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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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Friday Full-Length: Masters of Reality, Deep in the Hole

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Masters of Reality, Deep in the Hole (2001)

Who could argue? Led by Chris Goss, founder of Masters of Reality, and producer of not only their own landmark output but also records by Kyuss, Fatso Jetson, Queens of the Stone Age, etc., 2001’s Deep in the Hole offered some of the catchiest, most immediately memorable fare ever to come from American heavy rock. Ever. Yes, I mean it. Ever. Goss‘ love of classic rock — need we mention that Ginger Baker played on 1993’s Sunrise on the Sufferbus? — and particularly The Beatles showed itself throughout the record in some of the poppy turns and its strong hooks, but tonally it was of the desert all the way through, and the list of guest reads like a Desert Sessions roster: Josh Homme, Dave Catching, Nick Oliveri, Roxy Saint, Troy Van Leeuwen, among others. Goss himself is the focal point, however, his vocals and guitar front and center throughout, guiding the record in classic form. Its blend of influences and stylistic pulse hit at just the right moment to capture an atmosphere of what post-Kyuss desert rock could be all grown up.

And I guess I’m breaking it out to close the week because it’s summer, or close enough to it. Deep in the Hole, with its bright guitar, sing-along choruses in “Third Man on the Moon,” “A Wish for a Fish,” “High Noon Amsterdam” and the title-track, among others, has always been a warmer-weather record in my mind, so with the sun out and the sky blue, it seems as fitting a time as any to break this one out. I hope you enjoy it.

Kind of dragging ass owing to no caffeine, poor sleep, general stress, and so on, but before I get into any of that, I want to send extreme thanks to Diane Farris aka Diane Kamikaze for having me on her show yesterday at 91.1 WFMU in Jersey City, NJ, for a recap of this year’s Roadburn. If you didn’t get to hear it, please check it out here: http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/60608

It was great to be on FMU for the second time, and of course awesome to talk about music with Diane and to relive some choice Roadburn memories. I had Enslaved twice in the playlist. I professed my love for Anathema. It was a good time.

After that, en route to lunch with Slevin, whom I’d not actually seen in far too long, my car started to overheat four separate times, so I had to pull off to the side of the road and let the engine cool for a while. It kept doing it later, so my car’s in the shop and I’m waiting to hear from them, and I’m still in New Jersey when I was supposed to leave yesterday evening. Not sure when or how I’ll be getting out of here and heading back north, first to Connecticut, then to Massachusetts, but whatever. I’ll figure it out. After the Kings Destroy show Tuesday, family time Wednesday, FMU and vehicular drama yesterday and a full day today, I’m too exhausted to care. Any one of those things would’ve been enough for one week on its own. This week was like three weeks rolled into one. I feel like a grindcore snare drum.

This week coming is that other job interview. Not sure exactly when that will be, but somewhere in there. I’ve got new stuff coming from PlainrideCloset Disco Queen and maybe Hosoi Bros. if I can actually get two seconds to answer an email, and reviews of Cherry ChokeMy Sleeping Karma, and if there’s time, Goatsnake. We’ll see if I get there.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading. Please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Friday Full-Length: Masters of Reality, Flak ‘n’ Flight

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 12th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Masters of Reality, Flak ‘n’ Flight (2003)

First, I love this album. I don’t know that I have a favorite live record, but if I did, this would have to be high on the list if not at the top. From the dripping sentimental opening guitar lines of “The Ballad of Jody Fosty” used as the intro on down to Mark Lanegan himself showing up for “High Noon Amsterdam” and Chris Goss (2010 interview here) leading the way brilliantly through a set spanning what was already by then a substantial career backed by drummer John Leamy and Queens of the Stone Age‘s Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri, ending with “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)” and the Ramones cover “Cretin Hop,” it’s just perfect. Right band, right time, right songs. The versions here of “Rabbit One” and “Why the Fly?” outdo their studio counterparts (the latter is my favorite single Masters of Reality moment, period), and “Deep in the Hole” and “Third Man on the Moon” remind of how criminally underrated 2001’s Deep in the Hole — the full-length which Masters of Reality was touring to support at the time — is in the sphere of desert rock. Unreal, how good this record is.

Of course, Goss is probably best known as the producer of Kyuss at their peak, having helmed the holy trinity of 1992’s Blues for the Red Sun, 1994’s Welcome to Sky Valley and 1995’s …And the Circus Leaves Town, but Masters of Reality goes all the way back to 1981 when Goss started the band on the East Coast. Their first album, Masters of Reality (aka The Blue Garden) arrived in 1989 and it and 1993’s Sunrise on the Sufferbus set the band apart from both commercial rock and the nascent grunge movement, “alternative” still very much an underground ideal at that point. It would be six years before Welcome to the Western Lodge showed up in 1999, but when it did, it found Masters of Reality with a more psychedelic focus — influences and experiments that would solidify into the prime songwriting of Deep in the Hole two years later. Goss‘ second album working with Leamy, it also featured Dave CatchingLanegan, and a host of others, including Homme and Oliveri, who at that point were one year removed from Queens of the Stone Age‘s second album, Rated R.

I don’t know how they wound up doing the tour with GossRated R came out in June 2000, so a full year’s touring cycle (which included their disastrous stint on Ozzfest 2000) would’ve likely been done, but I’m not sure on the timeline of this European run, which was Sept.-Dec. 2001, and when Queens started working on their third record, 2003’s now-classic Songs for the Deaf, on which Goss also appears, singing lead on the bonus track “Mosquito Song.” Still, Flak ‘n’ Flight captures all of these players at an arguable pinnacle of their powers, and is a thrilling, special document of a moment not likely to come again. Masters of Reality‘s latest outing was 2009’s Pine/Cross Dover (review here), which showed Goss‘ will to manipulate a pop influence was unabated.

Hope you enjoy.

Next week is Vinyl Week. I’ve got a backlog of LPs that need to get written about, so I’m just gonna plow through them as best I’m able. To be honest, I doubt I’ll get through all of it — the pile’s like that — but I’m going to try damn hard to do precisely that and we’ll just see how it goes. Stay tuned as well for a couple giveaways (yes, vinyl giveaways) and anything else I can think of. I also have a couple streams planned, for Brain Pyramid and U Sco and who knows what else will come down the line in that regard, but my priority all next week is LP reviews, so if it’s news or whatever that has to get pushed back to fit that in, that’s what I’m going to do. The rest can wait. I gotta clear some space on my desk.

So, reviews of Storm Ross35007, The Kings of Frog IslandMos Generator and more coming up next week. It’ll be awesome.

I’m also leaving in a little over an hour’s time to go see Blackwolfgoat‘s CD release show in Allston, so I’ll review that as well. Big Friday night out. I was all set to go see Magic Circle in Cambridge last night, but the thought of being in such proximity to Harvard this close to the start of the semester scared me off. Wide-eyed scholarship winners perpetuating the global elite. I stayed home and hung out with The Patient Mrs. I’m sure the show was good, but can’t say I feel like I lost out.

There’s more, but I need to put some water on for pre-show pasta. Do us both a favor and have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Masters of Reality Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Just one New York show? Maybe on the return trip? Hell, I don’t even care if it’s New York. I’ll drive to wherever on the East Coast. Unfortunately for me, nothing of the sort has been announced, and Chris Goss (interview here) and the rather considerable Masters of Reality lineup he’s put together around himself and long-tenured drummer John Leamy — including Mathias Schneeberger and Dave Catching — will be heading straight to Europe later this week and by all revealed accounts straight back to the desert from whence they came when they’re done.

The tour includes stops at Download and Sweden Rock and other fests and dates with Queens of the Stone Age, which is a bill I’d like to see anywhere, let alone Paris.

This from the PR wire:

Chris Goss’ Masters of Reality Announce European Tour

Including Dates with Queens of the Stone Age 

Masters Of Reality will embark on a European Summer Tour starting June 8. The trek will include stops at the Sweden Rock Festival, Download Festival and dates with Queens Of The Stone Age. Frontman Chris Goss was most recently a featured musician in Dave Grohl‘s all-star lineup band for his historic Sound City 2013 tour which had a set list including some of Grohl’s favorite Masters Of Reality songs. The band is currently at work on their as yet untitled new studio album.

Originally signed by Rick Rubin to Def Jam in 1988, Masters Of Reality have toured the world releasing nine critically acclaimed albums, five of them released on Mascot Records. Goss is regarded by many to be the godfather of the California desert rock scene and is a well respected producer known for seminal albums by Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age, as well as other acts such as Soul Wax, UNKLE, The Cult, and The Duke Spirit. 2013 started off quite abuzz for Goss, being featured in three current documentaries including the award winning Ginger Baker documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, the soon to be released Soul Wax documentary, and Dave Grohl’s Sound City.

Goss will be joined on the Masters Of Reality tour by longtime collaborator and drummer John Leamy (Surgery, Dr Mars). The live band also includes David Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal, Queens Of The Stone Age, Earthlings?) on guitar, Mathias Schneeberger (Gutter Twins, Twilight Singers, Earthlings?) on keys, and Paul Powell on bass.

Masters Of Reality Tour Dates
06/08/13 Sweden – Sweden Rock Festival
06/09/13 Denmark – Copenhagen – Pumpehuset (w/ SAFI)
06/11/13 Germany – Cologne – Luxor (w/ SAFI)
06/12/13 Holland – Amsterdam – Bitterzoet
06/14/13 Holland – Pinkpop Festival
06/16/13 UK – Download Festival
06/17/13 UK – Glasgow – Cathouse (w/ The Mighty Stef and SAFI)
06/18/13 UK – London – Islington Academy (w/ The Mighty Stef and SAFI)
06/19/13 France – Paris – Trianon (w/ Queens Of The Stone Age)
06/21/13 Germany – Southside Festival
06/22/13 Germany – Berlin – Citadel (w/ Queens Of The Stone Age)
06/23/13 Germany – Hurricane Festival
06/25/13 Switzerland – Dudingen – Bad Bonn (w/ The Shit and SAFI)
06/26/13 Switzerland – Zurich – Komplex Klub (w/ The Shit and SAFI)
06/28/13 Belgium – Leffinge – De Zwerver (w/ SAFI)
06/29/13 Luxembourg – Rock-a-Field Festival
07/01/13 Germany – Munich – Strom (w/ SAFI)
07/02/13 Austria – Vienna – Stadthalle (w/ Queens Of The Stone Age)

http://www.mastersofreality.com
https://www.facebook.com/mastersofreality

Masters of Reality, “Always” video by John Leamy

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Masters of Reality’s The Blue Garden Reissue Coming Dec. 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 6th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Yeah, I know officially that Masters of Reality‘s 1989 debut is self-titled, but whatever. Put that cover art on it and it’s The Blue Garden every time. The Chris Goss-fronted outfit released their last album, Pine/Cross Dover (review here) in 2009, some 20 years after the first one, and with a rich history of labels major and minor, tours and influential contributions to desert and heavy psych rock behind them, they’ll be coupling The Blue Garden with the How High the Moon: Live at the Viper Room live album, originally issued in 1997.

The PR wire heralds the Dec. 11 arrival of the 2CD/2LP:

MASTERS OF REALITY / HOW HIGH THE MOON: LIVE AT THE VIPER ROOM – DELUXE REISSUE

December 11th on Delicious Vinyl
Delicious Vinyl is proud to announce the reissue of two seminal albums from MASTERS OF REALITY together in one deluxe package on December 11th, 2012.  Originally released in 1989 on Rick Rubin’s Def American label, the Self-Titled album is being re-released together with the 1997 live album How High The Moon: Live At The Viper Room in 2CD Digipak and Double LP formats.

Chris Goss formed Masters Of Reality with Tim Harrington as a two-piece in Syracuse, New York in 1981. A Warner Bros. pressing of Black Sabbath’s fearsome 1971 LP Master Of Reality with misprinted labels that read Masters Of Reality gave them their name. (Goss: “Nobody listened to Black Sabbath in 1981 if they considered themselves cool.”) Copping the sonic assault of No Wave duo Suicide, Goss and Harrington gigged regularly at CBGB under a smutty black light haze, before expanding to a four-piece and adapting Black Sabbath’s blues-based evil deeds template as their own.

Fans of Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age should recognize the name Chris Goss. As godfather of the California desert rock scene that blossomed in Joshua Tree, Goss produced three thundering Kyuss LPs as well as QOTSA’s breakthrough album Rated R and their Grammy-nominated Era Vulgaris. The Masters’ legend has grown stronger ever since.

Masters Of Reality’s lead single from the self-titled release was “Domino”, a flat-out rabble rousing rocker, Goss serving up Tony Iommi-style sickness while in his pure but potent tenor commanding the listener to “Paint me a picture/ make it the devil/ then run down the hole if/ the roof ain’t level.” “Lookin’ To Get Rite” is a concise and country-fried front-porch toe tapper, while “Kill The King” is a seven-and-a-half minute regicidal epic roping in the legacies of Queen, King Crimson, and ZZ Top. Most impressive is “John Brown” where Goss brays “I declare a holiday…no matter what the doctors say” over a full-bodied realization of the sort of acoustically-strummed bombast that Led Zeppelin had pioneered with “Over The Hills And Far Away.”

Completists and come-latelys may want to know this reissue maintains the self-titled album’s track sequencing from the Delicious Vinyl version, which includes the song “Doraldina’s Prophecies” (produced by Chris Goss, Matt Dike & Mike Ross) not found on the Rick Rubin-produced Def American release. The original Def American cover art has been restored. Longtime friend of the band and current Masters Of Reality drummer John Leamy’s painting The Blue Garden is seen in its full glory on the 8-panel digipak (as well as the bonus poster). The song “Magical Spell” is returned here to its majestic five minute lascivious trawl, missing verse, guitar solo and all. As for the second disc, How High The Moon: Live At The Viper Room has been out of print for years, and never been available on vinyl. Its standouts include “Jindalee Jindalie” (featuring special guest Scott Weiland) and a romp through “John Brown” that betters the already awesome studio version.

If you’re so moved, recognize that Masters Of Reality remain to this day an active, potent proposition both on tour and in the studio (check out their incredible 2009 album Pine/Cross Dover). Rock on.

MASTERS OF REALITY
1. The Candy Song
2. Doraldina’s Prophecies
3. John Brown
4. Gettin’ High
5. Magical Spell
6. Theme For The Scientist Of The Invisible
7. Domino
8. The Blue Garden
9. The Eyes Of Texas
10. Lookin’ To Get Right
11. Kill The King
12. Sleep Walkin’

HOW HIGH THE MOON: LIVE AT THE VIPER ROOM
1. How High The Moon
2. The Blue Garden
3. Alder Smoke Blues
4. Doraldina’s Prophecies
5. She Got Me
6. Jindalee Jindalie
7. John Brown
8. Tilt A Whirl / Swingeroo Joe
9. Ants In The Kitchen / Goin’ Down
10. 100 Years

www.facebook.com/mastersofreality
www.mastersofreality.com
www.deliciousvinyl.com

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Buried Treasure: Haul That is Heavy, Vol. 4: Mega-Sale Edition

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 29th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

A mere two weeks ago, I posted notice that the kind souls at the All That is Heavy webstore were having a mega-sale with discs and t-shirts at 25 and 50 percent off. I also confessed that I did this only after going in and solidifying my own purchase. Well, the box showed up Wednesday and I’ve been making my way through the goods ever since. Here’s what I picked up:

The Body, All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood
Paul Chain “The Improvisor,Cosmic Wind
Church of Misery, The Second Coming (Diwphalanx reissue)
Leif Edling, The Black Heart of Candlemass
The Gates of Slumber, Villain, Villain
500 Ft. of Pipe, Dope Deal
500 Ft. of Pipe, The Electrifying Church of the New Light
Masters of Reality, Pine/Cross Dover (American version)
Mustasch, Parasite!
OJM, The Light Album
OJM, Under the Thunder
OJM, Volcano
Ponamero Sundown, Stonerized
Raging Slab, Raging Slab (2009 Rock Candy reissue)
Sgt. Sunshine, Black Hole
Sin of Angels, In the Grip of Despair

Stuff like the 500 Ft. of Pipe and Mustasch I’d had my eye on for a long time. The psyched-up Fu Manchu fuzz of the former has been a delight long awaited. With The Body, I felt like I was finally giving into the hype, but at the sale price, decided it was now or never. Ponamero Sundown I wanted to listen to again before reviewing the new one and couldn’t find my old sleeve promo — apparently I’ve never heard of YouTube — and Masters of Reality I bought solely for the different label name on the side of the disc. It’s not the first time I’ve done that with them.

OJM I wanted to backlog since reviewing Volcano, and I included Volcano too because I didn’t have a full copy. The Raging Slab I very much enjoyed last night after work, imagining what new wave/no wave New Yorkers must have thought of them busting out those songs in 1989 and seeing the old pictures of drummer Bob Pantella, now of The Atomic Bitchwax. Sgt. Sunshine‘s a little stranger than I expected, but still pretty cool, and listening to it now, I think I might’ve already owned this Sin of Angels CD.

The rest I haven’t gotten to yet, but it’s worth noting that even with the drastically slashed prices, Dan and Melanie — the above-noted kind souls — included a freebie in the form of Black Materia, by Black Materia, which is rife with Anathema-style sorrow and metallic melody, in addition to being a Final Fantasy reference. Dig it.

The sale’s still on, but I don’t know for how long or anything like that. Hopefully I’ll have time to recoup some funds for another round before it ends, but even if not, I think I did alright the first time. If you missed the link above, check out the list of goods here.

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Thanksgiving Media Blitz

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 25th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I haven’t done one of these in a while (it might actually be since last Thanksgiving), but today’s the perfect opportunity for it. Maybe you’re stuck in the house with your entire family and you want to get away for a little bit — no better way to do it than with the clips below.

For the puritan in all of us, there’s the creepy heavy ’70s rock of Salem Mass, for the doomer, The Obsessed live in 1992. Steven Seagal shows up in the Masters of Reality video. Christopher is bound to fill your psych needs, and if it gets more stoner rock than Fu Manchu doing “King of the Road,” I don’t know how. And finally, if you don’t feel like listening to or watching music at all, there’s Ian Gillan telling stories about his time in Black Sabbath. Hope you dig it and Happy Thanksgiving (or whatever day it is when you see this).






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Masters of Reality Interview with Chris Goss: Haven’t Dreamed Since… All Along

Posted in Features on November 4th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

When Masters of Reality frontman and mastermind Chris Goss says “wonderful,” it is as though he has reeled back his whole body to put a breathy and fully human energy into the word. And it is not a word he uses lightly. In the 67 minutes we spent on the phone discussing the US release of Masters of Reality‘s latest album, Pine/Cross Dover, on Cool Green Recordings (it came out in Europe in 2009 on Brownhouse/Mascot Records), he only said it three or four times, but each time he did, I could hear the genuine passion behind it.

Masters of Reality made their debut in 1988 with a self-titled full-length renamed The Blue Garden for its cover art. Throughout the multi-decade tenure of the band, and across albums like Sunrise on the Sufferbus (1992), Welcome to the Western Lodge (1999), Deep in the Hole (2001), Give us Barabbas (2004), Goss has been the lone consistent factor, making his name also as one of the key figures in the rise of rock from the Californian desert as producer and contributor to acts like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Fatso Jetson and the Mark Lanegan Band, of course helming Masters of Reality from a production standpoint as well.

I’ve been a Masters of Reality fan since hearing Deep in the Hole in 2002/2003 (there are those who swear by the band’s earliest material, but I am not one of them), and whether it’s the driving rock of “High Noon Amsterdam” as presented on the brilliant live album from 2003, Flak ‘n’ Flight, or the rich harmonic texture of “Always” or “Testify to Love” from Pine/Cross Dover, I find that, whatever scene you want to lump them into, they make for a listening experience like none other. After wanting to for years, it was great to finally have occasion to conduct an interview with Goss.

In the conversation below, the guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/producer talks about pushing back the release date of Pine/Cross Dover to allow for more time in the studio, working with longtime drummer John Leamy on the album and bringing in guests like Dave Catching (earthlings?) and Brian O’Connor (Eagles of Death Metal), the state of commercial attitudes toward rock and roll, the enduring legacy of the desert scene he helped to found, being arrested in Germany on Masters of Reality‘s last European tour, and much, much more. The interview wound up being over 6,100 words, so there’s plenty to dig into. It’s pretty epic.

You’ll find the complete, unabridged Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.

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