Dust Prophet Post Video for New Single “Revolutionary Suicide”

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

You had me at the bassline, which, since the bassline (plus some hi-hat) is the first thing you hear in the track means you pretty much had me immediately. New Hampshire newcomers Dust Prophet have made public their second single following up on this past Fall’s “The Big Lie” (posted here), and “Revolutionary Suicide” touches on cultish themes via lyrics delivered through catchy rhythm and rampant melody that seems only to indicate their readiness to take on a broader release, be it a debut EP or album. The production on “Revolutionary Suicide” is clean to a point almost asking for some muck for its doomly vibe to wallow in, but I wouldn’t hold a band being clear in their delivery against them, especially on a self-released single — let alone their second — and the song remains rooted in the quality of the band’s performance, which wants for nothing.

Likewise too their social media presence. They’re all over the place. I always have to admire that kind of thing, because I suck at it so very, very much — duh, here’s a picture of my baby; duh, here’s a review I posted; duh — but Dust Prophet have it down when it comes to engaging their audience, and as I think you can hear in the track below, that extends to their songwriting. Good to hit ’em on multiple levels.

Dig it:

dust prophet

Dust Prophet is proud to release: Revolutionary Suicide

We are very proud to bring you our newest single, Revolutionary Suicide. You have a few different options for listening and downloading it:

You can listen & download Revolutionary Suicide for FREE by one of the following options:

By using our Bandcamp page. In addition to downloading Revolutionary Suicide can also subscribe to our Bandcamp page and stay up-to-date on our new releases and newsworthy events.

(Although it’s a free download, you can choose to pay $1 or so if you want to support us by using the “Name Your Own Price” option).

You can also stream Revolutionary Suicide on our YouTube channel. You can access that by going HERE. Please “Like” the video and feel free to subscribe to our channel, as we’ll be adding much more content and music in the upcoming weeks.

Dust Prophet is:
Heather Lynn- Vocals.
Otto Kinzel- Guitar.
Sarah Wappler- Bass; Keyboards.
Marc Brennan- Drums.

https://www.facebook.com/dustprophet
https://www.instagram.com/dustprophet/
https://twitter.com/DustProphet
https://dustprophet.bandcamp.com/
https://dustprophet.com/

Dust Prophet, “Revolutionary Suicide” official video

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KYOTY Premiere Live at 3S Video; Live Album out Friday

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

kyoty

This week, New Hampshire heavy post-rock instrumentalists KYOTY will release the new live album, Live at 3S, through Deafening Assembly. The six-track outing captures a show the three-piece played on Aug. 3, 2018, at the 3S Artspace in I-guess-gentrifying downtown Portsmouth, NH, and the accompanying video was shot by Treebeard Media. The screen comes down behind Nathaniel Parker Raymond, Nick Filth and Rob Brown quickly as they begin their half-hour set, and the sense of atmosphere and range is almost immediate from those initial crashes, but as “L” from their 2017 split with SEA (discussed here) and as the forceful strums of “Via” and punctuated exploration “Carcer” from 2015’s Geomancy I take hold, they only begin to flesh out further the textures and progressive ambience of the set’s beginning. A wash of effects surges forward intermittently as intensity picks up and recedes, but even the quiet moments are given a sustained tension through the adrenaline surge one can easily see in the clip below, despite the dim lighting.

Those inclined to suss out influences will find Russian Circles comparisons well enough met by “Carcer” — if not by the actual band, whose moniker is an acronym for Keep Your Opinions to Yourself — and before they kyoty live-at-3s-fullclose with the resonant tones of “14,” which opened their 2012 debut, Undiscovered Country of Old Death and Strange Years in the Frightful Past — which was remixed, rearranged and remastered last year into Remanufactured Realm of Ancient Annihilation (get it?) — they unfurl “Populus,” which its anxious starts and stops and an ensuing buildup toward a massive payoff. By then, a telltale Sunn crackle can be heard from the amps, but the drift into “14” is clean and they hold down the end of the set with vitality that undercuts the notion of such atmospheric material being in any way staid or overly academic in its execution. They may not have a frontman out there plugging the t-shirts at the merch table, but KYOTY obviously have no trouble making arguments in their own favor regardless.

Their Bandcamp page is a trove of churning progginess ripe for digging in, and I won’t tell you not to do that, but on the occasion of the release Friday of Live at 3S, I’m happy to be able to host the video shot by Treebeard of the entire set — i.e., the visual accompaniment of the entire live record. With the audio mixed by Filth and the level of performance taking place, I think you’ll agree it’s worth sticking around for the whole gig. I’ve been through it five or six times at this point and no regrets.

Some comment from the band follows.

Please enjoy:

KYOTY, Live at 3S Artspace, Portsmouth, NH 08.03.18

KYOTY on Live at 3S:

We decided to make the video when we realized that a lot of the live footage of us online was either outdated or not great quality (probably because we tend to play in the dark, haha). We figured it was worth setting up something for ourselves to share a better vision of our live performance. Having toured with SEA, we were friendly with Steve and were fans of his video work so it seemed only natural that we work with him and Treebeard.

Initially it was going to just be a live video for which Nick Filth (our guitarist) was going to mix the audio. But we were all so happy with the performance and the tracks provided by Adam Preston Cissell that it seemed worth releasing in its own right. I think we all felt it was such a good, honest portrayal of our sound as a band that we had to put it out. Nick Filth mixed and mastered the audio for the final release.

KYOTY performing live at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH on August 3, 2018.
Album available here: https://kyoty.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-3s

Sound & lights by Nick Lemoyne and Alex Bourne.
Audio mixed & mastered by Nick Filth.

Tracklisting:
1. —
2. L
3. Via
4. Carcer
5. Populus
6. 14

KYOTY is:
Nick Filth
Nathaniel Parker Raymond
Rob Brown

KYOTY on Thee Facebooks

KYOTY on Instagram

KYOTY on Bandcamp

KYOTY website

Treebeard Media website

Deafening Assembly on Bandcamp

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Dust Prophet Post New Single “The Big Lie”

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I live in New England. I’ve lived in New England for just over half a decade. I can’t claim to be a lifer and I don’t think I’ll stay there forever, or at least not where I am now. It’s not perfect. People care way more about sports than they do about art. The food isn’t great. The weather sucks. Blah blah blah. I give New England a lot of flack, but I’ll give it one thing. When it comes to an anti-religious standpoint, as the epicenter of the Catholic priest child abuse scandal in the US, New England as a legitimate gripe. That’s not to say anyone else doesn’t — rest assured, they all fucking do, apparently all the way around the planet — but yeah.

Obviously I don’t know the history of anyone in Manchester, New Hampshire’s Dust Prophet in that regard, and I wouldn’t speculate, but even as a general attitude, I get it. You don’t have to have been raped by a priest to say fuck those rapey priests. So when they come along with their debut single “The Big Lie” and lyrics like “Your god’s an empty song/Every right is a wrong,” the position seems to me well justified.

As regards the song though — it’s the first thing Dust Prophets have put out and dig the arrangement on the vocals and the inclusion of keys in the melody. I’m not one to bet on direction given one track, but they seem to have an idea of where they want to be sound-wise, and a pro-shop recording to showcase that. “The Big Lie” is streaming at the bottom of this post. Here’s info culled from social media and the PR wire:

dust prophet the big lie

DUST PROPHET – “THE BIG LIE”

Escape the haze and enter the reality…

Dust Prophet are a 4 piece Stoner-rock/Progressive/Psychedelic-Rock band based in Manchester, New Hampshire. The band consists of Heather Lynn (Vocals); Otto Kinzel (guitar); Sarah Wappler (bass & organ); & Marc Brennan (drums). Our debut single, The Big Lie, is out NOW.

The Big Lie is the first track released by NH based stoner-rock band Dust Prophet. Heavy riffs; Haunting vocals; Fuzzy tones; Weird sounds; Monstrous beats.Take our hand and walk through the smoke…

Mixed by Glenn Smith at Amps vs. Ohms
Mastered by Nicholas Zampiello at New Alliance East.

Dust Prophet is:
Heather Lynn- Vocals.
Otto Kinzel- Guitar.
Sarah Wappler- Bass; Keyboards.
Marc Brennan- Drums.

https://www.facebook.com/dustprophet
https://www.instagram.com/dustprophet/
https://twitter.com/DustProphet
https://dustprophet.bandcamp.com/
https://dustprophet.com/

Dust Prophet, “The Big Lie”

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Scissorfight Premiere “Unfinished Business” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

scissorfight

They’ve made it clear they ain’t leavin’. They’ve warned of the dangers of drinking downstream from where the beavers live. They’ve reminisced about how much better the ’70s were. They’ve even had the devil’s shingle — and I have no idea what that means nor desire to know. Now, with their new single, reactivated New Hampshire plunderers Scissorfight call out their “Unfinished Business.” As to what that business might be, it’s something of a mystery, because frontman Doug Aubin gets pretty growly sometimes, but if I had to guess, I’d say it probably involves riffs, beer, kicking ass and, I don’t know, more riffs? Dudes have plenty of riffs to go around.

“Unfinished Business” is one of several songs the Granite State Destroyers laid down at Converse Rubber Tracks‘ studio last year. “Devil’s Shingle” was another, and they’re Scissorfight - Unfinished Businessbeing put out one at a time in order to keep momentum up between the band’s holy-shit-Scissorfight-are-back 2016 return EP, Chaos County (review here), and their next full-length, which they’ll reportedly get to recording in May. That will mark the first new Scissorfight long-player in 12 years since 2006’s Jaggernaut — not to mention their first with Aubin on the mic and Rick Orcutt on drums alongside original members guitarist Jay Fortin and bassist Paul Jarvis. If the four-piece have shown anything about themselves in the last two-plus years that they’ve been around again, however, it’s that they haven’t forgotten how to kick ass. Their stomp remains incredibly, incredibly mean.

I’m not sure whether “Unfinished Business” will end up on the next Scissorfight record or not — that would make its own business unfinished — but its video is charming and raises some interesting points. Consider that when Scissorfight faded out circa ’06, the “hipster” thing was just really getting started. That generation was just beginning to turn over. Now, “those people” have been going to shows for over a decade — is it really fair to think of them as tourists at this point? They’re the ones buying shirts. Just something to keep in mind as you see the cartoon version of the band — adorable — chase down PBR-snagging fashionistas in a giant, antler-laden monster truck that should be well familiar to any longtime fan. Hell’s bells, maybe they just wanted to start a conversation.

Either way, bonus points for the use of the theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter. Gabe Kaplan. Boom-Boom Washington. Classic.

The single is out tomorrow, March 23. Enjoy the video below, followed by a few words from the band:

Scissorfight, “Unfinished Business” official video premiere

Scissorfight on “Unfinished Business”:

These singles we are releasing are kinda one-offs that we recorded at the Converse Rubber Tracks studio last year. Right now we are working out the songs for our next full-length which we go into the studio in May. The video idea has been thrown around for a long time and I finally had some time to pull it off.

Scissorfight website

Scissorfight on Thee Facebooks

Scissorfight on Instagram

Scissorfight on Twitter

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Scissorfight Premiere “We Ain’t Leaving” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

scissorfight photo muzzey

Are Scissorfight leaving? Nope. They ain’t. At least not until there’s more fucking rock than you ever have seen.

Such was the inarguable mission statement of the New Hampshire heavy riffers’ return EP, Chaos County (review here), which was issued last year via Salt of the Earth Records and served as my pick for the Best Short Release of 2016. Being the first offering of any kind from the band in a decade, “We Ain’t Leaving” is probably as much about saying “we’re back” as delaying any kind of premature departure, but one way or another, its huge, swaggering groove, granite-weighted tonality and gruff vocals get the message across to any and all willing to hear it: Scissorfight still destroy. That’s basically been their thing all along.

Chaos County returned them to the task with particular efficiency and force. The arrival of vocalist Doug Aubin and drummer Rick Orcutt alongside founding guitarist Jay Fortin and bassist Paul Jarvis only seemed to bolster the steamroller that the EP’s five tracks became, and as the leadoff, “We Ain’t Leaving” (also listed as “We Ain’t Leavin'” on the release itself) was the opening salvo that introduced listeners to the new hand from which Scissorfight‘s collective middle finger to planet Earth extended. Having hit the road in Europe this past Spring to play Roadburn 2017 (review here) and Desertfest London alongside compatriots Backwoods Payback, it seems only fair that the official video for “We Ain’t Leaving” should also come from the stage.

It finds them on their home turf — if I’m not mistaken, it’s The Shaskeen, in Manchester, NH — at a recent gig following their return from abroad, and you can see their rabble-rousing ways in full effect among the locals. Compiled in part from submitted footage from the show amid scenes of natural violence, car wrecks, and so on, “We Ain’t Leaving” portrays the riotousness for which Scissorfight have enjoyed a long-earned reputation live, and shows that while they’re long past the 20-year mark as a band, they’re still just getting (re-)started. Don’t expect them to leave anytime soon.

Some live dates follow the clip below. Please enjoy:

Scissorfight, “We Ain’t Leaving” official video

Scissorfight live:
Friday Oct 13 2017, The Stone Church – Newmarket NH
Friday Oct 20 2017, Empire – Portland ME
Friday Oct 21 2017, Great Scott – Allston MA

Scissorfight on Thee Facebooks

Scissorfight on Instagram

Scissorfight website

Salt of the Earth Records webstore

Salt of the Earth Records on Thee Facebooks

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Quarterly Review: Unearthly Trance, Heavy Traffic, Saturn, Lucifer’s Fall, Trevor Shelley de Brauw, Scuzzy Yeti, Urn., Nebula Drag, Contra, IAH

Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

From harsh doom to urban pastoralism to heavy blues rock to rolling doom nonetheless metallic in its defiance, Day Four of the Quarterly Review spins around a swath of styles and hopefully, hopefully, finds something you dig in the doing. It’s been a long week already. You know it. I know it. But it’s also been really good to dig into this stuff and I know I’ve found a few records that have made their way onto the already-ongoing 2017 lists — best short releases, debuts, albums, etc. — so to say it’s been worth it is, as ever, an understatement. Today likewise has gems to offer, so I won’t delay.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Unearthly Trance, Stalking the Ghost

unearthly-trance-stalking-the-ghost

Brooklyn’s Unearthly Trance make a somewhat unexpected reentry with Stalking the Ghost (on Relapse), their sixth album. In the years since 2010’s V (review here), guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lipynsky has delved into a wide variety of extreme genres, from the blackened fare of The Howling Wind to the deathly-doom of Serpentine Path, in which Unearthly Trance bassist Jay Newman and drummer Darren Verni also shared tenure, but reuniting as Unearthly Trance feels like a significant step for the three-piece, and on tracks like “Dream State Arsenal” and the darkly post-metallic “Lion Strength,” they remind of what it was that made them such a standout in the first place while demonstrating that their years away have done nothing to dull the surehandedness of their approach. At eight tracks/52 minutes, Stalking the Ghost is a significant dirge to undertake, but Unearthly Trance bring pent-up anguish to bear across this varied swath of punishing tracks, and reassert their dominance over an aesthetic sphere that, even after all this time, is thoroughly their own.

Unearthly Trance on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Heavy Traffic, Plastic Surgery

heavy-traffic-plastic-surgery

Probably a smart move on the part of Heavy Traffic spearhead guitarist Ian Caddick and drummer/vocalist Tav Palumbo to swap coasts from Santa Cruz to Brooklyn ahead of putting together their sixth (!) full-length in three years and Twin Earth Records debut, Plastic Surgery. Cali is awash in heavy psych anyway and Brooklyn’s been at a deficit (as much as it’s at a deficit of anything) since space forerunners Naam became one with the cosmos, so even apart from the acquisition of bassist David Grzedzinki and drummer Dan Bradica, it’s a solid call, and one finds the fruits yielded on Plastic Surgery’s dream-fuzzed blend of heft and roll, heady jams like “See Right Through,” the oh-you-like-feedback-well-here’s-all-the-feedback “Broth Drain” and winding “Medicated Bed” finding a place where shoegaze and psychedelia meet ahead of the low-end-weighted closing title-cut and the bonus track “White and Green,” which finishes with suitable push and swirl to mark a welcome and vibe-soaked arrival for the band. Hope you enjoy the Eastern Seabord. It could use you.

Heavy Traffic on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Saturn, Beyond Spectra

saturn beyond spectra

In the second Saturn album, Beyond Spectra, one can hear one of retro rock’s crucial next movements taking place. The Swedish four-piece, who debuted on Rise Above with 2014’s Ascending and return with a periodically explosive 10-track/45-minute outing here, find a niche for themselves in adding dual-guitar NWOBHM elements to ‘70s-style (also ‘10s-style) boogie, as on the scorching “Still Young” or opener “Orbital Command.” They’re not the only ones doing it – Rise Above alums Horisont come to mind readily – but they’re doing it well, and the last three years have clearly found them refining their approach to arrive at the tightness in the shuffle of “Wolfsson” and the creeping Priestism of “Helmet Man” later on. I’ll give bonus points for their embracing the idea of going completely over the top in naming a song “Electrosaurus Sex,” but by the time they get down to closing duo “Silfvertape” and “Sensor Data,” I’m left thinking of the subdued intro to “Orbital Command” and the interlude “Linkans Delight” and wondering if there isn’t a way to bring more of that dynamic volume and tempo breadth into the songwriting as a whole. That would really be far out. Maybe they’ll get there, maybe they won’t. Either way, Beyond Spectra, like its predecessor, makes a largely inarguable case for Saturn’s potential.

Saturn on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Lucifer’s Fall, II: Cursed and Damned

lucifers-fall-cursed-and-damned

Measuring its impact between doomly traditionalism and attitudinal fuckall, Lucifer’s Fall’s II: Cursed and Damned (on Nine Records) is a doom-for-doomers affair that tops 55 minutes with its nine tracks, recalling Dio-era Sabbathian gallop on opener “Mother Superior” and landing a significant blow with the slow-rolling nine-minute push of “The Necromancer.” Shades of Candlemass, Reverend Bizarre, and the most loyal of the loyalists show themselves throughout, but whether it’s the crawl in the first half of “Cursed Priestess” or the blistering rush of the clarion centerpiece “(Fuck  You) We’re Lucifer’s Fall,” there’s an undercurrent of punk in the five-piece’s take that lends an abiding rawness to even the album’s most grueling moments. One looks to find a middle ground in songs like “The Mountains of Madness” and closer “Homunculus,” but Lucifer’s Fall instead offer NWOBHM-style guitar harmonics and soaring vocals, respectively, only pushing their stylistic breadth wider, playing by and breaking rules they’re clearly setting for themselves rather than working toward outside expectation. As a result, II: Cursed and Damned keeps its fist in the air for the duration, middle finger up.

Lucifer’s Fall on Bandcamp

Nine Records website

 

Trevor Shelley de Brauw, Uptown

trevor-shelley-de-brauw-uptown

Over the course of six-minute opener “A New Architecture,” guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw gradually moves the listener from abrasive noise to sweet, folkish acoustic guitar backed by amplified wavelengths. It’s a slowly unfolding change, patiently done, and it works in part to define Uptown (on The Flenser), the Pelican guitarist’s six-song solo debut long-player. Noise and drone make themselves regulars, and there’s a steady experimentalism at root in pieces like “Distinct Frequency,” the low-end hum and strum of “You Were Sure,” and the should’ve-been-on-the-soundtrack-to-Arrival “Turn up for What,” which unfurls a linear progression from minimalism to consuming swell in eight minutes ahead of the more actively droning 11-minute sendoff “From the Black Soil Poetry and Song Sprang,” but de Brauw manages to keep a human core beneath via both the occasional acoustic layer and through moments where a piece is being palpably manipulated, à la the spacious distorted churn of “They Keep Bowing.” I’m not sure how Uptown didn’t wind up on Neurot, but either way, it’s an engaging exploration of textures, and one hopes it won’t be de Brauw’s last work in this form.

Trevor Shelley de Brauw on Thee Facebooks

The Flenser website

 

Scuzzy Yeti, Scuzzy Yeti

scuzzy yeti scuzzy yeti

Someone in Scuzzy Yeti has roots in metal, and the good money’s on it being vocalist Chris Wells. Joined in the Troy, New Hampshire, five-piece by guitarists Brad Decatur and Jason Lawrence (ex-Skrogg), bassist Wayne Munson and drummer Josh Turnbull, Wells casts a sizable frontman presence across the five-tracks of Scuzzy Yeti’s self-titled debut EP, belting out “Westward” and “BTK” as the band behind him hones a blend of classic heavy rock and doom. The sound is more reminiscent of Janne Christoffersson-era Spiritual Beggars than what one might expect out of New England, and the band amass some considerable momentum as centerpiece “Conqueror” and the shorter shuffle “Knees in the Breeze” push toward slower, lead-soaked closer “Flare,” which finds the lead guitar stepping up to meet Wells head-on. They might have some work to do in finding a balance between the stylistic elements at play, but for a first outing, Scuzzy Yeti shows all the pieces are there and are being put into their rightful place, and the result is significant, marked potential.

Scuzzy Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Scuzzy Yeti on Bandcamp

 

Urn., Urn.

urn urn

The insistent push from punctuated Denver trio Urn.’s self-titled debut demo/EP is enough to remind one of the days when the primary impression of Mastodon wasn’t their complexity, but the raw savagery with which that complexity was delivered. Urn. – the three-piece of Scott Schulman, Graham Wesselhoff and Jacob Archuleta – work in some elements of more extreme metal to “Rat King” after opener “Breeder,” both songs under three minutes and successfully conveying an intense thrust. The subsequent “Stomach” ranges further and is the longest cut at 4:45, but loses none of its focus as it winds its way toward closer “To the Grave,” which in addition to maintaining the nigh-on-constant kick drum that has pervaded the three tracks prior, offers some hints of lumbering stomp to come. As a first sampling, Urn.’s Urn. is a cohesive aesthetic blast setting in motion a progression that will be worth following as it develops. Call it rager metal and try not to spill your beverage while you windmill, you wild headbanger.

Urn. on Thee Facebooks

Urn. on Bandcamp

 

Nebula Drag, Always Dying

nebula drag always dying

2016 found San Diego aggressors Nebula Drag making their self-titled, self-released debut (review here) with a record that seemed to work in willful defiance of their hometown’s psychedelic underground while at the same time occasionally nodding to it. The forebodingly-titled Always Dying three-song EP does likewise, launching with a vengeance on “Crosses” before burying the vocals and spacing out behind the crashes of the more languid-rolling title-track and giving a bit of both sides with the four-minute closer “Flying Fuckers.” It’s almost as if the three-piece of Corey Quintana, bassist Mike Finneran and drummer Stephen Varns, having thus completed their first album, decided to boil it down to its essential stylistic components and the result of that was this 14-minute outing. An intriguing prospect, but it could also be these were leftovers from the prior session with Jordan Andreen at Audio Design Recording and putting them up for a free download was an easy way to give them some purpose. In any case, if you haven’t yet been introduced to the band, Always Dying is an efficient telling of their story thus far.

Nebula Drag on Thee Facebooks

Nebula Drag on Bandcamp

 

Contra, Deny Everything

contra deny everything

If their moniker doesn’t have you immediately running through the most legendary of cheat codes, congratulations on being born after 1990. Cleveland burl-sludge metallers Contra make their full-length debut on respected purveyor Robustfellow with the 10-track/41-minute Deny Everything, and if it sounds like they have their shit together – at least sound-wise – it should make sense given the pedigree of drummer Aaron Brittain (ex-Rue), bassist/guitarist Adam Horwatt (So Long Albatross), guitarist Chris Chiera (ex-Sofa King Killer) and vocalist Larry Bent (ex-Don Austin). Be it established that songs like “Snake Goat” and “Son of Beast” are nobody’s first time at the sludge rodeo. Fair enough. Doesn’t mean Contra don’t establish their own personality in the overarching fuckall and total lack of pretense throughout Deny Everything – hell, seven-minute closer “Shrimp Cocktail” proves that on its own – just that that personality has roots. What Contra wants to do with them still kind of seems up in the air, but something about these tracks makes me think the band likes it that way. See the aforementioned “fuckall.”

Contra on Bandcamp

Robustfellow Productions on Bandcamp

 

IAH, IAH

iah iah

Comprised of four songs tracked live in the trio’s native Córdoba at 440 Estudio, the self-titled debut EP from Argentine trio IAH – guitarist Mauricio Condon, bassist Juan Pablo Lucco and drummer José Landín – would seem destined to catch the attention of South American Sludge Records if it already hasn’t. In the interim, the three-piece have made the instrumental EP available as a free download and its unpretentious heavy psychedelics and edge of rock-minded thrust on opener “Cabalgan los Cielos” and the early going of closer “Eclipsum” more than justify their intention to spread the word as much as possible. Set to a balance of post-rock guitar, the bassline of “Stolas” carries a progressive inflection, and the fuzz that emerges halfway into second track “Ouroboros” shows a desert rock influence that blends well into its surroundings as a part of a richer sonic entity. A nascent but palpable chemistry at work across its 26 minutes, IAH’s IAH could portend expansive ideas to come, and one hopes it does precisely that.

IAH on Thee Facebooks

IAH on Bandcamp

 

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

Posted in Features on December 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 short releases

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Yeah, I know I said as much when the Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016 went up, but I take it back: this is the hardest list to put together. And to be honest, there’s a part of me that’s hesitant even to post it because I know as soon as I do someone’s going to be like, “No way you dick your entire existence is shit because you forgot Release X,” and very likely they’ll be right. Up to the very moment this post is going live, I’ve been making changes, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while after it’s out there.

So what’s a “short release?” That’s another issue. Pretty much anything that’s not an album. Singles, digital or physical, as well as EPs, splits, demos, and so on. The category becomes nebulous, but my general rule is if it’s not a full-length, it qualifies as a short release. Sounds simple until you get into things like, “Here’s a track I threw up on Bandcamp,” and “This only came out as a bonus included as a separate LP with the deluxe edition of our album.” I’m telling you, I’ve had a difficult time.

Maybe that’s just me trying to protect myself from impending wrath. This year’s Top 30 albums list provoked some vehement — and, if I may, prickishly-worded — responses, so I might be a bit gunshy here, but on the other hand, I think these outings are worth highlighting, so we’re going forward anyway. If you have something to add, please use the comments below, but remember we’re all friends here and there’s a human being on the other end reading what’s posted. Thanks in advance for that.

And since this is the last list of The Obelisk’s Best-of-2016 coverage, I’ll say thanks for reading as well. More to come in the New Year, of course.

Here we go:

scissorfight chaos county

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2016

1. Scissorfight, Chaos County EP
2. Earthless / Harsh Toke, Split
3. Mars Red Sky, Providence EP
4. Mos Generator, The Firmament
5. Soldati, Soldati
6. Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze EP
7. Wren, Host EP
8. Goya, The Enemy EP
9. The Sweet Heat, Demo
10. River Cult, Demo
11. Stinkeye, Llantera Demos
12. Megaritual, Eclipse EP
13. Ragged Barracudas / Pushy, Split
14. Mindkult, Witchs’ Oath EP
15. Iron Jawed Guru, Mata Hari EP
16. Brume, Donkey
17. Bison Machine / Wild Savages / SLO, Sweet Leaves Vol. 1 Split
18. BoneHawk / Kingnomad, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter Three Split
19. Wicked Gypsy, EP
20. Love Gang, Love Gang EP

Honorable Mention

An expansive category as ever. In addition to what’s above, the following stood out and no doubt more will be added over the course of the next few days. If you feel something is missing, please let me know.

Presented alphabetically:

Cambrian Explosion, The Moon EP
Candlemass, Death Thy Lover EP
Cultist, Cultist EP
Danava, At Midnight You Die 7″
Dos Malés, Dos Malés EP
Druglord, Deepest Regrets EP
Fu Manchu, Slow Ride 7″
Geezer, A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness 12″
Gorilla vs. Grifter, Split
Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke! It’s a Demo!
Karma to Burn, Mountain Czar
LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place EP
Pallbearer, Fear and Fury
Reign of Zaius, Planet Of…
Sea of Bones / Ramlord, Split
Shallows, The Moon Rises
The Skull, EP
Snowy Dunes, “Atlantis Part I” digital single
Sun Voyager / The Mad Doctors, Split
Valborg, Werwolf 7″

Notes

Was it just the raw joy of having Scissorfight back? No, but that was for sure part of it. It was also the brazenness with which the New Hampshire outfit let go of their past, particularly frontman Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff, and moved forward unwilling to compromise what they wanted to do that made their Chaos County so respectable in my eyes. Having always flourished in the form, they delivered an EP of classic Scissorfight tunes and issued a stiff middle finger to anyone who would dare call them otherwise. They couldn’t have been more themselves no matter who was in the band.

At the same time, it was a hard choice between that and the Earthless / Harsh Toke split for the top spot. I mean, seriously. It’s Earthless — who at this point are the godfathers of West Coast jamadelica — and Harsh Toke, who are among the style’s most engaging upstart purveyors, each stretching out over a huge and encompassing single track. I couldn’t stop listening to that one if I wanted to, and as the year went on, I found I never wanted to.

I was glad when Mars Red Sky included the title-track of the Providence EP as a bonus cut on their subsequent album, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), both because it tied the two releases together even further and because it gave me another opportunity to hear it every time I listened to the record. Their short releases have always shown significant character apart from their full-lengths, and this was no exception. I still tear up when I hear “Sapphire Vessel.”

To bounce around a bit: Had to get Mos Generator on the list for the progressive expansion of the live-recorded The Firmament. Stickman was right to put that out on vinyl. Both Monolord and Goya provided quick outings of huge riffs to sate their respective and growing followings, while Megaritual’s Eclipse basked in drone serenity and the debut release from Sergio Ch.’s Soldati provided hard-driving heavy rock with the particular nuance for which the former Los Natas frontman is known. It’s the highest among a slew of first/early outings — see also The Sweet Heat, Wren (Host was their second EP), River Cult’s demo, Stinkeye, Mindkult, Iron Jawed Guru, Brume, Wicked Gypsy and Love Gang.

Ultimately, there were fewer splits on the list this year than last year, but I’ll credit that to happenstance more than any emergent bias against the form or lack of quality in terms of what actually came out. The BoneHawk and Kingnomad release, the Ragged Barracudas and Pushy split, and that heavy rocking onslaught from Bison Machine and company were all certainly welcome by me, and I’ll mention Gorilla vs. Grifter there too again, just because it was awesome.

One more time, thank you for reading, and if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below. Your civility in that regard is appreciated.

This is the last of my lists for 2016, but the Readers Poll results are out Jan. 1 and the New Year hits next week and that brings a whole new round of looking-forward coverage, so stay tuned.

As always, there’s much more to come.

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Scissorfight, Chaos County: Granite State Destruction Reborn (Plus Full EP Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

scissorfight-chaos-county

[Click play above to stream Scissorfight’s Chaos County EP in full. Out Oct. 28 on Salt of the Earth Records.]

Takes Scissorfight about 17 minutes to reclaim their position as the Granite State Destroyers with their new EP, Chaos County. Actually, it’s much less than that. By the time guitarist James Jay Fortin has made his way through the first riff cycle of opener “We Ain’t Leavin'” — a declamatory statement in itself — with his unmistakable low tone that should be marketed as a nutritional supplement to foster beard growth, Scissorfight make it clear that they’re back and, as new frontman Doug Aubin assures in a guttural delivery, they’re not going anywhere, “until there’s more fuckin’ rock than you ever have seen.”

It’s been a decade since the New Hampshire outfit’s last album, the Jaggernaut — which was, indeed, thought to be their swansong until their reunion was announced at the start of this year — and as Chaos County brings them out of this extended absence, it comes as a particularly bold re-entry as founders Fortin and bassist Paul Jarvis bring aboard Aubin and drummer Rick Orcutt.

The two newer members replace vocalist Christopher “Ironlung” Shurtleff and his brother, drummer Kevin Shurtleff, and particularly for Aubin, those are considerable shoes to fill as a frontman. Those who saw Ironlung on stage or heard his burly, always-clever lyrics could tell you he was a significant presence in Scissorfight even as he moved toward cleaner singing on the later offerings of their original run.

How does Scissorfight handle this monumental change? In typical Scissorfight fashion, of course. They don’t give a shit.

Really, that’s all they can do. Fortin and Jarvis, after years together in acts like Mess with the Bull and Supermachine, who each had something to offer but never quite took hold in the same way as their prior outfit, wanted to reignite Scissorfight, and presumably there will be plenty who decry the lineup changes, but after listening to the five tracks on Chaos County (out on Salt of the Earth Records), hearing the energy and the force behind all five — “We Ain’t Leavin’,” “Seventies,” “Giardia on My Mind,” “Nature’s Cruelest Mistake” and “Tits Up” — as captured by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studio (more on the recording here), as a fan of the band I can only think it’s their loss.

Those approaching Chaos County already familiar with Scissorfight‘s work — and after the changes the heavy rock underground has gone through in the last decade, I expect there will be many who aren’t — might find it helpful to think of it along the lines of 2000’s New Hampshire full-length. Shorter, obviously, but that was arguably the point at which the band began to turn from their even-more-aggressive earlier work toward the burl-groove style of 2001’s landmark Mantrapping for Sport and Profit (discussed here), and Chaos County, aside from sharing some artwork similarity in the landscape (plus skull), the new EP moves Scissorfight to a rawer, meaner place, especially in what Aubin brings on vocals.

scissorfight

Yeah, they’re still having fun in “Seventies” — about the ’70s; its gas, rock, boobs, etc. — and the centerpiece highlight “Giardia on My Mind,” on which Jarvis adds banjo flourish while Aubin digs into lyrics about the actual “beaver fever” one gets from drinking contaminated river water. Winks, of course, abound. Scissorfight never had much use for political correctness, and one doubts that will change, but frankly with “Giardia” in the title and lines like, “A cool mountain stream is full of beaver piss,” their public service announcement comes through loud and clear.

The subsequent “Nature’s Cruelest Mistake” nestles into a right-on roll, led by Fortin‘s riff — a more forward drive and tight interplay between verses and choruses that seems less insistent than the jerky starts and stops that rush through “Seventies” earlier on, and the band as a whole comes across as their most comfortable there. It’s a little slower, but in a way that “Seventies” kind of feels like it wants to be, and if nothing else, it shows that Scissorfight are getting back to a position of making their songs work in different ways.

Shaking off the rust? Maybe. A decade is a long time, and it feels even longer for rock and roll, but from the raucous gurgles of “We Ain’t Leavin'” to the got-drunk ode “Tits Up” that caps in high-octane, encouraging mega-chorus form — Fortin backing Aubin on vocals as he also does on “Giardia on My Mind” — Chaos County stands in the tradition of Scissorfight EPs like 2000’s Piscataqua, 2002’s Potential New Agent for Unconventional Warfare, 2003’s Deathchants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes Vol. 2, and 2005’s Victory over Horseshit, in finding their band feeling their way through a stage in their progression hopefully en route to a next full-length (their seventh, if one counts the 2001 limited-release, American Cloven Hoof Blues).

Ultimately, how a given listener feels about the prospect of new Scissorfight as they move forward I think will depend a lot on the individual — some won’t be able to get past the changes, but there’s an entire generation to take their place at shows — and on how much road-work the band are able to do, if they can get to Europe, and what they do in the studio to follow-up Chaos County, be it another EP or, hopefully, an album that can stand up to the crucial statement that not only are Scissorfight back as a reunited act looking to push ahead of where they were 10 years ago, but are ready to declare their victory once more on an ongoing basis.

A working band, in other words. The next year or two will be telling, but the fact that Chaos County ignites such looking to the future instead of longing for the past should be taken as proof of the EP’s success. It demonstrates that there is life for Scissorfight in this incarnation, and more, it fucking rocks in a way that no one else has quite been able to match since the band went away all those years ago. Welcome back, Scissorfight. You have been missed.

Scissorfight, “Tits Up” official video

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