Review & Full Album Stream: Mos Generator, Shadowlands

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mos generator shadowlands

[Click play above to stream Shadowlands by Mos Generator in its entirety. Album is out May 18 on Listenable Records and available to preorder here.]

Shadowlands, as a title and with its gorgeous single-knight-holding-a-lance-aloft-at-a-giant-dragon Adam Burke cover art, make an easy read as a metaphor for depression. Indeed, Mos Generator‘s latest full-length — their seventh or eighth, depending on what you count amid their complex discography of compilations, live records, studio LPs, splits and so on — opens with its title-track and seems immediately to touch on the issue in lines like, “Stranded in dark corners/Trapped by gods of suicide,” and “These shadows grow so tall/Will I ever find my way?,” and yet it’s important to note that whatever Mos Generator and its founding guitarist, vocalist, main songwriter, recording engineer and perceived auteur “Mastered by” Tony Reed might be working through or working out in the lyrics and songwriting itself, Shadowlands remains a pointedly upbeat album.

Its title-track does likewise, with the group’s trademark ’70s-via’90s shuffle brought to bear with an easy fluidity thanks to the rhythm section of bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett, who came aboard prior to the band’s last album, Abyssinia (review here), in plenty of time to develop tour-born power trio chemistry with Reed at the helm of the group. Shadowlands, the eight tracks of which make an readily apparent vinyl break with four on each side and each side ending with a seven-minute-and-20-someodd-seconds cut after one three-minute song and two four-and-a half-minute songs — because symmetry! because structure! — is the fourth Mos Generator long-player (their third for Listenable Records) since the band made their return with 2012’s Nomads (review here) and were picked up by Listenable for Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) two years later, and with the significant road-time they’ve put in over the better part of the last half-decade (they’re on tour with Fu Manchu as I write this; dates here), they sound incredibly tight and ready to take on the stylistic turns these songs present.

Don’t get scared, but yes, Mos Generator are branching out. Their foundation, as ever, is in unfuckwithable songcraft and airlock-style performances from ReedBooth and Garrett that are nonetheless believable as a live sound. Cuts like “The Destroyer,” the rolling ’70s nod of the penultimate “Woman Song,” the opener and “Drowning in Your Loving Cup” — let alone the infectious-as-plague insistent hook of side B opener “Gamma Hydra” — are memorable standouts as Mos Generator seem remarkably to provide each time out in abundant fashion. Abyssinia, with Reed on keys in an ending section that pushed them further into classically progressive territory than ever before, is answered in the guitar work of each side’s finale here: “Stolen Ages” and “The Wind and Gentle Dogs,” as well as the tense intricacy of the almost post-punk “The Blasting Concept,” which works into and through a linear build en route to the more fluid groove of “Woman Song.”

“Gamma Hydra,” at 3:24 with its insistent but catchy verse riff, is both the shortest track on Shadowlands and a ready standout from its surroundings, but it’s for the longer-form material that Mos Generator save truly showcasing their classic progressive side on the extended cuts. The first of them, “Stolen Ages,” begins like an Endless Boogie jam before shifting into quiet guitar noodling and reemerging with at about 2:50 with chunkier riffing, leading into the push of the verse and a chorus marked out by airy guitar notes overlaid. The standout lyric comes as “Some dreams are over,” and that last line brings side A to a finish ahead of “Gamma Hydra.”

mos generator

Likewise, closer “The Wild and Gentle Dogs” brings in acoustics at the start and shifts into a more foreboding feel thereafter on a long instrumental build rife with sonic detailing headed to the noise wash that caps the album. These songs both represent relatively new ground for Mos Generator, who over the last several years have shown a burgeoning affinity for more progressive influences. The ending section of Abyssinia certainly played to this, as did their live-recorded 2016 outing, The Firmament (review here), but even in the more straightforward material, these ideas seem more ingrained throughout Shadowlands. Once more, I’ll go back to the maddeningly catchy “Gamma Hydra” at the start of side B.

Not only are its rhythmic turns complicated and its shifting lyrical semi-repetitions a challenge all their own, but even on a conceptual level — if “Shadowlands” at the beginning of the album is depression, then surely “Gamma Hydra” is the accompanying mania. As much as Mos Generator have made their reputation on high-energy live performances and records of excellently composed, pure heavy rock and roll — which, by the way, Shadowlands still is — the band are clearly reaching for new sonic ground in this material. That they would be perhaps even more interested than ever in growth at nearly 20 years into their tenure is impressive enough — though admittedly, the Reed/Booth/Garrett incarnation of the band hasn’t been together nearly that long — but that they’d be able to bring these ideas forward without giving up the sense of groove, or the penchant for hooks, or the sheer command of their sound that they’ve been able to harness makes them all the more a special band.

From the hard-driving opening salvo of “Shadowlands,” “The Destroyer” and “Drowning in Your Loving Cup” down through the frenetic payoff of “The Wild & Gentle Dogs,” Mos Generator prove once again to be a group unto themselves in the quality of their work and the clearheadedness with which they execute their creative will. They’ve made huge strides the last several years to become  heavy-rock-household name, and they’ve been to a large degree successful through constant road-dogging and a steady string of excellent releases, but as a fan of the band and of Reed‘s work in general, it’s hard not to still think of them as being underrated and to imagine that, as they embark on these new stylistic pursuits, their not only keep their loyal listenership with them for the journey, but be able to reach outside and turn new heads as well. At least that seems to be the idea, and Shadowlands makes it sound easily possible.

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Mos Generator Set May 18 Release for Shadowlands; Album Details Announced; Touring in April & May

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

So anyway, yes, I’ve already put Adam Burke‘s cover for the new Mos Generator record, Shadowlands, on my list of 2018’s best artwork. It’s got a spot. I pretty much reserve a place for Burke on that list anyway, since he seems to so constantly feature there. Sure enough, his piece for Shadowlands looks like a D&D poster I’d want to hang on my bedroom wall — I was going to say “as a kid,” but screw it, I’d hang that shit now. Look at it. It’s awesome.

And though this is usually the part where I’d pretend I haven’t yet heard Shadowlands itself, that’s awesome too. Mos Generator being Mos Generator, delivering uncompromised heavy rock with a classic edge, progressive flourish, and songwriting to stand up to any you might put next to it. That’s who they are. That’s what they do.

Well, that and touring anyway. They head out with Fu Manchu in May and have some headlining shows before. The PR wire tells all:

mos generator shadowlands

MOS GENERATOR: Washington Heavy Rock Trio To Release Shadowlands Full-Length Via Listenable Records This May; Live Dates With Fu Manchu Confirmed

Long-running Washington-based heavy rock trio MOS GENERATOR will release a new full-length this May via Listenable Records. Titled Shadowlands, the eight-track studio offering was recorded in three sessions — June 2017, November 2017, and January 2018 — at the HeavyHead Recording Company in Port Orchard, Washington and comes swathed in the cover art of Adam Burke [Pilgrim, Satan’s Satyrs, Hooded Menace, Artificial Brain et al].

“Right from the opening song, Shadowlands is a record that, to me, feels more honest than our previous releases,” relays founding guitarist/vocalist/principal songwriter Tony Reed. “On this record, I introduce many other styles that I enjoy but they are intertwined so subtly that it doesn’t interrupt the classic MOS GENERATOR sound. That is a balance I’ve been looking for over the last few albums and I think the presence of [drummer] Jon Garrett and [bassist] Sean Booth have a lot to do with achieving that balance. It’s a heavy rock record that breaths and if I had to describe it further I would say it mixes ’70s style heavy rock, progressive rock, and also has some weird ’80s and ’90s underground rock nuances.”

Shadowlands will see release via Listenable Records in Europe on May 11th followed by a US street date of May 18th with preorder info to be announced in the coming weeks.

Shadowlands Track Listing:
1. Shadowlands
2. The Destroyer
3. Drowning In Your Loving Cup
4. Stolen Ages
5. Gamma Hydra
6. The Blasting Concept
7. Woman Song
8. The Wild & Gentle Dogs

In advance of the release of Shadowlands, MOS GENERATOR will take on a month-long, cross country US tour. Set to commence on April 20th, the Road Rats Tour 2018 will run through May 26th and includes sixteen dates supporting Fu Manchu! See all confirmed shows below.

MOS GENERATOR:
4/20/2018 Hogfish – Couer d’Alene, ID
4/21/2018 Rocky Mountain Riff Fest – Kalispell, MT
4/25/2018 The Valley – Tacoma, WA
4/26/2018 The Haul – Grants Pass, OR
4/27/2018 Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA
4/28/2018 Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV
4/29/2018 Alex’s Bar – Long Beach, CA
4/30/2018 The Kraken – Cardiff, CA
w/ Fu Manchu:
5/01/2018 Rebel Lounge – Phoenix, AZ
5/03/2018 Curtain Club – Dallas, TX
5/04/2018 Barracuda – Austin, TX
5/05/2018 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX
5/07/2018 Vinyl – Atlanta, GA
5/08/2018 Kings – Raleigh, NC
5/09/2018 Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
5/10/2018 Brillobox – Pittsburgh, PA *
5/11/2018 Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
5/12/2018 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
5/13/2018 Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA
5/14/2018 Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY *
5/15/2018 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
5/16/2018 Ace Of Cups – Columbus, OH
5/17/2018 El Club – Detroit, MI
5/18/2018 The Baby G – Toronto, ON *
5/19/2018 Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
5/20/2018 Total Drag Records – Sioux Falls, SD *
5/22/2018 Streets of London Pub – Denver, CO
5/23/2018 Streets of London Pub – Denver, CO
5/25/2018 Substation – Seattle, WA*
5/26/2018 The Manette – Bremerton, WA *
** MOS GENERATOR only

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Mos Generator, Live in Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 3, 2017

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Fister Set April 27 Release for No Spirits Within; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

fister

Who’s up for a bit of punishment? Hmm? Anyone? If you found yourself answering in the affirmative, I’ll point you directly to the bottom of this post, where you can dig right into the bowl-you-over sludge extremity of Fister‘s new single, “Star Swallower,” and its accompanying, bound-to-induce-a-seizure-via-its-flashing-lights video. The song hails from the Missouri (pronounced “misery”)-based trio’s upcoming long-player, No Spirit Within, which ironically enough is being issued by Listenable Records. Go figure on that one.

The song closes the album and ends here on a fade, but even that somehow feels violent in its intent, so if you’ve got headphones nearby and want to give your brain a kick in the pants just to show it who’s boss, then yeah, have at it.

Album is out April 27 (maybe sometime in May in the US?) and preorders are up now. From the PR wire:

fister no spirit within

FISTER: Debilitating Doom Merchants To Unleash No Spirit Within Full-Length Via Listenable Records; “Star Swallower” Video Now Playing

Missouri-based doom merchants FISTER will unleash the earth-rupturing fruits of their No Spirit Within full-length this spring via Listenable Records. Manifesting a sound so poisonous, polluted, and nihilistic that “sludge,” “doom,” “funeral,” and “death” are the only words close to suitable in description, the Midwestern outfit are overpowering and relentless at a city-leveling volume like a Sisyphean artillery brigade cursed to push two hundred tons of speaker cabinets uphill forever. No Spirit Within was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Gabe Usery at Encapsulated Studios in St. Louis and will be released via Listenable Records in Europe on April 17th followed by a US street date of May 18th.

A video for closing track “Star Swallower,” created by Chariot Of Black Moth, is currently playing. Comments bassist/vocalist Kenny Snarzyk, “‘Star Swallower’ follows in the tradition of our Violence EP and ‘Horror Vacui’ from our split 7″ with Norska. It’s about the slow death of this universe that mankind will neither be around to fear or appreciate.”

FISTER’s No Spirit Within will see release on CD, LP, and cassette formats. For preorders go to THIS LOCATION.

No Spirit Within Track Listing:
1. Frozen Scythe
2. Disgraced Possession
3. Cazador
4. I Am Kuru
5. No Spirit Within
6. Heat Death
7. Star Swallower

Hailing from the confluence of infectious disease, arbitrary violence, and rivers of industrial filth that is St. Louis, Missouri, FISTER has been sublimating their brutally toxic environment into a deliberate and belligerent challenge to the eardrums since 2009. Comprised of drummer Kirk Gatterer, guitarist/vocalist Marcus Newstead, and Kenny Snarzyk on bass and vocals, this trio converts an eclectic swarm of extreme metal influences into the sonic analogue of trench warfare, concussive, bloody, and exhausting. Honed to grisly sharpness through years of performance, they have shared stages with countless musicians, including supporting sludge icons Eyehategod and Crowbar and appearances at the SXSW, Psycho Las Vegas, and Roadburn festivals. Pairing their seismic live offerings with more than a dozen releases, they have literally poured their blood into the work along the way – for their 2012 EP Violence, the band members had blood drawn and mixed with the ink used to print the liner notes.

From the hazy bulldozer bongripping of debut LP Bronsonic to 2015’s impossibly dismal IV, a gruesome and lysergic forty-four-minute long single track that tests the limits of adjectives like heavy or bleak, their sound is continually (d)evolving. Consistently finding new ways to hit bottom in a sequence of splits with fellow underground juggernauts Dopethrone, Primitive Man, and Teeth among others, FISTER has emerged as one of the nastiest strains of doom metal, adept at fusing the narcotic tension of drowning in misery with the planet-splitting intensity of devout amplifier worship.

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Fister, “Star Swallower”

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Review & Track Premiere: The Golden Grass, Absolutely

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the golden grass absolutely

[Click play above to stream ‘The Spell’ from The Golden Grass’ new LP Absolutely. Album is out April 6 via Listenable Records with preorders here and The Golden Grass are on tour in Europe with Heat this May. Click here to pop out the tour poster.]

The very first lyrics one hears on the opening track of The Golden Grass‘ third long-player, Absolutely, arrive in the line, ‘I want a piece of the action.’ In no small way, that’s been the story of the Brooklynite trio all along. The boogie-minded trio made their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014 through Svart, and followed that up by signing to Listenable Records for the 2016 release of Coming Back Again (review here), a more spacious and progressive offering that nonetheless held onto the maddening catchiness of its predecessor. With Absolutely, they do likewise, and rein in some of the more complex impulses of the second album in favor of good-time heavy rock more akin to the debut.

Like everything the band has done since their outset, that can only be the result of a conscious decision — nothing in this group, whether it’s the vocal harmonies between drummer Adam Kriney and guitarist Michael Rafalowich on “Catch Your Eye,” the opener alluded to above, or the persistent shuffle in the penultimate “Out on the Road,” on which KrineyRafalowich and bassist/backing vocalist Frank Caira put themselves in direct conversation with “Wheels” from the debut in several interesting and telling ways. As they tell tales of the road, to think of a line like “Rock and roll was just out of season” working its way into “Out on the Road” could easily be taken as an assessment of their touring experience over the last several years, at least in the US. At the same time, “Out on the Road,” which is the longest track on the 39-minute Absolutely at 8:58, operates more efficiently than did “Wheels,” or, say, “See it Through” from Coming Back Again, the perspective of which also seems to be a factor here.

Could it be that a cynical or more jaded perspective is taking hold in the band after two records that, by all accounts, probably didn’t get the attention they deserved for their stylistic cohesion, nuance of sound, and quality of performance and craft? It wouldn’t be unreasonable if that were the case, but I’m not sure it is, because while The Golden Grass may have their frustrations as they approach the end of a resoundingly productive first half-decade together — three records, numerous tours at home and abroad, picked up by quality labels pretty much from the beginning — they’ve also never seemed to put more into their songwriting or arrangements. Cuts like “Show Your Hand” and “Runaway” deftly balance accessibility and subtlety in their execution.

the golden grass

The hooks are forward as ever, but there’s more complexity to the interplay of the trio singing together that would seem to be a lesson learned from Coming Back Again and repurposed into more straightforward songwriting — not that there isn’t still room for some psychedelic flourish from Rafalowich‘s guitar in “Runaway” or the brief “Never You Mind,” just that it comes in conjunction with the ultra-boogie of side B’s “The Spell” and harder-edged closer “Begging the Question,” which brings Iron Butterfly-via-Hendrix-style late ’60s fuzz to bear amid a longer instrumental stretch of dug-in turns and more highlight lead work from Rafalowich, who shines throughout Absolutely in a way he hasn’t yet done in The Golden Grass‘ material. The same could be said of his vocals as well in standing up to Kriney‘s still-the-lead-singer positioning, and more than ever, it’s the dynamic between these two that lets The Golden Grass be who they are throughout this mature and deceptively forward, hook-laden and gorgeously executed third outing.

And if The Golden Grass “want a piece of the action” — which I’ll grant they’re talking about in something of a different context in “Catch Your Eye,” but I still think applies to their situation overall; they started out as a band with an idea of who they were looking to match themselves with as broad an audience as possible — one could only say it would be a piece well earned. Their sound, which has always been so much their down despite basking in a swath of classic influences as it continues to do, has never sounded so developed or quite so engaging as it does here as “Never You Mind,” “Runaway” and the trippier “Walk Along” draw listeners deeper and deeper into the meat of the album, headed to the apex in “Out on the Road”‘s plotted but still jammy-sounding take, sounding no less like it was written for the stage than “The Spell” before it or “Show Your Hand” earlier in the tracklisting. Having long since mastered their aesthetic, The Golden Grass have yet to stop developing it, and that’s emblematic of the underlying force of will that drives them overall. Make no mistake, they still sound positive. The melodies are still sweet. The songs are still unbridled, unashamed fun and the vibe remains as upbeat and welcoming as one could possibly ask.

Three albums deep into their tenure, it’s strange to think of The Golden Grass as underrated, or as a cult band despite the absolute lack of sinister edge to what they do, but somehow both terms apply. Nonetheless, what was true about them four years ago remains true on Absolutely, and that’s that their good-times spirit is delivered with genuine and engaging energy and that it puts them in a category of their own in heavy rock, and remains a very-much-needed breath of fresh air in a heavy rock scene so often geared toward pessimism. Underrated or not, The Golden Grass remain a singular good time and sound more content than ever to let the rest of the world do what it is while they throw a party to which anyone and everyone who can get down — even for just a little while — is invited. That means you. They don’t want your blood. They just want you do dance. For those who take on the dare to let loose and meet The Golden Grass on their own level, Absolutely should be no less revered than anything they’ve done to-date. If anything, more so.

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Mars Red Sky Announce Spring Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Seems to me it’s about time we started hearing murmurings of a follow-up to Mars Red Sky‘s 2016 full-length, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). Now, I haven’t heard any, so I’m not trying to surreptitiously say there’s something in the works or anything like that, just that if you look at the arc of the band’s career to-date, it was three years from their 2011 self-titled debut (review here) and their second album, 2014’s Stranded in Arcadia (review here), and two between that record and the aforementioned Apex III, so figure sometime in the not too distant future if they’re keeping on pace it would make sense for them to have something new brewing. Maybe an announcement in summetime? Really, whenever would work as far as I’m concerned.

In the meantime, they’re still on the road for Apex III, playing Freak Valley and Resurrection Fest later this summer, as well I’m sure as more to come.

Dates follow:

mars red sky tour poster

MARS RED SKY go East: European spring shows announced!

French heavy psych trio MARS RED SKY keep spreading the sounds of their latest album “Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul)” by hitting the roads of Eastern Europe this spring, including first ever appearances in some countries.

France – Club shows (March to May 2018)
02/03 TOULOUSE (31) Les Pavillons Sauvages
21/03 CHAMBERY (73) Le Brin de Zinc
22/03 LYON (69) Jack Jack
23/03 LE HAVRE (76) Centre d’Expression Musicale
29/03 RENNES (35) Le Mondo Bizarro
11/05 LARBBEY (40) Café Boissec
12/05 PARIS (75) Fuzzy Sounds Festival – FGO
30/05 STRASBOURG (67) No Vulture

Go East Tour (June 2018)
30/05 STRASBOURG (FR) No Vulture
31/05 NÜRNBERG (D) Muz
01/06 NETPHEN (D) Freak Valley Festival
02/06 DRESDEN (D) Beatpol
03/06 BRATISLAVA (SLO) Fuga
04/06 BUDAPEST (HU) Robot
05/06 TIMISOARA (RU) Reflektor
07/06 SOFIA (BG) Mixtape 5
08/06 THESSALONIKI (GRE) WE Complex
09/06 ATHENS (GRE) Temple
12/06 SARAJEVO (BA) Jazzbina
13/06 ZAGREB (HR) Vintage Industrial Bar
14/06 SCORZE, Venecia (ITA) Novak
15/06 OLTEN (CH) Le Coq D’Or

Summer Festivals :
01/06 NETPHEN (DE) Freaks Valley
06/07 LA SOUTERRAINE (23) Les Rentontres du 23ième type
12/07 VIVEIRO (SP) Resurrection Festival

More Shows to be announced soon…

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Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

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Mos Generator Announce US Tour with Fu Manchu; New Album Update

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mos generator

After hitting the road together last Fall, SoCal fuzz lords Fu Manchu and Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists Mos Generator are teaming up once again, this time to crisscross the entire country in Spring. Mos Generator will begin the run a few days early and include a stop at Rocky Mountain Riff Fest on April 21, and then it’s down the Pacific Coast, across the South, up to the Northeast and back through the Midwest to finish in their native Washington. Well, you knew they’d be up to plenty this year.

Back in October, founding Mos Generator guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed talked about the recording plans for the band’s next album for Listenable RecordsShadowlands. In addition to putting together the massive swath of live appearances, it seems progress has been continuing on that front as well. Below, Reed gives an update on where they’re at with the record and more.

Dig it:

mos generator fu manchu tour

2018 is already shaping up to be a great year for us. We just got done with the final writing / recording sessions for our next album “Shadowlands” and I’m in the process of sorting through the material and deciding what will be included on the album. We had the whole record in order last year and then we went out on the road for 7 weeks and decided we needed to re evaluate the kind of record we were making.

We ended up with something that had more energy than the initial tracks we thought would make up the album. It is also a more diverse album than I had envisioned. I think is due to the presence of Jono & Sean. This is the first album where it is just the three of us.

On Abyssinia, most of the songs were already written when they joined and half the songs either had me or original drummer shawn Johnson on drums. As it’s looking now I would say “Shadowlands” is a Heavy / Pop / Prog album. I’ve seemed to come to grips with my 22 year old self as well and I’m letting in songwriting styles that I have kept at bay for many years. It’s exciting.

Along with record making, we have been once again blessed in the touring department. We had a great time on the west coast with Fu Manchu last November and now we get to do an extended U.S. run with them, including many cities we’ve never been to. After that we are off tour Europe (details are in the works) and then back to the states for some shows in the fall including the Descendants of Crom and Doomed & Stoned festivals. There are still some cool announcements coming and more free music that we will be posting soon.

4/20 – Couer d’Alene ID – Hogfish
4/21 – Kalispell MT – Rocky Mountain Riff Fest
4/25 – Tacoma WA – The Valley
4/26 – Grants Pass OR – The Haul
4/27 – San Francisco CA – Thee Parkside
4/28 – Las Vegas NV – Dive Bar
4/29 – Long Beach CA – Alex’s Bar

On Tour with FU MANCHU*
5/01 – Phoenix AZ – Rebel Lounge*
5/02 – Albuquerque – NM
5/03 – Dallas TX – Curtain Club*
5/04 – Austin TX – Barracuda*
5/05 – Houston TX – White Oak Music Hall*
5/07 – Atlanta GA – Vinyl*
5/08 – Raleigh NC – Kings*
5/09 – Washington DC – Rock & Roll Hotel*
5/10 – Pittsburgh PA – Brillobox
5/11 – Philadelphia PA – Underground Arts*
5/12 – New York – Bowery Ballroom*
5/13 – Boston MA – Brighton Music Hall*
5/14 – Buffalo NY – Mohawk Place
5/15 – Cleveland OH – Grog Shop*
5/16 – Columbus OH – Ace of Cups*
5/17 – Detroit MI – El Club*
5/18 – Toronto ON – The Baby G
5/19 – Chicago IL – Bottom Lounge*
5/20 – Sioux Falls SD – Total Drag Records
5/22 – Denver CO – Streets of London Pub*
5/23 – Denver CO – Streets of London Pub*
5/25 – Seattle WA – Substation
5/26 – Bremerton WA – The Manette

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

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Mos Generator, The Dance of Red (2017)

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The Golden Grass Announce April 6 Release for New LP Absolutely

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

THE GOLDEN GRASS

It stands to reason there would be a new record from The Golden Grass this year, but that doesn’t make the confirmation of its coming any less welcome. Given the righteous title Absolutely the third long-player and second for Listenable Records from the good-time-harmonious Brooklynite trio will comprise eight tracks and see release April 6. The central question involved is whether the new offering will continue down the progressive path that their 2016 sophomore outing, Coming Back Again (review here), or readjust the focus back toward the classic-feeling hooks that permeated The Golden Grass‘ 2014 Svart Records self-titled debut (review here). Nothing this band does is by mistake, so wherever they end up, you can get it’s entirely right where they want to be sound-wise. I look forward to finding out just where that is.

Info from the PR wire. Be friends with it:

the golden grass absolutely

THE GOLDEN GRASS: Psychedelic Retro Rock Power Trio To Release Absolutely Full-Length Via Listenable Records This Spring

Brooklyn, New York’s THE GOLDEN GRASS is free-wheelin’, good-time rock ‘n’ roll band manifesting a soulful mix of heavy-country-funk-boogie and progressive-psychedelic-freakbeat. The group effortlessly draws their influence from a time when rock ruled the world as if they truly are from that “Golden” era. But their gift to us is in The Now, and it is an epic, soulful, and hard-hitting maelstrom of anthemic and tough-swinging aural delights.

THE GOLDEN GRASS will release their third full-length, titled Absolutely, this Spring via Listenable Records. An eight-track sonic adventure steeped in psychedelic flavored blues riffs, the mind-warping fantasy of early progressive/jazz rock, a pulsating British freakbeat/mod sound, heavy doses of proto-metal power, funk, sou, and a southern rock edge, Absolutely is undoubtedly the band’s strongest, most accomplished offering to date.

Absolutely will see North American release on April 6th via Listenable Records with teaser tracks, preorders, and further info to be announced in the coming weeks.

Absolutely Track Listing:
1. Catch Your Eye
2. Show Your Hand
3. Never You Mind
4. Runaway
5. Walk Along
6. The Spell
7. Out On The Road
8. Begging The Question

THE GOLDEN GRASS Discography:
456thDiv. – Cassette EP
One More Time / Tornado 7″ EP
A Curious Case / The Pilgrim 7″ EP
Realisations 11″ EP
The Golden Grass (Svart Records)
Coming Back Again (Listenable Records)
Absolutely (Listenable Records)

http://www.facebook.com/thegoldengrass
http://www.twitter.com/TheeGoldenGrass
http://www.thegoldengrass.bandcamp.com
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
http://www.twitter.com/Listenable

The Golden Grass, Coming Back Again (2016)

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Review & Track Premiere: King Witch, Under the Mountain

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

king witch under the mountain

[Click play above to stream ‘Carnal Sacrifice’ from King Witch’s Under the Mountain. Album is out March 16 via Listenable Records.]

Some heavy metal makes its impact with raw, blistering fury. It speaks to something primitive and disaffected in its audience, manifesting a sense of violent otherness that, at times, pushes the limits of sonic endurance to its very extremes. King Witch don’t play this kind of metal. They play the other kind. As the Edinburgh-based four-piece make their noteworthy debut with the nine-song Under the Mountain via Listenable Records, they do so with an overriding sense of poise and clarity of purpose. Their sound is crisply-presented, their songwriting efficient, their performances energetic and powerful.

Individual tracks present different vibes, whether that’s the rolling undulations and progressive forward drive of third cut “Solitary” or the thrashier thrust of the later “Possession,” but especially with a foundation of hooks like those of “Carnal Sacrifice” and the near-seven-minute centerpiece “Approaching the End,” which recalls finer moments of post-Ozzy-era Black Sabbath in its sense of class and stage-presence-in-the-studio spirit, Under the Mountain is unafraid either to blaze ahead at top speed directly in the face of the listener or to stand back and manifest its ideas with a precision bordering on the graceful. As Under the Mountainwas preceded only by a 2015 EP titled Shoulders of Giants, it is all the more impressive to consider for being the band’s debut, and with the lineup of vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Simon Anger and drummer Lyle Brown, King Witch emerge from their first album having showcased present realization and future potential in kind. That’s the kind of metal they play.

They execute it by engaging with a number of subgenres, and opener “Beneath the Waves” brims with rolling intention and sets a tone somewhere between Candlemass and less specifically doomed, updated NWOBHM methods. A current of keys adds flourish to the arrangement, but the most striking immediate effect comes from Donnelly‘s vocals, which from “Beneath the Waves” and into the commanding chorus of “Carnal Sacrifice” and even in the more laid back chug of “Solitary;” one can her a trained-seeming vibrato that only works to bolster the coherence of the material overall. She stands up to the Judas Priest-ery of the subsequent title-track, on which Gilchrist offers a particularly choice guitar lead, a bit of shred setting up the dynamic tempo change into the chunkier “Approaching the End,” which is perhaps the most singularly doomed moment on Under the Mountain, though neither the guitar nor the vocals are wanting for showcase moments throughout the proceedings.

The initial shove Under the Mountain elicits in “Beneath the Waves” and the shouting hook of “Carnal Sacrifice,” while still controlled in style and delivery, is an energetic blast to start the record, and though “Solitary” seems to move immediately outward from there with a spacious guitar intro and longer runtime, it remains informs by the vitality of the tracks prior, and the same could certainly be said of the careening title-track that follows, its jabbing riff opening up to a thrash-style chorus that would seem to reveal Anger‘s bass as the secret weapon of the band, subtly thickening and complementing the rhythm while adding flourish to stand up to Brown‘s drums. A slowdown about halfway through gives “Under the Mountain” a break into nod that once more Donnelly guides the audience through masterfully, and when the gallop begins anew to toward a final chorus, it’s a further highlight of the songwriting acumen at work on Under the Mountain as a whole and the sheer efficiency with which King Witch bring their material to bear.

king witch

That notion extends to the interactions between the tracks across the record’s span as well as to the songs themselves, as already heard in the tempo shift between “Carnal Sacrifice”‘s riotous finish and the start of “Solitary.” Likewise, “Approaching the End” — which might be the highlight achievement here in blending classic metal, doom and an innate sense of personality in one summary progression — picks up with a slower pulse than the title-track before it, and as by its end it hits a raging payoff, the subdued and bluesy strum that follows in “Ancients” feels like all the more of an aesthetic outward reach on the part of King Witch — a departure from the strictly metallic vibe that they’re no less able to pull off cleanly and with intent. Brown‘s toms signal a kind of middle ground resolution in the subsequent “Hunger,” and sure enough, what emerges there is one of Under the Mountain‘s most resonant chugs, a spacious verse and a sweeping chorus, all of this speaking to perhaps the stylistic melding process that the band might undertake as they move forward from this debut.

Always difficult to speculate on that kind of thing, but if there’s a point being made as King Witch round out Under the Mountain, it’s on the more furious side of their sound, which frankly it sounds like they’re having too much fun executing to expect it to completely disappear anytime soon, whatever their sound ultimately becomes. Both under four minutes long, “Possession” and “Black Dog Blues” make a sharp finishing duo, the former with a vicious forward thrust and the latter with head-spinning percussive turns as if to make the point that the band has only begun to explore the various methods of what will eventually become their style.

The real question coming out of Under the Mountain is whether that style will remain as multi-faceted as it is in these songs or cohere over time into some combination of elements through which King Witch find further individualized expression, but this concern is for the next record, and if anything, Under the Mountain demonstrates with its urgency and ambition that this is a group not just working haphazardly toward whatever ends they may discover along the way. Instead, these tracks clearly indicate a group working as one unit with common goals, and listening to the finished product of Under the Mountain, it’s hard to imagine the first of those common goals hasn’t been realized.

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