Review & Video Premiere: Blackwülf, Sinister Sides

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on February 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Blackwülf sinister sides

[Click play above to view the premiere of Blackwülf’s video for the title-track of their new LP, Sinister Sides. Album is out Feb. 26 on Ripple Music.]

Indeed, it is a darker, moodier and perhaps even more sinister aspect of themselves demonstrated by Oakland heavy rockers Blackwülf on their second album for Ripple Music and third overall, Sinister Sides. The four-piece — who may or may not have ditched the umlaut since their last outing, 2015’s Oblivion Cycle (review here) — refine their periodically aggressive take on heavy rock with punker and classically metallic roots throughout the neatly-executed eight tracks and 40 minutes of Sinister Sides and one can find songwriting growth in the employment of a diverse set of vibes, whether that comes in the early Alice in Chains snarl of opener “Gate of Sorrow,” its side B companion “Blind to Fate” and the subsequent Blind-era C.O.C. groove of “The Tempest,” the semi-acoustic “Waiting on Tomorrow,” which seems to owe part of its aesthetic to Down‘s “Landing on the Mountains of Meggido” and part to Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath balladry, or the subsequent “Dead to the World,” which reignites a doomly focus in transposing the central riff of Sabbath‘s “Children of the Grave” to suit the band’s own political purposes.

Those include, one is obliged to note, a guest appearance from Geof O’Keefe, whose presence — and tone — hangs heavily throughout Sinister Sides, giving it all the more of that sinister feel. The founding member of Pentagram and Bedemon shows up on three cuts in total: the post-opener title-track, as well as “Sinister Sides” and the album’s penultimate inclusion, which is a beefed-up take on Cream‘s “Sunshine of Your Love,” and while I’m not sure the latter’s heavy hippie blues is really suited to the crunch with which it’s delivered, it obviously puts to rest any doubt about the band’s roots in classic heavy rock and sounds like they had a blast in the studio putting it together.

If, say, you’ve had a miserable cold for the last week and continue to feel resoundingly shitty — just as a happenstance — you’ll no doubt want to aim your sneezes elsewhere from O’Keefe‘s guest spots. That is to say, among those who know enough to know, dude is kind of a big deal. And having him in for one song would be a considerable coup on the band’s part, but his playing on three separate tracks spread throughout the record — two on side A, one on side B, assuming the vinyl splits the tracklisting in half, which works timing-wise — also puts Sinister Sides at considerable risk as regards the work done by frontman Alex Cunningham, guitarist Peter Holmes, bassist Scott Peterson, and drummer Dave Pankenier being outshined by the pedigree of O’Keefe. It’s a credit to the band that they’re not, and not only that, but it’s a credit to the band that O’Keefe‘s showcase tracks — yes, even that Cream cover — are fluidly integrated with the rest of the material.

blackwulf

Part of that success stems from the work done by the opening salvo of “Gate of Sorrow,” “Sinister Sides” and “Waiting on Tomorrow,” which offer three distinct and seemingly disparate styles between them while nonetheless maintaining a fluidity of their approach. Songwriting? Confidence? Sheer performance? Whatever lets the band do it, they move from aggro grunge-infused heavy rock to spirited traditional doom and into acoustic-minded ’80 metallurgy in a manner that more or less allows the remaining five tracks to go where they please. A scope has been set. It’s not as off-the-wall genre-bending or experimentalist as some other might be, but nor is it intended as such. Blackwülf‘s interest with Sinister Sides isn’t so much to reshape heavy rock and/or doom in their own image, but to draw elements from those sounds and others like the NWOBHM and punk and ’90s alternative to create something of their ow from them.

I’d argue that as their third full-length — reasonable to expect as a moment of arrival for any band who are going to have one — Sinister Sides comes out a winner in that effort. By the same token, I don’t think Blackwülf are finished with the process of refinement clearly at work in these tracks. “Gate of Sorrow,” the more dramatic vibe of closer “Battle Line” — which doesn’t seem to come out of nowhere in part because of the work “Waiting on Tomorrow” does earlier on the record — and even “Sinister Sides” itself belong thoroughly to them, and the fact that Blackwülf step so boldly forward to claim this array of styles as their own, informing their listeners one track at a time that this is who they are as a band some six years on from their founding, speaks indeed to Sinister Sides being that stated moment of arrival for them.

As the doomly swing of “Dead to the World” and the darker-hued shuffle in the rhythm of “The Tempest” show, there’s no shortage of commitment to definition that’s been made by Blackwülf here, but it’s hard to see where the band are beholden to anything other than their penchant for memorable structures and crisp, precise execution of their material. Sinister Sides finds Blackwülf not only keeping good company, but working diligently to push themselves forward as well, and while that may not be what the ultimate narrative of the album centers around — even I have to admit “Geof O’Keefe plays on this record” makes for a catchy lead — anyone who actually takes the time to dig into these songs will discover that it’s Blackwülf themselves who come out on the other side of the proceedings sounding stronger than ever before. A touch of villainy suits them. One hopes they continue down such a multifaceted yet cohesive path.

Blackwülf website

Blackwülf on Bandcamp

Blackwülf on Thee Facebooks

Blackwülf on Twitter

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Twitter

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Cities of Mars & Nekromant Announce May Tour Dates

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

Everyone knows there’s nothing like riffs in Springtime, and you can expect a shared tour between Swedish outfits Cities of Mars and Nekromant will offer plenty of them. Both groups are riding high off their 2017 debuts, and Nekromant — who, to be fair, had a record out in 2015 under their original moniker, Serpent — will have the added occasion of celebrating their signing to Ripple Music for the release of their next album. A bit of news there I hadn’t heard, but cheers to them and of course another cool pickup for the label.

Should be an interesting mix of styles between Cities of Mars‘ weighted rolling grooves and the proto-heavy stylizations Nekromant bring to bear, but that’s hardly an impossible gap to cross. Banner and dates follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

CITIES OF MARS NEKROMANT TOUR BANNER

Nekromants of Mars Tour 2018 – Cities of Mars & Nekromant

Two of Sweden’s hardest working bands are joining forces for a shared headline Euro tour in May. Cities of Mars and Nekromant both come from the riff-heavy Gothenburg area in Western Sweden and have crossed paths before. After enjoying a shared packed-house gig in Berlin together in October 2017 stars aligned even more into a shared tour. Cities of Mars bring their latest material from the critically acclaimed Temporal Rifts album (out on Argonauta Records), Nekromant will be shredding tunes from their likewise well-received latest effort Snakes & Liars that brought them to a deal with Ripple Music for an upcoming album.

The bulk of the dates are set as below, but a few more gigs might still turn up from the fertile heavy underground of Europe.

May 11 Potsdam, Germany – Archiv
May 12 Freiburg, Germany – White Rabbit
May 13 Utrecht, Netherlands – ACU
May 14 Antwerp, Belgium – Kid’s Rhythm n’ Blues Kaffee
May 15 Lyon, France – Blogg
May 16 Le Mans, France – Le Lezard
May 17 Paris, France – L’International
May 18 Basel, Switzerland – Hirscheneck
May 19 Weimar, Germany – Kasseturm

www.facebook.com/citiesofmars
http://citiesofmars.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/citiesofmars

www.facebook.com/Nekromantband
https://nekromant.bandcamp.com/album/snakes-liars
https://www.instagram.com/theswedishnekromant

Cities of Mars, “Caverns Alive!” official video

Nekromant, Snakes and Liars (2017)

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Holy Grove Announce West Coast Tour

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

holy grove foto phortress

Holy Grove are hitting the road once again. Word comes down of the West Coast trek less than a month after the soulful Portland four-piece announced signing to Ripple Music to release their second full-length later this year, and ahead of an appearance this coming Spring as part of a bill at Stumpfest VII that also includes Windhand, Black Mare, Ruby the Hatchet and Dead Meadow, among others.

If you’re thinking this might be a release tour for the new long-player — I had the thought too — the band aren’t quite there yet. Rather, this seems to be the trip by which they’ll tighten up the new songs before hitting the studio to lay everything down. Certainly a great time to see them either way, and they’ll be keeping some good company as well. Check it out:

holy grove tour

We’re headed out on a little West Coast tour before we go in the studio to record our 2nd record. We’re going to playing a bunch of places we’ve never played before. We’re playing with some great bands, check out the poster for details. We’d love to see you. Tell your friends, we’d love to see them too.

Thanks to Martin Ontiveros for the poster!

Holy Grove live:
03/15 Bellingham WA The Shakedown w/ Crystal Myth
03/16 Seattle WA Substation w/ Into the Storm
03/17 Astoria OR Charlie’s Chop House w/ Void Realm
03/18 Eugene OR Old Nick’s Pub w/ Elephant Gun, Coyote
03/19 Reno NV Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor w/ TBD
03/20 Las Vegas NV Dive Bar w/ Sonolith, Plague Doctor
03/21 San Diego CA Tower Bar w/ War Cloud
03/22 Los Angeles CA 5 Star Bar w/ War Cloud
03/23 San Jose CA The Caravan w/ ZED, KOOK
03/24 Nevada City CA Cooper’s Ale Works w/ War Cloud
03/25 Sacramento CA Blue Lamp w/ Royal Thunder, Pinkish Black, Brume
03/26 Portland OR Tonic Lounge w/ Royal Thunder, Pinkish Black
04/20 Portland OR Stumpfest VII

Holy Grove is:
Andrea Vidal – Vocals
Trent Jacobs – Guitar
Gregg Emley – Bass
Eben Travis – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/holygroveband/
https://twitter.com/holygroveband
http://holygrove.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Holy Grove, Holy Grove (2016)

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Against the Grain Release Cheated Death Feb. 9; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

against the grain

Should you be surprised when the new track Against the Grain are streaming tears ass out of your speakers like it just robbed the place? No, probably not. At least not if you heard 2015’s Road Warriors (review here) or have gotten down the with Detroit four-piece’s speed-minded fare before. What is distinct about the title-cut from their upcoming long-player, Cheated Death — out Feb. 9 on Ripple — is the underlying groove that accompanies that head-spinning presentation. Over time, Against the Grain have worked both on the road and in the studio to build a steady foundation of quality songwriting for their blazing craft, and it would seem those efforts are continuing to pay off.

You can stream “Cheated Death” at the bottom of this post because, you know, the future, and check out the wide swath of touring Against the Grain will be doing to support the record. That’s kind of their thing. Can pretty much guarantee this won’t be the last run they do this year, either. They go and go and go. And fast.

From the PR wire:

Against the Grain Cheated Death

AGAINST THE GRAIN: Motor City Mad Men Cheat Death Next Month with Ripple Music

Cheated Death is released worldwide on 9th February 2018 on Ripple Music

Living up to the title of their newest record, Against the Grain have proven themselves to be true road warriors. Blazing a trail across the US with their brand of gear-shifting, balls-to-the-wall rock, incorporating all things heavy they practically defy categorization, seamlessly blurring the lines of punk, rock, doom and thrash.

After playing fifty shows in 2009 across their home state of Michigan, their self-titled debut (released that same year) garnered a serious local fan base. Introduced to touring life by Hellmouth and The Meatmen, with their intense live show nailed and energized fan base following in support close behind, Against The Grain quickly transformed into a fully-functioning road act.

Playing seventy-five dates in 2011, they followed their debut with 2012’s Motor City Speed Rock and a further hundred fifty dates in support. Their efforts caught the attention of Self-Destructo Records, who in 2013 released their third full-length Surrounded By Snakes to such acclaim that they rereleased it soon afterward on 10” vinyl. Maintaining a DIY tour ethic, the band has since built a national fan base while quenching their thirst for fast and heavy rock and roll, right across the land. With a combined total of seven hundred and fifty dates under their belts since their formation in 2011, the band has toured alongside an impressive assemblage of notable acts that include Nashville Pussy, Valient Thorr, Bongzilla, Atomic Bitchwax, Mos Generator, Anvil, Night Demon, Church of Misery, The Hookers, Beast in the Field, Lo-Pan and many more.

Against The Grain’s heavily anticipated forth full-length, Road Warriors, was released in the summer of 2015 and pushed them even further into the electrifying realms of rock, metal and punk world. But it’s their soon-to-be released album Cheated Death that’s going to truly push them over the edge. Released this February on the California-based record label Ripple Music – widely regarded as one of the world’s leading record labels for Heavy Rock, Stoner, Doom and Heavy Psych – you can rest assured that the mad men of Michigan are going to blaze a trial across the US, the world and your mind in 2018.

Cheated Death is released worldwide on 9th February 2018 on Ripple Music

Against The Grain:
Chris Nowak – Bass, Vocals
Rob Nowak – Drums
Nick Bellomo – Guitar
Kyle Davis – Guitar
2018 Tour Dates:

2/2 – Saginaw (MI) – Hamilton St. Pub
2/3 – Indianapolis (IN) – The Melody Inn
2/4 – Grand Rapids (MI) – Tip Top Deluxe (Matinee)
3/22 – Westland (MI) – The Token Lounge
3/23 – Newport (KY) – The Southgate House Revival
3/24 – Nashville (TN) – Exit/In
3/25 – Lexington (KY) – Cosmic Charlies
3/26 – Louisville (KY) – Highlands Tap Room
3/27 – St Louis (MO) – FUBAR
3/28 – Springfield (MO) – Outland Ballroom
3/29 – Wichita (KS) – The Elbow Room
3/30 – Denver (CO) – The Gothic Theatre
3/31 – Grand Junction (CO) – The Mesa Theatre
4/1 – Salt Lake City (UT) – Metro Music Hall
4/3 – Las Vegas (NV) – The Divebar
4/4 – San Diego (CA) – The Soda Bar
4/5 – Santa Ana (CA) – The Observatory
4/6 – Bakersfield (CA) – Pyrenees Cafe and Saloon
4/7 – San Jose (CA) – The Ritz
4/8 – Santa Cruz (CA) – The Catalyst
4/10 – Sacramento (CA) – The Blue Lamp
4/12 – Grants Pass (OR) – Rogue Theatre
4/13 – Portland (OR) – Dantes
4/14 – Seattle (WA) – El Corazon
4/15 – Spokane (WA) – The Pin!
4/16 – Whitefish (MT) – Remington Bar and Casino
4/17 – Bozeman (MT) – Bozeman Eagles Club and Ballroom
4/18 – Billings (MT) – The Pub Station
4/20 – Minneapolis (MN) – Lees Liquor Lounge
4/21 – Green Bay (WI) – The Lyric Room
4/22 – Chicago (IL) – Reggies Rock Club

https://www.facebook.com/Againstthegraindetroit/
https://www.instagram.com/againstthegraindetroit/
https://againstthegrain-atg.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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War Cloud Announce Tour Dates Including SXSW and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

war cloud photo Janiece Gonzalez

Oakland riffthrashers War Cloud will head out on tour in March, and I think if you heard their 2017 self-titled debut (review here) — which you can stream in its entirety at the bottom of this post courtesy of Ripple Music‘s Bandcamp page — you probably have some sense of the particular brand of good times they’ll be having along the way. Boozy, in short. Regardless of intake, however, War Cloud are a riot. I’ve yet to have the pleasure of catching them live, but they’ve got hooks, energy and a classic-minded sound delivered with modern vigor, and if that’s not enough to make you show up to a gig, they’ll probably have a rad t-shirt or two for sale too. Just a guess on that one.

They’ll be making stops at SXSW in Austin and circling back to CA in the company newcomer labelmates Holy Grove, which, goodness gracious, that’s a show — though one could easily and probably should say the same of the Ripple Fest II that War Cloud will play on Feb. 3 among likewise-esteemed compatriots Blackwülf, The Hazytones, The Watchers and ZED.

That show is at Thee Parkside and you’ll find the details as well as the tour dates below, courtesy of the band via the PR wire:

war cloud tour poster

Ripple Music and Hi-Wattage Booking present War Cloud, volcanic rock from Oakland, California, for the first time bringing their aural ash of molten riffs to Texas. With their debut album out, the heavy rock quartet will be taking the southwest by storm making an appearance at SXSW and linking up with fellow Ripple band, Holy Grove for the last 3 dates.

Originally erupting out of Oakland, War Cloud have been steadily shredding Northern Californian ear drums since their formation in 2014. Founded by vocalist, guitar player and former Baltimore resident Alex Wein, after immediately planting down his amps he wasted no time in recruiting a solid four-man crew. Setting out to create an aural ash cloud of volcanic rock ‘n’ roll, Wein was soon joined by Bay Area natives Joaquin Ridgell on drums, guitarist Tony Campos, and later, Los Angeles transplant Sean Nishi on bass.

War Cloud Live:
02/03 Ripple Fest II Thee Parkside San Francisco CA w/ Blackwülf, The Hazytones, The Watchers & ZED
03/12 Blacklight District Long Beach CA
03/13 Yucca Tap Room Tempe AZ
03/14 Rockin’ Cigar Bar El Paso TX
03/15 The Lost Well Austin TX (SXSW)
03/16 Rudyard’s British Pub Houston TX
03/17 Limelight San Antonio TX
03/18 TBA
03/20 Surly Wench Tucson AZ
03/21 Tower Bar San Diego CA w/ Holy Grove
03/22 5 Star Bar Los Angeles CA w/ Holy Grove
03/24 Eli’s Oakland CA w/ Holy Grove & Brume

War Cloud is:
Alex Wein – Vocals/Guitar
Tony Campos – Guitar
Sean Nishi – Bass
Joaquin Ridgell – Drums

http://facebook.com/WarCloudisComing
http://warcloudiscoming.bandcamp.com/
http://warcloud.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

War Cloud, War Cloud (2017)

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Mr. Plow Sign to Ripple Music; Maintain Radio Silence Due this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

At the risk of being totally honest with you, this one just warms my heart. First announced here last May prior to being recorded in the Fall, the first Mr. Plow album in more than a decade, Maintain Radio Silence, has now been confirmed for issue this this Summer via Ripple Music. As label honcho Todd Severin professes to be below, I also am a longtime Mr. Plow fan, and even in the early going of this site bemoaned the fact that it had been so long since they had a release out. At that point I think it had been three years. Little did I know.

Maintain Radio Silence was originally set for independent issue this month, but for those who know enough to have been waiting, a little more wait doesn’t seem like the worst, especially with Ripple being certainly likely to get it to more ears than it might hit otherwise. Either way, here’s to being radio silent no longer.

Long live Mr. Plow.

From the PR wire:

mr plow photo grooverock photography

Mr. Plow sign with Ripple Music

Stoner metal band MR. PLOW have signed with Ripple Music. The influential music label will release the band’s new album Maintain Radio Silence on vinyl, CD and digital formats this summer.

Label founder Todd Severin commented “I’ve been a huge fan of Mr Plow since their early days and I personally have all their albums in my collection, so it was a no-brainer to ask the lads to join the Ripple family. The new album is better than anything I’ve ever heard from them before and will definitely open up new ears and eyes in the stoner/doom community.”

Bassist Greg Green also commented “I think I can speak for the entire band when I say that we’re super pumped about signing with Ripple. Ripple is the only label that we ever talked about working with once we decided that this album needs more exposure than we could ever hope to give it releasing it on our own. And we’re in good company–the entire Ripple roster rocks.”

About Mr. Plow:

Mr. Plow formed in 1997 when Kyuss and Fu Manchu were blowing out speakers in car systems across the land. When the term “stonerrock” was joining the lexicon for music writers who needed a category for riff-based rock that was tuned down and turned up. The band were influenced heavily by the times, but sought a different direction lyrically–instead of dark and evil, they went for pop-culture references and hooky riffs. Mr. Plow was way less about skulls and satanic imagery, and way more about good times that would be the soundtrack for summer trips to the beach or skatepark.

Mr. Plow is:
Justin Waggoner: guitar/vocals
Jeremy Stone: guitar/vocals
Greg Green: bass
Cory Cousins: drums

http://mrplow.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Mr.PlowRock/
https://www.instagram.com/mrplowrock/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://twitter.com/RippleMusic
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

Mr. Plow, “Samizdat”

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Track-by-Track & Full Album Stream: Ozone Mama, Cosmos Calling

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on January 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ozone mama

Hungarian heavy rock four-piece Ozone Mama will release their third album, Cosmos Calling, on Jan. 19 as their debut on Ripple Music. Whether it’s the element of bluesy Southern twang that shows up in the title-track, “The Alchemist” or the earlier “Straight on Till Morning Light” — pretty much anytime they break out the organ — or the unbridled hook that makes “High Ride” such a shimmering standout, the record boasts a clarity of intent and craft front to back that coincides with its straightforward, frills-need-not-apply ethic of songwriting. And it very much lives up to that ethic in performance and execution — it can sound clean because there’s nothing it needs to mask beneath a layer of sonic grit.

Comprised of vocalist Márton Székely, guitarist András Gábor, bassst Gergely Dobos and drummer Máté GulyásOzone Mama debuted ozone mama cosmos callingwith 2012’s The Starship and followed that with 2016’s Sonic Glory. A penchant for spacey themes notwithstanding, their material is nothing if not grounded on Cosmos Calling, as shown in the shuffling “Cold Light of Day” or the manner in which the swing of “Doppelganger” updates the ideology of ’70s heavy rock so as to allow both the rhythmic shove and the melody come through — a little cowbell there doesn’t hurt either, naturally. Taken in kind with the thicker riffing that shows itself throughout moments like the intro to “The Alchemist” or the winding “Feel so Alive,” Ozone Mama set up a range for their sound that remains unified thanks to the overarching quality of their hooks, the presence of Székely as a frontman and the obvious chemistry shared between the band as a whole.

As the closing pair of “The Alchemist” and “Moon Pilot” — the latter something of a sonic shift from much of what precedes — play out as two of the longest cuts on Cosmos Calling, the message is only further nailed down of a conscientious approach to their work, which is a big part of the reason why, in featuring the album in its entirety today ahead of its release later this week, it seemed all the more prudent to get the perspective of the group itself. I don’t do track-by-tracks so often, but in a case like that of Ozone Mama, where they’re so readily apparent in demonstrating intent and purpose behind their work, it could hardly feel more appropriate.

You’ll find Cosmos Calling in its entirety on the player below, followed by the band’s runthrough of each song on it.

Please enjoy:

Ozone Mama, Cosmos Calling Track-by-Track

(Courtesy of the band)

1. Evil Ways

This one has a dark psychedelic intro with spooky oriental vibe. Along with the use of the haunting tanpura and mellotron, the distorted vocals and lyrics are reminiscent to Blind Willie Johnson, and for such a short song it’s the one on the album that’s guaranteed to give anyone the creeps.

2. Straight on Till Morning Light

This one’s a sequel to “Evil Ways” and our tribute to Gregg Allman, who passed away recently. Southern rock has always been a strong influence on our songwriting. The bridge brings back that gothic vibe of the intro with a chant-like vocal and if you like slide guitars, tasty Rhodes piano and that upbeat/psychedelic ‘Allman-vibe,’ this is the one for you.

3. Doppelganger

A cheerful-sounding song based on a heavy riff but with very dark lyrics. This song is about that ‘evil twin’ which lurks inside all of us; paranoia, schizophrenia, all of those things which can hit anyone at any point in their life. The story is about a sinister parasitic twin living in the person’s head, very reminiscent of Stephen King’s The Dark Half.

4. High Ride

This is an unusual song from us. It was our first single from Cosmos Calling and has a totally different vibe than the rest, with catchy melodies and a heavy fuzz solo. It’s essentially an invitation for a ride to set you free.

5. Shout at the Sky

A melodic piece on the album, a slow ballad-like song about the constant search for the right path and the right decisions of life. The story behind this one is basically about a man who had made a mistake and the regret was so heavy that his misery made him ill. There is a second interpretation too. The other reading of it is a story of a man with cancer and as his moods swing and memories becoming more poignant.

6. Freedom Fighters

A high-octane rock and roll song with a very simple message: set yourself free and take steps to eliminate all the bad things that ruin your life. “Freedom Fighters” refers to revolutionary people, spiritual leaders and the ones fighting for a greater good and equality.

7. Cosmos Calling

The title-track from the album. This bluesy, psychedelic and heavy fuzz number has plenty of Hammond organs, and harmonized vocals and is a very upbeat and cosmic love song with hints of humour in the vein of Kurt Vonnegut.

8. Feel so Alive

This song is about the power of music. When you turn up the volume and the joy and adrenaline rushes through your veins. Heavy fuzz, tight basslines, funky wah-work and a hint of Motown in the verses. There’s also a tape delay under the solo which might bring you back to the best moments of the ’70s space-rock bands.

9. Cold Light of Day

This one is another upbeat song but it does have slight cold and wintry vibe to it. It’s the story of a man who has been in a poisonous relationship and finally he realizes that he’s been wrong all along and a change must inevitably happen. Escaping from the witch’s spell and get rid of those chains before it’s too late.

10. The Alchemist

A fuzz-heavy, riff-based fiction with a very dark vibe this one’s about a guy who’s trying to save his friends in a plague-ridden town but, at the end, he dies just like the others despite all his best efforts at concocting a cure.

11. Moon Pilot

“Moon Pilot” is the climactic point of the album, the last song on the record, longer than the rest and it has a space rock sound with lyrics reminiscent of the darkest novels of Philip K. Dick and a theme not to dissimilar to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Just updated a little for today’s rock audience.

Ozone Mama on Thee Facebooks

Ozone Mama on Twitter

Ozone Mama on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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Vokonis Announce Third Album in the Works & March European Tour Dates

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

vokonis (photo Jennika Photography)

Because that’s precisely the kind of jerk I am, when Vokonis guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson dropped me a line about announcing the Swedish trio’s upcoming European tour dates this March, there was just about no way I was letting him off the hook without getting an update on the doings for their next album. Call it a hunch, but I figured that given the quick turnaround between their 2016 debut, Olde One Ascending (review here), and last year’s oh-shit-it-turns-out-we’re-way-more-progressive-than-anyone-thought follow-up, The Sunken Djinn (review here) — which by my estimation stood among the very best of 2017 full-lengths — there was a decent chance some riffs were already in the hopper.

And so they are. The band — Ohlsson, bassist Jonte Johansson and drummer Emil Larson — will enter Studio Underjord in Norrköping next month to start pre-production on their third album with plans toward recording later this year. Might be 2019 before the record gets out, but hell, at least we know it’s in progress. Ohlsson says they might even break out a new song or two on the tour. I have the feeling by the time they get through the pre-production process in February, they’ll be too stoked on the new material to not do so. Call it another hunch.

Comment from the band and tour dates follow:

vokonis euro tour

VOKONIS – European Tour March 2018

It’s going to be a lot of fun to see a lot of new places and meet new people. Hopefully will get a chance to meet some of the people that have followed our journey over the internet for these past two years.

Sharing stages with a fellow Ripple Music band is also gonna be super exciting. That goes to show how much we’ve gotten from that partnership. It’s like a whole network of musicians just unlocked at the moment of that press release.

We are set for a pre-production at Studio Underjord for a third album in February. So we’re very active with writing now. Hopefully if everything works out we enter the studio for this new album in late 2018. Can give a better update on that later on.

We’re trying to expand on the progressive parts of our sound, which has proven challenging but equally rewarding. So we’ve dabbled a lot more with clean parts. And more vocals from Jonte (bass).

Other than that I can give a cryptic hint that two already recorded songs will surface on compilations this coming spring/summer.

Vokonis European tour:
15/3 Thursday – Plan B, Malmö, SWE
16/3 Friday – KB18, Copenhagen, Denmark
17/3 Saturday – Chemiefabrik, Dresden, GE
18/3 Sunday – Café ‘T Hert, Joure, NL
19/3 Monday – MS Stubnitz, GE
21/3 Wednesday – Kinky Star, Ghent, BE *
22/3 Thursday – Kids Rhythm n Blues, Antwerpen, BE *
23/3 Friday – Comma, Bruges, BE *
24/3 Saturday – Rock Cafe, Den Helder, NL
* with Fire Down Below

VOKONIS is:
Simon Ohlsson: Vocals, Guitar
Emil Larsson: Drums
Jonte Johansson: Bass, Backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialVokonis/
https://twitter.com/officialvokonis
https://www.instagram.com/vokonisofficial/
https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
www.ripple-music.com

Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn (2017)

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