Quarterly Review: The Cult of Dom Keller, Grandpa Jack, Woven Man, Charivari, Human Impact, Dryland, Brass Owl, Battle City, Astral Bodies, Satyrus

Posted in Reviews on March 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Ah, the Wednesday of a Quarterly Review. Always a special day in my mind. We hit and pass the halfway point today, and I like the fact that the marker is right in the middle of things, like that sign you pass in Pennsylvania on Rt. 80 that says, “this is the highest point east of the Mississippi,” or whatever it is. Just a kind of, “oh, by the way, in case you didn’t know, there’s this but you’re on your way somewhere else.” And so we are, en route to 50 reviews by Friday. Will we get there? Yeah, of course. I’ve done this like 100 times now, it’s not really in doubt. Sleeping, eating, living: these things are expendable. The Quarterly Review will get done. So let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Cult of Dom Keller, Ascend!

the cult of dom keller ascend

They’re not going quietly, that’s for sure. Except for when they are, at least. The Cult of Dom Keller send their listeners — and, it would seem, themselves — into the howling ether on the exclamatory-titular Ascend!, their fifth LP. Issued through Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud records it brings a bevvy of freakouts in psych-o-slabs like “I Hear the Messiah” and the early-arriving “Hello Hanging Rope” and the building-in-thickness “The Blood Donor Wants His Blood Back,” and the foreboding buzz of “We’re All Fucked (Up),” peppering in effective ambient interludes ahead of what might be some resolution in the closing “Jam for the Sun.” Or maybe that’s just narrative I’m putting to it. Does it matter? Does anything matter? And what is matter? And what is energy? And is there a line between the two or are we all just playing pretend at existence like I-think-therefore-I-am might actually hold water in a universe bigger than our own pea-sized brains. Where do we go from here? Or maybe it’s just the going and not the where? Okay.

The Cult of Dom Keller on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz on Bandcamp

Little Cloud Records on Bandcamp

 

Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie

Grandpa Jack Trash Can Boogie

Brooklynite trio Grandpa Jack are working toward mastery of the thickened midtempo groove on their second EP, Trash Can Boogie. Led by guitarist/vocalist Johnny Strom with backing shouts from drummer Matt C. White and a suitable flow provided by bassist Jared Schapker, the band present a classic-tinged four tracks, showing some jammier psych range in the 7:47 second cut “Untold” but never straying too far from the next hook, as opener “Ride On, Right On” and the almost-proto-metal “Imitation” show. Finishing with “Curmudgeon,” Grandpa Jack ride a fine line between modern fuzz, ’90s melody and ’70s groove idolatry, and part of the fun is trying to figure out which side they’re on at any given point and which side they’ll want to ultimately end up on, or if they’ll decide at all. They have one LP under their collective belt already. I’d be surprised if their next one didn’t garner them more significant attention, let alone label backing, should they want it.

Grandpa Jack on Thee Facebooks

Grandpa Jack on Bandcamp

 

Woven Man, Revelry (In Our Arms)

woven man revelry in our arms

There’s metal in the foundation of what Woven Man are doing on their 2019 debut, Revelry (In Our Arms). And there’s paganism. But they’re by no means “pagan metal” at least in the understood genre terms. The Welsh outfit — featuring guitarist Lee Roy Davies, formerly of Acrimony — cast out soundscapes in their vocal melodies and have no lack of tonal crunch at their disposal when they want it, but as eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) shows, they’re not going to be rigidly defined as one thing or another. One can hear C.O.C. in the riffs during their moments of sneer on “I am Mountain” or the centerpiece highlight “With Willow,” but they never quite embrace the shimmer outright Though they come right to the cusp of doing so on the subsequent “Makers Mark,” but closer “Of Land and Sky” revives a more aggressive push and sets them toward worshiping different idols. Psychedelic metal is a tough, nearly impossible, balance to pull off. I’m not entirely convinced it’s what Woven Man are going for on this first outing, but it’s where they might end up.

Woven Man on Thee Facebooks

Woven Man on Bandcamp

 

Charivari, Descent

charivari descent

Whether drifting mildly through the likes of drone-laden pieces “Down by the Water,” the CD-only title-track or “Alexandria” as they make their way toward the harsh bite at the end of the 11-minute closer “Scavengers of the Wind,” Bath, UK, heavy post-rockers Charivari hold a firm sense of presence and tonal fullness. They’re prone to a wash from leadoff “When Leviathan Dreams” onward, but it’s satisfying to course along with the four-piece for the duration of their journey. Rough spots? Oh, to be sure. “Aphotic” seethes with noisy force, and certainly the aforementioned ending is intended to jar, but that only makes a work like “Lotus Eater,” which ably balances Cure-esque initial lead lines with emergent distortion-crush, that much richer to behold. The moves they make are natural, unforced, and whether they’re trading back and forth in volume or fluidly, willfully losing themselves in a trance of effects, the organic and ethereal aspects of their sound never fail to come through in terms of melody even as a human presence is maintained on vocals. When “Down by the Water” hits its mark, it is positively encompassing. Headphones were built for this.

Charivari on Thee Facebooks

Worst Bassist Records on Bandcamp

 

Human Impact, Human Impact

human impact human impact

Bit of a supergroup here, at least in the underrated-New-York-art-noise sphere of things. Vocals and riffy crunch provided by the masterful Chris Spencer (formerly of Unsane), while Cop Shoot Cop‘s Jim Coleman adds much-welcome electronic flourish, Swans/Xiu Xiu bassist Chris Pravdica provides low end and the well-if-he-can-handle-drumming-for-Swans-he-can-handle-anything Phil Puleo (also Cop Shoot Cop) grounds the rhythm. Presented through Ipecac, the four-piece’s declarative self-titled debut arrives through Ipecac very much as a combination of the elements of which it is comprised, but the atmosphere brought to the proceedings by Coleman set against Spencer‘s guitar isn’t to be understated. The two challenge each other in “E605” and the off-to-drone “Consequences” and the results are to everyone’s benefit, despite the underlying theme of planetary desolation. Whoops on that one, but at least we get the roiling chaos and artful noise of “This Dead Sea” out of it, and that’s not nothing. Predictable? In parts, but so was climate change if anyone would’ve fucking listened.

Human Impact on Thee Facebooks

Ipecac Recordings store

 

Dryland, Dances with Waves

dryland dances with waves

The nautically-themed follow-up to Bellingham, Washington, progressive heavy/noise/post-hardcore rockers Dryland‘s 2017 self-titled debut album, the four-song Dances with Waves EP finds the thoughtful and melodic riffers working alongside producer/engineer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis, etc.) on a recording that loses none of its edge for its deft changes of rhythm and shifts in vocals. There’s some influence from Elder maybe in terms of the guitar on “No Celestial Hope” and the finale “Between the Testaments,” but by the time the seven-minute capper is done, it’s full-on Pacific Northwest noise crunch, crashing its waves of riffs and stomp against the shore of your eardrums in demand of as much volume as you’ll give it. Between those two, “Exalted Mystics” moves unsuspectingly through its first half and seems to delve into semi-emo-if-emo-was-about-sailing-and-death theatrics in its second, while “The Sound a Sword Adores” distills the alternating drive and sway down to its barest form, a slowdown later setting up the madness soon to arrive in “Between the Testaments.”

Dryland on Thee Facebooks

Dryland on Bandcamp

 

Brass Owl, State of Mind

brass owl state of mind

Brass Owl foster on their self-released debut full-length, State of Mind, a brand of heavy rock that maintains a decidedly straightforward face while veering at the same time into influences from grunge, ’70s rock, the better end of ’80s metal and probably one or two current hard or heavy rock bands. You might catch a tinge of Five Horse Johnson-style blues on “No Filter – Stay Trendy” or the particularly barroom-ready “Jive Turkey,” which itself follows the funkier unfolding jam-into-shredfest of “The Legend of FUJIMO,” and the earlier “Hook, Line & Sinker” has trucker-rock all over it, but through it all, the defining aspect of the work is its absolute lack of pretense. These guys — there would seem to have been three when they recorded, there are two now; so it goes — aren’t trying to convince you of their intelligence, or their deep-running stylistic nuance. They’re not picking out riffs from obscure ’80s indie records or even ’70s private press LPs. They’re having a good time putting traditionalist-style rock songs together, messing around stylistically a bit, and they’ve got nine songs across 43 minutes ready to roll for anyone looking for that particular kind of company. If that’s you, great. If it ain’t, off you go to the next one.

Brass Owl website

Brass Owl on Bandcamp

 

Battle City, Press Start

Battle City Press Start

From even before you press play on Press Start, the 22-minute debut release from South Africa’s Battle City, the instrumental duo make their love of gaming readily apparent. Given that they went so far as to call one song “Ram Man” and that it seems just as likely as not that “Ignition” and “Ghost Dimension” are video game references as well, it’s notable that guitarist/bassist Stian “Lightning Fingers Van Tonder” Maritz and drummer Wayne “Thunder Flakes” Hendrikz didn’t succumb to the temptation of bringing any electronic sounds to the six-song offering. Even in “Ghost Dimension,” which is the closer and longest track by about three minutes, they keep it decidedly straightforward in terms of arrangements and resist any sort of chiptune elements, sticking purely to guitar, bass and drums. There’s a touch of the progressive to the leadoff title-track and to the soaring lead “Ignotion,” but Press Start does likewise in setting the band’s foundation in a steady course of heavy rock and metal, to the point that if you didn’t know they were gaming-inspired by looking at the cover art or the titles, there’d be little to indicate that’s where they were coming from. I wouldn’t count myself among them, but those clamoring for beeps and boops and other 8-bit nonsense will be surprised. For me, the riffs’ll do just fine, thanks.

Battle City on Thee Facebooks

Battle City on Bandcamp

 

Astral Bodies, Escape Death

Astral Bodies Escape Death

Spacious, varied and progressive without losing their heft either of tone or presence, Manchester, UK, trio Astral Bodies debut on Surviving Sounds with Escape Death, working mostly instrumentally — they do sneak some vocals into the penultimate “Pale Horse” — to affect an atmosphere of cosmic heavy that’s neither indebted to nor entirely separate from post-metal. Droning pieces like the introductory “Neptune,” or the joyous key-laced wash of the centerpiece “Orchidaeae,” or even “Pale Horse,” act as spacers between longer cuts, and they’re purposefully placed not to overdo symmetry so as to make Escape Death‘s deceptively-efficient 36-minute runtime predictable. It’s one more thing the three-piece do right, added to the sense of rawness that comes through in the guitar tone even as effects and synth seem to surround and provide a context that would be lush if it still weren’t essentially noise rock. Cosmic noise? The push of “Oumuamua” sure is, if anything might be. Classify it however you want — it’s fun when it’s difficult! — but it’s a striking record either way, and engages all the more as a first long-player.

Astral Bodies on Thee Facebooks

Surviving Sounds on Thee Facebooks

 

Satyrus, Rites

satyrus rites

Following its three-minute chanting intro, Satyrus let opener and longest track (immediate points) “Black Satyrus” unfold its cultish nod across an eight minutes that leads the way into the rest of their debut album, Rites, perhaps more suitably than the intro ever could. The building blocks that the Italian unit are working from are familiar enough — Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Electric Wizard, maybe even some Slayer in the faster soloing of second cut “Shovel” — but that doesn’t make the graveyard-dirt-covered fuzz of “Swirl” or the noisefest that ensues in “Stigma” or subsequent “Electric Funeral”-ist swing any less satisfying, or the dug-in chug of bookending nine-minute closer “Trailblazer.” Hell, if it’s a retread, at least they’re leaving footprints, and it’s not like Satyrus are trying to tell anyone they invented Tony Iommi‘s riff. It’s a mass by the converted for the converted. I’d ask nothing more of it than that and neither should you.

Satyrus on Thee Facebooks

Satyrus on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Spotlights, War Cloud, Rubble Road, Monte Luna, High Reeper, Frozen Planet….1969, Zaius, Process of Guilt, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, Owlcrusher

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Day two of the Quarterly Review and feeling groovy so far. Managed to survive yesterday thanks in no small part to good music and good coffee, and looking at what’s coming up in today’s batch, I don’t expect the situation will be much different — though the styles will. I try to keep in mind as I put these weeks together to change up what’s in each round, so it’s not just all psych records, or all doom, or heavy rock or whatever else. This way I’m not burning myself out on anything particular and I hopefully don’t wind up saying the same things about albums that maybe only share vague genre aspects in common — riffs, etc. — in the same way. Essentially trying to trick my brain into being creative. Sometimes it even works. Let’s see how it fares today.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Spotlights, Seismic

spotlights seismic

After touring hard with the likes of Melvins, Deftones and Refused, heavy post-rockers Spotlights mark their first release on Ipecac Recordings with their second album, Seismic, which finds the core duo of Mario and Sarah Quintero working with producer Aaron Harris (Isis) to follow-up 2016’s Tidals with 65 minutes/11 tracks of weighted atmospherics and far-spanning melodic textures as shown on emotive heft-bringers like “Ghost of a Glowing Forest.” Heavygaze, I suppose, is the genre tag that’s emerged, but with the opening title-track, the chugging “Learn to Breathe” and the later percussive turns of “A Southern Death,” there’s as much focus on crush as on ambience, though as Seismic makes its way through the pair of eight-minute tracks “Hollow Bones” (wonder if they know the 30 Rock reference they’re making) and “Hang us All” before the minimal subdued drones and melodic effects swirls of closer “The Hope of a Storm,” Spotlights succeed in finding a middle ground that offers plenty of both. In its moments of intensity and its range, Seismic builds cohesion from ether and immediately benefits from the purposeful growth the Quinteros have clearly undertaken over the past year by hitting the road with the dedication they have.

Spotlights on Thee Facebooks

Ipecac Recordings website

 

War Cloud, War Cloud

war cloud war cloud

Bay Area rockers War Cloud don’t get too fancy on their self-titled debut, which they make via Ripple Music as the follow-up to their 2016 single Vulture City (discussed here), but as they prove quickly in the dual-guitar Thin Lizzyisms of opener “Give’r” and the later post-Motörhead/Peter Pan Speedrock careening of “Speed Demon,” neither do they necessarily need to. Comprised of guitarists Alex Wein (also vocals) and Tony Campos, bassist Sean Nishi and drummer Joaquin Ridgell, War Cloud offer 31 minutes of brisk, unpretentious asskickery, riffs trading channels at the outset of “Hurricane” as it makes ready to settle into its proto-thrashing rocker groove, and the mood of the release as a whole engaging as much through its reimagining 20-year-old Metallica as a heavy rock band there as on the more grandly riff-led “Divide and Conquer.” Structures are straightforward, and not one of the eight tracks tops five minutes, but they’re more than enough for War Cloud find their place between metal form and heavy rock tone, and cuts like “Chopper Wired” and brazenly charged closer “Vulture City” nail the core message of the band’s arrival.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Rubble Road, The Clowns Have Spoken

rubble-road-the-clowns-have-spoken

Rubble Road ain’t hurtin’ nobody. The Orlando-based double-guitar four-piece take two prior singles and put them together with four new tracks as their 29-minute/six-song debut EP, The Clowns Have Spoken, and thereby bring forth straightforward heavy rock that seems to be finding its personality in tone but nonetheless has a strong structural foundation underlying that holds up the material and “The Judge” tosses in a bit of metallic gallop to go with the forward-directed heavy rock proffered on the prior “Galactic Fugitives” and “Gospel (Get it Together).” I won’t say much for the politics of “Truck Stop Hooker,” which caps with the line, “Your mother gives great helmet, baby,” but “Wizard Staff” and “Do it Yourself” broaden the dynamic of the release overall. They’ve got some growing to do, but again, there’s an efficiency in their songwriting that comes through these songs, and as an initial showcase/demo, The Clowns Have Spoken shows Rubble Road with the potential to continue to grow.

Rubble Road on Thee Facebooks

Rubble Road on Bandcamp

 

Monte Luna, Monte Luna

monte luna monte lona

You might check out the self-titled debut from Austin, Texas, duo Monte Luna. You might even pick up the digipak or tape version. You might listen to extended tracks like “Nameless City” (12:53) and “6,000 Year March” (17:42) and be like, “Yeah, cool riffs dudes.” You might even then chase down the The Hound EP that guitarist/vocalist/bassist James Clarke and drummer/synthesist Phil Hook put out last year. At some point though, you’re going to put Monte Luna’s Monte Luna on your shelf and leave it there. Fair enough. However – and I’m not going to say when; could be sooner, could be later — then you’re going to find yourself remembering its massive, 71-minute sprawl of riffs, its doomed-out grooves, shouts, screams, growls and the way its builds become so utterly immersive, and you’re going to put Monte Luna on again. And that’s the moment when it will really hit you. It might take some time, and part of that is no doubt that there’s simply a lot of record to wade through, but whether it’s the rumbling start of “Nightmare Frontier” (14:26), the cacophonous stomp of “Inverted Mountain” (12:04) or the righteous crash of “The End of Beginning” (9:42), Monte Luna will have earned that deeper look, and if you allow them to make that deeper impression with their self-titled, they almost certainly will.

Monte Luna on Thee Facebooks

Monte Luna on Bandcamp

 

High Reeper, High Reeper

high reeper high reeper

Newcomer five-piece High Reeper telegraph Sabbathian heavy rocker intent with their self-released, self-titled debut album. The Delaware-based lineup of Zach Thomas, Napz Mosley, Andrew Price, Pat Daly and Shane Trimble make no bones about their roots in opener “Die Slow,” and as the stoner-swinging “High Reeper,” the doom-swaggering “Reeper Deadly Reeper” and the yo-check-out-this-bassline nodder “Weed and Speed” play out in the record’s midsection, it seems increasingly likely that, sooner or later, some imprint or other will pick up High Reeper for a wider release. As the band demonstrates through the stomping “Soul Taker” and the seeming mission statement “Black Leather (Chose Us)” ahead of closer “Friend of Death,” which breaks its six minutes in half between Judas Priest thrust and an instrumental finish that calls to mind “Heaven and Hell,” they’ve got a keen ear for updating classic elements, and though formative, their first outing is cleverly memorable and an immediately resonant display of songcraft. Now we know High Reeper can engage these stylistic components — the test will be how they develop them into something individualized going forward.

High Reeper on Thee Facebooks

High Reeper on YouTube

 

Frozen Planet….1969, From the Centre of a Parallel Universe

Frozen-Planet-1969-From-the-Centre-of-a-Parallel-Universe

From the Centre of a Parallel Universe is the second long-player of 2017 from Sydney/Canberra’s Frozen Planet….1969. It arrives on CD through Pepper Shaker and LP via Headspin with five tracks/43 minutes of improv-style psych jams following suit from the prior Electric Smokehouse (review here) and helps to bring the band’s funk-infused, spacious dynamic all the more into focus. Also out of focus. Like, blurry vision-style. They range far and wide and keep the proceedings delightfully weird in the three extended pieces “Celestial Gambler,” “Through Hell’s Kaleidoscope, Parts I & II” and “Ancient Wings Taking Flight” – all north of 11 minutes – and with “Signals (Channelling…)” and “The Lady and the Archer” leading the way into each LP side, Frozen Planet….1969 take the time to assure they’re bringing their listeners along with them on their potent journey into the cosmically far out. The must-hear bass tone in “Ancient Wings Taking Flight” is but one of many reasons to dig in, but whatever it takes, From the Centre of a Parallel Universe’s invitation to get lost is not one to be missed.

Frozen Planet….1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

 

Zaius, Of Adoration

zaius of adoration

Chicago’s history with instrumentalist post-metal goes back as far as the notion of the subgenre itself with acts like Pelican and Russian Circles providing aesthetic-defining landmarks over the last 15-plus years even as a group like Bongripper embraces darker, more lumbering fare. The four-piece Zaius, who make their full-length debut with Of Adoration on Prosthetic Records after two self-released EPs in 2013 and 2011, position themselves more toward the shimmering airiness of the former rather than the latter’s raw lumber, but there’s heft to be found in the expanses of “Sheepdog” and “Seirenes” all the same, and the second half of “Echelon” and closer “Colin” tighten up some of the ethereality of pieces like opener “Phaneron” and the driftingly progressive “Reformer” or the penultimate, patient rollout of “Anicca” to hone a sense of balance that feels as emotionally driven as it is cerebral in its construction. Hard for a band like Zaius to stand themselves out at this point given the swath of acts working in a similar style in and out of the Windy City, but in its textural approach and held-steady flow, Of Adoration satisfies.

Zaius on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Process of Guilt, Black Earth

process-of-guilt-black-earth

Portuguese post-doomers Process of Guilt hit the 15-year mark with the release of their fourth album, Black Earth (on Division/Bleak Recordings), and with a mix by Brooklyn noise-rock specialist Andrew Schneider, a mastering job by Collin Jordan in Chicago and striking cover art by growler/guitarist Hugo Santos with images by Pedro Almeida, the sense of atmosphere is thick and the mood is aggressive throughout. Santos, along with guitarist Nuno David, bassist Custódio Rato and drummer Gonçalo Correia chug and flow through a linear 42 minutes and five tracks on the suitably darkened offering, touching on progressive nuance but not letting cerebral underpinnings take away from the onslaught feel of “Feral Ground” or the tension mounted early in the 11-minute penultimate title-track, which uses feedback as a weapon throughout no less capably than the subsequent closer “Hoax” affects immediately with its nodding tonal wash. Taken as a whole, Black Earth finds Process of Guilt exploring depths of their sound as much as with it, and the directions they go feel as much inward as out.

Process of Guilt on Thee Facebooks

Division Records website

Bleak Recordings website

 

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk

Sundus-Abdulghani-Trunk-self-titled

The challenge for an outfit like Stockholm’s Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, whose self-titled debut arrives via respected purveyor Kozmik Artifactz, lies separating themselves from the shadow of fellow Swedes Blues Pills, whose semi-psych heavy-blues-rocking first album has cast a wide influence that can be heard here as well as in any number of other bands currently kicking around the Euro underground proffering as balance of soul and heavy rock as songs like “It Ain’t Love (But Close Enough)” and “Like Water” do here. Where Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk most succeed in doing this is in the harmonies of “Black Magic Man,” which brings to mind classic acid folk while holding to a heavy blues vibe, but there are other moments throughout when individuality flourishes as well. The attitude is laid on a bit thick in “Them Dames,” but the hooks of “Sister Sorrow,” “She Knows,” “The Devil’s Got a Hold on You” and “Stay” and the burgeoning sense of arrangements complementing Abdulghani’s vocals do well in helping cast an identity one hopes will continue to develop.

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Owlcrusher, Owlcrusher

owlcrusher owlcrusher

Conceived by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Spiers, bassist/vocalist Steve Hobson and drummer Damien McKeown, Banbridge trio Owlcrusher conjure three extended, slicing slabs of black-singed sludge extremity on their self-titled Seeing Red Records debut, and it’s enough to make one wonder just what the fuck is going on in Northern Ireland to inspire such outright bleakness. Beginning with the 16-minute “Feeble Preacher” (also the longest inclusion here; immediate points), Owlcrusher’s Owlcrusher lumbers excruciatingly forth with screams and growls cutting through a tonality geared for max-volume consumption, though it remains to be seen who is consuming whom as “Feeble Preacher” gives way to the likewise scorched eponymous “Owlcrusher” (11:30) and 15-minute closer “Spoiler,” the last of which brings the only real moment of letup on the album after about nine minutes in, and even that takes the form of an interlude of Khanate-style minimalist ambience before the rolling megacrush resumes and plods to a somehow-even-heavier finish. Clearly a band pushing themselves toward the superlative, Owlcrusher get there much faster than their crawling tones would have you believe. Madness.

Owlcrusher on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Spotlights Release Seismic Oct. 6; New Song Streaming; Touring with the Melvins

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

spotlights

As massive as the response has been to Brooklyn post-heavy rockers Spotlights, it’s not like the band aren’t putting their work in. To wit, take a gander at the list of tour dates for which the NYCers are accompanying the Melvins — the tour began July 5 — and tremble as they no doubt are with concern as to when they’ll next be able to do laundry. An Oct. 6 release through Ipecac Recordings has been set for their second album, Seismic, and as they herald its arrival on stages across North America — can Europe be far off? — basically from now until release day, they’re also marking the beginning of preorders by streaming the new track “Learn to Breathe.” Let’s hope they do.

From the PR wire:

spotlights seismic

SPOTLIGHTS RELEASE NEW ALBUM, SEISMIC, ON OCT. 6 VIA IPECAC RECORDINGS

TOUR WITH THE MELVINS THIS SUMMER

PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW
http://smarturl.it/Spotlights

Spotlights, the Brooklyn-based husband and wife outfit of Mario and Sarah Quintero, release their Ipecac Recordings’ debut, Seismic, on Oct. 6.

“Seismic came out of a reaction to the current state of humanity and the inevitable consequences we will have on this earth and ourselves,” explains Mario. “There’s an odd sense of beauty that comes with destruction, and we tried to capture that musically on this album.” Seismic was produced by Aaron Harris (Isis/Palms) and recorded this spring in Los Angeles. Pre-orders for the 11-track album are available now: (http://smarturl.it/Spotlights).

Spotlights’ previous release, Tidals, earned the band a wide sweep of accolades. The word-of-mouth about the intoxicating album led to the band being handpicked to join Deftones and Refused for their Summer 2016 tour.

The pair, who primarily tour as a three-piece, will join the Melvins for an extensive, 12-week North American tour, launching this evening at the Casbah in San Diego. The full routing is listed below.

Seismic track listing:
1. Seismic
2. Learn To Breathe
3. The Size of the Planet
4. Ghost of a Glowing Forest
5. Under the Earth
6. A Southern Death
7. The Opening
8. What Is This, Where Are We
9. Hollow Bones
10. Hang Us All
11. The Hope of a Storm

Tour dates (all dates with the Melvins):
July 13 Seattle, WA The Showbox
July 14 Vancouver, BC Venue Nightclub
July 17 Edmonton, AB Union Hall
July 18 Calgary, AB The Marquee
July 19 Regina, SK The Exchange *
July 20 Winnipeg, MB Pyramid Cabaret
July 21 Fargo, ND The Aquarium
July 22 Minneapolis, MN Grumpy’s Bash
July 24 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
July 25 Chicago, IL The Metro
July 26 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
July 27 Detroit, MI El Club
July 28 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
July 29 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
July 31 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater
August 1 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater
August 2 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
August 3 New York, NY Irving Plaza
August 4 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
August 5 Asbury Park, NJ The Stone Pony
August 6 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
August 7 Harrisburg, VA The Golden Pony *
August 8 Richmond, VA The Broadberry
August 9 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
August 10 Knoxville, TN The Concourse
August 11 Louisville, KY Headliner’s Music Hall
August 12 St. Louis, MO The Ready Room
August 13 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck
August 15 Englewood, CO Gothic Theatre
August 17 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
August 20 San Jose, CA The Ritz
August 21 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
August 22 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
September 5 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
September 6 Tucson, AZ 191 Toole
September 8 Austin, TX The Mohawk
September 9 Dallas, TX Tree’s
September 10 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger
September 11 Houston, TX Warehouse Live (Studio)
September 13 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jack’s
September 14 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
September 15 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s
September 16 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
September 17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Culture Room
September 18 Orlando, FL The Social
September 20 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
September 21 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade (Hell Stage)
September 22 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
September 23 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
September 25 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
September 26 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Co.
September 27 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
September 28 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
September 30 Ft. Collins, CO Aggie Theatre
October 2 Albuquerque, NM The Launchpad
October 3 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room
* Spotlights only

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The Melvins Announce Three Months of North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

My feelings on heavy rock legends the Melvins remain unchanged. I probably don’t ever need to see the band live again. Barring some seismic shift in their approach or my own personal taste, I probably don’t need to hear another Melvins record for as long as I live — even less a double-album, sorry. I know for a fact I don’t need to read another bloated-journo thinkpiece about how experimental or important they are or how everyone from Seattle got famous and they didn’t and therefore, integrity. These feelings are what they have been.

I also continue to respect the crap out of the fact that as they get ready to release their who-even-knows-anymore-th album, they’re doing so with 12 weeks of touring. In North America. You know they’ll be in Europe again before the end of the year as well. Sorry, but however Meh-lvins you (or I) might feel, they’re aren’t a lot of bands who either can or would be willing to break their collective ass like that on the road at this stage in their career.

So there you go. New double-album, A Walk with Love and Death, is out in July on Ipecac. Tour starts July 5 with support from Brooklyn’s Spotlights.

PR wire has it like this:

the melvins

THE MELVINS PLOT 12-WEEK NORTH AMERICAN TOUR IN SUPPORT OF FORTHCOMING DOUBLE ALBUM, A WALK WITH LOVE & DEATH (JULY 7, IPECAC RECORDINGS)

IPECAC LABELMATES, SPOTLIGHTS, OPEN ON ALL DATES

The Melvins, who release the double album A Walk With Love & Death on July 7 via Ipecac Recordings, announce their most extensive North American tour to date, with dates stretching from July 5 to Oct. 3.

Tickets for the tour, which stretches from Florida to British Columbia, from Southern California to New England, are on-sale this Friday at 10 a.m. local time.

With A Walk With Love & Death, the trio of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald showcase two distinct sides of the band’s music: Death, a proper Melvins’ release and Love, the score to the Jesse Nieminen directed, self-produced short also titled A Walk With Love & Death. A release date for the short has not been announced yet but a trailer has been made available. The albums, which include guests Joey Santiago (The Pixies), Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes/Crystal Fairy) and Anna Waronker (That Dog), were co-produced with Toshi Kosai.

A Walk With Love & Death tour dates:
July 5 San Diego, CA Casbah
July 6 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
July 7 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
July 8 Fresno, CA Strummer’s
July 9 Sacramento, CA Goldfield Trading Post
July 10 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
July 12 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
July 14 Vancouver, BC Venue Nightclub
July 17 Edmonton, AB Union Hall
July 18 Calgary, AB The Marquee
July 20 Winnipeg, MB Pyramid Cabaret
July 21 Fargo, ND The Aquarium
July 22 Minneapolis, MN Grumpy’s Bash
July 24 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
July 25 Chicago, IL The Metro
July 26 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
July 27 Detroit, MI El Club
July 28 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
July 29 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
July 31 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater
August 1 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater
August 2 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
August 3 New York, NY Irving Plaza
August 4 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
August 5 Asbury Park, NJ The Stone Pony
August 6 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
August 8 Richmond, VA The Broadberry
August 9 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
August 10 Knoxville, TN The Concourse
August 11 Louisville, KY Headliner’s Music Hall
August 12 St. Louis, MO The Ready Room
August 13 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck
August 15 Englewood, CO Gothic Theatre
August 17 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
August 18 Las Vegas, NV Psycho Fest
August 20 San Jose, CA The Ritz
August 21 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
August 22 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
September 5 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
September 6 Tucson, AX 191 Toole
September 8 Austin, TX The Mohawk
September 9 Dallas, TX Tree’s
September 10 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger
September 11 Houston, TX Warehouse Live (Studio)
September 13 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jack’s
September 14 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
September 15 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s
September 16 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
September 17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Culture Room
September 18 Orlando, FL The Social
September 20 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
September 21 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade (Hell Stage)
September 22 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
September 23 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
September 25 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
September 26 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Co.
September 27 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
September 28 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
September 30 Ft. Collins, CO Aggie Theatre
October 2 Albuquerque, NM The Launchpad
October 3 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room

Spotlights, who will release their Ipecac debut this fall, open on all dates.

The Melvins will also perform with Tool on June 24 at the Glen Helem Amphitheater in San Bernardino, Calif.

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Melvins, A Walk with Love and Death album trailer

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Spotlights Sign to Ipecac Recordings; New Album Due this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Brooklynite duo/live trio Spotlights have basically done nothing but earn accolades since the release last year of their debut album, Tidals. You won’t hear me argue, but it’s kind of rare to find such general consensus on anything these days, let alone new bands. Even their Spiders EP (review here), which was a couple tracks and a remix, came widely hailed.

Sometimes hype like that can be a hindrance, especially in Brooklyn, where if someone knows your name there’s a decent chance you’re already passe, but in the case of Spotlights, they’ve just been signed to Ipecac Recordings, so I guess it’s a double-win. They’ll record a sophomore full-length, yet untitled, later this year with Aaron Harris (ex-Isis) at the helm. As if they were hurting for good-company-type associations.

Kudos to the band and the momentum they’ve built. The PR wire has all the latest info:

spotlights brian berson photo

SPOTLIGHTS SIGN TO IPECAC; BROOKLYN-BASED BAND WORKING ON NEW ALBUM WITH PRODUCER AARON HARRIS (ISIS/PALMS)

Spotlights, the Brooklyn-based band featuring Mario and Sarah Quintero (formerly of Sleep Lady), have signed to Ipecac Recordings.

The band, who tour as a trio, are working on an as-of-yet untitled full-length with ISIS’/Palms’ Aaron Harris serving as producer. A fall release date is expected.

“It’s such an honor to join Ipecac’s amazing roster,” said the band. “We couldn’t have imagined a better home for the band and our new record.”

“The best part of being a music fan is discovering new artists,” added Ipecac co-owner Greg Werckman. “The best part of being a record label is getting to be the place that introduces music fans to diverse artists. We are thrilled to add Spotlights to the Ipecac family and are sure that a lot of people will share our enthusiasm for their music.”

Spotlights’ most recent releases include the Spiders EP and a previously released full-length titled Tidals.

Spotlights, who were handpicked to open on the Deftones’ summer 2016 tour, will return to the road this summer. Tour dates to be announced soon.

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Spotlights, Spiders EP (2016)

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Isis to Release Live VII March 31; Preorders up Now

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

This is probably the most prickish thing I’ll say today — actually, strike that; I say all kinds of prickish shit on a given day and no way am I willing to commit to this being the most — but I’m kind of glad Isis have stayed broken up. Not that I wasn’t a fan of the post-metal pioneering they did on records like 2000’s Celestial, 2002’s Oceanic and 2004’s Panopticon, but where so many other bands have called it a quits, sat on their hands and then come back together for the invariably successful reunion tour, Isis have (to-date) stuck to their guns, remained inactive in this form, and gotten on with their creative lives.

Yeah, they’re still putting out live records like this one, and they’ve still got a buttload of merch for sale, but there’s a big difference between that and continuing to pursue what, by the time 2009’s Wavering Radiant came around, seemed to have run its natural course. Maybe they’ll get back together at some point. Hell, probably. But it’s been almost seven full years since they announced their breakup, and quite frankly that’s already longer than I thought they’d be away. Presumably staying busy helps, and the ex-members of Isis certainly do that.

Just my two cents, which is worth about half of one on a good day. Don’t mean to sound like a prick, but yeah Isis. Stay broken up. Rock on.

From the PR wire, which is quick to point out that Ipecac Recordings is in no way releasing live albums from terrorist organizations:

isis live vii

IPECAC RECORDINGS TO RELEASE LIVE VII BY ISIS (THE BAND) ON MARCH 31

LIMITED EDITION COLLECTION, THE SEVENTH RELEASE IN ONGOING LIVE SERIES, FEATURES MUSIC SPANNING DISCOGRAPHY; PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE NOW

One of heavy music’s most influential artists of the past 20 years, Isis (the band), are to release the seventh in their ongoing series of live albums with Live VII (Ipecac Recordings, March 31st).

The collection will see a limited worldwide release of 3000 CD copies, 2000 vinyl copies (vinyl will be available at a later date) with an additional 600 made available exclusively to indie retailers. Pre-orders are available now via Ipecac’s web store and Bandcamp. The nine-song set was recorded on Feb. 25, 2010, at The Corner hotel in Melbourne, Australia during the band’s stint on the venerable Soundwave Festival. The band’s own Aaron Harris mixed the album.

Live VII track list:
1. Hall of the Dead
2. Hand of the Host
3. Holy Tears
4. 20 Minutes / 40 Years
5. Ghost Key
6. Wills Dissolve
7. Threshold of Transformation
8. Carry
9. Celestial (The Tower)

The members of Isis (the band) continue to push the boundaries of modern music with Aaron Harris working as a film and television composer for Methodic Doubt while continuing work with Palms alongside his former bandmates’ Jeff Caxide and Bryant Clifford Meyer. Meyer also creates music under the Taiga moniker. Aaron Turner continues recording, releasing records and touring with numerous groups, most prominently SUMAC and Mammifer. Mike Gallagher’s Mustard Gas and Roses released their new album, Becoming, in late 2016.

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Isis, “In Fiction” from Live VI

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Melvins Post “Hideous Woman” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

melvins

I’ll admit I’ve become less of a Melvins fan over time. The Seattle mainstays-of-riff are well over the 30-year mark at this point, and you won’t in the least find me denying the massive impact Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover — as well as a series of bassists; six on their new album, Basses Loaded (see what they did there?) — have had on underground rock and roll especially over the last two decades or the fact that they absolutely slay live, but they’re impossible to keep up with, Buzzo‘s a dick to press in the Jello Biafra/Henry Rollins tradition and frankly, no matter who’s playing on it or whatever, there’s a lot of what they do at this point that I think comes from the same place. Even the chug of “Hideous Woman” from the new record should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s listened to any given amount of their material over the last 10 or 15 years.

So why am I posting about the Melvins? Because I respect the shit out of them. Look at that list of tour dates below and ask yourself how many groups have been around for that long and still have that kind of drive to do what they’re doing. True, they’re making a living off it and at this point it’s easy to imagine they don’t know how to live any other way, but even so, the sheer factor of the Melvins having trudged back and forth across the planet, again and again, while putting out albums at a continually impossible rate, means that yes, I still think they’re worth posting about even if I’ll just about never actually put on one of those albums.

There you go. An honest post about the MelvinsBasses Loaded CD is out now on Ipecac. Vinyl on Friday.

Video is below for “Hideous Woman.” Whatever, go to a show. Then watch Bob Hannam‘s documentary. Or watch the documentary first. Either way.

Alright:

Melvins, “Hideous Woman” official video

The Melvins, who recently wrapped up their latest European tour, debut a video for “Hideous Woman” from their recently released album, Basses Loaded (Ipecac Recordings).

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR HIDEOUS WOMAN, DIRECTED BY DAVID HALL

The 12-song album features six bass players: Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald, Butthole Surfers’ J.D. Pinkus, Big Business’ Jared Warren, Mr. Bungle/Fantomas’ Trevor Dunn (aka Melvins Lite) and Melvins’ drummer Dale Crover swapping the drum kit for bass in the Melvins 1983 iteration.

The Melvins return to U.S. highways this summer, launching a seven-week tour on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas. The touring line-up features Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald.

U.S. tour dates:
August 3 Las Vegas, NV Backstage Bar & Billiards
August 4 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room
August 6 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre
August 7 Ft. Collins, CO Aggie Theatre
August 9 Sioux Falls, SD The District
August 10 Fargo, ND The Aquariaum (Dempsey’s Upstairs)
August 13 Eau Claire, WI Eaux Claires Music Festival
August 14 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Company
August 15 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
August 16 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck
August 17 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
August 18 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall
August 19 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue Theatre
August 20 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
August 22 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
August 23 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater
August 24 Buffalo, NY Iron Works
August 26 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater
August 27 Northampton, MA Pearl Street
August 28 Hamden, CT The Ballroom at the Outer Space
August 29 Providence, RI Fete Ballroom
August 31 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
September 1 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
September 3 Cookeville, TN Muddy Roots Music Festival
September 5 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
September 6 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend
September 7 Charleston, SC Music Farm
September 8 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbits
September 10 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
September 11 Jackson, MS Duling Hall
September 12 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
September 13 Little Rock, AR Metroplex
September 14 Tulsa, OK Cain’s Ballroom
September 15 Oklahoma City, OK The ACM @ UCO Performance Lab
September 16 Norman, OK Opolis
September 17 Austin, TX The Sidewinder
September 18 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger
September 20 El Paso, TX Lowbrow Palace
September 21 Tucson, AZ Club Congress
September 24 Long Beach, CA Music Tastes Good Festival

Basses Loaded is available now via the Ipecac webstore, Bandcamp, Amazon and iTunes. The vinyl release arrives on July 1.

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Melvins, Napalm Death and Melt Banana Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

melvins

You know who really likes the Melvins? Everybody. Also everybody’s mom. So it’s little surprise that the news that the now-even-longer-running heavy rock weirdos should team up with Napalm Death and Melt Banana for a cross-country jaunt next spring should be well received. At least I’m not surprised. Are you? They’re so wacky!

The Melvins‘ latest offering is a film chronicling their 51-day tour of all the US states and Washington D.C., and it’s out now on Ipecac. Off to the PR wire for more:

melvins napalm death melt banana

THE MELVINS AND NAPALM DEATH TEAM UP FOR SAVAGE IMPERIAL DEATH MARCH TOUR IN 2016; MELT BANANA OPENS

THE MELVINS’ ACROSS THE USA 51 DAYS: THE MOVIE! AVAILABLE NOW

Napalm Death and the Melvins join forces for the Savage Imperial Death March Tour, a six-week Spring trek that that kicks off on March 26 at The Marquee in Phoenix, Ariz.

“We have been talking about doing a tour like this for a long time so we are thrilled it’s finally happening,” says Napalm Death bass player Shane Embury. “Having been long time fans and friends of the Melvins we are very happy to be embarking on this six-week tour of musical madness with them and Melt Banana. Expect the unexpected!”

Melvins’ singer/guitar player Buzz Osborne added: “Napalm Death sounds like a gorilla on LSD firing a machine gun… and I mean that in a good way. We’re happy to be heading out with the ultimate grindcore pioneers.”

This isn’t the first time the two bands have collaborated. In 2004, Buzz Osborne, Shane Embury and Danny Herrera played together in Venomous Concept, with their debut release (Retroactive Abortion) coming out via Ipecac Recordings.

The Melvins released Across The USA in 51 Days: The Movie! on Friday. The DVD release, filmed by the band and crew during their 2012 attempt to break the record for the fastest tour of the United States (plus DC), dedicates one minute to each state (and district) along the ambitious outing. 

Savage Imperial Death March Tour dates (tickets for all shows are on-sale this Friday, Dec. 4):

March 26 Phoenix, AZ The Marquee
March 28 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater
March 30 Dallas, TX Trees
March 31 Austin, TX The Mohawk
April 1 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s
April 2 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks
April 3 Birmingham, AL Iron City
April 4 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
April 5 Tallahassee, FL Sidebar Theater
April 7 Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Culture Room
April 8 Orlando, FL The Plaza Live
April 9 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
April 10 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
April 12 Washington, DC 930 Club
April 13 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
April 14 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
April 15 New York, NY Webster Hall
April 16 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
April 17 Montreal, QC Club Soda
April 19 Toronto, ON The Opera House
April 20 Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre
April 21 Cleveland, OH Agora Ballroom
April 22 Chicago, IL The Metro
April 23 Milwaukee, WI The Rave II (Downstairs)
April 24 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
April 25 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
April 27 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
April 29 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
May 1 Seattle, WA The Showbox
May 2 Vancouver, BC The Venue
May 3 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
May 5 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
May 6 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
May 7 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
May 8 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour

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Melvins, Across the USA in 51 Days clip

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