Turn Me on Dead Man Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds sends word of an allegiance with San Francisco psych weirdos Turn Me on Dead Man. This comes only days after the label picked up The Lords of Altamont and continues a focus on signing West Coast US bands that has also seen them snagging the likes of Banquet, Farflung, The Freeks, Fatso Jetson, Glitter Wizard, and Cosmic Wheels, among others. No word yet on when Turn Me on Dead Man might make their debut through the label, but the band released their latest album, Heavymetal Mothership, in Dec. 2016, so it seems entirely possible they might start with a reissue of that before moving forward. Just speculation on my part, but plausible enough.

More on that as I hear it. The announcement of the signing came through the PR wire:

turn me on dead man

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking presents: TURN ME ON DEAD MAN new signing

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is really proud to welcome in the HPS family the Heavy Psychedelic-Space-Metalz masters

TMODM are an heavydelic space rock band from San Francisco. Turn Me On Dead Man combines Heavy Metal and Psychedelia to forge a music that is both transcending and unforgettable. The songwriting plunges listeners into the heavydelic landscapes of 60’s experimentalism and 70’s bombast, creating a disc that is enthralling, imaginative, hugely entertaining, and incredibly hard rocking!

The group have been creating their unique brand of lysergic-soaked rock since their inception in 2000, gigging extensively throughout the San Francisco bay area and garnering praise from all over their home turf and the country, spurred on by heavy rotation at the influential WFMU station in New Jersey. Alternative Tentacles founder Jello Biafra was suitably impressed by the band’s spaced-out, glammed-up, turned-up brand of audio mayhem enough to re-release their first epic record, “God Bless the Electric Freak” on A.T.!

Live, Turn Me On Dead Man is a spectacle of epic proportions; a visceral sonic boom that spans the spectrum from the meanest, most gorgeous anthems of rock to the exotic ragas of modern psych, creating an explosive and diverse stage performance as energetic as it is uncommon. Simply put, Turn Me On Dead Man plays Heavy Crush Bliss Rock breaking the sound barrier on their own private Lear Jet headed straight to HELL!

The bands twin guitar harmonization, melodic rhythmic switchbacks and trippy apocalypto- mystical lyricism keep California’s psychedelic rock tradition alive

“Mind melt music for the sick and twisted, heavydelic super rock for the ultimate freak out”

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records quote:
It’s almost two years we are dealing with the band, and finally we reached the point.
TMODM is finally part of the HPS Records family!!
Their sound and attitude reflect a lot which is the label target in terms or Space Rock, Psychedelic Rock and Heavy Rockness

Turn Me on Dead Man:
Mykill ZIggy: Guitars, Vocals, Synthesizers, Bass, Phasers and Lasers
Nick Doom: Guitars and Music Theory
Christopher Melville Lyman: Drums, Percussion, and Vocals
Attis Ngo: Bass, Keyboards

https://www.facebook.com/TurnMeOnDeadManSF/
https://www.instagram.com/turn_me_on_dead_man/
https://tmodm.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Turn Me on Dead Man, Haters, Space Invaders, and Clones (2015)

Tags: , , ,

The Lords of Altamont Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This past December, long-running Los Angeles heavy punkers The Lords of Altamont were in the studio with Paul Roessler of The Screamers working on their sixth album. There’s video at the bottom of this post for proof. That record, it’s now been revealed, will be issued via Heavy Psych Sounds as the band’s debut on the label. It’s their first outing since 2014’s Lords Take Altamont, and though I’ve yet to see a solid release date or title for the record, The Lords of Altamont have tour dates listed on their site (snagged and included below) that will find them on the road in Europe next month.

That’d be a quick turnaround from hey-this-band-is-signed to okay-here’s-the-record, but stranger things have happened. Here’s the announcement from Heavy Psych Sounds:

the lords of altamont

THE LORDS OF ALTAMONT – Heavy Psych Sounds

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is really proud to announce a new band in the roster!

THE LORDS OF ALTAMONT news about new projects on the way soon!

The Lords of Altamont bring forth raw rock and roll fury birthed from the ultimate end to the era of peace and love. What was billed to be the “Woodstock of the West,” the infamous Altamont Free concert on December 6th, 1969 was highlighted instead by heavy drugs, motorcycle chains and brass knuckles and later punctuated with shoving matches and fist fights. This palpable sense of bawdy foreboding resulted in four births, four deaths and extensive property damage.

While the hippies had been grooving and mellowing out in the Bay Area, the forefathers of the Lords of Altamont were playing high energy rhythms in the beer soaked venues of Detroit and the dingy clubs along LA’s Sunset Strip. Mid-60s London RnB shares equal space with the scruffy 70s NYC Bowery among the influences of The Lords also. They take their other cues from kids banging out primitive riffs on cheap guitars all across the USA in garages alongside chopped bikes and American v-8 muscle, lingering exhaust fumes mixing with sweat to conjure the rare elixir of real rock n roll.

The story of the band who would come to be known as The Lords of Altamont gets a proper start in late 1999. A son of Southern California and a veteran of the SoCal music scene, Jake Cavaliere – with numerous bands and projects from garage to punk dating back to the late 80s under his belt – enlisted fellow motorcycle rider and bandmate of the instro/surf sensation The Bomboras, Johnny Devilla, to form something new. Max Eidson, Doran Shelley, and Gabriel Hammond rounded out the original lineup known as “The First Five”. Besides holding their first show at the legendary venue The Garage in Hollywood, high points include touring as the support act for their primitive rock n roll idols The Cramps, infamous rock gods The Who as well as counting the late Michael Davis of the MC5 as a past member.

Through personnel changes and various adventures over the past 17+ years, The Lords of Altamont continue to release albums and Jake “The Preacher” Cavaliere, along with his assemblage of gritty and talented personalities, continues to captivate audiences with unparalleled hard driven performances the world over.

The Lords Of Altamont are:
Jake Cavaliere
Dani Sindaco
Rob Zimmerman
Steven Van Der Werff

The Lords of Altamont live:
28 July Macon, FR
29 July Sanguinetto, IT
30 July Lugo di Vicenza, IT
31 July Sezzadio, IT
01 Aug Marina di Ravenna, IT
02 Aug Torino, IT
05 Aug Waarschoot, BE

https://www.facebook.com/LordsOfAltamont/
http://lordsofaltamont.com/
https://www.instagram.com/lordsofaltamont/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
www.heavypsychsounds.com

The Lords of Altamont in the studio

Tags: , , ,

Mothership European & UK Tour Starts June 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mothership (Photo Jason Goodrich)

Next month, Texas heavy rock exports Mothership will head back to Europe and the UK for a tour to support their 2017 third album, High Strangeness (review here). Launching with a revisit to Germany’s Freak Valley Festival, from which they previously released a live album, the power trio will make their way in the company of desert legends Yawning Man to the UK for a stretch alongside Ripple Music compatriots Poseidon, after which they’ll meet up with Karma to Burn and Egypt and work their way toward the finish of the run July 14 at Stoned from the Underground, also in Germany. Almost a full month on the road, shows all around Europe, and it comes full circle at German fests. Awesome.

Word came through the PR wire about the UK shows, and I’ve added the complete European run info here — because one likes to be thorough about these things. Check it out:

mothership euro tour square

MOTHERSHIP Set to Storm the U.K. for the HIGH STRANGENESS’ UK Album Tour 2017

Mothership took the world by storm with their latest album, “High Strangeness”, their 4th release for California Heavy Rock leader, Ripple Music. After months of non-stop touring in America, now the Texan hard rockers take their high energy, guitar-mad show to Europe. Be sure not to miss ‘HIGH STRANGENESS’ UK Album Tour 2017. Tickets on sale now!

Joining them on the U.K. highways are Ripple Labelmates, post-metal doomsters, Poseidon, who’ll be touring their Ripple Music debut, “Prologue”

17 June – Siegen, DE – Freak Valley Festival (SOLD OUT)
18 June – Berlin, DE – Badehaus*
19 June – Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang*
21 June – Landgraaf, NL – Oefenbunker
22 June – Utrecht, NL – dB’s
23 June – Bourlon, FR – Rock In Bourlon
24 June – Brussels, BE – Magasin 4
25 June – Milton Keynes, UK – Craufurd Arms+
26 June – Coventry, UK – The Phoenix+
27 June – Manchester, UK – Factory+
28 June – Edinburgh, UK – Bannermans+
29 June – Cardiff, UK – Fuel+
30 June – Bournemouth, UK – The Anvil+
01 July – London, UK- The Black Heart+
03 July – Paris, FR – Le Glazart**
04 July – Nantes, FR – Le Scene Michelet**
06 July – Barcelona, ES – Rocksound
07 July – Turin, IT – Blah Blah
08 July – Povegliano Veronese, IT – Art Pollution Festival
09 July – Parma, IT – App Colombofili
10 July – Treviso, IT – Benecio Live Gigs***
11 July – Vienna, AUT- Arena
12 July – Nuremberg, DE – MUZclub
13 July – Munich, DE – Feierwerk
14 July – Erfurt, DE – Stoned From The Underground Festival
* W/ Yawning Man
+ W/ Poseidon
**W/ Karma To Burn & Egypt
***W/ Karma To Burn

Mothership is:
Kelley Juett – Guitars/Vox
Kyle Juett – Bass/Vox
Judge Smith – Drums

mothershipusa.bandcamp.com
mothershiphaslanded.com
facebook.com/mothershipusa
twitter.com/mothershipusa
ripple-music.com
ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Mothership, High Strangeness (2017)

Tags: , , , , , ,

audiObelisk Transmission 061

Posted in Podcasts on May 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk podcast 61

Click Here to Download

 

Yes! A new podcast! Are you stoked? I’m stoked. If you’re not, you will be when you look at the list of bands included. In any case, let’s be stoked together, because rock and roll, and heavy psych and good music and, well, yeah. That’s pretty much stuff to be stoked about. It’s been absurdly long since the last time we did one of these. Too long. I don’t really have an excuse other than… gainful employment? Don’t worry, though. That’ll be over soon enough. Then it’ll be podcasts out the ass.

There’s some killer goods here though. Yeah, I decided to do a “Yeti” double-shot with Green Yeti into Telekinetic Yeti. That’s my version of me being clever. But both bands are righteous, and if you haven’t heard the Savanah record, or that new Tia Carrera jam, or the Cachemira or Big Kizz or Yagow or Vokonis or the Elder — oh hell, frickin’ all of it — it’s worth your time. That Emil Amos track just premiered the other day and I think will surprise a lot of people, and I liked the way it paired with the dark neofolk of Hermitess. And of course we get trippy in the second hour, as is the custom around here. But first a moment of prog clarity from the aforementioned Elder. That’s a good time as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Track details follow:

First Hour:

0:00:00 Vokonis, “The Sunken Djinn” from The Sunken Djinn
0:06:47 Tia Carrera, “Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)” from Laid Back (Frontside Rock ‘n’ Roll)
0:16:33 Supersonic Blues, “Supersonic Blues Theme” from Supersonic Blues Theme / Curses on My Soul
0:19:28 Emil Amos, “Elements Cycling” from Filmmusik
0:22:28 Hermitess, “Blood Moon” from Hermitess
0:26:24 Savanah, “Mind” from The Healer
0:34:22 Yagow, “Non-Contractual” from Yagow
0:42:35 Big Kizz, “Eye on You” from Eye on You
0:45:53 Cachemira, “Jungla” from Jungla
0:52:05 Green Yeti, “Black Planets (Part 2)” from Desert Show
0:58:02 Telekinetic Yeti, “Stoned and Feathered” from Abominable

Second Hour:

1:02:10 Elder, “The Falling Veil” from Reflections of a Floating World
1:13:20 Riff Fist, “King Tide” from King Tide
1:24:15 Cavra, “Montaña” from Cavra
1:39:18 Causa Sui, “A Love Supreme” from Live in Copenhagen

Total running time: 1:55:53

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 061

 

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

Review & Full Album Stream: Cachemira, Jungla

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cachemira jungla

[Click play above to stream Cachemira’s Jungla in full. Album is out today, May 12, on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

More than most records, let alone most debuts, Cachemira‘s first offering, Jungla, gives the front-to-back impression of a live set. With “Ouverture” — French for “opening” — the Barcelona three-piece gradually bring the Heavy Psych Sounds release to life over the course of its first four minutes, and from there, it’s all about the naturalist chemistry that emerges as one song feeds into the next over the course of four pieces on two vinyl sides. When taken together, those two sides, “Ouverture” included, comprise a tight 30-minute set that showcases the band’s personality in what is apparently their formative stage. That is, while Cachemira may not sound like it as they round the hairpin turns of eight-minute tracklist centerpiece and side A closer “Goddess,” which follows “Sail Away” after “Ouverture,” they’re are a pretty new group.

The lineup has some measure of pedigree, as guitarist/vocalist Gaston Lainé has played in Brain Pyramid, bassist Pol Ventura in 1886 and drummer Alejandro Carmona in Prisma Circus, but Jungla is their debut outing together following a recorded early version of the album’s instrumental title-track and a posted leak of “Goddess,” which when taken together here comprise the whole of side B. I suppose one could call it boogie rock with all the scorching guitar-led shuffle in “Goddess” or “Jungla” itself, but the classic-rocking sensibility Cachemira elicit owes more to the likes of Radio Moscow than to Graveyard, and among the most appealing aspects of Jungla is its unpretentious, organic vibe.

Most especially for the heavy rock converted, it’s an easy listen that asks little of its audience other than they tag along for a slew of guitar solos and jam-based songcraft. Anyone who’s heard Prisma Circus can tell you Carmona is a monster shuffle-drummer, and he showcases some of that here, finding complement in the warm low tone of Ventura‘s bass as the band works in classic power trio construction — Carmona and Ventura the powerhouse rhythms section to Lainé‘s frontman presence. As recorded by Lainé‘s Brain Pyramid bandmate, Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo, the spirit in “Ouverture” is immediately warm with a subtle underscoring of organ for the sweet guitar tone, and as they build toward “Sail Away,” transitioning via that same organ line, the groove that takes hold remains informed by the relatively patient start they give the album.

cachemira

In terms of the basic elements at play, Jungla works in familiar terrain — guitar, bass, drums, vocals, some flourish of keys — but it’s really about what these players bring to it and how well they work together that lets Jungla impress in the way it does. The band has said outright that this is the product of their beginnings, some of their earliest work from about a year ago, and that may well be the case, but that also shows clearly that what they have most going for them at this point is the fluidity of the instrumental conversation between LainéCarmona and Ventura, as the smoothness of their delivery throughout becomes enough to even out the purposeful choppiness and bounce of their writing style such that even the more raucous back half of “Goddess” — drum solo and all — holds firm to its overarching languid mood. Even when they’re in a rush, they don’t sound like they’re in any rush whatsoever.

That’s not to say they don’t build some significant momentum throughout Jungla, because they most certainly do. Even as “Goddess” breaks before the side flip brings on the closing duo of “Jungla” and “Overpopulation,” the sense of motion to the songs is clear, and whether they’re running in circles as “Jungla” builds to a head in its second half, underscored by persistent, insistent crash from Carmona on drums and a steady throb from Ventura on bass, almost jazzy by the finish after a wah-soaked, forward-driven start, or squealing through the starts and stops and winding progression of the finale, that motion is as varied and multidirectional as it ultimately is maintained. If Jungla is to represent Cachemira‘s beginnings, then their beginnings find them not at all afraid of flying off the handle as they twist around complex rhythm structures, and proven that they’re right not to be.

Whether it’s from their collective experience in other outfits or just happenstance that they work so well together — or, I suppose, some combination of the two — the basic fact of the matter is Cachemira‘s debut offers explosive moments amid a liquid, welcoming, almost understated presentation for what they’re actually doing, and in addition to its own accomplishments, it sets them up to move forward and develop along the course they’re setting here. Primarily, though, it speaks to what would seem to be their force as a stage act, and though it’s a short set, there’s no question they leave their audience wanting more. One suspects it won’t be all that long until we get it, but until then, Jungla‘s balance between the head-spinning and the molten makes their first album a significant preach well worth engaging. It would be a hell of a live show.

Cachemira on Thee Facebooks

Cachemira on Bandcamp

Cachemira at Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Holy Grove Working on New Album; Seek New Drummer

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Holy Grove made a soulful debut via Heavy Psych Sounds in 2016 with their self-titled full-length (review here), full of right-on riffs, belted-out hooks and weighted nodding groove. They’ve spent a good amount of time since on the road supporting it. They did the West Coast and the East, and ventured to Europe alongside Boston’s Gozu. They’ve been at HoverfestPsycho Las Vegas and more besides. For a band with one album and a prior live EP (review here) out, they’ve amassed a considerable CV.

In the process, vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs and bassist Gregg Emley have already worked with a few different drummers. Founder Craig Bradford played on the album, but by the time the record came out, he’d been replaced twice over, by Ryan Northrop (ex-Sons of Huns) and subsequently by Adam Jelsing. As they start to move forward and begin the process of putting together their second long-player — currently being written — Holy Grove once again find themselves in need of a percussionist.

As you can see below, they’re looking for a swing player — anytime someone mentions Ian Paice, yes, swing is the thing — who hits hard and can tour as well. As crowded a scene as Portland is, and as good a band as Holy Grove are, I can’t imagine it’ll take all that long for them to get someone in the role, but here’s the want ad in case you or someone you know happens to be looking for an awesome drumming gig:

holy grove

Portland based stoner/heavy blues/doom band Holy Grove is looking for a full-time dedicated drummer.

Here’s what we’re looking for……a hard hitter with big drums, the ability to swing/groove, and play in the style of John Bonham, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell, Brant Bjork etc.

Our goal is to find someone dedicated, who can practice twice a week, and is able to tour when necessary (we’re not necessarily trying to live in our van, but we want be able get out a couple times a year.)

We have label and tour support for Europe, and are in the process of writing a new record for release this year.

Here are links to our music:

http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/bands/holy-grove.htm

https://holygrove.bandcamp.com/

Please have samples of your playing available, and send them to holygrovedrummer@gmail.com

If any of this sounds good, we’d love to hear from you!

https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/bands/holy-grove.htm

Holy Grove, Live at Hoverfest

Holy Grove, “Death of Magic” live at Psycho Las Vegas

Tags: , , ,

Review & Full Album Stream: The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the sonic dawn into the long night

[Click play above to stream The Sonic Dawn’s Into the Long Night in full. Album is out April 21 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

As a title, Into the Long Night might well stem from the circumstances under which the album was recorded. The second full-length from Danish psychedelic rockers The Sonic Dawn and their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds, the nine-track/36-minute offering follows 2015’s Perception (review here), which was released by Nasoni, and was reportedly written by day and tracked during the evening over the course of a month in an isolated house somewhere by the North Sea. Sounds like a nice vacation, and whatever the circumstances of its making, it’s easy enough to read a sense of isolation into the traditional psych-pop-rock elicited by guitarist/vocalist/sitarist Emil Bureau, bassist Niels Bird and drummer/percussionist Jonas Waaben, however welcoming some of their hooks might feel and however warm their tonality — bolstered throughout by guest Hammond work from Erik “Errka” Petersson (Siena Root) and solo vibraphonist Morten Grønvad — might otherwise be.

It’s a deceptively complex front-to-back trip, as The Sonic Dawn fluidly shift between late-’60s pop, mid-’70s fusion and more modern strains of retro-minded heavy, but in answering the potential of their debut, the three-piece craft a style of familiar elements that is immersive and decidedly their own, relying on a jazzy sensibility in Waaben‘s drumming that on a given track might pull them into Doors-style chaos, as with “Numbers Blue,” or propel a howling psych/kraut exploration like the earlier “On the Shore.” Wherever they go in this expression of varied influences, The Sonic Dawn hold fast to their own stylistic voice, resulting in a palpable spirit of progressiveness that never gets lost in its own meanderings.

That’s not to say it doesn’t meander. Indeed, that becomes part of the appeal. Beginning with a not-sure-it’s-necessary 33-second “Intro” wash of keys and psychedelic vocal melody before the clean guitar line of “Emily Lemon” gently unfolds the first of Into the Long Night‘s friendly, groovy impressions, the vibe is one that lets BureauBird and Waaben go where they will and they take full advantage with an underlying sense of glee. The opener, such as it is, “Emily Lemon” shifts into guitar soundscaping to close, leading to the jazzier bounce and further atmospheric drift of the aforementioned “On the Shore,” but even when they freak out, which they do a bit on the subsequent organ-laced rocker “As of Lately” — prime fodder for a lost 45 from ’66 and, “Intro” aside, the shortest inclusion at 2:45 — they keep firm control of their direction. Of course, this has its ups and downs, as there are moments where a listener might want them to let loose a bit, but as they round out side A with the longer “Six Seven” (5:07), the prevailing spirit is one of being consciously driven, and that holds true for the preceding three-plus cuts and the four still to come on side B as well.

the sonic dawn

The good news is it works for The Sonic Dawn, because they prove to be strong enough in their songwriting to stand up to the demands of the diverse sound they want to create, but even if they’re the ones making their own rules, they’re also the ones playing by them. Even as “Six Seven” moves into the apex of its key-and-flute-inclusive build, having departed at about four minutes in to an insistent and noisy section of free-jazz thrust, the drums still hold a steady beat beneath, and there’s never any danger of the track flying apart as it almost seems like it wants to do. They fade it out at the end and I can’t help but wonder if they might’ve been more duly served leaving the collapse of that jam intact for the listener to be a part of; a warts-and-all moment to share with the band that could only further the honesty of presentation so prevalent in these tracks.

In any case, they proceed onward with side B opener “Numbers Blue,” an upbeat guitar-led figure that would seem to put the pieces of “As of Lately” and “Six Seven” together into a progressive rocker that’s marked out by Waaben‘s tom work no less than the intermittent surges of Hammond or the guitar swirl that emerges in its second half. Here they begin to let go of the reins a bit, but it’s still a quick flash and then gone en route to the three-minute “Lights Left On,” a quiet guitar-key-vocal excursion that effectively showcases Bureau‘s singing, fragile but controlled, and revives the jazzy pulse of “On the Shore” in a fittingly subtle and complementary fashion. Here neither does one find The Sonic Dawn overstaying their welcome. They touch on these ideas, stop in for a quick expression of them, and get out. The exception to that might be seven-minute closer “Summer Voyage,” which is led into by the flowing psych-gaze of “L’Espion” — an execution of two organ-topped builds over the course of four minutes that still has time for backwards echoing at the finish; efficiency! — though with the inclusion of sitar from Bureau and the wandering mood of its ending jam, they’re frankly welcome to stay as long as they like as far as I’m concerned.

With hypnotic shoegaze guitar, background vocals and the sitar included as flourish in such a way that only makes me want to hear more of it from them over the longer term, The Sonic Dawn round out Into the Long Night via the delivery of yet another clear message: that they’re not at all finished growing yet. Carrying outward on dreamy keys (vibraphone?) and guitar on an extended drift, “Summer Voyage” reaches its destination peacefully and evokes a serenity rarely conveyed so well in something that might still fall under the umbrella heading of “heavy.” For what it’s worth, The Sonic Dawn, while operating under their own conventions as far as mood and ambience go, seem less concerned with the structural bounds others might place on genre, and that’s something that already serves them well here and can only continue to as they further their lysergic adventurousness in the years to come. There are moments on Into the Long Night where one wonders how they manage to keep their wits about them, but much to their credit, The Sonic Dawn never waver from their central purpose in progressive and pastoral melodicism.

The Sonic Dawn on Thee Facebooks

The Sonic Dawn on Bandcamp

The Sonic Dawn website

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Alcest, Galley Beggar, Pontiak, White Light Cemetery, Fever Dog, Duel, Seven Nines and Tens, Automatic Sam, The Next Appointed Hour, Blown Out

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Always a special moment in the Quarterly Review when we pass the halfway mark. That’s where today’s batch brings us, and in rocking style as well. You might say I’ve been taking it easy on myself with the selections this time out — albums there’s plenty to say on and generally good stuff — but the basic fact of the matter is even with 50 reviews in a week, this is still just a fraction of what’s out there and still just a fraction of what I’d cover if I had the time. I couldn’t in terms of my own sanity, but one could probably do 10 reviews a day every day of the year and still have room for more. I do the best I can. Picking and choosing is a part of that process. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Kodama

alcest kodama

After the bold departure presented in 2014’s Shelter (review here) toward even-airier, more indie-hued fare, French post-black metal innovators Alcest make a no-less-bold return to their core sound – screams included, as they’re quick to show on “Eclosion” – with 2016’s Kodama (on Prophecy Productions). It’s a less progressive move, and for that distinct in Alcest’s discography, but one can’t argue with their execution of a track like “Je Suis d’Ailleurs” and the immediately recognizable melodic wash they craft, as resonant emotionally as it is heavy in its tone. Most of the six cuts seem contented to have (re-)found their place, but “Onyx” finishes out with just under four minutes of layered guitar droning, and so Alcest seem to tease that perhaps they’re not completely ready to settle the issue of their aesthetic just yet. One hopes that’s the case, and in the meantime, the reorientation that Kodama brings with it should no doubt please those longtime fans who bristled at the turn they made their last time out.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Galley Beggar, Heathen Hymns

galley-beggar-heathen-hymns

Galley Beggar’s fourth offering and second for Rise Above, Heathen Hymns, brings 42-minutes of the traditional acid folk one has come to expect from them over the last half-decade plus, no less graceful in its melodies, harmonies and weaving into and out of psychedelia, Eastern inflections on the sitar-laced “The Lake” and cleverly rhythmic in the post-rocking electric flourish of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.” Knowing what to expect, however, does nothing to diminish the joy of the listening experience. Rather, the return of Galley Beggar’s fluid string and/or more rock-based arrangements, memorable songcraft and gorgeous vocal treatments is welcome, and perhaps most of all on closer “My Return,” which draws their multiple sides together in a cohesive vision of futures past that only benefits from the maturity they’ve grown into. With poise as a defining feature as much as their British folk stylistic lineage, Galley Beggar remain a special outfit doing deeply individualized and satisfying work.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Pontiak, Dialectic of Ignorance

pontiak-dialectic-of-ignorance

A steady foundation of low-end drone underpins songs like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “Hidden Prettiness” on Pontiak’s Dialectic of Ignorance (released via Thrill Jockey), and though they move away from it somewhat in the more active freakout “Dirtbags,” the patience shown by the Virginian trio forms a key part of the album’s personality. To wit, they open with “Easy Does It,” essentially telling their listener their intention for what will ensue throughout the eight-track/46-minute offering. Brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring forth willful drift in that opener and across the percussive-but-still-shoegazing “Tomorrow is Forgetting,” finding an organ-laced folkadelic middle ground later in “Youth and Age” and punctuating the dreamy harmonized gorgeousness of “Herb is My Next Door Neighbor” with fervent tom runs and ping ride before closer “We’ve Fucked this Up” starts out amid blistering chaos only to smooth itself as it goes. Serene and somewhat moody to the same degree their last outing, 2014’s Innocence, was raw, Dialectic of Ignorance carries the feel of a personal journey undertaken, but is ultimately too warm in tone and melody not to welcome its audience to be a part of that as well.

Pontiak on Thee Facebooks

Pontiak at Thrill Jockey Records

 

White Light Cemetery, Careful What You Wish For

white-light-cemetery-careful-what-you-wish-for

Nearing the mark of their first decade together, Louisiana Southern heavy four-piece White Light Cemetery issue their second full-length, Careful What You Wish For, through Ripple Music and keep a steady focus on songcraft throughout. Heavy riffs, a bit of boogie on “Sky River” and the stomping “Better Days,” boozy Southern-isms on the directly countrified “On a Dime” and a cowbell-infused finish with “Bullet to Erase” – it’s only fair to say White Light Cemetery hit all the marks. The beery post-Deliverance execution of “Looking Out (For Number One)” will likely ring familiar to many who take it on, but that’s the idea, as vocalist/guitarist Shea Bearden, guitarist Ryan Robin, bassist Tara Miller and drummer Thomas Colley are clearly less concerned with reinventing rock in their own image than honoring the pantheon of those who’ve come before them in the style. Hard to argue with the ethic preached or the dual-guitar harmonies of “Quit Work, Make Music,” though the record as a whole seems awfully “workingman’s rock” for any such bohemian aspirations.

White Light Cemetery on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Fever Dog, Mainframe

fever dog mainframe

It’s been three years since next-gen Californian desert trio Fever Dog released their last album, Second Wind (review here), which was long on potential, big on songwriting and resonant in vibe. I’d been hoping for a third long-player in 2017, but even the arrival of new single Mainframe – which of course doesn’t preclude a subsequent album release – is fine by me, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Graham, bassist Nathan Wood and drummer/organist/synthesist/vocalist Joshua Adams digging into progressive vibes on the title-track and the subsequent, talkbox-inclusive “Let Me Out.” I don’t know if they’re planning to press a 7” – somebody call H42 Records! – but the cover art certainly justifies one if the songs themselves don’t (and they do), and the name-your-price download comes with the raw 19-minute classic heavy rock jam “Alpha Waves Medley Live at Club 5,” which emits buzz like it’s a bootleg from 1973. If Mainframe is the process of Fever Dog getting weirder, it bodes well. All the more reason one might keep their fingers crossed for a new full-length.

Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks

Fever Dog on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Witchbanger

duel witchbanger

“If you see him it’s much too late/Close your eyes, girl, accept your fate.” So goes the title-track hook of Duel’s Witchbanger, the Austin-based rockers’ second album for Heavy Psych Sounds. Released on a quick turnaround from last year’s debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), the eight-track/34-minute swaggerfest delves into fantasy themes drawn from classic metal – hard not to look at six-minute closer “Tigers and Rainbows” and not think of Dio, at least thematically – but cuts like “Astro Gypsy” and “Heart of the Sun” in the record’s midsection build on the ‘70s loyalism of the first outing and find guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz clear in their intentions in that regard. Though it takes a sizable grain of salt to get over that title, Duel’s heavy rock traditionalism comes complemented by efficient songwriting and a natural-sounding recording that’s neither completely retro nor totally modern but draws strength and fullness from both sides. A worthy and rousing follow-up.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Seven Nines and Tens, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums

seven-nines-and-tens-set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-slums

If the dates are to be believed, the second full-length from Vancouver’s Seven Nines and Tens, cleverly-titled Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums, has roots going back to 2014, when basic live tracks were recorded and subsequently built on for about two years. Indeed, the four-song offering – whose tracks “I Come from Downtown,” “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” and closer “Rave Up” have been presented in the meantime as singles and/or on early 2017’s Live at the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret – has plenty of layers in its heavy post-rock wash, and it’s with depth and heft that guitarist/bassist/vocalist David Cotton and drummer Mario Nieva (the current incarnation of the band has a different lineup), make their prevailing impression, be it in the roll of 13-minute “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” or the loud/quiet trades of “Dope Simple,” which follows. With a focus on atmosphere over structure, Seven Nines and Tens offer a quick 32-minute immersion that feels less pretentious than purposeful and would seem to have been worth the time it took to construct.

Seven Nines and Tens on Thee Facebooks

Seven Nines and Tens website

 

Automatic Sam, Arcs

automatic sam arcs

With their third album, Nijmegen’s Automatic Sam bring together a straightforward and coherent collection of well-intentioned semi-psychedelic heavy rock. Their past works, 2011’s Texino and 2013’s Sonic Whip, have been conceptual or at least thematic pieces, and it may be that the 13-track/38-minute Arcs (on Goomah Music) is as well, but if so, it would seem to find that theme in a vision of post-grunge ‘90s alt rock, cleanly and clearly executed and vibrant in the performance of vocalist/guitarist Pieter Holkenborg, guitarist/vocalist Rense Slings, bassist/vocalist Erik Harbers and drummer/vocalist Lars Spijkervet, who open with the five-minute “Ukiyo” (their longest inclusion; immediate points) and then run through a varied swath of shorter pieces from the attitude-laden “City Lights” through the uptempo post-punk of “This is Not a Holiday” and the fuller push of “Parnassia.” Side B seems more flowing, with that song, “Tarantula,” a complementary reprise, the title-track and drifting acoustic closer “So Long in E Minor,” but Automatic Sam manage to hone a diverse approach across Arcs’ span while skillfully directing themselves around choppier waters.

Automatic Sam on Thee Facebooks

Automatic Sam at Goomah Music

 

The Next Appointed Hour, Not the End of the World

the-next-appointed-hour-not-the-end-of-the-world

Ambition may be the defining aspect of Not the End of the World. The 2016 self-released debut from Birmingham, Alabama’s The Next Appointed Hour willfully refuses easy categorization, basking in bright psychedelic space rock harmonies one minute and digging into folkish melancholia the next in a way that one is left with no other option but to call “progressive.” What ultimately makes songs like “Keeper’s Heart” and the ethereal pop of “Back to You back to Me” work is an underlying cure of songcraft, and whatever ground the six-piece cover on the 10-track outing, from the fuzzy rush of “Drone Riot” to the trippy shimmer of the penultimate “Red Flame,” that core is maintained, uniting the material and making Not the End of the World a work of scope rather than haphazard. It requires an open mind, but rewards open-mindedness with moments like the accordion on “Valley,” or the rhythmic drift of “Any Who but Here,” the nuance of which is no less gracefully held together than the overarching flow of the album as a whole.

The Next Appointed Hour on Thee Facebooks

The Next Appointed Hour on Bandcamp

 

Blown Out, Superior Venus

blown out superior venus

Already sold out on preorders, the vinyl edition of Superior Venus from UK cosmic jammers Blown Out features two tracks – one per side – of space-wash heavy righteousness. “Impious Oppressor” and “Superior Venus” both top 15 minutes (and are accompanied by demo versions if you get the download), and proffer the kind of progressive improvisation-based flow that, indeed, might make one inclined to get an order in while the getting’s good. Blown Out, with members of Bong and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, have put out a slew of live and studio releases over the last three years, but as planets invariably revolve in cyclical patterns, so too does the regular frequency of their work become part of the expression itself. If you’re going to jam, do it all the time. On Superior Venus, Blown Out once more bring this ethic to life, and the resulting material spreads itself wide over its still relatively brief span. A short trip to orbit, perhaps, but well worth the undertaking.

Blown Out on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

 

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