Menin Announce Lord of Pain EP Due Sept. 15

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

menin

The impression made by the blown-out tone of Menin‘s Lord of Pain is immediate, resonant and righteous. Taking themes from sci-fi across its included tracks — one of which is instrumental and another a vinyl-exclusive bonus — the Doom Stew Records offering is out Sept. 15 and is the first EP release from the doubly-drummed (you can hear it on “Logrus”) Portland, Oregon, four-piece. Caked in distorted filth to match their bass-driven heft, Menin stomp their way through the title-track en route to the longer and ultimately more atmospheric “Logrus” before rolling out an effective linear build across “Mercer.”

All told, it’s a quick 22 minutes-plus that feels formative in its construction but carries forth a raw ambience to go with its nastiest stretches. It just so happens that the bonus track, “Entheogen,” is streaming at the bottom of this post, if you’d like to get introduced.

From the PR wire:

menin lord of pain

Menin EP – Lord of Pain Sept 15th

Portland, Oregon’s favorite science fiction stoner doom outfit Menin is proud to announce its allegiance with San Francisco’s Doom Stew Records to release the EP Lord of Pain on CD and 12″ vinyl September 15th.

Menin’s power has rarely been glimpsed outside of the Pacific Northwest until now. Two drummers, downtuned guitar, and towering bass bring about an involuntary slow-headbang with interlocking polyrhythmic riffs. The unhinged vocals of guitarist Chris Gray serve to further disorient and disturb the listener.

Lord of Pain launches Menin’s unrelenting heaviness into the farthest corners of the universe for all but the deafest of heshers to behold. Each track explores the power and wrath of creator/destroyer gods from works of science fiction and fantasy. Lord of Pain’s title track is named for the Shrike from Dan Simmons’s Hyperion Cantos: a 10-foot-tall, four-armed, time-traveling monster made of knives. Fellow science fiction fan and riff warrior Matt Stikker provides a horrifying illustration for the cover art, as he has done for the likes of Lord Dying, Drouth, and WVRM, among others.

Lord of Pain will be available on CD, digital download, and vinyl September 15th through Doom Stew Records. The 12″ vinyl also contains the previously-unavailable single Entheogen, an anthem to the sweet leaf.

Artist: Menin
Album: Lord of Pain
Label: Doom Stew Records
Release date: September 15th, 2017

Tracklist:
1. Lord of Pain (5:45)
2. Logrus (9:58)
3. Mercer (7:14)
4. Entheogen (5:52) (vinyl-only)

Menin is:
Chris Gray – Vocals / Guitar
Ken Neff – Bass
Devin Nowlin – Drums
Peter Schaller – Drums

http://facebook.com/meninpdx
https://www.menin666.com
https://menin.bandcamp.com
https://www.doomstew.com
https://www.facebook.com/doomstewrecords/

Menin, “Entheogen”

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A Stick and a Stone to Release The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost July 21

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

a stick and a stone

Portland-by-way-of-Philly post-doom outfit A Stick and a Stone will issue The Lost Art of Getting Lost on July 21 via Sentient Ruin and Cold Recordings (LP), Sentient Ruin and Breathe Plastic (CS) and Spirit House (CD). If you’re wondering what might cause so many different parties to line up behind pushing the release into the public sphere, consider yourself cordially invited to dig into the seven encompassing minutes of “Arrow” at the bottom of this post, which is both orchestral and emotionally affecting, finding perfect complement in the deep blue of the album cover and representing the richly atmospheric and creative approach on display throughout the record’s seven tracks. It’s dark and gorgeous and spacious and sad and all that stuff that reminds you that genre lines are made essentially to be transgressed.

Also, anyone who cites Carla Bozulich as an influence is okay by me. I’m just saying.

Sentient Ruin sent word of the release down the PR wire:

a-stick-and-a-stone-the-long-lost-art-of-getting-lost

A STICK AND A STONE: Oregon-Based Ethereal Doom Outfit Unveil New Album

This July Oregon’s A Stick And A Stone will release their brand new album The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost – a shimmering gem of experimental minimalistic doom that is set to wind back the hands of time to a time in which bands like OM, Earth, Boris, Orthodox and Goatsnake where redefining the lineaments of doom and post-rock.

A Stick And A Stone is led by vocalist and composer, Elliott Harvey. As a trans male with invisible disabilities, Harvey has learned that there is often more than what meets initial perception. Inhabiting a body between the thresholds of gender and ability has made him no stranger to liminality, shape shifting, and living between worlds. Consequently, he has developed a devotion to unveiling what exists beyond the easily detectable radar. This practice has carried over into his music, which is often described as ghostly, haunting, and ethereal.

Harvey started performing as a soloist in Philadelphia as a teenage castaway, and since then has expanded his project to include drummers, noise alchemists, and string players into the fold. In 2013, he met violist Myles Donovan (Disemballerina, Negative Queen, Ominous Cloud Ensemble) in Portland, OR. A city-born Philadelphian, the two realized their lives had been intricately intertwined long before meeting, and Donovan swiftly became the core collaborator of A Stick And A Stone. Their partnership has yielded music that is both earthly and transcendental – soundscapes of true intimistic prowess that are crushing and suffocating in their emotional intensity, and mesmerizing in their evocative force. With deep and touching lyrical content channeling themes of alienation, nature worship, mental illness, and disembodiment, and influences ranging from OM, Earth, Amber Asylum, Jarboe and Electric Wizard, to Bloody Panda and Noxagt, A Stick And A Stone brings together sludge-doom, post-rock, minimal folk, and avantgarde to conjure atmospheres of unparalleled beauty, darkness, and intensity.

On his third full-length album Elliott Harvey and viola player/“album co-conspirator” Myles Donovan explore new sludgy, tumultuous terrain while retaining the signature elements of ethereal harmonies, haunting vocals, and potent lyricism equated with Harvey’s previous work. The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost dives into the shadows of this age, upholding the power of resilience amidst times of uncertainty. A Stick And A Stone’s unusual style arises from blending paradoxical essences; on this album, gritty bass merges with elegant strings, rugged howls are echoed by graceful whispers, heavy drums are laced with ghostly soundscapes – to materialize in the end an unquestionable modern minimalistic doom masterpiece of our times.

With a release date set to July 21 2017, The Long Lost Art of Getting Lost, will see the light on cassette through Sentient Ruin (US) and Breathe Plastic (EU), while a CD version will surface through Spirit House. A vinyl LP version is also in the works through Sentient Ruin (US), and Cold Recordings (US). Pre-orders for the casette and digital versions are now live on our Bandcamp and on our store.

https://www.facebook.com/A-Stick-and-a-Stone-162036303838692/
https://astickandastone.bandcamp.com/
https://www.astickandastone.com/
http://sentientruin.com/
http://sentientruin.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SentientRuin/

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Review & Full Album Stream: Abronia, Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

abronia-obsidian-visions-shadowed-lands

[Click play above to stream Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands by Abronia. Album is out June 26 on Water Wing Records. Tour dates below.]

It’s telling that Abronia‘s first album, Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands, should open with such a strong sense of place. The leadoff track, which begins with a sparse minute-plus of atmospheric, prairie-vibed guitar before exploding into a cacophonous wash of noise, cymbal crashes, saxophone, etc., is called “The Great Divide.” Also known as the Continental Divide, its name derives from the point along the Rocky Mountains at which water flows either to the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. In the context of the Portland six-piece’s Water Wing Records debut, it could just as easily refer to the slashed duality of the title, that moment where the calmness erupts at the beginning, or the shift into spacious, swinging heavy Americana, folkadelia and rock that emerges therefrom.

But the important thing is there is a definite place, bound to the earth, that the opener positions the listener, since the core of the five-track/34-minute offering would seem likewise to be of and about the land. One finds this rooted in the use of a 1930s marching drum as a percussive focus throughout instead of a standard bass drum, as well as in the organic, direct-to-tape production through which the material is presented, having been tracked by Jason Powers (Moon Duo) at Type Foundry, and in the patient, methodical manner in which the ambience unfolds, creating a flow from the beginning of “The Great Divide” that is at once vividly present in its groove and seeking something ethereal or transcendent. Another great divide entirely, perhaps.

The band is comprised of vocalist/saxophonist Keelin Mayer (formerly of Eternal Tapestry), guitarist Benjamin Blake (also Young Hunter), guitarist/backing vocalist Eric Crespo (also Ghost to Falco), bassist Amir Amadi, Andrew Endres of Ohioan on lap steel guitar and James Shaver on the aforementioned marching drum and other percussive elements, and the stylistic trip on which they embark beginning with “The Great Divide” is significant. The opener is also the longest track at 8:36 (immediate points), and its instrumental fluidity carries the listener smoothly into the shimmering, sunshine-on-the-river melodica-topped folk of “Shala,” on which Mayer gradually makes her presence known vocally (it is a presence worth knowing) as she locks in with the melody of the guitar.

abronia

Here and across the following tracks, vocals will come and go with naturalist ease, adding to the earthy psychedelic impression of “The Great Divide” and giving the whole affair a front-to-back feel of willful meandering — the band seeming to head out in the woods and set themselves to ranging. They’ll do so throughout “Shala,” the centerpiece “Smoke Fingers,” the Jefferson Airplane-esque highlight “Glass Butte Retribution” and seven-minute closer “Waning Wand,” playing instrumentals off memorable, poetic verses handed down by Mayer with suitable command. Followers of Young Hunter will find some continuity with that band’s bouncing, plucked guitar notes via Blake‘s playing, but Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands is ultimately less gothic in its intent, and though there’s a tension to some of the craft following the blowup at the start, it’s not until the cymbal wash of “Glass Butte Retribution” and the payoff of “Waning Wand” that the album again finds itself pushing toward a noisy crescendo, and even the last is a quick one to end the finale.

Instead, for most of the duration, Abronia affect a meditative attitude, and concentrate on an exploratory feel within their tracks. That suits the space-jazz of “Smoke Fingers” well, which has a steadily nodding rhythm and some righteous interplay of sax and guitar, and the vast, open spirit of “Glass Butte Retribution,” which might be the most straightforward inclusion on Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands as regards the relative simplicity of its march, but still wants nothing for atmospherics despite a somewhat minimalist impression early that moves on a linear build to crashing cymbals and a surprising final scream from Mayer with an epilogue measure of guitar behind it. It doesn’t necessarily speak for the entirety of the record in terms of mood or sound, but “Glass Butte Retribution” makes a fitting ambient summary nonetheless, and with “Smoke Fingers” before and “Waning Wand” after it, side B of Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands proves no less a deep, headlong dive than did side A with “The Great Divide” and “Shala.”

That said, while one imagines vinyl release was a consideration in the album’s making, by the time the nuance guitar of “Waning Wand” starts as a bed for Mayer‘s first verse three minutes into the song — almost sounding like flourish of East Asian folk — it seems Abronia as much benefit from the nonstop immersion of a digital/CD structure in that once it starts, there’s no point of interruption to draw the audience away from what the band is doing. As to that, Obsidian Visions / Shadowed Lands may well serve as a formative debut release from which Abronia will commence a sonic progression — they’ve certainly set themselves up for one — but there’s no question they establish themselves here as a cohesive unit of songwriters with a definite story to tell through their work. One hopes that as their journey continues forward, they hold onto the wandering sensibility that serves them so well here and feels so crucial in the crafting of their narrative of place and being.

Abronia on tour:
S –7/01 – Raymond, WA @ Thirst for Light Festival
R –7/27 – Portland, OR @ The Know
F – 7/28 – Arcata, CA @ Miniplex
S – 7/29 – Oakland, CA @ The Hole
S – 7/30 – San Francisco, CA @ Adobe Books
M – 7/31 – Oakland, CA @ The Nightlight
T – 8/01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon
W – 8/02 – Yucca Valley (Joshua Tree ), CA @ Frontier Cafe
R – 8/03 – Fresno, CA @ Tioga Sequoia
F – 8/04 – Sacramento, CA @ Luna’s Cafe
S – 8/05 – Chico, CA @ Duffy’s

Abronia on Thee Facebooks

Abronia on Soundcloud

Water Wing Records webstore

Water Wing Records on Thee Facebooks

Water Wing Records on Bandcamp

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Holy Grove Working on New Album; Seek New Drummer

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Holy Grove made a soulful debut via Heavy Psych Sounds in 2016 with their self-titled full-length (review here), full of right-on riffs, belted-out hooks and weighted nodding groove. They’ve spent a good amount of time since on the road supporting it. They did the West Coast and the East, and ventured to Europe alongside Boston’s Gozu. They’ve been at HoverfestPsycho Las Vegas and more besides. For a band with one album and a prior live EP (review here) out, they’ve amassed a considerable CV.

In the process, vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs and bassist Gregg Emley have already worked with a few different drummers. Founder Craig Bradford played on the album, but by the time the record came out, he’d been replaced twice over, by Ryan Northrop (ex-Sons of Huns) and subsequently by Adam Jelsing. As they start to move forward and begin the process of putting together their second long-player — currently being written — Holy Grove once again find themselves in need of a percussionist.

As you can see below, they’re looking for a swing player — anytime someone mentions Ian Paice, yes, swing is the thing — who hits hard and can tour as well. As crowded a scene as Portland is, and as good a band as Holy Grove are, I can’t imagine it’ll take all that long for them to get someone in the role, but here’s the want ad in case you or someone you know happens to be looking for an awesome drumming gig:

holy grove

Portland based stoner/heavy blues/doom band Holy Grove is looking for a full-time dedicated drummer.

Here’s what we’re looking for……a hard hitter with big drums, the ability to swing/groove, and play in the style of John Bonham, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell, Brant Bjork etc.

Our goal is to find someone dedicated, who can practice twice a week, and is able to tour when necessary (we’re not necessarily trying to live in our van, but we want be able get out a couple times a year.)

We have label and tour support for Europe, and are in the process of writing a new record for release this year.

Here are links to our music:

http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/bands/holy-grove.htm

https://holygrove.bandcamp.com/

Please have samples of your playing available, and send them to holygrovedrummer@gmail.com

If any of this sounds good, we’d love to hear from you!

https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/bands/holy-grove.htm

Holy Grove, Live at Hoverfest

Holy Grove, “Death of Magic” live at Psycho Las Vegas

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Norska Announce New Album Too Many Winters Due May 26; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

norska-Photo-by-James-Rexroad

Oregonian sludge rockers Norska have posted the opening track from their impending second album, Too Many Winters. It’s a bit of a rager, and it definitely carries with it the uptempo push for which the Pacific Northwest has become so widely characterized over the course of this decade — that, in itself, is something of a departure from what I recall of their self-titled debut, self-released in 2011 with later issue through Brutal Panda — but “Samhain” intrigues in dynamic as well, and if you make your way through its five minutes, make sure you stick around to the end, because there’s a triumphant kind of turn there that leads me to wonder how it will play out over the rest of the record that follows. If you’re wondering when we might find that out, the record hits May 26, also via Brutal Panda.

You can check out “Samhain” below, as well as the art and track info for Too Many Winters, which came down the PR wire. Norska play this year’s Stumpfest on April 22:

norska-too-many-winters

‘NORSKA: Announce New Album ‘Too Many Winters’; Stream New Song

Coming May 26th via Brutal Panda Records

Portland, OR doom / sludge juggernauts NORSKA (featuring members of YOB) have announced their sophomore full-length, Too Many Winters. Their first full-length since 2012, Too Many Winters will see its release on May 26th via Brutal Panda Records. Stream the opening track “Samhain” at this location.

Too Many Winters ebbs and flows across 6 songs and 40+ minutes of dark, bludgeoning, cosmic doom. Whether trapping the listener with waves of mounting dread and choking darkness or offering glimmers of hope through psychedelic, atmospheric flourishes, NORSKA have created a sonic landscape that is as heavy, claustrophobic and otherworldly as the cover art suggests. Too Many Winters was recorded by Adam Bradley Pike (RED FANG) at Toadhouse Studios in Portland, OR and mastered by Billy Barnett (YOB) at Gung Ho Studios. Cover art by Mark McCormick (Red Fang, YOB, Witch Mountain).

The band commented on the new album:

“Too Many Winters is a collection of our thoughts and musical ideas over the span of 5 years. It reflects our influences in and outside of the band.”

Physical pre-orders are available via this location while digital pre-orders are available here.

NORSKA recently performed with legendary TOOL drummer Danny Carey in Portland, OR at a benefit for YOB frontman Mike Scheidt. Video footage may or may not be available on YouTube. The band is also set to play at this year’s Stumpfest in Portland, OR on April 22nd alongside Elder and Intronaut. Additional dates will be announced shortly.

NORSKA Live:
April 22 Portland, OR Stumpfest w/ Elder, Intronaut, etc.

Too Many Winters Tracklist:
1. Samhain
2. Eostre
3. Too Many Winters
4. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
5. Wave of Regrets
6. Fire Patience Backbone

https://www.facebook.com/norksarock
http://www.norska.bandcamp.com
http://www.brutalpandarecords.com

Norska, “Samhain”

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Quarterly Review: Grails, Expo Seventy, Coltsblood, Rhino, Cruthu, Spacetrucker, Black Habit, Stone Angels, The Black Willows, Lamagaia

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Arrival. Welcome to the final day of The Obelisk’s Spring 2017 Quarterly Review. After today, I clean off my desktop and start over with a mind toward the next round, which in my head I’ve already scheduled for late June. You know, at the end of the next quarter. I do try to make these things make sense on some level. Anyway, before we get to the last 10 albums, let me please reiterate my thanks to you for reading and say once again that I hope you’ve found something this week that really speaks to you, as I know I have and continue to today. We finish the Quarterly Review out strong to be sure, so even if you’re thinking you’re done and you’ve had enough, you might be surprised by the time you’re through the below.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Grails, Chalice Hymnal

grails chalice hymnal

Even if one counts the 2013 collection culled from GrailsBlack Tar Prophecies ongoing series of short releases that showed up via Temporary Residence, it’s been a long while since their last proper outing. Deep Politics (review here) was issued in 2011, but it seems the intervening time and members’ participation in other projects – among them Om and Holy Sons in the case of Emil Amos – disappear for Grails on Chalice Hymnal, which speaks directly to its predecessor in sequel pieces like “Deeper Politics,” “Deep Snow II” and “Thorns II,” taking the prog-via-TangerineDream cinematics of Deep Politics to vibrant and continually experimental places on the surprisingly vocalized “Empty Chamber,” the soundscaping “Rebecca” and the imaginative, evocative jazz homage “After the Funeral,” the album’s 10-minute closer. Hearing the John Carpenter keyboard line underpinning “Pelham,” I’m not sure I’d call Chalice Hymnal limitless in its aesthetic – Grails have definitive intentions here, as they always have – but they continue to reside in a space of their own making, and one that has yet to stop expanding its reach.

Grails on Thee Facebooks

Grails at Temporary Residence Ltd.

 

Expo Seventy, America Here and Now Sessions

expo seventy america here and now sessions

Yes. Yes. This. With extended two tracks – “First Movement” (22:17) and “Second Movement” (27:04) – unfolding one massive longform immersion that drones pastoral, delves into hypnotic bliss and fills the soul in that way that only raw exploration can, the America Here and Now Sessions from Kansas City (by way of the moon) outfit Expo Seventy is an utter joy to experience. Purposeful and patient in its execution, graceful in the instrumental chemistry – even with a second drummer sitting in amid the core trio led by guitarist Justin Wright – the album well fits the deep matte tones and nostalgic feel of its accompanying artwork, and is fluid in its movement from drone to push especially on “Second Movement,” which sandwiches a resonant cacophony around soundscapes that spread as far as the mind of the listener is willing to let them. Whether you want to sit and parse the execution over every its every subtle motion and waveform or put it on and go into full-brain-shutdown, America Here and Now Sessions delivers. Flat out. It delivers.

Expo Seventy on Thee Facebooks

Essence Music website

 

Coltsblood, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness

coltsblood ascending into shimmering darkness

After surviving the acquisition of Candlelight Records by Spinefarm, UK doom extremists Coltsblood return with their second album, Ascending into Shimmering Darkness, and follow-up 2014’s Into the Unfathomable Abyss (review here) with 54 minutes of concrete-thick atmospheric bleakness spread across five tracks. The headfuckery isn’t quite as unremitting as it was on the debut – a blend of airy and thick guitar in the intro of the opening title-cut (also the longest inclusion; immediate points) reminds of Pallbearer – but the three-piece thrive in this more-cohesive-overall context, and their lumbering miseries remain dark and triumphant in kind. A closing duo of “Ever Decreasing Circles” and “The Final Winter” also both top 12 and 13 minutes, respectively, but the shorter second track “Mortal Wound” brings blackened tendencies to the fore and centerpiece “The Legend of Abhartach” effectively leads the way from one side to the other. Still, the most complete victory here for bassist/vocalist John McNulty, guitarist Jemma McNulty and drummer Jay Plested might be “The Final Winter,” which melds its grueling, excruciatingly slow crash to overarching keyboard drama and becomes a work of cinematic depth as well as skull-crushing wretchedness. Such ambient growth fascinates and shows marked progression from their first offering, and even if the primary impression remains one from which no light escapes, don’t be fooled: Coltsblood are growing and are all the more dangerous for that.

Coltsblood on Thee Facebooks

Candlelight Records website

 

Rhino, The Law of Purity

rhino the law of purity

Once they get past the aptly-titled minute-long “Intro,” Rhino keep their foot heavy on the gas for the vast majority of The Law of Purity, their Argonauta Records debut album. The 10 included tracks veer into and out of pure desert rock loyalism – “Eat My Dust” comes across as particularly post-Kyuss, perhaps melded with some of the burl of C.O.C.’s “Shake Like You” – and the throttle of “Nuclear Space,” “Nine Months,” “A. & B. Brown” and “Cock of Dog” later on come to define the impression of straightforward push that puts the riffs forward even more than earlier inclusions like the post-“Intro” title-track or the more mid-paced “Bursting Out,” which hints at psychedelia without really ever fully diving into it. Capping with the roll of “I See the Monsters,” The Law of Purity reminds at times of earlier Astrosoniq – particularly in the vocals – but finds the Sicilian five-piece crafting solid heavy rock tunes that seem more concerned with having a couple beers and a good time than changing the world or remaking the genre. Nothing wrong with that.

Rhino on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity

cruthu the angle of eternity

As it happens, I wrote the bio and release announcement for Cruthu’s debut album, The Angle of Eternity (posted here), and I count guitarist “Postman Dan” McCormick as a personal friend, so if you’re looking for impartiality as regards the self-released six-tracker, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for primo trad doom and classic metal vibes, the Michigan-based four-piece offer touches of progressive flourish amid the shuffle of opener “Bog of Kildare,” a grueling post-“Crystal Ball” nod in “From the Sea” and a bit of ‘70s proto-metallurgy in the closing title-track, which finds vocalist Ryan Evans at his most commanding while McCormick, bassist Erik Hemingsen (Scott Lehman appears as well) and drummer Matt Fry hold together the fluid and patient groove of weighted downer metal. The sense of Cruthu as an outfit schooled in the style is palpable through the creep of “Lady in the Lake” and the post-Trouble chug of “Séance,” but they’re beginning to cast their own identity from their influences – even the penultimate interlude “Separated from the Herd” is part of it – and the dividends of that process are immediate in these tracks.

Cruthu on Thee Facebooks

Cruthu on Bandcamp

 

Spacetrucker, Launch Sequence

spacetrucker launch sequence

From the Kozik-style artwork of their cover to the blown-out vocals on opener “New Pubes” of guitarist Matt Owen, St. Louis three-piece Spacetrucker – how was there not already a band with this name? – make no bones about their intentions on their late-2016, 26-minute Launch Sequence seven-track EP. Owen, bassist Patrick Mulvaney and drummer Del Toro push into a realm of noise-infused stoner grunge loyal to the ‘90s execution of “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” in the stops of the instrumental “Giza” even as they thicken and dirty up their tonality beyond what Kyuss laid forth. The cowbell-inclusive “Science of Us” rests easily on Mulvaney’s tone and nods toward burl without going over the top, and cuts like “Old Flower,” the penultimate roller “Trenchfoot” and the closing post-Nirvana punker blast of “Ain’t Gonna be Me” reimagine a past in which the language of heavy rock was there to explain where grunge was coming from all along. Not looking to reinvent stylistic parameters in their image at this point, Spacetrucker is nonetheless the kind of band one might’ve run into at SXSW a decade and a half ago and been made a fan for life. As it stands, the charm is not at all lost.

Spacetrucker on Thee Facebooks

Spacetrucker on Bandcamp

 

Black Habit, Black Habit

black habit self titled

Clocking in at half an hour, the self-titled debut release from viola-infused Arizona two-piece Black Habit could probably qualify as an EP or an LP. I’m inclined to consider it the latter considering the depths vocalist/guitarist/bassist Trey Edwin and violist/drummer Emily Jean plunge in the five included tracks, starting with the longest of the bunch (immediate points) in the slow-moving “Escape into Infinity” before shifting the tempo upward for “Suffer and Succumb” and digging into deep-toned sludge marked out by consistently harsh vocals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Black Habit became more melodic or at least moved into cleaner shots over time, as the doomly centerpiece “South Beach” and more fuzz-rocking “Travel Across the Ocean” seem to want to head in that direction, but it’s hard to argue with the echoing rasp that accompanies the rumble and hairy tones of finale “Lust in the Dust,” as Black Habit’s Black Habit rounds out with an especially righteous nod. An intriguing, disaffected, and raw but potential-loaded opening salvo from a two-piece discovering where their sound might take them.

Black Habit on Thee Facebooks

Black Habit on Bandcamp

 

Stone Angels, Patterns in the Ashes

stone angels patterns in the ashes

Massive. Patterns in the Ashes is a malevolent, tectonic three-song EP following up on New Zealand trio Stone Angels’ 2011 debut, Within the Witch, as well as a few shorter live/demo offerings between, and it’s an absolute beast. Launching with the seven-minute instrumental “White Light, White Noise II” – indeed the sequel to a cut from the first album – it conjures a vicious nod and bleeds one song into the next to let “Signed in Blood” further unfold the grim atmospherics underscoring and enriching all that tonal heft. Sludge is the core style, but the Christchurch three-piece’s broader intentions come through with due volume on the grueling “Signed in Blood” and when “For the Glory of None” kicks in after its sample intro, the blasts and growls that it brings push the release to new levels of extremity entirely. As a bonus, the digital edition includes all three tracks put together as one longer, 21-minute piece, so the consuming flow between them can be experienced without any interruption, as it was seemingly meant to be.

Stone Angels on Thee Facebooks

Stone Angels on Bandcamp

 

Black Willows, Samsara

the black willows samsara

If Switzerland-based resonance rockers Black Willows had only released the final two tracks, “Jewel in the Lotus” and “Morning Star,” of their late-2016 second full-length, Samsara, one would still have to call it a complete album – and not just because those songs run 15 and 25 minutes long, respectively. Throughout those extended pieces and the four shorter cuts that appear before them, a palpable meditative sensibility emerges, and Black Willows follow-up the promise of 2013’s Haze (review here) by casting an even more immersive, deeper-toned vibe in the post-Om nod of “Sin” (8:08) and the more percussive complement, “Rise” (9:28), keeping a ritualized feel prevailing but not defining. From the lead-in title-track and the spacious psych trip-out of “Mountain” that gives way to the aforementioned extended closing duo, Black Willows find their key purpose in encompassing tonality and languid grooving. Nothing is overdone, nothing loses its patience, and when they get to the linear trajectory of “Morning Star,” the sense is they’re pushing as far out as far out will go. It’s a joy to follow them on that path.

Black Willows on Thee Facebooks

Black Willows on Bandcamp

 

Lamagaia, Lamagaia

lamagaia lamagaia

Anytime you’re at all ready to quit your job and explore the recesses of your mind via the ingestion of psychedelics, rituals and meditation, Sweden’s Lamagaia would seem to stand prepared to accompany. The Gothenburg four-piece offer two extended tracks of encouragement in that direction on their self-titled 12” (released through Cardinal Fuzz and Sunrise Ocean Bender), and both “Aurora” and “Paronama Vju” carry a heady spirit of kosmiche improvisation and classically progressive willfulness. They go, go, go. Far, far, far. Vocals echo out obscure but definitely there in post-The Heads fashion, but there’s Hawkwindian thrust in the fuzzed bass and drums driving the rhythm behind the howling guitar in “Aurora,” and that only sets up the peaceful stretch that the drones and expansive spaciousness of “Paronama Vju” finds across its 18:55 as all the more of an arrival. Immersive, hypnotic, all that stuff that means gloriously psychedelic, Lamagaia’s Lamagaia offers instrumental chemistry and range for anyone willing to follow along its resonant and ultra-flowing path. Count me in. I never liked working anyway.

Lamagaia website

Cardinal Fuzz webstore

 

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Ape Machine Tour Dates Start March 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As they’re prone to do, Portland, Oregon’s Ape Machine are gearing up to head out on a run of Spring tour dates, and as previously announced, they’ll be hooking up with Boston heavy rockers Gozu along the way. Well, before that happens, the four-piece will head out from the Pacific Northwest into Montana starting on March 31 to sneak in a quick six dates ahead of time. Part of the motivation for doing so might be to get as much stage experience with drummer Steve Hanford (also Poison Idea) before they and he together record the new and awaited Ape Machine long-player, which has been given the foreboding title Skull Under Boot, following the longer West Coast stretch.

Kind of curious to hear how that album plays out, given the title and Hanford‘s pedigree, though now that I look at the PR wire info below, I’m not 100 percent he’ll be playing on the record or if he’s in permanently as their drummer in addition to producing the record. One assumes we’ll hear more as they hit the studio next month, but take a look for yourself and see what you think:

The northwest riffmeisters, Ape Machine, will put the rubber to the asphalt in a can of sweat (aka the tour van) this April, embarking on a western US tour that includes dates with Boston’s Metal Blade affiliated rockers, Gozu. Changing up the lineup on this tour, Ape Machine will include Steve Hanford – AKA Thee Slayer Hippy (Poison Idea) – on drums. Steve will also be producing the band’s upcoming LP, Skull Under Boot, scheduled for recording immediately following the tour.

The name APE MACHINE is a nod to the days of reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recording; a fitting moniker for the Portland heavy-hitting quartet as the band plays through vintage tube amplifiers and lays down its songs using exclusively throwback quality studio equipment. A true four-piece, the group has been called “a rock and roll band with a finger on the pulse of the 70’s and their asses firmly in the present” and “real heavy-psych for the iPhone generation” that delivers “true guts and glory rock and roll”.

Be sure to catch the exciting new lineups, sweat and vibrations of Ape Machine and Gozu as the bands shred the western territories.

Ape Machine:
Friday March 31st – Kalispell, MT – Old School Records
Saturday April 1st – Billings, MT – Railyard
Sunday April 2nd – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
Monday April 3rd – Oklahoma City, OK – Blue Note Lounge
Wednesday April 5th – Austin, TX – Lost Well
Thursday April 6th – Dallas, TX – Three Links
Friday April 7th – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
Saturday April 8th – San Antonio, TX – Faust Tavern
Sunday April 9th – Corpus Christi, TX – Black Monk Tavern
Monday April 10th – El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
Tuesday April 11th – Las Vegas, NV – Backstage Bar and Billiards

Ape Machine & Gozu:
Wednesday April 12th – Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room
Thursday April 13th – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
Friday April 14th – Santa Cruz, CA – Blue Lagoon
Saturday April 15th – Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
Sunday April 16th – San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room
Monday April 17th – Fresno, CA – TBA
Tuesday April 18th – Bend, OR – Volcanic Theater
Wednesday April 19th – Eugene, OR – Old Nick’s Pub
Thursday April 20th – Portland, OR – Kenton Club
Friday April 21st – Seattle, WA – Funhouse
Saturday April 22nd – Bremerton, WA – Manette Saloon

http://apemachine.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apemachinemusic
https://twitter.com/apemachine
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm
www.ripple-music.com

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Young Hunter to Begin Recording New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I’m a big fan of consistency. When Portland, Oregon-based atmospheric heavy rockers Young Hunter announced in May 2015 they were beginning to record what would become their 2016 self-titled full-length (review here), they posted a couple pictures to go with of sights from around the rehearsal space. As they make ready to follow-up the self-titled, we get a look at the actual tapes they’ll use as a part of that process… along with some incense, a woven blanket, and so on. Ambience on all levels. Consistency of approach. These are good things.

Young Hunter‘s Young Hunter was a significant leap in intent from where they were previously, whether it was the seething 2013 EP, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain (review here) or the raw 2012 debut, Stone Tools (discussed here). They’ve willfully undertaken a deeply progressive sound and clearly put in efforts to challenge their own conventions of songcraft — that’s not to mention founding guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Blake uprooting the project from the Southwestern desert to the Pacific Northwest and completely revamping the lineup — so while I won’t conjecture as to what they’ve come up with this time around, I don’t think Young Hunter would be hitting the studio if they didn’t feel the material put them ahead of where they were two years ago.

I’m eager to hear the results.

They’ve got live dates next week en route to the studio. Here’s their post:

young hunter tape reels

Young Hunter – New Album

Almost one year ago, we put out our album “Young Hunter.” Next week we embark on a journey to go record our next album at Louder Studios with Tim Green in Grass Valley, CA. These two wheels will become the physical body of our new lil baby beast. On our way down, we will play a few shows with some killer bands in Northern California. Send good vibes, we have an Armageddon to subvert.

N CA shows:
3/23 – Santa Rosa- The Funk Den w/ Lord Mountain and The Drought Cult
3/24 – San Francisco- The Knockout w/ Slough Feg and Ails
3/25 – Nevada City- Cooper’s Ale Works w/ ÆQUOREA, Pinnacles and Find Yourself

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

Young Hunter, Young Hunter (2016)

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