar
10.05.2017 IT Torino-Blah Blah
11.05.2017 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum
12.05.2017 CH Basel-Art & Wheels Fest
13.05.2017 AT Bludenz-Villa K
14.05.2017 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
16.05.2017 DE Karlsruhe-Akk
17.05.2017 DE Stuttgart-Keller Klub
18.05.2017 DE Freiburg-White Rabbit
19.05.2017 GR Athens-An Club “Sonic Ritual Fest”
20.05.2017 IT Mezzago-Bloom “Sonic Ritual Fest”
21.05.2017 IT Castel D’Ario-Hostaria

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Duel, Fears of the Dead (2016)

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Duel Announce Witchbanger Details; Out April 28

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

Kind of hard to imagine the band meeting whereby Austin heavy rockers Duel decided which track they’d choose for the name of their second full-length for Heavy Psych Sounds, but you have to figure at some point one of the four dudes actually said the words, “Uh, how about ‘Witchbanger?'” And so it went. Witchbanger, which follows their 2016 debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), and will reportedly be supported by tour dates very likely in Europe if past is prologue with the label involved, is due out April 28. Preorders start March 17. Preorders, for Witchbanger.

I’m 35 years old, writing about a record called WitchbangerDuel are a good band and all — don’t get me wrong — but that title. Woof.

Whatever. I’m sure the album will kick ass and on will go the blinders.

Heavy Psych Sounds posted the art and details:

duel witchbanger

DUEL – WITCHBANGER – HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is extremely proud to unveil album details for DUEL – Witchbanger.

The new album out 28th April. Presale starts March 17th.

available in:
Ltd Splatter Vinyl
Black Vinyl
Cd
Digital

Sex, drugs, the occult and buckets of blood. Austin, Texas tripped out heavies DUEL release their second album “Witchbanger”. Eight hard hitting new tracks of deep grooves and blistering riffs paying tribute to the darker breed of early 70’s proto-metal and classic old school early 80’s heavy metal pioneers. Growling desperate vocals and angry fuzzed out guitars telling tales of horror and hallucination. Hard Rock as it should be totally pure and unpretentious.

Produced and engineered by lead guitarist Jeff Henson at his new studio Red Nova Ranch in the wastelands of Texas not far from the historic Texas Chainsaw Massacre house. Prepare for Hell or Valhalla, from start to finish this carefully crafted album WILL KILL YOU!

Duel – Witchbanger tracklist:
Devil
Witchbanger
The Snake Queen
Astro Gypsy
Heart Of The Sun
Bed Of Nails
Cat’s Eye
Tigers And Rainbows

TOUR DATES WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON!!

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Duel, Fears of the Dead (2016)

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Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell: Everything’s All Right (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sweat lodge tokens for hell

[Click play above to stream Sweat Lodge’s cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Precious and Grace’ from their Tokens for Hell EP, out March 10 on Brutal Panda Records. Preorders are available here and here.]

After being snagged by Ripple Music for an initial release, the 2015 debut album from Austin’s Sweat Lodge, Talismana (review here), linked arms as well with Brutal Panda Records for a vinyl pressing. Why either or both labels would want to stand behind the album is little mystery. Sweat Lodge, who had only a 2013 demo out prior aptly-named the Sweat Lodge Tape Demo EP, presented coherent neo-bikerisms and boogie with psychedelic flourish. They sounded like a band who had their heads and hearts in the right places and one who, if they hit the road properly, had the potential to grow into a considerable force in terms of songwriting and style. So it goes.

With their Tokens for Hell EP, also on Brutal Panda, the four-piece of vocalist Cody, guitarist Bones, bassist Shock and drummer Caleb kiss it all up and mark the beginning of what may or may not be a permanent hiatus. They’re hardly the first group with promise to split before really developing to their fullest — I don’t have the math to back this up, but it probably happens daily — and it’s always kind of a bummer. Perhaps even more for the affirmation of what might have been that the four tracks of Tokens for Hell present, showcasing as they do a band staying true to their roots — if being from Texas, playing heavy rock and covering ZZ Top doesn’t qualify as that, nothing does — while stepping forward from their first record toward even more realized fare. Heck of a way to say goodbye.

One always tends to want that which is unavailable — if you don’t believe me, hit the vinyl market on Discogs sometime — but it’s hard to listen to Tokens for Hell and not think of Sweat Lodge as letting go of noteworthy chemistry. Across “Life Goes On” (4:40), “Lost the Sun” (5:00), “Precious and Grace” (2:58; the aforementioned ZZ Top cover, also taken on by Queens of the Stone Age as a bonus track for 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze) and “Tokens for Hell” (3:16) itself, they bring together heavy ’10s retroism with a particularly Sabbathian bent, as the opener shows by a direct turn in its middle third toward a riff and spaciousness that recalls 1975’s “Megalomania” from the recently-retired heavy metal forefathers.

The production only bolsters this feel, but the side-effect is an atmospheric sensibility to what might otherwise have been raw riffing, from which Tokens for Hell benefits greatly throughout its brief span, front to back. “Precious and Grace” is perhaps the most earthbound inclusion, placed third of the four, but on the preceding “Lost the Sun,” Sweat Lodge turn that five-minute runtime into a sprawl of mellow psych-prog verses and swirling hooks, engaging a depth that moves easily from its soothing start into a more upbeat jam before shifting back to quieter territory to close out, a charming guitar solo and piano interplay marking the finish. It’s a subtle expansion of the arrangement, but does much to add to the overarching vibe of ’70s influence, and the smoothness with which difficult transitions are carried out in “Lost the Sun” is not to be understated. At their most uptempo, Sweat Lodge are a lot of fun, but if you wanted definitive proof there’s more to them than a vintage stylization and a cool logo, it’s right there.

As noted, “Precious and Grace” brings Tokens for Hell toward less a less astral mindset, but echo on Cody‘s vocals and the fuzz in the guitar and bass keep it tied to the original material in terms of overall sound, and to understate it, it fits. That’s true structurally as well, as Shock runs basslines under a midsection lead from Bones and Caleb holds the thrust together — a four-piece doing the work of one of the most essential power trios of all time. Its bounce is there and gone, defined in part by its abiding lack of pretense, and that leaves Sweat Lodge to finish with “Tokens for Hell” itself, a Kadavar-style hook-minded final composition that speaks with some measure of self-awareness of coins being placed on eyes in a memorial ritual to which the EP turns out all along to have been leading.

Also executing. Many bands who call it quits, whether they leave it open to working together again in the future, as Sweat Lodge have, or go out in a fiery blitz of argument and drama, don’t get to give a proper farewell. These days, those that don’t just fade away after what becomes a swansong release in hindsight do a sad post on social media and that’s pretty much it. Their work stagnates in the judgment of residual ‘likes’ and digital plays through whatever outlet. If they’re lucky, a reissue happens somewhere along the line. What fate ultimately waits for Sweat Lodge is still to be determined — one never says never in rock and roll, especially when it comes to bands breaking up and getting back together — but they’re fortunate to have been in a place relationship-wise where, if they were going to go out, they could do so on their own terms. Tokens for Hell leaves no doubt they’re doing just that, and underscores the righteous presence they represented in the first place.

Tokens for Hell preorder at Brutal Panda Records

Tokens for Hell preorder at Sweat Lodge’s Bandcamp

Sweat Lodge on Thee Facebooks

Sweat Lodge on Twitter

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