Slow Phase Announce Debut Album; Post “Starlight” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

slow phase

Bringing together members of West Coast rockers Skunk and 3rd Ear Experience, Slow Phase are a new outfit who’ll look to release their debut album sometime this Fall. No word on an exact date yet — one assumes it’s done if they’re putting out singles? — but they’ve got a video up for “Starlight” that you can check out below that features the trio, some lyrics, bright colors, the whole bit. The song is likewise straightforward, no pretense about what it’s going for or how it’s getting there. That makes the according vibe easy enough to dig, and though one would suspect the album has a bit more going on than just a single approach, “Starlight” bodes well for what might be in store when it gets here. Only one way to find out.

In the meantime, dudes clearly have their artwork game on point, as the cover for “Starlight” single shows. Check that out right here with its beardo-thinker-in-the-desert thing, followed by some more background from the band itself.

Like so:

slow phase starlight

It was only after having spent 3 years woodshedding stuff like James Gang, KISS, Mountain, Zeppelin, Zappa, Grand Funk (and playing the occasional party) that we decided to start writing our own songs, and christened ourselves SLOW PHASE, after the coolest setting on my 1972 Maestro Phase Shifter.

The band includes Dmitri Mavra, the founder and songwriter behind SKUNK, on guitar, along with Anthony Pulsipher (bass/vocals) and Richard Stuverud (drums/vocals).

Pulsipher is a veteran of many bands, and in addition to SLOW PHASE he also plays guitar, writes, and sings for Oakland’s SPIDERMEOW, a country rock trio in the tradition of The Band and Gram Parsons.

Drum wizard Richard Stuverud, originally from Seattle, has played with the Fastbacks, RNDM, Tribe After Tribe, 3rd Ear Experience, Jeff Ament, and many more. With SLOW PHASE Stuverud gets to indulge his love of Bonham, Ward, and Moon to the fullest!

Also, Stuverud and Pulsipher are both great singers and it’s been cool to add some harmonies to the sound, a facet of early rock that’s often overlooked by today’s bands.

The album should be out later this Fall. In the meantime, I hope you can get a chance to check out our first track, STARLIGHT, either via Bandcamp (free download) or the video on Vimeo.

Slow Phase is:
Dmitri Mavra – guitar
Anthony Pulsipher – bass/vocals
Richard Stuverud – drums/vocals

facebook.com/SlowPhase/
slowphase.bandcamp.com/album/starlight

Slow Phase, “Starlight” official video

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Zed, Volume: The Other Kind

Posted in Reviews on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zed volume

Zed‘s vision of rock and roll is not polite. It is not about accommodation. It’s the kind of rock and roll that drinks both your beer and its own, is loud, goes late, and damns tomorrow because it had already damned today first. It’s the kind of rock and roll that might put a large black rooster on its album cover and let the dick joke make itself. It is, as they might put it on their latest offering, “The Other Kind.” Volume is the fourth full-length from the San Jose, California, four-piece, and sees their edge undiminished in their decade-plus tenure. As their alliance with Ripple Music enters its third release, with the label having stood behind 2016’s Trouble in Eden (review here) and a reissue earlier this year of 2013’s Desperation Blues (discussed here), it results in a collection running 10 tracks and 48 minutes of aggressively executed straightforward heavy rock with a broad foundation in punk, metal and classic rock; the amalgam well familiar to those who’ve followed Zed over their years.

In that regard, what ultimately distinguishes Volume is the clarity with which it is delivered. The band’s lineup — guitarist/vocalist Peter Sattari, bassist Mark Aceves, guitarist Greg Lopez and drummer Sean Boyles — has never sounded so firm in their purpose, and while their songwriting acumen has always been central to their style, the material here feels tighter and even more purposeful than that of Trouble in Eden, and the energy in the band’s performance has never been so effectively captured. Credit at least in part for that needs to go to engineer Tim Narducci (also of The Watchers), with whom the band worked on part of the recording last time around as well as on Desperation Blues — their 2010 debut, The Invitation, was self-recorded — and who obviously gets what they’re going for. It’s right there in the name of the album: Volume. Zed are not trying to convey some grand concept in their sound unless that grand concept might be the largesse of their sound itself, and thus Volume becomes its own celebration of that intangible thing that rock and roll has celebrated since its first hijacked blues riff — a vitality that simply can’t be heard at anything less than a shout.

Broken neatly in half with a longer cut closing each side, Volume might also be stating itself as a recommendation to the audience, though I’m not certain that with Zed that really needs to be stated at this point. How else would one take on tracks like “The Other Kind,” “The End” or the shreddy side B highlight “The Great Destroyer” but as loud as possible? The choruses of the slowed-down “Wings of the Angel,” the side B leadoff “Chingus” (video posted here), and “Hollow Men,” on which Boyles seems to give his cymbals an extra-cruel beating, are certainly standouts, and even as “Wings of the Angel” or “Poison Tree” pull back on pace as compared to the thrust of “The Other Kind” or “The Great Destroyer,” there’s no letup in terms of efficiency in their craft.

zed

“Poison Tree” is perhaps the catchiest of the bunch, which is no easy feat considering its surroundings, and as Zed expand the palette with some B3 on the penultimate “Time and Space” courtesy of Brad Barth, their central mission of song-driven, riff-led heavy remains steady through the extra flourish en route to the closer “The Troubadour,” which is the longest inclusion on Volume at 6:31 and finds the band taking more chances in terms of melody, layering vocals for a chorus effect to go with Sattari in a fashion that is every bit worthy of finishing out the record even though it runs counter to the harder-edged approach heard earlier. Airy leads and a legitimately soaring chorus add atmosphere to the finale that one wouldn’t necessarily guess Zed would be interested in harnessing, but is only more welcome for that. Even “The Mountain,” from Trouble in Eden, which tapped into some similar ideas in the guitar, didn’t dare go so far as the vocals, and a greater focus on melody only suits the song itself, which, given how much of Zed‘s approach — again — is about the songs, makes Volume stronger on the whole.

Signal of a new direction for Zed? Probably not, and I say that not because I think Zed are creatively stagnant — far from it, given the efforts they take to refine their songwriting here, though they might bristle at calling anything they do “refined” — but because they don’t sound like a band who are interested in fixing what clearly isn’t broken in their sound. “The End” has a less throaty vocal in its initial verse as well, and it may be that their dynamic is expanding, but if it’s going to happen, Zed seem to be conscious enough to let it happen in an unforced way. Because while their overall affect is loud, clear and full, both recorded and on stage, they don’t do anything that feels unnatural in either side. They’re not going to seek out vintage equipment to record on or spend tens of thousands of dollars on this or that mixing board, and they’re not going to find some overly slick digital cut and paste method for putting riffs together.

They’re a songwriting and performance band, and that’s what you get on Volume. You get songwriting, you get performance. Sure, they’ve grown in the three years since Trouble in Eden — though they’re not so mature as to, say, not make a dick joke on their album cover — but the core of Zed remains unchanged, and it seems more likely than not that that’s how it will be for the duration. Zed were not inexperienced in bands when they formed, and as a group who knew what they wanted going in, they’ve been walking their path steadily ever since. What’s truly impressive about that is not just that they’ve brought this mission to bear in the memorable tracks of Volume, but that there’s that accompanying performance aspect. In payoffs for “Wings of an Angel,” or “Chingus” or “The Great Destroyer” — take your pick, really — they harness not just a live energy, but the energy of a band confident in the righteousness of their voluminous cause. And so they are.

Zed, Volume (2019)

Zed on Thee Facebooks

Zed on Bandcamp

Zed website

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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Nebula Drag to Release Blud Sept. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

nebula drag (Photo by Chad Kelco)

When I finally dug into it — because I’m late to the party, always — I was genuinely into Nebula Drag‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), and you know what? I kind of dig the track they’ve shared so far from the upcoming Blud as well. Hey y’all, I think I might like this band. How about that?

Preorders are up now for Blud, which the based-in-San-Diego-more-in-geography-than-in-sound Nebula Drag will release through Desert Records on Sept. 27, and the songs “Always Dying” and “We all Want to Know” offer chunky-style riffing and a kind of melodified take on ’90s noise rock that hits a sweet spot of heavy without coming across as stylistically redundant or faceless. They’ve got dates booked out west, as one will, and that includes a weekender in the desert next month that I’ll just go ahead and assume is gonna be a good time celebrating the new offering.

That Vegas date is TBA. Somebody call John Gist from Vegas Rock Revolution! Dude should be on that.

Here’s the album info and the aforementioned tracks:

nebula drag blud

Nebula Drag – Blud

Nebula Drag is a psycho-delic three piece rock band from San Diego, CA. Definitely not your typical Southern California band… Nebula Drag’s music gives a nod to Stoner Metal and Psych Rock—all with a sound that is uniquely their own. The haunting and blistering riffs paired with the thunderous drumming comprises the heart of this band. Add the melodic and spaced out vocals to the mix and let a listening journey of the highest caliber begin.

Nebula Drag will be releasing their second album “Blud” on Desert Records in September 2019. Their first self-titled album was released in 2016, and they also released a 3 song ep “Always Dying” in 2017. The band also contributed to the San Diego Gimme Danger compilation in 2018, released by Fresh Pots Music.

Tracklisting
1. Dos Lados
2. Knives
3. Always Dying
4. Dogs or Gods
5. We All Want to Know
6. Faces
7. What Went Wrong
8. Numb
9. Infinite Vacation
10. Mental

2019 Performance Dates:
9/10 – The Merrow – San Diego, CA
9/14 – Tower Bar – San Diego, CA
9/26 – T.B.A. – Las Vegas, NV
9/27 – Time Out Lounge – Tempe, AZ
9/28 – Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM

Nebula Drag is:
Corey Quintana – Guitar/Vocals
Stephen Varns – Drums
Garrett Gallagher – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/NebulaDragz/
https://www.instagram.com/nebuladrag/
https://nebuladrag.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordlabel/
https://desertrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://desertrecords.bandcamp.com

Nebula Drag, Blud (2019)

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Brant Bjork, Jalamanta & Keep Your Cool: Desert Documents

Posted in Reviews on August 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork jalamanta reissue

It’s hard to speak about Brant Bjork‘s Jalamanta (also discussed here) in anything other than hyperbole. 20 years on from its original release through Man’s Ruin Records, it has become a defining document not just for Bjork‘s own solo work, but for desert rock as a whole, and the laid back vision of heavy it helped establish has had an impact second to none even when set against Brant Bjork‘s own massively influential releases as a member of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. The alliance between Bjork and Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds that produced digital reissues of all his albums continues to bear fruit in the physical realm as well, as in addition to last year’s new studio offering, Mankind Woman (review here), and earlier-2019’s archival-jam collection, Jacoozzi (review here), Jalamanta and 2003’s Keep Your Cool are next in line to receive a proper reissue treatment on vinyl and CD. Both have new artwork in strikingly different styles by Branca Studio and have been remastered, and Jalamanta is a new mix as well from Bjork and original engineer Tony Mason, and also includes the Blue Öyster Cult cover “Take Me Away” as a bonus track, bringing the total runtime to a gatefold 2LP-worthy 66 minutes.

Keep Your Cool doesn’t go nearly so far in terms of needing a second platter to contain it, but by the time Bjork got around to his third solo full-length in the span of four years, he had clearly figured some things out. Listening to the two records back-to-back — with the acknowledgment that 2002’s Brant Bjork & the Operators was originally released between them — the feel of Jalamanta is more mellow funk and more experimental, whether it’s bringing Fatso Jetson‘s Mario Lalli in to play guitar and sing on “Toot” or riding the clarion riff of “Automatic Fantastic” as a bed for spoken verses, running the into “Lazy Bones” backwards later as “Bones Lazy” and lacing tracks like “Sun Brother,” “Cobra Jab” and closer “Indio” with percussion while “Waiting for a Coconut to Drop” offers standalone guitar and the subsequent “Her Blown Blood” bases itself around a riff as driving as Kyuss ever were at their most forceful. The most memorable impressions Jalamanta made/makes might be in the dug-in grooves found in songs like “Automatic Fantastic,” “Too Many Chiefs… Not Enough Indians” and “Defender of the Oleander,” which set just the right balance between tonal presence, rhythmic swing, memorable craft and drifting melody to become essentially the groundwork for Bjork‘s solo career, of which Mankind Woman was the 12th offering.

Around these, Bjork is able to work to one side or the other, whether that’s the subdued meanderings of “Sun Brother” and “Indio” or the shove in “Low Desert Punk” and “Her Brown Blood.” Between those two sides, one finds a jam like “‘Let’s Get Chinese Eyes'” with its winding and uptempo instrumental progression and newly-refined interplay of guitar layers, while the bonus track cover “Take Me Away” fits right in among the hookier and more rolling material. There remains a natural feel to Jalamanta that has been no less course-setting for Bjork than any other aspect of the record, but with Keep Your Cool, the narrative shifts to a more solidified approach to songwriting and a willful-seeming blend of hard funk and heavy rock that became the embodiment of “low desert punk” as Bjork‘s own term for his style as he embarked in the early aughts on releasing albums through his own Duna Records imprint, Keep Your Cool being the second such outing behind Brant Bjork & the Operators, as well as an early reissue of Jalamanta.

brant bjork keep your cool

The question isn’t really of accessibility, since it’s not like Brant Bjork‘s solo work has ever veered from engaging its audience, but even with the kind-of-sad intro “Hey, Monkey Boy” at the outset, there’s no question Keep Your Cool puts its hooks in forward position, with “Johnny Called,” “Rock-n-Rolé” and “I Miss My Chick” following in succession ahead of the title-track’s two-minute departure into guitar-led desert wandering. But even that seems pared down in comparison to Jalamanta; a more straightforward sonic persona emerging, less trying-it-out and more executing a plan. Consider Keep Your Cool as a two-sided album, with “Hey, Monkey Boy” and the title-track as intros for sides A and B, respectively. The track breakdown is even with four and four, and the salvo that “Johnny Called” begins earns the reissue all on its own, with stage-ready memorable songwriting and a sure-headed conviction of method that Jalamanta — despite its many splendors — simply doesn’t have. There’s a tradeoff, because Keep Your Cool is inherently less experimental, but certainly there’s room in Bjork‘s solo catalog for both sides to find expression as they have for the last two decades.

Side B of Keep Your Cool continues the thread where “I Miss My Chick” left it, wah and handclaps filling out a core riff that is no less quintessential Brant Bjork than that of “Automatic Fantastic,” while “Searchin'” delves deeper into funky vibes with more upfront drums and a spacey guitar line later in the proceedings. The chorus may not be as forward, but the palette is expanding efficiently. One could argue that that started on “I Miss My Chick,” but the second half of the album lives up to the tradition of answering the hooks of the first with a broader reach. That remains true as closer “My Soul” finds its ultra-fluid chill and rolls out across nearly seven minutes that go from a straight-ahead verse/chorus to a finale guitar exploration that, indeed, lives up to the name of the track itself.

Brant Bjork would follow Keep Your Cool with Local Angel (discussed here; reissue review here) in 2004 and seem to pick up precisely where “My Soul” leaves off, but the narrative arc of his solo and solo-ish discography isn’t necessarily so linear, with work in and out of bandleader situations — Brant Bjork and the Bros.Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band — as well as his time with groups like the sadly-shortlived Ché and Vista Chino, despite a consistent growth and refinement of his craft that continues unabated. Quite simply, Jalamanta is a top-three all-time desert rock record, minimum. For even the most cursory exploration of the style, it is essential. Keep Your Cool doesn’t have the same kind of legacy behind it, but its songs show the direction Bjork was taking at the time and more than stand up to the 16 years since their original release. Neither accomplishment is insignificant, and if these reissues expose them to a new audience or give established fans another version of the record to chase down, there’s really no way to lose by having them back in print and fresh in mind.

Brant Bjork, Keep Your Cool (2003/2019)

Brant Bjork, Jalamanta (1999/2019)

Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks

Brant Bjork on Instagram

Brant Bjork website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Streaming: Saint Vitus Interview with Dave Chandler

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus

It was a decade ago now that Saint Vitus began their reunion. At that point, it had been 14 years since the release of their final album, Die Healing (discussed here), in 1995. The not-quite-fully-original-but-definitely-the-most-influential lineup was guitarist Dave Chandler, vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Armando Acosta, the last of whom would soon be replaced by Henry Vasquez (Blood of the Sun), who had drummed for Chandler‘s short-lived Debris Inc. outfit earlier in the aughts, and would ultimately pass away in 2010Vitus — who are arguably the most influential American doom band, and certainly the most influential the West Coast ever produced — were knee-deep in triumphant reunion tours by then, between Europe and the US, and they’d continue to roll out a packed schedule after signing to Season of Mist and releasing the long-awaited Lillie: F-65 (review here) in 2012.

From there, things proceeded in a fashion that can only be considered pure Vitus. A couple years of steady touring followed supporting Lillie: F-65 and celebrating their landmark catalog, until Weinrich got arrested in Norway in late-2014 for amphetamines, and the band seemed to come apart. Enter original vocalist Scott Reagers, last heard from with what was then a return performance on Die Healing, to take up the frontman role. More touring commenced and the band went on to issuesaint vitus saint vitus Live Vol. 2 (review here) in 2016. Already the proposition of a new studio album had been raised, but work was inevitably stunted by the departure of bassist Mark Adams — a quiet presence on stage, but a founding member and someone essential to the sound all along — owing to complications from Parkinson’s disease. A replacement was found in Pat Bruders of Down and Outlaw Order, and with a somehow-brand-new-but-still-half-original lineup, Saint Vitus once again took to the road and took on the task of their next record.

Saint Vitus‘ 1984 debut, Saint Vitus, is a genuine landmark in doom. A Calipunk answer to Black Sabbath at their gutsiest and grimiest, it has stood the test of time for over 30 years and only grown more relevant with each passing decade. That Saint Vitus in 2019 — ChandlerReagersVasquez and Bruders — should title their new album Saint Vitus (review here) is no coincidence. How could it be? And from the quintessential doomly roll of “Remains” and “Last Breath” to the pulsating energy of “Bloodshed” and the delightfully hardcore punk closer “Useless,” it is in every way a reclamation of Saint Vitus‘ identity as a group. Call it full-circle or don’t, but it’s a record that both embraces who they’ve always been and gleefully, mischievously screws with genre-based preconceptions, Reager‘s growls and soaring voice essential to the personality of the outing even as Chandler steps in for a spoken word take on the experimentalist noise of “City Park.”

I won’t take away from what Bruders and Vasquez do together as a rhythm section, and why the hell would I, but no question that having Chandler and Reagers paired up again gives the 2019 Saint Vitus a clash-of-the-titans-style feel, and for more than just Chandler‘s seemingly endless collection of pro-wrestling t-shirts. In every way, the tracks on Saint Vitus — which again united the group with producer Tony Reed (Mos Generator, etc.) — earn the banner of the band’s name under which they arrive, and for the fact that Saint Vitus has endured in one form or another for the last 40 years, their spirit of survival continues to be a middle finger raised high in defiance of everything, including, at times, themselves.

There’s a lot of doom out there, but there’s only one Dave Chandler, and I was fortunate enough to talk to him a while back, before the album came out in May. You’ll find the audio of the interview below. Thanks for checking it out if you do.

Enjoy:

Interview with Dave Chandler

 

Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus (2019)

Saint Vitus on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus on Twitter

Saint Vitus Tumblr

Saint Vitus website

Season of Mist on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist on Twitter

Season of Mist on Instagram

Season of Mist website

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Yawning Man to Tour Australia and New Zealand in 2020

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yawning man heavy psych sounds

You think you’re ready for a Yawning Man + koala bear photo op? Because you’re probably not. None of us are. The good news is we’ve got some time to steel ourselves for such adorableness before the Cali desert rock progenitors land in Auckland, New Zealand, in January, to begin what’s one of the most comprehensive Aus/NZ tours I’ve ever seen. Some bands pop over there for like four shows. Yawning Man are making it count. Fair enough. That’s a substantial trip, even from California. If you’re going to do a thing, do it right.

Already in 2019, Yawning Man have toured the US and Europe, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they had more of that in store for 2020 as well, but starting the year off Down Under puts them in new territory where they’ve never been. Well over three decades after the band’s inception, that’s gotta be a trip for guitarist Gary Arce and bassist Mario Lalli, as well as drummer Bill Stinson. They go in support of 2019’s Macedonian Lines (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds, and I don’t think there can be any question this is a major event in the existence of the band. I know they’ve done recording on tour before, but I have to wonder if they might have a couple days reserved for hitting the studio as well as the requisite sightseeing/koala selfies, etc.

If this one doesn’t make you feel good, check your pulse. I’ll go. Can I go?

yawning man aus nz

Desert Rock pioneers Yawning Man will finally make a soaring flight to our shores for a long-awaited tour of Australia and New Zealand in January 2020.

Over the past 33 years (!!!), Yawning Man have released 7 studio albums and 5 split LPs/EPs and Brant Bjork once said that “Yawning Man is the sickest band of all time.”

Joining these Masters is Psych/Prog Numidia, who will support YAWNING MAN for the East Coast of Australia.

Friday 17th January
Whammy Bar, AUCKLAND
Saturday 18th January
The Club Tavern Christchurch
Sunday 19th January
Valhalla, WELLINGTON
Tuesday 21st January
Heritage Hotel Bulli
Wednesday 22nd January
Transit Bar, CANBERRA
Thursday 23rd January
The Vanguard, NEWTOWN
Friday 24th January
Crowbar Brisbane, FORTITUDE VALLEY
Saturday 25th January
Bendigo Hotel, COLLINGWOOD
Sunday 26th January
Bendigo Hotel, COLLINGWOOD
Monday 27th January
Enigma Bar, ADELAIDE
Thursday 30th January
Amplifier Capitol, Perth
Friday 31st January
Indian Ocean Hotel, Scarborough
Saturday 1st February
The Den, Inglewood

TIX ON SALE NOW

New Zealand www.utr.co.nz
Melbourne, Wollongong www.ymb.eventbrite.com
Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth www.moshtix.com.au
Brisbane www.oztix.com.au

YAWNING MAN IS:
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

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Mondo Drag Working on Fourth Album; Playing This Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It’s an older picture below — I don’t think they’ve had time to fire up the lightshow for a new promo shot as yet, and fair enough — but the prospect of a new Mondo Drag record is a welcome one regardless. The SF-based prog weirdos — or is that weird proggos? — are currently writing material for what will be their fourth long-player and the follow-up to 2016’s very-much-right-on The Occultation of Light (review here), and they’ve announced the addition of Astra‘s Conor Riley on bass. They’ll play new songs this Saturday at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland, where they’ll share the stage with Blow and Glitter Wizard for what’s sure to be a righteous time.

They’ve done sporadic shows and stuff since 2017, but I have to wonder what was behind their “hiatus” in the first place. They seemed to have some pretty good momentum coming off touring for The Occultation of Light. Was it burnout from too much road time? Disillusion with the underground tour experience? Not enough weed candy? What’s the deal? Maybe when the time comes I’ll bother founding vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino and find out.

Until then, I’m glad to know there’s progress being made. Here’s what they had to say about it on thee social medias:

mondo drag

After a nearly two year hiatus, we have crawled out of our sonic cocoon and re-emerged onto this plane of existence for the next phase of our life cycle.

We are excited to announce that talented multi-instrumentalist and composer Conor Riley (Astra, Birth) has joined the ensemble as bassist. We’ve been holed up in our West Oakland studio for months working on material for our fourth album and we’ll be debuting some of it at our show this Saturday night at Eli’s Mile High Club.

Stay tuned for news on some upcoming US festival appearances!

Saturday, August 17

Glitter Wizard
Mondo Drag
Blow

Tickets: https://wizardmondoblow.eventbrite.com

Mondo Drag are:
John Gamino – Keyboards & Vocals
Nolan Girard – Guitar & Synthesizer
Jake Sheley – Guitar
Ventura Garcia – Drums
Conor Riley – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/mondodrag/
http://www.instagram.com/mondodrag
https://mondodrag.bandcamp.com/
https://www.mondodrag.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (2016)

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War Cloud Set Sept. 27 Release for State of Shock; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

war cloud

Whatever level of nostalgia you might ultimately feel for heavy metal’s alleged glory days — I’d argue there’s always been a lot of good metal and a lot of bad metal, same as anything — listening to War Cloud, you get it. You understand what they’re paying homage to and the legacy of brash, infectious, sonic impact to which they’re living up. Helps that they’re not exactly shy about it. Like, song-opens-with-a-siren-level not shy. No complaints. Their self-titled (review here) got them picked up by Ripple and no mystery why, and they’ll follow it up with State of Shock next month. Denim, leather, backpatches, mustaches. Heavy metal in 2019. Do it.

They’re streaming “Striker” now, and if you’re looking for a metaphor to go along with the cover art, consider the business of it and the general sphere of public discourse in the present day. You’re welcome. Album preorders are up now.

The PR wire:

war cloud state of shock

Bay Area quartet WAR CLOUD bring the metal with new album on RIPPLE MUSIC | Stream and share new song ‘STRIKER’

State of Shock by War Cloud is officially released on 27th September on Ripple Music

Pre-order the album HERE

Erupting out of Oakland, California in 2014, War Cloud has left a smoking path across much of the USA over the past five years. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Alex Wein after firmly planting his amps in the Bay Area, he unified a crew with Joaquin Ridgell on drums, Taylor Roach on bass, and most recently Nick Burks on guitar (also of Kentucky rockers, Stonecutters).

Adopting a classic 70s rock and 80s power metal approach and aggressively dousing it in modern sophistication, War Cloud released their self-titled debut album on Ripple Music to much acclaim in 2017. Their take on metal is a dish best served heavy and those that have dined on the likes of Saxon, Motorhead, Kiss, Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden will no doubt appreciate the hard rock sophistication, dipped deep in ’70s fuzz, as showcased on their new single, ‘Striker’:

“The initial air raid siren warns the listener of the incoming attack they will soon meet by heavy metal force!” explains guitarist Alex Wein. “The lyrics are from the perspective of a fighter pilot, upon hearing the siren he rushes to his warplane to prepare for battle. As the launch pad to the album this song takes off with only lightning in its wake.”

Touring extensively in support of their debut record, War Cloud adapted a take no prisoners strategy with the intent to decimate all from the opening tone of each engaging live show and recently completed recording their sophomore full-length, State of Shock. Set to arrive this September, once again with Ripple Music, the song writing on the album led the band in the direction of a strong concept which thematically surrounds a life in war – be it with friend, enemy, or self.

Embracing their recognizable dual guitar harmonies, proto-metal licks, hard charging rhythms, adding heavy surges of British and Southern metal to inspire the fire, War Cloud has unquestionably upgraded their bomber jets for long-range pursuit.

State of Shock by War Cloud is officially released on 27th September on Ripple Music.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Striker
2. White Lightning
3. Dangerous Game
4. Tomahawk
5. Seeing Red
6. Do Anything
7. Means of Your Defeat
8. State of Shock

WAR CLOUD:
Alex Wein – Vocals/Guitar
Nick Burks – Guitar
Joaquin Ridgell – Drums
Taylor Roach – Bass

http://facebook.com/WarCloudisComing
http://warcloudiscoming.bandcamp.com/
http://warcloud.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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