Quarterly Review: Paradise Lost, Vinnum Sabbathi, Nighthawk, Familiars, Mountain Witch, Disastroid, Stonegrass, Jointhugger, Little Albert, Parahelio

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Last day, you know the drill. It’s been a pleasure, honestly. If every Quarterly Review could feature the quality of material this one has, I’d probably only spend a fraction of the amount of time I do fretting over it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and enjoyed the music as much as I have. If you haven’t found something here to sit with and dig into yet, well, today’s 10 more chances to do just that. Maybe something will stick at last.

See you in September.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Paradise Lost, Obsidian

paradise lost obsidian

It is impossible to listen to Obsidian and consider Paradise Lost as anything other than masters of the form. Of course, that they were one of the original pioneers of gothic death-doom helps, but even in the decade-plus since they began to shift back toward a more metallic approach, they have established a standard that is entirely their own. Obsidian collects nine tracks across a palatable 45 minutes, and if the hook of “Fall From Grace” is fan-service on the part of the band, then it is no less righteous for that. In atmosphere and aggression, cuts like “The Devil Embraced” and the galloping “Ghosts” deliver on high expectations coming off 2017’s Medusa (review here), even as side B’s “Ending Days” and “Hope Dies Young” branch into a more melodic focus, not departing from the weight of impact presented earlier, but clearly adjusting the approach, leading to an all the more deathly return on “Ravenghast,” which closes out. Their doom remains second to none; their model remains one to follow.

Paradise Lost on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories

Vinnum Sabbathi Of Dimensions and Theories

The narrative thread carried through the six tracks of Vinnum Sabbathi‘s Of Dimensions and Theories is a futuristic sci-fi tale about humanity’s first foray into deep space amid a chaos of environmental collapse and nuclear threat. The real story, however, is the sense of progression the instrumentalist Mexico City outfit bring in following up their debut LP, 2017’s Gravity Works (review here). Tying thematically to the latest Cegvera album — the two bands share personnel — pieces at the outset like “In Search of M-Theory” and “Quantum Determinism” maintain the exploratory vibe of the band’s jammier works in their “HEX” series, but through spoken samples give a human presence and plotline to the alternately atmospheric and lumbering tones. As the record progresses through the airier “An Appraisal” and the feedback-drenched “Beyond Perturbative States,” their dynamic finds realization in “A Superstring Revolution I” and the drum-led “A Superstring Revolution II.” I don’t know about humanity’s prospects as a whole, but Vinnum Sabbathi‘s remain bright.

Vinnum Sabbathi on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records website

 

Nighthawk, The Sea Legs EP

Nighthawk The Sea Legs EP

Composed as a solo outing prior to the founding of Heavy Temple, the Nighthawk solo endeavor (presumably she wasn’t a High Priestess yet), The Sea Legs EP, is plenty self-aware in its title, but for being a raw execution of material written performed entirely on her own, its four tracks also have a pretty significant scope, from the post-QOTSA heavy pop of “Goddamn” leading off through the quick spacegaze of “I’m From Tennessee Woman, All We Do is Honky Tonk,” into the deceptively spacious “I Can Haz” with its far-back toms, dreamy vocal melody and vaguely Middle Eastern-sounding guitar, and ending with the if-Ween‘s-country-album-had-been-weirder finish of “Stay Gold.” Nighthawk has issued a follow-up to The Sea Legs EP in the full-length Goblin/John Carpenter-style synth of The Dimensionaut, but given the range and balance she shows just in this brief 12 minutes, one hopes that indeed her songwriting explorations continue to prove so multifaceted.

Nighthawk on Bandcamp

Heavy Temple on Thee Facebooks

 

Familiars, All in Good Time

familiars all in good time

Contending for one of the year’s best debut albums, FamiliarsAll in Good Time offers eight songs across 43 minutes that blend organic-feeling grit with more ethereal, landscape-evocative psychedelics. The Ontario three-piece have a few singles to their credit, but the lushness of “Rocky Roost” and the emergent heft of “Barn Burning,” the fleshy boogie of “The Dirty Dog Saloon” and the breadth of “Avro Arrow” speak not just to Familiars‘ ability to capture a largesse that draws their songs together, or the nuance that lets them brings subtle touches of Americana (Canadiana?) early on and echoing desert roll to the fuzzy “The Common Loon,” but also to the songwriting that makes these songs stand out so much as they do and the sense of purpose Familiars bring to All in Good Time as their first long-player. That turns out to be one of the most encouraging aspects of the release, but in that regard there’s plenty of competition from elements like tone, rhythm, melody, craft, performance — so yes, basically all of it.

Familiars on Thee Facebooks

Familiars on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Witch, Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch‘s fourth album, Extinct Cults, brings the Hamburg-based duo of guitarist René Sitte and drummer/vocalist René Roggmann back after a four-year absence with a collection that straddles the various lines between classic heavy rock, proto-metal, ’70s heavy prog and modern cultism. Their loyalties aren’t necessarily all to the 1968-’74 period, as the chug and gruff vocals of “Back From the Grave” show, but the post Technical Ecstasy sway of the title-track is a fascinating and rarely-captured specificity, and the vocal melodies expressed in layers across the record do much to add personality and depth to the arrangements while the surrounding recording remains essentially raw. No doubt vinyl-minded, Extinct Cults is relatively brief at six songs and 33 minutes, but the Priestly chug of “Man is Wolf to Man” and the engrossing garage doom of closer “The Devil Probably” offer plenty of fodder for those who’d dig in to dig into. It is a sound familiar and individual at once, old and new, and it revels in making cohesion out of such contrasts.

Mountain Witch on Thee Facebooks

This Charming Man Records website

 

Disastroid, Mortal Fools

disastroid mortal fools

You might find San Francisco trio Disastroid hanging out at the corner of noise and heavy rock, looking disreputable. Their first record for Heavy Psych Sounds is Mortal Fools, and to go with its essential-bloody-essential bass tone and melodic semi-shouted vocals, it brings hints of angularity rounded out by tonal thickness and a smoothness between transitions that extends to the flow from one song to the next. While for sure a collection of individual pieces, Mortal Fools does move through its 43 minutes with remarkable ease, the sure hand of the three-piece guides you through the otherwise willfully tumultuous course, brash in the guitar and bass and drums but immersive in the overarching groove. They seem to save a particular melodic highlight for the verses of closer “Space Rodent,” but really, whether it’s the lumbering “Hopeless” or the sharper-toothed push of “Bilge,” the highlight is what Disastroid accomplish over the course of the record as a whole. Plus that friggin’ bass sound.

Disastroid on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Stonegrass, Stonegrass

stonegrass self titled

I don’t know when this was first released, but the 2020 edition seems to be a remaster, and whenever it first came out, I’m pleased to have the chance to check it out now. Toronto duo Stonegrass brings together Matthew “Doc” Dunn and Jay Anderson, both of a markedly psyched-out pedigree, to dig into experimentalist acid-psych that pushes boundaries stylistic and national, tapping Afrobeat vibes with closer “Drive On” and the earlier 13-minute go-go-go jam “Tea” while “The Highway” feels like a lost psychedelic disco-funk 45, “The Cape” drones like it’s waiting for someone to start reading poetry over-top, and mellow hand-percussion and Turkish psych on centerpiece “Frozen Dunes.” The whole thing, which runs a manageable 39 minutes, is as cool as the day is long, and comes across like a gift to those of expanded mind or who are willing to join those ranks. I don’t know if it’s new or old. I don’t know if it’s a one-off or an ongoing project. I barely know if it’s actually out. But hot damn it’s rad, and if you can catch it, you should.

Cosmic Range Records on YouTube

Cosmic Range Records on Bandcamp

 

Jointhugger, I Am No One

jointhugger i am no one

Norwegian half-instrumental trio Jointhugger have already captured the attention of both Interstellar Smoke Records and Ozium Records with their four-song debut long-player, I Am No One, and as the follow-up to their 2019 Daemo, it leaves little question why. The more volume, the merrier, when it comes to the rolling, nodding, undulations of riff the band conjure, as each member seems geared toward bringing as much weight to bear as much as possible. I’m serious. Even the hi-hat is heavy, never mind the guitar or bass or the cave-echoing vocals of the title-track. “Domen” slips into some shuffle — if you can call something that dense-sounding a shuffle — and underscores its solo with an entire bog’s worth of low end, and though closer “Nightfright” is the only inclusion that actually tops 10 minutes, it communicates an intensity of crush that is nothing if not consistent with what’s come before. There are flashes of letup here and there, but it’s impact at the core of Jointhugger‘s approach, and they offer plenty of it. Don’t be surprised when the CD and LP sell through, and don’t be surprised if they get re-pressed later.

Jointhugger on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records webstore

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

 

Little Albert, Swamp King

Little Albert Swamp King

Stepping out both in terms of style and substance from his position as guitarist in atmospheric doomers Messa, Little Albert — aka Alberto Piccolo — pronounces himself “swamp king” in the opening lines of his debut solo release of the same name, and the mellow ambiance and psychedelic flourish of tone in “Bridge of Sighs” and “Mean Old Woman” and the aptly-titled “Blues Asteroid” offer an individualized blend of psychedelic blues that seems to delight in tipping the balance back and forth from one to the other while likewise taking the songs through full band arrangements and more intimate wanderings. Some of the songs have a tendency to roll outward and not return, as does “Mary Claire” or “Mean Old Woman,” but “Outside Woman Blues” and the closer “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” hold tighter to the ground than some of what surrounds, so again, there’s a balance. Plus, as mellow as Swamp King is in its overarching affect, it’s neither difficult nor anything but a pleasure to follow along where Piccolo leads. If that’s off the psych-blues deep end, so be it. Only issue I take with him being king of the swamp is that the album’s domain hardly seems so limited.

Little Albert on Thee Facebooks

Aural Music on Bandcamp

 

Parahelio, Surge Evelia, Surge

Parahelio Surge Evelia Surge

Beautiful, patient and pastoral psychedelia fleshes out across the three tracks of Parahelio‘s debut full-length, Surge Evelia, Surge. Issued on vinyl through Necio Records, the three-song offering reportedly pays homage to a mining town in the band’s native Peru, but it does so with a breadth that seems to cover so much between heavy post-rock and psych that it’s difficult not to imagine places decidedly more ethereal. Beginning with its title-track (12:33) and moving into the swells and recessions of “Gestos y Distancia,” the album builds to an encompassing payoff for side A before unveiling “Ha’Adam,” a 23-minute side-consuming rollout that encompasses not only soundscaping, but a richly human feel in its later take, solidifying around a drum march and a heavy build of guitar that shouldn’t sound strange to fans of Pelican or Russian Circles yet manages somehow to transcend the hypnotic in favor of the dynamic, the immersive, and again, the beautiful. What follows is desolation and aftermath, and that’s how the record ends, but even there, the textures and the spirit of the release remain central. I always do myself a favor with the last release of any Quarterly Review, and this is no exception.

Parahelio on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

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Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight Post Acoustic “Dragonaut” Cover

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Trippy Wicked

Does this mean we’re going to get an acoustic recording of Trippy Wicked‘s take on Crowbar‘s “The Lasting Dose” too? Because that’d be just fine as far as I’m concerned. I went back and looked, the Trippy Wicked‘s acoustic take on Sleep‘s ultra-classic “Dragonaut” dates back to 2011, so when Chris West says he’s been meaning to properly record them “forever,” he’s at least talking about nine years’ worth of time, which certainly isn’t nothing. I’ve posted the original video under the new version at the bottom of this post, because after all this time it still brings me joy, and I’m glad they’re using the lockdown time to get these to tape, because they’re quality beyond novelty.

Here’s the news and the audio:

trippy wicked dragonaut

Trippy Wicked Launch Series of Acoustic Singles With Their Cover of Sleep’s Dragonaut

In early 2020 the band had to suspend recording of their third full length album due to Covid-19 lockdown measures. Out of work and with a lot of time on their hands they decided to start remotely recording some of the acoustic material they have worked on over the years.

This material includes some cover songs and some acoustic versions of Trippy Wicked songs.

Chris West commented:

“Both myself and Pete are currently out of work and recording these acoustic songs has been on my to do list forever so now is the perfect time. Recording the album was going well and this is a way of not losing too much of the momentum with the band. We’re gonna start putting them out as singles to start. Mostly they’re light and they’re fun and I just want people to hear them. I wasn’t sure about putting an album together at first but I think we probably will because I’m having more and more ideas around that as I work on the songs.”

The project kicks off with their acoustic cover of Sleep’s Dragonaut which is now available most places.

https://www.facebook.com/trippywicked
https://www.instagram.com/trippywicked
https://trippywicked.bandcamp.com/
https://www.trippywicked.band/

Trippy Wicked, “Dragonaut”

Trippy Wicked, “Dragonaut” (live take)

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Black Helium Set July 24 Release for The Wholly Other

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

black helium

They open the record with a song called ‘Hippie on a Slab,’ so if there was any doubt London psych freaks Black Helium meant business, that should set the matter at least somewhat to rest. Of course, if such concerns existed at all, it probably wasn’t from those exposed to the band’s 2018 debut, Primitive Fuck (review here), which was every bit the outsider rowdiness one might expect from its name while still taking the time to play with atmospheres like somebody melting a Sabbath record onto a turntable and somehow playing it. It was a weirdo rager, through and through.

One’s expectations are accordingly high for the follow-up, The Wholly Other, which is out next month on Riot Season Records. I haven’t yet, but I’m going to do everything in my power to hear it, as I think out might be just the kick in the ass I need. And by what’s in my power, I mean I’ll probably try to send an email. Hear me roar, and such.

Take it away, PR wire:

black helium the wholly other

BLACK HELIUM RELEASE 2ND LP ‘THE WHOLLY OTHER’ WITH RIOT SEASON RECORDS

Black Helium aim to deliver a lysergic heterogeneous sprawl on this, their second LP ‘The Wholly Other.’ From the blunt thunderous groove of ‘Hippie On A Slab’ to the narcotic tranquillity of ‘Teetering On The Edge’, via the hypnotic ascension of ‘Pink Bolt’.
‘The Wholly Other’ was recorded live over two loud, sweat drenched days in August 2019 by Wayne Adams at Bear Bites Horse Studio (Green Lung, 11PARANOIAS, Casual Nun), just before the band embarked on a UK tour with Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs.

Black Helium are a four-piece psychedelic rock group, based in London. Never afraid to stray from the beaten path, they traverse aural hallucinatory soundscapes; from detuned Neanderthal rock to deep oceans of introspective blissed out psychedelia. Influences include, amongst many: Amon Duul II, Loop, Hawkwind, The Stooges, The Groundhogs, Spacemen 3 and Electric Wizard.

ARTIST Black Helium
TITLE The Wholly Other
CATALOGUE REPOSELP093
LABEL Riot Season Records
RELEASE DATE 24th July 2020

SIDE A
1 HIPPIE ON A SLAB (7:12)
2 TWO MASTERS (5:05)
3 DEATH STATION OF THE GODDESS (10:03)

SIDE B
1 ONE WAY TRIP (5:02)
2 PINK BOLT (10:27)
3 TEETERING ON THE EDGE (4:03)

BLACK HELIUM are
Stuart Gray (vocals, guitar)
Beck Harvey (bass, vocals)
Diogo Gomes (drums)
Davey Mulka (guitar)

https://www.facebook.com/blackhelium
https://blackheliumband.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/blackheliumband
http://www.riotseason.com
https://riotseasonrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/riotseasonrecords

Black Helium, Primitive Fuck (2018)

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Friday Full-Length: Josiah, Procession

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

It continues to be a matter of some debate as to whether rock and roll will save or damn your eternal soul. Well, your soul is a myth, and if rock and roll gets your blood moving during your limited, mostly futile existence, then fuck it, run with that. Once upon a United Kingdom there was a band called Josiah, and oh my, could they boogie. In the annals of pre-mobile/social media ubiquity, they were a well-kept secret of fuzz worshipers, riff heads and those frequenting the message boards of the day, but my oh my their grooves hold up. Procession (review here) was their final outing, arriving in 2010 through Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek‘s Elektrohasch Schallplatten imprint, and it only underscored the point of how fierce they could be in their prime.

Fronted by guitarist Mat Bethancourt — who also did time with The Kings of Frog Island and Dexter Jones Circus Orchestra and was last heard from in Cherry Choke, running his own festival and doing artwork for various acts — and completed in their final incarnation by bassist Sie Beasley and drummer Keith Beacom, Josiah started around the turn of the century and were well ahead of the pack when it came to ’70s-style riffing, most especially in the UK, where doom and more straight-ahead stoner rock largely reigned supreme, Bill Steer‘s Firebird notwithstanding. Josiah‘s 2002 self-titled debut has been reissued a number of times at this point and it remains undervalued for what it accomplished in heavy boogie, and the organic tonality that came with Into the Outside in 2004 and 2007’s harder-driving No Time was not to be taken lightly or overlooked. Releasing through Elektrohasch and Molten Records, their profile was never as high as some of England’s forerunners in Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard or Cathedral, but even unto the post-breakup swansong that was Procession, the force of their delivery and groove was palpable, and whatever direction it was sending you, it sent you.

Of course, by 2010, the situation had changed, or at very least it was changing. The rise of Witchcraft and the first Graveyard record in Sweden has brought retroism to a broader audience, and Kadavar would soon rise up from Germany to continue the movement. Still though, Josiah were never a purely retro band, and Procession‘s early tracks remind of the niche they occupied between the classic and more modern josiah processionbranches of heavy rock. Certainly the swing and proto-punk rush of the opening title-track and “Broken Doll” after it have their foundations in a ’70s mindset, but “Thirteen Scene” was and is distinguished by its Queens of the Stone Age-style bounce, and even the strut of “Dying Day,” which follows, seems to modernize a one-guitar Thin Lizzy groove, all that swagger and attitude channeled into a nod-ready rhythm that is a timeless vision of cool refusing to be denied. That these first four tracks were recorded in 2006 is important. That puts them before or at least vaguely concurrent to No Time, but if they sat around after those sessions and were going to show up elsewhere and didn’t, then at least the band was able to put them to good use posthumously and remind their audience of what was.

“Dead Forever” serves as a transition point following “Dying Day” — two morose-sounding cuts, to be sure, but neither of which is particularly dark in terms of sound — and is a rawer take in the actual recording. It veers into some spaced-out guitar over the shove of its apex, and might represent the last of Josiah‘s studio work, given that it came after the final album-album. If that’s the case, it’s somewhat emblematic of the changing mindset on the part of Bethancourt, whose appreciation for garage rock came through not only in the third album from The Kings of Frog Island, which was his last with the band, but with the first Cherry Choke LP as well. “Dead Forever” harnesses some of that same style, but the personality of the rhythm section is still prevalent in what they’re doing, and so the five-and-a-half-minute cut keeps a more weighted edge. It makes for a fascinating blend, and if Josiah had wanted to, no doubt they could’ve put together a full-length of such material and continued to refine their niche and songwriting processes, but it wasn’t to be.

I don’t know what became of Beasley or Beacom, but from the first Cherry Choke album in 2009 through the most recent one in 2015, Bethancourt kept expanding that band’s sonic palette to suit shifting influences between garage rock, heavy psychedelia and classic-styled boogie. When last they were heard from on social media, they were working on material for a fourth record, though who knows what the status of that might be.

In the meantime, though, Procession rounds out Josiah‘s run with five corresponding live tracks that were taped in Sweden circa 2007. Among them are four songs from No Time in “Time to Kill,” “Looking at the Mountain,” “Silas Brainchild” and “I Can’t Seem to Find It,” which closes, as well as “Malpaso,” which comes from the first record and is perhaps truest to the original era of late-’90s/early-’00s stoner rock of anything Josiah have on offer here. That Procession is split between studio and live material doesn’t really matter to the overall listening experience — if anything, it brings into relief just how much in common they had between performing in one context and the other — and the front-to-back progression of Procession (yes, I’m a little ashamed of that phrasing) feels all the more appropriate as an encapsulation of who Josiah were for having both sides represented. I like the idea of a goodbye offering, and Procession is a particularly encompassing one that puts a stamp on Josiah‘s career and even a decade after the fact reminds of what they managed to accomplish during their time together.

And anytime Elektrohasch want to go ahead and do another pressing of JosiahInto the Outside or No Time, or hell, even this, I can’t imagine they’d run into much argument. Someday some Akarma-style label is going to come for all this stuff. I hope I’m around to dig it all over again when that happens.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I wrote the above yesterday so I’d have time this morning to work on the Mars Red Sky review that went up a bit ago. Nice to have that kind of flexibility, but I honestly don’t think it matters much to anyone other than me. Reviewing streams makes for interesting discussion in my mind, but to this point it’s a conversation I’m having with myself. Ups and downs to that, like anything. Humbling, usually.

Next week is full. There’s a lot of premieres. One for Temple Fang that’s been pushed back a couple times. A Psychlona video. A track from Morton Gaster Papadopoulos, who’ve been featured here before.

I’d find you the link to the last time I posted about that project with members of Stinking Lizaveta and Clutch and so on, but I’m writing in the car and as you might expect, running the wifi off my phone is for crap, especially as we’re driving through a rural area in New Jersey to go to Space Farms basically so my kid can throw corn out the window to animals as we drive past — “1-2-3-corn!” he yells while throwing. It’s usually a walk-around zoo, but they’ve made it a driving thing during the pandemic. This is the second time we’ve gone in the last week.

Because that’s real life. You do what you need to do.

Anyhow, that’s basically the weekend plans. Get through it. Went for a run this morning with the kid and he face-planted on the pavement, got a big scrape and knot on his forehead that’s gonna be there for at least the next week. We hold hands while we run, but frankly, we were both sweaty and he just slipped out of my grasp while falling. I had caught him like four other times, which is pretty standard, but yeah. The one time. He was up and finishing the run shortly after though. Dude is way tougher than my ass. I’d be in bed for the rest of the day. If not two days.

More real life.

Thanks for reading. Great and safe weekend. If you’re reading this, I hope you and yours are well; life, limb, livelihood.

FRM.

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The River Announce Violet Violent Sine Waves EP out Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

This Friday, June 5, Bandcamp is doing another fee-waiving event where bands will take in the entirety of the money on their releases. This will be the third time it’s happened, and already last time, we saw bands putting out special releases and things like that in order to take advantage. As time and pandemic-lockdowns proceed, more bands have more recordings — can’t play shows, gotta do something — and so we see London’s The River with a quick turnaround from their 2019 long-player, Vessels into White Tides (review here), with the new EP, Violet Violent Sine Waves, which, indeed, was tracked during lockdown.

It’ll be name-your-price, but if there was ever an occasion to throw the band a few pounds, it’s the waived-fee day. I haven’t heard the release yet, but it’s got one new songs and it seems like three others from the last record redone in some quieter fashion — acoustics? pianos? who knows. Either way, this is a direct example of something that probably wouldn’t be coming out in the form it is without the occasion Bandcamp are sponsoring, so consider the interplay between patronage and creativity right there as you sit and consider the price you’ll name. Support matters.

Here’s the info I have:

the river violet violent sine waves

The River – New EP

A companion piece of sorts to 2019’s critically acclaimed ‘Vessels Into White Tides’, ‘Violet Violent Sine Waves’ was recorded in lockdown, March-May 2020, during the global Coronavirus Pandemic. Comprising three songs reworked from the aforementioned album, as well as a brand new composition, the music has been painted in subtler & softer tones, showcasing a maturity to the band’s songwriting & craft whilst retaining the integrity of the original recordings.

‘Violet Violent Sine Waves’ will be released on June 5th 2020 as a pay-what-you-want download from the band’s Bandcamp site & will be streaming across all the usual sites within due course.

Line-up
Jenny Newton – Guitars, Vocals, Strings, Percussion
Christian Leitch – Guitars, Percussion
Stephen Morrissey – Bass
Jason Ludwig – Drums

facebook.com/riverbanduk
riverbanduk.bandcamp.com/
instagram.com/_riverbanduk/
https://open.spotify.com/album/5sWZYcfQ9FgaLxkSJAleQ0
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYGlhUlzveouAu6byo6j6TQ

The River, “Vessels” official video

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Wren to Release Groundswells June 26; New Single Playing Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

wren

I had a quick conversation with my brain while listening to the new Wren track. It went like this:

ME: “New Wren‘s a banger.”

MY BRAIN: (While chewing a wheat stalk and intermittently spitting) Yup.

That’s pretty much how it went.

The London post-metal four-piece have linked arms with Gizeh Records and will release their new offering, Groundswells, in about a month’s time. The song in question — “Seek the Unkindred,” streaming at the bottom of this post — well encapsulates their rawer post-Neurosis undulations and the emergent progressive streak that goes along with it. Their debut, 2017’s Auburn Rule (discussed here), was followed by the 19-minute single-song EP, Thrall, which Gizeh issued on CD, so it’s not exactly a new association, but it is exactly a new album, and I’m pretty damn pleased about that prospect. My brain is too, though it tries to play it cool.

Ladies and gents, I give you the PR wire:

wren groundswells

WREN – GROUNDSWELLS

June 26th 2020 • Digital
September 25th 2020 • LP/CD
GZH99

‘GROUNDSWELLS’ is the third chapter in Wren’s seasonal lore exploration, and their first through Gizeh Records. These six melancholy-shrouded sonic ruminations swell between intimate performances devoid of adornment, and evolving soundscapes of auditory ruin. Tracing an elemental arch, ‘GROUNDSWELLS’ captures Wren delving into earthen awakenings.

Launching into a monochromatic dirge, ‘Chromed’ announces the LPs stylistic intentions, forgoing the trappings of traditional harmony with deliberate pendulums of pitch and tone. Swarms of percussion drag the track to its conclusion in a collage of insidious feedback, with oscillations sculpted by the record’s producer, Scott Evans of Kowloon Walled City.

Elsewhere, swift variance is displayed in Wrens’ deft handling of genre and form, refusing to be solely one of either. The record courses between rigid post-punk, broad waves of dreaded sludge, and austere choral reverberations. Pulsating Krautrock themes present in their previous work are revisited, with a focus on embracing archetypal motorik technique, as the LP stretches compositions to their furthest tensions through profuse repetition, straining the cracks between.

Inviting physical, elemental surrounds into ‘Subterranean Messiah’, Wren allow space for the sudden cloudburst of Middle Farm Studios in the introductory passage via location recording, embracing the interplay between source and locality. Combined with the painterly fretwork and ghostly chants of Fvnerals, the collaboration seeks an emotive new path of melodic vulnerability. In contrast, the closing elegy is layered with disharmonious cycles of agonised cello from Jo Quail. As with other conclusions on the LP, the track’s commitment to strained repetition is rewarded with sonic climaxes of blackened psychedelia, led by stalagmitic spirals of atonalism.

Throughout the LP, Wren draws from their long-standing apologue, with a partnership of vocalists showcasing a lyrical and vocal interplay thick with a dense lore new to their compositions. ‘GROUNDSWELLS’ brings Wren to an equinox in their earthly contemplations. Ruminating on the decaying inanition that engenders renewal, this record is a revelry in the cyclical, repetitious infinity of planetary permanence.

Recorded by Scott Evans at Middle Farm Studios in South Devon, assisted by Chris Edkins.
Mixed by Scott Evans at Antisleep Audio in Oakland.
Mastered by Magnus Lindberg at Redmount Studios in Stockholm.
Additional Vocals and Guitars on ‘Subterranean Messiah’ performed and recorded by Tiffany Ström and Syd Scarlet of Fvnerals. Additional Cello on ‘Subterranean Messiah by Jo Quail. Artwork by Joey Pearson of Smokin’ Bones Club.

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Wren, Groundswells (2020)

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Orbital Junction Release “Creep” Single; New Album Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

orbital junction

Burly London heavy rockers Orbital Junction are looking to release a new album later this year. As to what kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape that record might find upon its manifestation, I can’t say, but the band have a hooky new single out now called “Creep” to act as a precursor to its arrival, and the song boasts a powerful groove, thick riffs and a welcome balance between melody and aggression. I know there are few phrases used as often on this planet as things like “London heavy rockers,” but hell’s bells, it isn’t my fault that scene is thriving so mightily. Shit, blame Desertfest.

Or better yet, don’t blame anybody, because a thriving scene is awesome and you’re probably just jealous you don’t live there or something. I know I am, though not like there are many shows going on at this point, what with the blooming hellscape and all.

But still, new music persists, and one is deeply thankful for that:

orbital junction creep

Orbital Junction – Creep

London’s fastest rising Stoner Rock outfit, Orbital Junction, have just released their brand new single Creep along with a spectacularly psychedelic lyric video. The first new music since their 2018 self-titled EP, Creep is the first track from the bands’ new full-length album that will be appearing later this year. Bursting with crushing riffs, filthy grooves and insightful yet powerful vocals, Creep stands shoulder to shoulder with the sound of Orbital Junction’s contemporaries, some bands strive for years to achieve what these guys have accomplished so early in their career. For those that like music with a meaning, Creep has you covered!

Here’s what the band has to say about the meaning behind the track: “Creep is about knowing that you’re a little bit messed up in the head, but you’re accustomed with it. You don’t mind inviting people to enter the mess, but you don’t expect them to untangle the intricacies of the disorder. It’s not a dark topic because in essence this is normality, and people might find relief with what they discover.”

Creep is available at all good outlets, check it out on Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music.

Stream it on ALL digital platforms: https://cdbaby.lnk.to/Creep

As standouts in the UK stoner rock scene, expect Orbital Junction to continue their rise to the challenge of delivering the goods. You’re all invited along for the ride, the bus is in gear, snacks are being cracked open, and the back seats have been reserved for only the most diehard of followers.

Orbital Junction are:
Owen–Vocal
Ric–Guitar
Billy–Bass
Jack–Drums

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Orbital Junction, “Creep” official lyric video

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Orange Goblin Announce Dec. UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

On the heels of their just-issued Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (discussed here) digital live release, UK doom rock stalwarts and emergent social media masters Orange Goblin have announced their annual run of UK December shows for 2020. And hey, we all know the deal, right? These shows will happen so long as anything is happening. If the lockdown continues that long — and it very well might — then it goes without saying that the shows won’t happen. But hell’s bells, even a theoretical return to some kind of normalcy is welcome, and at this point, I’m just happy to see a list of tour dates, whether they come to fruition or not.

In addition to the live record and the tour, Orange Goblin have been holding Zoom Q&A sessions with the whole band, as well as playthrough videos with guitarist Joe Hoare and other such interactive whatnot. It’s encouraging to know that, though they could’ve in no way imagined this would be how they’d mark 25 years as a band, they’re making the most of the situation.

Here’s their post about the tour:

orange goblin uk tour

ORANGE GOBLIN – TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT

We are pleased to announce new headline tour dates for December 2020

As you know we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Orange Goblin, and we’re happy to announce our December headline tour of the UK and Ireland culminating in two very special shows at London’s The Underworld.

Ben explains:
“The world is a very strange place at the moment and we are all affected by the current Covid-19 pandemic. No one knows what the future holds and when we will get back to playing shows but we are very happy to announce that this December, Orange Goblin will (hopefully) be touring the UK to celebrate our 25 Year Anniversary.

Obviously people’s safety is the main concern for us but we wanted to get these dates out there as it’s been eating away at us for a while now and we hope that having something to look forward to will bring a tiny bit of hope and happiness into everyone’s lives right now”

Orange Goblin 25th Anniversary Tour – December 2020

Fri 11 – Dublin, Grand Social
Sat 12 – Belfast, Limelight 2
Mon 14 – Glasgow, King Tuts
Tue 15 – Manchester, Gorilla
Wed 16 – Birmingham, Asylum
Thu 17 – Cardiff, The Globe
Fri 18 – London, The Underworld
Sat 19 – London, The Underworld

December tour tickets are now on sale via https://bit.ly/35BHiGv – looking forward to seeing everyone on these dates and celebrating 25 years of Orange Fucking Goblin Baby!

Don’t forget you can still grab the new live record ‘Rough & Ready, Live & Loud’ via Bandcamp at https://bit.ly/3cMTK8q – comes with an exclusive bonus track and digital booklet!

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Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready, Live & Loud (2020)

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