Salem’s Bend and The Rare Breed on Tour this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles heavy rockers Salem’s Bend and The Rare Breed both have new albums out. In the case of the former, their 2015 self-titled debut has been newly reissued this fall via Ripple Music, while for The Rare Breed, it’s their own debut, Looking for Today, which came out in September to wide acclaim. The shows they’ll partner up for this week have been dubbed the Ripple Road Fest, which is an interesting prospect in itself. This time it’s just five gigs, but one could easily imagine a “Ripple Road Fest” turning into a thing. Maybe annual?

After all, why not? Not like the label doesn’t have enough bands across various strata at this point. I kind of like the idea of them heading out under a single banner. Makes sense from both a branding and a rock and roll standpoint, and as we all know, those are the two things that make the world go ’round.

Courtesy of the PR wire:

salems-bend-the-rare-breed-tour-poster-700

Salem’s Bend and The Rare Breed – Ripple Road Fest Dec ’16

Salem’s Bend and The Rare Breed, two LA-based heavy rock trios, are hitting the road for a quick RIPPLE ROAD FEST California tour to kick off the holiday season! Salem’s Bend just released their album with label Ripple Music in October and The Rare Breed will be signing their debut album with them as well for a release in early 2017.

Starting out in the sleepy central valley town of Turlock on Nov 30th at the Grizzly Rock, then hitting Oakland Dec 1st at The Golden Bull, Pacifica on Dec 2nd at Winter’s Tavern, then back down to SoCal for a local LA show at Lexington Bar on Dec 3rd, and finish out in Costa Mesa on Dec 4th at Tiki Bar.

5 shows, 5 days, it’ll be a fast gut-punch of hard rock to your eager ears! Innumerable great local bands will be joining them at each stop so it’s really going to be a must-see. Getting a bit cold for you with winter creeping up? Come out to a show and The Bend and The Breed will MELT YOUR FACE!

Salem’s Bend & The Rare Breed: Ripple Road Fest CA Tour:
11.30 Turlock Grizzly Rock
12.01 Oakland The Golden Bull
12.02 SF/Pacifica Winters Tavern
12.03 L.A. Lexington Bar
12.04 Costa Mesa Tiki Bar

https://www.facebook.com/pg/salemsbend/events/
https://www.facebook.com/salemsbend/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/salems-bend
https://www.facebook.com/RareBreeding/
https://rarebreed666.bandcamp.com/album/looking-for-today

Salem’s Bend, Salem’s Bend (2016)

The Rare Breed, Looking for Today (2016)

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The Freeks to Tour Europe in Feb./March; New Album out Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Los Angeles five-piece heavy rock punkstompers The Freeks released their third album, Shattered (review here), less than a week ago, and yet here they are wasting no time announcing their intention to support the offering by teaming up with the booking wing of their label, Italy’s Heavy Psych Sounds, in order to tour Europe from the end of February through much of March. Though the actual routing, i.e. cities and venues, has yet to be revealed, the poster gives the span from Feb. 28 through March 20, and the label has said that they’ll hit Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and Austria on their way. If other recent goings are anything to judge by, I’d expect multiple dates throughout Germany and Italy as well. Maybe even France.

They’ll be joined by Dutch riffers Komatsu, who released their new album, Recipe for Murder One, in Sept. on Argonauta Records.

More to come once the actual dates and such show up, but the poster’s cool until then and if you haven’t checked out Shattered yet, the full stream is below:

the-freeks-komatsu-tour

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is incredibly happy to announce the European tour of ***The Freeks***

The US riffers will be supported for the entire tour by another great band Komatsu from the Netherlands.

DATES: 28.02.2017 to 20.03.2017

Californian Fuzzsters THE FREEKS are just out with their new record “SHATTERED” out on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

Tour will touch countries as Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria. Dates will be announced soon!! Stay tuned!

Prepare for an unprecedented earthquake, world! Los Angeles explosive rock’n’rollers THE FREEKS released their new album “Shattered” November 11th on Heavy Psych Sounds.

With an inextinguishable fire, Californian five-piece THE FREEKS brilliantly fuses high-octane rock’n’roll, the raw energy of punk rock and hints of psychedelic bizarrerie. Just as if The Stooges had met Hawkwind. With former members of Fu Manchu and Nebula in its ranks, the band is anything but a newbie in the US rock scene. After two albums (“The Freeks” in 2008 and the widely acclaimed “Full On” in 2013), THE FREEKS are back with a blazing new effort released on Heavy Psych Sounds on November 11.

THE FREEKS ARE
Ruben Romano – Guitar & Lead Vocals
Jonathan Hall – Guitar & Vocals
Tom Davies – Bass & Vocals
Esteban Chavez – Synths, organs, electric pianos
Bob Lee – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheFreeks/
https://twitter.com/The_Freeks
http://www.thefreeks.com/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS044

The Freeks, Shattered (2016)

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Of the Horizon Self-Titled LP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

of-the-horizon

Half a decade in the making, the self-titled debut from Joshua Tree’s Of the Horizon will see release through Kozmik Artifactz on Nov. 18. The band has a decent portion of the material streaming now, though whether those are the final versions or if something’s changed in the last five years is anyone’s guess, but either way, their blend of heavy desert psych and crunching, Sleep-style riffing on “3 Feet,” which you can hear below, should give you some general idea what they’re getting up to. Or what they got up to circa 2011, anyhow. I suppose they could pretty much be doing anything at this point, including not being a band since last I heard, bassist Kayt Vigil was in Italy and playing in Sonic Wolves.

So yeah, maybe not too sure on the status of Of the Horizon, but at least the record is coming out. If you’re the gotta-preorder-it type, Kozmik Artifactz has it up for sale now, and they posted the following announcement with the Kyle Stratton cover art:

of-the-horizon-self-titled

Of The Horizon – s/t full length now on pre-sale!

More than 4 years after the final recording of Los Angeles/Joshua Tree, CA’s …Of The Horizon, the long awaited self-titled full length album is on the way – on wax!

The three piece brings the listener crushing low end, heavily fuzzed out guitar, precise and intense drumming and melodically droning vocals. The album transports you straight into the soul-warming freeness of the California high desert while taking you on a sonic journey through the soundscape of open valleys and high mountains – complete with fuzzed-out grooves, massive and sonorous riffs finely detailed with swells of volume and feeling …and all with a trance-inducing psychedelic edge!

Recorded in November of 2011 in Joshua Tree, CA by Tony Mason. Cover art by Caveman Kyle Stratton of the amazing band, Atala. Mixed and Mastered by Brian Zee and drummer Shig and later on by Lorenzo Stecconi (Ufomammut’s “sound lord”).

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance 180g vinyl by PALLAS in Germany
– 100x orange black marbled (Exclusive mailorder edition, handnumbered)
– 200x black
– matt laquered 300gsm gatefold Cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
A1. 3 Feet
A2. Caravan
A3. Unknown
B1. Gladhander
B2. Hall of the Drunken King

Of the Horizon is:
Mike Hanne – Guitars/Vocals
Shig – Drums/Cymbals/Gong
Kayt Vigil – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz/
www.kozmik-artifacts.com/artist/ofthehorizon/
https://soundcloud.com/ofthehorizon
https://www.facebook.com/Of-The-Horizon-119745221373471/

Of the Horizon, “3 Feet”

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The Freeks, Shattered: Pieces Put Together (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-freeks-shattered

[Click play above to stream The Freeks’ Shattered in its entirety. Album is out Friday, Nov. 11 via Heavy Psych Sounds.]

The Freeks‘ third album, Shattered, reads like a blueprint for how to blend punker and psychedelic impulses. Or at least how to revel in the competition between them. Also the Los Angeles five-piece’s debut on Heavy Psych Sounds, it expands on the ideas of 2013’s Full On (review here) as well as the runtime — going from 34 then to 48 minutes here — and leans on the fantastic and classy key work of Esteban Chavez to carry a vintage vibe into songs like the ultra-Stoogesian “Where Did You Go,” the band trying to find that moment when heavy rock got just dirty enough to be called punk for the first time while still keeping a modern production.

This drive has been there since their 2008 self-titled debut, but finds its deepest manifestation yet on Shattered, and while one doubts the title is a reference the group’s penchant for jumping styles, there are songs that present a solid break from one genre to the next, perhaps best exemplified in the turn from the speedy rawness of “Uncle Jack’s Truck” (“Uncle Jack” also made an appearance on the self-titled) to the more sprawling, jammy, lysergic “Sylvia” at what one assumes is the end of side A. Granted, some of these moves come across pretty clearly telegraphed — particularly when one can look at the comparative track lengths — but The Freeks are an experienced band and know how to set up a flow so that “Strange Mind” can make one recall that vocalist/guitarist Ruben Romano‘s pedigree goes back to Nebula‘s days as a Fu Manchu offshoot.

Bassist/vocalist Tom Davies also did time in the much-missed heavy psych rockers, and together with him, guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Hall (Backbiter), Chavez on synth, organ and electric piano, and drummer Bob Lee, who makes his debut here in place of Hari HassinRomano leads the fervent charge that The Freeks ignite early with feedback and piano intensity on opener “Tiny Pieces.” The hook in that track revolves around the line, “No one’s gonna take me alive,” and that proves telling as regards the attitude of Shattered, which like its predecessor reminds at its meanest moments, as with the late-arriving and particularly blown-out “Ivana,” of Mondo Generator, but three records deep, The Freeks are less willing to be defined by their influences than by their songwriting.

the-freeks

They have more than enough stylistic command to establish fluidity to carry them through the swinging “Where Did You Go” and into the emergent swirl of “Strange Mind” — the first of Shattered‘s several really psychedelic tracks, joined later by “Sylvia” and much of side B, and maybe still the catchiest, though I’m partial to the gone-and-not-coming-back, dream-state sensibility of closer “Blow Time Away” — and while there are times listening to the effects churn later in “Sylvia” or “Strange Mind” or “Fast Forward” or indeed “Blow Time Away” when one has to step back and wonder how it is The Freeks can resist the impulse to just make a record of half-hour-long jams, since they so clearly could and probably put out three full-lengths a year of space rock mastery, the fact that they don’t makes them a more powerful group in terms of craft and gives their sound a dimension that even deep-field mixing can’t necessarily convey.

Though it certainly doesn’t hurt. Pulling out of the atmosphere of earlier cuts like the post-grunge strum of “I’m a Mess” and the fittingly motor-ready thrust of “Uncle Jack’s Truck,” the consciously-titled “There’s No Turning back Now” is only 1:48, but it serves as a trippy synth/effects introduction to Shattered‘s second half from which “La Tumba” directly feeds and expands, more patient in pace and rolling out to engaging heavy psych liquefaction. It’s not that structure disappears entirely, but the stylistic lean definitely changes its direction, and an experimental edge even works its way into the hard cosmic surf of “The Space Bar,” broadening The Freeks‘ established reach leading into the fade-in of “Fast Forward”‘s languid grandeur. Once again, there’s an underlying hook — “Just keep moving forward” feels a long way removed from “No one’s gonna take me alive,” even if the root message is similar — but it comes paired with Shattered‘s most hypnotic groove, and the pairing of guitar solo and organ at the end make it a high point of the album as a whole.

Naturally, the smash-into-ground of “Ivana” follows. I said the band telegraphed some of their moves, and they do, but it still works in terms of the aforementioned revelry, and as stark as “Fast Forward” into “Ivana” is, “Ivana” into the penultimate “Blue Shoes” — more of a middle-ground strut-rocker complementing “Where Did You Go” earlier — sets up the shift back into the ethereal for “Blow Time Away” to close out, and those final three songs summarize well the scope presented across the entire span, essentially a condensed version of what brings Shattered so smoothly together. “Blow Time Away” ends cold, with just a quick shot of feedback mirroring “Tiny Pieces,” and The Freeks make their way out of their sprawling-but-still-driven third offering with a resounding lack of pretense intact despite having married styles rarely bridged. There’s no doubt they benefit from the past experience of their component members, but as The Freeks hit maturity on their own as a band, their personality has only become more multi-faceted.

The Freeks on Thee Facebooks

The Freeks on Twitter

The Freeks website

The Freeks at Heavy Psych Sounds

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Jason Simon of Dead Meadow Releases New Solo Album Familiar Haunts

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Anytime you’re ready to get weird, Jason Simon is already there. To the best of my knowledge, Familiar Haunts is the Dead Meadow frontman’s first solo album since his 2010 eponymous debut came out on Tee Pee, and even as he jumps styles from psych-outlaw to fuzzy drift, it might be even harder to keep up with all the labels involved putting the new one out. I count four between Tekeli-Li, Cardinal Fuzz, Burger Records and Blind Blind Tiger, but there might be one or two more in there — I wouldn’t make a promise either way. Understandable to get a bunch of support behind it, both because of Simon‘s pedigree and the swagger of the 11-minute “Wheels Will Spin,” which seems to sum up the mindset of the whole release while also spacing out in a satisfyingly meandering jam.

Admittedly, I’m a little behind on the release, so you can stream the album in full on the player below and hear “Wheels Will Spin” and the rest of it for yourself before you dive into picking a label and/or format for your purchase. Info from the PR wire:

jason-simon-familiar-haunts

Familiar Haunts by Jason Simon

Jason Simon, best known for his work as the guitarist and singer for the seminal heavy psych band Dead Meadow, releases his new solo record Familiar Haunts on Cardinal Fuzz / Tekeli-Li Records. Cassettes available from Blind Blind Tiger and Burger records. For Familiar Haunts Jason takes his love of the haunting Appalachian banjo playing of Dock Boggs and old time Americano Folk music to create a heady mix where wheezing organs come up against Maestro like drum machines and delivers on the weirdness inherent in old folk/country and blues tunes.

All the various strains of Cosmic Psychedelia that run through the grooves here you can find as you dip into the opening cut “The People Dance, The People Sing” as a twanging droning raga like guitar eventually slides into wild tangles of heavy swirling clouds of psych bliss. Tracks drift from the heady to the etheral to churning and heavy deserty dirges as Jason Simon emerges from the eerie haze.

Tracklisting:
1. The People Dance, The People Sing 04:28
2. Without Reason or Right 03:54 video
3. Now I’m Telling You 03:44
4. Pretty Polly 03:24
5. Seven Sisters of Sleep 04:11
6. Hills of Mexico 06:05
7. Wheels Will Spin 10:59
8. I Found the Thread 03:36

Jason Simon : guitar and vox
Scott Seltzer : Bass
Jon Randono : organ, synth, electric balama
James Acton : percussion

https://www.facebook.com/DeadMeadowOfficial/
https://jasonsimon.bandcamp.com/releases
http://deadmeadowstore.bigcartel.com/product/jason-simon-familiar-haunts-lp
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz/
http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TekeliliRecords/
https://www.facebook.com/burgerrecords/
http://burgerrecords.11spot.com/
http://www.blindblindtiger.com/

Jason Simon, Familiar Haunts (2016)

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The Freeks Announce Shattered Release Date

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Haven’t heard this one yet, but I’m looking forward to it. The Freeks‘ last outing, 2013’s Full On (review here), was a barnburner of heavy rock righteousness and I’d expect no less from the Los Angeles five-piece’s Heavy Psych Sounds debut (third album overall), Shattered. No tracklisting or audio yet, but the cover art for the CD/LP has been unveiled, a Nov. 11 release has been announced, and preorders have been made available for those who like to take care of these things early.

If that’s you, you’ll find the link below, as graciously sent along the PR wire:

the-freeks-shattered

California’s blazing hot punk’n’rollers THE FREEKS to release third album on Heavy Psych Sounds this fall!

Prepare for an unprecedented earthquake, world! Los Angeles explosive rock’n’rollers THE FREEKS have announced the release of their new album “Shattered” this November 11th on Heavy Psych Sounds.

With an inextinguishable fire, Californian five-piece THE FREEKS brilliantly fuses high-octane rock’n’roll, the raw energy of punk rock and hints of psychedelic bizarrerie. Just as if The Stooges had met Hawkwind. With former members of Fu Manchu or Nebula in its ranks, the band is anything but a newbie in the US rock scene. After two albums (“The Freeks” in 2008 and the widely acclaimed “Full On” in 2013), THE FREEKS are back with a blazing new effort to be released on Heavy Psych Sounds this November.

THE FREEKS – New album “Shattered”
Out November 11th on Heavy Psych Sounds // Pre-order

Everything has a beginning, whether it is by accident or design. A journey consists of trials and errors until finally reaching a full circle… ever evolving, revolving over and over again. Set in constant motion, the gathering of speed reaching ultimate vibrations until it’s all “Shattered” This can also be said in regards to Los Angeles, CA based quintet THE FREEKS, as they return from yet another complete orbit with their third full-length “Shattered”. What started as an accident brought on a thought, which then began a project that grew into a solidified unit of sonic purification! Led by Ruben Romano, the band has consistently moved upward since their formation in 2007 and have gracefully matured since their first self-titled LP released in 2008 on Cargo Records Germany. While the initial project collaborated with players from around the world, in 2010 Romano gathered together a more local unit of musicians, all baked under the L.A. heat, to achieve a consistent flow of creation. This was followed by their critically acclaimed sophomore LP “Full On” (2013) released on the band’s own label Freek Flag Records.

Now in 2016, THE FREEKS prepare to sling shot and extend the trajectory of their already existing orbital path by joining forces with Heavy Psych Sounds to release this latest revolution, fully ready to shake it until it’s all shattered!

THE FREEKS ARE
Ruben Romano – Guitar & Lead Vocals
Jonathan Hall – Guitar & Vocals
Tom Davies – Bass & Vocals
Esteban Chavez – Synths, organs, electric pianos
Bob Lee – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheFreeks/
https://twitter.com/The_Freeks
http://www.thefreeks.com/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS044

The Freeks, “Weirdness” Live at Pappy & Harriet’s, Oct. 23, 2015

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Quarterly Review: Sumac, Dunsmuir, Monkey3, Oak, Lightsabres, Helen Money, Dali’s Llama, Suns of Thyme, Fungal Abyss, Wicked Gypsy

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

This is always a kind of nervewracking moment, sitting here in my chair as I do every couple months and introducing the next Quarterly Review. Between now and Friday, somehow, some way, I’ll post 50 reviews in batches of 10 per day. It will cover more ground than, frankly, I yet know, and by the time it’s done it’s going to feel (at least to me) like way more than a week has passed, but hell, at this point I’ve done this enough times to be reasonably confident I can get through it without suffering a major collapse either of heart or brain. I’ve taken steps beforehand to make it easier on myself and listened to a lot, a lot, a lot of music in preparation, so there’s nothing left to do but dive in and actually kick this this thing off. So let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Sumac, What One Becomes

sumac-what-one-becomes

With their second album, What One Becomes (on Thrill Jockey), post-metal trio Sumac move forward from what their 2015 debut, The Deal (review here), established as their crushing and atmospheric modus. Starting with a wash of blown-out noise in “Image of Control,” the collective of guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (ex-Isis), bassist Brian Cook (Russian Circles) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) eventually settle into a barrage of chug and inhuman lumber over the course of the five-track/58-minute progression, testing tolerance on the 17-minute march “Blackout” and tapping into a satisfying moment of melody in centerpiece “Clutch of Oblivion” that, by the time it arrives, feels a bit like a life raft. There are stretches that come across as part collections, but the whole seems to be geared toward overwhelming, consuming and devastating, and ultimately What One Becomes accomplishes all of those things and more besides, finishing closer “Will to Reach” with the sense they could easily keep going. I believe it.

Sumac on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records

 

Dunsmuir, Dunsmuir

dunsmuir-dunsmuir

Prior to making their full-length debut, Dunsmuir issued a series of 7” singles, so if you picked up any of that, the straightforward pulse running through the 10-track self-titled will probably be familiar. Likewise if you’d previously caught wind of The Company Band, the supergroup in which vocalist Neil Fallon (also Clutch), guitarist Dave Bone and bassist Brad Davis (also Fu Manchu) previously joined forces. Here they’re joined by drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, etc.), and the material is suitably metallic in its aftertaste, but while Fallon’s presence is irrepressible and it’s the songwriting itself that shines through in cuts like “Our Only Master” and “…And Madness,” both barnburner riffs in classic metal fashion, where the later “Church of the Tooth” draws back the pace to add sway leading into the mid-paced closing duo “The Gate” and “Crawling Chaos.” Not many surprises, but with the ingredients given, knowing what you’re getting isn’t anything to complain about.

Dunsmuir on Thee Facebooks

Dunsmuir webstore

 

Monkey3, Astra Symmetry

monkey3-astra-symmetry

Across a span of 12 tracks and 72 minutes, Swiss heavy progressives Monkey3 unfurl the massive scope of Astra Symmetry, their fifth album and the follow-up to 2013’s The 5th Sun. It is an immediately immersive listening experience and does not become any less so as it plays out, the generally-instrumental four-piece frontloading early songs like “Abyss,” “Moon” and the nodding, synthed-out “The Water Bearer” with vocals and backing that with “Dead Planet’s Eyes” on the second LP for good measure. Delving into Eastern-style melodicism gives Astra Symmetry a contemplative air, but Monkey3’s heavy psychedelia has always provided a free-flowing vibe, and as “Astrea,” “Arch,” “The Guardian” and “Realms of Lights” roll through ambient drones toward the album’s smoothly delivered apex, that remains very much the case. Taken as a whole, Astra Symmetry is a significant journey, but satisfying in that traveling atmosphere and in the hypnosis it elicits along the way.

Monkey3 on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records

 

Oak, Oak II

oak-oak-ii

Big progressive step from London four-piece Oak on their second self-released EP, Oak II. They follow last year’s self-titled (review here) with four more tracks that build on the burl established last time out but immediately show more stylistic command, vocalist Andy “Valiant” Wisbey emerging as a significant frontman presence and the band behind him – guitarist/engineer Kevin Germain, bassist Scott Masson and drummer Clinton Ritchie – finding more breadth, be it in a nod to djent riffing in “Mirage” or more melodic post-Steak desert rock in “Against the Rain.” In addition, “A Bridge too Far” showcases a patience of approach that the first EP simply didn’t have, and that makes its build even more satisfying as it hits its peak and goes quiet into the stonerly swing of “Smoke,” which ends Oak II with due fuzz and some social commentary to go with. Sounds like more than a year’s growth at work, but I’ll take it.

Oak on Thee Facebooks

Oak on Bandcamp

 

Lightsabres, Hibernation

lightsabres-hibernation

One word for Swedish one-man outfit Lightsabres? How about “underrated?” Since the 2013 Demons EP (review here), it has been nearly impossible to keep a handle on where John Strömshed (also Tunga Moln) might go on any given song, and his latest offering, the full-length Hibernation (on HeviSike with a tape out on Medusa Crush) works much the same, rolling out a melodic mellowness on the opening title-track before topping off-time chug with garage vocals on the subsequent “Endless Summer.” Elsewhere, “Throw it all Away” marries swallow-you-in-tone riffing with a surprisingly emotionally resonant lead, and “Blood on the Snow” offers a downtrodden vision of grunge-blues like what might’ve happened if Danzig had never gone commercial. It’s all over the place, as was 2014’s Spitting Blood (review here) and 2015’s Beheaded, but tied together through a wintry theme, and anyway, variety is the norm for Lightsabres, whose reach seems only to grow broader with each passing year.

Lightsabres on Thee Facebooks

HeviSike Records website

 

Helen Money, Become Zero

helen-money-become-zero

Knowing the context of Helen Money’s Become Zero having been written by cellist Alison Chesley following losing both her parents, and knowing that songs like the 10-minute “Radiate” and the effects-less “Blood and Bone” (which features pianist Rachel Grimes) deal directly with that loss, only makes it more powerful, but even without that information, the sense of melancholy and loneliness is right there to be heard. Chesley, who released the last Helen Money album, Arriving Angels (review here), in 2013, once again brings in drummer Jason Roeder (Sleep, Neurosis) to contribute, and his work on the title-track and the later churn of “Leviathan” make both standouts, but whether it’s the empty spaces of “Vanished Star” or the ambient wash of “Radiate” – I don’t even know how a cello makes that sound – the emotional force driving the music is ultimately what ties it together as a single work of poignant, deeply resonant beauty.

Helen Money on Thee Facebooks

Helen Money at Thrill Jockey Records

 

Dali’s Llama, Dying in the Sun

dalis-llama-dying-in-the-sun

It has been nearly three years since desert-dwelling rockers Dali’s Llama celebrated their two-decade run with the Twenty Years Underground vinyl (review here) and almost four since their last proper full-length, Autumn Woods (review here), was issued. For them, that’s an exceedingly long time. One can’t help but wonder if the band – now a five-piece, led as ever by guitarist/vocalist Zach Huskey and recorded as ever by Scott Reeder – went through a period of introspection in that span. After some stylistic experimentation with darker and more doomed influences, the seven tracks of Dying in the Sun would seem to reaffirm who Dali’s Llama are as they approach the quarter-century mark, bringing some of the gloom of Autumn Woods to extended centerpiece “Samurai Eyes” as easily as “Bruja-ha” seems to play off the goth-punk whimsy of 2010’s Howl do You Do? (review here). The fact is Dali’s Llama are all these things, not just one or the other, and so in bringing that together, Dying in the Sun is perhaps the truest to themselves they’ve yet been on record.

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama Records website

 

Suns of Thyme, Cascades

suns-of-thyme-cascades

Making their debut on Napalm Records, Berlin five-piece Suns of Thyme exhibit immediate sonic adventurousness on their second album, Cascades, melding krautrock and heavy psych keys and effects with a distinctly human presence in the rhythm section, engaging in songcraft in the new wave-ish “Intuition Unbound” while topping shoegaze wash with organ on “Aphelion.” It’s a vast reach, and with 14 tracks and a 55-minute runtime, Suns of Thyme have plenty of chance to get where they’re going, but the dynamic between the psych-folk of “Val Verde” and the drift of closing duo “Kirwani” and “Kirwani II” and the push of the earlier “Deep Purple Rain” impresses both in theory and practice alike. The task ahead of them would seem to be to meld these influences together further as they move forward, but there’s something satisfying about having no idea what’s coming next after the proggy sway of “Schweben,” and that’s worth appreciating as it is.

Suns of Thyme on Thee Facebooks

Suns of Thyme at Napalm Records

 

Fungal Abyss, Karma Suture

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Two huge, side-consuming slabs of primordial improvised heavy psychedelia making up a 45-minute LP with a pun title and enough wash throughout that I don’t even feel dirty looking at it? Yeah, there really isn’t a time when I don’t feel ready to sign on for weirdo exploratory stuff like that which Seattle’s Fungal Abyss elicit on Karma Suture. Available as a 12” on Adansonia Records, the album brings together “Perfumed Garden” (22:12) and “Virile Member” (23:22), both sprawling, massive jams that launch almost immediately and are gone for the duration. Way gone. I won’t discount the consumption that takes place on side A, but I think my absolute favorite part of Karma Suture might be the guitar lead on “Virile Member,” which about eight minutes in starts to lose its way and you can actually hear the band come around and pick it back up to an exciting swing. It’s moments like that one that make a group like Fungal Abyss exciting. Not only are they able to right their direction when they need to, but they’re brave enough to put the whole thing on record: as raw and genuine as it gets.

Fungal Abyss on Thee Facebooks

Adansonia Records website

 

Wicked Gypsy, Wicked Gypsy

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It’s an encouraging and unpretentious start that Malaysian four-piece Wicked Gypsy make on their self-titled, self-released three-song EP. In the 22-minute span of “Wicked Gypsy,” “Heavy Eyes” and “Gypsy Woman,” the band – vocalist/guitarist Mahmood Ahmad, bassist Mohd Azam, keyboardist Azyan Idayu and drummer Ahmad Afiq – bring together influences from modern doom and classic heavy rock, Idayu’s keys providing a distinct ‘70s flair to the opener while Azam’s wah bass and of course a liberal dose of rifffing from Ahmad lead a proto-metallic charge in “Heavy Eyes,” topped with gritty vocals reciting lyrics about smoking weed, black magic, the devil, etc. What one really hears in these tracks is Wicked Gypsy’s initial exploration of dark-themed doom rock, and while the going is rough in its sound, that adds to the appeal, and the drum solo/progressive flourish worked into “Gypsy Woman” speaks well of where they’re headed as they walk the Sabbathian path.

Wicked Gypsy on Thee Facebooks

Wicked Gypsy on Soundcloud

 

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Thief Release Thieves Hymn in D Minor Debut LP

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

thief

It looks like a total of 250 copies of Thief‘s debut album, Thieves Hymn in D Minor, have been printed. That doesn’t seem like very many at all, and even fewer when one considers the breakdown between red and black vinyl. Seems to me that if it’s the kind of thing one might be into, one might be inclined to get on it before the getting is no longer good. Available through Lay Bare Recordings — also responsible for recent outings by Yawning Man and the European distro for Seedy Jeezus & Isaiah Mitchell‘s collaboration — 100 copies will come with a special silkscreen art print as well, further sweetening the pot.

Lay Bare had this to say via the PR wire:

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New Lay Bare Recordings release THIEF – THIEVES HYMN IN D MINOR

Laid Bare from the city of Angels, THIEF, an ambient electronic project from DYLAN NEAL (hammered dulcimerist from the experimental black metal band Botanist). Seven haunting hymns on two vinyl editions.

LBR015, Two vinyl editions
1. 100 copies on Oxblood Red vinyl
2. 150 copies on black vinyl
3. With both color variations a special silkscreen printed art by Comaworx (http://www.comaworx.com/ ) can be ordered as a special indulgence for this release, only 100 printed!!

THIEF is a dark electronic project based in Los Angeles. Mixing a delicate relationship between choral and electronica – the sacred and the future – and featuring two live members of the highly acclaimed experimental black metal band Botanist, THIEF creates a new haunting story in the search for spirits in the machines.

THIEF’s debut LP Thieves Hymn in D Minor throws away the use of synths and pads and is crafted almost entirely out of manipulated sacred orthodox music. Its seven electronic tombs beautifully unravel over distorted beats creating a lush, shimmering atmosphere. Mixing electronica, trip hop, and experimental sounds together, Thieves Hymn in D Minor will be available on vinyl through Lay Bare Recordings.

In the studio, it is a one-man project, but live it also features R. Chiang (the other live hammered dulcimerist in Botanist) on drums and Chris Hackman on bass.

THIEF is:
Dylan Neal – All music, vocals, production
Robert Chiang – Drums
Chris Hackman – Bass, Vocals

http://burningworldrecords.com/artist/thief
http://laybarerecordings.com/
http://www.facebook.com/laybarerecordings/
http://thiefdom.com/
https://www.facebook.com/THIEFsounds/
https://soundcloud.com/thief_official
https://twitter.com/THIEF_SOUNDS
https://thief-official.bandcamp.com/

Thief, “Skin to Jade”

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