Review & Track Premiere: Destroyer of Light, Chamber of Horrors

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

destroyer-of-light-chamber-of-horrors

[Click play above to stream ‘Lux Crusher’ by Destroyer of Light from Chamber of Horrors, out July 14 via Heavy Friends Records.]

The last couple years have apparently done much to hone the focus of Austin, Texas’ Destroyer of Light. Chamber of Horrors is the third full-length from the four-piece and their first standalone outing since 2014’s Bizarre Tales Vol. 2, which was followed by the 2015 Endsville split/collaboration LP (video premiere here) with Godhunter, and its seven tracks mark a significant turn of approach and mood. This could well be the result of heavy touring undertaken since Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 came out, but it feels like a conscious decision one way or the other, and as guitarist/vocalist Steve Colca, guitarist Keegan Kjeldsen, bassist Jeff Klein and drummer Penny Turner elicit their most directed and longest offering yet at 44 minutes, they also find themselves holed up in a doomed swamp befitting the Adam Burke cover art, otherworldly and ruinous as it is.

Patiently and with purpose, they roll out massive grooves like that of 10-minute closer “Buried Alive” or the preceding “Prisoner of Eternity,” on which Colca‘s vocal cadence and the march in general seems to be in direct conversation with Sweden’s Goatess more than the brash heavy rock Destroyer of Light offered on their previous outings. Flourish of organ in that track, guest vocals and samples on “The Virgin” and ambient pieces like the intro “Whispers into the Threshold” and the centerpiece/presumed side B opener “Twilight Procession” add depth and complexity to the morose vibe, and a mix by Matt Meli of Austin’s Orb Recording Studios sets up a suitable abyss into which the band can feel free to plummet. And plummet they do. Gloriously.

The first grim claw is raised not long after “Whispers into the Threshold” begins with a sample of a creaky, heavy-wood door opening into an echoing room and likewise echoing guitar (also actual whispers). It’s worth noting that at the end of “Buried Alive,” there’s a corresponding shutting of that door, and one assumes that’s the band putting their audience in the titular Chamber of Horrors. So be it. That bookend is one more example of the kind of cohesion and attention to detail Destroyer of Light bring to their third album, and the songwriting holds up to a similar standard, whether it’s the mournful wail of lead guitar and earlier shouts turning to moans in the second half of “Into the Smoke” that set the stage for more of what’s to come later or the more direct horror-worship of “The Virgin,” which with its guest vocals alongside Colca and even more dramatic take is something of an outlier in the tracklist, despite the engaging flow that’s already been crafted between the first two songs and which continues throughout. It’s almost as though, after years of being called a doom band, Destroyer of Light decided to turn around and become one.

destroyer of light

It suits them. The devil himself shows up on “The Virgin,” which almost feels like it was bound to happen somewhere along the line, and amid spacious lead guitar, the band unfurl an accordingly resonant melody and percussive thud to lead into the first creeper verse of an effective linear build. As with “Into the Smoke,” they’re telling a story. I don’t know if Chamber of Horrors would or should be considered a concept record, but it’s definitely thematic, and there’s a clear intent in the way it plays out piece by piece. A somewhat minimalist weaving of two guitar lines over a subtle dirge of drumming takes hold with “Twilight Procession,” and almost before the listener realizes what’s happened, Destroyer of Light have constructed a momentum that’s carried them through side A without misstep.

It’s one thing for a group to grow into a new sound. It’s another for them to arrive at it sounding already so well schooled in the tenets of the style and so readily knowledgeable about which rules they want to abide by and which they want to break. As they touch on post-Electric Wizard riffing to start “Lux Crusher” in a way that mirrors somewhat the progression at the outset of “Into the Smoke,” it again makes clear the level of nuance to which Destroyer of Light are playing, and though, as noted, “Lux Crusher” calls to mind the righteous swaying Vitusism of Goatess especially in Colca‘s vocal approach, the band bring this influence into their own sonic context, harsher shouts emerging as they roll toward the track’s chugging, feedback-laden conclusion and into its six-minute companion-piece “Prisoner of Eternity,” which begins with rim taps from Turner and clean-sounding guitar before its full rumble kicks in, signaling the end is near. Like “The Virgin,” “Prisoner of Eternity” centers more around its hook, but the addition of organ beneath and around its guitar solo adds an even more classic feel. That’s fair game for Destroyer of Light at this point, because with the 10-minute “Buried Alive,” which follows and rounds out, they engage an entirely different level of doomly traditionalism.

With perhaps the boldest take on clean vocals out front to start, “Buried Alive” reinterprets an ambience that brings to mind The Gates of Slumber, and though they’ll move into more extreme growls and a wash of noise before they’re done, the lumbering misery of their finale never gets lost in the slow-motion cacophonous melee that ensues. Once again, they cap with feedback before that door closes, and though it’s hard to know from the context of the audio whether we’re trapped in the Chamber of Horrors or we’ve managed to escape, one way or the other, the album makes a lasting and colorful impression such that, even if we’re out, we’re not unaffected by what’s been witnessed within. It’s not the most dramatic sonic turn that’s ever taken place — that is, Destroyer of Light had elements of doom even at their most psychedelic moments, and they have elements of psych here even at their most doomed — but Chamber of Horrors nonetheless represents a brazen reset on the band’s part and whether they continue to walk along this bleak path or head elsewhere aesthetically, what they’ve accomplished in pulling off the shift in these brave and willfully dismal tracks is not to be understated.

Destroyer of Light on Thee Facebooks

Destroyer of Light on Bandcamp

Heavy Friends Records on Thee Facebooks

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From Beyond Sign to Candlelight/Spinefarm; Debut Album Coming Soon

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

Been a minute since last we heard from Austin four-piece From Beyond, and by that I mean three years since they release their split single with ASG (premiered here) as a free download via Scion A/V. Remember those? Alas, the Scion era may be over, but From Beyond have apparently been working toward a bright future all the while, as the news arrives they’ve inked a deal to put out what will be their debut long-player this Fall via the combined efforts of Candlelight Records and Spinefarm Records. Not too shabby.

As it has been so long, I’m going to make the narrow-minded assumption the record — whatever it winds up being called — is already in the can and that it was duly shopped before being picked up, in part causing a delay. I don’t know any of that, of course, but it’s a narrative that fits. Could just be From Beyond took their time writing, or it’s still in progress. I know nothing about nothing.

Either way, it’s great news for the band, whose grim, suitably candlelit visages you can peep below, courtesy of the PR wire:

from beyond

Austin’s From Beyond have signed to Candlelight/Spinefarm.

With several EPs, including a split with ASG in their repertoire, the band is ready to take things to the next level by linking up with the label and releasing their debut album this fall.

With a tour history that includes gigs with The Sword, Purson, Truckfighters, and Saint Vitus, From Beyond make new fans and believers the minute they step on any stage.

Blending thundering amplifier stacks and massive drums with synthesizers and effects, the band create something hauntingly familiar in unexplored sonic territory.

Everything you love about horror and all things strange, dark, and heavy find their way into their music in a something-for-everyone approach that leaves no stone unturned — no matter how heavy.

From Beyond is:
Rob McCarthy – Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizers
Dave Grooman – Guitars
Anthony Vallejo – Drums
Brooks Willhoite- Bass

https://www.facebook.com/FromBeyondBand/
https://musicfrombeyond.bandcamp.com/
http://bandfrombeyond.com/
http://www.spinefarmrecords.com/usa/
https://www.facebook.com/spinefarm
https://twitter.com/Spinefarm

From Beyond, “The Fall to Earth”

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audiObelisk Transmission 061

Posted in Podcasts on May 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 61

Click Here to Download

 

Yes! A new podcast! Are you stoked? I’m stoked. If you’re not, you will be when you look at the list of bands included. In any case, let’s be stoked together, because rock and roll, and heavy psych and good music and, well, yeah. That’s pretty much stuff to be stoked about. It’s been absurdly long since the last time we did one of these. Too long. I don’t really have an excuse other than… gainful employment? Don’t worry, though. That’ll be over soon enough. Then it’ll be podcasts out the ass.

There’s some killer goods here though. Yeah, I decided to do a “Yeti” double-shot with Green Yeti into Telekinetic Yeti. That’s my version of me being clever. But both bands are righteous, and if you haven’t heard the Savanah record, or that new Tia Carrera jam, or the Cachemira or Big Kizz or Yagow or Vokonis or the Elder — oh hell, frickin’ all of it — it’s worth your time. That Emil Amos track just premiered the other day and I think will surprise a lot of people, and I liked the way it paired with the dark neofolk of Hermitess. And of course we get trippy in the second hour, as is the custom around here. But first a moment of prog clarity from the aforementioned Elder. That’s a good time as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Vokonis, “The Sunken Djinn” from The Sunken Djinn
0:06:47 Tia Carrera, “Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)” from Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)
0:16:33 Supersonic Blues, “Supersonic Blues Theme” from Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul
0:19:28 Emil Amos, “Elements Cycling” from Filmmusik
0:22:28 Hermitess, “Blood Moon” from Hermitess
0:26:24 Savanah, “Mind” from The Healer
0:34:22 Yagow, “Non-Contractual” from Yagow
0:42:35 Big Kizz, “Eye on You” from Eye on You
0:45:53 Cachemira, “Jungla” from Jungla
0:52:05 Green Yeti, “Black Planets (Part 2)” from Desert Show
0:58:02 Telekinetic Yeti, “Stoned and Feathered” from Abominable

Second Hour:

1:02:10 Elder, “The Falling Veil” from Reflections of a Floating World
1:13:20 Riff Fist, “King Tide” from King Tide
1:24:15 Cavra, “Montaña” from Cavra
1:39:18 Causa Sui, “A Love Supreme” from Live in Copenhagen

Total running time: 1:55:53

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 061

 

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Friday Full-Length: Amplified Heat, How Do You Like the Sound of That

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Amplified Heat, How Do You Like the Sound of That (2007)

The lesson here is simple: If you can chase down Amplified Heat records, do it. They’re not always the most politically correct of bands, but chances are that they can out-boogie just about anyone else in the room. Based in Austin, Texas, and comprised of brothers Jim Ortiz (guitar and vocals), Gian Ortiz (bass and backing vocals) and Chris Ortiz (drums), Amplified Heat stand among the most powerful of power trios I’ve ever had the pleasure to see grace a stage, and it’s a no-brainer to consider them one of the most underrated classically styled rock bands active on any level. I mean, we’re talking Radio Moscow-level good. Boogie as a frantic, manic-expression of raw thrust. You can hear it even in the acoustic/handclap tomfoolery of “Moonshine” on their second long-player, How Do You Like the Sound of That, which Arclight Records released in 2007, let alone in dirt-rocking scorchers like “What Went Wrong,” the quick drum-solo blast of “S.A.P.O.,” the ultra-catchy “Rambler” or the later title-track with its channel-swapping lead work over blown-out cymbal wash. Pure fucking righteousness, front to back.

When one considers this record came out a decade ago, right around the same time Graveyard were making their debut, and it’s Amplified Heat‘s second outing behind their 2003 self-titled EP and the next year’s debut long-player, In for Sin (also on Arclight), the context becomes even more intriguing. But Amplified Heat have always been more concerned with being behind their time than ahead of it. In their construction, in their raw presentation and in their base of influence, they’re a true ’70s-inspired outfit, seemingly ready for private-press vinyl at a moment’s notice, and even as it starts out with the time-to-kick-ass threats of “Tough Guy” and gets all sloppy with your ladyfriend in the groovy “Man on the Road,” it does so with such a command of songwriting and performance that it’s hard to do anything other than go along with it. Their earlier work on the EP and In for Sin was more formative, but How Do You Like the Sound of That is more than confident — that’s not to say arrogant — enough in its swagger to live up to the challenge its title poses. The Ortiz brothers come along with this bluesy attitude in “She Drank that Wine” and the comedown closer “Sickness,” and on first listen, it seems like their greatest asset might be the energy of their delivery, but the truth of the matter is it’s their underlying core of songwriting that sustains them. Not only do they pack this punch in their sound, but the songs eek their way into your head. “Rambler?” “Through and Through?” Even the instrumental shuffle of the penultimate “Amplified Boogie” seems to have a hook, and the Ortizes make them all work to their advantage throughout the record’s still-quick 36-minute rush.

Again, it can be a tough one to keep up with, but if you need to listen twice, Amplified Heat more than earn that with the quality of the work itself, and the subtle twists of arrangement that find them working from all-out Blue Cheer worship into the slow-ride nod of “Through and Through,” with acoustic guitar layered in even under the torn-through solo at the finish. When they seem to be a garage band, they’re pulling the wool over your eyes so they can blindside you with the next round of heavy fuzz, grab your drink and guzzle it on the quick while you’re not looking. It’s like that. Hey, they’re on a budget, and beer’s not cheap in Austin these days.

To my knowledge, it’s been a minute since they got out and properly toured, but they remain active playing shows around their hometown — the social medias shows them on stage next month with Corky Laing’s Mountain and Duel, and that seems like appropriate enough company (event page is here). Their most recent studio work came in the form of 2011’s On the Hunt, which refined the craftsmanship on display throughout How Do You Like the Sound of That in memorable tracks like “Dirty Love, No Romance” and “Give it to Me,” but yeah, the bottom line when it comes to Amplified Heat is that there aren’t nearly as many people worshiping at their altar as there probably should be. I don’t know if they’ve got another record in the works or what — six years later, you’d obviously call them due — but you definitely wouldn’t hear me complain if one happened to show up.

Until then, if you know these cats, I hope you dig the chance to revisit, and if you don’t, I hope you dig their particular brand of push ‘n’ swing. As much boogie rock as is out there nowadays, few groups do it so well or with as much conviction as Amplified Heat. And they were doing it a decade ago.

In any case, I hope you enjoy, as always.

It’s the morning. Some cinnamon-flavored protein powder in my coffee doing me right as we approach 6AM. In a little bit, I’ll have to get up, put on real pants — those real pants, over there — and drive to work. Then, as though in preemptive penance for the two days off I’m about to enjoy over the weekend, I’ll have to drive back.

Rest assured, I’d much rather stay here, in my pajamas, and casually sip my coffee on the couch alongside the sleepy Little Dog Dio. Yesterday was her 11th birthday. She celebrated with a beef marrow bone. We celebrated with crust-less pesto quiche and sauteed spinach on the side. I cooked extra garlic for my spinach in chili powder and red pepper flakes. It was glorious. Shaved parmesan cheese and coarse-grated black pepper everywhere.

And yes, if you’re wondering, my making and eating cooked spinach is the result of an inspiration I brought back from this year’s Roadburn fest. Roadburn always changes you. This year, it changed me into someone who loves cooked spinach.

This week started off pretty rough. Enough so that I got a note in response to the photo captions, which happens rarely enough for me to pretend that no one reads them (this is just fine by me). I’m hoping that today will bring it to an at-least-innocuous end and I can affect some kind of mental reset on Saturday and Sunday. Part of it is being down post-Roadburn. Part of it is work — knowing that I’m losing my current job next month and still having to go every day is a drag. There’s other stuff too.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years embracing the idea of caveats, of obstacles. “If only X, then Y,” where X is some pain in my ass and Y is living with a reasonable sense of contentment about myself and/or my situation. “If only I made more money, then I’d be fine.” “If only I had time to write, I’d be set,” and so on. The harder truth? The issue isn’t some circumstance in my way. The issue is I’m a miserable bastard. I always have been and I always will be. There’s always going to be something. It’s inescapable. If it’s not obvious like “golly, I sure would feel better about my day if I wasn’t about to be shitcanned,” then rest assured, I’ll dig through until I find something else. I’m the problem.

Time for meds? Maybe. Hitting that point is usually a pretty good sign we’ve arrived there. Meds make you gain weight — not that the occasional bit of quiche doesn’t — which terrifies me, but yeah, we’ll see. Maybe if I’m on meds I won’t care. Ha. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment next Thursday to have blood drawn for a general checkup, so maybe I’ll be like, “Hey, so I’d like to drive into the median on the way home. Something we can do about this?”

Anyway, one presses through because that’s what one does. I’m not gonna sit here on my couch with my snoring dog listening to dreamy psychedelic rock and pretend I have it the hardest anyone has ever had it.

Here’s what’s in my notes for next week, subject to change as always:

Mon.: Yagow full album stream/review. This one’s a gem. Also Hermitess video.
Tue.: Causa Sui live album review. Doing myself a favor. Also Big Kizz video.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions with Vokonis. Also PH video.
Thu.: Samsara Blues Experiment interview. Might also have a track premiere.
Fri.: Second Coming of Heavy review and whatever else comes along.

Full week. Monday and Tuesday are already packed for news and whatnot as well, so you know. We keep busy over here.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading, for checking in this week if you did, and for continuing to support this site. We’re about to get back to a place where The Obelisk is all I’ve got again, at least for a couple months, so expect some gushing about how much your ongoing involvement in this project means to me. Because it means an awful lot. Thank you.

Talk soon. Forum and Radio.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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