Mos Generator European Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

By the time they get over there, the bulk of the jam-packed European fall festival season will be over, and I can’t help but think that works to Mos Generator‘s advantage. True, they’ll play at Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 3 with a considerable lineup that also includes Fatso Jetson and others, but I’d imagine rockers in a lot of the cities listed below will be hurting for a band they haven’t already just seen three times in the span of weeks, and so Mos Generator seem poised to make a standout impression.

They go supporting their upcoming EP, The Firmament, on Stickman Records and their new album, Abyssinia (review here), on Listenable Records, on which the songs benefit from the overall energy that the band has been able to harness from emerging over the last couple years as such a hard-touring act. Part of that was guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed rebuilding the trio from the ground up, but that too was a measure of sheer drive on his part that has ultimately worked to spread their classic-style boogie and groove, as their delivery of same is nigh on irresistible for anyone who’s ever dug into some riffs.

Heavy Psych Sounds, which is presenting the tour, had previously announced the run, but posted the dates accordingly with a few still TBA:

mos generator tour-700

This will be insane !!

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records&Booking is proud to announce the European dates for ***Mos Generator*** tour

This will be supported by Black Bone from Netherland

New album Abyssinia is just been released on Listenable records

here the dates:
20.10.2016 IT Ravenna-Bronson*
21.10.2016 IT Torino-Blah Blah*
22.10.2016 IT Milano-Cox 18*
23.10.2016 IT Mantova-Hostaria*
24.10.2016 IT Bologna-Freak Out*
25.10.2016 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando*
26.10.2016 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse*
27.10.2016 IT Trieste tba*
28.10.2016 IT Parma-Mu/Hps fest Vol 3*
29.10.2016 DE Berlin-Cassiopeia*
30.10.2016 DE Radebeul-Barnyard Club*
31.10.2016 DE Hamburg tba*
01.11.2016 DE Munster-Rare Guitar Shop*
02.11.2016 DE Koln-Sonic Ballroom*
03.11.2016 DE Stuttgart-Keller Klub*
04.11.2016 CH Luzern-Bruch Bros*
05.11.2016 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk*
06.11.2016 DE Wiesbaden-Schlachthof*
07.11.2016 DE Mannheim-Tba*
08.11.2016 BE Bruxelles-Magasin 4*
09.11.2016 FR Nantes-La Scene Michelet
10.11.2016 FR Paris-Dr Feelgood Les Halles
11.11.2016 FR Lorient-Le Galion
12.11.2016 SP San Sebastian-Tba
13.11.2016 SP Zaragoza-Tba
14.11.2016 SP Gijon-Casino Acapulco
15.11.2016 PT Lisbon-Sabotage
16.11.2016 PT Porto-Cave 45
17.11.2016 SP Vigo-La Iguana Club
18.11.2016 SP Madrid-Tba
19.11.2016 SP Barcellona-Boveda
*date with Black Bone

https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator/
http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com/
www.shop-listenable.net
www.heavypsychsounds.com

Mos Generator, Abyssinia (2016)

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The Obelisk All-Dayer Countdown: Mars Red Sky Premiere “Seen a Ghost” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features, The Obelisk Presents on August 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk all dayer

The countdown is on! We’re less than two weeks out from The Obelisk All-Dayer, Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NYC (get your tickets here) and it’s time to get stoked for what’s sure to be a really special day. The lineup is insane — Mars Red SkyDeath AlleySnailKings DestroyEyeFuneral HorseKing BuffaloHeavy Temple — the room couldn’t be more perfect, and we’re not even there yet and I’m so into the vibe I can hardly even talk about it without getting choked up. To say I’m anticipating it is underselling the facts. I’m already losing sleep.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be featuring a different band on the lineup every day in this space. Some will have premieres, and that’s the case today as we start the series with Mars Red Sky. Their song “Seen a Ghost” first arrived on 2013’s Be My Guide EP (review here) that preceded the 2014 release of their second album and Listenable Records debut, Stranded in Arcadia (review here), on which it also appeared.

The album version neatly summarizes the progressive jump the Bordeaux trio made between their 2011 self-titled debut (review here) and the subsequent full-length. Its march and its flourish combine perfectly with the breathy vocal melody from guitarist Julien Pras, and it has all the swirl of the first record while also clearly a building more individualized persona on top of that.

Mars Red Sky made a video for “Seen a Ghost” that’s never been shown anywhere until now, and I’m thrilled to be able to host the premiere of the clip. I have it on good authority — i.e. bassist Jimmy Kinast told me — they’ll be playing the song as part of their headlining set at The Obelisk All-Dayer as they have on select few occasions, and to my ears that only makes the whole thing more special.

Enjoy:

Mars Red Sky, “Seen a Ghost” official video

The Obelisk All-Dayer tickets

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Saint Vitus Bar website

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Mos Generator, Abyssinia: A Return from Everywhere (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mos generator abyssinia

[Stream ‘Catspaw’ from Mos Generator’s Abyssinia by clicking play above. Album is out July 15 in Europe and Aug. 5 in North America on Listenable Records.]

Nothing is 100 percent certain in life, but it’s a far safer bet that, when dealing with Mos Generator, you’re going to get straightforward, immaculately written heavy rock and roll, and that’s just what the Port Orchard, Washington, trio deliver on their third full-length since their 2012 resurgence (sixth overall, second for Listenable Records), Abyssinia. Now a seasoned road act after spending years functioning part-time, the band follows-up 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty with 10 songs that sound as assured in their execution as in their construction, bringing stage-hewn chemistry between guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist/engineer/auteur Tony Reed, bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jon Garrett to a studio setting in a fashion that, as ever, is driven by a clarity of sound and purpose but maintains a heavy, classic presence beneath.

Duality is nothing new for Mos Generator — of whom I’ll say both that I’m a fan and that I consider Reed a friend — as Electric Mountain Majesty showed in its moments of underlying depressiveness and dissatisfaction. Abyssinia, with a title that’s reportedly playing off the Washington-state accent’s version of “I’ll be seein’ ya” but nonetheless uses the word “abyss” to make that play, has its moments of melancholy as well, whether it’s the slower roll of “As Above so Below,” “Wicked Willow” before it or the closing duo of “Time and Other Thieves” and “Outlander,” but that brooding is offset by a thrust greater even than the band showed on 2012’s Nomads (review here), songs like “Catspaw” and its side B counterpart “Red Canyons” pushing into what would be manic territory were Reed and company still not able to keep such a handle on the material.

Add to that last grouping the blown-out “There’s No Return from Nowhere” and the Captain Beyond-style shuffle over which “Time and Other Thieves” contemplates mortality and the double-edge of Mos Generator becomes even more apparent. In that, it’s a fitting answer to Electric Mountain Majesty, but the tracks as individual pieces are stronger, and it’s almost too easy to attribute that to the fact that the band has spent the better part of the last two years on tour — but they have — and so are able to deliver a song like “Easy Evil” with a defined purpose and an energy that rings true throughout the record, starting with opener “Strangest Times,” which launches immediately — no time for intros — into its first verse and seems to be the road song that Reed has been dying to write all these years, the line, “I’m just a slave to the strangest times that I’ve ever known,” belted out before each of the two solos.

Garrett starts “You’ve Got a Right,” which is a roller with a multi-layered vocal hook that presages some of the harmonies to come later on and flows easily into the tempo kick of “Catspaw.” Some classic metal riffing in the verse is offset by melodic flourish in the guitar — one of Mos Generator‘s greatest strengths has become attention to detail — and a slowdown release in the chorus, but the prevailing impression left behind is still the gallop, which makes it that much more of a jump when the relative lumber of “Easy Evil” begins, its nod maintained for the duration of its five-minute run, an airy break, solo and hard-funk fuzz highlight riffing leading the way out with an irresistible groove only to have “Wicked Willow” pick up with a more mid-paced feel that showcases the range in Reed‘s vocals as he follows the guitar line on one last unpretentious bounce to close out the first half of the tracklisting.

mos generator

I’m not sure if that’s where the vinyl split is or not, but either way, “As Above so Below” works quickly in its first couple minutes to set a different, more progressive vibe, and much of what follows builds on that. Yes, it still rocks — Reed tears into a solo and soulful chorus as Garrett and Booth lock in another righteous nod — but a quiet break in the first half establishes a tone that Abyssinia takes as a central element in its back half. Of course, Mos Generator need to get through “Red Canyons” first. The most vigilant push on the record is well placed to continue the momentum from earlier into the final three tracks, which are richer in their arrangements and of course more patient — catchy “Red Canyons” is, patience it has little time for — but less about physical motion. A simple verse/chorus interchange becomes one of Abyssinia‘s standout hooks, and the effect is clear going into “There’s No Return from Nowhere,” which is the most weighted-feeling of the cuts here, though it introduces its central riff acoustically before its full stomp kicks in.

Crashing and shouting and a wash of noise cut out suddenly to harmonies and softly-strummed guitar, keys and classically progressive boogie — a return of the acoustic alongside the synth — arriving as a surprise but somehow still working. The heavier riffs continue to lurk, however, and they do come back to finish out as Reed delivers the title line, ending cold so that “Time and Other Thieves” can start its already-noted shuffle, its movement marked by double-time hi-hat, frenetic choppy guitars and Booth‘s bass holding it all together in classic power trio form. A turn begins with the subtle arrival of organ at the halfway point, but Reed takes a guitar solo before they shift back into the main riff and then on to a closing section of key-led space-prog, Garrett holding onto some of the track’s initial energy but clearly heading someplace else with it.

That’s a sudden change, even with the keys having appeared earlier on the album, but in addition to being somewhat satisfying to hear Mos Generator bust through the confines of even their own songwriting rules, it makes sense in light of the six-minute closer and longest track “Outlander,” which boasts Mellotron layers and a subdued groove initially before Reed begins his gloriously harmonized and intricately arranged vocals. Before they even get to the chorus, “Outlander” is sure enough foreign in its sound from everything else on Abyssinia — one might liken its intent more toward Reed‘s shortlived HeavyPink project — but its progression serves as the payoff for the album as a whole, moving in the chorus to a transfigured “I Want You/She’s so Heavy”-style riff that seems to answer everything the three-piece have done up to that point, be it heavy, melancholic or progressive.

They ride that to the song’s end, and rightly so, and cap Abyssinia on a striking and adventurous note, showing that while Reed has helmed the band for more than 15 years, there’s still growth underway in its scope and stylistic breadth. Mos Generator, as an outlet for his restless, relentless creative spirit, have never sounded more in command of their approach than they do on Abyssinia, and as they’ve embarked on a tour-as-much-as-possible ethic, that seems only to have brought more life into their already accomplished craft. Abyssinia stands among 2016’s finest heavy rock albums, easily.

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

HeavyHead webstore

Mos Generator at Listenable Records

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

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The Obelisk Presents: Mars Red Sky North American Tour Dates

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mars red sky us tour poster-700

In addition to having them as headliners at The Obelisk All-Dayer on Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, I’m thrilled to announce that The Obelisk will present the first coast-to-coast North American outing from French heavy psych mavens Mars Red Sky. Put together by Tone Deaf in conjunction with the band, Earsplit PR and Listenable Records, the tour also includes stops at Doom over Toronto, a New England warmup show, and Psycho Las Vegas before rounding out with a drive up the West Coast, concluding in Seattle.

Mars Red Sky — the trio of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Mathieu Gazeau — recently released their third album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here), the to-date peak of their progressive blend of heavy riffs, melodic resonance and expansive atmospheres. Given exceeding depth through memorable songwriting, it’s a bold step forward from their past work and an early contender for my favorite album of 2016. I could not be more thrilled to have this site included in the tour in the small way that it is if I tried. Thanks to the band and to everyone else for having The Obelisk involved.

Dates, event links, the band’s new video for “Friendly Fire” and more follow:

The Obelisk Presents: MARS RED SKY
8/19/2016 O’Brien’s Pub – Boston, MA [info]
8/20/2016 Saint Vitus Bar @ The Obelisk All-Dayer – Brooklyn, NY [info]
8/21/2016 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA [info]
8/22/2016 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA [info]
8/23/2016 Spirit – Pittsburgh, PA [info]
8/24/2016 Cherry St Station – Wallingford, CT [info]
8/25/2016 La Vitrola – Montreal, QC [info]
8/26/2016 The Smiling Buddha @ Doom Over Toronto Festival – Toronto, ON [info]
8/27/2016 Reggies – Chicago, IL [info]
8/28/2016 Hard Rock Hotel And Casino @ Psycho Las Vegas –  Las Vegas, NV [info]
8/29/2016 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
8/30/2016 The Viper Room – Los Angeles, CA [info]
9/01/2016 Starlight Lounge – Sacramento, CA
9/02/2016 Panic Room – Portland, OR [info]
9/03/2016 The Funhouse – Seattle, WA [info]

Mars Red Sky, “Friendly Fire” official video

Mars Red Sky US tour Facebook Event

Mars Red Sky on Bandcamp

Mars Red Sky on Twitter

Mars Red Sky’s BigCartel store

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Mars Red Sky Launch Crowdfunding for “Alien Grounds” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 13th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mars red sky

Mars Red Sky are giving away the mothership. First, however, they have to make the mothership, and it’s toward that effort that the Bordeaux-based three-piece — who, yes, are playing The Obelisk All-Dayer on Aug. 20 at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, thank you for asking — have launched a new crowdfunding campaign. The space capsule, along with other items being offered as donation rewards, will appear in a forthcoming video for the “Alien Grounds” two-song suite that opens their new album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here), which, if 2016 was ending today, would be my bid for the best release of it. To make the video, as they explain in the fortunately-subtitled clip below, they’ll partner with director Seb Antoine, and they’re thinking of it more as a short film, since it will have dialogue and a plot and whathaveyou.

Probably best to let them explain it. Did I mention they’ll be at The Obelisk All-Dayer? Okay good.

Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) gets its official US release on May 20 via Listenable Records. Here’s what the band has to say:

mars red sky alien grounds

We are working on a very special project:

A movie/video clip for the song Alien Grounds. To do so, we would like to lunch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

Help us raising money to produce Mars Red Sky’s “Alien Grounds” video and win the spaceship that appears on the movie !

Mars Red Sky and Seb Antoine already collaborated on the making of a video for « The Light Beyond » in 2015 / Check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1PM2KT1j5o. This time, the idea is to produce a short movie based on the two first tracks of the Bordeaux-based trio’s new LP, Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul). Indeed those two tracks (Alien Grounds / Apex III) were originally composed and recorded as one and the same song. The main theme for this short movie revolves around space travel, this time featuring a cosmonaut behind the wheel of an old car and aboard a spaceship, wandering in a gloomy ill-famed dive bar, lost around a deserted gaz station…

To undertake such a project, a scapeship needs to be constructed, costumes designed and made up, comedians hired… Let’s just say a lot of preparation and organisation is required and resources are to be found to accomplish this task. This is why we have decided to launch a Kickstarter in order to raise funds to help us realize this project. The short movie will be released OCT 07th 2016 during the Bordeaux show at Le Rocher de Palmer. We’ve planned several rewards in return, spanning from a T-shirt with the movie artwork to the prototype of the space vessel itself, the cosmonaut suit and whatnot… We expect you to partake in the realization of this insane project !!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/894002210/mars-red-sky-alien-grounds-short-movie-video-clip
https://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/

Mars Red Sky Kickstarter Video

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Mos Generator to Tour Europe this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

mos generator

Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists Mos Generator have signed a deal with Heavy Psych Sounds for European booking and will tour Europe this fall. The trio are preparing to release their new album, Abyssinia, this August in North America via Listenable Records, and recently took part in filming for an experimental concert video titled Songs for the Firmament at Joonior Studios in Seattle.

mos generator euro tour“This will be our first headlining tour of Europe and we are really excited to return to some places we know well and also hit some cities we’ve never been to,” comments founding Mos Generator guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed. “We will be adding a lot of songs from the new album Abyssinia to our set and we will also be revamping some old numbers that haven’t been played in years or have never been played live.”

Exact dates for the European tour are TBA, but it is set to run from Oct. 20 to Nov. 20, and so will start just days after the band’s recently announced appearance at Erosion Festival 2016 (info here). That slot follows a summer US tour set to kick off in mid-June alongside Year of the Cobra, for which you can find the dates below.

Mos Generator US tour:
6/16 Portland OR – High Water Mark lounge
6/17 Missoula MT – The Palace*
6/18 Salt Lake City UT – (Crucialfest)
6/19 Denver CO – Hi-Dive
6/20 Lincoln NE – Bourbon Theater
6/21 Sioux Falls – Bigs Bar*
6/22 St Paul MN – Agharta records (7pm in-store)
6/22 St Paul MN – Big Vs (night show)*
6/23 Indianapolis IN – State st pub*
6/24 Chicago IL – Reggie’s
6/25 Columbus OH – Ace of Cups
6/26 Frederick MD (Maryland Doom Fest) Cafe 611
6/27 Raleigh NC – Slim’s*
6/28 Birmingham AL – The Nick*
6/29 Little Rock AR – Vino’s*
6/30 Tulsa OK – Holy Mountain Records(7pm in-store)
6/30 Tulsa OK – Downtown Lounge (evening show)*
7/01 Fort Worth TX – The Grotto*
7/02 Austin TX – The Lost Well*
7/04 Albuquerque NM – Launchpad*
7/05 Flagstaff AZ* – Greenroom*
7/06 Las Vegas NV – Dive bar*
7/07 Boise ID – Neurolux*
7/08 Seattle WA – The Substation*
7/09 Vancouver BC – SBC*
10/14 Missoula MT – Erosion Fest
* w/ Year of the Cobra

https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator/
http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com/
www.heavypsychsounds.com
www.shop-listenable.net

Mos Generator, Songs for the Firmament trailer

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Mos Generator and Year of the Cobra Announce Tour Dates and Split 7″

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Washington heavy rock trio Mos Generator and duo Year of the Cobra recently got together to record songs on a 4-track tape for an upcoming split single, with Mos Generator‘s Tony “The Restless” Reed at the helm. The news today is that this split, which will be out on Ripple Music and H42 Records, will coincide with a US tour beginning in June that also leads Mos Generator closer to the release of their new album, Abyssinia, on Listenable Records in July. I’d expect this to be just the first round of what will probably be a several-legged run to support Abyssinia. Ever since Mos Generator took to the road following 2014’s Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) with a revamped lineup, they have basically never looked back.

Year of the Cobra‘s debut long-player is set to arrive later this year as well. Not sure if it’ll be out by the time of this tour — STB was handling the release, last I heard — but they’re sure to be heralding its coming one way or another. Their 2015 EP, The Black Sun (review here), can be streamed below.

Tour dates and the recently-unveiled art for Abyssinia follow, as seen on the social medias:

mos generator year of the cobra tour

“Been waiting to announce this for a while… Year of the Cobra and Mos Generator have a split 7″ record coming out on Ripple Music and H42 Records. Both bands will tour the U.S. together this summer to support it. Check the poster for dates! Also, both bands will be playing separately on the dates not listed – check our websites for more info on that. Looking forward seeing and meeting some new friends this summer.”

mos generator abyssiniaMos Generator have unveiled the cover artwork of their new full-length album, ‘Abyssinia’, scheduled for a July release.

Tony Reed comments”These new songs show major change and growth for the band, I wanted the cover to represent that as well. I knew it was going to be collage art style and in searching for an image that moved me I came across this untitled piece. Abyssinia is slang for “I’ll be seeing you”. Sometimes my brain feels like the image on the cover.”

Here are the complete dates for the Mos Generator U.S. tour. More Regional (northwest) dates and European dates for MG coming soon.

6/16 Portland OR –
6/17 Missoula MT – The Palace*
6/18 Salt Lake City UT – (Crucialfest)
6/19 Denver CO – Hi-Dive
6/20 Lincoln NE – Bourbon Theater
6/21 Sioux Falls – Bigs Bar*
6/22 St Paul MN – Agharta records (7pm in-store)
Big Vs (night show)*
6/23 Indianapolis IN – State st pub*
6/24 Chicago IL – Reggie’s
6/25 Columbis OH – Ace of Cups
6/26 Frederick MD (Maryland Doom Fest) Cafe 611
6/27 Raleigh NC – Slim’s*
6/28
6/29 Little Rock AR – Vito’s*
6/30 Tulsa OK – Holy Mountain Records(7pm in-store)
Downtown Lounge (evening show)*
7/01 Fort Worth TX – The Grotto*
7/02 Austin TX – The Lost Well*
7/03 OFF
7/04 Albuquerque NM – Launchpad*
7/05 Flagstaff AZ* – Greenroom*
7/06 Las Vegas NV – Dive bar*
7/07 Boise ID – Neurolux*
7/08 Seattle WA – The Substation*
7/09 Vancouver BC – SBC*
* w/ Year of the Cobra

https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator/
https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
www.ripple-music.com
https://h42records.bandcamp.com

Mos Generator, “The Prow” (Voivod cover)

Year of the Cobra, The Black Sun EP (2015)

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The Golden Grass, Coming Back Again: Shine a Little Light

Posted in Reviews on April 26th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-golden-grass-coming-back-again

It’s much to The Golden Grass‘ credit that their second album, Coming Back Again, retains the ‘g’ at the end of the word “coming.” The Brooklynite trio seem to have a sense of just where the line is that would put them over-the-top, beyond belief, and they walk that line carefully throughout their sophomore long-player and Listenable Records debut as they did on their 2014 self-titled first outing (review here), released on Svart. That record’s primary contribution came via its overarching positivity — its material dared to be sweet, melodic, graceful, friendly and warm in a climate that reads authenticity mostly via the miserable, even as regards underground heavy music. The Golden Grass‘ boogie worked in direct opposition to that, and much to their credit at their beginning, they had the songwriting to back up their stylization. Fortunately, that remains true on Coming Back Again.

The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Michael Rafalowich, drummer/vocalist Adam Kriney and newcomer bassist/vocalist Frank Caira present six tracks/38 minutes conveniently split across two sides, tracked by Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil Productions, and geared to be as friendly, welcoming and accessible as possible, while also retaining a sense of heft to the tones and rhythmic push — if you want people to dance, give them a shove — and exploring a newfound progressive flourish in the instrumental chemistry that marks a clear, mindful step forward from the debut two years ago. That answers a big question coming into the album, since it was plain from the effort the band put into their presentation that they had no intention of standing still creatively, but it was up in the air how that progression would manifest. It’s manifested as progress. Go figure.

Crucially, as Coming Back Again moves The Golden Grass‘ sound ahead from where it was, that doesn’t come at the expense of the feelgood atmosphere or the melodic richness overall. If anything, even as the emotional context broadens with some more wistful lyrics, it deepens both the atmosphere and level of performance, as opener “Get it Together” (video premiere here) launches with an immediate rhythmic movement leading to a call and response verse from Rafalowich and Kriney, whose harmonies have only become more engaging. Psychedelic lead guitar in a quick break prefaces jams to come, but the band is looking to start out with earthier fare, and the boogie is as strong as the hook in “Get it Together.” It’s not until the break after about four minutes in that the guitar and drums begin to signal some of the sonic shift Coming Back Again will really present, building to a psych-prog swirl atop Caira‘s rock-solid bassline before Rafalowich‘s dream-tone lead takes hold, shifting back to ground in a tambourine-inclusive gallop that finishes the song. That’s a lot of ground to cover in about two minutes’ time, but The Golden Grass masterfully guide “Get it Together” to a sunshiny melodic finish and the tones fade just in time to let the jazzier “Reflections in the Glass” take hold with a smooth entrance.

the golden grass

Caira shines in the transition between verses, along with some keys and interwoven layers of acoustic and electric guitar — the band once again making complex ideas sound simple — and Rafalowich and Kriney execute a thoughtful vocal arrangement to add to the lushness, both easing back for a more gentle delivery than the harder rocking “Get it Together,” but still finding resolution in the last moments of “Reflections in the Glass,” guitar, bass and drums rounding out deceptively complex turns that meet head on with the launch of side A finale, “Shadow Traveler,” more immediately psychedelic. As one of two cuts on Coming Back Again over eight minutes, one might expect full-on prog exploration, but at least in its early going, “Shadow Traveler” is some of the rawest boogie here on offer, Rafalowich calling out both himself and Kriney in the lyrics — “Hey now here comes Adzo/He gonna show you how to swing” — and so he does, in one of the album’s most resonant choruses and subsequent grooves.

Much of the second half of the song is given to an extended psych jam, Rafalowich and Kriney trading lines back and forth referencing other songs on the album — “Get it Together,” “Reflections in the Glass,” the forthcoming “Down the Line” and closer “See it Through” — in a manner classic and brilliant in how it positions the first-time listener with an immediate familiarity with what they’ve just heard. After a finishing wash and crash, side B begins with the interlude “Hazy Daybreak”; two and a half-minutes interplay between far-back airy electric and progressive acoustic guitar, quiet drums, finger snaps, shaker, etc., that, sadly, doesn’t meet with any vocal harmonies on its brief path. I would not be surprised if next time, i.e., on the next album, the case turns out to be different, but if The Golden Grass are telegraphing future experimentation, they’re no less clearheaded about it than they are with their more established movements on Coming Back Again, such as the building tension of the opening to “Down the Line,” which becomes a defining piece for the album in more than just its 9:45 runtime, an early chug and vocal harmonies giving due sense of motion to the chorus “Going down the line.”

After the initial Kriney-led verses, Rafalowich takes the fore through a section past three and a half minutes in that is the departure point for an extended jam careening through psychedelic lead work and rumbling into quiet bass, drums and sparse guitar noise as it moves into the song’s midsection — the foundation of a subdued dream-prog sequence that moves back to reality via Kriney‘s toms and eventually, skillfully, brings back the verse and chorus to close out with emphasis on the control that was never lost. That makes closer “See it Through” something of a victory lap, though a subtly moodier take in the lyrics — plus another noteworthy performance from Caira — also serve as distinguishing factors. And they find room for a boogie jam as well, pushing toward the last hook with handclaps, interspliced layers of fuzz and bass, cowbell, snare and so on as they execute one final round of deceptively tight rhythmic turns while sounding like they’re smiling all the while. The push ends with a “woo!” and that’s about all that needs to be said.

As much as it affirms what The Golden Grass accomplished their first time out, Coming Back Again also leaves that record behind in terms of its ambition and the chemistry in development between RafalowichKriney and Caira, who by no means sounds as new to the band in these tracks as he was when they were recorded. With a grander scope that still sounds definitively natural, The Golden Grass strike a rare balance between accessibility and progressive drive in cuts like “Shadow Traveler,” “Reflections in the Glass” and “See it Through” that, along with “Hazy Daybreak,” set a context for future growth while giving their audience songs that, in the present, are worth returning to the way one enjoys visiting good friends. They’re working toward forward movement sonically, but The Golden Grass remain a band with a deeply individual take on heavy rock, and there’s nothing else out there quite like them.

The Golden Grass, Coming Back Again (2016)

The Golden Grass on Thee Facebooks

The Golden Grass on Bandcamp

The Golden Grass at Listenable Records

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