Premiere: Moonbow Throw Down Beardly in “War Bear” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

moonbow

It’s a beardly, burly, riffly party Moonbow are throwing in their new video for the title-track of 2017’s War Bear. Filmed over what was no doubt a raucous Memorial Day Weekend at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky, it’s a stirring reminder in this day and age of anyone-with-a-cellphone-or-a–DSLR-can-make-a-video what a difference a professional production can make. And professional editing. Mean Beard Productions gives a crisp look at the four-piece in action, with a visual complement to the hook of “War Bear” no less dead-on than the memorable chorus itself, and yeah, there’s someone in there in a bear costume. How could there not be?

Moonbow made their debut on Ripple Music with 2013’s The End of Time (review here), and War Bear, despite its cartoon-tits-laden cover art, is every bit a worthy follow-up, fostering as it does a vibe somewhere between Southern and classic heavy rock in its straightforward structures and general no-nonsense attitude. A guest appearance from John Garcia is welcome on “California King,” but it’s the no-nonsense performance the four-piece itself — comprised of vocalist Matt Bischoff, guitarist David McElfresh (Hank III), bassist Ryan McAllister (ex-Valley of the Sun) and drummer Steve Earle (Hermano) — bring to the Mos Generator-worthy melodicism of “Bloodwash,” the blue-collar push of “Drinkin’ Alone” and the ultra-catchy “Sword in the Storm” that serves as the real highlight. Like the video for its titular cut, War Bear is crisp, professional, clear in its intent and making zero effort to hide the fact that it came to rock and rocking is exactly what it’s going to do.

That doesn’t necessary mean it’s unipolar — the slow-rolling first half of “Death of Giants” has a distinctly different feel from the bass-led start-stop chugging of the later “Toward the Sun” — just that it’s Moonbow‘s craftsmanship brought to the forefront and that, fortunately for the listener but not at all a coincidence, the songwriting holds up well in that starring role. Well, as much as anything can be in a starring role other than Bischoff‘s beard, anyhow. One way or the other, War Bear — which closes out with the title-track — brings forth a collection of traditionalist heavy rock tracks that still manage to find their own place in a style as modern as it is classic. If you ever wanted to know what a band sounds like when they know what they’re doing, Moonbow pretty much have that shit on lockdown.

Enjoy the premiere of “War Bear” below, followed by some comment from Bischoff on the track, the filming and the origin of the title. I’ve also included the full-stream of War Bear from Ripple‘s Bandcamp page at the bottom of the post, because what the hell? One likes to be thorough.

Dig it:

Moonbow, “War Bear” official video premiere

Matt Bischoff on the video:

When we were jamming and writing songs for the new record, we had just been jamming on a riff and when we stopped, Ryan our bass player just says “War Bear” out of nowhere. We all kinda laughed and said hell yeah and we kept messing around with the song. When I got home that night I google searched War Bear for the hell of it and found this amazing story of a Brown Bear called Wojtek who was taken in as a cub by the Polish Army 22nd Artillery. I was inspired and blown away and I wrote the song about it. Check it out online. Awesome story. Crazy how some song ideas transform like this out of nowhere.

We had a blast filming the video with friends and fans at our favorite local venue The Southgate House Revival. Memorial Day cookout, shooting the video and playing a show and filming it all. Special thanks to my Beard sponsor Mean Beard for making it all happen and Jared Barton films for kicking ass at what he does. Also thanks to Todd at Ripple Music for digging our band. Hope you enjoy and give the whole record a listen.

Moonbow is:
Matt Bischoff – Vocals
David McElfresh – Guitars
Ryan McAllister – Bass
Steve Earle – Drums

Moonbow, War Bear (2017)

Moonbow on Thee Facebooks

Moonbow on Instagram

Moonbow on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

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Moonbow Set April 21 Release Date for War Bear

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Midwestern heavy rockers Moonbow return on April 21 with War Bear, their second album for Ripple Music. The band features drummer Steve Earle, also known for his work in Hermano, and bassist Ryan McAllister from Valley of the Sun, so if you’ve got any doubts about the level of groove to be presented, that should probably be enough to dispel them outright. Apparently John Garcia shows up this time around too, as he did on the band’s 2013 debut, The End of Time (review here), so, you know, rock and roll and continuity and whatnot.

Haven’t heard the record yet, but hope to sometime soon, despite the cartoon-tittyriffic cover art, which seems to have become a theme for the day. Enough already with that shit. The planet sucks enough.

From the PR wire:

moonbow

MOONBOW: BMX legend/Survivor star Matt Bischoff returns with Kentucky rockers for new album on Ripple Music | Stream title track, ‘War Bear’ now

War Bear is released on 21st April 2017 via Ripple Music

Kentucky-based rockers Moonbow began in 2011 when vocalist/BMX legend Matt Bischoff and Hank 3 guitarist Davey McElfresh met at McElfresh’s Covington apartment to outline the details of a new project. What started out as a simple partnership quickly gained momentum and turned into something considerably more when Steve Earle (Afghan Whigs, Hermano) stepped in on drums and former Valley Of The Sun bassist Ryan McAllister was invited to service the low end. After only a few weeks it was obvious that something pretty badass was happening and since setting off on that one-way track, Moonbow have become a serious force to be reckoned.

With their line-up complete they immediately got to work on their debut album, The End Of Time. Due to McElfresh’s constant touring and Bischoff’s stint on reality TV show Survivor: Caramoan, the album was eventually released in 2013 and immediately gained traction both at home and abroad, securing international distribution after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Giving a nod to countrified roots and arid desert jams, The End of Time not only featured some of the meatiest riffs to ever come out of Kentucky, but also guest vocals by the legend John Garcia. Informed by McElfresh’s fuzz-savvy guitar playing, Earle’s deft skin work, McAllister’s distorted Rickenbacker groove and Bischoff’s unique take on songwriting and storytelling, the album showcased a band that were only just getting started.

In 2015, the quartet went on to release an acoustic follow up entitled Volto del Demone and with new album War Bear – their first outing for the California-based record label Ripple Music – it’s safe to say that their time is most definitely upon us.

War Bear will be given an official worldwide release on 21st April 2017 via Ripple Music.

Track Listing:
1. War Bear
2. Sword In The Storm
3. Drinkin Alone
4. Bloodwash
5. Death Of Giants
6. Alone Eyes Roam
7. California King (Featuring John Garcia)
8. The Road
9. Son Of Moses
10. Toward The Sun

Moonbow:
Matt Bischoff – Vocals
David McElfresh – Guitars
Ryan McAllister – Bass
Steve Earle – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Moonbowrocks/
https://moonbowrocks.bandcamp.com/

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Quarterly Review: We Lost the Sea, Dark Buddha Rising, Red Mountains, Black Space Riders, Lamprey, Godsleep, Slow Joe Crow & the Berserker Blues Band, Monobrow, Denizen, Witchsorrow

Posted in Reviews on October 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-quarterly-review-fall-2015

We’re in the thick of it now. It’s hard sometimes putting these things together to remember that each band has worked incredibly hard to put out an album. I’ve been through that process (once), and so I know it can be harrowing at times between acts going back and forth about recording, what’s included, how to release, when, and so on. There’s a lot to cover this week — and we’re not out of the woods yet — but I hope that, just because each review is short, you don’t take that as a sign I don’t have the utmost respect for the effort that has gone into making each of these releases. It can be a tremendous pain in the ass, but of course it’s worth it when you get to the end product. We continue.

Fall 2015 Quarterly Review #31-40:

We Lost the Sea, Departure Songs

we lost the sea departure songs

To be blunt, We Lost the Sea’s Departure Songs is the kind of album that immediately makes me want to own everything the band has done, in hard copy, for posterity. The Sydney outfit’s third full-length finds its crux in its two-part closing duo of “Challenger Part 1 – Flight” and “Challenger Part 2 – A Swan Song,” enacting a lush instrumental interpretation of the Space Shuttle Challenger flight and disaster that took place nearly 30 years ago in Jan. 1986. In its progression, patience, flow and discernable narrative thread it is nothing short of brilliant, a lush and sad beauty that serves as a genuinely affecting reminder of the hope for a better future that died with that shuttle’s civilian crew and the era of aspiration that tragedy brought to a close. I think the closing sample is the only time I’ve ever heard Ronald Reagan speak in my adult life and felt something other than anger, and that’s a testament to the ground Departure Songs covers – on the preceding three cuts as well as the final two – and the masterful execution on the part of We Lost the Sea.

We Lost the Sea on Thee Facebooks

We Lost the Sea on Bandcamp

Dark Buddha Rising, Inversum

dark buddha rising inversum

There does not yet exist a name for what Finland’s Dark Buddha Rising bring to bear on the two side-consuming tracks of their Neurot Recordings debut and sixth album overall, Inversum. Self-recorded and presented following some shifts in lineup, the album swells to a massive head of bleak, noise-infused psychedelia, fully ritualized and self-aware but still vibrant as it makes its way further and further down into itself. It is bright black, based so much around contrasting ideas of form and tonality that to listen to it, one almost doesn’t believe that the band are accomplishing what they are on an aesthetic level, but the weight, chants, screams, cavernous feel and nod that “Eso” (24:05) and “Exo” (23:52) enact is ultimately real no matter how nightmarish and otherworldly the impression might be. A work that sounds as likely to digest as be digested, it constructs a temple of its own sound and then burns that temple and everything around it in a glorious final push into charred chaos.

Dark Buddha Rising on Thee Facebooks

Dark Buddha Rising at Neurot Recordings

Red Mountains, Down with the Sun

red mountains down with the sun

Few endorsements carry as much weight for me as that of Germany’s Nasoni Records, so when I see that venerable imprint is on board for the release of Red Mountains’ first album, Down with the Sun, expectations immediately rise. The Norwegian four-piece don’t disappoint, calling forth a heavy psychedelia weighted enough to be immersive without really falling into the trap of sounding too post-Colour Haze or Causa Sui, finding a balance right away on opener “Six Hands” between open-vibe and structured songcraft. They toy with one side or the other, getting crunchy on “Rodents” and tripping out into ambient echoing on the penultimate “Silver Grey Sky,” but that only makes the debut seem all the more promising. Particularly satisfying is the scope between “Sun” and “Sleepy Desert Blues,” which is enough to make the listener think that grunge and desert rock happened in the same place. An engaging and already-on-the-right-track start from a band who sound like they’re only going to continue to grow.

Red Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records

Black Space Riders, Refugeeum

black space riders refugeeum

It’s improper to think of Germany’s Black Space Riders as entirely psychedelic if only because that somehow implies a lack of clearheaded consciousness in their work, which as their fourth album, Refugeeum, demonstrates, is the very core tying all the expanses they cover together. As Europe comes to grip with its most dire refugee crisis since World War II, Black Space Riders take their thematic movement from such terrestrial issues (a first for them) and it makes a song like 11-minute centerpiece “Run to the Plains” all the more resonant. Of course, the big-chug groove of “Born a Lion (Homeless)” and the cosmic thrust of the penultimate “Walking Shades” still have a psychedelic resonance, but the balance between the earthly and the otherworldly do well to highlight the progressivism that’s been at work in the band’s sound all along. A considerable undertaking at 61 minutes, Refugeeum is an important step in an ongoing development that has just made another unexpected and welcome turn.

Black Space Riders on Thee Facebooks

Black Space Riders website

Lamprey, III

lamprey iii

And so, with their third and final outing, III, Portland, Oregon, trio Lamprey reserve their strongest point for their closing argument. The two-bass trio of bassist/vocalist Blaine Burnham (now drumming in Mane of the Cur), bassist Justin Brown (now bass-ing in Witch Mountain) and drummer Spencer Norman recorded the conclusive six-tracker with Adam Pike at Toadhouse (Red Fang, Mammoth Salmon, etc.) and even the slower shifts of “Harpies” and the decidedly Conan-esque “Lament of the Deathworm” breeze right by. Like their two prior releases, 2012’S The Burden of Beasts (review here) and 2011’s Ancient Secrets (review here), III is a showcase of songcraft as much as tone, and it seems to presage its own vinyl reissue, each of the two halves starting with a shorter piece, the opener “Iron Awake” a notably vicious stomp that sets a destructive vibe that the rumble and weirdo keys and leads that finish out “Gaea” seem to be answering, a quick fade bringing an end to an underrated act. They’ll be missed.

Lamprey on Thee Facebooks

Lamprey on Bandcamp

Godsleep, Thousand Sons of Sleep

godsleep thousand sons of sleep

If newcomer bruisers Godsleep seem to share some commonality of method with fellow Athenians 1000mods, it’s worth noting that on their debut, Thousand Sons of Sleep, they also share a recording engineer in George Leodis. Fair enough. The big-toned riffing and shouty burl on which Godsleep cast their foundation makes its identity felt in the post-Kyussism of “Thirteen” and stonerly grit of centerpiece “This is Mine,” which follows the extended opening salvo of “The Call,” “Thirteen” and “Wrong Turn,” the latter of which is the longest cut at 9:09 and among its most satisfyingly fuzzed nods. They’re playing to style perhaps, but doing so well, and if you’ve gotta start somewhere, recording live and coming out with a heavy-as-hell groove like what emerges in the second half of “Home” is a good place to start. Godsleep are already a year past from when they recorded Thousand Sons of Sleep in Summer 2014, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a follow-up happened sooner than later.

Godsleep on Thee Facebooks

Rock Freaks Records

Slow Joe Crow & the Berserker Blues Band, We are Blues People

slow joe crow and the berserker blues band we are blues people

Kentucky-based, cumbersomely-named Slow Joe Crow and the Berserker Blues Band may indeed live up to the We are Blues People title of their debut EP, but they’re definitely riff people as well. As such, the four-track sampling of their wares draws from both sides on a cut like opener “No One Else,” the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Austin P. Lunn, bassist Patrick Flanary and drummer Thom Hammerheart in the process of figuring out how much they want to lean to one or the other. They round out with a fuzzy take on the traditional “John the Revelator,” but the earlier “Muddy Water Rising” strikes a more effective and more authentic-feeling balance, leading to the slow jam of “Before I Go,” which adds a ‘70s rock vibe to push the bluesy feel even further and expand the palette in a manner one hopes they continue to pursue as they move forward.

Slow Joe Crow and the Berserker Blues Band on Thee Facebooks

Slow Joe Crow and the Berserker Blues Band on Bandcamp

Monobrow, A Handwritten Letter from the Moon

monobrow a handwritten letter from the moon

Canadian trio Monobrow follow their 2014 LP, Big Sky, Black Horse (review here) with what’s essentially a new single that finds them continuing to step forward in their approach. Dubbed A Handwritten Letter from the Moon and taking its name from the 8:33 title-track, the Ottawa group’s latest offering finds the instrumental outfit smoothing out the tones a bit, still hitting into raucous grooves, but closer to Truckfighters than their prior brashness. I don’t know if it’s a method they’ll stick to going into their fourth LP next year, but the result is dynamic and suits them well. “A Handwritten Letter from the Moon” comes coupled with “Dyatlov Station 3,” a seven-minute rehearsal-space jam from 2011 that fascinatingly (and I’m sure by no coincidence) showcases some similar classic heavy rock influence. The only real shame of the release is that both these tracks are probably too long to fit on a 7”, since a small platter of vinyl would be a perfect way to hold over listeners until the next album arrives. As it stands, the digital version is hardly roughing it.

Monobrow on Thee Facebooks

Monobrow on Bandcamp

Denizen, Troubled Waters

denizen troubled waters

French heavy rocking four-piece Denizen issued their decidedly Clutchian debut, Whispering Wild Stories (review here), in 2011, and follow it through Argonauta Records with Troubled Waters, a more individualized 10-track outing that alternates between punkish rawness and classic upbeat grooves. Four years after their first album, their progression hasn’t come at the cost of songwriting, and while they still have work to do in distinguishing themselves in a crowded, varied European market, they deliver the material with an energy and vitality that makes even its familiar parts easy enough to get down with, be it the Southern heavy solo of “Jocelyne” or the meaner bite of “Enter Truckman.” I’ll take the pair of “King of Horses” and “Heavy Rider” as highlights, and remain interested to find out where Denizen head from here, as well as how long it might take them to get there. Four years between records gives Troubled Waters the feel of a second debut as much as a sophomore effort.

Denizen on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records

Witchsorrow, No Light, Only Fire

witchsorrow no light only fire

Releasing through Candlelight in their native UK, doom metal trio Witchsorrow mark a decade with their third album, No Light, Only Fire. Opener “There is No Light There is Only Fire” seems to nod immediately at Cathedral, with a speedier, chuggier take, and the record proceeds to alternate between shorter and longer tracks en route to the 14-minute closer “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas,” cuts like “Negative Utopia” and “Disaster Reality” sailing a black ship past the 10-minute mark on a rumbling sea of riffs and slow motion nod. They break for a minute with the acoustic interlude “Four Candles” before embarking on the finale, and the respite is appreciated once the agonizing undulations of “De Mysteriis Doom Sabbathas” are underway, using nearly every second of their 14:25 to affirm Witchsorrow’s trad doom mastery and bleak, darkened heft. No light? Maybe a little light, but it’s still pretty damn dark, and indeed, it smells like smoke.

Witchsorrow on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight Records

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Moonbow to Release Acoustic Album Volto del Demone on Aug. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Moonbow

It’s been the better part of two years since Kentucky heavy rockers Moonbow made their debut with 2013’s The End of Time (review here), but the four-piece are back with the forthcoming Volto del Demone, an acoustic LP they’ve put together over the course the stretch since the debut’s arrival. Where The End of Time‘s centerpiece “Take it for Granted” boasted a guest appearance from John Garcia, with whom drummer Steve Earle played in Hermano, the new outing features Hank 3, in whose band guitarist David McElfresh also plays.

The PR wire brings art and info:

Moonbow Volto del Demone

MOONBOW ANNOUNCE RELEASE OF ACOUSTIC ALBUM & UNVEIL COVER, TRACKLIST + RELEASE DATE!

US-based heavy stoner rock band MOONBOW are finally back but with a very special record, the band just announced the release of an upcoming acoustic album titled “Volto del Demone” – set to be released worldwide on August 28th 2015!

Back in August of 2013, Moonbow released their critical acclaimed debut album ‘The End of Time’. For the last 2 years, they have been writing a lot of material and playing shows in between David McElfresh’s touring with his other and well-known band Hank 3. During Moonbow’s writing process, vocalist Matt Bischoff and guitarist David had the idea to put out an acoustic record of songs that were very personal to them and what later would become “Volto del Demone”. The songs were recorded between December 2013 and April 2015 at The Den recording studio in Petersburg, KY. Now Moonbow finally unveiled their upcoming album artwork & tracklist for “Volto del Demone”, that also features a very special guest appearance of Hank 3 himself on vocals, drums, bass, keyboards & bizarre atmospheric sounds on the song “Face of the Demon”!

Artwork and Creative Direction by Ryan McAllister

The tracklist of Moonbow’s upcoming record reads as follows:
1) Devils Floor
2) Take me Home
3) Volto del Demone
4) The Wait
5) Memories Ahead
6) Mission 35
7) One Way to Die
8) Face of the Demon (Featuring Hank 3)

MOONBOW are:
Matt Bischoff: Vocals
David McElfresh: Guitars, Fiddle, Vocals, Mandolin, Steel Guitar
Ryan McAllister: Bass
Steve Earle: Drums

For More Info Visit:
www.facebook.com/Moonbowrocks
https://moonbowrocks.bandcamp.com/

Moonbow, The End of Time (2013)

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The Glasspack Return, Ready New Album Moon Patrol

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 24th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

They’ve been on hiatus since releasing a split 7″ with Trophy Wives (review here), but Louisville heavy rockers The Glasspack have announced a return from hiatus to be marked by the release of their fifth album, Moon Patrol. Frontman “Dirty” Dave Johnson has spent the last couple years tearing it up with poli-punkers The Decline Effect, who released their self-titled debut last year (review here), and while The Glasspack have always had more than a dash of punk to their sound, Johnson says they’re moving more toward the open psychedelia of cuts like “Louisiana Strawberry” (video here) from 2007’s Dirty Women.

Seven years have passed since that album came out on Small Stone, so if nothing else, The Glasspack are definitely due. The plan is reportedly for Moon Patrol to be entirely instrumental. They’re eyeing a 2015 release, and don’t seem to be in any rush, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the plans changed somewhat along the way. But the good news is The Glasspack are back and looking to wreak havoc once more.

Get the full story below:

THE GLASSPACK V: “MOON PATROL”

After nearly three years of hiatus, the Glasspack (formed 1999 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA) is active once again and finishing up writing their 5th full-length record.

The Glasspack’s last release was the “If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…” single of 2010. This release was a one-off product for Noise Pollution Records of Louisville, split with Louisville band the Trophy Wives, and produced on orange 7-inch vinyl. Along with the vinyl came a free download card for unreleased Glasspack material which included part of the Glasspack’s sold-out headlining performance at the 2008 Roadburn Festival Afterburner in Tilburg, Holland in support of the Glasspack’s 2007 full-length release, “Dirty Women,” on Small Stone Records of Detroit.

The new Glasspack full-length record will likely be entitled “Moon Patrol.” It is also very likely to be all instrumental tracks with no vocals. Instead, the band wishes to focus on and emphasis sonic psychedelic exploration in heavy Glasspack fashion. It is no surprise looking back at prior Glasspack releases that bands such as Hawkwind, Chrome, Monster Magnet, and even Pink Floyd have played parts of inspiration for the band. Have a listen to Glasspack tracks “Jim Beam and Good Green,” “Louisiana Strawberry,” and “If You Don’t have Anything Nice to Say…” to get a feel of the possible direction the band is heading into now.

Johnson has stated that the record “will be less punk and a little slower than usual, but just as brutal and fuzzy. What will be different mostly is the complexity of the songs. We are looking to humble ourselves, the band, and others who listen with the sublime fear of psychedelia, not that happy hippy shit.”

The band has stated that the release will take some time, will be done right, and with 100% artistic direction in every way by the band members. The band has no potential record label in mind yet and is prepared to release the record itself if need be. There is even talk of it possibly being free. The bands believe release will be sometime in 2015. Most of the writing work is already finished.

In spring of this year while relocating in Louisville, Johnson retrieved his guitar equipment from storage, as well as the Glasspack’s extensive library (which has recently become part of the University of Louisville archives department). Johnson has stated, “I was moving all my stuff for the first time in a decade or two to under one roof. There was the Glasspack’s library and there was the old red bastard of an American Telecaster that a few years ago I sort of considered cursed. One day I was bored, picked up the Tele, and told myself ‘no Glasspack riffs,’ but that is exactly what came out. Only this time, the riffs were new and different. Most importantly, they were fun, powerful, and ‘Glasspack worthy.’ I told a couple friends that I would jam and all of a sudden, it seemed like everyone close to me wanted to do the Glasspack or hear new Glasspack. So, I started thinking.”

“Then, Nick Hall came over. He was the lead guitarist for the Glasspack before hiatus in 2010. He played lead guitar and synth keys on ‘If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…” We jammed at my home and it was amazing. Nick is a trained musician and words cannot describe just how great he is. I had once tried to describe him as Frank Zappa, Robert Fripp, and Eddie Hazel rolled into one and though this is true in a sense, he is even more than that. He makes the Glasspack fun, complex, and fresh, and ten times more powerful. Just see the Noise Pollution single from 2010. After jamming, we decided it was time to act.”

“Before hiatus Nick and I had discussed my desire to one day make an instrumental space-rock record for the Glasspack. Nick had not forgotten and was all for bringing this idea to back to life. This idea had stemmed from the beginning of the Glasspack. I initially in 1999 had two ideas and band names: ‘the Glasspack’ and “Moon Patrol.” The Glasspack is the Glasspack, but the other was intended to be mutually exclusive from the idea of the Glasspack. It was to be a space rock band. I obviously went with the Glasspack. However, I now know that the only constant in this universe is change and that which is will one day become that which it is not, if it is to survive at all. It is inevitable. Therefore, the Glasspack is back, it will change, and change for the better because I will let it now. Moreover, there was always a hint of space-rock in the Glasspack anyway.”

The Glasspack will release more information on the upcoming album soon. The full band for the release is as follows:

“Dirty” Dave Johnson – vox, guitars (Decline Effect, Muddy Nasty River, and Dirty Bird)
Nicolas Hall – lead guitars, synth keys (Graffiti, Zach Longoria Project)
Rodney Roads – guitars, bass (The Hookers, Brothers of Conquest, Blade of the Ripper, and Purple Jesus)
Billy Lease – guitars, bass (Graffiti, Zach Longoria Project, and The Broken Spurs)
Mark Campbell – drums, percussions (Muddy Nasty River, Purple Jesus, Opposable Thumbs, and Strike City)

https://www.facebook.com/theGlasspack
http://www.youtube.com/user/theglasspack
http://theglasspackkentucky.blogspot.com/

The Glasspack, “If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…”

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: All Them Witches, Rainbows are Free, Idre, Nyarlathotep, Panopticon

Posted in Radio on July 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Click here to listen.

There doesn’t seem to ever be a break with this stuff. 16 records joined The Obelisk Radio playlist today, and that’s still got me behind on checking out more to add. I don’t know what the state of that hard drive is, but I might not be far off from needing to add a second one. It’s become an archive for me.

Diligent and admirable bastard that he is, Slevin is working on an automatically refreshing script that will allow listeners to see what was played over the last 24 hours, which will be a big help if a file is missing its ID3 tags — that being how the player identifies the songs — as I know things sometimes are. I get asked regularly what was played at a specific time, so hopefully this will be able to answer that question.

So things are in the works, but of course there’s a ton of music to talk about in the meantime, and that’s the fun part anyway.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 11, 2014:

All Them Witches, Effervescent EP

There are at least two distinct jams at work in the 25-minute single track that makes up Effervescent, the 2014 EP from Nashville psych-blues rockers All Them Witches. The Fender Rhodes of Allan Van Cleave and airy guitar of Ben McLeod feature heavily in both, as bassist Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer Robby Staebler (interview here) provide a foundation on which to space out, and the two pieces find a bridge in hypnotic, psychedelic stretching and backwards noise beginning at around 13 minutes in before building back up. All throughout, the vibe is central, there is movement, and the four-piece demonstrate that the chemistry they showed burgeoning on last year’s brilliant Lightning at the Door (discussed here) was no fluke, but the beginning of a grand and creative exploration that finds its next installment here. It may be a stopgap — formerly their primary means of release, they’ve recently pulled their full-lengths down from Bandcamp; one expects big, got-signed-type news from them at any moment — but Effervescent is fluid and rich, and as deep as you want to go in listening to it, it’s willing to take you there and further. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Nyarlathotep, The Shadow over Innsmouth

Some six years after releasing their initial The End is Always Near demo, New Jersey black metal outfit (whom, in the interest of full disclosure, I know personally) Nyarlathotep follow-up with the Lovecraftian full-length, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Based around the  short story of the same name, the album breaks down into five extended tracks plus an intro of rage-fueled atmospherics. Using programmed drums to their advantage on “Old Zadok Allen” — the only proper song here under 10 minutes — they add an industrial feel with a keyboard-led midsection backed by vague, ambient screams. The density in the material is striking, but even at their most unbridled — as on the blasting, solo-topped early moments in the title-track — Nyarlathotep hold their commitment to setting a mood firm, and the blown-out, distorted soundscape they create across the release is grim and otherworldly enough to be worthy of its subject matter. It is a complex, biting execution that won’t be for everyone, but that seethes in its quiet parts and gnashes its pointed teeth with monstrous force. Nyarlathotep on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Idre, Idre


Oklahoma City trio Idre specialize in ambient fluidity and deeply-weighted tonal crush. Their self-released, self-titled debut long-player is comprised of two extended cuts — “Factorie” (26:41) and “Witch Trial” (13:17) — that each impress with their patience, their impact and their ability to contrast the generally claustrophobic feel of post-metal with an open-spaced, salt-of-the-earth pulse. Within its first 10 minutes, “Factorie” has moved from undulating waves of riffing to vast, strumming, Across Tundras-esque roll, and never does it seem to be meandering without purpose in the noisy stages to come. It builds and collapses, and when they seem the most gone, the clean, twanging vocals return to finish out, leading to the parabolically constructed “Witch Trial,” which marries Earth-style drone and galloping drums effectively to create a decidedly Western feel while still building toward, and eventually moving through a sonically pummeling apex. Once again, vocals are sparse, but perfectly placed almost as if to remind the listener of how small a human being can be in so wide a space as the Midwest. Like that landlocked region, Idre‘s Idre is expansive and lets you see for miles. Idre on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Rainbows are Free, Waves ahead of the Ocean

Led by the substantial pipes of vocalist B. Fain Kistler, Norman, Oklahoma, four-piece Rainbows are Free seem keen on finding the place where classic doom and heavy rock meet, and on their second full-length, Waves ahead of the Ocean (released by Guestroom Records), they just about get there. Kistler is a singer worthy of comparison to Grand MagusJB Christoffersson, but Rainbows are Free are less grandiose overall, early songs like “The Botanist,” the title-track and the cumbersomely-titled opener “Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place beyond Hell” nestling into heavy, engaging grooves marked out by the choice riffing of Richie Tarver, the bass work of Chad Hogue and drums of Bobby Onspaugh. Unpretentious and professional in their presentation, they doom up an otherwise Clutch-style boogie in “Cadillac” before going full-on trad metal in “Snake Bitten by Love,” and ably making their way through a Dio Sabbath push on “Burn and Die,” which works well despite feeling a long way from the upbeat rockin’ of earlier highlight “Sonic Demon” and leads smoothly into closer “Comet,” the six-and-a-half-minute spacier thrust of which seems to be seems to be where Rainbows are Free most choose to harken to the psychedelia one might expect from their moniker. They most drive toward the epic in their finale, and the payoff there is churning and insistent in a way that more than justifies the song’s position on the 37-minute record, but even then have a keen eye for structure and holding the attention of their audience. An impeccably put together album from a band more than ready to turn heads. Rainbows are Free on Thee Facebooks, Guestroom Records on Bandcamp.

Panopticon, Roads to the North


Despite the bluegrass influence and liberal inclusion of banjo amidst its blackened onslaught, Panopticon‘s Roads to the North (released on Bindrune) is perhaps most American of all for its pulling together seemingly disparate elements in defiance of European traditionalism. Billed as and creating the standard for American folk metal, it nonetheless is in conversation with European black metal — a conversation that in my head looks something like it’s being chased à la Benny Hill for its heresies — while purposefully working against its tenets. Roads to the North is the fifth full-length from the one-man project of Kentucky’s Austin Lunn, and made in collaboration with Krallice‘s Colin Marston (among others), it elicits a sprawl through both its metallic extremity and its devotion to the aesthetic it pioneers. It makes for a heady 74-minute listen, but Panopticon are cohesive throughout — five records deep, they should be — and one doesn’t embark on an album like Roads to the North lightly or without wanting full immersion into an evocative and blistering landscape. That’s just what you get. Panopticon on Thee Facebooks, Bindrune Recordings.

For the full list of albums added to The Obelisk Radio this week and to see the latest updates, click here.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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Moonbow, The End of Time: Along Came a Spider

Posted in Reviews on November 8th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

You’ll find almost nothing out of place on Moonbow‘s debut LP, The End of Time. The seven-song full-length wraps up in a neat 31-minute package, is comprised of catchy, well-constructed individual pieces put together to maximize overarching linear flow, and even features a guest vocal spot from John Garcia of Vista Chino/Kyuss on centerpiece “Take it for Granted,” basking in desert soul and traditional stoner rock application. Front to back, The End of Time is neat, crisp, professional and it goes down with enough flavor to let you know it’s there, but at no point proves overbearing or pretentious. It is a rock album, for rockers, by rockers, and clearly the individuals who made it knew what they were doing when they put it to tape. You will not find jagged turns or sloppy explorations. You will find a nearly perfectly-rounded heavy rock genre piece. It knows what it is, it doesn’t want to be anything else, and so long as it’s entered into with an expectation of seeing a form executed rather than reinvented, it can have a lot to offer listeners. The Kentucky-based lineup of vocalist Matt Bischoff, guitarist David McElfresh (also Hank III), bassist Ryan McAllister (also of Ohio’s Valley of the Sun) and drummer Steve Earle (also Garcia‘s bandmate in Hermano) do not try to remake rock and roll in their image. With AC/DC stomp and bouts of Mos Generator melodicism — the closing duo “Saved” and “Black Widow” come to mind most readily — theirs is a sound friendly and familiar that asks few indulgences over the course of this first offering.

An immediate nod to dudely countrified roots arrives in the intro to the opening title-track, “End of Time,” dogwhistling a Southern rock influence that shows up again loosely in the Down-style riffing of “Fire Bath” and some of McElfresh‘s soloing across the album, but like everything on The End of Time, ultimately is in balance with the other elements at work, be it stoner fuzz or heavy rock groove. Were the songs not so well made, one might be tempted to call them generic, or at very least safe. Certainly the band seems to be staying within a kind of comfort zone sonically, but within that, they’ve been able to craft material of remarkable smoothness and accessibility, and that’s not by any means easy to do. Songs don’t stay with you because they beat you over the head with their ideas, but instead, a track like the suitably motoring “Journey of the Iron Horse” gradually infects and proves memorable for the sheer quality of its making. One encounters bands like this from time to time, who seem to come from an alternate universe’s FM radio programming. They offer classically-influenced songs geared not toward bite or revolution, but toward solid realization of an style that in our reality has been replaced by either the bad-time caricature masculinity in heavy metal or the bland vanilla of indie rock and punk. If it were politics, their music would be that rarest of creatures to be found in the American sphere: A true moderate. That’s a word too often used or thought of interchangeably with mediocre, and while it’s true that by their very nature, Moonbow aren’t about to reshape the aesthetic in which they reside, their songwriting proves well above par.

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audiObelisk: Black God Premiere “Washington” from New EP Three

Posted in audiObelisk on September 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Unsurprisingly, the six-song Three is the third in a series of No Idea Records EPs from Louisville, Kentucky, noise punkers Black God, whose affinity for subversion bleeds into every one of the new release’s 10 minutes. That’s right. 10 minutes, six songs. The longest cut on Three is opener (immediate points) “Ghost in You,” which hits two minutes on the dog, but everything else is a straight A-to-B shot of efficient and conscious aggression. They are not a band who doesn’t know why they’re angry. Comprised of vocalist Rob Pennington (By the Grace of God, Black Cross), guitarist Ryan Patterson (Black Cross, Coliseum, The National Acrobat), bassist Nick Thieneman (Black Cross, Breather Resist, Young Widows) and drummer Ben Sears (Prideswallower, Mountain Asleep), Black God draws on the decades of experience of its members to craft a sound that’s bullshit free and laser focused.

Yet like the best of the Louisville hardcore scene from whence it comes, Three still sounds natural and not at all over-produced. Its social commentary comes across not as pretentious ramblings that assume ignorance on the part of its audience, but as a classical populism that’s managed to avoid being coopted by corporate influence. The songs — which are what really matters — are fast and aggressive, but not at all without swing or groove, whether it’s the initial rush of “Ghost in You” or the more winding guitar-led “The Trick.” Even closer “Won’t Kiss the Ring” — the shortest track at 1:30 — holds firm to a sensibility that doesn’t sacrifice flow to pissed-offery, rounding out Three with quick gang vocals that call to mind the earlier catchiness of “Washington.”

Blink and you’ll miss it, but “Washington,” as the start of the second half of the release is among its highlight moments, with two strong hooks and no letup in the intensity of the first three pieces. Pennington‘s vocals are have a classic punk edge but are clean and discernible, and the steady thud of Sears‘ drums gives a forceful shove and bounce to verse and chorus alike. The call and response chorus, “In Washington/The night creeps in,” is a defining moment of Three, and true to the no-frills ethic they’ve proffered to this point, once they’re done, they don’t waste any time in cutting right into the subsequent “Womb to Knife.”

Today I have the pleasure of featuring “Washington” as a stream from Three, maybe as a way to mark the impending US government shutdown (which if it weren’t for all the workers and poor people getting shit on might actually be a good thing) or maybe just to wake up at the start of the week. Either way, find it on the player below, and please enjoy:

Black God‘s Three is available now on 7″ from No Idea Records in a variety of limited colors. More info at the links below.

Black God on Thee Facebooks

No Idea Records

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