Acid King Interview with Lori S.: Coming Down from Outer Space

Posted in Features on October 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

acid king 1 (Photo by Raymond Ahner)

It’s been 10 years since Acid King put out a record. I could but frankly don’t want to run down a list of things that have come to pass since their third full-length, III, was issued, but suffice it to say, a decade’s worth of shit. The advent of social media. There. That’s one. Anyone knowing what the words “heavy” and “rock” mean when placed in succession. That’s another.

That last one is particularly important when it comes to understanding the band’s motivation for finally releasing a new album — that being Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (review here), which came out earlier this year as their first and hopefully not last for Svart Records — since as guitarist/vocalist Lori S. (Obelisk Questionnaire here) points out, the climate into which the LP was arriving was definitely a factor. The times have simply changed, and whatever else one might say about it — I’ve said plenty and I’m sure I’ll say more before 2015 is out — Acid King‘s fourth hit into much different circumstances than did the San Francisco trio’s third in 2005.

Of course, that would matter way, way less if the album sucked, but not only does Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere mark a studio return from Acid King, who’ve toured Europe and played sporadic US shows all the while, but it’s a triumphant return at that. Comprised of their most expansive material to-date, it finds the trio of Lori, bassist Mark Lamb and drummer Joey Osbourne oozing their way into a meld of heavy psychedelics and their well-established penchant for riff rock. Produced initially by Toshi Kasai and then by Billy Anderson, who also helmed their three prior offerings, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere is an hour-plus motorcycle ride through the cosmos and yeah the cosmos is a vacuum and there’s no way you’d be able to breathe but whatever man just go with it because it’s awesome. It’s a record that nods so righteously you forget it’s been a decade.

Maybe Acid King missed a beat going from the last album to this one, but it was only so they could jump ahead an entire measure.

They’ve been more active in terms of shows as well. In August, they took part in the North West Hesh Fest, and they’re due to come to the Eastern Seaboard on their biggest round of US touring since 2006. The dates:

October 16 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
October 17 Los Angeles, CA Complex
October 18 Tucson, AZ SW Terrorfest (Club Congress)
October 19 Albuquerque, NM Sister
October 21 Austin, TX Red 7
October 22 New Orleans, LA Siberia
October 23 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
October 24 Raleigh, NC Kings
October 25 New York, NY Saint Vitus
October 26 Boston, MA Middle East
October 27 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
October 28 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class
October 29 Chicago, IL Reggie’s
October 30 St. Louis, MO Firebird
October 31 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
November 1 Denver, CO Hi Dive

That’s no small run, especially considering how long it’s been, and as Lori explains in the interview that follows, the stakes are pretty high. I won’t spoil it. Last time she was interviewed here, it was a 2009 tribute to mark the 10th anniversary of their 1999 sophomore outing, Busse Woods, so there’s was plenty to talk about for the new album and tour, including the studio shift that brought them back to working with Anderson, their motivation for doing a record at all after so long, what beer she’s most looking forward to sampling on the road and much more.

Complete Q&A follows after the jump. Please enjoy:

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Acid King Announce US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

acid king

You know what I said when I saw the email that Acid King were going on their first US tour in nine years? “Yay!” No. I mean, I actually said it out loud. Sitting at my desk. “Yay!” I share an office with nobody. I said “Yay!” out loud to an empty room. Stop and think for a second and let me know when the last time you did that was. I’m willing to bet it’s been a while.

Still, I can’t really argue with the motivation. Acid King are taking their riffs on the road to coincide with their previously announced appearance at the Southwest Terror Fest on Oct. 18, and they’ll go coast to coast this time in support of their 2015 stunner Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (review here), which, if you missed it last week, is my pick for the top album of the first half of the year.

Dates follow, as per the PR wire. I hope they brighten your day as they did mine:

acid king tour

ACID KING ANNOUNCE FIRST U.S. TOUR SINCE 2006

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, CENTER OF EVERYWHERE RELEASED IN APRIL

Acid King, one of North America’s original doom acts, have announced a U.S. tour, their first in nine years, kicking off Oct. 16 at Brick by Brick in San Diego.

Acid King founder/singer/guitar player Lori S. said: “After touring Europe for the past several years we’re looking forward to traveling across the U.S. and seeing if the beer has gotten any better along the way!”

U.S. tour dates:

October 16 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
October 17 Los Angeles, CA Complex
October 18 Tucson, AZ SW Terrorfest (Club Congress)
October 19 Albuquerque, NM Sister
October 21 Austin, TX Red 7
October 22 New Orleans, LA Siberia
October 23 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
October 24 Raleigh, NC Kings
October 25 New York, NY Saint Vitus
October 26 Boston, MA Middle East
October 27 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
October 28 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class
October 29 Chicago, IL Reggie’s
October 30 St. Louis, MO Firebird
October 31 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
November 1 Denver, CO Hi Dive

Tickets for are on-sale this Friday.

www.facebook.com/AcidkingSF
www.acidking.com

Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (2015)

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 15 of 2015 So Far

Posted in Features on July 6th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

top 15 of 2015 so far the-rhinoceros-albrecht-durer

If 2015 ended tomorrow, I think you’d still have to say it was a pretty good year for heavy rock. Doom veered into a swath extremes — its own subgenres emerging almost one by one in a growing splinter that nonetheless continues to draw water from its roots — while the neo-stoner ignition of the West Coast continued its boom of new acts proffering classic groove. The East reveled in a progressive vision just waiting to be picked up by others, and in Europe, the ’70s traditionalist movement spread ever wider, essentially defining a modern sound in organic sounding, sometimes-vintage elements. Whether you’re going for crushing, oppressive barbarism or cosmos-bound blissouts, it is, in short, a good time to be alive.

Of course, 2015 doesn’t end tomorrow, and there’s still a whole lot of year to come. About half, as it happens. So, as has been the tradition around here for the last half-decade — and seems to be the tradition in a growing number of outlets; not taking credit or claiming to have invented anything, just noting a proliferation — it’s time to count down the best records of the year so far. There have been more than a handful of gems, and since in December I’m planning on doing a top 30, we’ll mark half the year with a top 15. Seems only fair.

Please note that this isn’t purely a critical evaluation, but a personal list, and that what I’ve put on most is as crucial a factor in my ranking as how important I think a given record is. You know the drill by now. Let’s go:

15. Stoned Jesus, The Harvest

stoned jesus the harvest

Self-released. Reviewed Feb. 20.

Kiev three-piece Stoned Jesus have a varied stylistic history, and their third outing, The Harvest was ultimately a success in large part because of its complete refusal to be defined. Atop a foundation of quality songcraft, the trio proffered a sound that was not necessarily experimental in terms of anti-structure noise or effects onslaughts, but bold in each of its forays outward from its heavy rock underpinnings.

 

14. Freedom Hawk, Into Your Mind

freedom hawk into your mind

Released by Small Stone. Reviewed June 26.

It has consistently taken me a while to get a hold on what Freedom Hawk are up to. The steady elements in their sound are held to so firmly that on the first couple listens, it seems to just be more of the same. But the more one digs in, the more there is to be found, and with Into Your Mind, the Virginia Beach trio overcome losing a member to create their most progressive outing to date, flourishes of psychedelia melding easily with their signature style of sunshiny riffing.

 

13. My Sleeping Karma, Moksha

my sleeping karma moksha

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed May 12.

Five albums deep, Germany’s My Sleeping Karma are an act unto themselves. Their progress has been natural, fueled by a clear, varied sense of exploratory will, and the results on this year’s Moksha were nothing short of stunning. Branching out their arrangements might not be new to them, but the inclusion of horns, drones, percussion, etc., amid the central guitar, bass, keys and drums lent an almost orchestral feel to the flow between the tracks, and one can only hope they continue on their current path, because it is unquestionably the right one.

 

12. Death Alley, Black Magick Boogieland

death alley black magick boogieland

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed June 8.

So much potential, so much vitality at the heart of this debut from Death Alley. The Amsterdam-based four-piece (interview here) stormed out of the gate with a ripper of a debut, and just when you seemed to have it all figured out, they hit the ignition on a 12-minute full-impulse space rock thrust, a guest vocal appearance from Farida Lemouchi (a former bandmate of Death Alley guitarist Oeds Beydals in The Devil’s Blood) adding both mystique and emotional resonance to what was already a stunning track. With all the riotousness preceding, Black Magick Boogieland readily lived up to its righteous title.

 

11. Mondo Drag, Mondo Drag

mondo drag self titled

Released on RidingEasy Records and Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed Jan. 8.

Midwestern-turned-West-Coast heavy psych rockers Mondo Drag may have taken their time in releasing their self-titled sophomore outing, which followed their 2010 debut, New Rituals (review here), and was recorded in 2012, but it’s easy to imagine that’s because they wanted the circumstances to be as special as the album itself, recorded with a fleeting five-piece lineup that included the one-time rhythm section of Radio Moscow who wound up leaving to further their then-nascent project, Blues Pills. Even without that lineup shift as a factor, the late ’60s vibe Mondo Drag brought out across the release proved eminently listenable and has held up on repeat visits.

 

10. Cigale, Cigale

cigale self-titled

Self-released. Reviewed May 4.

A gorgeous, shimmering and melodically resonant debut from the Dutch four-piece Cigale, their self-titled gracefully maintained tonal presence and warmth while also enacting a psychedelic sprawl and grooving serenity that acted like the landscape in which the songs took place. It was a rich, bright vibe, and an utter joy to behold, tracks like “Harvest Begun,” “Feel the Heat” and “Eyes Wide Shut” proving as memorable as they were inviting. Having two former members of the much-missed fuzz rock outfit Sungrazer may have initially turned some heads in their direction, but Cigale‘s first album proved they’re an outfit with their own personality, their own development to undertake, and already much to offer.

 

9. The Machine, Offblast!

the machine offblast

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed May 28.

The awaited return of The Machine brought the band’s fifth album and a further-refined sense of maturity in their processes, as well as intrigue as to where they might be headed, two dual modes of open-ended jamming and more structured songwriting playing off each other in the extended “Chrysalis (J.A.M.)” and “Come to Light” and the more verse/chorus stylizations of “Dry End” and “Off Course.” To be perfectly honest, I doubt The Machine will ultimately pick one side over another, since if Offblast! proved anything it’s that they can easily handle either or both, but as they continue to grow, it’s encouraging to have their style establish itself as so multi-faceted.

 

8. The Atomic Bitchwax, Gravitron

the atomic bitchwax gravitron

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed April 20.

First time I pressed play on Gravitron was a real “oh shit!” moment. The last release from NJ stalwarts The Atomic Bitchwax was 2011’s The Local Fuzz (review here), a single-song full-length instrumental riff onslaught that had its charm but was inherently divorced from the appeal of the band’s songwriting. Not only does Gravitron re-factor that in with songs like “Roseland,” “It’s Alright,” “Coming in Hot” and “Ice Age Hey Baby,” among others, but it hits with kick-in-the-ass production force and an all-out heaviness that 2008’s TAB4 showed the three-piece steering directly away from. Just a killer record. Utterly void of pretense. No bullshit. No need to rely on anything more than chemistry, and with the Bitchwax, that’s plenty.

 

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

brothers of the sonic cloth self titled

Released by Neurot Recordings. Reviewed March 3.

Right now, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth are my band to beat for Debut of the Year, and I’m quite frankly not sure how anyone is going to be able to do it, so if list time comes in Dec. and you see Tad Doyle‘s trio marked out as such, know that it’s been that way in my head for some time. The three-piece of Doyle, bassist Peggy “Pegadeth” Tully and drummer Dave French arrived with a roar, and even when their self-titled let up sonically, the atmosphere remained viscerally heavy. Six years having passed since the release of their first demo (review here), I wasn’t sure there was ever going to be an album, but then to have Brothers of the Sonic Cloth show up and enact such thorough demolition only made it more impressive.

 

6. High on Fire, Luminiferous

high on fire luminiferous

Released by eOne Heavy. Reviewed June 15.

It can’t possibly be a surprise to have Luminiferous show up somewhere on this list. The seventh long-player by High on Fire had all the rage and bombast in “Slave the Hive” and “The Black Plot” that have become the band’s hallmarks over their 17 years together, but branched out progressively as well in songs like “The Cave” and “The Falconist,” the latter of which was brazenly catchy and about as emotionally direct as the band has ever gotten, their general modus being — and in that song too, just to a lesser extent — a metaphor-laced lyrical approach. That song was a triumph and so was the album as a whole; the second collaboration with producer Kurt Ballou building on the rampaging victories of 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis (review here) while also showing growth on the part of one of modern metal’s most pivotal bands.

 

5. Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy

kings destroy self titled

Released by War Crime Recordings. Reviewed April 15.

Hitting more or less concurrent with a vinyl release of their prior album, 2013’s A Time of Hunting (review here), Kings Destroy‘s Kings Destroy is not at all coincidentally titled. Over the course of now three full-lengths, the New York five-piece — about whom I feign no impartiality, let it be noted — have distinguished themselves with a sound neither noise, nor doom, nor heavy rock, but drawing on elements of all three when it suits their purposes with chemistry built from years of being in bands together of various stripes and in various genres. What stands the self-titled out from their past work, in part, is that it is the closest they’ve yet come to capturing their live sound in the studio, and accordingly, it’s a volatile kind of heavy that bends aesthetic to its will rather than capitulating to expectations of any sort. I don’t think they’re done growing by any stretch, but Kings Destroy feels like an arrival front-to-back.

 

4. Colour Haze, To the Highest Gods We Know

colour haze to the highest gods we know

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten. Reviewed Jan. 6.

This one was almost a sneak-attack. German heavy psych forerunners Colour Haze released To the Highest Gods We Know, their 11th full-length, in Dec. 2014 on CD (the vinyl was in 2015, which is what we’re counting in this instance), with very, very little fanfare of any sort. There was a track premiere here that came shortly after the album was announced, but I think it was officially out less than a month after its existence was made public, which for a band of Colour Haze‘s stature and influence was surprising. Less devoted to grandeur than 2012’s 2CD She Said (review here), it nonetheless pushed the band’s sound forward and found them experimenting in their studio, particularly on the string-quartet-inclusive finale title-track, which offset jams like “Überall” and the laid back highlight “Call” with a rhythmic oddness that was somehow still Colour Haze‘s own. I couldn’t help but wonder where it was leading, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t masterful in its own right.

 

3. Goatsnake, Black Age Blues

goatsnake black age blues

Released by Southern Lord Recordings. Reviewed May 19.

Goatsnake didn’t have it easy going into their third album. It had been 15 years since their sophomore outing, Flower of Disease, 11 since their last EP, and five since they first started playing shows again. Expectations? Through the roof. Among heavy rock heads, a new Goatsnake was like seeing the mountaintop. I mean, a big fucking deal and then some. Then the record hits, and there’s just about no way it can live up to the anticipation, but god damn if Goatsnake not only finally put out a third album, but one that was better than I think anyone could’ve hoped for. Hearing Pete Stahl with however many backup singers he had on “Another River to Cross” et. al. was like finding an animal in its native habitat, and between his soul, Greg Anderson‘s riffs, bassist Scott Renner‘s low end rumble and drummer Greg Rogers‘ roll, Black Age Blues won almost immediately and then spent the rest of its 47 minutes throwing itself a victory party. “Elevated Man,” “House of the Moon,” “Jimi’s Gone,” “Grandpa Jones,” almost on a per-track basis, Goatsnake added to the reasons they’ve been so heralded despite a decade-plus’ absence from the studio.

 

2. Elder, Lore

elder lore

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed Feb. 19.

On the level of achievement alone, Elder‘s Lore will be the album of the year for many, and there are times (such as right now) when I listen to it and question whether or not it isn’t also my pick for that honor, but wherever it falls on whatever list, far more important is what the Massachusetts/Rhode Island/New York trio manage to accomplish across their third LP’s formidable five-track/59-minute span, songs like “Compendium” and “Deadweight” bridging a rarely approached gap between heavy and progressive rocks while maintaining a flow consistent with the psychedelic vibing of 2011’s Dead Roots Stirring (review here) but grown outward in another aesthetic direction and no sooner setting foot on the ground than seeming to master it in a flurry of blinding turns, sprawling soundscapes and clarity of mind that found perhaps its greatest expression in the centerpiece title-track, the 15-minute “Lore” itself, which I’ve no doubt will stand among if not atop the best songs of 2015 when the year is over and encapsulates the ambition and the corresponding breadth of Elder‘s songwriting, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo, bassist Jack Donovan, and drummer Matt Couto rising as one of the East Coast’s most pivotal acts, with a sound completely their own.

 

1. Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

acid king middle of nowhere center of everywhere

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed March 19.

I use the word “molten” pretty regularly to describe an album or song that seems to just ooze its way out of the speakers or shift seamlessly between its songs, but Acid King set an entirely new standard for the term with Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere. Their first outing for Svart and their first release in a decade, its 55 minutes were a riff-rolling nirvana of lurching fuzz and tonal excellence, the guitar of Lori S. at the fore accompanied by Mark Lamb‘s bass and Joey Osbourne‘s drums, the swing of which propelled a highlight track like “Coming down from Outer Space” right back into it, while elsewhere on the record, “Silent Pictures,” “Red River” and “Infinite Skies” torched stoner conventions into a new space-biker rock, culminating in the heavy psych of “Center of Everywhere,” which seemed to emanate from the place it was describing, at once empty and full. More than just a welcome return after a long dearth of releases, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere found Acid King progressed even beyond where they were with 2005’s III, though more than anything else, what makes it my top pick for the year so far is the fact that I can’t seem to walk away from it for too long before going back, and ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to with his kind of thing. I’ve yet to find a standard to which these songs don’t live up.

Honorable Mention:

A few others worth noting. The Sun Blood Stories album (streamed here) continues to resonate. Also MonolordValkyrie, Lamp of the UniverseGarden of WormWo Fat‘s live record, The Midnight Ghost Train‘s Cold was the Ground and Ufomammut‘s Ecate. The Black Rainbows was a joy, as was Spidergawd‘s second LP, and while I still feel like I haven’t given it its due, the Sumac won many over and should get a mention. Steve Von Till‘s solo outing and the latest from Enslaved are worth seeking out as well for anyone who hasn’t heard them yet.

More to Come:

The year’s only half over, which is kind of a scary thought but true nonetheless. Watch out in the coming months for new stuff from BloodcowAll Them WitchesClutchGraveyardZunSacri Monti (if that one’s not already out), SnailUncle Acid, and Kind. The new Kadavar is a sure-fire top tenner, and between that, the potential for a new Neurosis album and stuff like Magnetic Eye Records‘ Electric Ladyland [Redux], there’s no way the book is written on the best of 2015.

So stay tuned.

And if I’ve still got your attention, thanks for reading.
 

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Acid King Premiere “Coming Down from Outer Space” from Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

Posted in audiObelisk on March 23rd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

acid king (Photo by Raymond Ahner)

San Francisco trio Acid King will release their fourth album, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere (review here), on April 14 through an alliance with Svart Records. The three-piece’s first record in a decade reunites them with producer/engineer Billy Anderson and finds them both doing what they do best — riffing classic nod with nigh-unmatched fuzz — and expanding the sound, delivering a more psychedelic groove than their last offering, 2005’s III, had on hand. Nothing against III at all, but Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere has a freshness to its sound that makes it an immediate standout in Acid King‘s catalog, and for the generation who have discovered them in the last 10 years, it marks a new beginning. After years of replays for III, their 2001 split with The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, 1999’s classic second album, Busse Woods, and their 1995 debut, Zoroaster, and years of discussion about the prospect, there’s finally some new Acid King to put on and bliss out.

But the highlight of the record isn’t its release date. The highlight of the record is the record. The sound of the thing and the molten, fluid vibe theAcid-King-Middle-of-Nowhere-Center-of-Everywhere band conjures throughout. I’ve reviewed it, so I’ll spare you running through track by track, but at 55 minutes it never loses track of where it’s headed or what an individual song needs to accomplish to feed into the whole, but at the same time, it offers a listening experience so completely immersive that by the time you hit the swing-buzz epilogue of “Outro,” guitarist/vocalist Lori S., bassist Mark Lamb and drummer Joey Osbourne have practically created an entire world in which the record has taken place. It is a journey in metaphysics, and frankly, I look forward to continuing to shower it in the hyperbole that I feel it richly deserves for however long to come. More than a simple resurgence, it is a thrust forward into a galaxial unknown, transcendent and, like space itself, able to pull the air out from your lungs without a second thought.

Today I have the extreme pleasure of hosting the premiere for “Coming Down from Outer Space.” It’s the shortest track on Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere that’s not the intro or outro, but, counter to my usual modus, I specifically asked for it because of how brilliantly it encapsulates the album’s righteousness into one ultra-lysergic hook, “Hey, you found your way/You’re coming down from outer space.” One of Acid King circa 2015’s most resonant choruses and a choice groove besides, it hits immediately and doesn’t let up throughout its 5:47 run, which you can hear in its entirety — followed by some comment from Lori S. about the song — on the player below.

Please enjoy:

Lori S. on “Coming Down from Outer Space”:

It’s less than six minutes, which is short for us. I’ve always been into space-related music like the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s a feeling of loneliness out there. This basically captures what it’s like to be up there lost alone. It’s a metaphor for finding your way back in life.

Acid King on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

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Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere: Reborn in Fuzz

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Acid-King-Middle-of-Nowhere-Center-of-Everywhere

San Francisco riff pioneers Acid King put out their last album, III, on Small Stone in June 2005, which means that the April release of Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere — their fourth full-length and first for Svart Records — is just two months shy of exactly one decade later. The entire climate for heavy rock has changed in that time, a generational shift that has seen stoner riffs go from the fodder of empty barrooms to headlining major festivals, and to say that Acid King‘s return has been awaited is to understate it. The trio have played new songs live for some time, and a new album has been in the works for at least six years, but to actually have it materialize is, particularly for fans — and make no mistake, I’m writing as a fan of the band — something genuinely special after so long. And as much as the story of the album is that it finally exists, one could just as easily read it as the reunion of one of heavy rock and roll’s most successful collaborations; that between Acid King and producer/engineer Billy Anderson. If Lori S.‘ guitar tone is a gift from the gods of fuzz, Anderson‘s production is the means by which it’s translated for human consumption, and neither is less essential to the ultimate success of Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere than the other. Together with drummer Joey Osbourne and bassist Mark LambLori oversees nearly an hour of languid, lava-flowing riffage on Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere‘s eight tracks/54 minutes, and the four-minute “Intro” isn’t done before the album engulfs the listener in a wash of gorgeous tonal warmth that only recedes with the last feedback of “Outro” about an hour and a galaxy later.

Twenty years on from their debut, Zoroaster, and 16 post their landmark sophomore outing, Busse Woods — for my money among the finest stoner rock records ever made — it’s hard not to cast Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere in hyperbole. Its spacier moments, like the penultimate semi-title-track “Center of Everywhere,” or the howling post-intro opener “Silent Pictures” lend atmosphere to the unbridled sonic heft of Lori and Lamb‘s tones, and the vocals play into the laid back, echoing sphere brilliantly, layers swirling around each other as though laced one into the other, the mix huge and warranting excessive volumes. “Into” feeds into “Silent Pictures,” which feeds into “Coming Down from Outer Space” a shorter cut at under six minutes but one of the record’s most essential and commanding hooks — setting up the full-album flow that continues for the duration, songs as immersive as they prove memorable over repeat listens, the choruses simple and subtle in the wash of heaviness, but speaking on an almost subconscious level as the nod unfolds. “Silent Pictures” wails and careens, seems to have little flourish but is brilliantly psychedelic, and the biker-movie rollout of “Coming Down from Outer Space” is nothing if not classic Acid KingOsbourne‘s swing and crash propelling the more grounded verse and chorus, leading to “Laser Headlights,” which seems to find some compromise between the two positions, solos at its midpoint and conclusion serving as mile-markers for just how far into the cosmos the three-piece have ventured so far, beacons for a subspace message back to command HQ. The second half of “Laser Headlights” beams (get it?) with dense, fossil-fueled riffing, and though they end cold and sudden, maybe to signal a side or LP switch, the shift into “Red River” is no less fluid than anything before it, which is to say… what was I talking about? — Exactly.

acid king (Photo by Raymond Ahner)

With the next three tracks, the aforementioned “Red River,” “Infinite Skies” and “Center of Everywhere,” Acid King push Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere over the line between victorious resurgence and masterpiece. Between them and the subsequent “Outro,” they comprise a second half of the album that expands the breadth of spaciousness established on “Silent Pictures” and “Coming Down from Outer Space,” making offerings of unfuckwithable groove and all-that-is-right-in-the-world vibe that move seamlessly one into the next. Each piece is distinct within the whole it creates — “Red River” marked out by a particularly resonant vocal performance and choice basslines, “Infinite Skies” by its thickness, hook and later solo work, and “Center of Everywhere” by its bubbling nebulousness — but the real pleasure lies in being carried across the duration by the smooth and engrossing overarching feel of the material. Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere becomes almost like two albums in one, in classic 2LP style, but even taken in a linear format, its entirety more than satisfies. “Center of Everywhere” is perfectly placed as the (pre-)conclusion, its nod is expansive and a slow-moving swirl makes a fitting complement to “Intro” and “Silent Pictures,” slamming to a halt as it wraps with just Lamb‘s bass remaining to fade out before Osbourne‘s drums lead the way into the final jam of “Outro,” a refrain of “Intro” that underscores both the full-album intention and just how effective Acid King are in pulling off that intention after a decade away. I’ll say flat-out that Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere is the best record I’ve heard so far in 2015, and that Acid King‘s return isn’t just a win for them, but for the style of heavy they helped establish years ago. With almost a second-debut’s spirit and freshness, it offers a vital look at a band not so much readopting a form as pushing forward boldly to top it, and its reach has the potential to span distances even greater than those its tones create. A complete, front-to-back triumph. Recommended.

Acid King, “Red River”

Acid King on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

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Acid King to Release Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere on April 14

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Consider my day made. I’ve been waiting for word of the new Acid King record, and here it is. Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere is the title, and the release date is April 14. The band will do digital release directly and Svart has the CD and LP on lockdown. I don’t know what more you need to hear to get stoked. I can’t wait to hear what they’ve come up with after so long. More nerdly glee to follow.

Fresh off the PR wire:

ACID KING

ACID KING RELEASE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, CENTER OF EVERYWHERE ON APRIL 14

Acid King, pioneers of the San Francisco doom scene and one of the genre’s first bands to be helmed by a woman, return from their self-imposed 10-year recording hiatus on April 14 with the release of Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere.

“We had several songs in the works over the years that we spent most of our time touring Europe but in between working our day jobs, we didn’t put the effort into recording,” explained singer/guitar player Lori S. “I really wanted to accelerate the process and get new music out. It’s time. This music that we’ve been playing for so long, that was initially obscure and underground, seemed to grow over these past 10 years and the timing was right to release this now!”

Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere was recorded at both Sharkbite and Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, mixed at Different Fur Studios and produced by Acid King and Billy Anderson. The digital release will be released independently via Acid King while physical copies, both CD and vinyl, will be available via Svart Records.

Acid King bubbled up from San Francisco in 1993 through a fog of revved up riffs, thunderous drums, and a hypnotic vocal howl. They unleashed three EPs and three full-length albums, starting with Zoroaster in 1995, the 1999 full-length Busse Woods, and their most recent release, Acid King III, coming in 2005. Their seismic chemistry transfixed audiences everywhere from high-profile festivals such as Hellfest and Roadburn to now iconic shows alongside peers such as Sleep and Mystick Krewe of Clearlight.

The band recently confirmed their participation in Desertfest, April 24 to 26 in the UK. North American tour dates will be announced soon.

www.facebook.com/AcidkingSF
www.acidking.com

Acid King, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY

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