Review & Track Premiere: Holy Grove, II

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

holy grove ii

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Holy Grove’s ‘Valley of the Mystics’ from Holy Grove II. Album is out Nov. 9 on Ripple Music.]

If Holy Grove II was an action figure, it would be one-per-case. If it was coffee, it would be run through the digestive tract of Peruvian bats before brewing. If it was a mushroom, it would only grow on the Western slope of one mountain in the Alps and would only be obtainable by one family who’ve harvested it for 700 years using specially trained dogs. And yes, it would hallucinogenic. It is, in other words, a rare album. Not so much in pressing — Ripple Music has numbered versions, but those who want it can get it — but in form. It’s a coalescing of influences into something new and of marked individual character. Holy Grove aren’t necessarily out of step with the heavy hotbed that’s swelled in their native Portland, Oregon, over the course of this decade, but as that generation of acts becomes more mature, they’re engaged in an obvious commitment to move their sound to new places.

The reasons Holy Grove II, which comprises five tracks in 44 minutes and boats a much-ballyhooed guest appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt alongside Holy Grove vocalist Andrea Vidal on 12-minute closer “Cosmos,” are plenty: timing, performance, production, songwriting, presence. It’s the right album at the right time — we’re coming up on the end of that decade in Portland heavy; something new is welcome. The performances of Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis are energized, soulful and creative, and captured with a master’s hand by Billy Anderson, who if he hasn’t yet started writing the book on heavy production methods should probably get to work on that. A special kind of presence can be heard in Jacobs‘ leads at the end of the penultimate “Solaris” as well as in Vidal‘s vocals that run concurrent with it leading to a classic metal surge that’s organ-inclusive and full-sounding and lands with all the more impact for its sudden end, and the entire proceeding is memorable precisely because of the songwriting work that’s gone into it.

Vidal follows in a line of Oregonian vocalists that includes few others — the aforementioned Mike Scheidt is one, former Witch Mountain singer Uta Plotkin was another — who are able to bring such soul to a heavy context. From the swinging beginning minutes of opener “Blade Born” onward, she steps forward and is in utter command of the material in a way that even two and a half years ago on Holy Grove‘s self-titled debut (review here) just wasn’t possible. Part of that is easy to read as a comfort factor, and it applies to the entire band. Travis is a more recent acquisition, and he makes his presence known from that first swing onward through the second-half rollout slowdown of “Blade Born” and into the cowbell shuffle and tom runs of straight-up rocker “Aurora” that follows and is by far the shortest inclusion on the album at 3:51, but in Emley‘s low end and Jacobs‘ riffing and leads, there’s never a sense that Holy Grove are rushed or playing in any other way than they want to be.

Holy Grove 2018 press photography for "Holy Grove II" album release.

It is a poised collection, but not pointedly so. That is, with the time they spent on tour domestically and abroad, Holy Grove have very clearly found who they are as a group and set themselves to presenting that in these songs. It works. And whether a listener wants to put that narrative to it and think of Holy Grove II in the context of its predecessor or if it’s someone’s first experience with the band, it doesn’t matter. The way the album unfolds is welcoming regardless, and as “Aurora” boogies directly into launching chug of near-11-minute side A capper/album centerpiece “Valley of the Mystics,” the emphasis becomes not on stylization as a means of exclusivity — they’re not tapping into classic and/or traditional doom impulses to show off their taste — but on doing what works best for the song itself. As the opener hinted and both “Solaris” and “Cosmos” affirm on side B, Holy Grove are well suited to these longer forms. That’s not to take away from “Aurora,” which serves a vital function here and is kickass all the while, just to note that given the space to soar, Holy Grove do so.

“Valley of the Mystics” recedes to let Vidal take forward position in a Dio Sabbath-style verse before resuming the roll for a chorus that boasts self-harmonies — more please — and trades again quiet and loud before shifting into the traditionalist metallurgy already noted, and rings out at its finish to conclude the side as “Solaris” fades in on amp noise before crashing through an intro huge and darker-edged en route to a plodding, nodding progression of its own. Organ helps “Solaris” evoke a grand feel, and keyboard plays a central role in “Cosmos” as well, as the two are paired smoothly in the second half of the record. The sudden end of “Solaris” brings a quiet start to the closer, which again pulls back instrumentally to a quieter verse, this one part of a linear build rife with sonic details in the keys, guitar noise and so on. At 3:28, keyboard/Mellotron takes a central position that might otherwise go to the guitar, but the two intertwine smoothly ahead of another chorus, a solo, an almost complete drop to silence, and the setting of the stage for Scheidt‘s arrival, first with atmospheric growls deep in the mix, then with a clean line that emerges from that mass of tone surrounding.

I’m not going to say a bad word about Scheidt‘s appearance — he’s always welcome as far as I’m concerned — but there is a part of me that doesn’t want Holy Grove to share the apex of their second long-player. It’s theirs. They earned it. Bringing in someone else doesn’t necessarily take away from that, but it does change the form of it, and as Travis‘ drums roll and crash to an end of residual amp noise and echoing voice, the highlight of Holy Grove II remains the album itself and the clear process it’s begun in terms of hammering out the potential that the four-piece showed on their debut. Their flair for dramatic turns instrumentally and vocally is writ large here, but they never lose sight of songcraft, and even as Vidal and Scheidt carry through the crescendo of “Cosmos” together, it’s still the entirety of Holy Grove that’s leaving such a resonant impression. There are who will hear it and those who won’t, but this band is casting their influence out over doom with this record, and I’d be surprised if others didn’t catch it and work from it in the future. And they’re not done growing either, because as exciting as Holy Grove II is, it’s already worth looking forward to Holy Grove III. Recommended.

Holy Grove on Thee Facebooks

Holy Grove on Instagram

Holy Grove on Twitter

Holy Grove on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Red Fang Announce December Pacific Northwest Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

red fang

Given all the road time they put in, I like the thought of Portland’s Red Fang doing a regional weekender in Oregon and Washington. Of course, it’s worth noting that their four-date run alongside R.I.P. follows a late-November/early-December West Coast stint with Telekinetic Yeti and precedes another three local shows to close out 2018. But that’s kind of how it goes with Red Fang, isn’t it? Since even before they signed to Relapse they’ve been a hard-touring band, and certainly as they continue to support 2016’s Only Ghosts (review here), that’s been the case all along. The way I see it, though, that only adds charm to the four-date set. That’s not a tour they’re doing because they have to, or because they’re promoting a release, or whatever. Those are shows they’re playing because they want to.

Maybe they’re tightening up new material with an eye toward recording sometime in 2019, or maybe they’re just getting out for the hell of it. Either way, the point is it’s easy to read this as something they have booked for fun. Maybe that’s the case and maybe not, but for Red Fang, who are a good time under the most workmanlike of circumstances, it seems only fitting they should have a bit of a blowout to close the year. They’ve earned it.

From the PR wire:

red fang tour poster

RED FANG: Announce Additional Late 2018 Tour Dates

Portland, OR rockers RED FANG announce the second leg of their US headlining tour dates at the end of the year. The brief tour begins December 12nd in Eugene, OR and ends December 15 in Bellingham, WA. Support will be provided by R.I.P. on all four dates. The tour rounds up RED FANG’s Winter 2018 tour dates featuring additional select support by Thunderpussy, Telekinetic Yeti, Wizard Rifle and Gaythiest. All confirmed tour dates are available below.

Tickets are on sale Friday, October 5th @ 10am local time at https://redfang.net/live.html.

Additionally, RED FANG have shared a cover of the 1978 cult hit “Listen to the Sirens” originally performed by Gary Numan’s Tubeway Army. Watch the official music video directed by Ray Gordon.

The music video which is a departure from RED FANG’s usual antics, showcases the band playing the song in their rehearsal place while taking in the sites and sounds of their hometown, Portland.

Red Fang Tour Dates:

Oct 06 Atlanta, GA @ Slaughter Que 2018 (w/ ASG)

— All Dates Nov 29 – Dec 08 w/ Telekinetic Yeti —

Nov 29 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
Nov 30 Los Angeles, CA @ Roxy Theatre
Dec 01 Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriets
Dec 02 Tustin, CA @ Marty’s On Newport
Dec 03 Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
Dec 05 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Dec 06 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Dec 07 Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Lounge
Dec 08 Boise, ID @ The Olympic

— All Dates Dec 12 – 15 w/ R.I.P. —

Dec 12 Eugene, OR @ HiFi Music Hall
Dec 13 Bend, OR @ Domino Room
Dec 14 Tacoma, WA @ Alma Mater
Dec 15 Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo

Dec 28 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom (w/ Thunderpussy & Gaythiest)
Dec 29 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom (w/ R.I.P. & Wizard Rifle)
Dec 31 Seattle, WA @ The Showbox (w/ Thunderpussy)

RED FANG is:
John Sherman – Drums
Aaron Beam – Bass, Vocals
David Sullivan – Guitar
Maurice Bryan Giles – Guitar, Vocals

www.redfang.net
www.facebook.com/redfangband
www.twitter.com/redfang
www.instagram.com/redfangband
http://relapse.com/red-fang-only-ghosts/

Red Fang, “Listen to the Sirens” official video

Tags: , , ,

Six Dumb Questions with Megaton Leviathan (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Six Dumb Questions on October 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

megaton leviathan

I’ve always thought of the difference between modernism and post-modernism as being that modernism says, “There is no god. So what?” and post-modernism takes the form of Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack and answers, “So what? So let’s dance!” and the presses a play button on its golf bag and starts the party. In their own way, Megaton Leviathan are cutting a post-modern rug on their third album, Mage, which is released Oct. 26 through Blood Music. Led by founding vocalist, guitarist, synthesist, etc.-ist Andrew James Costa Reuscher, the experimentalist progressive drone outfit were last heard from in 2014 with the particularly weighted Past 21: Beyond the Arctic Cell (discussed here), following up on 2010’s evocative and spacious debut, Water Wealth Hell on Earth (review here), and with Mage, Reuscher and creative partner Mort Subite, whose name translates from French to “sudden death” and who handles keys, vocals, recording, and so on, revamped the lineup of the band, filling out a drone sextext ready to hold sway and any chamber of the damned that might have them. One expects a few will.

The album is five tracks and 41-minutes of whatever-the-fuck-it-wants-to-be, post-all composition, following a narrative line from the forward march of opener “Wave” deep into hypnotic immersion like a spirit-seeking Godflesh before “Take the Fire” brings Floydian acoustic strum to the mix as an earth center for the surrounding ethereal moodiness. Moving into a wash of a finish with Reuscher‘s vocals and those of violinist Andrea Morgan staying resolute Megaton Leviathan Mageand calm at the center, “Take the Fire” comes apart like ashes thrown off a cliff before drums and low synth rumble begin the centerpiece title-track, marking a return of the dual-vocal approach and a beat that holds steady until about four of the six minutes have passed, at which point the loops and strums begin a resonant dirge march soon enough active again in its slow progression downward. This leads to the twist of the Eno Moebius Roedelius (aka Eno & Cluster) track “The Belldog” from 1978’s After the Heat, unveiling a krautrock-derived spread given a darker edge through undulations of lower-end synth rising up behind the belted-out verses.

It is gorgeous and consuming both, a brave take on an obscure original, and when the beat kicks in at about halfway through, the piano line that’s run throughout is only enhanced by the rhythm-making around it. At eight minutes, “The Belldog” is longer than anything before it, and in that, it doubles as a bridge to “Within the Threshold,” the 15-minute, largely instrumental finale to which all the marching on Mage seems to have been leading. Its unfolding is methodical and happens in at least three stages: the first four minutes dedicated to a tense buildup, the next eight-plus given to crafting a beautiful, nigh-incomprehensible wash of synth, guitar, violin and — somewhere in there — Morgan‘s vocals, and the last three a quiet, acoustic-inclusive ending that’s more resolution than epilogue. There’s something of a “what just happened?” effect when it’s over and the final line of keyboard fades gracefully away, but one thing Megaton Leviathan — ReuscherSubiteMorgan, drummer Jon Reid, bassist TrejenRuss Archer and maybe guitarist Travis Hathaway on the album (?) — never lose sight of is the flow between the varied stretches in the material. That is the thread running through Mage and the foundation from which is makes its outward sonic reach.

Reuscher was kind enough to discuss some of the makings of Mage and the personal context for him in which the album was composed, as well as essentially the remaking of Megaton Leviathan around himself and Subite. Before the Q&A, you can click play on the embed below to hear the debut of “The Belldog,” which I’m thrilled to be able to host.

Please enjoy the following track premiere and Six Dumb Questions:

Megaton Leviathan, “The Belldog” official track premiere

Six Dumb Questions with Megaton Leviathan

Over how long a period was the material on Mage written? The songs have such a diverse range. How did they come together?

I started writing them in winter of 2015/’16. I had just moved into a one bedroom apartment after my home of 10 years where we had hosted many shows in the basement was demoed. A neat lil side note is Capitalist Casualties played the last show at the house so that was kind of a nice farewell. I was pretty depressed and had some interpersonal things going on at the time on top of this and I had put on a LOT of weight and experiencing some health issues. I was pretty fed up with the bullshit that comes along with doing the band thing. The Past 21 tours where literally a death march and after writing an album when I got back and kind of trying to get a band together, Ford Tennis (yes, that’s his real name) let me know he was leaving. He did the session drums for Past 21 and we tapped him since our touring drummer just kinda ghosted us.

I was fed up with EVERYTHING. People would tell me oh you need to to tour more… I’m like I toured a lot man, I hired PR, we played direct support slots with Wolves in the Throne Room several times, and they even said themselves if this isn’t helping you not much else can be done, so going back a little further that was the basis of beginning of the end for Chris bagging out.  But that’s a whole other story. So yeah, just years of near-misses failures and getting our asses handed to us. So I shelved that album I did after Past 21, I folded the band and told Mort Subite that I was fucking done. He however knew I wasn’t and waited me out patiently. Anyway I got into this one bedroom apartment and set up all my studio gear in the living room.

Then one day I got the itch. I started laying down all these synth tracks and came up with some hooks and whatnot. I compiled three or four songs. I knew I wanted to hang up the doom hat — that shit bored me at this point from a songwriting perspective. I wanted to explore, so I got me a Moog Voyager.  I ended up getting a new house in the middle of the peak of the housing crisis here in Portland as well, nicely situated on the other side of the freeway so no one fucks with us. Anyway I was also listening to a lot of Chrome at the time and I think some of that leaked into it. I guess more than just leaked, since I essentially met Helios Creed and ended up filling in for the synth master himself Tommy L. Cyborg (Farflung). Mort and I ended up helping with Chrome‘s album Techromancy and THEN  I toured Europe with ChromeHelios and Lou Minatti where around quite a lot around this time. So it went from a total bummer to all this awesome stuff happening by the end of 2017.

Tell me about “Within the Threshold.” How did writing that song happen and what is it expressing for you in its lyrics and in the music itself?

This was the last song I had written for the album I knew I wanted to pay homage to the Kosmische Kraut gods. So I went there with it, busted out the Moog and tasty analog arp’d synth and did my best Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze with some German psych-folk in there to possibly make Julian Cope proud heh heh heh… It just came together effortlessly, I mapped it out and did the bottom tracks and then brought Mort and Andrea in to fill it out.  The process was actually fun. The album Mage itself is obviously themed and this song is the completion of the lyrical concepts. It’s not a secret to many that I am a Esoteric Freemason and a member of a Hermetic Fellowship. I had been doing a lot of work and this album reflects that. I try to keep this stuff very simple because it can get very complicated very fast and at that point you may lose the meaning. I also try to keep a childlike wonder about these things — growing up is for losers. Music and magick are creative things that rely on it, in my opinion. So the song, it’s about being within the pillars of hidden knowledge, vision coming to form and being very clear after diligently trudging a dark path with very little to light the way except trust in faith, THEN that moment of “AH!… it all makes sense now,” I hear my song and know it is a gift. To sum it up, Order Ab Chao.

Tell me about the recording process. You basically rebuilt the band going into this album. Were you nervous at all about how it would all work out? What did each player bring to the project that let you know it was going to all fit?

I came at this from the perspective [of how] my Masonic Lodge and etc. goes about bringing in new initiates. They have to want it. I’m not going to waste all my time and effort on curiosity seekers. I want to know that you’re in it, that you know what you want and this is it. My lodge prides itself on their commitment to the craft and are some of the best esotericists (of many different backgrounds) I have ever met, I wanted my band to reflect the same in the capacity of music.

So yeah I had to start from scratch with the exception of Mort Subite — who for those of you who know French might glean that he has impeccable timing, which he does. He is my ace. Though the moment that I realized that I might want to continue was when Jon Reid reached out to me and offered his drumming skills. I knew he played on that first Lord Dying record and I had seen them play several times around town, but I had no idea he knew about ML and that he was a fan. His enthusiasm and his ability as a musician sealed it for me. From that point on I think Mort Subite and I decided to just commit fully and make this a band. Slowly we kept getting together bringing in different people essentially trying them out to fill out the band. Andrea Morgan came into the picture. Mort knew her from “back in the day” and so did a few others we knew. So I was like, “huh don’t know if I need like six people in this band… what can she do?” Mort was quick to inform me that she was extremely talented and plays violin in the Vancouver Washington symphony. I reflected on the work Chris Beug did with string arrangements on the first album, and the stuff we did on Past 21… if we could pull it off in the context of new works that would be great.

So we brought her in she clicked right away and it was a match. At this point we started rehearsing regularly and I was teaching everyone the material off of the Repeating Patterns of Love demo.  We had a few people come in and out but things where kinda gelling so  I was like, “guys! we are going to finish this album I wrote, I want you all to collaborate with me on it.” So we did that and somewhere in there I was talking to Trejen who I used to be roommates with at a Fourth of July party and telling him what I was up to. He was like well you know I play bass as well as art. I mean this dude is a really damn good artist and I knew he was a straight shooter. He also toured with Dystopia as a roadie on their very last tour so I also knew for fact he had the right stuff. So I was like, “you’re in dude, let’s meet next week.” The next day he called me and was like, “hey so I was drunk last night… Did I? did I just join Megaton Leviathan?” I was like, “yeah man – you sure did.  You in?” He said, “yeah lets do this.” So we got it together and played a few local shows to seal the deal over the summer of 2017. In between all of that we worked on the album, getting together in my studio and laying down tracks. I felt that process created a strong bond between us which I knew was needed if we were going forward as a six-piece band.

Our most recent player Russ Archer is rad too. He is a quick study, gets it and has a great sense of humor which is needed. Russ has played in SubArachnoid Space and a bunch of other great bands. I’m looking forward to collaborating with him and everyone on future works for sure.

How are the songs connected for you? Can you expand a bit on how they tie together in theme and purpose and what drew you to fleshing them out in different ways? How do “Mage” and “The Belldog” happen next to each other?

I mean as far as writing them it was pretty much sequentially.  Then when the time was right I kind of catherted and got the lyrical content. I’m telling a story which is kind of reminiscent of a hymn. First song I kinda talk about my process. I was in a dark place and I was looking for some healing. And it kinda goes from there to how I get over it and find my footing again. I go over the dualistic nature of life the tragedy the glory getting in touch with your higher purpose. Listen to the album.

As far as “Mage,” I wrote that one. I kinda went off on tokens in life that kinda signal change and was kind of incorporating more of a worldview with the wacky shit that is happening in our at least American culture anyway. I grew up as a kid in the ’80s having an actor as a president and playing G.I. Joes and Transformers then took a bunch of acid in the ’90s… and now we have this really augmented warped reality that seems too absurd to be real… It’s like I’m living in a dream, “yo dawg is this shit real? We have some reality show host playing G.I. Joes and Transformers but hes presumably in charge of the free world…” Anyway what can I do? This seems really bizarre, man. I feel kinda helpless but I’ve done enough acid to know that this shit will pass and you gotta take the lesson man. Do what you can. Weave your truth into the narrative. Hack it by radiating love on the micro cosmic level, it will grow, etc. In the meantime duck and let the shit wash over you.

“The Belldog” is a cover of a Cluster & Eno track. So I was telling you about Mort Subite and his great timing. We were about done and he came in ad was like, “oh I have this track…” He had arranged it all himself and brought it to Andrea and I to do strings and guitars. So I did my best Micheal Rother. I figured if there was any guitarist that would jam with those dudes it was him first and foremost (Harmonia). All of us in the band where floored by it, and I we knew this had to go on side two and stand as a massive homage to the Kraut masters. Mort Subite and I actually got to see Hans-Joachim Roedelius live in Portland right after we finished tracking and it was this beautiful moment of the vision being realized for that song in particular, having Adam Stacy (Secret Chiefs 3) do the piano on that was the best call we could have made. I just shook Roedelius‘ hand and thanked him after the set.

It’s been four years since Past 21: Beyond the Arctic Cell. Aside from the lineup, how do you feel the band has grown in that time? Was there something specific you wanted to do differently on Mage?

I mean what line up? it was me stumbling around with a guitar while Mort did sound… although we had a drummer on the US tour so there’s that. I didn’t have a band, not at that point. It had broken up by 2010. I was just trying to keep doing a thing and see the album through and it felt like a burden at that point. I had to re-record it three times save for the drum tracks and the collab tracks which kinda saved that album from being a total waste.

I feel like now I have what I always wanted with Megaton Leviathan anyway. I had always felt like we put the cart before the horse starting out. I wanted live synths, and there is of course things that you gain merely from experience which I lacked 10 years ago. So it is as it should be.

We kind of touched on the doom thing with our first two albums. Past 21 is the heaviest we will ever get. We went out of our way to make the heaviest album we could, and for better or worse, I did it. It’s time to move on. Yeah, with Mage I just wanted to do what felt right musically. The electronic and post-punk elements have always been there so I wanted to expose that more with this output. I have endless roads to travel and I plan on taking that pilgrimage.

Will Megaton Leviathan tour? Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Yeah we plan on it, timing is everything and we hope to finally make it to EU sooner than later.  Buy our album, support your local record stores and if you like a band go see ’em live when they come to your town.

Megaton Leviathan, “Wave”

Megaton Leviathan on Thee Facebooks

Megaton Leviathan on Instagram

Megaton Leviathan on Bandcamp

Blood Music webstore

Tags: , , , , ,

Holy Grove Unveil Cover Art for Holy Grove II

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

holy grove ii full cover

I usually try to keep it reasonable as regards file sizes around here, mostly because I have a voice in my head that sounds a lot like Slevin (who built the site) berating me for not doing so, but every now and again you gotta just give a piece of art its due. Accordingly, click the image above to greatly enlarge the full two-sided cover for Holy Grove II, the impending second album and Ripple Music debut from Portland, Oregon’s Holy Grove. The art, of course, is by Adam Burke.

The striking artwork was a factor as well on Holy Grove‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), released by Heavy Psych Sounds, and like producer Billy Anderson, Adam Burke is a returning party in adding his visuals alongside Holy Grove‘s tracks. I haven’t heard the record yet — it’s a Nov. 9 release date, so we might be a while before we get there — but the band previously announced the tracklisting and offer some more comment about the record, and because one likes to be thorough, you’ll see the front-cover version of the art below, complete with a fancy Holy Grove logo that seems just about ready to become my new favorite t-shirt.

More on Holy Grove‘s Holy Grove II as I hear it (and hopefully I hear it soon — ha.), but for now here’s what I’ve got:

holy grove ii

Holy Grove on Holy Grove II:

For us this record represents a rebirth of sorts…we went through a trying few years where the future of the band was in doubt and making another record seemed like it may never happen. We continued on, believing that we had more to accomplish. This record is a result of that belief, as well as a lot of hard work. We’re all very proud of it, and are looking forward to sharing it.

Holy Grove II tracklisting:
Blade Born
Aurora
Valley of The Mystics
Solaris
Cosmos

Holy Grove is:
Andrea Vidal – Vocals
Trent Jacobs – Guitar
Gregg Emley – Bass
Eben Travis – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
https://twitter.com/holygroveband
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Holy Grove, Live at the Tonic Lounge, Portland, OR 03.26.18

Holy Grove, Holy Grove (2016)

Tags: , , , , ,

Young Hunter Tour Starts Tomorrow in Montana

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

YOUNG HUNTER

Portland, Oregon-based five-piece Young Hunter make their way out of the Pacific Northwest starting tomorrow night. Actually, they’re probably on the road already as this post goes up — or headed out shortly — since their first show is in Missoula, Montana, and that’s just shy of nine hours of road time more easily broken up into a two-day stretch provided you’ve got somewhere to crash. Hey, if Young Hunter are coming through, let them crash, would ya?

Anyway, last Fall the band released Dayhiker (review here), which is an album that, according to the complicated metrics I use for such things (note: I have no metrics and I don’t read other sites so I have no idea what I’m talking about beyond what I see on social media) didn’t get nearly the amount of appreciation it was due. Amidst a sea of bands playing to genre, Young Hunter shape sound to their own image rather than the other way around, and their craft has only grown more fluid with time. This tour will take them south through the Rockies and into the desert where they got their start as founded by guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Blake. Hence the four shows in Arizona. They finish by looping back up to San Francisco and finishing there, just two hours south of Grass Valley, which it just so happens is where Dayhiker was recorded with the estimable Tim Green at the helm. Now that’s a drive you could do in a day, were you so inclined.

Here are the dates as culled from Thee Facebooks:

young hunter tour poster

We’re leaving on tour in less than a week! Beyond excited to see all the friends and epic landscapes of the western US. Thanks to @matthowls for the epic poster. Dates below:

9/20- Missoula, MT- Dark Horse
9/21- Bozeman, MT- Eagle’s Club
9/22- Denver, CO- 3 Kings
9/23- Santa Fe, NM- Rufina St Brewery
9/25- Scottsdale, AZ- Rogue
9/26- Bisbee, AZ- The Quarry
9/27- Tucson, AZ- CANS
9/28- Flagstaff, AZ- Flagstaff Brewing Co.
9/29- Las Vegas, NV- Starboard Tack
10/2- Reno, NV- 40 Mile Saloon
10/3- Sacramento, CA- Blue Lamp
10/4- TBA
10/5- Santa Rosa, CA- Arlene Francis Center
10/6- San Francisco, CA- El Rio

Young Hunter is:
Benjamin Blake – Vocals, Guitar
Sara Pinnell – Vocals, Keys
Erik Wells – Guitar
Sam Dean – Bass
Grant Pierce – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Young-Hunter-127424170682508/
https://younghunter.bandcamp.com/
https://thefearandthevoidrecordings.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheFearAndTheVoid/

Young Hunter, Dayhiker (2017)

Tags: , , , , ,

Lyric Video Premiere: LáGoon, “Draculove”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lagoon

Oregonian two-piece LáGoon will release their 2018 EP, L’affaire des Poisons — which follows their 2018 debut LP, Grim Ripper — in October through Deckhead Records (tape) and Norwegian Blue Records (vinyl). The Portland-based duo put out the six-tracker on their own digitally in July, and with it further showcased their raw, garage doom sneer, PNW skate fuckall and a bit of sass thrown in for good measure. The latter can most certainly be heard on “Draculove,” the lyric video for which is premiering below, but the EP also digs into punkier fare on the subsequent closer “Distant Enemy” and offers a particular dirty take on classic stoner riffing in “Kill the Messenger,” somewhere between Fu Manchu and Helmet where opener “Street Freaks” unfurls creeper-doom aggression and a central groove that persists throughout the entire release no matter where an individual song might go stylistically.

Holding the material together on L’affaire des Poisons — as opposed to “L’affaire des Poissons, which would be about fish — is the prevailing nastiness in the recording and a quirky sense of songwriting. It gets weird quickly and stays that way. Part of that is the vocal approach of guitarist Anthony Gaglia, which seems to revel in the feeling of being more than a bit off-center. It’s not necessarily all irony and tongue-in-cheek, though I don’t think one writes a song like “Draculove” without a sense of humor, but Gaglia‘s vocals — almost like Dali’s Llama‘s Zach Huskey taken to more of a semi-spoken extreme and melded with Jus Oborn‘s abiding disgust with humanity — are a defining element throughout L’affaire des Poisons, which uses just two and a half minutes for “The Affair of Poisons,” a tale that could easily be taken as a sequel to Penatagram‘s “Forever My Queen” about a love that leads to murder.

Songs are short, which is another tie to punker roots, and largely straightforward in their structure, but cuts like “Head Tripper,” “Kill the Messenger” and “Draculove” offer hooks to stand behind all that weirdo sensibility. Coupled with some shifts in pace and a prevailing sense of doomed foreboding, L’affaire des Poisons is deceptively skilled in putting the listener in the mindset and mood it’s determined for them, and its presence is is both eerie and fun in kind, like a horror movie that lets you laugh with it.

You can stream the full EP — that whole “released in July” thing — at the bottom of this post, but for a quick sampling and some clever wordplay, the lyric video for “Draculove” follows immediately here.

Please enjoy:

LáGoon, “Draculove” lyric video premiere

Lyric video for the song ‘Draculove’ off our recent EP, ‘L’affaire des Poisons’. Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Sam Lay in Portland, Oregon.

All the edited footage in this video was taken from Tod Browning’s ‘Dracula’ (1931).

LáGoon live:
Sep 11 Tonic Lounge Portland, OR
Sep 28 Peter’s Room, Roseland Theater Portland, OR

LáGoon is:
Guitar/Vocals – Anthony Gaglia
Drums – Brady Maurer

LáGoon, L’affaire des Poisons (2018)

LáGoon on Thee Facebooks

LáGoon on Instagram

LáGoon on Bandcamp

Deckhead Records on Bandcamp

Norwegian Blue Records webstore

Tags: , , , , ,

Megaton Leviathan Set Oct. 26 Release for Mage; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

megaton leviathan

I write about a lot of killer records on this site. Doing so keeps me as close to sane as I get. Take my word for it when I tell you this one is something special. I’m not bragging and I’m not claiming any insight or anything like that, but the basic fact of the matter is I hear a lot of music. A lot. And Megaton Leviathan‘s new LP, Mage (on Blood Music), is a standout, in style and substance alike. It’s a work of deep-running psychedelic heft that not only expands the reaches of the band’s prior outings, but does so in inventive and soulful fashion. In its atmosphere and its realization, it’s not to be missed. Something special. I don’t know how else to put it. Hopefully I come up with something before I sit down to review it, or it’s gonna be a pretty short writeup.

I’ve got till Oct. 26 on that one, so a bit of time, but Megaton Leviathan are streaming the opening track “Wave” now, and it’s as good a place to dig in as I can think of, though it doesn’t necessarily represent the entire scope of the offering. They’d basically have to stream the whole thing to do that, and, well, it’s early for that. I’m sure they’ll get there.

Release announcement came down the PR wire with the Earth-esque cover art and the aforementioned track:

Megaton Leviathan Mage

Megaton Leviathan announce new album “Mage”, stream new single “Wave”

Megaton Leviathan have released new details behind the release of their new album, “Mage”. The five track album, a follow up to 2014’s “Past 21: Beyond the Artic Cell”, will be released worldwide via Blood Music on October 26. Pre-orders for the album are available here.

Megaton Leviathan are streaming the first track off “Mage”. The single, “a sprawling, emotional, trippy and ultimately memorable track” titled “Wave” is streaming now.

Regarding the new track, singer/multi-instrumentalist Andrew James Costa Reuscher comments, “It’s about coming to peace and healing a broken heart. I was on a beach in Aptos doing some astral work/meditation and saw a pretty damn vivid waking vision of the goddess ISIS spread out across the horizon … she gave me this song.”

The artwork and track list for “Mage” is as follows:

Track List
1. Wave
2. Take The Fire
3. Mage
4. The Belldog
5. Within The Threshold

In the three years since MEGATON LEVIATHAN released the critically acclaimed Past 21: Beyond The Artic Cell, multi-instrumentalist Andrew James Costa Reuscher and fellow musician/producer Mort Subite have been diligently creating new material. Their aim is to meet and exceed MEGATON LEVIATHAN’s reputation for fusing disparate elements into new, borderline narcotic compositions.

The resulting offering from the re-envigorated band is their new album Mage, due to be released this October via Blood Music. The album is a concoction of the band’s very own blend of heavy rock, psychedelia, and shoegaze, with heavy synths and orchestral leanings.

Borne out of a personal catharsis for Reuscher, Mage incorporates themes of evolution and enlightenment. Recording took place in-house, with Mort Subite at the helm for mixing, and Billy Anderson handling mastering.

Several new members were drafted for the creation of Mage, including ex-Lord Dying drummer Jonathan Reid, vocalist and concert violinist Andrea Morgan, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Travis Hathaway, and bassist Trejen. This new and diversely talented cast inspired unexpected creative influence in the studio and will no doubt entrance live audiences when MEGATON LEVIATHAN hit the road.

https://www.facebook.com/Megaton-Leviathan-185853803548/
https://www.instagram.com/megaton_leviathan/
https://megatonleviathan.bandcamp.com/
http://www.blood-music.com/store/

Megaton Leviathan, “Wave”

Tags: , , , , ,

Ramprasad Stream Debut EP Ruinenlust in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on August 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

RAMPRASAD

Portland, Oregon, instrumentalist duo Ramprasad are gearing up for the Sept. 1 release of their debut EP, Ruinenlust, through Anima Recordings. The three-song offering from the two-piece band finds them dug into post-sludge riffing with a willful focus on atmosphere. It’s only about 20 minutes long, and nearly half of that goes right to the 9:45 opening title-track, but is both deceptively patient and purposefully crushing in its tonality. With journeyman guitarist Aaron D.C. Edge — of Lumbar, IamthethornBible Black TyrantMinor Fret and a nearly endless string of others — and the also-pedigreed drummer/noisemaker David Fylstra, it’s not really a surprise they would come into the project with an idea of the sound they want to conjure, though I’d also be willing to believe the two started to work together and Ramprasad was simply what came out.

The songs have a formative, naturalist flow from one into the next, “Ruinenlust” into “Essence of Illusion” (8:26) into the grammatically problematic noise/drone assault “The Woods, She Calls” (1:53) — unless the woods aren’t actually doing the calling there; one could imagine any number of scenarios — and that too feels like more than happenstance. Whether it was written all as one piece and split up in the recording, I don’t know — there’s a stop after “Essence of Illusion” before the sharp, high-pitched frequency that starts the closer takes hold, but even that transition seems surprisingly organic considering the inhuman nature of what follows — but it all comes together to create an overarching impression of oppressive tones and head-down rhythmic pummel.

ramprasad ruinenlustIt’s fucking heavy, is what I’m saying, and it could hardly be more fitting that Edge and Fylstra got together following a recording session for another one of the former’s bands, since that’s kind of how it goes with him. Aaron Edge, despite an MS diagnosis five years ago, has a long string of projects either conceived as one-offs or that simply turn out that way in the end. My mantra with his work is pretty much “appreciate it, but don’t get attached.” Late last year, he unveiled Bible Black Tyrant‘s debut album, Regret Beyond Death (discussed here), which first brought him together with Fylstra, whose sonic history isn’t quite as long but goes back through outfits like Canadensis and Wasting Seasons over the last several years.

Ramprasad might be seen as an extension of some of Bible Black Tyrant‘s grim tonality and bludgeoning mindset, but the shift to Fylstra playing drums instead of guitar and vocals — he and Edge share bass duties — and the elements of noise throughout are distinguishing factors. Coupled with the viciousness of chug and the angular, sharp corners of “Essence of Illusion,” Ruinenlust takes on a controlled-feeling torrential feel, a conscious and thoughtful work but still a collaboration that sounds like it’s just getting started, even if coherently. Will Edge and Fylstra continue to work together, either in Ramprasad or Bible Black Tyrant? Far be it from me to speculate, but the fruit of their work together in these tracks is rich and deep in its mix, and in their full-on brutality and more ambient stretches — thinking of “Essence of Illusion” around the five-minute mark, before the concrete riffing returns — they come across as a vital unit beginning a longer exploration.

After all, the German-language title Ruinenlust does indeed translate to “lust for ruin.” A kind of death wish, maybe? In any case, that feeling of foreboding certainly carries into “Ruinenlust” itself and the sweeping, abrasive consumption of “The Woods, She Calls.” You can stream all three cuts ahead of the Sept. 15 release now on the player below. More background on the recording follows, as well as some word from Edge on plans for the band, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Ramprasad is the collaboration of Portland, OR musicians Aaron D.C. Edge (Lumbar, Bible Black Tyrant, Iamthethorn, etc.) and David S. Fylstra (KVØID, Folian, Canadensis, etc.). The duo met when Aaron came to David’s home studio to record vocals for his Minor Fret project. Just within the weeks to follow, the two were in a small practice space writing music together. Ramprasad was formed in April of 2016.

Ramprasad’s debut effort “Ruinenlust” takes us on a short, yet daringly adventurous and impactful sonic journey. The instrumental music within these three tracks manages to merge elements of metal, sludge, hardcore, doom, and electronic noise. Drums were recorded by Zak Kimball at Nomah Studios in Portland. All other music recorded and finally mixed by David at Candlewolfe Sound in Portland. It was mastered by Zach Weeks at Godcity Studio in Salem, MA.

“Ruinenlust” will be released digitally and on cassette via David’s label Anima Recordings.

Aaron Edge on Ramprasad’s future:

Until two years ago, and since late 2012, my MS had kept me from playing live music with a drummer. It just wasn’t possible. I was confined to writing and recording records in my home studio, passing tunes ’round with other folks from around the country — projects that I could spend months on, slowly and without wasting money and band member patience — projects that were important for my creative drive and sanity. But, with the help of proper meds, I now have a grip on my chronic hand pain (I suppose there’s a pun there). I’m able to stand and play guitar with a live drummer and it’s huge.

Now, the suffering is worth it in a way, there is not only a release of my sonic historic significance… there is also a live release of energy, volume and emotion. David and I aren’t going anywhere, and though I’ll always work on other musical projects (both Yama-Uba and Canyon of the Crescent Moon to be released this year), Ramprasad is a visual, full-time beast. We have a full-length wrapped up as well, just needs to be mastered, and we are hoping that Ruinenlust is a teaser of what we can’t wait to share. I love Dave like a brother, he’s been very patient with my progress and one of the best musicians I’ve worked with since first strumming in the mid-’80s. He shines here, and though my story is heavy, it’s only made possible by his donation of blood, sweat, tears and bombastic behavior.

Personnel:
Aaron D.C. Edge – guitar
David Fylstra – drums, noise
(bass on “Ruinenlust” performed by Aaron and David)

Ramprasad on Thee Facebooks

Ramprasad on Bandcamp

Anima Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Anima Recordings on Twitter

Anima Recordings on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,