Review & Full Album Premiere: Sun Voyager, Seismic Vibes

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Sun Voyager Seismic Vibes

[Click play above to stream Sun Voyager’s Seismic Vibes in its entirety. Album is out April 20 on King Pizza Records.]

Here’s a post from May 2014 about how Sun Voyager‘s debut album would be out that summer. The band had two demos to their name at that point — early 2013’s Cosmic Tides and late 2013’s Mecca (review here) — and though it turn out their first long-player would in no way be out that summer or any time between then and now, they filled the intervening years via splits with Greasy Hearts (discussed here) and The Mad Doctors (review here), as well as 2015’s Lazy Daze EP (review here). The Orange County, New York, heavy psych outfit discussed the making of their full-length and even went so far as to post the opening track “Trip” in early 2017. So to say that Seismic Vibes, which at last sees release through King Pizza Records, has been a while in the making is maybe understating it a little.

They’ve kept consistent playing live shows, and since Lazy Daze came out they’ve pared down their lineup from a two-guitar four-piece to a trio — though in addition to the core of vocalist/guitarist Carlos Francisco, bassist/guitarist/vocalist Stefan Mersch and drummer Kyle Beach, the album’s credits also list Evan Heinze on keyboard and Sam Bey on percussion; that trio may or may not be in a process of expansion — and between that and leaking tracks from the originally self-titled Seismic Vibes, one could hardly accuse them of laziness in bringing the record to fruition. Sometimes these things just take a while. Tracked by Paul Ritchie down the Jersey Shore and mastered by Alan Douches, the eight-song/34-minute offering that has resulted from whatever arduous process was undertaken can only be considered worth the effort.

Maybe that’s not saying much, but the point to be made is that one can hear on Seismic Vibes the growth that’s taken place in Sun Voyager‘s sound even since Lazy Daze, which opened with “God is Dead,” a song that’s turned into the extended, jammed-out closer on the full-length. That track is the only carry-over between the two outings, and as one might hope, Sun Voyager use the opportunity of their first full-length to showcase the dynamic they’ve worked hard through the last several years to build. The keys and vocal arrangement on a song like “Hair Brained” speak to an increase in complexity overall, not to mention the sitar-sounding guitar solo that follows and the effects swirl surrounding, but even the opening salvo of “Trip,” “Open Road” and “Caves of Steel” seem to signal a driven purposefulness of intent — that is, the fact that these tracks aren’t just cobbled together, but placed consciously to affect the listener’s experience of the record. All under four minutes and pointedly uptempo, the first three tracks work quickly to establish the momentum that will carry the listener through the ensuing dynamic that unfolds.

sun voyager

Beginning with an unassuming hum, “Trip” is among the catchiest hooks on Seismic Vibes, tambourine and all, and the keyboard-laced “Open Road” holds a tension in its drums that drives mellower verses into the more densely-fuzzed chorus, keyboards filling out the melody during the verse and the cacophonous-but-quick payoff at the end. Mersch‘s bass and Francisco‘s guitar swirl begins “Caves of Steel,” but this too unveils itself quickly as a fuzz riot, and thrusts into tom runs backing a hook repeating the title line and a jammy ending that cuts short at about 3:10 but sounds like it could just as easily keep going into perpetuity. Though it too is short at 3:38, there’s a marked change in pace as “Stellar Winds” comes on, and for the first time, Sun Voyager introduce their more languid side; a sound more derived from shoegaze than the spaced-out semi-punk of “Caves of Steel” just prior. Francisco‘s voice is well-suited to drift, which is not something every singer can pull off, and though “Stellar Winds” is mellower than the first three cuts, it still offers a sense of build and turns directly into “Hair Brained,” which is arguably the speediest and most active inclusion here, reminiscent as it is of some of early Nebula‘s frenetic stoner punk.

As noted, the keys are a factor in fleshing out “Hair Brained,” and they play a role in offsetting the bouncing rhythm as it makes its way to a winding cold-stop finish, and it might be the keys as well that tie “Hair Brained” to the subsequent “Too Much,” which is an immediate switch in method from its predecessor and the most open-feeling song on Seismic Vibes, molten and hypnotic in a way that much of the record has simply chosen not to be. At five minutes, its roll is second in length only to the aforementioned “God is Dead,” and the two tracks are separated by the 3:35 “Psychic Lords,” a slowdown leading to the quiet/loud tradeoffs as Sun Voyager find a place for themselves in a niche of cosmic grunge that calls back to the hooks earlier on the album without giving up the expansion that’s happened since.

The start of “God is Dead” is a bit jarring coming out of the subdued end of “Psychic Lords,” and I suspect it will be all the more for anyone who encountered Lazy Daze, as it was a standout there, but in this redone, expanded version, it provides a fitting summary of just about everything Seismic Vibes delivers, with a jammy feel underscoring forward drive, shifts in tempo and a controlled psychedelic sensibility that’s light on self-indulgence and still manages to feel like it’s exploring new terrain. One would be remiss in not noting that though it’s been some time in its realization, this is still Sun Voyager‘s debut album, and yes, there is room for the band to continue to grow into their sound, to refine their balance of volume and tempo and straightforward and open structures, but the core of songwriting is there as it has been for the last half-decade, and there’s little chance Seismic Vibes won’t end up as one of 2018’s best first LPs. As a fan of the band, I’m just glad it finally happened.

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Witchkiss Set July 13 Release for The Austere Curtins of Our Eyes

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

witchkiss

Down at the bottom of this post you’ll find the stream of the new track by Beacon, New York, heavy riffers Witchkiss. The trio work quickly to show their listeners what they’re all about: heavy-as-hell stomp, a somewhat inhuman feeling post-metal churn, and tonal the likes of which bands usually have to hone over a much longer period of time. Kudos to Witchkiss on the aural assault and on signing to Argonauta Records for the release of their debut long-player, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes. How much the individual track may represent what Witchkiss do overall, hell if I know, but the song’s worth your time, so by all means, have at it.

Juy 13 is the release date and The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes will be on Argonauta Records, who sent the following update:

witchkiss the austere curtains of our eyes

WITCHKISS signed to ARGONAUTA RECORDS

Argonauta Records is thrilled to announce a new exciting band in the family: WITCHKISS from the States.

Articulate, elegant and ridiculously heavy, WITCHKISS are part of a growing movement coming out of upstate New York in the world of crushingly loud and punishing music. Built around raw emotion, sonic poetry and a sense of longing for a life lost, there is a haunting majesty to the work of WITCHKISS. These Beacon, NY natives are fusing the sounds of bands like Subrosa, Yob and Isis to craft sounds that contemplates the neverending cycle of life and death.

Their upcoming offering, The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes is a journey through depressed unrealities, punishing truths, and a sense that something better can be made of this world.

Founded by Scott Prater, a longtime metalhead, and his partner Amber Burns, a veritable novice on drums, this debut release has been a long time in the making. With a line-up completed by the thrilling bass playing of Anthony DiBlasi holding down the bands massive bottom end the Hudson scene is buzzing about these new heavyweights. Building on the interplay between eerie female vocals and crushing growls, the groove driven WITCHKISS can’t help but to fascinate. This is the kind of doom metal that fans of Yob, Cult of Luna, Windhand and True Widow can’t help but to love.

Ready to take on the world with an appetite for constant touring, loud riffs and the passion to tackle just about every festival they can, WITCHKISS understand what it takes to grow in the insular art doom community. With music based on raw and uncomfortable emotions, WITCHKISS are striving to bring their craft to the next level. The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes will be released ARGONAUTA Records and available from July 13th, 2018.

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
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Witchkiss, “A Cripping Wind”

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Mirror Queen Premiere “Inviolate” Video; European Tour Starts Tonight

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mirror queen

This very evening, New York classic heavy/progressive rockers Mirror Queen head out on the European tour that will bring them to Roadburn 2018 after a string of other gigs in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. They go ostensibly supporting their 2017 full-length, Verdigris (review here), with frontman Kenny Sehgal joined (I believe) by guitarist Morgan McDaniel (ex-The Golden Grass), bassist James Corallo and drummer Jeremy O’Brien. However, even as they caught their flight the other day — presumably from JFK — and headed across the Atlantic, they went knowing they were about to unveil the new single “Inviolate,” which I’m thrilled to premiere in the video below by Simona Prives.

What will surely and probably shortly wind up as a 7″ single with its B-side, a cover of Scorpions‘ “This is My Song” from 1974’s Fly to the Rainbow, seems to be something of a turn from most of the material on Verdigris. Sure, that record had no shortage of lower-register moments, as on “Sorrow’s End/Dark Kiss of the Sun,” and an undercurrent of proto-metal has never been too far from Mirror Queen‘s sound — the crunch of New York concrete manifest in guitar tones, at least to some degree; it’s not like we’re talking about Unsane here or anything — but “Inviolate” takes a different approach. One can hear it in Sehgal‘s vocals as well, and while I think the heavy ’70s will likely always be where their heart lies, there’s a definitive ’90s-style alt rock spirit to it as well. Not quite grunge, not quite not grunge, the catchy four-and-a-half-minute piece nonetheless manages to avoid aping ’90s-era stoner rock, but the even the slight shift in balance when it comes to decades of influence makes it an immediate standout.

Also, is that a Swedish accent Sehgal is singing in?

Either way, the point is the song is worthy of focus as a single, and its accompaniment underlines the band’s continuing affinity for the titan of early heavy rock. Mirror Queen‘s take on “This is My Song” doesn’t stray that far from the original, but the hippie lyrics and call for universal love certainly take on a new context these 44 years later in the current climate of who-the-hell-knows-what as a general state of being.

Again, I’m pretty sure “Inviolate” will be pressed up for public consumption in good time, so keep an eye out for that, and in the meantime, you can dig into Simona Prives‘ awesome-looking video for the track below, followed by more info and dates off the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Mirror Queen, “Inviolate” official video premiere

Mirror Queen is proud to unveil the new song ”Inviolate”! The accompanying video was created by NYC based mixed media artist Simona Prives, whose collagist abstractions match the expansive, dreamy, and gritty music; imagery and impressions plucked from the streets of New York and the landscapes of our evermore cluttered minds. The B-Side is a reverent, revved-up version of The Scorpions’ brilliant “This Is My Song”. Release details TBA.

Mirror Queen European tour:
13/4 Onsabrück, DE Westwerk
14/4 Siegen, DE Vortex
15/4 Brussels, BE Magasin 04
16/4 Nijmegen, NL Merleyn
17/4 Tilburg, NL Little Devil
19/4 Tilburg, NL Roadburn Festival @ Cul de Sac

Mirror Queen live:
May 2nd St Vitus, BK, NY w/ Rawhide and Pyrolatrous
June 22 Doomed & Stoned Fest @ Kingsland BK, NY w/ Heavy Temple, Bang, Corky Laing

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Michael Gira European Solo Tour on Now; New Short Story Collection Available

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

Swans founder and spearhead Michael Gira will spend much of the rest of this month on tour in Europe. In the latest update from his label, Young God Records, Gira gives a rundown of plans current and future that include more Swans reissues and a live album — no doubt they’ve already sold completely through their pressings even though they don’t exist yet; that’s kind of how it goes with Young God stuff; any hesitation leads only to regret — and notes a new short story collection titled The Egg that’s now available through the Young God site and at shows. I’ve never read any of Gira‘s work before, but hell yes I’d check that out. Dude has perspective to spare, certainly.

Of course, the future of Swans is kind of up in the air at the moment as Gira disbanded the lineup after wrapping the touring cycle for 2016’s The Glowing Man (review here), but until/if that band resurfaces, either way there was never any question he’d be keeping plenty busy.

The latest update follows the creepiest picture I’ll post here this week. Seriously. Here it is. You ready?

Okay:

m gira

M.Gira Solo Tour + The Egg

Short note here to let you know that my Europe Solo Tour commences on February 6.

If you’re interested, tour dates and ticket info here: https://younggodrecords.com/pages/tour-dates

I’ve been working on new songs, and I’ll be performing those as well as some older material.

The new songs are the first steps on my way to formulating the next Swans album. They’re quite heavy on the words – the longest narrative songs I’ve written. Still finding my way into them, but I think they’re good. If you attend one of the shows, I hope they offer something worthwhile… I suspect that the next Swans album will be a variety of these songs, highly (and I hope, tastefully) orchestrated, and then perhaps in opposition some more atmospheric pieces which will draw on and extend the approach evidenced in the more “sfumato” moments on the last few Swans albums… That’s a long way off, and a lot of work and thought involved before I embark on that next venture. In the meantime, I’ll be doing a series of short Solo Tours, both in Europe and USA…

I’ve completed a new collection of short stories, written over the past year or so. It’s called The Egg, and it’s available here: https://younggodrecords.com/products/michael-gira-the-egg

The collection features some rather vivid and wonderful illustrations by Nicole Boitos. It’s a limited edition. It can be found at the link or at my live shows… I thought for a while that this area of my mind was closed off forever, but as it happens, the spigot has opened up a bit and I hope to have more fiction in the near future…

Soundtracks for the Blind is finished and is in the pipeline. It’s taken forever to figure out the packaging and to master it properly. It will be available as a 4xVinyl set, as well as a 3xCD (the 3rd CD is the long out of print Die Tur Ist Zu). Release for Soundtracks will be in May. Die Tur Ist Zu will also be available soon as a limited 3 sided vinyl release, the 4th side being an etched graphic. It will be available for Record Store Day, April 21st in North America (Mute to release at a later date).

Later in the year, we’ll also be putting together a live Swans album of material from this recent, now past formidable line up. We did a great deal of live recordings. I’m still sifting through it…

And more Swans catalog rereleases of course along the way…

Much Love to You! – Michael Gira / Swans / Young God Records

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M. Gira, “Promise of Water” Live in NYC 2007

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King Buffalo Announce West Coast Tour with The Sword

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Rochester trio King Buffalo recently sold through the test pressings of their latest EP, Repeater (review here), at their BigCartel store — I mean, they were there and then they were gone, just like that — and I assumed it was because the psych rockers were looking to get together funds ahead of an impending return trip to Europe to once again tour alongside Massachusetts heavy prog forerunners Elder on a stint that includes stops at Desertfest Berlin and Desertfest London, but it seems that was only part of the story.

Newly announced today is the fact that King Buffalo will hit the road on the West Coast to tour with Austin, Texas, riff veterans The Sword. Not to take anything away from the stints King Buffalo have done in the US with All Them Witches or anyone else, but I think this qualifies for sure as the highest-profile US touring they’ve done to-date, and of course one wishes them all the best as they continue to turn heads everywhere they go. Dudes are killing it.

Dig the specifics:

King Buffalo on their upcoming tours:

KB from the outset was always determined be a touring band. In the four years since our creation we’ve never been to the west coast. Something for whatever reason always seemed to elude us. We’re excited to be making our maiden voyage with some absolute legends in The Sword.

King Buffalo w/ The Sword west coast tour:
3/21 Austin, TX – Mohawk
3/23 El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls
3/24 Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge
3/25 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey
3/26 San Francisco, CA – Fillmore
3/27 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
3/29 Seattle, WA – Neumos
3/30 Spokane, WA – The Pin
3/31 Boise, ID – Neurolux
4/2 Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall
4/3 Grand Junction, CO – The Mesa Theater
4/4 Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre (Englewood)
4/6 Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
4/7 Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre
4/8 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave II
4/9 Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
4/10 Memphis, TN – 1884 Lounge
4/11 Baton Rouge, LA – Varsity Theatre

King Buffalo w/ Elder European tour:
24.04.2018 DK – Copenhagen, VEGA
25.04.2018 SWE – Stockholm, Undergången
26.04.2018 NOR – Oslo, Parkteatret
27.04.2018 NOR – Bergen, Landmark Bergen
28.04.2018 NOR – Stavanger, Folken
30.04.2018 SWE – Gothenburg, Sticky Fingers // Göteborg
01.05.2018 GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang
03.05.2018 PL – Kracow, TBA
04.05.2018 PL – Warsaw, Klub Hydrozagadka
05.05.2018 DE – Berlin, Desertfest Berlin
06.05.2018 UK – London, Desertfest London
07.05.2018 B – Brussels, Ancienne Belgique – AB
08.05.2018 NL – Haarlem, Patronaat Haarlem
09.05.2018 CH – Winterthur, Gaswerk
10.05.2018 F – Gueret, Festival Metal Culture(s) VIII
12.05.2018 ES – Madrid, Kristonfest
18.05.2018 IS – Reykjavik, Gaukurinn

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King Buffalo, Repeater (2018)

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Sun Voyager Post New Single “Too Much”; Seismic Vibes Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sun voyager

April is still a good ways off, but New York heavy psych rockers Sun Voyager have unveiled a second single from their debut album, Seismic Vibes, and considering how long the record has been in the making, one can hardly blame them. You might recall the video for “Caves of Steel” premiered here from the King Pizza Records offering, which is set to arrive on April 20, and now they’ve also revealed the fuzzy “Too Much” as a follow-up sampling of their rolling-groove wares and the sense of lumbering and crash that some of the heavier moments of Seismic Vibes harness while still staying true to the echoing spaces of the vocal melodies.

I’ve made no bones about being a fan of the New York trio in the past and that remains very much the case having now heard the full-length after waiting years for it to show up. I know we’re in January, but I’ve no doubt it’ll be one of my favorite debuts of the year when December rolls around, and I’ll still have much more to come on it before April gets here, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, dig:

sun-voyager-seismic-vibes

Sun Voyager – “Too Much”

As the time for Seismic Vibes approaches, we’re happy to share its second single with you. “Too Much” is now streaming on our Bandcamp page, where you can officially pre-order the Digital Album or 12″ Vinyl and receive an instant download of the first two singles (including “Too Much” and “Caves of Steel”) as well as the rest of the LP the minute it is released on April 20th, 2018 on King Pizza Records. You can catch us on tour this March on our way to SXSW.

https://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/album/seismic-vibes

Seismic Vibes Tracklist:
Trip
Stellar Winds
God is Dead
Psychic Lords
Harebrained
Carousel
Strange Birds
Fifth Dimension
Ride On

Sun Voyager is:
Carlos Francisco – Guitar, Vocals
Stefan Mersch – Bass
Kyle Beach – Drums

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Sun Voyager, “Too Much”

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Geezer Working on New Album; Announce Drummer Change

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

One tries not to read omens at the start of a year, but doesn’t the prospect of a new Geezer record in 2018 sound pretty awesome? The New York-based heavy psych blues trio made it almost too easy to get greedy after issuing Psychoriffadelia (review here) last year on such a quick turnaround from their 2016 self-titled (review here), so how can I really be blamed if I take the word from guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington below that new material is in the works as a sign that something new could be out before 2018 is done. He floats the second half of the year as a possibility. That’s good enough for me.

Whenever it arrives, the next Geezer will mark the debut of new drummer Steve Markota alongside Harrington and bassist Richie Touseull. Markota hit the road with the band last Fall and they’ve been putting new songs together since. Hopefully by the time they get around to playing Maryland Doom Fest in June — which I’m very much hoping to attend this year — they’ll have some stuff ready for the stage. Fingers crossed on that one. In the meantime, they’ve got an Obelisk-presented gig Jan. 10 at Saint Vitus Bar with Sun VoyagerThe Hazytones and Heavy Traffic. Damn that’s a good lineup.

Here’s what the band has to say:

geezer

We hooked up with local heavy hitting drummer and all around cool cat, Steve Markota (Grape and the Grain, Nightmares for a Week) a few months ago to do the Doomed & Stoned Festival and September’s Ode To Doom in NYC. The three of us gelled pretty quickly. Once our gigging commitments were over, we started jamming and eventually songs started to take shape. Currently, we have three songs that we are actively working on and it feels like we are just scratching the surface to what this lineup can do. The music is what I would call “bombastically heavy & groovy” and we are really taking our time to flush out arrangements, fine tune riffs, etc. The process is shaping up to be much like what we did with the self-titled album.

We are playing a bunch of US festivals next year (Maryland Doom Festival, Descendants of Crom, and other as-yet-to-be-announced festivals), so we want to have new material up and running in time for these gigs. I have no idea what shape any future releases will take, however, knowing us, I’ll guess we’ll have something out during the second half of 2018.

In the meantime, we are stoked to be jumping onto The Hazytones tour for a gig on January 10th with Sun Voyager and Heavy Traffic at St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, as well as playing the local CD release party for our brothers in Shadow Witch at The Anchor in Kingston on January 27th.

Geezer is:
Pat Harrington – Guitar, Vocals
Richie Touseull – Bass
Steve Markota – Drums

Live photo by Johnny Hubbard.

https://igg.me/at/xxo6XcM2mD4/x/16460786
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Geezer, Psychoriffadelia (2017)

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Review & Track Premiere: King Buffalo, Repeater EP

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

King Buffalo Repeater

[Click play above to stream ‘Centurion’ by King Buffalo. Their Repeater EP can be preordered as a 12-inch vinyl as of Jan. 5.]

The question of how Rochester, New York, heavy psych upstart trio King Buffalo will follow-up their debut full-length, Orion (review here), is answered in the form of the three-track Repeater EP. In the year-plus since the album’s first, (self-)release in 2016, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson signed to Stickman Records and oversaw an official issue of the record and have toured Stateside with All Them Witches and in Europe alongside labelmates Elder, and the EP brings three new cuts that represent the first new music they’ve produced following this productive time.

It is 24 minutes of material, and more than 13 of that resides within the opening title-track (also the longest of the set; immediate points), but in terms of flow and conveying a sense of how their progression is unfolding, Repeater feels like the first chapter in a larger story more than a standalone offering. That is to say, the vibe is more mini-album than single-song showcase for throwaways or “extras” from a recording session.

Part of that may of course owe to the fluidity in King Buffalo‘s approach overall, which was certainly a factor on Orion and just as certainly hasn’t at all been diminished by the stretches of time they’ve spent on the road, but there’s a perceptible resounding in the molten aspects of “Repeater,” “Too Little too Late” and “Centurion” that underlines the purposefulness with which King Buffalo engage such an open feel in what they do. Jamming is a crucial part of it at their foundation, but as far out as they go, their chemistry is put to use in servicing a song, even in something as vast as “Repeater” itself, which is their longest single track to-date.

Nearest competition in that regard is “Providence Eye,” which appeared both on their first demo in 2013 (review here) and on the subsequent 2015 STB Records-issued split with now-defunct Swedish troupe Lé Betre (review here) and in its longer incarnation topped 11 minutes, so the intrigue around “Repeater” is immediate. The song sounds like it was born on the road, and the lyrics, about repetition, about monotony, with a kind of hurry-up-and-wait undertone of theme, could easily be about touring life (I don’t have a lyric sheet to confirm that), but more importantly, its graceful, patient unfolding around an initial drone and subdued build of drums and guitar leads to a progression that feels as though on any given night, at any given show, it might sound just a little different.

Some nuance might change. Some flourish of guitar might be added, or the drums might tick in a different direction, or Reynolds‘ bass — which make no mistake is the root holding King Buffalo‘s songs together — might add a complementary run to the open-strummed echo of McVay‘s effects. The first verse ends with the line repeated, “Every day is the same” and a move into psychedelic drift around a gorgeous guitar tone worthy of comparison to Sungrazer at their best — yes, I mean that — and before the listener has blinked, the trio are four minutes deep and into a second verse en route to a semi-jam in the midsection from which they return to set “Repeater”‘s build in motion across the second half, the guitar signaling an uptick in tension before an explosion of fuzz just past the eight-minute mark brings them to the next stage, rolling out a thickened, full-volume riff and crash executed in dynamic form.

king buffalo

They pull back momentarily circa 10 minutes in, but are soon enough knee deep once again in this sonic heft, McVay‘s guitar howling atop the low end rumble from Reynolds and the shoving, insistent plod of Donaldson‘s drums. A residual hum finishes that fades to amp noise for the last minute or so, and a volume swell bleeds directly (on the digital version, anyway) into the beginning of “Too Little too Late,” the two songs tied together very much as they might appear on a proper long-player.

That decision does not and should not feel like a minor signal on the part of the band in terms of the work Repeater is doing for them on the whole, signaling their audience that the potential for growth Orion represented was indeed no fluke and that that work has been duly undertaken. “Too Little too Late,” the shortest inclusion at 4:43, is an instrumental piece based around a central drum figure topped by one-two hits, fluidic effects noise, spaced-out swirl, feedback and a generally hypnotic execution.

In its third minute, it devolves from what up till then was its central figure and casts itself out into minimalist drone rumble, a helicopter-esque feedback noise rising and fading to silence ahead of the more clear-headed guitar line that begins “Centurion.” Once again, with Reynolds‘ bass in the underscore position, McVay sets what sounds increasingly like a signature King Buffalo-style opening progression even before the arrival of Donaldson‘s drums, and as the first verse leads to the hook, the easy transition to the chorus highlights how natural their motion has become over such a short period of time.

This ultimately speaks to how loaded with potential King Buffalo are on the whole at this stage in their career — their material is welcoming to listeners and friendly in its tone, but immersive and characterized by a depth that, whether in the subdued beginning moments of “Centurion” or following the volume thrust at the halfway point, feels like an exploration undertaken by audience as much as performer. “Centurion” hits its peak loudness and carries a layer of washing guitar lead across for good measure as its apex serves the entirety of Repeater as much as its own flow, and moves into its final minute with a resolve that seems very much like, again, on any given night, at any given show, King Buffalo might just shove it outward for an indeterminate amount of time; whenever a head-bob or hand signal is given to change, in other words.

Here, they skillfully follow that last change and cut back to the initial bounce of the verse for a measure or two and then end cold, the signal coming through clearly that Repeater is more than ready to live up to its name and go another round. I don’t know and won’t try to speculate where King Buffalo might go with their sophomore full-length when the time comes for it, how they might continue to grow, what they might push toward in terms of arrangements or execution or general sound, but Repeater finds them brimming with confidence both as individuals and as a unit, and their songwriting here hits a new level of craftsmanship that only raises one’s hopes even after such an impressive debut long-player. The question isn’t so much whether King Buffalo are prepared for their next step as it is whether their audience is ready to realize the special moment playing out in front of them.

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