It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting: Pillars in the Void (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

its not night its space our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting

[It’s Not Night: It’s Space release Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting on June 24 via Small Stone. Click play above to stream an exclusive premiere from the album.]

Cumbersome in its title and awaited in its arrival, Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting is the second full-length and Small Stone Records label debut from New Paltz, New York, heavy psych instrumentalists It’s Not Night: It’s Space. The guitar-bass-drums trio issued their first full-length, Bowing Not Knowing to What (review here), in 2012, and were picked up by Small Stone the next year, and since then it seems to have been a process of letting the band’s slow-motion space rock congeal to a point where it’s able to be processed by human minds, which is apparently where we are now. Beaming in from cosmic depths with six tracks — an intro and five cuts between seven and nine minutes a pop — Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting offers sonic immersion and atmospheric scope in kind with a patient, hypnotic front-to-back flow that adds rich tonality to what guitarist Kevin Halcott, bassist Tommy Guerrero and drummer Michael Lutomski accomplished their first time out.

Parts may have been born of improvisations, but the finished product doesn’t feel like a collection of jams. Rather, a series of interconnected pieces correctly positioned to guide the listener through this aural expanse. Spiritualism, contemplation, philosophy, space itself — all of this seems to be in play for It’s Not Night: It’s Space, as the samples in three-minute opener “Nada Brahma” demonstrate and cuts like “Across the Luster of the Desert into the Polychrome Hills” and “Starry Wisdom” answer back. The material is dynamic, particularly so the build in “Pillars of the Void,” but the key is in the motion of the record as a whole, and It’s Not Night: It’s Space succeed in holding their course while showing varied sides of their approach.

They have some help in that regard from Rick Birmingham, who recorded and mixed and who adds fiddle to “The Beard of Macroprosopus” and closer “The Black Iron Prison and the Palm Tree Garden,” but though the expanse they conjure throughout feels wider than something a trio might be able to craft, mostly it’s HalcottGuerrero and Lutomski here. Should probably go without saying that effects have a considerable role to play in Halcott‘s approach, but ultimately the album is as rhythmically hypnotic as it is otherworldly of vibe. “Nada Brahma” fades in on voices that sound like chanting mantras to ease the way into the expanded consciousness that follows. An acoustic guitar line, bass, percussion and swirl give an immediate impression like the kind of ritual Om might enact, but the samples and emergent lead electric guitar assure It’s Not Night: It’s Space maintain their own direction from the outset. They’ll continue to do so as “The Beard of Macroprosopus” takes hold with a kosmiche push that grows more and more resonant before it pays off in echoing, winding guitar the tension its early moments have built.

Much to their credit, It’s Not Night: It’s Space avoid the trap of loud/quiet trades for the most part that seem to be so core in a lot of heavy psychedelia, and instead offer linear fluidity with movement of tempo and mood, and a depth of mix through layers of rhythm and lead guitar, effects and spacious drumming. Ending with more sampled chanting, “The Beard of Macroprosopus” echoes into the start of “Across the Luster of the Desert into Polychrome Hills,” for which it doesn’t seem like an accident that “desert” made it into the title. A patient fuzz unfolds in the bass beneath manipulated drone and a subtle build of guitar and drums. The central line that arrives past two minutes in seems born of a surf tradition — as is desert rock — and if the “Polychrome Hills” are being represented in Halcott‘s lead in the second half and the deeply satisfying roll that follows, I’d say they’re being done justice.

its not night its space

A cold end brings the guitar intro to “Starry Wisdom” — I’ll assume that’s where the A/B vinyl split is as well, but it’s the digital version I’m reviewing — which spends its first couple minutes in a post-rock stoner nod before opening to more driving territory, locked in in a fashion that a low of Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting has shown little interest in being, but still atmospheric on the whole. A big slowdown and blissout awaits in the second half, but the swing never departs entirely as Lutomski plays between crash and snare to ensure the rhythm holds together until the guitar is left to fade on its own into the start of the penultimate “Pillars in the Void,” the subdued opening of which is perhaps all the more effective for how little It’s Not Night: It’s Space have toyed with minimalism throughout.

True there’s still plenty going on as the track gets underway, but the central guitar figure and drum and basslines are more sparse than, for example, “Starry Wisdom” preceding, and the effect is to enact a linear payoff, then drop back to quiet before unfurling the highlight progression of the album as it moves toward and past the six-minute mark. No less immersive than anything before it, “Pillars in the Void”‘s concluding movement showcases a feel for songwriting and linguistic expression (still without lyrics or samples, mind you) that stands it out from its surroundings. One might think that would leave “Between the Black Iron Prison and the Palm Tree Garden” as an afterthought, but that winds up not at all the case, as It’s Not Night: It’s Space close out with a darker mood and straightforward but still trance-inducing groove, bass and echoing guitar giving an impression like Yawning Man by night early before moving into the Spaghetti West in the midsection and reintroducing Birmingham‘s fiddle as they gracefully build their way into the song and the record’s final push, ending noisy and sudden.

As the material comprises it feels worked over, hammered out, and shaped into what the band wants it to be, it makes sense that Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting might show up four years after It’s Not Night: It’s Space‘s debut, but as a front-to-back listen will attest, time comes to matter little once you dig into that wash and find yourself consumed by it. Fuller in its sound and more clearheaded in its purpose, the album shows definitive growth on the part of HalcottGuerrero and Lutomski, but manages to do so without sacrificing the exploratory feel that helps make it so engaging and meditative. Similar to the chanting that starts off, the record itself seems to be a mantra. Perhaps It’s Not Night: It’s Space have found wisdom in the stars.

It’s Not Night: It’s Space on Thee Facebooks

It’s Not Night: It’s Space on Bandcamp

Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting preorders

Small Stone Records on Thee Facebooks

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It’s Not Night: It’s Space to Release Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting June 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

its not night its space

It’s been a minute or two waiting on news of It’s Not Night: It’s Space‘s debut on Small Stone. Given the lengthy title Our Birth is but a Sleep and a Forgetting, the instrumental New York State trio’s second album is due June 24 and will feature six tracks, the first of which, “Nada Brahma,” is available now for streaming. At four minutes, it’s not exactly insubstantial, but it’s still more of an intro to the record than anything else, with samples and a psychedelic swirl that continues to be a defining thread as the rest of the sprawl plays out across tracks hovering on either side of eight minutes apiece of driving, heavy and thoroughly-spaced rock and roll.

I didn’t write the bio below, but I definitely gave it an edit. Here it is off the PR wire, followed by that track:

its not night its space our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting

IT’S NOT NIGHT: IT’S SPACE: Psychedelic Drone Merchants To Release Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting June 24th Via Small Stone Recordings

Guitarist Kevin Halcott and drummer Michael Lutomski founded IT’S NOT NIGHT: IT’S SPACE early in 2010. Crammed in a small, smoky bedroom, they tapped in and jammed, compelled by chemistry to push forward. By that Fall, Tommy Guerrero had joined on bass and the band dropped two self-releases by 2012. The first EP arrived in October 2011. East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon featured three epic instrumental pieces that set the tone for what to expect from INN:IS. Positive response came in virtual and physical realities, and the band set about honing their craft, averaging about fifty-to-sixty shows a year.

Momentum carried them straight into their first LP, 2012’s Bowing Not Knowing To What, self-released with the help of successful crowdfunding raising $5,000 to press CDs and vinyl. It was this album that caught the attention of Small Stone Records. A series of roadblocks and personal setbacks fowlloing that release album set the tone for their second album, the soon-to-be issued Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting, set for official unveiling worldwide on June 24th, 2016.

In moldy warehouses, grimy basements, and the dusty backrooms of pizza shops, the psychedelic drone trio channeled new material and worked tirelessly to craft the songs that would become a definitive offering. It became a full-time task. Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting rings both familiar and fresh. Longtime fans should have no trouble getting down with the heavy grooves and climaxes of these sonic journeys, but the band has pushed into dreamier territories as well. The long wait to share this very personal and powerful album is finally over, and IT’S NOT NIGHT: IT’S SPACE is ready to get back on the wave and ride it forward.

IT’S NOT NIGHT: IT’S SPACE’s Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting was recorded, produced and mixed by Rick Birmingham at Castle Alamut and The Tin Roof Studios and mastered by Chris Goosman (Acid King, La Chinga, solace, Lo Pan, Freedom Hawk etc. ) with artwork by Travis Lawrence. The record will be released worldwide on CD, digitally and limited edition, 180-gram vinyl.

Our Birth Is But A Sleep And A Forgetting Track Listing:
1. Nada Brahma
2. The Beard Of Macroprosopus
3. Across The Luster Of The Desert Into The Polychrome Hills
4. Starry Wisdom
5. Pillars In The Void
6. The Black Iron Prison And The Palm Tree Garden

It’s Not Night: It’s Space are:
Kevin Halcott: guitar
Michael Lutomski: drums
Tommy Guerrero: bass

(((SPRING SHOWS)))
5.19 – Manchester, NH Fuzz Hut – w/ Black Norse & Big Mess
5.20 – Lowell, MA UnchARTed Gallery – w/ Black Norse, Big Mess, & Inspector 34
5.21 – Dover, NH The Dover Brickhouse – w/ Black Norse, Big Mess, & Green Bastard
5.28 – New Paltz, NY LUDWIG DAY CELEBRATION
6.16 – Kingston, NY The Anchor – w/ Moon Tooth & ROZAMOV
6.17 – Worldwide Live on Music With Space
6.18 – Newburgh, NY 2016 Newburgh Illuminated Festival
6.24 New Paltz, NY Snug Harbor Bar and Grill – RECORD RELEASE EXTRAVAGANZA

http://www.facebook.com/innis.band
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/our-birth-is-but-a-sleep-and-a-forgetting

It’s Not Night: It’s Space, “Nada Brahma”

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Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze: In the Here and Now

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on April 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

sun voyager lazy daze

In the time since releasing their 2013 demo/EP, Mecca (review here), Orange County, New York, heavy psych rockers Sun Voyager have been more or less engaged in the business of growing their band. They’ve played local shows, done some time on the road, found a label to help push their stuff in the form of King Pizza Records, appeared on a compilation or two, and done a split release, with Greasy Hearts. Along the way, they’ve also released singles in drips and drabs, one song at a time every so often, capturing different moods and vibes still within the warm sphere of what they did so well on Mecca, but showing progress anyhow in fuzzy cuts like “Gypsy Hill” and “God is Dead.” Their new cassette, called Lazy Daze after its closing track and released by King Pizza in limited numbers (250 copies, white tape, pro case and j-card), brings together these singles and turns them into Sun Voyager‘s most established release to-date. It’s five songs from the earthy heavygaze rockers and only about 20 minutes between the two sides, but big on vibe and a right-on showing of increased complexity in their craft.

Definitely an EP for its runtime, Lazy Daze nonetheless houses an album-style flow, and while its title and some of Sun Voyager‘s shoegaze aesthetic hint toward an element of ’90s apathy — of “fuckit” made flesh — the weight of their tones and swing counteract with movement that’s exciting even in the overarching languid atmosphere of the tracks themselves. “God is Dead” is a landmark for the band. A familiar refrain, perhaps, but the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Carlos Francisco, guitarist Steve Friedman, bassist Stefan Mersch and drummer Kyle Beach make it their own, turning “My god is dead but your god’s dead too” into a killer hook for the upbeat first half of the song and an echoing space-out over the fluid, slower jamming of the second. The song lurches to a drawling finish like a universe stretching itself into oblivion, and “Black Angel” picks up quickly with a garage-style rush that Francisco tops with reverb-soaked melody and a molten vibe that is quickly becoming a trademark of their approach. Unlike the opener, “Black Angel” holds its space-rocking motor for its entirety, so it seems only fair that “Gypsy Hill” would slow things down, and it does, but more than that, it opens wide a horizon soundscape, sunny and rural as were the best moments of Mecca — its central progression reminds a bit of “Space Queen” from that release; not a complaint — but more coherent in the songwriting and assured in its course. They weave into and out of jammy grooves, but its the nodding chorus that makes “Gypsy Hill” the highlight that it is as it rounds out side one.

sun-voyager-lazy-daze-tape-and-j-card

Launching side two, “Be Here Now” would seem to signal a change in vibe, but it’s really just a progression from where “Gypsy Hill” was headed, that song a transitional centerpiece between the two sides of the EP. A sleepy flow and peaceful atmosphere can make it easy to look past how heavy “Be Here Now” actually is when it picks up, but Sun Voyager shift so easily between louder and quieter parts that by the time the four minutes are up, you’re just absolutely lost in it. All the better leading into “Lazy Daze” itself, which earns the title-track spot with its more accomplished melody and memorable roll. Backing “ooh” vocals behind Francisco add flourish to the verse and choruses, and what works best about Lazy Daze overall is once more underlined, and that’s that even when Sun Voyager are using straightforward structures — all of these songs are shorter and have fewer actual jams than the tracks on Mecca — they’re able to maintain hypnotic listener engagement even as they weave through different songwriting ideas. I won’t at all say I hope they never kick out a full-on jam again, if only because I don’t think they’re at a point where any element of their approach should be written off entirely, but the balance they strike on Lazy Daze of approach-tightness and sonic-looseness makes the 20 minutes of the EP’s span seem much, much wider, and really makes me look forward to hearing what kinds of shifts Sun Voyager might be able to pull off over the course of a debut full-length. I think they could give it a shot at this point, and I hope they find room to branch out a bit in terms of arrangements, maybe put an organ in there somewhere for one or two songs, some acoustics or additional percussion. Because if Lazy Daze proves anything, it’s that Sun Voyager have their sound as it is down pat and are ready to move forward from here.

Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze (2015)

Sun Voyager on Thee Facebooks

Sun Voyager on Bandcamp

King Pizza Records

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It’s Not Night: It’s Space Launch New Video for “The Gathering”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 4th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

it's not night it's space

New Paltz final-frontiersmen It’s Not Night: It’s Space released their debut and most recent full-length, Bowing Not Knowing to What (review here), back in 2012. They were announced as having signed to Small Stone at some point last year and their new album is reportedly in progress, but no solid release date has been given yet. One imagines the instrumental trio will get there sooner or later, and in the meantime, Bowing Not Knowing to What still has plenty of cosmic delights to offer those who’d take it on, as the new video for “The Gathering” demonstrates.

The clip, which appropriately enough features a slug laced in with spaced-out B-roll, was put together by John Lutomski, brother of It’s Not Night: It’s Space drummer Michael Lutomski, and like the song itself, it’s a peaceful but increasingly foreboding build, cinematic in the sense of having grandeur, but ultimately weirder than you’d find in most movies. “The Gathering” does well in blending natural elements — flute, percussion — and a steady effects wash as it builds up, which makes sense considering it’s the leadoff on Bowing Not Knowing to What and the introduction to the rest of the album, but the languid ritualism is what carries through most of all, and in that it’s a fitting representation for what It’s Not Night: It’s Space have to offer.

That record, as well as the band’s 2011 debut EP, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, is available as a name-your-price download through Bandcamp, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get acquainted if you’ve yet to do so. It’s Not Night: It’s Space is Lutomski, bassist Tommy Guerrero and guitarist Kevin Halcott. and their new LP was recently performed in full at the New Paltz Rocks Fest over Labor Day weekend. More to come on the release, I’m sure.

Until then, enjoy “The Gathering” on the player below:

It’s Not Night: It’s Space, “The Gathering” official video

It’s Not Night: It’s Space on Thee Facebooks

It’s Not Night: It’s Space on Bandcamp

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It’s Not Night: It’s Space Announce Weekender Tours

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

New Paltz, New York, trio It’s Not Night: It’s Space celebrated the first anniversary earlier this week of their debut full-length, Bowing Not Knowing to What (review here). Since the album’s release, the space-rocking instrumentalists have signed to Small Stone for the impending follow-up, and while word has yet to come through about that, the band has announced a series of weekender and take-a-day-off gigs over the next couple weeks that will take them around the Northeast and pair them with some cool acts, including Eidetic Seeing, Moon Tooth, Queen Elephantine and Olde Growth.

Solid company to keep, and the prospect of the band working out new material on the road makes it all the more an exciting prospect. It’s Not Night: It’s Space also have shows lined up for Halloween and into November (they’re playing Nov. 15 with Geezer at The Anchor in Kingston, NY), so make sure to check the Thee Facebooks link below to keep up to date with their cosmic doings.

Until then, here’s what we know:

(((Philly, Long Island, New Paltz))) Our Hiatus Ends in THREE DAYS! it’s been four months since we played to an audience and we are fiending for your energy. that’s the longest we’ve ever gone since we started the band three years ago. we are looking at an epic stretch of Five Weeks of shows. it’s gonna be delicious.

It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Moon Tooth, Carved Up & Dead Empires
10/18 Teri’s Bar. Philadelphia, PA.
10/19 Centerville Studios. LI, NY. Nick Lee’s Birthday / Halloween RAGER at Centerville HQ
10/20 BSP Lounge. Kingston, NY.

It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Queen Elephantine, Eidetic Seeing & Black Norse
10/24 Brooklyn NY The Archeron
10/25 New Paltz NY Snug Harbor
10/26 Boston MA Space Mountain (It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Queen Elephantine, Olde Growth & Keefshovel)

https://www.facebook.com/innis.band
http://innis.bandcamp.com/

It’s Not Night: It’s Space, “Palace of the Bees” Live in Poughkeepsie, NY, 2013

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It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Bowing Not Knowing to What: Freedom in Blue Mountains

Posted in Reviews on January 14th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

The title may be purposefully vague, but the debut full-length from New Paltz, NY, space-jamming trio It’s Not Night: It’s Space, the self-released Bowing Not Knowing to What, nonetheless displays clear ideas of worship and of purpose. Tonally warm and classically exploratory, the threesome’s seven-track/50-minute outing is somehow fitting the hippie-idyllic small college town from whence they come, Kevin Halcott’s guitar painting colors of fall leaves while bassist Tommy Guerrero and drummer Michael Lutomski offer the languid motion of sentimental dreams. With an album structure that places the 12:30 “Painted Serpent” as its centerpiece, there’s a pervasive ritualism in what It’s Not Night: It’s Space are doing, and the music answers back with like-minded richness, embarking on not exactly the kind of layering one would call lush, but still enough effects and wandering moments to sound full and periodically hypnotic. It’s an ethic that in some ways allies them more to European heavy psychedelia than North American, but the post-rock echo in Halcott’s tone is a geographical giveaway (at least as far as continents go) and shows a breadth of influence wider than just classic kraut and space rock, though those vibes persist as well as opener “The Gathering” introduces It’s Not Night: It’s Space’s first movement with burgeoning jam ethic and psychedelic expanse, slow percussion and ethereal vocals mixing with a wash of warm guitar drone and flute moving forward in a slow march before the nine-minute “The Mantis and the Cow” adds more propulsion. Bowing Not Knowing to What essentially breaks down into three parts. There are the first three tracks, the centerpiece, and the last three tracks, each representing a section within the whole of the album, so that it winds up looking like this:

Movement One
1 .The Gathering (3:19)
2. The Mantis and the Cow (9:00)
3. The Magus in the Valley (6:31)

Movement Two
4. Painted Serpent (12:30)

Movement Three
5. Blue Mountain Freedom (7:32)
6. Vibration Eater (4:13)
7. Palace of the Bees (7:17)

Helping this interpretation is the fact that Movements One and Three run for almost exactly the same length of time – 18:48 and 19:00, respectively – and whether or not It’s Not Night: It’s Space went into the studio with Rick Birmingham (who produced, mixed, mastered and also contributed sitar and other strings) with that idea in mind, the music supports it too, a full-album flow established between the movements but occurring within them as well. The first three cuts, “The Gathering,” “The Mantis and the Cow” and “The Magus in the Valley” find their culmination in the opening build of the third, with Guerrero matching Halcott note for note on impressive runs while Lutomski locks in the groove behind. “The Mantis and the Cow” was more expansive, using an early push and possibly the album’s single most memorable guitar line as a foundation for space-rocking indulgences, but “The Magus in the Valley” winds up summarizing the first movement effectively while also setting up a smooth linear transition into “Painted Serpent,” which is more or less an album unto itself. Growing in presence as it makes its way through the first four minutes, the song soon breaks while Lutomski continues the beat on his toms, only to gradually resurface and continue to develop and unfold naturally over the remaining time, sparse vocals echoing behind the patient progression. Guitar bliss ensues, leading to a slight shift at 9:45, when the riff and bassline change and “Painted Serpent” shifts into a more immediate build, reaching toward a heavier apex by the time another minute has passed and carrying those ideas to a fittingly natural conclusion, swirling with wah and righteous in its groove. A sudden and cold ending is somewhat jarring, considering the gradual feel of the 12:30 preceding, but I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if that was where the tape ran out. That’s the feel It’s Not Night: It’s Space elicit, anyway, if not the actual circumstance and here as with most heavy psych of Bowing Not Knowing to What’s jammy ilk regardless of its point of origin, the feel is paramount. The vibe. The atmosphere. Ambience. Call it whatever you want, but if a full-length from a band like these guys can’t put the listener where it wants them, it simply isn’t going to work.

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Live Review: Bezoar and It’s Not Night: It’s Space in Brooklyn, 10.11.12

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

I wasn’t sure what the deal was with the giant painted egg at the front of the stage before and during It’s Not Night: It’s Space‘s set last night at Public Assembly, but I liked it a lot. Like the trio’s music, it had more than a touch of ritual to it, with the lettering and all, and the instrumental trio didn’t mention anything about it while they were on stage, made no mention of its purpose that I caught, instead Kevin Halcott introducing the instrumental band by saying, “We’re It’s Not Night: It’s Space, and we’re from space,” before leading the way through wah-drenched heavy space-jamming.

Thursday night. I’d already had more than enough week by the time I left the office at about 8:30 to head into the show, but sometimes these things can’t be helped. I’ll spare you the moaning of my insignificant dramas — more because I’m too embarrassed to put them into words than out of time/place considerations — but what it rounds out to is it’s been a shitty week and I needed to get out in a bad way. The decision to hit Public Assembly and catch Bezoar and It’s Not Night: It’s Space was a last-minute thing, but Tommy Guerrero — dreadlocked bassist in the opening act — wasn’t through his first low-end shuffle before I knew I’d made the right choice.

Funny timing on the show, as It’s Not Night: It’s Space have a new CD available called Bowing Not Knowing to What that drummer Michael Lutomski emailed me this week to see about getting reviewed. I didn’t get to meet him at the gig, but hopefully I’ll have that review forthcoming, since I dug what they were doing on stage. The bass was heavy in the mix, and Halcott‘s guitar had some trouble standing up — at one point I realized I was standing by Guerrero‘s side of the stage and thought perhaps that was the issue and so switched sides, but even then the bass was dominant — but so much of that kind of heavy jam’s success comes from the chemistry of the players involved, and though it still felt nascent, they definitely had that going for them.

The band got together in 2010 and Bowing Not Knowing to What isn’t their first outing, but it doesn’t feel unreasonable to think of the New Paltz unit as still getting their bearings in a live setting. There were stretches where Halcott seemed in his own world while Lutomski and Guerrero held down the rhythm and some of the timing on his weaving in and out of joining them felt more plotted than the jam preceding, and that undercut a bit of the spontaneity, but honestly, I’m not convinced it was anythingHalcottplaying through a full stack couldn’t have easily fixed, volume adding presence and authority.

But they’ve got time to get there, and in the meantime, they offered engaging jams — “Vibration Eater” from the new album was a highlight — and gave a solid showing of themselves ahead of Brooklyn natives Bezoar, who took the stage around 11PM. Between the sets, I ran into Drew Mack, now formerly of Hull, who said he’s joined the ranks of the band Clean Teeth and that they had a new album in the works — he also said to check out Dead Sands and Blackout, which were appreciated recommendations — so that’s good news, and before too long, Bezoar had loaded up the full stacks belonging to bassist/vocalist Sara Villard (who recently curated a playlist for this very site) and guitarist Tyler Villard as well as Justin Sherrell‘s extensive kit-of-many-toms, and they were ready to go.

This was my second time seeing Bezoar after catching them over the summer at the Saint Vitus bar (review here), and though I never reviewed it to my regret, I very much enjoyed their debut CD, Wyt Deth, released earlier this year. Watching them last night, they seemed like the kind of band that could be dangerous if they decide to tour over the long term. I know it’s rarely as simple as “deciding,” but the trio have very quickly honed a surprisingly individualized approach out of a gamut that runs from droning doom to raging post-black metal musically, and while the material was plenty tight, they without a doubt have the potential to do something really special both as a stage act and in terms of their songwriting, which already showed growth in the new song they shared with the crowd.

Here’s the thing about Justin Sherrell: He’s a fucking great drummer. You know those drummers who, when they’re warming up before the set even starts, seem to announce their awesomeness by busting out some wild fill to “test the mics?” Sherrell plays like that but with less ego. In the new song Bezoar played — I don’t think the name was offered and if it was, I didn’t catch it — as Sara and Tyler locked into a huge grooving riff — one of those riffs you call “The Riff” — Sherrell seamlessly kept pace with the changes, playing crisply and creatively in a way most drummers dream of, making the hard parts sound easy. I’m usually in the “if you have more than two mounted toms, you’re just jerking off” camp, but the dude earns every piece of that kit.

And even better, that new song was the best the band played, and they played it like they knew it. Gave me something to look forward to in the follow-up to Wyt Deth, whatever form it might take when it surfaces. They’re getting really good really quickly, and it was exciting to watch.

The Phantom Family Halo was still to come, but I made it an early night knowing there was still more week to come today — the right move, as it turns out, since the 45 minutes it took to get across Manhattan and back to the Lincoln Tunnel would’ve been even more grueling past 1AM — and split after Bezoar were finished. The Yankees were soon to lose to tie up the playoff series with the Orioles, and I rolled back into my humble river valley just a couple minutes after the postgame wrapped, slathered some leftover pizza in pesto and called it a night. It was the most relaxed I’d been in seven days.

The lighting at Public Assembly‘s always pretty rough-going in that back room, but there are a few extra pics after the jump. Thanks for reading, as always.

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