Snail Post “Thou Art That” Live Video from The Obelisk All-Dayer

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

snail photo adam donnelly

I really think Snail should release their set from last year’s The Obelisk All-Dayer. I’ve never started any kind of online petition, and I’m not usually one to go fishing for comments — because I live in terror that I wouldn’t get any — but yeah, you can check out the video of their 10-minute epic roller “Thou Art That” from the show and if you agree with me that the whole set should see at least a digital release or a limited tape or something, please leave a comment on this post. I’m not saying if we hit a certain number of comments they’ll put something out, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. Right?

“Thou Art That” was a highlight of 2015’s Feral (review here), which came out on Small Stone and was the perfect occasion for the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson, bassist Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson to hit the East Coast for the first time in their 20-years-plus history. They absolutely killed it at the show, with what seemed to me to be the night’s biggest crowd, and though I’d seen them on a rare tour years before in San Francisco (review here), this was obviously something special. I was lucky they could make the trip to play.

This isn’t the first live video they’ve posted from the All-Dayer either though. They had one for the title-track of 2009’s Blood (review here) that came out at the beginning of the year as well, so “Thou Art That” — shot by David Strayer with board-recorded audio by Jaime Traba and additional production from Matt Lynch — is the second time they’ve teased the prospect of doing something with that material. I already offered to write the liner notes for a tape or any other kind of release. Come on, guys. This one needs to happen.

I’ve been kicking around ideas for a second The Obelisk All-Dayer for the better part of the last year. Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn was on board last I checked, but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do again, especially with a baby on the way. We’ll see. If you have an opinion on the matter, I’d love to hear it.

Oh, and if you see some schmo down in the front rocking out at the end of “Thou Art That,” well clearly that’s just somebody who very, very much enjoyed the set. Ha.

Dig it:

Snail, “Thou Art That” Live at The Obelisk All-Dayer

The almighty SNAIL playing live at The Obelisk All Dayer in Brooklyn NYC 8-20-2016.

Video: David Strayer
Audio: Jaime Traba
Production: Matt Lynch

Snail, Feral (2015)

Snail on Thee Facebooks

Snail website

Snail at Small Stone Records

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Blaak Heat Post “Marr El Kallam” Video; The Arabian Fuzz 7″ Preorder Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

blaak heat photo jorge pereira

Transient heavy psych rockers Blaak Heat will release their new single, The Arabian Fuzz, Aug. 18 via Svart Records. It’s just two songs — one per side, of course — and they’re both only four and a half minutes long, but I feel like one would be hard-pressed to overstate just how far the release goes in expanding what was already the broad palette of Blaak Heat‘s sound. Now a four-piece led by founding guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier with Nicolas Heller on guitar, Guillame Theoden on bass and Michael Amster on drums, they follow last year’s Shifting Mirrors (review here) third full-length on Tee Pee Records by delving even further into the Middle Eastern influences that they’ve paired with desert rock tonality and groove since making their self-titled debut (review here) in 2010.

Simple truth of the matter is that from that point on, whether it was the EP The Storm Generation (review here) that marked their arrival on Tee Pee in 2012 or the subsequent blaak heat the arabian fuzz2013 long-player, The Edge of an Era (review here), Blaak Heat have never failed to engage in willful progression from release to release. Part of that has involved looking outside the band for guest contributions. On The Storm Generation, it was beat poet Ron Whitehead ranting away. On The Edge of an Era, Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson made a landmark of a guest spot on the memorable “Pelham Blue.” Shifting Mirrors got away from that in terms of performers — one could argue that the band’s working with producer Matt Hyde would invariably result in an outside perspective influence of a different kind — but The Arabian Fuzz brings them together with Jordanian ethnomusicologist Fareed Al-Madain, who contributes Arabic-language vocals to the A-side of the 7″ on a song called “Marr El Kallam.”

The video below translates at least some of the lyrics he’s singing, and a social theme permeates, but I’m not sure exactly what the title would be in English. Doesn’t matter, ultimately. What’s more important on both “Marr El Kallam” and its accompanying organ-laced instrumental B-side “Al-Andalus” is that Blaak Heat are continuing to push themselves into new sonic territory, and in just a span of nine minutes, they offer something to their listeners/viewers they’ve never done before in a fashion that’s as bold as it is mature as it is confident of its own approach. There are very few bands in the US or European heavy psychedelic underground willing to take such chances, let alone see those chances so thoroughly pay off.

Blaak Heat have a host of festival appearances coming up, including SonicBlast Moledo in Portugal next month and a stop at the inaugural Emerald Haze festival — co-presented by The Obelisk — the first weekend in September. Dates, complete performing lineup on “Marr El Kallam” and other info can be found under the video below.

Please enjoy:

Blaak Heat feat. Fareed Al-Madain, “Marr El Kallam” official video

Fareed Al-Madain – Vocals
Thomas Bellier – Oud, Guitars
Michael Amster – Drums
Guillaume Theoden – Bass
Nicolas Heller – Guitars
Peter Valsamis – Doumbek

Recorded at The Bunker LA (Los Angeles, CA)
Engineered by Jason Schimmel
Produced, mixed and mastered by Thomas Bellier

Cole Jenkins & Thomas Bihoré – Image
Mathieu Baillargeon – Videography & Editing
Produced by The Phantasma Company

THE ARABIAN FUZZ comes out via Svart Records on August 18, 2017. You can pre-order it here.

We have a number of festival & club dates for August & September 2017 – Come party, more TBA !

AUG 12 – Sonic Blast Moledo, Moledo (PT)
AUG 25 – Woolstock Festival, Tilburg (NL)
SEPT 1 – Emerald Haze Fest, Dublin (IRL)
SEPT 2 – Festival Arteficial, Ribadavia (ES)
SEPT 4 – Cine Incrivel, Lisbon (PT)
SEPT 8 – Bucéphale, Draguignan (FR)
SEPT 9 – Cheapstock Vol4, Barcelona (ES)
SEPT 10 – Supersonic, Paris (FR)

Blaak Heat on Thee Facebooks

Blaak Heat on Instagram

Blaak Heat on Twitter

Blaak Heat website

Svart Records webstore

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Slough Feg Announce The New Organon Recording; Re-Sign to Cruz del Sur

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Maybe that’s just how long a Slough Feg record takes to absorb, but it’s kind of surprising to think it’s been three years since the perennial San Fran-based NWOBHM-via-Celtic-folk-via-classic-rock-via-you-don’t-know-what-the-hell-to-call-it-so-just-call-it-progressive outfit released Digital Resistance (review here). That album was their ninth as well as their debut release for Metal Blade Records, and along with the news that the Mike Scalzi-led troupe either will begin or have begun this month to record their 10th long-player, to be titled The New Organon, comes word that said offering will be issued via Cruz del Sur, with whom the band was previously signed for three highlight LPs between 2005 and 2009.

Too strange for the bigger imprint to know what to do with? Possible. Or possible it was just a one record deal. In any case, it was four years from 2010’s The Animal Spirits (review here), which was released by Profound Lore, to Digital Resistance, so even if The New Organon doesn’t show up until 2018, that would at least be on pace. Good food takes time, even if you don’t realize time has passed.

From the PR wire:

slough feg

SLOUGH FEG Rejoins CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC

San Francisco true metal troubadours SLOUGH FEG have rejoined Italy’s Cruz Del Sur Music, the label behind the band’s heralded “Atavism” (2005), “Hardworlder” (2007) and “Ape Uprising!” (2009) albums.

Comments vocalist/guitarist Mike Scalzi: “We are happy to announce that we are back with Cruz Del Sur Music and will begin recording a new album in July! We believe that a smaller ’boutique’ label such as Cruz Del Sur is appropriate for our sound, fanbase and work ethic, and look forward to working with Enrico [Leccese] and company again.”

“I am extremely excited to have SLOUGH FEG back on Cruz Del Sur!” says Leccese. “It is always nice when bands you like track you down. It’s even more special when it’s someone you’ve worked with for about ten years and established a friendly relationship. It’s a recognition that we were doing something right in the past. I can’t wait to hear the new album and share it with the metal world.”

Continues Scalzi: “The new album will be called ‘The New Organon’, and the songs are somewhat of a return to the heavier side of our sound: more rustic, heavy, churning, medieval/Celtic and proggy sounding riffs, as opposed to the more ’70s rock sounds of more recent albums. But don’t worry: there will be a couple of rockers as well! We will also have some newer, experimental songwriting styles, mixing heavy rock and metal with the melodic sounds of ’50s and ’60s pop. Imagine DEL SHANNON singing for BLUE CHEER! After all, it wouldn’t be a SLOUGH FEG album without some bizarre surprises!

So, journey we more into the vaults of the Voi-vaudevillian…the Epic-cure for all Epicurean Angst and Ennui. The Celtic cacophony continues!”

www.facebook.com/sloughfegofficial
twitter.com/slough_feg
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

Slough Feg, Live at Muskelrock 2016

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Radio Moscow Stream New Beginnings Title-Track; Announce More US and UK Touring

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

Keep your eye on late September. I have the feeling there’s going to be a lot going on and not the least of it will be the release of Radio Moscow‘s first album for Century Media, the suitably-titled New Beginnings. The blazing San Diego three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Parker Griggs, bassist Anthony Meier and drummer Paul Marrone — who are nigh on supergroup status, what with Meier‘s double-duty in Sacri Monti and Marrone‘s participation in Psicomagia, newcomers Birth (demo posted here), etc. — have posted a studio session clip of the opening title-track “New Beginning” from the record.

However, because the internet sucks, that can’t be embedded. It finds them nonetheless in top form and is linked below for your at-the-source viewing enjoyment. And because I’m stubborn, I found a different live clip of album-closer “Dreams” from Texas earlier this year and that’s at the bottom of this post.

In addition, the cover art and tracklisting for New Beginnings is unveiled today and more tour dates in the UK and US have been added. As ever, it’s a go-go-go kind of deal for these guys. That’s how they do, and they do it better than just about everybody on the planet.

The PR wire has it like this:

radio moscow new beginnings

RADIO MOSCOW Reveal Artwork & Debut Single off “New Beginnings”, Add Fall US & UK Tour Dates

Southern Californian rock trio RADIO MOSCOW has just delivered the masters of its fifth studio album, “New Beginnings”, which is set for release via their new label home, Century Media Records, on September 29, 2017.

The album’s striking cover artwork was created by artist Courtney Cole and photographer Dana Trippe with lettering coming from Robin Gnista. “New Beginnings” was recorded at Lost Ark Studio in San Diego with Mike Butler, produced by the band’s own Parker Griggs and mastered by Mark Chalecki at Little Red Book Mastering.

As a sneak peek at what to expect, check out a video of a radio session take of the album’s first track, “New Beginning”: https://www.vuhaus.com/videos/radio-moscow-new-beginning

“New Beginnings” Track Listing:
1. New Beginning
2. Deceiver
3. Woodrose Morning
4. Driftin’
5. No One Knows Where They’ve Been
6. Last to Know
7. New Skin
8. Pacing
9. Pick up the Pieces
10. Dreams

“New Beginnings” will be released as regular black and limited-edition colored LP+CD (including a poster designed by Robin Gnista) as well as on CD, and all digital/streaming platforms.

Right on time with the release of their new opus, the band has confirmed the “The Drifting Tour”, which will drown Europe from September 26 to October 31 in waves of fuzzy, hard rocking riffs and sweaty, cranked up blues!

Prior to that, RADIO MOSCOW will perform at several European festivals as well as head over to the UK for a mini tour in August with support coming from The Groundhogs. Furthermore, a US west coast tour has been recently added. Full dates can be found listed below.

RADIO MOSCOW LIVE DATES 2017
8/12 Dortmund, DE – Junkyard Open Air
8/13 Cernoy, FR – Celebration Days
8/14 London, UK – Borderline #
8/15 Hastings, UK – Paintworks #
8/16 Bristol, UK – Exchange #
8/17 Birmingham, UK – The Castle & Falcon
8/19 Saint-Nolff, FR – Motorculto Festival
8/25 Costa Mesa, CA – The Wayfarer
8/26 Los Angeles, CA – The Resident
8/27 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
8/29 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
8/30 Vancouver, BC – The Cobalt
8/31 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
9/1 Boise, ID – The Olympic
9/2 Salt Lake City, UT – Crucial Fest
9/3 Las Vegas, NV – Bunkhouse
9/26 Paris, FR – Backstage ^
9/27 Nantes, FR – Le Ferrailleur ^
9/28 Bilbao, ES – Kafe Antzokia ^
9/29 Gijon, ES – Casino Acapulco ^
9/30 Porto, PT – Hard Club ^
10/1 Lisbon, PT – RCA ^
10/2 Madrid, ES – Caracol ^
10/3 Barcelone, ES – Rocksound ^
10/4 Montpellier, FR – Secret Place ^
10/6 Pratteln, CH – Up in Smoke ^
10/7 Athens, GR – Desertfest ^
10/9 Roma, IT – Traffic ^
10/10 Altroquando, IT – Zero Branco ^
10/11 Torino, IT – Blah Blah ^
10/13 Antwerpen, BE – Desertfest ^
10/14 Groningen, NL – Vera ^
10/15 Cologne, DE – Underground ^
10/16 Wiesbaden, DE – Schlachthof ^
10/17 Vienna, AT – Arena ^
10/18 Innsbruck, AT – PMK ^
10/19 Etagnieres, CH – Croc The Rock Festival ^
10/20 Munich, DE – Keep It Low ^
10/21 Dresden, DE – Beatpol ^
10/23 Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang ^
10/24 Copenhagen, DK – TBA ^
10/25 Stockholm, SE – Undergangen ^
10/26 Gothenburg, SE – Sticky Fingers ^
10/28 Bergen, NO – Garage ^
10/30 Hannover, DE – Chez Heinz
10/31 Berlin, DE – Festsaal
# with The Groundhogs
^ with Kaleidobolt

Radio Moscow line-up
Parker Griggs (vocals, guitar)
Anthony Meier (bass)
Paul Marrone (drums)

http://radiomoscow.net/
www.facebook.com/radiomoscowband
www.instagram.com/radiomoscowband

Radio Moscow, “Dreams” live in Austin, TX

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Epicenter Fest 2017 Set for Sept. 16; High on Fire, Mos Generator, Big Business, Holy Grove & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

When Epicenter Fest 2017 says it’s carefully curated, I have no trouble believing it. The inaugural edition of the San Jose, California-based all-day event is set for Sept. 16 and would seem to have undertaken the mission of setting West Coast heavy to task in celebrating some of its own finest purveyors. High on Fire headline, as they should, and the lineup flows from there with groups varied in geography and style, from the brash catchiness of Big Business to the rolling grooves of Holy Grove, the straight-ahead classicism of Mos Generator, and upstart outfits BrumeKOOK and Mesmer, as if to underscore the point that the Pacific region’s growth is still very much in progress.

A standout name on the bill not included in the paragraph above is Future Usses, which features guitar manufacturer Sacha Dunable (also Intronaut) and is a new outfit making its live debut at the fest. Even without the Bill and Ted reference in the moniker, that’d be a band to keep an eye on. So do that. I’ll do the same.

Fest info follows, along with ticket links and whatnot. Looks awesome even from the entire other side of the country:

epicenter fest 2017

OSKAR BLUES PRESENTS: EPICENTER HEAVY MUSIC FESTIVAL-2017

Honoring the Past, Present, and Future of Bay Area Heavy Underground Music Featuring High on Fire, Big Business & 7 more great bands

Heavy San Jose is bringing a festival unlike anything San Jose has ever seen. High on Fire, who got their start in San Jose in a practice studio just a couple of blocks from The Ritz, will headline this nine-band monster show. Epicenter Heavy Music Festival was designed to shake the Bay Area to its foundations.

The carefully curated lineup of nine bands represent nine different genres of heavy music. In addition to High on Fire, heavy music stalwarts Big Business, will also grace the Ritz stage with more earth-shaking sound than should come from a two-piece. Mos Generator (Seattle), and Holy Grove (Portland), will descend from the northern wilds to bring furious wrath and heavy-metal vengeance. Future Usses (Los Angeles) is a new band fronted by Sacha Dunable (Intronaut/Dunable Guitars), and Epicenter will be the first live taste of their loopy psych-doom. The line-up also features three up-and-coming local bands: KOOK (Glory or Death Records) from right here in San Jose, Brume (DHU/Doom Stew Records) from San Francisco, and Mesmer (Wicked Lester Records) from Oakland. There’s at least one more band not yet announced (but already booked) and more surprises in the works.

This festival is all about shining a light on the unique musical history of San Jose and the greater Bay Area, bringing a one-of-a-kind event to heavy music lovers, and putting the spotlight an amazing venue in San Jose (The Ritz). The Bay Area birthed some of the most influential bands in heavy music, starting with Blue Cheer in the late 60s, continuing through the thrash era in the 80s with Metallica, Exodus and Testament, and the birth of stoner/doom in the 90s with Sleep, High on Fire and Neurosis. New amazing heavy underground bands are constantly forming in the Bay, and it’s Heavy San Jose’s mission to highlight them, as well as provide an artist-friendly environment for touring bands in the heavy underground.

The event will showcase as much great local flavor as possible, featuring local artists and businesses (Martin Roberson, owner of Lucky Stars Tattoo in San Jose created the show poster). Sponsorships, are still available (contact info above). We’re offering VIP and General Admission tickets, and we’re expecting a sellout (capacity at the Ritz is just over 500). VIP tickets (only 50 available) are on sale now, with GA tickets going on sale Friday July 14th at 10:00am pacific.

Bands Performing (see below for band bios):
High on Fire (San Jose/Oakland)
Big Business (Los Angeles)
Mos Generator (Seattle)
Holy Grove (Portland)
Future Usses (Los Angeles)
Brume (San Francisco)
KOOK (San Jose)
Mesmer (Oakland)

Event Details:
When: September 16, 2017 5:30 PM – 1:30 AM
Where: The Ritz – 400 South First Street, San Jose, CA
Cost: General availability tickets are $45 with VIP tickets priced at $75 (early access to the venue, access to a private VIP area, limited edition screen printed show poster, and other fun surprise perks).

Tickets: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1523269?utm_medium=bks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1971651789739169

www.heavysj.com
www.facebook.com/heavysjc

High on Fire, “Devilution” live at Roskilde 2017

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Friday Full-Length: High on Fire, Blessed Black Wings

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

High on Fire, Blessed Black Wings (2005)

The fury. The gallop. The sheer onslaught. From the riotous launch of ‘Devilution’ onward, High on Fire‘s Blessed Black Wings, even when it draws back on tempo, absolutely refuses to relent. Released via Relapse in 2005 — which I’ll note was 12 years ago, only to emphasize the math — it was the third High on Fire full-length, and at that point it carried all the trappings of a masterpiece. It ranged in mood all the way from seething to raging, and where its predecessors, 1999’s High on Fire EP, 2000’s The Art of Self-Defense debut long-player and 2002’s follow-up, Surrounded by Thieves, found guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike on increasingly sure ground in exploring this new, tonally weighted take on thrash metal that brought some of the heft of his then-prior-now-concurrent outfit, Sleep, to bear amid the unrepentantly propulsive drumming of Des Kensel, it was Blessed Black Wings that really marked High on Fire‘s arrival. Production from Steve Albini and a one-time-only tenure from former Melvins bassist Joe Preston (also Thrones, early Earth, etc.) made it even more of a standout from their prior work, and amid the assault of “Devilution,” the signature gallop of “Cometh Down Hessian” and the I-still-can’t-keep-up-with-it “Silver Back,” the three-piece tossed in landmark hooks like the title-track, “Anointing of Seer” and “To Cross the Bridge.”

Blessed Black Wings, with its dark Arik Roper cover and the clarity of purpose resting malevolently beneath the superficial violence of the chugging “The Face of Oblivion” and the later shred in its eponymous cut, was the moment when High on Fire stepped outside of Sleep‘s formidable stoner rock shadow and into something of their own. I won’t take away from either The Art of Self-Defense or Surrounded by Thieves — the latter was my introduction to the band; I remember being mesmerized by the pervasive filth of it, and it still holds a special place in my hearth among their discography — but it would take the greater sphere of metal a couple years to catch up to what PikeKensel and Preston were doing in these tracks. Relentless touring definitely helped. High on Fire hit the road with no less drive than they put into the memorable attack of “Cometh Down Hessian,” and it was on the stage, with Pike standing straight up and beating the crowd over the head with riff after riff after riff and solo after solo after solo while Kensel — barely visible behind the sheer size of the kit he was playing — thundered away on head-spinning tom and cymbal runs, his fills utterly essential to each turn in High on Fire‘s most bombastic stretches. If Blessed Black Wings proved their mettle as songwriters, it was the ensuing touring that really seemed to signal the force they were in the process of becoming and would continue to morph into as they solidified their lineup with speed-demon bassist Jeff Matz (Zeke) taking the place of Preston ahead of the release of 2007’s ultra-triumphant Death is this Communion (discussed here).

That record, produced by Jack Endino, I count as High on Fire‘s actual masterpiece, but there’s no question it couldn’t have happened without the course that Blessed Black Wings set before it and the work the band put in to support that outing. In that way, Blessed Black Wings was not only a standout in its own right, based on the strength of its material and of the performances it captured, but also as a necessary step in the progression of the band. Of course, following Death is this Communion, they’d go on to sign with eOne Music, through which their next three albums — 2010’s Snakes for the Divine (review here), 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis (review here) and 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) — would see release, each one taking on a more directly metallic approach as Greg Fidelman and then Kurt Ballou (Converge) took the production reins, the latter managing to bring out some of the most vicious sounds of their career to-date as they moved past their 15th year together.

Word on the street is High on Fire will have a new album out before the end of 2017. I’ve yet to hear anything concrete in terms of a release date, and if it was going to happen sometime before November — which it likely would in order to squeeze in before the music industry at large takes a hike for the winter — one would expect an announcement probably in the next month or so, unless it won’t be out until next February or something like that. In any case, High on Fire have continued to keep up a fervent touring schedule, and as they’ve slid into headliner status and hit the road with the likes of Crowbar and Meshuggah, their willingness to bring up and coming acts like Windhand and Pallbearer has been an encouraging sign of support for those operating in their rather considerable wake. If in fact a new record is on the way, that’s only going to be welcome news as far as I’m concerned.

In the meantime, as always, I hope you enjoy.

On Wednesday, my plan was to not leave the house. I had it all worked out. A couple chores to do, but otherwise it would be the kind of relaxing experience one can only dream of when gainfully employed. And it worked out. I got up early, did Obelisk stuff, Quarterly Review, etc., and had coffee and breakfast and so on, and by lunchtime, was ready to basically hang around. I watched the Castlevania cartoon on Netflix — major flashbacks of Vampire Hunter D, but the nods to the game were fun — watched the All-Star game from the night before with The Patient Mrs., had pesto, peppered egg whites and super-garlicky cloud bread for dinner (my god it was good), and spent the evening getting toward the end of season two of Star Trek: The Next Generation. More or less the ideal do-almost-nothing day.

Yesterday, I also didn’t leave the house. It was not planned, just cold and raining off and on. I did laundry and dishes and made dinner — kale sauteed in butter and oil with fresh chicken sausage, red pepper, garlic (less for The Patient Mrs. and extra on the side for me; barely cooked), fresh-grated parmesan over top — and we spent another quiet night, but yeah, was less planned and after two days in a row of not going farther than the mailbox, I’m a little antsy going into the weekend.

I guess the fortunate part about that is the packed nature of the next few days. In a little bit, we head to Connecticut. Two-plus hours driving. Drop the dog off, an errand or two, then to the movies in North Haven at 2PM to see War for the Planet of the Apes — I’m a big Planet of the Apes nerd and way down with the reboot series, minus James Franco in the first one. After an early-ish dinner (fingers crossed for a grilled salmon caesar salad from the Shoreline Diner, who have the best one in the area, though I’d also make myself a peanut butter protein shake, save the $15 and be fine provided I can sort the timing), I drive another two-plus hours to New Jersey to crash for the night with a friend in Jersey City. That’s ahead of seeing family tomorrow and doing baby prep stuff and some other whatnot. Goal is to pick out a stroller and a car seat system. Did you know that when you have a kid sometimes you have to take it out of the house???

That’s assuming you manage to get out yourself, naturally.

Tomorrow night, back up to CT after dinner with my family, to reconvene with The Patient Mrs. and spend Sunday at the beach, writing, watching baseball and so on. She has a friend coming north from NYC for the day, so I don’t expect we’ll actually hang out much, but frankly I find just being in her presence redeeming. Sunday night, she heads back to MA to teach the summer program she’s doing for the next couple weeks on Monday, but I’m staying in CT to have Steve and maybe Carl from Kings Destroy up to hang out Monday afternoon. Very much looking forward to that, as they are most excellent human beings. I’ll float the idea of getting an early dinner with them circa 5:30 or 6PM at a local pub and then, because I won’t have a car (The Patient Mrs. having taken ours back to MA the evening prior), Steve will drop me off at the station in New Haven, I’ll catch a circa-7:30/8PM train to Providence, where The Patient Mrs. will pick me up and I’ll be back home to crash out Monday night, get up early on Tuesday, write and probably not leave the house. Ha.

So yeah, kind of a marathon the next few days, but that’s good. Like all the travel we did a couple weeks ago with the Maryland, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Massachusetts back and forth, this has a certain feeling of trying to cram in as much as possible before the arrival of The Pecan in October, but I’m cool with that. There’s a lot to do.

Like more for the Quarterly Review as well. Special thanks to Boston’s Rozamov for letting me push back a track premiere a day to accommodate a sixth batch of reviews for this coming Monday. It’s hugely appreciated. Here’s what’s in the notes for the week, all subject to change of course:

Mon.: Quarterly Review Day 6; Cities of Mars track premiere.
Tue.: Rozamov track premiere; Godhunter video; Wasted Theory announcement.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions with The Midnight Ghost Train.
Thu.: A side-by-side review of Lowrider’s deluxe Ode to Io LP with the original vinyl.
Fri.: Gonna play it by ear unless something comes in, but might review the new Egypt or Youngblood Supercult.

That’s the latest. I’m living well post-employment; got some meds and feel a little bit like I have my head back generally. Money is already tight and will only get tighter over the next couple months, but my mother and sister have been a huge help with baby stuff — you should see the bins of hand-me-downs — and we’re getting there. The Patient Mrs. astounds as always, and I feel so lucky to be able to spend extra time with her this summer, even if it’s just the two of us falling asleep on the couch in the evening. She is the absolute center around which the rest of my life spins. Looking forward to trying my hand at stay-at-home dadness when the time comes.

Like Nick Cave said on the second Grinderman record: “When my baby come.”

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Salem’s Bend Hit the Parking Lot and Premiere “Cold Hand” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

salem's bend

Imagine you roll into a parking lot and find Los Angeles trio Salem’s Bend jamming out in front of their van, surrounded by cameras filming their new video. What do you say? Do you leave your car, rock out for a while, and then go about your business? Maybe do your shopping or whatever it is you came to do, like nothing’s happening? That would be the New York solution, but I don’t know how it goes in L.A., if it would be the same or what. I like to think I’d park, walk over, check it out for a bit, maybe take a picture on my phone, nod, give a cool-cat thumbs up and be on my way. I’m sure the reality would be excruciatingly awkward. In any case, pretty friggin’ awesome idea to put some guerrilla filmmaking to work for the song “Cold Hand,” which is the first new material Salem’s Bend have shown off since Ripple Music released their self-titled debut (review here) last year.

You can’t say the track doesn’t earn it. At more than nine minutes, it’s a substantial work in terms of runtime, but even more than thatsalem's bend war cloud kook tour poster, the chemistry it demonstrates between the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Bobby Parker, bassist/vocalist Kevin Schofield and drummer Zach Huling proves beyond worthy of the showcase. And make no mistake — Salem’s Bend are playing the song live in the clip. Parker set up mics to get a pro-sounding recording and was wholly successful in that, but this is an actual, amplified performance of “Cold Hand,” not just a studio version laid over captured footage. They bring their own lighting and do well to set the mood, and as they push into the fuzzed-out blues jam that starts toward the middle of the track, they make it plain that they’re ready to begin exploring a whole new league of spaciousness from what they brought to their first album. Right on, right on, gentlemen. Preach.

Salem’s Bend hit the road starting July 12 — egads, that’s tonight! — for a West Coast tour alongside Ripple labelmates War Cloud and fellow upstarts Kook, and “Cold Hand” that begins with a gig presented by Vegas Rock Revolution and also features former tourmates The Rare Breed. You can find all the dates for the 12-date run under the video below, as well as some comment from Parker on making the video, recording the song, and the shorter companion track “Winter Sunn” that’s still to be unveiled.

Check it out and enjoy:

Salem’s Bend, “Cold Hand” official video

Before we start to work on the second album, we wanted to get a couple new songs out. “Cold Hand” is a song that we jammed out together, and we have been playing it live for the past several months. It’s fun to play, as it has a lot of improvisational parts that we feel out as a band, so its never quite the same twice. Because of that, we figured we’d record the song live to try to capture that essence. Kevin is a great director/cinematographer and has some killer film gear so we figured why not film it as well!

We enlisted the help of my dad, Lee Parker, who is a great director and cinematographer and has been in the film business doing every kind of job for a long time, and also my friend Herman Ming, who is also a great director, cameraman, and filmmaker himself. They did the mobile camera work for us and helped us set everything up. We chose a parking garage for our location so that we could get a massive reverbed-out sound, especially for the drums. I set up the mics to capture all our instruments and vocals, and then mixed and mastered in my home studio. It’s a raw performance with mistakes here and there, but I think we captured our live sound well and gives one small view into our show for those who haven’t been able to see us live yet. Zach and Kevin nailed their parts and sounded excellent.

Since Cold Hand is such a long song, we figured we counter that with a faster and shorter track for the B-side “Winter Sunn.” We wrote this one really quickly together in the studio and recorded it the next week at the same time we recorded Cold Hand, in the parking garage. We’re happy with the way it turned out and think its a good counterpoint to the more epic A-side.

We’re heading out on another summer tour of the Western US, covering some new ground and new states this time. The first half (minus a few dates on our own) will be with the awesome Bay Area band War Cloud, who just recently joined the Ripple family! And the second half will be with the amazing San Jose rippers KOOK, who we played with last year on tour and are excited to play with again! Kicking off the tour in Vegas on July 12th with our Ripple road brothers The Rare Breed for a rad show setup by Vegas Rock Revolution.

List of dates is as follows:
July 12th – Las Vegas, NV @ Backstage Bar and Billiards w/ The Rare Breed
July 13th – Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
July 14th – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lexington w/ War Cloud
July 15th – Atascadero, CA @ Camozzi’s Saloon w/ War Cloud
July 16th – San Jose, CA @ The Ritz w/ War Cloud and Kook
July 17th – Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp w/ War Cloud
July 18th – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge w/ War Cloud
July 19th – Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s Pub w/ KOOK
July 20th – Portland, OR @ Highwater Mark w/ KOOK
July 21st – Seattle, WA @ Lucky Liquor w/ KOOK
July 22nd – Kennewick, WA @ Eagles Lodge 2485 w/ KOOK
July 23rd – Boise, ID @ The Shredder w/ KOOK
July 24th – Reno, NV @ Jub Jub’s w/ KOOK

Salem’s Bend is:
Bobby Parker – Guitar and Vocals
Kevin Schofield – Bass and vocals
Zach Huling – Drums

Salem’s Bend on Thee Facebooks

Salem’s Bend on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Les Discrets, Test Meat, Matus, Farflung, Carpet, Tricky Lobsters, Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, The Acid Guide Service, Skunk, The Raynbow

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

My friends, the time has come. Well, actually the time came about two weeks ago at the end of June, but I won’t tell if you don’t. Better late than never as regards all things, but most especially The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review, which this time around features releases recent, upcoming and a bit older, a mix of known and lesser known acts, and as always, hopefully enough of a stylistic swath to allow everyone whose eyes the series of posts catches to find something they dig between now and Friday. As always, it’ll be 50 records from now until then, 10 per day, and I see no reason not to jump right in, so let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Les Discrets, Prédateurs

les discrets Prédateurs

After offering a preview of their marked stylistic turn in last year’s Virée Nocturne EP (review here), Lyon, France’s Les Discrets return with the suitably nighttime-urbane vibing of their Prédateurs full-length via Prophecy Productions. Five years after Ariettes Oubliées (review here), Fursy Teyssier and company reinvent their approach to the sonic lushness of their earlier work, departing the sphere of post-black metal they previously shared with sister band Alcest in favor of an anything-goes heavy experimentalism more akin to Ulver on cuts like “Le Reproche” or the deeply atmospheric “Fleur des Murailles.” Drones pepper “Rue Octavio Mey” and closer “Lyon – Paris 7h34” effectively conveys the sense of journey its train-schedule title would hint toward, and indeed Les Discrets as a whole seem to be in flux throughout Prédateurs despite an overarching cohesion within each track. It’s a fine line between multifaceted and disjointed, but fortunately, Teyssier’s grip on melodicism is unflinching and enough to tie otherwise disparate ideas together here.

Les Discrets on Thee Facebooks

Les Discrets at Prophecy Productions

 

Test Meat, Demo

test meat demo

Considering the pedigree involved in guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard (ex-Milligram, Blackwolfgoat, Kind, etc.), bassist Aarne Victorine (UXO, Whitey) and drummer Michael Nashawaty (Planetoid, Bird Language), it’s little surprise that Test Meat’s Demo would have a pretty good idea of where it wants to come from. The five-track first showing from the Boston trio blends raw-edge grunge and noise rock on “He Don’t Know” after opening with its longest inclusion (immediate points) in the 3:50 “Cuffing Season,” and though centerpiece “Done” nods at the starts-and-stops of Helmet, the subsequent 2:35 push of “If You Wanna” is strikingly post-Nirvana, and closer “Permanent Festival” rounds out by bridging that gap via a still-straightforward heavy rock groove. Formative, yeah, but that’s the whole point. Test Meat revel in their barebones style and clearly aren’t looking to get overly lush, but one can’t help but be curious how or if they’ll develop a more melodic sensibility to go with the consuming, full buzzsaw tones they elicit here.

Test Meat on Thee Facebooks

Test Meat on Bandcamp

 

Matus, Intronauta

matus intronauta

Worth noting that while the opening cut here, “Claroscuro,” shares its title with Matus’ 2015 full-length (review here), that song didn’t actually appear on that album. Does that mean that the Lima, Peru, classic progressive rockers are offering leftovers from the same sessions on their new EP and perhaps final release, Intronauta? I don’t know, but the four tracks of the digital outing are a welcome arrival anyway, from the laid back easy vibes of the aforementioned opener through the riffier “Intronauta (Including Hasta Que El Sol Descanse en Paz),” the Theremin-soaked finish of the harder-driving “Catalina” and the acoustic-led four-part closer “Arboleda Bohemia,” which unfolds with lushness that remains consistent with the naturalism that has always been underlying in the band’s work. They’ve said their last few times out that the end is near, and if it’s true, they go out with a fully-cast sonic identity of their own and a take on ‘70s prog that remains an underrated secret of the South American underground.

Matus on Thee Facebooks

Matus on Bandcamp

 

Farflung, Unwound Celluloid Frown

farflung unwound celluloud frown

The jury, at least when it comes to the internet, still seems to be somewhat divided on whether the name of Farflung’s five-track/34-minute EP is Unwound Celluloid Frown or Unwound Cellular Frown. I’d say another argument is whether it’s an EP or an LP, but either way, let the follow-up to the more clearly-titled 2016 album (review here) demonstrate how nebulous the long-running Los Angeles space rockers can be when it suits them. Hugely and continually underrated, the troupe once again aligns to Heavy Psych Sounds for this release, which is rife with their desert-hued Hawkwindian thrust and weirdo vibes, permeating the rocket-fuel chug of the title-track and the noise-of-the-cosmos 13-minute headphone-fest that is “Axis Mundi,” which seems to end with someone coming home and putting down their car keys before a slowly ticking clock fades out and into the backwards swirling intro of lazily drifting closer “Silver Ghost with Crystal Spoons.” Yeah, it’s like that. Whatever you call it, the collection proves once again that Farflung are a secret kept too well.

Farflung on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Carpet, Secret Box

carpet secret box

Immersive and progressive psychedelia unfolds from the very opening moments of Carpet’s third album, Secret Box (on Elektrohasch Schallplatten), as the Augsberg, Germany-based five-piece explore lush arrangements of Moog, Rhodes, trumpet, vibraphone, etc. around central compositions of fluid guitar-led melodies and engaging rhythms. Their 2015 Riot Kiss 7” (review here) and 2013 sophomore long-player, Elysian Pleasures (review here), came from a similar place in intent, but from the funk wah and percussion underscoring the pre-fuzz-explosion portion of “Best of Hard Times” and the okay-this-one’s-about-the-riff “Shouting Florence” to the serene ambience of “For Tilda” and ethereal fluidity of “Pale Limbs” later on, the secret of Secret Box seems to be that it’s actually a treasure chest in disguise. Opening with its longest track in “Temper” (immediate points), the album hooks its audience right away along a graceful, rich-sounding melodic flow and does not relinquish its hold until the last piano notes of the closing title-track offer a wistful goodbye. In between, Carpet execute with a poise and nuance all the more enjoyable for how much their own it seems to be.

Carpet on Thee Facebooks

Carpet on Bandcamp

 

Tricky Lobsters, Worlds Collide

tricky lobsters worlds collide

Full, natural production, crisp and diverse songwriting, right-on performances and a name you’re not about to forget – there’s nothing about Tricky Lobsters not to like. Worlds Collide is their sixth album and first on Exile on Mainstream, and the overall quality of their approach reminds of the kind of sonic freedom proffered by Astrosoniq, but the German trio of guitarist/vocalist Sarge, bassist/vocalist Doc and drummer/vocalist Captain Peters have their own statements to make as well in the stomping “Battlefields,” the mega-hook of “Big Book,” the dreamy midsection stretch of “Father and Son” and the progressive melody-making of “Tarred Albino” (video premiere here). The emphasis across the nine-song/42-minute outing is on craft, but whether it’s the patient unfolding of “Dreamdiver Pt. I & II” or the harp-and-fuzz blues spirit of closer “Needs Must,” Tricky Lobsters’ sonic variety comes paired with a level of execution that’s not to be overlooked. Will probably fly under more radars than it should, but if you can catch it, do.

Tricky Lobsters on Thee Facebooks

Tricky Lobsters at Exile on Mainstream Records

 

Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Special

ten-foot-wizard-chubby-thunderous-bad-kush-masters-special

Dubbed Special for reasons that should be fairly obvious from looking at the cover art, this meeting of minds, riffs and cats between Manchester’s Ten Foot Wizard and London’s Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters brings four tracks – two per band – and goes so far as to find the groups collaborating on the former’s “Get Fucked,” which opens, and the latter’s “Dunkerque,” which begins their side of the 7”, as vocalists The Wailing Goblin (of Chubby Thunderous) and Gary Harkin (of Ten Foot Wizard) each sit in for a guest spot on the other band’s cuts. Both bands also offer a standalone piece, with Ten Foot Wizard digging into heavy rock burl on “Night Witches” and Chubby Thunderous blowing out gritty party sludge in “Nutbar,” which rounds out the offering, and between them they showcase well the sphere of the UK’s crowded but diverse heavy rock underground. Kind of a niche release in the spirit of Gurt and Trippy Wicked’s 2016 Guppy split/collab, but it works no less well in making its impact felt.

Ten Foot Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters on Thee Facebooks

 

The Acid Guide Service, Vol. 11

the acid guide service vol 11

It turns out that Vol. 11 is actually Vol. 1 for Garden City, Idaho, three-piece The Acid Guide Service, who dig into extended fuzz-overdose riffing on the 52-minute nine-tracker, proffering blown-out largesse even on shorter cuts like the five-minute “Into the Sky” while longer pieces like opener “Raptured” (7:16), “EOD” (9:38) and closer “Black Leather Jesus” (10:04) skirt lines between structure and jams as much as between heavy rock and psychedelia. Proffered by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Russ Walker, bassist/vocalist Tyler Walker and drummer Nick McGarvey, one can hear shades of Wo Fat in the guitar-led expanse of “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Is the Drug I’m On),” but on the whole, Vol. 11 speaks more to the late-‘90s/early-‘00s post-Kyuss stoner rock heyday, with flourish of Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu for good measure in the hard-swinging “Dude Rockin’” and its chugging companion piece, “Marauder King.” Big tones, big riffs, big groove. The Acid Guide Service are preaching to the converted, but clearly coming from a converted place themselves in so doing. Right on.

The Acid Guide Service on Thee Facebooks

The Acid Guide Service on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Doubleblind

skunk doubleblind

Professing a self-aware love for the earliest days of heavy metal in idea and sound, Oakland’s Skunk offer their full-length debut with the self-released Doubleblind, following up on their 2015 demo, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here). That outing featured four tracks that also appear on Doubleblind – “Forest Nymph,” “Wizard Bong,” “Black Hash” and “Devil Weed.” Working on a theme? The theme is “stoned?” Yeah, maybe, but the cowbell-infused slider groove and standout hook of “Mountain Child” are just as much about portraying that ‘70s vibe as Skunk may or may not be about the reefer whose name they bear. Presumably more recent material like that song, “Doubleblind,” closer “Waitin’ Round on You” and leadoff cut “Forest Nymph” coherently blend impulses drawn from AC/DC, Sabbath and Zeppelin. John McKelvy’s vocals fit that spirit perfectly, and with the grit brought forth from guitarists Dmitri Mavra and Erik Pearson, bassist Matt Knoth and drummer Jordan Ruyle, Skunk dig into catchy, excellently-paced roller riffing and cast their debut in the mold of landmark forebears. Mothers, teach your children to nod.

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

The Raynbow, The Cosmic Adventure

the raynbow the cosmic adventure

As they make their way through a temporal drift of three tracks that play between krautrocking jazz fusion, psychecosmic expansion and Floydian lushness, Kiev-based explorers The Raynbow keep immersion central to their liquefied purposes. The Cosmic Adventure (on Garden of Dreams Records) is an aptly-titled debut full-length, and the band who constructed it is comprised of upwards of eight parties who begin with the 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Changes,” which builds toward and through a metallic chug apex, sandwiching it on either side with ultra-patient molten tone and soundscaping that continues to flourish through the subsequent “Cosmic Fool” (5:17) and “Blue Deep Sea Eyes” (8:18), the whole totaling a still-manageable outward trip into reaches of slow-moving space rock that whether loud or quiet at any individual moment more than earns a volume-up concentrated headphone listen. The kind of outfit one could easily imagine churning out multiple albums in a single year, The Raynbow nonetheless deliver a dream on The Cosmic Adventure that stands among the best first offerings I’ve heard in 2017.

The Raynbow on Thee Facebooks

Garden of Dreams Records on Bandcamp

 

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