Mos Generator Bring Together Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Crimson on “The Dance of Red”

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mos generator

“The Dance of Red” is fresh off the tape deck at HeavyHead Studio. As in “Recorded and mixed in June 2017” fresh off the tape deck. The new single from Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists Mos Generator was recorded — like everything they do — by guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed. Together with bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett, Reed has started the recording process for what will become the follow-up to the band’s last proper long-player, 2016’s Abyssinia (review here), which is set to release early next year on Listenable Records.

I guess while the three-piece had about five minutes of downtime during the tracking process, they decided to work out covers of “Red” by King Crimson and “The Dance of Maya” by Mahavishnu Orchestra. Fair enough for the band at this point — between the hardcore punk of Lies of Liberty (review here) and the proggy fluidity that surfaced near the end of Abyssinia and on the subsequent The Firmament live-in-studio offering, there’s little that’s out of their sonic wheelhouse.

The tracks are streaming now, and set up as a kind of medley. You can listen at the bottom of this post and see some comment from Reed below on how it all came together:

Mos Generator – The Dance of Red

A few months back I made an edit combining The Dance of Maya by The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Red by King Crimson for the guys to review and learn so we could possibly play it live. Both sections are dramatically abridged to try and keep the piece at around 5 minutes. Each half had their own set of challenges. Jono spent a bit of time working on playing around the 10/8 timing of the first section and Fripp always has these oddball chords that need to be deciphered but with a little time spent running it down I think we ended with a nice interpretation of two of my favorite progressive rock songs. TR – June 2017

Mos Generator – The Dance of Red
a) The Dance of Maya (abridged) 2:27
b) Red (abridged) 2:31

Mos Generator is:
Tony Reed: Guitar and Mellotron
Jono Garrett: Drums
Sean Booth: Bass

Recorded and Mixed by Reed at HeavyHead Recording Co. June 2017

https://mosgenerator.bandcamp.com/track/the-dance-of-red-a-the-dance-of-maya-b-red
https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com/
http://www.shop-listenable.net/fr/47_mos-generator

Mos Generator, The Dance of Red (2017)

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Mars Red Sky Release Myramyd Vinyl-Only EP

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

mars red sky

This weekend, as France’s Mars Red Sky take the stage at their country’s largest heavy festival, Hellfest, they’ll do so with a new EP release in tow. Myramyd is comprised of one 17-minute mostly instrumental track (there are some choral-type vocals) on one side of a 12″ vinyl with an etching on the other side. There’s no download code, no streaming version (I asked), no digital master, nothing. It’s true vinyl-only and limited in number. They’re doing 500 of them and then that’s it. I expect they’ll be gone quickly.

They’ll have a special edition on-hand at Hellfest of 200 numbered copies, and yeah, they’ll go too. You can see the release details below, and the EP is available to order now at Mars Red Sky‘s webstore. Unless you’re at a show, that’s the only place to get it.

Dig:

mars-red-sky-myramyd

MARS RED SKY – !!! NEW EP VINYL !!! MYRAMYD EP – 2017

MYRAMYD EP (out June 17th 2017 )

– Myramyd EP – 12″ / 180gr – 500 Copies Limited – out June 17th 2017
– Only 1 Song of 17 minutes on Side A / Etched Vinyl on side B
– Performed, recorded & mixed live direct to 2-track analog tape machine at La Nef – Angoulême (Fr) on April 11, 2017.
– All 500 copies will come with an colour insert (see picture) + 1 Poster + goodies
– 200 copies of the 500 will be numbered and will come with a special 2nd insert / silkscreen at the Hellfest / available here and deliver at the hellfest only or on any shows after Hellfest 2017 / be careful when you order / Hellfest version is in the bundle !
– No digital mastering = No download code !
– Artwork and layout by Carlos Olmo

SPECIAL HELLFEST ED. BUNDLE EXTRA GOODIES (200 copies only) :
– These special 200 copies will be numbered and will come with a special extra Silkscreen of 30cm*30cm / 2 colors as a second insert (Artwork by Arrache Toi un Oeil)
– It will comes in a red Tote Bag (Cobra Design) and with a lot of goodies (1 Magnet, 1 Poster and 1 picks !!!)

Available at: http://marsredsky.bigcartel.com

Mars Red Sky live:
Jun 17 Hellfest Clisson, France
Jun 24 Rock In Bourlon Bourlon, France
Jul 21 Raut-Oak Festival Riegsee, Germany
Jul 30 Xtreme Fest Albi, France
Aug 05 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-De-Gourdans, France

http://marsredsky.bigcartel.com
http://www.marsredsky.net/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.twitter.com/MarsRedSky1
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

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Albez Duz Premiere “Our Lord, the Flayed One” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

albez duz

With a fist-in-the-air grandstanding chorus and theatrical metallic chug in its tense verse, Albez Duz‘s ‘Our Lord, the Flayed One’ was a highlight of the Berlin outfit’s 2016 third album, Wings of Tzinacan (review here). The record basked in goth atmospherics and found its way fluidly into more extremely metallic fare, as does the track in question with its later, pre-solo section of deathly growls, but maintained a progressive feel darkened in its ambience and given a classic edge through interplay of organ and other sonic flourish. In other words, shit was complex. Had a lot going on.

What held it together, however, was that hook. The song almost stops to make way for vocalist Alfonso Brito Lopez to deliver the title line, and rightly so. Lopez‘s power as a singer is evident all throughout the track — and the album, for that matter — and in company with the fervent push of founding drummer and multi-instrumentalist Eugen Herbst (formerly of Dies Ater) and the cast-in-molten-steel guitar work of Julia NeumanAlbez Duz paint a complete sonic portrait that easily crosses genre lines from a doomed center while remaining grounded in a relatively straightforward, structured delivery that doesn’t feel any more self-indulgent than it should given its inherent drama and atmospheric thrust.

Albez Duz recently completed a short tour of Germany and Austria, including a stop at the Live Evil fest in their hometown where they played alongside a deeply varied bill including Aura NoirBangPossessionSolsticeCauldron and others. Though it’s over, I mention it because it’s a particularly all-over-the-place lineup and yet there doesn’t seem to have been an individual band involved with whom Albez Duz would be out of place sharing a stage. The way their sound plays to multiple sides, and the coherent, encompassing spirit of the material they bring to bear on Wings of Tzinacan is both deeply individualized and able to engage on different levels of familiarity.

Dig into the odd, vaguely S&M-themed video for “Our Lord, the Flayed One” below, and enjoy:

Albez Duz, “Our Lord, the Flayed One” official video

Music video for OUR LORD THE FLAYED ONE by ALBEZ DUZ.

Album / Wings of Tzinacan.
Label / LISTENABLE RECORDS

Shot and Directed by Achilleas Gatsopoulos. Editing by Eugen Herbst and Andreas Hofmann. Colour Correction & Grading by HYPNAGOGIA. Performance footage filmed on location at DU BEAST, Berlin. Makeup by Bella Grigoryants. Camera assistant & Stills Photography by Tenia Dimakopoulou. Tezcatlipoca footage filmed at HOLY MOUNTAIN STUDIOS, Berlin. Tezcatlipoca ….. Valenting Tszin. Makeup by Sonya Sounyaeva. Styling by Achilleas Gatsopoulos. Camera assistant & Stills Photography by Henni-Maria.

Albez Duz on Thee Facebooks

Albez Duz on Bandcamp

Albez Duz website

Albez Duz at Listenable Records webstore

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

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Mos Generator to Record New Album Next Month; Live Dates and Reissues Announced

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

mos generator

Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rockers Mos Generator hit the studio in June to record their next full-length. It’s been a minute since the last time the band either hit the road or had a release — and after a few years of them more or less as a constant, that clearly meant they were up to something. Writing a new record, apparently. All the better. The Tony Reed-led three-piece will sandwich the recording process this time with two local shows before and after, presumably to get themselves in a live mode before laying down the material and then follow-up with a victory lap once the album is tracked, and with the prospect of a release before the end of this year from Reed, bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett, there’s little else to say about it other than “right on.” So yeah. Right on.

Of course, that’s just the start of it when it comes to Mos Generator news. Reed, in addition to having now pressed up the Lies of Liberty (review here) EP for a physical release, also checked in with a few other bullet points, including a new video to come for “Wicked Willow.” Not sure if it will be the version from last year’s long-player, Abyssinia (review here), or the EP The Firmament (review here) — the participation of Chris Mathews, Jr., suggests the latter, but that’s not a sure thing — two new vinyl reissues to arrive in the coming months and a European tour being put together for this Fall by Heavy Psych Sounds. They’ve already been announced for Keep it Low 2017 (info here), so it’s good to know there’s more to come on that front as well.

They’ve also been confirmed to take part in Glory or Death Records‘ tribute comp to Thin Lizzy, so it’s a multiple-front attack from Mos Generator, as one has come to expect. You won’t hear me complain. Here’s the latest from Reed and Co.:

mos generator june shows

Mos Generator – New Album Recording & June Shows

We are gearing up to start recording our next record and play our first shows in almost 7 months. We get one rehearsal for those shows. Aaahhh!!!! Should be fun though. I know we are recording part of it in the basement of an old bank that closed in 1982.

We are also book-ending our recording sessions with 4 regional shows. Our first shows of the year.

Mos Generator live:
06.02 Manette Saloon Bremerton WA
06.03 Coog’s Port Angeles WA
06.04-06.08 IN THE STUDIO
06.09 Substation Seattle WA
06.10 The Valley Tacoma WA

Lies of Liberty out now

The majority of these songs were written circa 1986 – 1987 when I was in a band called Lies of Liberty. A few of the songs came from other side projects I was doing around the same time. Lies of Liberty only played a handful of shows and we never made proper recording of these songs (and many others) so great to finally hear these songs recorded and performed the way I always wanted them to be. I sent 1986 – 87 rehearsal recordings of these songs to Sean and Jono to listen to and learn on their own time and then we would get together and record them. On August 1st 2016 we gathered in the jamroom, learned 12 songs, and recorded the music live to 6 tracks of an 8 track recorder in 4 hours. Soon
after I did the vocals and a mix. We have been playing a few of these live and it’s always surprising contrast to our other material. It’s great to see people’s faces when we play ‘em.

Reissues to come and more

— “Songs for future gods”(south spit records) & “Nomads”(south spit records) (US) / Stickman Records (euro) vinyl reissues coming.

— Euro tour in October being booked by Heavy Psych Sounds.

— We will also be filming a video for “Wicked Willow” with Chris Mathews Jr.

https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com/
http://stickman-records.com
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/
http://southspitrecords.com/rock/index.php
http://www.shop-listenable.net/fr/47_mos-generator

Mos Generator, Lies of Liberty ’87 (2016)

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Video Premiere: Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mars red sky

It took me a while — I’m talking a couple of months of steady listening — but I was eventually able to make it through the ending of this track without tearing up. “Under the Hood” comes from Mars Red Sky‘s 2016 full-length, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). The progression of the Bordeaux trio’s third outing nestles it between the crushing roll of “Mindreader” and the free-swinging “Friendly Fire,” but it’s an unmistakable highlight and emotional apex for the record — a wounded love song executed in a heavy psychedelic context. Amid one of the most gorgeous melodies the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/backing vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Mathieu “Matgaz” Gazeau have to-date conjured, the impression “Under the Hood” makes is nothing short of stunning and, at least for me, it’s moving enough to get choked up by listening.

I’ve covered these guys a lot in the six years since they released their self-titled debut (review here), and it’s been a thrill to watch them take shape as the progressive, far-reaching outfit they’ve become in that time, but you’ll have to take my word for it when I say I’m singly honored to premiere this video. I genuinely love this song.

Mars Red Sky aren’t wasting any time moving forward from Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul). Though they’ve toured steadily since it came out — including a stop last year in Brooklyn to headline The Obelisk All-Dayer (video here) — and have more dates lined up this Spring and Summer highlighted by Desertfest Berlin and Hellfest, etc., they also announced last month that work has begun on a new experimental single-song EP that will hopefully be ready for issue as we move into the warmer months. The plan as I understand it is a limited, physical-only release, and though it remains to be seen whether or not it will tie into their next long-player the way 2016’s Providence (review here) set the stage for Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), as a fan of the band, I can’t wait to hear what immersive weirdness they come up with this time around.

More on that when I hear it, and in the meantime, here’s the clip for “Under the Hood,” which adopts footage from 1983’s Chronopolis, followed by Mars Red Sky‘s upcoming live dates and more info off the PR wire.

I hope you enjoy:

Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

“Under The Hood” is taken off MARS RED SKY’s third album “APEX III (Praise For The Burning Soul)”, released in February 2016 on Listenable Records. The video was put together and edited by Geoffrey Torres, Jimmy Kinast and Colin Manierka, and features mages from 1983 sci-fi movie “Chronopolis” by Piotr Kamler.

The band also announced the release of a brand new track, coming out in June as a very limited 12’’EP only available through the band’s store. This 19-minute exclusive song was recorded live on analog tape at La Nef in Angoulême.

MARS RED SKY will take the road this spring for an extensive tour across Europe, taking them on the stages of major festivals such as Hellfest and Download Festival France.

MARS RED SKY ON TOUR
08/04 LIEGE (BE) Insert Name Festival
29/04 BERLIN (D) DesertFest Berlin
05/05 CREIL (FR) La Grange à Musique
10/05 DONOSTIA (SP) Dabadaba
11/05 PORTO (PT) Cave 45
12/05 LISBOA (PT) Sabotage Club
13/05 MALAGA (ES) Sala Eventual Music
14/05 MADRID (SP) Wurlitzer Ballroom
03/06 SIZUN (FR) La Bergerie Rock (w/ James Leg)
09/06 PARIS (FR) Download Festival France
15/06 NEUDEGG ALM (AT) Funkenflug Society
17/06 CLISSON (FR) Hellfest Open Air
24/06 BOURLON (FR) Rock In Bourlon
21/07 RIEGSEE (D) Raut Oak Fest
30/07 ALBI (FR) Xtreme Fest
05/08 SAINT-MAURICE-DE-GOURDANS (01) Sylak Open Air

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Mars Red Sky on Twitter

Mars Red Sky website

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

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Mars Red Sky Announce New EP and Iberian Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mars red sky pedals

A new Mars Red Sky EP can only be good news. In the past, short releases like the 2016 Providence EP (review here), 2013’s Be My Guide EP (review here) and their 2012 collaboration with Year of No LightGreen Rune White Totem (discussed here) have provided the Bordeaux, France, trio with the opportunity to conduct sonic experiments that have helped fuel the progression seen across their three (to-date) full-lengths. Most of all, the interaction between Providence and last year’s Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here) was direct and loaded with purpose. Does that mean the same thing will happen this time around? Not necessarily, but if they’re putting together the release as a 15- or 20-minute single-song outing, that means they’re still feeling out new territory, and that’s an excellent sign.

As that comes together, Mars Red Sky continue to support last year’s long-player as well. They’ve got copious festival dates coming up this Spring and Summer, including Desertfest Berlin 2017, Hellfest and Download, and they’ve newly announced shows in Portugal and Spain for May that you can see below.

If that’s not enough, I also hear there’s a video in the works for “Under the Hood” from Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), so keep an eye out. I’ll be posting that sooner or later once it’s out.

Here’s their update:

mars red sky iberia

Mars Red Sky – New EP is coming with summer – Spain & Portugal Tour

The band is happy to announce they’ve been working well on putting bits and pieces together for what looks to be an epic, spacy 15/20-minute instrumental featuring alien textures, the usual pounding of heavy drums over psych/doomy riffs and most likely complete with the cameo appearance from their loyal Ghost Choir. All that will be committed to tape and pressed on 12” picture disc vinyl, due next summer.

We’ll have a couple of concerts in Spain & Portugal in May !
Take a look at this poster, we will soon have t-shirts with this artwork.

Mar 17 La Ferronnerie Jurançon, France
Mar 18 Cosmic Fest Vitoria, Spain
Mar 21 Le Bikini Ramonville-St-Agne, France
Apr 07 Cluricaume Café Poitiers, France
Apr 08 Insert Name Festival Liège, Belgium
Apr 29 Desertfest Berlin Berlin, Germany
May 05 La Grange à Musique Creil, France
Jun 03 Bergerie Rock Sizun, France
Jun 09 Download Festival Brétigny-Sur-Orge, France
Jun 15 House Of The Holy Lichtenau, Austria
Jun 17 Hellfest Clisson, France
Jun 24 Rock In Bourlon Bourlon, France
Jul 21 Raut-Oak Festival Riegsee, Germany
Jul 30 Xtreme Fest Albi, France
Aug 05 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-De-Gourdans, France

http://www.marsredsky.net/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.twitter.com/MarsRedSky1
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, “Alien Grounds: Apex III/Sapphire Vessel”

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The Top 20 of 2016 Year-End Poll — RESULTS!

Posted in Features on January 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

top 20 year end poll results

The poll is closed, the results are counted and the top 20 albums of 2016 have been chosen. Hard to argue with the list as it’s shown up over the course of the past month, so I won’t try. Instead, let me just say thanks to incredible amount of participants who contributed this year.

All told, between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, 612 people added their picks to the proceedings, compared to 388 in last year’s poll. Considering how much that number blew my mind on Jan. 1, 2016, I’m sure you can imagine how I feel about adding another 200-plus lists to the pot. In short, I’m astounded, deeply humbled and so, so, so grateful. I feel like we got enough of a sampling this year to give a genuinely representative showing for where people’s heads have been at, so thank you if you were a part of it.

Thank you as well as always to Slevin for running the poll’s back end and tabulating the results. As ever, the weighting system is one in which a 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. You’ll find that list (plus some honorable mentions) below, followed by the raw-vote tally.

And after the jump, as has become the tradition, are the full lists of everyone who submitted, alphabetized by name. I’m in there too. It’s a huge amount to wade through, and even if you thought you heard everything in 2016, it should be more than enough to keep you busy for the next year.

One last note: I’m no statistician. Please allow for these numbers to change over the next couple days on some small level.

Let’s go:

Top 20 of 2016 — Weighted Results

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (375 points)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (368)
3. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (324)
4. Asteroid, III (302)
5. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (295)
6. Gozu, Revival (274)
7. Neurosis, Fires Within Fires (253)
8. King Buffalo, Orion (244)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (238)
10. Conan, Revengeance (232)
11. Cough, Still They Pray (228)
12. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (218)
13. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (213)
14. Truckfighters, V (206)
15. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (200)
16. Khemmis, Hunted (192)
16. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (192)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (181)
18. Witchcraft, Nucleus (174)
19. Opeth, Sorceress (173)
20. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (159)

Honorable mention to:
Causa Sui, Return to Sky (157)
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (157)
Black Mountain, IV (148)
Mos Generator, Abyssinia (144)
Wretch, Wretch (140)

Look at those tallies for number one and two. That race was close all month. Wo Fat kept out front for the most part, but Greenleaf kept it interesting and Elephant Tree’s debut snuck in there at third, which I love to see, both because it’s their first album and because that record was indeed so great. King Buffalo, another debut, also made the top 10, underscoring those two as bands to watch, and though Brant Bjork, Conan, Asteroid, Neurosis, Gozu and Mars Red Sky might be more expected names, they still certainly delivered excellent records, so again, nothing to fight with here. Things flesh out a bit in the 10-20 range, but I don’t think there’s one album on this list you could call is “miss.”

Top 20 of 2016 — Raw Votes

wo fat midnight cometh

1. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (109)
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow (92)
3. Brant Bjork, Tao of the Devil (87)
4. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (82)
5. Asteroid, III (80)
6. Gozu, Revival (76)
7. Conan, Revengeance (73)
8. Cough, Still They Pray (70)
9. Mars Red Sky, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (68)
10. King Buffalo, Orion (67)
11. Truckfighters, V (62)
12. Red Fang, Only Ghosts (61)
13. Khemmis, Hunted (60)
14. Blood Ceremony, Lord of Misrule (59)
14. SubRosa, For this We Fought the Battle of Ages (59)
15. Holy Grove, Holy Grove (58)
16. Church of Misery, And then there Were None (53)
17. Inter Arma, Paradise Gallows (49)
17. Witchcraft, Nucleus (49)
18. Opeth, Sorceress (47)
19. Mos Generator, Abyssinia (45)
20. Black Mountain, IV (44)
20. Causa Sui, Return to Sky (44)
20. Wretch, Wretch (44)

Honorable mention to:
Goatess, II: Purgatory Under New Management (43)
Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (43)
Geezer, Geezer (41)
Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies (41)
Gojira, Magma (37)
Slomatics, Future Echo Returns (36)
Graves at Sea, The Curse that Is… (35)
Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy (33)
Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae (32)
Vokonis, Olde One Ascending (31)

Left a few more honorable mentions in the raw-vote count, just for fun and so you could get more of a feel beyond the top 20 itself, which you’ll notice has a couple ties in it as the raw votes usually do and reorganizes a bit from the weighted results. One and two remain the same, however, and in the same order, and you’ll see Wo Fat was the only album that scored more than 100 votes on its own. As a whole, there were over 2,400 separate entries for albums this year, which is by far the most spread out that the voting has ever been. Frankly, with so many people involved and such a variety of stuff being voted on, I’m amazed anyone managed to agree on anything at all, but of course they did and once again a stellar list is the result.

Well, Happy New Year.

Before I go, thanks again to Slevin for the work put into running the back end of this site and this poll particularly. I show up with the finish lists, but it’s his code that makes it happen, and his efforts are appreciated more than I can say. Dude has never asked me for anything in the nearly eight years I’ve been a constant pain in his ass.

After the jump, you’ll find everybody’s list, alphabetized by name. Please enjoy browsing. I hope you find something awesome, because there’s certainly plenty in there that qualifies, and if you see something that looks like it appears often enough that it should be included in one or both of the counts above, let me know in the comments.

Thanks.

Read more »

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

Posted in Features on December 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Yeah, I know I said as much when the Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016 went up, but I take it back: this is the hardest list to put together. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s hesitant even to post it because I know as soon as I do someone’s going to be like, “No way you dick your entire existence is shit because you forgot Release X,” and very likely they’ll be right. Up to the very moment this post is going live, I’ve been making changes, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while after it’s out there.

So what’s a “short release?” That’s another issue. Pretty much anything that’s not an album. Singles, digital or physical, as well as EPs, splits, demos, and so on. The category becomes nebulous, but my general rule is if it’s not a full-length, it qualifies as a short release. Sounds simple until you get into things like, “Here’s a track I threw up on Bandcamp,” and “This only came out as a bonus included as a separate LP with the deluxe edition of our album.” I’m telling you, I’ve had a difficult time.

Maybe that’s just me trying to protect myself from impending wrath. This year’s Top 30 albums list provoked some vehement — and, if I may, prickishly-worded — responses, so I might be a bit gunshy here, but on the other hand, I think these outings are worth highlighting, so we’re going forward anyway. If you have something to add, please use the comments below, but remember we’re all friends here and there’s a human being on the other end reading what’s posted. Thanks in advance for that.

And since this is the last list of The Obelisk’s Best-of-2016 coverage, I’ll say thanks for reading as well. More to come in the New Year, of course.

Here we go:

scissorfight chaos county

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

1. Scissorfight, Chaos County EP
2. Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
3. Mars Red Sky, Providence EP
4. Mos Generator, The Firmament
5. Soldati, Soldati
6. Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP
7. Wren, Host EP
8. Goya, The Enemy EP
9. The Sweet Heat, Demo
10. River Cult, Demo
11. Stinkeye, Llantera Demos
12. Megaritual, Eclipse EP
13. Ragged Barracudas / Pushy, Split
14. Mindkult, Witchs’ Oath EP
15. Iron Jawed Guru, Mata Hari EP
16. Brume, Donkey
17. Bison Machine / Wild Savages / SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 Split
18. BoneHawk / Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three Split
19. Wicked Gypsy, EP
20. Love Gang, Love Gang EP

Honorable Mention

An expansive category as ever. In addition to what’s above, the following stood out and no doubt more will be added over the course of the next few days. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.

Presented alphabetically:

Cambrian Explosion, The Moon EP
Candlemass, Death Thy Lover EP
Cultist, Cultist EP
Danava, At Midnight You Die 7″
Dos Malés, Dos Malés EP
Druglord, Deepest Regrets EP
Fu Manchu, Slow Ride 7″
Geezer, A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness 12″
Gorilla vs. Grifter, Split
Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke! It’s a Demo!
Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar
LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place EP
Pallbearer, Fear and Fury
Reign of Zaius, Planet Of…
Sea of Bones / Ramlord, Split
Shallows, The Moon Rises
The Skull, EP
Snowy Dunes, “Atlantis Part I” digital single
Sun Voyager / The Mad Doctors, Split
Valborg, Werwolf 7″

Notes

Was it just the raw joy of having Scissorfight back? No, but that was for sure part of it. It was also the brazenness with which the New Hampshire outfit let go of their past, particularly frontman Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff, and moved forward unwilling to compromise what they wanted to do that made their Chaos County so respectable in my eyes. Having always flourished in the form, they delivered an EP of classic Scissorfight tunes and issued a stiff middle finger to anyone who would dare call them otherwise. They couldn’t have been more themselves no matter who was in the band.

At the same time, it was a hard choice between that and the Earthless / Harsh Toke split for the top spot. I mean, seriously. It’s Earthless — who at this point are the godfathers of West Coast jamadelica — and Harsh Toke, who are among the style’s most engaging upstart purveyors, each stretching out over a huge and encompassing single track. I couldn’t stop listening to that one if I wanted to, and as the year went on, I found I never wanted to.

I was glad when Mars Red Sky included the title-track of the Providence EP as a bonus cut on their subsequent album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), both because it tied the two releases together even further and because it gave me another opportunity to hear it every time I listened to the record. Their short releases have always shown significant character apart from their full-lengths, and this was no exception. I still tear up when I hear “Sapphire Vessel.”

To bounce around a bit: Had to get Mos Generator on the list for the progressive expansion of the live-recorded The Firmament. Stickman was right to put that out on vinyl. Both Monolord and Goya provided quick outings of huge riffs to sate their respective and growing followings, while Megaritual’s Eclipse basked in drone serenity and the debut release from Sergio Ch.’s Soldati provided hard-driving heavy rock with the particular nuance for which the former Los Natas frontman is known. It’s the highest among a slew of first/early outings — see also The Sweet Heat, Wren (Host was their second EP), River Cult’s demo, Stinkeye, Mindkult, Iron Jawed Guru, Brume, Wicked Gypsy and Love Gang.

Ultimately, there were fewer splits on the list this year than last year, but I’ll credit that to happenstance more than any emergent bias against the form or lack of quality in terms of what actually came out. The BoneHawk and Kingnomad release, the Ragged Barracudas and Pushy split, and that heavy rocking onslaught from Bison Machine and company were all certainly welcome by me, and I’ll mention Gorilla vs. Grifter there too again, just because it was awesome.

One more time, thank you for reading, and if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below. Your civility in that regard is appreciated.

This is the last of my lists for 2016, but the Readers Poll results are out Jan. 1 and the New Year hits next week and that brings a whole new round of looking-forward coverage, so stay tuned.

As always, there’s much more to come.

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