Queen Elephantine Set Fall Release for Gorgon; Touring Northeast in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Somehow it’s all the more appropriate that as Queen Elephantine constantly seem to be on a search in terms of sound and have for the last decade-plus set about an exploration of aesthetic expression, band founder Indrayudh Shome is likewise restless in terms of geography. Any given release might find him somewhere on the East Coast of the US, or in Hong Kong, or Calcutta, or wherever else his apparently wandering spirit might take him. Currently? Philadelphia. Which makes sense if you think about it.

Queen Elephantine have a run of tour dates set for next month stretching out across the Northeast in the company of Shadow Witch and It’s Not Night: It’s Space, among others, and whether they’re playing basements or art galleries, the band’s psychedelic drone remains underrated for its reach and overall quality. They’re previewing a track from the upcoming album, Gorgon, that you can stream at the bottom of this post, and if you’ve got a minute, it’s a like an exit sign for your conscious mind. Tune in, trance out.

Gorgon will be their second album for Argonauta behind 2016’s Kala (review here) and their sixth overall. Here’s looking forward.

From the PR wire:

queen elephantine gorgon art preview

QUEEN ELEPHANTINE ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES!

New album coming in the Fall of 2019 with Argonauta Records!

Formed in 2006 in Hong Kong and currently based in Philadelphia, USA, QUEEN ELEPHANTINE is the nebulous worship of a heavy mood and time. The shapeshifting post-apocalyptic rock band draws from psychedelia, doom, drone, and noise rock as well as free jazz and sacred music from around the world. QUEEN ELEPHANTINE has released five albums as well as splits with Elder, Sons of Otis, and one forthcoming with Phurpa, to date. Following their latest and critically acclaimed 2016-album, KALA, the Fall of 2019 will see the band release their sixth album, again with powerhouse label Argonauta Records.

QUEEN ELEPHANTINE describe their new record GORGON as a trip through hypnotic molasses grooves. Dissonant riffs will pull you down a river of unearthly atmospheres, guided by the incantations of sardonic fakirs, unravelling their final sermon before the cosmos combusts!

In support of their upcoming release and to let the songs grow on stage, QUEEN ELEPHANTINE will debut GORGON live on their upcoming NORTHEAST USA TOUR to kick off this APRIL, and which will held 10 shows between Virginia and New Hampshire, including selected dates with It’s Not Night: It’s Space and Shadow Witch!

Says the band: “It has been a period of meditation for the band, with many personal transitions for us. We’re thrilled to return, to present the new record and play these songs live on our first tour since our run with Oxbow over a year ago.”

Make sure to catch QUEEN ELEPHANTINE live at the following dates this Spring, with many more news and dates to follow soon:

April 12 – Washington, DC. Slash Run
April 13 – Richmond, VA. Wonderland
April 17 – Brooklyn, NY. The Kingsland*
April 18 – Northampton, MA. Sierra Grill
April 19 – Providence, RI. Alchemy
April 20 – Portsmouth, NH. WSCA Radio*
April 21 – Boston, MA. TrendyShitTown
April 25 – Baltimore, MD. The Depot
April 26 – Philadelphia, PA. Mothership**
April 27 – Kingston, NY. The Anchor**
* with Shadow Witch
** with It’s Not Night: It’s Space

https://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/queenelephantine/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/

Queen Elephantine, “Mars” teaser from Gorgon

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Queen Elephantine’s Kala Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Last I heard, Queen Elephantine were still located in Providence, Rhode Island. The info below about preorders for their new album, Kala (review here), being available lists them as having relocated to New York. Entirely possible. Guitarist/founder Indrayudh Shome has been as restless geographically as he has creatively over the years. Hong Kong, New York, Rhode Island. He could basically turn up anywhere and find a host of cohorts with which to express Queen Elephantine‘s always complex and ritualized drone-doom.

Kala has an Oct. 21 release date and some considerable backing from Argonauta Records, Cimmerian Share Recordings, Tartarus Records and Atypeek Music — each imprint releasing it on a different format. If you’ve ever heard the band’s as-yet underrated experimentalism, it’s little wonder so many parties would want to be involved.

From the PR wire:

queen elephantine kala

QUEEN ELEPHANTINE announce new album ‘Kala’ on multiple labels

Release Date – October 21st, 2016
Record Label – Cimmerian Shade Recordings (LP) / Argonauta Records (CD) / Tartarus Records (Cassette) / Atypeek Music (Digital)

Queen Elephantine, the exotic-flavoured doom/ambient band once operating out of Hong Kong (who have since moved to New York), are back with a brand new full length called Kala. They’ve always kept innovating and the new album is even more entrancing, atmospheric and mind-bending. They’ve honed their skills to offer music that’s near unparalleled – the delicate cacophony of the numerous instruments (spaced out, never overcrowding), the suspenseful atmosphere, the ever-lingering sense of intrigue, it’s all there, and better than ever before. Kala taps into your subconscious, creates swirling colourful patterns, a hypnotic effect that doesn’t wear off easily like a rare non-harmful drug. Succumb to the creeping, psychedelic madness that’s Queen Elephantine.

Mastered by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Swans, Sleep, Eyehategod, High on Fire)

Artwork has been made by Adrian Dexter

Line up:
Indrayudh Shome – Guitar
Ian Sims – Drumset
Mat Becker – Bass
Srinivas Reddy – Guitar
Derek Fukumori – Percussion
Samer Ghadry – Guitar, Synth
Nathanael Totushek – Drumset + Percussion on 2,4,6
Nick DiSalvo – Mellotron on 1, 2, 3
Michael Scott Isley – Percussion on 2,4
Danny Quinn – Surgeon Pepper

Track list:
1. Quartered
2. Quartz
3. Ox
4. Onyx
5. Deep Blue
6. Throne of the Void in the Hundred Petal Lotus

https://www.facebook.com/queenelephantine/
https://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/album/kala
http://cimmerianshaderecs.storenvy.com/products/17801057-queen-elephantine-kala
http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/music-/143-queen-elephantine-kala-cd.html
http://tartarusrecords.com/
http://atypeekmusic.com/Atypeek_Music.html

Queen Elephantine, Kala (2016)

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Queen Elephantine Sign to Argonauta Records; Kala Due in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

A little while ago, Indrayudh Shome dropped me a line and asked if I might know of any good labels to get behind the latest Queen Elephantine album, Kala (review here). It should say something about the kind of enthusiasm the band’s creative breadth inspires that Shome‘s search resulted in not one but four separate regional and format homes for Kala, which is their fifth outing. They are: a domestic US LP release from Cimmerian Shade, a CD through Italy’s Argonauta Records, a tape through Tartarus and download through Atypeek Music. Kudos to Queen Elephantine for getting the album out there and then really getting the album out there.

If you’re in the Providence area, they share the stage June 4 with Doomriders and Churchburn at AS220. Not trying to tell you your business, just letting you know.

Announcement comes courtesy of Argonauta:

queen elephantine kala

ARGONAUTA RECORDS new signing: QUEEN ELEPHANTINE

Providence based cosmonauts QUEEN ELEPHANTINE inked a deal with ARGONAUTA Records for a worldwide CD release of their fifth opus “kala” next fall.

With a fluid lineup and various experiments in approach over the course of their four albums, Queen Elephantine is a nebulous worship of heavy mood and time. The group formed in 2006 in Hong Kong but has always been a shapeshifter. At the end of 2007 it moved base to New York and is currently based in Providence.

The fifth album “kala” will be released October 21st, 2016 and will see a partnership between different labels for each format:

CD – Argonauta Records (Italy)
LP – Cimmerian Shade Records (US)
Cassette – Tartarus Records (Netherlands)
Digital – Atypeek Music (France)

Recorded by I. Sims, Mixed by Indrayudh Shome. Mastered by Billy Anderson. Art by Adrian Dexter.

1. Quartered
2. Quartz
3. Ox
4. Onyx
5. Deep Blue
6. Throne of the Void in the Hundred Petal Lotus

indrayudh shome: guitar
ian sims: drumset
mat becker: bass
srinivas reddy: guitar
derek fukumori: percussion
samer ghadry: guitar, synth
nathanael totushek: drumset + percussion on 2,4,6
nick disalvo: mellotron on 1,2, 3
michael scott isley: percussion on 2,4

http://queenelephantine.clfrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/queenelephantine/
http://www.argonautarecords.com/

Queen Elephantine, “Quartz”

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Queen Elephantine, Kala: The Ritual Burn (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

queen elephantine kala

Kala is the fifth full-length from Providence, Rhode Island-based experimentalists Queen Elephantine, who continue to dwell far outside of genre confines and on a plane of their own making in psychedelic ritual, drone, doom, jazz and seemingly whatever else might occur to them at any given moment. The follow-up to 2013’s Scarab (review here) brings six new tracks for a 48-minute, single-LP voyage, and finds much of the personnel from the last time out returned. At the center as always is Indrayudh Shome, whose guitar explorations form the basis from which much of the proceedings is fleshed out, and returning from Scarab are drummer/percussionists Ian Sims and Nathanael Totushek, bassist Matt Becker, and guitarist Srinivas Reddy (who played tanpura on the prior record).

In addition to these, Derek Fukumori and Michael Scott Isley contribute percussion, Samer Ghadry plays guitar and synth, Danny Quinn is credited for/as “surgeon pepper” (presumably as opposed to doctor or sergeant), and Elder‘s Nick DiSalvo handles Mellotron on the first three tracks. Someone new to the band might expect based on the amount of people involved that Queen Elephantine specialize in lush textures and construct layer upon layer of wash, but that’s never been their way. Songs like second cut “Quartz” and “Onyx” build to a head, but many of Kala‘s strongest impressions come in its minimalist moments, a few voices chanting quietly as the tension mounts in “Quartz” or filling the open spaces of 10-minute drone-doom finale “Throne of the Void in the Hundred Petal Lotus,” or the subtle movement underscoring the instrumental “Ox,” which offers a lurching apex only after an extended peripatetic wandering that ultimately proves no less integral to the affect of both.

That’s not to say the tradeoffs in volume that play out patiently across the album’s span are ineffective, just that it’s more about the conversation going on between the members of the band — whoever happens to be on a given track at any point — than about the particular moment when it “gets heavy.” Recorded by Sims over the course of two days last April, produced and mixed by Shome with mastering by Billy Anderson, even the most active moments on Kala retain a raw, live feel, and even down to the progression of song titles, from “Quartered” to “Quartz,” from “Ox” to “Onyx” with “Deep Blue” and “Throne in the Void of the Hundred Petal Lotus,” there is a mindfulness of approach that resonates strongly throughout, and that bleeds into the depth of the initial roll in “Quartered” as much as the feedback-soaked dissonance of its later reaches, the songs drawn together by their contemplative spirit as much as the tones and rhythms through which that spirit is conveyed.

queen elephantine

Most of those rhythms, incidentally, are crawlingly slow. Queen Elephantine have never been in much of a rush, and Kala builds on the meditative aspects of its predecessor, so that even a more upbeat stretch like the opening of “Quartz” retains them. “Quartz” might be the most straightforward inclusion here, with something of a hook in its repeated lines, “I say I’m old, I’m losing reality, I didn’t want anymore/Lust in bloom, Doomed is the pharisee, Submit matter and mind,” over a nodding bass progression and its structure that starts at a (relative) rush, drops to a quiet stretch and then builds back up, but “Ox,” which follows, makes a strong case in its midsection bombast and transitions so deftly executed as to be almost hidden despite drastic changes in volume and intensity. At its loudest, “Ox” lumbers and plods, but the current of mellotron in its final crescendo, as well as a healthy dose of guitar noise, keep it from being so easily tagged as doom.

Bass proves to be the element holding “Onyx” together as well, though it’s the drums and a consistent drone line bled over from the end of “Ox” that begin the track. Before the hissing vocals arise, an angular back and forth between the guitar and bass seems to be jabbing one instrument against the other, but as the guitar moves (temporarily) elsewhere, the low end holds steady under verses and a psychedelic lead. Even the drums start to freak out eventually, but that bassline holds until the song itself seems to come apart leaving just another drone to lead into the penultimate “Deep Blue,” the first half of which pushes toward a peak with drawling drone-singing forward in the mix but nonetheless obscure and a blown-out distortion in focus that seems to drown out the crash cymbal. At about three minutes in, the emergent cacophony ends abruptly and “Deep Blue” roots itself in its central figure to play eerie whispers and eerier falsetto off each other before a drone once again provides the shift into “Throne of the Void in the Hundred Petal Lotus,” which in its linear course, patient execution and holding onto that drone provides a fitting summary of Kala‘s accomplishments to that point.

Less harsh than some of the other cuts, its slower beginning turns toward a grander ending after about five and a half minutes and continues to thrust outward from there until finally the pieces seem to rumble apart, bells chime, amps feed back, and that underlying drone that has been present for much (not all) of the album caps it on a long fade. Wherever they’ve gone soncially over the course of their now-decade-long tenure — and they go a few places here that don’t have a name yet — Queen Elephantine‘s work has always been distinguished by its raw-form creativity, by the sheer will for experimentation that drives it. Kala pushes Queen Elephantine deeper into volume as a spiritual or cerebral expression, and proves just as immersive a journey for the listener as one imagines it was for the artist, but even more than that, it reinforces just how woefully underappreciated they continue to be.

Queen Elephantine on Thee Facebooks

Listen to “Quartz”

Queen Elephantine on Bandcamp

Concrete Lo-Fi Records

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Quarterly Review: Kamchatka, Legion of Andromeda, Queen Elephantine, Watchtower, Ape Skull, Hordes, Dead Shed Jokers, These Hands Conspire, Enos & Mangoo, Band of Spice

Posted in Reviews on July 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk summer quarterly review

We’re on the downhill swing of this edition of the Quarterly Review, so it’s time to get into some extremes, I think. Today, between death-doom lurch, drone-as-fuck exploring, gritty aggression and a whole lot more, we pretty much get there. I’m not saying it’s one end of the universe to another, but definitely a little all-over-the-place, which is just what one might need when staring down the fourth round of 10 reviews in a row in a week’s time. Feeling good though, so let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Kamchatka, Long Road Made of Gold

kamchatka long road made of gold

It would really be something if Swedish blues rockers Kamchatka released six albums over the course of the last decade and didn’t know what they were doing by now. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Long Road Made of Gold (Despotz Records), their sixth, as the Verberg three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Thomas Juneor Andersson, bassist Per Wiberg (see also: Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass, Opeth, etc.) and drummer Tobias Strandvik modernize classic heavy rock with equal comfort in including a banjo on “Take Me Back Home” and progressive-style harmonies on “Rain.” They seem to get bluesier as they go, with later cuts “Mirror,” “Slowly Drifting Away,” “Long Road” and “To You” rounding out the album with Clutch-style bounce, but the prevailing impact of Long Road Made of Gold is one of unflinching class, the chemistry of its players – not to mention Wiberg’s bass tone – ringing through loud and clear from the material as Kamchatka make their way down that long road to their inevitable next outing.

Kamchatka on Thee Facebooks

Despotz Records

Legion of Andromeda, Iron Scorn

legion of andromeda iron scorn

I said as much when the Tokyo duo released their 2013 debut EP (review here) as well, but their first long-player Iron Scorn (on At War with False Noise) only confirms it: Legion of Andromeda are fucked. Theirs is a doomed-out death metal given further inhumanity by programmed drums and the blown-out growls of vocalist -R-, while guitarist/programmer –M- holds down grime-encrusted chug and dirge riffing. Perhaps most fucked of all is the fact that Iron Scorn uses essentially the same drum progression across its seven tracks/44 minutes, varying in tempo but holding firm to the double-kick and bell-hit timekeeping for the duration. The effect this has not only ties the material together – as it would have to – but also makes the listener feel like they’ve entered into some no-light-can-escape alternate universe in which all there is is that thud, the distortion and the growls. Not a headphone record, unless you were looking to start psychotherapy anyhow, its extremity is prevalent enough to feel like a physical force holding you down.

Legion of Andromeda on Thee Facebooks

At War with False Noise

Queen Elephantine, Omen

queen elephantine omen

Relentlessly creative and geographically amorphous drone warriors Queen Elephantine compile eight tracks from eight years of their perpetual exploration for Omen on Atypeek Music, which launches with its titular cut, the oldest of the bunch, from 2007. It’s a gritty rolling groove that, even as nascent and riff-noddy as it is, still has underpinnings that might clue the listener in to what’s to come (especially in hindsight) and comes accompanied by the sludgy “The Sea Goat,” a rawer take recorded the same year in Hong Kong. Newest on Omen is the blissfully percussed “Morning Three” and an 18-minute live version of “Search for the Deathless State” from 2010’s Kailash full-length. Lineups, intent and breadth of sound vary widely, but even into the reaches of “1,000 Years” (2012, Providence, RI) and “Shamanic Procession” (2009, New York), Queen Elephantine remain unflinching in their experimentalism and the results here are likewise immersive. Vastly underrated, their work remains a world waiting to be explored.

Queen Elephantine on Thee Facebooks

Atypeek Music

Watchtower, Radiant Moon

watchtower radiant moon

Consuming undulations of tectonic riffing. Two of them, actually. Watchtower’s Radiant Moon EP serves as their debut on Magnetic Eye, and like their fellow-Melbourne-resident labelmates in Horsehunter, the four-piece Watchtower slam heavy-est riffs into the listener’s cerebral cortex with little concern for lasting aftereffects, all in worship of nod and volume itself. Where the two acts differ is in Watchtower’s overarching sense of grit, harsh vocals pervading both “Radiant Moon” (9:03) itself and the accompanying “Living Heads” (7:09), standalone vocalist Nico Guijt growing through the tonal fray wrought by guitarist Robbie Ingram and bassist Ben Robertson, Joel McGann’s drums pushing the emergent roll forward on “Living Heads,” a High on Fire-style startoff hitting the brakes on tempo to plod over any and all in its path. I’m trying to tell you it’s fucking heavy. Is that getting through? Watchtower had a live single out before Radiant Moon, but I’d be eager to hear what they come up with for a full-length, whether they might shift elsewhere at some point or revel in pure onslaught. Now taking bets.

Watchtower on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records

Ape Skull, Fly Camel Fly

ape skull fly camel fly

The use of multiple vocalists gives Roman trio Ape Skull’s ‘70s fetishism a particularly proggy air. Fly Camel Fly is their second full-length for Heavy Psych Sounds behind a 2013 self-titled, and the boogie of “My Way” and “Early Morning,” the solo-topped groove of “Fly Camel Fly,” and the raw Hendrixology of “A is for Ape” position it as a classic rocker through and through. Vocalist/drummer Giuliano Padroni, bassist/vocalist Pierpaolo Pastorelli and guitarist/vocalist Fulvio Cartacci get down to shuffling business quick and stay that way for the 39-minute duration, the Mountainous “Heavy Santa Ana Wind” missing only the complement of a sappy, over-the-top ballad to complete its vintage believability. Even without, the triumvirate stand tall, fuzzy and swinging on Fly Camel Fly, the cowbell of “Tree Stomp” calling to mind the earthy chaos of Blue Cheer without direct mimicry. A quick listen that builds and holds its momentum, but one that holds up too on subsequent visits.

Ape Skull on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds

Hordes, Hordes

hordes hordes

Mad-as-hell trio Hordes have had a slew of releases out over the last eight years or so – EPs, splits, full-lengths with extended tracks – but their experimental take on noise rock topped with Godfleshy shouts arrives satisfyingly stripped down on their latest self-titled five-track EP, recorded in 2013 and pressed newly to tape and CD (also digital). “Eyes Dulled Blind” dials back some of the pummeling after the bruises left by “Cold War Echo,” guitarist/vocalist Alex Hudson at the fore in the JK Broadrick tradition. Centerpiece “Summer” starts with a slow and peaceful ruse before shifting into brash and blown-out punk – Chris Martinez’s hi-hat forward in the mix to further the abrasion – and finally settles into a middle-ground between the two (mind you, the song is four minutes long), and bassist Jon Howard opens “Life Crusher,” which unfolds quickly into the most oppressive push here, while a churning atmosphere pervades the more echo-laden closer “Fall” to reinforce Hordes’ experimentalist claims and steady balance between tonal weight and noise-caked aggression.

Hordes on Thee Facebooks

Hordes on Bandcamp

Dead Shed Jokers, Dead Shed Jokers

dead shed jokers dead shed jokers

There’s a theatrical element underlying Welsh rockers Dead Shed Jokers’ second, self-titled full-length (on Pity My Brain Records). That’s not to say its eight songs are in some way insincere, just that the five-piece of vocalist Hywel Davies, guitarists Nicky Bryant and Kristian Evans, bassist Luke Cook and drummer Ashley Jones know there’s a show going on. Davies is in the lead throughout and proves a consummate frontman presence across opener “Dafydd’s Song,” the stomping “Memoirs of Mr. Bryant” and the swinging “Rapture Riddles,” Dead Shed Jokers’ penultimate cut before the cabaret closer “Exit Stage Left (Applause),” but the instrumental backing is up to its own task, and a clear-headed production gives the entire affair a professional sensibility. They veer into and out of heavy rock tropes fluidly, but maintain a tonal fullness wherever they might be headed, and Cook’s bass late in “Made in Vietnam” seems to carry a record’s worth of weight in just its few measures at the forefront before Davies returns for the next round of proclamations.

Dead Shed Jokers on Thee Facebooks

Dead Shed Jokers BigCartel store

These Hands Conspire, Sword of Korhan

these hands conspire sword of korhan

Berlin’s These Hands Conspire aren’t through the two-minute instrumental “Intro” before they’re showing off the heft of tone that pervades their metallized debut album, Sword of Korhan, but as they demonstrate throughout the following seven tracks and the total 45-minute runtime, there’s plenty to go around. Vocalist Felix delivers an especially noteworthy performance over the dual-guitars of Tom and Stefan, the bass of Paul and Sascha’s drums, but heavy metal storytelling – the sci-fi narrative seems to be a battle in space – is just as much a part of the record’s progressive flow, longer cuts like “Praise to Nova Rider,” “The Beast Cometh,” which directly follows, and “Ambush at Antarox IV” feeding one into the next sonically and thematically. The penultimate title-track brings swinging apex to an ambitious first outing, but the foreboding, winding guitar echoes of “Outro” hint at more of the tale to be told. Could be that Sword of Korhan is just the beginning of a much longer engagement.

These Hands Conspire on Thee Facebooks

These Hands Conspire on Bandcamp

Enos & Mangoo, Split

enos mangoo split

Maybe it doesn’t need to be said, since if it weren’t the case, they wouldn’t have paired at all, but Enos and Mangoo pair well. The UK chimp-obsessed space metallers – that’s Enos, on side A – and the Finnish modernized classic heavy rock outfit – that’s Mangoo, on side B – don’t ask much of the listener across their Son of a Gun/The Grey Belly split (on H42 Records) beyond a little over 10 minutes of time and a willingness to follow a groove. “Son of a Gun” finds Enos blending particularly well with Mangoo’s methodology via the inclusion of organ in their swinging but still forward-directed movement, and after that, it’s an easy mesh to flip the platter and find Mangoo’s “The Grey Belly” waiting, its own keys playing a huge role in carrying across the ‘70s-via-‘90s vibe the band projects so well. Flourishes of percussion in the former seem to complement the progressive guitar work in the latter, and whichever side happens to be spinning, it all works out just fine.

Enos on Thee Facebooks

Mangoo on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

Band of Spice, Economic Dancers

band of spice economic dancers

Born in 2007 as Spice and the RJ Band and rechristened Band of Spice in 2010 prior to their third album, Feel Like Coming Home, the Swedish unit boasting vocalist Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand (founding vocalist of Spiritual Beggars, also Mushroom River Band, currently also in Kayser) release their fourth full-length half a decade later in the form of Economic Dancers on Scarlet Records. It’s a straightforward heavy rocker in the organ-laced European tradition that Spice helped create, with some shades of quirk in the intro to “The Joe” and the arena-ready backing vocals of “In My Blood,” but mostly cutting its teeth on modernized ‘70s jams like “On the Run,” “Down by the Liquor Store” and “True Will,” though the six-minute centerpiece “You Will Call” touches on more psychedelic fare and is backed immediately by two metallers in “You Can’t Stop” and “Fly Away,” so it’s not by any means one-sided, even if at times the mix makes it feel like the 11 tracks are a showcase for the singer whose name is on the marquee.

Band of Spice at Scarlet Records

Scarlet Records on Bandcamp

 

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Queen Elephantine Release Omen Collection of Tracks from 2007-2013

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

queen elephantine (Photo by Erin Dynamic)

Over the last eight or nine years, and whether they were based at the time in New York, Hong Kong or Rhode Island, Queen Elephantine have had a lineup as fluid and shifting as their output itself, but they’ve never lost sight of the experimental drive that seems to be at the core of what they do. I’m not sure that was ever the case so much as on their last full-length, 2013’s Scarab (review here), a churning blend of drone, tonal heft and ambition, but if it tells you anything about the general ethic under which they work, their new release, Omen, is billed as an EP and it’s 70 minutes long. That’s how it goes.

Omen, which is a digital-only outing fostered by French label Atypeek Music, collects previously unreleased tracks from the bulk of Queen Elephantine‘s tenure: 2007 up through 2013 — presumably the Scarab sessions — and features throughout its course no fewer than 14 players. It has live stuff, it has drones, it has an abrasive side that will test the limits of endurance, but the ability to bring all these things together is what makes Queen Elephantine who they are in whatever form they might take.

The release announcement came in like such:

queen elephantine omen

new Queen Elephantine EP

Available through most digital outlets via Atypeek Music (France).

With a fluid lineup and various experiments in approach, QUEEN ELEPHANTINE is a nebulous worship of heavy mood and time. OMEN is the new collection of old artifacts from the masters of dark psychedelia.

The retrospective 70-minute “EP” is a haze-filled collage, a faded time-caravan travelling through the collective’s 2007 roots in Hong Kong to more recent American pieces.

Remastered by Mell Dettmer (Sunn 0))) & Boris), Omen weaves a vein through the dynamic body’s numerous players and instruments, through the dirtiest sludge and cleanest drone meditation alike, illuminating the living, unifying force at the core of Queen Elephantine.

With only the rare relief to be found, OMEN is a grueling, gutting, soul-sapping experience. Enjoy.

released 01 June 2015

Brett Zweiman, Rajkishen Narayanan, Marc Gaetani, Indrayudh Shome, Daniel Quinn, Michael Scott Isley, J. Alexander Buck, Samer Ghadry, Ian Sims, Derek Fukumori, Nathanael Totushek, Mat Becker, Chris Dialogue, Andrew Jude Riotto

http://facebook.com/queenelephantine
https://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/
http://queenelephantine.clfrecords.com/
http://atypeekmusic.com/Atypeek_Music.html
https://www.facebook.com/AtypeekMusic

Queen Elephantine, Omen (2015)

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Queen Elephantine Announce Northeastern Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

By virtue of their ready drive to experiment, it seems preordained that Queen Elephantine will remain somewhat underappreciated in the wider sphere of heavy, but their droning explorations engage both hypnotism and conscious acknowledgement, and when they burst forward, they can be viciously, unrepentantly weighted. The somewhat amorphous Providence, Rhode Island, outfit released their Scarab (review here) full-length last year, and it was an album both ambitious and expansive, stretching and pulling the mind like taffy with this or that evocative nuance. Truly one to get lost in, and a joy for that.

In addition to the dates listed below for their April tour of the Northeast, Queen Elephantine will also play this coming Sunday at Dusk in their native Providence, alongside Satan‘s Satyrs and somebody-sign-them-already doomers Magic Circle, at a gig presented by Armageddon Shop. Info on that is here.

Also note the appearance among the enviable lineup of the Hudson Valley Psych Fest on April 18:

QUEEN ELEPHANTINE —-Northeast US Tour—-

April 16 – 26, 2014

The heavy ‘avante’ psych band was formed in 2006 in Hong Kong but is currently based in Providence, RI. They have released four albums and several EPs, including splits with Sons of Otis and Elder. Scarab was released mid-2013 on Heart & Crossbone (CD, Israel) and Cosmic Eye (LP, Greece).

-APRIL 2014-

16 – Boston, MA.
O’Brien’s. w/ The Modern Voice, Glacier

18 – Kingston, NY. Hudson Valley Psych Fest
BSP. w/ White Hills, It’s Not Night: It’s Space, The Golden Grass, Eidetic Seeing

19 – Wilmington, DE.
1984. w/ Heavy Temple, Wizard Eye

20 – Brooklyn, NY.
Don Pedro. w/ Theologian, Prana-Bindu, Sonic Suicide Squad, Andrew Barker/Michael Foster/James Ilgenfritz trio

23 – Florence, MA.
13th Floor Music Lounge. w/ Palace In Thunderland, Murder And The Timelords

24 – Portsmouth, NH.
The Red Door. w/ Green Bastard, Northern Curse

25 – Portland, ME.
Geno’s.

26 – Providence, RI.
Psychic Readings. w/ Darsombra, The Vomit Arsonist, LVMMVX

Poster + tshirt art by Josh Yelle / Pencilmancer Art

https://www.facebook.com/queenelephantine
http://queenelephantine.clfrecords.com/
http://queenelephantine.bandcamp.com/

Queen Elephantine, Scarab (2013)

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Live Review: Queen Elephantine and Insect Ark in Allston, 01.16.14

Posted in Reviews on January 17th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I had driven back from New Jersey during the day — most of it, anyway — with the knowledge that I wanted to see Queen Elephantine at O’Brien’s last night. I knew I’d be tired as crap, but figured it’d be worth it because somehow it had gotten to be like half a decade since I last saw the band, in Maryland at the first benefit for Evil Fanny. Hard to believe so much time had passed. Particularly in light of having missed their Boston show last fall with It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Olde Growth and Keefshovel and having very much dug 2013’s Scarab full-length (review here), it was long overdue.

Boston acts Glacier and Slow Mover opened the show. I didn’t get there in time to see Glacier, but Somerville’s Slow Mover were just about to get started when I walked in and established a pretty wide stylistic breadth once they got going, the dual-vocal/guitar four-piece (plus snare strobe!) culling elements from noise rock, post-hardcore and post-metal, stoner rock and even a bit of black metal and making it sound raw and cohesive without being overly thought out. They had their self-titled on vinyl at the merch table, but I was light on funds. Still, cool stuff, sounded like it was working on a multi-tier solidification process. Easy to hear where they could turn into something devastatingly heavy, though as a moniker, Slow Mover does little to describe the actual ethic of their playing, which was more varied in pace than they’d apparently have one believe.

Last year when Insect Ark, aka Dana Schecter of Bee and Flower, released the Long Arms EP, I kind of dabbled in checking it out, but I was looking forward to seeing how her noisy experimentalism translated live. First of all I’ll say that any heavy band in Brooklyn would be lucky to have her as their bassist, but that was really just part of what she brought to the table — quite literally two tables, set up on the stage — at O’Brien’s. With a pedal steel in front of her, bass strapped on, a sampler, other noisemakers and mixing board on the side, a laptop further over and amps behind, Insect Ark was both stylistically complex and viscerally loud. For each piece she set an initial bed of noise, hit a programmed beat on the laptop and then added pedal steel and bass as dictated by the song, winding up with a heavy wash that only got more and more furious as the set went on, whether she was walking into the crowd with her bass or assaulting the strings of the pedal steel with a slide on the other end to get the most noise for each strum.

I won’t lie, I was dragging ass by then. It was a long day on I-95 and I was at the show by myself, but it had been the chance to see Queen Elephantine that had pulled me off the couch and away from the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the first place, so I wasn’t going to let it go. I took a minute, went outside, called The Patient Mrs. and got my head together to see the Providence, Rhode Island, experimental doom outfit, led by guitarist Indrayudh “Indy” Shome and featuring drummer Matt Couto of Elder and the aforementioned Keefshovel for the night alongside bassist Mat Becker, who shared a mic with Shome for the chanting vocals of the two extended pieces they played.

That’s right, two songs. When you’re Queen Elephantine and your songs run upwards of 20 minutes at a clip, you can do that kind of thing if you so choose, and I guess on a night where they stripped so far down from their usual current incarnation — I’ve seen recent pictures of a five-piece lineup and I don’t think there’s really a limit when people start showing up — you can do a set of two songs and have it work. Call it playing to their minimal side if you want, either way, Queen Elephantine wanted nothing for sonic presence or fullness save where they wanted to want for it, and were able to conjure vivid atmospherics even with the reduced personnel. Becker took a spoken word part in the middle of the first song — “The Search for the Deathless State” from 2008’s Kailash — and they settled into a fervent build across both that and “Chariot in Solemn Procession,” the latter taken from 2008’s Yatra EP and rounding out with an undulating groove made all the more insistent through Couto‘s drumming.

You could see when he clicked with Becker and Shome in the pacing. Initially he seemed to be pulling fast, but they smoothed out over the course of their time and ultimately, whether it was droned to oblivion or crushingly doomed, Queen Elephantine satisfied vigorously. I thought it was cool as hell, and similar to hearing Scarab and thinking the band was coming into a sound of their own after years of directional experimentation, I got the same impression in their confidence on stage. A loop of tanpura drone behind further filled out the sound behind them, only to be swallowed up by louder parts and reemerge here and there, staying on for a while after they brought their last song to its crashing conclusion.

Thursday night in Allston seemed like a fun time for hip cats, but I’m never been fun or hip, so I darted surreptitiously back to my car and headed back to my little slice of the Commonwealth. Beat as I was, I was glad to have shown up and I resolved more or less immediately not to let it go so long until next time.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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