The Obelisk is proudly sponsored by All That is Heavy

Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Red Fang, Black Moon Circle, Druglord, Drone Hunter, Holy Serpent, Lugweight, Megaritual, Red Lama, Lacy, Valborg

Posted in Reviews on December 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Feeling good going into day two of the Quarterly Review. The good news about how heavy music has become such a vast universe is that there’s always plenty to cover without having to really dig into stuff I don’t find interesting. Of course, the other side of that is feeling constantly behind the curve and overwhelmed by it all, but let’s not talk about that for the moment. Point is that as we make our way through this week and into the next — because, remember, it’s six days this time, not five — a big part of me still feels like I’m just scratching the surface of everything that’s out there. It still seems just to be a fraction of the whole story being told around the world in the riffiest of languages. We all do what we can, I guess. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Red Fang, Only Ghosts

red-fang-only-ghosts

Four albums into one of the decade’s most successful and influential heavy rock careers, doesn’t it seem like Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang are due for a truly great record? Their 2013 outing, Whales and Leeches (discussed here), was rushed by the band’s own admission – their focus, as ever, on touring – and Only Ghosts (on Relapse) unites them with producer Ross Robinson and mixer Joe Barresi, two considerable names to bring heft and presence to the 10-track/42-minute outing. And I’ve no doubt that “Shadows” and the bigger-grooving “The Smell of the Sound” and opener “Flies” kick ass when delivered from the stage, and it’s true they sound more considered with the ambience of “Flames” positioned early, but Only Ghosts still comes across like a collection of songs united mostly by the timeframe in which they were written. Doesn’t mean they don’t build on Whales and Leeches, but now five years on from 2011’s Murder the Mountains (review here), and with their dynamic, charged and momentum-driven sound firmly established, Red Fang still seem to be at the threshold of some crucial forward step rather than stomping all over it as one might hope.

Red Fang on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Black Moon Circle, Sea of Clouds

black-moon-circle-sea-of-clouds

After releasing a self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up Andromeda (review here) in 2014, 2016’s Sea of Clouds (on Crispin Glover/Stickman) is the third proper studio full-length from Norway’s Black Moon Circle – though at that point, define “proper.” In 2015, the trio/four-piece – Trondheim-based guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, plus Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective on synth – also released The Studio Jams Vol. I (discussed here) and in addition to the four tracks of Sea of Clouds, they’ve also had a Vol. II (review here) out this year. The definitions become fluid, is what I’m saying, and that couldn’t be more appropriate for the sound of “Lunar Rocket,” the outward-gazing space rock of “The Magnificent Dude,” “Moondog” and “Warp Speed,” which indeed offer enough kosmiche expanse to make one wonder where the song ends and the jam begins. Or, you know, reality. One has to wonder if Black Moon Circle might bridge the gap at some point between studio improv and more plotted songwriting, but as it stands, neither side of their dual personality fails to engage with its flow and drift.

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Black Moon Circle at Stickman Records

Black Moon Circle at Crispin Glover Records

 

Druglord, Deepest Regrets

druglord-deepest-regrets

A one-sided 12” EP issued by STB Records in late 2015 as the follow-up to Richmond dirge-fuzzer trio Druglord’s debut album, Enter Venus (review here), the three-track Deepest Regrets represents the band’s final studio material with bassist Greta Brinkman (ex-L7) in the lineup, who’s since been replaced by Julian Cook. That distinction matters in no small part because so much of Druglord’s purposes on Deepest Regrets’ three component songs – “Regret to Dismember,” “Speedballs to Hell” and “Heaven Tonight” – is about reveling in low end. Rawer than was the album preceding, they find guitarist/vocalist/organist Tommy Hamilton, Brinkman and drummer Bobby Hufnell emitting an oozing lurch, blasting out thickened motor-riffing, and fortifying a darkly psychedelic drear – in that order. True to EP form, each song gives a sampling of some of what Druglord has to offer coming off the album, and with a recording job by Garrett Morris, who also helmed the LP, it remains a fair look at where they might head next, despite the shift in lineup.

Druglord on Thee Facebooks

STB Records webstore

 

Holy Serpent, Temples

holy serpent temples

Melbourne’s Holy Serpent return with Temples (on RidingEasy), their second full-length after 2015’s self-titled debut (review here), and continue to offer an engaging blend of well-blazed psychedelia and heavier-rolling groove. Especially considering they’ve still only been a band for two years, the four-piece of guitarists Nick Donoughue and Scott Penberthy (the latter also vocals), bassist Dave Barlett and Lance Leembrugen remain striking in their cohesion of purpose, and Temples opener “Purification by Fire” and ensuing cuts like the fuzz-wall centerpiece “Toward the Sands” and echo-laden “The Black Stone” only continue to stretch their intentions toward ever more acid-ic flow. They called it “shroom doom” last time out, and seem to have moved away from that self-branding, but however one wants to label Temples, its five tracks/43 minutes push ahead from where Holy Serpent were just a year ago and, rounding out with the slower churn of “Sativan Harvest,” still reminds that mind expansion and deeply weighted tonecraft are by no means mutually exclusive.

Holy Serpent on Thee Facebooks

Holy Serpent at RidingEasy Records

 

Drone Hunter, Welcome to the Hole

drone hunter welcome to the hole

Self-releasing Croatian instrumental trio Drone Hunter devise vigilantly straightforward riffing on their second album, Welcome to the Hole, finding room for some charm in titles like “Wine Dick,” “Crazy Ants with Shotguns” and the closing “A Burning Sensation,” the latter of which seems to draw particularly from the playbook of Karma to Burn. That comparison is almost inevitable for any riff-led/sans-vocal three-piece working in this form, but the crunch in “Fog Horn” and “Waltz of the Iron Countess” isn’t without its own personality either, and as with a host of acts from the Croatian underground, they seem to have a current of metal to their approach that, in the case of Welcome to the Hole, only makes the entire affair seem tighter and more precise while maintaining tonal presence. Fitz (guitar), Klen (bass) and Rus (drums) might not be much for words or last names, but their sophomore full-length comprises solid riffs and grooves and doesn’t seem to ask anything more than a nod from its audience. A price easily paid.

Drone Hunter on Thee Facebooks

Drone Hunter on Bandcamp

 

Lugweight, Yesterday

lugweight yesterday

Lugweight is comprised solely of Brooklyn-via-Richmond-Virginia transplant Eric Benson, and the project makes its full-length debut with the evocatively-titled drone wash of Yesterday following one EP and preceding another. Fair to call it an experimental release, since that’s kind of the nature of the aesthetic, but Benson demonstrates a pretty clear notion of the sort of noise he’s interested in making, and there’s plenty of it on Yesterday in “Sleeping on Cocaine,” on which one can hear the undulating wavelengths emanating from speaker cones, or the penultimate “Love Song for the Insane,” which features chanting vocals in echoes cutting through a tonal morass but still somehow obscure. A 33-minute five-tracker, Yesterday doesn’t overstay its welcome, but alternates between sonic horrors and warmer immersion in the shorter centerpiece “Bleed My Sorrow” and closer “Show Me Where the Shovel Is,” coming dangerously close in the latter to doom riffing that one might almost dare to put drums to. Solo drone guitar, even when this thick, is never for everyone, but one doubts Benson was shooting for accessibility anyhow.

Lugweight on Bandcamp

Forcefield Records website

 

Megaritual, Eclipse

megaritual eclipse

To hear Australia’s Megaritual tell it, the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP was recorded on Mt. Jerusalem in New South Wales this past summer, the one-man outfit of vocalist/guitarist/sitarist/drummer Dale Paul Walker working with bassist/Monotronist Govinda Das to follow-up his prior two Mantra Music EPs, recently compiled onto an LP (review here) by White Dwarf Records. Whether or not that’s the case, “Eclipse” itself is suitably mountainous, building along a linear course from sea level to a grand peak with droning patience and gradual volume swells, lush and immersive psychedelia in slow-motion trails, a sparse verse, percussion, sitar, guitar, bass, and so on coming to a glorious vista around the 17:30 mark only to recede again circa six minutes later in a more precipitous dropoff. The digital edition (and that’s the only edition thus far) comes with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” which makes good company for the hypnotic titular exploration and the quick progression it represents after the other two short releases.

Megaritual on Bandcamp

White Dwarf Records website

 

Red Lama, Dreams are Free

red lama dreams are free

Heavy psychedelic pastoralists Red Lama enter the conversation of 2016’s best debut albums with Dreams are Free, initially released on All Good Clean Records and subsequently picked up by Stickman. Leaning more toward the liquid end of psych-blues, the Danish seven-piece immediately transcend with opener “Inca” (video here) and quickly showcase a subtlety for build that only gets more potent as they move through “Sonic Revolution” and “The World is Yours,” unfolding due heft in the latter without losing the laid back sensibility that the vocals bring sweetly, melodically, to the material. The later “Mekong River” seems almost like it’s going to shoegaze itself into post-rock oblivion, but Red Lama hold their sound together even into the 10-minute closer “Dalai Delay” – aptly-titled twice over – and deliver with striking patience a languid flow with hints of underlying prog experimentation. How that will come to fruition will have to remain to be seen/heard, but Dreams are Free also dips into funkier groove on “Dar Enteha,” so while they probably could be if they were feeling lazy, Red Lama don’t at all seem to be finished growing. All the better.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama at Stickman Records

 

Lacy, Andromeda

lacy andromeda

Lacy is an experimental solo-project from former Lord guitarist Stephen Sullivan, based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and part of a deep sludge underground that goes back well over a decade. Andromeda is his third album with the outfit and the second to be released in 2016, though unlike the preceding Volume 2. Blue, its 12 tracks were recorded in a matter of months, not years. All instruments, arrangements, vocals and the raw recording were handled by Sullivan himself (he also took the photo on the cover) but cuts like “Gyre Hell” and the acoustic “Push Me Away” veer around self-indulgence or hyper-navelgazing – I’d call “Offal and the Goat Brains” experimental, but not narcissistic – and he seems more interested in writing songs than making a show of being outside this or that imaginary box. Still, Andromeda offers diversity of instrumentation and arrangement, unplugging once more for “Healer” before closer “Always” finishes the album as a rumbling and grunge-laden love song.

Lacy on YouTube

Lacy on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Werwolf

valborg werwolf

After catching on late to German metallers Valborg’s 2015 fifth album, Romantik, I told myself I wasn’t going to miss whatever they did next. The single Werwolf (on Temple of Torturous and Zeitgeister) might be a quick check-in of just two songs – “Ich Bin Total” and “Werwolf” itself – but the classic European-style death-doom chug of the latter and the vicious crash of the former I still consider a reward for keeping an eye out. “Ich Bin Total” is less than three and a half minutes long, and “Werwolf” just over five, but both feature choice chug riffing, darkened atmospherics and art-metal growls that only add to the clenched-teeth intensity of the instruments surrounding. They spare neither impact nor ambience nor lives as Werwolf plays out, the title cut riding its massive progression forward to a sensory-overload of nod before finally offering some release to the tension in a second-half guitar lead, only to revive the brutality once more, repetitions of “werwolf” chanted in growls over it. Awesome.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Temple of Torturous website

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spidergawd Announce Multiple Tours; Set to Release IV in 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

It’s become a winter tradition over the last several years to look for word of a new release from Norway’s Spidergawd. Since surfacing in 2014 with their self-titled debut (review here), the Trondheim four-piece heavy rock magnates have issued 2015’s II (review here) and 2016’s III (review here) through Stickman and Crispin Glover Records both as bright spots in their respective years’ dark early hours, quickly refining a songwriting process that’s never failed either to move forward from where it was just months before or to deliver catchy, classic-feeling material with a modern production bent. Their reputation has grown over these releases, to be sure, but it’s hard not to feel like they’re still underrated compared to the quality of work they do, let alone how often they do it.

I’ll admit I’m behind the times on this announcement. They were mixing Spidergawd IV this fall, so I’ll just go ahead and presume the album is done by now. Likewise, the March tour dates through Europe were previously made public, but the Italian run in April is new, so having seen that and then found the rest, it seemed only fair to include everything in case I wasn’t the only one needing to get caught up.

Either way, it’s the season for it, so I’ll very much look forward to hearing where Spidergawd IV takes the band.

Finally we can let you in on some of the countries, cities and venues we are coming to on the Spidergawd IV tour! And, we are happy to say that we are bringing our friends in Woodland as support for all these tour dates below. Please do check them out!

We’re currently mixing our fourth album, which is turning out to be even better than the other three – we sure hope your think so too when you hear it – meanwhile tickets will appear on the venues homepages, bandsintown etc. within a couple of days, if its not out already.

And; HEAR! HEAR! We do have two more weeks of european shows and a norwegian tour to announce, and of course a lot more summer festivals, so keep on sleeping with your eyes and ears open.

TOUR DATES
08.03 Amsterdam / Paradiso Noord – Tolhuistuin (NL)
09.03 Deventer / Het Burgerweeshuis (NL)
10.03 Eindhoven / De Effenaar (NL)
11.03 Diksmuide / Muziekclub 4AD (BE)
14.03 Dortmund / FZW (DE)
15.03 Köln / Gebäude 9 (DE)
16.03 Bielefeld / Forum Bielefeld (DE)
17.03 Bremen / Tower Musikclub (DE)
18.03 Hamburg / Knust Hamburg (DE)
19.03 Berlin / Lido Berlin (DE)
20.03 Leipzig / Moritzbastei (DE)
21.03 Dresden / Beatpol (DE)
22.03 Frankfurt / Nachtleben Frankfurt (DE)
23.03 München / Hansa 39 (DE)
24.03 Nürnberg / club stereo (DE)
25.03 Winterthür/ Gaswerk (CH)
26.03 Pratteln / Konzertfabrik Z7 Bleibt (CH)
31.03 Oslo / Rockefeller Music Hall (NO)

ITALY!!! April it is!
24.04 TORINO / BLAH BLAH (IT)
25.04 SAVONA / Raindogs House (IT)
26.04 BOLOGNA / Freakout Club (IT)
27.04 CAGLIARI / FABRIK (IT)
28.04 SASSARI / The Hor – The House of Rock (IT)
29.04 NAPLES / CellarTheory Live (IT)
30.04 GIAVERA DEL MONTELLO / Benicio Live Gigs (TV)

SUMMER FESTIVALS
22-24.06 Tons Of Rock / Halden (NO)
22.07 Malakoff Rockfestival / Nordfjordeid (NO)

https://www.facebook.com/spidergawd/
https://www.instagram.com/spidergawdofficial/
http://www.spidergawd.no/
https://www.stickman-records.com/
http://www.crispingloverrecords.com/

Spidergawd, Live in Trondheim 2016

Tags: , , , , , ,

Black Moon Circle’s Psychedelic Lightshow Featured in “The Head” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

black-moon-circle-with-dr-space

Among the several thrills this year has held for me when it comes to watching bands on a stage, the chance to see Norwegian heavy psych rockers Black Moon Circle perform at Roadburn 2016 alongside their compatriot Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective and with visual accompaniment in the form of a live psychedelic oil show from Simon W. Gullikstad is pretty high on the list. It was late at night, and the languid, trippy vibe at the smaller venue Extase was just the thing to cap a long day with a bit of go-ahead-and-get-lost-in-it wash effects wash and nod-ready groove. I’d say I was into it, but that would probably be underselling the experience. It was the right place to be and at the right time.

The Trondheim band’s improvisational side was highlighted with the recent release of The Studio Jams Vol. II (review here), which arrived under the subheading of “The Serpent” as a two-sided LP drawing forth from the well of a single extended jam. Like the aforementioned Roadburn set, the Stickman/Crispin Glover Records release too featured Dr. Space alongside the core trio of guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, and its cover art was indeed a still of Gullikstad‘s work.

Sensing a theme? Good, because the band’s new video for “The Head” — the 24-minute A-side of The Studio Jams Vol. II — also features Gullikstad in his gooey element. Shot on a wall outside Black Moon Circle‘s practice space — I guess any wall would do, really — it’s a longform sampling of both the lysergic explorations the band has to offer and the visual immersion that’s made to accompany. Want to put it on fullscreen and just let it play out? Yeah, I think that might be a good impulse to follow.

Please dig in below, and enjoy:

Black Moon Circle, “The Head” official video

The track is taken from the album The Studio Jams Vol II by Black Moon Circle. The visual arts, water, oil & colors, were performed by Simon W. Gullikstad and the video was filmed by Eivind Stuevold in the hall outside of our rehearsal area.

Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Crispin Glover Records website

Stickman Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Black Moon Circle Stream The Studio Jams Vol. II in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

black-moon-circle-with-dr-space

Today, Nov. 11, marks the release date of Black Moon Circle‘s The Studio Jams Vol. II. Offered on vinyl through Crispin Glover Records and Stickman Records, as the title hints, it’s the Norwegian outfit’s second such collection of improvised work, following behind a similar release last year (discussed here) and leading to one set to show up next May. That’s right, Vol. III, already confirmed. In the meantime, The Studio Jams Vol. II also follows the Trondheim trio’s song-based 2016 outing, Sea of Clouds, and once more pairs the core lineup of the band — guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan (who also mixed) and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen — with synth wizard Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective for an extended, 40-minute improvisation recorded this past January. It seems to have been laid down in one take, and it comes broken up into a pair LP tracks that give a complete description of the beast’s two sides in their titles: “The Head” (24:02) and “The Tail” (16:49). Each one, of course, consumes an entire half of the record, and I don’t think there’s any way to imagine Black Moon Circle would have it otherwise. At this point, they haven’t been around long — black-moon-circle-the-studio-jams-vol-iitheir self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up, Andromeda (review here), both came out in 2014 — but they’ve proved prolific enough to make one believe they’re reasonably comfortable in Naultilus Studio, where Magnus Kofoed recorded. They certainly seem to spend enough time there.

Which, when it comes to jammed-out space rock, is what you want. If a group doesn’t exercise these muscles constantly, they atrophy, and as Øyvin‘s bass leads the way into the first minute or so of “The Head,” the immediate fluidity of what’s unfolding reassures that indeed that has not happened with Black Moon Circle. In classic form, bass and drums anchor the proceedings while the guitar takes flight, but the not-so-secret weapon here is Dr. Space, whose mastery of swirl from his custom synth comprised of knobs and keys and effects is second to none. Heller‘s time in Øresund Space Collective may be coming to an end — though they also have a new record on the way — but he continues to bring textures and flow and a sense of (dare I say it?) spaciousness to everything he touches. In combination with the chemistry on display from the Engans and Gulbrandsen, it’s little wonder that “The Head” and “The Tail” play out as smoothly as they do, the A side riding its low-end foundation to and through a build in its first 10 minutes only to give the drums a rest thereafter and dig into a psychedelic dronescape that’s as vast as it is hypnotic, bluesy guitar echoing out over slow-motion swirl. To think of a moment like that as something that just happened, that just came about when Black Moon Circle plugged in and went for it — even if they had some direction in mind beforehand — makes The Studio Jams Vol. II all the more worth preserving on vinyl, let alone the careful manner in which the bass and drums reintroduce motion to the track under a cover of synth, not upsetting the balance but clearly moving “The Head” into a next stage that, when the guitar rejoins, results in a near-Earthless-style cacophony pushing even the band’s own limits of psychedelia as Vemund tears into a righteous solo.

“The Head” fades out, taking its time, of course, and “The Tail” black-moon-circle-the-studio-jams-vol-ii-backhowls its way in, picking up where its predecessor left off. Although it’s seven minutes shorter — a manageable 16 minutes — it’s basically a continuation of “The Head”‘s excursion into the ethereal. One might wonder at first why Black Moon Circle would break up the jam in such a manner, to make the A side so much longer than the B side, but I think the story gets told about four minutes into “The Tail,” when the swell of volume recedes and the drone exploration resumes for a stretch with the bass and drums quietly behind. Entirely possible the band wanted to keep the two similarly-minded movements apart in an effort not to repeat themselves too much in succession, though Gulbrandsen‘s echoing snare and toms about seven minutes into “The Tail” have a distinct jazziness that “The Head” simply doesn’t offer and the focus on the rhythm section that develops around them is likewise distinguished from the earlier cut. It’s easy to miss, but by the time they’re eight minutes in, Black Moon Circle have hit the ground level of what will serve as the final build in Studio Jams Vol. II, and as the guitar and synth continue to wash effects forward to the listener there’s a subtle and patient push happening that only gets more fervent as it goes. They peak across the 14th and 15th minutes, with cymbal crashes and full-on guitar howl and noise and general soaking-wet freakout madness all around, and with no place in the universe left to traverse — until next time, adventurers! — they dissipate into a spacebound current of residual amplified rumble that, if we’re lucky, will be picked up by aliens circa alpha centauri and used as our second-most-confusing-ever line of contact with an outside species.

With the pace that Black Moon Circle have thus far kept up in working on both sides of their jams-and-songs-built-from-them approach, I’m all the more thrilled to be able to host The Studio Jams Vol. II in its entirety for your streaming pleasure. Please find it on the player below, followed by some comment from the band and the brief announcement of Vol. III, the confirmation of which is so telling of the vibrant creativity at play in the band.

Enjoy getting lost in this one:

Øyvin Engan on The Studio Jams Vol. 2:

Free-jamming is all about losing control, narrowing down to the moment, where we try to let go of the past and not to worry about what is coming up next, then anything goes.

The Studio Jams series is all about that kind of free floating playing: no rules, no plans.

Of course, we also do a whole lot of jamming when we play the more regular songs, they will never be the same twice, and I think this has influenced the way we make our music. Now, we are both trying to allure the jams into the written songs, and we are forcing structure onto the jams, either way, that´s how we make new songs.

Norwegian psychedelic space rock group Black Moon Circle was formed by Øyvin Engan (bass/vocals) and Vemund Engan (guitar) in 2012. Rising out of the ashes of the fast paced garage punk rock band The Reilly Express, the lineup was completed with the addition of Per Andreas Gulbrandsen on drums. The sound of Black Moon Circle combines long jams with heavy riffage, the extensive use of effects on bass and guitar and analogue synths oscillating with echoes and delays created by Dr. Space.

These days BMC are in The Nautilus mixing The Studio Jams Vol III feat. guest guitarist Snah, due out in May 2017.

Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Crispin Glover Records website

Stickman Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Spidergawd Introduce New Bassist

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Norwegian kickers-of-ass Spidergawd have a new bassist in the form of Hallvard “The Kid” Gaardløs, who joins the band in place of Bent Sæther. It’s a significant move in part because Sæther has recorded all three to-date of Spidergawd‘s albums — the latest of them, Spidergawd III (review here), came out this past winter through Stickman and Crispin Glover Records and was no less brilliant than its predecessors — and because Sæther is a member of long-running progressive outfit Motorpsycho.

Maybe studio work taking extra time and things like that are also a factor in addition to playing in the two groups, but from what I hear, drummer Kenneth Kapstad, who was also in Motorpsycho, has left that band, so there are multiple shifts on multiple levels. Either way, Spidergawd seem to be continuing on well enough and I doubt at this point there’s much that could derail them from getting another LP out at the start of 2017. At least that’s what I’m hoping for. Keep the count going.

Fresh from an appearance at Freak Valley 2016, they have a few Euro fest dates booked for the rest of the summer, which you’ll find under their announcement below making it official with Gaardløs:

spidergawd

As you all know we introduced Hallvard Gaardløs aka. The Kid on bass for the Spidergawd III release tour, as Bent was busy with Motorpsycho work.

Well, there is no sign of less work for both bands in the future, so after three albums with Bent we now introduce Hallvard The kid Gaardløs as the new bassplayer in Spidergawd!

For those who didn’t meet the bass prodigy from Toten, Norway, yet definitely have something to look forward to. Not only is he an excellent musician, but also the most charming kid ever. We’re sure he’d be happy for a little welcome applause.

That said, we’d like to thank Bent for all the great music we’ve made together, all the fun tours and gigs we’ve laughed our way through, and, as we always state; made it possible for Spidergawd to reach out to all of you in such a short time.

We will drink an underberg on that one soon enough.

Some more festivals this summer, and more to come!

Better sleep with one eye open!

11/06 Skien live, NO
24/06 Down The Rabbit Hole, NL
08/07 Måkeskrik, NO
09/07 Ranglerock, NO
21/07 Vinjerock, NO
23/07 Fjellparkfestivalen, NO
28/07 UTKANT, NO
30/07 Rock im Wald, DE

http://spidergawd.no/
https://www.facebook.com/spidergawd/
https://www.stickman-records.com/
http://www.crispingloverrecords.com/

Spidergawd, “El Corazon del Sol” official video

Tags: , , , ,

Spidergawd, III: Future Impatient

Posted in Reviews on February 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

spidergawd III

Over the course of their now-three full-lengths, Norwegian heavy rockers Spidergawd have established a pervasive sense of duality. Beginning with their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014, the Trondheim four-piece have presented material that’s progressive and thoughtful, and yet tossed off quickly by the band in almost manic fashion as they move forward to the next thing. That debut? Recorded live at the band’s fifth rehearsal, reportedly. The follow-up, Spidergawd II (review here), arrived correspondingly early in 2015 and fleshed out the already-cohesive approach. Highlighted by flourishes of psychedelia while maintaining the core of high-level songcraft the first record established, it seemed even more intentional in its construction. Spidergawd III — or just III, depending on how you want to read it — is no less a step forward and it arrives topped with a similar-style of artwork through the same labels, Stickman Records and Crispin Glover Records, with eight tracks that relentlessly move Spidergawd ahead of where they were sound-wise while also providing a high-quality listening experience.

That’s where the duality comes in. Spidergawd began at a sprint, and they haven’t slowed since, but their output, while often upbeat, never sounds hurried in the making or half-assed in its production or arrangement. One could chalk that up to pedigree if so inclined. The band, as noted many times, has ties to long-running Norwegian progressives Motorpsycho in bassist/engineer Bent Sæther and drummer Kenneth Kapstad, saxophonist Rolf Martin Snustad featured in ska outfit Hopalong Knut and guitarist/vocalist Per Borten — who is a strong frontman presence throughout all three Spidergawd offerings to-date, the newest of them most of all — has worked in a host of songwriting contexts while also singing in bands like Cadillac and New Violators. I’d argue, however, that while members’ individual contributions to other groups might have been a factor in providing a clear look at what they wanted to do initially, with the exception of Sæther and Kapstad, who work together directly in another band’s rhythm section, Spidergawd have developed their own dynamic over these albums and the supporting tours, and Spidergawd III provides the most current glimpse of their progression.

Like its two predecessors, it is classic-LP short — 36 minutes — and completely lacking in pretense as though Spidergawd don’t have time to stop and think about what they’ve accomplished in the last three years or this time around particularly, they’re too busy running off to the next thing. And with their touring schedule, that may well be true, but it ultimately doesn’t take away from the impact this record in tracks like “The Funeral,” or the off-and-running immediate momentum provided by opener “No Man’s Land,” which dispenses with any opening theatrics and gets right to business with a quick hi-hat and a flown-in-from-the-danger-zone solo — again, working quick, efficiently, but not sounding rushed — on the way to “El Corazon del Sol,” which just might be the hook on which the rest of the album is anchored.

spidergawd (Photo by Uta Freia Beer)

It arrives delivered in English — the line is, “In you I see the heart of the sun” — and with due brightness atop a heavy low end with standout sax from Snustad at the finish that leads to the pick-up-and-go start of “The Best Kept Secrets,” another quick thrust that you almost have to put on repeat to properly appreciate it’s there so quickly and then gone. That’s harder to do on the vinyl, obviously, but if the point hasn’t gotten across yet, one of the defining characteristics of Spidergawd III is the unflinching, lightning-crisp forward propulsion across its component tracks and how comfortable the band seem working at this pace. Not that they’re playing ridiculously fast, but their execution of this material is so tight and so void of excess that it seems to be over even as it’s started.

Another defining aspect of Spidergawd III, though, is the clarity and fullness of its production. That’s been the modus for the band all along, but on a standout like side A finale “The Funeral” — a rival chorus for “El Corazon del Sol” — it’s especially apparent. Second in length only to closer “Lighthouse Part 3” at 5:41, it cuts a broader spectrum instrumentally than, say, “Best Kept Secrets” or “Picture Perfect Package,” which follows and leads off side B, but is distinguished further through the impact of its tones and depth of its mix, Borten‘s vocals buried under sax and guitar in the last verse after being so forward in delivering the layered hook. Like “No Man’s Land” at the start, “Picture Perfect Package” is all stripped-down straightforward groove, classic in its construction but rife with fresh energy and a push that leads into the three-part closer, “Lighthouse,” split up over separate tracks on the CD/digital version but presented fluidly on the vinyl. “Lighthouse Part 1” begins with a bassline from Sæther and shifts in good time to a boogie that holds firm throughout, offset but not contradicted by a winding chorus, and finishes with a sustained line of sax, semi-mirroring “El Corazon del Sol,” but bleeding directly into the slower (!) unfolding of “Lighthouse Part 2,” an instrumental and really, an interlude, that nonetheless features some choice interaction between Borten and Snustad in its two and a half minutes, finishing cold as the start of “Lighthouse Part 3” takes over on the next beat.

A near-minute of intro feels like a luxury, but it’s tension building toward a release in the chorus and subsequent space-out, airier, reverb-soaked guitar leading the way as Spidergawd purposefully break the rules they’ve so well enacted across the span of the tracks preceding. After the all-out charge of the bulk of Spidergawd III, a bit of indulgence makes a classy finish, but even in the back half of “Lighthouse Part 3,” they don’t overdo it. The album ends on a long fade with the guitar at the head of an improvised-sounding section that comes apart as it goes. One can’t help but wonder how long Spidergawd will be able to or will be interested in keeping up their current relentless pace of releases, and the fact that III has already been issued as part of a first-three-records box set makes it seem all the more like the finishing installment of a trilogy, but whether or not they return with another full-length in 2017 or sometime thereafter, Spidergawd have become a considerable force heralding the righteousness in straightforward but thoughtful heavy rock and roll. They continue to make complex ideas sound easy, and they continue to grow as players and as a band. If there’s more one could ask of Spidergawd III than it delivers, I don’t know what it would be.

Spidergawd, “El Corazon del Sol” official video

Spidergawd website

Spidergawd on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records

Crispin Glover Records

Tags: , , , , , ,

Spidergawd Post Video for “El Corazon del Sol”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

spidergawd (Photo by Uta Freia Beer)

Norwegian outfit Spidergawd released their third album, Spidergawd III, at the end of last month on Stickman Records and Crispin Glover Records. I’m planning on reviewing it next week, so I won’t say too much about it at this point other than that “El Corazon del Sol” boasts one of its biggest choruses. The four-piece filmed the video for the track at the Pstereo festival (I’m going to assume the ‘p’ is silent) in their hometown of Trondheim last summer, and it looks like they pulled a good crowd. Reasonably so. For my money, Spidergawd are one of the finest acts to emerge in the last couple years, playing a brand of catchy and hard-hitting heavy rock and roll that’s traditional and unpretentious but refuses to be indebted to anything other than itself in the songwriting.

Let me stop myself there. It’s the studio version of “El Corazon del Sol” — the title is delivered in English translation in the hook — in the video, so if you’re not acquainted yet with the band’s methods, it’s a good way to become so. If you’re in Europe, you’re probably already hip to these guys, and for those in the catching-on phase in the US, they seem to have eyes toward making inroads in North America as well. They recently announced they’ll be showcasing this year at SXSW, coming over following tours this month throughout Europe and next month in Norway specifically. I wouldn’t be surprised if a US tour followed at some point before the end of the year. You can find all the currently-confirmed dates — except for the specifics on SXSW, which have yet to be announced — under the video below.

Enjoy:

Spidergawd, “El Corazon del Sol” official video

HEY! New video!

This video was captured during the gig at Pstereo festival last summer in Trondheim with several GoPro cameras mounted on stage.

Thank you Brage Smith and Kent Willy Nilsen at Response Distribution AS for working your asses off for us! You really are the best!

Spidergawd on Tour:

FEBRUARY (Europaturné)
10/02 Posten, Odense DK
12/02 Blåfrostfestivalen, Rognan NO
13/02 Bitterzoet, Amsterdam NL
14/02 Het Bos, Antwerpen BE
15/02 Tower, Bremen DE
16/02 Vera, Groningen NL
17/02 Gebäude 9, Köln DE
18/02 Schlachthof, Wiesbaden DE
19/02 Kofmehl, Soloturn CH
20/02 Lo-Fi, Milano IT
21/02 TBA, Zürich CH
23/02 Zwölf Zehn, Stuttgart DE
24/02 Shakespear, Salzburg AT
25/02 Strom, München DE
26/02 Beatpol, Dresden DE
27/02 Glocksee, Hannover DE
28/02 Hafenklang, Hamburg DE

MARCH (Norgesturné)
02/03 Rockefeller, Oslo NO
03/03 Lundetangen, Skien NO
04/03 Folken, Stavanger NO
05/03 Hulen, Bergen NO
09/03 Felix, Lillehammer NO
10/03 Energimølla, Kongsberg NO
11/03 Gregers, Hamar NO
12/03 Byscenen, Trondheim NO

Spidergawd website

Spidergawd on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records

Crispin Glover Records

Tags: , , , , , ,