Six Dumb Questions with All Souls

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on February 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

all souls photo Memo Villasenor

There is an entire league of brutally underrated crafters of heavy rock and roll whose greatest misfortune, perhaps, was being active before the ascendancy of social media made ‘word of mouth’ as simple as cutting and pasting a link to a news feed, and it is to this number that Tony Aguilar belongs. Together with Meg Castellanos, Aguilar stood at the helm of the raw, bold and deeply individualized outfit Totimoshi for more than a decade before their 2011 outing, Avenger (review here), served as their final triumph and swansong, and after a few years of exploring flamenco and folk influences together in Alma Sangre as well as tour managing for the likes of Sleep and the Melvins, the urge to reestablish a footing in heavy music asserted itself, and All Souls began to take shape.

Of course, no story is ever quite that simple, but as All Souls issued their self-titled debut (review here) on Feb. 9 through Sunyata Records and quickly took off on a UK tour alongside Fatso Jetson, that footing sure seems to have been found. Comprised of Aguilar on guitar/vocals, Castellanos on bass/vocals, Erik Trammell of Black Elk on guitar and backing vocals, and Tony Tornay, also of Fatso Jetson, on drums, All Souls offer nine songs of varied moods but universal impact on the self-titled, reminding of the strength that was in Aguilar and Castellanos‘ songwriting process during the Totimoshi days but building outward as well and covering new ground thanks to the contributions of Trammell and Tornay to the mix. A production job by Toshi Kasai blends weighted crunch with fluid layering on songs like “Money Man” and “Sadist/Servant,” the latter of which trades between open stretches of melancholia and some of the record’s most forceful percussive impact, making the entire experience more engaging, cohesive and sincere.

I’ve already reviewed the album, so I’ll spare you any further blah blah blah about how I think it’s worth your time and the effort of an active listen and just get to the interview. As All Souls just wrapped that tour with Fatso Jetson — Tornay pulling double-duty at his kit — it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the story behind the band’s origins, how they came together after the slow dissolution of Totimoshi, and where they might be headed after this initial collection. Fresh from the road, Aguilar was kind enough to accommodate.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

all souls all souls

Six Dumb Questions with All Souls

Tell me about getting All Souls together. How did Erik Trammell and Tony Tornay get involved? Was there a specific impetus behind forming a new rock-style project, and when it came to it, what was behind the decision to not simply bring back Totimoshi? What are the differences between the two bands for you?

The rock music community is a small world, especially if you’re in a touring band. All the members of All Souls have been friends for years. Before the forming of our band, Meg and I had known Erik Trammell and Tony Tornay for probably 20 years. We met Erik back in the ’90s when he was in the band Wadsworth. Later his band Black Elk used to play shows with Totimoshi. Meg and I met Tony Tornay back in the ’90s as well when Fatso Jetson opened for Kyuss at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.

When Meg and I moved to L.A., I got a job working for the Melvins, which turned into working for Neurosis and Sleep, which led to me being on road for nine months out of the year. I really believe that cost me Totimoshi. Being absent is not good for a band. Eventually, Chris Fugitt, the drummer in Totimoshi ended up moving back to Kansas City because of a job offer. Totimoshi tried to continue with new drummers but it just didn’t feel right. After Totimoshi ended, Meg and I started an acoustic band called Alma Sangre that incorporates Spanish guitar with flamenco dance. It was sort of a venture into a completely different type of songwriting and singing (I sing in Spanish with sort of a Chavela Vargas-type of delivery).

As that went on I got the itch to be in a rock band again, which eventually led me to starting a band called Last Days of Ancient Sunlight with my friend Ferdie [Cudia] from the band 400 Blows. We were a band for about a year and a half — even recorded a full length that never came out because of in-fighting. All this time, Tony Tornay and I would see each other occasionally and throw around the idea of starting a band. We even jammed a few times. About the time Last Days broke up Erik Trammell moved back to Los Angeles from Austin. I had set Erik up with a friend of mine that rented a room to him. Erik and I talked one day and the idea of writing together came up. Which is how All Souls basically started. Erik Trammell and I sitting in my spare room — him playing guitar and me mostly singing. Over the course of a few weeks we came up with the bare structure for three songs which I sent to Tony Tornay. Tony liked it; then TornayErik and I talked and decided on Meg for bass because we liked her playing and felt a female vocal would add something special. That’s how All Souls was born.

Personally, the difference between All Souls and Totimoshi is All Souls is way more developed. It’s 10 times the visual, 10 times the feel and strength of Totimoshi. It’s literally the band I always dreamed of being in. It is also more art by committee that Totimoshi ever was. I tended to be a bit of a dictator in Totimoshi. With All Souls, the I has turned into we. We all write, we all write well, we all trust. All Souls involved.

When were the songs for the self-titled written, and were they written with any specific goals in mind? Was there something in particular you wanted the album to express?

Before the band ever played together we sat at a table and discussed how we were going to proceed. This was Tony Tornay‘s idea and I still think back with fondness to that evening. We drank wine and discussed music… more importantly we discussed what we wanted All Souls to be. From what I remember we wanted female/male energy (no overly macho bullshit). We wanted the songs to decide the length of the song — not some ridiculous formula. We wanted dark music that illuminates, and we wanted deep complex melody. We talked about bands that we loved, but that’s a secret. Over the course of about a year we made this all come to fruition.

Tell me about being back in the studio with Toshi Kasai. How long were you there? What was the recording process like? You worked with him of course with Totimoshi, but how was it different this time and what did he bring to the table as a producer? What was it about him that let you know he was the guy for the job?

Meg, Erik, and myself had all worked with Toshi Kasai prior to All Souls. Tony Tornay listened to his work and agreed that Toshi was the guy. We are all friends with him, know and love him and respect his vision as a producer. Toshi has a very specific way of recording and mixing that we love. Personally, I feel that because we have worked so much together — we understand and trust each other. We recorded with Toshi in three different sessions. The goal was to write three songs, rehearse the shit out of the three songs, record the three songs, then move on to the next three. Over the course of about a year all nine songs were recorded at Toshi‘s Sound of Sirens Studio.

Is it any different working with Meg in All Souls as opposed to Totimoshi or in Alma Sangre? Not looking to pry, but how do you view the interaction between the personal relationship and the creative one? How interrelated are they?

Meg and I have been in a relationship for 27 years. That is 27 years of dreaming, writing, traveling and working together, and I don’t see us slowing down. We understand each other very well as people and as artists. That dynamic plays very similarly in each artistic endeavor that we have been a part of but I do feel that All Souls is our first real and true collaboration with other people. I feel like for the most part Totimoshi and Alma Sangre was basically Meg and I doing most of the major work and allowing input from other people that were involved. All Souls is a real and true circle of collaboration. Not only do we all write, but we all work on the forward movement of the band. I’ve never really been in a band until now that literally has every member of the band networking, setting up shows, tours, and dealing with PR. Namely, the business side of things. Before All Souls it seemed that it was always up to Meg and myself. It is truly a great thing to see, but I’m not surprised — we all sat at the table and drew this thing up. That is the strength of this project.

How was touring the UK with Fatso Jetson? How did Tony handle pulling double-duty on drums, and how much road Eme do you ulEmately think All Souls will do in the US and abroad?

The tour was amazing. There is nothing like playing and touring with not only friends but a band you consider a true inspiration. Tony Tornay was powerhouse on this tour — and he did it while fighting the flu!! He’s part man, part machine. We were well received everywhere we went, we got to see some incredible towns and meet some great people. One of the most amazing things we saw was people traveling from great distances to come see the show, some flying in from other countries. Some fans came to multiple shows. I think I can speak for all the members when I say we are hoping to tour as much as humanly possible. What better thing is there in life?

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Our first album is done and we are already writing for the next. All Souls forever!

All Souls on Thee Facebooks

All Souls on Twitter

All Souls on Instagram

All Souls on Bandcamp

All Souls website

Sunyata Records on Thee Facebooks

Sunyata Records website

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Carlton Melton UK Tour Starts This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

carlton melton

If you live or will happen to find yourself in the UK sometime in the next week, you might just have a good excuse here to freak the fuck out. Carlton Melton, San Franciscan lysergic experimentalists if ever there were any, are headed over this week to begin a tour in London that will take them up into Scotland and loop back down to finish in Leeds after an eight-show stretch supporting their new album, Mind Minerals (review here), which came out Feb. 2 via Agitated Music. So that’s the good news.

What’s the bad news? Nothing. There is no bad news this time. Isn’t that nice?

Carlton Melton had a couple of shows previously booked for Belgium and the Netherlands that I’ve included below just in case they’re still on, though the press release this time was only about the UK run. Better safe than sorry, but if you’re thinking about heading to Antwerp or Nijmegen, you might want to check those are actually still a go. Fair warning.

From the PR wire:

carlton melton tour poster

CARLTON MELTON UK TOUR DATES

CARLTON MELTON are bringing their futurescape soundtrack to the UK….

20/02 – London – The Shacklewell Arms
21/02 – Todmorden – Golden Lyon
22/02 – Glasgow – Nice n Sleazy
23/02 – Manchester – Soup Kitchen
24/02 – Brighton – Hope & Ruin
25/02 – Salisbury – The Winchester Gate
26/02 – Northwich – The Salty Dog
27/02 – Leeds – Wharf Chambers

Previously announced live dates:
28/02 BE Antwerp – Het Bos
03/03 NL Nijmegen – Doornroosje

New album “Mind Minerals” out now on Agitated Records

Searing guitar piercing the drone with relentless power, the core trio of Carlton Melton; Andy Duvall (drums/guitar), Clint Golden (bass guitar), and Rich Millman (guitar/synth), have some alchemical bond that’s helped them create a post-rock / psychedelic / freeform organic slab of American Primitivism / space drift , this is unashamed head-music from the melting pot of Northern California.. 5 decades ago this album would have been released on the ESP Disk Label or even Apple.. .there would have been no helter skelter if the desert Hippies had locked onto these vibes, plug in, turn on, tune out..float free.. Carlton Melton can provide your own aural microdose to reset your Mind / Psyche!!

http://www.carltonmeltonmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Carlton-Melton-band-page-142609689122268/
https://www.facebook.com/AGITATEDRECORDS/
http://agitatedrecords.com/

Carlton Melton, “The Lighthouse”

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Review & Video Premiere: Blackwülf, Sinister Sides

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on February 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Blackwülf sinister sides

[Click play above to view the premiere of Blackwülf’s video for the title-track of their new LP, Sinister Sides. Album is out Feb. 26 on Ripple Music.]

Indeed, it is a darker, moodier and perhaps even more sinister aspect of themselves demonstrated by Oakland heavy rockers Blackwülf on their second album for Ripple Music and third overall, Sinister Sides. The four-piece — who may or may not have ditched the umlaut since their last outing, 2015’s Oblivion Cycle (review here) — refine their periodically aggressive take on heavy rock with punker and classically metallic roots throughout the neatly-executed eight tracks and 40 minutes of Sinister Sides and one can find songwriting growth in the employment of a diverse set of vibes, whether that comes in the early Alice in Chains snarl of opener “Gate of Sorrow,” its side B companion “Blind to Fate” and the subsequent Blind-era C.O.C. groove of “The Tempest,” the semi-acoustic “Waiting on Tomorrow,” which seems to owe part of its aesthetic to Down‘s “Landing on the Mountains of Meggido” and part to Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath balladry, or the subsequent “Dead to the World,” which reignites a doomly focus in transposing the central riff of Sabbath‘s “Children of the Grave” to suit the band’s own political purposes.

Those include, one is obliged to note, a guest appearance from Geof O’Keefe, whose presence — and tone — hangs heavily throughout Sinister Sides, giving it all the more of that sinister feel. The founding member of Pentagram and Bedemon shows up on three cuts in total: the post-opener title-track, as well as “Sinister Sides” and the album’s penultimate inclusion, which is a beefed-up take on Cream‘s “Sunshine of Your Love,” and while I’m not sure the latter’s heavy hippie blues is really suited to the crunch with which it’s delivered, it obviously puts to rest any doubt about the band’s roots in classic heavy rock and sounds like they had a blast in the studio putting it together.

If, say, you’ve had a miserable cold for the last week and continue to feel resoundingly shitty — just as a happenstance — you’ll no doubt want to aim your sneezes elsewhere from O’Keefe‘s guest spots. That is to say, among those who know enough to know, dude is kind of a big deal. And having him in for one song would be a considerable coup on the band’s part, but his playing on three separate tracks spread throughout the record — two on side A, one on side B, assuming the vinyl splits the tracklisting in half, which works timing-wise — also puts Sinister Sides at considerable risk as regards the work done by frontman Alex Cunningham, guitarist Peter Holmes, bassist Scott Peterson, and drummer Dave Pankenier being outshined by the pedigree of O’Keefe. It’s a credit to the band that they’re not, and not only that, but it’s a credit to the band that O’Keefe‘s showcase tracks — yes, even that Cream cover — are fluidly integrated with the rest of the material.

blackwulf

Part of that success stems from the work done by the opening salvo of “Gate of Sorrow,” “Sinister Sides” and “Waiting on Tomorrow,” which offer three distinct and seemingly disparate styles between them while nonetheless maintaining a fluidity of their approach. Songwriting? Confidence? Sheer performance? Whatever lets the band do it, they move from aggro grunge-infused heavy rock to spirited traditional doom and into acoustic-minded ’80 metallurgy in a manner that more or less allows the remaining five tracks to go where they please. A scope has been set. It’s not as off-the-wall genre-bending or experimentalist as some other might be, but nor is it intended as such. Blackwülf‘s interest with Sinister Sides isn’t so much to reshape heavy rock and/or doom in their own image, but to draw elements from those sounds and others like the NWOBHM and punk and ’90s alternative to create something of their ow from them.

I’d argue that as their third full-length — reasonable to expect as a moment of arrival for any band who are going to have one — Sinister Sides comes out a winner in that effort. By the same token, I don’t think Blackwülf are finished with the process of refinement clearly at work in these tracks. “Gate of Sorrow,” the more dramatic vibe of closer “Battle Line” — which doesn’t seem to come out of nowhere in part because of the work “Waiting on Tomorrow” does earlier on the record — and even “Sinister Sides” itself belong thoroughly to them, and the fact that Blackwülf step so boldly forward to claim this array of styles as their own, informing their listeners one track at a time that this is who they are as a band some six years on from their founding, speaks indeed to Sinister Sides being that stated moment of arrival for them.

As the doomly swing of “Dead to the World” and the darker-hued shuffle in the rhythm of “The Tempest” show, there’s no shortage of commitment to definition that’s been made by Blackwülf here, but it’s hard to see where the band are beholden to anything other than their penchant for memorable structures and crisp, precise execution of their material. Sinister Sides finds Blackwülf not only keeping good company, but working diligently to push themselves forward as well, and while that may not be what the ultimate narrative of the album centers around — even I have to admit “Geof O’Keefe plays on this record” makes for a catchy lead — anyone who actually takes the time to dig into these songs will discover that it’s Blackwülf themselves who come out on the other side of the proceedings sounding stronger than ever before. A touch of villainy suits them. One hopes they continue down such a multifaceted yet cohesive path.

Blackwülf website

Blackwülf on Bandcamp

Blackwülf on Thee Facebooks

Blackwülf on Twitter

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Twitter

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Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe: Don’t Panic

Posted in Reviews on February 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

fu manchu clone of the universe

Hey, look. If you’re Fu Manchu — and if you are, thanks for the riffs — having a guest appearance from Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson on your new record isn’t going to hurt your cause. But make no mistake. With the SoCal fuzz innovators’ 12th full-length, Clone of the Universe — released through their own At the Dojo Records imprint — the case is much the same as with the rest of their discography: The highlight of the Fu Manchu album is the Fu Manchu album. I’m not decrying Lifeson‘s spot on the 18-minute “Il Mostro Atomico” that closes out Clone of the Universe. It’s a massive, multi-faceted, explorational space jam topped with killer solos set to a dead-on weighted nod; essential Fu Manchu fuzz setting off on a five-year mission. There’s one verse and it doesn’t start until after nine minutes in.

Cool as hell, right? Of course, but it’s the earlier songs — opener “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” “Nowhere Left to Hide” and “Clone of the Universe” itself — that really tell the story of the record. Side A. And side A finds the San Clemente foursome of guitarist/vocalist Scott Hill, bassist Brad Davis, guitarist Bob Balch and drummer Scott Reeder in tight and top form as regards songwriting. Following suit from their last long-player, 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), the band continue to strip out some of the thickness from their fuzz as compares to records like 2009’s Signs of Infinite Power or 2007’s We Must Obey (discussed here), and it’s telling that even in working with Jim Monroe at The Racket Room in Santa Ana, CA, they also returned to Moab guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis — who helmed Gigantoid — at SUSSTUDIO in Simi Valley for additional recording.

That moves gives a sense of continuity of approach between the two albums, despite the four years separating their release, and context to the rawness of tone coming from Hill and Balch‘s guitars throughout Clone of the Universe, which very much plays out in two-sided fashion. The already-noted “Il Mostro Atomico” consumes all of side B in four distinct movements, and fair enough for that, but the earlier cuts running from about two to four minutes apiece make up a varied side A drawn together by the universal tightness in the band. They’re not through “Intelligent Worship” before Reeder‘s on his cowbell, and neither should they be. One could easily argue Fu Manchu know who they are as a band — after 12 records, they ought to, frankly — and are content to play to that in their general approach.

Fu manchu John Gilhooley

Which is to say, Fu Manchu sound like Fu ManchuHill‘s core vocal style won’t really change at this point, groove always remains central, and they blend Southern Cali laid-back-itude with heavy rock shred like the best in the business in part because they helped invent that “business” in the first place. And Clone of the Universe doesn’t fix what wasn’t broken coming off Gigantoid. Hooks abound in “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Slower than Light” and the title-track itself very much in a milieu that Fu Manchu fans will recognize as the band’s own. But on the other hand, there’s the raw drive of “Don’t Panic” — a 2:08 punker thrust with zero broach for nonsense that’s there and gone and still catchy that would be welcome to start any set I happen to be standing in front of — which, when paired with the easy-grooving start of “Slower than Light,” showcases the dynamic of tempo shifts that the band is working with across the still-quick span of the record as a whole, which even with 18 dedicated to “Il Mostro Atomico,” tops out at 38 minutes with seven songs.

Davis‘ bass signals a faster turn into the finishing movement of “Slower than Light” and with a semi-lurching rhythm, “Nowhere Left to Hide” delivers another memorable chorus in the ongoing series of them while also serving as the longest of the non-“Il Mostro Atomico” cuts at 4:27. Its vibe is foreboding but never really goes so far as to be a threat, despite the title, though the churning riff does bring to mind some unseen malevolent force. A later highlight guitar solo gives way back to the central riff that closes out and echo leads the way into the start-stop immediacy of the verse to “Clone of the Universe.”

No question why it’s the title-track; “Clone of the Universe” is quintessential, and it all the more represents the side of the album on which it appears for its ain’t-got-time-to-bleed lack of flourish and the push that emerges after the midpoint, only to slam into a wall of silence and then cut back to a slower version of the central riff to finish. From there, it’s off to “IlMostro Atomico,” which likewise wastes no time getting airborne and staying that way for the duration. There’s nod, there’s jangle, there’s tension building, and finally there’s angular space-o-prog that carries the band out, with a quick return to the first riff before a final fade.

Again, the Lifeson guest appearance is notable, and no doubt it was a thrill for Fu Manchu to bring him into the studio and get him on the record — mom always said there were two types of people in the world: Rush fans and the rest — but the focal point as one approaches Clone of the Universe shouldn’t be that singular moment or any other, rather what the record as a whole does with Fu Manchu‘s trademark sound and style, one part drawing it tighter than it’s ever been drawn before and the other pushing more broadly than it’s ever gone. Whichever side of the album happens to be on at any given point, Fu Manchu remain recognizable as who they are, and if anything, their will to add so much to that identity some 33 years after they got their start speaks to how special a band they really are. You can clone the whole universe, there’s still only going to be one Fu Manchu, and they’re in top form here.

Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe (2018)

Fu Manchu on Thee Facebooks

Fu Manchu on Instagram

Fu Manchu on Twitter

At the Dojo Records website

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Great Electric Quest Sign with Totem Cat Records; Premiere Thin Lizzy Cover; Announce Multiple Tours

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest totem cat records

Great Electric Quest are not a band who do things small. Some bands, they nibble. These dudes are more about chomp. When they hit the road, they hit it. When they take the stage, they bring a flag to wave, and as anyone who heard their 2016 debut album, Chapter I (discussed here), can attest, their sound follows suit. More headbang than nod, horns thrown, asses kicked, the whole nine.

In other words, they’ve earned the endorsement inherent in signing to Totem Cat Records (see also Spectral HazeCloud CatcherDopethroneKarma to Burn, and so on), and with the list of tour dates below headed to and through SXSW in Austin, Texas, and up the Pacific Coast and into Canada, it looks like they’ll continue to earn it as they get ready to make their debut on the label with their awaited sophomore full-length, Chapter II.

Today, in addition to announcing the label alliance and the tour dates — which, really, would be enough for any single morning, afternoon or evening — Great Electric Quest also premiere their cover of Thin Lizzy‘s “Cold Sweat.” The cut comes from the Glory or Death Records compilation Bow to Your Masters Vol. I: Thin Lizzy, which the label has up for preorder now.

Sound like a lot? Chomp chomp.

Here’s the latest from the PR wire:

great electric quest Anubis compels Tour final -700

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST signs with TOTEM CAT RECORDS, premier “Cold Sweat” contribution for GLORY OR DEATH RECORD’S Thin Lizzy compilation, and Announce ANUBIS COMPELS TOUR double shot SXSW invasion III and Pacific North West Canadian Invasion.

Over the coming months of March and April Great Electric Quest are set to play a ton of premier SXSW festivals, a SXSW official Showcase, and take their high energy performance / Beer Antics into the great North of Canada, while stopping off in some staple Pacific North locations. Hop on the Journey of Rock and Roll and Metal with Great Electric Quest, heavy tunes and good times are a given!

GLORY or DEATH RECORDS
Bow To Your Masters Volume I : THIN LIZZY
Limited DOUBLE LP AVAILABLE FOR PRE- SALE NOW
http://gloryordeathrecords.bigcartel.com/product/bow-to-your-masters-volume-i-thin-lizzy

Track Listing for LP 1 (Downloads available now with Pre-Sale Purchase):
Are you Ready – Mothership
Massacre – Mos Generator
Don’t Believe a Word- White Dog
Suicide – Egypt – Doom
Chinatown – Red Wizard
Thunder and Lightning – KOOK
She Knows – Slow Season
Cold Sweat – Great Electric Quest
Cowboy Song – Goya

Track Listing for LP 2 (Downloads available soon with Pre-Sale Purchase):
It’s Only Money – Wo Fat
Johnny – Worshipper
Jailbreak – DUEL
Emerald – Gygax
Still in Love with You – Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless)
Opium Trail – Jeff Matz (High on Fire), Mark Yalowitz (Zeke), Mike Scheidt (Yob), and more
The Rocker – Bow to Your Masters Supergroup
????? – High On Fire
And more…

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST Live:
SXSW INVASION III
3.7 – Tucson AZ, House of Bards
3.8 – El Paso TX, Rock House Bar & Grill
3.9 – San Angelo TX, Deadhourse
3.11 – Dallas TX, Gas Monkey
3.13 – Austin TX, SXSW Black Smoke Conjuring, Lost Well
3.14 – Austin TX, SXSW Stoner Jam, Spiderhouse Ballroom
3.15 – Austin TX, SXSW Stoner Daze, Texas Mist
3.15 – Houston TX, Acadia Bar
3.16 – Houseton TX, Groove and Vibe Festival
3.16 – Austin TX, SXSW SHOWCASE @ 720 Club
3.17 – San Antonio TX RIPPLE FEST @ Lime Light
3.18 – Marfa Tx, Lost Horse Saloon
3.21 – Tempe AZ, Yucca Tap Room?

PNWC INVASION
4.12 – Carlsbad CA, Boars Crossin’
4.13 – TBA
4.14 – TBA
4.15 – Everett WA, Tony V’s Garage
4.16 – Seattle WA, Central Saloon
4.18 – Spokane WA, The Pin
4.19 – Calgary AB, CANADA 420 Music and Arts Fest @ Distortion
4.20 – Kalispell MT, Rocky Mountain Riff Fest
4.21 – TBA
4.22 – South Lake Tahoe CA, HARD ROCK CASINO Spring Meltdown Metal Fest
4.23 – Long Beach CA, Black Light District Lounge

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
http://greatelectricquest.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

Great Electric Quest, “Cold Sweat”

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Worship of Keres Sign to Svart Records; Heir to Fire Due this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

If you head over to Worship of Keres‘ Bandcamp page, you’ll see the Californian four-piece have a few digital singles up and a three-song EP called simply Keres available for perusal. Frankly, given the professionalism of the recordings and the aesthetic have-their-shit-together-ness of the whole deal, I wouldn’t be surprised if any or all of that material showed up on the band’s impending debut full-length, Heir to Fire, which they’ll release through ultra-respected purveyor Svart Records in the coming months. Keres in particular shows a distinctive multi-genre blend taking hold between doom, traditional metal, heavy rock and a few other choice styles tossed in for flourish, and you can also stream that at the bottom of this post.

On the off-chance it’s your first exposure to them as it is mine — which mind you I doubt it is since you’re way more on top of that kind of thing than I am generally — I think you’ll find it an intriguing introduction either way. The PR wire sent word of the Svart signing as follows:

worship of keres

WORSHIP OF KERES sign with SVART RECORDS, prepare label debut

Svart Records is proud to announce the signing of Worship of Keres. The first fruit of this union shall be the band’s highly anticipated debut album, Heir to Fire, which will be released internationally later this spring/summer.

Founded in 2013 by Matthew Woods Wilhoit, Worship of Keres are a heavy metal band hailing from the Central Valley of California. Having been through many lineups since the idea was originally conceived as a side-project by Wilhoit, the curse began to grow and the Worship became the singular focus of its current lineup:

Justin (Hel) Helvete – vocals
Matthew Woods Wilhoit – guitars
Ryan Fernandes – drums
Chris Giblin – bass

Though proudly carrying the banner of heavy metal, Worship of Keres’ roots and influences are as gnarled, windy, and volatile as the area they come from, so it should be no surprise that, in a moment’s notice, they can craft a style of music that combines distinctive elements of doom, early thrash, New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and gothic hard rock. With a whole host of influences both classic and contemporary, Worship of Keres are able to weave together hauntingly dark melodies and incredibly visceral sonics into a cohesive soundscape that is all their own: unique yet inspired, brimming with bewitchingly catchy songs.

After a series of self-released EPs, which garnered an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response, a deal was struck with Finland’s fiercely independent and cutting-edge Svart Records for the release of Worship of Keres’ successive debut album. To be tiled Heir to Fire, the band’s debut LP will possess you from its first breath to its last. Taking the listener on a freefall into musical abandon, where all is possible in the pitch black – from the most vivid dreams to vicious nightmares, and beyond – Heir to Fire is a veritable love letter to everything that’s influenced the band and given it the strength to push forward with freedom of expression. Nothing is sacred in Worship of Keres’ ambitious exploration of melody and malady.

The curse of Worship of Keres will spread like plagues of wildfire, proudly carrying the torch lit by the Great Ones before them, throughout alien terrain and into your blood. Then again, words are words and talk is cheap, especially these days. So turn the volume up and listen for yourself! Cut the bullshit and begin the worship of Worship of Keres!

Release date, cover art, and tracklisting to be revealed shortly. For more info, consult the links below.

www.facebook.com/worshipofkeres
www.worshipofkeres.bandcamp.com
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
www.twitter.com/svartrecords

Worship of Keres, Keres (2017)

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Nebula Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 2: To the Center

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on February 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

nebula

[Click play above to stream the new reissue of Nebula’s To the Center in its entirety. Album is out Feb. 16 via Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Please note: This interview is part two in a series of three. Part one is here. Part three arrives Feb 27.

Recording with Jack Endino.Road-dogging it on tour so you don’t have to say home and pay rent. Signing to Sub Pop after running into label head Megan Jasper in the produce aisle at a grocery store and winding up signed to of the most influential undergoing imprints of all time as a result. Seeming to consume an entire interstellar mycelial network of mushrooms in the process. To hear original drummer Ruben Romano tell it, it was just all part of being in Nebula around the time of their 1999 debut LP, To the Center.

No wonder it’s one of the best stoner rock records of all time, with a band of laid back electric and acoustic guitars, a bevvy of languid desert grooves and some more driving fare for the punkers in the crowd. Nebula‘s prop=oir debut EP, Let it Burn (discussed here). Still, as Nebula were living out this process of rock and roll daydreams, all was no exactly well in the band, and by the time they got around to releasing 2001’s Charged, their second and final offering for Sub Pop, it would prove to be the final outing for the original Nebula lineup of Romano, guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass and bassist Mark Abshire as well.

But at this point, with To the Center and its languid blend of more-laid-back-than-thou riffs and acoustic strums, psychedelic sitars and space rocking freakout jams, with its Randyo Holden and Stooges covers — “Between Time” and “I Need Somebody,” respectively — it was a goddamn party and it certainly sounds like one on the album. In the interview that follows, Romano tells a couple quick but choice stories about what it was like to be in Nebula at this time.

You’ll find the Q&A under the player with the complete remaster (including bonus tracks) of To the Center, which again, is out on Heavy Psych Sounds Feb. 16.

Please enjoy:

nebula to the center

To the Center Q&A with Ruben Romano

How did the band change coming off of Let it Burn and moving into To the Center? Was there anything specific you knew you wanted to do from one release to the other?

What changed was that we now were total road dogs. Touring was all we did and when we were not on the road we were always in the rehearsal room. The specific thing that we wanted to do from one release to the other was to keep on doing it! All we wanted was to keep Rolling our way to Freedom.

Tell me about writing the album. How did the songs come together and what was that period of time like for you as a band?

We toured so much that we became a super tight band and things happened naturally. Playing with Eddie and Mark came easy. While we were on the road we would be jamming a riff at soundcheck, those brief in between tour moments were spent in rehearsal rooms jamming. Eddie also had a back catalog of four-track demo songs that we pulled from, and one that he wrote with his friend Neil Blender was pulled as well. Then jamming on covers of songs that we all loved, liked The Stooges and Randy Holden started sounding and feeling good. So we included those as well and all of a sudden we had 12 songs that comprised To the Center. At that period of time the band was extremely busy. It kept us from having to pay rent, so the time off the road became shorter and shorter.

You’d already recorded with Jack Endino for Sun Creature and the Lowrider split. What was it about the experience that brought you back to him? What did he capture in Nebula’s sound?

Jack was a cool guy. We worked well with him the first time around and he really dug what we were doing. I think we really impressed him during those To the Center sessions with our knowledge of great obscure underground music, like The Groundhogs. He was the biggest fan of Tony McPhee and The Groundhogs and was stoked when we brought them up in giving him production ideas of what we wanted to achieve. After that he wore his Groundhogs shirt a few times during those sessions. The other thing that he captured for Nebula was clamping the Sub Pop deal. How did that happen? Well, before that session started, we finished a European tour and flew back to New York were we crashed for a good week. That’s when we entered LoHo Studios and recorded the other half of those two EPs. If I recall properly we also just finished a deal and got signed to a label called Zero Hour. So, going into record for them, that’s where the plan to return to Jack came about as we got into the van and toured back across the

US ending in Seattle. That’s where Jack was, so returning to recording with Jack fit perfect. A week after the session started is when Zero Hour just disappeared – no contact at all! The phone was dead. Jack was so cool that he goes, “Let’s finish this anyways and figure it out later.” Now, at the same time we took a food break and, with Jack, we went to a grocery store. In that grocery store we happened to bump into Megan Jasper in the produce department. Head of Sub Pop. Her and Jack spoke a bit and that’s where the spark happened, that’s how we got connected to Sub Pop: a random meeting at a grocery store in Ballard, Washington.

Anything else you’d like to say about it in particular?

I liked Ballard, Washington. What a great memory!

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CHRCH to Release Light Will Consume Us All April 27; Album Details Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

chrch hannah stone

Yeah, the dark cover art is cool, and it’s nice to know that immediately upon releasing their new album, CHRCH will make a break for European shores to tour with 2017 splitmates Fister, but what I really like to see about Light Will Consume Us All, which is the Sacramento megadoomers’ Neurot Recordings debut and sophomore long-player behind 2015’s Unanswered Hymns (review here), is that it has three songs on it. That was the case as well with the first record — three-song full-length — and as the band also went back to Earthtone Studios to work with engineer Patrick Hills, it would seem they’re following an impulse not to fix what wasn’t broken in their sound.

Needless to say if you heard Unanswered Hymns, but that is very much the right fucking move.

The PR wire brings that tracklisting and the foreboding cover and tour dates and so on, and if you’re not yet looking forward to this one, you should be. A band like this doesn’t sign to Neurot and then not deliver, and in the case of CHRCH, it could mean a real monster is on the way.

Dig:

chrch light will consume us all

CHRCH: Sacramento Doom Bringers To Release Light Will Consume Us All This April Via Neurot Recordings; Artwork + Track Listing Revealed

Light Will Consume Us All, the impending second full-length from Sacramento, California-based doom bringers CHRCH, is set for release this April via Neurot Recordings.

Standing at a crossroads of light and dark, CHRCH wields epic, lengthy songs, massive low end, and an occult vocal presence in a perfect blend of height and depth. CHRCH has been hard at work crafting their particular sound since late 2013. There is no image or campy gimmick to uphold, only the humble glorification of their fundamental musical elements

This purity and honesty comes across in a striking manner on the band’s 2015 debut Unanswered Hymns, a sprawling roller coaster of an album. Long form songs build and heedlessly dismantle as the band reaches sonic heights and beautiful plateaus. Severe, sometimes unrelenting, vocals contrast melodic singing; massive fuzz gives way to clean guitar parts; its warm, organic tone draws the listener in with a sound influenced by traditional doom, psych rock, drone, and ambience.

Light Will Consume Us All carries with it the same quality of songwriting that caught the attention of fans worldwide on their debut. Building upon this unyielding foundation, Light Will Consume Us All continues CHRCH’s narrative, traversing life’s epic journey of loss, reclamation and, ultimately, finding hope within the darkness.Minimalist, indulgent, or straightforward; the music of CHRCH calls the listener to inhabit it, allowing enough room for its transmutation into anything one desires of it. Light Will Consume Us All was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Patrick Hills (King Woman, Bog Oak, VRTRA) at Earthtone Studios in Sacramento.

CHRCH’s Light Will Consume Us All will see release on CD, vinyl, and digital formats via Neurot Recordings April 27th with preorders to be announced shortly.

Light Will Consume Us All Track Listing:
1. Infinite Return
2. Portals
3. Aether

Surrounding the release, CHRCH will bring their sonic alchemy to the stage with a handful of west coast shows including an appearance at Days Of The Loud before heading to Europe this May with St. Louis doom cult, Fister. With shows still to be announced, the band’s European trek includes performances at Northern Discomfort in Copenhagen and DesertFest London.

CHRCH:
3/08/2018 Cooper’s Ale Works – Nevada City, CA w/ Khemmis
3/11/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Wolves In The Throne Room, Abyssal
3/24/2018 The Golden Bull – Oakland, CA
3/30/2018 Blue Lamp – Sacramento, CA w/ Usnea, Un, Occlith
3/31/2018 Days Of The Loud @ Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor – Reno, NV
w/ Fister:
5/02/2018 Bar Loose – Helsinki, FI
5/03/2018 SubScene – Oslo, NO
5/04/2018 Northern Discomfort – Copenhagen, DK
5/06/2018 DesertFest – London, UK
5/07/2018 Fuel – Cardiff, UK
5/08/2018 Nice N Sleazy – Glasgow, UK
5/09/2018 Head Of Steam – Newcastle, UK
5/10/2018 Temple Of Boom – Leeds, UK
5/11/2018 Magasin4 – Brussels, BE
6/15/2018 Austin Terror Fest – Austin, TX w/ Exhorder, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Come to Grief, Buzzov*en, more

CHRCH:
Eva Rose – vocals
Chris Lemos – guitar, vocals
Ben Cathcart – bass
Adam Jennings – drums
Karl Cordtz – guitar, vocals

http://www.facebook.com/chrchdoomca
https://churchdoom.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Fister & CHRCH, Split (2017)

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