Rainbows are Free Sign to Argonauta Records; Head Pains Due Nov. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It was really just a question of who — I said as much in May — and Argonauta Records makes sense not just because of their seemingly-perpetual signing spree but because of what they’re able to do in picking and promoting quality acts. Rainbows are Free will release Head Pains, their third album, through Argonauta on Nov. 29. Lock it down. The record is killer. That’s all there is to it. Good band gets signed. Everybody gets that warm feeling in their belly that only comes when things go right in the world.

I’m going to hope to have more to come ahead of the release, but the signing announcement seems like an occasion worth marking, so here it is as it came down the PR wire:

rainbows are free head pains

RAINBOWS ARE FREE sign to Argonauta Records + reveal album details!

Brand new record due out in November 2019!

Oklahoma heavy psych doom prog-rockers Rainbows Are Free have inked a worldwide deal with Italian powerhouse label Argonauta Records, who will release the band’s third and hotly anticipated album, Head Pains, on November 29th 2019.

Recorded at the legendary Bell Labs studios, engineered and mixed by Trent Bell of Chainsaw Kittens fame, in Norman, OK, the band just recently not only revealed the cover art but also a first track taken from their upcoming Head Pains!

“Rainbows Are Free are excited to join forces with Argonauta Records for the release of our upcoming third record, Head Pains.“ The band comments. “Gero has curated an impressive roster of some of the heaviest underground stoner, doom,and sludge bands in the world, and we are happy to count ourselves among them. While we were deep in the throes of the dubious task of finding a new label to put out this record, we were constantly being referred to Argonauta every step of the way. It is no accident that we landed at Argonauta’s doorstep, and thankfully, they let us inside.“

Rainbows Are Free’s sonic locus appears on the rock n’ roll family tree at the point where proto-metal and heavy psychedelia shared a common apocryphal ancestor before branching off into their own distinct lineages. RAF formed in late 2007 as the conglomerate of several long-time heavy rock bands from Norman, OK. In February 2008, RAF self-released their eponymous demo EP, followed by the critically acclaimed full length album Believers In Medicine two years later with Guestroom Records Records. The band’s sophomore album, Waves Ahead of the Ocean, saw RAF taking on a new level with shows all over the States with acts such as High on Fire, Dead Meadow, St. Vitus, The Sword, Big Business, Pallbearer, Kylesa and many more. Often appearing in costumed stage dress, the band fronted by the soaring and snarling nigh 7-foot cyclone of weirdness that is Brandon Kistler, continues to shock and amaze fans by introducing an element of good-humored theatrics to accompany their live sonic assault. This is achieved in no small part due to the guitar prowess and songwriting of Richie Tarver, joined by the ambient soundscapes of Joey Powell on rhythm guitar, the thunderous low end of Jason Smith on bass, and Bobby Onspaugh on drums. Rainbows Are Free continue to bring their unique brand of psychedelic heaviness on tour as they support the release of Head Pains due out Fall 2019.

Head Pains is set to be released in CD and Digital formats on November 29th via Argonauta Records, with vinyl support from Tulsa-based Horton Records. Watch out for many more album updates and tunes to be revealed in the days ahead!

RAF is:
Brandon Kistler -Vocals
Richie Tarver – Lead Guitar
Jason Smith – Bass
Joey Powell – Rhythm Guitar
Bobby Onspaugh – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/RainbowsAreFree/
http://instagram.com/rainbowsarefree
https://rainbowsarefree.bandcamp.com/
https://rainbowsarefree.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Rainbows are Free, “Shapeshifter”

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Rainbows are Free Announce New Album Head Pains; Streaming “Shapeshifter”

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

rainbows are free

Yes, it’s been half a decade since Oklahoma’s Rainbows are Free released their second album, Waves Ahead of the Ocean (review here), but you know, when the PR wire lit up with the news of their impending follow-up, Head Pains, my immediate response was, “Oh shit, badass.” Five years later. That’s pretty good. The five-piece are currently streaming the track “Shapeshifter” from the new record, and they’re looking for a label to step up and help them release the thing. I have a hard time imagining someone won’t get on board and get the thing out on vinyl if not across multiple formats. I mean, unless it’s three hours long or something, it seems like a no-brainer to me. These guys are awesome, the sampling they’re giving would seem to show that hasn’t changed since 2014, and as I recall, the last outing had good underground buzz around it. Would be a good pickup for somebody, so yeah, I’ll expect that news at some point.

Until then, here’s the album info and the track, hoisted off the aforementioned PR wire:

rainbows are free head pains

Head Pains is Rainbows Are Free’s third full length album, and follow-up to 2014’s Waves Ahead of the Ocean. The completion of Head Pains heralds a return to RAF’s heavy psychedelic roots as witnessed on their breakout album, Believers In Medicine in 2010. Although considered a return to form, Head Pains further exhibits the band’s unique voice — setting them apart from contemporaries of heavy psychedelic, doom, and stonerrock with whom they’ve shared the stage, (High on Fire, Dead Meadow, St. Vitus, The Sword, Big Business, Kylesa, etc.).

Often appearing in costumed stage dress, the band, fronted by the soaring and snarling nigh 7-foot cyclone of weirdness that is Brandon Kistler, continues to shock and amaze fans by introducing an element of good humored theatrics to accompany their live sonic assault. This is achieved in no small part due to the guitar prowess and songwriting of Richie Tarver, joined by the ambient soundscapes of Joey Powell on rhythm guitar, and the thunderous low end of Jason Smith on bass, and Bobby Onspaugh on drums.

Rainbows Are Free continue to bring their unique brand of psychedelic heaviness on tour in 2019 as they seek label support for the release of Head Pains.

Recorded in 2018-2019 by Trent Bell (Flaming Lips, Chainsaw Kittens) at Bell Labs, Norman, OK. Mastered by Hans DeKline of Hans DeKline Mastering, Los Angeles, CA. Album art by Tony Roberts (Electric Wizard, Conan, Slomatics).

HEAD PAINS
1. Covered In Dawn
2. Electricity on Wax
3. Shapeshifter
4. The Sound Inside
5. Lady of the Woods / Psychonaut
6. A Penny’s Worth
7. Nile Song
8. Eunice

https://www.facebook.com/RainbowsAreFree/
http://instagram.com/rainbowsarefree
https://rainbowsarefree.bandcamp.com/
https://rainbowsarefree.com/

Rainbows are Free, “Shapeshifter”

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: All Them Witches, Rainbows are Free, Idre, Nyarlathotep, Panopticon

Posted in Radio on July 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Click here to listen.

There doesn’t seem to ever be a break with this stuff. 16 records joined The Obelisk Radio playlist today, and that’s still got me behind on checking out more to add. I don’t know what the state of that hard drive is, but I might not be far off from needing to add a second one. It’s become an archive for me.

Diligent and admirable bastard that he is, Slevin is working on an automatically refreshing script that will allow listeners to see what was played over the last 24 hours, which will be a big help if a file is missing its ID3 tags — that being how the player identifies the songs — as I know things sometimes are. I get asked regularly what was played at a specific time, so hopefully this will be able to answer that question.

So things are in the works, but of course there’s a ton of music to talk about in the meantime, and that’s the fun part anyway.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for July 11, 2014:

All Them Witches, Effervescent EP

There are at least two distinct jams at work in the 25-minute single track that makes up Effervescent, the 2014 EP from Nashville psych-blues rockers All Them Witches. The Fender Rhodes of Allan Van Cleave and airy guitar of Ben McLeod feature heavily in both, as bassist Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer Robby Staebler (interview here) provide a foundation on which to space out, and the two pieces find a bridge in hypnotic, psychedelic stretching and backwards noise beginning at around 13 minutes in before building back up. All throughout, the vibe is central, there is movement, and the four-piece demonstrate that the chemistry they showed burgeoning on last year’s brilliant Lightning at the Door (discussed here) was no fluke, but the beginning of a grand and creative exploration that finds its next installment here. It may be a stopgap — formerly their primary means of release, they’ve recently pulled their full-lengths down from Bandcamp; one expects big, got-signed-type news from them at any moment — but Effervescent is fluid and rich, and as deep as you want to go in listening to it, it’s willing to take you there and further. All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Nyarlathotep, The Shadow over Innsmouth

Some six years after releasing their initial The End is Always Near demo, New Jersey black metal outfit (whom, in the interest of full disclosure, I know personally) Nyarlathotep follow-up with the Lovecraftian full-length, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Based around the  short story of the same name, the album breaks down into five extended tracks plus an intro of rage-fueled atmospherics. Using programmed drums to their advantage on “Old Zadok Allen” — the only proper song here under 10 minutes — they add an industrial feel with a keyboard-led midsection backed by vague, ambient screams. The density in the material is striking, but even at their most unbridled — as on the blasting, solo-topped early moments in the title-track — Nyarlathotep hold their commitment to setting a mood firm, and the blown-out, distorted soundscape they create across the release is grim and otherworldly enough to be worthy of its subject matter. It is a complex, biting execution that won’t be for everyone, but that seethes in its quiet parts and gnashes its pointed teeth with monstrous force. Nyarlathotep on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Idre, Idre


Oklahoma City trio Idre specialize in ambient fluidity and deeply-weighted tonal crush. Their self-released, self-titled debut long-player is comprised of two extended cuts — “Factorie” (26:41) and “Witch Trial” (13:17) — that each impress with their patience, their impact and their ability to contrast the generally claustrophobic feel of post-metal with an open-spaced, salt-of-the-earth pulse. Within its first 10 minutes, “Factorie” has moved from undulating waves of riffing to vast, strumming, Across Tundras-esque roll, and never does it seem to be meandering without purpose in the noisy stages to come. It builds and collapses, and when they seem the most gone, the clean, twanging vocals return to finish out, leading to the parabolically constructed “Witch Trial,” which marries Earth-style drone and galloping drums effectively to create a decidedly Western feel while still building toward, and eventually moving through a sonically pummeling apex. Once again, vocals are sparse, but perfectly placed almost as if to remind the listener of how small a human being can be in so wide a space as the Midwest. Like that landlocked region, Idre‘s Idre is expansive and lets you see for miles. Idre on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

Rainbows are Free, Waves ahead of the Ocean

Led by the substantial pipes of vocalist B. Fain Kistler, Norman, Oklahoma, four-piece Rainbows are Free seem keen on finding the place where classic doom and heavy rock meet, and on their second full-length, Waves ahead of the Ocean (released by Guestroom Records), they just about get there. Kistler is a singer worthy of comparison to Grand MagusJB Christoffersson, but Rainbows are Free are less grandiose overall, early songs like “The Botanist,” the title-track and the cumbersomely-titled opener “Speed God and the Rise of the Motherfuckers from a Place beyond Hell” nestling into heavy, engaging grooves marked out by the choice riffing of Richie Tarver, the bass work of Chad Hogue and drums of Bobby Onspaugh. Unpretentious and professional in their presentation, they doom up an otherwise Clutch-style boogie in “Cadillac” before going full-on trad metal in “Snake Bitten by Love,” and ably making their way through a Dio Sabbath push on “Burn and Die,” which works well despite feeling a long way from the upbeat rockin’ of earlier highlight “Sonic Demon” and leads smoothly into closer “Comet,” the six-and-a-half-minute spacier thrust of which seems to be seems to be where Rainbows are Free most choose to harken to the psychedelia one might expect from their moniker. They most drive toward the epic in their finale, and the payoff there is churning and insistent in a way that more than justifies the song’s position on the 37-minute record, but even then have a keen eye for structure and holding the attention of their audience. An impeccably put together album from a band more than ready to turn heads. Rainbows are Free on Thee Facebooks, Guestroom Records on Bandcamp.

Panopticon, Roads to the North


Despite the bluegrass influence and liberal inclusion of banjo amidst its blackened onslaught, Panopticon‘s Roads to the North (released on Bindrune) is perhaps most American of all for its pulling together seemingly disparate elements in defiance of European traditionalism. Billed as and creating the standard for American folk metal, it nonetheless is in conversation with European black metal — a conversation that in my head looks something like it’s being chased à la Benny Hill for its heresies — while purposefully working against its tenets. Roads to the North is the fifth full-length from the one-man project of Kentucky’s Austin Lunn, and made in collaboration with Krallice‘s Colin Marston (among others), it elicits a sprawl through both its metallic extremity and its devotion to the aesthetic it pioneers. It makes for a heady 74-minute listen, but Panopticon are cohesive throughout — five records deep, they should be — and one doesn’t embark on an album like Roads to the North lightly or without wanting full immersion into an evocative and blistering landscape. That’s just what you get. Panopticon on Thee Facebooks, Bindrune Recordings.

For the full list of albums added to The Obelisk Radio this week and to see the latest updates, click here.

Thanks for reading and listening.

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