The Hazytones Announce Jan./Feb. Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the-hazytones-photo-brooke-dee

Quebecois neo-psych rockers The Hazytones will play from Jan. 6 through Feb. 20 on their upcoming tour — shows all across the US as well as in Mexico and Canada — with a total of three days off. Three days in 46. There is a word for that kind of tour:

“Significant.”

It’s the kind of tour with three shows in Michigan. The kind of tour that hits Manhattan and Brooklyn on consecutive nights after Jersey, Boston and Upstate NY. The kind of tour that does Tempe and Flagstaff and then circles back around to Yuma before heading south of the border. You get the idea. I think “significant” covers it.

They go supporting their self-titled album, out on Ripple Music and Oak Island Records and streaming at the bottom of this post. Supporting the crap out of it, I would say.

Here are the dates:

the hazytones tour

THE HAZYTONES ANNOUNCE HUGE WINTER TOUR

Here’s the tour dates for our next tour! Mainly in the USA but also in Mexico and Canada. A total of 43 shows in 46 days this will be the ride of our lives. We can’t wait to see you all on the road! Art by DK13 Design.

The Hazytones on tour:
01.06 Albany NY The Low Beat
01.07 Boston MA O’Brien’s Pub
01.08 Asbury Park NJ The Saint
01.09 Manhattan NY The Shrine
01.10 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus
01.11 Philadelphia PA The Pharmacy
01.12 Pittsburgh PA Smiling Moose
01.13 Indianapolis IN Black Circle
01.14 Nashville TN The Crying Wolf
01.15 Memphis TN The Hi Tone
01.16 New Orleans LA Santos
01.18 Houston TX Acadia Bar and Grill
01.19 Austin TX The Spider House Chapel
01.20 Lawton OK Railroad Saloon
01.21 Albuquerque NM Burt Tiki Lounge
01.22 Santa Fe NM Boxcar
01.23 El Paso TX Rockhouse Bar and Grill
01.24 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room
01.25 Flagstaff AZ The Green Room
01.26 Las Vegas NV The Dive Bar
01.27 Yuma AZ Maverick Bar
01.28 Mexicali MX-BCN Taberna Lebaron
01.30 Tijuana MX-BCN Mous Tache
01.31 San Diego CA The Merrow
02.01 Los Angeles CA Viper Room
02.02 San Jose CA Caravan Lounge
02.03 San Francisco CA Thee Parkside
02.04 Sacramento CA Blue Lamp
02.06 Santa Cruz CA Subrosa
02.07 Reno NV Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor
02.08 Salt Lake City UT Urban Lounge
02.09 Denver CO Bar Bar
02.10 Lawrence KS Replay Lounge
02.11 Kansas City KS The Riot Room
02.12 Omaha NE The Lookout Lounge
02.13 Minneapolis MN Kitty Kat Club
02.14 Milwaukee WI Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall
02.15 Chicago IL Reggies
02.16 Detroit MI PJ’s Lager House
02.17 Lansing MI The Avenue Cafe
02.18 Ypsilanti MI West Cross Station

The Hazytones are:
Mick Martel – guitar/vocals
Adam Gilbert – bass/backing vocals
Antoine St-Germain – drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheHazytones/
http://www.twitter.com/TheHazytones/
https://www.instagram.com/thehazytones/
https://thehazytones.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/oakislandrecords/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=1072&lang=eng

The Hazytones, The Hazytones (2016)

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Black Wizard Set Feb. Release for Livin’ Oblivion

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

black wizard

Their second album for Listenable Records and their fourth overall, Black Wizards will release their new long-player, Livin’ Oblivion, sometime in Feb. 2018. The Vancouver-based outfit — who are not to be confused with The Black Wizards, from Portugal — made their debut on Listenable with Feb. 2016’s New Waste (review here), so they would seem to be right on schedule for somewhere in the middle of the month. Punctuality in heavy rock and roll is vastly underrated. I consider myself a reasonably responsible person and it’s a total crapshoot if I can show up anywhere on time. Hit or miss, completely.

Anyhoozle, Black Wizard have shown up in plenty of places since New Waste landed — copious touring and whatnot — and it looks like they’ll make their way back to Europe to support Livin’ Oblivion as well. The PR wire brings the preliminary album announcement:

black wizard livin oblivion

BLACK WIZARD: Heavy Metal/Stoner Rock Collective To Release Livin’ Oblivion Full-Length This February Via Listenable Records; Artwork And Track Listing Revealed

Canadian heavy metal/stoner rock collective BLACK WIZARD will release their brand new full-length Livin’ Oblivion this February via France’s Listenable Records. Their second release on Listenable and fourth album overall was produced and engineered by Michael Kraushaar in Vancouver, BC, and comes sheathed in the cover art of renowned Berlin, Germany-based illustrator Eliran Kantor (Testament, Crowbar, Satan).

Livin’ Oblivion centers itself on the obliteration or slow decay of one’s self, morals, and life as we know it. “We are living in an age where the powers of the World are taking steps backwards and moving away from a positive future,” the band elaborates. “There is a large number of disenfranchised youth and young adults that would rather live their lives in oblivion — drinking, drugs, partying etc. — than chasing any kind of future or dreams, simply because the rest of the world seems to be falling apart around them.”

Further info on BLACK WIZARD’s Livin’ Oblivion, including final release date, teaser tracks, and preorders, to be released in the coming weeks. Stand by.

Livin’ Oblivion Track Listing:
1. Two Of These Nights
2. Feast Or Famine
3. James Wolfe
4. Livin Oblivion
5. Cascadia
6. Portraits
7. Poisoned Again
8. Heavy Love
9. Eternal Illusion

Since their first Listenable album release, New Waste, in early 2016, the band has toured non-stop including a Canadian mini-tour with Red Fang, a six-week stadium tour with Killswitch Engage and Volbeat, a month-long US tour supporting Brant Bjork and Royal Thunder, a month-long North American tour supporting Weedeater, and so much more. At home on the road, BLACK WIZARD is ready to take to the streets again kicking 2018 off with their fourth European run.

BLACK WIZARD is:
Adam Grant – vocals/guitar
Eugene Parkomenko – drums
Danny Stokes – guitar
Evan Joel – bass

http://www.facebook.com/blackwizardband/
https://twitter.com/BlackWizardVan
https://www.instagram.com/blackwizboys/
https://blackwizard.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
http://www.listenable.net

Black Wizard, New Waste (2016)

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Review & Track Premiere: Low Orbit, Spacecake

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

low orbit spacecake

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Dead Moon’ from Low Orbit’s Spacecake. Album is out early Dec. on Pink Tank Records.]

Given the associated ideas of thick, consuming fuzz, spaced-out vibes, massive and rolling grooves and a general checked-out-of-life overarching spirit to the proceedings as a whole, one might be forgiven for immediately thinking of Sons of Otis upon hearing that the earth-buzzing sound you hear from the ground originates in Toronto, Ontario. But with their second album and Pink Tank Records debut, the three-piece Low Orbit make a strong case for themselves as practitioners of the riffly form. Spacecake — reminds of Patton Oswalt’s “skycake” bit; look it up — is the suitably molten and somewhat single-minded follow-up to Low Orbit‘s 2014 self-titled debut, and it arrives as a manageable six-track/42-minute LP that ignites a feeling psychedelic drift through tonal density, the guitar of Angelo Catenaro (also vocals) very much leading the way while backed by Joe Grgic‘s bass and synth and Emilio Mammone‘s drums.

From opener “Dead Moon” onward, their intentions as a group could hardly be clearer or presented in a less pretentious manner. Five out of the six cuts included directly reference space or some space-minded element in their title — “Dead Moon,” “Planet X,” “Shades of Neptune,” “Venus,” and “Lunar Lander,” in that order — and even closer “Machu Picchu” nestles itself into repetitions of “burn the sky” from Catanero after lyrics about the stars, new dawns rising and planets laid to waste, etc. I’m not sure where the ‘cake’ portion of the album’s name comes into play except perhaps in some reference to edibles or in terms of the record itself, which feels duly baked and iced, particularly as the title is referenced in the 10-minute “Shades of Neptune,” which is a highlight as it rounds out side A with a particularly resonant lysergic ooze.

The lava begins to churn after a brief bit of introductory synth at the start of “Dead Moon,” and there’s just about no letup from there. In terms of influences, “Dead Moon” nods — and I do mean nods — at the aforementioned propensity for rolling grooves from fellow Torontonians Sons of Otis, and one can hear shades of earliest Mars Red Sky in the ride-cymbal-punctuated bouncing verse of “Planet X,” but at root beneath both of these and much of the rest of Spacecake is post-Sleep riff idolatry, and Low Orbit do well finding a place for themselves within that context. Lead layers emerge over a wash of high and low fuzz in “Planet X,” and though subtle and in some places buried deep in the mix, that current of synth and effects is almost always present in one form or another, and its flourish both adds to the breadth that Low Orbit cast and bolsters the cosmic theme through which their work is seeking to function.

low orbit

Both “Dead Moon” and “Planet X” offer a tonal warmth that one might take as a contrast to the coldness of atmospheric vacuum, but they’re hardly the first to make that pairing, and as they cut the pace on “Shades of Neptune” to an even more languid push, any and all such grounded concerns more or less dissipate in deference to the groove that emerges. Like the cuts surrounding, one would hardly accuse “Shades of Neptune” of making any revolutionary moves, but it is a more than capable play to style from the trio, whose persona is established within the individual examples of songwriting and in the interplay between them over the flowing and laid back course the band sets into the very heart of the “far out” itself.

With the willful adoption of genre tropes that pervades, one expects side B of Spacecake to mirror and perhaps reinforce the accomplishments of the album’s first half, and to the greater extent, it does precisely that. At five and six minutes, respectively, “Venus” and “Lunar Lander” answer the mid-paced density called out by “Dead Moon” and “Planet X,” and as it reaches just under nine, indeed “Machu Picchu” offers a tempo dip to back up that in “Shades of Neptune.” Fortunately, this is achieved with no discernible decline in the quality of hooks, and as Catanero shouts out the chorus of “Lunar Lander” ahead of the bigger roll that takes hold past the song’s midpoint, it becomes apparent that perhaps Low Orbit haven’t played their complete hand yet in terms of how much they have to offer sound-wise. The closer furthers this supposition with a well-honed-if-self-aware ritualized vibe, led off by Grgic‘s bass and a backing drone to give an immediately Om-style feel. Not at all unwelcome.

A melodic semi-wash takes hold, vocals echo from far off, and Low Orbit find ambient reaches heretofore unknown to Spacecake even as they make their way to a more straightforward march in the chorus. “Machu Picchu” undulates like this throughout its 8:52, coming forward and receding again, and it winds up in a lead-topped crescendo in its last minute that chugs to a sudden-seeming fadeout that one imagines could’ve easily gone on another three or four minutes on its own had the band chosen to have it do so. Perhaps their relative brevity is to be commended, since it would almost be too simple to have Spacecake push into stoner indulgence, and certainly by that time, Low Orbit‘s underlying message has been well delivered. Hidden within a standard subspace signal is a carrier wave to the converted: Come nod with us. It’s warm here and familiar and feels like home.

Low Orbit, “Machu Picchu” official video

Low Orbit on Thee Facebooks

Low Orbit on Bandcamp

Low Orbit website

Pink Tank Records on Thee Facebooks

Pink Tank Records on Bandcamp

Pink Tank Records website

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Olde to Release Temple CD on Salt of the Earth

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

olde

I have on a good many occasions made my feelings known about the compact disc as a format. I’m a fan. Not that I don’t enjoy spending the occasional day listening to vinyl records, but if I’m reaching for physical media, I generally feel way less neurotic about handling even the flimsiest of digipaks before I do the fragile, so-easily-bent corners of even the sturdiest of gatefold LPs. Plus they’re cheaper. Not as cheap as tapes, which are also cool, but still. I’m not going to say a bad word about the vinyl resurgence, because it’s helped a lot of really good music find an entire generation’s worth of ears at this point and of course that’s amazing; I guess it’s just the era I was born into was of the CD, and at this point, while I have a decent amount of 12″ and 7″ and 10″ platters around, the CD is what my archive is based around. It is my format of record.

Why am I going through all of this again? Because I’m glad to see that with an upcoming of-course-gorgeous LP through STB Records and a cassette through Medusa Crush Recordings that also looks pretty rad, Toronto noisemakers Olde will release a CD of their 2017 album, Temple (review here), through Salt of the Earth Records. Nice to not have one’s preferred format left out in the cold, and all the better since it looks like we might get some extra tracks with this version too.

Here’s the announcement from Salt of the Earth:

olde temple

Olde – Temple – Salt of the Earth

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is rabidly excited to announce the signing of Toronto, Canada’s OLDE.

With the impending vinyl release of their second full length record, “Temple”, through STB Records, and a release on cassette through Medusa Crush Recordings, OLDE sought a home for the CD release of this beastly album. SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS was a perfect fit.

This special edition CD digipack version of OLDE’s much anticipated “Temple” record will be the first edition of the release to feature all the songs written and recorded for the “Temple” recording sessions – a definitive version of the album presented as it was originally conceived and featuring expanded artwork. These additional tracks really contribute to the overall sonic gravity of the album, making this an essential release for fans of the band. Stick this in your CD player, turn it all the way up, and let the waves of heavy crush you…come worship at OLDE’s “Temple”.

Coming soon to SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS.

OLDE is:
Vocals- Doug McLarty
Guitars- Greg Dawson and Chris “Hippy” Hughes
Drums- Ryan Aubin
Bass- Cory McCallum

https://www.facebook.com/oldedoom/
https://oldedoom.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
http://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com
http://stbrecords.bigcartel.com
https://www.facebook.com/STB-Records-471228012921184/
http://medusacrushrecs.storenvy.com/
https://medusacrushrecordings.bandcamp.com/

Olde, Temple (2017)

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The Hazytones Sign to Ripple Music & Oak Island Records; Album out Nov. 3

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Attitude-laden heavy garage-psych doomers The Hazytones have inked not one, but two new label deals for their self-titled debut. The Montreal three-piece of Mick Martel, Adam Gilbert and Antoine St-Germain also issued the album digitally on their own in 2016 and subsequently earlier this year on tape through Hellas Records in Indonesia and Canada’s own Sunmask Records, so it’s safe to say at this point that the record has engendered some significant response.

Listening back through the nine-track offering and basking in the bassy groove of “Day of the Dead,” the space-cultistry of centerpiece “Children of the Universe” and the forward thrust of “Fool’s Paradise,” yeah, I get it. They’re right in between a couple different lines of subgenre and play to one side or another very well in these tracks, all the while casting an identity of their own in the process. I posted about the band back in Spring when they were headed out on tour and the record made enough of an impression on me then to keep them in mind. They definitely seem like suitable fodder for a wider release. Cheers all round.

Here’s info and announcements gathered from the social medias:

the-hazytones-photo-brooke-dee

The Hazytones – Ripple Music & Oak Island Records

It’s a big day today, we announce our signature on Ripple Music!!! Vinyl’s and cd’s are coming November 3rd. In a week we will have all the USA dates for our tour in January.

Here’s the other big news we had in store. Announcing our partnership with Kozmik Artifactz. They will be distributing our album, as well as producing Cd’s/Vinyl’s through their sub label Oak Island Records. Release date is November 3rd!

Says Ripple Music:

Please welcome to the family. Canadian retro doom rockers, The Hazytones!! Debut album due out this November with a new new album to follow next year. So psyched to work with these guys and bring them into the family.

Says Oak Island Records:

We are extremely excited to be partnering with our good friends at Ripple Music to bring you guys the rockin’ debut by Montreal power trio, The Hazytones

The debut will drop early November with Ripple handling the US release and Oak Island Records distributing throughout Europe. These guys rock hard, so be sure to check them out!

The Hazytones is a group of stoner rock founded in 2015 in Montreal. In September 2015, The Hazytones began the production of their debut album recorded and mixed at ReelRoad studio located in Rosemont – La Petite-Partie in Montreal. After a few month of labor, the band launched his first single ‘’Living On The Edge’’, followed by a music video. To mark the imminent release of their first titled album, the trio got on the road across Canada(23 shows) from August to September 2016.

The band launched their first titled album on September 22nd at La Rockette bar in Montreal at the Pop Montreal festival. The album was well received by the stoner/psychedelic community in Canada, USA and Europe.

More recently, the band toured Europe (UK, Belgium, Switzerland and France) for 28 days and 10 days after they embarked on a Canadian tour that led them all the way to Vancouver and back.

For the Hazytones future, a full U.S.A tour is scheduled in January and a second album is on its way. The band has been signed to two labels, Ripple Music and Kozmik Artifacts. Both labels will produce Cd, Vinyls and handle the digital distribution. Everything is set to be release on November 3rd.

The Hazytones are:
Mick Martel – guitar/vocals
Adam Gilbert – bass/backing vocals
Antoine St-Germain – drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheHazytones/
http://www.twitter.com/TheHazytones/
https://www.instagram.com/thehazytones/
https://thehazytones.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/oakislandrecords/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=1072&lang=eng

The Hazytones, The Hazytones (2016)

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Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl

A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Intercourse on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

Bohr on Thee Facebooks

Tandang Records on Bandcamp

BTNKcllctv on Bandcamp

 

Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

Sulatron Records on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

Astrosaur on Thee Facebooks

Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

Sun Q on Thee Facebooks

Sun Q on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

Holy Mount on Thee Facebooks

White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

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Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

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In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

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Vision Éternel Premiere Video for “Pièce No. Trois”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

vision eternel

Vision Éternel‘s ‘Pièce No. Trois’ is precisely that: a piece. It comes from 2015’s Echoes from Forgotten Hearts (review here), which is the latest release from the ambient solo-project of Montreal-based texture-weaver Alexandre Julien — formerly of psychedelic black metallers Vision Lunar, among others — and is one of seven pièces to be included on the offering. Each one works in a roughly similar vein of minimalist cinematic drama, something vague but hopeful in Julien‘s shimmering guitar tonality and gentle approach, but they remain distinctive with pauses between and, short as they are and short as the whole outing is, never get lost or too caught up in any individual moment. One might think of each Vision Éternel track as fleeting, and that would seem to be the intent.

Atmosphere over impact. Impression over reality. Evocation over direct narrative. Though it’s been two years since Echoes from Forgotten Hearts came out, and for a solo-project like this, that can be a long time, Vision Éternel has a considerable back catalog amassed of these headphone-ready meditations, and vision-eternel-echoes-from-forgotten-heartsas “Pièce No. Trois” explores layering in strum and drone guitar, the depths Julien brings to bear so quickly in a 90-second video impress all the more for the efficiency that both matches the scope of the band and doesn’t make the material feel rushed or overblown in terms of arrangement. There’s a grace to Vision Éternel‘s output across Echoes from Forgotten Hearts that carries into the mood and has a melancholy effect on the listener. It asks little for indulgence and delivers much in immersion.

The project has been celebrating its 10th anniversary throughout 2017, and along with new merchandise and an impending box set collecting past material together in one place, the occasion has called for a revisit to Echoes from Forgotten Hearts and a video that’s apparently been years in the making. Like the song itself, the visual accompaniment for “Pièce No. Trois” is deeply atmospheric, featuring strung together clips of Julien giving what essentially might be taken as a kind of sightseeing tour of Montreal — but, you know, an artsy sightseeing tour. No double-decker bus or anything. Nonetheless, he passes by landmarks subtly placed throughout that, if you happen to be familiar with places like the John Young Monument or the old railroad tracks, you might catch a glimpe of them here or there.

And even if not, it’s 90 seconds long. What the hell do you have to lose? Jeez. Included below is some more background from Abridged Pause Recordings on the video, copious links, and the full stream of Echoes from Forgotten Hearts from Vision Éternel‘s Bandcamp, in case you’d like to dig further.

Please enjoy:

Vision Éternel, “Pièce No. Trois” official video

As part of Vision Éternel’s 10-year anniversary celebration, it is with extreme pleasure that we are releasing a brand new music video for “Pièce No. Trois”. It’s been seven and a half years since Vision Éternel last released a music video, for “Season In Absence” in March of 2010. “Pièce No. Trois” is one of seven songs that appears on the concept EP “Echoes From Forgotten Hearts”, released through Abridged Pause Recordings on February 14th of 2015. This music video is long overdue after having its fair share of disasters and lost footage over the years.

A key filming location was the former Dalhousie Station where pre-production pictures had been snapped a month prior. Additional scenes were filmed nearby, above and under the Notre-Dame overpass and with the former Viger Station in the distance. Another shot was set up in the Saint-Dizier alleyway in the Old Port of Montreal which has old cobblestone paving and was wet from the melting snow and grainy from the salt, sand and rock pebbles used to deal with ice in the winter.

Vasily Atutov directed the music video for “Pièce No. Trois” from July 22nd to July 23rd of 2017. You can see more of Vasily Autotuv’s photography on Flickr and Instagram. He is now open to work with musicians on artwork and video editing, so get in touch with him at epicmap@gmail.com.

It took ten years to happen but Vision Éternel finally has band t-shirts available! The first set of shirts feature Jeremy Roux’s “classic” Vision Éternel logo, which he designed in the summer of 2008. The second batch of shirts feature Christophe Szpajdel’s “10-year anniversary” logo, which he drew in the spring of 2017. This logo honours the black metal origins of Vision Éternel; Alexandre Julien founded Vision Éternel as a side-project while playing in two black metal bands: Throne Of Mortality and Vision Lunar.

Vision Éternel, Echoes from Forgotten Hearts (2015)

Vision Éternel website

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A Devil’s Din Premiere Video for “Eternal Now”; One Hallucination Under God out Sept. 29

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

a-devils-din-photo-christine-deita

Montreal trio A Devil’s Din aim a little bit earlier than many in the current sphere of retro-minded rock, eschewing the proto-metallic boogie of the early ’70s in favor of the mid-to-late ’60s psychedelia that spawned it. On Sept. 29, they’ll issue their third long-player, One Hallucination Under God, via their own Island Dive Records imprint, and its influence in classic surf and garage-a-delic vibe is evident from the opening notes of “Eternal Now,” for which you can see a video premiere below marked out by colorful manipulation of old cartoons, found-seeming footage and, apparently, whatever else the band decided fit the spirit they were going for.

And quite a spirit it is. The hook of “Eternal Now” has some push of the earliest space rock from drummer Dom Salameh, but from the running bassline of Tom G. Stout to the vocal harmonies that would seem to be led by guitarist Dave Lines, the arrangement feels lush and warm in a way that more than earns its accompanying colorful swirl. True to their aesthetic, “Eternal Now” has a straightforward verse/chorus structure and at just under three and a half minutes there’s not much room to wander from it, but with the blend of keys and guitar, the wash of melody in the vocals and the pervasive sense of weirdness across its still-brief span, there’s plenty to dig into for those looking for a quick trip into the far and farther out.

I haven’t heard the full album yet, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect “Eternal Now” to speak for the entirety of One Hallucination Under God. To wit, in Dec. 2016, A Devil’s Din issued the 13-minute single-song digital EP, I’m Freaking Out: The Saga of the Missing Child, as the follow-up to their June-released sophomore full-length, Skylight — their debut was 2011’s One Day all this Will be Yours — and it was an entirely more progressive and theatrical affair, harder in the impact of its tones and less cosmically directed on the whole, though those elements were still there in the especially varied second half of the song. That may have been a one-off, but Skylight had plenty of diversity in its sound as well, so I’m just giving a heads up “Eternal Now” might not be the complete story when it comes to One Hallucination Under God, however much the long-player may all be part of one expanded-consciousness experience.

More info on One Hallucination Under God and some statement direct from A Devil’s Din follows the “Eternal Now” video below and comes courtesy of the PR wire. Once again, album is out Sept. 29 and will be available direct from the three-piece via their Bandcamp.

Please enjoy:

A Devil’s Din, “Eternal Now” official video

A Devil’s Din on “Eternal Now”:

“‘Eternal Now’ opens the album. It’s an upbeat song with a snazzy guitar riff and verse sung in three-part harmony. The chorus is the closest thing we have to a pop song, but when pop wasn’t a disposable, corporate-driven product. Overall, the theme of the album is about ‘Perception Versus Reality,’ how our world is essentially a subjective experience and a reflection of our individual thoughts and judgments. This idea is perhaps best expressed by semanticist Alfred Korzybski’s dictum, ‘The map is not the territory.’ Songs like ‘Sea of Time,’ ‘Eternal Now,’ ‘Where Do We Go?’ and the title-track all touch on this theme: how we are born into a reality and then conditioned into accepting that this version of reality is ‘it’… And anyone who’s been on the Psychedelic Path will tell you otherwise.

A Devil’s Din are the psychedelic brainchild of UK-born Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist David Lines; joined on his creative journey by disciple of the Rickenbaker bass Thomas Chollet, and virtuoso drummer Dom Salameh. They are a trio of sonic alchemists that together create a chemical wedding of cosmic chords, constantly seeking the philosopher’s stone of the perfect psychedelic song. And as we all know, it’s not the journey — it’s the trip!

A Devil’s Din has two fine albums under their collective kaftans, ‘One Day All This Will Be Yours’ (2011) and ‘Skylight’ (2016), and now, as though creating a trans-dimensional triptych, they unleash ‘One Hallucination Under God’.

‘One Hallucination Under God’ will be available as of September 29th, 2017.

A Devil’s Din is:
Dave Lines, Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals
Tom G. Stout, Bass/Guitar/Vocals
Dom Salameh, Drums/Perc/Vocals

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