Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Sunday, 08.18.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas 2018

08.19.18 – Let’s call it midnight – Sunday night – Hotel room

Every time I walk down a long hotel hallway I think of John Goodman in Barton Fink toting his rifle and yelling about the life of the mind. “Look upon me!” and so on. That’s a fun association to have.

I had breakfast this morning at the kind-of diner here in the Hard Rock and it was the first meal I’d had in a while not made of a protein bar or granola and cereal. Not much time for that kind of thing, but I wasn’t sleeping and a little extra fortification seemed like the right idea for the final day of Psycho. No regrets.

Another busy day. There’s no letup here. Sets are full, and there are breaks between, but if you’re up for going, you can just keep going the whole day. It’s astounding. I’ve been doing my best to see as much as possible, but even that’s a fraction of the whole.

But, today was also the last day, so a bit of adrenaline to carry through is a fortunate happenstance. Flight’s early tomorrow, but that’s tomorrow’s problem.

Here’s today:

King Buffalo

King Buffalo (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s not like I’ve never seen King Buffalo, but I think they might’ve been my most-anticipated band of the weekend. Their upcoming album, Longing to be the Mountain, is a big step forward in their sound, and 2016’s Orion (review here) was already right up there with that year’s best offerings. They opened with the title-track of the new record and then “Repeater” from the 2018 EP of the same name (review here) before digging back to Orion for its own title-track and “Kerosene,” both of which were met with a relative uproar from the knowing Vinyl crowd. At one point early on someone in the audience shouted between songs, “Why are you opening?” and drummer Scott Donaldson answered, “I don’t know!” I don’t really know either, but Donaldson, guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay and bassist Dan Reynolds were a perfect start to the day, with the latter adding a wash of loops and psychedelic noise and transitional drones for between the songs, the build and fluidity of which were immersive in their totality. There was no moment that pulled one out of the atmosphere they set, and when the three of them locked into the heavier end of “Kerosene,” the room became a lake of nodding heads. I will consider myself lucky have seen them here. They made that room their own.

Indian

Indian (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Chicago four-piece — playing as a five-piece with Primitive Man‘s Ethan Lee McCarthy sitting in on noise and backing vocals — were probably the angriest act I’ve seen all weekend. Or, you know, ever. The assault factor extended not just to the brutality of what they played, the chest-vibrating volume at which they played it or the harsh noise and feedback that infected every single break between riff after punishing riff, but even unto the bright wash of white light under which they played. It was blinding to stare at the stage for any length of time. So it was a challenge on almost every level it could be short of them spraying skunk scent on the crowd or something like that. The rhythms of bassist Ron DeFries and drummer Noah Leger hit through a surge of low end and were punctuated by a kick drum that could almost turn the stomach, and the tortured, disaffected screams from guitarists Dylan O’Toole and Will Lindsay that cut through all that not-just-aggro-but-really-pissed-off morass were just one more level on which Indian‘s bleakness was conveyed. If King Buffalo were easing the crowd into the final day of Psycho Las Vegas 2018, Indian were making sure no one left without a scar. Menacing.

Coven

Coven (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Legends, of course. What’re gonna do, not watch Coven? Of course not. Frontwoman Jinx Dawson arrived on stage in a draped coffin and was let out by robed minions, wearing a silver mask for the first song to obscure her face and underscore the theatrical cult rock vibe. Their 1969 debut, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls is the stuff of cultish blueprint — the style simply wouldn’t exist in the same way without it — and Dawson and her also-robed backing band honored that legacy well. I’ve wondered as Coven have gotten back to the live performance sphere if they might ever do another record. I don’t know that they would or wouldn’t, or if they did what it would sound like — the band behind Dawson definitely brought a modern edge to those classic sounds — but it seems like a worthy pursuit. As it was, the crowd headbanged and took phone pictures at the same time and were no less into the revelry than Coven itself, which brought the atmosphere of ceremony in a way that reminded of the roots not just of cult rock, but black metal and doom and so much more besides. They’re a feelgood story for a band finally getting their due appreciation, or at least Dawson getting hers, but Coven on stage demonstrate the timeless vitality of what they did nearly 50 years go.

Black Mare

Black Mare (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I had no idea what to expect from Black Mare, and I was still surprised. Was it just going to be Sera Timms singing over drones, or her and a drummer, or anything. I don’t even know. It was a full band. Timms, who’s probably best known at this point as the ethereal frontwoman of Ides of Gemini but who was also in Black Math Horseman and shared vocal duties with John Garcia in Zun — which I’m still hoping wasn’t a one-off — was joined by her Ides bandmate J. Bennett on bass, as well as a guitarist and drummer, and with a swell of volume behind her, she came out an held the entire Vinyl room rapt. There were moments between songs of actual silence. No talking, no nothing. People were just waiting to see what happened next. With a cloak and face mask that were both gradually discarded, Timms brought her otherworldly vocal approach to a kind of dark-psych lounge feel, almost like she was about to book a show at the bar in Twin Peaks. Atmosphere and tones alike were thick as this version of Black Mare called back to the project’s 2013 debut, Field of the Host (review here) to open with “Blind One” before “Low Crimes” from the split with Lycia (review here) and “Death by Desire” from last year’s  Death Magick Mother (review here) seemed to move further and further into an alluring murk of melodies and ambience.

Enslaved

Enslaved (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Well, Enslaved played “Ruun,” so really anything else that happened, basically ever, takes a back seat to that. It would be impossible for the Norwegian progressive black metal powerhouse to capture the entirety of their 14-album catalog and their 27-year career, and to their credit, they didn’t try. With “Isøders Dronning” and “Yggdrasil” from 1993’s Frost included for longtime fans or those who’ve dug in deep, they were free to explore some more recent material — opening with “Roots of the Mountain” from 2012’s Riitiir (review here) before “Ruun” and including “Sacred Horse” from 2017’s E (review here) in a showing of just how proggy they’ve become. This was my first time seeing Enslaved with keyboardist/vocalist Håkon Vinje — about whose relative youth bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson joked twice on stage — and he absolutely nailed new material and old. Wasn’t even a question. With him, Kjellson, guitarist/vocalist Ivar Bjørnson and guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal, who I don’t think even owns a shirt at all, was new drummer Iver Sandøy. I didn’t know Cato Bekkevold wasn’t with the band anymore after 15 years, but Sandøy made his presence felt on vocals as well and like Vinje, was right at home in the songs. I’ve never seen Enslaved that they didn’t totally deliver, and I’m happy to report that streak is still alive.

The Hellacopters

The Hellacopters (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There are some serious fans of The Hellacopters walking around Psycho Las Vegas this year. Decked-out rockers, heavy-garage types, fucking classic drinkers, trouble through and through. Don’t fuck with those people. They’re the drunkard’s drunkards. Turbojugend jackets have abounded all weekend and it would seem to be The Hellacopters that brought them out. Fair enough. The Swedish rockers made The Joint get down like no one I’ve seen this weekend, and it was superlative. Superlative rock, as a genre. Lot of punk in there, lot of garage as well, but all of it was distilled down to the essence of rock and roll, and as guitarist/vocalist Nicke Andersson came out to soundcheck with the rest of the band, it was clear the room had been waiting for The Hellacopters to arrive. Andersson, keyboardist Anders “Boba” Lindström, guitarist/vocalist Andreas “Dregen” Svensson, bassist Sami Yaffa and drummer Robert Eriksson handed that same room its ass in short order. Good times, absolute forget-about-tomorrow-let’s-kill-it-tonight mentality, all-in, all-go, all-fire. Just right on. I’ve dug Hellacopters records and such as much as the next who’s like, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool, right on,” but seeing it live it’s much, much easier to understand why they have the cult following they do. It’s well earned.

Dreadnought

Dreadnought (Photo by JJ Koczan)

For everyone who could pull themselves away from The Hellacopters or for those to whom the straight-up rock wasn’t maddening enough, Denver’s Dreadnought offered an alternative in Vinyl. I’ve seen some impressive shit this weekend. It’s been a good fest, okay? Then I saw Dreadnought drummer Jordan Clancy one-hand cymbals while using his other hand to press the notes on the saxophone he was also playing at the same time. Dreadnought‘s 2017 album, A Wake in Sacred Waves (review here), was lush in its layers and as creative in its arrangements as it could be scathing in its blackened extremity, but I don’t think I’ve ever watched somebody drum and play sax at the same time. That’s a Psycho Las Vegas 2018 first for me. Guitarist/vocalist Kelly Schilling was playing a flute at the time as well, so he was in good company, and bassist Kevin Handlon and keyboardist/vocalist Lauren Vieira stood ready at a moment’s notice to take off into the next movement, be it Vieira and Schilling on a quick melodic duet, or strobe-accompanied blasting black metal, heads banging and screams utterly vicious. I didn’t stay the whole set, I’ll confess, but I was glad to catch what I did, and it only reinforced my opinion that they’re a band whose scope and execution are likewise admirable.

Sunn O)))

SunnO))) (Photo by JJ Koczan)

As it happened, I had a couple minutes to spare. As it also happened, drone/amp/riff-worship magnates Sunn O))) were going on in The Joint. Playing as just the duo of Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, they were decked out in full grimmrobe regalia and surrounded of course by a henge of speaker cabinets. The floor shook, it was so loud. I hadn’t seen Sunn O))) in a very long time, and even longer with just the two of them — maybe never — so while the timing worked out for me to catch them because Vinyl was running late, it was a fortunate bit of happenstance working in my favor. There’s been so much said about the poetry of what Sunn O))) do that I’m in no way about to add any insight to the canon, but as far out as they’ve gone over the years and their intermittent studio albums, incorporating vocalist Attila Csihar and various other players throughout their time, seeing just Anderson and O’Malley together on stage, bathed in fog as ever (though the ventilation system was almost too good and the fog kept swirling away, needing immediate replenishment), reaffirmed the raw power that’s always been at the root of the band. Their project has outgrown being just the two of them, and I don’t think I’d trade the Sunn O))) discography for a hypothetical, but the force of rumble emanating from the stage said everything that needed saying.

Eight Bells

Eight Bells (Photo by JJ Koczan)

What a way to cap the festival. One more show in Vinyl, one more band I probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise. I was dragging to be perfectly honest, and as noted, Vinyl was running late, but screw it, I was already in, and Eight Bells were going to be worth the wait. The Portland-based space-psych-post-whatever four-piece vary in volume, meter, melody and rhythm, but are persistently spacious, and especially digging 2016’s Landless (review here), I was doubly interested to see Eight Bells since guitarist/vocalist Meylinda Jackson had a completely new lineup with her. Comprised now of Jackson, keyboardist/vocalist Melynda Amann, bassist Alyssa Maucere and drummer Brian Burke, the experimentalist side came out before the set even started in earnest, with Jackson taking some kind of voice box and running it through what seemed to be a host of effects to create a foundation of atmosphere. Drift was a factor, but Eight Bells were never actually out of control, and even for being a new group working together, what they played seemed well-honed and there was none of that awkward everybody-in-their-own-sonic-space-on-stage thing you get when a band is recently formed or revamped. I don’t have anything to compare it to in terms of Eight Bells, never having seen them before, but they held together a ranging heavy psychedelia that seems to be individualized no matter who’s playing it at the time.

I fly out of Las Vegas in about eight hours. It’ll be brutal, but I’m pretty sure I’ll make it, and if not, well, there’s always ‘wandering the earth’ to try. I hear good things.

Tomorrow’s pretty much all travel, so unless I have space on the plane to open my laptop — which I sincerely doubt I will — I expect it’ll be Tuesday before I get a proper thanks-everybody post up to wrap up this coverage, so with pictures still to sort through and packing to be done, I’ll just bow out and say thanks for reading and more pics after the jump.

So… thanks for reading and there are more pics after the jump. Ha:

Read more »

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Black Mare & Offret Release Split 7″; Streaming in Full Now

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

Next month, as Los Angeles one-woman outfit Black Mare — aka Sera Timms of Ides of Gemini, Zun, Black Math Horseman, etc. — hits the road for a run up to Portland and back, she’ll release a new vinyl edition of last year’s Death Magick Mother (review here). That album was fairly magnificent, so I’m just going to assume the last pressing sold out and this one will as well. Timms under the Black Mare guise also has a split out with Russian atmospherists Offret via Dark Operative that’s available now both digitally and as a 7″ that can be ordered through the label’s Bandcamp page.

The PR wire very kindly offers the following details:

black mare offret alone among mirrors

BLACK MARE Releases Split With Offret Via Dark Operative; Death Magic Mother Full-Length To Be Issued On Limited Edition Vinyl This April + Live Dates Confirmed

Los Angeles, California’s BLACK MARE and Russia’s Offret recently united to release a split seven-inch via Dark Operative.

Titled Alone Among Mirrors, BLACK MARE’s “Woman The Throne” occupies side A. Bleak, cold opening riffs chip against the previous silence like hammered chisel into centuries-old slabs of ice before opening up just before the two-minute mark, eventually revealing the cavernous domain of sonic textures beneath the dense exoskeleton. This track was conceived, written, and recorded around the sessions that produced the band’s recently issued Death Magick Mother full-length album. “Woman The Throne” was written and recorded by Sera Timms and mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound.

Side B features Offret’s “We Are Waiting,” an ominous summoning that its title infers. Air-siren-conjuring drones and deep, guttural organ tones topped with rattlesnake percussion instantly transport the ear and the mind to another land in another time. Russian lyrics effectively drive the concept home, as most listeners will find themselves strangers in an ominous setting before a triumphant second and third act unfolds from the midpoint on. “We Are Waiting” written and recorded by Offret with additional saxophone performed by Ksenia Balashovich and mixed and mastered by Sasha Sidorov at Crushed Wafers Sound.

To stream and purchase Alone Among Mirrors visit the Dark Operative Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION.

In conjunction with the vinyl release, BLACK MARE will take to the streets on a California mini-tour with Los Angeles’ Glaare. The journey will run from April 17th through April 25th and includes a performance at Stumpfest. See all confirmed dates below.

BLACK MARE w/ Glaare:
4/17/2018 Moroccan Lounge – Los Angeles, CA
4/18/2018 DNA – San Francisco, CA
4/19/2018 Press Club – Sacramento, CA
4/20/2018 Stumpfest – Portland, OR * No Glaare
4/23/2018 Crepe Place – Santa Cruz, CA
4/25/2018 Trichromatic Gallery – Modesto, CA

http://www.theblackmare.com
http://www.facebook.com/Black-Mare
http://www.facebook.com/offretband
http://darkops.site
http://darkoperative.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/darkoperativemusic

Black Mare & Offret, Alone Among Mirrors (2018)

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Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Reveals Lineup; Dimmu Borgir, Hellacopters, Godflesh, Witchcraft and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 logo

It’s only taken a few years for Psycho Las Vegas to establish itself as the premier underground festival in the US. All well and good. With 2018’s lineup, though, it’s time to start thinking of Psycho among the best in the world.

Sounds like too much? Consider Godflesh and Dimmu Borgir sharing a stage, both for exclusive West Coast appearances. Think of Sweden’s Witchcraft playing one of the two shows they’ll do in the US at Psycho, and ditto that for Japanese riff-madmen Church of Misery. Think of US exclusives from Lee Dorrian’s With the Dead, or Lucifer, whose Johanna Sadonis will also DJ the Center Bar. The commitment to up and coming underground acts local, domestic and foreign like Temple of Void, King Buffalo, Dreadnought, The Munsens and DVNE. Picture yourself watching Wolves in the Throne Room headline a pre-fest pool party with Elder, Young and in the Way, Dengue Fever, Fireball Ministry and Toke.

2018 is the year Psycho Las Vegas outclasses even itself and pushes further than it ever has in terms of stylistic reach (Integrity walks by and waves… at Boris) and the sheer power of its construction. If you’re looking for the future, you’ll find it in scumbag paradise.

Here’s the lineup:

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 poster

Psycho Las Vegas 2018

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169

Tickets: https://www.vivapsycho.com/pages/tickets

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018 lineup:
DIMMU BORGIR (west of chicago exclusive)
HELLACOPTERS (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
SUNN 0)))
GODFLESH (west of chicago exclusive)
WITCHCRAFT (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
ENSLAVED
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
HIGH ON FIRE
ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT
RED FANG
ZAKK SABBATH
CHURCH OF MISERY (usa exclusive 2018 with exception to one other show in San Diego)
TINARIWEN
GOBLIN
CKY
VENOM INC
EYEHATEGOD
VOIVOD
BORIS
COVEN
INTEGRITY
PALLBEARER
WITH THE DEAD (USA exclusive 2018)
MONOLORD
LUCIFER (USA exclusive 2018)
ACID WITCH
SURVIVE
DOPETHRONE
BIG BUSINESS
UNEARTHLY TRANCE
MUTOID MAN
TODAY IS THE DAY
HELMS ALEE
SPIRIT ADRIFT
BATUSHKA
PRIMITIVE MAN
DVNE
ALL PIGS MUST DIE
EIGHT BELLS
WORMWITCH
INDIAN
NECROT
HOMEWRECKER
BRAIN TENTACLES
CLOAK
BLACK MARE
MAGIC SWORD
UADA
TEMPLE OF VOID
DREADNOUGHT
WOLVHAMMER
ASEETHE
DISASTROID
FORMING THE VOID
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS
GHASTLY SOUND
HOWLING GIANT
KING BUFFALO
NIGHT HORSE
THE MUNSENS
GLAARE

Paradise Pool Pre Party
August 16th

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
ELDER
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
DENGUE FEVER
FIREBALL MINISTRY
TOKE

Center Bar DJ’s
Andrew W.K.
Nicke Andersson (Entombed/Hellacopters)
Johanna Sadonis (Lucifer)

https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.facebook.com/events/125340824913552/
http://vivapsycho.com

High on Fire, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

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Black Mare, Death Magick Mother: The Opening of Vaults

Posted in Reviews on October 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

black mare death magick mother

The crystalline voice of Sera Timms is one of the heavy underground’s most affecting assets. Based in California, Timms made a breakthrough with 2009’s Scott Reeder-produced, Tee Pee-released Wyllt (discussed here) in an outfit called Black Math Horseman, and since then she’s contributed to a range of projects, from the collaboration between herself, Gary Arce of Yawning Man and fellow vocalist John Garcia (Kyuss, etc.) that manifested as Zun‘s 2016 Small Stone release, Burial Sunrise (review here), to the three full-lengths to-date she’s issued as frontwoman of heavy post-rock explorationists Ides of Gemini, the latest of which, Women (discussed here), came out this past Spring via Rise Above. In 2013, she made her full-length debut with the solo-project Black Mare on Field of the Host (review here), and she’s gone on to offer a smattering of short releases under the banner since that time, including a 2015 split with Lycia (review here).

Death Magick Mother, on Magic Bullet Records, is the second Black Mare long-player, and though the moniker would seem to recall Timms‘ time in Black Math Horseman, the progressive sensibility she shows throughout the seven-song/36-minute outing is distinctly her own and feels more like a culmination drawing from aspects of all her prior work, from than band through Ides of Gemini‘s heavier thud, spaciousness and crunch, and it is with her voice particularly that she sets the deeply resonant spirit in songs like the bassy “Babylon’s Fold” and the earlier, harmonized “Femme Couverte,” which follows opener “Ingress to Form” and carves out its space on Death Magick Mother with an emergent, distorted chug of guitar over which Timms‘ delivery remains patient, soaring and otherworldly.

Indeed, the ethereal has a central role to play throughout Black Mare‘s forward cast, and that’s a vibe set almost from the first ringing notes of “Ingress to Form,” an inclusion that would seem to be aware of how much it’s acting as an introduction to Death Magick Mother as a whole, though its purposes by no means are limited to that. At 6:46, it is tied with “Babylon’s Fold” for being the longest track (semi-immediate points), and it builds to a graceful and deceptively heavy push, marked by the separation of bass, guitar and drums in the sonic space it has created. This will prove true on the songs that follow as well, but each element at play throughout Death Magick Mother, including the layers of Timms‘ self-harmonies when they arrive, are readily distinguishable from their surroundings. One suspects that if one’s stereo were fancy enough, it would be possible to listen to nothing but the guitar, or to isolate an acapella version of third track “Death by Desire.”

black mare

Might be fun to try, but taken as a whole, it brings a purposeful sense of the disjointed to Death Magick Mother and makes Black Mare feel all the more experimental in construction. Timms, in addition to writing and performing everything on the album (she shares credit for “Babylon’s Fold” with Ides of Gemini bandmates), also recorded, so credit goes to her for this as well as to mixer Andrew Clinco, and ultimately it is one more manner in which she leads the listener through this deeply atmospheric sphere she’s created. It’s neither separate from the desert nor wholly part of it, and it’s more grounded in meter and percussiveness than one generally thinks of the sonically cosmic as being, but it is a modus and a place that is recognizably Timms‘ own, and she is thoroughly at home in its transcendental reaches, even as she continues to expand its borders via complexity of craft and arrangement.

With a decided thump of drums behind, “Babylon’s Fold” sets its tension early and begins a process of release just past two minutes in with a swell of guitar and bass behind the commanding vocals. The volume recedes and the bass maintains a steady presence to act as the ground beneath the echoing strums of guitar, such that its footing is maintained on the next upcycle just before five minutes in that carries what might be the side B opener toward its shimmering last stretch, leading to the penultimate “Kala.” A threat of distortion is issued prior to the first verse and finds its way into the pattern periodically before coming more completely forward after two minutes into the total 3:42 and acting as the key element in an efficient linear build that results in one of Death Magick Mother‘s most consuming moments of wash — a more than fitting setup for the solo vocals that start closer “Inverted Tower” for how plainly the end of the one song and the beginning of the next demonstrate the dynamic approach Timms is able to harness even in this solo context.

The opening of “Inverted Tower” is patient and no less immersive than anything before it, but rather than attempt to summarize the entirety of Death Magick Mother, the final chapter seems to keep on the outbound path of ambience — maybe that is the best summary — and in the jangle of guitar and the foreboding progression that takes hold just past the midpoint, met by complementary layers of higher and lower register singing, there’s a sense of goth theatricality that, at 5:10, explodes to crashing cymbals and layers of howling and screams and moans, somehow black metal but not at all furious. Resolved. It’s a moment there and gone after a few measures and the final surprise is how Death Magick Mother draws itself to a close, which again, is about as appropriate as anything could be in the situation.

Truth be told, by that point, the listener is either going to be well on board for the journey Timms is guiding or not. Naturally the former is the more satisfying option in terms of the basic listening experience, but both on the level of being a personal expression and in its sheer sprawl, Black Mare isn’t by any means a vie for accessibility. Still, to those for whom its wavelengths find sympathy, the depths and overall richness it casts will be yet another example of Timms as an underrated performer and composer, and further proof of how much her work only grows more realized with the passage of time.

Black Mare, Death Magick Mother (2017)

Black Mare website

Black Mare on Thee Facebooks

Death Magick Mother at Magic Bullet Records Bandcamp

Magic Bullet Records website

Magic Bullet Records on Thee Facebooks

Magic Bullet Records on Twitter

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Black Mare to Release Death Magick Mother Sept. 15; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

You can go right ahead and sign me up for Black Mare‘s Death Magick Mother. Sight unseen, I’m on board. A second full-length of otherworldly psychedelic neofolk brooding helmed by Sera Timms? Yeah, sorry. Way I see it, that’s an absolute no-brainer, gotta-hear-it kind of essential release. It’s out Sept. 15 via Magic Bullet Records and follows Timms‘ 2013 debut with the project, Field of the Host (review here), as well as a couple short releases, a 2015 split with Lycia (review here), and so on.

Of course, Timms has had a prolific few years anyway between those one-offs, her contributions to the desert-psych fusion of Zun and the ongoing atmospheric metallurgy of Ides of Gemini, but word of a new Black Mare coming out next month has flat out made my day. The sooner it gets here, the better, and I’ll hope very much to have more posted before it’s out. Preorders are up in the meantime, as the PR wire informs:

black-mare-death-magick-mother

BLACK MARE: Dark Ambient Project Led By Sera Timms To Unveil Death Magick Mother Via Magic Bullet; Album Details Revealed + Tour With Junius Confirmed

Amidst a backdrop of political strife wherein such fundamental principles as the health, safety, and common decency toward women continue to erode more with each executive order and Twitter fit, the spirit of BLACK MARE stands unbridled under the singular vision and limitless purview of its driving force, one Sera Timms.

Death Magick Mother is the second proper full length album from Los Angeles, California’s BLACK MARE. Seven songs in length, this documentation captures Timms amidst a dynamic cohesion and confluence of inspiration unlike any prior. Whereas previous output operated under a founding principle of rhythmic repetition and atmospheric simplicity toward trace-like escapism, Death Magick Mother is Timms stepping right in front of the lens for a closeup. Mixed by Andrew Clinco of Drab Majesty and mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound Mastering, bolder arrangements lend themselves toward soaring, dynamic vocal melodies and nuanced harmonization to highly-satisfying effect. Spot-on performances and command of all instrumentation across the spectrum further propels the sense of arrival in mastery over her chosen craft. In many ways, this album is an awakening for both its creator and listeners alike.

Death Magick Mother will see release digitally via Magic Bullet on September 15th with LPs to follow. Preorders are currently available at THIS LOCATION.

Death Magick Mother Track Listing:
1. Ingress to Form
2. Femme Couverte
3. Death By Desire
4. Coral Vaults
5. Babylon’s Fold
6. Kala
7. Inverted Tower

Live appearances are robust in conjunction with the album’s release and range from a women’s mass replete with a bloodletting ritual, a midnight ceremony in celebration of a total eclipse with France’s Celeste, and even a traditional tour of the western United States in direct support of Junius.

BLACK MARE:
8/13/2017 Women’s Mass: A Benefit for The Satanic Temple @ Union – Los Angeles, CA w/ Night Club
8/21/2017 The Federal Underground – Long Beach, CA w/ Celeste, Destroy Judas, Hexa
w/ Junius, Mustard Gas & Roses:
9/21/2017 Yucca Tap Room – Phoenix, AZ
9/22/2017 The Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA w/ Hours
9/23/2017 The Golden Bull – Oakland, CA w/ Daxma
9/24/2017 Cafe Colonial – Sacramento, CA
9/25/2017 Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR w/ Wovoka, Drainage
9/26/2017 Highline Bar – Seattle, WA w/ They Rise We Die
9/27/2017 The Shredder – Boise, ID
9/28/2017 Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
9/29/2017 Hi-Dive Denver – Denver, CO w/ Ghosts Of Glaciers
10/01/2017 The Sidewinder – Austin, TX

BLACK MARE is the solo project of Sera Timms, vocalist and bassist for Ides Of Gemini and of the now-disbanded Black Math Horseman. With a focus on rhythmic repetition and atmospheric simplicity, BLACK MARE steps outside the collaborative dynamic to reveal a creative process that is all Sera’s own. Her songs traverse hidden realms, fragments of dreams, submerged memories, and mythical imagery. Where Black Math Horseman and Ides Of Gemini demand volume and collusion, BLACK MARE requires quiet contemplation. If Black Math Horseman and Ides Of Gemini seek to summon the deafening roar of inevitability, BLACK MARE delivers its verdicts on cresting waves and solemn whispers. And yet each operates, in its own way, within the darkened spheres of oceanic hypnosis.

https://magicbulletrecords.bandcamp.com/album/black-mare-death-magick-mother
http://www.theblackmare.com
http://www.facebook.com/Black-Mare
http://www.magicbulletrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/magicbulletrecords
http://www.twitter.com/magicbulletrecs

Black Mare, Field of the Host (2013)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: All Them Witches, Black Mare & Lycia, Bell Witch, Lasers from Atlantis and Contra

Posted in Radio on May 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio

I didn’t want to look, but in the end curiosity won out. April 17 was the date of the last batch of radio adds, so yes, it’s been more than a month. Not for lack of stuff coming either, just the want of time. As such, and not knowing when I might get the opportunity to do something like this again, I’ve got 31 records added to the playlist this afternoon — you can see them all at the Playlist and Updates Page — and as you can tell both by the below and by that list, it’s a mix of bigger and up and coming names, a couple older records, and a few singles and other things maybe not as widely available. If you find something you dig, then killer. If not, there’s always next month. Ha.

The Obelisk Radio adds for May 29, 2015:

All Them Witches, A Sweet Release

all them witches a sweet release

It is getting increasingly difficult to chart the discography of Nashville’s All Them Witches, between self-released live outings, hosted bootlegs, represses, physical vs. digital releases and one-offs like A Sweet Release or their last EP, 2014’s Effervescent (review here), but something tells me they like it that way. A Sweet Release was issued as something of a surprise on April 20, and collects mostly live jams that, though they listed it as an EP, actually runs longer than either of their two full-lengths, Lightning at the Door (review here) or their debut, Our Mother Electricity (review here). At 58 minutes, the five-track outing mostly invites the listener to get immersed. That is, it’s less about songs and more about jams, and that’s true from the two-movement-split-by-manipulated-stage-banter exploration of “It Moved We Moved/Almost There/A Spider’s Gift,” the opener and longest cut included at 24 minutes (immediate points), to the quiet guitar noodling of two-minute closer “Sweet Bear.” In between, extended pieces like “Howdy Hoodee Slank” and “Interstate Bleach Party” (both over 11 minutes) find the four-piece of bassist/vocalist Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod, Fender Rhodes-ist Allan van Cleave and drummer Rob Staebler comfortable and well in their element, their onstage chemistry having developed them into one of the most promising acts in American heavy rock — yes, I mean that — while “El Paso Sleep on It” proves a singular highlight with its laid back unfolding, the interplay of guitar and bass begging further development into what might on a regular release be called a song. A holdover to their third full-length? Maybe, but that doesn’t stop A Sweet Release from living up to its name, and for the already converted, new All Them Witches of any sort is unlikely to rouse complaint, the band having established in their early going that anything can and might happen both in terms of what they put out and what sonics they set in motion on their releases. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Black Mare & Lycia, Low Crimes/Silver Leaf Split

black mare lycia split

L.A.-based vocalist Sera Timms, known for her work in Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini and who also has a full-length due this year for the Gary Arce collaboration Zun, is the sole driving force behind Black Mare, and the otherworldly transit of “Low Crimes” makes a worthy answer to her 2013 full-length under the moniker, Field of the Host (review here), even if it is just one song. For this new Magic Bullet Records split, she works with bandmates from Ides of Gemini and MGR and partners with Lycia on the B-side, long-running Arizona outfit Lycia offer a sampling of their darkened atmospherics on “Silver Leaf,” holding to an edge of gothic drama in their spoken word vocals but setting it to a straightforward, near-minimal rhythm for a feel distinctly American. By its very nature, it’s a quick release, over in about 11 minutes, but both acts offer ethereal moodiness that seems to effect the listener even after play as ceased, the waves of electric guitar and tom rolls in “Low Crimes,” not to mention Timms‘ own far-back vocals, and the interplay of voices and subtle backing chimes and other elements of “Silver Leaf” complementing each other in a way that seems to enhance the enjoyment of both. Black Mare on Thee Facebooks, Lycia on Thee Facebooks, Magic Bullet Records on Bandcamp.

Bell Witch, Four Phantoms

bell witch four phantoms

For a release as outwardly heavy as Bell Witch‘s Four Phantoms (on Profound Lore) is, the follow-up to 2012’s Longing (review here) has surprised all the more because its primary impression isn’t of aural, but of emotional weight. The four-track, 66-minute offering plays two 22-minute cuts off two 10-minute cuts, and there are themes running between them alternating between “Suffocation” and “Judgement,” but for all the harsh death-doom crawl that a song like opener “Suffocation, a Burial: I – Awoken (Breathing Teeth)” has, and for all its growling lurch, the woeful riffing and mourning leads from bassist Dylan Desmond (also Samothrace) set a resonant, melancholic course that the album continues to develop throughout, hitting a particularly striking moment when it brings in Erik Moggridge (also known as Aerial Ruin) with Desmond and drummer/vocalist Adrian Guerra (Sod Hauler) for a guest vocal spot on third track “Suffocation, a Drowning: II – Somniloquy (The Distance of Forever)” that’s as gorgeous as its chanting is dark. Minimalist stretches in “Judgement, in Fire: I – Garden (Of Blooming Ash)” only add to the spaciousness of Four Phantoms‘ overall feel, and closer “Judgement, in Air: II – Felled (In Howling Wind)” seems not to deconstruct so much as to will itself into an oblivion of a plod, bass aping a guitar lead over wide-gap crashes in true dirge fashion. It’s a no-doubter to feature on many year-end lists, but however loud the hype gets, the genuine expressiveness Bell Witch bring to a sound usually thought of either as cold or overly theatrical puts them in a class of modern doom alongside their labelmates in Pallbearer and LossBell Witch on Thee Facebooks, Profound Lore on Bandcamp.

Lasers from Atlantis, Lasers from Atlantis

lasers from atlantis lasers from atlantis

Running a line somewhere between extendo-heavy-psych jamming and more concrete heavy rock and doom impulses, London foggers Lasers from Atlantis seem more than content to play one off the other on this Extreme Ultimate issue of their self-titled, originally recorded in 2010. Classic prog and kraut-ish space idolatry rules the day on “Reverb City,” down to the Hawkwindy thrust out of the atmosphere, but by the time they get down to “Protectress,” track five of the total six, they’ve completely given over to low-end rumble, feedback viciousness and a still-swinging-but-much-much-darker groove. That might make the middle two cuts, “Illuminated Trail” and “Hopi Lori,” the most interesting of the bunch, and it’s especially on the latter where the two sides seem to meet, but it’s in “Hopi Lori” even more that the transition seems to take place and the band — Volkan Kiziltug and Aubrey Jackson Blake on synth, Theo Alexander on guitar/vocals and Pat Oddi on drums — make the turn toward consuming darkness that continues to ooze forth in “Protectress” and closer “Slaves,” which though it’s somewhat faster than the cut before it, is pure, high-order psychedelic doom. A band so willing to let go of their progressive edge when it suits them is a rare thing, which makes it a bummer that Lasers from Atlantis seem to have called it quits, but if it’s a posthumous release, their self-titled at least shows they were up to something interesting in their time together. Lasers from Atlantis on Thee Facebooks, Extreme Ultimate on Bandcamp.

Contra, Son of Beast

contra son of beast

Son of Beast is the debut offering from Cleveland trio Contra, and its four tracks could just as easily constitute a demo or an EP, whatever you want to call it, but with the lineup of guitarist Chris Chiera (ex-Sofa King Killer), bassist Adam Horwatt and drummer Aaron Brittain (Fistula), they come across as having a solid idea of what they’re looking for sound-wise, and their first outing is a solid one. Production is clean but not overly so on the three shorter pieces, and the seven-minute closer “Humanoid Therapy” follows-up on the mid-paced stonerism of “Snake Goat” by alternating from slower push to a more rushing pace. Instrumental for the duration, one can hear the places a vocalist might go on “Bottom Feeder” or “100 Hand Slap,” but Contra — who apparently owned both regular NES and Super Nintendo — don’t overstay their welcome either, proving cohesive in their fuzz, schooled in their groove and ready to start their development as a band, wherever it might take them. Contra on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

I’m going to try very, very hard not to let it go so long before the next round of adds. When I fail at that, you can feel free to call me out on it. In the meantime, to see all 31 releases that joined the playlist this afternoon, hit up The Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates Page. It’s a good time.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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audiObelisk Transmission 047

Posted in Podcasts on April 22nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

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

If you listen to these podcasts on the regular, you might notice this one is a little different than other recent editions have been. I was all set to start it off at a raging clip as per usual and then that Bison Machine track stood out to me with that warm bassline and I just decided that was the way to go, start off languid with that and My Sleeping Karma and ease into the rawer and meaner stuff from there. There are a couple jarring moments here and there, but that’s kind of the idea too, and I think overall across the board it flows well across the two hours, the second of which builds across All Them Witches’ jams and Ichabod’s sludge rock right into the atmospheric doom extremity of Bell Witch. Three songs in about 55 minutes. Awesome.

You might also notice the tracklist below has time stamps. Listed is the start time for each song, so if you get lost along the way, that should hopefully provide some point of reference. In case there was any doubt I pay attention to the stuff people say in comments to these podcast posts.

As always, hope you enjoy:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Bison Machine, “Gamekeeper’s Thumb” from Hoarfrost
0:07:12 My Sleeping Karma, “Prithvi” from Moksha
0:13:39 Weedeater, “Claw of the South” from Goliathan
0:19:00 Sinister Haze, “Betrayed by Time” from Betrayed by Time EP
0:24:15 Sun and Sail Club, “Dresden Fireball Freakout Flight” from The Great White Dope
0:26:11 Lasers from Atlantis, “Protectress” from Lasers from Atlantis
0:33:29 Arenna, “Drums for Sitting Bull” from Given to Emptiness
0:39:40 Mirror Queen, “Scaffolds of the Sky” from Scaffolds of the Sky
0:45:47 Les Discrets, “La Nuit Muette” from Live at Roadburn
0:51:02 Cigale, “Harvest Begun” from Cigale
0:54:49 Black Mare, “A Low Crimes” from Black Mare/Lycia Split

Second Hour:
1:00:03 All Them Witches, “It Moved We Moved/Almost There/A Spider’s Gift” from A Sweet Release
1:24:09 Ichabod, “Squall” from Merrimack
1:33:39 Bell Witch, “Suffocation, a Burial I – Awoken (Breathing Teeth)” from Four Phantoms

Total running time: 1:55:50

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 047

 

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audiObelisk Transmission 029

Posted in Podcasts on August 27th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

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

Been a while, right? Tell me about it. Although I love, love having The Obelisk Radio streaming 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I’ve been wanting to bring back podcasting for a while now. I always thought it was fun, it just got to be time consuming and to be perfectly honest, the response over time took something of a shit.

Well, the idea here is to start with a clean slate. Anyone who’s listened to audiObelisk podcasts before will notice this one doesn’t have a title. There’s no theme running throughout — though I wanted to keep it focused on new stuff as much as possible — and though others ranged upwards of four hours long, this one clocks in at just under two. I gave myself some pretty specific limits and wanted to start off as basic and foundational as possible. I haven’t done this in a long time, and it seemed only appropriate to treat it like a new beginning.

Something else I’m keeping simple is the intro, so with that said, I hope like hell you download at the link above or stream it on the player and enjoy the selections. Here’s the rundown of what’s included:

First Hour:

Mystery Ship, “Paleodaze” from EP II (2013)
Carousel, “On My Way” from Jeweler’s Daughter (2013)
Ice Dragon, “The Deeper You Go” from Born a Heavy Morning (2013)
Black Mare, “Tearer” from Field of the Host (2013)
Beast in the Field, “Hollow Horn” from The Sacred Above, The Sacred Below (2013)
11 Paranoias, “Reaper’s Ruin” from Superunnatural (2013)
Vàli, “Gjemt Under Grener” from Skoglandskap (2013)
Beelzefuzz, “Lonely Creatures” from Beelzefuzz (2013)
Dozer, “The Blood is Cold” fromVultures (2013)
Toby Wrecker, “Belle” from Sounds of Jura (2013)
Shroud Eater, “Sudden Plague” from Dead Ends (2013)
Luder, “Ask the Sky” from Adelphophagia (2013)
Eggnogg, “The Once-ler” from Louis (2012)

Second Hour:

Colour Haze, “Grace” from She Said (2012)
Borracho, “Know the Score” from Oculus (2013)
The Flying Eyes, “Raise Hell” from Split with Golden Animals (2013)
Demon Lung, “Heathen Child” from The Hundredth Name (2013)
Vista Chino, “As You Wish” from Peace (2013)
Across Tundras, “Pining for the Gravel Roads” from Electric Relics (2013)
Black Pyramid, “Aphelion” from Adversarial (2013)
Church of Misery, “Cranley Gardens (Dennis Andrew Nilsen)” from Thy Kingdom Scum (2013)

Total running time: 1:57:54

Thanks for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 029

 

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