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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Review & Track Premiere: Svvamp, Svvamp 2

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

svvamp svvamp 2

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Hillside’ from Svvamp’s new album, Svvamp 2, out June 8 on RidingEasy Records and available now to preorder.]

The soothing effect of the 42-second intro to Svvamp 2 is immediate, and from there, the Swedish trio of vocalist/guitarist Henrik Bjorklund, vocalist/bassist Erik Stahlgren and vocalist/drummer Adam Johansson present a run of pointedly classic-vibing heavy rock and roll. They made something of an understated self-titled debut (review here) in 2016, catching ears among the converted and reaping praise for their endearing sonic naturalism. That theme very much continues on Svvamp 2, which moves from its introduction into the heavier-riffed highlight “Queen” and the blues-rolling “The Wheel,” with the first of several vocalist switches working subtly to add variety and texture to the straightforward songwriting and traditionalist, vintage spirit of the recording.

While the groups who arguably led the charge for recrafting heavy ’70s sonic warmth — fellow Swedes like Witchcraft, Graveyard, Burning Saviours, etc. — have moved on toward more modern aesthetics, Svvamp hold firm to the tenets of the subgenre while proving there’s still new ground to cover, as the poppy, soul-derived bounce of “Sunshine Street” demonstrates, the fuzz subtle and the drums spacious like they were beamed straight in from 1969, and the subsequent “How Sweet Would it Be” only reinforces this notion, like a lost studio cut from the Get Back sessions, the guitars leading the easy groove punctuated by steady, languid cymbal timekeeping. Semi-harmonized vocal melodies evoke the sweetness in the title without losing the effectiveness of the hook that emerges: “Oh, out in the country/Me and my baby/We’re gonna be so damn free now.”

It is the fodder of humid summer singalongs, and much to their credit, they make you believe it. Plenty of vintage bands have popped up in the wake of the likes of Kadavar, Blues Pills, and so on, and attempted to capture heavy blues lightning in a psychedelic bottle. Well, Svvamp may be reverse-engineering innovation, but whatever they might be doing throughout their second album, their heart is in it, from the chorus of “Queen” through Stahlgren‘s bassline in (presumed) side B opener “Hillside” and on to closer “Alligater” (sic), the expression remains genuine and the swing remains a fervent, crucial factor. With a current running through it of analog synth or effects, “Surrender” nonetheless mirrors the fluidity of “The Wheel” earlier, and while the “beep-boop-beep” might seem a little out of place among all the focus on organic elements and execution, it’s ultimately the latter that win out in the song.

svvamp

To follow side A/B symmetry as they have so far, Svvamp should be dipping into more soulful fare à la “Sunshine Street” with “Out of Line,” but they change the script and instead offer a swaggering bounce and riff-forward groove, a touch of wah worked into a midsection that seems to layer its guitar solo across both left and right channels. More akin to “Queen” and “Hillside” for its rhythm and good-time rocking feel, “Out of Line” caps with another call and response solo — maybe in three layers? — on a long fadeout and gives way to the acoustic penultimate cut “Blues Inside,” the shortest inclusion on Svvamp 2 save for “Intro,” and a quiet reflective moment before “Alligater” taps Blue Cheer for the most raucous stretch on the album to close.

Once again, Svvamp find themselves nestled into heavy blues, but “Alligater” is more blown out on the whole and more of a wash than any of its rocking predecessors on Svvamp 2, and the crashing, the layers of fuzz, the rumble beneath all come together to give a sense of the kind of party the trio can hone when the mood strikes. I wouldn’t exactly call the record subtle in its purposes, but Svvamp 2 does build on the debut’s accomplishments, and for all the changes in singer and approach it presents throughout its 35 minutes, the flow remains consistent across the span, and perhaps the band’s greatest strength lies in their utter lack of pretense. While some in a vintage mindset have attempted to capture a progressive feel and met with varying degrees of success, by keeping their material outwardly simple, catchy and friendly, JohanssonStahlgren and Bjorklund are able to give their audience something to latch onto without an overdose of self-indulgence or a departure from their core purpose.

Apart perhaps from “Intro” and “Blues Inside” — and mostly for length in the case of the latter — there isn’t one song between “Queen,” “The Wheel,” “Sunshine Street,” “How Sweet it Would Be,” “Hillside,” “Surrender,” “Out of Line” and “Alligater” that wouldn’t work as a 45RPM single, its paper sleeve crinkled and found in some dusty record shop bin like so much buried treasure. And though they may be looking back aesthetically in terms of finding their points of inspiration in classic heavy rock circa 1968-’72, they’re also pushing themselves forward as songwriters and stewards of this sonic legacy. They wield it better than most, and on Svvamp 2 they demonstrate plainly that even something so plainly tied to a specific era can also sound timeless.

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

Svvamp on Instagram

Svvamp on Twitter

Svvamp on Bandcamp

Svvamp preorder at RidingEasy Records website

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Here Lies Man to Release You Will Know Nothing June 15; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Last year, Los Angeles’ Here Lies Man offered up one of the most individualized releases in underground heavy with their self-titled debut (review here). Issued through RidingEasy Records and following sonic thesis of combining heavy psychedelic rock with Afrobeat influences, it struck immediately with more than just aural novelty; the songs were there, the performances were there, the presence was there. It was, in short, the real deal.

I’m somewhat surprised at the quick turnaround that You Will Know Nothing — out June 15 once again on RidingEasy — represents, but the new streaming track “Fighting” that you can hear at the bottom of this post bodes well and no doubt there will be more to come before the album actually arrives. The band in the meantime will be touring alongside Earthless and if there’s any kind of order to the universe at all, they’ll get together and jam just a little bit on stage. Just a little bit would be awesome. Only two hours or so.

Ha.

The PR wire has particulars on You Will Know Nothing that you’ll find right beneath the cover art:

Here Lies Man You Will Know Nothing

Here Lies Man announce new album You Will Know Nothing

Los Angeles quintet Here Lies Man announce their forthcoming sophomore album today, sharing the first single “Fighting” via Bandcamp and YouTube. The album, You Will Know Nothing will be released June 15th via RidingEasy Records.

Here Lies Man play the prestigious Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, Spain in May before hitting the road with Earthless in June. Later in Fall, the band hits the massive Desert Daze festival in Southern California. Please see current dates below.

Here Lies Man took the music world by storm in 2017 with their self-titled debut positing the intriguing hypothesis: What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?

This June, the L.A. band comprised of Antibalas members quickly follow their auspicious debut with the even more thoroughly realized album You Will Know Nothing. Its 11 tracks expand upon the band’s exploration of heavy riff-based rock and psych within the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave.

“We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” explains founder and vocalist/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Marcos Garcia (who also plays guitar in Antibalas) of the band’s sound. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”

Sonically, on You Will Know Nothing the dynamic range is thicker, crisper and more powerful. It glistens as much as it blasts. The songs are even catchier, more anthemic, and the production reflects that of a band truly come into its own. Lyrically, it’s an equally more conceptualized effort that reflects upon states of being and consciousness – a driving force that carries throughout the words and moods of all of the band’s releases, interconnected to their trancelike music. Here Lies Man have honed their sound and their focus, and soon, you will truly know Nothing.

“We wanted to go deeper with the sonic experience,” says Garcia. “Even though it sounds more hi-fi than the first record, it was important that it didn’t sound too polished.”

While You Will Know Nothing certainly maintains its gritty grooves, there’s an interesting conceptual mathematics to the entire proceedings. “There are interludes between each song that are 2/3 to 3/4 of the tempo of the previous song,” Garcia says. “The reason it breaks down to 2 over 3 or 3 over 4 is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave. The clave is an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa.”

“We dove deep into the texture of the music, beyond the groove and the riff,” says HLM cofounder and drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann.) “Although something might sound like one instrument, there are subtle layers shifting through. It’s definitely a headphone album.”

Garcia and Mann recorded the album much like they did the debut, at their own L.A. studio on a Tascam 388 8-track tape machine. Congas were later recorded by percussionists Richard Panta and Reinaldo DeJesus. Then, Garcia went to NY to record interludes with former Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod. Mixing took the most time in order to find the proper sonic space for each layer of musical detail, with first album engineer Jeremy Page mixing the drums and the band tackling the remainder while also juggling a hectic touring schedule.

Here Lies Man has already spent much of early 2018 on tour, with dates supporting Antibalas and Fu Manchu as well as a headlining trek through the EU & UK. Many summer festival dates and headline tours await later in the year as Here Lies Man continues its infectious charge onward.

You Will Know Nothing will be available on LP, CD and download on June 15th, 2018 via RidingEasy Records.

HERE LIES MAN LIVE 2018:
05/31 Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound Festival
06/05 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight *
06/06 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade *
06/07 Spartansburg, SC @ Ground Zero *
06/08 Orlando, FL @ Wills Pub *
06/09 Tallahassee, FL @ The Wilbury *
06/10 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon *
06/12 Houston, TX @ White Oak Upstairs *
06/13 Austin, TX @ Barracuda *
06/14 Ft Worth, TX @ Ridgela Room *
06/15 Memphis, TN @ Growlers *
10/12-14 Lake Perris, CA @ Desert Daze 2018
* w/ Earthless

Artist: Here Lies Man
Album: You Will Know Nothing
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: June 15th, 2018

01. Animal Noises
02. Summon Fire
03. Blindness
04. That Much Closer
05. Hell (Wooly Tail)
06. Voices At The Window
07. Taking the Blame
08. Fighting
09. Floating On Water
10. Memory Games
11. You Ought To Know

hereliesman.com
facebook.com/hereliesman
hereliesman.bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecs.com

Here Lies Man, “Fighting”

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Review & Track Premiere: BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

blackwater holylight blackwater holylight

[Click play above to stream ‘Wave of Conscience’ from BlackWater HolyLight’s self-titled debut. Album is out April 6 via RidingEasy Records and available to preorder here.]

With headphone-ready psychedelic immersion, dreamscape melodicism and an approach to pop hooks so completely unafraid it’s enough to make you forget you were wondering just what the hell their moniker is all about, Portland, Oregon’s Blackwater Holylight (also stylized as BlackWater HolyLight make their self-titled debut via respected West Coast purveyor RidingEasy Records. I’ll say flat out that it’s one of the best heavy psych debut albums you’ll hear in 2018, and perhaps the finest melding of indie and heavy-fuzz impulses on a first record since Witch‘s Witch in 2006.

At least perhaps for those at some geographical remove from the crowded Portland underground, BlackWater HolyLight might strike as having come out of the blue, but with vocalist/bassist Allison Faris as the apparent driving force behind the project with crucial contributions from her bandmates guitarist/vocalist Laura Hopkins (oh the fuzz, oh the harmonies!), drummer Cat Hoch (oh the echoing crash cymbal) and synth player Sarah Mckenna (oh the fuzz-bolstering progressive flourish), they hardly sound like a “new band” at all, instead having a clarity of intent that’s almost ironic even as it underpins the tonal murk and haze of “Slow Hole,” the longest cut on BlackWater HolyLight at 6:56 and a a stonerly highlight that seems to get high and wander off from some of the more lucid (relatively speaking) fare surrounding, whether it’s the key-heavy-into-riff-heavy brook-no-refusal groove of “Sunshine” before it or the drum-led bounce of “Carry Her” after, which delves into post-Queens of the Stone Age guitar-plunge antics before fuller fuzz takes hold and the four-minute song becomes a drifting horror show — that cuts back to its verse just before staring the last minute as though the whole thing never happened which, really, who the hell knows at that point. You could convince me either way.

It would seem to be Faris‘ band across these eight tracks and 41 minutes, and fair enough for that, but as the guitar and drums roll open the harmoony-topped intro to opener “Willow,” the real story of BlacKWater HolyLight still awaits telling. Faris‘ bass creates a tension in the midsection of the song, but the second half that follows, the payoff is as much driven by the underlying key work of Mckenna as Faris‘ creative fills or the echo-drenched solo from Hopkins. Ending with some swirl, tape loop noise and laughter, immediately, “Willow” sets a multifaceted dynamic for the band to follow, and follow it they do throughout the subsequent seven tracks, bending the balance of their sound to one side or another to suit their whims and those of their already-so-cogent songcraft.

Second track “Wave of Conscience,” bringing its verse/chorus approach to the forefront along with organ an guitar interplay and one of the record’s most memorable hooks, serves as a pointed highlight and an easy source point for the Witch comparison above, though when it comes right to it, BlackWater HolyLight bring more to the proceedings in terms of melody, and when they hit into a nod-nod-nod slowdown after about two and a half minutes in, the affect is all their own, gradually picking up speed again to lead into the subtle low end beginning of “Babies,” which has a kind of playfully spooky New Wave sensibility in its pointed snare hits and chorus keyboard declinations, still complemented by a deep-running fuzz in Hopkins‘. “Babies” is both toying with femininity in heavy rock and critical, but like its predecessor, wildly catchy and even more fun. No surprise then that with the subsequent “Paranoia,” the mood shifts to more brooding shoe-haze, a linear build that plays out over the course of an efficient four minutes and closes out side A with due wash of tonal reverie and residual keyboard notes.

blackwater holylight

Though it seems to establish such a wide breadth, “Sunshine” sill doesn’t reach the five-minute mark, an early guitar ringout foreshadowing the highlight riffing to come while the keyboard, bass and drums seem to bounce along through the first two verses as though blissfully unaware of what lurks around the corner. Soon enough that darker guitar returns and at 2:17 into its 4:51, the track turns itself over to this wall of fuzz, which unveils a standout riff for both the track and for BlackWater Holylight as a whole; the kind of riff of which Acid King would be proud. They cycle through again and end, naturally, on that riff, fading away to let slow stick clicks from Hoch begin the low-end roll and rumble of “Slow Hole,” which is singularly hypnotic compared to its surroundings.

Even as far out as closer “Jizz Witch” seems to unfold in its languid meandering, it’s got nothing on “Slow Hole,” the bass fuzz of which consumes outright while the quiet melodies echo through in a fashion that would make Mars Red Sky jealous. The ending is sudden and with an uptempo — again, almost New Wave — beat, “Carry Her” is clearly meant to snap the listener back at least nearer to reality. I’m not sure it does, even as harsher guitar feedback becomes such a key component of its hook alongside the keys/organ. A dose of purposeful weirdness echoes some of the playful aspect of “Babies,” but there’s a creepy undertone here as well, as a slowdown in the second half bridge seems like it’s about to derail the song entirely heading toward the final minute.

To BlackWater HolyLight‘s credit, it doesn’t, and they return to the verse and chorus as suddenly as they got there the first time around, fading amp noise leading into the subdued beginning of “Jizz Witch,” which one assumes is sending up modern cult rock not a minute too soon. Either way, like the bulk of the album before it, the closer is a molten and groove-heavy bit of immersive heavy psychedelia, holding a sense of structure at its core while sounding neither shy about wandering away from that nor too formulaic in the moments it does so. As a debut, the coherence of its vision is all the more impressive, and the four-piece leave no doubt that they entered into the process of songwriting with an idea in mind of what they wanted to do as a band — a mission, in other words. Though one easily could, I’ll stop short of calling that mission accomplished and instead simply hope that this is just the point of its beginning.

BlackWater HolyLight on Instagram

BlackWater HolyLight on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

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