Rifflord: 26 Mean and Heavy Remaster Preorders Go Live Tomorrow

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

rifflord preorders

Even as Rifflord made a triumphant debut on STB Records last year with their 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation LP (review here), the band not only acknowledged it had been a long time since their debut — as evidenced as well by the fact that it was a totally different lineup around founding guitarist/vocalist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett — but that the first record was a hell of a legacy to live up to. Well, 26 Mean and Heavy is out there if you want to and can afford to chase it down, but STB Records is standing behind a one-time reissue of the album with preorders going up tomorrow and that seems to me to be a much more convenient option on the whole. The imprint based in my beloved Garden State has a knack for turning on-sale dates into events, and this one, it would seem, is no exception. Hey, good record, new master. I get it.

I was asked to write the PR for it, and yeah, I did. You’ll find that press release I wrote, some exclusive Rifflord pics from the era courtesy of the band, and a teaser video below:

RIFFLORD – 26 Mean & Heavy Preorders On Sale Dec. 7 @ 12PM EST

Mark your calendar, set your alarm — do whatever you have to do to be ready for Dec. 7 at 12PM EST, because once these are gone, they’re gone. New Jersey-based STB Records and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, amplifier worshipers Rifflord have aligned to remaster and reissue a one-time-only vinyl pressing of the band’s 2010 debut album, 26 Mean and Heavy.

And they mean it. It’s happening once.

Preorder here: https://smarturl.it/26-mean-and-heavy

Founding guitarist/vocalist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett brought in Mike Dresch of Cathouse Studios on the new master, and those who’ve tried for years to chase down original copies of 26 Mean and Heavy will find the sound refreshed and all the more vibrant in its delivery of weighted Southern-style groove, classic in form and gorgeous in its purpose.

“What’s interesting about this remaster is that the original audio files were a mix that wasn’t released on vinyl or digitally,” informs Bartlett. “It was supposed to be released and our guitarist and founding member Tom Davoux did a last-minute remix and master to it. So these haven’t been heard. Vocals and instruments are leveled out differently throughout the album. We had it remastered by Mike Dresch of Cathouse Studios specifically for vinyl.”

STB’s vinyl treatments have become the stuff of legend, and 26 Mean and Heavy will be given a full multi-edition run:

Die Hard Edition –
Limited Edition of 75 Units
Opaque Gold Vinyl
Remastered, Repackaged and comes with Chapter 1 of the RIFFLORD Story in book form.

Pinwheel Edition –
Limited Edition of 100
Black and Gold pinwheel style vinyl variant.
Remastered, Repackaged and comes with Chapter 1 of the RIFFLORD Story in book form.

Not So Standard Edition –
Limited Edition – 125
Black and Gold vinyl swirl variant
Remastered, Repackaged and comes with Chapter 1 of the RIFFLORD Story in book form.
25 Will be available via Kozmik Artifactz and 25 will be available via All That Is Heavy

As to the Rifflord story, Bartlett doesn’t give away too many details, but admits, “As people we were young, naive and pretty wild during this era. It was the Salad Days of RIFFLORD and I feel that rawness and sincerity really comes through on this record. It was recorded in a basement and took us over a year to record and mix it with primitive tools.

“The band has changed a lot over the years and continues to do so. The core idea though has always remained the same. Guitar worship, big amps, heavy organ and loud drums. We’ve been at this since 2007. On “26 mean and heavy” we had a truly special line up. Dan Nissen our drummer was a power house behind the kit and his brother Mike Nissen was a classically trained pianist on the organ. Dave Duffet was our bassist with somewhat of a legendary persona among the Midwest circle. Lastly Tom Davoux was the guitarist, producer, mixer and tracker of the album, truly a phenom.”

Rifflord followed 26 Mean and Heavy with the long-awaited 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation in 2018 (also on STB Records), but their debut has remained a sought-after piece for collectors and fans of righteous fuzz alike. With the album about to hit 10 years since its first release, this may be the last chance to get it, and rest assured, they’ll go in no time.

Dec. 7. Noon EST.

Rifflord is now:
Lead Guitar and Vocals: Wyatt Bronc Bartlett
Guitar: Paul Pinos
Bass: Matthew Mcfarland
Keys: Tory Jean Stoddard
Drums: Tommy Middlen

https://www.facebook.com/rifflordusa/
https://www.instagram.com/rifflord/
https://rifflord.com/
https://www.facebook.com/STB-Records-471228012921184/
https://www.instagram.com/stbrecords/
https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://stbrecords.bigcartel.com/

Rifflord, 26 Mean and Heavy reissue teaser

Tags: , , , , ,

Planet Desert Rock Weekend 2 Set for May 16-19; John Garcia & Radio Moscow to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

John Gist, who is the gentleman behind the promotional company Vegas Rock Revolution and the Planet Desert Rock Weekend festival getting ready to hold its second edition this May, has passion to spare. Passion enough to spread around and have plenty leftover. There’s a little bit of that guy-who-runs-a-fest urgency about him as well — as one would hope for such an event to be successful — but he’s someone who knows his rock and wants everyone else to know it too. The primary driver is passion.

Planet Desert Rock Weekend 2 ups its predecessor this past November in terms of ambition. With a third headliner still to be announced, Gist will bring John Garcia back for a headlining spot and see the other go to Radio Moscow, who will play the first night at Count’s Vamp’d. In addition to this, he’s already got four — one, two, three, four — European bands on the bill in the form of Mr. Bison, Kaiser, Monsternaut and Green Desert Water, and to my knowledge none have played the US before. That’s a significant risk from a booking standpoint — those are good bands, but recall it took Truckfighters half a decade of laying groundwork for their first US tour — but there may indeed be more import acts added as well, since one way or the other, the lineup isn’t done.

Passion rarely is.

Info and links:

planet desert rock weekend logo

The time is near to start announcing Vegas Rock Revolution’s Planet Desert Rock Weekend 2 for May 16-19….

Desert legend John Garcia and 17 bands from all over the country …..very tightly selected lineups to showcase top bands from the long storied history of rock of heavy rock melded with hot younger acts. Oh yeah and cannabis is legal in Vegas !

The Lineup for Planet Desert Rock Weekend v2 so far is:
John Garcia and the Band of Gold — Friday
Radio Moscow — Thurs at Count’s Vamp’d
Nebula
Black Water Rising
Ape Machine Thurs at Count’s Vamp’d
The Watchers – Friday
Red Stone Souls
Sundrifter
RIFFLORD
Shotgun Sawyer
Jason Walker and the Majestic 12

European Showcase Bands:
MR.BISON
Kaiser
Monsternaut
Green Desert Water

Presale Tickets for just $20 for first 100 fans!
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/planet-desert-rock-weekend-v2-radio-moscow-tickets-55384782375

Only 300 tickets will be sold to this intimate show in one of the most premier rock clubs in the country. Count’s Vamp’d is owned by Danny “The Count” Koker from Counting Cars on the History Channel. All rock all the time and very good food also. Unique cool environment!

https://www.facebook.com/events/2193967267598051/
https://www.facebook.com/events/545651042582860/
https://www.facebook.com/VRRProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/vegasrockrevolution/

John Garcia and the Band of Gold, Live at Planet Desert Rock Weekend, Nov. 2018

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 07

Posted in Radio on January 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

I wanted to get a little weird. You know, the last episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio was some of the best tracks from 2018, but in addition to some new stuff, some 2019 stuff — cuts from Skraeckoedlan and Thunderbird Divine — I wanted to make sure I included some songs that people might’ve missed in 2018. In fact, with Melody Fields early on in the playlist, that was a record I missed completely until I put up one or the other of the year-end lists and someone pointed it out to me on Thee Facebooks. It’s an awesome record. On the show, I mistakenly said it was released through World in Sound. The LP was on Kommun 2 and the CD was on Sound Effect. Credit where it’s due, because that record rules.

Likewise, “it rules” was also a running theme. Black Helium was a standout from that 100-album Quarterly Review that I did in December, and being able to stand out among 99 other releases certainly seems worth highlighting to me. I was digging the Horehound record as I was getting ready to review it, and Skraeckoedlan I’m also getting ready to cover (maybe later this week?), while Faith in Jane I haven’t had the chance to review yet but those guys are great. Also from the Quarterly Review was Child, Space Coke and Carpet, while Goblinsmoker belong to the UK’s ever-growing swath of bands with silly names and a destructive bent. And then at the end I wanted to space out like I used to do with the podcasts — just have it hit a point and go far out and not come back. Jam into the reaches. Plus it gave me an excuse to talk about Øresund Space Collective’s AR/VR artwork for Kybalion, which it awesome in its own right.

The odd-track-out I suppose is Witchcraft, but I talk about that on the show. It’s kind of a new-classic in my mind and something I wanted to focus on this episode. We’re moving into a new year and Witchcraft’s self-titled came out 15 years ago. I think the only reason it’s not already considered classic heavy is because it’s still so relevant, it hasn’t even allowed for that kind of distance yet. But make no mistake, that’s a classic album.

Anyway, considering I had to record the voice breaks on my phone because my internet was so craptastic at the time that I couldn’t go directly into Gimme’s back end software like I’m supposed to, I thought the show came out pretty well. If you listened, I hope you agree. And if you missed it, I hope you can catch the replay.

Here’s the playlist:

The Obelisk Show Ep. 07 – 01.06.19

Greenbeard Kill to Love Yourself Onward, Pillager
Skraeckoedlan Kung Mammut Eorþe
BREAK
Melody Fields Trädgränsen Melody Fields
Faith in Jane Mountain Lore Countryside
Horehound Sloth Holocene
Foot Sweet Stuff Buffalo
Child The Other Song I
BREAK
Witchcraft No Angel or Demon Witchcraft
Black Helium Summer Spells Primitive Fuck
Space Coke Kali Ma L’Appel du Vide
Rifflord The Other Side 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
Goblinsmoker Toad King Toad King
Thunderbird Divine Qualified Magnasonic
BREAK
Øresund Space Collective Smooth Future Kybalion
Carpet Selene About Rooms and Elephants
Deep Space Destructors Floating Visions from the Void

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is Jan. 20. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2018

Posted in Features on December 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the-top-30-of-2018

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2018 to that, please do.

It just wouldn’t be a year if it wasn’t completely overwhelming, right?

2018 has certainly met that standard and then some. The swath of output, whether it’s a new generation adopting and adapting established methods or out and out reinventing the stylistic wheel and then pushing it uphill on a seemingly endless barrage of tours, has been staggering, and it’s still happening. There’s a little more than a week to go in the year. You think a band isn’t putting something out today? Of course they are. It’s every day. It’s all the time.

But this year wasn’t just about quantity either. I think one of my biggest struggles in writing about albums in 2018 — and with the last Quarterly Review and various premieres and video posts that were basically album reviews in disguise, let’s estimate we’re somewhere past 300 records reviewed one way or another — was in conveying just how killer so much of the stuff coming through was. How many times can you say the word “awesome?” Well, I’m sure we’ll see it a few more times before this list is over, so there you go.

I say something like this every time I do a list, but please keep in mind these are my picks and I’m one person. But I am a person. I know there’s the whole internet-anonymity thing, but I assure you, I’m a human being (more of a cave troll, really) typing these words. I’m all for everyone sharing their own picks in the comments, and all for passionate advocating, but please, let’s keep it civil and respectful. These things can spiral out of control quickly, but let’s remember that we’re all human beings and worth of basic courtesy, even if some of us are dead wrong about a good many things. You should definitely punch nazis, though.

Thanks in advance for reading. Here we go:

[UPDATE: You’ll notice the inclusion of an ’18a.’ I had Stoned Jesus in my notes as number 18 initially and they got dropped as I was adjusting things along the way. I’ve added them back in, but it didn’t seem fair to bump everyone else down after the post had already been published. That was the best I could come up with for a solution. If you’re pissed about one more killer record being added, please feel free to email me and tell me all about it.]

30. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark

The Skull The Endless Road Turns Dark

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Chicago’s The Skull had no small task before them in following up their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) — let alone living up to their pedigree — but their second album demonstrated a creative growth that sacrificed nothing of memorability when it came to songs like “Breathing Underwater” and “All that Remains (Is True).” They got down to work and got the job done, which is what a working band does. 2018 was by any measure a fantastic year for doom, and The Skull were a big part of why.

29. Foghound, Awaken to Destroy

foghound awaken to destroy

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 21.

The Dec. 2017 murder of Rev. Jim Forrester was tragic. No other way to say it. Foghound, who were in the midst of making Awaken to Destroy at the time, put together an album that not only features Forrester‘s last recorded performance, but pays respect to his memory while the wound is still raw and manages to kick ass all the while. It’s a record that can’t ever be divorced from its circumstances — just can’t — and so it can be a heavy listen in more than just its tones, but it’s basically Foghound proving they’re unstoppable. And so they are.

28. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back

orange goblin the wolf bites back

Released by Spinefarm Records. Reviewed June 13.

Who among us here today is not a sucker for Orange Goblin? Come forward an be judged. I mean, really. Nine records deep, the London sceneforgers are nothing less than an institution, beloved by boozehounds, riffhounds, doomhounds, and really, a wide variety of hounds the world over. Also dudes. With its essential title-track hook and highlight cuts in “Ghosts of the Primitives” and “Burn the Ships” — or, you know, any of them — they added to one of heavy’s most unshakable legacies with an album as furious as it is welcoming to its generations-spanning fanbase.

27. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe

fu manchu clone of the universe
Released by At the Dojo Records. Reviewed Feb. 15.

There are two kinds of people in this world, and they’re both Fu Manchu fans. Clone of the Universe turned heads with a guest appearance from Rush‘s Alex Lifeson on the 18-minute side-B-consuming “Il Mostro Atomico,” but really to focus on that instead of “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” etc., is only seeing half the point of the album in the first place. The long-running lords of fuzz hit a new stride with 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), and Clone of the Universe was in every way a worthy successor.

26. Witch Mountain, Witch Mountain

Witch-Mountain-Witch-Mountain
Released by Svart Records. Reviewed May 16.

It was an unenviable task before Witch Mountain in replacing vocalist Uta Plotkin, but founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson found the right voice in Kayla Dixon and solidified the lineup with her and bassist Justin Brown enough to make a declarative statement in Witch Mountain‘s self-titled LP. That’s the story of it. They pulled it off. Met with what was unquestionably a bummer circumstance, they pushed through and moved their sound forward through a new beginning — and not their first one. Watch out when their next record hits.

25. Windhand, Eternal Return

windhand eternal return

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Oct. 3.

Richmond, Virginia, doomers Windhand‘s second collaboration with producer Jack Endino produced a marked and purposeful expansion of their sound, encompassing classic grunge influences and a heavy psychedelic swirl that added color their previously-greyscale sonic haze. Resonant in tone and emotionalism, Eternal Return readjusted Windhand‘s trajectory in such a manner that, where one might’ve thought they knew where the band were headed in terms of their progression, they’ve made themselves a less predictable outfit on the whole. For that alone, it’s a triumph. Then you have the songs.

24. Sun Voyager, Seismic Vibes

Sun Voyager Seismic Vibes

Released by King Pizza Records. Reviewed April 18.

I don’t even want to admit how long I was waiting for Sun Voyager‘s first long-player to show up, but when it finally did, the New York trio did not disappoint. Catchy, energetic, fuzzed-out tunes with driving rhythms and a heavy psych flourish, they tapped into shoegaze and desert vibes without losing any sense of themselves in the process, and if the extra wait was so they could be so remarkably coherent in their expression on their full-length, then I wouldn’t want it to have shown up any sooner. An easy pick to stand among 2018’s best debut albums. Now to wait for the next one.

23. Forming the Void, Rift

forming the void rift

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed July 27.

It should tell you something that after working quickly to produce three albums, Louisiana’s Forming the Void are still defined by their potential. If I had my druthers, I’d put the recent Ripple signees on tour for the bulk of 2019, across the US and in Europe for festivals and support-slot club shows, really give them an opportunity to hammer out who they are as a band and then hit the studio for LP four. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but they’d only be doing the universe a favor by kicking into that gear. As it stands, their progression is palpable in their material and they stand absolutely ready for whatever the next level might be for them.

22. Spaceslug, Eye the Tide

spaceslug eye the tide

Released by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed June 29.

Aside from the speed at which Spaceslug have turned around offerings — with Eye the Tide following 2017’s Mountains and Reminiscence EP (review here) and Time Travel Dilemma (review here) full-length and their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here) — the Polish outfit have undertaken significant progression in their sound, moving from pure heavy psychedelic warmth to incorporating elements out of extreme metal as they did on Eye the Tide. Adding to the latest record’s accomplishment is the smoothness with which they brought seemingly opposing sides together, only adding depth to an approach already worthy of oceanic comparison.

21. Conan, Existential Void Guardian

Conan Existential Void Guardian
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 14.

Conan‘s reign of terror has been unfolding for more than a decade now, and each of their albums has become a kind of step along a path of incremental growth. Consider the melody creeping into the shouts of founding guitarist Jon Davis, or the emergence of bassist Chris Fielding as a vocal presence alongside, the two sharing a frontman role more than ever before while welcoming drummer Johnny King to the fold of destructive tonality and doomly extremism. Existential Void Guardian may end up just being another stomp-print on their way to the next thing, but it affirmed the fact that as much as Conan grow each time out, their central violence continues to hold sway.

20. Pale Divine, Pale Divine

PALE DIVINE S/T
Released by Shadow Kingdom Records. Reviewed Nov. 21.

Look. A new Pale Divine record doesn’t come along every day, so yeah, their self-titled was probably going to be on my list one way or the other, but it definitely helps that not only was it their first outing in six years since 2012’s Painted Windows Black (review here), but it had the songs to live up to a half-decade-plus of anticipation. It marked the first studio appearance from bassist/backing vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis alongside guitarist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey — now both of Beelzefuzz as well — and made a strong argument for how much Pale Divine deserve more than 20 years on from their initial demo to be considered classic American doom.

19. Mos Generator, Shadowlands

mos generator shadowlands
Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed May 11.

The return and rise to prominence of Washington pure heavy rockers Mos Generator might be the underground’s feelgood story of the decade, but it hasn’t by any means been easily won. In addition to rebuilding the band however many albums ago, guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed has put in innumerable hours on tour and worked to actually develop the group creatively in addition to in terms of stage presence. This is shown throughout some of the classic prog elements making their way onto Shadowlands, and perhaps some of the collection’s moodier aspects are born of the aforementioned road time as well. Hard for that kind of thing not to be a slog after a while, but at least they have killer tunes to play.

18a. Stoned Jesus, Pilgrims

STONED JESUS PILGRIMS

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 5.

The only safe bet about Stoned Jesus‘ fourth long-player, Pilgrims, was that it was going to sound different than the third. That 2015 outing, The Harvest (review here), preceded the band touring to celebrate the fifth anniversary and after-the-fact success of 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), but Pilgrims defied narrative in that instead of incorporating elements from the second record in more of a heavy psych or jam sound, Stoned Jesus instead showcased a tighter, more sureheaded sense of craft than they’ve ever displayed before, and arrived on Napalm Records with a collection of songs that demonstrated the growth and sense of creative will that drives them. While one can take a look at their moniker and think immediately they know what’s coming, Stoned Jesus have made themselves one of the least predictable bands in heavy rock.

18. Backwoods Payback, Future Slum

backwoods payback future slum

Self-released. Reviewed Aug. 15.

“Pirate Smile.” “Lines.” “Whatever.” “It Ain’t Right.” “Threes.” “Cinderella.” “Generals.” “Big Enough.” “Alone.” “Lucky. Mike Cummings, Jessica Baker, Erik Larson. Every player, every song, every minute. If you want to know what heart-on-sleeve sounds like, it fucking sounds like Backwoods Payback. In their line from hardcore punk to grunge to heavy rock, they encompass experiences and emotionalism that are both shown in raw form throughout Future Slum, and build all the while on the chemistry they set out in developing with 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), when they welcomed Larson to the lineup on drums and revitalized their mission. Also worth noting, they were the best live band I saw this year. Anywhere.

17. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Jan. 3

No question the excitement of C.O.C. putting out their first record with frontman Pepper Keenan involved since 2005’s In the Arms of God was one of this year’s top stories in heavy. And No Cross No Crown tapped directly into the spirit of 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) and 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) in terms of direction, while updating the band’s style with a four-part 2LP in mind. In some ways, it’ll be their next album that really gives listeners a sense of where they’re at and where they might be headed, but as welcome returns go, having Keenan alongside Mike DeanWoody Weatherman and Reed Mullin is in no way to be understated, and neither is the quality of their output together, then and now.

16. Naxatras, III

naxatras iii

Self-released. Reviewed Feb. 14.

It is no simple feat to hypnotize an audience and convey serenity while at the same time holding attention with songcraft, so that the listener isn’t actually so much unconscious as malleable of mood and spirit in such a direction as the band suggests. Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to become experts at this, and their third full-length fosters tonal warmth and jammy progressions with an overarching naturalism that finds them so committed to analog recording that one can buy direct transfers of the tape master of III. Some acts take classic-style practices as an aesthetic choice. With Naxatras, it seems to be the stuff of life, yet their sound is only vibrant and human in a way that, at least one hopes, is even more representative of the future than the past.

15. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions

clutch book of bad decisions

Released by Weathermaker Music. Reviewed Aug. 27.

It was time for Clutch to make a change in producers, and the Maryland overlords of groove seemed to know it. Known as a live band, they went with Vance Powell, who’s known a live band producer. The results on Book of Bad Decisions might not have been so earth-shatteringly different from 2015’s Psychic Warfare (review here), which was the too-soon follow-up to 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) — both helmed by Machine — but the inimitable four-piece indeed succeeded in capturing the electricity of their stage performance and, as ever, treated fans to a collection of songs bearing Clutch‘s unmistakable hallmarks of quirky lyrics, funky rhythms and heavy roll. They may always be a live band, but Clutch‘s studio work is in no way to be discounted, ever, as this record reaffirmed. Plus, crab cakes.

14. Ancestors, Suspended in Reflections

Ancestors Suspended in Reflections

Released by Pelagic Records. Reviewed Aug. 3.

After 2012’s In Dreams and Time (review here), I wasn’t sure Ancestors were going to put out another record. They kicked around word of one for a while, but it wasn’t until the end of last year that it really seemed to congeal into a possibility. And by then, who the hell knew what they might get up to on a full-length? With Suspended in Reflections, in some says, they picked up where they left off in terms of finding a niche for themselves in progressive and melodic heavy, but I think the time showed in the poise of their execution and the control of the material. Suspended in Reflections can’t help but be six years more mature than its predecessor, and that suits its contemplative feel. In tracks like “Gone,” and “The Warm Glow,” they tempered their expansive sound with an efficiency that can only be had with time.

13. High on Fire, Electric Messiah

high on fire electric messiah

Released by eOne Heavy. Reviewed Sept. 28.

The narrative here was hard to beat. Matt Pike spending an album cycle talking about Lemmy Kilmister and paying homage to his dirt-rock forebear and the gods of old? It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. Electric Messiah was the third collaboration between High on Fire and producer Kurt Ballou behind 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), and while it seemed after the last record that the formula might be getting stale, the band only sounded more and more lethal throughout the latest offering. Even putting aside their contributions to underground heavy, they’ve become one of the most essential metal bands of their generation. Metal, period. Doesn’t matter what subgenre you’re talking about it. If you’re listening to High on Fire, you know it. Usually because you’ve just been decapitated.

12. Yawning Man, The Revolt Against Tired Noises

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed July 2.

You know, if you take the time to separate Yawning Man from their 30-plus-year history and their legacy as one of the foundational acts of what later became desert rock, and you listen to The Revolt Against Tired Noises, you’re still left with basically a dream of an album. Mostly instrumental, as is their wont, they nonetheless had bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso Jetson) sing this time around on a version of the previously-unreleased “Catamaran,” which Kyuss covered once upon a whenever although Yawning Man had never officially put it to tape. But really, that and all other novelty aside, guitarist Gary Arce, Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson are a chemistry unto themselves. I don’t know if they’ll ever be as huge as they should be, but every bit of acclaim they get, they’ve earned, and if The Revolt Against Tired Noises helps them get it, all the more so.

11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers

greenleaf hear the rivers

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Nov. 26.

Swedish heavy rock mavens Greenleaf have become an entirely different band than they once were. No longer a Dozer side-project from guitarist Tommi Holappa with a rotating cast of players, they’re a solidified, road-tested, powerhouse unit, and Hear the Rivers bleeds soul as a result. Holappa, frontman Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Fröhlich and drummer Sebastian Olsson sound like they’re absolutely on fire in the album’s tracks, and far from being staid or formulaic as one might expect a sixth long-player to be, Hear the Rivers built on what the band accomplished with 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) and came across as all the more vital and nearly frenetic in their energy. I won’t say Greenleaf has seen their last lineup change, because one never knows, but the band as they are today is the realization of potential I don’t think even Greenleaf knew was there.

10. Gozu, Equilibrium

gozu equilibrium

Released by Blacklight Media / Metal Blade Records. Reviewed April 4.

Five records deep into a career into its second decade, Gozu haven’t had a miss yet. Admittedly, some of their early work can seem formative considering where they are now, but still. And after the 2016 rager, Revival (review here), to have the band return to the same studio — Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where strides producer Dean Baltulonis — for the follow-up allows for the four-piece to directly show how their sound has grown more encompassing in the last couple years. And it has. Equilibrium is a rich and varied listen that holds true to Gozu‘s well-established penchant for soulful vibes and crunching, hard-hitting riffs and groove, but while it shares the directness of approach with Revival, it makes moves that a band could only make moving from one record to the next. I expect nothing less their next time out as well, because a decade later, that’s Gozu‘s proven track record.

9. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker

monster magnet mindfucker
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 23.

The battle for the best album title of 2018 ended early when New Jersey everything-rockers Monster Magnet announced the release of Mindfucker. And what else to call a Monster Magnet LP at this point? They’ve stopped writing to genre. They’re driven by the creative mania of frontman/founder Dave Wyndorf, and they’ve seen psychedelic expanses and commercial success the likes of which would serve the tenure of four lesser bands. What’s left to do but whatever the hell you want? So that’s what Monster Magnet are doing. It just so happens that while they’re doing it, they’re still basically outclassing the entirety of the former planet earth as songwriters. As Monster Magnet fan in 2018, there was nothing more I could’ve asked than what Mindfucker delivered. And if you’re still trying to get your brain around it however many months later, you’re not alone. I think that’s the idea.

8. Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Feb. 20.

Best doom album of 2018. The combination of craft and passion behind the delivery. The way the dark tones fed into the emotions so clearly on display and sheer presence of it in listening to songs like “Keeping the Lighthouse,” “Ruination by Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here.” Apostle of Solitude never seem to be the highest profile band out there, but their work seems never to be anything less than outstanding, and I refuse to accept them as anything less than among the most pivotal American acts out there making traditional doom. And not just making it, but making it their own, with a sense of new pursuits and individualism that extends to playing style as well as atmosphere. I know doom isn’t exactly in short supply these days — figuratively or literally — but if you miss out on what Apostle of Solitude are doing with it, you’ll only regret it later. I’ll say it one more time: Best doom album of 2018.

7. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II

holy grove ii
Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 31.

Every now and again, anticipating the crap of an album really pays off, and such was the case with Holy Grove II, the Ripple Music debut from the Portland outfit whose 2016 self-titled (review here) seemed like such a herald of excellence to come while also, you know, being killer. Holy Grove II brought the four-piece of vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis to entirely new levels of composition and execution. In songs like “Blade Born,” the shorter, sharper “Aurora,” the patiently rolling “Valley of the Mystics,” “Solaris” and closer “Cosmos,” which boasted a not-really-necessary-but-definitely-welcome guest vocal appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, — and oh wait, that’s all of the tracks — Holy Grove entered a different echelon. Anticipation will likewise be high for Holy Grove III, but it’ll be hard to complain with this record to keep company in the meantime.

6. All Them Witches, ATW

all them witches atw
Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 18.

Over five All Them Witches albums, the Nashville four-piece have gone from a nascent heavy Americana jam band to one of the most distinct acts in the US underground. Their development in sound is chemistry-driven, so it was a risk when the founding trio of bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod (who also produced) and drummer Robby Staebler welcomed new keyboardist Jonathan Draper into the lineup to take the place of Allan van Cleave. Amid a more naturalist production than that of 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here), the revamped four-piece flourished in terms of songwriting and conveying their stage-born sonic personae. From the gleeful fuckery of opener “Fishbelly 86 Onions” to the memorable moodiness of “Diamond” and the back-end jam “Harvest Feast” en route to the stretched-out end of “Rob’s Dream,” All Them Witches essentially confirmed they could do whatever they wanted and make it work.

5. YOB, Our Raw Heart

yob our raw heart
Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed June 7.

Actually, if you want a sample of YOB‘s raw heart, the place to go is probably 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), but whatever the Eugene, Oregon, shapers of cosmic doom might’ve lacked in titular accuracy on their eighth long-player, they made up for in a new, statesman-like posture. Their approach was mature, hammered out to a professionalism working completely on its own terms, and they never sounded so sure of who they are as a band or as confident of their direction. In extended cuts “Beauty in Falling Leaves” and “Our Raw Heart,” they explored new and progressive textures and melodies, and managed to reaffirm their core aspects while finding room for conveying emotion that came across as nothing but ultimately sincere. They have been and still are one of a kind, and as they continue to move forward, they remain a band that makes one feel lucky to be alive to witness their work. Our Raw Heart was perhaps more refined than it let on, but the heart was there for sure, as always.

4. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman

brant bjork mankind woman

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 13.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t a fan of the (relatively) harder-hitting approach Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punk Band took on 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), but Mankind Woman brought in some more of his soul influences, and whether it was the subtly subversive funk of “Chocolatize” and “Brand New Old Times” or the callout “1968” and laid back vibes of the title-track and “Swagger and Sway,” Bjork — working with guitarist Bubba DuPree on songwriting and production — offered a definitive look at what has made his 20-year solo career so special and demonstrates not only his longevity and his legacy, but his will to continue to progress as an artist honing his craft. His discography is well populated by now to be sure, but Mankind Woman represents a turn from the last couple records, and if it’s in any way portentous of things to come, it bodes well. Bjork is right at home nestled into classic-style grooves, and his legacy as one of the principal architects of desert rock is continually reaffirmed.

3. Earthless, Black Heaven

earthless black heaven

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed March 15.

They’ve been great, not just good, for a long time now, and as forerunners of the San Diego heavy scene, they’re godfathers to an up and coming generation of bands taking their influence — let alone acts from the rest of the world — but Black Heaven is a special moment for them because of its departure. No, it wasn’t not the first time guitarist Isaiah Mitchell sang on an Earthless recording, but it did represent a tip of the balance in that direction for the band on a studio full-length, and that resulted in a special moment. Album opener “Gifted by the Wind” was one of the best songs I heard this year, and while “End to End” and the all-thrust “Volt Rush” affirmed that more traditional songwriting was well within the grasp of Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba, they still found space for a sprawling jam or two, keeping their claim on the instrumentalism that’s (largely) fueled their tenure to date. Earthless don’t want for acclaim, but every bit of it is earned, and while their primary impact has always been live, Black Heaven saw them construct a traditional-style LP that still bore the hallmarks of their collective personality. It was the best of all worlds.

2. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain

king buffalo longing to be the mountain
Self-released/released by Stickman Records. Reviewed Sept. 27.

In the dark early hours of 2018, the Rochester, New York, trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson issued the Repeater EP (review here) as a follow-up to their 2016 debut, Orion (review here), so Longing to Be the Mountain didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but even with Repeater preceding its arrival, I don’t think anyone necessary expected King Buffalo‘s second album to have such a scope or to be so engrossing with it. In its melody, patience, atmosphere and heft, it was an absolute joy to behold. Its songs were memorable at the same time they were far-reaching, and while Orion was already my pick for the best debut of 2016, Longing to Be the Mountain realized even more potential than that record had hinted toward. It could be intimate or majestic at its whim, and its dynamic set an individual characterization of heavy psychedelia and blues-style sprawl that the band wholly owned. With production by Ben McLeod of All Them Witches behind them, they worked to serve notice of a progression undertaken the results of which are already staggering and still seem to be looking ahead to the next stage, literally and figuratively. One of the principal standards I use in constructing this list every year is what I listen to most. That’s this record.

1. Sleep, The Sciences

sleep the sciences

Released by Third Man Records. Reviewed May 1.

Obviously, right? To some extent, when Sleep surprise-announced on April 19 they’d release their first album in 15 years the next day, and then did, they took ownership of 2018. Even with records still to come at that point from YOB and Sleep guitarist Matt Pike‘s own High on Fire, there was no way that when the end of the year came around, it wasn’t going to be defined by the advent of a new Sleep record. And even if it sucked, it would probably still be Album of the Year, but fortunately, as Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also Om) and drummer Jason Roeder (also Neurosis) took their long-running stage reunion to the studio, they brought material that highlighted the best elements from all players. Pike‘s wild soloing, Cisneros‘ meditative vocals and Roeder‘s intricate but smooth style of roll all came together in older pieces like “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Sonic Titan” and newer highlights “Giza Butler” and “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” and aside from the excitement at their existence, they showed the mastery of form that Sleep had been demonstrating live since 2009 and which they hinted toward in the 2014 single, The Clarity (review here). A new Sleep full-length was something long-discussed, long-rumored and long-considered, but when it finally happened, I think the results vaporized expectation in a way no one could’ve anticipated. There’s a reason Sleep are Sleep. Having The Sciences as a reminder of that brought about the defining moment of 2018.

The Next 20

Indeed, it wouldn’t be much of a Top 30 at all if it didn’t go to 50. Don’t try to make sense of it, just look at the records.

31. Atavismo, Valdeinfierno
32. Grayceon, IV
33. Clamfight, III
34. Seedy Jeezus, Polaris Oblique
35. Megaton Leviathan, Mage
36. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland
37. Arcadian Child, Superfonica
38. Freedom Hawk, Beast Remains
39. The Machine, Faceshift
40. Messa, Feast for Water
41. Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium
42. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Science Fiction
43. Domkraft, Flood
44. Träden, Träden
45. Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music
46. Samavayo, Vatan
47. Foehammer, Second Sight
48. Bongripper, Terminal
49. Mansion, First Death of the Lutheran
50. Sunnata, Outlands
51. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Come and Chutney

Believe me when I tell you, I sweated over this section more than I did the actual top 30. Mansion should be higher. So should Chubby Thunderous, though something in me thought they might like being #50 on a list of 30. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Clamfight, Black Rainbows, Foehammer, Seedy Jeezus, Messa, Domkraft. All of these were fucking awesome. And there are more (we’ll get there). Eventually numbers add up. I won’t say a bad word about any of these. That’s it.

Honorable Mention

This section always winds up expanded as other people point out things I missed and so on, but here’s what I’ve got in the immediate, alphabetically:

  • Alms, Act One
  • Ape Machine, Darker Seas
  • Belzebong, Light the Dankness
  • Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord
  • Blackwater Holylight, Blackwater Holylight
  • Bong, Thought and Existence
  • Carpet, About Rooms and Elephants
  • Churchburn, None Shall Live… The Hymns of Misery
  • Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree
  • Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need
  • Death Alley, Superbia
  • Drug Cult, Drug Cult
  • Dunbarrow, II
  • Electric Citizen, Helltown
  • Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard: Songs of Hoof and Horn
  • Evoken, Hypnagogia
  • Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning
  • Fuzz Evil, High on You
  • Graven, Heirs of Discord
  • Graveyard, Peace
  • Green Dragon, Green Dragon
  • Green Druid, Ashen Blood
  • Here Lies Man, You Will Know Nothing
  • High Priestess, High Priestess
  • Horehound, Holocene
  • IAH, II
  • JIRM, Surge ex Monumentis
  • Killer Boogie, Acid Cream
  • Lonely Kamel, Death’s Head Hawkmoth
  • MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure
  • Moab, Trough
  • Mountain Dust, Seven Storms
  • Mouth, Floating
  • Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence
  • T.G. Olson, Earthen Pyramid
  • Onségen Ensemble, Duel
  • Orango, Evergreen
  • Owl, Nights in Distortion
  • Pushy, Hard Wish
  • Rifflord, 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
  • River Cult, Halcyon Daze
  • Rotor, Sechs
  • Somali Yacht Club, The Sea
  • Sumac, Love in Shadow
  • Sundrifter, Visitations
  • Svvamp, Svvamp II
  • Thou, Magus
  • Thunder Horse, Thunder Horse
  • Weedpecker, III

Special Note

Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to include these in the list proper because they’re not really underground releases, but there were two more records I especially wanted to highlight for their quality:

  • Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog
  • Judas Priest, Firepower

Best Short Release of the Year

Normally I’d do this as a separate post, but as a result of being robbed earlier this year, I feel like my list is woefully incomplete. If you have any demos, EPs, splits, singles, etc., to add to it, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Still, the top pick was clear:

  • Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems Split

Rarely do two bands work in such coherent tandem to their mutual benefit. Here are a few other essential short releases for 2018, alphabetically:

  • All Them Witches, Lost and Found
  • Alunah, Amber & Gold
  • Canyon, Mk II
  • Demon Head, The Resistence
  • Destroyer of Light, Hopeless
  • Ecstatic Vision, Under the Influence
  • Godmaker & Somnuri, Split
  • Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul
  • King Buffalo, Repeater
  • Minsk & Zatokrev, Split
  • Sleep, Leagues Beneath
  • Stonus, Lunar Eclipse
  • Sundecay, Gale

Looking Forward

A good many albums have already been announced or hinted at for 2019. I in no way claim this to be a complete roundup of what’s coming, but here’s what I have in my notes so far, in absolutely no order:

Kings Destroy, Lo-Pan, Cities of Mars, Heavy Temple, Mr. Peter Hayden, Curse the Son, High Fighter, Destroyer of Light, Year of the Cobra, Buffalo Fuzz, Zaum, The Sonic Dawn, Alunah, Candlemass, Elepharmers, Grandier, Dorre, Abrahma, Mars Red Sky, Eternal Black, Elephant Tree, Atala, No Man’s Valley, Sun Blood Stories, Crypt Sermon, The Riven, Hibrido, Snail, Red Beard Wall, 11Paranoias, Dead Witches, Monte Luna, Captain Caravan (LP), Swallow the Sun, Oreyeon, Motorpsycho, Vokonis, Hexvessel, Saint Vitus, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Kind, Mastiff, Shadow Witch, Om.

Okay, That’s It

Yeah, no, I’m serious. List is done. Everybody go back to your lives. Your families miss you.

Really though, while this is by no means my last post of 2018, I can’t let it pass without saying thank you so much to everyone for checking out the site this year, or for just digging into this, or for sending me music, or hitting me up on social media, sharing a link, anything. Thank you. Thank you. I could never have imagined when it started out where it would be now. Or that I’d still be doing it. Your support means more to me than I can say, and I thank you so much for being a part of this with me.

So thanks.

If you have something to add to the list, please do so by leaving a comment below, but keep in mind as well the above note requesting civility. Please don’t make me feel stupid because I forgot your favorite record. I forgot a lot of people’s favorite records. I’m one dude. I’m doing my best.

And please keep in mind if you’ve got a list together that the Year-End Poll is open and results will be out Jan. 1.

Everybody have a great and safe 2019.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rifflord Release 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation on CD Through Salt of the Earth Records

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

rifflord

Just a quick plug here for a cool band doing good stuff. Rifflord from South Dakota released their second album, 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation (review here), on vinyl this month through STB Records, and they’ve also signed to Salt of the Earth Records for the CD issue, which, as it happens, is also out now. Nothing like efficiency. If you’re really the pick-your-media or the gotta-catch-’em-all type, there are also tapes available from Tescio Dischi in ultra-limited fashion, the deluxe edition long since gone. But for those of us who enjoy a straightforward piece of plastic, there’s still nothing quite like a compact disc to get the job done, and as I know I’m not the only loyalist to the format — nothing against vinyl — I figured it was worth sharing the news.

You’ll note Salt of the Earth says below that it’s signed the band. I’m not sure if that means for future releases as well, but I guess we’ll find out. Either way, good record, good fit, so all the better. From the PR wire:

rifflord salt of the earth

SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is proud as all hell to announce the signing of the mighty RIFFLORD.

In an unholy alliance between STB Records and Salt Of The Earth Records,

RIFFLORD “7 Cremation Ground / Meditation” is now available in all glorious formats. So twist a fatty… and burn, burn, burn!

And do you know what makes this announcement all the sweeter?!

The RIFFLORD “7 Cremation Ground / Meditation” cds are in stock NOW!!

No wait.

We are psyched to be offering up RIFFLORDs brand new collection of heavy ass tunes on Compact Disc… thus making it very easy to blast RIFFLORD “7 Cremation Ground / Meditation“ very loudly in Vans, Camaros, El Caminos and in most underground lairs.

Seriously though, you HAVE to check this RIFFLORD album out, it’s a collection of songs that are very easy to lose yourself in…This is one hell of an infectious album.

Rifflord is:
Lead Guitar and Vocals: Wyatt Bronc Bartlett
Guitar: Paul Pinos
Bass: Matthew Mcfarland
Keys: Tory Jean Stoddard
Drums: Tommy Middlen

https://www.facebook.com/rifflordusa/
https://www.instagram.com/rifflord/
https://rifflord.com/
www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec
www.saltoftheearthrecords.com
http://stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/STB-Records-471228012921184/
https://teschiodischi.bandcamp.com/

Rifflord, “The Other Side” official video

Rifflord, 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation (2018)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Rifflord Premiere “The Other Side” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

rifflord

Playing before a monolithic wall of citrus-hued amps and cabinets, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, five-piece Rifflord give a taste of their tonal-worship vibes and catchy songcraft in their new video for “The Other Side,” an early cut from their forthcoming second album, 7 Cremation Chant / Meditation, which is no less at home tapping into David Eugene Edwards-style Americana than it is digging into High on Fire gallop or Electric Wizard riffing with Fu Manchu-esque vocals. By the time “Seven” has made its way into “Dead Flower Child” — note the veer into Sabbath‘s “Hand of Doom” in the latter — and “The Other Side” itself, there’s no question why STB Records would pick them up for the vinyl. Shit, somebody was bound to do it.

Rifflord work quickly across the album, almost deceptively so. To wit, “The Other Side” is one of only three out of the total 13 tracks to top four minutes in runtime, and other pieces like the 2:16 “BB Gun” is a sharp boogie that takes the murderousness out of its Rifflord 7 Cremation Ground-Meditationunderlying prairie feel, while “Lucid Trip” brings together acoustic guitar and underlying keyboard/voice drones that lead into the charging second half of the album with the immediacy of “Poison Mother,” a vocal change bringing keyboardist Tory Jean Stoddard into the foreground with guitarist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett stepping back after the more aggro chug of album centerpiece “Transcendental Medication.” Momentum is swiftly built and rigorously maintained throughout, but the songs themselves don’t feel rushed in either their composition or delivery. The keys help flesh out the melodic presence of the vocals and Bartlett and Paul Pinos‘ guitars, while bassist Matthew Mcfarland and drummer Tommy Middlen carry through the molasses-thick tones with a sense of movement that continues even into the lumbering “Electric Grave” — as opposed to, yes, an “Electric Funeral” — or the aptly-named “The Riffman Cometh,” which is a cold-ending celebration of all things heavy rock, doom and otherwise Iommic.

The blend of Western and heavy principles on “Dead Flower Child” or “Coyote Fodder” and “Holy Roller” early on adds depth to the personality of 7 Cremation Chant / Meditation — the number in the title is still something of a mystery and I suspect that’s intentional — and as the closing pair of “Hou Dou Vou Dou” and “Thunder Rider” present the record’s most fervent boogie and a corresponding shove to respond to that of “Transcendental Medication” earlier, the variety in Rifflord‘s songwriting would seem to undercut their moniker. That is, they’re by no means simply a “riff band.” Certainly riffs are a factor, but the roles they play throughout the material run in different if still cohesive directions, and the organ and other key sounds throughout come off as no less of a focus. ‘Keylord’ or ‘Choruslord’ wouldn’t necessarily make for a great band name, but the point is don’t go into “The Other Side” thinking it’s just about the riffs, because there’s a lot more to Rifflord, and a lot more to 7 Cremation Chant / Meditation, than might at first be implied.

PR wire with vinyl info, preorder link, etc., follows the video below.

Please enjoy:

Rifflord, “The Other Side” official video premiere

Battle-scarred heavy rockers RIFFLORD are set to release their second album, 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation, via STB Records in the coming weeks. This follow-up to their self-released 2010 debut 26 Mean and Heavy is the product of mushroom-induced brawls, dashed expectations, and a band that’s coming back stronger than it ever was before.

RIFFLORD was founded in 2007 by vocalist/guitarist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett and guitarist Tom Davoux after discovering a love affair the two had with vintage tube amps, Hammond organs, and tinnitus-inducing volume. Today RIFFLORD is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reanimated by Bronc and a wall of Orange amps. Bronc says of the band’s music and journey:

Some things are the result of calculated decision making. Other things drag you face down through the dirt by virtue of their own momenta. RIFFLORD, for me, has been a combination of both. The album […] is a visceral product of struggle, mottled with the fingerprints of both terrible and glorious human beings. It is the sound of countless trips across rural South Dakota and hours of refinement in one studio session after another. The album was mixed five separate times, and remastered three. It is the true and living testament of the Riff. Thank you for waiting.

7 Cremation Ground / Meditation will be released digitally on November 27th, 2018 with a variety of personalized vinyl options coming out on December 1st.

https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/album/7-cremation-ground-meditation

Vinyl Pressing Information
-Test Press: Limited to 15. Comes with a Handmade leather LP jacket hand whip stitched and branded by Wyatt Bronc Bartlett of RIFFLORD
-Die Hard Edition: Limited to 100 units on black smoke and transparent brown vinyl comes with a special high-density high-quality LP jacket that is foil stamped with “die hard edition” as well as some other foil stamping and Spot UV upgrades on the jacket. Each die hard edition also comes with Special edition band specific tarot cards exclusive only to the die hard pressing. Exclusive booklet with “The Story Of Rifflord” and Picture outtakes.
-OBI Series: Limited to 100 units hand numbered alternate art work spine wrapped OBI strip. Vinyl is a clear base with silver center and brown and white splatter. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.
-Not So Standard Edition: Limited to 150 units on white and brown swirl. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.
-Band Edition / Distro: Limited to 150 Units on Cloudy White vinyl. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.

Rifflord is:
Lead Guitar and Vocals: Wyatt Bronc Bartlett
Guitar: Paul Pinos
Bass: Matthew Mcfarland
Keys: Tory Jean Stoddard
Drums: Tommy Middlen

Rifflord on Thee Facebooks

Rifflord on Instagram

Rifflord website

STB Records BigCartel store

STB Records on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records website

Salt of the Earth Records on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , ,

Rifflord to Release 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation Dec. 1 on STB Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

rifflord

I was trying to think about why South Dakota’s Rifflord might have such a thing for numbers in their titles. Their 2015 debut was 26 Mean and Heavy, and 26 is two times 13, a number with a long connection to weed culture, ‘m’ being the 13th letter of the alphabet, etc. So either they’re twice stoned or they’re doubling down on their dedication. Maybe it works out to be the same. Their new album, which will be released on Dec. 1 through respected purveyor STB Records, is 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation, is a little harder to figure out. Seven is a prime number, which in itself is something special, and the band was founded in 2007, but if there’s some mysticism at work, it’s too obscure for my unresearching ass.

Either way, the band’s focus seems way more on gear, so maybe that’s how many tubes they blew out while recording. Whatever the motivation, I doubt much of anything will distract them from their main riffy purposes, so while it might be a point of curiosity, it’s ultimately tertiary to the album itself, which is fuzzed to the hilt and rolling forth with a digital release later this month.

The PR wire has details:

Rifflord-7-Cremation-Ground-Meditation

RIFFLORD – 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation – STB Records

1 December 2018

Battle-scarred stoner rockers RIFFLORD are set to release their second album, 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation, via STB Records in the coming weeks. This follow-up to their self-released 2010 debut 26 Mean and Heavy is the product of mushroom-induced brawls, dashed expectations, and a band that’s coming back stronger than it ever was before.

RIFFLORD was founded in 2007 by vocalist and guitarist Wyatt Bronc Bartlett and his friend Mike Hutchins, known as “Hutch” in the band’s lore, after they accidentally snorted meth at a basement party. Over the course of a decade, the band’s location, priorities, and lineup changed many times. One thing, however, remained constant: the love of the all mighty RIFF.

Today RIFFLORD is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reanimated by Bronc and a wall of Orange amps. Bronc says of the band’s music and journey:

Some things are the result of calculated decision making. Other things drag you face down through the dirt by virtue of their own momenta. RIFFLORD, for me, has been a combination of both. The album 7 Cremation Ground / Meditation is a visceral product of struggle, mottled with the fingerprints of both terrible and glorious human beings. It is the sound of countless trips across rural South Dakota and hours of refinement in one studio session after another. The album was mixed five separate times, and remastered three. It is the true and living testament of the Riff. Thank you for waiting.

7 Cremation Ground / Meditation will be released digitally on November 27th, 2018 with a variety of personalized vinyl options coming out on December 1st.

Vinyl Pressing Information

Test Press: Limited to 15. Comes with a Handmade leather LP jacket hand whip stitched and branded by Wyatt Bronc Bartlett of RIFFLORD

Die Hard Edition: Limited to 100 units on black smoke and transparent brown vinyl comes with a special high-density high-quality LP jacket that is foil stamped with “die hard edition” as well as some other foil stamping and Spot UV upgrades on the jacket. Each die hard edition also comes with Special edition band specific tarot cards exclusive only to the die hard pressing. Exclusive booklet with “The Story Of Rifflord” and Picture outtakes.

OBI Series: Limited to 100 units hand numbered alternate art work spine wrapped OBI strip. Vinyl is a clear base with silver center and brown and white splatter. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.

Not So Standard Edition: Limited to 150 units on white and brown swirl. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.

Band Edition / Distro: Limited to 150 Units on Cloudy White vinyl. Jacket comes with floor UV effects.

Band Members
Lead Guitar and Vocals: Wyatt Bronc Bartlett
Guitar: Paul Pinos
Bass: Matthew Mcfarland
Keys: Tory Jean Stoddard
Drums: Tommy Middlen

https://www.facebook.com/rifflordusa/
https://www.instagram.com/rifflord/
https://rifflord.com/
http://stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/STB-Records-471228012921184/

Rifflord, 26 Mean & Heavy (2015)

Tags: , , , , ,

FreakTulsa 2016 Posts Updated Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

I’d be interested to witness the gathering of weirdos that FreakTulsa 2016 brings out. The festival — based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and of no relation to the German Freak Valley fest that I know of — culls bands from around the Midwest and well beyond, groups like King Buffalo and Destroyer of Light sharing the stage with Merlin and Red Wizard, among many others. It’s a three-day affair, June 17 through June 19, and while I won’t make it out for it, I’ll look forward to finding out how it goes. Seems like an event in the middle of the country could be a good regional pull, a haven of sorts, for followers of riff.

Bottom line, it looks like a good time. Hope it goes well.

Updated lineup, info and ticket links follow:

freaktulsa 2016 poster

Get it together folks, for the most fuzzed out, brain-jarring, facemeltingest fest to trample Tulsa, June 17th-19th at the Downtown Lounge. We’ve got an incredible and diverse lineup, from the deep and fuzzed out valleys to the peaks of devestating alpine thrash glory. Get your tickets now.

Freaktulsa 2016 is a 3 day psychedelic rock festival celebrating all that is hard, doomy and heavy. Join us and our diverse lineup at the Downtown Lounge in Tulsa Oklahoma June 17 – 19th. This is a show presented by and for enthusiasts of dark rock of all types. The Mid West Heshfest exists for the love of music above all else, driving our focus to be on providing the best possible musical experience for you.

FreakTulsa 2016 lineup:
Friday 6.17
Silver Screen Monsters, Violent Wednesday, Cobra Jab, Psychotic Reaction, Brother Gruesom, Senior Fellows, Burn Thee Insects, Merlin, Contagion 237, Dr. Rock Doctor, Oberon

Saturday 6.18
Smoke Offering, Idre, P.R.I., Sun Vow, King Buffalo, Grind, Destroyer of Light, Constant Peril, Rifflord, Book of Wyrms

Sunday 6.19
Skeleton Farm, Blunt Splinter, Lucid Awakening, Youngblood Supercult, The Great Electric Quest, Forever in Disgust, Red Wizard, Chainmail

https://www.facebook.com/FreakTulsa/
https://www.facebook.com/events/985580904860408/
https://www.picatic.com/FreakTulsa

Rifflord at FreakTulsa 2016 teaser

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,