Sunn O))) ‘Life Pedal’ Now Available; Touring West Coast in September

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

For a band who’ve never made a habit of doing anything other than whatever the hell they want to, Sunn O))) sure have a lot of tour dates lined up, leading one to assume that, well, they want to be touring. In April, they released Life Metal on Southern Lord, bringing a new vision of melody to their long-established abyss of drone, changing the character thereof after two decades of slow-motion slaughter. And that was just the first track. So yeah, only fair they’re wanting to show it all off, as they’ll do both domestically and abroad throughout the Summer and Fall, and as they’ve already done on the East Coast. The latest batch of dates cover the West Coast, and they’ll take place between journeys to Europe, as they’ll pop over to Germany and the Netherlands for fest appearances next month and then be back in October for another run. Go go go.

They have a fancy new pedal available now made in an edition of 1,000 in league with EarthQuaker Devices. Kudos to whichever clever soul decided to call it ‘Life Pedal.’

Life Metal is streaming in full below courtesy of Southern Lord‘s YouTube, and the dates came down the PR wire. You know how this works:

sunn o (photo by A F Cortes)

SUNN O))): EARTHQUAKER RELEASE EXCLUSIVE DISTORTION PEDAL; LIFE PEDAL MARKS COMPANY’S FIRST ARTIST-ORIENTED COLLABORATION

SUNN O))) Announces West Coast US September Tour Dates; Life Metal Out Now On Southern Lord

SUNN O))) and EarthQuaker Devices join forces to create Life Pedal. This is a limited, hand numbered, tube amp crushing octave fuzz and distortion with boost. Life Pedal empowers the operator to immerse themselves in the same full spectrum overdriven sonic palette as used on the Life Metal album. Details below.

In the writing sessions for Life Metal SUNN O))) worked extensively shearing our tones toward a broader energy spectrum over high powered saturation and across planes of sonic character, with the ambition to take full advantage of producer/engineer Steve Albini’s exacting capture skills. The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, vast sonic cosmoses, flashes of abstract colour (synthetic and objective) through resulting themes which emerged from the mastered depths of saturation and circuits between the two players and their mountains of gear.

The Life Pedal is designed to represent the core front-end chain used in those sessions, to drive the tubes of the band’s multiple vintage Sunn O))) Model T amplifiers into overload and ecstasy. This is a 100w tube amp full stack’s holy dream, or its apostate nightmare. An octave fuzz inspired by the Shin-Ei FY2 & FY6 units leads the circuit into a LM308 chipped and brutal rodent big box distortion, recreated with the best components, and including a three-way clipping switch (op Amp, Asymmetric & Symmetric). Second stage is a purely clean boost to further overdrive the preamp tubes of ones vintage system into -scaped harmonics, and feedback overtone bliss. Chasms are cleared, mountains sheared, glaciers calved, novæ birthed. Transcend to complete saturation enlightenment.

Order the Life Pedal, in an edition of 1000 pedals, exclusively from the official SUNN O))) Reverb Shop hosted by Reverb.com HERE and view the Life Pedal trailer HERE.

Southern Lord is also pleased to announce that SUNN O)))’s Life Metal is now available in a second vinyl pressing with exclusive new colours.

SUNN O))) will play select festival shows in Europe this July, before returning to US soil for the second leg of their Let There Be Drone: Multiple Gains Stages tour. SUNN O))) will then head back to Europe and the UK this October.

Life Metal can now be purchased via the SUNN O))), Southern Lord, and Southern Lord Europe stores.

SUNN O))) Tour Dates:
Summer European Shows:
7/30/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE #
7/31/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE #
8/01/2019 Dekmantel Festival – Amsterdam, NL

US West Coast
9/01/2019 Granada – Dallas, TX *
9/02/2019 Emo’s – Austin, TX *
9/04/2019 The Gothic – Denver, CO *
9/08/2019 Mayan – Los Angeles, CA *
9/09/2019 The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA *
9/11/2019 The Showbox – Seattle, WA ^
9/12/2019 Revolution Hall – Portland, OR ^

Europe + UK Tour:
10/07/2019 Backstage – Munich, DE %
10/08/2019 HfG / ZKM – Karlsruhe, DE %
10/09/2019 Kaserne Basel – Basel, CH %
10/10/2019 Felsenkeller – Leipzig, DE %
10/13/2019 Kablys + Kultura – Vilnius, LT %
10/14/2019 Vene Teater – Tallinn, EE %
10/15/2019 Kulttuuritalo – Helsinki, FI %
10/17/2019 Kraken Sthlm – Stockholm, SE
10/18/2018 Kulturkirchen Jakob – Oslo, NO
10/19/2019 BLA – Oslo, NO (exclusive duo performance)
10/21/2019 Koncerthuset – Copenhagen, DK
10/22/2019 Doornroosje – Nijmegen, NL
10/24/2019 SWX – Bristol, UK
10/25/2019 QMU – Glasgow, UK
10/26/2019 The Crossing – Birmingham, UK
10/27/2019 Albert Hall – Manchester, UK
10/28/2019 Roundhouse – London, UK
# w/ Caspar Brötzmann
* w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
^ w/ Papa M
% w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem

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https://sunn.bandcamp.com
https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
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Sunn O))), ‘Life Pedal’ introduction

Sunn O))), Life Metal (2019)

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Atala, The Bearer of Light: Burn in the Raw

Posted in Reviews on June 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

atala the bearer of light

The Bearer of Light is Atala‘s fourth full-length. Issued by Salt of the Earth Records, it follows 2017’s Labyrinth of Ashmedai (review here), 2016’s Shaman’s Path of the Serpent (review here) and a 2015 self-titled debut (review here), and while its predecessor seemed to follow a pattern set forth by the second album, in style as well as method, The Bearer of Light‘s seven-track/43-minute run is marked by a few notable changes. The production is a big one. The self-titled was produced by Scott Reeder, and the next two by Billy frickin’ Anderson, so the fact that guitarist/vocalist Kyle Stratton (who also did the cover art) took the reins himself this time around with a purposeful intent toward rawness is not to be overlooked. Indeed, The Bearer of Light is largely cloaked in its barebones recording, with Stratton‘s distorted guitar leading the charge cut through by Jeff Tedtaotao‘s sometimes-tinny snare and the dirt-coated low-end in Dave Horn‘s bass.

There’s still some opportunity for melody to shine through, as happens on the 3:45 side B cut and shortest track overall, “Venomous Lure” — also one of several songs to begin with a spoken sample, very much in ’90s sludge fashion — or even opener “Desolate Lands,” but much of the character of the record overall derives from movements like “Upon the Altar” and the threat-conveyance in “Won’t Subside,” which stretches to 11 minutes and layers its vocals in blown-out shouts over a lumbering, grueling central riff, like if earliest YOB had disappeared in the Mojave and come back hallucinating monsters from the exposure. Born of and depicting a harsh but beautiful landscape, the Twentynine Palms, California-based three piece indeed still qualify as a “desert band,” but their take on what that means is a noted departure from the laid-back punk-derived fuzz that has become typical of desert rock as a genre. Their trip is meaner on the whole, and particularly in the crashes of “Naive Demur” and the gutturalism of “Upon the Altar” is more kin to Crowbar than Kyuss. So be it. Some bands are suited to being contrary, and Atala hit that mark well on The Bearer of Light.

Though also structured for vinyl — kind of a given these days for heavy music — one can find summary of the point of view through which The Bearer of Light is working in its trailmarker tracks, by which I mean its opener, centerpiece and closer. Launching with “Desolate Lands” and closing with the acoustic “Dark Skies,” Atala puts “Sun Worship” at the heart of The Bearer of Light, which would seem to be no coincidence given the flow of the release overall. And while that view doesn’t necessarily account for the perceived sociopolitical reckoning of “Won’t Subside” or “Naive Demur,” or even “Dark Skies” somewhat, it stresses the importance of the desert itself as part of the character of the work, which it is, whatever other topics might be discussed in the not-always-easily-deciphered lyrics.

atala

“Sun Worship” begins with a sample of George Carlin from 1999’s You are All Diseased talking about becoming a sun worshiper as opposed to following Christianity and then undertakes a massive intro roll with far-back semi-spoken, maybe throat-sung vocals before a count-in transitions to the verse riff proper, clean vocals there meeting head-on with a meaner chorus soon enough. There’s a kind of chant in the second half of the song, which seems to purposefully devolve ahead of its fadeout, moving into the more structured “Venomous Lure” and subsequently the long-gone-not-coming-back foray of “Won’t Subside.” Certainly the stage is set for these transitions earlier in The Bearer of Light throughout “Desolate Lands,” “Upon the Altar” and “Naive Demur,” but at the same time one finds footing in the beginning, middle and end, the willfulness with which Atala dig deeper into their approach in this batch of material isn’t to be understated. Though somewhat obscured by the production — which is as close as I come to a qualm with it — that breadth is there in the material, in the interplay between melody and outright nastiness, and in the coherence of their craft and general reach of their sound. Stratton‘s fuzz lead alone in the opener is enough of a hook to capture the listener’s attention, never mind the rumble and roll that surrounds.

Subtle volume swells back the acoustic guitar of “Dark Skies,” with a rhythmic strum taking the place that otherwise might be held by percussion and soulful vocals overtop, reminding that one element Atala have never lacked has been conviction. They present that perhaps most boldly of all on The Bearer of Light, finding a way to commune with the desert without giving themselves over to stylistic cliché or losing the progressive thread of their work to this point, keeping that feel of searching for something in themselves and in their songs that has helped define them up to now. With the turn of production, it becomes more difficult to see where Atala might head next time around, if they’ll return to work with someone else at the helm or take the lessons of this collection forward and continue in the fashion of DIY recordmaking. I don’t know, but what feels most essential to stress is that The Bearer of Light is more than a test of a new production method.

It’s that too, to be sure, but it also brings out Atala‘s widest range of songwriting, and sees them able to handle themselves no matter which direction a given piece might go, whether it’s the extremity of “Upon the Altar” or the relative accessibility of “Venomous Lure” and the organically delivered finish of “Dark Skies.” Their output remains considered and rife with perspective instrumentally as well as lyrically, and their chemistry has never sounded as fluid as it does on The Bearer of Light, which is doubly impressive given that the sound of the album is so clearly intended to lean toward live performance. Four records deep over a five-year span, Atala are still growing, still pushing themselves to places they haven’t been, and one suspects that might just be the case no matter how long and how far they go.

Atala, The Bearer of Light (2019)

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Here Lies Man to Release No Ground to Walk Upon Aug. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Here Lies Man are officially — I’m sure there was a ceremony somewhere, someplace — a better band than people know. The thing about that? People know they’re pretty good. But go ahead and dig into “Clad in Silver,” which is the lead track from their new mini-LP No Ground to Walk Upon, and tell me that’s not some of the coolest shit going. I mean, I know they’re not the only ones out there taking cues from Afrobeat, but after two full-lengths and a couple other odds and ends, some touring, etc., they’ve got it down. Listen to that fuzz. Those keys. That percussion. That drone head-trip freakout. It’s all right there. It’s so specific a sonic niche, and so much their own, that I have to wonder if part of why they’re underrated isn’t because of the complexity involved, but either way, you’ve got four minutes — if you’re reading this, face it, you do — so yeah, just listen to the track. It’s down there at the bottom.

No Ground to Walk Upon is out Aug. 16 through RidingEasy Records.

The PR wire makes it true:

here lies man no ground to walk upon

Here Lies Man announce new mini-album No Ground to Walk Upon, share first single

Los Angeles quartet Here Lies Man share the lead single from their forthcoming 7-song mini-album No Ground To Walk Upon today. Hear and share “Clad in Silver” via YouTube and Bandcamp.

Here Lies Man took the music world by storm in 2017 with their self-titled debut positing the intriguing hypothesis: What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?

Since that time, Here Lies Man has expanded and expounded upon their sound and ideas of heavy riff rock and psych within the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave. The L.A. based band comprised of Antibalas members have toured relentlessly over the past 2 years, while also releasing a second album, You Will Know Nothing and an EP, Animal Noises, both in 2018.

No Ground to Walk Upon is due worldwide in August 2019. It continues with an ongoing concept of HLM playing the soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. The lead single “Clad in Silver” is the soundtrack snippet of a journey to the imaginary place called home, which can never be arrived at. With every step, the character imagines getting closer, but it is a hallucination that fades in and out of perception.

“We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” explains founder and vocalist/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Marcos Garcia (who also plays guitar in Antibalas) of the band’s sound. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”

No Ground To Walk Upon also includes an interesting conceptual mathematics to the entire proceedings, a theme begun on the prior album. “There are interludes between each song that are 2/3 to 3/4 of the tempo of the previous song,” Garcia says. “The reason it breaks down to 2 over 3 or 3 over 4 is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave. The clave is an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa.”

Garcia and cofounder/drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) recorded the mini-album much like they did their previous releases, at their own L.A. studio on a Tascam 388 8-track tape machine. Additional layers were recorded with former Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod and other contributors in various other locations, all while the band continued its rigorous touring schedule.

Here Lies Man has already spent much of the past three years on tour, with dates supporting Antibalas, Earthless and Fu Manchu, as well as headlining treks through the EU & UK. The remaining months of 2019 and 2020 will see the band once again performing at numerous International festivals (including Austin’s Levitation Fest in November.)

No Ground to Walk Upon will be available on LP, CD and download on August 16th, 2019 via RidingEasy Records.

Tracklisting:
01. Clad in Silver
02. Swinging From Trees
03. Long Legs (Look Away)
04. Washing Bones
05. Get Ahold of Yourself
06. Iron Rattles
07. Man Falls Down

HERE LIES MAN LIVE 2019:
11/09 Austin, TX @ Levitation Fest 2019

hereliesman.com
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ridingeasyrecs.com

Here Lies Man, “Clad in Silver”

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Nebula, Holy Shit: Yeah, That About Covers It

Posted in Reviews on June 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

nebula holy shit

If nothing else, they gave it the right name. Nebula‘s reunion and new album, their sixth and first for Heavy Psych Sounds, have been a genuine surprise. Their legacy has remained intact over the decade since they released the Heavy Psych (review here) LP in 2009 on Tee Pee Records, growing by social media word of mouth to a new generation of listeners — maybe not as much as if they were touring the whole time, but still — and their unexpected comeback born on stage and reissues of their past work would seem to culminate in Holy Shit, a new full-length of nine songs and 43 minutes that is both a shock and an inevitability. Of course Nebula were going to do another record. Once the reunion happened, another record was bound to follow — shit, even Eyehategod put out an album eventually — the real question was whether or not it would sound like Nebula.

The Los Angeles outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass always had a looser sound than many of their contemporaries. Looser than Fu Manchu from whom they split off originally, looser than Kyuss/Queens of the Stone AgeMonster Magnet, or any number of Euro bands of the era one might want to namedrop. They took their Stooges influence that much more to heart, and it manifest in their sound in a real sense of danger that the whole thing would come apart, and then they took it further, and when it fell apart, they let it. It was a truer vision of stoner rock than most other purveyors of heavy riffs could conjure, and Holy Shit — recorded with the current lineup of Glass, bassist/backing vocalist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster (also AbramsBlaak Heat) with Matt Lynch of Snail at the helm of Mysterious Mammal Studios — plays out like a revival for that sensibility. The initial thrust of “Man’s Best Friend” feels like a callout to The Atomic Bitchwax, but it crashes at the halfway point to layered wah-solos and only makes its way into lyrics in its last minute, letting the audience know immediately to toss expectation out the airlock. Nebula are back.

“Messiah” follows and runs a thread of backing effects behind denser fuzz and repeated lines before turning to more of a shuffle, slowing again and then taking off in stoner-punk fashion en route to a fade and the bass and effects at the beginning of “It’s All Over,” which emphasizes that drift in its verse and digs in more for the title-line hook and then gets more brash in a freakout ahead of the final chorus. The subsequent “Witching Hour” would seem to play out in more straightforward fashion, but that might just be Stockholm syndrome to Nebula‘s quick turns and fuzz-drenched rhythmical nuance as the song resolves in a dramatic course of crashes and a plotted lead then shifts back into the central riff to end and bring about the 1:48 centerpiece “Fistful of Pills,” a Western jangle and chorus chant clearly intended as an interlude or otherwise just a departure from the proceedings thus far. It’s telling that the first four cuts on Holy Shit are all within the four-to-five-minute range and nothing on side B save for the penultimate “Let’s Get Lost” follows that pattern.

nebula

It’s not just about putting the rock songs up front, since GlassDavies and Amster get plenty weird in the opening salvo, but the palette would seem to expand nonetheless in the languid “Tomorrow Never Comes,” which is one of two songs over seven minutes long in kind with closer “The Cry of a Tortured World.” Between them, “Gates of Eden” reimagines sunshine psychedelia as motorcycle werewolves ravaging some desert town, and “Let’s Get Lost” resounds like a Black Flag moral judgment with Glass‘ rough vocal in an addled preach atop a bounding groove — again loose, again dangerous. He drawls over a highlight solo in the ultimate show of fuckall, and the song seems to fade out as the jam was coming to a natural conclusion anyway, their point well made in the 4:41 run that would seem to be the willful opposite of “Messiah” early — angel and devil perched on opposite shoulders, and so on. I’m not sure who ultimately wins that argument, if anyone.

Nebula‘s ability to make plotted parts sound like off-the-cuff exercises in vibe runs rampant throughout Holy Shit, and that’s much to the credit of the band itself as well as to Lynch as the producer capturing it. The dynamic between Davies and Glass is long-established — the bassist joined in 2003, following the release of Atomic Ritual — but Amster is new in the lineup as of this revitalization, which began in 2017, and one of the questions coming into the album was how his style would mesh with the guitar and bass. One can hear on “The Cry of a Tortured World” as the band sort of desert-dooms out in the chorus and pits acoustics and electric guitars against each other in the verses that the drums are very much the responsible party in terms of holding it together. The key though is to not have that conflict with the strings, and it doesn’t. Amster is a technique drummer, adaptable to different styles, but he balances precision and swing well in this material and Nebula only sounds like Nebula as a result.

In the meantime, Glass and Davies seem to be that much freer to explore effects, noisemaking and melodies as they will. It’s the stuff of classic power trios, so again, very much in Nebula‘s wheelhouse. I didn’t see another Nebula record coming. I’ll admit that. Amid years of rumors of rough addiction and fallouts and whatever else, I just didn’t think Nebula would happen again, but the fact of the matter is they were one of the most essential bands to shape what’s now considered heavy and/or desert rock, and their influence has spread not only over international borders, but over another generation of listeners who’ve emerged since they’ve been gone. They were a special band and they remain one. Whatever Holy Shit might lead to, if they do another record or just tour forever, or break up, or who knows, the fact that it exists only speaks to the band’s utter unpredictability, which has always been one of their greatest assets. You never knew what was coming from Nebula. You still don’t. That’s why it’s fun.

Nebula, “Man’s Best Friend” official video

Nebula, Holy Shit (2019)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Yawning Man, Macedonian Lines

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Yawning Man Macedonian Lines

[Click play above to stream Yawning Man’s Macedonian Lines in full. It’s out June 14 through Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Between 1986 and 2005, Yawning Man released no albums. Between 2016 and 2019, with the advent of Macedonian Lines on Heavy Psych Sounds, they’ve now released three. That debut outing was 2005’s Rock Formations (discussed here), and it helped lead the band toward not just the subsequent Pot Head EP, but also to the 2007 release of their demo tracks,  The Birth of Sol (discussed here), and 2010’s sophomore studio album Nomadic Pursuits (review here), which launched what has unquestionably been the band’s most productive decade to-date. Solidified as the trio of guitarist Gary Arce (also Big Scenic Nowhere, Ten East, Zun, etc.), bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso JetsonBig Scenic Nowhere, etc.) and drummer Bill Stinson (Chuck Dukowski, etc.), Yawning Man has at last begun to capitalize on the incredible reputation that precedes them as one of the founding architects of Californian desert rock.

For the last several years, they’ve toured in Europe and — more surprisingly — the US, releasing a split with Fatso Jetson in 2013, Historical Graffiti (review here) in 2016 and last year’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here), the latter beginning the alliance with Heavy Psych Sounds, to which Lalli‘s outfit Fatso Jetson are also signed. Arce, whose drifting guitar tone is as much a signature for Yawning Man as any band could have, has always been involved in a number of projects and continues to be, but a successive-year turnaround for Yawning Man full-lengths is simply unprecedented in the band’s 33-year history. Yet Macedonian Lines, with six tracks and an almost humble 31-minute runtime, offers not just a batch of new jams from a trio of nigh-unmatched sonic fluidity — somewhat ironic since, you know, the desert and all — but also a showcase of the potential that’s been in their dynamic all along, waiting, essentially, to be honed by the players involved. Stinson is not an original member, but he plays like one, and Lalli and Arce are, and the chemistry between the three of them, especially as it’s been honed on tour over the last few years, is at a new level in these songs.

And it’s appropriate, then, that the material throughout Macedonian Lines would find its root in live performances, coming together around jams from the last tour. Bookended by its two longest cuts in leadoff “Virtual Funeral” (6:49) and closer “I Make Weird Choices” (7:25), flows like a short live set, the three-piece building momentum as they move through the title-track and into “Melancholy Sadie” — presumably that’s as opposed to “Sexy Sadie” — as well as “Bowie’s Last Breath” and “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV),” all of which check in at under five minutes long. Being born of jams, it speaks to the band’s songwriting process that the finished products would end up on the shorter side, as Yawning Man seem to be moving toward an efficiency of delivery — five of the eight cuts on The Revolt Against Tired Noises were over five minutes — that, somewhat incredibly, doesn’t take away from the laid back spirit of the LP itself.

yawning man heavy psych sounds

Especially with the memorable melody the guitar brings forth on “Virtual Funeral” accompanied by piano and Lalli‘s rumbling bass beneath, as well as Stinson‘s drums tying it all together, Macedonian Lines works quickly to immerse the listener in its atmospheric warmth, easing into “Macedonian Lines” with a speedier, winding guitar line that’s still very much in their wheelhouse before opening up to a broader progression, building and releasing tension in a way that even just a few years ago the band likely wouldn’t have done. It’s a different kind of awareness and engagement with the audience happening on Macedonian Lines, and the feel throughout is very much like a second album — which it is, of their tenure on Heavy Psych Sounds — in terms of how it builds on what The Revolt Against Tired Noises introduced idea-wise about who and what Yawning Man are as a group. Here, they offer gracefully expansive arrangements of guitar, bass and drums, setting their sights on open spaces and conveying not just the soul of the desert or some idea of what they’re expected to be, but of how they’ve grown and are still progressing as players. Matured and maturing still.

“Melancholy Sadie” is anchored by a bassline that lives up to the title, and the weight Lalli adds to “Bowie’s Last Breath” is likewise crucial, as he and Arce set up in a you-go-high-I’ll-go-low attack as regards frequency range with Stinson cutting through the tonal wash with a punctuating snare even as his crash adds to the methodical, patient patterning of the bass and guitar. Stinson is more than timekeeper, but he’s not an overly flashy player, and part of the reason he has come to fit so well in Yawning Man since joining in 2011 is he allows the string section room to breathe. The longer cuts emphasize this more, unsurprisingly, but even the march he brings to “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV)” resounds with purpose and continues the momentum into the serene beginning of “I Make Weird Choices,” a culmination with far-back keyboard flourish — though I’ll allow that could be guitar effects — that echoes the trance-inducing aspects of the opener even as it calls to mind more of a heavy post-rock feel in its quiet-loud tradeoffs, taking what might otherwise be verses and choruses and setting them up not in opposition to each other, but as complementary elements toward the same purpose.

The same essentially applies to the work of Arce and Lalli throughout Macedonian Lines, as they are two players with different mindsets who come together for the common end of defining Yawning Man‘s ultra-influential sound. Macedonian Lines, though ultimately brief, is a triumph of the cohesion between their two strong personalities, and a showcase of what has not only let the band survive their long tenure, but to do so in such a way as to be more vital now than they’ve ever been. I don’t know if Yawning Man will have another album out in 2020, or what their future will bring, but as they ascend to their rightful place in the forefront of desert rock consciousness, their ongoing progression seems bound to inspire yet another generation of players. As a fan, I hope they keep the momentum going.

Yawning Man, “Macedonian Lines” official video

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Glitter Wizard Post “A Spell So Evil” Video from Opera Villains

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

glitter wizard

What’s going on in the new Glitter Wizard video is there’s a band on stage. Good place to start. That band is very obviously not Glitter Wizard. Among others, it includes Janiece Gonzalez of fellow San Franciscan outfit Wild Eyes SF, though, so that’s something. But they’re up there, kind of kicking ass, and the crowd is bored and not into it. Maybe they’re not fans of painted-on mustaches? They’d be wrong, in any case. So, outside the venue, up walks Glitter Wizard in robes and full uber-glam stoner zombie regalia, sparkly facepaint and all, and they get carded at the door. Which is hilarious. But then they go in and chase away everybody and rock out, converting with a kiss one man and one woman in the audience, turning them into statues.

That’s “A Spell So Evil” in a nutshell.

So let’s say maybe the message here is there’s a decent chance that at any given show Glitter Wizard are going to freak a lot of people out. That’s fair enough, right? On a basic level, their songs are catchy, somewhat traditionalist heavy rock with tendencies alternately toward psych, punk or whatever they feel a given track needs, but as “A Spell So Evil” — which comes from their new album, Opera Villains, released in April through an ongoing alliance with Heavy Psych Sounds — demonstrates, the core of craft is right there. Their material is catchy, fiery when it’s uptempo, and delivered with a sense of melody and arrangement. There’s care taken. Purpose behind it as much as glittery facepaint — which must be a god damned nightmare to take off after the show — on top.

But yeah, Glitter Wizard probably flick at the ears, existentially speaking, of some squares. I get that, and I think that’s what they’re saying here, but that on any given night, they might win one or two people over to their side as well. As for the fact that they come on and basically chase a band of women — credited as “Lady Wizards,” which is fun — from the stage to save the day? Yeah, that’s an entirely different read. I don’t want to make excuses for anyone or frame things negatively or positively in a way other than was intended by the people who made them, so I won’t. But that’s there if you want to see it. It exists. The core narrative of “A Spell So Evil” though seems way more about Glitter Wizard themselves.

Glitter Wizard are currently embroiled in a European tour that started at the end of last month and which will run until June 29. They’re off tonight but pick back up tomorrow in Germany. Remaining dates and credits and the stream of Opera Villains follow the video below.

Enjoy:

Glitter Wizard, “A Spell So Evil” official video

Official Music Video for “A Spell So Evil” off the “Opera Villains” LP
out now on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
http://glitterwizard.bandcamp.com

Director: Gregory Downing
Editor: Julien de Benedictus
Camera: Jerome Stolly
Hair/Make-Up: Janiece Gonzalez
Prod. Staff: Andrew O’neill, Ryan Allbaugh
Lady Wizards: Janiece Gonzalez, Hana Lurie, Dani Aggie, Brooke Baich, Andrea Genevieve
Crowd: Hannah Pfahl, Peter Niven, Katie Rose, Megan Rugani, Chris Sentell, Jenna Baucke, Raphael DiDonato, James Maubberet
Catering: Caity Watson
Special Thanks: Dusty Caruso, Neck of the Woods, Bolt Lighting

Glitter Wizard remaining Euro tour dates:
11.06.2019 DE Oldenburg-Mts Record
12.06.2019 DE Berlin-Urban Spree
13.06.2019 DE Dresden-Ostpol
14.06.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
15.06.2019 DE Mannheim-Jugendhaus Schönau
16.06.2019 BE Zottegem-Kaffee Maboel
17.06.2019 BE Liege-La Zone
18.06.2019 CH Basel-ExEsso
19.06.2019 FR Chambery-Le Brin De Zinc
20.06.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’Or
21.06.2019 DE Karlsrhue-Alte Hackerei
22.06.2019 DE Munich-Freaking Out Fest
26.06.2019 IT Cagliari-Corto Maltese
28.06.2019 IT tba
29.06.2019 IT Roma-Traffic

Glitter Wizard, Opera Villains (2019)

Glitter Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Glitter Wizard on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

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LowFlyingHawks to Release Anxious Ghosts EP on June 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

low flying hawks

The initials-only guitarist/vocalist duo of AAL and EHA who comprise the core of LowFlyingHawks — their kind-of-a-big-deal rhythm section happens to feature Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle and Dale Crover of the Melvins; which continues to be enough to make me wonder just who the hell these two dudes are, as that’s not a circle easily entered by those who weren’t already too cool for commerce in the ’90s — return with a new EP called Anxious Ghosts. I’ve heard literally none of it, but immediately the release seems to be a departure, what with the title in English — their debut album was 2016’s Kofuku (review here), which they answered the next year with Genkaku (review here) — and the artwork as well is a marked shift in style.

It raises the question, of course, as to whether or not the music on Anxious Ghosts will follow suit or if their atmospheric heavy post-rock/metal will continue the course the first two records laid out. Magnetic Eye, which has been behind the band all along, has the release this time around as well, and it’s somewhat telling of their approach as a whole that even though they’ve worked on relatively quick turnarounds to get stuff out and worked with some high-profile names in order to do so, there’s still a sense of mystique about the band and they still seem to be only a partially-known quantity.

Info on the release is minimal in terms of who recorded and all that kind of thing. Toshi Kasai did the last album, so if this is material from those sessions, he would’ve helmed it. Otherwise, could be anybody. Guess we’ll find out sooner or later.

It’s out June 28. To the tracklisting:

lowflyinghawks anxious ghosts

Brand new Low Flying Hawks EP that ranges from delicate moments of soft beauty to the crushing sludge we’ve come to love from this astonishing band featuring Dale Crover and Trevor Dunn.

1. Night Flight
2. Somewhere (Part 1)
3. Somewhere (Part 2)
4. Hollow Grasp
5. Doors to Nowhere

Releases June 28, 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/Lowflyinghawks-1626755734268513/
https://lowflyinghawks.bandcamp.com/releases
http://magneticeyerecords.merchnow.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords
http://store.merhq.com/

Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku (2017)

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White Manna Announce Ape on Sunday out June 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

white manna

I was like, ‘Oh hey White Manna have a new album coming out, I’ve written about them before’ — they’ve been in year-end poll lists and a couple news stories here and there probably much like this one — then I hit their Bandcamp to check out the tunes and I was reminded why I’d written about White Manna before. The place they call home, Arcata, California, is just about the halfway point along the US West Coast, so they’re pretty far removed from the San Diego and San Francisco scenes to the south and likewise the Portland/Seattle stuff to the north. Accordingly, the wash they craft is their own, and as they move toward the release of their sixth album, Ape on Sunday — out June 28 through Cardinal Fuzz — they seem to draw from all sides with a fluid of groove and a manifestation of psychedelia true to tradition and their own intent alike.

That’s going by two songs, but something tells me the rest of this one isn’t exactly a dud. Keep an eye out.

Here’s PR wire info, links and audio:

white manna ape on sunday

Cardinal Fuzz are proud to present to you ‘Ape On Sunday’ – the 6th Long Player from Arcataa, California’s White Manna. Recorded over a period of time that saw front man David Johnson return home to Massachusetts to spend time with his family after a traumatic event. While away Dave and Anthony (back on board fully for this new lp) tackled the recordings they had started while Tavan and Johnny laid down the drum and bass tracks and Mike Dieter also rejoined White Manna to lay down some synth parts (honing a Klaus Schulze vibe) . When Dave returned to Humboldt they at long last got down to finishing the LP. ‘Ape On Sunday’ takes its inspiration and title from a Robert Zimmerman poem in his poetry book/novel – ‘Tarantula’ – a stream of conscious / cut up style prose from ’66.

You can feel how the life experiences over the last year have seeped, shaped and informed ‘Ape On Sunday’ which is the bands most intimate release since ‘Come Down Safari’. It’s a heady hypnotic mix that at times plays like psychedelic meditations and at others like music for a post apocalyptic movie. The Redwood canopies of Northern California’s Emerald Triangle still influence White Manna but there sound here is heading out in a more experimental direction where the music is more kosmische in style with sounds wreathed in mist and vapours, droning synths and shimmering guitars. ‘Ape On Sunday’ finds White Manna re-entering the stratosphere and floating back down to the dense redwood forest of their homeland.

Housed in a 350gsm Gloss Laminated Sleeve with a full colour insert and download code.

Tracklisting:
1. Ape On Sunday 07:10
2. Spirit Of St. Louis
3. O Captain
4. Night In Lisbon
5. Eye In The Cloud That Serves As Thunder
6. Zodiak Spree
7. More More More

https://www.facebook.com/whitemanna/
https://whitemanna.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz/
cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/

White Manna, Ape on Sunday (2019)

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