BlackWater HolyLight Post “Wave of Conscience” Video; Touring West Coast Next Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

blackwater holylight

Portland, Oregon, four-piece BlackWater HolyLight made their self-titled debut (review here) earlier this year with the formidable backing of RidingEasy Records. But, you know, as any given year goes on, a lot of really killer records that came out in the first half — Winter albums certainly, but early Spring ones too — are lost in the shuffle when it comes to considering the year’s best. That’s part of why you always see so many records released in September. That way they’re fresh in mind for list time. Also of course involves touring cycles and things like that, but you get the idea. It’s not the only factor, but it’s definitely a piece of it. Just because a record came out in February or April doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered alongside one of October’s finest outings.

As to what the hell that has to do with BlackWater HolyLight, I’m getting there. One of the ways a band can counteract this temporal phenomenon is by putting out music videos. Another is touring, and vocalist/bassist Allison Faris, guitarist/vocalist Laura Hopkins, drummer Cat Hoch and synth player Sarah Mckenna are doing a bit of both. They have a new video for the ultra-catchy, Witch-worthy fuzz of “Wave of Conscience” (originally premiered here) and they’re going to be touring mostly in California for a week next month. Along with songs like the buzz-happy “Sunrise” and the synth-laden lower-end rollout of “Slow Hole,”  “Wave of Conscience” is an easy pick-out as a highlight of BlackWater HolyLight‘s self-titled, and they give its hook due presence with the visual accompaniment, mining the public record for nature footage of a black widow spider laying and hatching an egg.

The clip — spoiler alert — ends with hundreds of baby black widows trolling around their mom’s web, and the jumpy creep of their movement could hardly be better suited to the band’s sound. It’s an effective reminder to put the record on and provides a fervent case for showing up to one of the gigs should they happen to be hitting your town. To wit, awesomeness.

You can check out the “Wave of Conscience” video below, followed by those tour dates and more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

BlackWater HolyLight, “Wave of Conscience” official video

Portland, OR quartet BlackWater HolyLight share the first video from their breakout debut album today. Watch and share “Wave of Conscience” via YouTube.

BlackWater HolyLight also announce West Coast tour dates starting August 3rd. Please see current dates below.

BlackWater HolyLight was recorded by Cameron Spies at Gold Brick Studios and The Greenhouse, and with Eric Crespo at Touch Tourcher Recording in Portland. The album is available on LP, CD and download, released April 6th, 2018 via RidingEasy Records on LP & CD at www.ridingeasyrecs.com and digital at blackwaterholylight.bandcamp.com.

BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT LIVE:
08/03 Nevada City, CA @ Cooper’s
08/04 Oakland, CA @ Elbo Jack London
08/07 Las Vegas, NV @ Bunkhouse
08/08 Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon w/ Zig Zags
08/09 Oceanside, CA @ Pourhouse w/ Red Wizard
08/10 Fresno, CA @ Full Circle
08/11 Arcata, CA @ Alibi

BlackWater HolyLight on Instagram

BlackWater HolyLight on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

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Review & Track Premiere: Electric Citizen, Helltown

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

electric citizen helltown

[Click play above to stream ‘Lunch’ from Electric Citizen’s Helltown. Album is out Sept. 28 on RidingEasy Records.]

The stated intention behind Electric Citizen‘s third album for RidingEasy RecordsHelltown, is a turn from where the band was two years ago on their sophomore outing, Higher Time (review here). Likewise, Higher Time brought the Cincinnati four-piece to someplace their 2014 debut, Sateen (review here), hadn’t dared to go. Around a central core of memorable hooks and classic heavy rock riffing, Electric Citizen wove a vision of heavy glam, taking the riff-led fare of Sateen to someplace entirely bigger — in production value, in scope, in its unabashed poppiness. Helltown once more finds vocalist Laura Dolan, guitarist Ross Dolan, bassist Nick Vogelpohl and drummer Nate Wagner in an aesthetic pivot. While it would same to be driven by the same impulse toward refining their sound and trying to bring their songs to different levels of expression, etc., the manifestation is markedly different. Dolan‘s voice still commands the proceedings with pointed melodicism, and the guitar runs the instrumental charge beneath with classic swing from the rhythm section.

What’s different is largely down to presentation, and it’s one that finds Electric Citizen engaged in entirely rawer fare. Gone is the pop-ready sheen of Higher Time, and it’s been replaced by proto-metal tonality on the part of Dolan — as heard in the solo of second cut “Hide it in the Night,” as well as the riffs throughout — and Vogelpohl, as well as a decided lack of the keys/organ that featured so prominently last time out — “Father Time,” “New Earth” and “Mother’s Little Reject” notwithstanding — in favor of a more stripped down approach overall. Vocals are treated but not as many-layered, and the album as a whole is shorter, running nine songs and 32 minutes where the last one was 10 and 40. They largely stay away from following a punkish impulse — even centerpiece “Ripper,” which is definitely not a cover of Judas Priest‘s “The Ripper,” holds more to classic metal style — but the LP’s purpose is clearly to shoot for a more live sound, something that can be brought to life on stage, say, when the band tours as support for Monster Magnet in support of Helltown this Fall.

That’s not to say there isn’t any progressive edge to be found. Dolan as a guitarist is an intricate riffer and has been since he was doing his best mid/late-’70s Iommi on Sateen. As much as the smoothness and fluidity of Higher Time suited his style, he thrives here in showcasing his chemistry with Laura‘s vocals and with the righteous solidity of the bass and drums. Of course, a more barebones production style like this is no less an aesthetic choice than something hyper-elaborate, but the stylistic turn suits him and the rest of the band well, and would seem to have been something purposefully brought to the songwriting process. These tracks, in addition to being fewer in number, feel shorter and tighter in their structure. There are still drum transitions in “Lunch” and Dolan isn’t shy about taking a solo when called on to do so, but Helltown — named for the Cincinnati neighborhood the band calls home, as if to further telegraph the “back to their roots” sentiment at play — seems to pull back on some of the expanse that Electric Citizen made their own last time out, and it’s a meaner sound for it.

electric citizen

Of course, what draws the work together is the craft behind it. “Father Time” is the longest cut on Helltown at 4:25, and its quiet, more gradual introduction would seem to be a departure from some of the immediacy held forth in songs like prior opening salvo of “Heart Attack,” “Hide it in the Night” or “Cold Blooded Blue,” all of which are into their first verse before the first 30 seconds are up. Pacing in general is a big part of what makes Helltown distinct in Electric Citizen‘s catalog. Sateen was dug into semi-garage doom shuffle, and so had a middling pace, and Higher Time followed suit with its more outwardly accessible fare. Helltown isn’t a Motörhead record or anything, but “Ripper,” “The Pawn,” “Heart Attack” have a quick pulse to be sure, and even as “New Earth” would seem to be a transitional moment into the closing duo of “Lunch” and “Mother’s Little Reject,” the momentum holds steady. And though “Lunch” digs into that eased-up tempo somewhat and “Mother’s Little Reject” starts out with organ-backed spoken word over a “War Pigs”-esque progression before igniting a finale-worthy bounce, the energy in Electric Citizen‘s delivery is unflinching.

If Helltown has a central message, that’s it. It’s enough of a declaration of who Electric Citizen are that part of me is surprised it isn’t self-titled. That identity can change, of course, and likely will if their three-to-date albums are anything to go by, but the statement in these tracks is clear and unmistakable. Whatever else Electric Citizen might do and wherever their sound might take them, they’re a heavy rock band at heart. Helltown is a performance-minded collection that would seem to be the result of some genuine soul-searching on the part of the band. It could well be they’ve found themselves as players and as a group and that whatever they do from here will be a hopeful step forward from where they currently are. Or it could be that this album, like the one before it, will spur an equal and almost-opposite reaction and the Electric Citizen will move in a different direction entirely. I like the fact that, four years and three records into their tenure as a band, I have no idea what to expect from them next.

Other than songwriting. That’s the key. It let them serve introductory notice on Sateen and it provided the foundation for the expanded-sound of Higher Time, and now it serves as the very core of being for Helltown. And if it wasn’t there, there’d be no hiding it. This is as stripped-down as Electric Citizen have gotten, and if they didn’t have the songs and didn’t have the performance and the vibe, it simply wouldn’t work. Fortunately, they do and it does. I won’t discount what each of the past two records did for their own accomplishments in their own contexts, but listening to Helltown, it very much seems to be marking a new level for Electric Citizen, and as they cull the most essential facets of their approach as a band, they emerge from that process stronger than ever and at their most vital.

Electric Citizen, “Hide it in the Night”

Electric Citzen on Thee Facebooks

Electric Citizen on Twitter

Electric Citizen on Instagram

Electric Citizen on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

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Dunbarrow Premiere “The Wolf”; Dunbarrow II out Sept. 14

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dunbarrow

Norwegian classic-style heavy rockers Dunbarrow will release their second album, Dunbarrow II, on Sept. 14 through RidingEasy Records. That same Cali-based imprint picked up the band’s 2016 self-titled debut (review here) last year, and with good reason, since the five-piece not only dip back to the heavy ’70s usual suspects for inspiration, but also carry the torch of the retroist movement those acts inspired in the first place. Listen to Dunbarrow‘s “The Wolf” at the bottom of this post and tell me you don’t hear shades of the first Witchcraft album in it. You can’t. It’s right there, and that’s precisely the point.

Well, that and groove anyhow, brought together with a tale out of classic horror in the lyrics that I won’t spoil here — hint: there’s a wolf, but where??? — and a fervently organic production. Dunbarrow‘s Dunbarrow worked with some similar elements at its foundation, but as “The Wolf” demonstrates, the Trondheim-based outfit are in the process of carving out their niche aesthetically, and they’re doing so with the sharpest of teeth.

You can hear “The Wolf” below, preceded by album details from the PR wire. Preorders for Dunbarrow II are up now at RidingEasy‘s website:

dunbarrow ii

Dunbarrow – Dunbarrow II

There’s a hauntingly classic feel to Dunbarrow’s sound that gives it, in the band’s own words, “an eerie rawness.” It’s not raw in a lo-fi or distorted sense — far from it, the production is exceptionally clean and powerful. It’s the vibe to the music that has a dreamlike and ghostly quality, like a mysterious recording imprinted onto an old cassette tape.

Dunbarrow’s pristine, unadorned sound shares the unpretentious brilliance of classic heavy progenitors jamming in basements and barns, before the big budgets and bloated habits diluted hard rock records into an echo chamber awash in reverb and layered in distant, screeching hobbits. “It’s a heavy sounding record without being just tons of over-distorted guitar tracks,” says guitarist Kenneth Lønning. “We’ve never been fascinated by that, and we’re trying to push in the other direction.” Its heft comes from the band’s use of space in their songs.

Without the Haugesund, Norway quintet’s exceptional musicianship, such an intimate sound would be impossible. Drummer Pål Gunnar Dale sets the skeletal core with driving urgency and tastefully punctuating triplet fills, Bassist Sondre Berge Engedal slinks throughout with the limber bounce of John Paul Jones, while Lønning’s and Eirik Øvregård’s guitars weave dark, bluesy tapestries with emphasis on melodic chord structures without burying them in distortion or other effects. Vocalist Espen Andersen ties it all together with his warm, folky delivery that gives it all the feel of a bygone era of storytelling in song.

“Maybe more than the previous record, this one is more vocal driven,” Lønning says. “But it still has those quirky transitions, eerie build ups, folk-inspired parts and the haunting solos.” Many of the album’s poetic lyrics were written by former bassist/vocalist Richard Chappell, whose writing personifies the group. Along with the album’s running theme of love and despair, is that of recognizing one’s own dark sides and developing your shadows into something you can control, inspired of the work by Carl Jung.

Key to the band’s impressive sound is that the singer is also the recording and mixing engineer. Andersen also recorded the band’s excellent 2016 debut (formally released wordlwide by RidingEasy in late 2017), now with more studio experience for both Andersen and the band, Dunbarrow II is a truly refined experience. To further perfect their sound, the group teamed up with one of the most prominent producers in Norway, Christer Cederberg (Anathema, Tristania) for the first few days in order to get the sound just right. Then, Espen did the rest. The result is as eponymous and definitive as its title.

Dunbarrow II will be available on LP, CD and download on RidingEasy Records on September 14th, 2018.

Artist: Dunbarrow
Album: Dunbarrow II
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: September 14th, 2018

01. On Your Trail
02. Please Let Me Be
03. Weary Lady
04. Ode To The Moon
05. Feberdrøm
06. The Wolf
07. The Demon Within
08. Witches of The Woods Pt. II
09. On This Night

Facebook.com/Dunbarrow
Instagram.com/Dunbarrow
Dunbarrow.Bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecs.com

Dunbarrow, “The Wolf” official track premiere

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The Well Announce August European Tour Dates

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

With reportedly more dates to come, Austin heavy rockers The Well have announced a European tour for this August presented by Heavy Psych Sounds. I haven’t heard anything about it, but I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if they had a new album on the way either before or after this run, which as of now is set to start on Aug. 8 in Rome. Their last outing was 2016’s Pagan Science (review here) on RidingEasy Records, which was awesome and put them on the road in the US, and interestingly, in addition to the shows below, The Well have also been confirmed to take part in Keep it Low 2018 in Munich this October. I don’t necessarily imagine that the band will just be on tour in Europe for two months-plus in order to do it all in one trip, but in light of the whole “more to be announced” thing, I guess anything’s possible.

Heavy Psych Sounds sent word of the tour as follows:

the well photo Andy Ray Lemon

THE WELL – EUROPEAN SUMMER TOUR

Austin-based power trio The Well redefine heavy rock by merging massive riffs with sophisticated melodies. Their progressive sound stems from a nostalgic desire to blend different musical styles as diversified as Joy Division to Blue Cheer. The group blossomed when guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham was fired from his previous band. Determined to redirect his musical focus, Graham hooked up with bassist Lisa Alley and the two began picking out riffs in their east-side garage. Rounding out their sound, they stole drummer Jason Sullivan from Graham’s old band in a tale of vengeance and karma. His solid groove and reckless tribal beat gave the three-piece their ideal primal attack.

Due to their psychedelic doom edge, The Well reap comparisons to Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. As fans of cult horror films, they embrace the sinister, revel in dark themes and find inspiration in haunting echoes. The dual vocals of Graham and Alley evoke an ancient language that carries a mystic spell.

08.08.2018 IT Roma
09.08.2018 IT Parma
10.08.2018 AT Dornbiarch-Sauzipf Fest
13.08.2018 IT Brescia-Radio Onda D’Urto fest
15.08.2018 IT Alessandria-Cascina Bellaria
16.08.2018 DE Mannheim
17.08.2018 DE Nürnberg – Z Bau
18.08.2018 DE Münster – Rare Guitar
19.08.2018 CH Basel
20.08.2018 FR Chambery-Le BrinDu Zinc
21.08.2018 IT Mantova

with many more to be announced soon!

THE WELL ARE
Ian Graham – Guitars / Vocals
Lisa Alley – Bass / Vocals
Jason Sullivan – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/thewellband
http://thewellaustin.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

The Well, Pagan Science (2016)

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Monolord Announce Headlining US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

monolord (Photo by Mike Bax)

Is this Monolord‘s first headlining stretch in the US? If so, one can only argue it’s time. The Swedish trio have hit stages alongside the likes of ConanUfomammut and Firebreather — among multitudes of others — and their third album, last year’s Rust (review here), was their most accomplished outing to date. So yeah, they pretty much should be headlining, whether they’ve done so before or not.

The run will begin at Psycho Las Vegas on Aug. 18 and cover a good swath of the Midwest, including a stop in Chicago for Scorched Tundra X, as well as the East Coast. There are shows with Red Fang, and the requisite stops at places like Kung Fu Necktie in Philly and Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, but I’m interested to see who’ll be supporting them as they go. Another imported act? Locals? Are they traveling with anyone? Especially starting at Psycho as they are, they could put together a hell of a package to go out with, I’m sure.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Dates are presented by Nanotear. Here’s info from the PR wire:

monolord headlining tour

Monolord announce U.S. headlining tour dates in August following Psycho Las Vegas

Gothenburg, Sweden trio Monolord announce U.S. headlining tour dates following their performance at Psycho Las Vegas festival in August. Please see all dates below.

Monolord is a rare breed: A band both encompassing and transcending genre; a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Their thunderous, tuneful heft has built a rabid international fanbase in short order since their 2014 debut. But Rust, the band’s third full length, truly exemplifies why some refer to them as the Nirvana of doom.

Monolord’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, it’s a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that’s more total environment than collection of songs. Together, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as its fourth member.

Rust is available on LP, CD and download, released September 29th, 2017 via RidingEasy Records.

MONOLORD U.S. TOUR 2018:
08/18 Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel (Psycho Las Vegas)
08/22 Memphis, TN @ The Hi Tone
08/23 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
08/24 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
08/25 Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s
08/26 Newport, KY @ Southgate House
08/27 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
08/28 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
08/29 Detroit, MI @ Sanctuary
08/30 Indianapolis, IN @ White Rabbit
08/31 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (Scorched Tundra)
09/01 Millvale, PA @ Funhouse
09/02 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk
09/05 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
09/07 Raleigh, NC @ Raleigh (Hopscotch)
09/08 Richmond, VA @ Capital Ale House *
09/09 Washington DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel *
09/10 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar
09/11 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
* with Red Fang

monolord.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/MonolordSweden
monolord.com
ridingeasyrecords.com

Monolord, Rust (2017)

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Mick’s Jaguar Premiere “Where We Go” from Fame and Fortune

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

micks jaguar

New York-based heavy rockers Mick’s Jaguar make their debut on RidingEasy Records June 22 with Fame and Fortune. It’s not the first time the L.A. imprint has extended its hand to the other side of the country to pick up a band, but something here feels different. While unsurprisingly given both the snark in the band’s moniker — they started out playing Rolling Stones covers — and the blood-and-sex rawness of the album art, it’s safe to say attitude plays a large role in their approach, the brand of heavy rock and roll (with emphasis on both the rock and the roll) is nigh on definitively of New York. The myth is that New York rock died. It didn’t. It just got priced out of Manhattan, like everything else that wasn’t J.P. Morgan or owned by the president or a racist coffee chain. But to be a band “from New York” is to invite immediate suspicion. You say you’re from New York? Prove it. Like someone wants to see your birth certificate or something.

To wit, the first line in Fame and Fortune opener “The Real Boss” is, “I was born in New York City,” and then, as if to prove the ultimate New York perspective, there follows, “What a horrible, smelly town.” Love New York, defend it vigorously to outsiders, and then despise it. To be fair, Manhattan in summertime, no matter how much of a billionaire playground it has become since Rudy Giuliani had the homeless secretly killed — don’t worry, 15-plus years of returning veterans has made sure there’s plenty more homeless to replace them — smells like urine, but New York’s love/hate relationship with itself is an essential facet of its culture, and Mick’s Jaguar, who present a clean, classic-feeling 10 tracks in the 38-minute stretch of their first album, are smart to put it front and center. That theme of intelligence continues throughout the six-piece’s lyrics, which contain several Stones and other references — “sticky fingers,” paraphrasing the Stooges with “street-walking jaguars,” shouting out Miles Davis, etc. — amid shifts in sound from heavy rock to early metal of “Here Comes the Night” the aggro-boogie of “Where We Go” to the crash-led “Country & Punk,” which in the span of 1:49 gracefully manages to be neither.

micks jaguar fame and fortuneApart from its attitude, what draws the album together throughout these twists and turns of style is a consistent sans-frills production and a penchant for big hooks in cuts like opener “The Real Boss” and its side B counterpart, “Hellride,” as well as “Pay to Play,” “Hellride,” the twin-guitar-led “Blood on the Snow,” and so on. Songwriting, in other words. It’s one of those records that seems to come across like vinyl no matter the actual format being played, and the visceral sound of the recording is a benefit as much to the actual impact of the material as to the aesthetic statement being made, but without that core of craft beneath the recording would have nothing to stand on. The movement from the ’70s-chugging “Here Comes the Night” — who doesn’t love a good song about “the night?” — the barroom twin leads of “Blood on the Snow” and the hard rocking cynicism of “Hellride” would simply fall flat. As the album progressed, I’ll admit I was a little sad when “Damnation” wasn’t an Opeth cover, but its lyrical journey tying together the late ’60s/early ’70s and the early ’90s is fairly emblematic of the roots of heavy rock and the roots from which Mick’s Jaguar are ultimately working. Then, naturally, they throw a wrench in the gears with “Country & Punk,” because screw you for thinking you know what you’re getting.

If Mick’s Jaguar are a New York band, as the narrative — blessings and peace upon it — argues fervently they are and I tend to agree when it comes to their style and specific grit-coated swagger, then it’s only fitting they should be as self-aware as they are. From the start of the record through the harmonica-laced closer “New Orleans Blues,” with its lap-steel-gone-psychedelic and anchoring drum progression, they’re telling their own story both lyrically and instrumentally. Their style ultimately has more reach than many will give it credit for, and they move through Fame and Fortune with a fluidity that belies this being their first album; I don’t actually know this, but if you were forcing me to guess I’d say some of these songs have been around a while, as they sound like they’ve been chopped down to their most essential pieces. Whether Mick’s Jaguar can bring the same intelligent confrontationalism to their work and still manage to develop stylistically over the longer term of course will remain to be seen, but what they bring to Fame and Fortune isn’t to be undervalued as a statement of their purpose and a declaration of their penchant for mining classic elements and reshaping them to suit their needs.

I have the pleasure today of hosting a track from Fame and Fortune as a premiere that you’ll find on the player below, followed by more info from the PR wire. Once again, the album is out June 22 on RidingEasy Records.

Please enjoy:

Rock and roll is dead in New York City. Long live New York City rock and roll. Mick’s Jaguar is bringing noisy, wild, unafraid big rock back to NYC. Crazy rents, corporatized venues, and kids listening to DJ’s: it’s hard being a band in this town.

This isn’t LA and Mick’s Jaguar is a product of their environment: a windowless dungeon practice space 20 feet below the trash covered sidewalk of the Lower East Side. Rats, grime, the sounds of the city; Mick’s Jaguar gleefully pillages the history of rock music to create thoroughly modern, but classic rock and roll. Not quite punk, but not metal either, this is hard rock and roll that’s been put through the brain blenders of 6 musicians who pair their Judas Priest shirts with Steely Dan hats. They claim no musical lineage to New York – they just live there. If you need to compare them to something, the night AC/DC played CBGB’s would be about as close as you can get.

The group formed as a drunken Rolling Stones cover band, and after a few years of mainlining Stones songs and playing sporadic shows marred by violence and sprayed by beer, they started writing originals that attracted the attention of RidingEasy Records. And their new album, Fame and Fortune, sounds absolutely nothing like the Stones. The three guitarists — yes three guitars — open the album with a riff of buzzsaw intensity that would make a Ramone proud. But then like Jim Morrison sashaying into a wine shop, it drunkenly careens into a big sounding rock and roll album somewhere in between Van Halen and Tres Hombres. Guitar solos abound, Thin Lizzy harmonies soar, the bass and drums make a groove that will shake the asses on the dance floor and put a rumble in your loins. Songs about life, death, cars, blood, murder, sex, drugs and booze are the world of Mick’s Jaguar. Don’t forget – this is what rock and roll is all about. Listen close and you’ll hear hat tips to your bands, Mick’s Jag knows their history and likes to rip it apart.

Recorded in Brooklyn at Figure 8 Recording by engineering wizard Philip Weinrobe, and fueled by a steady diet of Allen’s Coffee Brandy, the Fame And Fortune sessions resulted in only one hospital visit and it just might be your favorite album of 1978, 1988, or 2018. This is music that’s made for listening to while driving fast in your car, and while relaxing at the local strip club. It’s okay to have fun. Cute indie bands make everyone puke. That shit stops now. Let there be rock.

Fame and Fortune will be available on LP, CD and download on June 22nd, 2018 via RidingEasy Records. Preorders are available at ridingeasyrecs.com

MICK’S JAGUAR LIVE:
06/19 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus

Artist: Mick’s Jaguar
Album: Fame and Fortune
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: June 22, 2018

01. The Real Boss
02. Pay to Play
03. Where We Go
04. Here Comes the Night
05. Blood On the Snow
06. Hellride
07. Damnation
08. Country & Punk
09. Call the Guy
10. New Orleans Blues

Mick’s Jaguar on Thee Facebooks

Mick’s Jaguar on Instagram

Mick’s Jaguar on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

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Review & Track Premiere: Here Lies Man, You Will Know Nothing

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

here lies man you will know nothing

[Click play above to stream ‘Taking the Blame’ from Here Lies Man’s You Will Know Nothing. Album is out June 15 via RidingEasy Records.]

This is a band ahead of their time. And like their foreboding moniker, Here Lies Man are waiting. They’re waiting for you, me and everybody else to catch on to what they’re doing, taking elements out of ’70s Afrobeat and repurposing them in a heavy psychedelic context. One hesitates to call them “neopsych” for the shoegazing that seems so prevalent in that movement, and because the Los Angeles-based core duo of drummer Geoff Mann (ex-Antibalas) and vocalist, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Marcos Garcia (also Antibalas) keep such a sense of tension even in the quiet spaces. Others have started to take note on both coasts. Philadelphia’s Ecstatic Vision — who’ve been around longer — have begun working Afrobeat rhythms into their sound, and San Diego’s Volcano will make their debut later this year with essentially a party version of what Here Lies Man did on their 2017 self-titled (review here) and continue to develop on their sophomore outing, You Will Know Nothing.

Also their second for RidingEasy Records, it finds Garcia and Mann delving further into rhythmic complexity and holding to a tonally weighted sonic architecture while conducting mathy sonic experiments and stomping away along a path that, for the time being, is almost entirely their own, opening with the hooky “Animal Noises,” digging into heavy riffs on songs like “Fighting” and just about everywhere bringing to bear a percussion-centric, keyboard-laced thrust and shuffle; music intended to move. Self-recorded, its 11-track/39-minute run is both manageable and visionary. They write their own “Planet Caravan” in “Floating on Water,” and spend much of the proceedings toying with the balance to one side or the other of their sound, aided by percussionists Richard Panta and Reinaldo DeJesus on congas and Victor Axelrod (ex-Antibalas) on keys.

In a song like the thickened “Blindness” or even the spacious, relatively minimal centerpiece “Voices at the Window,” Here Lies Man own their aesthetic and bring it to bear with complexity manifest in subtle, low-mixed layers of keys and synth. The whole album is executed with a deceptive vibe. It’s possible to listen to it, be carried along by the bounce of “Summon Fire” and “Taking the Blame” and the two-minute boogie of the penultimate “Memory Games,” but the deeper one digs into the mix, the more one finds to find, whether its a quiet swirl, an extra layer of guitar, whatever. Especially for an album so bent on forward rhythmic motion, that builds such a sense of momentum as it careens from one song to the next — again, even in its quiet moments — it is especially satisfying to also find it so nuanced. The dream drone in closer “You Ought to Know” that seems to have been there all along but makes itself known as the band picks up with the central linear build.

here lies man

The departure of the keys from the main riff in the intro to “Hell (Wooly Tail),” and the layers of voices that emerge from there, echoing from someplace further down amid the fuzzy low end. Even “Animal Noises” refuses to let You Will Know Nothing‘s outset pass without a dive into multi-layered keys and congas, starting off the record with a fervent momentum that cuts in its final third to ringing guitar notes worthy of cult folk backed by Echoplex-style swirl. Where did we just go? How the hell did we get there? No time to think about it because “Summon Fire” is off and running immediately. It’s that kind of twisting and turning that Here Lies Man pull off so brilliantly, and whatever experimental aspects these songs may have, the band hasn’t lost sight of the basic roots of their construction. “Summon Fire” is catchy as hell, and likewise “Blindness,” and “Fighting” and the swinging “Taking the Blame” that like the side A opener it would seem to mirror at the start of side B, turns to strange and quiet keys before the shove of “Fighting” takes hold.

“Fighting” is pretty straightforward in its fuzz, keys and forward drive, and it makes a gang-shout-worthy hook out of the line “Shut your fucking mouth,” but the three subsequent tracks — the closing salvo of “Floating on Water,” “Memory Games” and “You Ought to Know” — comprise a showcase of Here Lies Man‘s sonic adventurousness. They go farther and farther out. As noted, “Floating on Water” is quieter, with keys and soft drums in the lead position, while “Memory Games,” in terms of sheer tone, might be the heaviest piece on You Will Know Nothing, though it still maintains the funk of chunkier earlier cuts like “Blindness,” “Hell (Wooly Tail)” and “Taking the Blame.” As they round out with “You Ought to Know,” there seems to be an arrival at some point of sonic serenity, and where in rounding out the album’s first half, “Voices at the Window” kept some tension beneath its surface, the finale is more genuinely interested in setting a peaceful atmosphere. Instrumental, it does embark on a subtle build, but there’s no overblown finish. A fuzzy solo arrives and leads the way out on a slow fade while the central key figure plays alongside, and they cap with echoing, far back guitar.

I flat out refuse to predict the course of a band’s career or what the arc of their influence will be. They could break up tomorrow and nix the whole thing. Still, Here Lies Man have already had an effect on the underground around them and that’s noteworthy, and they’ve now put out two outstanding — style-wise and achievement-wise — LPs in two years, but to say what they’ll do over the course of a full tenure or what their ultimate reach will be, to even pretend to guess, is irresponsible hyperbole. What I know is that Here Lies Man are on their own trip. In their blend of influences and their execution of the balances between them, they’re offering something that no one else is at this point, and for those open-minded and willing to make the journey along with them, walking that path is an absolute blast. Perhaps most encouraging of all is the sense of willful growth that permeates so much of You Will Know Nothing, since it assures that as ahead of their time as Here Lies Man are, their interest is in staying that way.

Here Lies Man website

Here Lies Man on Thee Facebooks

Here Lies Man on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

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R.I.P. Announce Headlining Tour Starting this Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

rip

Portland, Oregon’s R.I.P. play as support tonight in their hometown on the last of three dates for some little band you may have heard of called Electric Wizard. Not a bad gig to get by any means. The four-piece released their second album, Street Reaper (review here) last Fall, and in addition to the gigs with Electric Wizard, they’ve got a headlining run coming up beginning May 31 that will take them all the way out to the East Coast before they turn back around and hit up Electric Funeral Fest III in Denver alongside an impressive host of compatriots. One expects by then they’ll either be totally sick of each other or absolutely on fire when it comes time to play. Probably some combination of the two.

The PR wire has all the info you need:

rip tour poster

R.I.P tour West Coast with Electric Wizard this week, announce summer headlining dates

Portland Street Doom band’s Street Reaper album out now on RidingEasy

Portland, OR ‘Street Doom’ quartet R.I.P. announce their first full U.S. headlining tour to kick off on May 31st. Please see complete dates below.

R.I.P.’s sophomore album Street Reaper is available to hear and share via YouTube and Bandcamp.

When R.I.P. came crawling out of the sewers of Portland, OR last year, their grimy, sleazy Street Doom was already a fully formed monstrosity that quickly infected the minds of everyone it encountered. Now, borne from the band’s declining state of mental health and increasing focus on songwriting, Street Reaper is an even more unhinged and menacing album than their 2016 debut In The Wind.

Borrowing equally from 80s Rick Rubin productions and Murder Dog magazine aesthetics, Street Reaper is a streamlined, yet brutally raw manifesto of heavy metal ferocity hearkening to the era when both metal and hip hop were reviled as the work of street thugs intent on destroying America’s youth.

Throughout, Angel Martinez’s guitar and John Mullett’s bass are inextricably interlocked, sounding like a massive sonic steamroller, while drummer Willie D keeps the beat solid and simple for the most powerful impact. And, the band’s extensive touring and excessive virgin sacrifices have clearly endued singer Fuzz with evermore agile vocal chords to drive it all home with extreme precision.

Operating on the belief that doom is not tied to a tuning or a time signature, but rather a raw and terrified feeling, R.I.P. eschews well trodden fantasy and mysticism tropes of the genre and focuses on conveying the horror and chaos inherent in the everyday reality of the human mind. With several years of touring under their heavily studded belt, R.I.P. has distinguished themselves from the interchangeable hordes of bands trying to play heavy metal by crafting an aesthetic and a sound all their own, focusing on the things that make metal heavy rather than adhering to the formulaic confines of a particular sub-genre.

Street Reaper opens with the knockout punch of “Unmarked Grave” and the rest is just sheer bludgeoning for bludgeoning’s sake as the album echoes the grimy vibe of legends like Saint Vitus, Pentagram and Motorhead, with the no b.s. aesthetic of the early Metal Massacre compilations.

Street Reaper is available on LP, CD and download as of October 13th, 2017 via RidingEasy Records.

R.I.P. LIVE:
05/31 San Francisco, CA @ Elbo Room
06/01 Reno, NV @ The Hideout
06/02 Las Vegas, NV @ Double Down
06/03 San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar
06/04 Long Beach, CA @ Blacklight
06/05 Flagstaff, AZ @ Green Room
06/06 Phoenix, AZ @ Tempe Tavern
06/07 Tucson, AZ @ Loudhouse
06/08 El Paso, TX @ Cigar Bar
06/09 Austin, TX @ Lost Well
06/10 San Antonio, TX @ The Mix
06/11 Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s
06/12 New Orleans, LA @ Poor Boys
06/14 Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
06/15 Washington, DC @ TBA
06/16 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
06/18 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
06/19 New York, NY @ Saint Vitus
06/20 Boston, MA @ O’Briens
06/21 Brattleboro, VT @ TBA
06/22 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rock Room
06/23 Canton, OH @ The Buzz Bin
06/25 Dayton, OH @ Forces House
06/26 Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge
06/27 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
06/28 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
06/29 Denver, CO @ Electric Funeral III
06/30 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Beehive

facebook.com/R.I.P.P.D.X
instagram.com/R.I.P.P.D.X
braveinthegrave.bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecords.com

R.I.P., Street Reaper (2017)

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