Snail Post “Thou Art That” Live Video from The Obelisk All-Dayer

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

snail photo adam donnelly

I really think Snail should release their set from last year’s The Obelisk All-Dayer. I’ve never started any kind of online petition, and I’m not usually one to go fishing for comments — because I live in terror that I wouldn’t get any — but yeah, you can check out the video of their 10-minute epic roller “Thou Art That” from the show and if you agree with me that the whole set should see at least a digital release or a limited tape or something, please leave a comment on this post. I’m not saying if we hit a certain number of comments they’ll put something out, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. Right?

“Thou Art That” was a highlight of 2015’s Feral (review here), which came out on Small Stone and was the perfect occasion for the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson, bassist Matt Lynch and drummer Marty Dodson to hit the East Coast for the first time in their 20-years-plus history. They absolutely killed it at the show, with what seemed to me to be the night’s biggest crowd, and though I’d seen them on a rare tour years before in San Francisco (review here), this was obviously something special. I was lucky they could make the trip to play.

This isn’t the first live video they’ve posted from the All-Dayer either though. They had one for the title-track of 2009’s Blood (review here) that came out at the beginning of the year as well, so “Thou Art That” — shot by David Strayer with board-recorded audio by Jaime Traba and additional production from Matt Lynch — is the second time they’ve teased the prospect of doing something with that material. I already offered to write the liner notes for a tape or any other kind of release. Come on, guys. This one needs to happen.

I’ve been kicking around ideas for a second The Obelisk All-Dayer for the better part of the last year. Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn was on board last I checked, but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do again, especially with a baby on the way. We’ll see. If you have an opinion on the matter, I’d love to hear it.

Oh, and if you see some schmo down in the front rocking out at the end of “Thou Art That,” well clearly that’s just somebody who very, very much enjoyed the set. Ha.

Dig it:

Snail, “Thou Art That” Live at The Obelisk All-Dayer

The almighty SNAIL playing live at The Obelisk All Dayer in Brooklyn NYC 8-20-2016.

Video: David Strayer
Audio: Jaime Traba
Production: Matt Lynch

Snail, Feral (2015)

Snail on Thee Facebooks

Snail website

Snail at Small Stone Records

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Blaak Heat Post “Marr El Kallam” Video; The Arabian Fuzz 7″ Preorder Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

blaak heat photo jorge pereira

Transient heavy psych rockers Blaak Heat will release their new single, The Arabian Fuzz, Aug. 18 via Svart Records. It’s just two songs — one per side, of course — and they’re both only four and a half minutes long, but I feel like one would be hard-pressed to overstate just how far the release goes in expanding what was already the broad palette of Blaak Heat‘s sound. Now a four-piece led by founding guitarist/vocalist Thomas Bellier with Nicolas Heller on guitar, Guillame Theoden on bass and Michael Amster on drums, they follow last year’s Shifting Mirrors (review here) third full-length on Tee Pee Records by delving even further into the Middle Eastern influences that they’ve paired with desert rock tonality and groove since making their self-titled debut (review here) in 2010.

Simple truth of the matter is that from that point on, whether it was the EP The Storm Generation (review here) that marked their arrival on Tee Pee in 2012 or the subsequent blaak heat the arabian fuzz2013 long-player, The Edge of an Era (review here), Blaak Heat have never failed to engage in willful progression from release to release. Part of that has involved looking outside the band for guest contributions. On The Storm Generation, it was beat poet Ron Whitehead ranting away. On The Edge of an Era, Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson made a landmark of a guest spot on the memorable “Pelham Blue.” Shifting Mirrors got away from that in terms of performers — one could argue that the band’s working with producer Matt Hyde would invariably result in an outside perspective influence of a different kind — but The Arabian Fuzz brings them together with Jordanian ethnomusicologist Fareed Al-Madain, who contributes Arabic-language vocals to the A-side of the 7″ on a song called “Marr El Kallam.”

The video below translates at least some of the lyrics he’s singing, and a social theme permeates, but I’m not sure exactly what the title would be in English. Doesn’t matter, ultimately. What’s more important on both “Marr El Kallam” and its accompanying organ-laced instrumental B-side “Al-Andalus” is that Blaak Heat are continuing to push themselves into new sonic territory, and in just a span of nine minutes, they offer something to their listeners/viewers they’ve never done before in a fashion that’s as bold as it is mature as it is confident of its own approach. There are very few bands in the US or European heavy psychedelic underground willing to take such chances, let alone see those chances so thoroughly pay off.

Blaak Heat have a host of festival appearances coming up, including SonicBlast Moledo in Portugal next month and a stop at the inaugural Emerald Haze festival — co-presented by The Obelisk — the first weekend in September. Dates, complete performing lineup on “Marr El Kallam” and other info can be found under the video below.

Please enjoy:

Blaak Heat feat. Fareed Al-Madain, “Marr El Kallam” official video

Fareed Al-Madain – Vocals
Thomas Bellier – Oud, Guitars
Michael Amster – Drums
Guillaume Theoden – Bass
Nicolas Heller – Guitars
Peter Valsamis – Doumbek

Recorded at The Bunker LA (Los Angeles, CA)
Engineered by Jason Schimmel
Produced, mixed and mastered by Thomas Bellier

Cole Jenkins & Thomas Bihoré – Image
Mathieu Baillargeon – Videography & Editing
Produced by The Phantasma Company

THE ARABIAN FUZZ comes out via Svart Records on August 18, 2017. You can pre-order it here.

We have a number of festival & club dates for August & September 2017 – Come party, more TBA !

AUG 12 – Sonic Blast Moledo, Moledo (PT)
AUG 25 – Woolstock Festival, Tilburg (NL)
SEPT 1 – Emerald Haze Fest, Dublin (IRL)
SEPT 2 – Festival Arteficial, Ribadavia (ES)
SEPT 4 – Cine Incrivel, Lisbon (PT)
SEPT 8 – Bucéphale, Draguignan (FR)
SEPT 9 – Cheapstock Vol4, Barcelona (ES)
SEPT 10 – Supersonic, Paris (FR)

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Blaak Heat on Twitter

Blaak Heat website

Svart Records webstore

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Salem’s Bend Hit the Parking Lot and Premiere “Cold Hand” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

salem's bend

Imagine you roll into a parking lot and find Los Angeles trio Salem’s Bend jamming out in front of their van, surrounded by cameras filming their new video. What do you say? Do you leave your car, rock out for a while, and then go about your business? Maybe do your shopping or whatever it is you came to do, like nothing’s happening? That would be the New York solution, but I don’t know how it goes in L.A., if it would be the same or what. I like to think I’d park, walk over, check it out for a bit, maybe take a picture on my phone, nod, give a cool-cat thumbs up and be on my way. I’m sure the reality would be excruciatingly awkward. In any case, pretty friggin’ awesome idea to put some guerrilla filmmaking to work for the song “Cold Hand,” which is the first new material Salem’s Bend have shown off since Ripple Music released their self-titled debut (review here) last year.

You can’t say the track doesn’t earn it. At more than nine minutes, it’s a substantial work in terms of runtime, but even more than thatsalem's bend war cloud kook tour poster, the chemistry it demonstrates between the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Bobby Parker, bassist/vocalist Kevin Schofield and drummer Zach Huling proves beyond worthy of the showcase. And make no mistake — Salem’s Bend are playing the song live in the clip. Parker set up mics to get a pro-sounding recording and was wholly successful in that, but this is an actual, amplified performance of “Cold Hand,” not just a studio version laid over captured footage. They bring their own lighting and do well to set the mood, and as they push into the fuzzed-out blues jam that starts toward the middle of the track, they make it plain that they’re ready to begin exploring a whole new league of spaciousness from what they brought to their first album. Right on, right on, gentlemen. Preach.

Salem’s Bend hit the road starting July 12 — egads, that’s tonight! — for a West Coast tour alongside Ripple labelmates War Cloud and fellow upstarts Kook, and “Cold Hand” that begins with a gig presented by Vegas Rock Revolution and also features former tourmates The Rare Breed. You can find all the dates for the 12-date run under the video below, as well as some comment from Parker on making the video, recording the song, and the shorter companion track “Winter Sunn” that’s still to be unveiled.

Check it out and enjoy:

Salem’s Bend, “Cold Hand” official video

Before we start to work on the second album, we wanted to get a couple new songs out. “Cold Hand” is a song that we jammed out together, and we have been playing it live for the past several months. It’s fun to play, as it has a lot of improvisational parts that we feel out as a band, so its never quite the same twice. Because of that, we figured we’d record the song live to try to capture that essence. Kevin is a great director/cinematographer and has some killer film gear so we figured why not film it as well!

We enlisted the help of my dad, Lee Parker, who is a great director and cinematographer and has been in the film business doing every kind of job for a long time, and also my friend Herman Ming, who is also a great director, cameraman, and filmmaker himself. They did the mobile camera work for us and helped us set everything up. We chose a parking garage for our location so that we could get a massive reverbed-out sound, especially for the drums. I set up the mics to capture all our instruments and vocals, and then mixed and mastered in my home studio. It’s a raw performance with mistakes here and there, but I think we captured our live sound well and gives one small view into our show for those who haven’t been able to see us live yet. Zach and Kevin nailed their parts and sounded excellent.

Since Cold Hand is such a long song, we figured we counter that with a faster and shorter track for the B-side “Winter Sunn.” We wrote this one really quickly together in the studio and recorded it the next week at the same time we recorded Cold Hand, in the parking garage. We’re happy with the way it turned out and think its a good counterpoint to the more epic A-side.

We’re heading out on another summer tour of the Western US, covering some new ground and new states this time. The first half (minus a few dates on our own) will be with the awesome Bay Area band War Cloud, who just recently joined the Ripple family! And the second half will be with the amazing San Jose rippers KOOK, who we played with last year on tour and are excited to play with again! Kicking off the tour in Vegas on July 12th with our Ripple road brothers The Rare Breed for a rad show setup by Vegas Rock Revolution.

List of dates is as follows:
July 12th – Las Vegas, NV @ Backstage Bar and Billiards w/ The Rare Breed
July 13th – Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
July 14th – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lexington w/ War Cloud
July 15th – Atascadero, CA @ Camozzi’s Saloon w/ War Cloud
July 16th – San Jose, CA @ The Ritz w/ War Cloud and Kook
July 17th – Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp w/ War Cloud
July 18th – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge w/ War Cloud
July 19th – Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s Pub w/ KOOK
July 20th – Portland, OR @ Highwater Mark w/ KOOK
July 21st – Seattle, WA @ Lucky Liquor w/ KOOK
July 22nd – Kennewick, WA @ Eagles Lodge 2485 w/ KOOK
July 23rd – Boise, ID @ The Shredder w/ KOOK
July 24th – Reno, NV @ Jub Jub’s w/ KOOK

Salem’s Bend is:
Bobby Parker – Guitar and Vocals
Kevin Schofield – Bass and vocals
Zach Huling – Drums

Salem’s Bend on Thee Facebooks

Salem’s Bend on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Les Discrets, Test Meat, Matus, Farflung, Carpet, Tricky Lobsters, Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, The Acid Guide Service, Skunk, The Raynbow

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

My friends, the time has come. Well, actually the time came about two weeks ago at the end of June, but I won’t tell if you don’t. Better late than never as regards all things, but most especially The Obelisk’s Quarterly Review, which this time around features releases recent, upcoming and a bit older, a mix of known and lesser known acts, and as always, hopefully enough of a stylistic swath to allow everyone whose eyes the series of posts catches to find something they dig between now and Friday. As always, it’ll be 50 records from now until then, 10 per day, and I see no reason not to jump right in, so let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Les Discrets, Prédateurs

les discrets Prédateurs

After offering a preview of their marked stylistic turn in last year’s Virée Nocturne EP (review here), Lyon, France’s Les Discrets return with the suitably nighttime-urbane vibing of their Prédateurs full-length via Prophecy Productions. Five years after Ariettes Oubliées (review here), Fursy Teyssier and company reinvent their approach to the sonic lushness of their earlier work, departing the sphere of post-black metal they previously shared with sister band Alcest in favor of an anything-goes heavy experimentalism more akin to Ulver on cuts like “Le Reproche” or the deeply atmospheric “Fleur des Murailles.” Drones pepper “Rue Octavio Mey” and closer “Lyon – Paris 7h34” effectively conveys the sense of journey its train-schedule title would hint toward, and indeed Les Discrets as a whole seem to be in flux throughout Prédateurs despite an overarching cohesion within each track. It’s a fine line between multifaceted and disjointed, but fortunately, Teyssier’s grip on melodicism is unflinching and enough to tie otherwise disparate ideas together here.

Les Discrets on Thee Facebooks

Les Discrets at Prophecy Productions

 

Test Meat, Demo

test meat demo

Considering the pedigree involved in guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard (ex-Milligram, Blackwolfgoat, Kind, etc.), bassist Aarne Victorine (UXO, Whitey) and drummer Michael Nashawaty (Planetoid, Bird Language), it’s little surprise that Test Meat’s Demo would have a pretty good idea of where it wants to come from. The five-track first showing from the Boston trio blends raw-edge grunge and noise rock on “He Don’t Know” after opening with its longest inclusion (immediate points) in the 3:50 “Cuffing Season,” and though centerpiece “Done” nods at the starts-and-stops of Helmet, the subsequent 2:35 push of “If You Wanna” is strikingly post-Nirvana, and closer “Permanent Festival” rounds out by bridging that gap via a still-straightforward heavy rock groove. Formative, yeah, but that’s the whole point. Test Meat revel in their barebones style and clearly aren’t looking to get overly lush, but one can’t help but be curious how or if they’ll develop a more melodic sensibility to go with the consuming, full buzzsaw tones they elicit here.

Test Meat on Thee Facebooks

Test Meat on Bandcamp

 

Matus, Intronauta

matus intronauta

Worth noting that while the opening cut here, “Claroscuro,” shares its title with Matus’ 2015 full-length (review here), that song didn’t actually appear on that album. Does that mean that the Lima, Peru, classic progressive rockers are offering leftovers from the same sessions on their new EP and perhaps final release, Intronauta? I don’t know, but the four tracks of the digital outing are a welcome arrival anyway, from the laid back easy vibes of the aforementioned opener through the riffier “Intronauta (Including Hasta Que El Sol Descanse en Paz),” the Theremin-soaked finish of the harder-driving “Catalina” and the acoustic-led four-part closer “Arboleda Bohemia,” which unfolds with lushness that remains consistent with the naturalism that has always been underlying in the band’s work. They’ve said their last few times out that the end is near, and if it’s true, they go out with a fully-cast sonic identity of their own and a take on ‘70s prog that remains an underrated secret of the South American underground.

Matus on Thee Facebooks

Matus on Bandcamp

 

Farflung, Unwound Celluloid Frown

farflung unwound celluloud frown

The jury, at least when it comes to the internet, still seems to be somewhat divided on whether the name of Farflung’s five-track/34-minute EP is Unwound Celluloid Frown or Unwound Cellular Frown. I’d say another argument is whether it’s an EP or an LP, but either way, let the follow-up to the more clearly-titled 2016 album (review here) demonstrate how nebulous the long-running Los Angeles space rockers can be when it suits them. Hugely and continually underrated, the troupe once again aligns to Heavy Psych Sounds for this release, which is rife with their desert-hued Hawkwindian thrust and weirdo vibes, permeating the rocket-fuel chug of the title-track and the noise-of-the-cosmos 13-minute headphone-fest that is “Axis Mundi,” which seems to end with someone coming home and putting down their car keys before a slowly ticking clock fades out and into the backwards swirling intro of lazily drifting closer “Silver Ghost with Crystal Spoons.” Yeah, it’s like that. Whatever you call it, the collection proves once again that Farflung are a secret kept too well.

Farflung on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Carpet, Secret Box

carpet secret box

Immersive and progressive psychedelia unfolds from the very opening moments of Carpet’s third album, Secret Box (on Elektrohasch Schallplatten), as the Augsberg, Germany-based five-piece explore lush arrangements of Moog, Rhodes, trumpet, vibraphone, etc. around central compositions of fluid guitar-led melodies and engaging rhythms. Their 2015 Riot Kiss 7” (review here) and 2013 sophomore long-player, Elysian Pleasures (review here), came from a similar place in intent, but from the funk wah and percussion underscoring the pre-fuzz-explosion portion of “Best of Hard Times” and the okay-this-one’s-about-the-riff “Shouting Florence” to the serene ambience of “For Tilda” and ethereal fluidity of “Pale Limbs” later on, the secret of Secret Box seems to be that it’s actually a treasure chest in disguise. Opening with its longest track in “Temper” (immediate points), the album hooks its audience right away along a graceful, rich-sounding melodic flow and does not relinquish its hold until the last piano notes of the closing title-track offer a wistful goodbye. In between, Carpet execute with a poise and nuance all the more enjoyable for how much their own it seems to be.

Carpet on Thee Facebooks

Carpet on Bandcamp

 

Tricky Lobsters, Worlds Collide

tricky lobsters worlds collide

Full, natural production, crisp and diverse songwriting, right-on performances and a name you’re not about to forget – there’s nothing about Tricky Lobsters not to like. Worlds Collide is their sixth album and first on Exile on Mainstream, and the overall quality of their approach reminds of the kind of sonic freedom proffered by Astrosoniq, but the German trio of guitarist/vocalist Sarge, bassist/vocalist Doc and drummer/vocalist Captain Peters have their own statements to make as well in the stomping “Battlefields,” the mega-hook of “Big Book,” the dreamy midsection stretch of “Father and Son” and the progressive melody-making of “Tarred Albino” (video premiere here). The emphasis across the nine-song/42-minute outing is on craft, but whether it’s the patient unfolding of “Dreamdiver Pt. I & II” or the harp-and-fuzz blues spirit of closer “Needs Must,” Tricky Lobsters’ sonic variety comes paired with a level of execution that’s not to be overlooked. Will probably fly under more radars than it should, but if you can catch it, do.

Tricky Lobsters on Thee Facebooks

Tricky Lobsters at Exile on Mainstream Records

 

Ten Foot Wizard & Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Special

ten-foot-wizard-chubby-thunderous-bad-kush-masters-special

Dubbed Special for reasons that should be fairly obvious from looking at the cover art, this meeting of minds, riffs and cats between Manchester’s Ten Foot Wizard and London’s Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters brings four tracks – two per band – and goes so far as to find the groups collaborating on the former’s “Get Fucked,” which opens, and the latter’s “Dunkerque,” which begins their side of the 7”, as vocalists The Wailing Goblin (of Chubby Thunderous) and Gary Harkin (of Ten Foot Wizard) each sit in for a guest spot on the other band’s cuts. Both bands also offer a standalone piece, with Ten Foot Wizard digging into heavy rock burl on “Night Witches” and Chubby Thunderous blowing out gritty party sludge in “Nutbar,” which rounds out the offering, and between them they showcase well the sphere of the UK’s crowded but diverse heavy rock underground. Kind of a niche release in the spirit of Gurt and Trippy Wicked’s 2016 Guppy split/collab, but it works no less well in making its impact felt.

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Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters on Thee Facebooks

 

The Acid Guide Service, Vol. 11

the acid guide service vol 11

It turns out that Vol. 11 is actually Vol. 1 for Garden City, Idaho, three-piece The Acid Guide Service, who dig into extended fuzz-overdose riffing on the 52-minute nine-tracker, proffering blown-out largesse even on shorter cuts like the five-minute “Into the Sky” while longer pieces like opener “Raptured” (7:16), “EOD” (9:38) and closer “Black Leather Jesus” (10:04) skirt lines between structure and jams as much as between heavy rock and psychedelia. Proffered by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Russ Walker, bassist/vocalist Tyler Walker and drummer Nick McGarvey, one can hear shades of Wo Fat in the guitar-led expanse of “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Is the Drug I’m On),” but on the whole, Vol. 11 speaks more to the late-‘90s/early-‘00s post-Kyuss stoner rock heyday, with flourish of Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu for good measure in the hard-swinging “Dude Rockin’” and its chugging companion piece, “Marauder King.” Big tones, big riffs, big groove. The Acid Guide Service are preaching to the converted, but clearly coming from a converted place themselves in so doing. Right on.

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The Acid Guide Service on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Doubleblind

skunk doubleblind

Professing a self-aware love for the earliest days of heavy metal in idea and sound, Oakland’s Skunk offer their full-length debut with the self-released Doubleblind, following up on their 2015 demo, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here). That outing featured four tracks that also appear on Doubleblind – “Forest Nymph,” “Wizard Bong,” “Black Hash” and “Devil Weed.” Working on a theme? The theme is “stoned?” Yeah, maybe, but the cowbell-infused slider groove and standout hook of “Mountain Child” are just as much about portraying that ‘70s vibe as Skunk may or may not be about the reefer whose name they bear. Presumably more recent material like that song, “Doubleblind,” closer “Waitin’ Round on You” and leadoff cut “Forest Nymph” coherently blend impulses drawn from AC/DC, Sabbath and Zeppelin. John McKelvy’s vocals fit that spirit perfectly, and with the grit brought forth from guitarists Dmitri Mavra and Erik Pearson, bassist Matt Knoth and drummer Jordan Ruyle, Skunk dig into catchy, excellently-paced roller riffing and cast their debut in the mold of landmark forebears. Mothers, teach your children to nod.

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Skunk on Bandcamp

 

The Raynbow, The Cosmic Adventure

the raynbow the cosmic adventure

As they make their way through a temporal drift of three tracks that play between krautrocking jazz fusion, psychecosmic expansion and Floydian lushness, Kiev-based explorers The Raynbow keep immersion central to their liquefied purposes. The Cosmic Adventure (on Garden of Dreams Records) is an aptly-titled debut full-length, and the band who constructed it is comprised of upwards of eight parties who begin with the 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Changes,” which builds toward and through a metallic chug apex, sandwiching it on either side with ultra-patient molten tone and soundscaping that continues to flourish through the subsequent “Cosmic Fool” (5:17) and “Blue Deep Sea Eyes” (8:18), the whole totaling a still-manageable outward trip into reaches of slow-moving space rock that whether loud or quiet at any individual moment more than earns a volume-up concentrated headphone listen. The kind of outfit one could easily imagine churning out multiple albums in a single year, The Raynbow nonetheless deliver a dream on The Cosmic Adventure that stands among the best first offerings I’ve heard in 2017.

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Garden of Dreams Records on Bandcamp

 

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Blaak Heat Announce The Arabian Fuzz 7″ out in August

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Blaak-Heat-By-Guilhem-Seguin

If there’s one thing you can rely on desert rock adventurers Blaak Heat to do it’s go far, far out. Their 2016 outing, the Tee Pee-issued Shifting Mirrors (review here), pushed the boundaries of mania in its progressive turns, keeping an Eastern influence in its underlying groove but offering an array of riffs and melodies that was absolutely dizzying. Their new single, The Arabian Fuzz, is set to release in August via Svart Records, and true to narrative, it’s far, far out.

I hear tell the band is soon to reveal a new video for one or the other of its tracks, so I won’t spoil too much about either of them, but yeah, I’ve dug in at this point and it’s fair to say they’re continuing to push themselves onto new sonic ground. Bit of an understatement there, maybe.

Basic info and some descriptive words came down the PR wire. Have at it:

blaak-heat-the-arabian-fuzz

New BLAAK HEAT 7″ – The Arabian Fuzz (Svart Records)

BLAAK HEAT returns with an oriental heavy psych manifesto, THE ARABIAN FUZZ! The band furthers its signature East meets West grooves by blending intricate Spanish guitars, surf rock, and Middle Eastern psych.

With Jordanian ethno-musicologist Fareed Al-Madain on vocals, MARR EL KALLAM is an homage to 1960s underground Turkish and Persian psychedelic pop. The climactic line of the song, “The shit who owns a weapon will kill”, as performed in Arabic by a US-French-Jordanian-Greek-Canadian lineup, rings ominously true in 2017 America. Along with the traditional lineup of guitars/bass/drums, BLAAK HEAT mastermind Thomas Bellier plays acoustic oud, and percussionist Peter Valsamis rounds up the band on doumbek.

AL-ANDALUS is a heavy surf rock explosion, a mind-blowing exploration into reverb fuzz wilderness led by astounding musicianship. It’s retro, yet futuristic – dig it!

The songs were recorded in Los Angeles by Jason Schimmel (of Secret Chiefs 3) and produced/mixed/mastered by Bellier.

https://www.facebook.com/blaakheat/
https://www.instagram.com/blaakheat/
http://www.blaakheatshujaa.com/
svartrecords.com/shoppe/

Blaak Heat, “Sword of Hakim” official video

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Low Flying Hawks Announce Genkaku Due Aug. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

low flying hawks

Atmospheric heavy rockers Low Flying Hawks are set to release their second full-length for Magnetic Eye Records this August. In keeping with the spirit of their 2016 debut, Kofuku (review here), the new offering, Genkaku, boasts a Japanese title and copious affiliation with the Melvins, be it through collaboration with drummer Dale Crover and bassist Trevor Dunn or producer Toshi Kasai, who also helmed the debut. This time they even go so far as to ring up King Buzzo himself for a couple of guest vocal appearances.

These sonic personae, as well as James Plotkin (Khanate, etc.), who mastered, form a circle around Low Flying Hawks‘ initials-only core two-piece of vocalist/guitarist/bassist EHA and bassist/guitarist/vocalist AAL, who’ve successfully managed to keep their own identities obscure while letting the focus be on the breadth of their sonic output — a clear and purposeful choice that one imagines will be another continuity from the first record to this one.

The PR wire checks in with artwork, band comment and album details:

low flying hawks genkaku

LOW FLYING HAWKS to Release New LP, ‘Genkaku’, August 25

Hazy, Heavy Record Featuring Members of Melvins, Mr. Bungle and Big Business Set for Summer Release

LOW FLYING HAWKS is a self-described “ambient metal” band featuring dummer Dale Crover (The Melvins) and bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle) alongside multi-instrumentalists EHA and AAL. The group will release its sophomore LP, Genkaku, on August 25 via Magnetic Eye Records. Produced, recorded and mixed by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business) at Sound of Sirens and mastered by James Plotkin (Electric Wizard, Moon Duo) Genkaku is the follow-up to LOW FLYING HAWKS’ 2016 debut, K?fuku.

Unlike its predecessor, Genkaku (Japanese for “hallucination” or illusion”) also features Melvins frontman King Buzzo, who lends his unique vocals to the album’s titanic lead track, “Smile”, as well as the awesomely-titled song “Space Wizard”. Decidedly doomier and boasting bigger hooks than the debut, Genkaku is more riff-filled land than post-genre shoegaze, overflowing with Melvins-ready guitar work and darkly intense music-as-mood. Like a rumbling rain cloud, the record moves and morphs growing, grumbling and growling before bursting into brilliant sheets of saturated sound that soak speakers with hovering showers of ferocious feedback and electric energy.

“What we are trying to accomplish is that the listener enters a state of trance and confusion. Pounding guitars full of sludgy undertones fill ‘Genkaku’ from beginning to end, building to a sinister and almost out of body experience,” says both AAL and EHA. “This is ideal for anyone who´s willing to let go and hand over control to this hallucinating monster of a record.”

Dale Crover adds, “It was great recording with Low flying Hawks. Their psychotic, psychedelic, mind-bending compositions will take you on a journey through your inner space.” Toshi Kasai calls the finished album “A delicious mud-cake by LFH, flavored by Dale Crover and Trevor Dunn.”

Track listing:
1.) Smile
2.) Uncool
3.) Virgin Witch
4.) Space Wizard
5.) Hallucination
6.) Twilight
7.) Sinister Waves

Pre-order Genkaku at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/Lowflyinghawks-1626755734268513/
https://lowflyinghawks.bandcamp.com/releases
http://magneticeyerecords.merchnow.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords
http://store.merhq.com/

Low Flying Hawks, Kofuku (2016)

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Sasquatch, Maneuvers: The Twists and Turns

Posted in Reviews on June 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sasquatch-maneuvers

In the 13 years since they released their self-titled debut, Los Angeles heavy rockers Sasquatch have somewhat quietly — and somewhat loudly — become one of the foremost American delivery systems of straightforward, flawlessly composed heavy rock and roll. Their fifth full-length breaks with a three-record Roman numeral tradition established across 2014’s IV (review here), 2010’s III (review here) and 2006’s II (discussed here) — in being titled Maneuvers, and with a sort-of-self-release through Mad Oak Records where its four predecessors found issue through Small Stone as well as by being the first Sasquatch album to feature Roadsaw vocalist Craig Riggs on drums alongside guitarist/vocalist Keith Gibbs and bassist Jason “Cas” Casanova. Riggs also owns Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts, where Maneuvers was recorded by producer Benny Grotto before being sent to Andrew Schneider in New York for mixing and Justin Weis in San Francisco to be mastered — if nothing else, the record has gotten around — and he steps into Sasquatch in place of Rick Ferrante, who still shares a writing credit on some of the album’s nine tracks.

And as ever for Sasquatch, the writing is the crucial element. I am very much a fan of the band and their output to-date, so if you need to, take my saying so with an appropriately-sized grain of salt, but as they have developed over the years into their own sound — Gibbs as attitude-laden vocalist, soloist and riffer, Casanova as anchor and a purveyor of high-class low-end complement and tonal richness– each Sasquatch offering since the first has been tied together through a near-unmatched-in-riff-rock quality of craftsmanship. And on Maneuvers, the thread continues in pieces like “More Than You’ll Ever Be,” the leadoff single and opener “Rational Woman” (premiered here), “Destroyer,” “Just Couldn’t Stand the Weather,” “Drown all the Evidence,” “Bringing Me Down,” “Anyway” and closer “Window Pain,” which if you’re paying attention, accounts for the whole record minus the penultimate interlude “Lude,” which at least goes to the effort of having a clever title.

Couple this essential facet of their approach with Grotto‘s as-expected full, clear and clean-but-not-overly-so production — still allowing for the punch of Casanova‘s bass in “Rational Woman” and a right-on fuzzy breadth swirling in the later, slower, key-inclusive “Drown all the Evidence” — and Maneuvers, as a title, could have any number of origins. The word itself, along with the fighter pilot featured on the cover art by Troy Goodrich, brings to mind a military context, going out on maneuvers, or trying to outflank one’s opponent. That could be a reference to the changes in and around the band itself — a convenient if unlikely narrative — the fact that they released the album with minimal fanfare ahead of a European tour, essentially outflanking their audience — also unlikely, but not impossible — or their use of “maneuvers” could simply refer to the practice of their songwriting itself, serving as another way of saying Maneuvers, the record, is Sasquatch making the moves they make, doing what they do.

Whether or not that’s where the name comes from, it’s true to how Maneuvers plays out. Sasquatch demonstrate clear, obvious mastery of their approach as “Rational Woman” kicks off at a high clip and the nod-groovy “More than You’ll Ever Be” follows with an extra dose of echo on Gibbs‘ vocals, leading into “Destroyer” (not a cover of The Atomic Bitchwax), the hook of which reinforces the push of an opening salvo from which it would be difficult to ask more than is given. It’s a first-third of the tracklist working to establish and build momentum that continues as “Bringing Me Down” expands the melodic context with some vocal harmonies (are those backing vocals by Riggs? layers from Gibbs? it’s hard to tell) in its second-half bridge to set up an all the more fluid transition into the organ-laced centerpiece “Drown all the Weather,” which along with the subsequent “Drown all the Evidence” and “Window Pain” brings in David Unger (a bandmate of Riggs‘ as singer of White Dynomite) to handle keys, only enhancing Sasquatch‘s long-embodied blend of the classic and modern in heavy rock.

sasquatch-Photo-by-Edko-Fuzz

“Just Couldn’t Stand the Weather” and “Drown all the Evidence” hit back-to-back and are the two longest cuts on Maneuvers at just under six and a half minutes each, and their pairing seems by no means to be an accident. Rather, after the raucous launch and the shift begun on “Bringing Me Down,” they stand out in the middle of the album as a point of essential listener immersion. The take and tone aren’t radically different from what Sasquatch have already brought to bear, but the keys make a difference to be sure, and where “Rational Woman” barely lets those hearing it catch their breath before shoving them into “More than You’ll Ever Be,” both of the longer tracks allow a more patient rollout to take hold amid the still-resonant hooks. Nothing more than a good band capable of working in different contexts doing just that and doing it well. The following “Anyway” almost seems to make an aside of the two/three songs before it, but brings Maneuvers back to a more grounded and straightforward position à la “More than You’ll Ever Be” or “Bringing Me Down” as they shift into the final movement in the last third.

While the total runtime stands at an utterly manageable 38 minutes (IV was 43, if you want to compare), this last set of three tracks, with the 17 seconds of “Lude” picking up after the quick fade of “Anyway” and leading into “Window Pain,” is the shortest and most deceptively efficient of them. And when it hits, “Window Pain,” naturally, serves to tie the various sides of Maneuvers together, bringing back Unger on keys and welcoming noted Boston improv specialist James Rohr (The Blue RibbonsThe Family Township) on B3 for additional flourish. It becomes somewhat curious that Sasquatch close on an energetic middle-ground — “Window Pain” is more emotional than it is a riot — but five records deep, they know the choices they’re making and one isn’t inclined to argue with either the execution of the finale, the depth of the arrangement or the manner in which it eases the listener to the silence that follows.

One might have said the same thing about the preceding album, but Maneuvers finds Sasquatch wholly mature and in unshaken command of their craft and style. They’ve been through some changes in the last couple years, perhaps, but what makes them who they are very much remains intact and pushes forward with characteristic boldness and the update of classic methods and structures that has made bridging generations of rock impulses sound so completely natural across their entire discography. Sasquatch are nothing short of a treasure in US heavy rock and roll, and their Maneuvers are sharp, refined and something special to behold. One of 2017’s best, easily.

Sasquatch, Maneuvers (2017)

Sasquatch on Thee Facebooks

Sasquatch on Twitter

Sasquatch website

Sasquatch on Bandcamp

Mad Oak Records website

Mad Oak Studios on Thee Facebooks

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The Lords of Altamont Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This past December, long-running Los Angeles heavy punkers The Lords of Altamont were in the studio with Paul Roessler of The Screamers working on their sixth album. There’s video at the bottom of this post for proof. That record, it’s now been revealed, will be issued via Heavy Psych Sounds as the band’s debut on the label. It’s their first outing since 2014’s Lords Take Altamont, and though I’ve yet to see a solid release date or title for the record, The Lords of Altamont have tour dates listed on their site (snagged and included below) that will find them on the road in Europe next month.

That’d be a quick turnaround from hey-this-band-is-signed to okay-here’s-the-record, but stranger things have happened. Here’s the announcement from Heavy Psych Sounds:

the lords of altamont

THE LORDS OF ALTAMONT – Heavy Psych Sounds

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is really proud to announce a new band in the roster!

THE LORDS OF ALTAMONT news about new projects on the way soon!

The Lords of Altamont bring forth raw rock and roll fury birthed from the ultimate end to the era of peace and love. What was billed to be the “Woodstock of the West,” the infamous Altamont Free concert on December 6th, 1969 was highlighted instead by heavy drugs, motorcycle chains and brass knuckles and later punctuated with shoving matches and fist fights. This palpable sense of bawdy foreboding resulted in four births, four deaths and extensive property damage.

While the hippies had been grooving and mellowing out in the Bay Area, the forefathers of the Lords of Altamont were playing high energy rhythms in the beer soaked venues of Detroit and the dingy clubs along LA’s Sunset Strip. Mid-60s London RnB shares equal space with the scruffy 70s NYC Bowery among the influences of The Lords also. They take their other cues from kids banging out primitive riffs on cheap guitars all across the USA in garages alongside chopped bikes and American v-8 muscle, lingering exhaust fumes mixing with sweat to conjure the rare elixir of real rock n roll.

The story of the band who would come to be known as The Lords of Altamont gets a proper start in late 1999. A son of Southern California and a veteran of the SoCal music scene, Jake Cavaliere – with numerous bands and projects from garage to punk dating back to the late 80s under his belt – enlisted fellow motorcycle rider and bandmate of the instro/surf sensation The Bomboras, Johnny Devilla, to form something new. Max Eidson, Doran Shelley, and Gabriel Hammond rounded out the original lineup known as “The First Five”. Besides holding their first show at the legendary venue The Garage in Hollywood, high points include touring as the support act for their primitive rock n roll idols The Cramps, infamous rock gods The Who as well as counting the late Michael Davis of the MC5 as a past member.

Through personnel changes and various adventures over the past 17+ years, The Lords of Altamont continue to release albums and Jake “The Preacher” Cavaliere, along with his assemblage of gritty and talented personalities, continues to captivate audiences with unparalleled hard driven performances the world over.

The Lords Of Altamont are:
Jake Cavaliere
Dani Sindaco
Rob Zimmerman
Steven Van Der Werff

The Lords of Altamont live:
28 July Macon, FR
29 July Sanguinetto, IT
30 July Lugo di Vicenza, IT
31 July Sezzadio, IT
01 Aug Marina di Ravenna, IT
02 Aug Torino, IT
05 Aug Waarschoot, BE

https://www.facebook.com/LordsOfAltamont/
http://lordsofaltamont.com/
https://www.instagram.com/lordsofaltamont/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
www.heavypsychsounds.com

The Lords of Altamont in the studio

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