Review & Track Premiere: River Cult, Halcyon Daze

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

river cult halcyon daze

[Click play above to stream the title-track of River Cult’s Halcyon Daze. The album is out Feb. 9 with a release show March 15 via Blackseed Records and Nasoni Records.]

Getting and having one’s house inorder are two very different things, but River Cult seem to manage both on their Blackseed Records and Nasoni Records debut album, Halcyon Daze. The five-track long-player, on which not one song is under seven minutes long, follow a promising 2016 demo that was among the year’s best short releases, and takes a tack of exploring a variety of different styles and moods, all of them heay in one way or another and drawn together by an overarching sense of tonal heft that permeates whether it’s the tense build-up-leading-to-rolling-fuzz-wall of centerpiece “Seething” or the dreamy, drifting end of 11-minute second cut and highlight “The Sophist” just prior.

Either way, River Cult — the Brooklyn-based trio of Sean Forlenza, Anthony Mendolia, and Tav Palumbo — sound like they’ve definitely been to school when it comes to their influences, and whether it’s the Acrimony-style grit, roll, drift and nod of “The Sophist” or the West Coast boogie into spacious slowdown in opener “Likelihood of Confusion,” which only minutes prior to hitting the cosmos proffered softshoe-worthy wah swirl and swing and the first of the album’s many jammed-out-feeling leads. At various points throughout they ask aesthetic questions about what might’ve happened if Thrasher magazine had taken over the world circa 1997 and, particularly on the title-track, what might’ve happened had Chris Hakius taken on a role drumming for Acid King. These issues, along with shades of Dead Meadow-style shoegazing on closer “Point of Failure,” are met with workaday lyrics and a loose-swinging vibe that, at less than a moment’s notice, is prone to kick into explorations of full-on Man’s Ruin-style fuzz overdrive.

The key word there might be “explorations,” and that’s because although Halcyon Daze sets itself purposefully to the work of proffering earthy tonality and a classic stoner fuckall in its looseness of structure and willingness to depart from verses and choruses into more open jamming, River Cult by no means sound set in their ways, and the 41-minute album carries the spirit of a band in the process of discovering who they are together as players and where they want to go in terms of their sound. Having first gotten together in 2015, it’s not entirely surprising they’d be at this stage on their first full-length, and it’s much to their credit that they capture the moment with the obvious commitment to sonic organics they show here.

To wit, after unfurling a groove of such deeply-weighted fuzz, the title-track moves easily into a soundscape of vast, drifting post-rock guitar drones that work on a long fade into the garage-via-Stooges riff that starts closer “Point of Failure.” That they’d cover such a swath of ground on their first long-player is impressive enough, but to do so with the kind of fluidity they bring out of the patient opening minutes of “Seething,” for example, or the confidence on display as “Likelihood of Confusion” begins its pivot almost exactly at its midpoint before, at 4:30, crashing through the door of its next sonic dimension. They’re an East Coast band, to be sure, and “The Sophist,” “Halcyon Daze” and the crunchier, grunge-minded sections of “Point of Failure” show that edge, but there’s little here one might consider confrontational, and rather, River Cult invite their listeners along with them on their journey of discovery as they feel their way ahead into what one hopes is the just the beginning stages of a longer-term sonic development.

river cult

And to its credit and to the band’s credit, where that development might ultimately bring River Cult feels like a secondary consideration in comparison to the groove here, which at points recalls earliest Fu Manchu and other such before-stoner-rock-had-a-name rawness. Taking advantage of the room in each track to flesh out their parts and ride the riffs to hypnotic and repetitive effect, as on the title-track’s outward trajectory or what seems to be a switch from otherworldliness to personal criticism on “The Sophist,” the first chorus of which brings the standout lines, “Sophistry/Yeah, you talk too much.” This perspective, somewhat disaffected but not necessarily raging, is writ large throughout Halcyon Daze, and it helps River Cult find their balance between more weighted, riffier fare and more atmospheric psychedelia.

It’s also worth noting that, while I have little doubt that Halcyon Daze was put together with a vinyl release in mind — “Likelihood of Confusion” and “The Sophist” on one side, “Seething,” “Halcyon Daze” and “Point of Failure” on the other — the album works perhaps even better in linear form, taken as one whole work unfolding in different stages in ups and downs of energy, pace, volume and emotion, weaving its way into and out of jams whole always keeping its ultimate trajectory forward, as shown when the feedback and noise wash of “Seething” gives way into “Halcyon Daze” or the effects loops of “Likelihood of Confusion” seem to dive into the airy tones that spread themselves over the initial going in “The Sophist.”

The bottom line is there’s a lot happening on Halcyon Daze when it’s taken front-to-back — which is how it feels like it was meant to be taken — and while one might imagine or expect River Cult to continue solidifying their approach in style and structure, what they’ve crafted in the meantime stands among the most promising Brooklynite heavy psychedelic debuts since Naam‘s Kingdom EP and should be commended for its level of craft, naturalism of execution, and unbridled flow. It’s a good one to get lost in, so go ahead and get lost in it.

River Cult on Thee Facebooks

River Cult on Instagram

River Cult on Twitter

River Cult on Bandcamp

Blackseed Records website

Blackseed Records on Thee Facebooks

Blackseed Records on Bandcamp

Nasoni Records on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

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River Cult Debut Album Halcyon Daze to be Released in March on Blackseed and Nasoni Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

river cult

I didn’t wind up writing nearly enough about it, but the 2016 Demo from Brooklyn trio River Cult was one of my favorite short releases of 2016, and one to which I’ve continued to go back periodically since. It’s only ever good for general international relations when a US band attracts the attention of Nasoni Records, as River Cult have apparently done, but to find them releasing their debut album, Halcyon Daze, through Pittsburgh’s Blackseed Records as well speaks to a multi-pronged approach that one hopes is a portent of how they’ll support the offering on tour.

Oh, and not that I’ve heard it yet or anything like that, but the record smokes. It’s out March 15 and I’m happy to be able to premiere a teaser video for it below. Fingers crossed I’ll have more to come about it before the release date as well.

To the PR wire, chief:

river cult halcyon daze

RIVER CULT 2018 WITH BLACKSEED AND NASONI RECORDS

Bursting on to the scene with a highly acclaimed self-titled EP in 2016, Brooklyn NY’s River Cult are amassing a loyal following with their unique style. Pulling inspiration from Sleep, Neurosis, and Pentagram, River Cult’s songs are modern, yet authentic hunks of Heavy Psych, Doom/Stoner rock.

Fusing atmospheric jams, gritty vocals, and garage rock eminence, River Cult are poised to keep riding the wave of their heavy jams to further praise in 2018, with a recording reminiscent of the Led Zeppelin, Hawkwind oeuvre. In collaboration with Blackseed Records, the independent heavy underground label based in Pittsburgh, River Cult will unleash their debut full-length, “Halcyon Daze”, on March 15th, 2018.

Blackseed Records will release “Halcyon Daze” on both CD and limited-edition cassette. A harmonic release to coincide with a vinyl issuance on Nasoni Records (Berlin), these limited black-matte cassettes are capped at 50 hand-numbered copies.

https://www.facebook.com/rivercult/
https://www.instagram.com/rivercultband/
https://www.twitter.com/river_cult
https://rivercult.bandcamp.com/
blackseedrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/blackseedrecords/
https://blackseedrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/nasonirecords/
http://www.nasoni-records.com/

River Cult, Halcyon Daze teaser trailer

River Cult, Live at WFMU on Imaginary Radio (2016)

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The Sonic Dawn Reissue Debut Album Perception in Audiophile Edition

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I guess I didn’t notice that The Sonic Dawn‘s 2015 debut album, Perception (review here), sounded particularly rough in its original Nasoni Records version, but you can hear pretty clearly from the echoing reaches of “An Easy Heart to Break” the work that’s gone into remastering and remaking the album for this ‘Audiophile Edition.’ I’d be interested to know what specifically the band did to the recording — does this call for a track-by-track? — but even failing that, it’s an excuse to dig back into the record, which they followed up earlier this year with Into the Long Night (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds, and I’m not about to complain about that. Hence the Bandcamp player at the bottom of the post.

Info follows as posted by the band on the social medias:

the sonic dawn perception vinyl

It’s here – the brand new Audiophile Edition of our debut album, Perception.

With its analogue remaster and fresh cut, straight out of Abbey Road Studios, Perception has never sounded better. Originally released on Nasoni Records in 2015, and sold out long ago, this is the first time the LP is available on black vinyl (180g of course). Crazy thing is, it has never been cheaper either!

Whether you prefer vinyl, CD or a high-quality download via Bandcamp, the improved sound will take you on a trip.

Buy or stream for free via https://thesonicdawn.bandcamp.com/album/perception

PS: Our shipping rates are the lowest in all of the EU and orders are shipped out daily before Xmas.

PPS: If you purchased Perception previously on Bandcamp, just re-download it to get the Audiophile Edition for free!

Tracklisting:
1. An Easy Heart to Break 03:47
2. Lonely Parade 03:17
3. All the Ghosts I Know 05:00
4. The Mustang 04:10
5. Black Cat Woman 02:46
6. Wild at Heart 05:38
7. It’s Tomorrow 02:00
8. Howlin’ Moon 03:24
9. Watching Dust Fall 05:04
10. Fading Soul 04:37

Perception is the debut album by The Sonic Dawn, first released on Nasoni Records, Oct. 31 2015.

What you get here is the Audiophile Edition from 2017, whether you prefer LP, CD or digital. Available as 96 KHz / 24 bit download.

The Sonic Dawn is:
Emil Bureau (guitar, lead vocals)
Jonas Waaben (drums)
Neil Bird (bass guitar)

https://www.facebook.com/thesonicdawn/
https://thesonicdawn.bandcamp.com/
http://thesonicdawn.com/

The Sonic Dawn, Perception (2015)

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Gypsy Sun Revival Release New Album Journey Outside of Time

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

gypsy sun revival

Some changes from Texas-based heavy psych rockers Gypsy Sun Revival since they made their self-titled debut (review here) last year via Nasoni Records. The band has become a five-piece with the addition of vocalist Mario Rodriguez and organist Tyler Gene Davis, and as they return with their second full-length, Journey Outside of Time, and a new recording helmed by Kent Stump of Wo Fat and mastered by wizard-of-all-things-psych John McBain (ex-Monster MagnetKandodo/McBain, etc.), those changes are apparent in the flourish even of relatively straightforward cuts like album-opener “Cadillac to Mexico,” let alone the later immersive trippery of the eight-minute “Pisces (Part 1).” Either way you go, there’s plenty to dig into.

And plenty to dig about it in the digging. Also pressed to vinyl by NasoniJourney Outside of Time is streaming in its entirety now via Gypsy Sun Revival‘s Bandcamp, and you’ll find it, of course, at the bottom of this post. I even used the big embed so you don’t scroll past by mistake.

Dig it:

gypsy sun revival journey outside of time

Gypsy Sun Revival – Journey Outside of Time

Blasting through the airwaves to tickle your auditory senses, comes the sophomore release from these Texas psychedelic pariahs. Take a Journey Outside of Time and experience the weirdness that can only come from an unwavering sense of pushing the possibilities of musical instruments. Guaranteed to blow you out of reality into new sonic realms of enlightenment, this is a release that you do not want to miss. Growing on their debut album, this Texas trio has grown into a 5 piece with a new vocalist and organist, and produced a new, refined sound that will open up doors to previously unconscionable auditory ideas. So join the journey and hang on for the ride.

Tracklisting:
1. Cadillac to Mexico 04:54
2. To the Sky 04:13
3. Indigo 05:40
4. Growing Shadows 04:25
5. Pisces (Part 1) 08:07
6. Pisces (Part 2) 06:34
7. Departure 08:53

Engineered and mixed by Kent Stump (Wo Fat) at Crystal Clear Sound, Dallas, TX
Mastered by John McBain (Monster Magnet) at JPM Mastering
Album Design by Robin Gnista

We would like to dedicate this album to the memory of Hans-Georg Bier, founder of Nasoni Records, who was a crucial pillar for this band and a true believer in underground music. He will be truly missed.

Gypsy Sun Revival is:
Mario Rodriguez – Vocals, Hand Drums
Tyler Gene Davis – Organ
Ben Harwood – Drums, Synth
Lee Ryan – Bass
Will Weise – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/gypsysunrevival/
https://gypsysunrevival.bandcamp.com/album/journey-outside-of-time
http://www.gypsysunrevival.com/
http://www.nasoni-records.com/GYPSY_SUN_REVIVAL_release_Journey_Outside_Of_Time.html

Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time (2017)

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Risin Sabotage Post Video for “Sun is God”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

risin sabotage

Whatever your expectations might be for this video from Kiev-based desert-style groovers Risin Sabotage, put them aside. You remember how when South Park first came on in the late ’90s it was made with paper cutouts? Well, the clip below for “Sun is God” was no doubt animated on computer, but it has that same look and as its raw riffing plays out across an efficient four and a half minutes, we see the story of a Christian-looking congregation meeting their match as the band itself shows up in the form of horned dinosaurs, blows out the mass, burns everyone’s eyeballs and then turns the church into a rocketship and blasts it off, presumably into the sun. Yes it’s as awesome as it sounds. Yes you should watch it immediately.

The track comes from Risin Sabotage‘s 2017 album, Planet Dies, which saw LP issue through the ultra-respected Nasoni Records and a CD pressing from Japanese imprint Voron Nest, and which, if you’re so inclined, you can stream in its entirety at the bottom of this post. It’s definitely worth checking out for the barebones style of fuzz Risin Sabotage present, but make sure you hit up the thick shuffle of “Sun is God” first and dig into the video, because yeah, it’s definitely worth your time. Imaginative in its story, engaging in its look and creative use of color, and fitting to the track itself — I’m not going to disparage those who do the band-rocking-in-rehearsal-space video, because hey, at least they’re making an effort, but “Sun is God” reminds of what a difference some very obviously hard work can make when the results come out just right.

Clip and more info follow here. Please enjoy:

Risin Sabotage, “Sun is God” official video

Made by:
Michelle Feldman
Matous Valchar
Tomas Cerveny

Sun is God is a song from our latest album Planet Dies

Check it https://risinsabotage.bandcamp.com/

The second trip from our essence and conscious to the stars and galaxies through the deserts and stones of our existence. There are always a stepping stones on the way questioning about the life and death, bearing thoughts about the end and the beginning and who watches us on this way. No matter is it the line or the cycle pass it with Risin Sabotage accompanied.

Risin Sabotage is:
Igor Nediuzhyi (Drummer)
Kirill Chepilko (Vocals)
Vitya Panchishko (Guitar)
Valery Skorzhenko (Bass)

Risin Sabotage, Planet Dies (2017)

Risin Sabotage on Thee Facebooks

Risin Sabotage on Instagram

Risin Sabotage on Bandcamp

Voron Nest on Bandcamp

Nasoni Records website

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R.I.P. Hans-Georg Bier of Nasoni Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Sad news out of Berlin today in the announcement from Nasoni Records that founder Hans-Georg Bier has passed away. With Nasoni as his vehicle since 1996, Bier has been an instrumental figure in shaping the modern sphere of the heavy underground both in and out of Europe. Working with bands like Colour Haze, Vibravoid, Sula Bassana, Siena Root, Weltramstaunen, Causa Sui, Samavayo, Los Natas, Terraplane, Deadpeach, Stoned Jesus, Arenna, Space Invaders and countless others, his efforts contributed massively to the aesthetic of modern heavy psychedelia and particularly its loyalty to classic foundations in organic sounds and vinyl presentation. Under his tutelage, Nasoni Records became an absolute “can’t miss” label: all you needed to know going into a new release was that if Nasoni approved enough to put it out, it was going to be worth hearing.

I’ve said on multiple occasions that I consider Nasoni among the finest imprints worldwide, and their catalog over the last 21 years stands as evidence to back me up on that. In 2014, Dr. Rainer Präger’s From Farm to Space chronicled the accomplishments and releases of Nasoni, and the fact that the book (still available) included a limited-run 7″ with exclusive tracks from Wo Fat and The Re-Stoned emphasizes how completely unwavering the passion of the label has been. Bier, who reportedly suffered from long-term heart problems, was never anything but kind in my limited direct dealings with him years ago, and clearly someone for whom the music was paramount and everything else secondary.

The fact that Nasoni has never strayed from its initial principals and never forgotten to look forward to new fostering new bands and an ever-broadening reach is a huge part of what has made it so special as an imprint, and as listeners, we should be thankful to have had Bier at the helm for as long as we did. His accomplishments will continue to resonate for years and decades to come.

On behalf of myself and this site, condolences to the friends, family, colleagues and to fellow fans of Nasoni Records. This is a significant loss not only on practical terms for the company Bier founded, but for Europe’s heavy psych underground as a whole, but in his honor, it’s all the more crucial to press on and keep the turntables spinning.

Rest in Peace, Hans-Georg Bier.

The announcement as posted on Nasoni’s website follows here:

hans-georg bier of nasoni records

We deeply regret, having to inform you that the founder of Nasoni-Records, Hans-Georg Bier, has passed away just recently.

However, the Nasoni Label is going to live on and will be continued in Hans’s entire sense, philosophy and terms.

One fifth of a century of Nasoni records — this is certainly a reason to celebrate and also a good opportunity to look back at the beginnings and the history of the label.

In 1996 the music industry started the attempt to eliminate the traditional vinyl LPs with the introduction of the newest fad called CD — this encouraged us with our rebellious minds to start our project to reach out to all friends of analogue sounds and release outstanding music on vinyl.

We were sure that there were plenty of humans who would prefer the exciting and adventurous trip into the underground to the easy available junk from the surface of the mainstream scrapyard. These people shared also our view that every now and then a bit of surface noise on a record is still better than the irrelevant offers of 16 or 24bit audio and sampling up to 44000 Hz. At that moment in time nobody was even thinking about the next abyss and the coming horrors of the not so far away future — where people would happily listen to hollow and tinny sounds of a mumbling Mickey Mouse singer from a portable telephone!

If in 2096 somebody pulls a Nasoni record from the shelf and cannot help a sympathetic smile turning up on his face — then we know that our fight against the dark forces of the digital age was not in vain. This label was and still is the honest attempt to document and emphasize our love for music.

Nasoni Records website

Nasoni Records on Thee Facebooks

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Risin Sabotage Release New Album Planet Dies

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

risin sabotage

Kiev-based heavy psych rockers Risin Sabotage issued their second album, the grimly-titled Planet Dies, last week as a digital release. Word has come through that the languid and buzzing five-track offering will be physically pressed on CD through Japanese imprint Voron Nest and LP through ultra-respected Berlin purveyor Nasoni Records. Listening to the gravitational pull of extended tracks like “Creature” and “Worshiping the Beast,” it’s hard to argue with either label coming on board.

In addition to those, however, last week it was announced Risin Sabotage had signed to Ukrainian newcomers Electric Experience Records as well, so I don’t know if that label will also be doing a version of Planet Dies sometime this year? I guess it remains to be seen. The band made their self-titled debut in 2015 and did some touring last Fall as well to support it, so more road time doesn’t seem out of the question.

Album info follows here, along with the stream:

risin-sabotage-planet-dies

Risin Sabotage – Planet Dies

Risin Sabotage is an Ukranian psychedelic stoner rock band from Kyiv.

The second trip from our essence and conscious to the stars and galaxies through the deserts and stones of our existence. There are always a stepping stones on the way questioning about the life and death, bearing thoughts about the end and the beginning and who watches us on this way. No matter is it the line or the cycle pass it with Risin Sabotage accompanied.

Single “Boundless Void” as a bonus. Released March 10, 2017.

It will be released on vinyls from Nasoni Records (Berlin) and on CDs from Voron Nest (Japan).

RECORDED AT EVERGREEN STUDIO
MIXED & MASTERED BY NIKOLAI TEMCHENKO

ARTWORK AND LAYOUT DESIGN BY CRISTIANO SUAREZ

Tracklisting:
1. Demons of the Wold 03:53
2. Creature 10:19
3. Sun is God 04:33
4. Planet Dies 05:44
5. Worshiping the Beast 11:26

Risin Sabotage is:
Igor Nediuzhyi (Drummer)
Kirill Chepilko (Vocals)
Vitya Panchishko (Guitar)
Valery Skorzhenko (Bass)

https://risinsabotage.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/risin.sabotage/
https://instagram.com/risin_sabotage/
https://www.facebook.com/ElectricExperienceRecords/

Risin Sabotage, Planet Dies (2017)

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No Man’s Valley Announce ‘Time Travel Tour 2017’

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Here’s the thing about No Man’s Valley going on their Time Travel Tour: Yes, they’ll be traveling through time. We all are, forward, every day. That’s not the thing. The thing is that even as the Netherlands-based heavy psych rockers go supporting their 2016 Nasoni Records debut album, also called Time Travel (review here), they’ll be road-testing new songs as well. So they’re doing a bit of time travel that way too, at least on a conceptual level, as they look ahead to their second LP.

Presumably they’ll get to recording later this year, once the rest of the tracks are, you know, written, and though it might be 2018 before the record shows up, that’ll only make it seem more futuristic when it does. Because, damn, 2018 sure sounds like the future to my old ass.

The band sent their tour dates down the PR wire with a general update, and you can find all that below. They’ve got an open day on May 5 and I think they were looking at Berlin for it. If you happen to be in that part of the world and can help them out, frickin’ do that.

Poster and whatnots:

no-mans-valley-tour-poster

No Man’s Valley – Time Travel Tour 2017

No Man’s Valley is proud to announce Time Travel Tour 2017! The band’s first genuine tour outside The Netherlands will take the band through Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and will involve over 4000 kilometers of head-spun road tripping. Aside from the festivals and headliner shows No Man’s Valley is also proud to be supporting US spacerock heroes Farflung in Dresden!

NMV will mostly play songs from their well-praised 2016 debut album Time Travel, as well as some brand new scorchers from the follow-up record that is being written at the moment…we’re psyched to finally get out there and meet as many of you beautiful people as we possibly can!!!

No Man’s Valley Time Travel Tour 2017:
Sa 29-04 Kulturherberge Westfeld DE
Su 30-04 Giesser Fest Leipzig DE
Mo 01-05 Groovestation Dresden DE w/ Farflung
Tu 02-05 Schwarze Erle Basel CH
We 03-05 Epplehaus Tubungen DE
Th 04-05 Derwisch Wien AT
Fr 05-05 TBA
Sa 06-05 Baron Mainz DE
Sa 27-05 See You Again Fesval Wipperfurth DE

www.nomansvalley.com
https://www.facebook.com/nomansvalley
https://twitter.com/nomansvalley
https://instagram.com/nomansvalley/
nomansvalley.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/nasonirecords/
nasoni-records.de

No Man’s Valley, Time Travel (2016)

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