Quarterly Review: Sumac, Dunsmuir, Monkey3, Oak, Lightsabres, Helen Money, Dali’s Llama, Suns of Thyme, Fungal Abyss, Wicked Gypsy

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

This is always a kind of nervewracking moment, sitting here in my chair as I do every couple months and introducing the next Quarterly Review. Between now and Friday, somehow, some way, I’ll post 50 reviews in batches of 10 per day. It will cover more ground than, frankly, I yet know, and by the time it’s done it’s going to feel (at least to me) like way more than a week has passed, but hell, at this point I’ve done this enough times to be reasonably confident I can get through it without suffering a major collapse either of heart or brain. I’ve taken steps beforehand to make it easier on myself and listened to a lot, a lot, a lot of music in preparation, so there’s nothing left to do but dive in and actually kick this this thing off. So let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sumac, What One Becomes

sumac-what-one-becomes

With their second album, What One Becomes (on Thrill Jockey), post-metal trio Sumac move forward from what their 2015 debut, The Deal (review here), established as their crushing and atmospheric modus. Starting with a wash of blown-out noise in “Image of Control,” the collective of guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (ex-Isis), bassist Brian Cook (Russian Circles) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) eventually settle into a barrage of chug and inhuman lumber over the course of the five-track/58-minute progression, testing tolerance on the 17-minute march “Blackout” and tapping into a satisfying moment of melody in centerpiece “Clutch of Oblivion” that, by the time it arrives, feels a bit like a life raft. There are stretches that come across as part collections, but the whole seems to be geared toward overwhelming, consuming and devastating, and ultimately What One Becomes accomplishes all of those things and more besides, finishing closer “Will to Reach” with the sense they could easily keep going. I believe it.

Sumac on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records

 

Dunsmuir, Dunsmuir

dunsmuir-dunsmuir

Prior to making their full-length debut, Dunsmuir issued a series of 7” singles, so if you picked up any of that, the straightforward pulse running through the 10-track self-titled will probably be familiar. Likewise if you’d previously caught wind of The Company Band, the supergroup in which vocalist Neil Fallon (also Clutch), guitarist Dave Bone and bassist Brad Davis (also Fu Manchu) previously joined forces. Here they’re joined by drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, etc.), and the material is suitably metallic in its aftertaste, but while Fallon’s presence is irrepressible and it’s the songwriting itself that shines through in cuts like “Our Only Master” and “…And Madness,” both barnburner riffs in classic metal fashion, where the later “Church of the Tooth” draws back the pace to add sway leading into the mid-paced closing duo “The Gate” and “Crawling Chaos.” Not many surprises, but with the ingredients given, knowing what you’re getting isn’t anything to complain about.

Dunsmuir on Thee Facebooks

Dunsmuir webstore

 

Monkey3, Astra Symmetry

monkey3-astra-symmetry

Across a span of 12 tracks and 72 minutes, Swiss heavy progressives Monkey3 unfurl the massive scope of Astra Symmetry, their fifth album and the follow-up to 2013’s The 5th Sun. It is an immediately immersive listening experience and does not become any less so as it plays out, the generally-instrumental four-piece frontloading early songs like “Abyss,” “Moon” and the nodding, synthed-out “The Water Bearer” with vocals and backing that with “Dead Planet’s Eyes” on the second LP for good measure. Delving into Eastern-style melodicism gives Astra Symmetry a contemplative air, but Monkey3’s heavy psychedelia has always provided a free-flowing vibe, and as “Astrea,” “Arch,” “The Guardian” and “Realms of Lights” roll through ambient drones toward the album’s smoothly delivered apex, that remains very much the case. Taken as a whole, Astra Symmetry is a significant journey, but satisfying in that traveling atmosphere and in the hypnosis it elicits along the way.

Monkey3 on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

 

Oak, Oak II

oak-oak-ii

Big progressive step from London four-piece Oak on their second self-released EP, Oak II. They follow last year’s self-titled (review here) with four more tracks that build on the burl established last time out but immediately show more stylistic command, vocalist Andy “Valiant” Wisbey emerging as a significant frontman presence and the band behind him – guitarist/engineer Kevin Germain, bassist Scott Masson and drummer Clinton Ritchie – finding more breadth, be it in a nod to djent riffing in “Mirage” or more melodic post-Steak desert rock in “Against the Rain.” In addition, “A Bridge too Far” showcases a patience of approach that the first EP simply didn’t have, and that makes its build even more satisfying as it hits its peak and goes quiet into the stonerly swing of “Smoke,” which ends Oak II with due fuzz and some social commentary to go with. Sounds like more than a year’s growth at work, but I’ll take it.

Oak on Thee Facebooks

Oak on Bandcamp

 

Lightsabres, Hibernation

lightsabres-hibernation

One word for Swedish one-man outfit Lightsabres? How about “underrated?” Since the 2013 Demons EP (review here), it has been nearly impossible to keep a handle on where John Strömshed (also Tunga Moln) might go on any given song, and his latest offering, the full-length Hibernation (on HeviSike with a tape out on Medusa Crush) works much the same, rolling out a melodic mellowness on the opening title-track before topping off-time chug with garage vocals on the subsequent “Endless Summer.” Elsewhere, “Throw it all Away” marries swallow-you-in-tone riffing with a surprisingly emotionally resonant lead, and “Blood on the Snow” offers a downtrodden vision of grunge-blues like what might’ve happened if Danzig had never gone commercial. It’s all over the place, as was 2014’s Spitting Blood (review here) and 2015’s Beheaded, but tied together through a wintry theme, and anyway, variety is the norm for Lightsabres, whose reach seems only to grow broader with each passing year.

Lightsabres on Thee Facebooks

HeviSike Records website

 

Helen Money, Become Zero

helen-money-become-zero

Knowing the context of Helen Money’s Become Zero having been written by cellist Alison Chesley following losing both her parents, and knowing that songs like the 10-minute “Radiate” and the effects-less “Blood and Bone” (which features pianist Rachel Grimes) deal directly with that loss, only makes it more powerful, but even without that information, the sense of melancholy and loneliness is right there to be heard. Chesley, who released the last Helen Money album, Arriving Angels (review here), in 2013, once again brings in drummer Jason Roeder (Sleep, Neurosis) to contribute, and his work on the title-track and the later churn of “Leviathan” make both standouts, but whether it’s the empty spaces of “Vanished Star” or the ambient wash of “Radiate” – I don’t even know how a cello makes that sound – the emotional force driving the music is ultimately what ties it together as a single work of poignant, deeply resonant beauty.

Helen Money on Thee Facebooks

Helen Money at Thrill Jockey Records

 

Dali’s Llama, Dying in the Sun

dalis-llama-dying-in-the-sun

It has been nearly three years since desert-dwelling rockers Dali’s Llama celebrated their two-decade run with the Twenty Years Underground vinyl (review here) and almost four since their last proper full-length, Autumn Woods (review here), was issued. For them, that’s an exceedingly long time. One can’t help but wonder if the band – now a five-piece, led as ever by guitarist/vocalist Zach Huskey and recorded as ever by Scott Reeder – went through a period of introspection in that span. After some stylistic experimentation with darker and more doomed influences, the seven tracks of Dying in the Sun would seem to reaffirm who Dali’s Llama are as they approach the quarter-century mark, bringing some of the gloom of Autumn Woods to extended centerpiece “Samurai Eyes” as easily as “Bruja-ha” seems to play off the goth-punk whimsy of 2010’s Howl do You Do? (review here). The fact is Dali’s Llama are all these things, not just one or the other, and so in bringing that together, Dying in the Sun is perhaps the truest to themselves they’ve yet been on record.

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama Records website

 

Suns of Thyme, Cascades

suns-of-thyme-cascades

Making their debut on Napalm Records, Berlin five-piece Suns of Thyme exhibit immediate sonic adventurousness on their second album, Cascades, melding krautrock and heavy psych keys and effects with a distinctly human presence in the rhythm section, engaging in songcraft in the new wave-ish “Intuition Unbound” while topping shoegaze wash with organ on “Aphelion.” It’s a vast reach, and with 14 tracks and a 55-minute runtime, Suns of Thyme have plenty of chance to get where they’re going, but the dynamic between the psych-folk of “Val Verde” and the drift of closing duo “Kirwani” and “Kirwani II” and the push of the earlier “Deep Purple Rain” impresses both in theory and practice alike. The task ahead of them would seem to be to meld these influences together further as they move forward, but there’s something satisfying about having no idea what’s coming next after the proggy sway of “Schweben,” and that’s worth appreciating as it is.

Suns of Thyme on Thee Facebooks

Suns of Thyme at Napalm Records

 

Fungal Abyss, Karma Suture

fungal-abyss-karma-suture

Two huge, side-consuming slabs of primordial improvised heavy psychedelia making up a 45-minute LP with a pun title and enough wash throughout that I don’t even feel dirty looking at it? Yeah, there really isn’t a time when I don’t feel ready to sign on for weirdo exploratory stuff like that which Seattle’s Fungal Abyss elicit on Karma Suture. Available as a 12” on Adansonia Records, the album brings together “Perfumed Garden” (22:12) and “Virile Member” (23:22), both sprawling, massive jams that launch almost immediately and are gone for the duration. Way gone. I won’t discount the consumption that takes place on side A, but I think my absolute favorite part of Karma Suture might be the guitar lead on “Virile Member,” which about eight minutes in starts to lose its way and you can actually hear the band come around and pick it back up to an exciting swing. It’s moments like that one that make a group like Fungal Abyss exciting. Not only are they able to right their direction when they need to, but they’re brave enough to put the whole thing on record: as raw and genuine as it gets.

Fungal Abyss on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records website

 

Wicked Gypsy, Wicked Gypsy

wicked-gypsy-wicked-gypsy

It’s an encouraging and unpretentious start that Malaysian four-piece Wicked Gypsy make on their self-titled, self-released three-song EP. In the 22-minute span of “Wicked Gypsy,” “Heavy Eyes” and “Gypsy Woman,” the band – vocalist/guitarist Mahmood Ahmad, bassist Mohd Azam, keyboardist Azyan Idayu and drummer Ahmad Afiq – bring together influences from modern doom and classic heavy rock, Idayu’s keys providing a distinct ‘70s flair to the opener while Azam’s wah bass and of course a liberal dose of rifffing from Ahmad lead a proto-metallic charge in “Heavy Eyes,” topped with gritty vocals reciting lyrics about smoking weed, black magic, the devil, etc. What one really hears in these tracks is Wicked Gypsy’s initial exploration of dark-themed doom rock, and while the going is rough in its sound, that adds to the appeal, and the drum solo/progressive flourish worked into “Gypsy Woman” speaks well of where they’re headed as they walk the Sabbathian path.

Wicked Gypsy on Thee Facebooks

Wicked Gypsy on Soundcloud

 

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Thor, Bible of the Devil, Bloodcow and More Confirmed for Alehorn of Power IX

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I’ll admit, it feels pretty good to write about a festival in a country that also happens to be the one in which I live, but the lineup for Alehorn of Power IX also gives me another excuse to remind of how frickin’ awesome the last Bloodcow record (review here) was and to post a song from it, so all the more reason for the post. The news came down the PR wire through the Bible of the Devil newsletter, which I’ve been on the mailing list for since I don’t even remember when. They’ll be playing (obviously), along with ThorArgusProfessor Black (a former Metal Maniacs colleague), and The Lurking Corpses.

Show is Nov. 12 at Reggies in Chicago, as the what’s-wrong-with-being-sexy poster below confirms:

alehorn of power ix

ALEHORN OF POWER IX NOV. 12TH SAT. @ REGGIES

At last! Chicago’s longest-running heavy metal festival ALEHORN OF POWER has raised its ninth banner high and revealed its heaviest and most provocative lineup to date!

Without further fanfare we are proud to introduce a headliner who needs no introduction: Hailing from Vancouver, BC, Canada, the one and only THOR! The man is a legend many times over, with a prolific musical career reaching back to the 70s and further acclaim as a body-builder and B-movie actor. More recently, he was the star of his own documentary, I am Thor, in which he overcame many obstacles to mount a return to the heavy metal stages of the world. Nevertheless, THOR will always be an underground icon, and his deep catalog of heavy metal smash-hit songs (literally!) and uniquely theatrical live show make him the ultimate headliner of ALEHORN OF POWER IX! Additionally, THOR will be promoting his new release “Metal Avenger” now out on Deadline/Cleopatra Records.

Slated for Saturday, November 12, 2016 at Reggies in Chicago, this year’s Alehorn of Power features an eclectic and formidable lineup of bands with one thing on their minds: exceptional heavy metal entertainment from the independent realm.

BLOODCOW will travel from Omaha, Nebraska to open the show, self-described as “beard metal” but with an unexpected mad-sci-fi twist, as evidenced on their most recent and fourth full-length, 2015’s Crystals & Lasers.

THE LURKING CORPSES will follow, bringing their heavy metal horror show from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Reggies for the first time. The Corpses’ wide range of influences both musically and lyrically, not to mention their unforgettable image, have made them quite a favorite in many underground circles.

Long-running Chicago act BIBLE OF THE DEVIL is not only Alehorn’s spiritual guidepost but also its musical cornerstone. The band’s unmistakable brand of heavy metal rock and roll embodies every bit the twin-guitarred, big-chorused, epic FM sound perhaps most associated with the festival’s history. This year’s set will include a selection of new material alongside hits from the band’s vast catalog.

From Pittsburgh, ARGUS will make a much-awaited return to this year’s Alehorn lineup, fresh from the stages of Ireland and mainland Europe where the band is in high demand. It’s easy to see why: the trademark Argus sound of majestic and anthemic heavy metal is precisely what the European audiences crave. Of course, fans on this side of the Atlantic have also taken notice of the band’s musical accomplishments and will no doubt give them a hero’s welcome back to Reggies this year.

PROFESSOR BLACK’s live debut rounds out this year’s lineup, a unique concept that will feature songs and musicians from namesake frontman Chris Black’s entire recorded catalog. It is the first show of its kind for the Chicago-based musician/songwriter, although it could also be described as a return of sorts: Chris and his bandmates have played Alehorn of Power several times in the past, variously as members of Pharaoh, Superchrist, Dawnbringer, and High Spirits.

As if that weren’t enough, the stage will then be handed over to THOR, the Legendary Rock Warrior himself, who will personally show you the power of heavy metal, song after song, with all of the subtlety of a hammer to the skull! It will be a fast, loud, crushing, crucial, spirited, and highly memorable Alehorn of Power in November!

Alehorn of Power

Featuring:
THOR
Professor Black
Argus
Bible of the Devil
The Lurking Corpses
Bloodcow

Saturday November 12, 2016
Doors 7 PM / $20 / Ages 17+
Reggies, 2101 S. State, Chicago IL USA

https://www.facebook.com/AlehornOfPower/
https://www.facebook.com/events/254971524877608/

Bloodcow, “Exploding Head”

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Saint Vitus, The Skull and Witch Mountain Announce US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

This is one of those tour-to-end-all-tours tours. Beginning in Austin on Sept. 27, including a stop Oct. 14 at Erosion Fest and culminating Oct. 23 at Southwest Terror Fest, the newly-announced tour with Saint VitusThe Skull and Witch Mountain also covers both coasts in nearly its month-long stretch. I’ll admit the prospect of seeing these three bands together at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn has my arm hair standing on end, remembering the Vitus-at-Vitus gig from 2012 (review here) as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, at that venue or anywhere else. It’ll be a different lineup of the band this time, with original vocalist Scott Reagers back in that position as the Die Healing-referential poster art indicates, but they’re keeping excellent company in The Skull and Witch Mountain as well, so kudos all around, including to Nanotear, which put the package together.

Witch Mountain have a couple dates as well en route to meeting up with the others. Find the complete routing, including those shows, below:

saint vitus the skull witch mountain tour

SAINT VITUS tour dates
All dates with THE SKULL, WITCH MOUNTAIN
Sept. 27 Austin, TX @ Midway Field House
Sept. 28 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Dallas
Sept. 29 San Antonio, TX @ The Mix
Sept. 30 Shreveport, LA @ Riverside Warehouse
Oct. 1 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s Saloon
Oct. 2 Atlanta, GA @ The EARL
Oct. 3 Raleigh, NC @ Kings
Oct. 5 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Oct. 6 Boston, MA @ @Middle East
Oct. 7 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar
Oct. 8 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Oct. 9 Indianapolis, IN @ 5th Quarter Lounge
Oct. 10 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Bar
Oct. 11 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
Oct. 12 St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
Oct. 14 Missoula, MT @ Erosion Festival
Oct. 15 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
Oct. 16 Portland, OR @ Star Theater Portland
Oct. 18 Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge
Oct. 19 Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro Operahouse
Oct. 20 Costa Mesa, CA @ Wayfarer.
Oct. 21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Viper Room
Oct. 22 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
Oct. 23 Tucson, AZ @ Southwest Terror Fest

Witch Mountain shows on the way to meet up with Saint Vitus + The Skull:
9/22 Portland, OR – Dante’s (WM only)
9/23 Boise, ID – Neurolux (WM only)
9/24 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro (WM only)
9/25 Denver, CO – Hi-Dive (WM only)

https://www.facebook.com/saintvitusofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull/
https://www.facebook.com/witchmountain/
https://www.facebook.com/Nanotear/
http://season-of-mist.com/
teepeerecords.com/products/

Saint Vitus, “Born too Late” Live at Hellfest 2015

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Sanford Parker to Release Lash Back July 22

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sanford parker

Known for his work as a producer in addition to adding the foundation of beats to Corrections House alongside members of Eyehategod, Neurosis and Yakuza, as well as for pioneering doom extremity in Buried at Sea and exploring the low-end depths of post-metal in Minsk, Chicago’s Sanford Parker can now check “solo artist” off his list. His debut album, Lash Back, will be issued by My Proud Mountain in July and is also available to preorder through War Crime Recordings (yup, the same label that put out my book), in which he’s also a partner.

This is at least the second LP Parker has had out this year, and it seems like it should pair pretty well with Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, the atmospheric two-piece consisting of Parker and his Corrections House bandmate Scott Kelly, who made their debut this Spring on Neurot, but I wouldn’t actually go so far as to speculate what this thing will sound like until I hear it. Even then, one might hesitate.

From the PR wire:

sanford parker lash back

Sanford Parker to release debut solo album ‘Lash Back’ via My Proud Mountain on July 22nd

Sanford Parker is the reputed producer and electronics wrangler behind some of metal’s most exploratory outfits, breaking new territory in his work as a fixture of Buried At Sea, Minsk, Corrections House and Mirrors For Psychic Warfare, and featuring on and producing numerous records from respected names across the experimental spectrum. His trademark paranoid atmospherics slalom from the nuanced to the crushingly direct, siphoning elements of industrial, cold-wave and power electronics to give bleak, brutalist clout to his work.

Now, Parker is striking out on his own with Lash Back, a full length record of mechanical, dystopic, beat-driven menace. Due out on the My Proud Mountain label on July 22nd, Lash Back is a marked departure from his metallic legacy, retaining some of the hallmarks of his impressive work to date but moving towards a distilled, gruesome interpretation of the electronic world’s darkest operators like Perc, Youth Code and Pharmakon. Scathing kick detonations establish anti-dance rhythms to lose consciousness to, and vast swathes of swarming disintegrated synths wrap around the beats until they obscure all that existed below. Whilst intentionally disorientating and confrontational (with titles like ‘Sheep Slaughter’ and ‘Knuckle Crossing’ underlining his aesthetic), Parker still provides enough coherence and mastery to make Lash Back a record of searing hot excellence, and with tracks like ‘Your Feral Blood’ impinging on Kevin Martin styled earthquake beats, and opener ‘Psychic Driving’ uniformly loud yet majestic like Dominick Fernow, each gap a gasp for breath, Parker has broken into a wicked and characteristic style.

LASH BACK TRACKLISTING:
1. Psychic Driving
2. Knuckle Crossing
3. Slow Children
4. Low Gaps
5. Your Feral Blood
6. Sheep Slaughter

http://www.myproudmountain.com/
https://www.facebook.com/myproudmountain/
http://warcrimerecordings.bigcartel.com/

Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, Live at Roadburn 2016

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The Skull and Witch Mountain Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Have to chuckle a bit at The Skull calling a tour ‘November of Doom,’ when they’re from Chicago and that same city is host to Novembers Doom, but hey, sometimes coincidences happen. On their latest run of Europe, which follows two earlier this Spring, including one that stopped for a total of three sets at Roadburn 2016, they’ll be joined by Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain. As coordination would have it, the two bands share a guitarist in Rob Wrong at this point, so though he’ll be pulling double-duty, the pairing makes an awful lot of sense. The Skull, who are continuing to support their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), as well as a self-titled follow-up EP (review here), features vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller and drummer Sean Saley, in addition to Rob Wrong.

To my recollection, this is the first time Witch Mountain will be headed to Europe since acquiring vocalist Kayla Dixon. They toured North America last Spring alongside Enslaved and YOB and are about due for a follow-up to 2014’s Mobile of Angels (review here), their gorgeous and fraught fourth full-length.

Both bands also play Erosion Festival 2016 (info here) in Missoula, Montana, this October.

From the PR wire:

the skull witch mountain

THE SKULL featuring former Trouble members including vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner are returning to Europe in November 2016!

The Skull & Witch Mountain:
11/04 Bristol, UK Exchange
11/05 Milton Keynes, UK Crauford Arms
11/06 London, UK Underworld
11/07 Tilburg, NL Little Devil
11/08 Utrecht, NL DBS
11/09 Karlsruhe, DE Jubez
11/10 Vienna, AT Doom Over Vienna
11/11 Arnstadt, DE Rockjunfer
11/12 TBA
11/13 Drachten, NL Iduna
11/14 Wiesbaden, DE Schlachthof
11/15 Kassel, DE Schlachthof
11/16 Hamburg, DE Hafenklang
11/17 Dortmund, DE Piano
11/18 Würzburg, DE Hammer Of Doom
11/19 Winterthur, CH Gaswerk

https://www.facebook.com/troubletheskull
http://theskullusa.com/
https://twitter.com/TheSkullUSA
http://shop.teepeerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/witchmountain/
http://witchmountain.bandcamp.com/

The Skull, Live at Roadburn 2016

Witch Mountain, Live at King’s Barcade, Raleigh, NC, March 26, 2015

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Russian Circles to Release Guidance Aug. 5; US Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

russian circles

Chicago’s Russian Circles will release their new, Kurt Ballou-recorded LP, Guidance, Aug. 5 on Sargent House. US tour dates have been announced to coincide, and a trailer for Guidance has been posted that you can see/hear below. It’s an immediately tense impression, propulsive drums leading a heavier crunch than what the trio’s last outing, 2013’s Memorial, presented. That’s not surprising necessarily with Ballou at the board, but it will be interesting to hear how the whole record plays out, which I wouldn’t dare make a guess on based off of 46 seconds of one of its tracks, whichever one it happens to be.

Fresh-chopped off the PR wire:

russian circles guidance

RUSSIAN CIRCLES ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, GUIDANCE & NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

LP due out August 5th from Sargent House

Celebrated Chicago post-metal/rock trio Russian Circles are thrilled to announce their highly-anticipated sixth studio album, Guidance, due out August 5th from Sargent House. This 7-song, 40-minute LP was recorded by Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studio in Salem, MA and showcases Russian Circles at their best and most realized yet in their decade-long career. Check out the teaser video for Guidance now on YouTube.

In support of Guidance, Russian Circles have announced an extensive North American headlining tour that spans August through October and features Cloakroom and Helms Alee on select dates. This tour follows Russian Circles’ forthcoming appearances at Levitation Fest Vancouver and Crucial Fest in Salt Lake City in June. Most recently, Russian Circles toured the UK and Europe (where they headlined DesertFest in London, Dunkfest in Belgium among others) and their live show has been highly regarded since their inception; Seattle Times said, like their albums, Russian Circles’ “…live performance is a rhythmic experience. Their timbre and chord sequences are powerful, but their masterful control of tempo and shocking entry and exit points are perhaps their most prominent feature. Their breakdowns don’t only kill with brute force, but often catch you off guard when they fly in from the side.” While their recorded output is worthy in its own right, Russian Circles have long shined bright as a live act – check out all shows listed below with more to be announced soon

Guidance will be released on CD, LP and digital formats on August 5th from Sargent House. More news, and song premiere, coming soon.

Guidance, Track Listing:
1. Asa
2. Vorel
3. Mota
4. Afrika
5. Overboard
6. Calla
7. Lisboa

RUSSIAN CIRCLES – LIVE 2016
Jun 16 Vancouver, BC – Levitation Vancouver
Jun 18 Salt Lake City, UT – Crucial Fest

RUSSIAN CIRCLES – with Cloakroom
Aug 26 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
Aug 27 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
Aug 29 Missoula, MT – Palace Lounge
Aug 30 Seattle, WA – Neumos
Aug 31 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
Sep 2 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
Sep 3 Los Angeles, CA – The Teragram Ballroom
Sep 5 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
Sep 6 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
Sep 7 Englewood, CO – The Gothic Theatre
Sep 8 Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
Sep 9 Chicago, IL – Metro

RUSSIAN CIRCLES – with Helms Alee
Sep 25 Detroit, MI – El Club
Sep 26 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
Sep 28 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
Sep 29 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Sep 30 Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw
Oct 1 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel
Oct 2 Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall
Oct 4 Atlanta, GA – Aisle 5
Oct 5 Birmingham, AL – Saturn
Oct 6 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
Oct 7 Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Studio
Oct 8 Austin, TX – Barracuda
Oct 9 Dallas, TX – RBC

http://russiancirclesband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/russiancirclesmusic
http://russiancircles.bandcamp.com/
http://instagram.com/russiancircband
http://twitter.com/russiancircles
http://sargenthouse.com/

Russian Circles, Guidance trailer

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Helen Money Touring with Magma; New Album Soon on Thrill Jockey

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

helen money

Chicago-based experimental cellist Helen Money was in the studio as of December recording a new album that will see release at some point this year on Thrill Jockey Records. Like its predecessor, 2013’s Arriving Angels (review here), the new LP will feature a guest appearance from Neurosis/Sleep drummer Jason Roeder (at least if the studio pic is anything to go by) and Helen Money, aka Alison Chesley, is set to tour with prog legends Magma ahead of the release on that band’s first major-market run of the US in I don’t even know how many years. A lot, presumably.

Shows are presented by Nanotear, and the tour starts March 15 in San Diego. More on the new release as I hear it:

magma tour

Magma tour featuring Helen Money

HELEN MONEY TOURS WITH FRENCH PROG ROCK MASTERS MAGMA including dates in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York

Helen Money will tour the U.S. with Magma and play all but two dates (Atlanta and Toronto). “These shows with MAGMA are really special for me,” Chesley explains. “Their music comes from such a pure, inspired place and their audience is so open minded and willing to listen. To do this tour with them is a once in a lifetime thing and I can’t wait.”

“The first time we saw Helen Money play her cello we immediately thought about former Magma bass player Jannick Top, who was also playing cello,” Magma stated, adding “Her playing is genuine and intense! It will be a perfect introduction to our show”

Cellist/composer Alison Chesley, a.k.a. Helen Money, merges her classical training with a lifelong affinity for punk rock and a taste for heavy metal. She has toured with Shellac, Bob Mould, Mono, Aggaloch to name only a few. Chesley has also recorded with and/or directed string arrangements for artists like Anthrax (Worship Music), Russian Circles (Geneva), Broken Social Scene (Forgiveness Rock Record) and Yakuza.

Helen Money Tour Itinerary (all dates with Magma, check local listings for set times):
Tuesday, March 15th at Brick By Brick in San Diego, CA
Wednesday, March 16th at The Regent Theater in Los Angeles, CA
Friday, March 18th at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA
Saturday, March 19th at Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR
Sunday, March 20th at Crocodile in Seattle, WA
Tuesday, March 22nd at Gothic Theater in Denver, CO
Wednesday, March 23rd at Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH
Friday, March 25th at Reggies in Chicago, IL
Saturday, March 26th at Reggies in Chicago, IL
Sunday, March 27th at Mohawk in Austin, TX
Wednesday, March 30th at Underground Arts in Philadelphia, PA
Friday, April 1st at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, NY

Helen Money’s current release, Arriving Angels is out now on Profound Lore, and was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio and features drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis, Sleep). Her next album will appear on Thrill Jockey Records and the release date will be announced soon.

http://helenmoney.com/
https://www.facebook.com/helenmoneyband
https://twitter.com/Helen_Money
https://www.facebook.com/ThrillJockey/

Helen Money, “Beautiful Friends”

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Bongripper Announce European Tour with Ghold

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

bongripper

A busy few months ahead for Chicago riffers Bongripper as they head to Europe and the UK in May/June to play Temples Festival after a slot at Maryland Death Fest on May 16. The Temples appearance coincides with a tour alongside Ghold presented by the festival, as Bongripper continue to make choice appearances in support of 2014’s crusher, Miserable (review here). Ghold will reportedly have a new album out this year, and though I’ve yet to see reports of a new Bongripper, they’ll also be taking part in the Psycho Las Vegas fest in August alongside everyone and their cousin.

The PR wire has it like this:

bongripper euro tour

TEMPLES FESTIVAL PRESENTS: BONGRIPPER & GHOLD EUROPEAN TOUR; GHOLD TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM INFO SOON

Temples Festival extend their influence outside of Bristol by presenting to you the Bongripper and Ghold EU tour. Smouldering, smeared and summoning, this one is for all purveyors of the low-end, distorted and uncompromisingly heavy sonic. This mammoth monolithic juggernaut will bulldoze through France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. The full set of dates can be found below:

TEMPLES FESTIVAL PRESENTS: BONGRIPPER & GHOLD EU TOUR 2016
29/05/2016 Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, FR
30/05/2016 Glazart, Paris, FR
31/05/2016 VK Club, Brussels, BE
01/06/2016 UT Connewitz, Leipzig, DE
02/06/2016 Cassiopeia, Berlin, DE
03/06/2016 Patronaat, Haarlem, NL
04/06/2016 Temples Festival, Bristol, UK (BONGRIPPER ONLY)
05/06/2016 Star & Garter, Manchester, UK

Ghold took command of the Sunday stage at the 2015 edition of Temples Festival and are welcomed as the lead support for the first full “Temples Festival Presents” tour. Devastating and haunting, this triad of rhythmic ritualists recently finished recording their follow-up to 2015’s Of Ruin and more info on that will be incoming shortly…

Gnarled instrumental quartet Bongripper released their latest album, Miserable, last summer and this tour will see their Temples Festival debut. Expect witnesses to be suffocated by their weighty, wallowing riffs.

Tickets are on sale now. It’s time to deluge yourself in the unrelenting.

www.templesfestival.co.uk
http://www.ghold.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/gholdband/
http://www.bongripper.com/
https://bongripper.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BONGRIPPER-283936697383/

Bongripper, Miserable (2014)

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