CHRCH Announce West Coast Tour Dates with YOB & Acid King; On the Road Next Week to Austin Terror Fest

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Californian hyperbole-inspiration specialists CHRCH head out on a tour next week that will take them to Austin Terror Fest the lineup for which indeed looks duly terrifying. Perhaps even scarier than that is that CHRCH in September are on a three-band bill with YOB and Acid King and there’s just about no way in hell I’m going to see any of those shows, let alone follow along the entire tour as it makes its way through the Southwestern desert, which to be perfectly honest seems like a pretty badass way to spend a week, even basically one coming right off of Psycho Las Vegas. Seriously, how could you go wrong with those three bands at a show? Goodness gracious.

CHRCH‘s new album (review pending) is out now on Neurot. The PR wire brings daydream fodder:

chrch photo hannah stone

CHRCH To Kick Off Mini-Tour Next Week + West Coast Fall Shows With Yob And Acid King Confirmed; Light Will Consume Us All Out Now Via Neurot

Sacramento’s favorite doom practitioners CHRCH will kick off a short run of live dates next week. Set to commence on June 11th in Fullerton, California and run through June 21st in Reno, Nevada, the journey includes performances with Body Void, Trapped Within Burning Machinery, Ugly, Hist, Bird Violence, and The Ditch And The Delta on select shows, as well as a stop at Austin Terror Fest June 16th with Exhorder, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Come To Grief, Cough, and many more. CHRCH’s latest journey follows a recent European jaunt with Fister. Additionally, the bandwill take on a week-long west coast trek supporting Yob and Acid King this September. See all confirmed dates below.

CHRCH’s Light Will Consume Us All is out now on CD, vinyl, and digital formats via Neurot Recordings. For physical order bundles visit THIS LOCATION. Desirers of the the digital edition can go HERE where the record is also streaming in full.

CHRCH:
6/11/2018 Slidebar – Fullerton, CA w/ Body Void, Trapped Within Burning Machinery
6/12/2018 Garage Rock Bar – Tijuana, MX
6/13/2018 The Rogue – Phoenix, AZ w/ Body Void, Ugly
6/14/2018 Cans – Tucson, AZ w/ Body Void, Hist, Bird Violence
6/15/2018 Neon Rose – El Paso, TX w/ Body Void
6/16/2018 Austin Terror Fest – Austin, TX w/ Exhorder, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Come To Grief, Cough, more
6/17/2018 Reno’s – Dallas, TX w/ Body Void
6/18/2018 Hi Dive – Denver, CO w/ Body Void
6/19/2018 Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT w/ The Ditch And The Delta
6/21/2018 Holland Project – Reno, NV

w/ Yob, Acid King:
9/06/2018 Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA
9/07/2018 Catalyst Atrium – Santa Cruz, CA
9/08/2018 Pappy & Harriet’s – Pioneertown, CA
9/09/2018 Teregram – Los Angeles, CA
9/12/2018 Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM
9/13/2018 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ
9/14/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA
9/15/2018 Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA

CHRCH:
Eva Rose – vocals
Chris Lemos – guitar, vocals
Ben Cathcart – bass
Adam Jennings – drums
Karl Cordtz – guitar, vocals

http://www.facebook.com/chrchdoomca
https://churchdoom.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

CHRCH, Light Will Consume Us All (2018)

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CHRCH to Release Light Will Consume Us All April 27; Album Details Revealed

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

chrch hannah stone

Yeah, the dark cover art is cool, and it’s nice to know that immediately upon releasing their new album, CHRCH will make a break for European shores to tour with 2017 splitmates Fister, but what I really like to see about Light Will Consume Us All, which is the Sacramento megadoomers’ Neurot Recordings debut and sophomore long-player behind 2015’s Unanswered Hymns (review here), is that it has three songs on it. That was the case as well with the first record — three-song full-length — and as the band also went back to Earthtone Studios to work with engineer Patrick Hills, it would seem they’re following an impulse not to fix what wasn’t broken in their sound.

Needless to say if you heard Unanswered Hymns, but that is very much the right fucking move.

The PR wire brings that tracklisting and the foreboding cover and tour dates and so on, and if you’re not yet looking forward to this one, you should be. A band like this doesn’t sign to Neurot and then not deliver, and in the case of CHRCH, it could mean a real monster is on the way.

Dig:

chrch light will consume us all

CHRCH: Sacramento Doom Bringers To Release Light Will Consume Us All This April Via Neurot Recordings; Artwork + Track Listing Revealed

Light Will Consume Us All, the impending second full-length from Sacramento, California-based doom bringers CHRCH, is set for release this April via Neurot Recordings.

Standing at a crossroads of light and dark, CHRCH wields epic, lengthy songs, massive low end, and an occult vocal presence in a perfect blend of height and depth. CHRCH has been hard at work crafting their particular sound since late 2013. There is no image or campy gimmick to uphold, only the humble glorification of their fundamental musical elements

This purity and honesty comes across in a striking manner on the band’s 2015 debut Unanswered Hymns, a sprawling roller coaster of an album. Long form songs build and heedlessly dismantle as the band reaches sonic heights and beautiful plateaus. Severe, sometimes unrelenting, vocals contrast melodic singing; massive fuzz gives way to clean guitar parts; its warm, organic tone draws the listener in with a sound influenced by traditional doom, psych rock, drone, and ambience.

Light Will Consume Us All carries with it the same quality of songwriting that caught the attention of fans worldwide on their debut. Building upon this unyielding foundation, Light Will Consume Us All continues CHRCH’s narrative, traversing life’s epic journey of loss, reclamation and, ultimately, finding hope within the darkness.Minimalist, indulgent, or straightforward; the music of CHRCH calls the listener to inhabit it, allowing enough room for its transmutation into anything one desires of it. Light Will Consume Us All was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Patrick Hills (King Woman, Bog Oak, VRTRA) at Earthtone Studios in Sacramento.

CHRCH’s Light Will Consume Us All will see release on CD, vinyl, and digital formats via Neurot Recordings April 27th with preorders to be announced shortly.

Light Will Consume Us All Track Listing:
1. Infinite Return
2. Portals
3. Aether

Surrounding the release, CHRCH will bring their sonic alchemy to the stage with a handful of west coast shows including an appearance at Days Of The Loud before heading to Europe this May with St. Louis doom cult, Fister. With shows still to be announced, the band’s European trek includes performances at Northern Discomfort in Copenhagen and DesertFest London.

CHRCH:
3/08/2018 Cooper’s Ale Works – Nevada City, CA w/ Khemmis
3/11/2018 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA w/ Wolves In The Throne Room, Abyssal
3/24/2018 The Golden Bull – Oakland, CA
3/30/2018 Blue Lamp – Sacramento, CA w/ Usnea, Un, Occlith
3/31/2018 Days Of The Loud @ Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor – Reno, NV
w/ Fister:
5/02/2018 Bar Loose – Helsinki, FI
5/03/2018 SubScene – Oslo, NO
5/04/2018 Northern Discomfort – Copenhagen, DK
5/06/2018 DesertFest – London, UK
5/07/2018 Fuel – Cardiff, UK
5/08/2018 Nice N Sleazy – Glasgow, UK
5/09/2018 Head Of Steam – Newcastle, UK
5/10/2018 Temple Of Boom – Leeds, UK
5/11/2018 Magasin4 – Brussels, BE
6/15/2018 Austin Terror Fest – Austin, TX w/ Exhorder, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Come to Grief, Buzzov*en, more

CHRCH:
Eva Rose – vocals
Chris Lemos – guitar, vocals
Ben Cathcart – bass
Adam Jennings – drums
Karl Cordtz – guitar, vocals

http://www.facebook.com/chrchdoomca
https://churchdoom.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Fister & CHRCH, Split (2017)

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CHRCH Sign to Neurot Recordings; Light Will Consume us All Due Spring 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

If there was any doubt that Sacramento megadoomers CHRCH made an impression with their 2015 Battleground Records debut album, Unanswered Hymns (review here), that might’ve been leftover after they hit the road last year in Europe and played Roadburn 2016 (review here) before returning to the US for Crucialfest and just about everywhere else with enough structural integrity to handle their voluminous and atmospheric smothering, let it be dispelled by the fact that they’ve been picked up by Neurot. Got that endorsement from Neurosis. By my estimation there are few that carry even a tenth of that much weight.

CHRCH will release their second album, Light Will Consume us All, this coming Spring via Neurot Recordings. I know I’ve said this before, but this band is the real fucking deal. Onto the most-anticipated-of-2018 list they go. Seems fair to expect that no matter what else comes out, this will be one of the heaviest releases next year has to offer.

From the PR wire:

chrch hannah stone

CHRCH: Sacramento Doom Quintet Joins Neurot Recordings; Band To Release Second Full-Length This Spring

Sacramento, California based doom quintet CHRCH has joined the Neurot Recordings family for the release of their forthcoming full-length, Light Will Consume Us All, slated to drop this spring.

Comments the band: “We are very excited to be working with Neurot for our next record. To be able to share the continuation of our narrative with the world through them is thrilling. Neurosis is the apex of integrity in music to us and it’s an honor to work with like-minded individuals for this release.”

Standing at a crossroads of light and dark, CHRCH wields epic, lengthy songs, massive low end, and an occult vocal presence in a perfect blend of height and depth. CHRCH has been hard at work crafting their particular sound since late 2013. There is no image or campy gimmick to uphold, only the humble glorification of their fundamental musical elements.

This purity and honesty comes across in a striking manner on the band’s debut Unanswered Hymns (Battleground Records, 2015), a sprawling roller coaster of an album. Long form songs build and heedlessly dismantle as the band reaches sonic heights and beautiful plateaus. Severe, sometimes unrelenting, vocals contrast melodic singing; massive fuzz gives way to clean guitar parts. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Patrick Hills at Earthtone Studios in Rocklin, California, it exudes a warm, organic tone that draws the listener in with a sound influenced by traditional doom, psych rock, drone, and ambience.

CHRCH teamed up with Fister to release a split 12″ via Battleground Records/Crown And Thorne LTD, earlier this year. Their track, “Temples,” displays the increasing subtlety and intensity of CHRCH’s songwriting. Intricate melodies and composition build on the band’s thunderous drums, strong vocals, and gargantuan riffs.

The band’s second full length, the impending Light Will Consume Us All,carries with it the same quality of songwriting that caught the attention of fans worldwide on their debut. Building upon this unyielding foundation, Light Will Consume Us All continues CHRCH’s narrative, traversing life’s epic journey of loss, reclamation and, ultimately, finding hope within the darkness.

Minimalist, indulgent, or straightforward; the music of CHRCH calls the listener to inhabit it, allowing enough room for its transmutation into anything one desires of it.

Stand by for further info on Light Will Consume Us All to be announced in the weeks to come.

CHRCH is:
Eva Rose – vocals
Chris Lemos – guitar, vocals
Ben Cathcart – bass
Adam Jennings – drums
Karl Cordtz – guitar, vocals

http://www.facebook.com/chrchdoomca
http://www.neurotrecordings.com
http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

Fister & CHRCH, Split (2017)

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Behold! the Monolith and CHRCH Announce European Tour

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

Both Behold! the Monolith and CHRCH were announced for Roadburn 2016 back in November, but they’ve solidified a full round of European dates leading up to and through that fest that begins March 20 in Italy and includes stops at other fests like Tube Cult, Impetus and Doom over Leipzig as well. Each band is out supporting a 2015 release — in the case of Behold! the Monolith, it’s last fall’s Architects of the Void (review here), and for CHRCH, it’s their wildly well received debut, Unanswered Hymns (review here), initially self-released and then pressed to vinyl by Battleground Records.

The shows? They’ll be very, very heavy, and they’re part of a round of fests that the bands will play in the months to come. Behold! the Monolith and CHRCH will also feature together at Psycho Las Vegas in August, and CHRCH will also be at Crucial Fest 6 and Southwest Terror Fest later this year. Not too bad.

Dates for the European tour follow here, as well as both bands’ album streams:

behold the monolith chrch tour

Behold! The Monolith and CHRCH European Tour 2016

In case we haven’t mentioned it, Behold! The Monolith will be touring Europe very soon with CHRCH! Hope to see as many of you as possible out there! Here are the dates:

30-3 – Horizon Club – Bolzano – Italy
31-3 – Shai Hulud – Carpi Modena
01-4 – Tube Cult Fest – Pescara – Italy
02-4 – Circolo La Mesa – Montecchio Maggiore – Italy
03-4 – Les Pavillons Sauvages – Toulouse – France
04-4 – Glazart – Paris – France
05-4 – La Scène Michelet – Nantes – France
06-4 – Hipster Café – Rouen – France
07-4 – The Pit’s – Kortrijk – Belgium
08-4 – AZ Wuppertal – Wuppertal – Germany
09-4 – Impetus Festival – Lausanna – Switzerland
10-4 – AVAILABLE
11-4 – venue TBA – Berlin – Germany
12-4 – Magasin4 – Brussels – Belgium
13-4 – Antwerp Music City – Antwerp – Belgium
14-4 – Roadburn – Tilburg – The Netherlands
15-4 – Innocent – Hengelo – The Netherlands
16-4 – Doom Over Leipzig – Leipzig – Germany
17-4 – Hafenklang – Hamburg – Germany

https://www.facebook.com/events/200045300354189/
https://www.facebook.com/beholdthemonolith/
http://beholdthemonolith.bandcamp.com/
http://www.beholdthemonolith.com/
https://www.facebook.com/chrchdoomca/
http://chrchdoomca.blogspot.com/
https://churchdoom.bandcamp.com/releases

Behold! the Monolith, Architects of the Void (2015)

CHRCH, Unanswered Hymns (2015)

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CHRCH’s Unanswered Hymns LP Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 24th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

chrch

Sacramento five-piece CHRCH — who were Church when they first digitally released their debut album, Unanswered Hymns (review here), back in April — are getting ready to oversee the vinyl issue of that same full-length via Battleground Records. The headline from the PR wire below cuts to the chase with its direct urging toward a preorder, and while I’m usually somewhat shy about engaging directly in telling someone to spend their money, if you take a listen to the stream of the record at the bottom of this post, you might agree a preorder makes some measure of sense. First-pressing appeal aside, the album stomps souls. A band like CHRCH doesn’t come along every day, is all I’m saying. In the end, you have to make up your own mind.

To help in that process, the PR wire:

chrch unanswered hymns

CHRCH: Preorder Unanswered Hymns On Vinyl Now

Sacramento, California’s fresh-faced psychedelic outfit CHRCH crushed their way onto the scene with their stunning debut cassette Unanswered Hymns to overwhelmingly positive response back in April, enchanting even metal’s toughest critics and bringing crowds to their knees all over the west coast.

The group signed to Battleground Records to release the vinyl version of the debut on September 18. We are proud to announce that for the first time, the LP is available for preorder. Better grab it quick–this one’s not going to last long.

Preorder Unanswered Hymns on vinyl right here: http://www.battlegroundrnr.com/product/church-unanswered-hymns-lp

The old and oft quoted adage about “the music speaking for itself” is not a callous or casual statement when applied to the Sacramento, California based doom quintet CHRCH, who have been hard at work crafting their particular brew of sound since late 2013. There is no image or campy gimmick to uphold, only the humble continuation and glorification of those fundamental musical elements that first built and then sustained the genre and it’s offshoots over the course of decades.

This purity and honesty comes across in a striking manner on the band’s debut Unanswered Hymns, a sprawling roller coaster of an album that plumbs the heights and depths of emotion, whether be it sorrow, loss, or redemption. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Patrick Hills at Earthtone Studios in Rocklin, CA, the recording exudes a warm, organic tone that draws the listener in to music heavily influenced by traditional doom, psych rock, drone, and ambience. CHRCH cannily wields dynamic songwriting, musicianship, and raw power to spin a spellbinding tale of occult darkness that clashes with illuminating melodies and riffs drenched in grimy reverb. Minimalistic, indulgent, or straightforward, the music of CHRCH is simply whatever the listener wants it to be.

CHRCH tour dates:
August 29th – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium w/ Pentagram
October 3rd – Record Release show: Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Special guests
November 13th – Long Beach, CA @ The Breakers (Midnite Communion III)

CHRCH is:
Eva – Vocals
Matt – Drums
Shann – Guitar
Ben – Bass
Chris – Guitar, backing vocals

facebook.com/chrchdoomca
http://www.battlegroundrnr.com/product/church-unanswered-hymns-lp
https://churchdoom.bandcamp.com/

CHRCH, Unanswered Hymns (2015)

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Church Become CHRCH; Touring with Primitive Man

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Church or CHRCH, this band fucking destroys. They could call themselves Donnie and Marie Osmond — though one doubts it would cut back on legal troubles — and they’d still be one of the most potential-filled acts in doom. Their Unanswered Hymns full-length (review here) is set to release on vinyl from Battleground Records Sept. 28 and it’s easily one of the year’s best debuts. Not even a question. They’ve also got tour dates coming up with Primitive Man, which sounds even more devastating. In all seriousness, however you hear them, do it. Don’t miss out. The situation that brought about the change sounds like it was a bummer, but at least the vinyl is still coming.

The PR wire speaks of preferred nomenclature:

chrch (Photo by Susan Yee)

CHRCH (Formerly CHURCH): Sacramento, California Doom-Slingers Formally Announce Name Change, Tour Dates

Sacramento, California’s fresh-faced psychedelic doom crew formerly known as CHURCH just crushed their way onto the scene with their stunning debut album Unanswered Hymns to overwhelmingly positive response, enchanting metal’s toughest critics and bringing crowds to their knees all over the west coast. The group signed to Battleground Records to release the vinyl version of the debut on September 28. However, due to a cease and desist sent to the band by a lawyer hired by Australian alternative rock group The Church, the band has opted to avoid further confrontation and drop the vowel, simply continuing on as CHRCH. Aside from the name change, the vinyl release and tour dates will proceed as planned.

Official statement from the band:

“Due to the fact that defending the claim of ‘willful infringement’ and ‘unfair competition’ is lengthy and expensive, we are now CHRCH. The bourgeoise system of ownership demands that knowledge and culture be rationed by the ability to pay. We thank everyone for their overwhelming support thus far. We are approaching our dates with Primitive Man and Northless August 13th-17th and we open for Pentagram in Santa Cruz on August 29th. In darkness, CHRCH.”

Official statement from Battleground Records:

“The band having to change their name due to a legal technicality is just that, a technicality. Underground artists like CHRCH and small labels like ours just don’t have the resources to get into legal squabbles over such matters. Regardless of the name, what truly matters is that we’re helping to release a great record from a great band that people out there want to get a hold of. We’ve simply got to keep moving forward. Many thanks to everyone who supports the label and the bands we work with. -BR”

See CHRCH live:

Aug 13th – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock w/ Primitive Man, Northless, Church Abstracter
August 14th – Oakland, CA @ The Metro (Deadfest)
August 16th – Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Primitive Man and Northless
August 17th – Chico, CA @ 1078 Gallery w/ Primitive Man, Northless, Amarok, Vexed
August 29th – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium w/ Pentagram
October 3rd – Record Release show: Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge w/ Special guests
November 13th – Long Beach, CA @ The Breakers (Midnite Communion III)

CHRCH is:
Eva – Vocals
Matt – Drums
Shann – Guitar
Ben – Bass
Chris – Guitar, backing vocals

facebook.com/chrchdoomca
https://churchdoom.bandcamp.com/
http://battlegroundrecords.bigcartel.com/product/church-unanswered-hymns-lp

Church, Unanswered Hymns (2015)

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Quarterly Review: Horsehunter, Church, Corpse Light, Sunder, T-Tops, The Space Merchants, Etiolated, Blown Out, Les Discrets, Beast Modulus

Posted in Reviews on June 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk summer quarterly review

Day one down and feeling good so far. Day two continues the thread of mixing more known quantities with bands either self-releasing or putting out demos, etc., and I like that. More than last time around — last quarter, if you want to use the business-y sounding language for it — I tried to really get a balance across this batch of reviews, posted yesterday and coming up over the next couple days. We’ll see how it works out when it’s over. It remains a ton of stuff, and I hope you dig it. Day two starts right now.

Quarterly review #11-20:

Horsehunter, Caged in Flesh

horsehunter caged in flesh

Pushing their way to the fore of Melbourne’s heavy surge, double-guitar four-piece Horsehunter proffer oppressive tonal crush on the four tracks of their 2LP Magnetic Eye Records debut, Caged in Flesh. The story goes that, unsatisfied the initial recordings weren’t heavy enough, the band – guitarists Michael Harutyanyan (also vocals) and Dan McDonald, bassist/vocalist Himi Stringer and drummer Nick Cron – went back into the studio and redid the entire thing. Mission accomplished. By the time 16-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Stoned to Death” is done, lungs are suitably deflated, spines are cracked, skulls cleaved, and so on. They’re hardly the only ones in the world to conjure formidable tonal heft, but it’s the deft changes in vocals – clean here, shouts there, more abrasive at the start of the title-track – and the sense of atmosphere in the three-minute penultimate interlude that really distinguish Horsehunter, as well as how smoothly that atmosphere integrates with the pummel in the second half of closer “Witchery,” attention to detail and awareness of the need for more than just sonic weight boding well for future progression.

Horsehunter on Thee Facebooks

Magnetic Eye Records on Bandcamp

Church, Unanswered Hymns

church unanswered hymns

A staggeringly heavy debut full-length from Sacramento, CA, five-piece Church, Unanswered Hymns was initially released digitally by the band and quickly picked up for a cassette issue by Transylvanian Tapes and forthcoming LP through Battleground Records. One gets the sense listening to the three extended tracks – 19-minute opener “Dawning” being the longest of the bunch (immediate points) – that those won’t be the last versions to come. Psychedelic doom blends seamlessly with vicious sludge extremity, creating a morass engulfing in its tones, spacious in its breadth and unrepentantly heavy, making it one of 2015’s best debut releases, hands down, and a glorious revelry in bleak tectonics that challenges the listener to match its level of melancholy without giving into an impulse for post-Pallbearer emotive theatrics. As thrilling as they are plodding, expect the echoes of “Dawning,” “Stargazer” and “Offering” to resonate for some time to come, and should Church show any predilection for touring in the next couple years, they have the potential to make a genuine impact on American doom. Yes, I mean it.

Church on Thee Facebooks

Transylvanian Tapes

Battleground Records

Corpse Light, Without Form

corpse light without form

Recorded in a day and released by Grimoire Records, the four-track Without Form is slated as the debut from Baltimore atmospheric doomers Corpse Light, but the band have had tracks come out in drips and drabs since getting their start as Ophidian in mid-2012, even if this is their first proper release. Either way, “The Fool” sets up an immediate and grim ambience, the churning lurch from guitarists Keiran Holmes and Don Selner and bassist Aurora Raiten set to roll by Lawrence Grimes (The Osedax) and given earthy aggression by the vocals of Jim Webb. “Lying in State” fleshes out these morose aggro vibes, but it’s with the drop-everything-and-kill peak of the subsequent “R Complex” that Corpse Light hit their angriest mark. If Without Form was just about that, it would be the highlight, but the album’s 29 minutes have more to offer than pissed off tonally-weighted post-hardcore, as closer “Kenophobia”’s clever turns and deceptive forward momentum demonstrate, though a touch of that kind of thing never hurts either.

Corpse Light on Thee Facebooks

Grimoire Records on Bandcamp

Sunder, Demo

sunder demo

Heavy psych four-piece Sunder will make their debut this summer through Tee Pee and Crusher Records with a 7” for “Cursed Wolf,” so consider this notice of the tracks on their not-for-public-consumption demo a heads up on things to come. Their “Deadly Flower” was streamed here this past April, and the band’s previous incarnation, The Socks, released their self-titled debut (review here) on Small Stone in 2014, but with songs like the key-laced stomper “Bleeding Trees,” the ‘70s rusher “Against the Grain,” and the Uncle Acid-style swinging “Daughter of the Snows,” the Lyon, France, outfit continue to refine a style drawing together different vibes of the psychedelic era. “Deadly Flower” was also distinguished by its key work, and as for “Cursed Wolf” itself, the melody reminds of proto-psych Beatles singles (thinking “Rain” specifically), but the groove still holds firm to a sense of weight that’s thoroughly modern, and by that I mean it sounds like 1972. Keep an eye out.

Sunder on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records

T-Tops, T-Tops

t-tops t-tops

Granted not everyone is going to make this immediate association, but when I first saw the moniker T-Tops, I couldn’t help think of like C-grade generic stonerisms, songs about beer and pretending to be from the South and all that. If you experienced something similar in seeing the name, rest easy. The Pittsburgh trio of guitarist/vocalist Pat Waters (ex-The Fitt, Wormrigg), bassist Jason Orr (Wormrigg) and drummer Jason Jouver (ex-Don Caballero) are down with far more sinister punk and noise on their self-titled, self-released debut full-length, riding, shooting straight and speaking truth on cuts like “Wipe Down” and the catchy “Pretty on a Girl” after the tense sampling of “A Certain Cordial Exhilaration” turns over the power-push to “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’.” “Ralphie” is probably an inside-joke if not a Christmas Story reference, but point is these guys are way less about-to-sing-about-muscle-cars than the name implies and their tight, crisp rhythmic turns come accompanied by vicious tonal force and an utter lack of bullshit, which is a scenario far preferable to that which one might otherwise expect.

T-Tops on Thee Facebooks

T-Tops on Bandcamp

The Space Merchants, The Space Merchants

the space merchants the space merchants

Issued by Aqulamb in the imprint’s standard 100-page art book/download format, the self-titled debut from fellow Brooklynites The Space Merchants seeks to draw a line between psychedelic rock and country. And not pretend country like people with a Johnny Cash fetish because he covered that Nine Inch Nails song one time – actual, bright, pastoral, classic country. Call the results psychtwang and applaud the effort, which works oddly well in a thoroughly vintage context to come across on “Mainline the Sun” like something from a lost ‘60s variety show. Parts of “One Cut Like the Moon” and the later fuzz of “One Thousand Years of Boredom” give away their modernity, but The Space Merchants’ push toward a stylistic niche suits them well, and the intertwined vocal arrangements from guitarist Michael Guggino, bassist Aileen Brophy and keyboardist Ani MonteleoneCarter Logan drums to round out the four-piece – add to the rich, welcoming feel that remains prevalent even as the eight-minute “Where’s the Rest of Life” slips into wah-soaked noise to finish out.

The Space Merchants on Thee Facebooks

Aqualamb on Bandcamp

Etiolated, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies

etoliated grey limbs grey skies

The undercurrent of black metal coursing beneath the surface of Etiolated’s debut full-length, Grey Limbs, Grey Skies, eventually comes to the surface in 10-minute opener “Internal Abyss” and 16-minute eponymous closer, which bookends, but in part it’s the tension of waiting for those rampaging surges that keeps one hooked to the Armus Productions release. Guttural death growls echo up from dense tonal reaches, and tempo shifts, whether in those longer tracks or three-minute lumbering slice “Futility” are fluid, the North Carolina five-piece executing a slow-grinding chug in centerpiece “Exsanguinate,” which seems like a murk without end until the 1:47 “For Your Hell” kicks into a speedier, more blackened rush, guest vocalist Ryan McCarthy joining guitarist/vocalists James Storelli and Walls, bassist Cody Rogers and drummer Elliot Thompson in furthering the already prevalent sense of extremism before “Etiolated,” after a surprisingly peaceful if brooding midsection, plods the album to a close. To say “not for the faint of heart” would be putting it lightly, but if I had a vest and if Etiolated had patches, the two parties would definitely meet up at some point in the near future.

Etiolated on Thee Facebooks

Armus Productions on Bandcamp

Blown Out, Planetary Engineering

blown out planetary engineering

It has not taken long for the discography of UK psych jammers Blown Out to become a populated murky cosmos of its own. Planetary Engineering is released on Oaken Palace Records and finds the three-piece of guitarist Mike Vest (also Bong, etc.), bassist John-Michael Hedley (also Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) and drummer Matt Baty (also the head of Box Records) exploring two mesmeric and sprawling instrumentals – one per side – that bend and flourish and hypnotize in organically-concocted swirl. Side A’s “Transcending Deep Infinity” tops 20 minutes and shifts from its spacey build to a low key groove at about 7:30 in, pulsing forward once more amid head-turning repetition, deep echoes and longform nod, culminating in a two-minute fadeout that brings forward “Thousand Years in the Sunshine,” an immediate bass groove and interstellar swirl no less trance-inducing than its predecessor. Cyclical drum fills morph over time behind the guitar and bass, and Planetary Engineering seems to push continually further out until, of course, it disintegrates, presumably as it crosses the galactic barrier.

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Oaken Palace Records on Bandcamp

Les Discrets, Live at Roadburn

les discrets live at roadburn

I was fortunate enough to have been in attendance at Het Patronaat in Tilburg when French post-black metallers Les Discrets took the stage at Roadburn 2013. As such, it’s with some trepidation I approach their Live at Roadburn recording on Prophecy Productions – the impression they made live wasn’t something I’d want potentially spoiled or brought to earth by a document proving it was just another set. With Neige of Alcest on bass with guitarist/vocalist Fursy Teyssier, Les Discrets proved to be something really special to those who, like me, were there to catch them, and the eight-track Live at Roadburn – fortunately – captures both the majestic lushness they brought with them and the underlying weight that seemed to add impact to the material. What might sound like post-production mixing on “L’Echappée” or the wash of “Chanson D’Automne” isn’t – it really was that beautiful and that perfectly balanced coming from the stage. A vastly underrated act and a document that reminds of how stellar they were without sullying the memory in the slightest.

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Prophecy Productions

Beast Modulus, Beast Modulus

beast-modulus-beast-modulus

Brooklynite foursome Beast Modulus seem to care less about meshing with ideas of genre than sticking them in a meatgrinder and seeing what comes out. To wit the riotous chugging of “Cowboy Caligula,” and the blackened thrust of “WaSaBi!” on their self-released, self-titled outing, which leads to dueling growls and screams on the tonally weighted post-hardcore “Fabulous,” and the appropriately mathy turns of the thrashing “Tyranny of Numbers.” Inventive in their stylizations and in where the six songs included on the release actually go – hint: they go to “heavy” – the lineup of vocalist Kurt Applegate, guitarist Owen Burley, bassist Jesse Adelson and drummer Jody Smith have some post-Dillinger Escape Plan vibe in the calculated chaos of “Kalashnikov,” but closer “Killing Champion” is too impatient to even be held by that, the prevailing manic angularity of Beast Modulus ultimately crafting its own identity from the physical assault the music seems intent on perpetrating upon the listener.

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Beast Modulus on Bandcamp

 

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Wino Wednesday: Wino Covers Freddie King in Sacramento, CA, April 2015

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 10th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

wino wednesday

The Texas Cannonball, bluesman Freddie King included “Going Down” on his Leon Russell-produced 1971 album, Getting Ready, and it’s a smokin’ number with of course King‘s stellar guitar work and a post-Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters meld of blues and heavy rock and roll. The song was written by Don Nix and is identifiable early by its repeating “down, down, down, down” hook and accompanying instrumental descent, and King is somewhat malleable to its sliding groove — less than a decade earlier, he’d touched on surf and bossa nova on separate albums, so maybe malleability wasn’t a problem for him. The song’s been covered plenty of times over the years, and even Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow touched on that hook with “Self Portrait” from their first album, but King‘s version remains the definitive.

We don’t get to see the entirety of the jam Wino plays off it, but a glimpse is better than nothing. The show was April 18, 2015, at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California, and Wino was there solo, supporting Black Label Society. He has a bassist onstage with him, and one who matches him for quick turns in the solo, which makes it all the more exciting, but I’m not sure who it actually is. Either way, we get to hear some of Wino‘s “unplugged” fuzz, which is a pretty delicate balance for a hollow instrument to strike without going all to hell in noise and a mess of feedback. Not exactly Wino‘s first time at the dance, so it’s not a surprise he’d nail it, but ultimately all this video does is make me hope that sooner or later he comes back to the eastern seaboard and that “Going Down” makes its way into the set, because I wouldn’t mind seeing the whole thing for myself if given the chance.

Hope you enjoy, ignore the whistling goon and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Wino, “Going Down” live in Sacramento, CA, April 18, 2015

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