Friday Full-Length: Orodruin, Epicurean Mass

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Orodruin, Epicurean Mass (2003)

Next time you’re looking for an example of a band who really, really, really, really need to get another record out, keep Orodruin in mind. I’m talking about the kind of band who’d be doing the world a favor by putting out something new, and that’s the Rochester doomers all the way. Not saying I need something from them every six months or anything like that — like they’re about to turn into some Upstate New York Hawkwind or something — but it’s been over 14 years since their debut full-length, Epicurean Mass, came out via PsycheDOOMelic Records, and if you believe in the concept of “overdue,” then there’s just about no way a sophomore outing from Orodruin doesn’t qualify.

True, the band have had a number of short offerings out since then. 2004 brought a split with Reverend Bizarre as well as the compilation Claw Tower… and Other Tales of Terror that’s basically stood in ever since where a second full-length might’ve otherwise been, but that was basically it until they were selling a new demo at Days of the Doomed in 2011 and they had copies of the subsequent, limited-to-30-copies In Doom EP for sale when they played the Wisconsin-based fest in 2012 as well — as I recall it was in a paper sleeve; without looking I’m at least 90 percent sure mine is upstairs on the rack with the other sleeve purchases — but even that was half a decade ago now and throughout most of that stretch, news of a follow-up hasn’t gone much beyond “it’s in progress” or “we’re writing”-type updates. Nothing even close to a firm release date, label news, etc., and listening to the Epicurean Mass, that only adds to the void conjured by the classic-style doom of songs like “Burn the Witch” and “Melancholia.” With the mournful vocals of bassist Mike Puleo at the fore over the schooled-and-schooling riffs of guitarists Nick Tydelski and John Gallo, the latter also of Blizaro and his own admirably Paul Chain-esque solo work, backed by the lumbering drums of Mike WaskeEpicurean Mass has to stand among one of the most underrated US trad doom releases of all time.

Think about it this way. Orodruin formed in 1998 and issued Epicurean Mass in 2003. That puts them roughly concurrent to Indianapolis’ The Gates of Slumber, who formed in ’98 and put out their first record, The Awakening, in 2004. Think about the trajectory of the two bands. The Gates of Slumber spent years touring their collective ass off and released a total of five albums between ’04 and their swansong in 2011, and came to represent the head of a movement of traditionalist doom the influence of which is still spreading. Maybe you have to have seen Orodruin play live to get this sense, but there’s no way Orodruin couldn’t have been right there with the Midwesterners in profile and prestige. I think that comes through when you hear to the harmonies in “Peasants Lament” and “War Cry” — let alone the organ in the latter, which sets up the perfect preface for the final stretch of the eight-minute closing title-track — or the downer shuffle of “Pierced by Cruel Winds,” the rumble of “Unspeakable Truth” and the tempo shifts in “Melancholia.” In tone and presence, Orodruin were no less dynamic than The Gates of Slumber or anyone else working in the style at the time — hell, look at the legacy Reverend Bizarre have left behind in Europe; you can still see the ripples in new doom acts almost every week on release day. That’s not to take away from RevBiz or The Gates of Slumber at all. Those bands worked hard in the studio and on the road to earn the prestige they enjoyed during their respective time together. Nobody was sneaking their way to popularity there or getting away with a shortcut. I’m just saying the quality of Orodruin‘s craft, particularly on Epicurean Mass, meets that same quality standard, and in no small part because they never toured as much or as widely and haven’t to-date issued a follow-up LP, they never got to the same level of recognition for their work.

Is it too late? I don’t know. On July 5 of this year, Orodruin posted an update saying they would be tracking demos in August and September to kick around to labels and had picked out a studio to begin recording proper on their second album in December. Never say never in rock and roll. It could be that 2018 will finally bring a new Orodruin full-length and perhaps that will let them get some measure of the recognition they’ve long since deserved. Some 14 years — by then it will be 15 — after Epicurean Mass, one hesitates to offer a prediction either way, but if there’s hope of it coming together and actually happening, it’s hard to imagine labels like Shadow KingdomThe Church Within, or maybe even someone like Svart wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to stand behind the four-piece’s work. And as to what it might sound like? My guess is it would be doomed as hell. Frankly, it’s hard to think about the prospect and not get excited at what might come, but if it even happens, it’s probably a ways off, so yeah. Measured response. Cool your jets.

And in the meantime, one of the most righteous aspects of Epicurean Mass is that its decay is as ripe today as it was when it first came out, so if you’ve never heard it or if you’re revisiting after a while, I most definitely hope you enjoy its doomly processions.

Thanks as always for reading.

Oy, this week.

Though it started out exceedingly pleasant as The Patient Mrs. and I continued a long weekend in Vermont to celebrate our anniversary, I’ll say I’m not at all sorry to see it come to an end. The site, as you may or may not have noticed, shit the bed on Tuesday. The deal was basically that HostGator, the company I’ve used for the last however many years to host it, decided that it took up too much processor power and shut it down, more or less holding it hostage until I either did some shit that wasn’t going to actually fix anything and was going to take up a bunch of time or — and something tells me this was actually what they were going for — gave them more money to move to a dedicated server.

Well fuck that, and fuck them. With the generosity of Behrang Alavi of Samavayo, who it just so happens offered a while ago to host the site, we’re now in the process of making a switch. The site’s back up (you’re reading it, so yeah), and Behrang and Slevin have been working hard all week to make the transition happen while I’ve sat and fretted to no fucking end and tried to keep up with the writing end of things in no small part to stop myself from going insane. Minimally effective. We were back live yesterday. Two days’ downtime. On the grand scheme that’s nothing, but still kind of excruciating for me personally in a way I’m not sure I can properly express.

Came back from Vermont on Wednesday because The Patient Mrs. had work, kind of feeling like we were getting away with something by sneaking that trip in before the baby comes. Getting closer to the Oct. 15 due date. Just a couple weeks now. All’s well on that front. The Patient Mrs. remains aglow despite some well-earned discomfort, and all the ultrasounds and midwife visits show The Pecan as healthy and basically just waiting to show up and start kicking ass. We’re stoked.

As I noted last week was our wedding anniversary, this week — yesterday, actually — was the anniversary of when The Patient Mrs. and I first got together. 20 years ago. In 1997. Unbelievable. She is so much a part of my life. Like, all of it. And I feel like we’re just about to start this whole new adventure. It’s an amazing time and it’s going to be really challenging and really exciting and all of these things. But we’re doing it together, is the thing. I’m so lucky. 20 years. I was 15.

Having just come back from Vermont the day before, we didn’t really do much to celebrate. She went to work and I plowed away catching up on Obelisk stuff at home, but I grilled her some chicken and a garlic-infused burger for myself (also made a garlic/truffle aioli to go on top of that, which was amazing) and sauteed some baby kale and we sat down to dinner together and then watched baseball on the couch for a while before crashing out, so not by any means an unpleasant evening. This weekend we’re in Connecticut to see her family and my family and then back to MA on Sunday for The Patient Mrs.’ baby shower with her coworkers. I’m told I have to go. Seems debatable to me at best.

Next week, we wrap the Quarterly Review on Monday and there’s more to come besides. Here’s what’s in my notes now, subject to change as always and as this week certainly has been:

Mon.: Quarterly Review Day 6; Tronald video; Freak Valley 2018 announcement.
Tue.: Young Hunter track premiere/review; Asteroid video premiere.
Wed.: Enslaved review; Aux track premiere.
Thu.: Black Mare review; Rancho Bizarro video.
Fri.: Radio Moscow review.

Those reviews and some more slated for the week after is stuff I’m trying to get in before The Pecan shows up, but we’ll see how it goes. We’re close enough now to the due date that it could basically be anytime, so if it happens that’s obviously going to affect my ability to get reviews done as slated at least in the immediate for a few days, right? Can’t really be like, “Hey baby, I know you’re in labor but this Radio Moscow album ain’t gonna write itself up! Also what’s the hospital wifi?” So yeah. Please know I’ll do what I can when I can. Same as always.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whatever you’re up to. I appreciate you taking the time to read, and I think you for your patience with the downtime this week. Hopefully that’s over with at this point, but in any case, yeah, thanks. And special thanks to Slevin and Behrang as well.

Have fun. Be safe. Thanks for reading. Back Monday. Forum and Radio.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl

A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Intercourse on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

Bohr on Thee Facebooks

Tandang Records on Bandcamp

BTNKcllctv on Bandcamp

 

Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

Sulatron Records on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

Astrosaur on Thee Facebooks

Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

Sun Q on Thee Facebooks

Sun Q on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

Holy Mount on Thee Facebooks

White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds website

 

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

faces-of-the-bog-ego-death

In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

Faces of the Bog on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records webstore

 

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Mirror Queen Announce New LP Verdigris Due Oct. 27

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

mirror-queen-photo-john-fell

Earlier this year, NYC-based heavy classic progressive rockers Mirror Queen issued a seven-inch single Starliner (premiered here) that came prior to their summer tour with Tee Pee Records labelmates The Atomic Bitchwax. The song was a first glimpse at the follow-up to 2015’s Scaffolds of the Sky (review here), which has now been announced with the title Verdigris and an Oct. 27 release date. If you didn’t hear it at the time, I’ve embedded the track below for convenience’s sake, and whether or not it’s the same recording at that which will appear on the six-long LP next month, it speaks well of Mirror Queen‘s particular and longstanding meld between driving ’70s rock and more nuanced and progressive impulses.

Curious to hear what Swans guitarist Norman Westberg adds to that mix on Verdigris, as well as to hear the album in general. Led as always by guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal — aka Kenny Kreisor in honor of the outfit from which Mirror Queen evolved prior to their debut in 2011 — Mirror Queen remain a secret kept too well by NYC’s heavy underground.

Album art and details from the PR wire, which gets extra credit in my book for using the phrase “street level” to describe part of Mirror Queen‘s sound. Nicely done there:

mirror-queen-verdigris

Mirror Queen to Release New Album, ‘Verdigris’. October 27

NYC volume dealers MIRROR QUEEN will release their new album, Verdigris, on October 27 via Tee Pee Records. A masterclass of riff-driven melodic hard rock, the LP is the follow-up to the band’s 2015’s LP, Scaffolds of the Sky.

Combining edgy, street-level rock ‘n’ roll with more cerebral elements of poetry and literature, MIRROR QUEEN rides hard and loud, kicking out the jams at every opportunity. Here the songs are expansive and lush in their textures, with ethereal songwriting full of crossing guitar lines and an insistent, demanding rhythmic throb. Featuring additional guitars from SWANS six-stringer Norman Westberg, Verdigris is a rock monolith, all dark delight and sinister pleasure, that demands headbanging and fists raised to the sky.

A mainstay in the NYC hard rock scene, MIRROR QUEEN has shared the stage with heavyweight peers such as Earthless and The Shrine and toured Europe with legends such as Uli Jon Roth and UFO. The group’s driving music accelerates at the distinct point where NWOBHM and heavy Prog Rock intersect; a direct and definite delineation of an era when urgent metallic sound was the order of the day.

Track listing:

1.) Poignard
2.) Flying Eyes
3.) Sorrow’s End / Dark Kiss of the Sun
4.) Starliner
5.) Verdigris
6.) Curse the Night

MIRROR QUEEN features Kenny Kreisor (guitar, vocals), Jeremy O’Brien (drums), Morgan McDaniel (guitar) and James Corallo (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/mirrorqueennyc/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://twitter.com/teepeerecords
https://instagram.com/teepeerecords/
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com/

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Shadow Witch Sign to Salt of the Earth; Premiere “Disciples of the Crow”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Somewhere between a darkened desert and harder rock grit, one finds Shadow Witch and the title-track of their upcoming sophomore full-length, Disciples of the Crow. It’s been a minute since the album was first discussed this past Spring as the follow-up to their 2016 debut, Sun Killer, and now it’s been revealed that the New York-native four-piece have signed to Salt of the Earth Records for the release, after issuing the first record through NoSlip and Snake Charmer Coalition both.

That puts them as labelmates for the likes of Earthride, Cortez, Scissorfight and a slew of others, which is sound company to keep for Shadow Witch on the emergent imprint. I haven’t heard the full record yet — presumably it’s done since it’s expected before the end of the year — but in its stomp and deep-toned fuzz and the smooth delivery of Earl Walker Lundy‘s vocals, “Disciples of the Crow” bodes well for things to come. You can listen to the premiere of the track at the bottom of this post.

Shadow Witch play Ode to Doom at Arlene’s Grocery on Sept. 23 with GeezerBook of Wyrms and Heavy Traffic. The show is presented by Freebird Productions in conjunction with The Obelisk.

Dig:

shadow witch

SALT OF THE EARTH Signs Shadow Witch; ‘Disciples of the Crow’ out Soon!

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS proudly announces the signing of Kingston, New York, dark heavy rockers Shadow Witch for their forthcoming second album, Disciples of the Crow. They join Earthride, Scissorfight, Buzzard Canyon, Cortez and others on a stacked and ever-growing Salt of the Earth roster.

Shadow Witch garnered critical acclaim for their 2016 debut long-player ‘Sun Killer,’ which brought together weighted rocker tones and an oldschool metallic sensibility that distinguished Shadow Witch from the hordes of riff-slingers. ‘Disciples of the Crow’ is the follow-up out soon through Salt of the Earth and once again finds the four-piece crafting a dark, soulful, and doomy stoner metal album experience –- exotic and refined like the edge of an assassin’s blade, and no less lethal.

Frontman Earl Walker Lundy’s powerful voice is classic and haunting, bringing to mind the traditions of heavy metal’s best frontmen with soul and emotion. The musical influences displayed by Earl (vocals, mellotron and loops), Jeremy Hall (guitar), David Pannullo (bass, vocals) and Doug Beans (drums) are wide-ranging through blues, ’70s proto-metal, heavy psychedelic and classic rock, NWOBHM, goth, desert rock and beyond, resulting in a diverse scope and sound, that only becomes more their own in this new material. Heaviness, riffs, vibe and hooks for days, there’s so much to dig.

To herald the album’s impending arrival, Shadow Witch today premiere the title-track “Disciples of the Crow” as the first single. Listen to it now for an initial glimpse into this arc-defining release from a group about to turn even more grooving heads in their direction.

Shadow Witch live:
09.23 Ode to Doom, Arlene’s Grocery, Manhattan, NY w/ Geezer, Heavy Traffic & Book of Wyrms

Shadow Witch:
Earl Lundy: Lead Vocals, Mellotron, Loops
Doug Beans: Drums
Jeremy Hall: Guitars
David Pannullo: Bass, vocals

https://www.facebook.com/shadowwitch.band/
https://shadowwitch.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com

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Pizzafest 4 Set for June 22-24 in Brooklyn

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

Next weekend — not this weekend, the one after that — King Pizza Records hosts Pizzafest 4 in Brooklyn at The Gutter and El Cortez. The lineup boasts 21 bands by my count playing over the course of three days from June 22 to June 24, and I’ll readily admit that I’m completely unfamiliar with more than half of them. To be honest, that’s a big part of the appeal to me in putting together a post about it.

Sure, names like Sun Voyager — who released their latest single, “Trip” (posted here), in January — and The Mad Doctors, whose No Waves, Just Sharks (discussed here) came out in April, are readily familiar, and so too are several others, but Panther MartinThe UndersMax Pain and the Groovies? Well I feel like a real square in saying so, but I’ve never heard these bands and have no idea what they might sound like. Isn’t that fantastic?

There are few better feelings for me than go-do-your-homework when it comes to finding new bands, and with King Pizza‘s penchant for finding the off-kilter in noise, punk and psych, I’ve little doubt there are more than few here worth digging into. So if you need me, I’ll be doing that. Think of the lineup as a checklist and feel free to dig in as well:

pizzafest 4 poster

Pizzafest 4 – June 22-24 @ The Gutter & El Cortez, Brooklyn, NY

Pizzafest a three-day festival of rock n roll, pizza, comedy, weirdo art, and more.

Following tradition, we’re also releasing a tape that weekend – this year for Brooklyn indie rockers El Silver Cabs.

Lineup:

Thur June 22 @ The Gutter (200 N 14th St. Brooklyn)
7pm, $8
Evolfo
Sirs & Madams
Jacques le Coque (CT)
Greasy Hearts
Lumps

Fri June 23 @ The Gutter (200 N 14th St. Brooklyn)
7pm, $8
The Mad Doctors
The Lushpockets (MD)
The Rizzos
Deadly Lo-Fi (GA)
Super FM
Max Pain & The Groovies

Sat June 24 @ El Cortez (17 Ingraham St. Brooklyn)
3pm, $10
The Royal They
Sun Voyager
Panther Martin (CO)
El Silver Cabs (tape release)
Suzies (MI)
Francie Moon (NJ)
Garbage Brain (NJ)
The Unders
Spowder (NJ)
Leg Days
+ DJ Dollarbin & DJ Bagels & Lox spinning after the bands/all night long

All daze hosted by Casey Regan
+ Readings from the Book of Yum Yums by Pizza Scribe Napolitano
++ Pizza
+++ More weirdness

All shows 21+
Snag discount 3-day tickets: http://ptix.co/2prfrD3

https://www.facebook.com/events/301790700240896/
http://ptix.co/2prfrD3
http://kingpizzarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kingpizzarecs/

Sun Voyager, “Trip”

The Mad Doctors, No Waves, Just Sharks (2017)

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Dead Heavens to Release Whatever Witch You Are June 16; Northeast Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dead heavens

New York-based Dead Heavens will issue their debut long-player June 16 via Dine Alone Records. Titled Whatever Witch You Are, the album will be supported by a run of Northeastern tour dates around the release date, and it gets a preview in the form of streaming track “Adderall Highway,” which toes the line between heavy indie, desert push and psychedelic rock while still managing to toss out a hook fervent enough to pull one in on first listen. The band, whose pedigree is formidable and detailed below, have their roots in more aggressive fare, but dig back further into classic rock for influences, and I guess when you mash all that stuff together with some pretty clear willful direction-taking, this is what you get. Won’t hear me complain.

The PR wire brings copious details, and you can hear the audio of “Adderall Highway” at the bottom of this post. Whatever Witch You Are is up for preorder now, as the following affirms:

dead-heavens-whatever-witch-you-are

Dead Heavens (Quicksand, Cults, White Zombie) Release Song Today + New Album + Tour Dates Added

New Album Whatever Witch You Are Out June 16

East Coast Tour Starts June 14

New York City’s Dead Heavens, the psych-rock project of guitarist and frontman Walter Schreifels (Vanishing Life, Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, Quicksand, and more), Paul Kostabi (Youth Gone Mad, White Zombie, Psychotica), Drew Thomas (Youth of Today, Bold, Into Another), and Nathan Aguilar (Cults), have released their song “Adderall Highway.”. The song appears on their forthcoming album Whatever Witch You Are, out June 16 on Dine Alone Records. Pre-order the album here.

Walter Schreifels talks about the inspiration behind the song: “Adderall Highway was born somewhere between Düsseldorf and Salzburg at the speed of 115-120mph. We were on our first European tour and taking advantage of Germany’s hyper-efficient autobahn system to make up some lost time between shows. As we watched the idyllic German countryside whirr by our windows the Riff to Adderall Highway stirred in our very souls.”

Whatever Witch You Are, their first full-length, plays effortlessly as a new-classic blues rock album— a new-millennium Fresh Cream or Let it Bleed — only with sharp-angular sounds, noticeably psyche inflections, and melodies that seem wrought out of rebar: strong, pared down, and purposeful at every point. If anything, their musical origins have permitted Dead Heavens to approach blues and psyche rock unnostalgically, arriving at an audibly honest sound, stripped of any of the tassels or affectation. The drums hit heavy. The guitars hit heavy. Yet hovering above them both is always Schreifels’ sandier vocals, urging us on through life’s endless freakishness and frustrations.

“Many of these songs are love songs,” Schreifels explains, “ Basic Cable is about love but a modern love that’s lost its way— when couples are stuck at home, binge-watching or glued to their phones, absently doing the dishes, unsatisfied until they finally realize that what they really need is to just go outside. This song is for when they finally get out there.” The pent-energy of this opening single explodes and never lets up, fueling quasi-Krautrock stretches in Goldtooth or Bad Luck Child, coasters like Silver Sea or Experience, or the pounding rock of Adderall Highway and Away from the Speed. Following a burst of earlier singles like History in my Hands and Feel Low, this album is made for One Big Listen, and its lone rest stop, The Moon Will Listen (But Not the Sun), begins reflectively but shifts into full rollick by its second half.

Dead Heavens first coalesced during a solo tour for Schreifels, in 2013, with Thomas and Aguilar as backing band. Swapping and trading music for road listening— Cream, My Bloody Valentine, White Fence— together the three distilled the musical mood that would soon characterize Dead Heavens. Upon returning to New York, Aguilar reacquainted Thomas and Schreifels with musician, painter, and sound engineer Paul Kostabi, who felicitously still owned the reel-to-reel on which Schreifels had recorded Gorilla Biscuits’ Start Today in 1989, and— in another claim to fame— had coined the title of Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion. Their sympathies obvious, then, they leapt into recording at Kostabi’s Thunderdome Studios, and welcomed on Kostabi as a second lead guitar. A shotgun home studio set in the marshes of Piermont, New York, Thunderdome also guarded a trove of 70’s recording reels from Black Sabbath, The James Gang, and Jimi Hendrix— reels that played between takes and liberally infused the cauldron with an inspiringly darker magic.

But as the title tells you, Whatever Witch You Are enjoins us to radically accept this darker magic, “in the sense of accepting a strong, strange, powerful woman who freaks out people precisely for all her powers,” Schreifels says, “and not just in love, but acceptance in a modern world that can often isolate us, and make us feel like freaks. For the full 36 minutes of this record, we want people to be able to embrace this freakishness.” Even when our world’s havoc-tossed, and our heavens dead, the lifers out there will always shrug it off and ready themselves for the strange new era.

Dead Heavens Tour Dates
6/14 – New Haven, CT – BAR – New Haven
6/15 – Newport, RI – The Parlor
6/16 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool
6/17 – Garwood, NJ – Crossroads
6/18 – Washington, DC – DC9 Nightclub
6/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie

http://www.deadheavens.com/
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https://www.instagram.com/deadheavens/
http://hyperurl.co/deadheavens
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Dead Heavens, “Adderall Highway”

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Review & Full Album Stream: Geezer, Psychoriffadelia

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

geezer psychoriffadelia

[Click play above to stream Geezer’s Psychoriffadelia in its entirety. It’s out June 9 via Kozmik Artifactz and STB Records.]

There are multiple angles of approach one might take when it comes to Geezer‘s fourth long-player, Psychoriffadelia. Like the title itself, the tracks are a mash of the different ideas the New York-based band have been advancing since their beginnings, working in a scope of heavy psychedelic jamming, classic heavy rock, heavy blues and often more than a touch of stoner sleaze. No, it’s not a coincidence that I used the word “heavy” three separate times in that last sentence. That’s been a running theme for Geezer‘s work all along, from their 2013 debut, Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues through the EP-turned-full-length Gage (review here) and most realized on last year’s self-titled third outing (review here), and Psychoriffadelia finds them more than happy to pick up the thread and run with it for the course of its five tracks and 39 minutes, delivered through Kozmik Artifactz in Europe and STB Records in North America.

One finds, however, that the most defining aspect of Psychoriffadelia might just be transience. There is evidence of growth even from where the self-titled had them to be heard in the overall balance between jammy flow and songcraft — Geezer have taken the lessons of Texas’ Wo Fat (who in 2009 put out an album called Psychedelonaut and might be this generation’s masters of the form in the US) and incorporated them into their Northeastern grit — and their sound is ever more identifiable as their own with guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington coming across as more comfortable in tackling vocal melodies on a cut like “Red Hook,” but with the bulk of the material recorded live in the studio — Redbird Studio in NYC — in a single day, the natural vibe that persists as a result, and the inextricable link between Psychoriffadelia‘s release and Geezer‘s first-ever European tour, set for this summer, it’s a fleeting sensibility that most emerges from this material. The fruit of a moment that, no matter what Geezer do from this point on in their tenure, won’t come again.

Add to that the lineup factor. Harrington and bassist Richie Touseull work here with Charles Ruggiero, who steps in to take the place of founding drummer Chris TurcoRuggiero is an ex-bandmate of Harrington‘s in woefully-monikered hard rockers Slunt, so it’s no surprise to find there’s chemistry there based on their past experience playing together, but though he’ll play on the tour as well, Ruggiero is still officially filling in for Turco. So even in their makeup in terms of who’s playing, Geezer seem to be captured here in a state of flux. All the better to get that cover of Nazareth‘s “Hair of the Dog” to tape while the getting’s good. That cowbell-infused, attitude-laden classic serves as Geezer‘s launch for Psychoriffadelia, and Harrington‘s gravely voice does well in taking on its mega-hook, “Now you’re messing with the son of a bitch,” delivering the line with a swagger that goes on to inform the rest of side A in “Stressknots” and the 10-minute “Psychoriffadelia” itself. The former is a chugging enterprise of marked heft and fuzz but a creeping melodic verse, building in energy as it shifts toward its chorus, Geezer working effectively in their more straightforward songcraft modus on what’s the shortest inclusion here, original or otherwise, at 4:40.

An open, bluesy bridge just past the three-minute mark leads back to the charge of the hook and they finish with a section of crackling noise and sparse guitar ambience, leading into the start of the title-track, which buzzes to life over the course of its first 30 seconds before a subdued guitar establishes the defining line for the jam that unfolds. It is especially telling that “Psychoriffadelia” is instrumental in its entirety, as it sends a clear signal of the shift in approach that it marks moving into the rest of the album that bears its name, which, though built to be split over two sides, nonetheless has a linear flow from the title-track into “Red Hook” and 13-minute closer “Dirty Penny.” Transitions are smooth throughout, but the manner in which the cuts in Psychoriffadelia‘s back half feed off each other and the more languid vibe feels like a definite departure from the more raucous “Hair of the Dog” and “Stressknots” — though the finale certainly makes an impression with its hook and strikes a balance between the “psycho,” the “riffa” and the “delia” — and it’s the title-track that serves as the beginning point of that.

geezer photo jj koczan

Even in this linearity, one finds that theme of transience playing out. The turn from “Psychoriffadelia” to the six-minute “Red Hook” is accomplished with a seeming nod to Monster Magnet-style fluidity, and though moodier in its affect, the latter cut is unquestionably the highlight of the album. It’s the most patient and psychedelic unfurling Geezer have executed to-date, and while in the past, a serene beginning like that of “Red Hook” might’ve led to a burst-out of bluesy, boozy heavy riffing — nothing wrong with that — this time, Harrington, Touseull and Ruggiero keep the vibe quiet, thoughtful and emotionally resonant in its melody, adding a new level of depth to their approach not found on the self-titled or any of their releases preceding. In the quick turnaround from their last offering, “Red Hook” is the clearest example on Psychoriffadelia of Geezer‘s continued creative growth. It’s not the only one, but it’s the clearest, and particularly after the immersion of the centerpiece title-track, its arrival feels like it’s being given a distinguished position in the course of the album. That is to say, they know it’s something special, which it is.

After its watery psych strum enters its long fadeout, the low hum that starts “Dirty Penny” takes hold and Harrington‘s voice echoes out the line, “Your pretty face is going to hell,” from deep in the mix, foreshadowing the standout line of the chorus that will serve as Geezer‘s final hook for Psychoriffadelia. Though more grounded than “Red Hook” and more structured feeling than the title-track, “Dirty Penny” still carries a drowsy spirit in its early going, picking up after the three-minute mark with more of a push en route to a quick guitar solo and final runthrough of the sleazy chorus — I’m sure there’s a story to it, but yeah: sleaze — and another, more extended and multi-layered stretch of impressive fretwork that serves as the beginning point for the jam that will consume the rest of the track, beginning in earnest at around six minutes in and expanding outward from there. Funky at the eight-minute mark, explosive by 9:30 and drifting into its compressed slide-and-strum just after 11 minutes in, the ending of “Dirty Penny” feels somewhat pieced together, but that’s also the point, and in that, it reinforces the stylistic patchwork that makes up the record’s title and overarching execution alike.

Geezer have always had an element of self-awareness to their approach, so that they would on Psychoriffadelia as well is nothing new, but what’s important to take from the release is that it shows even in a hurried mindset — putting this version of the band and these freshly-composed songs to tape before the opportunity passed — the band are able to conjure a sense of sonic progression. That’s pivotal, of course, but for most listeners it will be secondary to the quality of the material itself (and probably rightly so), but fortunately for the trio and their audience alike, that also holds up here. Psychoriffadelia finds Geezer mature in their style and firm in the knowledge of who they are and what they want to be as a group, building gracefully on their past aesthetic accomplishments while maintaining the roll, nod, blues and edge that has served them so well thus far. With the palpable development they’ve undertaken and the results that has yielded, Geezer have never sounded so ready for export.

Geezer on Thee Facebooks

Geezer on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz on Twitter

STB Records on Bandcamp

STB Records on Thee Facebooks

STB Records BigCartel store

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Geezer to Release Psychoriffadelia June 9; European Tour Dates Announced

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

geezer

Hey, if you’re gonna go, make an occasion of it. We’ve known for some time that New York heavy psych blues rockers Geezer were headed to Europe in 2017. They were announced in December for the lineup of Freak Valley 2017, and just a couple days after that, confirmed the appearance would coincide with a first tour on European shores.

So what’s new? What’s new is the fact that Geezer will go not only supporting their righteous 2016 self-titled full-length (review here), but a new, fourth LP as well — dubbed Psychoriffadelia and due out June 9 through Kozmik Artifactz in Europe and STB Records in the US with preorders set to start as soon as this post is live. So… now.

Comprised of five tracks that run a 39-minute gamut from the scummer boogie bliss of Nazareth‘s “Hair of the Dog” — “Now you’re messin’ with a son of a bitch,” and all — to the vulnerable blues of “Red Hook,” the sleaze of “Dirty Penny” and the megajams that ensue there and in the 10-minute title-track, Psychoriffadelia is the result of Geezer firing at max volume on all cylinders, expanding on the self-titled while reinforcing that album’s accomplishments with a brazen next step forward. Don’t be fooled by the quick turnaround — there’s growth here. Not that I’ve heard it yet or anything. Ahem.

Psychoriffadelia also finds Geezer working as the three-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Charles Ruggiero, the latter a former bandmate of Harrington‘s in hard rockers Slunt and stepping in for Chris Turco, who handled drums on the last album as well as the 2014 LP, Gage (review here), and their 2013 debut, Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues. Ruggiero will take part in the European tour as well, which is booked through Total Volume Agency and Snuff Lane in the UK, and the band have set up a crowdfunding campaign to help with the inevitable expenses of making the trip. Rewards include an exclusive die-hard edition of the LP.

Info on that, the release announcement for Psychoriffadelia, and of course the tour dates all follow here, courtesy of the band:

geezer psychoriffadelia

GEEZER – Psychoriffadelia

The power of the riff. The allure of the psychedelic. The intensity of the electricity. These are the things that bring us together, these are the things that create Psychoriffadelia.

Recorded mostly live at Redbird Studio on 9/10/16 in New York City, the songs of Psychoriffadelia came together over the course of that summer. It had been months since we turned in the masters for our self titled album, yet still a few months until the album was released. We had been playing shows with Charles Ruggiero on drums while Chris Turco was on a work related hiatus. During that time, riffs arose, jams happened and songs were created. We wanted to capture that moment, no matter how fleeting.

We are proud to announce that Psychoriffadelia will be released on vinyl and CD through Kozmik Artifactz Records on June 9th! For those of you in the US, STB Records will have vinyl for sale through their webstore as well. Digital versions of the album will be available through the band’s Bandcamp page.

Here are the vinyl specs:
Release date: June 9, 2017
Pre-Order: April 27, 2017
180g high quality vinyl with gatefold
100x black
200x yellow
200x red/black marbled

Geezer, Psychoriffadelia tracklisting:
1. Hair of the Dog (4:48)
2. Stressknots (4:40)
3. Psychoriffadelia (10:16)
4. Red Hook (6:02)
5. Dirty Penny (13:23)

Artwork and Design by Kim Zangrando

A special “Die Hard Edition” of the album will be released through Geezer’s European Tour crowd funding campaign. This will include a screen printed jacket with alternate artwork, multi-colored vinyl and more! (see below for more info)

Live Album Official Release

In addition, Geezer’s live album, A Flagrant Disregard For Happiness is being released on June 9th, also through STB Records and Kozmik Artifactz Records. Originally released as an add on to the Die Hard version of the self-titled album, it is now being released on it’s own on beautiful 180g gold vinyl, limited to 150 units total!

The album contains one 30 minute instrumental (mostly improvised) track, A Flagrant Disregard For Happiness, which was performed at BSP in Kingston NY on April 1, 2016 as part of the ongoing Hudson Valley Psych Fest Series.

A video of this performance can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSs0deYCU98

European Tour

To celebrate the release of Psychoriffadelia, Geezer is going to Europe! With the help of Total Volume Booking, Geezer will be doing a 3 week tour that includes our first appearance at Freak Valley Festival! Some dates are still being confirmed but here is the latest:

geezer tour poster.13 June Paris, France / Le Gibus Live
15 June Mannheim, Germany / KURZBAR
16 June Netphen, Germany / FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL
17 June Lille, France / Le Biplan
18 June Brussels, Belgium / Centre Culturel Garcia Lorca
19 June Ghent, Belgium / Kinky Star
20 June Strasbourg, France / Elastic Bar
21 June Lyon, France / La fête de la musique – Bar des Capucins
22 June Olten, Switzerland / Coq D’Or
23 June Clermont Ferrand, France / Raymond Bar
24 June Montaigu, France / Le Zinor
27 June Exeter, UK / Phoenix
28 June London, UK / The Dev
29 June Coventry, UK / The Arches
30 June Bristol, UK / The Old England
1 July TBC – UK

Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign
As mentioned above, Geezer will be doing a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to help offset some of the expenses of the trip. Exclusive perks will include a “Die Hard” Edition of Psychoriffadelia. This edition will include a screen printed jacket with alternate artwork and multi-colored vinyl. Other perks include tour posters and shirts designed by Jo Riou, CD and digital versions of the new album, never before available embroidered patches and other exclusive perks. The campaign is already up and will run until Friday, May 26th.

We need your help to make this tour a reality. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated!

Contribute to the Indiegogo campaign here: https://igg.me/at/xxo6XcM2mD4/x/16460786

Geezer is:
Pat Harrington – Guitar, Vocals
Richie Touseull – Bass
Charles Ruggiero – Drums

https://igg.me/at/xxo6XcM2mD4/x/16460786
https://www.facebook.com/geezerNY/
http://geezertown.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totalvolumebackline/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
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https://twitter.com/kozmikartifactz
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/STB-Records/471228012921184
http://www.stbrecords.bigcartel.com/

Geezer, Geezer (2016)

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