Cortez Enter Studio to Record New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m not trying to be a smartass or anything here, but three years between Cortez releases would be pretty good. The Boston heavy rockers issued The Depths Below (review here), in 2017, some five years after their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), and that followed five years after their 2007 first EP, Thunder in a Forgotten Town. Especially as they also had the split out last year with the now-defunct Wasted Theory (review here) as part of Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy series, trimming that divide between full-lengths down to the three years from 2017-2020 is right on. It’ll be interesting to hear how momentum plays into what they do with the record.

Actually, scratch that. It’ll just be interesting to hear the record — period. Cortez‘s Boston-born heavy rock methodology is time-tested and headbang-secure, and The Depths Below was as solid as the bricks of Faneuil Hall. Not broken, not in needing of fixing: what Windows 95 once referred to as “plug and play.” Dudes do not screw around.

Accordingly, they’re working with Benny Grotto at Mad Oak. Because that’s what you do.

Here’s their announcement:

cortez

Boston Heavy Rockers Cortez Begin Recording New Album

Boston heavy rockers CORTEZ have entered Mad Oak Studios in Allston, MA to begin recording the follow up to their 2017 album “The Depths Below.” The band is once again recording with Benny Grotto (WORSHIPPER, SCISSORFIGHT, GOZU) manning the board. This will be the first recording to feature the current lineup:

Matt Harrington – vocals
Scott O’Dowd – guitar
Alasdair Swan – guitar
Jay Furlo – bass
Alexei Rodriguez – drums

Speaking about the material the band states, “We couldn’t be more excited; our new material is at once different and yet quintessentially Cortez. We are thrilled to be working with Benny Grotto again, as he totally gets what we are trying to achieve sonically. We can’t wait for everyone hear the songs.”

Cortez are laying low on the live front to concentrate on recording, but currently have one show scheduled:

Friday, September 27 at Lucky 13 in Brooklyn, NY with Vessel Of Light, Eternal Black, and Clothesline.

http://www.cortezboston.com
http://www.instagram.com/cortezboston
http://www.facebook.com/cortezboston
http://cortezboston.bandcamp.com

Cortez, The Depths Below (2017)

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Blackwolfgoat Premieres “Nadir” from Giving Up Feels So Good

Posted in audiObelisk on July 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

“For $10, one was allowed to stare into the void, to scream into it,” goes one of the standout lines from guitarist Darryl Shepard‘s short story/drone-piece “Screaming into the Void.” The story describes a black hole in the Midwest that becomes a tourist attraction. “‘Go ahead and scream into me,’ it seemed to say.” It’s not the first time Shepard has done vocals on a release from his solo-project Blackwolfgoat — his 2014 album, Drone Maintenance (discussed here), had some void-screaming of its own — but the 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) on the fourth Blackwolfgoat offering, Giving Up Feels So Good, is definitely a standout just the same. Backing the spoken word are waves of guitar distortion recorded by Chris Johnson at The Electric Bunker, creating a darkness through which some melody does gradually peak through, but which seems definitely geared toward manifesting the title in sound as well as narrative. It’s a fitting beginning for the five-track/39-minute Giving Up Feels So Good, which, though it doesn’t have any more vocals after that, is inarguably the heaviest work Shepard has produced in his work as Blackwolfgoat. “Screaming into the Void,” topped with words about screaming into a literal void. Yeah, that sounds about right.

For the Boston-based Shepard — known for his work in SlapshotMilligramRoadsawHackman, The ScimitarKind and most recently the grunge-punk duo Test Meat, among others — Blackwolfgoat has been since its inception and Small Stone-released 2010 debut, Dragonwizardsleeve (review here), a vehicle for guitar-based experimentation. A landing pad for ideas that by their nature wouldn’t fit anywhere else. The second record, 2011’s Dronolith, came out through this site’s then in-house label, The Maple Forum, on CD before being picked up by Kozmik Artifactz for an LP edition, and furthered the soundscaping cause, and while Drone Maintenance pulled back from that toward more traditionalist instrumental songwriting, it still felt conceptual, and five years later, Giving Up Feels So Good does as blackwolfgoat nadirwell. But the context has changed. As Shepard moves through the chugging eight-minute second cut “Nadir” (premiering below) and the grim psychedelic wash of the centerpiece “On My Way Now,” the personality of Giving Up Feels So Good proves to be not only consumingly dark, but based more than any other Blackwolfgoat release around weighted tonality and resonant low end. “Nadir” — how low can you go? — reminds of Earth or maybe some of Dylan Carlson‘s solo output for its raw here’s-a-guitar-style expression, and though Shepard fleshes out toward the midpoint with a some hard-strummed melody, the mood remains paramount.

The penultimate “Dust to Dusk,” based largely around one speedier progression, sounds like it would be space rock if it had drums behind it, which immediately relates it to Kind, whose second album has yet to manifest. Half the point of the track seems to be its long fade, which takes hold with about two and a half minutes left to go and gradually moves into oblivion, not so much casting off the forward thrust previously conjured, but watching it dissipate like a rocket fading from view as it gets higher in the atmosphere. That leaves only “Always Say Never” to close out as the shortest inclusion at 6:04, with a fervent wash of revel-in-it depressive, air-push tone. After the relative departure that was “Dust to Dusk,” “Always Say Never” — even its title seeming to play on the idea of basking in one’s own miseries, very much in the spirit of the name of the record itself — revives the downer drone of “Nadir” and “On My Way Now” that is so much at the core of Giving Up Feels So Good. It’s not about making a performance out of being depressed. It’s about accepting that not everything and not everyone needs to be so positive. Shepard, who is quite active on social media, seems to be responding to the idea of the curated self; that perhaps ambitious but ultimately half-true version of who we are that we share with others so very willingly. The self as advertisement for self. In Giving Up Feels So Good, he dismantles this notion, not through snide irony (snirony?), but by means of acknowledging the liberation of embracing one’s own complexity. One can’t be a complete human being and be so god damned happy all the time. Every now and again, we all want to scream into the void, even if that scream comes via howling guitar.

A proper release for Giving Up Feels So Good is in the works for this Fall, with tapes coming out through Fuzzdoom Records and CDs to be pressed and available from Shepard presumably through Bandcamp. Art will be handled by Alexander von Wieding (very interested to see what the Master comes up with for this one), and when I hear more about an exact release date, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, get down with “Nadir” (see what I did there?) on the player below, and please enjoy:

Blackwolfgoat, “Nadir”

Chris Johnson from Deafheaven/Summoner/Doomriders recorded, mixed and mastered it at his studio The Electric Bunker. The new album is called “Giving Up Feels So Good”. It’s five songs, just under 40 minutes long. Fuzzdoom Records is going to do a short run of cassettes for the album, and Alexander Von Wieding is going to do the artwork. I’m going to self release it on CD and through digital platforms. If someone steps in to do vinyl that would be great. I don’t have a definite release date yet but I’m shooting for late September or early October.

This album is all heavy, it’s not quite as experimental as the others. I just wanted to do a heavy record from front to back. One song has spoken word, it’s a short story I wrote, the other four songs are completely instrumental. The title “Giving Up Feels So Good” is a reaction to people who are overly positive and always looking on the bright side. Life isn’t easy, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. I think the overall sound and mood of this album is pretty dark, which is exactly what I wanted to achieve.

The track listing is:
1. Screaming Into the Void
2. Nadir
3. On My Way Now
4. Dust to Dusk
5. Always Say Never

Blackwolfgoat on Thee Facebooks

Blackwolfgoat on Bandcamp

Fuzzdoom Records on Bandcamp

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Gozu Welcome New Drummer Patrick Queenan; Touring Europe This Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gozu

Boston heavy rock purveyors Gozu bid welcome to new drummer Patrick Queenan. The band — once again a four-piece with bassist Joe Grotto and founding guitarists Marc Gaffney (vocals) and Doug Sherman (backing vocals) — toured last month headed westward and took part in the Electric Funeral Fest in Denver. This November, they’ll make a return to European shores to play the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in Austria and more besides, hitting Germany, Italy, Slovenia, the UK, Belgium, France and Switzerland on a 15-day stretch that will serve as Queenan‘s inaugural stint with them. Trial by Old World fire and all that.

Also known for playing in Sundrifter, Queenan comes to Gozu as at least their third ‘permanent’ drummer, taking the role after a split with Mike Hubbard (now of the reactivated Warhorse). Gozu aren’t far removed from 2018’s Equilibrium (review here), but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that the shift in personnel might get them moving quicker on new material, getting a fresh take and all that with Queenan in the rhythm section.

Beyond the November tour, I won’t profess to know what the future holds for them, but Gozu always deliver live and in the studio, so whatever it is, I’ll happily take it as it comes. I look forward to seeing the new lineup.

They had some comment on bringing in Queenan:

gozu november tour

“Pat is an incredible musician with extraordinary feel. He brings a lot of skills to the table and we are very excited to have him in the fold. We look forward to writing and playing shows with him ASAP. Bottom line: He rules.” – Doug Sherman.

“Pat brings a whole new vibe of youth and groove that the old men needed. His playing and attitude is rather infectious, he describes his downbeat as, silky chicken.” – Marc Gaffney.

“First I just want to thank Gaff, Doug and Joe for allowing me to be apart of Gozu. They’ve been around and have been consistently crushing it and have done a lot of really great things as a band, things a lot of bands only dream of doing. I guess I feel real lucky to be playing drums in two badass rock bands (Gozu/Sundrifter) who both have really exciting futures ahead! As a musician I couldn’t have it any better right now!” – Patrick Queenan.

*** GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019 ***
01.11.2019 AT Innsbruck-PMK Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
02.11.2019 IT Udine-Backyardie
03.11.2019 SL Lubijana-Channel Zero
04.11.2019 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.11.2019 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
06.11.2019 DE Augsbrug-City Club
07.11.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
08.11.2019 DE Berlin-Heads Up Fest
09.11.2019 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
10.11.2019 DE Koln-MTC
11.11.2019 UK London tba
12.11.2019 BE Brugge-Jeugdhuis Comma
13.11.2019 FR Chambery-Le Brin du Zinc
14.11.2019 CH Martigny-Sunset Bar
15.11.2019 CH Zurich-Safari Bar
16.11.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’or

GOZU is:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Doug Sherman – lead guitar
Pat Queenan – drums

Photo was taken by Nicole Tammaro.

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666

Gozu, Equilibrium (2018)

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Gozu Announce Nov. 2019 European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gozu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Having recently-enough seen Gozu in Boston (review here) and Brooklyn (review here), I don’t at all mind saying they’re locked in. I minded even less standing in front of the stage to see it. Their upcoming European run will be the second tour they’ve undertaken this year, having gone out west earlier this month in order to play Electric Funeral Fest in Colorado.

They’ll do Heavy Psych Sounds Fest‘s Austrian edition on Nov. 1 as the first date of the Euro run, and also play Heads Up Fest in Berlin a week later, kicking around in the interim between Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Germany, and after that, they’ll do dates in the UK, Belgium, France and Switzerland. As one has come to expect, there’s a fair amount of German ground covered, but three dates in Switzerland sounds pretty awesome too, just as a way to spend one’s time.

All the whatnot just came in off the PR wire:

gozu november tour

GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019

To deserve the term ‘timeless’, an album really does have to transcend the era in which it was created. Equilibrium unequivocally achieves this. With roots in 60s psychedelia and classic rock, the fuzzy stoner riffs of the 70s, the grit of 90s grunge and the winning dirty rock n’ roll that has in recent years made a resurgence, Boston, MA’s Gozu have been churning out killer records since 2009. With 2016’s Revival they took their sound in a somewhat new and more aggressive direction, and in doing so, dropped the most compulsive, exciting and downright badass release of their career – and Equilibrium has only raised the stakes. “We wanted these songs to hit a nerve, make people shake their ass and enjoy simply being alive,” says vocalist/guitarist Marc “Gaff” Gaffney, who founded the band with lead guitarist Doug Sherman.

Much of the record’s strength stems from the unit growing since Revival. “I would have to say that the band is sounding the best it ever has right now,” Gaffney states plainly. “It takes a bit of time to feel everything out. When you are serious about it, you have to work as a team, and we are four guys that dig the same kind of music and love to play, but we all bring in different elements that give us our sound. It is not just one person channeling, it’s the four of us bringing in the ingredients and together making it a delicious meal.”

*** GOZU – EUROPEAN TOUR 2019 ***
01.11.2019 AT Innsbruck-PMK Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
02.11.2019 IT Udine-Backyardie
03.11.2019 SL Lubijana-Channel Zero
04.11.2019 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
05.11.2019 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
06.11.2019 DE Augsbrug-City Club
07.11.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
08.11.2019 DE Berlin-Heads Up Fest
09.11.2019 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
10.11.2019 DE Koln-MTC
11.11.2019 UK London tba
12.11.2019 BE Brugge-Jeugdhuis Comma
13.11.2019 FR Chambery-Le Brin du Zinc
14.11.2019 CH Martigny-Sunset Bar
15.11.2019 CH Zurich-Safari Bar
16.11.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’or

GOZU is:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Doug Sherman – lead guitar

https://www.facebook.com/GOZU666
http://gozu.bandcamp.com
instagram.com/gozu666

Gozu, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, March 2, 2019

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Friday Full-Length: Ichabod, Merrimack

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’ve lived in Massachusetts for six years. It’s long enough to not completely feel like a Yankees fan interloping on foreign territory in New England, but I’d never call myself a native, and on the periodic occasion when someone has asked where I’m from, I almost always said New Jersey. There’s something about the atmosphere of New England that I feel like I never quite earned, and Ichabod‘s Merrimack (review here), which is coming up on five years since its initial release in Oct. 2014, captures that spirit better than any other heavy record I can think of. It’s there in the Northern work song “The Strong Place” — taken from the translation from Algonquin of the name of the Merrimack River, for which the album is titled — and in vocalist John Fadden‘s crooning, “Give our souls to the river,” in the subsequent “Two Brothers Rock.” It’s there in the underlying aggression behind the drift of Dave Iverson‘s effects-laced solos and Jason Adam‘s riffing, in the flowing grooves from bassist Greg Dellaria and drummer Phil MacKay, whose brother, Ken (now of Oxblood Forge), helped Iverson start the band some 20 years ago in 1999.

Ichabod revamped in 2011, bringing aboard Fadden as frontman, as well as Adam, while MacKay had served behind the kit since 2000 and Dellaria (also now of Oxblood Forge) on bass since 2002. Merrimack was the band’s sixth full-length was unquestionably their broadest ranging work. For Iverson and Fadden, it held the personal significance of being an homage to their mothers as well as to the land and river itself, and even unto that internalization of place, its songs bleed a passion that is genuine and striking. From the summer-sun celebration “Watershed” and the progressive tension (also highlight bass) in “Life at the Loom” — featuring the line, “I wish I could sit around and talk about the weather forever,” which itself might be the most New England thing I’ve ever heard — to the blatantly Doors-style fearcrafting in “Child of the Bear,” slaughter in the three-minute “The Ballad of Hannah Dustin” and subsequent paranoid-in-the-woods noisy chaos of closer “The Return,” Merrimack distilled into psychedelic metal and sludge the varying sides of Massachusetts itself: the history, alternatingly troubled and beautiful — they sure burned witches and killed a bunch of native people, but golly those leaves are nice in Fall — the inherent Northeastern intensity, the contradictions between such a prevalent working class culture and the fact that Boston hosts some of the most elitist learning institutions in the country, and the ability to find space within that sphere where one can almost pretend to be at peace for a while. For me, it was looking at the high pines and thinking about the years those trees had seen. For Ichabod, clearly it was the river.

The peak achievement of Merrimack hit early, in its longest track, the 9:39 “Squall.” Well placed to build outward from “Two Brothers Rock,” it conveyed the storm to which its title alluded and ichabod merrimacksummarized much of the approach of the record as a whole, really only leaving out of its accounting the warmer and inviting vibe of “Watershed” and “Life at the Loom,” which follow in succession. “Squall” found little peace amid its tale of fishing boats bashed by nature’s power, Fadden moving between layered screams, emphatic spoken word and cleaner belting-out — a style that in itself has been the region’s ply and trade at least as much as seafood for the last 20 years in metal, since the kids of New England’s hardcore started to remember they all grew up as Metallica fans and began to blend the two sides at the turn of the century. Even the song’s quieter stretch in the middle held that undercurrent of threat in its e-bow guitar and the fluid rhythm, and the payoff that emerged therefrom left no choice but to end with a torrent of feedback afterward, giving way directly to the contrasting transition/introduction to “Watershed.” Grayscale in its cover art with a picture of the river itself — “Subjugated long ago when industry did reign/The mill towns, they are burning down/The river, it remains,” went the lyrics of “The Strong Place” — Merrimack was more colorful than one might initially think, but it was an album made very much to depict a specific idea and a specific, real place, and in its character and breadth, it was an utter success. Again, I’ve only ever been a dabbler in Massachusetts, but to my ears, Ichabod‘s portrait of the Bay State experience via this one river would seem to lack nothing in its realism. Maybe a Patriots bumper sticker on its back cover. Local sports is a big part of the culture up there.

By the end of this summer, I’ll be moved away from New England, back to New Jersey, where I grew up, to live in what was my grandmother’s house in the shadow of a different pine tree, planted almost 60 years ago by my grandfather, Joe Peterson, who died five years before I was born. As I embrace this personal history in a new way, I can’t help but think of what Ichabod did in speaking to theirs with Merrimack and the nature of the concept behind this record, how much it managed to bring to life of the place that, after more than half a decade there, could still make me feel like a tourist, and where I still had to use my phone to navigate the twisting back roads. It was there home. As I return to mine, it’s with some new measure of clarity of what it means to be from somewhere, and how even when one might leave a place, one never really loses the effect that place has had. Or the accent. I’ve definitely still got that as well, as regards New Jersey.

Ichabod were in the studio in 2015 and 2016 for a record that was set to be called Somewhere Between Zero and Infinity, and even went so far as to post a snippet of a rough version of the title-track to Soundcloud and another song as well. I wouldn’t put it past them to have another album out at some point, but neither am I holding my breath. If Merrimack indeed turned out to be their swansong, at very least one would have to say they put everything they had into making it. Some bands never get there.

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

Next week is Maryland Doom Fest, if you can believe that. I think I leave on Wednesday to head south? Maybe Thursday? I’m not really sure. Either way, I’ll be there all weekend as I cash in all of the domestic capital I earned (and probably then some) running point on childcare in Ireland for two weeks in trade for four days of being pummeled into the ground by riffs. Thanks in advance to The Patient Mrs.

We’ve had people in the house all week to talk about doing windows, doing a kitchen, doing whatever else. A guy came and fixed a leak in the flashing above the fireplace. We got blown off by an electrician. All our furniture is still in MA, and frankly I have no idea where any of it is going to go, but I guess that’s a worry for when that place actually sells. I think it’s been on the market for three weeks? I don’t know. The sooner an offer comes in, the better. I don’t think anyone really wants to drag this out anymore than we need to.

Also, if anyone wants to help me pack vinyl, that’d be great. Thanks. I’ll be back up there sometime in July, I think. Gotta get the mail, if nothing else.

Speaking of, I know the contact form on here is broken again. Just hit me up on Facebook in the meantime.

No new The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio this week. I’ll have one next week though, so hang in. There’s still a repeat Sunday night at 7PM Eastern if you get the chance. Hit up http://gimmeradio.com for the schedule.

We’ve been down in Jersey pretty much since we got back (last weekend?) from Ireland. I think we stayed in Connecticut for a night. I don’t really know. I know I missed taking out the garbage yesterday morning and there’s copious baby poop in the garage as a result. Whatever raccoon decides to get in our trash is in for a surprise.

But this weekend is… stuff? I don’t know. I have writing to do, and a bunch of whatnot I want to get done before Doom Fest, but I’ll the skip the notes. Look for a Pinto Graham track premiere Monday and an Across Tundras review Tuesday. That’s the plan as of now. Might do Burning Gloom on Wednesday.

It’s 5:48AM and The Pecan just woke up. The sun just came through the trees. I can see on the baby monitor he’s standing, so it’s likely the real deal. Takes him a few minutes to get going sometimes. But I’ll go grab him and then start the day here, which involves the usual amount of running around and probably me stressing about emails and whatever else. Who can keep up.

Anyway, I wish you a great and safe weekend. I think we’re grilling tomorrow if you want to come by. We’ll be back here after the duck races in the afternoon. Because when we do wholesome, we go all the fuck out.

Thanks for reading.

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The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

 

 

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Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night: Knock ‘Em All Down

Posted in Reviews on June 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadsaw tinnitus the night

If you believe in ‘due,’ Roadsaw were most certainly that. The Boston heavy rock kingpins have been somewhat limited in their activity over the last half-decade or so, as their core members Tim CatzIan Ross and Craig Riggs explored other projects like White DynomiteMurcielago and Kind, but with Tinnitus the Night, the band’s signing to Ripple Music back in 2016 bears long-awaited fruit and they give their 2011 self-titled (review here) the follow-up it so much deserved, even eight years after the fact. Their sixth full-length overall in a span of 24 years going back to 1995’s One Million Dollars (discussed here), it finds this pared-down version of the band with Riggs handling frontman and drum duties alike while Catz, as ever, is on bass and some background vocals and Ross turns in a you-should-be-talking-about-IanRoss-when-you-talk-about-heavy-rock-guitarists-style performance. As a three- or four-piece, Roadsaw are an absolute powerhouse, and the luster of their work has not dulled with time away.

Tinnitus the Night, which earns immediate charm points for its title alone, comprises 10 tracks and 45 minutes of high-quality songwriting and hooks, the band essentially serving their fanbase a reminder of why they’ve been missing Roadsaw all these years. Cuts like the opener “Along for the Ride,” the extra-scorching “Final Phase” and side B’s “Find What You Need” are barn-burners in classic Roadsaw fashion, though the latter features a slowdown in its second half mirrored in its lyrics as well, while the more extended “Peel” (6:40) and “Midazolam” (7:03) — a sedative; I guess somebody had surgery? — are more spacious, touching on psychedelia while also emphasizing the vinyl construction of the album as a whole, the former positioned as the finale of side A led to by the catchy “Along for the Ride,” “Shake,” “Fat Rats” and “Final Phase” while the latter pushes outward on a solo-topped drift until its sudden stop that brings about the acoustic-based closer “Silence,” so not the actual finish of the record, but clearly the apex just the same. The sense of variety and depth that these songs add to the two sides of Tinnitus the Night isn’t to be taken for granted.

And still, one gets the sense that Roadsaw could just sit down for five minutes and bang out a tune like “Shake” whenever they felt like it. The middle component of the opening salvo is a bruiser riff with an echoing vocal melody and harmonized layers that is air-tight in its structure — nothing wasted, nothing without purpose — and RiggsRoss and Catz make it sound like just another day at the office. That’s not a comment on their performance — far from it; throughout the entire offering, they sound awfully driven for a band who haven’t released an LP in eight years — but on just how easy and natural they make what they do sound. Part of that is experience, obviously, but it goes to the heart as well of who they are as a band. They’ve never been overly flashy or indulgent — they’re punks as much as classic heavy rockers — but they’re a band who will step on stage and blow everyone else out of the room, and that’s also what’s happening with Tinnitus the Night.

roadsaw

“Along for the Ride” brings the audience into the creation of forward momentum, “Shake” pushes deeper and “Fat Rats” cuts the tempo but draws out the melody and makes them three-for-three on memorable choruses. Much the same happens on side B, with “Knock ‘Em All Down” — the chorus, “I’ve seen ’em come, I’ve seen ’em go/But none of that matters now/I’ve had enough, more than enough/You wanna set ’em up I’ll knock ’em downs” feels purely autobiographical — “Find What You Need” (likewise) and “Under the Devil’s Thumb.” If we’re picking highlights, the latter might be mine, at least for today, as it answers back the vocal layering of “Shake” while holding an upbeat rhythm and makes tradtionalist fare sound fresh as only truly great songcraft can. But again, Roadsaw make it all sound easy, fluid, natural. Ain’t no thing to just toss out six or seven flawless slabs of heavy rock, then, you know, maybe space out a bit or kick into the next gear, whichever suits the moment. I’m not in a band, but I imagine that if I was, Roadsaw would be infuriating to listen to.

So if “Along for the Ride,” “Shake,” “Fat Rats,” “Knock ‘Em All Down,” “Find What You Need” and “Under the Devil’s Thumb” serve as the root of Tinnitus the Night‘s impact, the moments where the band branches out are no less pivotal. After the rush of “Final Phase,” “Peel” rolls forth on a slower, thicker-feeling progression that pushes the vocals deeper to give a sense of largesse and seems to pull the punch of Catz‘s bass forward for the same reason, even as Ross solos into oblivion, seeming to crunch as the track winds its way toward the five-minute mark, but they were right to leave it. A mellower stretch follows but the nod resumes and takes its time fading. “Midazolam” feels even bigger in its melody, and its crescendo tops Ross‘ solo with the chorus in such a way as to unquestionably be the payoff for the album as a whole, but cuts short at 6:48, perhaps to convey the moment of losing consciousness. Its transition to “Silence” is stark and clearly meant to be that. Keys, drums, acoustic guitar, effects wash and a quiet distorted riff back Riggs in “Silence” and the feeling is very much one of epilogue to Tinnitus the Night; the party is over and they know it. Fair enough.

Even that swapping position — “Final Phase” before the longer track on side A, “Silence” after the longer track on side B — and the fact that those two songs are more or less opposites, should give the audience some idea of the range with which Roadsaw are ultimately working while still basically keeping to verse/chorus patterning. They don’t need to do otherwise. The only question as regards Tinnitus the Night is what it might lead to. Is it the last Roadsaw album? One final blowout? They certainly sound like they have more to say, but that’s never stopped bands from stopping before. When in 2008 they released See You in Hell! after an eight-year absence, they followed three years after that with the self-titled. They had three records out between 1995 and 2000. So maybe Roadsaw do things in bunches. I don’t know. What feels more important in listening to Tinnitus the Night is appreciating the level of accomplishment Roadsaw bring to what they do. It is a majestic execution of a purposefully un-majestic form.

Maybe it leads to something, maybe it leads to nothing. The point is that after eight long years and a shift in lineup, Roadsaw came back to stake their claim on their legacy and add to it with one more round of their nigh-unmatched execution. It’s a gift to their listenership and should be received as such.

Roadsaw, Tinnitus the Night (2019)

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Ripple Music website

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Roadsaw Announce June 7 Release for New Album Tinnitus the Night

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadsaw

I’m gonna try real hard not to take it personally that I’m leaving the Boston area and Roadsaw FINALLY decide to release a new album. And, actually, after eight years since their self-titled (review here) on Small Stone, they’re kind of doing it on the quick. June 7 is like three weeks from now. “Oh, by the way, we haven’t done a record in the better part of a decade, but so here’s one.” Whatever, I’ll take it as it comes.

To that end, they’re streaming “Shake” now and it’s a fitting reminder of why you’ve been missing Roadsaw all this time even as members have embarked on developing other projects like White DynomiteMurcielago or Kind — oh yeah, then there’s that whole thing about Riggs joining Sasquatch — all of which are most certainly welcome ways for them to spend their time. Still, there’s only one Roadsaw, and the reaffirmation is welcome.

Preorders are up now from Ripple, so have at it:

roadsaw tinnitus the night

ROADSAW: Boston’s Hard Rock Bruisers Are Back, Louder and Heavier Than Ever! | New Album Out Next Month, Share New Song ‘Shake’

Tinnitus the Night by Roadsaw is officially released on 7th June 2019

It’s been a long time coming but the wait is finally over. Boston legends Roadsaw return this June with their eighth full-length album, Tinnitus the Night, a record that’s sure to please their faithful followers, while pulling in plenty of new ones along the way.

With a sound as searing and sleazy today as it was eighteen years ago, the heart and soul of the classic Roadsaw line-up has remained intact with Ian Ross on guitar, Tim Catz on bass and Craig Riggs doubling up on vocal and drum duties. Once again the band holed up in familiar digs at Mad Oak Studios in Allston with Benny Grotto on production. Packed front to back with rippers, trippers, killers and thrillers, from opener ‘Along for The Ride’ through to the stoner opus ‘Peel’, and weighty epic of ‘Midazolam’, Roadsaw dig deep to deliver the goods.

With every tour and new record released, their fans and friends come back for more. On the road, they’ve shared stages big and small on both sides of the Atlantic with the likes of Orange Goblin, Fu Manchu, Queens of The Stone Age, Nebula, Karma To Burn, Black Label Society and many others. They’ve also been regular guests at CMJ and SXSW events and played every metal and stoner festival that would have them.

Tinnitus the Night by Roadsaw is officially released on 7th June 2019 via Ripple Music, www.ripple-music.com

TRACK LISTING:
1. Along For The Ride
2. Shake
3. Fat Rats
4. Final Phase
5. Peel
6. Knock Em All Down
7. Find What You Need
8. Under The Devil’s Thumb
9. Midazolam
10. Silence

Roadsaw:
Ian Ross – Guitar
Craig Riggs – Vocals
Tim Catz – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/ROADSAW-106440249390336/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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Here’s the Bio I Wrote for Worshipper’s Light in the Wire

Posted in Features on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Today marks the release date of Worshipper‘s second album, Light in the Wire (review here). Out on Tee Pee Records, it lands immediately following the return of the Boston four-piece from a European tour alongside labelmates The Skull that included stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin to follow-up on both bands’ appearance at the inaugural Desertfest NYC a few weeks back (review here).

The release will be celebrated tonight in Cambridge, MA, with a live in-store performance at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square. The retail outlet also has an exclusive color vinyl edition available that looks just lovely in the pictures that I’ve seen. I was fortunate enough to be asked when they were putting the promo package together to write the bio for the album, and I did so happily.

For the occasion of the release, here’s that bio I wrote, as it appears currently on their Bandcamp page:

worshipper light in the wire

Worshipper – Light in the Wire bio

Whatever frame you want to give it, Worshipper’s story is one of growth. What started four years ago with a couple digital singles has blossomed — yes, blossomed — into an expansive and individualized sound that’s like nothing else in heavy rock and roll. With patient and graceful songwriting, and thoughtful, detailed arrangements, the Boston-based four-piece bring something new to the hordes of those building altars to the capital ‘r’ Riff. Their second album, Light in the Wire, presents a progressive vision that’s not just about “oh hey we threw a keyboard on some guitar,” but instead bleeds into every melody, every smoothly-delivered rhythmic change, and every performance captured on the recording.

Worshipper’s first album, Shadow Hymns, came out in 2016 on Tee Pee, and they followed it with the 2017 covers EP Mirage Daze, a four-song jaunt exploring influences like Pink Floyd, The Who, Uriah Heep and doom rockers The Oath. That release gave new context to Shadow Hymns, and it informs Light in the Wire as well, though with the new LP, Worshipper are most recognizable as themselves.

Led by would-be-reluctant-were-it-not-for-all-that-pesky-stage-presence frontman John Brookhouse (guitar/vocals/synth), with Alejandro Necochea on lead guitar/synth, Bob Maloney on bass and backing vocals and Dave Jarvis on drums, Worshipper recorded Light in the Wire with Chris Johnson (also of Deafheaven, Summoner, etc.) at GodCity Studios and The Electric Bunker. Their intention to capture a sonic narrative has resulted in a fluidity tying the two sides of the album together even as individual pieces stand out with a sheen of classic heavy metal, rock, psychedelia and prog. At the center, always, is the crafting of the songs themselves, so that each verse isn’t simply a placeholder for the next hook, but a statement unto itself, and each solo drips soul rather than devolving into a needless showcase of wankery.

Light in the Wire not only sees Worshipper grow as songwriters and performers, but it expands the palette they’re working with to do that. A stage-born chemistry pervades their musical conversation, but even more, the confidence with which they take on darkness and light, weight and drift, brings into focus how faithworthy their sound has become. They may push farther still, but hearing Light in the Wire leaves no question of their realization.

-JJ Koczan

https://www.facebook.com/worshipperband/
https://www.instagram/worshipperband
https://worshipper.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com

Worshipper, Light in the Wire (2019)

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