Review & Track Premiere: Arcadian Child, Superfonica

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child superfonica

[Click play above to stream the official premiere of ‘Bain Marie’ from Arcadian Child’s Superfonica. Album is out Nov. 23 on Rogue Wave/Ripple Music.]

The sense of drift is so graceful and the flow of the material is so natural that, in listening to Arcadian Child‘s Superfonica, I actually went and looked up the climate of Cyprus. Eight months of temperate summer on an island in the Eastern Mediterranean could hardly be a more fitting backdrop for the eight-track/38-minute offering — the band’s first new release for Rogue Wave Records/Ripple Music following a reissue of their 2017 debut, Afterglow (review here), earlier this year — which hones a peaceful spirit in songs like “Brothers” and the opening fuzz of “Bain Marie” while still retaining tonal presence and a sense of energy in the delivery. Leaving behind some of the Queens of the Stone Agery of their initial outing, the first-name-basis four-piece of Panagiotis, Andreas, Stathis and Christos find themselves nestled comfortably into a balance between spacey grunge rock and psychedelic impulses.

“She Flows” comes alive with a warm-toned push in its back half, but that’s not to say there’s stillness earlier in the song, or necessarily anywhere else on Superfonica that it’s not intended to be, as the Limassol-based outfit inject life even into their most minimalist spaces, as in the wide-open effects reaches of the penultimate “Before We Die” or the subdued, patient unfolding of closer “The March,” that follows, or even the midsection of the otherwise bouncing “Constellations” — arguably the most active piece on the record — which finds soft vocals half-whispering over like-minded guitar for a stretch that soon picks up again with a cue from the snare drum. The band cites The Black Angels as an influence and I’m not inclined to argue, as they seem to skirt the line between Dead Meadow-style shoegaze and ’90s alternative shove. Yet there’s a heavy rock root in their approach as well, and in a hidden treasure like “She Flows” on side B, which follows the 6:44 “Painting” (premiered here), they’re able to enact a heavier roll as they hold consistent with the mood of the album overall.

This is thanks in no small part to the vocals, which bring a steady humanity to what might otherwise be perceived as an otherworldly listen, but if one is mining Superfonica for highlights, it’s a relatively quick operation. The first three seconds of “Bain Marie” — and I suspect that’s how it got to open the record — tell the tale of one of the record’s greatest assets, and that’s the fuzz tone of the guitars. Arcadian Child prove adept at complementing the warm, inviting fuzz with airier, post-rock-style effects, and the vocals suit that well too, but while they don’t use riffs as an okay-we-have-a-riff-so-that’s-a-track-done kind of crutch in their songwriting, when they lock in around one, as on “Bain Marie” or the subsequent, relatively uptempo and hooky “Twist Your Spirit,” the bulk of “Constellations” or “She Flows,” the results are nothing but enticing. Again, though, that’s just one aspect of Arcadian Child‘s style, and the post-midpoint guitar meander of “Brothers” would have Gary Arce himself blushing, while the crash cymbal in “The March” is as much a highlight in its creation of a wash as anything done elsewhere by bass or guitar.

arcadian child

It’s a rare level of attention to sonic detail that makes Superfonica so ultimately effective. Their craft itself — the raw songwriting — is there as a foundation. And it’s absolutely necessary, since without it the more rocking side A salvo of “Bain Marie,” “Twist Your Spirit” and “Brothers” would fall flat en route to the expansion that takes place in “Constellations” as a preface to the more patient psychedelia that “Painting” unfurls at the outset of side B with “She Flows” as a quick touch to ground ahead of the stratospheric departure that is the capper duo “Before We Die” and “The March.” But the production, the arrangement of the tracklisting, and the vibe within the individual cuts themselves all work to feed into the central presentation of Superfonica as a cohesive entirety. It’s not just about this or that track, this or that chorus, this or that jam — but instead what these things can do in conversation with each other.

And I won’t take away either from what “Bain Marie” or “Brothers” or even “She Flows” does in terms of establishing a subtle underlying momentum to carry the audience through the material as a whole, but “Painting” and “The March” make a distinct impression as accomplishments of another degree. The former is the longest inclusion and an immediate high point in terms of its serene, oceanic motion to its apex, and it’s hypnotic enough to warrant multiple visits, but still finds itself on solid footing by its end, while “The March” is indeed something of a percussive showcase and in that it creates a tension that’s something of a standout from the rest of Superfonica, showing a restlessness that comes to a fervent head before it’s done and seems to speak to further exploration to follow on the part of the band as a whole. More power to it in that — forward potential is always welcome — but neither is the impact of “The March” on the record that precedes it to be overlooked. Like “Bain Marie” at the launch, it feels purposefully positioned as the finale, and it works no less efficiently to resonate the band’s intention for it.

Outwardly gorgeous, strident in its construction and with enough cast of adventure in sound that it not only takes a significant step from their debut but leads one to believe further such steps are to come on this path, Superfonica is the kind of record that speaks to the soul. It’s not a get-up-and-party, booze-your-face whatever record. It’s a good time, to be sure, but its motion is more wistful and quieter than it is brash, however active some parts might be, and the prevailing engagement is owed to Arcadian Child‘s ability to affect the mindset of their audience and so righteously convey the calmness that in no small part defines this material. Its details are there for those who want to hear them or are willing to go deeper, but even if you just put it on and find yourself following its easy, eight-month-summer fluidity, I don’t think you miss out. Not hearing it would be missing out.

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Foghound Release “Awaken to Destroy” Beer This Saturday with Oliver Brewing Co.

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

foghound beer

As Foghound move inexorably toward the release of their new album, Awaken to Destroy, which is set to come out Nov. 23 and will stream here in full on Nov. 21 — cheap plug, but it’s worth marking the calendar for — the Baltimore natives are making a stop this Saturday at Oliver Brewing Company to celebrate the release of a special Awaken to Destroy Foghound Double IPA. It’s been a minute since I had beer, but if the 2xIPA hits as hard as the new record for which it’s named, you’re gonna want to have a ride home handy. The band recently issued the “Return to Dragontooth” single in part to mark the occasion.

They’ve played the album release party already, so maybe some of you have Awaken to Destroy if you’re reading this. For the rest of us, it’ll be out through Ripple Music as the follow-up to the excellent and intense 2016 outing, The World Unseen (review here). “Return to Dragontooth” builds off of the prior song “Dragontooth,” which featured on the band’s 2013 debut, Quick, Dirty and High (review here).

Enough info. Drink up:

foghound awaken to destroy beer poster

Foghound Double IPA beer release party this Saturday night at Oliver Brewing!

Doors At 7, I Am The Liquor ( Richmond VA) opens at 8, Wasted Theory follows and then Foghound goes on around 10.

Come pick up a new CD, t-shirt, and a 6 pack of these fine cans!

Chuck Dukehart on “Return to Dragontooth”:

Recorded & mixed with Frank “The Punisher” Marchand during the “Awaken To Destroy” album sessions, “Return To Dragontooth” sees Foghound revisiting a track from their first self released album ” Quick, Dirty & High”. Put together quickly in the studio during those first album sessions, “Dragontooth” was then later fleshed out with more lyrics and a focused intensity that came from the song becoming a live set staple in the Foghound arsenal.

This time around saw Dee Settar adding additional lyrics and vocals as well as Hammond organ to the song, with Rev. Jim Forrester’s signature bass attack now taking it to another level. We are super stoked to have Oliver Brewing releasing this beer in our honor, and we know that you will enjoy it too!

Sit back, spark up, crack a fresh ” Awaken To Destroy” Double IPA from Oliver Brewing and punch your ticket to ” Return To Dragontooth”.

Stephen Jones of Oliver Brewing Company on “Awaken to Destroy” Double IPA:

Ever since Foghound first played live at Oliver Brewing Co. in the Summer of 2016, Chuck and I have talked about basing a beer around a future release, and that time has finally arrived. I couldn’t be happier to close out the Long Live Rock and Roll series of Double IPAs in 2018 with a celebration of Foghound’s “Awaken To Destroy” album, Volume XII of the series. It’s a bittersweet moment though, a celebration of their art, but also a tribute to former bass player Jim Forrester, taken from us in an act of senseless violence almost a year ago.

“Awaken To Destroy” is a big, bold IPA, aggressively bittered with Southern Cross and Magnum, dry hopped with Galaxy, Ella and Wakatu. Like the music that it represents, there are no compromises! For Jim!

Foghound is:
Chuck Dukeheart, III – Drums, Vocals
Dee Settar – Guitar, Vocals
Bob Sipes – Guitar, Vocals
Adam Heinzmann – Bass

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Against the Grain Announce Tour with Hank Von Hell for Early 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

against the grain

Dudes just go and go and go. Detroit’s Against the Grain wrap up 2018 with a handful of shows alongside Gwar and Iron Reagan, and then about two weeks after the New Year hits, they’re back out with Hank Von Hell on his US tour, which should well acquaint them with any of the Turbougend set for whom they might not yet be known. That run is put together by Tone Deaf Touring and is the more newly announced of the two, but the basic story here is that Against the Grain tour like bastards. They released Cheated Death (review here) earlier this year on Ripple, and it’s basically astounding they ever manage to come off the road long enough to make an album. They tour. Like bastards. Bastards who keep good company.

Dates follow, and one assumes more will show up for 2019 after these. Maybe Europe? Maybe everywhere:

hank von hell poster

We are getting very excited for our upcoming dates with Gwar and Iron Reagan ending the year. Dates:

12/27 – The Vogue – Indy, IN
12/28 – Bogarts – Cincinnati, OH (SC opens)
12/29 – 9:30 Club – Washington DC
12/30 – North Seventh – Philly, PA
12/31 – The Norva – Norfolk, VA (no IR).

It is with great excitement we get to announce our 2019 tour as direct support for Hank Von Hell (former legendary singer of Turbonegro) for his first Us and Canadian run In years. Dates:

1/15- Atlanta, GA – The Earl
1/16- Richmond, VA – Richmond Music Hall
1/17 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bazaar
1/18 – Philly, PA – Trocadero
1/19 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East
1/20 – Montreal, QC – Bar Leritz
1/21 – Toronto, ON – Lees Palace
1/22 – Detroit, MI – El Club
1/23 – Lombard, IL – Brauerhouse
1/24 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
1/25 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
1/26 – Denver, CO – Oriental Theatre
1/28 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile
1/29 – Portland, OR – Dante’s
1/30 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
1/31 – Los Angelas – Exhoplex
2/1 – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge
2/3 – Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey
2/4 – Austin, Tx – Come and Take It Live
2/5 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
2/6 – New Orleans, LA – Santos Bar

Against The Grain:
Chris Nowak – Bass, Vocals
Rob Nowak – Drums
Nick Bellomo – Guitar
Kyle Davis – Guitar

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Against the Grain, Cheated Death (2018)

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Castle, Deal Thy Fate: Can’t Escape the Evil

Posted in Reviews on November 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

castle deal thy fate

All Castle do is kick ass. That’s their whole thing, and they do not veer from that central purpose. They’ve been at it for nearly a decade. Deal Thy Fate is their fifth album in that time as well as their first for Ripple Music after releasing 2016’s Welcome to the Graveyard (review here) as a return to Ván Records out of Germany, which also released their debut in 2011, and the latest work continues to highlight the point of just how brutally underappreciated they are. It is nine songs — eight and a “Prelude” leading to “Hexenring” on side A — and runs a clean 36 minutes recorded live at least in its basic tracks with the core duo of bassist/vocalist Liz Blackwell and guitarist Mat Davis joined by touring drummer Chase Manhattan in Hallowed Halls Studio with Billy Anderson at the helm. That is not a new band/producer collaboration. Castle have worked with Anderson on the three albums since 2012’s Blacklands, that being 2014’s Under Siege and the aforementioned 2016 outing.

And as far as capturing their sound goes, it’s not by any means a broken system. Easily parsed into two vinyl sides, Deal Thy Fate captures eerie vibes and classically metal tones with a natural underpinning born of the developed instrumental chemistry between Blackwell and Davis, who in the band’s time have relocated first from Toronto to San Francisco and, for this album, from San Francisco to the Mojave Desert, where they wrote the songs. Perhaps though where they ultimately reside is moot, since they spend so much time on tour anyway. One way or the other, their sound is defined more by their own pursuit of truth in heavy metal rather than geography — that is, they didn’t move to the desert and start making desert rock. They’re still Castle, which for the steadily growing cult following they’ve amassed by delivering their sharp, thrash-informed riffing to listeners one gig at a time, should only be a relief. If you’ll pardon me for saying so, that cult should probably be bigger — hence “underappreciated” above.

The reasons to take that position run from the hooks of opener “Can’t Escape the Evil,” “Wait for Dark,” and “Haunted” to the eerie atmosphere that “Prelude” sets for “Hexenring” and the sharp turns later in “Red Phantom” ahead of the dynamic and spacious closer “Firewind.” To look at the tracklisting, with only “Hexenring” hitting five minutes long, its intro at 32 seconds and everything else somewhere in the four-minute range, Deal Thy Fate is deceptive, because while the runtimes are similar, what Castle does in each changes. Structures are largely straightforward, but as “Skull in the Woods” unfolds its central riff that seems to be trying to run away from itself after the brash moshfodder of “Can’t Escape the Evil,” a subtle sense of breadth begins to take hold. Davis by then has already tossed off however many pro-shop solos, and Blackwell‘s vocals have arrived in deftly-arranged layers, so the stage is well set, but the atmosphere continues to deepen as the album plays out subsequent to that, and in that way, Castle reveal perhaps their most distinguishing factor.

castle

Blackwell is nothing short of a metal hero as frontwoman, and Davis plays the quiet conjurer well, leading the way through tight, headbang-ready grooves that not only remind of when denim and leather brought people together, but also of the many seasons spent in the abyss. But what they bring by working so much in concert as they do — and especially with Manhattan, a real live drummer able to drive forward each of the album’s varied progressions — is a spirit of creepy-worship that goes beyond skulls in the woods, hauntings and phantoms. It goes beyond horror themes to the very core of the band itself, and in that, it’s difficult to pinpoint but all the more enticing for that. There’s something dark in their work that comes through almost on a subconscious level, and I’m not exaggerating. As familiar as some of their sonic elements inherently are — thrash isn’t new, and classic metal, by its very nature, is a known commodity — there’s a twisted layer of the psychological beneath. Something in the personality of the band that’s as intangible as it is grim.

It runs deeper than the busy iconography of the Patrick Zoller cover art, though perhaps that speaks as well to the complexity of the message across Deal Thy Fate. “Wait for Dark” rolls out a fist-pumper nod after the mostly-mid-paced mini-epic “Hexenring” and soon gives way to the title-track opening side B. From there, “Haunted,” “Red Phantom” and “Firewind” only affirm the fierce grip Castle have on their approach and their raw, unpretentious take on what metal should be and could have become. Maybe that’s it. Think of Castle not as a vision of what heavy metal is, but as a vision of what heavy metal could have become. It’s not about splitting into subgenres of subgenres, though one could tag any number of them to Deal Thy Fate, and hey, that’s fun, I won’t argue with it. But if you take the totality of what their work over the last decade does and more crucially what this album does, with the “Looks that Kill” riff of “Haunted” and the quiet start of “Firewind,” the razor’s-edge guitar slices in “Skull in the Woods” and the determined sweaty push of “Deal Thy Fate” itself, it does for metal what so much heavy rock does in providing an alternate modern interpretation of those classic forms.

Castle are outliers. They’re not retro thrash. They’re not trying to revisit the NWOBHM. They’re not strictly doom. They’re metal. And the metal they play isn’t about joining a side to the exclusion of all else, but about celebrating what brings — or could bring — it all together. Their metal is encompassing, and in that, it provides an alternative look at what might’ve happened had the development of metal — the umbrella-genre of it — grown to take everything in rather than splinter into various extremities. Is that their conscious intention? I have no idea. But it’s how Deal Thy Fate plays out. It’s the album’s fate. And we know from their past work as well as their current that Castle are nothing if not self-determined, so take it as you will.

More important even than their lack of pretense or the natural state from which their material seems to arise — that is, they’ve never sounded overly showy or dramatic about what they do and they don’t here either — is the fact that Castle are happening right now. It’s 2018, they’ve got five records out, and they’re the kind of band who, whenever they actually call it a day, are going to be more missed than people know. They’re reaped critical acclaim for a long time, and have worked hard to translate that into audience appreciation to the degree they have, but Castle deserve to be heard by as many ears as possible, and until the next one arrives, Deal Thy Fate is the best way to go about it. Young or old, their metal should be your metal.

Castle, “Deal Thy Fate” official video

Castle, Deal Thy Fate (2018)

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Review & Track Premiere: Holy Grove, II

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

holy grove ii

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Holy Grove’s ‘Valley of the Mystics’ from Holy Grove II. Album is out Nov. 9 on Ripple Music.]

If Holy Grove II was an action figure, it would be one-per-case. If it was coffee, it would be run through the digestive tract of Peruvian bats before brewing. If it was a mushroom, it would only grow on the Western slope of one mountain in the Alps and would only be obtainable by one family who’ve harvested it for 700 years using specially trained dogs. And yes, it would hallucinogenic. It is, in other words, a rare album. Not so much in pressing — Ripple Music has numbered versions, but those who want it can get it — but in form. It’s a coalescing of influences into something new and of marked individual character. Holy Grove aren’t necessarily out of step with the heavy hotbed that’s swelled in their native Portland, Oregon, over the course of this decade, but as that generation of acts becomes more mature, they’re engaged in an obvious commitment to move their sound to new places.

The reasons Holy Grove II, which comprises five tracks in 44 minutes and boats a much-ballyhooed guest appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt alongside Holy Grove vocalist Andrea Vidal on 12-minute closer “Cosmos,” are plenty: timing, performance, production, songwriting, presence. It’s the right album at the right time — we’re coming up on the end of that decade in Portland heavy; something new is welcome. The performances of Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis are energized, soulful and creative, and captured with a master’s hand by Billy Anderson, who if he hasn’t yet started writing the book on heavy production methods should probably get to work on that. A special kind of presence can be heard in Jacobs‘ leads at the end of the penultimate “Solaris” as well as in Vidal‘s vocals that run concurrent with it leading to a classic metal surge that’s organ-inclusive and full-sounding and lands with all the more impact for its sudden end, and the entire proceeding is memorable precisely because of the songwriting work that’s gone into it.

Vidal follows in a line of Oregonian vocalists that includes few others — the aforementioned Mike Scheidt is one, former Witch Mountain singer Uta Plotkin was another — who are able to bring such soul to a heavy context. From the swinging beginning minutes of opener “Blade Born” onward, she steps forward and is in utter command of the material in a way that even two and a half years ago on Holy Grove‘s self-titled debut (review here) just wasn’t possible. Part of that is easy to read as a comfort factor, and it applies to the entire band. Travis is a more recent acquisition, and he makes his presence known from that first swing onward through the second-half rollout slowdown of “Blade Born” and into the cowbell shuffle and tom runs of straight-up rocker “Aurora” that follows and is by far the shortest inclusion on the album at 3:51, but in Emley‘s low end and Jacobs‘ riffing and leads, there’s never a sense that Holy Grove are rushed or playing in any other way than they want to be.

Holy Grove 2018 press photography for "Holy Grove II" album release.

It is a poised collection, but not pointedly so. That is, with the time they spent on tour domestically and abroad, Holy Grove have very clearly found who they are as a group and set themselves to presenting that in these songs. It works. And whether a listener wants to put that narrative to it and think of Holy Grove II in the context of its predecessor or if it’s someone’s first experience with the band, it doesn’t matter. The way the album unfolds is welcoming regardless, and as “Aurora” boogies directly into launching chug of near-11-minute side A capper/album centerpiece “Valley of the Mystics,” the emphasis becomes not on stylization as a means of exclusivity — they’re not tapping into classic and/or traditional doom impulses to show off their taste — but on doing what works best for the song itself. As the opener hinted and both “Solaris” and “Cosmos” affirm on side B, Holy Grove are well suited to these longer forms. That’s not to take away from “Aurora,” which serves a vital function here and is kickass all the while, just to note that given the space to soar, Holy Grove do so.

“Valley of the Mystics” recedes to let Vidal take forward position in a Dio Sabbath-style verse before resuming the roll for a chorus that boasts self-harmonies — more please — and trades again quiet and loud before shifting into the traditionalist metallurgy already noted, and rings out at its finish to conclude the side as “Solaris” fades in on amp noise before crashing through an intro huge and darker-edged en route to a plodding, nodding progression of its own. Organ helps “Solaris” evoke a grand feel, and keyboard plays a central role in “Cosmos” as well, as the two are paired smoothly in the second half of the record. The sudden end of “Solaris” brings a quiet start to the closer, which again pulls back instrumentally to a quieter verse, this one part of a linear build rife with sonic details in the keys, guitar noise and so on. At 3:28, keyboard/Mellotron takes a central position that might otherwise go to the guitar, but the two intertwine smoothly ahead of another chorus, a solo, an almost complete drop to silence, and the setting of the stage for Scheidt‘s arrival, first with atmospheric growls deep in the mix, then with a clean line that emerges from that mass of tone surrounding.

I’m not going to say a bad word about Scheidt‘s appearance — he’s always welcome as far as I’m concerned — but there is a part of me that doesn’t want Holy Grove to share the apex of their second long-player. It’s theirs. They earned it. Bringing in someone else doesn’t necessarily take away from that, but it does change the form of it, and as Travis‘ drums roll and crash to an end of residual amp noise and echoing voice, the highlight of Holy Grove II remains the album itself and the clear process it’s begun in terms of hammering out the potential that the four-piece showed on their debut. Their flair for dramatic turns instrumentally and vocally is writ large here, but they never lose sight of songcraft, and even as Vidal and Scheidt carry through the crescendo of “Cosmos” together, it’s still the entirety of Holy Grove that’s leaving such a resonant impression. There are who will hear it and those who won’t, but this band is casting their influence out over doom with this record, and I’d be surprised if others didn’t catch it and work from it in the future. And they’re not done growing either, because as exciting as Holy Grove II is, it’s already worth looking forward to Holy Grove III. Recommended.

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Craneium Premiere “I’m Your Demon” from New Album The Narrow Line

Posted in audiObelisk on October 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

craneium

Finland’s Craneium will release their second album, The Narrow Line, Dec. 7 via Ripple Music. The Turku four-piece were picked up by the label in 2016 ahead of the release of their debut, Explore the Void, and with the seven tracks of their sophomore outing, they bring together psychedelic adventurousness with clarity of songwriting and a healthy dose of fuzz. Their songs work to find a niche in heavy rock that’s neither overly weighted so as to lose sight of its focus on melody nor so tripped out that the existence of any kind of focus at all is a contradiction. While seemingly based on jams, songs like “The Goat” and “The Soothsayer” have been carved into structured pieces, and with the rolling fuzz of opener “Manifest” as a forward first impression, the dual vocals of guitarists Andreas Kaján and Martin Ahlö complement as an immediate distinguishing factor that the subsequent, heavier chorus of “I’m Your Demon” only reaffirms. With Jonas Ridberg on bass and Joel Kronqvist on drums, “I’m Your Demon” is able to evoke boogie rock without losing itself into retroist cliche, and as with so much of the album surrounding, a pace is maintained that keeps the feel laid back when it wants to be but still able to push ahead when it wants to.

You can listen to the premiere of “I’m Your Demon” on the player below, and while it’s the shortest song on The Narrow Line at four and a half minutes, it nonetheless stands as an example of Craneium working in the space they’re making their own craneium im your demonthroughout the album, culling influence from desert rock and heavy psych, doom and a full swath of other whatnots in order to strike the balance between wall-o’-fuzz and the solo that cuts through in the second half. Dig that mix. Then the vocal harmonies return. There’s some underlying grunge thrown into the stylistic palette as well — it’s the brown you’ll hear in the guitar tone — but Craneium emerge clean from “I’m Your Demon” and continue to build momentum in “Beyond the Pale” while bringing to bear a more patient delivery as led by the guitars, moving into a dynamic interplay between lead guitar and Ridberg‘s bass in the second half that only feeds into the electric surge happening as they make ready to close out side A with the aforementioned “The Soothsayer,” the groove no less paramount there than it has been all along.

I’ll admit I keep wanting closer “Man’s Ruin” to be about the defunct record label headed by Frank Kozik that did so much to break ground for heavy rock in the late ’90s, but I don’t think it is. I think it’s about space and hubris, which is fair enough. The finale reinforces the fuzz of earlier cuts “Manifest” and “I’m Your Demon” while answering a bit of the funk that shows itself early in “The Soothsayer” and following Side B slabs “Redemption” — the longest inclusion at 6:44 and a highlight of Kronqvist‘s drumming in meter, cymbal splash and tom work — and “The Goat,” which is as languid as Craneium get, with a dreamy meandering at about four minutes in that offsets the more weighted shove that accompanies. “Man’s Ruin,” as it should, brings the various sides together in a last display of all of it as the band’s own pastiche and the expanding ground on which they’re continuing to work to coalesce their approach — so much as they want it to coalesce; some aspects here are definitely intended to remain liquefied — and to refine the balance of structure and space in their craft. They strike that balance well throughout The Narrow Line — one doubts they titled the album thinking of the thin borders between heavy subgenres, but it applies nonetheless — and emerge from the other end of “Man’s Ruin” having not at all succumbed to tragedy as a result of their ambitions.

“I’m Your Demon” is on the player below, and Kaján took some time to talk about The Narrow Line and the song itself, so you can read what he had to say beneath that. The album is out Dec. 7 on Ripple.

Enjoy:

Andreas Kaján on “I’m Your Demon”:

Our second album has been a long time coming. After releasing “Explore The Void” back in 2015 digitally we got signed by Ripple Music and the physical album was out in 2016. Since then we’ve had some bass players come and go which have made it difficult to move forward and write new material. We finally found a guy and got around to writing new material and by summer of 2017 we had 8 new tracks. We recorded the album during the spring of 2018 and it will be released by Ripple Music December 7th this year. This time around I think we learned a little something from recording our first album and applied that while recording “The Narrow Line”. I think we have listened to the critics and tried to put more time and effort into the production this time. Lets hope you think so too!

The new songs highlight the Craneium sound like the last album, but we’d like to think it has evolved since and that we have refined it. A lot of clean and mellow parts rounded off with heavy grooves and hooks.

A few words about this second single release: “I’m Your Demon” was actually the last song that we wrote for the new album. Most of the other songs we had been working on a couple of months before this one came along. It’s a bit of an oddball for us since it’s the first song that isn’t in a 4/4 time signature, so we’re calling it our prog-song — justified, right? The guitar solo in the beginning of the song came about in the studio while recording it. We decided to play the clean part a little longer before the vocals come in, so we went ahead and threw a solo in there. Really fun to play with a cool breakdown part that culminates in a guitar solo and then on to a modulation of the last chorus. If it weren’t for all the fuzz we might even make the European Song Contest!

The album is called “The Narrow Line” and will be out on Ripple Music worldwide December 7th 2018.

Craneium is:
Andreas Kaján – Vocals & Guitars
Martin Ahlö – Vocals & Guitars
Joel Kronqvist – Drums
Jonas Ridberg – Bass

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Ripple Music website

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Arcadian Child Set Nov. 23 Release for Superfonica

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

arcadian child

You might recall Cypriot psychedelic rockers Arcadian Child premiered ‘Painting’ in a visualizer here over the summer. Details at the time were pretty scarce for the follow-up to 2017’s Afterglow (review here), but a Nov. 23 release date has been set through Ripple Music offshoot Rougue Wave Records, and preorders are up now. I’m not saying I’ve heard it and it’s awesome or anything, but I’ve heard it and it’s awesome, so okay, yes, that is what I’m saying. You win this round.

Since I’d really like to drive that point home — the part about “awesome,” not about the part where you win, though you have my congratulations — “Painting” and the video for “She Flows” are both at the bottom of this post. The PR wire sent the artwork and track details for Superfonica accordingly:

arcadian child superfonica

Arcadian Child to Release New LP, ‘Superfonica’, November 23

Fast-Rising Neo-Psych Group Blends and Bends Genres to Create Singular Sound of its Own; New Songs “Painting” and “She Flows” Premiere

Greek neo-psych band Arcadian Child will release its new LP, Superfonica, on November 23 via Ripple Music / Rogue Wave Records. Hailing from Limassol, Cyprus, Arcadian Child formed in 2013 and soon made a name for itself via a cool and coherent sound that combines hypnotic psychedelia, stoner rock riffage, and indie rock groove. Potent and intoxicating, Arcadian Child delivers guitar-orientated psych rock blended with ambient elements, hallucinogenic patterns and kaleidoscopic, headphone-friendly swirl.

To advance the release of Superfonica, Arcadian Child has released the new singles, “Painting” and “She Flows”. “Painting” is released via a cool visualizer video and “She Flows” makes its debut via music video. Arcadian Child’s unapologetic references to music of earlier eras infused forge a transcendent maze of heady resonance and drones.

Superfonica is the follow-up to Arcadian Child’s celebrated 2017 debut, Afterglow, a record that immediately established the unit as a buzzworthy band to watch.

Arcadian Child’s beautiful songs lure you slowly and smoothly into a sort of soothing numbness; the group’s use of 60s/70s pop style progressive theatrics call up a web of guitars, keyboards, and drums that thunder and ooze at the same time, and the melodies walk steadily more than they lurch. Arcadian Child are masters at sounding simultaneously cool as a block of ice and hot as hellfire, but the unshakeable pop melodies are the real key to this album’s success.

Track listing:

1.) Bain Marie
2.) Twist Your Spirit
3.) Brothers
4.) Constellations
5.) Painting
6.) She Flows
7.) Before We Die
8.) The March

Pre-order Superfonica at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/arcadianchildband/
https://arcadianchildband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Roguewaverecords/
http://roguewaverecords.bigcartel.com/

Arcadian Child, “Painting” official video

Arcadian Child, “She Flows” official video

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Stone Deaf and Salem’s Bend Touring This Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

stone deaf

salem's bend

If these bands aren’t friends yet, one expects they will be by the time they’re done touring together this month. Stone Deaf from Colorado and Salem’s Bend from Los Angeles will hit the road together in about a week’s time, starting out with Stone Deaf doing a date in Vegas alongside Brant Bjork and Mezzoa before the tour picks up a few nights later in Reno and runs through California and back through the desert, finishing Oct. 20 in Tempe, Arizona. Both bands go with relatively new short releases behind them. For Stone Deaf, it’s the covers outing The Bobby Peru EP, with takes on 13th Floor Elevators and David Bowie, and Salem’s Bend have the live-recorded Cold Hand which was tracked while recording the video for the song of the same name.

It’s a relatively quick run, but looks like it’ll be a good time and a chance for both bands to stretch their legs before 2018 starts to wind down. I wouldn’t be surprised if either band had plans in the works for 2019 either for recording or shows or both.

In the meantime, the PR wire:

stone deaf salems bend tour

STONE DEAF/SALEM’S BEND TOUR

Ripple Music bands STONE DEAF and SALEM’S BEND are pleased to announce that they will be embarking on a tour of the United States West Coast next month.

Salem’s Bend commented “We’re stoked to be hitting the road with Stone Deaf- these guys are rad, great tunes and great dudes! We’re also going to hit a couple spots we haven’t played yet this year so we’re excited for that too, reconnect with fans in places we haven’t been to for a while. See ya out on the road!”

Stone Deaf Bandcamp: https://stone-deaf.bandcamp.com/album/royal-burnout

Salem’s Bend bandcamp: https://salemsbend.com/album/salems-bend

Oct 11 – Las Vegas, NV – Count?s Vamp?d *
Oct 16 – Reno, NV – The Saint
Oct 17 – Sonora, CA – Winters Tavern
Oct 18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Redwood Bar
Oct 19 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
Oct 20 – Tempe, AZ – Timeout Lounge
* Brant Bjork, Stone Deaf, Mezzoa

https://www.facebook.com/StoneDeafColorado/
https://twitter.com/stonedeafband
http://stone-deaf.com/

http://www.facebook.com/salemsbend
https://salemsbend.com/
http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products

Stone Deaf, The Bobby Peru EP (2018)

Salem’s Bend, Cold Hand Live EP (2018)

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