San Francisco Trip, Pt. 3: The Calling

Posted in Buried Treasure, Features on July 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

aquarius records

07.15.15 — 10:10PM Pacific — Wed. night — Hotel California (yes, really)

It occurred to me this evening that I’ve had about two and a half hours of “free time” on this trip and I’ve spent it all record shopping. That’s not a complaint, but I’ve had people offer to meet up and stuff and I haven’t quite had the time I anticipated for such things between work obligations and writing at night. Again, I’m not complaining. I’ve worked for a company for less than two months that’s willing to fly my ass quite literally across a continent and trust me to represent them to the best of my admittedly limited ability at a meeting of potential clients and professional cohorts. I’m remarkably fortunate to be here. I’m also very, very tired.

Still, when it came to it, and I had that little bit of time to spare today, I jumped in the first cab that I saw with its light on and told the dude to make for Aquarius Records. It was payday and I had an itch that only another round of record shopping was going to scratch. I probably could have gone back to Amoeba Music and found more stuff in that giant space, but the smaller, curated vibe of Aquarius was just my speed this evening.

I took my time, thumbed through the CD racks of the San Francisco section, the rock/pop, the metal sections both new and used, eyed up some stuff in the boxes under the used section — two albums by Mammoth Volume there, but I have them already — and reminded myself that between yesterday and today, this has kind of become my celebration of returning to the working world, so yeah, I splurged a bit. I picked up a thing or two that on some other days I might have let go, decided to let it ride and be what it is. The fact that it was also payday might have been a factor. That’s a question for hindsight and I don’t have the proper distance to evaluate.

The haul? Here it is, once more alphabetically:

Aarni, Bathos
Across Tundras, Old World Wanderer
Bedemon, Child of Darkness
Carlton Melton, Out to Sea
Children of Doom, Ride over the Green Valley
Elder, Spires Burn/Release
Elder, Lore
Evil Acidhead, In the Name of all that is Unholy
Holy Serpent, Holy Serpent
Pyramido, Sand
Pyramido, Saga
Slough Feg, Made in Poland
The Warlocks, The Warlocks
White Hills, So You Are… so You’ll Be

aqurius records haulOnce again, all CDs. I know it’s not as cool as vinyl, but fuck it. If any of you vinyl hounds want to sell me your CD collection, let me know. I’ll buy that shit. I’ll be the last dude on earth buying CDs for all I care. Whatever. They’re still making them for the most part, so yeah, I’ll still buy them.

The find of the bunch is probably that self-titled EP by The Warlocks, which came out in 2000 on Bomp! Records and was their debut. It was used and cheap, so that was cool. Two of the bunch I already own, but the Across Tundras was also about $5 and the Bedemon is the newer Relapse Records version, so I figured what the hell. True, I was here last year and stopped by the shop when I was out on tour with the Kings Destroy guys — SF resident Jim Pitts included, while I’m thinking of good people I haven’t had the chance to see — but it’s not something I do every day. I pick up things here and there, mostly online at this point, so to actually be in a store and have the chance to browse and enjoy the process, I wanted to do precisely that.

I know Carlton Melton are local to NorCal, so I grabbed that seeing it on the counter by the register, and Evil Acidhead was one of the staff recommendations — if you ever go to Aquarius Records, pay attention; these people know what they’re talking about — and since I knew it’s a reissue of old recordings by John McBain (Monster Magnet, Wellwater Conspiracy) it seemed like one to grab. Both of those Elder discs I have on vinyl, but I wanted the CDs, and while it would make the most sense to go to Armageddon Shop one of the apparently multiple times of a week I drive past Providence on I-95 and pick them up there, I haven’t actually managed to make that happen. Seeing an opportunity, I took it.

Slough Feg‘s 2011 live record, Made in Poland, was used, so that was a no-brainer, and I ran into both Pyramido albums — their first, Sand, used and a buck, their third, 2013’s Saga, new — on opposite sides of the store and picked them up almost independently of each other, hesitating but ultimately nabbing the recently-reviewed self-titled from Holy Serpent because, fuck it, it’s a RidingEasy release and I don’t see that every day in a store. The White Hills was used and I grabbed it thinking of their set at Roadburn this year and how underappreciated they are generally — not that my buying a disc makes up for that, but you know what I mean.

Two purchases I went into completely blind: the Aarni and Children of Doom. Aarni is a one-man Finnish outfit for whom Bathos served as a debut full-length in 2004, and knowing nothing about it, I saw the cover was all mushrooms and that it was on the Firedoom Music label — actually it’s the first release on the label; catalog number FDOOM001 — so I assumed I would be getting something Finnish, strange and doomed, and sure enough that’s how it’s played out so far. French trio Children of Doom‘s self-released 2009 debut EP, Ride over the Green Valley, won me over both for its cover art and for the written-out description of the album, which rightly compared its tones to namesake act Saint Vitus. I hear a bit of Ice Dragon‘s swaggering fuckall in there as well. No complaints. The band’s debut LP, Doom, Be Doomed, ör Fuck Off, came out in 2011, but if Aquarius had it, it wasn’t in my line of sight.

Back to the hotel after to start writing and get my head around the day. I ate the same thing I had for dinner last night — flautas from the taqueria across the street — while checking email to try and keep up on that. As one might expect, it didn’t really work. Still, at least if I have to be behind on absolutely everything, at least I managed to pick up some good records in the process.

I fly out tomorrow night late on a redeye to Boston that gets in Friday morning. The only way to travel. Maybe it’ll also be five hours delayed and turn into a morning flight. Haven’t slept at an airport in a while anyway.

Children of Doom, “Hangover”

Aquarius Records website

Aquarius Records on Thee Facebooks

Aquarius Records on Twitter

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Suma Announce New Releases and European Touring with Pyramido

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Suma and Pyramido together is a heavy, heavy bill. The two bands, who both hail from Malmö, in Sweden, released a split together in 2010, just a couple months after Suma put out their most recent full-length, Ashes, so that they’d tour together isn’t out of the question, but in addition to giving the rundown on the tours, Suma have also updated on what they’ll have coming out throughout the rest of 2014, including splits with Fistula and Årabrot, a compilation tape and maybe even a new LP before the end of the year. Good to stay busy.

Tour dates and details follow here, taken with Monday morning vigor from the cold, icy grip of the PR wire. Dig:

SUMA / PYRAMIDO european tour march

an UPDATE about SUMA releases in 2014.

we just put the final touches to our upcoming cassette > YOU’RE SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT : a split compilation 2005-2012 < to be released by TARTARUS in february. 8 songs > 100 copies – screen printed case. pre-orders soon.

as if that wasn’t enough… our HAMMERHEAD tribute split 7″ with ÅRABROT will be released as a joint label effort by RUNDGÅNG / SISTA VERSEN / SPEAKERPHONE in march. 300 copies > screen printed sleeve.

more… our split with FISTULA is in the works for a summer/fall release on BOUE and the constructing of our next album > THE ORDER OF THINGS is in progress.

if any label out there is interested in re-releasing our third album ASHES on vinyl get in contact here or write us at suma.noise@hotmail.com

here are the dates for our HUNTING DOWN THE GUILTY! tour with PYRAMIDO.
we can’t wait to hit the road and see you all again.
start planning your trip!

21/03/014 BERLIN(de) – jägerklause
22/03/014 LEIPZIG(de) – check local press
23/03/014 FELDKIRCH(aut) – graf hugo
24/03/014 WIEN(aut) – arena
25/03/014 JENA(de) – rosenkeller
26/03/014 BRUXELLES(be) – magasin4
27/03/014 LIEGE(be) – insideout
28/03/014 LEIDEN(nl) – multiplex/sub071
29/03/014 HAMBURG(de) – rote flora

https://sumanoise.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/SUMA/122272097788708

Suma, Ashes (2010)

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audiObelisk Transmission 030

Posted in Podcasts on September 21st, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

With no slowdown in the music coming out as we move into the fall, it’s time for another audiObelisk podcast. Like last month, the idea here was to keep it super-simple, not go too long or get lost too much in including stuff just for the hell of it. Whether it’s a big band or someone you’ve never heard of in this tracklist, it’s all quality, and most of it is new. A couple of these albums haven’t even come out yet.

Things get pretty dark in the second of the two hours, but I figured what the hell? It starts off rockin’ with Sasquatch and The Freeks and so on, so it seemed there was room to doom out for a while, and once I threw in The Body, there was nothing to do but plummet even further. As it winds down, there’s some transition back to more rocking fare though with Earthless, so it’s not like it gets totally lost and drowns in the mire of dark tones and sonic abrasion. I know you were worried. I was too.

Like last time, it clocks in at just under two hours long. I hope you download and enjoy the tracks. Here’s the full rundown of what’s included:

First Hour:

Sasquatch, “The Message” from IV (2013)
Monster Magnet, “Mindless Ones” from Last Patrol (2013)
The Freeks, “The Secret Pathway” from Full On (2013)
Red Fang, “Blood Like Cream” from Whales and Leeches (2013)
Pyramido, “Tiden är Kommen” from Saga (2013)
Hollow Leg, “Ride to Ruin” from Abysmal (2013)
YOB, “Ether” from Catharsis (2013 Reissue)
Seremonia, “Suuri Valkeus” from Ihminen (2013)
Aqua Nebula Oscillator, “Human Toad” from Spiritus Mundi (2013)
Jesu, “Everyday” from Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came (2013)
Ayahuasca Dark Trip, “To the Holy Mountain” from Mind Journey (2013 Reissue)

Second Hour:

All Them Witches, “Born under a Bad Sign” (2013)
The Body, “Prayers Unanswered” from Christs, Redeemers (2013)
Primitive Man, “Antietam” from Scorn (2013)
Windhand, “Cassock” from Soma (2013)
Atlantis, “Omen” from Omens (2013)
Earthless, “Violence of the Red Sea” from From the Ages (2013)

Total running time: 1:59:33

Hope you dig it. Thanks for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 030

 

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Pyramido Show Some Grace in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 17th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

As a grown man who spends a good portion of his average day in front of a laptop offering overly-wordy opinions about stoner rock bands to a largely unresponsive internet abyss, I like to think of myself as someone who has a healthy sense of the absurd. That being the case, when I come into contact with a video like that for Swedish doom/post-metallers Pyramido‘s new track “År av Onåd,” there’s a certain appeal to seeing a short film of a child in a farm animal costume stealing a band t-shirt from another, all black and white and slow-motion as it is set to the soundtrack of the crushing ambience of the track itself.

I’d almost call “År av Onåd” (the title translating to “Years of Disgrace,” according to the Google; presumably not to be confused with NeurosisTimes of Grace, however cherished and/or driven it may be) a commentary on capitalism but for the fact that it’s the cow robbing the pig and not the other way around, and they finally learn to share, so that can’t be it. Whatever they’re trying to say with the clip, the Malmö five-piece get enough of a point across with their oppressive tonality and barking, abrasive vocals, leaving very little to question as to their musical intent.

Pyramido will release their third album, Saga, on Sept. 27, as the follow-up to 2011’s Salt and 2009’s Sand (they also have a slew of splits out with the likes of Suma, Usurpress, etc.). The video for  “År av Onåd” was put together by Ulf Södergren and the band’s own Dan Bengtsson, with color grading by Johan Eklund.

Enjoy, because sometimes we all feel like we spent our childhoods wearing silly barnyard animal costumes. I know I do. Like all the time.

Pyramido, “År av Onåd” official video

Pyramido’s website

Pyramido on Thee Facebooks

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