Eternal Black to Record New Album in November; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

New York doom torchbearers Eternal Black play Descendants of Crom next weekend in Pennsylvania, and they’ve got a date locked in for Brooklyn near the end of October, but one assumes the rest of their time will be spent putting the finishing touches on their sophomore full-length before entering the studio in November to put the thing to tape. They’re giving a kind of barebones here’s-a-riff-dig-it preview of what’s to come in a rehearsal room clip of the track “The Ghost.” The album will be recorded with the same team that helmed their 2017 debut, Bleed the Days (review here), and they’re currently looking for a label to help them put it out. Frankly it’s hard to imagine someone won’t pick them up for the release, which would presumably be in 2019, because, well, it’s almost 2019 anyway and these things take time.

They sent the following update down the PR wire:

eternal black

Eternal Black Return To The Studio In November 2018 To Record Follow-Up To Their Debut Full-Length Album, Bleed The Days

Preview Of New Track “The Ghost,” Seeking Record Label

Brooklyn-based doom band ETERNAL BLACK will begin recording their second full length album in November 2018. Comprised of seven new songs, the as-yet untitled album is the follow-up to their debut album, Bleed the Days. Rehearsal footage of a new track, “The Ghost,” is now available on YouTube.

Eternal Black will once again be working with the production team of Joe Kelly and Kol Marshall (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Ministry) at Suburban Elvis Studios. The duo has produced all of Eternal Black’s studio recordings including Bleed the Days and their self-titled EP. “We are fired up and ready to head North to reconvene with our brothers Joe and Kol,” the band comments. “The material for this new album is a big step forward in the evolution of the E.B. sound. The dark parts are darker, the groovy parts are groovier. As before we are dragging doom back to its roots while still driving it forward. But this time around the songwriting is more concise and punchier.”

The band is seeking a record label to work with them on the release of the new album. Interested parties should contact the band via eternalblackdoom@gmail.com or their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/blackhanddoom).

Formed in late 2014, Eternal Black is made up of Joe Wood on drums (Borgo Pass, Bloody Sabbath), Hal Miller on bass, and Ken Wohlrob (End of Hope) on guitar and vocals. The group came together out of a desire to create dark songs driven by fuzz-drenched riffs and old-school heavy grooves.

Eternal Black live:
Sep 23
Eternal Black, Mountain Tamer, Matte Black, EDGE Gigging Crew
PIANOS · New York, New York

Sep 28
Descendants of Crom 2018
Sep 28-29 · Cattivo · Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania

Oct 26
Eternal Black – Yatra – It’s Not Night It’s Space – Seasick Gladiator
Lucky 13 Saloon · New York, New York

http://eternalblackdoom.com
https://eternalblack.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/blackhanddoom
https://instagram.com/eternalblackdoom/
https://soundcloud.com/eternalblackdoom
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07476RQL8/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bleed-the-days/1263331681
https://open.spotify.com/album/4AgiDSE4pDn4nSc9CsqxZG

Eternal Black, “The Ghost” rehearsal room demo

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Dead Waves to Release God of the Wild Oct. 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Dead Waves (Photo by Lindsey Niebler)

I talk a lot about ‘wash’ on here often as relates to psychedelia, and in keeping with an underlying tradition of avant New York noise, Dead Waves are a pretty clear demonstration of what I mean when I use the word. With a newly-formed imprint in Entheon Records, the brotherly two-piece will release their new album, God of the Wild, on Oct. 26, and they’re streaming the song “Astrapi” ahead of the release now to give some sense of where they’re coming from. It’s a broad soundscape somewhere between heavy psych and post-rock, notable for its lack of drums and the naturalism in the interaction between voice and instrument, which adds to the fluidity of a still-pretty-concise three-minute run. I haven’t heard the whole album yet, so I can’t comment on it, but what’s out there now bodes well.

The PR wire, expanding minds as usual:

dead waves god of the wild

DEAD WAVES: NYC psych duo reveals details of new Martin Bisi-produced album “God of the Wild”

New York City’s acclaimed Dead Waves – the duo comprising brothers Teddy and Nick Panopoulos – returns with new album God of the Wild, coming October 26th. It is Dead Waves’ sixth release and the first on the band’s newly-founded label, Entheon Records.

Recorded and mixed by the legendary Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Brian Eno) at his cavernous factory space in Brooklyn, BC Studio, God of the Wild is a dark, haunting experience that blurs lines between urban and rural, modern and ancient, heavy rock and fragile folk.

Early Dead Waves releases, including the Steve Albini-produced Oracles of the Grave/Promise 7″, rocked in a heavy-garage fashion, sparking comparisons to Nirvana and Pixies. Over the course of six releases – one per year from 2013 to the present day – the band has gradually severed ties with rock conventions and blossomed into an unfettered, experimental musical entity. Gone now are the Grohl-ish drums and Cobain-ish roars, but in this rawer state the music is more powerful than ever.

Like a secret door in a New York subway tunnel, leading to sun-kissed, rolling hills, God of the Wild marries the urban intensity of classic Bisi productions like Sonic Youth’s EVOL, with a bare-bones, lo-fi sound evoking rural vistas. At times delicate and somber, at times psychedelic and raging, God of the Wild is soulful and convincing from start to finish. Teddy describes the mindset that went into making this music:

“For this album we really wanted to go clean slate. Not listening to anything while creating, just delving into our feelings and blanking everything out. Feelings of loneliness, happiness, sadness. How this concept of time, in what we perceive as reality, goes by so quick. Loved ones passing away, ourselves getting older. Just trying to enjoy the now, the feeling of just being and trying to enjoy, but all the while with that certain lingering sadness.”

God of the Wild is the first Dead Waves release to feature no drums or percussion at all. The songs are constructed from the brothers’ minimal guitars, bass, analog synth and vocals, and the raw spaciousness of Bisi’s studio is felt throughout. Opening track “Gabriella” features guest vocals by Jessica Reynoza of The Willowz.

Nodding to their Greek heritage, the brothers Panopoulos also use ancient Greek instruments on certain songs. Teddy explains:

“We wanted to intertwine our modern analog and digital electronic instruments with the most basic instruments carved out of wood. I added in my wooden acoustic lyre kithara and my wooden flute, which I picked up years ago from ancestors’ region in Greece. We call this concept ‘ancient future,’ paying homage to our ancient origins.”

God of the Wild was mastered by Kim Rosen (Aimee Mann, Charles Bradley). The cover art was created by Teddy Panopoulos and Ana Belen Ruiz.

Tracklist:
1) Gabriella (feat. Jessica Reynoza)
2) God of the Wild
3) Silver Pirouettes
4) Cousin of Magiic
5) Innate
6) Ancient Love
7) Astrapi
8) Dream Harvest
9) Strategia della Tensione
10) Tabula Rasa

Lineup:
Teddy Panopoulos – electric bass, lyre kithara, flute, analog synth
Nick Panopoulos – electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Discography:
God of the Wild (2018, Entheon Records)
The Great Clock (2017, self-released)
Living Inside (2016, self-released)
Nature (2015, self-released)
Oracles of the Grave/Promise 7″ (2014, self-released)
Take Me Away EP (2013, self-released)

https://www.facebook.com/deadwavesband/
https://www.instagram.com/deadwavesband/
https://deadwaves.com/
https://www.entheonrecords.com/

Dead Waves, God of the Wild (2018)

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A Storm of Light to Release Anthroscene Oct. 5; Post New Song “Slow Motion Apocalypse”

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

a storm of light

New York’s A Storm of Light have set an Oct. 5 release date for their first album in a half-decade, Anthroscene. You would not necessarily call it a hopeful sound they’ve conjured on their fifth outing, and among the battery of influences that project-spearhead/vocalist/guitarist/etc.-ist/graphic-designer-extraordinaire Josh Graham namechecks in his comments below, I can definitely hear Killing Joke in opener “Prime Time,” the lyrics to which are a meditation on the self-as-celebrity social media climate and hypersaturation of the information climate in which we reside. Second cut “Blackout” asks the question in as plain language as possible: “What the fuck is wrong with us?” They’re streaming “Slow Motion Apocalypse” now, which is a fair-enough summary of the perspective as regards social commentary.

Personally, I’d say we were screwed from the moment it was decided “all men created equal” was a limited standard, but hindsight’s 20/20 and multiculturalism is still a nice idea. In the meantime, we’ll grit and grind and chip our teeth as nationalism pulls off its hey-we’re-definitely-not-fascist mask and the boots of empire trod the skulls of those who sewed them together while we all bathe in incel jizz go deaf from the volume of their shouts of blind hatred formerly disguised as pride for something they have no right to feel prideful for the first place and wait for the next flood or wildfire or both to wipe the slate clean for the next round of fucking scumbags. Make a joyful noise, assholes.

But yeah, the album. You kind of lose me quoting a dude who got outed for jacking off under his desk and who was neither that smart nor that funny to start with, but I’ll hardly disagree shit feels dire, so the point stands. If you need me, I’ll be watching PBS Newshour and crying awake in the middle of the night for no reason. No reason at all.

The album’s Blade Runner-reminiscent cover art — of course by Graham himself — and details came down the PR wire, along with the aforementioned track:

a storm of light anthroscene

STORM OF LIGHT ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF THEIR NEW ALBUM AND SHARE THE AUDIO FOR NEW ALBUM TRACK ‘SLOW MOTION APOCALYPSE’

PRE-ORDERS AT CONSOULING SOUNDS ARE NOW LIVE FOR CD & VINYL

A Storm of Light return with a new record. Five years after their last studio album (Nation To Flames, Southern Lord), Josh Graham and his companions Chris Common, Dan Hawkins and Domenic Seita have completed their fifth full length Anthroscene, to be released via Consouling Sounds (EU and UK), Translation Loss (US) and Daymare (JP) on 5th October.

Josh Graham explains the different mood on this record; “Anthroscene ignores genre and freely combines a lot our our early influences. Christian Death, The Cure, Discharge, Lard, Fugazi, Big Black, Ministry, Pailhead, Melvins, Pink Floyd, Killing Joke, NIN, Tool, etc. Where Nations to Flames was a very a focused sonic assault, this record has more time to breathe, yet still keeps the intensity intact. We allowed the songs to venture into new territory and push our personal boundaries. It’s heavy and intense, but always focuses on interwoven melodies, song structure and dynamic. Bringing Dan Hawkins (old friend and high school bandmate) on second guitar and keyboards, has further expanded the album’s palette”.

Lyrically the songs are an honest, brutal and emotional response to what is happening all around us: the disaster of American politics, racism, greed, climate change, climate change denial, nationalism, war, refugees, and how technology is actively changing us as human beings.

Josh continues… ”The current events happening across the planet right now are very overwhelming. It’s difficult not to feel very hopeless at times. This record is a big cathartic release… not offering much in the way of fixes, but serving more as a surreal document of our current times.“

With everyone being spread out across the US, the band worked separately and shared files online. From there Josh would put together modified ideas that bridged the different styles, getting a similar result to rehearsing in a room together: “This writing process is a good example of how technology is changing the way we work and interact with each other. In some ways it is great…this would have been almost impossible even ten years ago. In other ways it feels like human contact is being replaced by screen-contact. At times I feel like I am anchored to, and becoming one with the computer. Between music, my design work, composing, music videos, concert visuals, etc etc, it’s all in the computer. No escape. In the background is social media and streaming news, etc. Louis CK said something like — we watch all of these atrocities regularly on little streaming videos, and before that comes on, we see some mundane commercial, like it’s our penance for getting to watch all of this from the comforts of our home. This article was also an influence to some of the lyrics, along the same lines”.

TRACK LISTING:
1 Prime Time
2 Blackout
3 Short Term Feedback
4 Life Will Be Violent
5 Slow Motion Apocalypse
6 Dim
7 Laser Fire Forget
8 Rosebud

A STORM OF LIGHT LIVE WITH MONO
01/10 – UK Bristol, The Fleece
02/10 – UK Norwich, Arts Centre
03/10 – UK Glasgow, Classic Grand
04/10 – UK Newcastle, The Cluny
05/10 – UK Leeds, Left Bank
06/10 – BE Ghent, De Central
07/10 – NL Utrecht, Tivoli De Helling
08/10 – DE Bremen, Tower
09/10 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
10/10 – DE Wiesbaden, Schlacthof
11/10 – CH Aarau, Kiff
12/10 – FR Lyon, CCO
13/10 – ES Barcelona, AMFest
14/10 – FR Toulouse, Le Rex
15/10 – FR Bordeaux, Iboat
16/10 – FR Orleans, Astrolabe
17/10 – NL Heerlen, Nieuwe Nor
18/10 – DE Oberhausen, Drucklufthaus
19/10 – NL Leeuwarden, Into The Void
20/10 – GR Athens, Fuzz Club
22/10 – RU Moscow, Zil
23/10 – RU St. Petersburg, Zal

https://www.facebook.com/astormoflight
https://astormoflight.com/
https://astormoflightsl.bandcamp.com/
https://consouling.be/
https://www.translationloss.com/

A Storm of Light, “Slow Motion Apocalypse”

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Insect Ark Post “Tarnish” Video; Touring East and West Coasts

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

insect ark (Photo by Rennie Elliot)

I was fortunate enough to watch a couple minutes of Insect Ark at Roadburn earlier this year from way, way in the back of the Cul de Sac venue in the Netherlands, and I ran into band founder/multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter later on or the next day or whenever it was and told her, “Your band is fucking awesome.” Usually one tries to be reserved. I nonetheless stand by the statement.

Earlier this year, Schechter, who handles lap steel, bass, synth, etc., and drummer/synth noisemaker Ashley Spungin released the second Insect Ark album, Marrow Hymns, through Profound Lore. It’s the first collaboration between the two players under the Insect Ark banner — the first full-length, 2015’s Portal/Well (review here), was Schechter alone — and through the Earthly drone ramble of “In the Nest” to the practically-noise-rock “Skin Walker,” which follows and into the insect ark marrow hymnsminimalist, post-metallic reaches of “Slow Ray,” which has a proclivity for holding tension worthy of comparison to Neurosis, it’s an evocative, inspirational outing that refuses genre convention in favor of its own strength of creative will. With the ambient introduction of “Thelema” setting a foreboding tone and “Arp 9” following with an immediate burst of bass/drum angularity of groove, there’s as much atmospheric as there is tonal heft, but with the layered-in lap steel, an airy high end seems to float through the places vocals might otherwise go.

Marrow Hymns can be crushing, but listening to Spungin‘s tom work in “Sea Harps” and how it opens to a mid-level payoff in the cymbals before she and Schechter lock in a march beneath swells of guitar, it’s not overdone, amp-worshiping claustrophobia. And though it’s clearly progressive in the sense of having thought behind it, it’s not overly cerebral and staid as some post-metal has a tendency to be. It’s titled correctly. Marrow Hymns. It goes right to the bone and sings from what’s inside there. Some of it is gorgeous, some of it isn’t, but whatever it is, it’s honest, and as the drumless “Tarnish” moves into the patient and consuming highlight “Windless” and the drone-fight synth-barrage that is closer “Daath,” Insect Ark only seem to be plunging even deeper into that visceral, often lonely reality. Marrow Hymns is powerful. A living thing.

And all the more exciting because although they’ve been working together since 2015 it’s the first studio expression of Insect Ark as a duo. I wouldn’t at all expect them to make the same record twice, but it seems entirely likely that Marrow Hymns, for its many accomplishments, will also serve as a stepping-off point to the next stage in Insect Ark‘s ongoing progression. An outfit like this simply doesn’t stay still.

To a less figurative end of that, Insect Ark will be on tour this month and into September, hitting the West Coast first followed by the East. Dates follow the “Tarnish” video below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Insect Ark, “Tarnish” official video

New York/Portland instrumental duo, INSECT ARK, will bring their psalms to the live stage later this month on a North American tour en route to their performance at this year’s edition of Basilica Soundscape in Hudson, New York. The band will perform an all drone set August 11th in Salem, Oregon at Cemetary Soundscapes Fest before kicking of the first official leg of the tour with Belus August 15th in Olympia, Washington. The trek will run through August 19th in Los Angeles, California. The second leg of the trek begins August 29h in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and will find the band paired with Pandiscordian Necrogenesis through September 6th in Brooklyn, New York. See all confirmed dates below.

INSECT ARK released their Marrow Hymns full-length early this year via Profound Lore. An alluring fusion of horror-film soundtracks, psychedelic doom, and atmospheric noise, INSECT ARK’s intensely visual music weaves interludes of fragile beauty with crushing passages of swirling doom, spinning like a backwards fever dream.

INSECT ARK:
8/11/2018 Cemetary Soundscapes Fest @ The Burial Grounds – Salem, OR (drone set)
w/ Belus:
8/15/2018 Cryptatropa – Olympia, WA w/ Eye of Nix, Vouna
8/16/2018 Highline – Seattle, WA w/ Eye of Nix, Forest of Grey
8/17/2018 High Water Mark – Portland, OR w/ Jason W. Walton, Dark Numbers
8/18/2018 Golden Bull – Oakland, CA w/ Ails, Apprentice Destroyer
8/19/2018 The Resident – Los Angeles, CA w/ Graf Orlock, Toke
w/ Pandiscordian Necrogenesis:
8/29/2018 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA w/ Dopethrone, Crud, Hellrad
8/30/2018 Atlas Brew Works – Wash DC w/ Crowhurst, The Holy Circle
8/31/2018 Full Pint Wild Side – Pittsburgh, PA
9/01/2018 Intersection Fest 2018 – Toronto, CA (free/all ages)
9/03/2018 Casa Del Popolo – Montreal, CA w/ Echo Beach
9/04/2018 Paulys Hotel – Albany, NY w/ Foisy-Hardiman
9/05/2018 Obrien – Boston, MA w/ Sea, Greylock
9/06/2018 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY w/ Queen Elephantine
9/14-16/2018 Basilica Soundscape Festival 2018 – Hudson, NY *INSECT ARK only

Residing on opposite coasts, the two halves of the INSECT ARK whole – comprised of Dana Schechter (bass, lap steel guitar, synthesizers) and Ashley Spungin (drums, synthesisers) – converged to record the album with engineer Ethan Donaldson at Mozart St Studios in Brooklyn, New York over the course of eighteen months.

Insect Ark, Marrow Hymns (2018)

Insect Ark website

Insect Ark on Thee Facebooks

Insect Ark on Bandcamp

Profound Lore Records website

Profound Lore Records on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

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HAAN to Release By the Grace of Blood and Guts in August; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

haan

Oh, New York noise rock. You are timeless. You are crunchy. And you are mad, pretty much about being from New York. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. The rent’s too damn high and what used to be your favorite Chinese takeout place is now an artisanal meatball shop for cats. Such is the way of things, all carefully planned out to serve our capitalist rentier class overlords, so what’re you gonna do but plug in the instruments that you paid hard cash money for and make a lot of noise. Noise rock is like New York’s recourse to itself.

So maybe that’s where HAAN are getting the aggro vibes from. I’d say it’s in the water, but it’s in everything. Their album, By the Grace of Blood and Guts, will be out on Aqualamb Records in August in the label’s traditional format of the 100-page artbook, and the band will play the release show for it at the Saint Vitus Bar on Aug. 17 as the first night of a tour that goes to Aug. 25 in Detroit.

The PR wire puts it like this:

haan by the grace of blood and guts

One great peril in hard rock genre-hopping is that an inept band can simply end up diluting all of its sources of inspiration which, let’s be honest, is what happens more often than not. To synthesize something genuinely exciting, adept musicians need to obliterate the lines between genres rather than merely straddling them.

New York City’s HAAN understands this perfectly.

Initially founded as the quintet No Way in 2012, the group’s core trio of guitarist Jordan Melkin, bassist Dave Maffei, and drummer Chris Enriquez (now Andrew Gottlieb) explored a noisy post-punk inspired by the guitar daredevilry of Drive Like Jehu before embracing the crushing riffage of their bludgeon-rock forebears like Unsane and Deadguy. Dirgy psychedelia found its way into the mix as well, and there are even traces of southern-fried swamp rock grooves in their sound —and all of this is buttressed by a spine forged from the heaviest of metal.

Adding singer Chuck Berrett and adopting the name HAAN from a complex Korean term signifying collective feelings of isolation, injustice, melancholy, and insurmountable oppression, they announced their existence to the world in 2014 with the brutal and amazing cassette E.P. “Sing Praises.” In a mere four tracks, the band issued a remarkably clear statement of purpose-it’s a piledriver of an E.P.; dark, dirty, punishing, but richly complex, sharp-sounding, and utterly riveting. The cassette sold out quickly, but Finland’s notorious purveyors of noisy rock, the Kaos Kontrol label, released a vinyl edition that remains in print.

HAAN’s new album, “By the Grace of Blood and Guts,” ” is due in August on Aqualambrecords, a label that’s distinguished itself by releasing albums accompanied by 100-page art books, but BTGOBAG will also be released on gorgeous limited edition clear black smoke vinyl. Fans of “Sing Praises” will rejoice to hear that the full-length delivers the same kicks —Maffei and drummer Enriquez deftly manage the twin tasks of battery and fluidity while Melkin punctuates savage riffing with noisy passages that recall the mind-bending guitar needling of Daughters. Berrett channels a range of effective vocal stylings from that recall everything from the brawny expressiveness of Iron Maiden’s Paul Di’Anno all the way to the rhythmic incantations of Clutch’s Neil Fallon, and his way with a turn of phrase is undeniable as he conjures HAAN’s fight songs for the apocalypse.

“By the Grace of Blood and Guts” was engineered at Spaceman Sound in Brooklyn by Tom Tierney & Alex Mead-Fox (A Place to Bury Strangers, Kid Millions), and mastered by Chicago’s Carl Saff (Fu Manchu, Child Bite, Unsane). The INTENSE illustrations for the vinyl sleeve and art book were executed by vocalist Berrett.

TRACK LISTING

1. Thy Tongues 3:56
2. Hyena Moan 3:05
3. It Smells Like Gas 2:01
4. Zero Day 7:03
5. The Woke 4:42
6. Hangdog 4:07
7. Diminuendo 3:02
8. Funeral Song 5:52

HAAN:
Chuck Berrett – Vocals
Dave Maffei – Bass
Jordan Melkin – Guitar
Andrew Gottleib – Drums

HAAN will be touring with Finnish noise rockers Throat this August.

SUMMER TOUR DATES With Throat (Finland)
8/17 – Brooklyn, NY (record release) – Saint Vitus with Netherlands and Couch Slut
8/18 – Philadelphia, PA – The Barbary with Faking and Body Spray
8/19 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar with Birth (Defects) + TBA
8/20 – Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern + TBA
8/21 – Madison, WI – Art Inn with Coordinated Suicides + TBA
8/22 – Minneapolis, MN – Hexagon Bar with Tongue Party and Buildings
8/23 – Chicago, IL – The Burlington with War Brides and Salvation
8/24 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club – Triple Eye Festival 3 with Them Teeth, Knaaves and Dead is Dead
8/25 – Detroit, MI – Cellarman’s Brewery with Them Teeth and Those Hounds

https://www.facebook.com/haannyc/
https://haan-nyc.bandcamp.com/
http://www.aqualamb.org/
http://twitter.com/aqualamborg

HAAN, “Hyena Moan” official video

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Live Review: Sleep and Dylan Carlson in Brooklyn, 07.27.18

Posted in Reviews on July 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I hadn’t yet had occasion to visit Brooklyn Steel, nestled in among a bunch of still-warehouses in East Williamsburg, and if there was ever to be an occasion, Sleep rolling through supporting their first new album in 15 years, The Sciences (review here), was probably it. It was the second of two nights in New York for the California-based rifftree growers on a run of select dates, and with support from Earth founder and drone-guitar innovator Dylan Carlson, the trip was all the more essential. I got there about 45 minutes before doors, it was lightly raining, and the line was building outside the door. I and my umbrella and my cosmic backpack joined the growing sea of black t-shirts, many of them with Sleep logos on front. Given that they’ve been playing the borough since eight years ago (review here) when their then-fledgling reunion was just getting started, seems fair enough they’d have sold some merch along the way. The line was certainly long enough for just about the entirety of this show to run out of the night’s stock in wearables.

The due sacrifices to Apollo and whichever of the old gods is in charge of such things had been made en route from New Jersey to Brooklyn, and they were merciful, so Brooklyn Steel had a photo pit. I was right in there as Carlson — and only Carlson — took stage playing through two small amps in front of Sleep‘s massive setup. In a vest and cowboy-ish hat, he looked every bit the American folk troubadour, and though later in his set there would be blues and greens, he started out playing under twin sunset-shaded orange lights that perfectly suited his spacious guitar evocations. His new album, Conquistador, was one of those lost on my old laptop, but he played several songs from it, among them the sprawling Westernisms of the title-track and “Reaching the Gulf,” which he dedicated to someone from the stage and temporarily re-titled “Roll Tide.” Fair enough, especially for the “roll” aspect of it, hills drawing out from each note in a manner astounding when one considers how vividly Carlson and Coleman Grey were able to call to mind British folk pastoralia with 2016’s Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion.

Different styles, sure, but still incredible what Carlson can do with essentially the same method: him and a guitar. Parts of his set did seem to reference some of Earth‘s groundbreaking dives into Americana, but the effect of his being alone on that stage isn’t to be understated either. Brooklyn Steel is not a small room, and it was getting more and more packed with the sold-out crowd as he played. He’s not light on years served, but even if what he’s doing now isn’t revolutionary for him in terms of aesthetics, the methodology is new and the explorations are fresh. Watching him from upstairs, I couldn’t help but think of the enduring boldness in his craft. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him a few times over the years, and he’s always humble and thoughtful and reserved, and his stage persona is much the same, but there’s a bravery beneath that which underscores everything he does and which, one imagines, has played no small part in his will toward sonic pioneering, in Earth and out. It was a pleasure to watch him bring these sounds to life, even if the crowd murmur got louder as the set went on.

It was a little after 10PM when Sleep went on, and the crowd seemed good and greased. Friday night, riffs, beers, a cool new space with good sound — hell of a way to spend an evening. As is my wont, I’d set up shop in the back of the room, shaped somewhat like a stretched out Irving Plaza with a balcony in back and around the sides and two sets of stairs, one reserved for those with VIP passes, but I made my way up for pictures and it was absolutely jammed. One could leave the main space and go to the hallway for easier back and forth, but between bands, the outside bar, food area and merch space was also packed-house. Fair enough. A recording of what seemed to be astronauts talking to mission control from orbit — one of them kept saying “rodge” instead of “roger” — played as the band’s extended introduction, and bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pike and drummer Jason Roeder eventually came out to the delight of all parties, feedbacking their way into “Marijuanaut’s Theme” from the new album.

The Sciences would feature prominently in the set, and rightly so. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I was there to see them play the new stuff. I’ll never, ever, complain about watching Sleep do cuts from 1993’s classic and hugely influential Sleep’s Holy Mountain (reissue review here), and it’s a thrill every time they dig into pieces of the no-less-landmark Dopesmoker (discussed here) — they wouldn’t this time, but reportedly had the night before — but The Sciences is the first longer-form presentation of who Sleep are today, and that’s what I was there for. They played their 2014 single “The Clarity” (review here), which fit right in the set alongside “Marijunaut’s Theme,” the later jam on “The Botanist” and “Giza Butler,” which in terms of sheer riffing might’ve been the highlight of the show. Its bouncing progression is peak-stoner on the record, and it was fun to watch Cisneros actually bounce while playing it, and as Roeder rolled out groove after groove after groove, not only tapping the snare on older songs like “Holy Mountain” and “From Beyond” and “Aquarian” from Sleep’s Holy Mountain in the spirit of original drummer Chris Hakius, but showcasing his own style as well there and in the cymbal and tom work of the new material, Pike made each solo an epic, leaning back with the stage presence of a gritty veteran, still a rousing complement to Cisneros‘ shamanic aura. As with any of history’s best power trios, the drums are the anchor.

I won’t debate the impact of Sleep‘s riffing, Sleep‘s volume, Sleep‘s stage chemistry or — just to keep the thing going with possessives — Sleep’s Holy Mountain, but it’s worth noting that as the set lumbered into its second hour, their quiet moments seemed to have as much to do with the overall vibe as the loud. The dip in “Holy Mountain” early, and certainly righteous plunge of the post-The Sciences surprise single “Leagues Beneath” (discussed here) provided subdued and/or exploratory stretches, and these brought a sense of atmosphere to the proceedings, not necessarily to offset the distorted barrage from the mass of speaker cabinets assembled on stage — Cisneros‘ four Ampeg 8x10s lined up in a row with a head on each, Pike‘s Orange cabs built up like a pyramid behind him, heads peppered about — but to add to it in much the same way that the band members’ individual stage presences complement each other. As they made their way through “The Botanist” toward “From Beyond” at the end of the regular set, the dynamic only grew, and when they came back out for “Dragonaut” as an encore, though they were coming up against midnight, the crowd, many of whom were also on their second show in two nights, was still more than willing to be astounded one more time. And so they were.

For me to sit here and call Sleep legends says nothing. Far more respected sources have said the same for years, and likely more eloquently/efficiently than I could. Whatever. The more important thing, particularly as regards this show, is how fluidly Sleep have transitioned from a reunion band to a working one. Their reunion started nine years ago, so it’s not exactly a surprise to see at this point, but the context has changed now that they’re supporting a new album, not just playing songs from a back catalog. The new material fit seamlessly with the old, and the band was both comfortable and actively enjoying playing it, and the audience was as dug into “Giza Butler” — though really, who wouldn’t be if you’re there? — as they were into “Aquarian” just before. Sleep weren’t exactly lacking in relevance before, but it was a welcome opportunity to watch them arrive at new heights in that, and after they released what’s arguably 2018’s most crucial heavy album, to see the force with which they manifest it on stage made one feel lucky to be alive.

Special thanks to Damon Kelly and Tim Bugbee and Suze Wright for making this one happen. More Sleep pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

Sleep

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Primitive Man and Unearthly Trance Split LP Due Aug. 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Every now and then, two bands being labelmates works out well for everyone. And by everyone, I don’t just mean the bands. To wit, uniting Brooklyn’s reignited post-doomers Unearthly Trance with Denver everything-crushers Primitive Man? Yeah, that’s just a win all around. I hope whoever made that pairing happen got a promotion, or at least a bonus, or maybe one of those awesome Relapse Records hoodies that you always see the staff wearing around Philly and get mad jealous. Also, in that scenario, you is me. I mean, we’re all one anyway, but specifically there I’m talking about myself.

Anyway, the point here is that Primitive Man and Unearthly Trance getting together for a split seems like it would be far less likely to happen were it not for the fact that they’re both on Relapse Records, and if that’s what it takes, to manifest that kind of devastation, then all the better. If you missed them, both bands released records last year — Primitive Man assaulted the senses with Caustic (review here) while Unearthly Trance marked a return from a long hiatus with Stalking the Ghost (review here) — and if the ultra-quick teaser for the joint intro to the split is anything to go by, the new outing is going to be noisy as hell.

Primitive Man and Unearthly Trance both will play Psycho Las Vegas next month, and Primitive Man have further touring in Europe set for Aug./Sept. alongside also-labelmates -(16)-. Nothing like keeping good company.

From the PR wire:

primitive man unearthly trance split

PRIMITIVE MAN & UNEARTHLY TRANCE Announce Split LP Coming August 17th Via Relapse Records; Trailer Posted

One year after each releasing two of 2017’s heaviest albums, Denver’s PRIMITIVE MAN and New York City’s UNEARTHLY TRANCE unite for an exercise in complete and total suffering, coming this August via Relapse Records. Across seven apocalyptic tracks,both bands tap into some of the most uncomfortable, vile realms of blackened doom and dissonant, harsh noise put to tape in the new millennium.

Watch the official split album trailer featuring opening track “Merging,” recorded by both bands, HERE. New music from each band will be available in the near future.

PRIMITIVE MAN & UNEARTHLY TRANCE’s split LP is due out August 17th on CD, LP and digital formats through Relapse.com. Physical packages, digital downloads, and streaming services are available HERE.

Additionally, PRIMITIVE MAN has recently announced a European headlining tour with labelmates -(16)-. The tour begins August 29th in Dortmund, Germany and ends September 15th at Bloodshed Festival in Eindhoven, Netherlands. PRIMITIVE MAN will perform at various Summer festival appearances such as Psycho Las Vegas, Electric Funeral Fest, and Temple Of Ascension Vol. 1. All confirmed tour dates are available below.

PRIMITIVE MAN & UNEARTHLY TRANCE Split LP Track Listing:
1. PRIMITIVE MAN & UNEARTHLY TRANCE – Merging (Intro)
2. PRIMITIVE MAN – Naked
3. PRIMITIVE MAN – Love Under Will
4. UNEARTHLY TRANCE – Mechanism Error
5. UNEARTHLY TRANCE – Triumph
6. UNEARTHLY TRANCE – Reverse The Day
7. UNEARTHLY TRANCE – 418

PRIMITIVE MAN:
7/12/2018 Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO w/ Yob, Bell Witch
8/17/2018 Temple Of Ascension Vol. 1 – Edmonton, AB
8/18/2018 Psycho Las Vegas @ Hard rock Hotel And Casino – Las Vegas, NV
w/ -(16)- :
8/29/2018 Junkyard – Dortmund, DE
8/30/2018 IFZ- Leipzig, DE
8/31/2018 KB18 – Copenhagen, DK
9/01/2018 1000fryd – Aalborg, DK
9/02/2018 Hafenklang – Hamburg, DE
9/03/2018 Magasin4Brussels, BE
9/04/2018 Tiefgrund – Berlin, DE
9/05/2018 Poglos – Warsaw, PL
9/06/2018 Fuga – Bratislava, SK
9/07/2018 Desszert Feszt Budapest Opening Party – Budapest, HU
9/08/2018 Reflektor Venue – Timisoara, RO
9/09/2018 Something For The Core VII – Bucharest, RO
9/10/2018 Mocvara – Zagreb, HR
9/11/2018 Circolo Magnolia – Milano, IT
9/12/2018 Sunset Bar – Martigny, CH
9/13/2018 Gaswerk – Winterthur, CH
9/14/2018 Jubez – Karlsruhe, DE
9/15/2018 Bloodshed Fest 2018 – Eindhoven, NL

http://www.primitivemandoom.com
http://www.facebook.com/primitivemandoom
http://www.instagram.com/primitivemandoom
http://twitter.com/PRIMITIVEMANE
http://www.facebook.com/UnearthlyTrance
http://www.instagram.com/unearthlytrance
http://www.relapse.com
http://www.relapserecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords
http://www.twitter.com/RelapseRecords

Primitive Man & Unearthly Trance, Split LP trailer

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A Storm of Light Announce New Album Anthroscene

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hard to believe it’s been five years since the last album from A Storm of Light came out. That record was Nations to Flames on Southern Lord and their new one, dubbed Anthroscene in a clever play on the you-are-here era of planetary extinction in which we currently live, will be out via Consouling Sounds in Europe and Translation Loss in the States this Fall as the band get ready to tour overseas with Mono. It’s a pretty significant run that starts in the UK and ends in Russia, but of course A Storm of Light will be up to the task. In addition to frontman Josh Graham‘s work on graphics for Neurosis, Soundgarden, and a host of others, they’ve always kept plenty busy on the road.

Info and dates follow from the PR wire:

a storm of light

A STORM OF LIGHT ARE BACK WITH A NEW ALBUM TO BE RELEASED IN TIME FOR LIVE DATES WITH MONO THIS OCTOBER

A Storm of Light return with news of a new record. Five years after their last studio album (Nation To Flames, Southern Lord), Josh Graham and his companions Chris Common, Dan Hawkins and Domenic Seita have been working on their fifth full length Anthroscene which shall be released via Consouling Sounds (EU and UK) and Translation Loss (US) this Autumn.

A Storm Of Light will be presenting their new album across Europe in October, performing alongside Mono – see the list of dates below.

A STORM OF LIGHT LIVE WITH MONO
01/10 – UK Bristol, The Fleece
02/10 – UK Norwich, Arts Centre
03/10 – UK Glasgow, Classic Grand
04/10 – UK Newcastle, The Cluny
05/10 – UK Leeds, Left Bank
06/10 – BE Ghent, De Central
07/10 – NL Utrecht, Tivoli De Helling
08/10 – DE Bremen, Tower
09/10 – DE Dresden, Beatpol
10/10 – DE Wiesbaden, Schlacthof
11/10 – CH Aarau, Kiff
12/10 – FR Lyon, CCO
13/10 – ES Barcelona, AMFest
14/10 – FR Toulouse, Le Rex
15/10 – FR Bordeaux, Iboat
16/10 – FR Orleans, Astrolabe
17/10 – NL Heerlen, Nieuwe Nor
18/10 – DE Oberhausen, Drucklufthaus
19/10 – NL Leeuwarden, Into The Void
20/10 – GR Athens, Fuzz Club
22/10 – RU Moscow, Zil
23/10 – RU St. Petersburg, Zal

https://www.facebook.com/astormoflight
https://astormoflight.com/
https://astormoflightsl.bandcamp.com/
https://consouling.be/
https://www.translationloss.com/

A Storm of Light, Nations to Flames (2013)

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