Posted in Whathaveyou on November 3rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last time ultra-respected German imprint Nasoni Records dipped its hands into the Texas heavy underground, it was to highlight the work of Wo Fat, so if Fort Worth’s Gypsy Sun Revival wanted to turn a couple heads with their self-titled debut, no doubt the company they’re keeping will help greatly. They issued the album, which it just so happens was engineered by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump, this summer digitally — you can stream and download below — and Nasoni has pressed it up in an edition of 300 copies that one can only imagine will be short-lived in terms of availability. Because Nasoni, and rock and roll, and that’s how it goes.
Info on the release came down the PR wire for your perusal:
Get immersed in the vast immensity of endless soundscapes and penetrating psychedelia with this Texas trio. This self-titled, debut album takes listeners on a long-distance trip through mind-bending riffs, cosmic jams, and a full-blown guitar freakout. The hypnotic rhythms, groove, and general disregard for traditional song arrangement make this album unique and leave the listeners in anticipation, not knowing what is around the next corner. Embrace the journey and let Gypsy Sun Revival fill your mind.
Gypsy Sun Revival, a psychedelic rock band from Texas, released their debut album on June 14, 2016, which has been well received in the underground community. Their debut album consists of seven songs which contain heavy, spaced-out guitars, tight jams, and even a full-on freak out. This three-piece band wants listeners to “get immersed in the vast immensity of endless soundscapes and refined, penetrating psychedelia”.
Nasoni Records is a Berlin, Germany based record label that specializes in vinyl pressing of psychedelic and rock music from around the world. They have a 20-year history of providing mind-blowing underground releases to the general public, and have published albums from some of the most influential bands in the psychedelic rock scene. Gypsy Sun Revival is proud to be added to the list of Nasoni bands. Gypsy Sun Revival’s debut album will consist of 300 limited edition colored vinyl records with a mindbending artwork insert.
“With this release, the band’s aim was to take listeners on a trip to the outer reaches and have them fully enveloped in the experience of the music,” says multi-instrumentalist, bassist, and singer Lee Ryan. “We think that Nasoni Records will be a great medium for our listeners to get a high-quality pressing of our music “ says Will Weise, guitarist. The band continues to gain loyal followers by playing many gigs and proving their road-worthiness. There is even news of a follow-up release to be announced next year.
Posted in Reviews on October 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Last day. As ever, I am mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted by this process, but as ever, it’s been worth it. Today I do myself a couple favors in packing out with more familiar acts, but whatever, it’s all stuff I should be covering anyway, so if the order bothers you, go write your own 50 reviews in a week and we can talk about it. Yeah, that’s right. That’s what I said. Today we start with Swans. Everything’s a confrontation.
Once again, I hope you’ve found something somewhere along this bizarre, careening path of music that has resonated with you, something that will stick with you. That’s why we’re here. You and me. If you have, I’d love to know about it. Until then, one more time here we go.
Quarterly Review #41-50:
Swans, The Glowing Man
Oh fucking please. You want me to try to summarize The Glowing Man – the culmination and finale of an era of Swans that Michael Gira began now more than half a decade ago – in a single review? Even putting aside the fact that the record two hours long, the notion is ridiculous. If there ever was a chart, the scope here is well off it. The material unfolds and churns and is primal and lush at once on “Cloud of Forgetting,” genuinely chaotic on the 28-minute title-track, and it ends with a drone lullaby, but seriously, what the fuck? Some shit is just beyond, and if you don’t know that applies to Swans by now, it’s your own fault. You want a review? Fine. I listened to the whole thing. It ate my fucking soul, chewed it with all-canine teeth and then spit it out saying “thanks for the clarity” and left me dazed, bloodied and humbled. There’s your fucking review. Thanks for reading.
Oslo trio Virus have long since established that they’re a band working on their own wavelength. Memento Collider (on Karisma Records) is the jazzy post-black metallers’ first album in five years and brings together adventurous rhythms, poetic declarations, dissonant basslines and – in the case of “Rogue Fossil,” the occasional hook – in ways that are unique unto Virus. Look at this site and see how often I use the word “unique.” It doesn’t happen. Virus, however, are one of a kind. Memento Collider makes for a challenging listen front to back on its six-track/45-minute run, but it refuses to dumb itself down or dull its progressive edge, bookending its longest (that’s opener “Afield” at 10:41; immediate points) two tracks around jagged explorations of sound like “Steamer” and “Gravity Seeker,” which engage and intrigue in kind after the melodic push of “Dripping into Orbit” and leading into “Phantom Oil Slick,” a righteous affirmation of the angular thrust at the core of Virus’ approach.
In 2010, Moscow troupe The Re-Stoned issued their first EP, Return to the Reptiles, and being obviously concerned with evolution, they’ve now gone back and revisited that debut release with Reptiles Return, a reworking of the four studio tracks that made up the initial version – “Return,” “Run,” “The Mountain Giant” and “Sleeping World.” The opener is a straight re-recording, as is one other, where another is remixed and the other two remastered, and Reptiles Return – which is presented on limited vinyl through Clostridium Records and a CD box set with bonus tracks via Rushus Records – pairs them with more psychedelic-minded soundscape pieces like “Winter Witchcraft,” “Walnut Talks,” the proggy “Flying Clouds” and sweetly acoustic “Roots Patter,” that showcase where founding multi-instrumentalist Ilya Lipkin is taking the band going forward. The result is a satisfying side A/B split on the vinyl that delights in heavy riffing for its own sake in the first half and expands the scope in the second, which should delight newcomers as well as those who’ve followed The Re-Stoned along this evolutionary process.
It may well be the fate of San Francisco’s hard-touring, ass-kicking, genre-refusing duo Castle to be terminally underappreciated, but that has yet to stop them from proliferating their righteous blend of thrash, doom and classic, fistpump-worthy metal. Their latest outing, Welcome to the Graveyard, arrives via respected purveyor Ván Records, and entices in atmosphere and execution, cohesively built tracks like “Hammer and the Cross” and the penultimate “Down in the Cauldron Bog” finding a balance of personality and delivery that the band has long since honed on stage. The Dio-esque barnburner riff of “Flash of the Pentagram” makes that cut a highlight, but as they roll out the cultish vibes of “Natural Parallel” to close, there doesn’t seem to be much on the spectrum of heavy metal that doesn’t fit into Castle’s wheelhouse. For some bands, there’s just no justice. Four records deep, Castle have yet to get their due, and Welcome to the Graveyard is further proof of why they deserve it.
One can hear a new wave of modern doom taking shape in Chained to Oblivion, the Prosthetic Records debut from Arizona one-man outfit Spirit Adrift. The work of Nate Garrett alone in the studio, the full-length offers five mostly-extended tracks as a 48-minute 2LP of soaring, emotional and psychedelic doom à la Pallbearer, but given even further breadth through progressively atmospheric passages and a marked flow in its transitions. To call it personal seems superfluous – it’s a one-man band, of course it’s personal – but Garrett (also formerly of metallers Take Over and Destroy) brings a palpable sense of performance to the songwriting, and by the time he gets to the 11-minutes-apiece finale duo of the title-track and “Hum of Our Existence,” it’s easy to forget you’re not actually listening to a full band, not the least because of the vocal harmonies. Calling Chained to Oblivion a promising first outing would be underselling it – this is a project with serious potential.
Unpredictable from the start of opener “Flesh ‘n’ Steel,” Once upon the Wings is a first-time multinational collaborative effort from Robbi Robb of California’s 3rd Ear Experience and Paul Pott of Germany’s The Space Invaders. Its five tracks/42 minutes arrive through no less than Nasoni Records, and provide a curious and exploratory blend of the organic and the inorganic in sound, as one finds the 11-minute “Grass” no less defined by its percussion solo, guitar line and ‘60s-style vocal than the electronic drums that underscore the layered wash of noise in its midsection. Further definition hits with the 16-minute centerpiece “Prophecy #1,” which works in a space-rocking vein, but the shorter closing duo of the catchy “Looney Toon” and darkly progressive “Space Ear” show a creative bent that clearly refuses to be tamed. Robb & Pott, as a project, demonstrates remarkable potential throughout this debut, as they seem to have set no limits for where they want their sound to go and they seem to have the command to take it there.
Most of the tracks on Brooklyn progressive noise rockers Family’s second album and Prosthetic Records debut, Future History, come paired with interludes. That cuts some of the growling intensity of winding pieces like “Funtime for Bigboy” and “Floodgates,” and emphasizes the generally experimental spirit of the record as a whole, broadening the scope in sound and theme. I’m somewhat torn as to how much this actually works to the 51:50 outing’s benefit, as shorter pieces like “Prison Hymn” and “Transmission,” while adding dynamic to the sound and narrative drama, also cut the immediacy in impact of “The Trial” or closer “Bone on Bone,” but it’s entirely possible that without them Future History would be an overwhelming tumult of raw prog metal. And while the play back and forth can feel cumbersome when one considers how effectively “Night Vision” bridges the gap between sides, I’m not sure that’s not what Family were going for in the first place. It’s not supposed to be an easy record, and it isn’t one.
France’s Les Discrets haven’t had a studio offering since 2012’s Ariettes Oubliées (review here), and while they released Live at Roadburn (review here) last year documenting their 2013 set at that festival, there’s little there that might presage the stylistic turn the Fursy Teyssier-led outfit takes on their new EP, Virée Nocturne (on Prophecy Productions). With four tracks – two new, complete recordings, one demo and the last a remix of the opener by Dälek and Deadverse – Les Discrets attempt to find a stylistic middle ground between post-rock and trip-hop, and for the most part, they get there. “Virée Nocturne” itself leads off and can be jarring on first listen, but successfully blends the lush melodicism for which the band is known with electronic-driven beats, and both “Capricorni. Virginis. Corvi” and even the demo “Le Reproche” continue to build on this bold shift. The finale remix adds over two minutes to “Virée Nocturne,” but uses that time to make it even more spacious and all the more immersive. For anyone who thought they might’ve had Les Discrets figured out, the surprise factor here should be palpable.
Presented across four tracks beginning with the 12-minute and longest-of-the-bunch (immediate points) “The Corpse of Dr. Funkenstein” (double points for the reference), II, the aptly-titled second album from Liquido di Morte expands the progressive atmospherics of the Italian four-piece’s 2014 self-titled debut (review here) without losing sight of the performance and spirit of exploration that helped bring it to life. Isaak’s Giacomo H. Boeddu guests on brooding vocals and whispers for “The Saddest of Songs I’ll Sing for You,” which swells in seething intensity as it moves forward, while “Rodents on the Uphill” casts a vision of post-space rock and closer “Schwartz Pit” rounds out with crash and wash that seems only to draw out how different the two halves of II actually are. Not a complaint. Liquido di Morte make their way across this vast span with marked fluidity, and if they prove anything throughout, it’s that they’re able to keep their command wherever they feel like using it to go.
Canberra, Australia, trio Witchskull initially released their debut full-length, The Vast Electric Dark, last year, and caught the attention of the cross-coastal US partnership between Ripple Music and STB Records, who now align for a reissue of the eight-tracker. Why is quickly apparent. In addition to having earned a fervent response, The Vast Electric Dark basks in quality songcraft and doomly, heavy vibes, keeping a consistent pace while rolling through the semi-metallic push of “Raise the Dead” or the later rumble/shred of “Cassandra’s Curse.” All the while, guitarist/vocalist Marcus De Pasquale provides a steady presence at the fore alongside bassist Tony McMahon and drummer Joel Green, and what’s ultimately still a straightforward rocker of an album finds a niche for itself between varies underground styles of heavy. Between the balance they strike across their 37 minutes and the energy that courses through their songs, Witchskull’s The Vast Electric Dark proves easily worth the look it’s getting.
Dutch heavy psych-blues rockers No Man’s Valley will release their debut album, Time Travel, this summer on Nasoni Records. “Kill the Bees” is the second track on the record after intro “The Man Who Would be King,” and the LP version is a bit longer than that which appears with the band’s new video, but the clip still offers more than enough of a glimpse to give a sense of the atmosphere in which the band is working; a line of heavy blues not dissimilar from The Flying Eyes‘ classic swing and swagger, but of rapidly developing character on cuts like “Sinking the Lifeboat” and the appropriately-howling “The Wolves are Coming.” By the time they get around to the penultimate title-track and piano-laden closer “Goon,” No Man’s Valley have reached beyond where they started out, but they never quite let go of that core of liquefied blues rock that ties the songs together.
And in putting the emphasis on that, “Kill the Bees” starts out Time Travel with a catchy hook and easy swing. As to the bees themselves? Could be the blues, if the video is anything to go by. The prevailing vibe is melancholy but the song doesn’t lack movement by any means, and the clip seems to follow a kind of grueling creative process at work, winding up kind of manic visually but with resolution to that process ultimately. The song, smoothly edited, does likewise, so all the better.
You can find the video for “Kill the Bees” below, followed by the credits for its making.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Newcomer collaborative duo Robb & Pott go to warp five on “Flesh ‘n’ Steel” from their debut album, Once upon the Wings — out in September through mega-respected purveyor Nasoni Records, now in their 20th year — and that’s still before they get around to covering Sam Gopal, so yeah, it’s pretty fair to say the record’s tripped out. The two-piece is made up of Robbi Robb of Californian desert jammers 3rd Ear Experience and Paul Pott of German space rockers The Space Invaders, and the record boasts five tracks from “Space Ear,” the title derived from the players’ main outfits, to the 16-minute blissery of “Prophecy #1,” each of which proves immersive and basks in chemistry that it would seem even continents couldn’t separate.
From the PR wire:
Robb & Pott – Once Upon the Wings
We are pleased to announce the release of Once Upon the Wings – a collaboration between Robbi Robb of 3rd Ear Experience and Paul_Pott of the German space rock band the Space Invaders.
Cds will be available in July 2016 and Vinyl will be released in September 2016 through Nasoni Records.
Most musicians after they have discovered their instrument of choice, enjoy playing with their friends, jamming in garages, at backyard parties and around campfires. Though some go professional eventually – there remains the attraction to return to those days of jamming and making music with good friends and like-minded musicians we meet on the way. It is this underlying sentiment that inspires this project simply called Robb&Pott. The last names of two friends.
When Robbi performed with Tribe after Tribe at the Burg Herzberg Festival he briefly met Paul who was part of the film crew Andi Weimann put together to capture Tribe live. Years later Paul would help Robbi to get his new album with 3rd Ear Experience to labels and promoters. At that time Robb did not know that Paul played bass in one of his favorite Space rock bands: the Space Invaders. This came as a great surprise. Slowly over the years their friendship developed until it was inevitable that the desire arose to do an album together – just for fun. Thus was born Robb & Pott.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Netherlands-based heavy psych rockers No Man’s Valley have signed on with Nasoni Records for the Summer 2016 release of their debut album, Time Travel. A first glimpse of what’s on offer with the record is available now in a new teaser clip posted below, and in its quick 40 seconds you’ll find modern heavy blues à la The Flying Eyes and poised space prog in the Floydian tradition, all of which dogwhistles a psychedelic breadth to follow-up on the Horst-based five-piece’s prior EPs, 2012’s Mirror Image and 2014’s And Four Other Songs EPs and that same year’s The Wolves are Coming two-songer.
I know I’ve said this before, but there are few labels who carry the same kind of weight for me in terms of taste as does Nasoni. Generally speaking, a Nasoni Records logo is about all the endorsement I need to make me want to hear a given album, so when it comes to No Man’s Valley getting that endorsement, it’s even more impressive considering it’s their first album. Looking forward to it.
The official announcement, live dates and the aforementioned teaser follow here:
Dutch Psychedelic organ-infused waveblues band No Man’s Valley signs with Nasoni Records!
We are proud to announce that we will release our debut album Time Travel through Berlin-based cult label Nasoni Records. We will do a limited edition (300x) vinyl album on clear vinyl. The record will be released in summer, an exact date is yet to be determined. So say tuned! In the meanwhile, consider yourself teased and if you feel like seeing us live, here are our upcoming dates:
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 1st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Danish heavy psych trio The Sonic Dawn are the latest addition to the formidable lineup of Freak Valley 2016. The German fest is set for May 26-28 and features Graveyard, Dead Meadow and Spidergawd, among many others, and The Sonic Dawn join the bill supporting last year’s engaging debut album, Perception (review here), which was released by Nasoni. That in itself should be enough of an endorsement for you to check it out if you haven’t, the long-running imprint’s taste is second to none the world over and they’ve been doing it long enough at this point to have seen the trend come, go and come again, but for whatever it’s worth I’ll add too that the record was dead on in its vibe and held much promise for where The Sonic Dawn might head long-term.
In the shorter-term, they’re heading to Germany. As announced by the fest:
We are thrilled to announce that danish psychedelic rockers THE SONIC DAWN will play Freak Valley Festival 2016!!
The Sonic Dawn (formerly known as “The Mind Flowers”) has recently established a name for themselves in the psychedelic underground. Known for their energetic live performances and distinctive sound, The Sonic Dawn incorporates elements from the psychedelic music of the late 60s with their own atmospheric vibes.
A mix between a ’68 biker movie soundtrack and that summer of love vibe in a dreamy psychedelic soundscape. That’s just about how The Sonic Dawn’s music feels. October 2015 saw the world-wide release of the debut album ‘Perception’ on Nasoni Records, an audiophile psych/stoner label based in Berlin.
As an album Perception is a call for running wild and living free. It seeks to make you stop and appreciate the beautiful things in life, and break loose from all chains that prevent you from doing so.
A wise woman once said, “if I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution”. Fortunately there is plenty of dancing, lust and love in The Sonic Dawn’s universe… Take the ride?
FVF 2016 is SOLD OUT!! Freak Valley Festival: No Fillers – Just Killers Line-up 2016: GRAVEYARD [SW] – Vintage Rock DEAD MEADOW [US] – Psychedelic Stonerrock SPIDERGAWD [NO] – Post-Boogie WHITE HILLS [US] – Fuzzed Out Motorik Psychedelic BABY WOODROSE [DK]- Psychedelic Garagerock LONELY KAMEL [NO]- Heavy Blues, Hardrock & Stoner ROTOR [D] – Instrumental StonerRock/Psychedelic MONOLORD [SW] – Doom/Sludge MANTAR [D] – Death Metal Doom Punk TOUNDRA [SP] – Postrock FARFLUNG [US] – Spacerock for 21st Century Heads BLACK RAINBOWS [IT] – Heavy Psych THE GOLDEN GRASS [US]- Heavy/Funk//Psych/Freakbeat SPIDERS [SW] – Hard/Glam Rock SONS OF HUNS [US] – Heavy Riffin Rock LÉ BETRE [SW] – Bluesy Hardrock THE SONIC DAWN [DK] – Psychedelic Rock …more tba very soon
Posted in Reviews on January 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Pushing through the first batch of reviews and into the second. Always seems easier on the downhill somehow, but if the worst thing that ever happens is I have to put on 10 records a day, you aren’t likely to hear me complain. Today we get deeper into the round, and that while I’ll note that the context for today’s first review has changed decidedly for the unfortunate since it was slated for inclusion in this roundup, I’m trying still to take it on its own level, which is what any record deserves, regardless of its circumstances. No sense in delaying. Let’s go.
Quarterly review #11-20:
Motörhead, Bad Magic
The four ‘X’es on the cover of Motörhead’s 23rd album, Bad Magic (on UDR Music) are placed there each to represent a decade of the band’s existence, and while the context of the 13-track/42-minute offering will be forever changed due to the recent passing of iconic frontman/bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister and because the remaining members – guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee – have said it will be their final new studio release, it goes to show that one of metal and punk’s most landmark acts came in raging and went out raging. To wit, barnburners like “Thunder and Lightning” and “Teach Them How to Bleed” are quintessential Motörhead, and the propulsive “Shoot out All of Your Lights” is a blueprint for both their righteousness and relentlessness. A closing Rolling Stones cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” borders on poignant in hindsight, but on cuts like “Evil Eye,” “Electricity” and “Tell Me Who to Kill,” Bad Magic is basically Motörhead being Motörhead, which was of course what they did best.
Topped off with some of the least-pleasant cover art one might (n)ever ask to see, the Aeon Cult EP is the third from German progressive sludge outfit Owl in two years’ time after two initial full-lengths. It comprises three songs that span genres from the slow-motion lurch of “The Abyss” to deathly intricacy – preceded by a groove that doesn’t so much roll as slam – on “Ravage” to an atmospheric extremity of purpose on “Mollusk Prince,” and is over in a whopping eight and a half minutes. Seriously, that’s it. At the center of the tempest are multi-instrumentalis/vocalist Christian Kolf, also of Valborg, and drummer Patrick Schroeder, formerly of Valborg, who elicit inhuman heft and bleakness across a relatively brief but nonetheless challenging span, and who seem to revel in the melted-plastic consistency of the sounds they create. Creative rhythms and ambience-enhancing keyboard work give Aeon Cult a futuristic edge, and if this is the world into which we’re headed, we should all be terrified.
The self-titled debut from Vancouver trio Waingro (review here) was a half-hour affair brimming with intensity and forward motion, and while the band’s second outing, Mt. Hood, follows suit tonally and in its neo-progressive thrust, the 11-track outing also provides a richer all-around experience and shows marked growth on the part of the band. “Desert Son” opens the album with an expansive solo section and intricate vocal layering to go with its metallic crunch, and while Waingro keep a short, efficient songwriting process at their core, that track and the slower, seven-minute “Mt. Hood” show their process has become more malleable as well. Likewise, while the methods don’t ultimately change much, shorter instrumental pieces like “Raleigh” on the first half of the album and the rolling “Frontera” on the second add variety of structure and make Mt. Hood as a whole feel more widespread, which, of course, it is. Waingro still have plenty of intensity on offer throughout, but their sophomore LP proves there’s more to them than unipolar drive.
A self-titled debut full-length that breaks down into two subsections – the first is tracks one through five and is titled Emerald Mass and the second is tracks six through 12 and is titled The Quétu – clearly the intentions behind Frank Sabbath’s opening statement are complex. All well and good, but more importantly, the work of the Parisian trio of guitarist/vocalist Jude Mas, bassist Guillaume Jankowski and bassist Baptiste Reig is cohesive across the record’s 12-track span, and those two parts not only meld the songs that make them up together fluidly, but work set one into the next to bring a full-album flow to the proceedings, spanning classic progressive (the kind that’s not afraid to let the guitars get jazzy) rock and psychedelic mind-meld into a sometimes-strange, sometimes-in-Spanish brew of potent lysergics. The three-piece set a vast range from “Waves in Your Brain” onward and wind up delivering the “Fucking Moral,” which seems to be “Never be afraid of who you are/Never be ashamed of what you are.” Clearly, while their moniker might be playing off acts who came before, Frank Sabbath are not afraid to stand on their own sonically.
Sweet soul and classic psychedelic methods pervade The Sonic Dawn’s Perception (on respected purveyor Nasoni Records) debut album, and the Copenhagen trio of guitarist/vocalist Emil Bureau, bassist Neil Bird and drummer Jonas Waaben find an easy, spacious flow through songs that, despite being relatively straightforward, retain an expansive feel. Shades of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors make themselves felt early on, but Bureau’s voice shifts smoothly into and out of falsetto and the tonally The Sonic Dawn seem immediately in search of their own identity. The effects-soaked finish of “All the Ghosts I Know” and the apex of “Wild at Heart” would seem to indicate success in that process, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they push the psychedelic impulses of “Watching Dust Fall” even further their next time out, and if they can do so while holding onto the accessible foundation of Perception, all the better. An impressive debut from a three-piece who do right in making a show of their potential.
Ancient of Days follows two impressive EPs from Swedish tonal constructionists Spelljammer (on RidingEasy), and is the trio’s full-length debut, a pretense-less 39-minute offering that basks in post-Sleep riff idolatry while leaving room in a cut like the 12-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Meadow” for nodding atmospherics as well. “Meadow” and the 11-minute closer “Borlung” sandwich the rest of Ancient of Days, which moves between the acoustic minimalism of the quick “Laelia” to the already-gone centerpiece “From Slumber,” which rises gradually, swells in its midsection, and recedes again – beautifully – and the eight-minute groove-roller “The Pathfiner,” which would be the apex of the record if not for the crashing finale of “Borlung,” which churns and plods and caps the record – how else? – with a swirl into empty space. Following a cult response to 2012’s Vol. II EP, that Spelljammer would deliver big on their debut album isn’t necessarily a surprise, but it remains striking just how easy it is to get lost in the morass of riffs and outward vibes they present in these five cuts. Should’ve been on my Best Debuts of 2015 list.
This doomy twofer from Hydro-Phonic Records plants a veritable garden of unearthly delights in bringing together Brazilian doom outfits Witching Altar and Necro and highlighting the similarities and the differences between them. Pressed to CD late in 2015 with vinyl impending, it offers four cuts from Witching Altar, whose take on doom is ultra-traditional to the point of working in a Sabbathian “All right now!” for “She Rides the Seventh Beast,” and three from Necro (shortened from Necronomicon), a yet-unheralded trio of ‘70s progressive traditionalists who offer up the new single “Contact” and two tracks revisited from their two to-date full-lengths. Both prove immersive in their own right, Witching Altar setting a course for weird quickly on “The Monolith” which some theremin that reappears later, and Necro vibing out on the warm bassline of “Holy Planet Yamoth,” but each has their own ideas about what makes classic doom so classic, and the arguments on both sides are persuasive.
One never knows quite what to expect from Texas two-piece Stone Machine Electric, and that seems to be precisely how the duo of guitarist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist Mark Kitchens like it. The Amazing Terroris something of a stopgap EP, released on CDR by the band as a follow-up to late-2014’s Garage Tape (review here) and a lead-in for their next full-length, reportedly recorded last month with Wo Fat’s Kent Stump at the helm. Taken from the Garage Tape sessions, The Amazing Terror makes a standout of its languid, jammy title-track and surrounds it by three more instances of the band’s exploratory ideology, delving into the quietly cosmic on “Before the Dream” and feeding a cyclical delay expanse on closer “Passage of Fire,” a likely companion-piece to the opening “Becoming Fire,” which may or may not play thematically into where Stone Machine Electric are headed with their next record. As always with these guys, I wouldn’t dare place a bet either way and look like a fool on the other side.
Chicago post-sludgers Pale Horseman featured a remix by Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh/Jesu), originally on their 2013 self-titled debut, on their second outing, 2014’s Mourn the Black Lotus (review here), and their third full-length, Bless the Destroyer, boasts a mixing job by Noah Landis of Neurosis. All three records were also recorded by Bongripper guitarist Dennis Pleckham, so it seems fair to say that Pale Horseman know who they want to work with and why. The results on Bless the Destroyer speak for themselves. With the 15-minute penultimate cut “Bastard Child” as an obvious focal point, the four-piece give a clear sense of progression in terms of their patience and overall range. The earlier “Caverns of the Templar” still boasts plenty of post-Godflesh chugging intensity – elements of death metal, see also centerpiece “Pineal Awakening” – but closer “Olduvai Gorge” sleeks along with a poise that even in 2013 Pale Horseman would’ve driven into the ground on their way to doing the same to everything else in their path. Their growth has made their approach more individual, and it suits them well.
A self-titled four-track debut EP from Argentina heavy rockers Yo, Moreno finds the band coming out swinging. The San Miguel de Tucumán-based four-piece of vocalist Marcos Martín, guitarist Lucas Bejar, bassist Noel Bejar and drummer Omar Bejar elicit a surprisingly aggro mood on “A Lot of Pot,” the opener, but groove remains paramount, and fuzz abounds. “Noelazarte” is more adventurous all around, an early build setting a tone with prevalent bass before Martín comes in after the halfway mark. Since “Para Noico” returns to the angrier spirit of “A Lot of Pot” and closer “3,000” heads outward on an instrumental exploration that blends grounded, weighted tones with spacier impulses, it seems easy to think that someone, somewhere would pick Yo, Moreno up for a 10” release. Especially as their first offering, it skillfully blends doomier atmospheres with fuzz-heavy nods, and stakes its claim in a niche that’s never completely one side or the other. Even formative as it is, it’s an intriguing blend.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Eerie psychedelic strangeness pervades the work to-date of Lima, Peru, upstarts The Dead-End Alley Band — who released their debut album, Whispers of the Night (review here), and followed it up with Odd Stories last year, both on ultra-mega-respected purveyor Nasoni Records — and one assumes they’ll carry those late-’60s vibes with them when they cross the Atlantic next month to tour Europe for the first time. I don’t know what the baggage rates are for such things — that might get classified under “personal item?” — but The Dead-End Alley Band have worked quickly to create a niche for themselves within heavy psych flow, and even post-Halloween, autumn seems like a perfect time for them to make the trip, which will round out with an appearance at Yellowstock in Belgium on Nov. 28.
Info below, as seen on the interweb:
THE DEAD-END ALLEY BAND : Soaked In The Cold (European Tour 2015)
This fall, you will not escape from the nightmare.
After three years of activity and two albums released on vinyl, CD and tape, finally, we are proud to announce that we’re coming to Europe this November!
BIO: The Dead-End Alley Band is a psychedelic, blues and vintage rock band from Lima, Peru, formed by Javier Kou Mansilla and Sebastian Sanchez-Botta, with the ambition to create (or re-create) music based on the psychedelic scents from the sixties and seventies.
‘Odd Stories’ (2014) is the second studio album of Peruvian psychedelic rock band The Dead-End Alley Band. It was recorded and produced in Lima, Peru, by Javier Kou, Sebastian Sanchez-Botta and Chino Burga. Edited, manufactured and released on vinyl in Europe by Nasoni Records (Germany) and on CD and tape in Peru by Tóxiko Records and Inti Records (Peru).