Sans Soleil Stream A Holy Land Beneath a Godless Sky in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on December 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

sans soleil (Photo by Lori Butler)

Available now to preorder from Tofu Carnage Records in a 200-gram, translucent red-and-purple-with-blue-splatter pressing, A Holy Land Beneath a Godless Sky is the first full-length from Austin, Texas, viola-laden five-piece Sans Soleil, but rather than a stumbling debut from a group looking to find their footing, the four-track collection is as rich conceptually and in its execution as its physical manifestation. It’s also no less complex in its arrangement, pushing through a thick-toned 35 minutes of smoothly woven tapestry, heavily weighted but not at the cost of a sense of movement. Instrumental for the duration, “A Holy Land,” “An Umbral Plain,” “Across Brilliant Sands” and the concluding “Beneath a Godless Sky” evoke the journey they’re meant to convey, as guitarist Lee Frejyalune and violist Eva Vonne illuminate in what’s easily the most comprehensive track-by-track I’ve been fortunate enough to feature here.

Vonne, Frejyalune, guitarist Dustin Anderson, bassist Theron Rhoten and drummer Zach Hoop work quickly to create a rhythmic current around which their melodies and tempo shifts move. The production of A Holy Land Beneath a Godless Sky is geared toward an open, spacious feel, and that comes across both in the emergent roll of “A Holy Land” and in the slow, tilt-your-head-back-and-close-your-eyes beginning of “An Umbral Plain,” the textural feel of which makes it both a highlight and standard representation for what Sans Soleil have to offer. With patience and string-fueled grace, Sans Soleil enact builds throughout “An Umbral Plain,” the tidal-swaying post-rocker “Across Brilliant Sands” and bookending “Beneath a Godless Sky” that each craft their own context, each piece — this goes for “A Holy Land” as well — teaching you along the way how best to read it, so that by the time the crash-heavy “Beneath a Godless Sky” begins its conversation with the opener, the album’s consuming moodiness has become the world in which the songs take place.

And as we learn below, it’s a desolate landscape. I don’t know if I see it quite as empty as Vonne and Frejyalune — empty spaces in my mind always seem to come out in lone echoing guitar, whereas a lot of what Sans Soleil has going on is less minimal — but neither am I inclined to argue against a band’s interpretation of their own work. For insight into how Sans Soleil put together A Holy Land Beneath a Godless Sky, I’ll turn it over to them with appreciation for their thoughtfulness in the discussion of what the album is working to portray.

You can find the entirety of A Holy Land Beneath a Godless Sky on the player below, followed by the track-by-track. Please enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

sans soleil a holy land beneath a godless sky

Track-by-Track from Eva Vonne and Lee Frejyalune:

When we titled these songs, we wanted “A Holy Land (Part One)” and “Beneath a Godless Sky (Part Two)” to frame the album. We wrote them as one long piece divided into two interpretations of a theme. Eva wanted the names to work together as a sentence, and when Lee suggested “A Holy Land Beneath a Godless Sky,” we found the name of our album. “An Umbral Plane” and “Across Brilliant Sands” complete a short lyric, the titles working as a verse narrating a journey through a fallen and forgotten place, its ruins bearing the scars of vicious struggle, soaring triumph and tragic collapse, worn away by the unrelenting march of time.

Eva: A piece of music I have continually drawn inspiration from is Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” where Mussorgsky depicts an imaginary tour of an art collection. This album especially was crafted in a similar manner – of an outsider looking in. I have long been fascinated by the history and culture of Europe following the collapse of the Roman Empire and I think that is where I personally draw inspiration from, but of course our narrative is not rooted in any specific time or place. Rather it is the idea of a lone antihero traversing alone across an abandoned and ruined place and imagining where the relics of this grand past civilization might have originated.

Lee: The band’s name was taken from the 1983 Chris Marker film, which is a loose, cinematic essay of sorts that drifts through various ideas and images with a sort of meandering narrative. I feel that this album (and most of our music, generally speaking) works in a similar way. Each member brought to the arrangements their own take on some similar ideas: a long journey; struggle, triumph, and loss; things melancholic and void. Our “wanderer” makes what meaning they can from the ruins and artifacts encountered through a combination of the sparse context given and projection of their own narratives and experiences. The band has a similar process, in that we build our songs from fragments of riffs, melodies, and ideas, and when the whole is pieced together we look at it from the outside and find what meaning lies in what we’ve written.

A HOLY LAND

Our working title for this song was “Part One” and we wrote it with “Beneath a Godless Sky” together as one long piece.

Eva: We imagine this track as introduction to the solitary journey. It begins as a mournful dirge, but towards the end there is a reclamation and so begins the imagining.

Lee: Our wanderer finds themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, awake with a start to begin looking for direction, meaning, a way home. The scope of their surroundings is vast, overwhelming and the task seemingly impossible. Overcoming these, the first steps are taken.

AN UMBRAL PLANE

Our working title for this song was “Steeple.”

Eva: This track we see narrating the darkest part of the journey, of our wanderer encountering the most macabre and distressing artifacts of human persecution and suffering.

Lee: Artifacts and remnants the wanderer finds suggest war, collapse, ruin. Something great once was here, but came apart in a tragic and violent end. There have been no lives lived here for centuries, not even bare subsistence. The wanderer keeps hope in their heart, a meager guiding light shielded against a torrent of despair.

ACROSS BRILLIANT SANDS

Our working title for this song was “Presence.”

Eva: In this track our wanderer is traversing though once grand and monumental structures now in ruin.

Lee: In my mind, this song describes a blistering desert, the last enduring shards of broken cities, ruined temples, defiled obelisks jutting defiantly from the sand which has worked relentlessly to erode and bury them. Our wanderer considers whether these structures were human triumph over the hostile wilds, or if whatever brought them to ruin blighted this land as well. Waves of sand and heat tear at the wanderer’s body as they trudge determinedly towards a distant and massive ruin that lies at what they hope to be the end of this wasteland.

BENEATH A GODLESS SKY

Our working title for this song was “Part Two,” the conclusion to “Part One.”

Eva: In this track we see our wanderer piecing together all they have encountered.

Lee: The end of the journey, a moribund arrival at a non-destination. Is there meaning to be made from the things encountered and experienced? Have they spent this journey drifting through nothing to find nothing? Does the wanderer press on, or abandon hope and wait to join those who came before, forgotten to time? They know this land held lives holy and verdant, but they have long left, and when those who knew their names perished, the gods perished also.

Sans Soleil on Thee Facebooks

Tofu Carnage Records

Tags: , , , , ,

The Well Robbed in Memphis; Fundraiser Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the well

You know what makes The Well getting robbed worse? It’s their first tour, and it was pretty much over! Yesterday, before making their way from Memphis, Tennessee, to Shreveport, Louisiana, the Austin-based trio decided to take a tour of Sun Studios. I’ve been on that tour. You get to see the room where The Million Dollar Quartet happened, and the tour guide talks about Johnny Cash putting dollars in his guitar to play “Folsom Prison Blues” and so on. It’s a good time, except that when The Well exited through the gift shop, they found that their van had been broken into, and their luggage, laptop and the $1,900 that was presumably the money they’d managed to earn on the road with All Them Witches for most of the 15 nights prior were gone. What a bummer.

I’m not sure who Cynthia Ruiz is, but she jumped on the situation by setting up a crowdfunding campaign to help The Well get back to where they need to be following the RidingEasy Records release of their first full-length, Samsara (review here). Their tour ends tonight in Dallas. You know the drill. Link and info below:

the well lock

Help the Well Get Well

“Well, it happened. While we were touring sun studios, someone broke into the van. THANK GOD they didn’t get any gear thanks to built in shelves separating the back of the van, but they stole ALL our luggage, Lisa’s computer and $1900 in cash. Feeling sick right now. Onward to Shreveport. Fuck.”

People say Karma is a bitch, but let’s prove she can be a sweetheart, too. If you believe in good people and good music, please show THE WELL some love and send them a buck or two in light of their recent misfortune in the south. While their gear was spared, all of their personal luggage, laptop, and well-earned cash was stolen by some rat bastards on the last leg of their inaugural tour. In all, the band lost about $4000 to some sorry ass thieves and I’d love to see some of that returned to them. Help me help them end their first tour with some positivity and hell yeahs!!!

http://www.gofundme.com/hfgqyc
https://www.facebook.com/thewellband/

The Well, Samsara (2014)

Tags: , , ,

The Obelisk Radio Adds: Jakob Skøtt, Sleeping Pulse, Palm Desert, High Fighter and Sans Soleil

Posted in Radio on November 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk radio

Managing to do rounds of adds to The Obelisk Radio two weeks in a row? Why, that’s almost too much on-it to bear. I’ll try really hard to contain my self-satisfaction. Okay no I won’t.

A pretty diverse bunch of records joining the playlist today. There are 11 total that went up, and in addition to correcting the oversight of not having put up YOB‘s Clearing the Path to Ascend yet (infinite apologies), there are also new ones from Lord Dying and PrimordialIt’s Casual and the recently-reviewed Elephant Tree. Also the Atavismo that I put up the info for the other day and which will be reviewed at some point soon, and five records I thought it would be worth highlighting out of the bunch. Some of these artists I’m sure you know, one or two maybe not, but again, it’s a fairly wide stylistic berth and that’s just the way I like it best.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Nov. 14, 2014:

Jakob Skøtt, Taurus Rising

jakob skott taurus rising
His third solo album, Taurus Rising is also the second of the year for Copenhagen-based Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt. Released through El Paraiso Records, it continues in the vein of earlier 2014’s Amor Fati in pursuing more of a full-band vibe, but strips that down somewhat to incorporate just synth and live drums. The result across Taurus Rising‘s five tracks is an unremitting progressivism, showcasing Skøtt‘s allegiance to krautrock in songs like opener “Escape from the Keep” while the centerpiece “Pleiades” has a little more of a psychedelic swirl. Keyboards arrive in multiple layers throughout, filling out the mix, and Taurus Rising becomes all the more impressive when one considers that Skøtt is essentially jamming with himself. He does so with a strong sense of evoking varied atmosphere from the tracks, the closing duo of “Bucket Brigades” (10:13) and “Taurus Ascendant” (7:59) pushing deep into spaced-out dynamics and, in the case of the latter, providing the album with its fullest wash and most satisfying linear build. Whether or not Skøtt intends to keep up this pace of releases, I don’t know — no reason not to so long as he’s inspired; it’s his playing, recording and label — but the prog-jazz sensibility of Taurus Rising seems ripe for further development. Jakob Skøtt on Thee Facebooks, El Paraiso Records.

Sleeping Pulse, Under the Same Sky

sleeping pulse unde the same sky

Sleeping Pulse are not yet fully through “Parasite,” the opening track on their Prophecy Productions debut, Under the Same Sky, before Mick Moss lets loose the full emotional juggernaut of his vocal delivery. The duo is a collaboration between Moss, best known as the frontman and founder of Antimatter, and Portugal-based guitarist Luís Fazendeiro of Painted Black, who wrote the music. At 10 songs and 55 minutes, Under the Same Sky is tied together both through Moss‘ voice and a persistent airiness that, were it not so cleanly presented, I’d almost be tempted to call post-rock. It is darkly progressive, and the lyrics match, weaving tales of manipulation in the subtly building “The Puppeteer” (also watch out for the sampled applause about a minute in) and betrayal throughout moody cuts like the later “Noose” and “War.” For those who know Antimatter — whose latest full-length, Fear of a Unique Identity (review here), was released in 2012 — Sleeping Pulse finds Moss well in his element across the board, but Fazendeiro varies the style such that the piano-led “The Blind Lead the Blind” and emergent distortion chug of “Painted Rust” fit well alongside each other, and Under the Same Sky flows smoothly to its concluding title-track, a minimal piano piece backed by ebow-style tones and once more showcasing the resonance in Moss‘ blend of fragility and defiance. A sleeper not to be slept on, particularly with winter ahead. Sleeping Pulse on Thee Facebooks, Prophecy Productions.

Palm Desert, Pearls from the Muddy Hollow

palm desert pearls from the muddy hollow

Perhaps unsurprising when one considers they take their name from the hometown of California’s ’90s desert rock movement, but Poland’s Palm Desert owe a large sonic debt to Kyuss. In the Wroc?aw four-piece’s style of riffing, tonality and propensity for the occasional stoner jam on their third album, Pearls from the Muddy Hollow (Krauted Mind Records), they show their allegiance to the desert style and its blend of fuzzed-up punk and laid back psychedelia. Vocalist Wojciech Ga?uszka helps change things up, however, with some elements of Soundgarden-era Chris Cornell to go with periodic John Garcia gruffness, so that Pearls from the Muddy Hollow‘s nine tracks make a suitable companion piece to Steak‘s 2014 full-length debut, Slab City, which basks in a similar mindset. That’s not to say Palm Desert bring nothing of their own to the style — both the quick “Rise Above” (not a Black Flag cover) and extended closer “Forward in the Sun” (8:19) branch beyond idolatry to an individualized moment — just that the resounding impression throughout Pearls from the Muddy Hollow is Kyuss loyalism. Within the style, they do well in portraying a warm-toned feel and shift smoothly between movements both inside of and between their songs. They’re not revolutionary, but Palm Desert do justice to a familiar sound and sometimes that’s plenty to make for a quality record. Another decent bit of output from Poland’s fertile scene. Palm Desert on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

High Fighter, The Goat Ritual EP

high fighter the goat ritual

Formed earlier this year as an amalgam of members from A Million Miles and Buffalo Hump, Hamburg, Germany’s High Fighter storm out of the gate with the five-song The Goat Ritual EP, a 21-minute thrust of modern metal and heavy rock ideals. Vocalist Mona Miluski shifts readily between a bluesy clean delivery and searing screams over the nod-ready riffing of guitarists Christian “Shi” Pappas and Ingwer Boysen, bassist Constantin Wüst and drummer Thomas Wildelau trading off between riding the grooves on “2Steps Blueskill” and energizing the bounce on “Fire in the Sun.” Second cut “Breaking Goat Mountains” seems to be particularly geared toward Kyuss‘ “Green Machine” in its riff, but bleaker, screamier centerpiece “Black Waters” shifts between the EP’s heaviest assault and a guitar-only peaceful moment that rounds out with a bit of fading feedback that leads to the wakeup punch of “Fire in the Sun,” in turn given over to the mosh fodder of “In Veins”‘s early going, which somehow transitions into more laid-back heaviness in its second half, of course building back to the initial riff to round out. In its production and much of its execution, it’s metal, but High Fighter keep command of heavy rock elements in such a way as to showcase the nascent moments of what has the potential to be a fascinating progression. The ritual, it would seem, is only beginning. High Fighter on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Sans Soleil, A Holy Land beneath a Godless Sky

sans soleil a holy land beneath a godless sky

Calling a string-infused, instrumental post-metal release “atmospheric” seems completely superfluous, but Austin fivesome Sans Soleil put enough of a focus on ambience throughout their four-track Tofu Carnage Records debut long-player, A Holy Land beneath a Godless Sky, that to not say so would be worse. Eva Vonne‘s viola plays a major role in the band’s sound on “A Holy Land” and is complemented there and thereafter by guitarists Dustin Anderson and Lee Frejyalune and bassist Theron Rhoten, but it doesn’t come across as trying to fill a gap where vocals might otherwise be, instead just a weaving current between the distortion and sub-doom plod of drummer Zach Hoop, whose crash distinguishes itself on “An Umbral Plain” in keeping a slow march together early and moving fluidly to double-time in the middle third. Dense but not claustrophobic, the subsequent “Across Brilliant Sands” opens direct interplay between Vonne and a line of lead guitar before moving into Grayceon-style sparseness and explosion, or at least a more doomed interpretation thereof, and building to what feels like an apex for the album until the 11-minute closer “Beneath a Godless Sky” busts into a gallop as it passes the halfway point and relents from there only to resume again with greater force, closing out A Holy Land beneath a Godless Sky with a fitting push to coincide with the tonal weight preceding. An exciting and engaging debut from a group who arrive with a firm sense of what they want to convey sonically and emotionally. Sans Soleil on Thee Facebooks, Tofu Carnage Records.

Like I said at the outset, a little all over the place this week, but hopefully you find something to dig one way or another. To check out the full list of adds for this week and every week back to late 2012, and to see what’s been played on The Obelisk Radio today (some good stuff there), check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page. It’s where the cool kids hang out, or something.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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

The Well on Tour Now with All Them Witches

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the well (Photo by Andy Ray Lemon)

Austin riff-rolling three-piece The Well are on the road now — tonight’s a night off, but they’re still out there — alongside Nashville’s All Them Witches. They’ve done a string of shows together on the West Coast already and are headed to the Midwest next, hitting up Salt Lake City and Denver en route to Nebraska, Missouri and so on as they make their way, eventually, back to Texas. The occasion? Well, their Mark Deutrom-produced debut full-length, Samsara (track stream here), came out at the end of September via RidingEasy Records and if you’ve heard it, you know that’s about all the occasion one might need for this run and a couple more after it, garage-doom and classically psychedelic sounds commingling with only the most engaging type of degenerate glee.

The tour runs for another eight days, so if you happen to be in that part of the world, show up and buy something. Info, dates and album stream follow:

the well tour poster

With a progressive sound that stems from a nostalgic desire to blend different musical styles as diverse as Joy Division and Blue Cheer, Austin-based power trio The Well redefine heavy rock by merging massive riffs with sophisticated melodies.

Inspired by early ’70s psych, heavy rock, blues and proto-metal, The Well has created a sound that reflects doom, punk and horror all rolled together into one ghostly rock soundtrack. Their full-length debut Samsara is their strongest collection of songs to date. Produced by Mark Deutrom and released through RidingEasy Records, the masterwork is a stripped down, electric blues fuzzfest and begs to be heard live. After a steady touring schedule that’s seen the band share the stage with international acts such as: Kadavar, Orchid, Fu Manchu, High On Fire, NAAM, Orange Goblin, Pentagram and Dead Meadow guarantees The Well are contenders.

“Writing dark, ominous music is how I deal with life,” admits Ian. “When we play live it’s like expelling the demons.” At a time when rock music is fading among the masses, The Well injects an intoxicating dose of raw adrenaline into a fatigued genre. Their nostalgic reverence, simple structure and modern expression put them at the forefront of today’s heavy rock.

The Well with All Them Witches
11/11 The Shred Shed, Salt Lake City, UT
11/12 Lost Lake, Denver, CO
11/13 Reverb, Omaha, NE
11/14 Riot Room, Kansas City, MO
11/15 The Demo, St. Louis, MO
11/16 The Buccaneer, Memphis TN*
11/17 Tiki, Shreveport, LA*
11/18 Three Links, Dallas, TX*
*no All Them Witches

thewellband.com
thewellaustin.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/thewellband
twitter.com/thewellband
instagram.com/thewellband

The Well, Samsara (2014)

Tags: , , ,

Destroyer of Light Announce Month-Long US Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 8th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

destroyer of light

Austin horror rockers Destroyer of Light have no shortage of work ahead of them in slogging their way coast to coast on what they’ve dubbed the “Howlin’ Across America” tour. The ghoulish death-sludge purveyors hit the West Coast over the summer, but that couldn’t really compare to the month they’ll spend on the road starting Oct. 13 in support of their second record, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, which came out earlier in the year on Heavy Friends Records.

They’ll make a stop at the Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 17, and short of Boston and a few cities in the northern part of the Midwest, hits just about everywhere else, so if they’re hitting your town it might be worth showing up and buying some merch, to keep ’em flying, as the WWII posters used to say.

Info culled from the PR wire:

destroyer of light howlin across america tour

Destroyer of Light Announces Howlin’ Across America Tour ’14

Austin Doom Band To Spend A Month On The Road

Following a successful summer run on the West Coast, doom metal alchemists Destroyer of Light are set to undertake another tour in support of its Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 EP. Dubbed the Howlin’ Across America Tour ’14, the band will spend a month on the road and visit 32 cities. The Heavy Friends Records-sponsored tour starts in their home town Austin, Texas and reaches out to nearly every region in the United States.

On October 17, Destroyer of Light travels to The District Tavern in Tucson, Arizona where they will play Southwest Terror Fest. Goatsnake, Sunn 0))), Neurosis, Pelican and Author & Punisher are a few of the bands billed to play the four-day festival.

The band comments: “We are super excited about this tour and hitting some new cities that we haven’t played before. Also, this is the biggest tour that we have done; so, it is a very exciting feeling to go out and accomplish this.”

Howlin Across America Tour ’14
10/13-Austin, TX @ The Grand
10/14-Midland, TX @ Blue Max
10/15-El Paso, TX @Grynde Bar
10/17-Tucson, AZ @ The District Tavern Southwest Terror Fest
10/20-Alburquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
10/21-OKC/Tulsa, OK @TBA
10/22-Bryant, AR @ M.F. Metal
10/23-St. Louis, MO @ FOAM Coffe & Bar
10/24-Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge
10/25-Kalamazo, MI @ Satellite Records
10/26-Columbus, OH @ Carabar
10/27-Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project
10/28-Buffalo, NY @ The Lair
10/29-Brooklyn, NY @ The Grand Victory
10/30-Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
10/31-Shepardtown, WV @ Stonewall’s Pub
11/01-Richmond, VA @ 25Watt
11/02- Chapel Hill, NC @ The Cave Tavern
11/03-Johnston City, TN @ The Hideaway
11/04-Nashville, TN @TBA
11/05-Columbia, SC @ Foxfield Bar & Grill
11-06/Jacksonville, FL @ The Burro Bar
11/07-Longwood, FL @Hoodies Saloon
11/08-Pensacola, FL @ The Handlebar
11-09-Atlanta/Savannah/Athens @ TBA
11/10-Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
11/11-Jackson, MS @ OI Tavern/George St.
11.12-New Orleans, LA @ The Beatnik
11/13-Texarkana, AR @ The Silver Dollar
11/14-Fort Worth, TX @ The Grotto
11/15-Houston, TX @ Rudyards
11/16-Austin ,TX @ The Lost Well

Erik Bredthauer created a Tales From the Crypt style animated video for the single “Forbidden Zombi Ritual” taken from Destroyer of Light’s Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 EP. Go HERE to watch the video.

http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight
https://twitter.com/DoLAustinDoom
http://www.reverbnation.com/destroyeroflight

Destroyer of Light, “Forbidden Zombi Ritual” official video

Tags: , , ,

The Well Premiere “Refuge” from Debut LP Samsara; Out Tomorrow on RidingEasy Records

Posted in audiObelisk on September 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

the well (Photo by Andy Ray Lemon)

Heavy psych trio The Well make their full-length debut tomorrow on RidingEasy Records with Samsara, a beast of an album rife with rhythmic swing, deep tonal buzz and a balance between classic ’70s worship and more devilish tendencies. The Austin, Texas, three-piece issue the LP as the follow-up to 2013’s First Trip EP and a preceding 2012 7″ titled Seven (review here) that served notice of their interest in malevolent psych pop and heavier rocking swing. There are certainly plenty of both on Samsara, which comprises seven tracks of garage-inflected languid roll — some Witch and Uncle Acid on “Trespass,” and centerpiece “Lucifer Sam” seems to reimagine Ghost‘s propensity for catchy Satanics as a late ’60s Halloween party — but finds its distinctive presence in the dirtied-up elder metal guitar work of Ian Graham, who also shares vocal duties with bassist Lisa Alley, and in the nod punctuated by drummer Jason Sullivan.

They make no bones about where they’re coming from. Classic influences yielding results that I wouldn’t necessarily call retro, but definitely have one ideological foot in the past. The eight-minute riff-roll of “Eternal Well” losesthe well samsara none of the rest of Samsara‘s propensity for strong hooks for its extra runtime, and where a cut like “1,000 Lies” pauses around its middle for a quieter atmospheric stretch, even at its thickest-toned and most raucous, the album keeps a sense of mood at the fore, opener “Mortal Bones” setting a tone of catchy songcraft that broadcasts its structural simplicity in order to sneak in tonal intricacies in the guitar and bass and in the vocal arrangements, The Well working smoothly to make their output sound much easier than it is while providing satisfying fodder for repeat listens. That’s true throughout, but it’s on “Refuge” that the various sides of Samsara‘s personality most come together, and it’s for that reason I’m so glad to be able to host the premiere of that track today.

At six and a half minutes, it’s the longest on the album but for “Eternal Well,” beginning slow with a creeper of a riff that soon gives way to the speedier push of its verse and chorus, a break at the halfway point signaling a change to some of Samsara‘s finest rhythmic sway, Sullivan stomping out a line that Graham and Alley seem to revel in, the former taking a fuzzed-out solo as the jam continues and “Refuge” gradually dissolves. After five minutes in, a final crash would seem to bring things to an end, but what follows is an arrangement of vocals between the guitarist and the bassist that makes the song even more of a standout and emphasizes the subtle shifts that The Well are so able to pull off on their fluid, remarkably cohesive debut record. You can see the part in the waveform below, so don’t cut out early.

And please, enjoy:

The Well‘s Samsara was produced by Mark Deutrom (formerly of the Melvins) and engineered by Chico Jones at Ohm Recording Studio in Austin. RidingEasy Records releases the album tomorrow, Sept. 23, on CD and vinyl. More info at the links.

The Well on Thee Facebooks

The Well on Twitter

Samsara at RidingEasy’s webstore

RidingEasy Records

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: The Black Angels, Passover

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 29th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Black Angels, Passover (2006)

Doing something a little different to close out this week in that The Black Angels is a band about whom I know next to nothing. I’ve seen their name around plenty, especially earlier this year (or was it last year now?) when they supported Roky Erickson on tour, but listening to their 2006 debut LP, Passover, as I type this is the first significant amount of time I’ve ever spent with one of their records. It sounds pretty cool. If this came my way today from a new band, I’d it’s right on heavy psych, so considering it dropped eight years ago, before a lot of this kind of thing really caught on here or in Europe, that’s all the more impressive. Onto the Amazon Wishlist it goes, right next to damn near everything else I’ve ever heard.

Based out of Austin, The Black Angels have four LPs out and a couple EPs as well, so I guess if I want to get caught up, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Stuff is a little chic and has more than a touch of Neil Young — also ahead of the game on that, apparently, though also behind it if one counts the entire decade of the ’90s — but it swings and would do well on the highway late at night, which seems to be where I most listen to music these days, the couch notwithstanding. I’ll dig further and let you know how it goes. One thing that took me so long in checking these guys out was that everything I heard about them had to do with their lightshow, which of course says nothing about the actual music. That’s something of a dogwhistle to me, mostly because The Flaming Lips suck so very hard and all everyone talks about is flashing colors and whatever other bullshit happens when they play live. Anyway, on first impression, Passover is pretty solid. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but if not, and really either way, I hope you agree.

Boogie woogie.

It was either this or the self-titled Alice in Chains to end the week, and if I’m honest that’s way more where my head has been at the last several days — as evidenced perhaps by the fact that I’ve never heard Passover before — but I closed a week with Sap back in January, and it seemed a little soon to revisit the band. To answer your next question, yes, I really do put that much thought into this crap. If you only knew… you’d probably get very sad.

Which is pretty much what I did all week. I put up a day’s worth of posts yesterday without getting out of bed, and since the Yankees were playing a day game, just stayed in bed until about five o’clock, before I made my way all the way downstairs to watch no fewer than five episodes of the Scott Bakula Star Trek spinoff — the Trek kick continues unabated; ask me about the name of the ship in the novel I’m writing in my head — as well as the fifth movie, also arguably the nadir of the film franchise, at least until the second remake. Anyway, I had some shit turn south on me this week after it seemed to not be and it kind of pulled the wind out of my sails. Not worth going into.

I’ve now been unemployed for five months. How about that?

I’m not dealing with it well, but I didn’t last time either, though last time I made this blog and proceeded to let it consume my existence. This time? More of that, I suppose, but also a lot of feeling like a useless sucker, like I sold myself out cheap a decade ago, pointless regret, the usual, very dire melodrama that eats my consciousness alive when I get like this and forces me to step back and remember how easy and how good I actually have it, little help though that is. Anyway, I have family coming north this weekend and I expect that will be chaotic enough to jolt my brain out of this very unfunky funk.

Speaking of things gnawing at my consciousness, I think I’m finally in deep enough with the YOB record to review it. I’ve been trying to get a time to interview Mike Scheidt the last couple weeks as well and it just hasn’t worked. I thought maybe tonight, but I’m gonna head to Worcester to catch a show, so maybe next week, though I’m also interviewing Soph Day from Alunah about their new record, so we’ll see. Anyway, that review will get done.

On Monday, look out for a Snailking track premiere and later in the week one for Old Testament, which is a new project from Jason Simon from Dead Meadow. I’ll also review the show I’m going to tonight and hopefully the Blackwolfgoat record too.

Thanks to everyone for donating to the Small Stone fundraiser this week. Thanks to everyone who shared the Sleep review (particularly the cats from Earthless). Thanks to everyone for reading or listening to the radio or whatever. Thanks to everyone for everything. If I believed in being blessed, I’d consider myself blessed. I am lucky.

Splendid weekend to all, and if you’re in the States, enjoy your Labor Day. Please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,

The Well to Release Samsara on Sept. 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Fully baked in primo Sabbathian roll, the new single “Mortal Bones” from Austin trio The Well bodes especially positively for their forthcoming RidingEasy Records debut album, Samsara. That record is out on Sept. 23, though you can order it from iTunes now — link below — and it was recorded by Mark Deutrom, formerly of the Melvins. Not sure if the artwork is by bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley as was the preceding 7″ Seven (review here), but it’s a similar pencil style and striking either way. If you told me it was I’d believe it.

The PR wire has info for the record and some backstory on the band if you want to get caught up, and the stream of “Mortal Bones” follows. If you skip to the song first and then go back, I think that might be a good way to go here. The proof is in the riffing:

Austin power trio THE WELL to unleash debut album SAMSARA this September

Texans to release eagerly anticipated album on 23rd September 2014 via RidingEasy Records

With a progressive sound that stems from a nostalgic desire to blend different musical styles as diverse as Joy Division and Blue Cheer, Austin-based power trio The Well redefine heavy rock by merging massive riffs with sophisticated melodies.

The group blossomed when guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham was fired from his previous band. Determined to redirect his musical focus, Graham hooked up with bassist Lisa Alley and the two began picking out riffs in their east-side garage. Rounding out their sound, they stole drummer Jason Sullivan from Graham’s old band in a tale of vengeance and karma. His solid groove and reckless tribal beat gave the three-piece their ideal primal attack.

Due to their psychedelic doom edge, The Well reaps comparisons to Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. As fans of cult horror films, they embrace the sinister, revel in dark themes and find inspiration in haunting echoes. The dual vocals of Graham and Alley evoke an ancient language that carries a mystic spell. Daunting rhythms and heavy guitars often accentuate their chilling chants. In the spring of 2012 The Well’s first studio experience was to record their debut 7? at the Barbeque Shack with Tia Carrera’s Jason Morales. Limited to 300 copies, Seven was pressed on mixed vinyl with several cover options featuring hand-drawn art that emulated a few of the band’s favourite album covers. Nicknamed the “rip-off” series, the single sold out quickly becoming a favourite among European collectors.

By the fall of 2012, The Well were back in the studio again, this time at Ohm Recording Facility with Producer Mark Deutrom (Melvins, Sun O)))) and Engineer Chico Jones to record their debut album. However, an opportunity to record with Converse Rubber Tracks during SXSW 2013 resulted in the epic track ‘Eternal Well’ and sparked the idea of an EP. First Trip was pressed with a handful of songs from the Ohm sessions together with ‘Eternal Well’ just in time for their West Coast Summer Tour. Due to the energy and excitement of their live shows, the vinyl sold out quickly. With each repressing, a different hand-screened cover was printed until all four limited editions sold out. One of their most rabid fans was RidingEasy Records label boss Daniel Hall who recently signed the band.

Inspired by early ’70s psych, heavy rock, blues and proto-metal, The Well has created a sound that reflects doom, punk and horror all rolled together into one ghostly rock soundtrack. Their full-length debut Samsara is their strongest collection of songs to date. Produced by Mark Deutrom and released through RidingEasy Records, the masterwork is a stripped down, electric blues fuzzfest and begs to be heard live. After a steady touring schedule that’s seen the band share the stage with international acts such as: Kadavar, Orchid, Fu Manchu, High On Fire, NAAM, Orange Goblin, Pentagram and Dead Meadow guarantees The Well are contenders.

“Writing dark, ominous music is how I deal with life,” admits Ian. “When we play live it’s like expelling the demons.” At a time when rock music is fading among the masses, The Well injects an intoxicating dose of raw adrenaline into a fatigued genre. Their nostalgic reverence, simple structure and modern expression put them at the forefront of today’s heavy rock.

Samsara is released via RidingEasy Records on 23rd September 2014.

Mortal Bones 7″ single – http://ridingeasyrecords.com/product/well-mortal-bones-7/

iTunes pre-order – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/samsara/id903208953?ls=1

The Well:
Ian Graham – Guitarist/Vocalist
Lisa Alley – Bass/Vocalist
Jason Sullivan – Drums

thewellband.com
thewellaustin.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/thewellband
twitter.com/thewellband
instagram.com/thewellband

The Well, “Mortal Bones” from Samsara (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,