Quarterly Review: Slift, IIVII, Coogans Bluff, Rough Spells, Goblinsmoker, Homecoming, Lemurian Folk Songs, Ritual King, Sunflowers, Maya Mountains

Posted in Reviews on March 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Thursday. Everyone doing well? Healthy? Kicking ass? Working from home? There seems to be a lot of that going around, at least among the lucky. New Jersey, where I live, is on lockdown with non-essential businesses shuttered, roads largely empty and all that. It can be grim and apocalyptic feeling, but I’m finding this Quarterly Review to be pretty therapeutic or at least helpfully distracting at a moment when I very much need something to be that. I hope that if you’re reading this, whether you’ve been following along or not, it’s done or can do the same for you if that’s what you need. I’ll leave it at that.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

The second album from French space/psych trio Slift is a 72-minute blowout echoshred epic — too aware not to be prog but too cosmic not to be space rock. Delivered through Stolen Body Records and Vicious Circle, Ummon is not only long, it speaks to a longer term. It’s not an album for this year, or for this decade, or for any other decade, for that matter. It’s for the ongoing fluid now. You want to lose yourself in the depths of buzz and dreamy synth? Yeah, you can do that. You want to dig into the underlying punk and maybe a bit of Elder influence in the vocal bark and lead guitar shimmer of “Thousand Helmets of Gold?” Well hell’s bells, do that. The mega-sprawling 2LP is a gorgeous blast of distortion, backed by jazzy, organic drum wud-dum-tap and the bass, oh, the bass; the stuff of low end sensory displacement. Amid swirls and casts of melodic light in “Dark Was Space, Cold Were the Stars,” Slift dilate universal energy and push beyond the noise wash reaches of “Son Dong’s Cavern” and through the final build, liftoff and roll of 13-minute closer “Lions, Tigers and Bears” with the deft touch of those dancing on prior conceptions. We’d be lucky to have Ummon as the shape of space rock to come.

Slift on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

Vicious Circle Records store

 

IIVII, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep

Two LPs telling two different stories released at the same time, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep (on Consouling Sounds) brings Josh Graham‘s aural storytelling to new cinematic reaches. The composer, guitarist, synthesist, programmer, visual artist, etc., is joined along the way by the likes of Jo Quail, Ben Weinman (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan), Dana Schecter (Insect Ark), Sarah Pendleton (ex-SubRosa) and Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) — among others — but across about 90 minutes of fluidity, Graham/IIVII soundtracks two narratives through alternatingly vast and crushing drone. The latter work is actually an adaptation from a short sci-fi film about, yes, humanity losing its ability to sleep — I feel you on that one — but the former, which tells a kind of meth-fueled story of love and death, brings due chaos and heft to go with its massive synthesized scope. Josh Graham wants to score your movie. You should let him. And you should pay him well. And you should let him design the poster. And you should pay him well for that too. End of story.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds store

 

Coogans Bluff, Metronopolis

coogans bluff metronopolis

Following the initial sax-laden prog-rock burst and chase that is opener “Gadfly,” Berlin’s Coogans Bluff bring a ’70s pastoralia to “Sincerely Yours,” and that atmosphere ends up staying with Metronopolis — their fifth album — for the duration, no matter where else they might steer the sound. And they do steer the sound. Sax returns (as it will) in the jabbing “Zephyr,” a manic shred taking hold in the second half accompanied by no-less-manic bass, and “Creature of the Light” reimagines pop rock of the original vinyl era in the image of its own weirdness, undeniably rock but also something more. Organ-inclusive highlight “Soft Focus” doesn’t so much touch on psychedelics as dunk its head under their warm waters, and “The Turn I” brings an almost Beatlesian horn arrangement to fruition ahead of the closer “The Turn II.” But in that finale, and in “Hit and Run,” and way back in “Sincerely Yours,” Coogans Bluff hold that Southern-style in their back pocket as one of several of Metronopolis‘ recurring themes, and it becomes one more element among the many at their disposal.

Coogans Bluff on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution store

 

Rough Spells, Ruins at Midday

rough spells ruins at midday

An underlying current of social commentary comes coated in Rough Spells‘ mysticism on Ruins at Midday, the Toronto unit’s second LP. Recorded by Ian Blurton and presented by Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records, the eight-track LP has, as the lyrics of “Chance Magic” say, “No bad intentions.” Indeed, it seems geared only toward eliciting your participation in its ceremony of classic groove, hooks and melodies, even the mellow “Die Before You Die” presenting an atmosphere that’s heavy but still melodic and accessible. “Grise Fiord” addresses Canada’s history of mistreating its native population, while “Pay Your Dues” pits guitar and vocal harmonics against each other in a shove of proto-metallic energy to rush momentum through side B and into the closing pair of the swaggering “Nothing Left” and the title-track, which is the longest single cut at five minutes, but still keeps its songwriting taut with no time to spare for indulgences. In this, and on several fronts, Ruins at Midday basks in multifaceted righteousness.

Rough Spells on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed store

DHU Records store

 

Goblinsmoker, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

goblinsmoker a throne in haze a world ablaze

Upside the head extreme sludgeoning! UK trio Goblinsmoker take on the more vicious and brutal end of sludge with the stench of death on A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze (on Sludgelord Records), calling to mind the weedian punishment of Belzebong and others of their decrepit ilk. Offered as part two of a trilogy, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze is comprised of three tracks running a caustic 26 minutes thick enough such that even its faster parts feel slow, a churning volatility coming to the crash of “Smoked in Darkness” at the outset only to grow more menacing in the lurch of centerpiece “Let Them Rot” — which of course shifts into blastbeats later on — and falling apart into noise and echoing residual feedback after the last crashes of “The Forest Mourns” recede. Beautifully disgusting, the release reportedly furthers the story of the Toad King depicted on its cover and for which the band’s prior 2018 EP was named, and so be it. The lyrics, largely indecipherable in screams, are vague enough that if you’re not caught up, you’ll be fine. Except you won’t be fine. You’ll be dead. But it’ll be awesome.

Goblinsmoker on Thee Facebooks

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

 

Homecoming, LP01

homecoming lp01

Progressive metal underpins French trio Homecoming‘s aptly-titled first record, LP01, with the guitars of second cut “Rivers of Crystal” leading the way through a meandering quiet part and subsequent rhythmic figure that reminds of later Opeth, though there’s still a strong heavy rock presence in their tones and grooves generally. It’s an interesting combination, and all the more so because I think part of what’s giving off such a metal vibe is the snare sound. You don’t normally think of a snare drum determining that kind of thing, but here we are. Certainly the vocal arrangements between gruff melodies, backing screams and growls, etc., the odd bit of blastbeating here and there, bring it all into line as well — LP01 is very much the kind of album that would title its six-minute instrumental centerpiece “Interlude” — but the intricacy in how the nine-minute “Return” develops and the harmonies that emerge early in closer “Five” tell the tale clearly of Homecoming‘s ambitions as they move forward from this already-ambitious debut.

Homecoming on Thee Facebooks

Homecoming on Bandcamp

 

Lemurian Folk Songs, Logos

lemurian folk songs logos

Tracked in the same sessions as the Budapest outfit’s 2019 album, Ima (review here), it should not come as a major surprise that the six-track/49-minute Logos from Lemurian Folk Songs follows a not entirely dissimilar course, bringing together dream-drift of tones and melodies with subtle but coherent rhythmic motion in a fashion not necessarily revolutionary for heavy psych, but certainly well done and engaging across its tracks. The tones of guitar and bass offer a warmth rivaled only by the echoing vocals on opener/longest cut (immediate points) “Logos,” and the shimmering “Sierra Tejada” and progressively building “Calcination” follow that pattern while adding a drift that is both of heavy psych and outside of it in terms of the character of how it’s played. None of the last three tracks is less than eight minutes long — closer “Firelake” tops nine in a mirror to “Logos” at the outset, but if that’s the band pushing further out I hear, then yes, I want to go along for that trip.

Lemurian Folk Songs on Thee Facebooks

Para Hobo Records on Bandcamp

 

Ritual King, Ritual King

ritual king ritual king

Progressive heavy rockers Ritual King display a striking amount of grace and patience across their Ripple Music-issued self-titled long-player. Tapping modern influences like Elder and bringing their own sense of melodic nuance to the proceedings across a tightly-constructed seven songs and 42 minutes, the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Jordan Leppitt, bassist Dan Godwin — whose tone is every bit worthy of gotta-hear-it classification — and drummer/backing vocalist Gareth Hodges string together linear movements in “Headspace” and “Dead Roads” that flow one into the next, return at unexpected moments or don’t, and follow a direction not so much to the next chorus but to the next statement the band want to make, whatever that might be. “Restrain” begins with a sweet proggy soundscape and unfolds two verses over a swaying riff, then is gone, where at the outset, “Valleys” offers grandeur the likes of which few bands would dare to embody on their third or fourth records, let alone their first. Easily one of 2020’s best debuts.

Ritual King on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Sunflowers, Endless Voyage

sunflowers endless voyage

You know what? Never mind. You ain’t weird enough for this shit. Nobody’s weird enough for this shit. I have a hard time believing the two souls from Portugal who made it are weird enough for this shit. Think I’m wrong? Think you’re up for it and you’re gonna put on SunflowersEndless Voyage and be like, “oh yeah, turns out mega-extreme krautrock blasted into outer space was my wavelength all along?” Cool. Bandcamp player’s right there. Have at it. I dare you.

Sunflowers on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

 

Maya Mountains, Era

maya mountains era

Italian heavy rockers Maya Mountains formed in 2005 and issued their debut album, Hash and Pornography, through Go Down Records in 2008. Era, which follows a narrative about the title-character whose name is given in lead cut “Enrique Dominguez,” who apparently travels through space after being lost in the desert — as one does — and on that basis alone is clearly a more complex offering than its predecessor. As to where Maya Mountains have been all the time in between records — here and there, in other bands, etc. But Era, at 10 tracks and 44 minutes, is the summation of five years of work on their part and its blend of scope and straight-ahead heavy riffing is welcome in its more heads-down moments like “Vibromatic” or in the purposefully weirder finale “El Toro” later on. Something like a second debut for the band after being away for so long, Era at very least marks the beginning of a new one for them, and one hopes it continues in perhaps more productive fashion than the last.

Maya Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records store

 

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

Coogans Bluff Post “Gadfly” Video; Metronopolis out Jan. 24

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

coogans bluff

In the interim since German horn-laced progressive heavy rockers Coogans Bluff issued their last full-length in 2016’s Flying to the Stars, the five-piece outfit celebrated 15 years since the origin of the band in 2003. 2017 brought the release through Noisolution of their Bluff Live collection recorded over the course of their touring to support the year prior’s studio LP, and on Jan. 24, 2020, the same imprint will stand behind their next studio album, Metronopolis. Fun to say, hard to type, the fifth album from the now-Berlin-I-guess?-based troupe was first introduced to the universe at large at the beginning of November with a teaser and so on, but to my knowledge, “Gadfly” is the first full-track to make its way to public ears.

Sound like a nifty proposition? Well, it turns out to be exactly that, so, you know, good instincts and whatnot. In “Gadfly,” which runs a usually paltry 3:23, Coogans Bluff offer a head-spinning array of kraut-laced executions, timing mathy guitars, bass and drums with King Crimson-y Mellotron, and yes, a goddamn wild sax solo, all the while meting out coherent verses and melodies to somehow manage to tie it together. They’re in a rush to get through it, to be sure, but when that sax solo comes around, check out the bass tone underneath — yes, I know; always the bass tone with me, but still — and dig the Mellotron grandiosity that comes out of it. At very least, it’s less than three and a half minutes. What’ve you got to lose?

Though when it comes to what you might actually gain by taking on “Gadfly” — the video for which features the band in a studio setting running through the track and making it look almost obnoxiously easy to play — that’s probably a list that should include whiplash, so keep that in mind as well.

They’re on tour with intermittent runs starting in January after Metronopolis hits. Dates and LP preorder link follow here, as posted by the band.

Good luck, and enjoy:

Coogans Bluff, “Gadfly” official video

Taken from COOGANS BLUFF‘s new album ‘METRONOPOLIS’ available January 24th 2020

Preorder the album here: https://www.flight13.com/coogans-bluff-metronopolis/138010

METRONOPOLIS TOUR 2020
30.01.2020 – Hamburg, Knust
31.01.2020 – Köln, Blue Shell
01.02.2020 – Bielefeld, Forum
13.02.2020 – Dortmund, Musiktheater Piano
14.02.2020 – Oldenburg, Cadillac
15.02.2020 – Hannover, Lux
28.02.2020 – Dresden, Groovestation
29.02.2020 – Leipzig, Noels Ballroom
12.03.2020 – München, Feierwerk
13.03.2020 – Stuttgart, Goldmarks
14.03.2020 – Jena, KuBa
26.03.2020 – Nürnberg, Z-Bau
27.03.2020 – Olten, Coq D’Or
28.03.2020 – Frankfurt a. Main, The Cave
24.04.2020 – Rostock, Peter-Weiss-Haus
25.04.2020 – Berlin, Lido

Coogans Bluff website

Coogans Bluff on Thee Facebooks

Coogans Bluff on Instagram

Noisolution webstore

Tags: , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: CHRCH, Bongripper, King Chiefs, Bonnacons of Doom, Boar, June Bug, Tired Lord, Bert, Zen Bison, Wheel in the Sky

Posted in Reviews on July 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

You know the deal by now, I’m sure: 50 reviews this week between now and Friday, in batches of 10 per day. It’s an unholy amount of music, but those who really dig in always seem to find something cool within a Quarterly Review. Frankly, with this much to choose from, I’d certainly hope so. I’m not going to delay at all, except to say thanks in advance for coming along on this one. It’s got some core-heavy and some-not-really-core-heavy stuff all bundled next to each other, so yeah, your patience is appreciated. Okay. No time like the present. Let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

CHRCH, Light Will Consume Us All

chrch light will consume us all

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the songs are long. Blah blah blah it’s heavy as whatever kind of construction equipment you could want to name. What’s even more striking about Los Angeles doomers CHRCH’s Neurot Recordings debut, Light Will Consume Us All, is the sense of atmosphere. The follow-up to 2015’s massively well-received Unanswered Hymns (review here) is comprised of three songs presented in descending time order from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Infinite” (20:41) to centerpiece “Portals” (14:50) and closer “Aether” (9:29) and it finds CHRCH refining the unremitting patience of their rollout, so that even when “Aether” explodes in its second half to charred blastbeating and abrasive screams, the ambience is still dense enough to feel it in one’s lungs. CHRCH keep up this level of progression and soon enough someone’s going to call them post-something or other. As it stands, their second album builds righteously on the achievements of their debut, and is a revelation in its bleakness.

CHRCH on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings website

 

Bongripper, Terminal

bongripper terminal

Pressed up as ever in DIY fashion, Bongripper’s Terminal presents two gargantuan slabs – one per vinyl side – that only seem to highlight the strengths in the Chicago instrumentalists’ approach. The tones are huge, the grooves nodding, the impact of each kick drum forceful. Repetition is central, that feeling of aural mass and destructiveness, but neither is Terminal – comprised of “Slow” (25:11) and “Death” (18:15) – lacking a sense of atmosphere. After 21 minutes of grueling pummel, “Slow” devolves into droning layers of noise wash and quiet guitar to finish out, and “Death” seems to hold onto an echoing lead in its closing minutes that accomplishes much the same thing in broadening the atmosphere overall. I don’t know if the two songs were composed to fit together –the titles would hint yes – but they invariably do, and as “Death” unleashes a more insistent punch before turning to a post-YOB gallop, it reconfirms Bongripper’s worship-worthy place in the stoner doom milieu, how their sound can be so familiar in its threat and yet so much their own.

Bongripper on Bandcamp

Bongripper webstore

 

King Chiefs, Blue Sonnet

King Chiefs Blue Sonnet

Born as Chiefs ahead of their 2015 debut album, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), Arizona-based four-piece King Chiefs make their own first outing in the form of the easily-digestible desert rocker Blue Sonnet (on Roosevelt Row and Cursed Tongue Records), comprised of 10 tracks running just under 40 minutes of older-school laid back heavy, swinging easy on cuts like “Surely Never” and “Drifter” while still finding some Helmeted aggressive edge in the riffs of “Slug” and “Walk the Plank.” The overarching focus is on songwriting, however, and King Chiefs hone in cleverly on ‘90s-era desert rock’s post-grunge sensibility, so that their material seems ready for an alternative radio that no longer exists. Such as it is, they do just fine without, and hooks pervade the two-guitar outfit’s material in natural and memorable fashion all the way to five-and-a-half-minute closer “Shrine of the Beholder,” which embraces some broader textures without losing the structural focus that serves so well on the songs before it.

King Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Roosevelt Row Records website

Cursed Tongue Records website

 

Bonnacons of Doom, Bonnacons of Doom

bonnacons of doom bonnacons of doom

Heavy psychedelic experimentalism pervades the Rocket Recordings-issued self-titled debut album from Liverpool collective Bonnacons of Doom, rife with tripout ritualism and exploration of sound as it is, all chasing light and getting freaky in any sense you want to read it. Five tracks, each a voyage unto itself – even the bass-fuzzy push of shortest cut “Rhizome” (5:55) is cosmos-bound – feed into the larger weirdness at play that culminates in the undulating grooves of “Plantae” (8:39), which is perhaps the most solidified cut in terms of choruses, verses, etc., but still a molten, headphone-worthy freakout that pushes the limits of psychedelia and still holds itself together. If the album was a to-do list, it would read as follows: “Eat mushrooms. Get naked. Dance around. Repeat.” Whether you do or don’t is ultimately up to you, but Bonnacons of Doom make a pretty convincing argument in favor, and I don’t generally consider myself much of a dancer. Among the most individualized psych debuts I’ve heard in a long time.

Bonnacons of Doom on Thee Facebooks

Rocket Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Boar, Poseidon

Boar Poseidon

Poseidon, at six songs and 39 minutes, is the second long-player from Finnish four-piece Boar. Released on vinyl with no shortage of backing — Lost Pilgrims Records, Dissonant Society, Impure Muzik, S.K.O.D., Rämekuukkeli-levyt – it hurls forth a High on Fire-informed vision of noise rock on its opening title-track only to take on a slower roll in the subsequent “Shahar’s Son” and dig into massive crashing on “12.” Using echo to add a sense of depth all the while, they scream in tradeoffs à la Akimbo and boogie in “Featherless” and seem to find a post-metallic moment on “Dark Skies” before closing with the alternately brooding and scathing “Totally out of This World,” the song sort of falling apart into the feedback and noise that ends the album. There’s a persistent sense of violence happening, but it’s as much inward as outward, and though some of Boar’s most effective moments are in that rawness, there’s something to be said for the contemplation at the outset of “Shahar’s Son” and “12” as well.

Boar on Thee Facebooks

Boar on Bandcamp

 

June Bug, A Thousand Days

June bug A Thousand Days

Seemingly unrestrained by genre, the Lille, France-based duo June BugJune on vocals and multiple instruments and Beryl on backing vocals and multiple instruments – dig into some post-punk nudge on early cut “Reasons” from their debut album, A Thousand Days (Atypeek Music) after the folkish melodies of opener “Now,” but whether it’s the fuzzy indie vibes of “Freaks” or the harmonies, electronics and acoustic guitar of “Let it Rest,” or the keyboard-handclaps, lower tones and poppish instrumental hook of centerpiece “Mama,” there’s plenty of variety throughout. What ties the differing vibes and richly nuanced approach together is the vocals, which are mostly subdued and at times hyper-stylized, but never seem to fail to keep melodicism as their central operating method. That remains true on the subdued “Does it Matter” and the beat-laden “Silenced” at the album’s finish and brings everything together with an overarching sense of joy that holds firm despite shifts in mood and approach, making the complete front-to-back listen as satisfying as it might seem all over the place.

June Bug on Thee Facebooks

Atypeek Music website

 

Tired Lord, Demo

tired lord demo

Released by the band last year, the four-song Demo by San Francisco outfit Tired Lord has been picked up for an official cassette issue through From Corners Unknown Records and will reportedly be the only release from the black metal/sludge genre-benders. Presumably that means they broke up, rather than just refuse to ever record again, though the latter possibility intrigues as well and would be meta-black metal. Spearheaded by guitarist Bryce Olson, Tired Lord effectively bring a thickness of tone to charred riffing, and a balance between screams and growls brings a cast of general extremity to the material. So I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to regret their dissolution and wish they’d do a proper release. Fair enough for the brutal chug in “Serpent’s Ascent” and the 7:51 closer “Astaroth,” which one wouldn’t mind hearing fleshed out from their current form. Failing that, one of the 30 tape copies pressed of Demo seems like decent consolation. At least while they’re there for the getting and before Tired Lord go gleefully into that black metal demo tape ether where so many seem to dwell.

From Corners Unknown Records on Thee Facebooks

From Corners Unknown Records website

 

BerT, Relics from Time Zero

bert relics from time zero

Lansing, Michigan, trio BerT – bassist Phil Clark and brothers Ryan (guitar) and Rael (drums) Andrews – broke up. They even put out a posthumous rare tracks release in 2017’s The Lost Toes (review here), so what’s left? Well, another album, of course. Intended as a sequel to the sci-fi narrative of the never-released long-player Return to the Electric Church, the five-track/35-minute Relics from Time Zero is unfinished, sans vocals where they might otherwise be, and basically a look at what might’ve been had the band not dissolved. For those prior-exposed to the once-prolific heavy rock bizarros, some of the proceedings will seem familiar: riffs are plentiful and fluid in their tempo changes from driving rock to droned-out stomp, and there seems to be about 1.5 of them in the four-minute “In the Cave of the Batqueen,” so but for the fact that it’s not done, I’d just about call it business as usual for BerT. I know they’re done and all, but I still wouldn’t mind hearing these songs with some lyrics, let alone the record this one was intended to follow-up. Either way, even defunct, BerT remain on their own wavelength.

BerT on Thee Facebooks

BerT on Bandcamp

 

Zen Bison, Krautrocker

zen bison krautrocker

Classic-style heavy rock riffing pervades opener “Blow My Mind” (5:47) and the subsequent “Backseat Lovers” (5:15) – somewhere between Stubb and Radio Moscow — on Zen Bison’s debut LP, Krautrocker, but as the five-track/42-minute self-release moves into the 11-minute title-track, guitarist/vocalist Philipp Ott, bassist Steffen Fischer and drummer Martin Konopka – joined by organist Hans Kirschner and percussionist Bobby Müller –move into deeper-grooving and more psychedelic fare. That turn suits the mostly-live-recorded outfit well on the longer instrumental piece, and that leads to a side B with the likewise-sans-vocals “La Madrugada” (9:56) and the closing cover of Don Nix’s blues rocker “Going Down” (10:24), jammed out at the end in its middle and end with quick return to the chorus between. There isn’t much on Krautrocker one might actually consider krautrock in the traditional sense, but there’s certainly plenty of rock to go around on the impressive and varied first offering from the Rostock trio.

Zen Bison on Thee Facebooks

Zen Bison on Bandcamp

 

Wheel in the Sky, Beyond the Pale

wheel in the sky beyond the pale

From opener “Rivers of Dust” onward, Wheel in the Sky’s second album, Beyond the Pale (on The Sign Records), proffers classy and classic digs, informed by a heavy ‘70s uptempo spirit on its title-track and moving into more complex volume and arrangement shifts in “Burn Babylon Burn” (video premiere here) and a poppy, goth-informed hook on “The Only Dead Girl in the City,” all the while held together through a quality of songwriting that even the band’s 2015 debut, Heading for the Night (review here), seemed to hint toward. It’s a mover, to be sure, but Wheel in the Sky execute their material with poise and a sense of clear intention, and no matter where they seem to go, their tonality and natural production assures the listener has an easy time tagging along. Might be a sleeper for some, but there are going to be people who really, really dig this album, and I’ve got no argument with them.

Wheel in the Sky on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

 

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

Confusion Master Premiere “In the Shadow of the Bong” Video; Debut Album Awaken out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

confusion master

I’m not 100 percent sure Confusion Master guitarist/vocalist Stephan Kurth isn’t embracing the absurd himself when he says that the band’s album cut ‘In the Shadow of the Bong’ is inspired by Albert Camus. I guess the Rostock-based four-piece wouldn’t exactly be Confusion Master if all their intentions came through clearly, but if he is being sincere, working off what Kierkegaard did almost a century earlier, Camus had three ways he thought it was possible for humans to escape the absurd: suicide, religion and acceptance. You can either off yourself, in which case the absurd doesn’t matter, buy into one or another deity, which gives you a convenient answer to all the questions in the universe, or just know that the absurd is there and there’s no getting away from it while alive. It would seem Confusion Master have chosen the latter.

So be it. Their debut album, Awaken, with it Cthulhu-y cover art, is out now via respected German purveyor Exile on Mainstream, and it offers an unmanageable 59 minutes of rumbling modern doom, finding a space among the Windhands, Monolords and Electric Wizards of the world without really sounding like either of them. Topped with samples from Full Metal JacketTwin Peaks and others, there’s a ’90s sludge sensibility to be sure, but Confusion MasterKurth on guitar/vocals, Gunnar Arndt on confusion master awakenguitar, Mathias Klein on bass and Stephan Gottwald on drums — bring an effects-drenched spaciousness to their sound as well, a song like the 11-minute “Goner Colony” seeming to reach outward in a similar way to Sons of Otis while remaining no less tonally weighted than they were on the 10-minute-plus opening duo “Witch Pollution” and its feedback-drenched compatriot “Northern Midnight Ghoul.”

These three tracks, comprising more than half of Awaken‘s notably — you’ll note it’s already been noted as notable — significant runtime, form a decent crux of the album’s overall impression, and they tell a tale of doom by doomers, players obviously aware of the tenets of style and looking to cast their own niche from them. As much as “Witch Pollution, “Northern Midnight Ghoul” and “Goner Colony” are obvious focal points, “Reaper’s Fist,” “In the Shadow of the Bong” and the closing duo “False Dawn” and the finale “Awaken” — which all run between six and eight minutes, save for the closer, which is just under five — have a major role to play as well. They not only keep Confusion Master from being bogged down in the repetition of longform doom, but the title-track cut out into an almost post-rock ambient sphere, “False Dawn” toys with pace shifts and “In the Shadow of the Bong,” well, aside from winning the battle of track names, is a wah-soaked slab of psychedelic doom miseries that summarizes a lot of the atmosphere of the album as a whole.

Maybe that’s why they chose it for their new video, which takes performance footage and runs it through a ringer of swirling chaos effects. There’s some old film footage I think from War of the Worlds tucked in there as well, so keep an eye out.

Confusion Master play the release show for Awaken tomorrow night in Rostock alongside countrymen labelmates Treedeon, and head to Japan later this month with Guevnna. You’ll find those dates and more info under the Camus-invoking quote from Kurth, which of course is under the video itself, which of course is right under the next line of text.

Please enjoy:

Confusion Master, “In the Shadow of the Bong” official video premiere

Stephan Kurth on “In the Shadow of the Bong”:

“In the Shadow of the Bong” draws inspiration from the three antidotes to the absurdity of life according to Albert Camus. Conditions must be fulfilled to be translated in consequences such as revolt, freedom and passion. Camus’ call to a greater degree of understanding among people and greater sincerity building on mankind becoming ultimately frank and free to allow communication inspired this song. This all we wrapped up in a Cavity-/Iron Monkey-inspired riffage. Enjoy!

In support of Awaken, CONFUSION MASTER will tour across Europe and beyond in the fall (dates to be announced), A hometown record release show is scheduled for next week’s May 5th with fellow labelmates Treedeon. This will be followed by a run of tour dates in Japan with Guevnna scheduled for May 21st through 26th, with shows in Tokyo, Fujisawa, Gifu, Nagano, Niigata, and Tokyo. Stand by for additional dates to be announced.

5/05/2018 Plattnfischn Record Fair – Rostock, DE *Awaken release show w/ Treedeon
5/21/2018 Ruby Room – Tokyo, JP
5/22/2018 Gigs Shonan – Fujisawa, JP
5/23/2018 Casper – Gifu, JP
5/24/2018 The Venue – Nagano, JP
5/25/2018 Golden Pigs – Niigata, JP
5/26/2018 Moonstep – Tokyo, JP

CONFUSION MASTER:
Mathias Klein – bass
Stephan Gottwald – drums
Gunnar Arndt – guitars/effects
Stephan Kurth – guitars/effects/vocals

Confusion Master on Thee Facebooks

Exile on Mainstream website

Tags: , , , , ,

Tricky Lobsters Premiere “Tarred Albino” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tricky-lobsters-Photo-Christian-Thiele

Preorders have shipped for Tricky Lobsters‘ sixth album, Worlds Collide, and man, this one just has ‘sleeper hit’ written all over it. Last month, when the long-running Northern German trio announced the full-length would be released June 23 via Exile on Mainstream, that was enough to perk up my ears to what they were doing in the video for organ-laced album opener “Bitter Man’s Fame” that accompanied, but as I’ve had the opportunity since to dig further into the full-length, it’s a work of marked quality of songwriting — mature and memorable and experienced befitting a sixth outing — but energetic and not at all staid-sounding.

With variety of texture between cuts like “Battlefields,” the moody centerpiece “Black and Blue” and the come-on-that’s-so-catchy-it’s-not-even-fair hooks like that of “Big Book,” the nine-track/42-minute Worlds Collide is somewhat less rambunctious than its title might lead you to believe, but that’s true if only because it’s so damn cohesive in its purpose in the meantime. To wit, the flow between the verse/chorus trades and the hypnotic bridge of “Father and Son” and the ultra-effective linearity of the seven-minute “Dreamdiver Pt. I & II” that leads into the tense charge of the penultimate “The Fire” and the fuzz-funk-blues of closer “Needs Must.” Through all these changes, the Rostock-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Sarge, bassist/vocalist Doc and drummer/vocalist Captain Peters skillfully guide their audience along the path they’ve set, bolstered universally by songcraft and quality of performance.

Accordingly, though it doesn’t necessarily represent the entire scope of Worlds Collide, you can get sense of some of what Tricky Lobsters — who, once again, win outright when it comes to band monikers — are up to in terms of the general clarity of production and delivery in the clip for “Tarred Albino” below, which captures footage live and in the studio from throughout last year and this year.

They’ll reportedly have another clip out as well before the album hits, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that as well. In the meantime, please enjoy:

Tricky Lobsters, “Tarred Albino” official video

2nd video release from the forthcoming album “Worlds Collide”, out 06-23-2017.

filmed live 2016/2017
featuring Sebastian “Sebel” Niehoff on Hammond Organ
camera (studio shots): Jörg Peters
cut/edit: Justus Tanz @ http://www.underdok.de

Engineered and produced by drummer Jörg Peters at Blue Hospital in Rostock in 2017, the three northerners follow diverse paths through rock history and bind them together on Worlds Collide, their sixth official release to date. Now in their twenty-first year of existence, with Worlds Collide, TRICKY LOBSTERS present trademark groove and riffs, born from melodies and lyrics deeply rooted in old and recurring stories of love, dreams and deception. The record paints a vivid picture of their current world, and the one behind them.

Exile On Mainstream will issue Worlds Collide on CD, LP, and digital formats on June 23rd. Stream brief clips of all of the album’s tracks and find preorders for all formats HERE.

TRICKY LOBSTERS Tour Dates:
6/23/2017 Helgas Stadtpalast – Rostock, DE *record release show
6/30/2017 Rock an der Ilm Festival – Langenwiesen, DE
7/01/2017 Hangar Metal Meeting – Bad Duerrenberg, DE
7/28/2017 Festevil Nopperhof – Buetzow, DE

Tricky Lobsters on Thee Facebooks

Tricky Lobsters website

Exile on Mainstream Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Tricky Lobsters Release Worlds Collide June 23; New Video & Preorders Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

German heavy rockers Tricky Lobsters — who, let’s be honest here, pretty much win the day when it comes to band names — will release their new album, Worlds Collide, via respected purveyor Exile on Mainstream on June 23. Preorders are up now for the record, which is the sixth from the Rostock three-piece, and as a teaser, the band have a new video for the track “Bitter Man’s Fame” that you can see below. It features many different faces. Lots of faces. Faces here and faces there. Faces all over the place(s).

The PR wire brought album info and live dates from the band for the digging:

tricky-lobsters-Photo-Christian-Thiele

TRICKY LOBSTERS: Exile On Mainstream Presents Worlds Collide LP By Doom/Blues Rock Trio; Video For “Bitter Man’s Fame” And Preorders Posted

Exile On Mainstream presents the new Worlds Collide LP by groove-heavy German blues/doom rock trio TRICKY LOBSTERS, setting the record for June release, and issuing an official video for the track “Bitter Man’s Fame.”

If the term “insider tip” wasn’t so drawn-out, it could be repeatedly used to describe TRICKY LOBSTERS. From noise to punk rock in the early years, from rock’n’roll to the gnarly sludge blues rock on their prior LP, The Blue Hospital Conspiracy, their body of work includes pretty much everything with a noisy edge. After nearly four years in the wilderness, but their legacy not unsung, the Baltic Sea-based band continues their travels in a kind of western-driven, grand finale and face off in an epic clash of stories, riffs and drama on Worlds Collide.

Engineered and produced by drummer Jörg Peters at Blue Hospital in Rostock in 2017, the three northerners follow diverse paths through rock history and bind them together on Worlds Collide, their sixth official release to date. Now in their twenty-first year of existence, with Worlds Collide, TRICKY LOBSTERS present trademark groove and riffs, born from melodies and lyrics deeply rooted in old and recurring stories of love, dreams and deception. The record paints a vivid picture of their current world, and the one behind them.

TRICKY LOBSTERS present a video for the track “Bitter Man’s Fame.” the first single from Worlds Collide, the video filmed by Christian Thiele and edited by Michael Gröper and Rainer Hochmuth.

Exile On Mainstream will issue Worlds Collide on CD, LP, and digital formats on June 23rd. Stream brief clips of all of the album’s tracks and find preorders for all formats HERE.

Stand by for two more official videos from Worlds Collide to be issued preceding the album’s street date.

German fans can catch TRICKY LOBSTERS on perform throughout the country over the weeks ahead in support of the album, including a record release show and several festival performances, with additional dates to be announced.

TRICKY LOBSTERS Tour Dates:
5/25/2017 Aukrug Open Air Festival – Aukrug, DE
6/04/2017 Pfingstrock Entenfang Festival – Torgau, DE
6/23/2017 Helgas Stadtpalast – Rostock, DE *record release show
6/30/2017 Rock an der Ilm Festival – Langenwiesen, DE
7/01/2017 Hangar Metal Meeting – Bad Duerrenberg, DE
7/28/2017 Festevil Nopperhof – Buetzow, DE

https://www.facebook.com/trickylobsters.rostock
http://www.trickylobsters.de
http://www.mainstreamrecords.de

Tricky Lobsters, “Bitter Man’s Fame” official video

Tags: , , , , ,