Bong Wish to Release Self-Titled EP Oct. 27; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Oh my, yes. That’ll do nicely. High-order freak folk would seem to be the course set by Massachusetts-based weirdo troupe Bong Wish, who, led by vocalist/guitarist Mariam Saleh, will release their self-titled debut EP Oct. 27 via Brooklyn imprint Beyond Beyond is Beyond. Much to my chagrin, I haven’t heard it in its entirety as yet, but I’ve been through the two-and-a-half-minute leadoff cut “My Luv” about six times, and with its classic-sounding flourish of strings, lightly-strummed liquefied guitar work, molten flow and forward voice from Saleh and whoever among the EP’s numerous other contributors that might be backing her, I’m definitely looking forward to doing so. Seriously. The track is at the bottom of this post. It’s gorgeous and bizarre and it flat-out rules. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Beyond Beyond is Beyond is pressing up 100 copies on tape, which are up for preorder now, as the PR wire informs:

bong wish bong wish

Introducing Mariam Saleh’s BONG WISH

Mariam Saleh began performing under the heady moniker of BONG WISH in the Massachusetts of yesteryear. Drawing from British folk, Ween, and fantasy, Bong Wish skews to the far out lyrically, encouraging universal love and inner peace. The debut EP presents a patchouli-scented fantasia of pure, unsolicited rage. Mostly home-recorded, the eponymous EP sees Mariam and her mystical cohorts explore different moods, styles and vibes across four tracks, ranging from lush string arrangements and exotic flutes to shimmering guitars and earthy percussion. And Beyond Beyond is Beyond is quite overjoyed to share the Bong Wish majesty with you. Come along…

**releases October 27, 2017**
**check out “My Luv” now and pre-order on cassette or digi**

Tracklisting:
1. My Luv
2. Saturn Spells
3. Conversation With Business People
4. In The Sun

Tour dates:
10/6 Jamaica Plain, MA Jeanie Johnston
10/7 Northampton, MA The Basement
10/8 Portland, ME Apohadion Theater
10/10 Burlington, VT Monkeyhouse
10/11 Providence, RI TBD
10/12 Hamden, CT Best Video
10/13 Baltimore, MD Wind-Up Space
10/14 Washington, DC Safari
10/15 Brooklyn, NY The Gateway

https://www.facebook.com/BONGWISH/
https://bongwishbbib.bandcamp.com/album/bong-wish-ep-pre-order
https://www.facebook.com/beyondbeyondisbeyond
https://twitter.com/BBiB
https://www.instagram.com/bbib/
http://beyondbeyondisbeyond.com/

Bong Wish, “My Luv”

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Rozamov and Husbandry Announce October Weekender Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Boston’s Rozamov just got back from a tour that included a stop at Crucialfest and New York’s Husbandry have a brand new video for the track ‘Grab Twist Pull’ and will head out with Moon Tooth in November, so both bands have plenty going on as they move toward rounding out 2017 both supporting and looking to move forward from their debut releases on Battleground/Dullest Records and Aqualamb, respectively. All the better to team up for a quick weekender next month for shows in their native territories of New York and Massachusetts, and to add intrigue, the final of the three dates for the weekender run, to be held at The Middle East — one assumes upstairs, but you can never be sure — that’s going to be recorded by GodCity Studio‘s mobile unit.

Does that mean Kurt Ballou (Converge) is going to helm live outings for both bands? Can’t imagine they’d bring him out and not put out the results. Something to watch for maybe as we head into 2018.

Show info came down the PR wire:

Rozamov & Husbandry – Northeast dates

Rozamov and Husbandry have announced a short string of Northeast dates this October, culminating in a show to be recorded by Godcity Studio at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA.

10/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Well
10/21 – Florence, MA @ The 13th Floor Lounge
10/22 – Boston, MA @ The Middle East

Says Husbandry guitarist Jordan Usatch:

“There’s never an absence of ‘heavy’ young bands these days, but I’ve always felt that it’s few and far between of bands that do ‘heavy’ but also ‘interesting’ – so of course, ever since meeting the guys in Rozamov we’ve felt a kinship with them between odd-timed riffs and our mutual big-ass pedalboards. When approached to do a mini-tour in the New England area, using it to hire Godcity mobile recording services for a future live split-record project, we had to say yes. The tour starts at The Well in Brooklyn and culminates 10/22/17 at the Middle East Upstairs, where both bands will record our live sets, featuring new (and previously unreleased) music from both bands. The Middle East show will be rounded out by two other Boston bands- Kal Marks as well as Nomad Stones.”

Rozamov released their debut LP “This Mortal Road” this past March and have completed two tours since including stops at Austin Terror Fest and Crucialfest. The band digitally released a live recording from their March tour titled “Adaptations” earlier this summer and are have been hard at work on new material.

Husbandry recently released a video for their song “Grab Twist Pull” off of their debut LP “Fera” which was released last year. They also recently announced a US tour with fellow New York weirdos Moon Tooth for this November.

https://www.facebook.com/Rozamov
http://battlegroundrnr.com/
http://www.facebook.com/battlegroundrecords
http://battlegroundrecords.bigcartel.com
https://dullestrecords.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/DullestRecords

https://www.facebook.com/husbandrynyc
http://www.twitter.com/husbandrynyc
http://instagram.com/husbandrynyc
https://husbandryny.bandcamp.com/
https://aqualamb.bandcamp.com/
http://www.aqualamb.org/

Husbandry, “Grab Twist Pull” official video

Rozamov, “Serpent Cult” official video

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Jim Healey Announces Just a Minute More EP out Sept. 26; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

jim healey

Later this month, Boston singer-songwriter Jim Healey will issue his latest EP, Just a Minute More, in DIY digital fashion. Known for his work in heavy rock/metal acts like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, Shatner and Set Fire, Healey‘s solo output — which, on this outing as it often does, features a full band behind him — resides in a soulful and emotional context all of its own, and the same voice so capable of channeling aggression into his heavier work once again proves itself capable of expressing a broader range of wistfulness and regret on songs like the new track “Faced” that’s streaming below as a first sampling of the upcoming release.

If you make your way over to Healey‘s Bandcamp, you’ll find plenty more to dig into as well, including his 2015 full-length, This is What the End Looked Like (review here), which continues to resonate as well. Healey‘s something of a well-kept secret of the Boston area, or at very least of greater New England, but his work translates regardless of region or other factors with the honesty of his performance and quality of his songcraft.

Here’s info on the release and the “Faced” stream, courtesy of Healey via the PR wire:

jim-healey-just-a-minute-more

NEW SOLO EP BY JIM HEALEY – “Just A Minute More”

RELEASE DATE: Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Jim Healey will release his third solo release entitled JUST A MINUTE MORE Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

JUST A MINUTE MORE is the follow-up to Healey’s second solo album, THIS IS WHAT THE END LOOKED LIKE, released in 2015.

The five song EP was recorded and mixed between February and June of this year at New Alliance studio in Cambridge by Jon Taft. The album was mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East Audio in Cambridge.

The album features performances by Jim Healey (vocals, electric and acoustic guitar), Joe McMahon (electric bass, keyboards, backing vocals), Kyle Rasmussen (drums, keyboards), Glenn Smith (electric guitar, e-bow guitars), and Jess Collins (backing vocals)

JUST A MINUTE MORE tracklisting (all songs written by Jim Healey)
1. The Road
2. You and I
3. Swamp Thing
4. Faced
5. Burn Up

https://jimhealey.net
https://www.facebook.com/JimHealeySolo
https://jimhealey1.bandcamp.com
https://twitter.com/jimhealey

Jim Healey, “Faced”

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Sundrifter Premiere “Till You Come Down”; New Album in Progress

Posted in audiObelisk on August 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sundrifter-photo-Mario-Forgione

“Till You Come Down” is the second track to be released ahead of Boston trio Sundrifter‘s sophomore full-length. The yet-unnamed follow-up to 2016’s Not Coming Back is still being put together, but listening to the spacious riffing and rampant melody at work in this cut and in “Death March,” which preceded it earlier this year, as well as yet-to-surface rough mixes of stompers like the eight-minute “Fire in the Sky” or the Torche-style thrust of “Light Worker,” one can get an immediate sense of why they’d be eager to start getting their material out there. Fueled by catchy structures and the soaring vocals of guitarist Craig Puera, who is joined in the band by bassist Paul Gaughran and drummer Patrick Queenan, the affect of Sundrifter is to blend grounded craftsmanship with otherworldly themes, outward-reaching echoes, and a rhythmic push that remains fervent despite the pace of an individual song.

For example, Gaughran‘s bass-heavy intro to “Till You Come Down,” matched soon with Queenan‘s thudding toms and the opening riff from Puera, doesn’t seem to be in any hurry, but within 30 seconds, the three-piece are digging into the first verse, and in short order from there, Puera is delivering the title-line in a hook that’s derived in part from Soundgarden-style soul but still retains a thicker underpinning in its tonality. “Death March,” which is perhaps fuzzier in the guitar and dreamier in its transitions through sustained echoes, carries a like-minded modernity-in-a-blender feel, but even in unfinished form, it’s clear Sundrifter put a decided emphasis on songwriting and creating a sense of place in their tracks — even if that place is only intended to be “somewhere else.”

Like Not Coming Back before it, Sundrifter‘s new offering was recorded by Dan Schwartz at Futura Productions in Massachusetts. The band is currently seeking a label to get behind the release and it’s hard to imagine they’ll have trouble finding one once the record is completed, given a title, artwork, and so on. What we can know right now from hearing pieces like “Till You Come Down,” “Death March,” the more desert-minded “Hammer Burn” and others is that the songs are there, and that’s the best starting point a band could ask for going into any new release. Once that’s down, the rest tends to take care of itself.

On the player below, you’ll find the premiere of “Till You Come Down,” as well as some comment from the band. I’ve also gone ahead and included an embed for “Death March” at the bottom of this post in case you’d like to dig further and get a side-by-side from one single to the next. “Death March” can be downloaded name-your-price-style and I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner or later Sundrifter posted “Till You Come Down” in similar fashion, so keep an eye out. And when I hear more about the album coming together, I’ll post accordingly.

In the meantime, please enjoy:

Sundrifter on “Till You Come Down” & New Album:

“Till You Come Down” is our second single released from our coming full-length album. The album is still in the final mixing and mastering phases of the recording process and is expected to be released this Fall 2017. “Till You Come Down” is a song about contacting and connecting with beings or entities from different dimensions, worlds or time periods.

The track is a part of the greater whole of the album that covers topics of ancient theories about extraterrestrials, spiritual and psychedelic subjects. With this album we made a slight shift up in heaviness from our previous release, Not Coming Back. Our first album has a lot more desert vibes but this follow-up will be like if you lost yourself in the desert and you begin to lose your mind and next thing you know cruising through space fighting alien scum. We also self-released the first single back in June titled “Death March” found at www.sundrifter.bandcamp.com. The track was recorded mixed and mastered by Dan Schwarts at Futura Productions, Roslindale, Massachusetts.

Sundrifter is:
Craig Peura – Vocals/Guitar
Paul Gaughran – Bass
Patrick Queenan – Drums

Sundrifer, “Death March”

Sundrifter on Thee Facebooks

Sundrifter on Twitter

Sundrifter on Instagram

Sundrifter on Bandcamp

Sundrifter website

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Six Dumb Questions with Cortez

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on August 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cortez

Let’s face it: a new Cortez outing doesn’t come along every day. The Boston heavy rockers offered up their first release in 2007’s Thunder in a Forgotten Town EP through Buzzville Records. It would be five years before they’d answer with their 2012 Bilocation Records self-titled debut full-length (review here), and five more beyond that for the recently-landed second album, The Depths Below (review here), to make its mark this year as their first domestically-backed collection, issued via the Connecticut-based imprint Salt of the Earth Records. They had a 2014 split with Borracho (review here) and a 2016 digital single covering Deep Purple‘s “Stormbringer” (posted here), but still, they’re not exactly what you’d call prolific.

But, when a new Cortez outing does arrive, it’s all the more of an occasion worth marking. The last half-decade has brought some significant changes in the band, as seen in the departure of longtime drummer Jeremy Hemond (who still plays on The Depths Below) and his replacement with Alexei Rodriguez and the addition of second guitarist Alasdair Swan alongside founding six-stringer Scott O’Dowd, bassist/backing vocalist Jay Furlo and frontman Matt Harrington, but one thing that has remained central to the band is their songwriting. The Depths Below, from the opening aggro thrust of “All Gone Wrong” through the three-part storytelling of “Walk Through Fire,” “The Citadel” and “Blood of Heirs,” and the Life of Agony-esque “Dead Channel” late in the tracklisting, is a shining example of how Cortez are and seem to have always been underrated for the quality of their craft and the purpose of their execution. A well-kept secret known to denizens of smaller Boston-area venues and European labels, it would seem, but primed nonetheless for a wider reach.

As they have been all along. Maybe on that level the lessons of The Depths Below are a refresher course in the kind of straightforward righteousness Cortez have honed since they got their start more than a decade ago, but if check-ins from them are to be so periodic in their nature, then attention and appreciation for the band’s work on its own terms are no less duly earned than they might be if they busted out a new record every eight months. In the interview that follows, O’Dowd and Harrington talk about making The Depths Below and the shifts in lineup Cortez have undergone since the self-titled, as well as the work that’s already begun on their next outing, which is set to arrive whenever the hell they decide it’s good and ready to arrive.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

cortez the depths below

Six Dumb Questions with Cortez

A lot has changed for Cortez since the self-titled. How do you feel about everything that’s gone down with the band in the last five years? Tell me about bringing in Alasdair on guitar and Alexei on drums. How do you feel about where the band is at now?

Scott O’Dowd: In the five years since the release of our self-titled album, quite a lot has happened. Not the least of which was adding Alasdair on second guitar. We’ve always envisioned ourselves as a two-guitar band, but after Tony (our original second guitarist) left the band in 2008, we continued on as a four-piece. This was only because we didn’t have anyone else in mind to fill the position. We’re big believers in chemistry, both musically and personally, so rather than adding someone that we didn’t know, we decided to continue with the four remaining members until we found the right fifth member. Alasdair (who happens to be married to my wife’s cousin) had recently moved to the US from Scotland and we really hit it off on a musical and personal level. I told the rest of the guys about him and he came down to rehearsal. He was a perfect fit and has been with us ever since (2012).

We parted ways with our long time drummer Jeremy [Hemond] in November of 2016 when he moved back to Vermont. As might be expected, devoting time to the band had become an issue because of the distance. We decided to move on and look for another drummer. In a complete stroke of luck, Alexei came across an ad we placed and came down to audition. After trying out a handful of drummers who weren’t right for us, we knew Alexei was our guy from the first song. He fit right in and we all feel a renewed sense of purpose.

We’re really happy, looking forward to working on new material, and playing shows.

How did the writing process work out for The Depths Below? When did you start thinking about a follow-up for the self-titled and how did the material come together? Was there anything in particular you wanted to do coming off the first album?

SO: The writing process worked pretty much the same way it always does, except for Alasdair contributing to the songs, and Matt having even more input this time around. We very rarely stop and say, “OK, it’s time to write for the new album.” Instead, we are always working on ideas whenever we have a chance or are feeling inspired. It’s a perpetual thing for us. Sometimes songs will come together rather quickly, such as “Johnny” from the self-titled. Other times we may have a couple of parts and not be able to finish the song. When that happens we tend to put that particular idea on the back burner and come back to it at a later date. Sometimes even years later. We work on a particular idea until we feel it’s finished, however long that takes. It’s not enough for us to throw a few riffs together and call it done. It’s important that a song has a flow and makes sense. We work democratically and listen to each other’s input and tweak parts until we are satisfied. We’re our own toughest critics.

Some of the material written shortly after the self-titled was in the process of being recorded. Some of the other ideas were fleshed out later on. As I mentioned above, it’s an ongoing thing.

When did you know that “Walk Through Fire,” “The Citadel” and “Blood of Heirs” would tie together? How did that come about, and what is the narrative uniting the songs?

SO: I’m going to defer to Matt on this one.

Matt Harrington: If I’m remembering correctly, “The Citadel” was the first song we completed of the three. “Walk Through Fire” is in a different tuning, but I must have heard it right before “The Citadel” on a practice recording because I remember really liking the way they led into one another. I also knew I wanted to tell a little more of the story when I finished “The Citadel,” which also plays into the lyrical why of “Blood of Heirs.”

“In the Shadows of Ancients” is a loose adaptation of a story I wrote. “Walk Through Fire” is the radicalization of the disenfranchised, “The Citadel” is the execution of the oath by the faithful with a little familial revenge thrown in, and “Blood of Heirs” is a homecoming of sorts with the backdrop of a battle.

How about the recording? Was the album done in one shot or over multiple sessions? It seems like there’s a more aggressive sound this time around. Was that something you were looking to bring out purposefully, or just how it worked out in the writing and production?

SO: We recorded the whole album with Benny Grotto. I give him major credit for understanding exactly what we wanted and helping us capture it in the recording. The album was recorded in a few different sessions. The basic tracks (drums, bass, and some guitars) were recorded at Q Division in Somerville, MA, in December of 2014. We recorded most of the rest of the rhythm guitar tracks at Mad Oak in Allston, MA. We finished up leads and vocals at Moontower (R.I.P.) in Somerville. The actual recording was finished in June of 2015. From there we mixed with Benny and sent it off for mastering to Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Peerless Mastering.

As for the more aggressive sound, I think partly it just had to do with some of the songs themselves. We’ve always listened to all sorts of music, and I know I tried to bring some more of my metallic influences to the forefront on a few songs. “Walk Through Fire” for example, was a song that had a bit of a NWOBHM feel to me when I came up with the main riff. “Blood of Heirs” has more of an oldschool thrash-metal-meets-Bathory sort of feel to the main riff. I know we made a conscious effort to have a lot of variation in tempo and feel. I’m sure that directly contributed to the genesis of those two songs. Aside from wanting a good amount of variety, there were no strict “rules.” We like to write riffs and songs we enjoy and try not to worry too much about something being a stylistic outlier or odd man out sort of thing. If we like it, we go with it.

What’s the story behind “Dead Channel?”

MH: I’ve always loved dystopias. I never expected to live in one, but that’s a whole other thing.

The name is a nod to the first line of William Gibson’s seminal cyberpunk book, Neuromancer: “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

That line drew a young me in instantly, and the visual is a favorite of mine. Pretty soon, someone who picks up that book for the first time won’t know what that is without checking Google, if they even bother to. Isn’t it sort of weird, uncomfortable, and exciting all at once that culture and technology change so completely and frequently now?

Lyrically, this song is a companion of sorts to “Poor and Devoid,” in that they both touch on the idea that we are both consumer and product everywhere we go physically and virtually, and what is presented to us (and sometimes what we present) isn’t always genuine or real.

I watched online communities go from USENET and dialing into BBSs to message boards/forums to where we stand now in both the more mainstream and less accessible parts of a vast internet. These communities have become global cultures and I think this sort of connection without boundaries or borders has power, both positive and negative. The optimist in me likes to think that interconnectivity, community, and freedom are ultimately a good thing.

Do we want to live in a dying world or die knowing we built something that lives on? Maybe we find a better us together, and find better ways to communicate and collaborate without the noise, ideologies, or agendas. Maybe we take a look at the old and say… you know what, it’s okay that isn’t a thing anymore. Maybe we decide to tear every last vestige of those old things down completely. Sometimes it takes weird, uncomfortable, and/or exciting to make something new. Nostalgia and fear shouldn’t prevent people from building things. My hope is that the new things we create are real and genuine and not born from the distractions that are all around us now.

You did the release show earlier this month for The Depths Below, so what’s next for you guys? Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

SO: To be honest, there was a great sense of relief in releasing The Depths Below and playing the actual release show. The record had been a long time in the “gestation” period (which seems to be our pattern at this point), and it was our first Boston show with Alexei on drums. We wanted to pick up right where we left off and, at the same time, state our intent to continue progressing as a band. It was a packed house at our favorite club, with some of our favorite folks. We couldn’t have been happier.

As for what’s next, we’re working on new material, getting Alexei up to speed on some choice older tunes, and looking forward to the demo process for the new stuff. We’re already pretty booked up for the Fall with a bunch of regional shows. We also have a split 12″ in the works; that will hopefully be released late this year/early next year. We’re just looking to keep it rolling, wherever it takes us.

Our album is available from our Bandcamp page, or at shows.

Cortez, The Depths Below (2017)

Cortez on Thee Facebooks

Cortez website

Cortez on Bandcamp

Cortez on Twitter

Salt of the Earth Records website

Salt of the Earth Records on Thee Facebooks

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Death Pesos Release New Single “Drug Worship”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

death pesos

There’s a decided haze that’s settled over the newly-posted single from Boston three-piece Death Pesos, and perhaps that’s true to the name of the recorded-to-tape four-and-a-half-minute “Drug Worship,” but the song is no less catchy for it. “Drug Worship” is the first piece of new material Death Pesos have put out since a reformation last year and the first since their 2014 short-LP debut, Moon Violence, and it brings a marked turn in sound. Where the album was more uptempo and dug into a kind of basement-dwelling boogie rock, “Drug Worship” is, well, druggier, less given to shuffle and more to languid flow. What it and the preceding release have in common is a propensity for hooks.

Whether or not “Drug Worship” is indicative of some greater change of approach on the part of Death Pesos, I’ve no idea, but presumably we’ll find out when they release their new vinyl come Fall. In the meantime, the rougher edge in the recording here suits them well and if you’ve got under five minutes and/or a will to name your own price for a cool track you otherwise might not have heard, dig the following:

death pesos drug worship

Death Pesos – “Drug Worship” single release

The band formed in Burlington, VT in 2012, when the founding members (Pete Schluter – guitar, Larry Frisoli – bass, and Chris Egner – drums) met at college. Death Pesos released a full-length, ‘Moon Violence’, in 2014, and played extensively in New England. Geographical separation paused the band from 2014-2016, but Death Pesos rose from a premature burial in 2016 when Mike Reed (drums) joined the band. Since then, we’ve been playing dates in New England (with Endless Boogie / Stephen Malkmus, Black Helicopter, Dyr Faser, Sundrifter). We recently recorded with Alex Garcia-Rivera (of Piebald, Give up the Ghost / American Nightmare, Chrome over Brass, Ascend / Descend) and will release that session on vinyl this fall.

Drug Worship tells the tale of a man who makes a deal with the devil, but experiences no consequences due to his already-woeful life. It was recorded by guitarist Pete Schluter, entirely to tape, and bares the audible stamp of tape compression & saturated tubes.

Death Pesos is:
Larry Frisoli: Bass, Vocals
Pete Schluter: Guitar, Echoplex
Chris Egner: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/deathpesos
http://www.deathpesos.com/
https://www.instagram.com/deathpesos/
https://twitter.com/DeathPesos
https://deathpesos.bandcamp.com/

Death Pesos, “Drug Worship”

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Live Review: Primus and Clutch in Boston, 07.23.17

Posted in Reviews on July 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

primus photo jj koczan

Primus and Clutch both played new material. Their tour together hit Boston’s let’s-make-this-all-artisanal-condos waterfront on a breezy Sunday night and the semi-open-air venue Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, with its sprawling white canvas over top, seats, high stage and crisp sound, was a suitable enough place to host them, if somewhat staid in a corporate-venue kind of way.

The crowd? Awesome. An eclectic mix of rockers, hippies, headbangers, couples, young and old. Parents were there with their kids — saw a dad and his son in matching Clutch work shirts, Grateful Dead tye-dye, the usual local-fahkin’-spoahts-khed logos representing, along with t-shirts for Inquisition, Slayer, a Meshuggah hoodie and so on. One dude brought his blankie and wrapped himself in it, another had hippie Hammerpants tucked into his Doc Martens because it’s 1994 all over again and not one fucking moment too soon. Brilliant vibe. Amazing to see all these people agree they were in the right pace.

And to be sure, they were. Early start with Clutch on at 7:45, but that worked for my old ass just fine. I had The Patient Mrs. along, and therefore The Pecan as well — he goes where she goes, what with that whole in-the-womb thing and whatnot — and was counting this as my son’s first rock show. He could hardly ask for a better warm-up gig to, you know, life.

The tour started July 17 and this was show number six, so Clutch were on form but still plainly getting settled in. The long-running Marylander foursome of vocalist Neil Fallon, guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster are now two years removed from their most recent album, Psychic Warfare (review here), and though the set featured several cuts from that record — “Firebirds!,” “Noble Savage,” “Sucker for the Witch,” “A Quick Death in Texas” and “X-Ray Visions” — they seemed ready to move forward. From the stage, Fallon said their plan was to record in January and before they launched into the new song “How to Shake Hands,” he noted, “You don’t know the material, I don’t know the material,” which got a good chuckle out of the assembled masses. Then, of course, he and the whole band completely killed it.

Because that’s what Clutch do. At this point in their career, fans know what they’re getting when they show up to a Clutch gig, and while it was somewhat odd to see them opening for another act instead of headlining, and that showed itself in some of the tempos they worked with — that was easily the fastest incarnation of “Spacegrass” I’ve ever witnessed; it was like it was playing on 45RPM — their presence and their delivery are undeniable. Opening with “Cyborg Bette” and “Crucial Velocity” from 2013’s most righteous Earth Rocker (review here), they wanted nothing for momentum, and while speed would be the order of their time onstage, as emphasized with a one-two punch of Earth Rocker‘s title-track and “Noble Savage,” both proselytizing the same message of rock-liferdom, they wanted nothing for groove.

Along with the aforementioned “Spacegrass,” which always feels like something special when they break it out, “Escape from the Prison Planet” from 1995’s landmark self-titled was well placed in a multi-song nod to older-school fans — there were a few on hand, to be sure — that was excellently interrupted by a rendition of “D.C. Sound Attack” that snuck in a cowbell-laden jam at the end like it was sliding numbers facedown across a table: smooth and casual. “Passive Restraints,” which followed, might have pushed it on going way back, but you won’t hear me complain.

Fallon demands and rightly gets a lot of the focus in the band, and Sult‘s funk-infused riffing is second to none, but what an absolute joy it was to watch Maines and Gaster in the rhythm section. They don’t even have to look at each other. I don’t know if it’s possible to call them underrated, since Clutch has reaped plenty of acclaim in their time, but they might be anyway, and with Les Claypool and Tim Alexander in Primus still to follow, the evening-with wasn’t short on quality rhythm sections. Kind of the running theme of the night. But still. Whether it was “The Mob Goes Wild” and “Profits of Doom” early in the set or the tight transitions in “Electric Worry” near the end, they were on point to a frightening degree, and even a little flub in “Escape from the Prison Planet” became all-part-of-the-show-folks. The kind of bass and drums you would watch all night, even if there were no guitar and vocals to go with them.

So what about that new song? Well, despite Fallon‘s saying otherwise, they’ve been playing the politically-themed “How to Shake Hands” for at least a couple months now, and they all seemed to know it pretty well. Some of the lyrics felt tentative — a bridge about being born to be president reused the word “born” in a way that felt awkward and one expects will be revised before the track is final — but there was zero screwing with the hook:

“First thing I’m gonna do is go for ride in a UFO
Put Jimi Hendrix on the 20 dollar bill and Bill Hicks on a five note
Hot damn, the democratic process — what a time to be alive
I’m ready to give the people what they want
And what they want is straight talk, and no jive”

Needless to say, it was stuck in the head of all parties involved by its second runthrough in the relatively short, upbeat song. One to look forward to, to be sure. They’ve also been playing a song called “We Love a Good Fire,” but it wasn’t aired in Boston. Instead, they placed “X-Ray Visions” in the spot usually reserved for “One-Eyed Dollar” coming directly out of “Electric Worry.” A bit of a bumpy transition there, but credit to them for changing that up anyhow after years of doing it the other way. It was dark out by the time they were done, and Boston — hopped up as ever on lobster, beers and Chris Sale’s strikeout total for the season — was no less raucous than they might’ve been otherwise for it being Sunday.

I suspect my narrative as regards Primus is like many who showed up to see them. I’ve been a fan since I was 10 years old. I’ll be 36 in a couple months. One of the first CDs I ever owned was 1991’s Sailing the Seas of Cheese and I still have both that copy and my cassette and beat-to-crap digipak version of 1993’s Pork Soda as well. I remember staying up late to watch the video of “Mr. Krinkle” on Headbanger’s Ball — because Primus were no less unclassifiable by MTV back then than they are by anyone now — to the point that when they played it with the clip playing on the backing screens behind them, I had flashbacks. It had been more than a decade since the last time I saw them; I still knew “Sgt. Baker” by heart.

My central question going into their set was how jammed out it would be. Les ClaypoolTim Alexander and guitarist Larry LaLonde are gods to the jam-band contingent, and since Primus came back with the 2003 Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People EP — and really before that with Claypool side-projects like Colonel Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog BrigadeOysterheadColonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains, as well as the more recent The Claypool Lennon Delirium and Duo de Twang — they’ve very much worked toward that audience. Still, in partnering with Clutch for this tour, the weirdo stalwarts were embracing an entirely different crowd, so would they expand their songs with improv or cut back toward a more straightforward delivery?

I’ve long been of the conviction that if the language of “heavy rock” had existed at the time Primus were commercially flourishing in the way it does now, they never would’ve even been considered a heavy metal band. They never were one; even at their heaviest and despite LaLonde‘s roots playing in Possessed, they didn’t have the aggression behind the slapped-string punch of Claypool‘s bass or Alexander‘s drumming to be metal. Nor, I think, did they ever want to be. “Heavy rock,” as a concept, is more of a catch-all, and while I think it undersells both the unique nature of their approach and its progressive aspects, the path of their career and their turn toward jam-band affiliations might’ve worked out much differently had they not been so wrongly tagged for so long.

Was I thinking about this at the show? A little bit. They opened with a medley of “Too Many Puppies” sandwiched around “Sgt. Baker” before going into “Last Salmon Man,” which was a highlight of 2011’s Green Naugahyde, so a somewhat less jammy start had me thinking early they’d keep to basic structures, but as they moved through the 1995 mega-single “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” and “Southbound Pachyderm” — also from that year’s Tales from the Punchbowl — they began to unfold more of an open mood, and that would continue to flourish through a drum solo by Alexander that filled time while Claypool swapped to a stand-up bass to lead through Primus‘ take on “Candyman” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a film the entire soundtrack of which the band took on in 2014 on Primus and the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble.

That was probably the only moment of their set that left me cold, but I was in a clear minority in that regard. The druggy overtones were laid on thick and I guess if that’s your thing, fair enough, but as soon as I saw Claypool in his pig mask, I was waiting for “Mr. Krinkle,” and that came next, followed by “The Toys Go Winding Down” and the new song listed as “Seven,” which will reportedly be the title-track of their impending ninth album to be recorded sometime after this tour, presumably for release in 2018. By way of stating the obvious and offering the most critical insight one might hope to conjure as regards Primus more than 30 years on from their first getting together, I’ll say it sounded like Primus. That should be considered high praise as well.

A mellow and bizarro deep-dive followed with “On the Tweek Again” and “Mrs. Blaileen,” both again from Tales from the Punchbowl, but the Pork Soda monument “My Name is Mud” brought everyone back to ground and as the three-piece extended the jabs at the end before launching into “Jerry was a Race Car Driver” from Sailing the Seas of Cheese — another delightfully creepy video to remember while it played behind them — it was obvious they were coming around to the finale. And at that point, fair enough. They’d jammed, they’d rocked, they’d spaced out, been heavy, showed off a new song, gone obscure and dug into classics, all the while offering unparalleled performance and personality from the stage. Fucking Primus. They do not, contrary to any and all sloganeering otherwise, suck.

The residual high-school-stoner in me delighted in the nod to 1997’s Brown Album that came in “Golden Boy,” which started a three-song encore that rounded out with “Mr. Knowitall” — he is so eloquent; perfection is his middle name and… whatever rhymes with “eloquent” — and the march of “Here Come the Bastards,” Claypool taking the opportunity work in some last-minute shred in a bass solo before they finished out a couple minutes ahead of what was likely an 11PM curfew and the lights came up. People had been quite literally dancing in the aisles, a kind of friendly mosh took shape a few rows back, dudes jumping up and down and bumping into each other rather than throwing punches or kicks.

All in good fun, in other words — and that was the emergent spirit of the night. During either Clutch or Primus, one couldn’t help but smile at the proceedings, the surroundings, the weather, whatever. It all worked excellently and the two bands fed off each other’s strengths in a manner that, even thinking “hell yeah, this is gonna be a great show” beforehand, was a surprise. I expect as this tour rolls on for the better part of the next month, that complementary aspect is only going to grow more prevalent, and right on. If only they’d made a t-shirt with both logos. I’d have been all over it, and maybe even gotten one for my unborn son to grow into as well. Next time.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Rozamov Premiere “Surrounded by Wolves” from New Live Album Adaptations

Posted in audiObelisk on July 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ROZAMOV

If it seems like a quick turnaround for Boston trio Rozamov to have new material ready to roll out just a couple months after releasing their much-awaited debut album, This Mortal Road (review here), this Spring on Battleground Records and Dullest Records, well, it kind of is. But consider that the band had the material for that five-track long-player in the can for about a year before it came out, and that guitarist/vocalist Matt Iacovelli and bassist/vocalist Tom Corino had added drummer Jeff Landry to the lineup in the meantime post-recording, and it makes sense to think they might want to flex a bit of songwriting. Whether it’s to see where they’re at sound-wise after the record, feel out the new dynamic with Landry or just keep themselves busy while waiting for the release or what was then their next stint on the road, it’s not like writing is going to hurt.

Thus we get “Surrounded by Wolves” on a new live release out July 21 called Adaptations. Captured in Chicago on the coast-to-coast tour the band undertook to mark This Mortal Road‘s arrival, it’s the first track to be put together with Landry in the group, and as it plods out its full course in just over three minutes, it stands as a significant change from the longer-form approach of the debut. I wouldn’t speculate any major shift in direction or method overall based on one initial live track, but the shortest of This Mortal Road‘s non-interlude cuts was the seven-minute “Serpent Cult,” so as “Surrounded by Wolves” checks in at less than half of that, it’s noteworthy either way.

One can’t argue, however, that Rozamov don’t state their case in that time. With a full tonal breadth even in this live version and harsh vocals cutting through the lumbering wash of low end, crashing cymbals and overarching push of its rhythm, “Surrounded by Wolves” champions an efficiency that well earns the quick exclamations audible from the crowd when it chugs to its conclusion. And in kind with the record preceding it, not only is “Surrounded by Wolves” this heavy, brutally-minded shove of lung-filling sludge extremity, but its pummel is also richly atmospheric, and its mix — again, even in this live version — brings a depth in which the listener feels likely to get consumed permanently. Easy to imagine that it made the lights at the Livewire Lounge seem just a bit darker by the time it was done.

You can check out the track on the player below, followed by some comment from Landry — who also did the artwork for Adaptations — on the song in what looks suspiciously in-part like a tour diary, and upcoming live dates, including the run Rozamov will do next month with Battleground labelmates The Ditch and the Delta that wraps with a slot Sept. 2 at Crucialfest.

Behold:

Jeff Landry on “Surrounded by Wolves”:

We are all really excited to release Adaptations. Essentially, it is a live take on our first LP, This Mortal Road, as well as a new track “Surrounded by Wolves.” With the addition of myself on drums, I was able to have a different take on the music. I’m grateful that Matt and Tom allowed me to explore that. We are definitely evolving right now and Adaptations is a little window into what we have going on.

As for the show we recorded this at, we had about 20 nights of shows under our belts going into this set. It was day three of rain. Matt had family come out. We hung out at Wrigley and Tom convinced a pizza spot to deliver to the van. I got locked in the venue’s basement for a while. Solid day. It wasn’t a packed show but people were definitely into the set and we had a great night afterwards too. That was basically the M.O. of that whole tour. We’d show up to the city early, tourist what we could, get to the show, have people sort of stare at us and wonder who we were, crush a set, people chat our ears off after we play, load out and drive to the hotel, sleep, repeat.

I think at that point in March we were about halfway through writing for the new record, so we started peeking out a few each night. We opened up this show with “Surrounded by Wolve.s. After listening to it, we knew we wanted to get it out there for people to listen ASAP. We went the friends route and had our bud Chris Johnson from who plays in a rad band mix it and Alec Rodriguez who also plays in a rad band master it. We are really stoked to get this out there. We’re hitting the road this weekend with our Syracuse homies in Blood Sun Circle and doing a week of dates in Pacific Northwest to Crucialfest this August with our boys The Ditch and The Delta. Jam this new record on Spotify and check out a show!

Rozamov live:
rozamov ditch and the delta tour7/21 – Wallingford, CT @ Cherry Street Station +
7/22 – Rochester, NY @ Photo City Improv +
7/28 – Somerville, MA @ ONCE ^

8/24 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott *
8/25 – Columbus OH @ Cafe Bourbon Street *
8/26 – Indianapolis, IN @ TBA
8/27 – St. Paul, MN @ TBA
8/30 – Seattle, WA @ Funhouse *
8/31 – Portland, OR @ High Water Mark *
9/1 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder *
9/2 – Salt Lake City @ Crucial Fest *

+ w/ Blood Sun Circle
^ w/ Author & Punisher
*w/ The Ditch and The Delta

Adaptations was recorded live at Live Wire in Chicago, mixed by Chris Johnson at The Electric Bunker in Brighton, MA, and Mastered by Alec Rodriguez at New Alliance in Cambridge, MA. The full recording will be available for free download via Bandcamp and streaming via Spotify on July 21.

Adaptations tracklisting:
1. Surrounded By Wolves (Live)
2. Ghost Divine (Live)
3. Serpent Cult (Live)
4. Inhumation (Live)

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