Just in case your anticipation for Graveyard‘s forthcoming LP, Innocence and Decadence, had yet to hit fever-pitch, the Swedish foursome have unveiled a new video for the track “The Apple and the Tree” that boasts, among other things, choice groove and shoveling shit. Want some context on that one? Yeah, you’re just gonna have to watch the clip.
The song itself answers a few key questions about where the band would go following their third album, 2012’s Lights Out (review here), most notably about where they’d wind up production-wise. There’s a lot of their core ’70s methodology maintained in “The Apple and the Tree” — which like “Cause and Defect” and the album’s title itself, hints at a theme of duality — but like Lights Out, you wouldn’t necessarily call the vibe here retro or vintage in terms of its overall sound, classic as that groove is.
Also notable is the dynamic of the song itself, which saves its real push toward the end of a satisfying three-minute run, guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson — joined in the band by guitarist Jonathan Ramm bassist Truls Mörck and drummer Axel Sjöberg — shifting into his bluesy higher register at just the right moment to drive the point home. As to whether or not that’s emblematic of a songwriting progression across the board on Innocence and Decadence, I don’t know — haven’t heard the album yet — but I’m sure as hell interested to find out.
Video below, followed by recently-announced tour dates and more info from the PR wire. Enjoy:
Graveyard, “The Apple and the Tree” official video
Award-winning Swedish rock band GRAVEYARD will release its new album Innocence & Decadence, on September 25 via Nuclear Blast Records. The acclaimed group’s fourth album was recorded live in the studio, directly to analog tape, with producer Johan Lindström and is the follow-up to GRAVEYARD’s 2012 release, Lights Out. Innocence & Decadence builds on the solid foundation and formidable reputation that GRAVEYARD has cultivated since its formation in 2006, providing the most shining example to date of a sound the band calls “classic rock with a modern roll”. The quartet describes the record as a blend of “everything from old 20’s Blues to Krautrock with synthesizers, Irma Thomas, blast beats and Psych Rock.”
Today, GRAVEYARD premieres the first music video from Innocence & Decadence, for the album’s lead single, “The Apple and the Tree.” Directed by Jonas Petersson and shot outside Fagersta, Sweden (hometown of The Hives), the video depicts the band working and enjoying life on a countryside farm.
“Just like life in general, it depends on what you choose to see and hear,” said the band. “Innocence & Decadence is built on thousands of layers of love, fury and being alive in the year 2015.” Check out a trailer for the record, featuring interactive album art, at this location.
GRAVEYARD will embark on fall U.S. tour dates in support of Innocence & Decadence beginning December 4 in Columbus, OH. The just-released live dates are as follows:
GRAVEYARD tour dates:
December 4 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups December 5 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall December 6 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Cafe December 8 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall December 9 Salt Lake City, UT In the Venue December 10 Missoula, MT Stage 112 December 11 Seattle, WA Chop Suey December 14 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom December 15 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore December 17 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom December 19 Austin, TX Mohawk
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
One imagines this headlining run along the West Coast and in the Midwest is just the beginning of Graveyard‘s album cycle for their fourth album, Innocence and Decadence, which is out Sept. 25, but it’s enough to get a longer party started anyway. Their last album, 2012’s Lights Out (review here), took them around the world and it seems only fair to assume this one will do likewise. Still, I’ve never been to Columbus or Chicago in December, but considering how frickin’ cold I can imagine it being, it doesn’t seem like they’re exactly starting off easy. Probably being from Sweden helps.
Dates and info off the PR wire:
GRAVEYARD Announces U.S. Headlining Tour
Swedish Hard Rock Stalwarts to Release New Album Innocence & Decadence September 25
Scandinavian Hi-Fi heroes GRAVEYARD will release their new album, Innocence & Decadence, on September 25 via Nuclear Blast Records. The acclaimed rock band’s fourth album, Innocence & Decadence was recorded live in the studio, directly to analog tape, with producer Johan Lindström and is the follow-up to GRAVEYARD’s 2012 release, Lights Out.
Innocence & Decadence builds on the solid foundation and formidable reputation that GRAVEYARD has cultivated since its formation in 2006, providing the most shining example to date of a sound the band calls “classic rock with a modern roll”. The quartet describes the record as a blend of “everything from old 20’s Blues to Krautrock with synthesizers, Irma Thomas, blast beats and Psych Rock.” Check out a trailer for the record, featuring interactive album art, at this location.
“Just like life in general, it depends on what you choose to see and hear,” said the band in a statement. “Innocence & Decadence is built on thousands of layers of love, fury and being alive in the year 2015.” Innocence & Decadence is available for pre-order nowat this location.
Today, GRAVEYARD announces fall U.S. tour dates in support of Innocence & Decadence. The headlining run will launch on December 4 in Columbus, OH and run through December 19 in Austin, TX with support to be announced. The just-released live dates are as follows:
GRAVEYARD tour dates: December 4 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups December 5 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall December 6 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line Music Cafe December 8 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall December 9 Salt Lake City, UT In the Venue December 10 Missoula, MT Stage 112 December 11 Seattle, WA Chop Suey December 14 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom December 15 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore December 17 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom December 19 Austin, TX Mohawk
In part because its opener has become such a clarion, reliably launching — and I do mean launching — every gig the band plays, and because July marks 10 years since its original release, it’s tempting to view Truckfighters‘ 2005 debut full-length, Gravity X, as a watershed moment or generational swap-out in Swedish heavy rock. The truth of that is more complicated. Even as Truckfighters were stomping their way onto the scene after their first release following two early EPs, a 2003 joint offering with bassist/vocalist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm‘s prior outfit, Firestone, titled The Fuzzsplit of the Century (discussed here), that was also Fuzzorama Records‘ premiere catalog entry, bands like Dozer were well into their tenure, releasing Though the Eyes of Heathens the same year, while at the same time, fellow Örebro natives Witchcraft were releasing their second album, Firewood, almost precisely the same day on Rise Above. Nonetheless, if Gravity X‘s arrival through Fuzzorama and MeteorCity has become something of a landmark in the annals of Swedish and/or European heavy rock at large — and it’s pretty easy to argue that it has — that status is a testament to the grueling work that the band has put in in the years since it was first issued, writing and recording, touring incessantly across an ever-widening geographic range, and of course fostering other acts at the helm of Fuzzorama. As much as “Desert Cruiser” seems now to be an immediate and resounding call to those ready to worship at the altar of fuzz, it’s worth remembering it took Truckfighters years of hand-delivering what’s become their signature riff to audiences for it to become that.
The athleticism involved in that delivery notwithstanding, there has always been more to Truckfighters — the core of Cedermalm and guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren, as portrayed in the 2012 “fuzzomentary” A Film about a Band Called Truckfighters (review here), along with a cast of drummers that has continued to rotate over the last several years — than jumping around on stage. Even on Gravity X, the reaches of which are considerable with a 67-minute runtime, the band showcased a penchant for instrumental exploration that would continue to serve them well as they progressed through subsequent offerings like 2007’s Phi, 2009’s Mania (review here) and last year’s long-awaited Universe (review here), balanced against a core of songcraft that remained prevalent no matter who happened to be in the band with Källgren and Cedermalm at the time — former drummers Oscar Johansson and Andre Kvarnström have gone on to play in Witchcraft and Blues Pills, respectively — and cuts like “Gargarismo,” “In Search of (The),” “Gweedo-Weedo” and “Manhattan Project” have maintained their vitality over the 10-year span as highlights both of Truckfighters‘ catalog and that of Swedish heavy rock, the one only becoming more and more pivotal to the other over that same stretch. Meanwhile the toying with spaciousness of “Superfunk” seems in hindsight to presage some of the moodier turns of Universe and Mania before it, the band’s dynamic growing as relentlessly as their tour schedule, which has seen them become a fixture of both the European and American circuits particularly over the last half-decade.
Gravity X was compiled with Phi onto what was dubbed the Super 3-LP in 2013 — the band also put out their The Chairman EP that year as a stopgap between Mania and Universe — and of course, as forward as they’ve progressed in the years since, some of this material remains a staple of live sets, and among heavy rock records, I think you’ll find Gravity X has rare staying power, undulled by time. Hope you enjoy.
Well, next week is it: the Quarterly Review. I’ve been teasing it for about the last month, I’ll be writing reviews all weekend to get a jump on it, and next week, from Monday to Friday, somehow, some way, we’ll have 10 reviews each day for a total of 50. Don’t ask me how that’s going to get done. It just is.
Not much more to come other than the Quarterly Review, honestly. I’ve got a Mammoth Mammoth video premiere slated for Thursday, but I’m basically trying to keep it pretty stripped down other than the big post each day and whatever news comes down the PR wire. That should be plenty to work with. I’m thinking of doing a vinyl week the next week, just to keep things as complicated and time-consuming for myself as possible. You know, bash my head on the rocks to keep from drowning and all that.
If you’re headed to the Maryland Doom Fest this weekend — should be starting right around now, actually — I hope it’s great. I wish I could be there as well. I’ll look forward to seeing video of Spirit Caravan and hopefully they do a The Obsessed cover or two.
To be perfectly honest, there’s more, but I’m so beat I don’t even know what it is. Long work day, and I’m planning on spending the next two days working behind the scenes on the site, so while nothing’s going to be posted Saturday and Sunday, I’m not so much signing off as checking out for the evening.
Either way, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. See you back here Monday and please check out the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The ties between Blues Pills and the Freak Valley festival run pretty deep. For one thing, the band is named after fest-founder Jens Heide‘s old ‘zine, and my understanding is they’ve been tight all along as Blues Pills have ascended to such high profile over the last couple years, leading to the release of their massively-well-received 2014 self-titled full-length debut. Blues Pills played the fest last year and they’ll be at Freak Valley 2015 as well, headlining Thursday night, June 4, and their 2014 set will be released in limited vinyl/CD fashion. Presumably copies will be on hand in Netphen, Germany.
Freak Valley 2015 runs from June 4-6:
+++ FREAKIN’ AWESOME NEWS +++
While BLUES PILLS say “thank you” to Freak Valley Festival with the release of a superlimited Live @ Freak Valley Festival 2014 album on Vinyl and CD we are proud and more than happy to announce that Blues Pills will return and headline Thursday June 4th!!
We are totally thrilled and honoured about these two massive news!
Thank you so much Elin, Zack, Dorian & André. We’ll never forget!
The mindblowing poster beauty is done by Mr-Frumpy Frumpedia
Tickets are running low already. Please make sure you get yours in time!!
Also: At our Club shows @ Vortex Surfer Musikclub (next show Saturday Jan. 24th w/ Vibravoid Official, HARSH TOKE & Comet Control
FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL: No Fillers – Just Killers Blues Pills – Orchid – Eyehategod – Earthless – Goatsnake – Crippled Black Phoenix – Horisont – The Vintage Caravan – Electric Moon – Gas Giant – Monkey3 – Danava – Egypt – Siena Root – Bröselmaschine – Sigiryia – Kamchatka – Purson – Dead Man – Freedom Hawk – Mountain Witch – Tuber – Valley of the Sun – Tombstones – Travelin’ Jack – more tba soon!!
Posted in Radio on December 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
I try to do these every week. I’d like to, ideally, but it seems to be more like when folders and zip files clog up my desktop enough to really get on my nerves. Fair enough. A full 20 records joined the playlist today, including a couple wintry classics from Anathema that either were overlooked by me or wrongly left out, plus the new Witch Mountain album, and some other recently-reviewed and otherwise-written-about stuff. It’s actually a pretty killer list. If you’re into it, or if you want to see what else has been added lately or what was played today, check out the Playlist and Updates Page. I spend an embarrassing amount of time there. Here are a few more reasons why.
The Obelisk Radio Adds for Dec. 5, 2014:
Burning Saviours, Unholy Tales from the North
The unheralded heroes of Sweden’s retro heavy movement return with their first full-length since 2007. Their fifth outing overall, Burning Saviours‘ Unholy Tales from the North follows a series of four singles released between 2012 and 2013 (recently compiled by I Hate Records and released under the title Boken Om Förbannelsen) and finds the Örebro four-piece reveling in ’70s-style doom once more, albeit with a rawer and less directly ’70s-style production. That is, it’s not as directly fuzzed as their self-titled debut was nine years ago, when it was pretty much them and Witchcraft digging on classic Pentagram alone, but still presented in the same spirit, a strong opening trio of “They Will Rise Tonight,” “And the Wolves Cried Out” and “Your Love Hurts Like Fire” creating a lasting impression somewhere between early metal (think Rocka Rolla-era Priest) and the heavy rock that preceded it. Two Swedish-language tracks, “Ondskan” and “Lyktgubben,” end each side, and at 28 minutes, it’s a quick runthrough, but shows easily that Burning Saviours — since 2010 the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Mikael Monks, lead guitarist Jonas Hartikainen, bassist Fredrik Evertsson and drummer Martin Wijkström — remain vital in their approach, cuts like “Inside My Mind” and “The Sons of the North” exploring metal’s roots effectively and organically while crafting something new, if familiar, from them. Burning Saviours on Thee Facebooks, at Transubstans Records.
Soldat Hans, Dress Rehearsal
Swiss newcomers Soldat Hans seem to be embarking on an admirably ambitious journey with their self-released debut, Dress Rehearsal, the title of which hints at their thinking of it as a demo, but for which the extended four tracks included serve to craft a sense of ambience that marks it unmistakably as a full-length. Engrossing in its atmosphere, patient in its construction and impeccably conceived, Dress Rehearsal plays out lengthy builds fluidly and takes listeners from minimalist drone and slow unfolding to massive, feedback-caked sludge, and then back again, sounding natural in the process and brilliant for both its pummel and restraint. None of the four cuts — “Meine Liebste; Sie zerbricht sich” (15:21), “Esthère (im bronzefarbenen Licht)” (13:34), “Zikueth! Zikueth!” (18:25) and “Liefdesgrot” (15:08) — really departs from a bleak, moody feel, but there are shifts throughout, as “Esthère (im bronzefarbenen Licht)” moves from the linearity of the opener to brooding post-rock and jazzy exploration before hitting its own wash of viciousness. To have a band take such control of their sound on their first outing is remarkable, and the longest and farthest ranging of the tracks, “Zikueth! Zikueth!” provides Soldat Hans their shining moment, theatrical but not overdone, melodic early and raging late, hypnotic in the middle, as classic as it is avant garde. They close out with another maddening payoff in “Liefdesgrot,” and while in the future I’d be interested to hear them take on structures as wide-ranging as what they bring sonically to Dress Rehearsal, if this is just practice, I can’t wait for the show to start. Soldat Hans on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
If you were to go by their sound alone, I don’t think there’s any way you could come out of hearing burly five-piece Olde‘s Hypaethral Records debut long-player, I, and not imagine they were from Virginia. In fact, they come from Toronto, but the aggro Southern metal they purvey on the album’s eight bruising tracks would be right at home in the heart of sludgeland, full as it is of steady rolls — Sons of Otis drummer Ryan Aubin provides trailmarking thud — the from-the-chest growling from Doug McLarty and lumbering riffs, songs like “Heart Attack” and “Changelings” in the tracklist’s midsection readily crossing the line between sludge and doom, all mudhole stomp, metallic affiliation and violent groove. There’s atmosphere at work, but it comes out through the aggression portrayed, and ultimately, I has about as all the ambience of having your teeth kicked in. And yes, that counts the variation on the theme in the closing “Perimeter Walk,” the more echoing guitar, farther back vocals, and so on. With a crisp production behind it, Olde‘s debut knows precisely the kind of beatdown it wants to deliver and sets about its task with brutal efficiency. Olde on Thee Facebooks, Hypaethral Records on Bandcamp.
Holy Grove, Live at Jooniors
Recorded at some point between then and now at Joonior Studios in Seattle, Washington — I’m guessing more toward “then” — the 2014 outing Live at Jooniors from Portland four-piece Holy Grove is only two songs, but even one would be enough to serve notice of their warm tonality and the bluesy vocals of Andrea Vidal, who pushes her voice to its reaches on “Holy Grove” and still manages to nail the emotional crux. Honestly, that would probably be enough to carry “Holy Grove” and the following “Nix” on its own — sold; I’m on board — but I won’t discount the fuzz in Trent Jacobs‘ guitar or bassist Gregg Emley‘s fills in “Nix,” or the seamless shift drummer Craig Bradford leads between subdued verses and the tense chorus of “Holy Grove.” As far as serving notice goes, Live at Jooniors does so and then some, and without sacrificing sound quality as so many underground live recordings do. Seems to me a 7″ release wouldn’t be out of order, but Holy Grove seem more intent on getting together their full-length debut, which if they can bring to the studio the vibe they create in just 13 minutes on stage, is going to be something to look out for indeed. Learn the name, because you’ll hear it again. Holy Grove on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Buenos Aires instrumental four-piece Persona formed in 2004/2005, but their newly-released self-titled appears to be their first LP, preceded by a 2012 EP. If the better part of the intermittent decade was spent jamming, it doesn’t seem to have hurt the band, who present nine plotted but flowing tracks that keep some loose sensibility to them while following a course of classic heavy and fuzz rock. The lineup of guitarist/bassists Lucas Podestá and Santiago Adano, guitarist Gustavo Hernández and drummer Esteban Podestá touch here and there on more metal tendencies, as on “Los Perros” and the brief “Cortina,” but that’s no more out of place than the proggy exploration of “Cuna de Fantasmas,” a King Crimson-style noodling underscored by subtly engaging snare work and giving way to a heavier push. The lead guitar on “Cazador” provides a particularly engaging moment of payoff for the album’s first half, but there’s enough variety throughout that Persona‘s Persona offers a range of satisfying moments. Still room for the band to develop their style, but they obviously have the will and chemistry to do so. Persona on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Dungaree, Climb out of the River
I’ll give it to Hungarian four-piece Dungaree based on their moniker alone. It’s simple, fun to say, and it evokes the rebelliousness of a bygone time. Their debut release, a three-song EP dubbed Climb out of the River, is likewise sharp-dressed, with a grunge-style production that pushes the dudely vocals of László Gergely to the fore ahead of Horváth T. Zoltán‘s guitar, Balogh Attila‘s bass and Dencs Dominik‘s drums to result in a sound that comes across to my American ears more akin to commercial hard rock than underground heavy, though in my experience the line in Europe and particularly Eastern Europe is both less distinct and less relevant. The tracks are short, straightforward, hard-hitting and catchy, with “Climb out of the River” a strong opening hook, “Dream Again” pushing into metallic guitar chugging in its breakneck chorus, and “Right Words” toying with a lounge boogie — snapping fingers and all — that assures the listener that although Dungaree have their sharp corners, they’re not about to take themselves too seriously either. Might not be for everyone, but shows a strong foundation of songwriting, and I wouldn’t ask any more of a first outing than that. Dungaree on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Six releases, and a pretty varied bunch at that. It’s still really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what went up to the server. I always like putting stuff on there — it’s like casting a fishing lure, except maybe without killing? I don’t know. More like tossing a fish in the ocean maybe and not knowing when it will swim by the boat again. Or maybe I just (re)watched Jaws recently and have aquatics on the brain.
Either way, we’ve passed the two-year mark since the stream went online and I’m very happy with how The Obelisk Radio has turned out. Special thanks to Slevin for all the work he’s put in over that time in helping me with hosting and making it go, and thank you as always for reading and listening.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s worth noting that of all the bands Truckfighters have brought into the fold of their label, Fuzzorama Records — from Dexter Jones Circus Orchestra, to Asteroid, to Valley of the Sun — Austrian four-piece Witchrider are the first with whom the Örebro fuzzlords have actually teamed up for a release. Dubbed The Return of the Fuzzsplitwith the heading of Truckfighters vs. Witchrider, the new 12″ is available now from Fuzzorama and hearkens back to the very first release on the imprint, “fuzz CD001,” 2003’s Fuzzsplit of the Century between Truckfigthers vs. Firestone.
That split (review here) marked a transition point for Truckfighters, since it would be the last thing bassist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm would release with his former band (i.e. Firestone) and, as noted, the first Truckfighters outing through their own label. 11 years later, the fuzzsplit’s returnfinds Truckfighters in a much different situation. Four albums out, including this year’s Universe (review here), a documentary in their honor, and more tours and photos of them jumping up and down than I think even they could be bothered to count at this point, Truckfighters are among the foremost purveyors of fuzz the world over. They’ve busted their collective ass and a few drummers along the way to get there — the role is currently filled by Axel “Enzo” Larsson alongside Cedermalm on bass/vocals and guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren — but especially live, they’re undeniable. Their slogan at this point has become “Quite Possibly the Best Band in the World,” and they play like it every night out.
Whether they’re reviving the Fuzzsplit in order to introduce Witchrider to their built-in, increasing, and loyal fanbase or just to have something to take with them on their upcoming European tour together, the endorsement speaks volumes and provides yet another example of Truckfighters‘ unwavering work ethic. The three-piece’s contribution to The Return of the Fuzzsplit is called “Dig You Down,” and I have the pleasure of premiering the audio of the track for your streaming pleasure. They’ve also got a brand new video for the song that you can find snuck in down below the dates for the impending run, which begins Oct. 10 at DesertFest Belgium and unfolds from there for the rest of the month until Truckfighters hit the UK in November.
Dig, and enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
We will once again bring our friends in White Miles and the new Fuzzorama Records signing Witchrider! Check out these bands if you have not already!
Complete list of dates: Sep 18 Close Up Båten, Stockholm, Sweden Sep 20 Reeperbahn Festival Hamburg, Germany Oct 10 Trix (Desertfest) Antwerp, Belgium Oct 13 Tivoli Utrecht, Netherlands Oct 14 Effenaar Eindhoven, Netherlands Oct 15 Die Pumpe Kiel, Germany Oct 16 Kleine Freiheit Osnabruck, Germany Oct 17 FZW Dortmund, Germany Oct 18 Conne Island Leipzig, Germany Oct 19 Kantine Augsburg, Germany Oct 21 Keller Klub Stuttgart, Germany Oct 22 ZOOM Frankfurt Frankfurt Am Main, Germany Oct 23 Bei Chez Heinz Hannover, Germany Oct 24 Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus Bremen, Germany Oct 25 Minoga Poznan, Poland Oct 26 Hydrozagadka Warsaw, Poland Oct 28 Club 007 Prague, Czech Republic Oct 29 Szene Vienna, Austria Oct 30 Conrad Sohm Dornbirn, Austria Oct 31 Bad Bonn Dudingen, Switzerland Nov 01 Kiff Aarau, Switzerland Nov 10 Brudenell Leeds, United Kingdom Nov 11 Sound Control Manchester, United Kingdom Nov 12 King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Glasgow, United Kingdom Nov 13 The Basement Nottingham, United Kingdom Nov 14 O2 Academy Islington London, United Kingdom Nov 15 Hard Rock Hell Pwllheli, United Kingdom Nov 16 Oobleck Birmingham, United Kingdom
Posted in On the Radar on September 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
There are probably a couple distinct jams within the 18-minute span of the eponymous track on Swedish duo The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues‘ self-titled debut EP, in terms of the songwriting. By that I mean although the Örebro duo of Robin Hirse (ex-Asteroid) and Jonas Ljungkvist get pretty deep in an immersive flow, it still sounds like more happened in the track than they hit record and went to town on an improv heavy psych exploration. Individual movements they may be, still better to get lost in the whole. The beginning unfolds with echoing Morricone guitar, and unfolds a slow heavy rock groove, and they proceed through numerous shifts and movements that piece together well but have some breaks between them as well. What individual titles might be, I don’t know, but with the results Hirse and Ljungkvist get across the sprawl in “The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues,” which fleshes out with organ before the vocals kick in right around the five-minute mark, I’m not about to argue.
Hirse‘s voice will sound familiar to those who heard him with Asteroid, who released their second and apparently final full-length in 2010’s II (review here), and to a degree, one might consider the new, cumbersomely-monikered two-piece an outgrowth from that album’s jam-minded heavy rock sensibility, but the feel on The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues represents a discernible stylistic shift as well, and not just in the occasional Westernism. The vibe here is bluesier, the build looser. Hirse and Ljungqvist credit Tobias Eriksson, Joakim Kohlscheen and Jimmi Kohlscheen as “helping” with the EP and don’t get more specific than that, but they’re definitely working toward a full-band aesthetic one way or another, rather than the minimalism that duos can sometimes purposefully convey. Even as “The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues” pushes through its heavier apex and into foot-stomp-and-hand-clap revival, vocals layered for a near-gospel effect, this is true in the space the song creates, and as the song is led into its final phase groove by the guitar, one gets a sense of a unit clicking pedals on to make the machine go.
I was a nerd for Hirse‘s prior outfit even unto their swansong 7″ (review here), and The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues present enough of a turn sonically to clearly be on their own path, but neither is the development of Hirse‘s craft scrapped entirely or burned to the ground in favor of starting completely over. What the EP sounds like, when you get right to it, is a vinyl side, and after listening through more than a couple times in the days since its Sept. 6 release, I’d like to find out what’s on side B. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues are reportedly heading back into the studio in short order, so it might not be all that long before we get there. Right on.
The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, Self-titled EP (2014)
I usually like to think of myself as being pretty up to date on this kind of thing, but Troubled Horse‘s new video for “Bring My Horses Home” slipped through the cracks, I guess. Not sure why. Not like I’ve had a lot going on lately or anything like that.
Anyway, better late than never. You could probably say the same thing for the video itself, as it’s been two years since Troubled Horse‘s full-length debut, Step Inside (review here), was released on Rise Above Records. If I’m working behind the times (which I am, always), at least I’m not the only one, but actually, making a video — it was directed by Jonas Wahlstrand — so long after the album came out basically has the effect of reminding listeners of how badass that record was in the first place. Two years later, one might not reach for Step Insidewith the same regularity as when it first hit, so along comes “Bring My Horses Home,” and wham, the “Whoa-oh-oh” chorus gets stuck in the head again like it never left.
Because god damn, this song is catchy. The Örebro band’s ties to Witchcraft‘s retro-rocking glory days notwithstanding, frontman Martin Heppich carries the chorus with perfect drunkard’s swagger, and as Troubled Horse are reportedly getting ready to unveil details of their second long-player, a reissue of their original 2010 single — which just happened to have “Bring My Horses Home” as its A-side — provides further occasion to revisit the track ahead of their next outing.
So it’s off to the woods, then. Filmed as a four-piece, though they’re are apparently five of them now if the photo above is anything to go by, “Bring My Horses Home” is dark and engaging and only leaves the question about where that organ sound is coming from so deep in the forest.
Troubled Horse, “Bring My Horses Home” official video