Sasquatch Premiere New Single “Rational Woman”

Posted in audiObelisk on April 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sasquatch

Sasquatch will release their new single, Rational Woman, on June 7 via Red Sun Records. The Small Stone Records veterans are still officially based in Los Angeles despite having guitarist/vocalist Keith Gibbs and bassist Jason “Cas” Casanova having traveled across the country to record at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts; also home-base for Craig Riggs, the vocalist for Roadsaw who came aboard as a conveniently-located-on-the-opposite-coast drummer following an apparent split with Rick Ferrante (currently working with Aboleth) sometime since the fourth Sasquatch long-player, IV (review here), came out in 2013. The fact that it’s been four years since IV hit might have something to do with Rational Woman coming together, but whatever the motivation, new Sasquatch is invariably a win for anyone who likes their grooves locked in, their fuzz extra hairy and their hooks surgically implanted on their brains and ready for repeat listens.

That’s basically how “Rational Woman” — already I can’t get Gibbs‘ “She don’t like me anyway…” out of my head — finds Sasquatch operating. Another motivation for the single? This summer marks the second time in two years Sasquatch will head to Europe for a tour, and with slots booked at Stoned from the Underground,sasquatch rational woman SonicBlast Moledo and Red Smoke ahead of a return to the States and a gig lined up at Psycho Las Vegas in August, it’s all the more occasion to make it happen on the back of a new release, even if it’s just a two-songer. It’s not like anybody showing up at one or another of the above festivals is going to complain about new Sasquatch, and particularly with the careening central riff that provides the thrust of “Rational Woman,” the band is quick to let their audience know all cylinders are firing and they’re ready, as ever, to kick ass on any stage that thinks it might be able to contain them.

To that end, I expect Sasquatch will announce more European tour dates as we get closer to the summer, so keep on keeping an eye out for that. In the meantime, Rational Woman, which also features the B-side “In My World,” is set for a one-time-only pressing of 500 copies and available to preorder now from Red Sun Records through Bandcamp (linked below). I suppose the only real question is if there will be any copies left by the time the tour starts.

You can find the premiere of Sasquatch‘s “Rational Woman” on the player below, followed by more info on the release courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Sasquatch on “Rational Woman”:

We’ve never done a 7” before. At some point last year I was feeling nostalgic and remembered the glory days of the Sub Pop Singles Club. I’m not sure if it’s the smartest thing to do, but I wanted to jump off that bridge and put one out, just to say we did it once. Flashback to the year 2014, we ended up in Barcelona on a whim thanks to Red Sun. First time in Spain. We were rookies. I think Red Sun was just getting off the ground back then, but Marc and Lane, the couple who run the booking agency/label, were the nicest, most down-to-earth people. Showed us all of the local spots. They took good care of us and since that trip we’ve kept in contact regularly. Definitely feels like extended family whenever we get to see them. We knew that we wanted to do something exclusively for the Europe tour this summer, and Marc and Lane were the first that came to mind. We asked, and they were actually cool with the idea, so here we are, together… teeing off 2017… 45s or bust.

The Rational Woman 7” will be limited to a one-time print of 500 copies on black vinyl. Grab a copy before it’s too late because once they are gone, they are gone for good!!

Barcelona-based Red Sun Records will be exclusively releasing the album worldwide on June 7th. Pre-orders start today. Get it here: redsunrecordsbarcelona.bandcamp.com.

Track Titles:
Side A) Rational Woman
Side B) In My World

Sasquatch
Keith Gibbs – Guitar/Vox
Craig Riggs – Drums
Jason Casanova – Bass

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New Sasquatch 7″ Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sasquatch

Want to do some fun math? Here’s one for you: 2017 means it’s now been more than a decade since Los Angeles heavy rockers Sasquatch released their landmark second album, II (discussed here). Their self-titled debut? Yeah, it turns out 2004 was 13 years ago. III (review here) came out in 2010, and even IV (review here) turns four later this year. Maybe those numbers don’t astound you — and if not, congratulations on your enduring awareness of the passage of time — but it seems to me that as the three-piece move toward another European tour that will find them at Stoned from the UndergroundSonicBlast Moledo and Red Smoke this summer in addition to their previously-announced slot at Psycho Las Vegas, it’s time to start giving these dudes the respect they deserve as veterans of the scene.

I guess I was still thinking of them as the same upstarts who kicked my ass with “Money Man” and “Chemical Lady” in summer ’04. Go figure. Astute observation: I am old.

They have a new single coming out on Red Sun Records called Rational Woman that’s available to preorder now and which I’m just going to assume tells the story of a lady making responsible career and personal decisions and leading a fulfilling and mindful existence of self-actualization and equal pay for equal work. That’s the assumption I’m making. It’s what I choose to believe. You believe whatever you want.

No audio yet to prove me wrong, but here’s art and info from the PR wire:

sasquatch rational woman

The crew here at Red Sun Records is excited to announce that we will be releasing a limited edition 7” from long-standing Los Angeles rockers, Sasquatch, on June 7th as a pre-launch to their upcoming European summer tour. The band, known for their massive riffage and magnificent out-of-the-90s melodies and powerful grooves, will be showcasing their first new material since releasing their fourth record (appropriately titled “IV”) back in 2013.

The Rational Woman 7” will be limited to a one-time print of 500 copies on black vinyl. Grab a copy before it’s too late because once they are gone, they are gone for good!!

Barcelona-based Red Sun Records will be exclusively releasing the album worldwide on June 7th. Pre-orders start today. Get it here: redsunrecordsbarcelona.bandcamp.com.

Track Titles:
Side A) Rational Woman
Side B) In My World

Sasquatch
Keith Gibbs – Guitar/Vox
Craig Riggs – Drums
Jason Casanova – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/sasquatchrocks/
http://www.sasquatchrock.us/
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redsunrecordsbarcelona.bandcamp.com

Sasquatch, “Let it In” Live in Athens, Greece, 2016

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Sixes Post New Single; Debut Full-Length Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

One doesn’t necessarily associate Southern California with snow-capped anything, but I guess if you look hard enough on enough mountaintops, anything’s possible. Sludge extremists Sixes have posted a new song that, at 10 minutes, seems likely to consume a substantial portion of their impending debut long-player, and as they proffer the ethic of ‘Worship amps, not gods,’ the track “A Cross to Burn” (uh, really? burning crosses? did we think this one through? am I crazy?) boasts enough feedback, noise and grit to embody the tagline. If you’ve got 10 minutes and want to have the foulness of your mood reinforced, the four-piece work in defiance of their regional climate to kick the shit out of your ears for a while. Sure enough, it’ll make your sunny day dark.

They’ll be in Los Angeles supporting Conan and North on May 10, as the PR wire — which also brought the aforementioned new track — dutifully informs:

sixes

Sixes – Worship Amps, Not Gods.

Blackened, Doom, Sludge outfit Sixes have just released their new single ‘A Cross To Burn’.

After trudging their way through Anaheim’s backyard scene, this long awaited release has proven that Sixes will be a force to be reckoned with in 2017. Recorded deep in the snow covered mountains of Southern California at 13 O’ Clock Studios, during one of the coldest winters California has seen in a long time, A Cross To Burn captures the essence of what blackened doom is, and will be to come.

This quartet was formed in 2016 and quickly got to work laying down their unique brand of doom, using unconventional amplifier and cabinet combinations to create unique tones that make this band stand at the forefront of what California doom is all about. Expect to see a lot more from Sixes in 2017, as this is only the beginning. Full length due for release late 2017.

Sixes are:
Hannes Bogacs (guitar)
Eddie Estrada (drums)
Stephen Cummings (vocals, guitar)
Zander Reddis (bass)

See Sixes live opening for Conan on May 10th at The Complex in Los Angeles.

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Six Dumb Questions with Ides of Gemini

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on April 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ides of gemini

The arrival of Women, the third full-length from Los Angeles ethereal heavy rockers Ides of Gemini, has been a gradual process. True, their prior outing, Old World New Wave (review here), came out in 2014 and three years is hardly an egregious stretch between albums, but in the case of Ides of Gemini, the last year-plus has involved not only the usual playing out and writing time, but also the switching of labels from Neurot Recordings to Rise Above Records — substantial endorsement, in either case — and the reconstruction of the group itself, which went from a trio to a four-piece in adding the rhythm section of bassist Adam Murray and drummer Scott Batiste (the latter also of Saviours) to the founding duo of guitarist J. Bennett and vocalist Sera Timms (also ZunBlack Mare and formerly Black Math Horseman), the latter of whom gave up her dual role as bassist for the 10-track/43-minute, Sanford Parker-recorded offering.

One might think that with a degree of tumult surrounding its making, Women would be confused or uneven in some way, yet it’s arguable that Ides of Gemini have never sounded so clearheaded. From the early semi-metallized urgings in “The Dancer” to the vast soundscaping in “Heroine’s Descent,” which nods to goth dramas and black metal in like proportion, on through the lumber of “She Has a Secret” and ritualized-feeling closer “Queen of New Orleans,” Women basks in its diverse purposes and unites them through a foundation of performance. Timms, as ever, adds to the atmosphere on vocals, but her melodic command is unmistakable, and whether it’s the sway of “The Rose” or the more straightforward push of “Swan Diver,” Bennett‘s riffing is varied and crisp as backed by Murray‘s bass and Batiste‘s drums; the whole affair only given further reach by Parker‘s production work. In some ways, it is very much a “third album,” as it could easily be seen as a new level of maturity in the band’s approach and benefiting from the lessons of Old World New Wave and 2012’s Constantinople before it.

Women is out April 28 via Rise Above Records and the band have tour plans in the works for later this year. Bennett was kind enough to take part in a short interview about making the album and to discuss the development of Ides of Gemini from their beginnings to this point.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

ides of gemini women

Six Dumb Questions with Ides of Gemini

Tell me about writing Women. It’s been three years since Old World New Wave but the band has been through a lot in that time. When did these songs start to come together?

J. Bennett: I started writing songs for the album that would become Women not long after we recorded Old World New Wave. I usually have the title, concept and many of the songs ready for our next album before the most recent one is even available. At that time, our original drummer Kelly was still in the band and the album had a different working title. After Scott and Adam joined, I ended up abandoning most of the material I had and started writing new stuff that I felt was more suited to the new lineup — and was partly inspired by it. And I changed the title to Women. So almost everything you hear on the new album ended up being written after Adam and Scott joined.

Has bringing new members in changed the dynamic between you and Sera at all? You’re the founders of the band. How involved in making the album were Scott and Adam?

It’s changed the dynamic in the practical sense that she’s not playing bass anymore, which has freed up her vocals considerably. And she doesn’t have any gear to haul around anymore, which I know she loves. I think she and I are also more open to arrangement suggestions than we were in the past.

These songs absolutely would not be what they are without Scott and Adam. Sera and I can build a basic Frankenstein monster on our own, but those guys are the electricity that brings it to life. Scott in particular made some excellent arrangement suggestions that greatly improved the dynamics of the songs.

How was your time in the studio with Sanford Parker? Was there anything specific you wanted to get out of the experience of recording with him?

Our experience with Sanford was fantastic. A few years ago, we had talked with him about the possibility of recording Old World New Wave, but he was still living in Chicago at that time, and the logistics, timing and budget just didn’t work out. When we talked to him about doing Women, it just so happened that he was planning to move to Los Angeles right around the time we wanted to record. I think he had only been living here for two weeks or so when we went into the studio.

In addition to him being a hugely talented producer and engineer, the appeal of working with Sanford came largely from some of those pre-Old World New Wave conversations we’d had with him — he “gets” Ides of Gemini in a way that many people do not. The references he made when talking about our music were to the post-punk, gothic rock, and black metal records that we feel the most affinity with, rather than the doom or “stoner rock” references that most folks seem to make. So I guess you could say he told us what we wanted to hear.

What’s your relationship to heavy metal at this point? Women is definitely heavy, but where is the line for you between something being heavy and it being metal? Is “The Dancer” metal?

Great question. I’ve loved heavy metal since I was a little kid and will do so until the day I die. But as much as I enjoy heavy metal, I have no desire to play genre music in Ides of Gemini. Besides, there are so many bands out there that play straight-up metal better than I’ll ever be capable of. Why try to compete in such a crowded field when you can at least attempt to stand out by doing something different?

Then again, there are obviously elements of heavy metal in what we do. As far as the new album, songs like “Swan Diver” and “Raft of Medusa” are even predominantly metal. Is “The Dancer” metal?  I don’t know. I can see how it could be perceived that way, but in the end it’s not up to me. This question gets to the heart of the weird conundrum we’ve been in since the band’s beginning. I get the sense that we’re often perceived as not heavy enough to play with the metal bands that we’re usually lumped in with, but then we’re considered way too heavy to play with the gothic rock bands that we might feel more affinity with. That can be frustrating at times, but ultimately I think it means we’re doing something right.

Three full albums in, how do you feel the band has grown and how conscious has that growth been? How much of the direction of Women just happened, as opposed to being a purposeful goal of songwriting?

I feel like the band has grown immensely over three albums. Constantinople to Old World New Wave felt like a pretty big improvement, and Old World New Wave to Women feels like a massive one.  Like any band, we’re always striving to get better, but this time we did so in ways that we could never have anticipated because of the lineup changes. The second part of your question is a little tougher to answer. The songs always start with a riff—some of those riffs are written very purposefully, but many definitely just “happen.” So the initial inspiration — that first riff — could go either way. But the direction each song takes after that first spark happens with much more purpose.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

We’re playing a record release show here in Los Angeles on May 6 with our friends Zig Zags and Taarkus. After that, world domination? A girl can dream.

Ides of Gemini, Live in Los Angeles, Jan. 7, 2017

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Here Lies Man Premiere “Here Lies Man”; Self-Titled Debut out April 7

Posted in audiObelisk on March 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

here lies man

Los Angeles heavy-psych-gone-Afrobeat outfit Here Lies Man will issue their self-titled debut next week through RidingEasy Records. Preorders are up now ahead of an April 7 release date. I think even the band would probably have to admit that not everyone who hears the album is going to get it, but even if that’s so, for those who do, the eight-track offering is bound to be taken as a treasure. Amid a seemingly endless slew of traditionalism in underground rock, Here Lies Man — the fuzz-‘n’-funked-up brainchild of Antibalas guitarist/vocalist Marcos J. Garcia — tread a different path. Garcia, whose affinity for Ethiopian psychedelic rock and particularly the work of Fela Kuti in defining Afrobeat comes through in the resonant percussiveness of cuts like “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” the instrumental “Belt of the Sun” and the repetitions throughout “When I Come To,” the closing title-track and so on, spearheads the conceptualist outing, but the vibe across the record’s entire span is one of pure rhythmic celebration. Here Lies Man sound more like a festival than a band, and yeah, not everyone’s gonna get that, but those who do will find it impossible not to be swept up by their multi-tiered pulsations.

Among the album’s many hooks is that of its concept. It’s the first question the PR wire asked in sending notification of the record, and you can see it below: What if Black Sabbath played here lies man self titledAfrobeat? If your answer for the question isn’t, “Well, that would be fucking awesome,” then you can probably count yourself among the “not gonna get it” above, but as a thematic foundation for the sonic territory that Here Lies Man are exploring, it’s a question as appropriate as it is evocative. But neither is it the sum total of what the record winds up offering. Because if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat, it would be riffs and percussion. Fine. Here Lies Man expand beyond this in the proclamations of “I Stand Alone” and the swaggering ultrafunk of “Letting Go.” It’s not just about bringing two seemingly disparate components together in a sonic collider — it’s about the new molecules discovered as a result of that and how those can be manipulated into something genuinely individual. Much to Here Lies Man‘s credit — and the credit of their experience as players and songwriters; because while it’s a new project it’s not necessarily a new band — they bring their debut to that high standard and flesh out something bold from the pieces of its creation, finding a whole from the sum of its parts that’s brightly colored and brimming with a vitality of expression and swirl all its own. Their starting point may be that central question, but where they end up is a different wavelength altogether.

And they’re better for it. Certainly the approach makes them an outlier among the more traditional forms of heavy proffered by RidingEasy acts like Monolord, Electric Citizen or Slow Season, but that’s obviously the point, and the progressive aspects of Here Lies Man‘s approach are writ large over the commitment to aesthetic that the band shows throughout. Seems like more than it would be reasonably fair to ask of a debut album, and yet the songs not only realize this multifaceted sonic persona, they set it up for future development should Garcia and his cohorts choose such pursuit. One hopes they do.

Today I’ve got the pleasure of hosting the premiere of “Here Lies Man” from Here Lies Man‘s Here Lies Man. As you might expect, it sums up a lot of what they’re going for in terms of sound and their overall take, and if you want to know just what the hell I’m talking about in the above ramblings, it’s all right there.

PR wire info follows. As always, I hope you enjoy:

What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat? In short, that’s the underlying vibe to the self-titled debut by Here Lies Man. The L.A. based quintet is founded and conceptualized by Marcos Garcia of Antibalas, bringing his erudite experience of World rhythms and music to the more riff-based foundations of heavy rock. The results are an incredibly catchy and refreshing twist on classic forms, without sounding forced and trite like some sort of mash-up attempt. Here Lies Man merges and expands musical traditions organically, utilizing the talents of drummer Geoff Mann (son of jazz musician Herbie Mann and former Antibalas member) and a host of skilled musicians to make Garcia’s vision a reality.

“These repetitive guitar figures that happen in Afrobeat music are pretty close to heavy rock guitar riffs,” Garcia explains. “It’s based on the clave. It’s the musical algorithm that the rhythms revolve around. That’s what gives it integrity and is part of this musical conversation going on. I knew I wanted it to be psychedelic and heavy, and I wanted to be expanding on a musical tradition than pretending to be creating something new.” The recording and band came together in the somewhat spontaneous fashion for which L.A. is famous. Garcia and Mann laid down the foundations and the band quickly expanded the recording and live shows soon followed.

And that expansion is the brilliant, hazy, psychedelic, hook-laden 8-song masterwork Here Lies Man, available on LP, CD and download on April 7th, 2017 via RidingEasy Records. Pre-orders are available at iTunes and RidingEasyRecs.com.

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Here Lies Man preorder at RidingEasy Records

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Aboleth Sign to WURMGroup; New EP Recording Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Should be interesting to hear what Los Angeles two-piece Aboleth come up with for their next EP and how it sounds as filtered through the commercially-relevant knob-twisting of producer Ulrich Wild. The heavy blues rock duo offered up their debut outing, EP 1, on CD at the end of January and have announced they’ve signed with Wild‘s imprint, WURMGroup, for the follow-up short release, soon to be recorded.

Always a risk when a hard rock producer takes on a heavy rock band, but baguitarist — yeah, it’s kind of like a bass and a guitar; not that hard to figure out once you parse the word — Collyn McCoy seems to have a handle on the situation tonally, and his past experience in Trash Titan and Ed Mundell‘s The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic should continue to serve him well, while in the meantime, Wild is sure to coax the best out of vocalist Brigitte “The Kid” Roka, since getting top performances out of top performers is how one winds up a Grammy-winning producer in the first place. Or so I’m told.

More to come when I have it. Till then, the PR wire makes it official:

aboleth

ABOLETH signs with WURMGroup; Ulrich Wild to produce second EP

Los Angeles dirt metal duo ABOLETH announce today that they have signed with WURMgroup, the label founded in 2015 by multi-platinum producer Ulrich Wild (Dethklok, Pantera, Deftones, Static-x).

The band and Grammy-nominated producer convened last week at the world-famous House of Pies in Los Angeles to finalize the deal — in typical rock ‘n’ roll fashion — over pie.

In addition to signing Aboleth to his label, Wild will produce and mix the upcoming release. Drum duties for the EP will be handled by legendary skinsman Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Necrophagist).

“I’m very excited to welcome Aboleth to the growing roster of WURMgroup acts,” Wild said. “I’ve known Collyn and Brigitte for years and have worked with both on several projects. They are incredibly talented, with very different influences. They are pushing the boundaries of rock, metal, and blues to create their own mutant musical reality.”

Aboleth was founded in 2016 by Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic) and 21-year-old whisky-throated belter Brigitte Roka. Roka propels the group with her Joplin-esque grit and soaring highs, while McCoy lays the sludgy foundation care of his baguitar — a bass/guitar hybrid that offers the lows of the former and the highs of the latter. Together the two meld stoner-doom with primal blues and desert rock to form what they have dubbed “dirt metal.” The seven-song EP will expand on the themes explored on their 2016 debut cassette – murder, revenge, lust, devil worship, and the benefits of a plant-based diet – while pushing their sound deeper into the proto-blues swamp hinted at in such tunes as “No Good.”

Aboleth has several upcoming shows in the Los Angeles area (with Rick Ferrante of Sasquatch/The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic on drums). Summer tour dates will be announced soon.

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Aboleth, “No Good” official video

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Moab Pay Homage to Drummer Erik Herzog with “Nothing Escapes” Lyric Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

moab

It’s been a while since last we heard from Los Angeles outfit Moab, and one can only wish the news was better. Toward the end of last year, the trio marked the passing of drummer Erik Herzog, and they now celebrate his life with a lyric video for the track “Nothing Escapes.” The song comes from Moab‘s second release, Billow (review here), which was released in 2014 via the now-defunct Scion A/V as a free download but is still available on CD and LP directly from the band. In addition to being tragic in its moment of arrival, the video is a reminder of the nuance that album proffered in following up 2011’s Kemado Records debut, Ab Ovo (discussed here), the sweetness of its melody and underlying Beatlesian pop bounce emblematic of the progressive bent emerging in their style at the time.

Naturally, Herzog played a major role in making that possible, so whether or not guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis and bassist Joe Fuentes will keep Moab going, I don’t know and don’t particularly want to speculate. For now, the lyrics to “Nothing Escapes” make a poignant tribute, and if in fact this does mark the end of the band, they will have offered listeners two rich outings that showed them as unafraid to look outside genre lines for inspiration as they pursued a path of individualized growth. Some groups never get that far, and while one could easily argue for Moab sounding like they still had more to say coming off of Billow — I would have, if we were debating the topic — the band’s work and that of Herzog as a part of the three-piece are able to stand on their own achievements as well and should continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

Condolences to GiacumakisFuentes and all who knew Herzog, friends and family and fans.

Please enjoy “Nothing Escapes” below:

Moab, “Nothing Escapes” lyric video

This video is our “shrine” to Erik. The song was especially significant to him as the lyrics were based on years of conversations with him about his struggles with depression. While that remained a struggle for him, he was especially proud of this song and the truth it contained. The drumming is some of his best work and the music is something we are all very proud of.

RIP Erik Herzog

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Friday Full-Length: Black Math Horseman, Wyllt

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Black Math Horseman, Wyllt (2009)

In the eight years since its release, something of a cult loyalism has built up around the full-length debut from Los Angeles’ Black Math Horseman. Rightly so. Issued in April 2009 by Tee Pee Records, the 38-minute Wyllt (discussed here) is a rare kind of outing that seemed to at once demand full headphone immersion and a volume level in defiance of any and all medical recommendation. Resting ultimately between ambient, My Bloody Valentine via Isis post-metal and desert-psychedelic ritualizing, it was a work of such purpose and detail that if you center its six titles, they form a pyramid. To wit:

Tyrant
Deerslayer
A Barren Cause
Origin of Savagery
Torment of the Metals
Bird of all Faiths/Bell from Madrone

Note “Tyrant” at the top. This nuance of presentation — could be happenstance, but seems unlikely that it was, frankly — came alongside a sound that was at once in-genre and out of it, unremittingly the band’s own on a level generally unthinkable for a debut and distinguished at the outset by the vocals of bassist Sera Timms, who seems to arrive here with her echoing ethereality completely realized and ready to carry the melodies of “Tyrant,” the build of “A Barren Cause,” and the later spaciousness of “Torment of the Metals.” Perhaps even more than it was heavy — though it was, make no mistake — Wyllt was ahead of its time in the vastness of its soundscapes. This facet of the band’s songwriting, along with a production job by Scott Reeder (The ObsessedKyuss, etc.), gave Timms, guitarists Ian Barry and Bryan Tulao and drummer Sasha Popovic room to conjure tension-building minimalism into a churn that even these years later remains overwhelming in moments like when the seething comes to the fore “Bird of all Faiths/Bell from Madrone” propelled by Popovic‘s drums before once again receding behind sparse guitar and vague, ambient vocalizations, or when the chugging payoff of “Deerslayer” takes hold with its overarching nod and sway from the prior Red Sparowes-style exploration.

Wyllt is also a record that has benefited greatly from the context of the years since. When first released, it was a definite outlier for Tee Pee Records — also planet earth — and while it would be Black Math Horseman‘s only full-length before they disbanded, the work Timms has gone on to do in Ides of Gemini, her Black Mare solo-outfit and in guest spots for the likes of Mustard, Gas & RosesTombs and Zun — the desert ambient project of Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce on which Timms split lead-singer duties with John Garcia — have given a different light to just how much of an accomplishment these songs were in setting all of that in motion on an aesthetic level. True, neither Ides of Gemini nor Black Mare nor Zun are looking to cover the same ground as was Black Math Horseman — they’re individual bands with their own players and styles — but Timms‘ vocals are a defining element for all as they were on Wyllt, and understanding that is naturally something that has become easier as her discography has grown. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any development or progression on her part, as Zun‘s 2016 outing, Burial Sunrise (review here), and her work on Ides of Gemini‘s forthcoming Women LP immediately demonstrate otherwise, just that on a basic level of methodology, Wyllt can be seen as a direct precursor to what she’s done since.

And of course, the record’s not just about the singer. To hear the guitars of Barry and Tulao weaving around each other in the midsection of “Origin of Savagery” backed by Popovic‘s creative timekeeping and the out and out crushing riff that emerges to cap “Torment of the Metals,” one can’t help but wonder just what it was that went wrong in this band when they seemed to be so cohesive and aligned in their sonic intentions. As noted, Wyllt was the only thing Black Math Horseman released in their time together. It wouldn’t be long before the first Ides of Gemini EP surfaced, but as much as it was a standout at the time, and ahead of its time, Wyllt remains distinct in the resonant, affecting impression it leaves, in its fluid definition of heft, in its open sensibilities and in the unfulfilled potential it continues to represent for the band. Oh, what might have been.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I have spent much of the last three days quietly begging for this week to end. This morning I was up at 3AM in anticipation of precisely that happening. I probably could’ve gone back to sleep, but screw it. Coffee to be had, records to write about, etc. Hell, I’ve even got the World Baseball Classic streaming on my phone on mute on the table nearby my laptop as I sit on the couch and type this before work. China vs. Japan. Seems like a game that could have significant diplomatic repercussions for the Pacific Rim. Better to watch history unfold.

As of this sentence, Japan’s up 1-0, if you’re wondering. It’s early yet.

In a couple minutes, I’ll get up and pour myself my next coffee and enjoy that, and then in about an hour I’ll drive through the falling snow to get to work. We’re supposed to get a few inches here in Southern Massachusetts. More Tuesday, they’re saying. I don’t care. I just want to get to the office so I can start the day as a necessary step toward ending it, toward ending this week. I’m fucking done. Have been done since Monday.

Some cool stuff on the horizon that I don’t quite think I can talk about yet but will announce soon. Vague enough? Yeah, sorry about that. I’ll clarify when I can, but keep an eye out. By way of a hint, it involves travel.

And as a reminder, the next Quarterly Review starts on March 27. I’m locking in the last of the reviews now, probably over the course of this coming week, then I start grabbing artwork, links and setting up the back end. Shit takes a long time, but as ever, I’ll get it done. So far looking like 50 reviews. Last one, if you’ll recall, was 60. Doing regular rounds of Radio Adds has taken away some of the need for that, thankfully.

Speaking of the Radio, I checked in yesterday with Slevin and he’s working on getting the full drive back up and running. I don’t know what happened to the operating system on the Raspberry Pi we use to host the drive with all the songs, but whatever it was apparently really did a number. Then, of course, I screwed up reinstalling the OS and had to start the whole process over, so the delay’s pretty much completely my fault. We’ll get there. New stuff has been added to the backup drive in the meantime, not that there was anything necessarily wrong with it all being Om, Sabbath and Candlemass. Nice to get some recent albums in there though, Kandodo McBain, All Them Witches and so on.

Fingers crossed that will be back online over the weekend, and as I’ve now acquired the aforementioned next cup of coffee — complete with the scoop of cinnamon protein powder that lets it serve as my breakfast — let’s run down the rest of what’s in store for next week. From the notes, subject to change:

Mon.: Radio Adds and a video premiere from Samavayo.
Tue.: Green Meteor review and track premiere, new Atavismo video.
Wed.: Devil’s Witches review and album stream, new Sergio Ch. video.
Thu.: Review of Death Alley’s live record, video premiere from Wight.
Fri.: Samsara Blues Experiment review and track premiere.

There’s more, of course, but that’s what I’m basing the week around, anyhow. In the meantime, you’ll pardon me if I consider a quiet weekend with The Patient Mrs. and the Little Dog Dio to be particularly well earned. I’ve got work to do in getting stuff ready for Monday, chasing down copy for the Roadburn ‘zine, the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, and writing a bio for Melbourne cosmic sludgers Merchant, but that’s the kind of busy I enjoy being and at least it’s a couple days I don’t have to drive to Pawtucket.

I hope that whatever you’re up to, you have a great and safe time. Have fun, relax or don’t depending on what you’re looking for, and be sure to check back in on Monday because there’s a lot of awesome stuff to come.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

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