Desertfest NYC 2019 First Lineup Announcement: Windhand, Elder, Monolord, The Skull, The Atomic Bitchwax, Danava, Mirror Queen, Worshipper and Dommengang to Play

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

DESERTFEST NYC 2019 BANNER

I’m not trying to toot my own horn here or anything, but I’ve been posting about Desertfest lineups pretty much since the whole thing started. And to me, this already looks like a Desertfest. The first lineup announcement for Desertfest NYC 2019 has been made, and the inaugural New York incarnation of the festival brand in partnership with Sound of Liberation and Tee Pee Records seems to represent multiple sides well. Windhand and their new Relapse labelmates Monolord are given prominent showing, as are Elder — because, let’s face it, if you’re running the first-ever Desertfest on US soil and you don’t get Elder to play, you’re fucking up — and Tee Pee Records is well represented with the likes of The Skull, The Atomic Bitchwax, Danava, Mirror Queen and Worshipper.

Rounding out the bill are L.A.’s Dommengang, who would seem to be the odd band out, but one listen to their Love Jail album that Thrill Jockey put out and you’ll see it’s no mystery why they’re here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wound up touring east with another West Coast band — Danava come immediately to mind — but of course nothing to that effect has been announced and I’m just speculating.

Point is it’s already a solid bill and in addition to the bands, we now know that the venues involved will be the Saint Vitus Bar and The Well. I’ll have more on the lineup and whatnot as soon as I see it, but early bird tickets are on sale now at the long link below.

Dig it:

DESERTFEST NYC 2019 POSTER

FIRST ACTS ANNOUNCED FOR DF NYC + EARLY-BIRDS NOW ON SALE! We are stoked to welcome Windhand, Elder, Monolord, The Skull, The Atomic Bitchwax, DANAVA, Mirror Queen, Worshipper & Dommengang to the first edition of Desertfest New York – Taking place at Saint Vitus Bar on Friday 26th April and The Well on Saturday 27th April + Sunday 28th April.

A limited amount of 3-day early-bird passes are available for $65 via the below link – https://www.ticketweb.com/event/desertfest-nyc-2019-the-well-tickets/8942735?pl=thewell&fbclid=IwAR28zNtuppWWRVoi3vCXRkeGIg4wOD4FShfPgjbIPDGiOGPDOzbL2vj_UWE

Artwork by the wildly talented Mercerrock (Brian Mercer Design)

https://facebook.com/Desertfestnyc/
http://www.desertfest.nyc/

Monolord, Rust (2017)

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Desertfest NYC Announced for April 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Well, here we are. Rumors have been kicking around for years about a Desertfest brand extension happening in the US, and the question of where has finally been answered. Seems to me it could’ve just as easily been the West Coast, but as the Desertfest crew are partnering with Tee Pee Records to make it happen, it could really only be Brooklyn. I can’t wait to find out what venues will be involved. The fest is set for April 2019 with the lineup still to be announced.

With the advent of Desertfest NYC 2019, New York joins the ranks of London, Berlin, Antwerp and Athens in playing host to a Desertfest. It’s no minor honor, and it says a lot about not only how this festival has grown into one of the premier event brands in underground heavy, but also how the American underground itself has come up over the course of this decade. No way a Desertfest NYC happens in 2013. Now? It only seems to make perfect sense.

So who will play? What will the interaction be like between Desertfest NYC and the flagship fests a couple weeks later in London and Berlin? Can I go? Can I get a photo pass? How does this economic boon compare to Amazon going to Long Island City for one of its new headquarters? All of these questions will be answered in time, and of course more are waiting to be asked.

For now, it exists. That’s enough to give me a rare moment of patriotic pride.

Here’s the announcement:

Desertfest nyc

DESERTFEST NEW YORK IS HERE

Europe’s leading stoner rock, doom, sludge and psych festival adds another city to its books with the very first U.S. weekender, taking place April 26th-28th 2019 in Brooklyn, New York.
Line-up, venues and tickets revealed next Friday 23rd Nov 10am EST/3pm GMT

Tee Pee Records | Desertfest London | DesertFest Berlin | Desertfest Belgium

https://facebook.com/Desertfestnyc/
http://www.desertfest.nyc/

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Godmaker & Somnuri, Split LP: Excerpts and Edges

Posted in Reviews on November 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

godmaker somnuri split

Madness ensues. Some splits seem like a nightmare to set up. Bands are on opposite sides of the planet, have disparate sounds, there are different labels involved, all this extra whatnot before anyone actually gets to the process of writing songs. I’d imagine Godmaker and Somnuri getting together for a split LP released through The Company was easier. Like sending a text: “So, split?” “Sure.” Followed by the booking of studio time. The two bands, both of whom are based in Brooklyn, tap into a progressive take on New York’s long-established concrete-crunch noise rock, and both bands showcase considerable forward-forward-forward aesthetic ambition in their two included songs on this 30-minute offering. But even more than whatever commonalities exist in terms of geography, sound and intent, these dudes know each other. They’re not strangers assembled together haphazardly.

Check the lineups. Godmaker is guitarist/vocalists Pete Ross (ex-Cleanteeth) and Carmine Laietta (ex-Hull), bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Andrew Archey (Fashion Week) and drummer Jon Lane (ex-Bröhammer), and their 13-minute “An Excerpt” features guest vocals from Kurt Applegate (Family). Meantime, Somnuri are guitarist/vocalist Justin Sherrell (ex-Bezoar, Blackout), bassist Drew Mack (ex-Hull) and drummer Phil SanGiacomo (ex-Family). If you took everyone’s bands and put them all on a bill together you could have a festival at the Saint Vitus Bar. Granted you’d have to get a couple reunions going, but I think the point stands; it isn’t exactly anyone’s first time at the dance. And frankly, both Godmaker and Somnuri sound like it.

Godmaker released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014, and Somnuri had their own (review here) last year, but regardless of the timing, the two bands both inhabit the modern sphere of New York noise, informed not only by the likes of Unsane, but by sludge and post-metal, by sundry other genres and experiences. The result is a sense of atmosphere to complement the aggressive push in both acts that remains coherent from one to the next, and as Godmaker‘s cover of Portishead‘s “Over” gives way to Somnuri‘s “Over and Out,” the ties there seem to extend beyond the title similarities.

So okay, they fit well together. Fair enough. Actually makes a lot of sense they’d get together for a joint release. As for the madness noted at the outset, that’s really more down to the audio itself. The chief impression I carried out of Godmaker‘s self-titled four years ago was one of scathe. It was skin-peelingly abrasive, but their “An Excerpt” hones a more patient delivery, unfolding with a buzzing tension beneath a steady guitar line and nonetheless enacting a fluidity around this darker theme. Recorded and mixed by Tom Tierney at Spaceman Sound, when it kicks in with a full-toned nod at about 90 seconds, barking vocals over top for a first verse that soon shifts into a chorus that reminds of Meatjack taking on the Melvins — that’s pretty specific, so I’m going to guess it’s sonic coincidence — it makes a return to the verse and the chorus for a second runthrough before shifting into the more complex aspects of its structure, introducing cleaner vocals amid screams and a chugging instrumental surge that gives way to winding triumph and, right about at the halfway mark, a falling apart of the proceedings entirely.

They crash out to near-silence with quiet bass and guitar setting the stage for the build back up — one can’t help but be reminded of Hull‘s layered-vocal victories here — as they shove toward and through the apex and set themselves on the final outward march that consumes the last two minutes, dedicating the final of them to sustained crashes and noise. After that, I’d question the necessity of the Portishead cover, but it’s listed as a “bonus track,” and I guess if you’ve got the space on the record, use it. They bring a beefed-up arrangement to “Over,” which appeared on Portishead‘s 1997 self-titled full-length, and include samples and a current of foreboding that comes through the cleaner vocals early and the later screams the accompany. It’s a welcome enough touch and shows a breadth of influence on the part of Godmaker, which is no doubt part of the reason it’s there, but “An Excerpt” is the highlight without question.

Somnuri answer back with two originals of their own in “Over and Out” and “Edge of the Forest,” neither of which hits the runtime of Godmaker‘s “An Excerpt,” but both of which find the trio building on the promise of their first record and bringing together a dynamic that benefits from the chemistry burgeoning among the players. Sherrell, who drummed in Bezoar and plays bass in Blackout, seems to be the kind of player who can handle just about any task he might take on in a band. Vocallly he’s in easy command in switching between clean and harsh lines, and his tone and that of Mack are both righteously thick without being indistinguishable from each other — Jeff Berner recorded at Studio G, while SanGiacomo mixed. “Over and Out” moves in its second half to a tight chug and weaves a lead line overhead to give a tonal contrast, and concludes with a full-brunt crush that’s absolutely punishing.

“Edge of the Forest” is longer by nearly three full minutes at 7:21, and uses some of that time to set up a more patient buildup à la Godmaker earlier with the crash-in happening right around the two-minute mark with far-back clean vocals reminding of the last Akimbo (yes, I know: wrong coast, but they were writing about New Jersey, so eat me) before the slow roars and screams drop in the midsection to atmospheric guitar leading not to a build, but a sudden slam forward that is propelled by the drums through a fierce but still controlled crescendo given vicious screams before a final return to the chug that first enveloped after that midsection quiet part gives a last-minute sense of symmetry and the piece ends on a notably progressive assault. The temptation with a split is to think of the bands involved in competition with each other, and maybe that’s what’s happening with Godmaker and Somnuri here, but the fact of the matter is both offer an intricacy of style that adds depth to their raw and sometimes angular heaviness. They work better together than they do as adversaries, in other words, and the aim in this split seems not to be to find them pitted against each other, but acting in unison toward their shared goal of conveying some of the best aspects on New York’s modern noise movement. It’s a thoughtful madness.

Godmaker on Thee Facebooks

Godmaker on Instagram

Godmaker on Bandcamp

Somnuri on Thee Facebooks

Somnuri on Instagram

Somnuri on Bandcamp

The Company webstore

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Friday Full-Length: Type O Negative, October Rust

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Type O Negative, October Rust (1996)

I hereby claim this album in the name of doom. Do I have any right or authority to do that? Nope, but it’s out there now and there’s no going back.

It’s not such a stretch anyway. Type O Negative released October Rust on Roadrunner Records in 1996 as the follow-up to 1993’s Bloody Kisses, an album that at least in the New York market produced successful radio singles in songs like “Christian Woman” and “Black No. 1.” Seems unfathomable now, but a quarter-century ago, that kind of thing happened, and I remember it distinctly because I was a 12-year-old boy calling Q104.3 incessantly to request them. The station even let me on the air a couple times in recorded intros to the songs on their nightly top-five countdown or whatever it was. They said I sounded good. Pubescent-me was stoked in a way that still makes me smile.

I was in high school when October Rust came out and the album hit me as few have. It was a bridge between my Beatles fandom and the appreciation for heavy metal I couldn’t help but develop as the wake of grunge found my weirdo-dork-ass looking for something angrier to relate to. By the time October Rust was released as the Brooklyn band’s fourth overall full-length, they weren’t as aggro as they had been on, say, “Kill All the White People,” but songs like “Love You to Death,” the woefully catchy “Green Man” and “Red Water (Christmas Mourning)” were lush in a way that was enticing, their arrangements thoughtful, sweeping and commanding while still remaining heavy in tone and presence. The bass fuzz from Peter Steele at the start of “Be My Druidess” remains a swaggering showcase of unmatched tone: “Here it is, fools. Good luck trying to top it.” And if anyone has, I’m not sure who it would be. Where Bloody Kisses, 1992’s The Origin of the Feces and 1991’s Slow Deep and Hard were all pretty raw in their basic sound, October Rust didn’t shy away from being over-the-top in its production any more than it did in the sexual mischief of “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend,” “Be My Druidess” and “Wolf Moon (Including Zoanthropic Paranoia),” etc. The album’s 15-track — three of which are gags; I always thought the phrasing in track two of “We’d like to thank you for picking up our latest recording of October Rust” was a little odd, as though there’d been some earlier recording of it — and 72-minute runtime is daunting but never monotonous, the songwriting of Steele and his ever-malleable low register vocals complemented by the guitar/voice work of Kenny Hickey, the drums of Johnny Kelly and the keyboard/backing vocals of Josh Silver, who remains the unsung hero of the band in songs like “Love You to Death,” “Red Water (Christmas Mourning),” “Die with Me,” on and on.

But as to what makes October Rust doom, the arguments are myriad and largely pointless. Yes, Type O Negative play slow. Yes, they tune low. Yes, they’re clearly influenced by Black Sabbath as well as the aforementioned Beatles — they covered “Paranoid” by the former and “Day Tripper” by the latter, daringly bringing their own take to both — and like a lot of releases that were outliers while still being considered under the general umbrella of “metal” at their time, October Rust is never overly aggressive. Closer “Haunted” stretches just past the 10-minute mark and is among the most atmospheric songs they ever composed, and though the earlier stretch in “Be My Druidess,” the dance-y single “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” and their cover of Neil Young‘s “Cinnamon Girl” are uptempo, the crux of the album, especially in the context of what was then happening in the band’s echelon of heavy music — certainly Kyuss were on a major label and Black Sabbath were about to reunite with Ozzy, but there was nobody really bringing goth theatricality and doom together in the way Type O did — remains more about composition than aggression. They were a standout. More than two decades on from this album’s release, they still are.

Does it matter? Not really. The language of subgenre didn’t really exist at the time in the way it does now — the internet, social media, blah blah — btype o negative october rustut the bottom line is any angle you take it from, October Rust plows through whatever critique you might want to apply.

Much of the focus on it remains on songs like “Love You to Death,” “Be My Druidess,” “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” and “Cinnamon Girl,” but for me, the greatest impact comes between the latter two in that list, with the three-song punch of “Die with Me,” “Burnt Flowers Fallen” and “In Praise of Bacchus,” each of which shows a character, emotionality and craft that’s simply in a league of its own. I still can’t enter a European airport without hearing Steele‘s verse, “Hey KLM, AT&T/The UK post-system/Do you still love me” play in the mental jukebox from “Die with Me,” and the hooks of “Burnt Flowers Fallen” were deceptively simple and surrounded by guitar and bass brimming with tonal vitality pushed forward by drums (or was it drum machine?) at a pace that filled the gap between the slower and faster material around it. And “In Praise of Bacchus?” It stands as one of the best songs Type O Negative ever wrote, and they wrote a few good ones along the way. That 21-minute stretch has come to define for me everything that works best about October Rust in melody and the poise of execution that makes the record so enduringly special. It was never just about the hits.

They come back on after “Haunted” to let Steele say with typical performed self-deprecation, “I hope it wasn’t too disappointing…” and while an afterthought, that little bookend with the untitled second track after the white noise goof of “Bad Ground” winds up tying October Rust together with a sense of completion that shows that as far into the wash as they go at the end of what’s essentially the album’s grand finale — if one suddenly cut off; cold endings abound — they never lose sight of their overall purpose. I don’t know if it would be right to call October Rust mature given the pervasive sense of multi-tiered chicanery at work, but it was a huge step forward in their approach and aesthetic even from where they’d been three years before and a rare instance in which a band took commercial viability not as a cue to water down their output to reach as many people as possible, but to expand their sonic palette and create something richer on the whole.

They would answer October Rust in 1998 with the After Dark video and 1999’s World Coming Down, which chronicled Steele‘s cocaine addiction in “White Slavery” at the outset and made a running theme of it from there on. 2003’s subsequent Life is Killing Me was a triumph, casting off the residuals of goth in favor of a well-claimed sound and songwriting process that was entirely their own, and 2007’s Dead Again offered an actually-mature Type O Negative in songs like “The Profit of Doom,” “September Sun” and “Tripping a Blind Man” while seeing Hickey come to the fore on vocals more often in complement to Steele with a riffier approach overall. Steele of course passed away April 14, 2010 — I was in a depot in the UK waiting to take a ferry to the Netherlands for my second Roadburn Festival when I heard; all flights were canceled owing to the volcano Eyjafjallajökull — and Hickey and Kelly (the latter of whom also joined Danzig) went on to form Seventh Void which eventually begat Silvertomb, who toured last month with fellow Brooklynite Roadrunner vets Life of Agony ahead of a presumed eventual album release.

Being as seasonal as it is, I felt the need to get this one in before October ends. Doom or not, it’s a record that feels like home to me. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Yesterday was The Pecan’s first birthday. One year. He spent most of the day refusing to nap, but had a little bit of brownie before the bedtime ritual — we put toys/books away, change diaper, brush teeth, sing “C is for Cookie” and then say goodnight — and we sang to him like you do. The real parties were last weekend in New Jersey and this weekend in Connecticut, so it was kind of just a little thing on this end. We gave him a pillow shaped like a grilled cheese sandwich and a clacker out of a toy instrument pack we bought last weekend. He seemed to dig both and demolished the brownie, so there you go.

Thanks to any and everyone who has yet checked out The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. That’s been a lot of fun to put together thus far and I’m going to keep it going for as long as they let me.

And thanks to any and everyone who’s bought a shirt from Dropout Merch so far. I’ve been talking about getting another design or two together, so I’ll hope to have more news on that front soon.

Next week, there are premieres coming from Frozen Planet….1969CraneiumHoly Grove and Empress as well as a review of the new album from Castle, but I might go hit a show this weekend, so that would bump the schedule of other stuff and you’ll pardon me if I don’t do full notes as a result of that. I got invited and sometimes it’s nice to go someplace when you’re invited.

I’ll leave it there since this post is already longer than I intended and it’s past 5AM. I pushed my alarm from 2:30 to 3AM all week and it did me much good. Going to keep that up for a while and see if I can get away with it and still make it through the day.

Okay. Thanks for reading and please have a great and safe weekend. Don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Rattlesnake Announce Time is Come EP; Stream Title-Track

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

rattlesnake

Brooklyn’s Rattlesnake get pretty raw on their new EP, Time is Come, as you can hear in the title-track streaming at the bottom of this post. The song itself starts off with howling guitar and a chugging bassline, but opens up soon to a full-on strut riff with swinging drums behind leading to bluesy verses and a brash chorus. Given the Southern heavy ’70s aesthetic, the barebones production value reminds of a soundboard bootleg of some lost live show you’d buy on tape at the flea market — the setlist typed out on the Maxell cover with a typewriter — but it still showcases what’s paramount in the track itself, which is the melodic vocals of guitarist JP Gilbert, bassist Don Berger and drummer Adam Kriney. The interweaving lines and harmonies are elements carried over from the band’s 2017 mission-statement debut EP, Outlaw Boogie (review here), as well as from their earlier-2018 single Dirt in My Eyes/Picture Perfect (discussed here), as well as from Kriney‘s other current outfit, The Golden Grass. It works in context here as well.

The new release is pressed to CD-R with the tracks from the prior two EPs included, and Rattlesnake have shows booked in Brooklyn and Philly this month, as the PR wire informs:

rattlesnake time is come

RATTLESNAKE “Time Is Come” EP

In For The Kill Records is proud to announce the release of “Time Is Come”, the 3rd EP released by Brooklyn based heavy rockers RATTLESNAKE! Incorporating elements of Southern Rock, Proto-Metal, Progressive Rock, and a classic American 70’s hard boogie strut, the power trio harnesses an earnest and honest energy that soars with harmonious vocals and glides through dexterous musical passages evoking the timeless dusty echoes of their musical forefathers! This three song EP emits a warm analogue feel, capturing the group laying down their contemporary vision, without referencing modernity or the slickness of over-produced digital gloss; it’s real, rough and raw! Featuring two original cuts, the EP also shows their American boogie take on the ROSE TATTOO classic “Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw”!

Released in an edition of 100 pro-printed CD-Rs, the EP also features 5 bonus tracks comprising their 2 earlier EPs, which includes the 3 song “Outlaw Boogie” cassette (2017) and the 2 songs from their recently issued “Dirt In My Eyes”/”Picture Perfect” 7” (2018). Highly recommended for fans of BLACKFOOT, THE OUTLAWS, POINT BLANK, MOLLY HATCHET, WISHBONE ASH & HYDRA!

Upcoming RATTLESNAKE performances:
Thur Oct 25 at Coney Island Baby/NY/NY w/ Mick’s Jaguar + Black Magic Flower Power (https://www.facebook.com/events/1977317558992360/)

Sat Oct 27 at Ortleibs/Philadelphia/PA w/ Green Meteor (https://www.facebook.com/events/2173828045985012/)

Rattlesnake is:
Adam Kriney – drums/lead & backing vocals
JP Gilbert – guitar/lead & backing vocals
Don Berger – bass guitar/backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/RattlesnakeBoogie69
https://rattlesnakeboogie69.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/InForTheKillRecords
http://inforthekillrecords.bigcartel.com

Rattlesnake, “Time is Come”

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Eternal Black to Record New Album in November; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

New York doom torchbearers Eternal Black play Descendants of Crom next weekend in Pennsylvania, and they’ve got a date locked in for Brooklyn near the end of October, but one assumes the rest of their time will be spent putting the finishing touches on their sophomore full-length before entering the studio in November to put the thing to tape. They’re giving a kind of barebones here’s-a-riff-dig-it preview of what’s to come in a rehearsal room clip of the track “The Ghost.” The album will be recorded with the same team that helmed their 2017 debut, Bleed the Days (review here), and they’re currently looking for a label to help them put it out. Frankly it’s hard to imagine someone won’t pick them up for the release, which would presumably be in 2019, because, well, it’s almost 2019 anyway and these things take time.

They sent the following update down the PR wire:

eternal black

Eternal Black Return To The Studio In November 2018 To Record Follow-Up To Their Debut Full-Length Album, Bleed The Days

Preview Of New Track “The Ghost,” Seeking Record Label

Brooklyn-based doom band ETERNAL BLACK will begin recording their second full length album in November 2018. Comprised of seven new songs, the as-yet untitled album is the follow-up to their debut album, Bleed the Days. Rehearsal footage of a new track, “The Ghost,” is now available on YouTube.

Eternal Black will once again be working with the production team of Joe Kelly and Kol Marshall (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Ministry) at Suburban Elvis Studios. The duo has produced all of Eternal Black’s studio recordings including Bleed the Days and their self-titled EP. “We are fired up and ready to head North to reconvene with our brothers Joe and Kol,” the band comments. “The material for this new album is a big step forward in the evolution of the E.B. sound. The dark parts are darker, the groovy parts are groovier. As before we are dragging doom back to its roots while still driving it forward. But this time around the songwriting is more concise and punchier.”

The band is seeking a record label to work with them on the release of the new album. Interested parties should contact the band via eternalblackdoom@gmail.com or their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/blackhanddoom).

Formed in late 2014, Eternal Black is made up of Joe Wood on drums (Borgo Pass, Bloody Sabbath), Hal Miller on bass, and Ken Wohlrob (End of Hope) on guitar and vocals. The group came together out of a desire to create dark songs driven by fuzz-drenched riffs and old-school heavy grooves.

Eternal Black live:
Sep 23
Eternal Black, Mountain Tamer, Matte Black, EDGE Gigging Crew
PIANOS · New York, New York

Sep 28
Descendants of Crom 2018
Sep 28-29 · Cattivo · Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania

Oct 26
Eternal Black – Yatra – It’s Not Night It’s Space – Seasick Gladiator
Lucky 13 Saloon · New York, New York

http://eternalblackdoom.com
https://eternalblack.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/blackhanddoom
https://instagram.com/eternalblackdoom/
https://soundcloud.com/eternalblackdoom
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07476RQL8/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bleed-the-days/1263331681
https://open.spotify.com/album/4AgiDSE4pDn4nSc9CsqxZG

Eternal Black, “The Ghost” rehearsal room demo

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Insect Ark Post “Tarnish” Video; Touring East and West Coasts

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

insect ark (Photo by Rennie Elliot)

I was fortunate enough to watch a couple minutes of Insect Ark at Roadburn earlier this year from way, way in the back of the Cul de Sac venue in the Netherlands, and I ran into band founder/multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter later on or the next day or whenever it was and told her, “Your band is fucking awesome.” Usually one tries to be reserved. I nonetheless stand by the statement.

Earlier this year, Schechter, who handles lap steel, bass, synth, etc., and drummer/synth noisemaker Ashley Spungin released the second Insect Ark album, Marrow Hymns, through Profound Lore. It’s the first collaboration between the two players under the Insect Ark banner — the first full-length, 2015’s Portal/Well (review here), was Schechter alone — and through the Earthly drone ramble of “In the Nest” to the practically-noise-rock “Skin Walker,” which follows and into the insect ark marrow hymnsminimalist, post-metallic reaches of “Slow Ray,” which has a proclivity for holding tension worthy of comparison to Neurosis, it’s an evocative, inspirational outing that refuses genre convention in favor of its own strength of creative will. With the ambient introduction of “Thelema” setting a foreboding tone and “Arp 9” following with an immediate burst of bass/drum angularity of groove, there’s as much atmospheric as there is tonal heft, but with the layered-in lap steel, an airy high end seems to float through the places vocals might otherwise go.

Marrow Hymns can be crushing, but listening to Spungin‘s tom work in “Sea Harps” and how it opens to a mid-level payoff in the cymbals before she and Schechter lock in a march beneath swells of guitar, it’s not overdone, amp-worshiping claustrophobia. And though it’s clearly progressive in the sense of having thought behind it, it’s not overly cerebral and staid as some post-metal has a tendency to be. It’s titled correctly. Marrow Hymns. It goes right to the bone and sings from what’s inside there. Some of it is gorgeous, some of it isn’t, but whatever it is, it’s honest, and as the drumless “Tarnish” moves into the patient and consuming highlight “Windless” and the drone-fight synth-barrage that is closer “Daath,” Insect Ark only seem to be plunging even deeper into that visceral, often lonely reality. Marrow Hymns is powerful. A living thing.

And all the more exciting because although they’ve been working together since 2015 it’s the first studio expression of Insect Ark as a duo. I wouldn’t at all expect them to make the same record twice, but it seems entirely likely that Marrow Hymns, for its many accomplishments, will also serve as a stepping-off point to the next stage in Insect Ark‘s ongoing progression. An outfit like this simply doesn’t stay still.

To a less figurative end of that, Insect Ark will be on tour this month and into September, hitting the West Coast first followed by the East. Dates follow the “Tarnish” video below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Insect Ark, “Tarnish” official video

New York/Portland instrumental duo, INSECT ARK, will bring their psalms to the live stage later this month on a North American tour en route to their performance at this year’s edition of Basilica Soundscape in Hudson, New York. The band will perform an all drone set August 11th in Salem, Oregon at Cemetary Soundscapes Fest before kicking of the first official leg of the tour with Belus August 15th in Olympia, Washington. The trek will run through August 19th in Los Angeles, California. The second leg of the trek begins August 29h in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and will find the band paired with Pandiscordian Necrogenesis through September 6th in Brooklyn, New York. See all confirmed dates below.

INSECT ARK released their Marrow Hymns full-length early this year via Profound Lore. An alluring fusion of horror-film soundtracks, psychedelic doom, and atmospheric noise, INSECT ARK’s intensely visual music weaves interludes of fragile beauty with crushing passages of swirling doom, spinning like a backwards fever dream.

INSECT ARK:
8/11/2018 Cemetary Soundscapes Fest @ The Burial Grounds – Salem, OR (drone set)
w/ Belus:
8/15/2018 Cryptatropa – Olympia, WA w/ Eye of Nix, Vouna
8/16/2018 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Eye of Nix, Forest of Grey
8/17/2018 High Water Mark – Portland, OR w/ Jason W. Walton, Dark Numbers
8/18/2018 Golden Bull – Oakland, CA w/ Ails, Apprentice Destroyer
8/19/2018 The Resident – Los Angeles, CA w/ Graf Orlock, Toke
w/ Pandiscordian Necrogenesis:
8/29/2018 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA w/ Dopethrone, Crud, Hellrad
8/30/2018 Atlas Brew Works – Wash DC w/ Crowhurst, The Holy Circle
8/31/2018 Full Pint Wild Side – Pittsburgh, PA
9/01/2018 Intersection Fest 2018 – Toronto, CA (free/all ages)
9/03/2018 Casa Del Popolo – Montreal, CA w/ Echo Beach
9/04/2018 Paulys Hotel – Albany, NY w/ Foisy-Hardiman
9/05/2018 Obrien – Boston, MA w/ Sea, Greylock
9/06/2018 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ Queen Elephantine
9/14-16/2018 Basilica Soundscape Festival 2018 – Hudson, NY *INSECT ARK only

Residing on opposite coasts, the two halves of the INSECT ARK whole – comprised of Dana Schechter (bass, lap steel guitar, synthesizers) and Ashley Spungin (drums, synthesisers) – converged to record the album with engineer Ethan Donaldson at Mozart St Studios in Brooklyn, New York over the course of eighteen months.

Insect Ark, Marrow Hymns (2018)

Insect Ark website

Insect Ark on Thee Facebooks

Insect Ark on Bandcamp

Profound Lore Records website

Profound Lore Records on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

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HAAN to Release By the Grace of Blood and Guts in August; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

haan

Oh, New York noise rock. You are timeless. You are crunchy. And you are mad, pretty much about being from New York. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. The rent’s too damn high and what used to be your favorite Chinese takeout place is now an artisanal meatball shop for cats. Such is the way of things, all carefully planned out to serve our capitalist rentier class overlords, so what’re you gonna do but plug in the instruments that you paid hard cash money for and make a lot of noise. Noise rock is like New York’s recourse to itself.

So maybe that’s where HAAN are getting the aggro vibes from. I’d say it’s in the water, but it’s in everything. Their album, By the Grace of Blood and Guts, will be out on Aqualamb Records in August in the label’s traditional format of the 100-page artbook, and the band will play the release show for it at the Saint Vitus Bar on Aug. 17 as the first night of a tour that goes to Aug. 25 in Detroit.

The PR wire puts it like this:

haan by the grace of blood and guts

One great peril in hard rock genre-hopping is that an inept band can simply end up diluting all of its sources of inspiration which, let’s be honest, is what happens more often than not. To synthesize something genuinely exciting, adept musicians need to obliterate the lines between genres rather than merely straddling them.

New York City’s HAAN understands this perfectly.

Initially founded as the quintet No Way in 2012, the group’s core trio of guitarist Jordan Melkin, bassist Dave Maffei, and drummer Chris Enriquez (now Andrew Gottlieb) explored a noisy post-punk inspired by the guitar daredevilry of Drive Like Jehu before embracing the crushing riffage of their bludgeon-rock forebears like Unsane and Deadguy. Dirgy psychedelia found its way into the mix as well, and there are even traces of southern-fried swamp rock grooves in their sound —and all of this is buttressed by a spine forged from the heaviest of metal.

Adding singer Chuck Berrett and adopting the name HAAN from a complex Korean term signifying collective feelings of isolation, injustice, melancholy, and insurmountable oppression, they announced their existence to the world in 2014 with the brutal and amazing cassette E.P. “Sing Praises.” In a mere four tracks, the band issued a remarkably clear statement of purpose-it’s a piledriver of an E.P.; dark, dirty, punishing, but richly complex, sharp-sounding, and utterly riveting. The cassette sold out quickly, but Finland’s notorious purveyors of noisy rock, the Kaos Kontrol label, released a vinyl edition that remains in print.

HAAN’s new album, “By the Grace of Blood and Guts,” ” is due in August on Aqualambrecords, a label that’s distinguished itself by releasing albums accompanied by 100-page art books, but BTGOBAG will also be released on gorgeous limited edition clear black smoke vinyl. Fans of “Sing Praises” will rejoice to hear that the full-length delivers the same kicks —Maffei and drummer Enriquez deftly manage the twin tasks of battery and fluidity while Melkin punctuates savage riffing with noisy passages that recall the mind-bending guitar needling of Daughters. Berrett channels a range of effective vocal stylings from that recall everything from the brawny expressiveness of Iron Maiden’s Paul Di’Anno all the way to the rhythmic incantations of Clutch’s Neil Fallon, and his way with a turn of phrase is undeniable as he conjures HAAN’s fight songs for the apocalypse.

“By the Grace of Blood and Guts” was engineered at Spaceman Sound in Brooklyn by Tom Tierney & Alex Mead-Fox (A Place to Bury Strangers, Kid Millions), and mastered by Chicago’s Carl Saff (Fu Manchu, Child Bite, Unsane). The INTENSE illustrations for the vinyl sleeve and art book were executed by vocalist Berrett.

TRACK LISTING

1. Thy Tongues 3:56
2. Hyena Moan 3:05
3. It Smells Like Gas 2:01
4. Zero Day 7:03
5. The Woke 4:42
6. Hangdog 4:07
7. Diminuendo 3:02
8. Funeral Song 5:52

HAAN:
Chuck Berrett – Vocals
Dave Maffei – Bass
Jordan Melkin – Guitar
Andrew Gottleib – Drums

HAAN will be touring with Finnish noise rockers Throat this August.

SUMMER TOUR DATES With Throat (Finland)
8/17 – Brooklyn, NY (record release) – Saint Vitus with Netherlands and Couch Slut
8/18 – Philadelphia, PA – The Barbary with Faking and Body Spray
8/19 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar with Birth (Defects) + TBA
8/20 – Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern + TBA
8/21 – Madison, WI – Art Inn with Coordinated Suicides + TBA
8/22 – Minneapolis, MN – Hexagon Bar with Tongue Party and Buildings
8/23 – Chicago, IL – The Burlington with War Brides and Salvation
8/24 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club – Triple Eye Festival 3 with Them Teeth, Knaaves and Dead is Dead
8/25 – Detroit, MI – Cellarman’s Brewery with Them Teeth and Those Hounds

https://www.facebook.com/haannyc/
https://haan-nyc.bandcamp.com/
http://www.aqualamb.org/
http://twitter.com/aqualamborg

HAAN, “Hyena Moan” official video

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