Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band Announce Dreaming in the Non-Dream Due Aug. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This is a good one. I’ve covered the last two records from Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, last year’s The Rarity of Experience I (review here) and 2015’s Intensity Ghost (review here) — both released by No Quarter — and I honestly don’t feel like I gave either one of them due appreciation. The Philly-based experimental psych outfit have shown themselves to be genuinely adventurous on a sonic level, and that holds true on the four-track long-player Dreaming in the Non-Dream as well, which — don’t be fooled by the cover art — is filled to the brim with color.

Hopefully before Aug. 25 gets here and is gone I’ll have a chance to really dig into the album and show it the proper respect, but either way, take this as an early heads up to keep an eye out for it, because these guys are on a special kind of trip.

Okay, I said my piece. Here’s PR wire stuff:

chris-forsyth-solar-motel-band-dreaming-in-the-non-dream

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – Dreaming In The Non-Dream

Release date: Friday, August 25th 2017

New SMB record is out Aug 25. You can pre-order it from No Quarter and pick up an extra 30+ minutes of previously unheard live material on a limited edition pre-order only cassette with download. In addition to the UK Tour Aug 16-28, some Northeast US dates in Sept to be announced soon. Grab it:

http://noquarter.net/product/chris-forsyth-the-solar-motel-band-dreaming-in-the-non-dream-pre-order-bundle/

The idea that rock music ever pretended to promise ‘transcendence’ is ridiculous, or at least it seems so under present conditions. Leaving aside the obvious question even (‘transcendence’ of what?), the idea seems archaic, optimistic in a way that’s hard to access in the Trump/Brexit era. Chris Forsyth’s music is too kinetically aware, too intelligent, and frankly too goddamn punk to make any such outsized promises, but also nearly impossible to hear without considering the idea. Because as sure as Dreaming In The Non-Dream is subject to all the dread pressures that have contorted us all of late —it would be a drab mistake to call this a “political record,” but also straight-up lazy to miss its subtle cues— it offers… one won’t say a “way out,” exactly (hardly), but something along the lines of a way through. It’s a record that conveys ecstasy as surely as Pharoah Sanders does, or the Velvet Underground did.

In this respect, it’s hard to imagine who Forsyth’s contemporaries might be. But then it’s always been this way: the greats tend to feel a little out-of-plumb with their moment (only hindsight lets us see it otherwise), and Forsyth’s music has been sparring with some large forces from the beginning. He’s always united the homely with the astral, the abstract with the visceral in his Solar Motels and Intensity Ghosts. There’s something different about Dreaming In The Non-Dream, though. There’s a fresh economy involved here, a sense, strange as this is to say about a record with two songs longer than eleven minutes, of not a note wasted. Despite psychedelic leanings, Forsyth’s records have always trained toward concision — plenty of space, yet never slack— but these tunes erupt with startling swiftness, then spend the rest of their quick-burning lives teasing multiple moods and patterns out of relatively simple materials. “History & Science Fiction” pads in on the back of a slinky, almost shy, bass line, then —after a little blast of glassy percussion— hurls us about a mile into the air before arriving, startlingly, at a saxophone arrangement (!) that evokes early Roxy Music. The title track seems to gene-splice two of the great minimalist themes, Pere Ubu’s “Heart of Darkness” and Neu’s “Hallogallo,” into one surging, winding, pulsing ride: Music For Speeding Tickets. Even the pensive, aqueous “Two Minutes Love,” which sounds a bit like something Ry Cooder could’ve written for the Paris, Texas soundtrack troubled by ghosts both placid and deranged, does a lot —really, a lot— with barely more than a whisper.

Those titles, though. It’s hard not to notice that “History & Science Fiction” might refer to the intersection we’re all standing at now, pinned by the consequences of the former and living, abruptly, within the latter; “Two Minutes Love” inverts Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate” from 1984; as for the title track, well, that utilitarian “non-dream” could just as well be a euphemism for nightmare. But it’s “Have We Mistaken The Bottle For The Whiskey Inside?” that’s most explicit. Over a prowling, stabbing, Stones-ish backdrop —one that, naturally, will accelerate itself into something different— Forsyth sings about, well, transcendence: about “los(ing) my senses” and the suspension of self-judgment, about the gaps between ideation and execution, and, of course, between container and content. Perhaps the most canny thing about Forsyth’s music is how little explanation he’s willing to attach to it. Not out of coyness, or any need to gin up a little mystery: there just isn’t any need for it. When the whiskey’s this strong, who needs a bottle at all?
– Matthew Specktor

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band live:
Aug 17 Brecon Beacons National Park Brecon Beacons, UK
Aug 19 The Wightman Shrewsbury, UK
Aug 22 The Crescent York, UK
Aug 24 The Green Door Store Brighton, UK
Sep 22 Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia Liverpool, UK

Chris Forsyth: High Strings, Vocal
Peter Kerlin: Low Strings
Shawn Edward Hansen: Prophet 12, Wurlitzer, Alto Saxophone
Ray Kubian: Drums & Percussion
Jeff Zeigler: Sonics

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Forsyth/131555540199988
http://noquarter.net/

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Dreaming in the Non-Dream (2017)

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The Cloth to Release New Album Going to Vomit July 4; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the cloth

Like a rumble coming up from the floor from a show you didn’t know was happening in your basement, Philadelphia noise rockers The Cloth return on July 4 in true American spirit with the seven-track EP, Going to Vomit. If you can think of a better way to celebrate national heritage than blistering raw pummel like that of “Drowning Man” or the half-speed punk of “The Fig,” well, you’re probably thinking along the wrong lines to start with, so get on board. There’s still time, if you’re concerned about time. What were you gonna do? Fireworks? Come on.

The Cloth will support the new release by hitting the road alongside Cemetery Flowers. Dates and more info on the EP follow here, as sent down the PR wire:

the cloth tour

the Cloth – “Going to Vomit” – 7.4.2017 and Tour

Greetings, dear reader, from South Philadelphia. THE CLOTH is preparing to hit the road once again, this time in support of their 4th proper release, “GOING TO VOMIT.”

Since 2012 THE CLOTH has been bullheadedly writing, recording, touring, and booking locally for their national DIY family. “GOING TO VOMIT” continues THE CLOTH’s commitment to all things dissonantly catchy, weird and heavy. Lyrical content remains ever dismally resigned, themes ranging from the rejection of class constructs and materialism in western civilization, to the losing of friends and family to time or death, and of course the pent up rage against long-gone slumlords and former employers.

After 5 years THE CLOTH is showing no signs of stopping. “GOING TO VOMIT” comes out on the 4th of July, and the band will be on the road through July 9, with support from CEMETERY FLOWERS.

The Cloth live:
All dates with Cemetery Flowers (ex-Bubonic Bear / Kerosene)
7/4 Golden Pony, Harrisonburg, VA
7/5 The Hideaway, Johnson City, TN
7/6 Go Bar, Athens, GA
7/7 House Show, Durham, NC (msg for address)
7/8 Strange Matter, Richmond, VA
7/9 House Show, Philadelphia, PA (msg for address)

New EP was recorded in the winters of 2016 and 2017 with our good friends James and Dan at the Sex Dungeon, same folks who recorded our first tape “Number One.. Our session with them this past winter was the final session at their guerrilla warehouse studio. We will also have copies on tour of our previous two releases on Reptilian Records: “Number Two,” our 2014 4-song 7″, and “Touched,” our 2016 LP, as well as brand new “Going to Vomit” shirts / pins / stickers.

https://www.facebook.com/thecloth666/
https://thecloth.bandcamp.com/album/going-to-vomit
http://thecloth666.tumblr.com/videos

The Cloth, Going to Vomit (2017)

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God Root to Release Salt and Rot July 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

god root

There is a teaser clip below that you can watch for the forthcoming July 11 release, Salt and Rot, from Philadelphia post-sludge five-piece God Root, but truth be told, it’s a pretty light tease. Like you’re about halfway through the 55 seconds before it really starts to make noise and even then you don’t get much more than ambience. Entirely possible the dudes drone out across the whole record and that’s just how it goes, but somehow I’ve got my doubts after how it went down on their self-titled EP (discussed here) last year. Not to say they aren’t atmospheric, just that at some point they’re probably going to punch you in the face with volume.

However much of it they’re letting you hear beforehand, the album will be out digitally through an alliance with Horror Pain Gore Death, and the band have a limited number of self-made CDs to offer as well. Audio may be sparse, but there’s much info below, including preorder links and tour dates with Sunrot for August, all from the PR wire:

god-root-salt-and-rot

Philly sludge shamans GOD ROOT announce new album!

Philadelphia avant-garde sludge shamans GOD ROOT announce their second offering, Salt And Rot, due July 11th. Salt And Rot will be released digitally with Horror Pain Gore Death Productions and limited, hand screen-printed compact discs will be available through the band.

“We hope this record helps people escape”, bassist/vocalist Ross Bradley explains about the creation of Salt And Rot. “That’s what we wrote it for and we paid a lot of attention to how it moves from track to track and what kind of journey it takes a listener on. Thematically the record deals with the frailty of human life and of ego and the dogmas we’ve tried to build for ourselves. It’s about facing one’s mortality and letting go of what you can’t control, destroying those oppressive forces trying to control and manipulate you and becoming self-reliant outside of these systems”.

Recorded throughout 2017 with Neil Cote and Richard Bukowski at Groundwork Sound in Somerville, NJ, GOD ROOT spared no expense to create their own brand of primitive and tribalistic sludge, and the doomed cinematic soundscapes found on Salt and Rot. GOD ROOT also welcomed friends and family into the studio to participate in their “Let Go” project. “We put a call out to our friends and family to contribute something they wanted to “Let go” of. We recorded their voices/read their writings. Some of these were personal stories and some were phrases or names that meant something to them. We processed them into our track “From Hounds to Silent Skies” in a way that maintains their respective privacy. It was really harrowing and humbling to have these people we love be as vulnerable and open and honest as they were” Bradley explains.

GOD ROOT will team up with New Jersey power sludge band SUNROT to embark on a tour in support of Salt And Rot, which begins on August 3rd in Brooklyn, NY. The tour will take them extensively throughout the east coast and midwest and then return to them Philadelphia, PA on August 19th.

Pre-order for Salt And Rot is available now.

ALBUM DETAILS
Release date: July 11, 2017
Album title: Salt and Rot
Format: Compact disc, digital
Label: Compact disc self-released, digital through Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

Track Listing:
1. Reclamation
2. From Hounds to Silent Skies
3. The Peak is Our Threshold
4. Conscious Disease

Recording and mixing: Neil Cote and Richard Bukowski at Groundwork Sound in Somerville, NJ
Mastering: Mike Cervantes at The Foxboro
Artwork: Illustration and layouts by Fred Grabosky at FTG Illustrations, additional art provided by Mary-Rose Runk
Promotional Photographs: Colour burst and live photos by Dante Torrieri of Useless Rebel Imaging, all others by Raechel Welch at Raechel Welch Photography
Promotional Video by: God Root

PRE-ORDER
Physical Pre-order: https://godroot.bandcamp.com
Digital Pre-order: https://hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/salt-and-rot

GOD ROOT
Fred Grabosky- Drums/Vocals
Ross Bradley- Bass/Vocals
Joe Hughes- Guitar/Vocals
Keith Riecke- Guitar
Jordan Stiff- Guitar/Electronics

GOD ROOT live dates:
8/03 Brooklyn, NY
8/04 Providence, RI
8/05 Kingston, NY
8/06 Syracuse, NY
8/07 Ithaca, NY
8/08 Rochester, NY
8/09 Buffalo, NY
8/10 Cleveland, OH
8/11 Detroit, MI
8/12 Kalamazoo, MI
8/13 Milwaukee, WI
8/14 Chicago, IL
8/15 Indianapolis, IN
8/16 Lexington, KY
8/17 Pittsburgh, PA
8/18 Washington, DC
8/19 Philadelphia, PA
All dates with SUNROT

https://godroot.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/godrootband
https://www.instagram.com/godrootband

God Root, Salt and Rot teaser video

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Ruby the Hatchet Announce Planetary Space Child out Aug. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ruby-the-hatchet-Photo-Mike-Petzinger

I had the remarkably good fortune to see Ruby the Hatchet preview material off their forthcoming third album at day two of this year’s Roadburn festival in the Netherlands this past April. They killed it at Extase. Absolutely owned the room. Later that night, I saw the Philly natives sitting outside at a cafe in Weirdo Canyon, and decided to ask them what the names of the new songs they played were. One was “Pagan Ritual,” and another was “Planetary Space Child,” which would turn out to be the title-track of the new record. They told me the name of the album right then and there, but it didn’t seem fair to include that in the review. Nonetheless, my response when they said it was, “God damn I hope that’s true.”

Because, you know, as far as titles go, that’s pretty over the top in the best way possible.

Turns out it is true. Planetary Space Child will be issued by Tee Pee Records this August, right after Ruby the Hatchet appear at Psycho Las Vegas. No audio from the record yet, but the PR wire brings art and info:

ruby-the-hatchet-planetary-space-child

Ruby the Hatchet to Release New LP, ‘Planetary Space Child’, August 25

Philly Psych Band Rockets its Sound into Exploratory New Realms; Group Confirmed for Psycho Las Vegas Festival

Philadelphia psych rock quintet RUBY THE HATCHET will release its new album, Planetary Space Child, on August 25 via Tee Pee Records. Recorded in an 1800’s era estate deep in the Pennsylvania woods with engineers Joe Boldizar (Retro City Studios), Zach Goldstein (Kawari Sound), and the band’s own Sean Hur, the record is the product of several weeks of self-imposed isolation. Planetary Space Child showcases seven richly layered songs that unite heavy, doomy psychedelia with acid rock, proto-prog and melodic, hypnotic songcraft.

Taking advantage of the century-plus-old manor’s natural acoustics, inherent eeriness and custom-built control room, Planetary Space Child sees RUBY THE HATCHET elevate its sound to hallucinogenic new heights. Boasting a bouncy creepiness, weighty sonic palette and dark, lush layers of experimentation, the album’s bulk forges a hypnotic, head-nodding nirvana while electric vocalist Jillian Taylor spins haunting tales of dreams and death; her voice layered in hazy smoke that infuses the sound of the band with an otherworldly element.

“From content to creation, this album is like nowhere we’ve been before,” comments Taylor. “The last two years have been spent traveling, playing and pushing; both on the road and within ourselves. ‘Planetary Space Child’ is the culmination of that work.”

Planetary Space Child is the follow-up to RUBY THE HATCHET’s critically lauded sophomore LP, Valley of the Snake (Tee Pee Records, 2015), hailed by Verbicide as “a commanding display of hard rock.” Of their last LP, The Obelisk mused “If ‘right now’ has a sound somewhere within heavy or heavy psychedelic rock, it probably isn’t far off from what Philadelphia’s RUBY THE HATCHET conjure.” With Planetary Space Child, RUBY THE HATCHET has defined itself as more than current, toeing the line between past and present while pushing towards the outer reaches of its unique psych rock universe. Moving forward without compromise, it’s clear that RUBY THE HATCHET aren’t just staying present or looking ahead; they’re simply breaking away.

Track listing:
1.) Planetary Space Child
2.) Killer
3.) Pagan Ritual
4.) The Fool
5.) Symphony of the Night
6.) Gemini
7.) Lightning Comes Again

On August 17, RUBY THE HATCHET will perform alongside Mastodon, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, SLEEP and more as one of the featured acts at the 2017 Psycho Las Vegas Festival, set for August 18-20. For more details, visit this location.

RUBY THE HATCHET features vocalist Jillian Taylor, guitarist Johnny Scarps, bassist Lake Muir, drummer Owen Stewart and organist Sean Hur. Find the band online at RubytheHatchet.com.

https://www.facebook.com/rubythehatchet
https://www.instagram.com/rubythehatchet/
https://twitter.com/rubythehatchet
http://rubythehatchet.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords
teepeerecords.com/products

Ruby the Hatchet, “Tomorrow Never Comes” live at Roadburn 2017

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Mose Giganticus Post Video for “Long as Time”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mose giganticus

It was right about this time last year that heavy post-rocking Philadelphia two-piece Mose Giganticus released their first new track in six years. That cut, given the reassuring title “We are One” and presented in an accompanying video (posted here), was said to be the beginning point of a series of singles on which the band was embarking as they looked to follow-up their 2010 sophomore LP, Gift Horse, by taking something of a different approach. An ambitious project on the surface, it kind of made sense if you consider an independent band putting out tracks on their own terms as they’re written rather than following this or that other, arguably outdated model.

While I’m not sure if it’s still the intent of Mose GiganticusMatt Garfield and Joe Smiley to continue along the lines of doing a singles series, their new offering is a video for “Long as Time,” and with cinematic photography, creepy-as-hell makeup and lighting, a drama of synth and atmospheric weight, it offers much on both the aural and visual levels. Keys open and unfold to a subdued, tense roll as the two players harmonize through an airy verse en route to a thicker-toned threat of a hook, progressive undertones tying together any disparities of volume or approach. There’s continuity in what they’re doing here with what “We are One” had to offer — in terms of the video and the songwriting itself — but its melody stands “Long as Time” out from its predecessor, as does the patience of its execution; though they tease further heft, they never actually give into the cliché of a linear payoff.

I don’t know what the future might hold for Mose Giganticus, and it’s entirely possible that the week of May 15, 2018, will find me posting another video from them and talking about how they sound like they’ve grown again. Could very well happen. Either way, if you missed “We are One” a year ago, “Long as Time” is well worth checking out and hopefully as you dig into it and the info that follows below, you enjoy.

Here goes:

Mose Giganticus, “Long as Time” official video

Mose Giganticus is Matt Garfield and Joe Smiley

Directed by Matt Garfield and Christopher Kayfield
Produced and Edited by Matt Garfield
Photography by Christopher Kayfield
Production Design by Matt Garfield and Christopher Kayfield
Hair & Makeup by Lauren Jaremko
Lighting Design by Matt Garfield
Audio Recorded at Red Planet by Joe Smiley
Audio Mastered by James Plotkin

Mose Giganticus is an evolving body of music, art, and technology led by Matt Garfield. Since 2007, Garfield has performed hundreds of live shows as Mose Giganticus across North America and Europe, backed by a revolving cast of touring musicians up to 30 members deep. Mose Giganticus achieved notoriety with the release of Gift Horse on Relapse Records in 2010, following an extensive U.S./Canadian tour fueled by recycled waste vegetable oil for Garfield’s custom-built tour bus.

Though the touring line-up has shuffled, Joe Smiley has been a consistent contributor to Mose Giganticus from the start- both in the studio and on the stage. Smiley’s talents have been featured on every recording as a guitarist, recording engineer, or both.

As a multi-instrumentalist duo, Garfield and Smiley layer their live performances with custom interactive electronics and lighting design to build a cohesive display that seems beyond their capacity.

Mose Giganticus on Thee Facebooks

Mose Giganticus on Bandcamp

Mose Giganticus website

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Thunderbird Divine: Wizard Eye & Skeleton Hands Members Announce New Band

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

Well hello there, Thunderbird Divine. While I’m sorry to hear about the untimely disbanding of Philadelphia riff-rolling trio Wizard Eye, there’s nothing quite like a brand new band emerging to heal that wound. Thunderbird Divine brings Wizard Eye guitarist/vocalist Erik Caplan together with three former members of Philly heavy rockers Skeleton Hands — guitarist Flynn Lawrence, bassist Adam Scott and drummer Mike Stuart — and from the description below of how they got together, it hardly seems like it could’ve worked out any better timing-wise. They needed a frontman, he needed a band. Add to that the fact that both parties have a long established history of ass-kickery, and it’s all the better to find them joining forces.

They have a couple rehearsal clips up on their Thee Facebooks page, and they’re working toward hitting the studio for a first proper recording this Fall, but in the meantime, if you’d like to catch them in the flesh, your first opportunity to do so will be June 30 at The Century Bar with Faith in JanePale Divine and Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds. Good show. More info follows here:

thunderbird divine

Thunderbird Divine: Ex-Members of Wizard Eye and Skeleton Hands Join Forces in New Project

Erik Caplan, guitarist/vocalist/thereminist of Philadelphia’s now-defunct stoner-psych rockers Wizard Eye has teamed up with drummer Mike Stuart, bassist Adam Scott and guitarist Flynn Lawrence, all three of Skeleton Hands, to create Thunderbird Divine.

“Wizard Eye was very dear to me, and I am extremely proud of the work I did with those guys,” Caplan says. “Bands have a shelf life, unfortunately, and, as sad as it made me to see my involvement with Wizard Eye end, when it was over, I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I was playing music again. I took some time, met new people and did some jamming, but nothing gelled into a real band situation until I met up with these fellows.”

Literally one hallway away in the same rehearsal complex, the former members of Skeleton Hands (minus a vocalist) were working on material and auditioning potential new members. In a situation paralleling Caplan’s, none of their prospects fit the bill.

“We played with some good people, but there weren’t any solid fits for what we wanted to do,” says Stuart. “We were standing on the sidelines, just waiting to get back into the game.”

Eventually, Caplan fostered an uneasy pairing with a young bassist, created some material and was ready to engage the services of a drummer to build what he imagined might be a new trio. While cataloging area drummers, one of the first skinsmen he considered was Stuart.

“I remembered a Facebook post about Skeleton Hands breaking up, and I remembered Mike’s style from playing shows with them,” Caplan explains. “I recalled a pleasant guy who was also a fun, energetic player with chops and a bit of flash, so I was hoping I could lure him into my new project.”

He reached out to Stuart and found a receptive audience, and when his almost-bassist stepped out, he and the drummer decided that the idea of combining his mojo with the remaining members of Skeleton Hands had the potential to bear fruit. Luckily, Lawrence and Scott agreed,

“The three of us always liked Wizard Eye, and we were really searching for the right final element for our group, so this opportunity just seemed to drop into our laps at the right time,” Stuart says.

Caplan was also enthusiastic about the collaboration.

“It was pretty cool to walk into the room and have a ready-made, experienced group of guys waiting to get to work,” he says. “You couldn’t really ask for a better situation. I was able to find a niche in their groove almost instantly.”

The band settled on Thunderbird Divine for a name, using the title of a Wizard Eye song with lyrics written by Caplan as inspiration.

“Thunderbird Divine was the street name of a homeless Vietnam veteran from my childhood neighborhood,” Caplan explains. “He was a wild character, and that name always stuck with me. I didn’t want that name to disappear after Wizard Eye folded, and I was very happy that my new band mates thought it had a nice ring.”

The members of this newly formed group got to work immediately, writing new material at every rehearsal. The vibe of the band will probably sound and feel familiar to those who enjoyed this collaboration’s previous work.

“I didn’t want to retread earlier ground with these guys, and I don’t think the Thunderbird Divine stuff sounds too much like either Wizard Eye or Skeleton Hands, but a lot of elements are obviously the same,” Caplan says. “I mean, we still play a lot of riffs, and I’m still singing and playing both guitar and theremin, so some similarities are obviously going to be present, but I think we’ll carve out our own space and sound in time.”

Caplan’s divorce from Wizard Eye also didn’t leave him empty-handed in terms of industry resources. His relationship with Scott Harrington of 313 INC Artist Management has carried through to his involvement with Thunderbird Divine, an endeavor Harrington fully supports.

“I’ve been a fan of Erik’s style as a guitarist and vocalist from the first time I saw Wizard Eye live at the Stoner Hands of Doom Fest in 2012,” Harrington says. “The work he did with that group was phenomenal, and that is what initially attracted me to the band. I mean, seriously, here’s this guy so lost in his music, trading off from guitar to theremin–it was absolutely mesmerizing. And now that he’s moved on to a new project with Thunderbird Divine, I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”

The band is in the process of writing material for its first recording sessions, which will occur in the fall, and Thunderbird Divine will see its inaugural live performance venue June 30 at The Century Bar in Philadelphia with doom greats Pale Divine and Faith in Jane and Philly’s own Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds.

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
IG: @thunderbird_divine

Wizard Eye, “Thunderbird Divine”

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Quarterly Review: Ulver, Forming the Void, Hidden Trails, Svvamp, Black Mirrors, Endless Floods, Tarpit Boogie, Horseburner, Vermilion Whiskey, Hex Inverter

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Feeling groovy heading into Day Two of the Spring 2017 Quarterly Review, and I hope you are as well. Today we dig into a pretty wide variety of whatnots, so make sure you’ve got your head with you as we go, because there are some twists and turns along the way. I mean it. Of all five days in this round, this one might be the most wild, so keep your wits intact. I’m doing my best to do the same, of course, but make no promises in that regard.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar

ulver-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar

Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver have reportedly called The Assassination of Julius Caesar (on House of Mythology) “their pop album,” and while the Nik Turner-inclusive freakout in second cut “Rolling Stone” (that may or may not be him on closer “Comign Home” as well) doesn’t quite fit that mold, the beats underscoring the earlier portion of that track, opener “Nemoralia” and the melodrama of “Southern Gothic” certainly qualify. Frontman/conceptual mastermind Kristoffer Rygg’s voice is oddly suited to this form – he carries emotionally weighted hooks like a melancholy George Michael on the electronically pulsating “Transverberation” and, like most works of pop, shows an obsession with the ephemeral in a slew of cultural references in “1969,” which in no way is likely to be mistaken for the Stooges song of the same name. While “So Falls the World” proves ridiculously catchy, “Coming Home” is about as close as Ulver actually come here to modern pop progression, and the Badalamenti-style low-end and key flourish in “1969” is a smooth touch, much of what’s happening in these eight tracks is still probably too complex to qualify as pop, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar is further proof that Ulver’s scope only grows more boundless as the years pass. The only limits they ever seem to know are the ones they leave behind.

Ulver on Twitter

House of Mythology website

 

Forming the Void, Relic

forming-the-void-relic

Last year, Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void had the element of surprise working to their advantage when it came to the surprising progressive edge of their debut album, Skyward (review here). Now signed to Argonauta, the eight-song/55-minute follow-up, Relic, doesn’t need it. It finds Forming the Void once again working proggy nuance into big-riffed, spaciously vocalized fare on early cuts “After Earth” and “Endless Road,” but as the massive hook of “Biolazar” demonstrates, the process by which guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd meld their influences has become more cohesive and more their own. Accordingly, I’m not sure they need the 11-minute closing take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” since by then the point is made in the lumber/plunder of “Plumes” and in the more tripped-out “Unto the Smoke” just before, but as indulgences go, it’s a relatively easy one to make. They’re still growing, but doing so quickly, and already they’ve begun to find a niche for themselves between styles that one hopes they’ll continue to explore.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Hidden Trails, Instant Momentary Bliss

hidden-trails-instant-momentary-bliss

Though it keeps a wash of melodic keys in the background and its approach is resolutely laid back on the whole, “Beautiful Void” is nonetheless a major factor in the overall impression of Hidden Trails’ self-titled debut (on Elektrohasch), as its indie vibe and departure from the psychedelic prog of the first two cuts, “Lancelot” and “Mutations,” marks a major distinguishing factor between this outfit and Hypnos 69, in which the rhythm section of the Belgian trio played previously. “Ricky” goes on to meld acoustic singer-songwriterism and drones together, and “Hands Unfold” has a kind of jazzy bounce, the bassline of Dave Houtmeyers and drumming of Tom Vanlaer providing upbeat groove under Jo Neyskens’ bright guitar lead, but the anticipation of heavy psych/prog never quite leaves after the opening, and that doesn’t seem to be what the band wants to deliver. The sweetly harmonized acid folk of “Leaving Like That” is on a different wavelength, and likewise the alt-rock vibes of “Space Shuffle” and “Come and Play” and the grunge-chilled-out closer “Denser Diamond.” If there’s an issue with Hidden Trails, it’s one of the expectations I’m bringing to it as a listener and a fan of Houtmeyers’ and Vanlaer’s past work, but clearly it’s going to take me a little longer to get over the loss of their prior outfit. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on.

Hidden Trails on Thee Facebooks

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

 

Svvamp, Svvamp

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Naturalist vibes pervade immediately from this late-2016 self-titled Svvamp debut (on RidingEasy Records) in the bassline to “Serpent in the Sky,” and in some of the post-Blue Cheer heavy blues sensibility, the Swedish trio bring to mind some of what made early Dirty Streets so glorious. Part of the appeal of Svvamp’s Svvamp, however, is that among the lessons it’s learned from heavy ‘70s rock and from Kadavar‘s own self-titled is to keep it simple. “Fresh Cream” is a resonant blues jam… that lasts two and a half minutes. The bouncing, turning “Oh Girl?” Three. Even the longest of its cuts, the slide-infused “Time,” the subdued roller “Big Rest” and the Marshall Tucker-esque finale “Down by the River,” are under five. This allows the three-piece of Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren to build significant momentum over the course of their 35-minute run, casting aside pretense in favor of aesthetic cohesion and an organic sensibility all the more impressive for it being their first record. Sweden has not lacked for boogie rock, but even the most relatively raucous moments here, as in the winding “Blue in the Face,” don’t seem overly concerned with what anyone else is up to, and that bodes remarkably well for Svvamp’s future output.

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Black Mirrors, Funky Queen

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There are few songs ever written that require whoever’s playing them to “bring it” more than MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” True, it’s been covered many, many times over, but few have done it well. Belgium’s Black Mirrors signal riotous intent by including it as one of the four tracks of their Napalm Records debut EP, Funky Queen, along with the originals “Funky Queen,” “The Mess” and “Canard Vengeur Masqué,” and amid the post-Blues Pills stomp of “The Mess,” the mega-hook of the opening title-track and the more spacious five-plus-minute closer, which works elements of heavy psych into its bluesy push late to welcome effect, “Kick out the Jams” indeed brings a moment of relative cacophony, even if there’s no actual threat of the band losing control behind the powerful vocals of Marcella di Troia. As a first showing, Funky Queen would seem to be a harbinger, but it’s also a purposeful and somewhat calculated sampling of Black Mirrors’ wares, and I wouldn’t expect it to be long before an album follows behind expanding on the ideas presented in these tracks.

Black Mirrors on Thee Facebooks

Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

 

Endless Floods, II

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No doubt that for some who’d take it on, any words beyond “members of Monarch!” will be superfluous, but Bordeaux three-piece Endless Floods, who do indeed feature bassist/vocalist Stéphane Miollan and drummer Benjamin Sablon from that band, as well as guitarist Simon Bedy, have more to offer than pedigree on their three-song sophomore full-length, II (on Dry Cough vinyl and Breathe Plastic cassette). To wit, 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Impasse” rumbles out raw but spacious sludge that, though without keys or a glut of effects, and marked by the buried-deep screaming of Miollan, holds a potent sense of atmosphere so that the two-minute interlude “Passage” doesn’t seem out of place leading into the 19-minute lumber of “Procession,” which breaks shortly before its halfway point to bass-led minimalism in setting up the final build of the record. Slow churning intensity and longform sludge working coherently alongside ambient sensibilities and some genuinely disturbing noise? Yeah, that’ll do nicely. Thanks.

Endless Floods on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records on Bandcamp

Breathe Plastic Records on Bandcamp

 

Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam

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Boasting four eight-plus-minute instrumentals, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam finds New Jersey trio Tarpit Boogie rife with classic style heavy rock chemistry, bassist John Eager running fills around the dense-toned riffing from guitarist George Pierro as drummer Chris Hawkins propels a surprising thrust on opener “FFF Heavy Jam.” I’ve been a fan of Pierro and Eager’s since we were bandmates a decade ago, so to hear them unfold “Chewbacca Jacket” from its tense opening to its righteously crashing finale is definitely welcome, but the 37-minute offering finds its true reasoning in the swing and shuffle of the eponymous “Tarpit Boogie,” which digs into the very challenge posed by the title – whether or not anyone taking on the album can handle its balance of sonic impact and exploratory feel – inclusive, in this case, of a drum solo that sets a foundation for a moment of Cactus-style rush ahead of a return to the song’s central progression to conclude. They round out with “1992 (Thank You Very Little),” Chevy Chase sample and all, bringing more crashing nod to a massive slowdown that makes it feel like the entire back half of the cut is one big rock finish. And so it is. A well-kept secret of Garden State heavy.

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Tarpit Boogie on Bandcamp

 

Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil

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The self-released Dead Seeds, Barren Soil is Horseburner’s second full-length, and it arrived in 2016 from the four-piece some seven years after their 2009 debut, Dirt City. They’ve had a few shorter outings in between, demos and 2013’s Strange Giant EP, but the West Virginia four-piece of Adam Nohe, Chad Ridgway, Jack Thomas and Zach Kaufman seem to be shooting for a definitive statement of intent in the blend of heavy rock and modern, Baroness-style prog that emerges on opener “David” and finds its way into the galloping “Into Black Resolution,” the multi-tiered vocals of “A Newfound Purity” and even the more straight-ahead thrust of “The Soil’s Prayer.” Marked out by the quality of its guitar work and its clearly-plotted course, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil caps with “Eleleth,” which at just under eight minutes draws the heft and the complexity together for a gargantuan finish that does justice to the ground Horseburner just flattened as they left it behind.

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Horseburner on Bandcamp

 

Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition

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Lafayette, Louisiana, five-piece Vermilion Whiskey telegraph participation in the New Wave of Dude Rock to the point of addressing their audience as “boy” in second cut “The Past is Dead,” and from the cartoon cleavage on the cover to the lack of irony between naming the record Spirit of Tradition and putting a song called “The Past is Dead” on it, they sell that well. The Kent Stump-mixed/Tony Reed-mastered six-tracker is the band’s second behind 2013’s 10 South, and basks in dudely, dudely dudeliness; Southern metal born more out of the Nola style than what, say, Wasted Theory are getting up to these days, but that would still fit on a bill with that Delaware outfit. If you think you’re dude enough for a song like “One Night,” hell, maybe you are. Saddle up. Listening to that and the chunky-style riff of closer “Loaded Up,” I feel like I might need hormone therapy to hit that level of may-yun, but yeah. Coherent, well written, tightly performed and heavy. Vermilion Whiskey might as well be hand-issuing dudes invitations to come drink with them, but they make a solid case for doing so.

Vermilion Whiskey on Thee Facebooks

Vermilion Whiskey on Bandcamp

 

Hex Inverter, Revision

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If the cover art and a song title like “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” weren’t enough of a tip-off, there’s a strong undercurrent of the unsettled to Hex Inverter’s second long-player, Revision. The Pennsylvania-based experimentalists utilize a heaping dose of drones to fill out arrangements of keys, guitar and noise that would otherwise be pretty minimal, and vocals come and go in pro- and depressive fashion. Texture proves the key as they embark on the linear centerpiece “Something Else,” with a first verse arriving over a sweetened bassline after four minutes into the total 9:58, and the wash of noise in “Daphne” obscures an avant neo-jazz groove late, so while opener “Cannibal Eyes” basks in foreboding ambience prior to an emotionally-driven and explosive crunch-beat payoff, one never quite knows what to expect next on Revision. That, of course, is essential to the appeal. They find an edge of rock in the aforementioned “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts,” but as the loops and synth angularity of closer “Fled (Deadverse Mix)” make plain, their intentions speak to something wider than even an umbrella genre.

Hex Inverter on Thee Facebooks

Hex Inverter on Bandcamp

 

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Rope Trick Release Red Tape EP; Touring East and West Coasts

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

After premiering the 11-minute opening track here late last year, psych-ritualizing two-piece Rope Trick have made their debut EP, Red Tape, officially available for public consumption. They’ll have CDs before the end of the month, and that timing makes sense since the Queen Elephantine-affiliated duo are set to tour between the Northeast and the West Coast over the course April and May. Wasting no time, they play tonight in New Hampshire and on March 30 are in their half-native Providence, Rhode Island (they also claim roots in Philly, where they’ll be April 1), in the significant company of Baltimore drone-wash joyspreaders Darsombra.

Dates and other info came in off the PR wire, and you can check out the full stream of Red Tape at the bottom of the post:

rope trick

ROPE TRICK: ‘Red Tape’ + East & West Coast US Tour Dates

ROPE TRICK, a new psych rock duo from Providence/Philadelphia, USA is supporting its new self-released album Red Tape with tours on both East and West Coasts of the US. They share the stage with, among others, Darsombra, Owl, Heavy Temple, Weird Owl, Aboleth, and Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, the psych project of Monster Magnet’s Ed Mundell.

You can listen here: https://ropetrickband.bandcamp.com. The album will also be available March 30th on CD, iTunes, and Spotify.

ROPE TRICK is the term given by physicist John Malik to “the curious lines and spikes which emanate from the fireball of certain nuclear explosions just after detonation.”

ROPE TRICK SPRING 2017 TOUR DATES
East Coast

3/24 – Rollinsford, NH, Sue’s
3/30 – Providence RI, AS220*
3/31 – Brooklyn NY* Don Pedro*
4/1 – Philadelphia PA, Shred Shed*
4/2 – Baltimore MD, The Crown*
5/17 – New York NY, Arlene’s Grocery
5/27 – Brooklyn NY, Cobra Club
*w/ darsombra

West Coast
4/14 – Seattle WA, Blue Moon Cafe
4/15 – Portland OR, High Water Mark
4/16 – Eugene OR, Black Forest
4/18 – Sacramento CA, Starlite Lounge
4/19 – San Francisco CA, El Rio
4/21 – Los Angeles CA, Cafe NELA
4/23 – Anaheim, CA, Doll Hut

Rope Trick is:
Indrayudh Shome: guitar + vocal
Nathanael Totushek: drums

ropetrickband.com
ropetrickband.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/ropetrickband
https://www.instagram.com/ropetrickband

Rope Trick, Red Tape (2017)

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