Clutch Post “Ghoul Wrangler” Video; Announce More Touring

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

clutch ghoul wrangler video

The new Clutch clip is the fourth one the band has put out in support of their latest album, Book of Bad Decisions (review here), and it comes accompanied by another round of dates of the Maryland-based outfit’s forever-tour, this one largely focused on the Midwest and even a few stops up in Canada before they’ll close out in New York at Irving Plaza. Having in the past enjoyed a good number of Clutch gigs in that particular room, I’m willing to go on record speculating that’ll be a fun time, and perhaps all the more as the last night of the tour, as much as that phrase can ever apply to Clutch, who as noted, are on tour forever.

“Ghoul Wrangler” reunites them with director David Brodsky and was made on-location in zombie-lawyer-infested Pennsylvania. Vocalist Neil Fallon stars as the titular wrangler, while guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster feature as the ghouls. There’s a book of folk magic, and chaos ensues with spell-cast hatchets and a plasma rifle, because why not. The song, which comes from the deeper end of the tracklisting, but hell, so did “Hot Bottom Feeder,” so that’s hardly an impediment. It’s catchy as hell, and with the storytelling aspects of Fallon‘s lyrics, of course lends itself well to the visual medium. Who the hell knew these guys were so camera-ready?

Did you know there are still people who don’t like Clutch? It’s true! I’ve heard people say things like, “Nah,” and, “I don’t really dig them.” To each their own, but to me, it kind of feels like if you’re not into Clutch, you’re only denying yourself one of life’s great joys. You can be into all kinds of stuff, but I’ll tell what: I was out at the Costco recently with The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan and a dude walked by with a Clutch shirt on, and I nodded and gave him a, “Hey nice shirt,” and I knew that at least on some level we were friends already. It’s a subculture of a subculture at this point.

Enjoy “Ghoul Wrangler.” Really enjoy it.

Tour dates follow the video:

Clutch, “Ghoul Wrangler” official video

Maryland rockers Clutch have released a new video for the single “Ghoul Wrangler” from their latest album Book Of Bad Decisions. The video was shot in the Old Bedford Village in Pennsylvania and can be viewed at this location: https://youtu.be/W74TewnAxx0

Vinyl fans might remember the Ghoul Wrangler business card that was included in each 12″ jacket. Many of those who called the number on the card left messages for the Ghoul Wrangler. Some of these messages have been used as teasers on Clutch’s socials in the last couple of days. The phone line is still active. You never know what comes next. Call!

”JP wears pantaloons, Dan’s got horns, and Tim throws up on my face” says frontman Neil Fallon. “I’m pretty sure we all deserve Academy Awards.”

Clutch will be starting their Winter tour next week in support of Book Of Bad Decisions. Tickets are on sale now at this location: Linkfire -https://clutch.lnk.to/TourLink.

Support for the tour comes from Big Business from Seattle, WA and The Inspector Cluzo from Gascony, France. A Clutch curated Spotify playlist featuring music from all three bands can be found at this location: http://tinyurl.com/y2htbm79

Book Of Bad Decisions is Clutch’s twelfth studio album debuting at #1 on several charts around the world including the US Billboard Hard Rock chart.

CLUTCH’s “Book of Bad Decisions Winter Tour 2019”
Tickets available at www.pro-rock.com
Tue/Feb-19 Columbia, SC @ The Senate
Thu/Feb-21 Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
Fri/Feb-22 Fayetteville, AR @ George’s Majestic Lounge
Sat/Feb-23 Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
Sun/Feb-24 Baton Rouge, LA @ Varsity Theater
Tue/Feb-26 Springfield, MO @ Gillioz Theater
Wed/Feb-27 Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
Fri/Mar-01 Billings, MT @ Pub Station
Sat/Mar-02 Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theater
Sun/Mar-03 Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall
Mon/Mar-04 Edmonton, AB @ The Ranch Roadhouse
Wed/Mar-06 Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings Theater
Fri/Mar-08 Wichita, KS @ The Cotillion Ballroom
Sat/Mar-09 Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
Sun/Mar-10 Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theater
Wed/Mar-13 Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
Thu/Mar-14 Green Bay, WI @ Green Bay Distillery
Fri/Mar-15 Indianapolis, IN @ The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Sat/Mar-16 Snowshoe, WV @ Ballhooter Spring Break (* No The Inspector Cluzo/Big Business)
Mon/Mar-18 Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom ( *No The Inspector Cluzo)
Tue/Mar-19 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

Clutch on Thee Facebooks

Clutch on Instagram

Clutch on Twitter

Clutch Website

Clutch on YouTube

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Yatra Announce March Tour Supporting Death Ritual

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yatra

There’s a good bit of buzz around Marylander trio Yatra on the heels of their Grimoire Records-released debut album, Death Ritual (discussed here), and reasonably so. One doubts very much hitting the road and playing a couple shows at SXSW in Austin will hurt their cause, and my understanding is they’re looking to carry the momentum into the late spring and summer as regards live shows as well. More on that to come, but the underlying point is keep an eye on Yatra. This tour is two weeks, but if their interest is in getting out and they continue to do so, it’s easy to think they’ll grow their audience likewise. I don’t know if we’re talking world-takeover, but a band with a killer first record and a near-immediate desire to play beyond their local confines is a dangerous band indeed.

The PR wire brought show details, and if you haven’t heard it yet — I know you have, because you’re super-hip like that, but just pretend maybe not everyone’s so on their game — you can stream Death Ritual at the bottom of this post.

Have at it:

yatra tour

YATRA ANNOUNCE US TOUR

YATRA are pleased to announce that they will do a short US tour of the United States in March. All dates will be in support of their recently released album Death Ritual.

The band commented “We are super stoked to take our new album out on the road, and bring the intensity of our live show to the songs on the album. “

Purchase Death Ritual here: https://yatradoom.bandcamp.com/

Yatra US tour dates:

3/8 Columbus, Oh – Bourbon St.
3/9 Indianapolis, In – Healer
3/10 Lawrenece, Ks – Replay Lounge
3/11 Wichita, Ks – Elbow Room
3/12 TX – tbd
3/13 Austin TX – SXSW Kick Butt Cafe
3/14 Austin, Tx – SXSW Spiderhouse Ballroom
3/15 TBA
3/16 NOLA – Santos Bar
3/17 Lafayette, La – Freetown BoomBoom Room
3/18 Memphis, Tn – Hi Tone
3/19 Nashville, Tn – Springwater
3/20 Asheville, NC – Fleetwood’s
3/21 Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506

YATRA:
Dana Helmuth – guitars/vocals
Maria Geisbert – bass
Mike Tull – drums

http://www.facebook.com/yatradoom
https://yatradoom.bandcamp.com
http://www.grimoirerecords.com
http://grimoirerecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/GrimoireRecords
https://twitter.com/grimoiremetal

Yatra, Death Ritual (2019)

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Asthma Castle Set March 15 Release for Mount Crushmore

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Asthma Castle

Credit where it’s due: In the history of heavy sounds, there has never been a band who’ve titled their album Mount Crushmore, and anyone who does so from March 15 on will do so in the shadow of Baltimore five-piece Asthma Castle. Slow clap. Well done, gentlemen. I imagine them in the studio racing to finish the record like they were trying to beat Germany to the bomb in the hope that no one else would announce an album called Mount Crushmore. The t-shirts sell themselves. Or they should, anyhow.

There’s a beer with the name, and various Major League Baseball franchises have tried to co-opt it, but to my knowledge, nobody who riffs has ever put it to use. Asthma Castle are currently streaming the title-track — because how could you not? — from Mount Crushmore, which will see release March 15 through Hellmistress Records.

The PR wire tells it like it is:

Asthma Castle Mount Crushmore

ASTHMA CASTLE: Stoner Metal/Sludge Collective Featuring Members Of Pig Destroyer, Misery Index, Integrity And More To Release Mount Crushmore Debut Via Hellmistress Records; New Track Streaming + Preorders Available

Debilitating stoner metal/sludge collective ASTHMA CASTLE — featuring drummer Adam Jarvis (Pig Destroyer, Misery Index, Scour), the twin guitar attack of Justin Ethem (Integrity touring guitarist) and Cameron Smith (Passage Between, Crawler), vocalist Zach Westphal (ex-J. Roddy Walston And The Business), and bassist Jeff Davis (Damnation Audio effects pedals) — will release their Mount Crushmore debut full-length via Hellmistress Records this March.

Self-described as “hefty metal”, ASTHMA CASTLE manifests a unique and seamless, riff-heavy blend of stoner metal/rock, heavy metal, prog, and sludge that takes its cues from the likes of Weedeater, Church Of Misery, Mastodon, Lowrider, Dozer, and Clutch without ever seeming derivative. Their fittingly-titled Mount Crushmore full-length is a six-track, thirty-seven-minute bruiser recorded and mixed at Wrightway Studios (Dying Fetus, Misery Index) and mastered by Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer at his own Visceral Sound Studios with cover art by Gary Ronaldson at Bite Radius Designs (Napalm Death, Kreator etc.).

Whether it’s their bottom-heavy grooves, infuriated wails, bludgeoning riff assaults, or tongue-in-cheek song titles (see “The Incline Of Western Civilization,” “The Book Of Duderonomy”) one thing’s for certain, you’ll always have a good time stealing souls and packing bowls with ASTHMA CASTLE.

Mount Crushmore will be released on March 15th on CD, digital and limited vinyl formats via Hellmistress Records. The vinyl edition will be limited to five-hundred in three color variants: 175 x heavy black splatter on gold, 175 x white splatter on black, and 150 copies x gold, white, and black tri-color bleed.

Recently off a brief but successful East Coast US tour, ASTHMA CASTLE has played with numerous national acts as well as Maryland Deathfest, and Days Of Darkness. The band will play two special hometown shows with more to be announced the in the weeks to come.

Mount Crushmore Track Listing:
1. The Incline Of Western Civilization
2. Mount Crushmore
3. Here Come The Black Ship
4. Methlehem
5. Brazilian Catbox Incident
6. The Book Of Duderonomy

ASTHMA CASTLE:
2/23/2019 Metro Gallery: High Underground presents Mixed Metal Arts – Baltimore, MD w/ Bound By The Grave, Snakefeast, Thought Eater

http://www.facebook.com/asthmacastle
http://asthmacastle.bandcamp.com
http://www.instagram.com/asthma_castle
http://www.hellmistressrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/hellmistressrecords
http://twitter.com/hellmistressrec
http://www.instagram.com/hellmistressrecords

Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore (2019)

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Shadow Frost Music & Arts Festival Announced for Feb. 2020

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

A couple different things to catch the eye here. First, Shadow Frost Music & Arts Festival is put on by the same crew that does Shadow Woods, which means Mary Spiro curating, which means it’s going to be a good lineup. Second, kids under five in free. Being that The Pecan will be headed to 2.5 by the time Feb. 2020 comes around, I can’t help but think it might be fun to pop some industrial-strength noise-canceling headphones over his tiny little ears and take him to his first underground rock show. Gotta keep an eye on the lineup as it comes together, and you’ll note that we’re a year out from it at this point, which is how you put together a festival: well in advance. But of course the Shadow Woods folks know this well.

Dates and advance ticket info came down the PR wire. Lineup to come:

shadowfrost 2020 dates banner

SHADOW FROST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL: First Annual Two-Day Indoor Winter Event To Take Place In February 2020; Early Bird Weekend Passes Available February 1st, 2019

Shadow Woods Productions, LLC, is pleased to announce the inaugural SHADOW FROST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL, Maryland’s exclusive indoor winter gathering featuring more than a dozen rock and metal bands, games, workshops, art, vendors, fun, and of course a pool party from Friday, February 21st through Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 at the Clarion Inn and Event Center in Frederick, Maryland. Shadow Woods Productions is the creator of Shadow Woods Metal Fest, which operated a multi-day camping and music fest from 2015-2018.

The curated lineup of performers and a complete schedule for SHADOW FROST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL will be announced in the coming weeks. As with past Shadow Woods events, the lineup for Shadow Frost will be by invite only and come from the best of the underground music scene. Please note, the festival organizers are NOT accepting applications for bands to play. Follow the Shadow Frost Music & Arts Festival Facebook page at facebook.com/events/319480581997089/ for updates.

TICKET/LODGING INFO:

Early Bird Weekend Passes – $69
This is for weekend ADULT event pass. This is an event ticket only for ages 18+. These limited tickets will go on sale February 1st, 2019 at noon eastern and be available through February 23rd (or until sold out). Visit https://shadowfrost2020.bpt.me for further info. Additional ticket types will be available in March.

VIP King Suites – $350
Only Four Rooms Available; You must be 21+ to reserve a room.
Live large for Shadow Frost with one of only four available luxurious second floor corner king suites at the Clarion Inn, complete with a refrigerator, microwave, king-sized bed, and sleeper sofa. The quarters are suitable for up to four people or keep it romantic with just two! The price includes two $20 vouchers for Shadow Frost merch and a welcome bag of goodies. Please note, pricing is for a two-night room stay. The event ticket is sold separately. Visit https://shadowfrost2020.bpt.me for further info.

Additional rooms – king, queen, double queen and double double — will be available after February 21st. The hotel is dog-friendly. Follow the Facebook event page for further updates.

SHADOW FROST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL is ALL AGES however tickets for attendees under 17 will only be sold at the door with a paid parent or guardian on premises. Kids under 5 get in free with paid parent or guardian.

https://www.facebook.com/events/319480581997089
https://shadowfrost2020.bpt.me

Witch Hazel, Live at Shadow Woods IV

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Black Lung to Release Ancients March 8 on Ripple Music; Teaser Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black lung

Not really a surprise. Baltimore’s Black Lung have been working hard at honing their craft since their 2014 self-titled debut, touring at home and abroad, and as they’ve already released through Noisolution, picking up a release from Ripple Music as well just kind of makes sense for where they’re at as a band. Ancients will be their third long-player behind 2016’s See the Enemy (review here) and though the three-piece fronted by guitarist/bassist/vocalist Dave Cavalier had a split with Germany’s Nap (review here) in 2017, this will mark the first offering from the band since guitarist Adam Bufano and drummer Elias Schutzman played their final show last year with The Flying Eyes at Freak Valley in Germany. Bottom line, if I was Ripple Music, I’d have signed them too. It was time.

They’re giving a quick sampling of what Ancients portends in a teaser clip that you can see below, courtesy of the PR wire:

black lung ancients

Maryland Doom Trio BLACK LUNG (feat. ex-FLYING EYES members) to release ANCIENTS on RIPPLE MUSIC

Ancients is released on 8th March 2019 on Ripple Music (North America, Asia and Australia) and 22nd March on Noisolution (UK and Europe)

Black Lung emerged from a brutal Baltimore winter back in 2014, and from that emergence they arose victorious, wielding a trademark Maryland Doom-influenced balance of melody and power. With that vital underpinning, Adam Bufano and Elias Schutzman (founding members of The Flying Eyes), along with multi-instrumentalist Dave Cavalier, crafted a sound heavy on volume that pushed hard into experimental territory. In lieu of a bass guitarist, the three opted for an unusual setup with a sonic palette defined by a multitude of amps, drop-tuning and copious effects.

Named Best New Band by the Baltimore City Paper in 2015 with the release of their self-titled debut, Black Lung embarked on their first European tour that same year, taking in a performance at the Rockpalast Crossroads Festival on German national television. Subsequent European tours followed shortly after as the trio hit festivals such as Freak Valley and DesertFest Belgium, playing alongside the likes of Graveyard, Dead Meadow and All Them Witches. Upon returning to the US the band bed themselves back into the studio to record their follow-up album, 2016’s See The Enemy, with J. Robbins, guitarist and frontman for post-punk icons Jawbox, and producer of albums by noted bands such as The Sword and Clutch.

After several years writing songs while touring the world and back again, Black Lung return this March to release their most ambitious work yet. Produced by Frank “The Punisher” Marchand (producer of The Obsessed’s Sacred), new album Ancients is without question, a force to be reckoned with.

“The title is a reference to the ancient powers of the natural world, as seen in the album artwork and the lyrics of a song like ‘Badlands’. We embrace and pay homage to these forces while also rejecting the antiquated ideals of an old, white, conservative part of society that wants to drag us back into the past and away from the progressive values we believe in. We were searching for a sound that captured the clarity of the instruments and voice, without losing any of the heaviness that is Black Lung, and Frank really helped us achieve it. “

Ancients is released on 8th March 2019 on Ripple Music (North America, Asia and Australia) and 22nd March on Noisolution (UK and Europe)

Pre-order the album HERE: https://www.ripple-music.com/

Tracklisting:
1. Mother of the Sun
2. Ancients
3. The Seeker
4. Voices
5. Gone
6. Badlands
7. Vultures
8. Dead Man Blues

BLACK LUNG:
Adam Bufano – Guitar
Dave Cavalier – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Elias Schutzman – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/blacklungbaltimore
https://blacklungbaltimore.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/noisolution/
http://www.noisolution.de/

Black Lung, Ancients teaser clip

Black Lung, “Strange Seeds”

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Quarterly Review: Rotor, Electric Octopus, Randall Dunn, Graven, Near Dusk, Svuco, Stonus, Acolytes of Moros, Lime Eyelid, Tombtoker

Posted in Reviews on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I’ve been doing this for a while, the whole Quarterly Review thing. Not just talking about the last two weeks — though that also feels like a while to be doing it — but over the last few years. And in so doing I have a couple running gags kind of with myself. One obvious one is the “(immediate points)” for bands who put their longest song first on their album. There is no point system. There will be no tally at the end. I don’t grade records. It’s just a way of noting a decision I almost always find to be particularly bold.

Another is the use of “penultimate.” I don’t even know how this happened, but I use that word all the time in these reviews, way, way more than I might in day-to-day life. Somehow I’m always talking about the second-to-last song. Keep an eye out today, I’m sure it’ll be in there.

Indeed, I bring it up because today is the penultimate day of this extended Quarterly Review. We’ll finish out with the last 10 records tomorrow, and no doubt by the end of it I’ll be doling out more “(immediate points)” and talking about the “apex of the penultimate cut” or whatever else it is I do. Hard not to repeat yourself when you’re writing about 100 records. Or, you know, one.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Rotor, Sechs

rotor sechs

Long-running Berlin instrumentalists Rotor issue Sechs, their aptly-titled sixth album, as their second for Noisolution after 2015’s Fünf (review here), and in so doing blend the best impulses from where they started with where they’ve ended up. Fünf, not without its moments of heavy psych drift, was a deeply progressive album, and Sechs is likewise, but it also brings in a more natural, warmer production sound like some of their earlier material, so that songs like “Vor der Hern” or “Allmacht” come across as nuanced but welcoming all the same. “Allmacht” is a highlight for its classic prog elements, but that’s not to discount the centerpiece “Abfahrt!,” with its raucous second half or the nine-minute penultimate cut “Druckverband,” which finds Rotor pushing themselves to new heights some 20 years on from their beginnings. Or anything else, for that matter, because it’s all brilliant. And that, basically, is how you know you’re listening to Rotor.

Rotor on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

Electric Octopus, Line Standing

electric octopus line standing

Next-level naturalism from Belfast trio Electric Octopus means that not only does the digital-only-otherwise-it’d-be-a-box-set Line Standing top four and a half hours, but those four and a half hours bring the listener into the studio with the band — guitarist Tyrell Black, bassist/keyboardist Dale Hughes and drummer Guy Hetherington — as they talk between jams, goof around and discuss what they just played in quick interludes. Complementing cuts like 35-minute opener “Iliudi,” the 38-minute “Line Standing 23336,” the 24-minute “Room Move” and the three-minute funk-reggae vibe of “Inspired by a Chicken,” the chatter gives Line Standing an even more organic vibe not by trying to capture a live feel, like what they’d do on stage — they have plenty of live albums for that — but by bringing the listener into the studio while they pick up their instruments and improvise their way through whatever it is that’s coming next, which is something that everyone seems to find out together. It’s not always smooth, but neither should it be. This is pure sonic exploration — and not a little of it.

Electric Octopus on Thee Facebooks

Electric Octopus on Bandcamp

 

Randall Dunn, Beloved

randall dunn beloved

Randall Dunn, through his production work, collaborations with Sunn O))), founding Master Musicians of Bukkake, etc., is no stranger to experimentalism, and his first solo album, Beloved (on Figureight), finds him evoking cinematic landscapes one at a time in ambient tracks that range from minimalist to consuming by sheer will. His range as a composer means that “Mexico City” shimmers with a near-overwhelming post-Vangelis splendor while “Lava Rock and Amber” is barren enough to make each strike of the piano keys feel like a lifeline before the synth horror takes hold near the end. Dunn brings in several guest vocalists for spots on “Something About that Night” and closer “A True Home,” but there’s hardly a lack of human presence throughout the material anyway, as the nine-minute centerpiece “Theoria : Aleph” resonates with the creative drive that made it. Not by any means a record that’s going to be for everyone, Beloved casts a sound that’s impeccably broad.

Randall Dunn on Thee Facebooks

Figureight on Bandcamp

 

Graven, Heirs of Discord

Graven Heirs of Discord

Heirs of Discord, indeed. With guitarist/vocalist Peter Maturi and drummer Chris Csar from the much-missed Swarm of the Lotus and bassist Teddy Patterson of Burnt by the Sun and Human Remains in the up-and-down-the-Eastern-Seaboard lineup with vocalist Jason Borowy, there’s no shortage of discord to go around. Deathly extremity and a pervasive grinding sensibility is conveyed with tones that absolutely crush and a groove that, while not shy with the blastbeats on “I Dreamt You Were Dead” — or the bonus track Human Remains cover “Human,” for that matter — is no less comfortable locked in the nod of the nine-minute “Thieves of Rotted Ilk.” It reportedly took Graven over a year to make the six-song/28-minute LP at various studios (including one two towns over from where I grew up in my beloved Garden State), and one only hopes the no-doubt daunting nature of that task doesn’t dissuade Graven from a follow-up, because whether it’s the angular starts and stops of “Backwards to Oblivion” or the initial assault of “A Failed Mask,” they bring a stylistic nuance to extreme metal that goes beyond the often dry showcase of technical prowess the style can sometimes be. However long it might take to put together, a sophomore outing feels well justified.

Graven on Thee Facebooks

Graven on Bandcamp

 

Near Dusk, Near Dusk

Near Dusk Near Dusk

The cleverly-titled “Humboldt Pie” finds them dipping into bluesier fare with some psychedelic effect on guitarist Matthew Orloff‘s vocals, and “We are the Buffalo” has a distinct spaciousness, but the core of Denver trio Near Dusk‘s self-released, self-titled debut is in straightforward heavy rock, and Orloff, bassist Kellen McInerney and drummer Jon Orloff sound well schooled in the ways of following the riff. “That Bastard” chugs out behind a vocal echo and the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “No More” introduces the steady factor that is McInerney‘s bass behind some initial guitar noodling that leads to the first of many rolling grooves to come on the seven-track/34-minute outing. The bass again gets to shine in the subsequent “Sweet Home,” setting up the final push for a moment before being joined by the drums and guitar, and the low-end tone is right on, though by the time they close out with “Furnace Creek,” all three of them seem to tease some jammier sensibilities. Near Dusk allow themselves room to develop their approach and perspective, but establish a strong root of songwriting to serve as their foundation as they move forward.

Near Dusk on Thee Facebooks

Near Dusk on Bandcamp

 

Svuco, El Gran Mito de SanSaru

svuco El Gran Mito de SanSaru

At least some of the material on Svuco‘s debut long-player, El Gran Mito de SanSaru, dates back a few years. The release includes what was the title-track of their 2015 Mizaru EP as well as the title-track of 2016’s Kikazaru, as well as a number of tracks that also featured on the Iwazaru EP shortly before the album actually arrived. Still, taken in this form and with these recordings, the Granada-based four-piece unfurl a varied 13-song full-length that’s crisp in its production and smoothly constructed to hit hard but with a sense of tonal presence that speaks to a heavy rock influence. That is, there might be a current of noise rock to the ’90s-style chug of “Llorarás,” but “Fuzzia” still has room for organ and acoustic guitar along with its central riff. Later cuts like “Nobogo,” the layered-vocals of “El Color del Sol,” and the almost-industrial pulsations (conveyed through organic instrumentation) of “El Dios del Nuevo Mundo” branch out, but there’s an underlying identity taking shape all the while.

Svuco on Thee Facebooks

Svuco on Bandcamp

 

Stonus, Lunar Eclipse

Stonus Lunar Eclipse

Welcoming in its tone and bordering on cosmic in its atmosphere, Lunar Eclipse is the second EP from Cyprus-based troupe Stonus, and for the sprawl of its eight-minute title-track alone, it showcases distinct potential on the part of the band. Intro and outro tracks help set up a flow, but as “Aspirin” and “Spiritual Realities” fuzz their way toward “Lunar Eclipse” itself, it’s hardly like Stonus need the help. The tempo of “Aspirin” tells the tale, taking desert rock to three-quarters speed for an extra laid back vibe, still pushed along by the drums, but chill, chill, chill as it goes. “Spiritual Realities” is a little more tripped out in its lumber, and its vocals are more forward in the mix, but once again, “Lunar Eclipse” is nothing but a joy to behold from front to back, and in large part it defines the short release that shares its name. They close out with the minute of experimentalism on “Euphoric Misery” and only make one hope they don’t lost those impulses by the time they get around to a full-length, because they’ll only help them further distinguish themselves.

Stonus on Thee Faceboks

Stonus on Bandcamp

 

Acolytes of Moros, The Wellspring

acolytes of moros the wellspring

Seven years on from playing their first show, Swedish doomers Acolytes of Moros present their first full-length, The Wellspring (CD on Nine Records), and if that might stand as an indication of their pacing overall, it would certainly apply to the album itself. Presented as four extended tracks with an interlude/instrumental near seven minutes dividing the two halves, it’s a rawly-produced take on doom-death traditionalism with an emphasis on the first part of that equation. Calling it “morose” feels too easy given the band’s moniker, but they’re nothing if not self-aware, and the miseries they portray in “Quotidian” and the 14-minute “A Yen to Relinquish and Evanesce” border on the dramatic without ever really tipping too far in that direction, coming through as much in the grueling riffs as in the vocal declarations and willfully repetitive rhythms. It’s a slog and it’s supposed to be, but Acolytes of Moros eschew the sometimes lush presentation of their genre in favor of a barebones take that loses none of its emotional impact for that.

Acolytes of Moros on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records website

 

Lime Eyelid, Week of Wonders

lime eyelid week of wonders

As regards recording narratives, it’s hard to beat the image of Traveling Circle drummer Josh Schultz recording Lime Eyelid‘s debut album, Week of Wonders (as in, The Wonder Weeks?), alone in his kitchen. The resulting limited LP is comprised mostly of numbered instrumental experiments in drone and languid groove, save for “I Saw Waves,” which brings to mind some of Six Organs of Admittance‘s far-out earlier fare, but psychedelia holds a prominent sway and if you ever want a lesson in doing something new with familiar elements, look no further than the watery guitar line of “1” or “3,” with its Earth groove gone processional. The 12-minute soundscape of “4” follows as Schultz moves deeper into the realms of cosmic minimalism — that big, mostly empty, galaxy — but “5” somehow sounds even more piped in from outer space, and closer “6” rounds out with swells of high-pitched volume that seem to be speaking their own language in tone. Pretty vast reaches for a record to hit, having been recorded in the kitchen. One awaits further adventures in the follow-up.

Lime Eyelid on Soundcloud

Lime Eyelid on YouTube

 

Tombtoker, Coffin Texts

tombtoker coffin texts

I don’t know if the band’s moniker refers to one who actually tokes tombs or who tokes in tombs, but neither would surprise me. The Baltimorean five-piece Tombtoker unveil their 20-minute debut EP, Coffin Texts (on Seeing Red, tapes through Metal Swarm), with a melding of doom, sludge and metallic extremity that is righteous in its riffs and malevolent in its purposes. That is to say, they mean harm. “Warfare Revolution” and “Robo Cujo” demonstrate that plainly ahead of the centerpiece “Stenchsquatch” with its oh-you’re-gonna-have-to-play-that-at-all-the-shows lurching midsection of death, while the subsequent “Blood Freak” taps Eyehategoddy swing and closer/shortest track “Globster” (3:21) bludgeons its own riffs before a bit of Slayer-style ping ride late adds even more of that metal-for-metal feel. I’d call it promising, but maybe “foreboding” is a better word. Whether they’re smoking your corpse or just smoking near your corpse, Tombtoker bring a welcome sense of chaos to extreme sludge that hearkens to the genre’s original, unhinged appeal.

Tombtoker on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

Metal Swarm website

 

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Quarterly Review: BongCauldron, Black Helium, Earthbong, Sir Collapse, Alms, Haaze, The Sledge, Red Lama, Full Tone Generator, Mountain Dust

Posted in Reviews on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Not to get off topic here, but it’s December, and god damn, I hate the fucking holidays. Christmas, even if you believe in the religious significance of the day, is pure garbage. I like giving presents well enough, don’t particularly enjoy receiving them, but even if you put aside the whole “oh it’s so commercial ‘now'” thing, like there was a time anyone now living ever saw when it wasn’t, it isn’t fun. The meal sucks. It’s dark. It’s cold. The songs are fucking endless and terrible — yes, all of them — and the whole experience is just a bummer the whole way through. If there was actually a war on it, I wish they’d drop the bomb and incinerate the entire thing.

Take Thanksgiving, make it start in November and end in December. A month-long festival for the season. You can even give gifts at the end, if you want. It could be like Ramadan, or, probably more likely and much on the opposite end of the spectrum, Oktoberfest.

There. Problem solved. Have a great day, everyone. Let’s do some reviews.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

BongCauldron, Tyke

BongCauldron Tyke

Biscuit, Corky and Jay of BongCauldron return less than 12 months out from their Binge LP (review here) with Tyke (on APF), three more cuts of weed-eating, dirt-worshiping, weed-worshiping, dirt-eating sludge, fueled as ever by fuckall and booze and banger riffs — and yes, I mean “banger” as in “bangers and mash.” There’s a lead that shows up in closer “Jezus Throat Horns” and some vocal melody that follows behind the throaty barks, but for the bulk of the three-tracker, it’s down to the business of conveying dense-toned disaffection and rolling nod. “Pisshead on the Moon” opens with a sample about alcohol killing you and works from its lumber into a bit of a shuffle for its midsection before hitting a wall in the last minute or so in order to make room for the punker blast of “Back up Bog Roll,” which tears ass and is gone as soon as it’s there, dropping some gang vocals on the way, because really, when you think about it, screw everything. Right? “Jezus Throat Horns” might be offering a bit of creative progression in closing out, but the heart of BongCauldron remains stained of finger and stank of breath — just the way it should be.

BongCauldron on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Black Helium, Primitive Fuck

black helium primitive fuck

Oh yes. Most definitely. From the Sabbath swing behind the chugging “Love the Drugs” and the march of “Wicked Witch” through the what-would-happen-if-Danzig-was-interesting “Summer Spells” and fuzzed-out post-punk shouts of “Videodrone” en route to the nine-minute “Curtains at the Mausoleum,” London four-piece Black Helium make heavy psychedelic songcraft into something as malleable as it should be on their Riot Season debut, Primitive Fuck, holding to underlying structures when it suits them and touching on drone bliss without ever really completely letting go. Opener “Drowsy Shores” is hypnotic. The aforementioned “Curtains at the Mausoleum” is hypnotic. Even the chug-meets-effects-blowout closing title-track is hypnotic, but on the handclap-laced “Do You Wanna Come Out Tonight?” or “Videodrone,” or even “Summer Spells,” there are hooks for the listener to latch onto, life-rafts floating in the swirling tonal abyss. The truth? There isn’t a primitive thing about it. They’re not so much lizard-brained as astral-planed, and if you want a summation of their sound, look no further than their name. It’ll make even more sense when you listen. Which you should do.

Black Helium on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Earthbong, Demo 2018

earthbong demo 2018

The immediate association in terms of riff is going to be Sleep. “Drop Dead,” the 10-minute first of two songs on Earthbong‘s debut Demo 2018, rolls out with pure Dopesmoker-ism and follows the model of gradual unfolding of its weedian sludge riffery. No complaints. The Kiel, Germany, trio are obviously just getting their start, and since it’s a demo and not the “debut EP” that so many otherwise demos try to position themselves as, I’ll take it. And to boot, “Drop Dead” ultimately departs its Sleepy environs for altogether more abrasive fare, with Bongzilla-style screams and an increasingly aggressive shove, the drums crashing like the cymbals did something wrong, and feedback capping into the start of “Wanderer,” which is shorter at seven minutes and opens its assault earlier, the vocals no less distorted than the guitar or bass. There’s some space in a solo in the second half, but Earthbong again twist into harsh, crusty doom before letting feedback carry them out to the demo’s finish. Growing to do, but already their violence seethes.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Sir Collapse, Walk to the Moon

sir collapse walk to the moon

Grunge, noise rock and Queens of the Stone Age-style melody-making collide on Walk to the Moon, the debut full-length from German four-piece Sir Collapse, sometimes on disparate cuts, like the noisy intro given to the album by “Lower Principles,” and sometimes within the same song, as in the later “Like Me.” A jangly swing in “Mono Mantra” and the Nirvana-esque hook there soon gives way to the desert-hued thrust of “One Man Show” and the early ’90s fuzz of “Happy Planet Celebration,” while “The Great Escape” leads the way into some measure of evening out the approach in “Like Me,” “Too Late,” “Hey Ben” and “The Family,” unless that’s just the band acclimating the listener to their style. Fair enough either way. Sir Collapse round out with a return to the uptempo push shown earlier, giving their first LP an impressive sense of symmetry and whole-work presentation as layers of vocals intertwine with melody alternately lush and raw, sounding very much like a band who know the parameters in which they want to work going forward. So be it.

Sir Collapse on Thee Facebooks

Sir Collapse on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Act One

alms act one

Organ-soaked Baltimorean garage doomers Alms enter the conversation of 2018’s best debut albums with Act One on Shadow Kingdom, a collection rife with choice riffing, dynamic vocals and a nuanced blend of heft and drama. That a song like “The Toll” could be both as traditional sounding as it is and still modern enough to be called forward-thinking is nothing short of a triumph, and in the stomping “The Offering,” Alms cast forth a signature chorus that stands out from the tracks surrounding without departing the atmosphere so prevalent in their work. “Dead Water” at the outset and “For Shame” build a momentum through side A that the five-piece of keyboardist/vocalist Jess Kamen guitarists Bob Sweeney (also vocals) and Derrick Hans, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans expand in the second half of the record, winding up in the early gruel of “Hollowed” only to resolve the album with speedier swing and as sure a hand as they’ve guided it all along. At six songs and 33 minutes, Act One unmistakably leaves the audience wanting more, and indeed, the plot may just be starting to unfold.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records on Bandcamp

 

Haaze, Swamp Mama

Haaze Swamp Mama

It is a sharp, biting 27-minute run, but Swamp Mama isn’t just thrown together haphazardly. Alberta-based sludge metallers Haaze build a song like “35 Indians” to a head over the course of a deceptively efficient 4:44, following opening track “Beast of the Bog” with a developed sense of craft underlying the outward negativity of their sound. I’ll give the band bonus points for finishing side A with a song called “Stereotypically Doomed,” but more for the crash cymbal that seems to devour the mix. There’s a trashy undercurrent to the subsequent title-track, and as it finishes its pummel, it relinquishes ground to the acoustic interlude, “The Mechanic,” which I’m just going to assume is named for the Charles Bronson movie. That of course sets up the most extreme cut included in closer “AL,” which layers fierce growls and screams atop a rhythm clearly designed for maximum assault factor. A little more metal than sludge, it nonetheless remains tonally consistent with what comes before it, giving Swamp Mama a vicious ending and a feel that’s all the more lethal for it.

Haaze on Thee Facebooks

Haaze on Bandcamp

 

The Sledge, On the Verge of Nothing

the sledge on the verge of nothing

Copenhagen four-piece The Sledge boasts the three former members of heavy rockers Hjortene in guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Palle, drummer/vocalist Kim and bassist Claus, so while they’ve revamped their identity and gone on to add vocalist Magnus Risby — who appears here on “179 Liars” and “Yet Untitled” — perhaps its somewhat disingenuous to consider their first album under the new moniker, On the Verge of Nothing, a debut. Issued through Kozmik Artifactz, the record collects eight tracks produced by Anders Hansen (who also worked with Hjortene) and mixed by Matt Bayles, and in listening to the cuts with Risby in the lead spot, the vibe taps into a thicker take on late-era Dozer with no less righteous melodicism. That, however, is just a fraction of the total story of On the Verge of Nothing, which taps earlier desert idolatry on “Death Drome Doline” and brings in none other than Lorenzo Woodrose himself for guest spots elsewhere. People in and out of the lineup through different tracks should make the LP disjointed, but as ever, it’s the songwriting that holds it together, and one can’t discount the core band’s experience playing together as a part of that either. Debut or not, it’s an impressive offering.

The Sledge on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Red Lama, Dogma

red lama dogma

One tends to think of serenity and peaceful drift when it comes to Danish heavy psych rockers Red Lama, but as the seven-piece band quickly turn around follow-up to their 2018 sophomore LP, Motions (discussed here), cuts like opener “Time” and “RLP” unfold with a particular sense of urgency, the former seeming to showcase an acknowledgement of sociopolitical circumstances in Europe and beyond in a way that seems to readjust their focus. That’s a tidy narrative, but if it’s a case of priorities being rebalanced, it’s striking nonetheless. To coincide, “RLP” has a heavier roll in its second half, and while second cut “State of the Art” and closer “Tearing up the Snow” both make their way past the five-minute mark with post-rocking pastoralia and dreamy melodies, there remains a feeling of a tighter focus in the tracks that could portend a new stage of the band’s development or could simply be a circumstance of what’s included here. The next album will tell the tale.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama on Bandcamp

 

Full Tone Generator, Valley of the Universe

full tone generator valley of the universe

Fronted by Andy Fernando of Don Fernando, Full Tone Generator‘s debut long-player, Valley of the Universe, nonetheless bears the unmistakable hallmark of the Californian desert — in no small part because that’s where it was recorded. Fernando and guitarist/bassist/backing vocalist Brad Young traveled to that famed landscape to record with Bubba DuPree and Brant Bjork at Zainaland Studios, only to have the latter end up playing drums and contributing backing vocals as well to the eight-tracker. Not a bad deal, frankly. The key reference sound-wise throughout Valley of the Universe is Kyuss, particularly because of Bjork‘s involvement and Fernando‘s vocal style, but the slow-rolling “I Only Love You When I’m Loaded,” 59-second blaster “No Future” and the ending jam duo of “Preacher Man” and “Never to Return” make the ground their own, the latter with some surprise screams before it bounces its way into oblivion as though nothing ever happened. They’ve got the vibe down pat, but Full Tone Generator do more as well than simply retread desert rock’s founding principles.

Full Tone Generator on Thee Facebooks

Hurricane Music on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Dust, Seven Storms

mountain dust seven storms

Keys give Montreal four-piece Mountain Dust a tie to classic heavy blues and they use that element well to cast their identity in the spirit of a post-retro modern feel, details like the backing vocals of “White Bluffs” and the waltzing rhythm held by the snare on “Witness Marks” doing much to add complexity to the persona of the band. “You Could” goes over the top in its boozy regrets, but the dramas of “Old Chills” are full in sound and satisfyingly wistful, while closer “Stop Screaming” offers a bit of twang and slide guitar to go along with its sense of threat and consuming seven-minute finish. Tight songwriting and clean production do a lot to give Seven Storms a professional presentation, but ultimately it’s the band itself that shines through in terms of performance and as Mountain Dust follow-up their well-received 2016 debut, Nine Years, they sound confident in their approach and ready to flesh out in multiple directions while maintaining a central character to their sound that will be familiar to the converted enough to be a work of genre while setting the stage to become all the more their own as well.

Mountain Dust on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

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Grim Reefer Fest 2019 Announces Full Lineup with Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple, Horseburner and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Don’t look now, but here’s another fucking awesome festival to boggle your mind and melt your ears. Grim Reefer Fest 2019 will be held at The Ottobar in Baltimore and feature the likes of Philly heavy psych forerunners Ruby the Hatchet as well as return performances from Heavy Temple and fest-organizers Haze Mage as the event solidifies under the Grim Reefer banner after taking shape earlier this year as Stoned to Death. By any other name, it’s a kickass lineup for the all-dayer-style happening, with HorseburnerMountainwolfBook of WyrmsYatra and Tombtoker filling out the Chesapeake Watershed-minded bill, highlighting  a range of styles from the region and some up and coming as well as more established acts. If you didn’t already have plans for that Saturday, well, you do now.

For a quick side-note: I’ve got a post in the works with an update from Heavy Temple for later this week. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Thursday, depending on how it all comes together. Keep an eye out either way. It’s good news.

Here’s the Grim Reefer announcement, culled from the social medias:

grim reefer fest 2019

Grim Reefer Fest 420 / 2019

Saturday, April 20th, 2019 the Ottobar shall be engulfed by a heavy cloud of groove, gloom, and DOOM. Emerging from the fog a smokey specter materializes, the Grim Reefer. His bloodshot gaze beckoning you forth to test your mettle against a tidal wave of earth-shattering, skull shaking, sonic fuzz that flattens the land. Come forth oh warriors of metal, see if you can traverse the Grim Reefers miasma of crushing metal mayhem and celebrate the holy day of smoke.

Featuring

Ruby the Hatchet (PA) Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Psych-doom
Heavy Temple (PA) – Groovy, moody, fuzzy doom
Haze Mage (MD) – Sword and sorcery stoner metal
Horseburner (WVA) – Pure, pounding stoner rock n’ roll
Mountainwolf (MD) – Hard Rock Psychedelia
Book of Wyrms (VA) – Appalachian stoner rock
YATRA (MD) – Heavy, mountainous riffage
Tombtoker (MD) – Risen, undead doom/metal

$20 ADV – Ticket link: http://www.theottobar.com/event/1794968

https://www.facebook.com/events/726623521049970/
http://www.theottobar.com/event/1794968
https://www.facebook.com/hazemage/

Heavy Temple, Live at Muddy Roots Music Festival 2018

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