Posted in Whathaveyou on July 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
If you want to feel old today, we’re now 16 years removed from Unearthly Trance first getting together. The Brooklyn trio reunited in Spring 2015 and have made select appearances since, playing local shows and doing a West Coast run last fall that included a stop at Midnite Communion III in Long Beach, California, where they joined Morne, Dopethrone and a host of expertly-curated others.
Six years have gone by since their fifth album, V (review here), was issued by Relapse Records, but the band has posted notice that their upcoming sixth full-length, to be titled Stalking the Ghost, has finished its recording process. Tracking took place with Colin Marston (Gorguts, Behold! the Arctopus) at The Thousand Caves, and Relapse will once again handle putting it out.
There’s still a lot to be learned about the record — most importantly what it might sound like. V was the most developed album that Unearthly Trance put out during their initial run, but guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lipynsky has been exploring a variety of different influences in acts like The Howling Wind and Serpentine Path — in which Unearthly Trance bassist Jay Newman and drummer Darren Verni also play — so whether or not that might have any impact on Stalking the Ghost is up in the air. Their doomly form had become pretty amorphous stylistically by the time they called it quits, so even if they’re picking up where they left off, it seems fair to expect some expanse of ground to be covered.
No release date yet, but one to look forward to:
We have finished recording our new album entitled “Stalking The Ghost”! We all think it came out absolutely massive and is our best work yet. Colin Marston was a pleasure to work with and we are beyond excited to have this album be released on Relapse Records!
Gaze upon its countenance and realize just how fucking awesome this show is going to be.
Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn marks the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer, a one-of-a-kind celebration of things heavy, noisy, psychedelic, progressive, and weird. In addition to being the first New York appearances for French heavy psych mavens Mars Red Sky, Amsterdam-based motor-rockers Death Alley, West Coast riff-rollers Snail and bizarro Texas punks Funeral Horse, The Obelisk All-Dayer will feature food on-hand, full and recorded sets, limited-edition posters and other merch, and an afterparty with DJ Adzo (aka Adam Kriney of Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass) and Walter Roadburn (the man behind the internationally renowned Roadburn festival).
Today the official poster, which will be available at the Vitus Bar in a limited and one-time run of 50, has been revealed. Art is by Los Angeles-based designer Sean “Skillit” McEleny, who has worked with numerous acts across both coasts as well as the header for this site and perfectly captures the strange awe and wonder that the show is certain to elicit front-to-back.
Following the revelation earlier this month of the complete lineup, the set runtimes are now also available:
Mars Red Sky* 10:10-11:40
Death Alley* 8:50-9:50
Kings Destroy 6:30-7:10
Funeral Horse* 4:30-5:10
King Buffalo 3:30-4:10
Heavy Temple 2:30-3:10
(Afterparty with DJ Adzo & Walter Roadburn* 12-2AM)
* Debut appearance in NYC
Set times are firm. The Obelisk All-Dayer is proud to be giving these bands enough time to flesh out their performances, as opposed to rushing one into the next in a festival. The intent is that the day will be a laid-back party more than a festival, from the start of Heavy Temple‘s cult-worthy riffing through the psych-blues bliss of King Buffalo, the possibly-cape-inclusive doings of Funeral Horse, EYE‘s lush progressive rock, locals Kings Destroy‘s aggro noise push and the one-two-three punch of Snail, Death Alley and Mars Red Sky, none of whom has ever played New York before.
This week, respected Brooklyn venue The Acheron announced that as of next month, it would no longer be hosting shows. It’s a considerable blow to New York’s support system for all things heavy and metal, and from grind to doom and all in between, The Acheron has been a home for one of the most vital undergrounds in the US. Goes without saying that it will be much missed.
It’s been four years since frenetic psych rockers La Otracina toured Europe, and in the interim, members have gone on to found other projects, explore other creative facets. Murmurs of a La Otracina reunion started brewing a while ago, and they’ve done a couple shows over the last few months, but even apart from The Acheron closing, it’s bittersweet to have La Otracina‘s July 6 show, with The Company Corvette and Fox 45 supporting, as one for The Obelisk Presents, because it’s also going to be the official goodbye for the band.
Just days before the venue shuts down, La Otracina will call it quits on one of Brooklyn’s most venerable stages. It’s an ending worthy of the creative breadth La Otracina showed over their prolific career, which is fodder for cult worship if ever there was.
Below, spearhead Adam Kriney talks about the show and what led to his decision to bring the band to an end. Ticket and other links at the bottom of the post.
Adam Kriney on La Otracina’s farewell:
It is with great pride, a clear head and resolved heart that I announce the final LA OTRACINA performance and the true end of the artistic entity known as such. Started many moons ago in 2003, when I had just moved to Brooklyn, the band was my outlet to explore the outer reaches of experimental, progressive, improvised and psychedelic musical worlds, merging them into a unique voice that reflected my interests, abilities, and the contributing talent of who I was playing with at the time.
Over the years, the lineups would change, vibe would change, intentions would change, and generally speaking the group became a pure extension of both my artistic discoveries and creative wants, and I was forever on a search for those who wanted to chart unknown territories with me… and I found many, both willing and resistant, to leap off of the abyss with me, to quite a mixed effect!
So here we are, 13 frenetic, chaotic, and shoulder-shrugging years later, and after about 20 releases (from CD-Rs and splits/comps to 12” EPs and double-albums), and approximately 300 concerts across the US and two European tours (the final one being the massive 46-date/18-country 2012 EU Tour), I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing more to say artistically under this group name. The sordid, bizarre, schizophrenic, multi-genre, juggernaut of LA OTRACINA no longer holds any interest for me to pursue, and is filled with enough emotional baggage and unrequited output/dedication to fill a 747!
Of course since the initial hiatus in 2012, I got extremely involved with the creation of THE GOLDEN GRASS where the majority of my time/energy now resides, to which things are going quite well and joyous! Current (as well as past) guitarist Philippe Ortanez has also been busy with his groups POLYGAMYST and VIMANA which are both worth your investigation. It’s been a wild ride, and the discography speaks for itself… but alas, July 6 2016, shall be the last cosmic dance of the Otra-sonic Spaceship!
Also performing at The Acheron gig will be Rochester, NY heavy doom rock quartet Fox 45 and Philadelphia, PA, psychedelic doom trio The Company Corvette! It’s sure to be a heavy pulsing night from some top notch northeast US bands!
With the addition of Amsterdam’s Death Alley, the bill for the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer is complete. Show is Saturday, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. The complete lineup is as follows:
THE OBELISK ALL-DAYER:
Mars Red Sky*
* first East Coast appearance.
Motor-driven Netherlands heavy rockers Death Alley tore their way into the consciousness with their 2015 debut album, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), on Tee Pee Records. An offering that set itself a seemingly impossible task with its title and then managed to live up to it, the record pulled together straightforward, classic-style brashness and offered an edge of spaced-out expanse that worked in a scope few groups would dare attempt, especially their first time out.
With members of Gewapend Beton, The Devil’s Blood and Mühr in the lineup, they’re not exactly inexperienced, but the energy they brought to Black Magick Boogieland and the energy they bring to the stage is fresh and righteously their own. I was fortunate enough to see them at Roadburnin 2014 (review here) and again twice this year (reviews here and here), and the progress they’ve made in that time was evident both in their sound and in the crowd they drew to watch them play. A group that obviously enjoys what they do on stage and wants you to do the same, they’ll bring vitality and push to The Obelisk All-Dayer in a way that no one else could, and maybe get a little weirdo jammy in the process. Awesome.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh an afterparty. La-di-da. Let’s all do blow and talk about Reaganomics.” Not quite what I’m going for. The show itself will run from 2:30PM until about midnight. Today I’m thrilled to announce that at 12AM, two DJs will be taking over: DJ Adzo and Walter Roadburn.
I don’t think either needs much of an introduction. Walter is of course the creative force behind the aforementioned Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands. DJ Adzo is also known as Adam from Brooklyn’s own The Golden Grass and La Otracina. Both are excellent human beings and I’m humbled they’re willing to be involved in The Obelisk All-Dayer.
From 12AM to 2AM, they’ll be spinning whatever the hell they want — classics, new stuff, stuff you know, stuff you don’t — and I feel completely comfortable trusting the taste of both of them and can’t wait to hear what they put on. After Mars Red Sky‘s headlining set, there’s still plenty of party left, and I hope you’ll stick around for it.
The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. Official poster and set times coming soon.
The first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer is set for Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY. So far the announced lineup includes Mars Red Sky for their first East Coast appearance, Snail for their first East Coast appearance, Ohio’s EYE supporting their new album, Funeral Horse for their first East Coast appearance and King Buffalo, who’ll be playing the last night of their release tour.
I’m proud and thrilled today to add Kings Destroy and Heavy Temple to the bill.
I can’t say enough about what each of these bands brings to the show, and I couldn’t be more stoked to have them involved. One thing I’ve been trying to do all along is build a genuine flow to the day that I think will make sense as one set leads to the next. It’ll make sense once the full running order is posted, but for the time being, let me just say that both these bands hold a special place in the lineup.
Here’s more on each:
There isn’t a band today I feel closer to than Brooklyn’s Kings Destroy. If you read this site at all, you probably already know that. I’ve been a nerd for these cats since their first 7″ and I’m fortunate today to consider them as friends and the bottom line is there’s just no way in hell I’d put on this show and not have them involved. They were out on tour earlier this year with Black Cobra, Lo-Pan and Bongzilla supporting their 2015 self-titled third album, for which they’ve already started writing the follow-up. They have a new 15-minute song that last I heard was about half done and they don’t know it yet, but I’m calling them out to play it at this show. The gauntlet is thrown down, gentlemen.
Oh my god, the new Heavy Temple is so good. Don’t get me wrong, I knew before I heard it that I wanted them on this bill — I’ve known it since Vultures of Volume last year, but the Philly trio have a new EP in the can and it’s absolutely stellar. They’ll open the show hopefully playing tracks from it and I expect by the time August comes around, there will be some official announcement as to the release, but even if you don’t know it yet, you’re in for a treat as they kick things off at The Obelisk All-Dayer. I shouldn’t have to tell you to get there early — looking like a 2:30PM start — but I will anyway, just to reinforce the importance of the issue. Get there early.
The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food truck on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. One more band to be announced in June, along with DJs and the running order.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last we heard from destructive New York heftmongers Mountain God, the Brooklyn three-piece were unveiling their 2015 single-song EP, Forest of the Lost. The trio have been keeping plenty busy, it would seem, as they’ve now been announced as signing to Artificial Head for the release of what will be their debut full-length after the EP and the prior 2013 demo, Experimentation on the Unwilling (review here). They’ll record in August, reportedly, and the album has been given a tentative release date of Feb. 2017 from Artificial Head, the dead of winter seeming appropriate for the disaffected malevolence in which Mountain God revel.
Vinyl will be limited to 400 copies. Expect more to come in the months ahead regarding preorders, titles, artwork, tour dates and all that other happy this-and-that that goes into releasing records these days. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what they come up with for this album. Keep your fingers crossed for creepiness:
ARTIFICIAL HEAD RECORDS WELCOMES MOUNTAIN GOD!!!
New York stoner sludge metal band Mountain God have signed with Artificial Head Records for their debut vinyl release!
Formed in 2012, the band has taken their time to unleash two releases of their sound: 2013’s “Experimentation on the Unwilling” and 2015’s “Forest of the Lost”. Both releases have rightfully earned the band its solid reputation for creating a unique style of dark, heavy psychedelic music.
Mountain God is fronted by Ben Ianuzzi (guitar, vocals) along with and Ryan Smith (drums) and Nikhil Kamineni (bass, synths).
Details on the new album are being held close to the vest — but we can reveal that: • Album is slated to be released in February 2017 • Vinyl only release of 400 copies • Bonus lathe cut 7” to be included with initial orders • Exclusive artwork to be created by New York artist, Max Kahan (maxkahan.com)
Recording for the new album will be completed this August with news on touring and more this Fall.
Posted in Reviews on April 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s much to The Golden Grass‘ credit that their second album, Coming Back Again, retains the ‘g’ at the end of the word “coming.” The Brooklynite trio seem to have a sense of just where the line is that would put them over-the-top, beyond belief, and they walk that line carefully throughout their sophomore long-player and Listenable Records debut as they did on their 2014 self-titled first outing (review here), released on Svart. That record’s primary contribution came via its overarching positivity — its material dared to be sweet, melodic, graceful, friendly and warm in a climate that reads authenticity mostly via the miserable, even as regards underground heavy music. The Golden Grass‘ boogie worked in direct opposition to that, and much to their credit at their beginning, they had the songwriting to back up their stylization. Fortunately, that remains true on Coming Back Again.
The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich, drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney and newcomer bassist/vocalist Frank Caira present six tracks/38 minutes conveniently split across two sides, tracked by Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil Productions, and geared to be as friendly, welcoming and accessible as possible, while also retaining a sense of heft to the tones and rhythmic push — if you want people to dance, give them a shove — and exploring a newfound progressive flourish in the instrumental chemistry that marks a clear, mindful step forward from the debut two years ago. That answers a big question coming into the album, since it was plain from the effort the band put into their presentation that they had no intention of standing still creatively, but it was up in the air how that progression would manifest. It’s manifested as progress. Go figure.
Crucially, as Coming Back Again moves The Golden Grass‘ sound ahead from where it was, that doesn’t come at the expense of the feelgood atmosphere or the melodic richness overall. If anything, even as the emotional context broadens with some more wistful lyrics, it deepens both the atmosphere and level of performance, as opener “Get it Together” (video premiere here) launches with an immediate rhythmic movement leading to a call and response verse from Rafalowich and Kriney, whose harmonies have only become more engaging. Psychedelic lead guitar in a quick break prefaces jams to come, but the band is looking to start out with earthier fare, and the boogie is as strong as the hook in “Get it Together.” It’s not until the break after about four minutes in that the guitar and drums begin to signal some of the sonic shift Coming Back Again will really present, building to a psych-prog swirl atop Caira‘s rock-solid bassline before Rafalowich‘s dream-tone lead takes hold, shifting back to ground in a tambourine-inclusive gallop that finishes the song. That’s a lot of ground to cover in about two minutes’ time, but The Golden Grass masterfully guide “Get it Together” to a sunshiny melodic finish and the tones fade just in time to let the jazzier “Reflections in the Glass” take hold with a smooth entrance.
Caira shines in the transition between verses, along with some keys and interwoven layers of acoustic and electric guitar — the band once again making complex ideas sound simple — and Rafalowich and Kriney execute a thoughtful vocal arrangement to add to the lushness, both easing back for a more gentle delivery than the harder rocking “Get it Together,” but still finding resolution in the last moments of “Reflections in the Glass,” guitar, bass and drums rounding out deceptively complex turns that meet head on with the launch of side A finale, “Shadow Traveler,” more immediately psychedelic. As one of two cuts on Coming Back Again over eight minutes, one might expect full-on prog exploration, but at least in its early going, “Shadow Traveler” is some of the rawest boogie here on offer, Rafalowich calling out both himself and Kriney in the lyrics — “Hey now here comes Adzo/He gonna show you how to swing” — and so he does, in one of the album’s most resonant choruses and subsequent grooves.
Much of the second half of the song is given to an extended psych jam, Rafalowich and Kriney trading lines back and forth referencing other songs on the album — “Get it Together,” “Reflections in the Glass,” the forthcoming “Down the Line” and closer “See it Through” — in a manner classic and brilliant in how it positions the first-time listener with an immediate familiarity with what they’ve just heard. After a finishing wash and crash, side B begins with the interlude “Hazy Daybreak”; two and a half-minutes interplay between far-back airy electric and progressive acoustic guitar, quiet drums, finger snaps, shaker, etc., that, sadly, doesn’t meet with any vocal harmonies on its brief path. I would not be surprised if next time, i.e., on the next album, the case turns out to be different, but if The Golden Grass are telegraphing future experimentation, they’re no less clearheaded about it than they are with their more established movements on Coming Back Again, such as the building tension of the opening to “Down the Line,” which becomes a defining piece for the album in more than just its 9:45 runtime, an early chug and vocal harmonies giving due sense of motion to the chorus “Going down the line.”
After the initial Kriney-led verses, Rafalowich takes the fore through a section past three and a half minutes in that is the departure point for an extended jam careening through psychedelic lead work and rumbling into quiet bass, drums and sparse guitar noise as it moves into the song’s midsection — the foundation of a subdued dream-prog sequence that moves back to reality via Kriney‘s toms and eventually, skillfully, brings back the verse and chorus to close out with emphasis on the control that was never lost. That makes closer “See it Through” something of a victory lap, though a subtly moodier take in the lyrics — plus another noteworthy performance from Caira — also serve as distinguishing factors. And they find room for a boogie jam as well, pushing toward the last hook with handclaps, interspliced layers of fuzz and bass, cowbell, snare and so on as they execute one final round of deceptively tight rhythmic turns while sounding like they’re smiling all the while. The push ends with a “woo!” and that’s about all that needs to be said.
As much as it affirms what The Golden Grass accomplished their first time out, Coming Back Again also leaves that record behind in terms of its ambition and the chemistry in development between Rafalowich, Kriney and Caira, who by no means sounds as new to the band in these tracks as he was when they were recorded. With a grander scope that still sounds definitively natural, The Golden Grass strike a rare balance between accessibility and progressive drive in cuts like “Shadow Traveler,” “Reflections in the Glass” and “See it Through” that, along with “Hazy Daybreak,” set a context for future growth while giving their audience songs that, in the present, are worth returning to the way one enjoys visiting good friends. They’re working toward forward movement sonically, but The Golden Grass remain a band with a deeply individual take on heavy rock, and there’s nothing else out there quite like them.
Today I’m ridiculously pleased to announce that lush progressive heavy psych rockers EYE will play the first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer on Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY.
By the time Aug. 20 gets here, EYE will have very likely issued Vision and the Ageless Light, their third full-length and first for The Laser’s Edge. The album arrives following a grueling three-year wait since EYE‘s last release, 2013’s Second Sight (review here), and features new guitarist Jon Finley and new bassist Michael Sliclen alongside founders Lisa Bella Donna (synth) and Brandon Smith (drums), embarking on an expansion of the melodically resonant poise they showed last time out and on their 2011 debut, Center of the Sun (review here).
I’ve been fortunate enough to see EYE live, and their flowing, patient, heavy and thoughtful material is a perfect fit for The Obelisk All-Dayer. If you haven’t been introduced, their latest outing was 2014’s Live at Relay (review here), which brought together two massive, 19-minute cosmic explorations captured, as the title indicates, completely on the move. The textures they’re able to create on those songs push through atmospheric boundaries to create something as spaced-out as it is plotted, and EYE steer their ship with a rare grace as they move further and further away from terra firma.
Bella Donna had this to say about playing: “We are equally excited to rip some music as well as listen during the festival. We are very big fans of The Obelisk and our full intention is to celebrate that energy and the momentum that JJ has already elevated. We have a lot of new sounds and vibes flowing in our music, so we’re excited to bring them to the already great host of music we’ll get the opportunity to listen and party to.”
EYE join the previously announced Mars Red Sky, Snail, King Buffalo and Funeral Horse on the bill for The Obelisk All-Dayer. Tickets are available now. Three more bands still TBA.
The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food truck on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. Stay tuned for announcements to follow.