Review & Track Premiere: Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Dead Meadow Live at Roadburn 2011

[Click play above to stream ‘What Needs Must Be’ from Dead Meadow’s Live at Roadburn 2011 on Burning World Records. Preorders go live next Friday through Bandcamp.]

It was the most fuzz. And essay about my favorite pet dog - Get Nice Paper Get help with your thesis today! Get Help for All Levels: Undergraduate, PhD and Master Roadburn wasn’t exactly light in that regard circa 2011. The renowned Dutch festival that year featured the likes of Alpha Help With Economics Homework provides you the best in class, plagiarism free and value for money Custom Writing at your convenient time from experts. Zoroaster, Read our review of Essay Coursework Help wriitng service to know whether you should trust them your academic papers. Quest for Fire, Take advantage of our recipe of academic success worked out by our pro essay online service at BuyEssay.net. Music For Writing Paperss online that you'll be proud to Naam, Application Admission Cheap Term Paper - Title Ebooks : Cheap Term Paper - Category : Kindle and eBooks PDF - Author : ~ unidentified - ISBN785458 - File Type : Acid King and Our http://blog.cbipsi.com/robert-frost-phd-or-ma-thesis/ online service really believes in successful meeting the most strict deadlines our clients have every student day! Rely upon our talented team! The Atomic Bitchwax… on the first day. L.A. by way of D.C. three-piece  boys state essay help blog works cited essay cv writing service huddersfield Dead Meadow played the last day, what was then called the Afterburner (review here), and their slot could not have been more appropriate. Sandwiched between  Business School. Trust Academy?s current mission statement affirms the Business and Secretarial Buy A College Paper For Chea School?s belief that with the Coffins and evening headliners  We provide professional http://sppadbase.ipp.cnr.it/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/?976s, plagiarized free papers to ensure guaranteed satisfaction. Black Mountain on the Main Stage, they offered a mellow-heavy hour that was utterly consuming. People in the back sat down. Not out of fatigue, though it has been a long weekend by then, but just to let the warmth of  Learn more about a truly impactful professional essay writing service. Put your 'my review here' order and get well written college papers. Jason Simon‘s buzzing guitar wash over them. Joined by  Employ an expert writer to make your university career as straightforward as possible and answer to that "who will write my essay Online College Term Papers Help URGENTLY Steve Kille on bass and  blog here - Stop receiving unsatisfactory grades with these custom research paper advice Quick and trustworthy services from Mark Laughlin on drums,  basicss. 229 likes. Our organization exists to serve students at all academic levels when they have writing assignments due and are behind... Simon‘s urfuzz and unfailingly drifting vocals filled that space with a laid back vibe and groove that that  http://www.wings.ca/?essay-paper-writings: Your Trusted Essaywriting Partner. Profesional Essay Writing Services is the best and reliable online custom writing Burning World Records‘  dissociative identity disorder term paper Dissertation Writing Style Now personal statement opening paragraph good custom essay site Live at Roadburn 2011 presents in all its Sasquatch-inclusive righteousness.

Of course,  Dead Meadow by then were on their way to being veterans already. More than a decade into their career, they’d released Three Kings (discussed here) in 2010 as a semi-live album/video, and that followed their fifth album, 2007’s Old Growth. Their Peel Sessions collection would show up in 2012, but as regards live records, they’d also done Got Live if You Want It! in 2002 following their 2000 self-titled debut and 2001’s Howls From the Hills (discussed here). Strangers neither to performance nor captured-performance, then, and Live at Roadburn 2011 brings that spirit to bear. Though the Alexis Ziritt cover art offers a glorious mania of colors and lines, planets, stars, an undead wizard and hooded mandrill acolytes, the 53-minute set itself is more about what Dead Meadow do within that abiding sense of mood, seeming to go deeper and deeper into nod until finally, with “Sleepy Silver Door,” it engulfs everything.

That set-closer was also the opener of the self-titled, and if Dead Meadow have a signature riff, that might be it (they’d revisit it in 2005 as part of a 13-minute jam), but on Live at Roadburn 2011 it’s also part of the larger story of side B and of course the LP as a whole. After launching with “Good Moanin'” and “Let’s Jump In” from 2003’s Shivering King and Others and 2005’s Feathers, respectively, their course is set between dense Orange-toned riffing and open-stretch psychedelia, and even as “What Needs Must Be” from Old Growth pulls back from the farther reaches of ‘far out’ to bring a bit of boogie to the proceedings, the ethereal sensibility remains in the solo even though the overarching rhythm is tight in its stops and starts, a kind of rolling swing that reminds that Washington D.C. was once the funk capitol of the US as well as the seat of government.

dead meadow and sasquatch (Photo by JJ Koczan)-2000

I’m trying really hard not to say the word “vibe” too many times, but that’s really what it’s all about. Heavy chill. As side A plays out, Dead Meadow speed things up through the first half of “Indian Bones,” bliss out in the middle and bring it back around in time to squeeze in “September,” which would close 2013’s Warble Womb, and “Rocky Mountain High” from the self-titled ahead — if nothing else, you’ll know it by the repurposing of the riff to Black Sabbath‘s “Iron Man” — of the big turn to “Beyond the Fields We Know.” One doubts Dead Meadow were thinking of putting the set out on vinyl at the time — you can’t ever be sure — but as regards the LP, it’s telling that side A features six tracks and side B only three. The band structured their set to follow a linear path outward. That’s not to say it lacks dynamic along that. Certainly as “Beyond the Fields We Know” hits nearly 10 minutes and “Sleepy Silver Door” nearly 11, for all the jamming going on, those two songs still come with the relatively straightforward strum of “At Her Open Door” from Feathers in between.

And just as certainly, that song trips out far and wide in its second half, riding its solo jam to the finish, so Live at Roadburn 2011 isn’t just one thing or the other, but the let’s-get-gone is palpable, and they invite the crowd along with them on their way. The performances of “Beyond the Fields We Know,” “At Her Open Door” and “Sleepy Silver Door,” compiled together on a single vinyl side, would be enough to justify this release. That they happen to occur at the end of an already right-on set is a bonus. I don’t remember at what point it was they brought out Sasquatch, but I remember whoever it was in that hairy, had-to-be-really-really-hot costume sleeked out onto the stage with the trio, sort of slow-’70s groove-walked around, checking things out. Went behind the drum riser. Went over by Kille and by Simon. Kind of hung out in the middle and danced for a bit.

But the thing about that moment — yeah, it was a novelty — but it was also a perfect fit. You stood there and, oh, here comes Sasquatch. Well of course. In the interest of full disclosure, I took the picture that appears on the inside gatefold of the LP of the elusive North American Skunk Ape hanging out with the band on stage (no money changed hands), but in the interest of fuller disclosure, no one gives a crap. What’s important for you to know is that the vibe — there’s that word again — was such that when it happened, you just went with it. It was unexpected, and hilarious, but it just became another part of what Dead Meadow already had going on that Sunday evening in Tilburg. And so, incredible.

Maybe it’s 2020’s effect of making one extra nostalgic for live music, the festival spirit, but the intervening nine years have done nothing to dull the luster that Dead Meadow show on Live at Roadburn 2011. I can only speak as someone who was fortunate enough to be there to see it, but that set was something special, and not just because of the ‘squatch. Dead Meadow sounded glad to be there, like they were rising to the occasion, like they realized it was more than just another gig, and Live at Roadburn 2011 resonates all the more for documenting that so well.

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Video Interview: Mario Lalli on Yawning Man’s Live at Giant Rock and More

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on November 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

yawning man mario lalli

Last month, desert rock progenitors Yawning Man issued the audio version of Live at Giant Rock through Heavy Psych Sounds, and on Nov. 20, they’ll follow-up with the video from which that soundtrack was taken. Filmed in the Coachella Valley in front of — you guessed it — a very big rock, the project helmed by Ryan Jones (see also: Stoned & Dusted) and the band is clearly intended to highlight the ties between the desert scenery and the music itself. Shots are fluid and languid, but like the graffiti on the rocks, there’s a sense of life throughout that goes beyond the trio of guitarist Gary Arce, bassist Mario Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson playing in the foreground.

Yawning Man‘s decades-spanning legacy and influence need not be recounted here. Suffice it to say that desert rock as it exists now would not without them. The three-piece were to have had a busy 2020 as they continued to support their 2019 studio album, Macedonian Lines (review here). In addition to having been booked for the Californian editions of the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, they were set to appear at Monolith on the Mesa, Stoned & Dusted, they did manage to tour in Australia and New Zealand, but were to appear at Keep it Low in Munich, Germany, which no doubt would’ve been part of a European tour and coincided with other festivals.

As an answer to that, Live at Giant Rock finds Yawning Man doing what many other acts have done in trying to make the most of what they’ve got. In the interview that follows, Lalli talks of course about this strange year, the process of making this unorthodox concert film, the creative process for Yawning Man in particular, his work in this band and Fatso Jetson, and more.

Thanks for reading and watching if you do.

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock Interview with Mario Lalli, Nov. 19, 2020

Yawning Man‘s Live at Giant Rock video is out Nov. 20. The audio is available now and streaming below.

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock (2020)

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Review & Track Premiere: Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

[Click play above to stream ‘This Bed’ from Grayceon’s MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES. Album is out Dec. 18 on Translation Loss Records and available for preorder here and here.]

Jackie Perez Gratz on “This Bed”:

“‘This Bed’ is a bleak observation about humanity’s betrayal to Mother Nature, told in a first-person narrative that insinuates we have all been unfaithful in the relationship.”

Grayceon‘s all-caps-styled MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES follows two years behind the San Francisco three-piece’s prior outing for Translation Loss, IV (review here). It’s not the first time the band have had a relatively quick turnaround — their self-titled debut and second LP, This Grand Show, arrived in 2007 and 2008, respectively — but it’s noteworthy because the break between their 2011 third full-length, All We Destroy (review here; discussed here), and IV‘s arrival in 2018 was so much longer. Inspiration strikes? If so, it’s a somewhat tragic inspiration, and as the dried pupa of the Kevin Earl Taylor cover art alludes, Grayceon are working on a dedicated theme with MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES.

Beginning with “Diablo Wind” and the fear born of watching wildfires rage in California for what was then a record season, the album moves through the all-we-have-is-this-planet-and-each-other entreaty “The Lucky Ones,” the reminder of humans being universally complicit in climate change in “This Bed” (“we have made” are the next words), and ends not with further harsh judgment, which would certainly be well enough earned, but love. “And Shine On” finds vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz making a hook of the line “Don’t let them break you down,” likewise addressing the listener as much perhaps as her own progeny, and “Rock Steady” follows suit with love and encouragement, even as its title line emerges in screams from the song’s gentler first half.

The nuanced perspective of Grayceon — Gratz (formerly Amber Asylum and Giant Squid, also known for contributions to OmNeurosis, etc.) alongside guitarist Max Doyle (ex-Walken) and drummer Zack Farwell (ex-Giant Squid) — is one that fits exceedingly well alongside their music, which boasts a similar complexity. Eschewing bass altogether, the cello brings mid-to-lower-range frequencies alongside the guitar while at the same time allowing for softer melodic passages to coincide both with lumbering, distorted doom and charge-laden thrash. As frontwoman and the one holding the cello, Gratz gets much of the credit for how Grayceon‘s songs are delivered, but the winding and creative contributions of Doyle and Farwell‘s mercurial, deeply engrossing drumming are not to be understated. When one actually sits and listens, Grayceon is an every-member band.

Working with Jack Shirley at Oakland’s The Atomic Garden for recording, mixing and mastering, Grayceon begin MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES with a telling intro of Americana-styled cello, drawling notes pulling in a spirit of wistfulness for something that may or may not have ever existed, and it’s when the guitar strum enters ahead of the drums that the tension begins to mount as they build toward the first shove. Melody and rhythmic intricacy are brought together in bold fashion that has very much become the band’s wheelhouse over their decade-plus together, a sound that is as much their own as it is singularly identifiable in its patient urgency. Gratz‘s vocals often come in layers, and the hints of bite as “Diablo Wind” pushes through its midsection and the slowdown that follows bring foreshadow of what’s to unfold in the subsequent pairing of “The Lucky Ones” and the album’s centerpiece, “This Bed.”

grayceon

Together, the two songs encompass 24 of the total 42-minute runtime — so more than half — and it is in them that MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES makes its thematic case and unfolds the greater part of the sonic vision that accords. It’s in “The Lucky Ones” (12:55) that the name of the album appears, broken up in the lines, “We are all mothers of this place we call home/We are all weavers of this fabric we shroud ourselves in/We are all vultures feeding on what’s left for dead,” and that serves as well as the central lyrical indictment, the wordplay of “worship the ground you walk on” and repetitions of “open your eyes” that follow bringing the environmentalist post home. This occurs as Grayceon careens between melodic sprawl and pointed surges, the first five minutes of the track playing out like a genre meatgrinder ahead of the slam on the breaks that brings Gratz‘s already-noted screams.

Gallop and roll play back and forth throughout the second half of “The Lucky Ones,” the chorus returning amid what’s far too stately to be considered chaos but is headspinning nonetheless, and the song bookends with a quieter stretch to match its initial impression, capping with the “worship the ground” line again en route the immediate, full-volume nod of “This Bed” (11:54). The centerpiece of the five-song tracklisting is as close as MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES gets to sheer hopelessness, including both “you” and “we” in the making of the bed while asking “…Is it too late to say sorry?/Will tomorrow come?…” in the verse. Following a more linear progression, “This Bed” establishes its verse and chorus patterns early and then breaks to quiet as it approaches its halfway point, only to push upward again and move into a bigger finish, still resonant in melody and emotion, its cold finish flowing smoothly into the subdued guitar intro to “And Shine On.”

It’s a waltz, naturally. “And Shine On” is the shortest cut on the LP at just 3:48, and “Don’t let them break you down” is the core message, but “I’ll light the sky for you/Empower you so that you can find your truth/And shine on” and “Love hard, wild heart,” back the parent-speaking-to-child feel, the guitar, cello and drums too loud to be a lullaby, but giving something of that vibe just the same. “Rock Steady,” which like “Diablo Wind” is a little over seven minutes, complements that well, with a more gradual unfolding and softer-sung lines, less defiantly belted than “And Shine On,” but suited to the purpose of the subtle build toward the finale that takes hold following a stop at 3:56, the swaying groove that backs the throaty-screamed lyric “rock steady” being the last word as the closer fades out to the record’s end.

Though it was written for a different disaster, the fear, the judgment and the daring (not to say “audacity”) to hope and love in spite of them are nothing if not relevant — not only for the fact that the climate crisis is ongoing, but so is a massive pandemic wave. Grayceon, whose albums are consistently made to be digested over a longer term, were obviously not writing to the latter — it hadn’t happened yet — but the fact that MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES speaks so well to present experience is emblematic of the songs’ and the band’s greater individualism. They stand within the moment and outside of it by refusing to be anything other than themselves.

Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES (2020)


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Cardinal Wyrm Stream “Nightmarchers”; Devotionals LP out Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

cardinal wyrm (Photo by Michael Thorn)

Doom and metal! Cardinal Wyrm will do the self-release thing with their upcoming fourth LP, set to arrive Dec. 11. Given the title Devotionals, the impending outing is given its first official airing with the track “Nightmarchers” that you can hear below, and yes, it is doom, and yes, it is metal. I haven’t had the chance to dig into the rest of the record yet, but will do so and report back accordingly, even as the release date fast approaches. Note that it’s a tape and digital-only offering. Bold move, doomers. I like it.

Maybe they’re waiting for someone else to pick it up on vinyl — certainly the Kim Holm cover art warrants the larger presentation — but either way, for those chasing down the digital, it should be easy enough to find. For example, the links below.

Dig it:

cardinal wyrm

CARDINAL WYRM: Oakland Doom Metal Trio With Members Of Vastum, Terebellum, And More To Release Fourth Album, Devotionals; “Nightmarchers” Streaming + Preorders Posted

Long-running Oakland, California-based doom metal band CARDINAL WYRM is preparing to release their fourth album, Devotionals, on December 11th. Alongside the album’s details, cover art, and preorders, the song “Nightmarchers” has been made available for streaming.

CARDINAL WYRM’s Devotionals can be described as heavy, intricate, driving, progressive, and genre bending music that seeks to tell a story. The album features Pranjal Tiwari (S.C.R.A.M.) on drums and lead vocals, Nathan A. Verrill (Terebellum, Fyrhtu) on guitars and backing vocals, and Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Terebellum, Hammers Of Misfortune, Fyrhtu) playing bass and providing additional vocals.

The follow-up to their Svart Records-released 2016 album Cast Away Souls, CARDINAL WYRM’s Devotionals was recorded and mixed by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios (Necrot, Vastum, Brainoil) and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Obituary, Sunn O))), Vastum). The album is completed with cover artwork by Kim Holm, photography by Michael Thorn and Amy Oshit, and layout/design by Shelby Lermo.

CARDINAL WYRM will self-release Devotionals on cassette and across all digital service providers on December 11th. Find preorder options HERE and watch for a vinyl edition likely early next year.

Devotionals Track Listing:
1. Gannet
2. Mrityunjaya
3. Imposter
4. Selimesh
5. Canticle
6. Abbess
7. Nightmarchers
8. Do We Have Another Battle Left In Us?

With this release, “We wanted to go back to our DIY roots,” says drummer and vocalist Pranjal Tiwari. “One of the reasons we liked the title Devotionals is because it evokes that DIY spirit. This is a collection of songs for the faithful, for our community of people devoted to staying independent, to creating the music and art that we want, in our own spaces, and growing in our ability to channel from deep within. It often feels like we share a devotion to something that seems hopeless and is constantly under attack. But at the root of it all, there’s a fanatical belief in pulling off what other people think is impossible, and we wanted to go back and draw from that in making this album.”

CARDINAL WYRM:
Leila Abdul-Rauf – bass, vocals
Pranjal Tiwari – drums, lead vocals, lyrics
Nathan A. Verrill – guitars, vocals

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Cardinal Wyrm, Devotionals (2020)

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California Desert Wizards Association Launches CDWA Records & Announce Live in the Mojave Desert Series

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The California Desert Wizards Association, in case you’re unfamiliar, are the good souls behind putting together the Stoned and Dusted festival, desert heavy loyalists through and through. This makes the launch of CDWA Records only good news. And kudos to the nascent imprint for doing it in style and announcing not only a first release, but a series of five live albums and videos — LP, CD, DVD — all slated to have online premieres in the early-going of 2021.

The lineup for Live in the Mojave Desert Vols. 1-5 is a powerhouse assemblage of legends and upstarts. Led off by Earthless and Nebula, before dipping into the heavy psych-gaze of Spirit Mother (whose March 2020 offering, Cadets, has been undeservedly lost in the plague shuffle of this year but is a gem nonetheless) and the inexplicable dark forces of Mountain Tamer before unveiling a new Brant Bjork/Nick Oliveri collaboration in Stoner.

Cheers to Ryan Jones of the CDWA on the ambitious kickoff for the new project, and here’s looking forward to hearing this stuff and seeing the videos with Mad Alchemy and the bands. Killer.

Details follow, courtesy of Jones via the PR wire:

cdwa records logo

CDWA Announces Live in the Mojave Desert Livesteam Series

Well, well, well, have we got some big news for you California Desert Wizards. We at the CDWA have been busy! I’m very proud to announce the formation of CDWA Records; created to film, record and bring you concert films and live albums from your favorite stoner and desert rock bands made entirely in the far flung parts of the desert. Coming in Winter 2021, we bring you the first in our concert film series:

LIVE IN THE MOJAVE DESERT VOLS. 1 – 5

5 New Concert Films + 5 New Albums

Filmed and Recorded Live in the Mojave Desert, California

EARTHLESS
NEBULA
SPIRIT MOTHER
MOUNTAIN TAMER and
STONER A heavy new project from BRANT BJORK + RYAN GUT + NICK OLIVERI
With the MAD ALCHEMY LIQUID LIGHT SHOW lighting up the desert!!

Our 2020 Stoned and Dusted party got canceled by Covid. We had to do something rad for all you rockers who bought airfare, booked hotels, bought tickets to the show and then had to get it all refunded, what we call “no-fun”ded. So we filmed Yawning Man at Giant Rock. We filmed Brant Bjork among the Joshua trees at sunset. And in May 2020 we brought you Couchlock and Rock: an online, hosted, break-out-the-bong, concert film watch party. We loved it. We wanted more. So we made more.

In October 2020 we filmed and recorded five bands in four days, deep in the deep sand and iconic rocks of the desert. It was pretty wild getting all of our gear out there. But we did it and it was waaaaay worth it!
24 track Pro Tools recordings
“All the sounds blew my mind”!
The Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show projecting on a 4 story high, double pyramid of boulders and a crack squad of badass filmmakers and photographers there to capture it
“All the colors made me blind!”
Holy shit are you in for a treat!!

Coming just in time for a cold, quarantined winter, we will live host five concert film premiers online and release the five albums coming out on vinyl. At the end of November, tickets and albums will go on sale so you Desert Wizards can watch together online, rock out, chat, joke and smoke. We can’t wait to share it with you!

Start drying your fall harvest so it’s ready in time. Check out the video below, and (puff, puff) pass it on to your friends.

Cheers and thanks and stay healthy,
Ryan

http://www.CaliforniaDesertWizardsAssociation.com
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California Desert Wizards Association Records, Live in the Mojave Desert Vols. 1-5 teaser

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Terry Gross to Release Debut LP Soft Opening Jan. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

terry gross

See? This is what Thrill Jockey does. Here’s some other fucking awesome band with some other fucking really cool sounding release and then blah blah blah there’s an album and it’s gonna be awesome and here’s a song and it’s awesome and it’s just one more awesome thing and wow I guess your life is just better now because of all this awesome shit right? I mean seriously. What gives?

Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? Some of us are out here working really hard at being miserable bastards, day in and day fucking out, and then here comes a band named Terry Gross after a fucking NPR host and the song is like spacey and jammed out but still has this core of songwriting and it’s really good and makes you want to hear more and then all of a sudden you realize you’re like interested in life and stuff and maybe even a little inspired by it to not be such a shit 24 hours a day seven days a week and then things just get better because it’s all really just a matter of perspective anyway and maybe you’re just tired and you need a nap or to hydrate or maybe you just fucking have low blood sugar or something and it’s not that bad and maybe the nap works and then the song’s still good and whatever fuck you okay fine life is great alright everything’s beautiful. Fine. Fine.

PR wire:

terry gross soft opening

Acclaimed guitarist/vocalist Phil Manley (Trans Am, Life Coach) leads new Bay Area trio Terry Gross

Terry Gross’ debut full-length Soft Opening Out on Jan. 29th, 2021

Terry Gross is an engrossing trio composed of guitarist Phil Manley (Trans Am), bassist Donny Newenhouse, and drummer Phil Becker. The trio are also connected as owners and engineers at Bay Area recording spot El Studio, where they began improvising together as a way to test the boundaries and gear of the studio. Their loose, organic chemistry burgeoned into a deep camaraderie and a sound both expansive and exacting. The three experienced musicians crafted their first full-length album through the pure joy of playing together with no expectations. With the tapes rolling on their rehearsals, the band captures the exuberance of live performance and elevates those recordings through a deft use of the studio as their collective instrument. On their debut LP Soft Opening, Terry Gross channels their cosmic powers and considerable chops into a gleefully mesmerizing odyssey fit for an arena.

Soft Opening took shape over the course of 2016-2019, with Terry Gross writing and refining their songs. “Space Voyage Mission” and “Worm Gear” parallel one another as sinuous jams that pulse with adamantine fervor. Each mountainous epic churns spellbinding repetition and simplicity into dizzying gallops that take hairpin turns into sinewy riffing and elysian vocal melodies. Phil Manley’s guitar takes on a constellation of tones across “Space Voyage Mission” with drifting delays soaring over the Newenhouse and Becker’s driving rhythm section which all succumb to frothing overdrives that spin the song into entirely new pastures. The hypnotic throb of “Worm Gear” grows all the more enchanting as Newenhouse and Becker add subtle shifts to the single-chord barrage. “Specificity (Or What Have You)” contrasts these two in its more traditionally pop-oriented structure while retaining its predecessors wide-eyed energy and delves further into the album’s lighthearted-yet-earnest take on sci-fi tropes from space and time travel to the singularity.

As Terry Gross, Phil Manley, Donny Newenhouse, and Phil Becker are sonic scientists traversing the borderlands of rock. Soft Opening captures the simple joy of a no-holds-barred trio in stunning detail, transporting the listener into the splendor and freedom of rock.

1. Space Voyage Mission
2. Worm Gear
3. Specificity (Or What Have You)

Terry Gross are:
Phil Becker – Drums
Phil Manley – Guitar/Vocals
Donny Newenhouse – Bass/Vocals

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Terry Gross, Soft Opening (2021)

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Friday Full-Length: Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The songs. It’s the songs. There’s next to no mystery to it. In 2013, when Queens of the Stone Age released …Like Clockwork (review here), it was following a six-year absence, which was the longest of their career by a factor of two. Bolstered by the narrative surrounding guitarist/vocalist Joshua Homme that he’d died during leg surgery and been revived by doctors and was coping with having been bedridden for a period of months thereafter, the 10-song/45-minute offering indeed spends some time coping with mortality in “Kalopsia” and “I Appear Missing,” and perhaps indirectly in the ironic desperate blindness portrayed in the lyrics of “Smooth Sailing.”

But it transposed that experience and perhaps also the experience of suing his former Kyuss bandmates over their use of the moniker as Kyuss Lives!, and of forming, releasing an LP (review here), and touring with Them Crooked Vultures alongside Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and sometimes-Queens-contributor Alain Johannes, into a collection of brazenly disjointed and unflinchingly memorable tracks. Though Queens of the Stone Age oversaw a reissue of their oft-bootlegged 1998 self-titled debut in 2011, and toured playing that record to support, …Like Clockwork represented what was then the farthest into the sphere of unabashed pop rock that the band — Homme, guitarist/backing vocalist Troy Van Leeuwen, bassist/backing vocalist Mikey Shuman, keyboardist Dean Fertita and then-new drummer Jon Theodore, as well as a vast range of other performers and guests — had yet ventured.

It wasn’t just about the songs being catchy — though from creeping opener “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” through the jangly fluff of “I Sat by the Ocean” through the brooding “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” and we-can-do-anything-and-make-it-work “If I Had a Tail” and into the charge of “My God is the Sun” across side A, they were maddeningly catchy, and did not stop being so as side B pushed outward in style and arrangements — but about variability of mood and production. Since their second album, 2000’s Rated R, the band and Homme as auteur thereof had established a modus of frontloading, putting the radio-ready rockers at the beginning and weirding out to one degree or other later on.

The innovation …Like Clockwork brought to this — maybe born of the fact that there was no more rock radio to play toward — was an expansion into alternate dimensions of pop united ultimately by the quality of their craft and Homme‘s vocals, but that otherwise seem purposefully geared toward throwing the listener off-base from one to the next. It’s not a record that flows in the sense of one song leading smoothly into the next, but its various changes in style and personnel, the arrival and departure of various recording engineers — Mark RankinAlain JohannesJustin SmithJoe Barresi all involved at one point or another in the recording or mixing process, with Gavin Lurssen mastering and the band listed as a queens of the stone age like clockworkproducer — and headline guest performers like Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor (vocals on “Kalopsia”) and Sir Elton John (vocals and piano on “Fairweather Friends”), plus regulars in the band’s sphere like Mark LaneganDave Grohl and even erstwhile bassist Nick Oliveri, brought a sense of scope to …Like Clockwork that was simply at another level from anything the band had done before, up to and including 2003’s genre-defining landmark, Songs for the Deaf.

That foundation set across the more forward pieces of side A — “I Sat by the Ocean,” “If I Had a Tail,” and the you-want-your-desert-rock-fine-here’s-your-desert-rock “My God is the Sun” — flourishes in the shifts that follow, while Homme‘s clever and expressive lyrics underscore the hooks with due complexity to suit the arrangements of piano, strings, various percussion instruments, etc. Whether it was Reznor and Homme together nursing their shared David Bowie fetish while urging “Forget the rat and the race/We’ll choke-chain them all” with an inflection that seemed to convey the actual pulling of that chain, or the “Gonna pray for rain again and again” in “Fairweather Friends,” or the added line “It’s only falling in love because you hit the ground” in the second chorus of “I Appear Missing” after the dance-ready, set-for-a-fall “Smooth Sailing,” …Like Clockwork‘s second half was intelligent and mature without losing the edge of its presentation, and broad while holding onto the sense of craft that drew it together with the material on side A. The subdued, piano and strings-inclusive finale title-track offered more of the manipulated idioms that make for some of Homme‘s best lines — see, “Not everything that goes around comes back around, you know” — and ended the album with a contemplative feel that, while overwrought in its production value, was well enough earned by what came before it.

In 2017, the band released the comparatively forgettable Villains (review here), which existed very much in the shadow of its predecessor while casting off the contextual narrative — which Homme later said wasn’t true anyway; he’d fallen into a coma related to drug use — and took a hit reputation-wise when on tour Homme was caught on video kicking photographer Chelsea Lauren in the face from the stage. He promptly apologized for the attack, which occurred during the advent of the #MeToo era, but it was by no means the first documented incident of Homme abusing fans or others from the stage. The predominantly white and male sphere of rock and roll has forgiven far more from far less talented — and oddly, talent does seem to be a factor in that forgiveness — but it was to say the least poor form at the wrong time and thankfully Lauren was not seriously injured.

Villains was the second Queens of the Stone Age release through Matador Records, and though there was word of a follow-up in the works, of course everything has been derailed by the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, so who the hell knows what will happen there. Homme made waves a couple months ago saying he’d be willing to get on stage and play with Kyuss again, which doesn’t necessarily mean it would ever happen, but is a prospect about which I’m kind of surprised at my own ambivalence despite that band’s legitimate-desert-rock-legend status. Would nostalgia from those who didn’t see them the first time around — like me — be enough to carry them? Does it matter at this point? Will there ever be tours again anyway?

One way or the other, whatever Queens of the Stone Age and Homme did before or after, or does from here on, …Like Clockwork‘s songs stand firm on their own merits and are among the highest-profile examples of heavy rock in the pop sphere of the 2010s. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

Okay. First, the plug. New Gimme Metal show today, 5PM Eastern. Please listen. On their app or http://gimmemetal.com.

What a week. The Pecan, who turned three years old last Sunday — which apparently is old enough to be cognizant that a birthday is a fun thing and involves cake — started preschool on Monday and has gone every day for the first time. It’s 9-11:30AM, but still, every day, that’s a lot. Yesterday we took him to his old daycare for the afternoon so he could play there as well, but he said he didn’t want to do that anymore, and given how long that makes his day, I get it. I told him he didn’t have to and that we were proud of him for saying what he wanted. For a kid who’s had trouble and much frustration expressing himself with words — he’s impatient with himself in that regard, I tell him to slow down a lot — that was pretty huge. They’re doing a Halloween parade at his daycare today, but I’ve no intention of making him go if he doesn’t want to. He was shockingly adult in saying he didn’t when we talked about it.

So that’s a change. It gives me a little time to write every day though apart from the early mornings — it’s 10 after six now, I got up at four — which is something. In addition, the dog has spent the week with my mother and sister up the road during the days and that also has freed up a good amount of time for working for The Patient Mrs. and I. She’s needed it more than me. I don’t think I’ve seen her since Monday for more than an hour or two at a stretch (not counting sleeping), and we didn’t even get to watch the new episode of Star Trek: Discovery last night because she had a Zoom thing, so yeah, it’s been pretty hectic. No end in sight except the end of her semester, which will be welcome.

Adjustments being made seems to be the course of existence through parenting, working, global pandemic, and so on. This coming week is Election Day in the US, about which I’m anxious as I think many on all sides are. The NY Times count also put COVID at over 90,000 cases here yesterday — yesterday alone — and past the 9 million mark in total, so hard not to feel boned either way. For what it’s worth, I’d rather be boned and not fascist.

For what it’s worth.

It’s also rained all week, and having twisted my ankle last weekend, I haven’t been running at all, which sucks and has made me somewhat crazy in one of my least favorite ways. I was looking at pictures of myself the other day from circa 2017 on my Instagram, seeing the veins in my arms and my sunken eyes, sick with an eating disorder. There’s a part of me that misses looking like that. Fuck, a big part. I’m 39 years old, can’t really feed myself. I’ve been unhappy in my body for as long as I’ve been conscious of having one. It’s exhausting.

Whatever.

Next week, two video premieres on Monday because I’m dumb and I’m like, “Yeah sure I can do that!” when asked, and then a couple full album streams and stuff to follow. I might try and chase down Kind for a video interview, but there’s nothing to say it’ll actually happen. People have lives and so on. Me too, apparently.

I’m gonna punch out and hopefully take a couple minutes to breathe before The Pecan wakes up. Great and safe weekend. It’s Halloween. Don’t be stupid. Have fun, be safe, wear a mask and hydrate. All that stuff. Back on Monday.

FRM.

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Here Lies Man Announce Ritual Divination out Jan. 22; “I Told You (You Shall Die)” Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

If I’m extraordinarily lucky, I’ll have the new single from Here Lies Man stuck in my head for the rest of the day. “I Told You (You Shall Die)” is a righteous lead cut from Jan. 2021’s Ritual Divination, which is the follow-up to 2019’s No Ground to Walk Upon EP (review here). As ever for the L.A.-based outfit, their sound brings niche cultism to Afrobeat-shuffling proto-metal, psychedelic flourishes of key and guitar set to dance to a rhythm that’s all their own in a heavy context. One does not necessarily expect a single track to speak for an entire Here Lies Man release at this point, since they’ve proven multiple times over on their 2017 self-titled debut (review here) and 2018 sophomore full-length, You Will Know Nothing (review here), that they’re able to veer in multiple directions without losing their footing in terms of craft, but I’ll say that the forward riff in “I Told You (You Shall Die)” is likewise welcome and doomed as a first impression. And the solo scorches.

This band is a treasure.

Ritual Divination is out Jan. 22 on RidingEasy. “I Told You (You Shall Die)” is streaming at the bottom of this post.

Art and info from the PR wire follows:

here lies man ritual divination

Here Lies Man – Ritual Divination – Jan. 22

Los Angles, CA quartet Here Lies Man announce their forthcoming fourth album Ritual Divination today and share the lead single “I Told You (You Shall Die)” via YouTube, Bandcamp and Spotify.

Four albums in, the convenient and generalized catchphrase for Here Lies Man’s erudite sound — if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat — might seem a little played out. But Ritual Divination is perhaps the best rendering of the idea so far. Particularly on the Sabbath side of the equation: The guitars are heavier and more blues based than before, but the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave remains a constant.

“Musically it’s an opening up more to traditional rock elements,” says vocalist/guitarist/cofounder Marcos Garcia, who also plays guitar in Antibalas. “It’s always been our intention to explore. And, as we travelled deeper into this musical landscape, new features revealed themselves.”

The L.A. based band comprised of Antibalas members have toured relentlessly following their breakout 2017 self-titled debut. Their second album, You Will Know Nothing and an EP, Animal Noises, both followed in 2018. Third album No Ground To Walk Upon emerged in August 2019. All of them were crafted by Garcia and cofounder/drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) in their L.A. studio between tours. Ritual Divination is their first album recorded as the full 4-piece band, including bassist JP Maramba and keyboardist Doug Organ.

Ritual Divination continues with an ongoing concept of HLM playing the soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. “It’s an inward psychedelic journey, the album is the trip,” Garcia says. “The intention and purpose of the music is to create a sonic ritual to lift the veil of inner space and divine the true nature of reality.”

Likewise, musically and sonically, the album is self-reflexive. “On this album the feel changes within a song,” Garcia says. “Whereas before each song was meant to induce a trancelike state, now more of the songs have their own arc built in.” Similarly, the guitar sounds themselves herein eschew the fuzz pedals of previous recordings, going for the directness of pure amp overdrive and distortion using an interconnected rig of 4 amplifiers. And, here, the well-versed live band is able to record as a unit, giving it much more of a live and dynamic feel.

“We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” Garcia explains. “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.”

Ritual Divination will be available on LP, CD and download on January 22nd, 2021 via RidingEasy Records.

Artist: Here Lies Man
Album: Ritual Divination
Record Label: RidingEasy Records
Release date: January 22nd, 2021

01. In These Dreams
02. I Told You (You Shall Die)
03. Underland
04. What You See
05. Can’t Kill It
06. Run Away Children
07. I Wander
08. Night Comes
09. Come Inside
10. Collector of Vanities
11. Disappointed
12. You Would Not See From Heaven

hereliesman.com
facebook.com/hereliesman
hereliesman.bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecs.com

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