Naxatras Announce Fall European Tour; Playing Up in Smoke, Fuzz Fest and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

naxatras

I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’ — it’s true! ask me anything! — but I’d wager that one or two of the dates still to be announced as part of Greek heavy psych rockers Naxatras‘ upcoming Fall European tour are for festivals. The Thessaloniki three-piece have already been confirmed for Fuzz FestKeep it LowUp in Smoke and Into the Void as part of this run supporting their earlier 2018 offering, III (review here), and considering the response that album got upon its release, much the same as everything they’ve done up to this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if they showed up on a few more massive billings. Again, not anything I know, just speculation.

Certainly even if not, the tour is plenty huge as is, running about a month and a half. The dates are presented by Ouga Bouga and the Mighty Oug and were posted as follows:

naxatras tour poster

Naxatras Fall 2018 European Tour

03/10 – Zagreb (HR) / Vintage Industrial Bar
04/10 – Vienna (AT) / Fuzz Fest
05/10 – Innsbruck (AT) / PMK
06/10 – Pratteln (CH) / Up In Smoke
07/10 – Freiburg (DE) / White Rabbit
09/10 – Strasbourg (FR) / TBA
10/10 – TBC
11/10 – Berlin (DE) / Cassiopeia +
12/10 – Dresden (DE) / Groovestation +
13/10 – Oldenburg (DE) / Cadillac +
14/10 – TBC
17/10 – Mannheim (DE) / 7er Club +
18/10 – Munich (DE) / Keep it Low Preparty +
19/10 – Siegen (DE) / Vortex +
20/10 – Leeuwarden (NL) / Into The Void
21/10 – Leuven (BE) / Sojo
24/10 – Sheffield (UK) / Corporation
25/10 – Bristol (UK) / The Crofters Rights
26/10 – London (UK) / The Black Heart
27/10 – Brighton (UK) / Sticky Mike’s
28/10 – Ghent (BE) / TBA
30/10 – Nantes (FR) / Le Scene Michelet
31/10 – Bordeaux (FR) / TBA
01/11 – Paris (FR) / TBA
02/11 – Olten (CH) / Coq D’Or
03/11 – Ulm (DE) / Club Action
04/11 – Augsburg (DE) / Abraxas Theater
06/11 – Salzburg (AT) / Rockhouse
07/11 – Graz (AT) / Music house
08/11 – Bratislava (SK) / TBA
09/11 – Prague (CZ) / Klub 007 ^
10/11 – Linz (AT) / Kapu + ^
11/11 – Budapest (HU) / Durer Kert ^
13/11 – Cluj (RO) / Flying Circus ^
14/11 – Timisoara (RO) / Reflektor ^
15/11 – Novi Sad (RS) / SKC Fabrika ^
16/11 – TBC
17/11 – Sofia (BG) / Mixtape ^

+ = with Timestone
^ = with Half Gramme of Soma

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Naxatras, “Machine”

Tags: , , , , ,

Up in Smoke 2018: Acid King, John Garcia, Naxatras & Sasquatch Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

up in smoke 2018 header

It would seem that in the new social media algorithmic rich-white-people-claiming-to-reshape-paradigms-everyone-else-when-all-they’re-really-doing-is-ripping-everyone-off universe of social media, somewhere along the line I stopped getting updates from Sound of Liberation. As someone who actively enjoys keeping up with a host of European events throughout the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, that’s a shitter to be sure. Already the lauded booking agency has started announcing lineups for two fall festivals: Up in Smoke 2018, held in Pratteln, Switzerland, and Keep it Low 2018, held in Munich, both in October. Needless to say, I’ve chased down the code like Neo in The Matrix or like whatever more up-to-date reference would apply and fixed the fucking problem for myself, social media overlords be damned.

Here’s me getting caught up with Up in Smoke 2018’s first four bands: Acid King, Naxatras, Sasquatch and John Garcia. Hell of a starting four, frankly, and of course there’s more to come. I wouldn’t actually put much stock in my technical prowess, but hopefully I should be able to do a better job keeping up from here on out.

An amalgam of the first and second announcements follows:

UP IN SMOKE 2018

Z7 I PRATTELN I OCT. 5TH-6TH 2018

Here we go, the 6th edition of UP in SMOKE indoor festival in Z7 is on its way! Our dear graphic designers from Elvisdead are bent over the desk and working like maniacs on our poster which we will be glad to introduce very soon!

But for now, as we know you want to hear fresh and crispy news, we are glad to lift the veil today of our first names:

– Acid King (USA). Bathed in distortion and baptized in a plume of smoke, the Bay Area trio fronted by talented Lori S. is rocking the heavy scene for more than 2 decades and we are just thrilled to host them for this edition of the festival.

– Naxatras (GR). Very much attached to the roots of psychedelia, paying tributes to masters like Pink Floyd & Hawkwind, while also praising Black Sabbath Doom lords, the trio is still forging very fresh tunes out of those influences and creating very sweet and fine music.

– John Garcia (USA). Yes, desert crooner and former Kyuss, Slo-Burn, Unida, Hermano, Vista Chino frontman John Garcia may rightfully be considered the ultimate incarnation of stoner rock! His first solo album and opus eponymous from 2014 was followed roughly three years later by “The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues”, a comparatively relaxed and purely acoustic affair! He is now about to release a new one, and will be presenting it at Up In Smoke this year! We’re so looking forward to hearing his new tunes!

– Sasquatch (USA). Next, if we say “All is fair in Love and Doom”, you say ? SASQUATCH, right?! The trio, whose music has been featured on numbers of movies, games soundtracks is FUZZ! Those Californian Dudes are riffrockers to the core: mixing elements of 70s rock, metal and psychelia…we’re all in for a hell of a party!

Heavy-Rock-Doom-Psych-Stoner Indoor Festival. 2 Days of Volume Worshipping in Switzerlands best Rock Venue Z-7 in Pratteln (Basel).
2 big stages, 20+ bands and the chance for fans to sleep over in the venue. The festival is sold out since 2016, the 6th edition takes part on Oct 5th and 6th 2018.

Line Up 2018:
JOHN GARCIA / ACID KING / NAXATRAS / SASQUATCH

www.upinsmoke.de
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7/
https://www.sol-tickets.com/produkte

Acid King, Live in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 19, 2017

Tags: , , , , , , ,

audiObelisk Transmission 065

Posted in Podcasts on February 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

aOT65

I recognize that saying so is the cliché equivalent to writing a song with the same bassline as ‘N.I.B.,’ but if this was December and not February and the year was about to end in a couple weeks’ time, would you really be able to complain about any lack of fantastic releases? It’s been two months and before the next one is out we will have seen and heard new offerings from Corrosion of Conformity, Monster Magnet, Earthless, Fu Manchu and literally hundreds of others. It’s been as awesome as it’s been impossible to keep up with.

This new podcast follows the same model as the last one, vis-a-vis using Spotify as the medium of conveyance. You can see the playlist in the player below, and you may accordingly wonder why I’ve bothered to type it out underneath as well. It’s because streaming sites disappear even quicker than they rise to dominance, and I’m not saying The Obelisk is going to outlast Spotify or anything, but just in case, I like to keep my own records. I appreciate the indulgence on your part.

Awesome mix this time around. No real theme other than it’s new stuff I’ve been listening to a lot and digging. I very much hope you enjoy it as well. 21 tracks. About two and a half hours long.

Thanks for listening and reading:

Track details:

Artist, Track, Album, Runtime
Earthless, “Black Heaven” from Black Heaven, 8:45
Sundrifter, “Targeted” from Visitations, 4:45
Psilocibina, “Acid Jam” from LSD / Acid Jam, 7:08
Blackwater Holylight, “Sunrise” from Blackwater Holylight, 4:51
Fu Manchu, “Clone of the Universe” from Clone of the Universe, 2:57
Green Lung, “Free the Witch” from Free the Witch, 5:55
Monster Magnet, “Mindfucker” from Mindfucker, 4:59
All Souls, “Never Know” from All Souls, 5:59
Red Lama, “Perfect Strangers” from Motions, 6:47
Blackwülf, “Sinister Sides” from Sinister Sides, 4:53
Fuzz Lord, “Worlds Collide” from Fuzz Lord, 6:58
Corrosion of Conformity, “Forgive Me” from No Cross No Crown, 4:06
Apostle of Solitude, “Ruination Be Thy Name” from From Gold to Ash, 6:37
Avon, “Space Native” from Dave’s Dungeon, 4:42
Psychic Lemon, “Exit to the Death Lane” from Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay, 8:32
The Dry Mouths, “Catalonian Cream” from When the Water Smells of Sweat, 4:34
Insect Ark, “Windless” from Marrow Hymns, 8:38
Naxatras, “You Won’t Be Left Alone” from III, 11:17
Mythic Sunship, “Into Oblivion” from Upheaval, 13:56
King Buffalo, “Repeater” from Repeater, 13:40
Hound the Wolves, “Masquerade” from Camera Obscura, 13:10

If you’re interested, you can follow me on Spotify here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Review & Track Premiere: Naxatras, III

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

naxatras iii

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Naxatras’ ‘Machine.’ Their new album, III is out Feb. 16.]

Over the last two years, Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to establish themselves at the forefront of their home country’s fertile and widely varied scene. If 1000mods helped put this generation of Greek bands on the map in the wider European underground sphere, then it’s Naxatras brazenly showing that the country has more to offer than straightforward riff-led fare. Naxatras songs — their third album, III, has seven of them and tops out accordingly at 64 minutes long — wind their way around and through the consciousness in display of a penchant for sonic naturalism that goes even beyond the band’s no-compromise approach to recording analog at Magnetic Fidelity with Jesus I. Agnew, who helmed III, the preceding 2017 single All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray (discussed here), its 2016 predecessors, II (review here) and EP (discussed here), as well as their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here).

Rather, that naturalism extends to the play itself, as the trio of bassist/vocalist John Vagenas, guitaist John Delias and drummer Kostas Harizanis embrace their inner chillout and bring to bear tracks of marked patience, fluidity and soothing. Yeah, III has its heavy moments — more than enough of them throughout extended jams like “On the Silver Line” (9:56), 11-minute opener “You Won’t be Left Alone” and even a later piece like “Prophet,” on which Vagenas‘ bassline sets a foreboding tone while the cymbals crash around and the guitar howls. Raucous as they get, however, it’s the drift of cuts like “White Morning,” the subtle reggae nods of “Land of Infinite Time” and the soothing pastoralia of the acid-folkish closer “Spring Song” that most typify the album’s impression, earthy and resonant as it is.

The only real question when it comes to listening to III is whether to blast it and be consumed by the tonal warmth, to let it wrap around you like a blanket of fuzz, or to put in headphones, get lost in the easy, patient rhythms of the thing and find that even a song like centerpiece “Machine,” which works in multiple, almost disjointed stages of building jamming, tense low end, and a bit of reggae guitar before giving away near the halfway point to whalesong volume swells and a turn to a moodier drone that’s so drastic it might just as easily have been a different song before making its way back to the initial progression with trance-inducing fluidity, ending just before the 11-minute mark. Like all of Naxatras‘ work, III blends instrumental and vocalized material to a place of marked flow, lending an even more exploratory sensibility to songs like “Prophet” and “You Won’t be Left Alone,” the latter opening with an introductory hypnosis before giving way to the warm fuzz of the song itself, its main riff popping in and out to allow for vocal lines.

These, again, are sparse and become part of the background context in which the record takes place rather than a direct frontman-style delivery. “You Won’t be Left Alone” might be the most direct in this regard, though “Pophet” has its moments as well and “Spring Song” is clearly meant to be working in a tradition of soothing hippie soulfulness. Nonetheless, it’s the instrumental portion of III that serves as the band’s clear focus — that’s nothing new for them in terms of overall aesthetic balance — and with their having spent significant time on the road around the first two records, the results can be heard in the ease of their transitions say, near the end of “Prophet” or as they dig into the 12-minute “Land of Infinite Time” with the bass leading the way through each measure traveled.

naxatras (Photo by Marko Devcic)

If you ultimately choose the hi-fi route, and let’s say, relax with a highball in your it’s-been-a-long-day burgundy housecoat and put III on your vintage turntable to ease your worried mind, no doubt you’ll find it does just that. It is a work of such patience as to be legitimately soothing in a way few records that can still justifiably be called heavy are, and yet that presence of tone and weight of rhythm is still very much a factor in what Naxatras do, even at their funkiest or quietest. If you go the headphone route, the listening experience is somewhat lonelier, but the spirit of III continues to resonate that calming, wholesome sensibility that seems to derive purely from the collective performance of HarizanisDelias and Vagenas, and if one is listening to Naxatras and perhaps looking to understand what it is that has allowed the band to have such an impact and to find such a considerable audience in a relatively short amount of time, the answer is right there in their interaction as a trio.

They may decide their next time out to just up and down and take a more active approach overall, or they may continue down this path of turning heavy psych jams into a statement of counterculture folksomeness to represent a movement of heavy hippies that, if it exists, could hardly ask for better PR than it gets in “Prophet” and the penultimate “White Morning.” Whatever they do and wherever they go from here, Naxatras have put all questions to rest about how well earned their place is at Greece’s heavy psych forefront, if there were any to start with. Their jams have an individualized character that speaks to the honest chemistry shared between them as players, and each of their successive full-lengths has furthered the seemingly ongoing process of their cohesion.

III, in that regard, is no different. But it also finds Naxatras reaching further stylistically than they have up to this point outward from that core of psychedelic jamming, and doing so successfully as demonstrated in the proggy “On the Silver Line,” the bouncing “Land of Infinite Time” and the lullaby dreamscape that finishes in “Spring Song.” One doubts these excursions of stylistic nuance represent the sum total breadth the three-piece have and will have to offer, and so it’s easy to argue coming out of III‘s immersive hour-plus that Naxatras‘ potential as a unit has never been so writ large even as their sound itself has never been so realized.

Naxatras, III (2018)

Naxatras on Thee Facebooks

Naxatras on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

SonicBlast Moledo 2018: Conan, Kadavar, Naxatras & Nebula Confirmed for Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sonicblast moledo 2018 FIRSTBANNER

In the several years now that I’ve been keeping up with lineup announcements for the Portuguese SonicBlast Moledo festival, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered one that didn’t immediately set me to daydreaming about making the trip to the Iberian coastline to experience it for myself. It’s like a Pavlovian response at this point — drool and all. The first word from SonicBlast Moledo 2018 is, of course, no different, and as I sit in my dimly-lit Massachusetts kitchen with my hood up and three layers of pants on because I’m so god damned cold and cracks in my right-hand fingers so deep that it’s actually physically hurting me to type this sentence right now, August seems like the perfect time to go. Or, you know, tomorrow.

First four for SonicBlast Moledo 2018? Conan, Kadavar, Naxatras and Nebula. That’s just fun to say. Go ahead, give it a shot. Out loud.

Here’s details from the PR wire:

SONICBLAST MOLEDO 2018: Stoner Doom Psych Heavy

Sea Beach Camping Pool Surf Skate

With the dates settled for August 10th and 11th, the lineup of the eighth edition of SonicBlast Moledo starts to take shape with the first confirmations: Kadavar, Nebula, Conan and Naxatras!

Almost five years later after their debut at the third edition of SonicBlast Moledo and their exponential growth, Kadavar return to Portugal to show the best that is done within the Retro Rock world. Following their sudden cancellation on the last edition, the power trio present themselves with their newest work, entitled “Rough Times”, released by the label Nuclear Blast Records, which shows the group’s superiority to create masterpieces of 70’s influenced Hard Rock, always with the excellent capacity of incorporating new elements in their music.

Conceived by the guitarist Eddie Glass, after departing Fu Manchu, Nebula are considered, without any doubt, one of the great and more influential precursors of the Stoner Rock movement. Two decades after their formation and seven years after their indefinite hiatus, the desert legends reborn for their new space incarnation, prepared to rule any soul with their distinctive dose of energetic fuzz, frenetic feedbacks and lots of psychedelia.

Barbarians by the name and by the sound, the British Conan have been defined, for more than 10 years, as caveman battle Doom, marked by distorted devastating guitars, sepulchral voices, and instruments tuned always below the low. With their live shows, we can expect storms of dark and raw riffs, projected by overwhelming walls of sound and brutally slow tempos that put us into a monolithic hypnotism.

Although relatively young, the Greeks Naxatras have already conquered their captive place within the European underground rock. Moved by their fascinating and peaceful psychedelic, together with their nuances of dreamy Hard Rock, this power trio is distinguished by its bold touches of Jazz, Funk, Progressive or desert influences, surely providing a live trip essential to be experienced.

https://sonicblastmoledo.bol.pt/
https://www.facebook.com/SonicBlast-Moledo-242619262427066/
https://www.facebook.com/events/181938749070159/
https://sonicblastmoledo.wordpress.com/

Kadavar, Live in Vienna, Oct. 28, 2017

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Naxatras Set Feb. 16 Release for III; Teaser Clip Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Naxatras have announced a Feb. 16 release date for their new album, III, and I could be wrong — it’s certainly happened once or twice before — but I get the feeling I’m not the only one who’s going to be particularly interested to hear from Greek heavy psych trio have come up with for it. The Thessaloniki-based three-piece would seem to have put themselves in a perfect position to make a splash across the greater European underground even more than they already have, and this could well be the outing that takes them from “upstarts” to “forerunners” in terms of their impact.

To wit, their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here) won ears, hearts and minds with its ultra-organic approach, lightly-funked approach to what might be space rock were it not so wonderfully earthy, and subsequent outings in 2016, the shorter EP (discussed here) and the full-length II (review here) affirmed not only a commitment to and expertise with analog recording methods, but also that the character and chemistry that seemed so resonant in their first outing was no fluke.

They’ve toured pretty hard since putting out that second long-player, so as we prepare for the third, I can’t help but wonder in what ways the band will step forward with III. Any huge changes in arrangement flourish seem like a lot to ask from a group who keeps their focus so attuned to recording and playing live as a guitar, bass and drums trio, but one never knows. The minute-long teaser clip they posted via the social medias does pretty well in piquing my interest in the sound of the record overall, so I guess mission accomplished there, and hopefully there will be more to come to let us know where Naxatras are at before the album actually arrives. Until then, anticipation and whatnot.

Their post about it was short and sweet:

naxatras photo marko devcic

X-Mas Special!
Naxatras “III” will be released the 16th of February (mark the day)!
Recorded on reel-to-reel tape at Magnetic Fidelity!
This will be a 7-track album guaranteed to blow your mind…
Get ready space cadets! ^^

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Tags: , , , , ,

Naxatras Post New Single; Announce II Vinyl Release

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

naxatras ii vinyl

A new jam from Greek trio Naxatras has yet to not find welcome around these parts. Ahead of launching a massive European tour in a couple days and coinciding with a first vinyl release today of their 2016 sophomore album, II (review here), the Thessaloniki-based naturalist psych rockers/analog recording enthusiasts have unveiled the new single “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray.” It’s a nine-minute gentle nudge into the ethereal that even as it gets heavier stays low key and laid back, the subdued intro holding sway for the duration despite a swinging verse taking hold.

Note the rising bassline from John Vagenas. Also note the lead that starts around 3:50 from guitarist John Delias. Also note the classically classy drumming from Kostas Harizanis. And while you’re noting these things as the band makes its way into and out of organic psych drift, put them all together in your mind for a better understanding and naxatras-all-the-stars-collide-into-a-single-rayquick summation of just what it is about Naxatras that’s allowed them to grab such a fervent place in the Greek underground in such a relatively brief amount of time. The dynamic of their style is so fluid and their grooves so warm — they just hit the mark in a way that makes it sound like anyone could do it. Of course, if that were true, everyone would. I have a hard time believing Elektrohasch or El Paraiso haven’t come knocking at this point to hook up with them for releases, or maybe they have and the band are just keeping secrets. Look at me, spreading intrigue while knowing absolutely nothing for sure either way. In any case, self-release or whatever form it might take, hopefully it’s not too long before word of a third full-length surfaces.

In the interim, I’ll happily engage the quick-dip immersion of “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray,” the cover art for which you can see above and the audio for which you can hear below. I’ve also included the Naxatras tour dates that start the day after tomorrow (shows are presented by Total Volume Agency) and pics of the II vinyl that come courtesy of the band. You should keep in mind that if you want a green one, they’re limited to 100 copies. I don’t think Naxatras have done a physical pressing of anything to-date that hasn’t completely sold out, so yeah, heads up on that.

Here’s the latest:

‘II’ VINYL INFO: High-quality vinyl with an analog cutting from the original master tapes by Jesus I. Agnew at Magnetic Fidelity, in a lovely gatefold with black sleeves. Artwork by Chris RW. Green version limited to 100 pieces. Available here: https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/album/ii

“ALL THE STARS COLLIDE INTO A SINGLE RAY” SONG INFO: This is a full-analog, live recording at Magnetic Fidelity, engineered by Jesus I. Agnew. Artwork by Chris RW. This song will not be included in our next album.

Naxatras live:
21/09 – Novi Sad (RS) @ Quarter
22/09 – Timisoara (RO) @ Daos Club
23/09 – Cluj-Napoca (RO) @ The Shelter
24/09 – Budapest (HU) @ Durer Kert
26/09 – Salzburg (AT) @ Rockhouse
28/09 – Vienna (AT) @ Viper Room
30/09 – Jena (DE) @ Kulturbahnhof
01/10 – Dresden (DE) @ Roter Baum
02/10 – Leipzig (DE) @ Black Label
04/10 – Prague (CZ) @ Klubovna
05/10 – Poznan (PL) @ u Bazyla
06/10 – Krakow (PL) @ Soulstone Gathering
07/10 – Warsaw (PL) @ Smoke over Warsaw
08/10 – Berlin (DE) @ Zukunft am Ostkreuz
10/10 – Trier (DE) @ Frankenturm
11/10 – Lille (FR) @ La Malterie
12/10 – Portsmouth (UK) @ Wave Maiden
13/10 – Brighton (UK) @ The Hope and Ruin
14/10 – Leeds (UK) @ Wharf Chambers
15/10 – London (UK) @ The Brewhouse
17/10 – Poitiers (FR) @ Cluricaume
18/10 – Nantes (FR) @ Scène Michelet
19/10 – Paris (FR) @ Gibus Live
20/10 – Lucerne (CH) @ Bruch Brothers
21/10 – Munich (DE) @ Keep it Low
22/10 – Ostfildern (DE) @ Zentrum Zinsholz
24/10 – Graz (AT) @ Music House
25/10 – Zagreb (HR) @ Klub Studenata Elektrotehnike
26/10 – Nis (RS) @ Feedback
27/10 – Sofia (BG) @ Live n Loud

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Naxatras, “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Naxatras, Naxatras

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Naxatras, Naxatras (2015)

Psychedelic records rarely land with the kind of blinding reception that Naxatras‘ self-titled debut garnered upon its release in 2015. But then, psychedelic records rarely hit into the blend of natural tones and performance that the Thessaloniki, Greece, three-piece absolutely nailed on their first offering, which brought to bear an hour’s worth of gorgeous and raw immersion beginning with the 10-minute leadoff and longest cut (immediate points) “I am the Beyonder,” declaring its drift early and living up to it for the reverb-soaked duration. The trio of bassist/vocalist John Vagenas, guitarist John Delias and drummer Kostas Harizanis rightfully thrust themselves to the forefront of an increasingly crowded, emerging Greek heavy underground with the album, and through their commitment to analog recording methods and with fluid enough chemistry between them to live up to that standard, they pulled through with a complete sense of aesthetic that continues to offer something new each time the album hits ears, regardless of listening format or other circumstance. With a sound that’s almost humble in its quiet restraint, NaxatrasNaxatras is nonetheless funky, spaced-out, molten and switched all the way on for maximum far-out-itude. It just keeps going, and yet turns out no more redundant in its execution — ever — than it wants to be.

Rare. Rare that a record can do that or be so completely psych without a wash of effects, or so earthy in its tone and yet seem to have such reach. Rare that a record can be so jammed out and yet seem to still work under such a cohesive master plan. But even listening to “Shiva’s Dance,” which oozes its way so far into the stratosphere that it seems to dissipate, Naxatras ultimately retain their direction and guide their audience back, if not to ground than at least to someplace of their own sure footing so that rather than tumble in timeless antigravity, there’s something to latch onto, the returning vocals of Vagenas an essential human element that crop up intermittently in order almost to remind that there are people in there amidst all that green and blue swirl, that it’s not just about the noise being made but an underlying sense of expression. A roller like “Downer” has a classic nod, and the penultimate “The West” actually winds up looking East in its scale as it makes its way gradually toward its final build, and all of these feed into the overarching liquefaction taking place throughout. It’s all part of the whole, and rather than be an unmanageable hour in its running, Naxatras‘ debut becomes the world in which it takes place, each new turn adding to the context surrounding, evolving into something richer and more righteous through the rudimentary space rock of “Sun is Burning” and the post-Hendrixian blues jam of “Space Tunnel.” And as much as it’s the opener setting the course — I’ll take away neither from the declarative statement in the title “I am the Beyonder” nor the fact that the song’s delivery lives up to that — so too does closer “Ent” feel purposefully placed as the bookend, evoking the patience inherent in the Tolkien tree creatures in its graceful swelling and receding.

Where these cuts and the rest on the self-titled found their niche was in between the improv-sounding jamming that has permeated Europe’s heavy underground one way or another since krautrock first took shape in the early and mid ’70s, and a smooth rolling, stoner-poised bluesy feel of longform crafted songs. Most of all, Naxatras, the album, benefited from the flow honed by VagenasDelias and Harizanis, and in the gentle, Duna Jam-worthy, key-inclusive instrumental “Waves,” they send early cues to their audience again that there’s something special beginning to take shape in their sound — and also that that shape is completely amorphous and, like a cloud, can be seen as any number of shapes or figures. Like a fluffy, aural Rorschach test, built out of fuzz and tonal warmth. I see lizards. You might see something else entirely. And that’s cool.

This past summer, Naxatras gave the self-titled an awaited vinyl release (info here) and set to work on their third album in order to follow-up II (review here), released in 2016 and also preceded by the simply-titled EP (discussed here) from which their first video was also produced. With III or whatever it winds up being called impending, the band hits the road this month on a massive European tour (dates here) that includes stops at the Smoke over Warsaw and Keep it Low festivals, as well as clubs from Russia and Bulgaria to France and the UK. It is an impressive run, and one wishes them the best with it as they continue to grow their audience leading into the next album, which like II before it will arrive with no small measure of anticipation because of the sense of accomplishment that seems to have been in Naxatras since their very beginnings just a couple short years ago.

Thanks for reading, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

I wrote my grandmother’s eulogy this week. On Tuesday, after that Shroud Eater show, The Patient Mrs. and I drove to NJ to crash with my family, and on Wednesday afternoon, I went over to my grandmother’s empty house, sat on the couch where for the last couple years I watched (not often enough, if we’re counting actual visits; never enough) as she went from one of the strongest people I’ve had the pleasure to know to a state of confused, scared decay unable to let go of the life she’d had for more than a century. I was alone while I wrote. It was quiet in a way I don’t think that house had ever been in my experience. I got through it.

I might post the text here at some point. She was someone who helped shape who I am and my perspective on the world and at the end of the day this is my site to do with what I fucking please, so yeah. Maybe. I’ll ask my mother if she minds and see what she says.

By the time this post is up, I’ll hopefully have finished reading the piece at her funeral service this morning/early afternoon. Whenever. I gave it a practice run circa 5:30 this morning and it seemed like the rhythm would work so long as I didn’t get too charged up or go too fast. I need to remember tempo in that kind of thing sometimes. Though I’m a terrible conversationalist and suck at interacting with humans, I like reading in public, speaking in public. Always have. In a bizarre way, I’m looking forward to it.

The plan for before that is to basically shove as much coffee into my body as possible and the plan for after is a repast at a place that serves, um, food, which is a thing I don’t really eat anymore. Once I’m through that, The Patient Mrs. and I will come back to my cousin’s house, grab the little dog Dio, finish packing the car, and hit the road north to Connecticut, where we’ll be spending a decent portion of the next week. Saturday I’ll run home to Massachusetts to check in there, get the mail, make sure the place hasn’t flooded, burned down, etc. — still TBA if The Patient Mrs. will join me for that extra four-hour roadtrip, though I told her I’d kind of rather do it alone and that’s true this time, plus she’s eight months pregnant at this point and doesn’t really need the added strain of being a passenger in a car I’m driving — then basically turn around and go back to CT again. Gotta go, gotta go. Might try to check out the 35th anniversary edition of Wrath of Khan at the movies on Sunday, too. That would be rad.

But you probably don’t give a shit about any of that, and fair enough. Here’s what’s in the notes so far for next week. Subject to change without notice as always:

Mon.: I Klatus track premiere/review; Six Dumb Questions with Earthride.
Tue.: Slomatics track premiere/live album review; new video from Azurea or Radio Moscow.
Wed.: Review of that Greek heavy psych comp that had the track premiere this week; Six Dumb Questions with Holy Grove.
Thu.: Hotel Wrecking City Traders album stream/review.
Fri.: With the Dead album review.

Busy, busy, busy. I’ve got most of the Quarterly Review picked out for the end of this month as well. Looking like it’ll be six days again. I thought about doing seven, just to try to get as much in as possible before the baby comes, but we’ll see. Time seems to be plenty short already, even though I spend an awful lot of it staring at this laptop screen. Either way, I’ll figure it out as we get there. But that’s coming, so heads up.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading as always, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

Tags: , , , , ,